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

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             Sunday 01 July to Saturday 07 July

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The DAWN Wire Service (DWS) is a free weekly news-service
from Pakistan's largest English language newspaper, the
daily DAWN. DWS offers news, analysis and features of
particular interest to the Pakistani Community on the
Internet. DWS is sent by e-mail every Saturday.

Extracts from DWS, not exceeding 50 lines, can be used
provided that this entire header is included at the
beginning of each extract.

We encourage comments & suggestions. We can be reached at:

     e-mail webmaster@dawn.com
     WWW http://dawn.com/
     Fax +92(21) 5693995
     Mail DAWN Media Group
     Haroon House, Karachi 74200, Pakistan

Please send all Editorial submissions and Letters to the
Editor to:

      letters@dawn.com

(c) Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt.) Ltd., Pakistan -
2012

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                         C O N T E N T S

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N A T I O N A L N E W S
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+ Raja’s first ‘Lahore Darbar’: Old questions meet with
standard answers
+ Gas prices for domestic consumers cut by 18 to 51pc
+ Nab chief’s discussion with Kayani on NLC scam: Ex-
generals likely to face court martial
+ ANF gets search warrant for Musa Gilani
+ 24-hour ultimatum for young doctors to end strike
+ Arsalan’s lawyer accused of using threatening language :
Politicians’ cases not to be opened, for now: Bukhari
+ Three ancient shrines destroyed in Timbuktu
+ American team holds talks in Islamabad; Clinton calls
Raja: Pakistan and US near accord on NATO routes
+ PML-N urged to give more names for CEC post
+ Seven militants die in drone attack
+ Crackdown on doctors aggravates medical crisis in Punjab
+ NA session likely to Ratify ordinance
+ World Bank wants Pakistan gas losses reduced to 2pc
+ Pakistan-India border guards meet today
+ Security along Afghan border being beefed up
+ Rare meeting between Afghan official, Taliban envoy
+ Stop-gap measures provide some relief to patients
+ Decision on NATO routes likely: DCC meeting today on ties
with US
+ PM invites Baloch leadership for talks
+ Afghan troops intrude into Kurram, kill two villagers
+ Appointment of CEC: PML-N rejects govt request for new
names
+ Aid worker of Pakistan origin rescued in Somalia
+ Transporters carrying pilgrims to Iran denied permission
+ Foreign secretaries to meet tomorrow: Delhi talks to
focus on agreed steps’ implementation
+ Babar Awan argues his own case
+ DCC approves accord after US says ‘sorry’ over Salala
attack: NATO supply routes reopened
+ US appreciates decision not to press fee issue
+ Pressure grows on Punjab health system
+ PAC releases list of judges owning two plots
+ Readership survey
+ Punjab healthcare crisis: It takes two to tangle
+ Chemical quota case: Approver blames Shahab, Musa
+ Another MNA suspended by SC
+ Rs2.5bn Ramazan package
+ Number of missing people on the rise
+ Mumbai, Kashmir stalk foreign secretaries
+ Contempt law being amendedGovt move to clear judicial
hurdle
+ Pak-India talks on positive trajectory
+ Terrorists kill three in Kuchlak
+ ‘US respects people’s aspirations’: No secret deal with
US: Khar
+ Woman working for NGO shot dead
+ Officer linked to ephedrine case complains of
victimisation
+ Dual-nationality case: FIA chief faces action for
misleading court
+ Govt, young doctors make competing claims
+ Pakistan, Afghanistan report rise in polio cases
+ US expected to release blocked funds
+ Draft of new contempt law: Move to kill two birds with
one stone
+ Time for protective legislation in parliament
+ Krishna to visit Pakistan in September: Foreign
secretaries seek end to hostile propaganda
+ Wapda supply to KESC to be suspended: Plan to ‘re-rent’
185MW from RPPs
+ Broader talks with US on key issues needed: Sherry
+ Two NATO containers cross into Afghanistan
+ People’s Representation Act redefined: Poll law violators
to face contempt proceedings: EC
+ FO justifies ‘sorry’ by Khar as expression of regret
+ Shahbaz’s security chief hurt in blast
+ Where is premier’s PS Khushnood Lashari?
+ Awan tells SC he is being discriminated against
+ Sherry, Donilon played key role in breaking the deadlock
+ Allies agree to support four new bills
+ Precious Gandhara relics seized
+ 18 gunned down in Turbat restaurant
+ Twenty die in double drone attack
+ A timely deal rescues fraught ties — for now
+ NATO accord may soon be replaced by new pact
+ Pakistan to scan all Containers
+ Ayub Qazi new principal secretary to premier
+ US wants to rebuild ties in all sectors
+ Asma in UN team to probe Israeli settlements
+ LHC asks doctors to resume emergency services
+ YDA ready to comply with court order
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E D I T O R I A L
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+   Abbottabad commission
+   A bit of good news
+   Not strange bedfellows
+   NLC scandal
+   Doctors’ strike
+   High salaries, no merit
+   Dual citizenship
+   Neglected art
+   Vulnerable to fraud
+   Lower inflation
+   ATM charges
+   Nato supplies deal
+   KP leader’s murder
+   Meeting on minorities
+   Selective criticism
+   Blasphemy lynching
+   Save it, general
+   Deadlock persists
+   Contempt act
+   Jamrud killing

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COLUMNS/ARTICLES
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+   The Final Betrayal
+   The Pakistani minefield
+   Barbaric killings
+   Save us from our ‘saviours’
+   Not by code alone
+   Terror without doubt
+   From here to Timbuktu

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

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01, July, 2012
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Raja’s first ‘Lahore Darbar’: Old questions meet with
standard answers

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By Our Special Correspondent

LAHORE, June 30: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf debuted
as the new chief government defender before the Lahore
media corps on Saturday, pressed into minding many posts
simultaneously — the government’s relationship with the
judiciary and the opposition parties, its inability to
overcome the energy crisis, terrorism, and last but not the
least, he promptly repulsed the advance when a questioner
remarked the government was wasting the army in some ‘bay-
tukay’ (unwanted) works.

“I am sure you don’t mean it that way. The army is never
involved in any bay-tuka work. (It is not) unless when it
takes power from the elected governments,” the prime
minister said on the second day of his first official visit
to Lahore. The venue was the Governor’s House. It is so to
speak, the last bastion where all the PPP’s politics has
remained concentrated over the last many years. Freshly
done tri-colours now hung around, accompanied not by
evidence of a resolve to reinvent but out of a sheer
necessity that has entailed the replacement of the name
Yousuf Raza Gilani with Raja Pervez Ashraf.

But be it the last piece of land bearing the PPP hallmark
in Lahore, the party was absent from the discussion since
the session was more about going down in a court than
stumbling in an election. And while other martyrs did make
an appearance, not once was the name Gilani mentioned
during the entire meeting. “Predecessor” was the preferred
term as Raja Pervez appeared keen on re-establishing the
truth about the supremacy of the party over individuals the
party may choose as the prime minister from time to time.
Was it proof of the weakness of the party, or a sign of its
strength as an institution that, unlike tradition here, did
not split under extreme pressure? Sign of a commitment that
a whole batch of ‘known unknown’ soldiers was ready to fall
for a cause? The readers are free to have their pick.
Raja Pervez was all for standing by “our army” just as all
parties were ready to stand by “our judiciary”. Pursuing
the same logic the prime minister next pleaded for similar
backing to the “mother of all institutions”: the
parliament. Earlier during the meeting, he had avoided a
mention of the armed forces whereas he was repeatedly asked
to come up with an answer to Balochistan’s woes and also
when one participant had thought it fit to involve the army
in resolving the long-running feud in Karachi. He said law
and order was a provincial subject and a procedure was laid
down in the Constitution for seeking military help if and
when it was thought necessary.

Raja Pervez continued from where his predecessor had left
off – receiving the all too familiar but largely silent
reinforcement for his views from Information Minister
Qamaruzzaman Kaira, who persisted in his customary role
just one chair away from the prime minister. The prime
minister’s emphasis was on democracy, the supremacy of
parliament and on devolution, words not without relevance
to the people of Pakistan, but words which were inevitably
confronted, as they are at all forums today, with the loud
refrain about energy shortage and government’s other
troubles.

`MISLED BY BUREAUCRACY’: Prime ministerial remarks about
the increase in funding to provinces were accepted with a
polite nod, but energy crisis and his presence in office
beyond a July 12 Supreme Court deadline truly dominated the
discussion. Raja Pervez ruefully recalled how, after taking
charge of the all-important power ministry, he had been
misled by a bureaucratic plan that said loadshedding could
be ended in a few months time.

He said his announcement after he took charge of power
ministry in March 2008 was a mistake for which he had been
taken to task by the media. Chastened and having risen to
the office of the prime minister since then, he now wanted
changes without any boastful declarations and potentially
embarrassing deadlines. “The people will feel the changes”
vis-a-vis loadshedding, he said.

Will he be here long enough to see his ideas through,
considering the Supreme Court has given him until July 12
to decide on writing to Swiss authorities for reopening of
corruption cases against President Asif Zardari? Pervez
Ashraf was pestered with various formulations of the
question and he ultimately found refuge in a participating
editor’s grave tone that warned against dangers of
instability. “Stability is essential,” was the prime
minister’s standard answer as the group around him took
turns in stating the obvious about the lack of energy, law
and order and political stability which then spawned severe
economic challenges.

The prime minister spoke of these being times when election
fervour was setting in. He said he expected the PML-N to
positively answer his call for a consensus chief election
commissioner, and that he had the greatest of respect for
the PML-N leadership and the mandate they had got in
Punjab.

A self-confessed middle class man and a political activist
who has been through the rigmarole, he was, visibly, most
comfortable when discussing how politics was essentially a
process to find solutions. There is no final word in
politics and hence, while he mildly argued for the
government’s right to complete its term, he didn’t rule out
an early election as a way out of difficulties.

Nor did he reject out of hand a suggestion about holding a
parliamentary debate to ascertain presidential immunity,
which is the basis of the long- drawn and uneasy engagement
between the executive and the judiciary.

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01, July, 2012

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Gas prices for domestic consumers cut by 18 to 51pc

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By Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD, June 30: The government on Saturday announced a
reduction in gas prices for domestic consumers ranging
between 18 per cent and 52 per cent and cut the number of
slabs from five to three in order to provide relief to more
people.

The new rates will remain in force from July 1 to Dec 31.

The government also cut oil prices by up to Rs 6.44 per
litre for the July 1-15 fortnight.

According to a notification issued by the Oil and Gas
Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the tariff for domestic
consumers whose consumption does not exceed 100 cubic
metres has been reduced by 18.7 per cent from Rs122.95
mmbtu to Rs100 per mmbtu.

Consumers whose consumption ranges between 100 cubic metres
and 300 cubic metres will now pay at a rate of Rs 200 per
mmbtu — down from Rs245.89 per mmbtu.

The tariff for people consuming between 300 and 500 cubic
metres per month has been slashed by 51.7 per cent from Rs
1,035.34 to Rs 500 per mmbtu.

The government has, however, raised the tariff by 10.3 per
cent for industrial units using gas for power generation,
including captive power plants, Wapda, KESC, generation
companies and independent power producers.

The tariff has been raised for the power generation
industry, captive power plants and IPPs from Rs507.86 to
Rs560 per mmbtu, including Rs100 per mmbtu cess.

The rate of gas infrastructure development cess has been
raised to Rs100 per mmbtu for the industry and power
sector.

Earlier, captive power plants had been paying Rs13 per
mmbtu cess, Wapda, KESC and generation companies like Hesco
and Lesco Rs27 and IPPs Rs70 per mmbtu cess.

No change has been made in the gas price for commercial
consumers and, most notably, fertiliser plants which use
gas a main raw material.

The price of CNG has been reduced by 7.7 per cent for
Region-1 (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Potohar) to
Rs759.55 from Rs822.53, including Rs141 per mmbtu cess, and
by 8.3 per cent for Region-2 (Sindh and Punjab) to Rs697.55
from Rs760.53, including Rs79 per mmbtu cess.

The government has reduced oil prices after a fall in rates
in the international market.

The price of HOBC has been slashed by Rs6.44 to Rs106.88
per litre, petrol by Rs5.02 to Rs84.49 per litre, kerosene
by Rs2.54 to Rs86.25, HSD by Rs2.48 to Rs97.21 and light
diesel oil by Rs2.86 to Rs83.71.

The prices of jet fuels – JP-1, JP-4 and JP-8 – have been
cut by Rs2.48, Rs3.46 and Rs2.48 to Rs75.95, Rs66.24 and
Rs75.63, respectively.

The levy on petrol stands at Rs10, high speed diesel Rs8,
HOBC Rs14 and kerosene Rs6 per litre.

The price of CNG has been reduced by Rs4.59 per kg to
Rs70.66 for Region-1 and by Rs4.20 per kg to Rs77.66 for
Region-2 following cut in prices of petrol.

The CNG rate is fixed at 60 per cent of petrol price.

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01, July, 2012

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Nab chief’s discussion with Kayani on NLC scam: Ex-generals
likely to face court martial

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By Iftikhar A. Khan



ISLAMABAD, June 30: The Army will actively pursue the
multi-billion rupees National Logistics Cell (NLC) scam and
three ex-generals are likely to face court martial,
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral
(retd) Fasih Bukhari said at a press briefing on Saturday.
The Nab chief said he had recently discussed the case with
Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who did not object to
any action against the accused. “I think the top army
officers will also have to face court martial,” Admiral
Bukhari said.

An inquiry report pending before the Public Accounts
Committee (PAC) had held responsible two retired
lieutenants general, a major general and two civilians for
causing a colossal loss to the NLC since 2003 by investing
the organisation’s funds in the stock market in defiance of
then prime minister Shaukat Aziz’s orders.

The report held responsible for the imprudent investment
lieutenants general Afzal Muzaffar and Khalid Munir Khan,
NLC director general major general Khalid Tahir Akhtar,
deputy finance officer Najeebullah and chief finance
officer Saeedur Rehman. The last two named were civilians.

The bureau had claimed last month that it would jointly
investigate the scam with military authorities, but the Nab
chief did not mention such an understanding on Saturday.

Presently, the accountability bureau and the General
Headquarters (GHQ) are separately investigating the scandal
related to investment of NLC funds in stock business from
2004 to 2008.

According to a military officer, the chief of army staff
had ordered a high-level inquiry into the scam in Nov 2010.
“The inquiry is under way and is at an advanced stage.
Disciplinary action will be taken against those found
guilty,” he said.

He dispelled a perception that the inquiry had been ordered
just to pre-empt a sweeping verdict on the scam by a
parliamentary committee and ensure that the army officers
involved in the case were spared and only the civilians
faced an action.

In reply to a question, he said under the rules army
officers could also face court martial if serious charges
against them were proved.

According to information presented before the Public
Accounts Committee (PAC), bosses of the NLC made heavy
investments in stock exchanges in violation of rules.
Besides borrowing money from commercial banks at high mark-
up, they also used pensioners’ money for the business.

In return, heavy commissions were received from companies
through which an investment of over Rs 4 billion had been
made in the stock market.

The NLC reportedly suffered a loss of nearly Rs 1.8
billion.

The PAC took up the case two years ago, but when it was
close to completing the investigation, military authorities
decided to investigate it themselves. The PAC decided in
November last year to withhold its final recommendations
and give time to the military authorities after COAS Gen
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced that the GHQ would hold its
own investigation into the scandal.

The army has so far not made public the outcome of the
investigation against three generals.

The army had announced that a serving corps commander would
head the investigation team and two majors general will be
its members.

The head of the team is reported to have retired last year
and it is not clear who has replaced him. The progress on
the investigation has also been kept a guarded secret.

The report placed before the PAC disclosed that pension
funds of NLC employees were also invested in the volatile
stock market by the generals who remained at the helm of
affairs during the period.

The most shocking finding of the inquiry was that these
generals borrowed Rs2 billion from four banks and threw
them into the stock market, losing Rs1.8 billion in the
process.

The loans were obtained from Bank Al Falah (Rs650 million),
National Bank (Rs90 million), United Bank (Rs800 million)
and Allied Bank (Rs500 million).The NLC is still paying
commercial interest on the loans.

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01, July, 2012

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ANF gets search warrant for Musa Gilani

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By Malik Asad



RAWALPINDI, June 30: The Anti-Narcotics Force has obtained
search warrant for arrest of Ali Musa Gilani, son of former
prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, for his alleged
involvement in the ephedrine case, sources said.

They said the warrant was issued on Saturday by judge
Shafqatullah Khan of the ANF court, completing legal
requirements for raids on places where Mr Musa Gilani could
be residing.

They said that unlike Makhdoom Shahabuddin, another accused
in the case, Mr Musa Gilani had neither approached the
court for a pre-arrest bail nor an interim bail to avoid
arrest. Therefore, under the law he could be arrested at
any time.

On June 21, the ANF court issued arrest warrants for Mr
Shahabuddin and Mr Musa Gilani. At the time Mr Shahabuddin
was the PPP’s first choice for the slot of prime minister.
When contacted Fawad Hussain, the counsel for Mr Musa
Gilani, said he would move an application for the
cancellation of the warrant in the Lahore High Court.

He said the ANF court could not issue a warrant for Mr Musa
Gilani’s arrest because he had appeared before
investigators at least thrice in the last three months.

After the issuance of the arrest warrant for Mr Musa
Gilani, his counsel filed an application in a Rawalpindi
court for quashment of the warrant but the plea was
rejected on June 25.
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01, June, 2012

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24-hour ultimatum for young doctors to end strike

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LAHORE, June 30: With 150 army doctors on call to attend
outdoor patients in major hospitals across Punjab, Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday gave a 24-hour
ultimatum to principals of public sector teaching hospitals
and senior teaching faculty to persuade young doctors to
end their strike `unconditionally’.

“Bring the disobedient striking doctors to their duties or
tell them to face the music,” a senior health official
quoted Mr Sharif as having told the heads of medical
institutions and teaching staff.

Adviser to the chief minister on health, Khwaja Salman
Rafiq, told Dawn that at the request of the provincial
government, the army medical corps had agreed to spare 150
doctors for outdoor duties in major hospitals across the
province.

He said the government would wait for the striking doctors’
response to the chief minister’s ultimatum, adding that if
the doctors did not end their strike by Sunday evening, the
army doctors, in uniform, will take over outdoor duties on
Monday morning.

The chief minister presided over a meeting of principals
and senior faculty of medical colleges held at the CM
Secretariat on Saturday to discuss the issue of young
doctors’ demand for service structure. Besides principals,
at least four teaching cadre doctors from each medical
institution attended the meeting.

Mr Sharif said stringent action would be taken against the
agitating doctors, adding the second major strike within a
year was intolerable.
A health department official who attended the meeting
quoted the chief minister as saying that the Punjab
government had already allocated an additional sum of Rs5.2
billion to increase the salary of doctors, nurses and
paramedics after last year’s 37-day strike. A major chunk
of the amount, Mr Sharif said, had been allocated for
doctors.

A majority of the principals, however, insisted on
initiating another round of dialogue with the striking
doctors. They were of the opinion that any strict
departmental action against the striking doctors might lead
to an ‘unmanageable’ crisis. They said principals and
senior doctors had been taken on board first time since the
doctors had announced the strike.

POSTING ORDERS: The Punjab health authorities have issued
orders for early posting of 454 women medical officers (BS-
17) who were recently recruited by the Punjab Public
Service Commission. Health offices will remain open on
Sunday to facilitate their joining of service.

DEMONSTRATIONS: Patients and their relatives held
demonstrations in three hospitals against doctors whose
strike entered the 13th day on Saturday. Continuing their
protest even after the invocation of Essential Services Act
by the provincial government, the young doctors threatened
to lay a siege to the Chief Minister’s House on July 5.

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01 July, 2012

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Arsalan’s lawyer accused of using threatening language :
Politicians’ cases not to be opened, for now: Bukhari

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By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, June 30: The agencies investigating white collar
crimes are passing the buck on the issue of putting Prime
Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s name on the exit control list
in the rental power projects (RPPs) case.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has apparently
taken a step towards protecting the premier, by dividing
the case into two parts. It first plans to investigate
owners of the RPPs and then lay hands on the people on the
government side (including the prime minister).

“Presently we are concentrating on owners of RPPs because
if we first investigate people involved on the government
side and find them guilty, the owners will take a plea that
corruption was committed by the government functionaries
and not by private power producers,” NAB Chairman Admiral
(retd) Fasih Bukhari said during a meeting with editors of
newspapers and TV channels on Saturday.

Mr Bukhari said the bureau was reviewing references
forwarded by the prime minister’s adviser on interior
affairs against the Sharif brothers, but “elections are
near and political cases will not be reopened against
anyone, including the Sharif brothers, for the time being”.

“President Zardari has barred me from reopening Nawaz
Sharif’s cases,” he added.

In reply to a question, the NAB chief put the entire
responsibility of putting the names of the accused on the
ECL on the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the
interior ministry. “Ask the FIA if the prime minister’s
name is there,” he said.

He said Mr Ashraf had been questioned for about three hours
before assuming charge as the prime minister and NAB had
also recommended that his name be put on the ECL.

However, an FIA official said the agency had no power to
put a name on the ECL. Rather, it only maintained the list.
“Actually the interior ministry processes cases of ECL and
puts names on it,” he said.

While Interior Adviser Rehman Malik was not available to
comment, an official of his ministry said the issue of
putting names of accused on the ECL had been referred to
the law ministry. “We have sought legal opinion from the
law ministry on whether the name of the prime minister can
be put on the ECL,” he said.
Law Minister Farooq Naek could not be contacted for
comments.

The Supreme Court ordered in April that the names of 51
people, including four ministers, four federal secretaries
and owners and chief executives of RPPs, be put on the ECL,
but so far not a single name has been put on the list.

ARSALAN CASE: The NAB chief said a joint investigation team
comprising officials of the bureau, FIA and police had been
formed to investigate the case of Arsalan Iftikhar, the son
of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

He said the director general of NAB’s financial crimes wing
would head the JIT that would also visit London. The
investigations might take some time.

The NAB chief said that Arsalan Iftikhar’s lawyer had sent
a notice to the bureau that, he alleged, was an effort to
influence the case.

“The notice contains threatening language, attempting to
hamper proceedings and this constitutes an offence under
the law and this aspect will also be looked into,” he said.

“As the JIT is in the process of constitution in compliance
with SC orders, the ‘notice’ by Arsalan Iftikhar is
tantamount to contempt of court as well,” he said.

The investigation team, he said, would largely depend on
documentary evidence. Therefore, a question of favour or
disfavour to anyone didn’t arise.

ZARDARI, NAWAZ: Presenting an overall picture of corruption
in the country, Mr Bukhari said NAB would take up major
corruption cases involving more than Rs5 billion under
orders of the Supreme Court.

“The case of President Asif Zardari and former prime
minister Nawaz Sharif amount to Rs5 billion and Rs3billion,
respectively,” he said.

“Corruption of Rs6 billion to Rs8 billion takes place in a
day in the country.” The NAB chairman said corruption was
the main issue in the country and the society was as
corrupt as the legal system. He said NAB had recovered
Rs235 billion since its establishment in 1999.
The NAB chief said an investigation was being carried out
in accordance with court orders into Rs55 billion
corruption in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. Ogra
Member Mansoor Muzaffar has been arrested and warrants for
arrest of former chairman Tauqeer Sadiq have been issued.

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01, July, 2012

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Three ancient shrines destroyed in Timbuktu

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By Amjad Mahmood

BAMAKO,   June 30: Al Qaeda-linked militants in northern Mali
went on   the rampage in Timbuktu on Saturday, destroying
ancient   tombs of saints just after Unesco listed the fabled
city as   an endangered world heritage site.

The onslaught by armed militants from the Ansar Dine group
was launched amid the unrest in Mali’s vast desert in the
north that erupted in the chaotic aftermath of a March 22
coup in Bamako.

“They have ravaged Timbuktu today. It is a crime,” said a
source close to an imam in Timbuktu, known as the “City of
333 Saints”.

Witnesses said the Islamists, holding parts of northern
Mali, have so far destroyed three ancient shrines.

“The tombs of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya in
Timbuktu were destroyed on Saturday by the Islamists... who
are heading towards other tombs,” said one witness, whose
report was confirmed by the source close to the imam.

“The mausoleum doesn’t exist any more and the cemetery is
as bare as a soccer pitch,” local teacher Abdoulaye Boulahi
said of the Mahmoud burial place.
“There’s about 30 of them breaking everything up with pick-
axes and hoes. They’ve put their Kalashnikovs down by their
side. These are shocking scenes for the people in
Timbuktu.”

In addition to three historic mosques, Timbuktu is home to
16 cemeteries and mausoleums, according to the Unesco
website.

Ansar Dine, one of the armed groups seizing control in
northern Mali, has said no site would be safe in Timbuktu.

“Ansar Dine will today destroy every mausoleum in the city.
All of them, without exception,” spokesman Sanda Ould
Boumama said through an interpreter from the city.

The Ansar Dine spokesman suggested Saturday’s action was in
retaliation to the Unesco decision on Thursday to put the
World Heritage site, a cradle of Islamic learning founded
in the fifth century, on its endangered list.

“God is unique. All of this is haram (or forbidden in
Islam). We are all Muslims. Unesco is what?” he said,
declaring that Ansar Dine — which wants to impose Sharia
law in the region — was acting “in the name of God”.

Witnesses in Timbuktu said the gangs had destroyed the
mausoleum of a saint whose 15th century tomb was already
desecrated in May by members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM), another of the groups in control in the
north.

The destruction in Mali is reminiscent of the Taliban
blowing up the giant Buddhas of the Bamiyan valley in
Afghanistan — an ancient Buddhist and world heritage site
on the Silk Road — in March 2001 after branding them un-
Islamic.

Mali has been gripped by chaos since disgruntled troops
swarmed the capital Bamako in the south in March and ousted
the elected president of what had been seen as one of
Africa’s model democracies.

Islamist and tribal Tuareg groups seized on the power
vacuum and pushed government forces out of northern Mali,
an area the size of France and Belgium, including Timbuktu
and the cities of Gao and Kidal.—AFP
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02, July, 2012

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American team holds talks in Islamabad; Clinton calls Raja:
Pakistan and US near accord on NATO routes

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----

By Anwar Iqbal and Iftikhar A. Khan

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD, July 1: The United States and
Pakistan appear to be close to resolving the dispute over
the reopening of Nato supply routes to Afghanistan,
official sources in both the capitals told Dawn on Sunday.

The sources pointed out that two new developments —
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to Prime Minister
Raja Pervez Ashraf and the presence of a high-level US
delegation in Islamabad — had raised hopes that the dispute
might soon be resolved.

According to informed sources in Islamabad, an important
meeting between the two sides took place on Sunday shortly
after the arrival of Commander of International Security
Assistance Force General John Allen on his second visit to
the country in four days.

The Pakistani side at the talks included Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh
and Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani,
while the US side was represented by Deputy Secretary of
State Thomas Nides, Isaf Commander General John Allen and
US Ambassador Cameron Munter.

The meeting coincided with Secretary Clinton’s call to Raja
Pervez.

While congratulating Mr Ashraf on assuming the office of
prime minister, she said Pakistan and the United States
were partners in the war on terror and would succeed in
defeating the common enemy.
Official sources in Washington said that “both sides are
rapidly moving towards resolving this issue” but refused to
give details for fears that “a media leak at this stage may
derail the process”.

A US team, which includes senior members of the White House
National Security staff, is believed to have come with the
draft of a proposal that “meets Pakistan’s demand for an
apology without embarrassing” the Obama administration, the
sources said.

The sources in Washington are linking Secretary Clinton’s
call to the prime minister to these developments.

Washington’s diplomatic and political circles say that the
State Department is strongly supporting the proposal to
accept Pakistan’s demand for an apology over the Nov 26 US
air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Initially, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and other
officials said that the Pakistanis were focusing on
increasing tariff rates for using the supply routes – from
$250 to $5,000 per container.

But the Pakistanis later made it clear that this was not
their focus and that they were even willing to give up the
demand for a tariff increase if the US apologised over the
Salala incident.

The Americans, however, insisted that they could not tender
a one-sided apology as their own investigations showed that
US and Pakistani soldiers based near Salala were both
responsible for the incident.

The US Defence Department, once considered a traditional
ally of the Pakistani establishment, however, opposed the
proposed apology. The US Congress not only opposed
apologising to Pakistan but also demanded punitive actions
against the country for allegedly sheltering Osama bin
Laden, backing the Haqqani network —charges that Pakistani
strongly rejects — and for jailing Dr Shakil Afridi.

But since the State Department backed the Pakistani demand
for an apology, it made sense for Secretary Clinton to take
a lead in resolving the dispute.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman and her team also
played a key role in this process.

They held dozens of meetings at the White House, the State
Department, and the Pentagon and in the Congress over the
past three weeks, strongly advocating Pakistan’s case.

Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, warn that the
dispute is far from resolved and even a small glitch can
derail the whole process as it has happened at least three
times in the past two months.

 Recently, a US team spent weeks in Islamabad, discussing
various aspects of the dispute but returned to Washington
earlier this month without an agreement.

 But both US and Pakistani officials later said that this
team of US experts had finalised all technical details of
the Nato routes dispute with their Pakistani counterparts.

 “What both sides need now is a political will, so we are
now waiting for a political decision,” a senior US official
told Dawn in a recent meeting.

 Diplomatic observers in Washington say that Secretary
Clinton’s call to Prime Minister Ashraf “perhaps indicates
that both sides are now coming close to this political will
needed to resolve the dispute”.

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02, July, 2012

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PML-N urged to give more names for CEC post

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----

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, July 1: The positive response from the PML-N to
the offer made by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for
talks on appointing the new chief election commissioner
(CEC) is not without reservations.

PPP sources said the offer was “outside the formal
consultations” and that party’s chief whip Syed Khurshid
Ahmed Shah was pursuing the PML-N to add two names to the
three it had already given for the new CEC to broaden the
choice for the parliamentary committee to reach a
consensus.

“The past trust deficit” was the simple response of PML-N’s
deputy secretary general Ahsan Iqbal when contacted to
ascertain the reasons behind accepting the PPP’s renewed
offer for talks with some reservations. “We need solid
guarantees and interlocutors that the government would
implement the agreement reached (between them),” he said.

Asked who would act as “interlocutors” and what kind of
guarantees the PML-N wanted, Mr Iqbal said interlocutors
could be representatives of civil society organisations or
lawyers’ bodies or anyone “acceptable to both sides”. He
said the opposition had a bitter experience about
government’s assurances and commitments and, therefore, it
wanted that there should be other forces who could take the
rulers to task if they tried to backtrack from the
agreement.

Mr Iqbal also said that besides discussing the issues of
the new CEC and the caretaker set-up, the PML-N also wanted
an assurance from the government that it would announce
early general elections.“If the government wants to ensure
credibility of democratic process it must take substantive
and tangible steps towards early general elections in 2012,
appointment of a consensus CEC and caretaker set-up with
solid guarantees,” he said. “The PML-N will reciprocate if
the PPP does so.” However, he warned that if the PPP
remained adamant and prolonged the present situation “there
can be a serious crisis in the country and the PPP alone
will be responsible for it”.

In response to a question, he said it was up to the
government to decide how to take the civil society and
other stakeholders on board. As far as the PML-N was
concerned, he said, the party had started contacting other
opposition parties inside and outside parliament for
evolving a united stand on the critical issues and forcing
the government to go for early elections.
The senior PML-N member also indicated that his party was
not ready to show any flexibility and would stick to the
names it had already proposed to the parliamentary
committee headed by PPP’s Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah for the
CEC.

Mr Iqbal said he was not aware about the PPP asking the
opposition to give more names to the committee to broaden
the choice.

A senior PPP leader, when contacted, admitted that there
had been a deadlock between the two parties over the issue
of the CEC, but at the same time expressed the hope that
the PPP would succeed in developing consensus on the name
of the CEC during “informal consultations”.

The deadlock was created when Leader of the Opposition in
the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan rejected all
the three names proposed by former prime minister Syed
Yousuf Raza Gilani for the CEC and later refused to hold
any consultation with Mr Gilani saying that the PML-N would
not hold talks with a convicted person.

But later the PML-N suggested to the parliamentary
committee the names of present acting CEC Justice
Shakirullah Jan, Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim and
Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid as its nominees for the
office of the CEC.

On the other hand, former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
had proposed the names of Justice (retd) Munir A. Sheikh,
Justice (retd) Amirul Mulk Mengal and Justice (retd) Zahid
Qurban Alvi.

The PML-N received a boost when one of the government’s
coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supported
the name of Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid proposed by
the opposition.

When contacted, MQM’s spokesman Wasay Jalil said: “Yes, we
consider Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid as the best
choice for the office of the CEC.” But he said that
supporting an opposition nominee did not mean that the MQM
had rejected PPP’s candidates.

The PPP is also in a fix as the new CEC can be appointed
only through a two-thirds majority of the committee
members, under the rules that were framed by the committee
soon after its formation last year. Since there are six
members each from both sides, the committee is required to
approve the appointment of the CEC with at least eight
votes. Therefore, even if the PPP manages to get the
support of the JUI-F, it will not be able to get the CEC of
its choice appointed since the remaining five members
belong to the PML-N and all of them are considered to be
the hardcore leaders and staunch party loyalists.

Under the 18th Amendment, the tenure of the CEC has been
increased to five years from three and the procedure for
his appointment has also been changed. The CEC was earlier
appointed by the president, but under Article 213 of the
Constitution, the prime minister in consultation with the
opposition leader in the National Assembly is required to
forward three names to a parliamentary committee for
confirmation of one of them.

If there is no agreement between the prime minister and the
opposition leader on three names, then under Clause 2B of
Article 213, both of them are required to forward separate
lists to a bipartisan parliamentary committee which has
equal representation of the government and the opposition –
which will be empowered to confirm one name.

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02, July, 2012

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Seven militants die in drone attack

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----

By Pazeer Gul

MIRAMSHAH, July 1: Seven suspected militants were killed
when a US drone targeted a house in the Shawal Tehsil of
North Waziristan on early Sunday morning.

According to local people, the drone fired two missiles at
the house in the Kund Ghar area of Shawal.
A group of men rushed to the place after the attack and
retrieved bodies. Drones continued to fly over the area
during the day.

Agencies add: The latest attack killed fighters loyal to
militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, officials said

They said some foreign militants belonging to the
Turkmenistan Islamic Movement and militants of the Bahadur
group were believed to have been killed in the attack.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said four Hellfire
missiles were fired at a house used by suspected militants
in Dre Nishter village of North Waziristan. “Two missiles
targeted the compound, killing six militants,” the
officials said.

A similar attack in the region on June 4 killed 15
militants, including senior Al-Qaeda figure Abu Yahya al-
Libi.

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02, July, 2012

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Crackdown on doctors aggravates medical crisis in Punjab

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By Intikhab Hanif, Muhammad Faisal Ali and Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE, July 1: Doctors stopped treating patients even in
the emergency and indoor wards of major hospitals in Lahore
after police pounced upon leaders of their young colleagues
holding a meeting in the Services Hospital late on Sunday
night and arrested over 40 doctors.

The police action deepened the crisis Punjab is facing
because of the 14-day strike by young doctors when the
medical staff in the emergency and other wards of the major
hospitals, including the largest, Mayo Hospital, stopped
work after hearing about the arrest of their colleagues and
left the hospitals.

The situation was especially grave in the Punjab Institute
of Cardiology where heart patients are treated, or come for
urgent medical assistance. The patients were crying for
help but there was no-one to attend to them. The
administration called senior doctors to cope with the
situation.

Police stormed the hospital just after a general council
meeting of the Young Doctors Association had concluded.
Most of the doctors attending the meeting ran to nearby
hostels but were arrested after police broke open the
locked doors of their rooms.

The arrested doctors included almost all leaders of the
YDA. They were dragged to vans and taken to police stations
amid considerable confusion among patients and their
attendants.

Police had earlier prepared lists of the doctors
spearheading the strike in Punjab hospitals, kept an eye on
their movement, secured their home addresses and located
their possible hideouts, like hostels.

A police officer said over 40 doctors, most of them YDA
leaders, had been arrested and more arrests were likely.

He said the doctors had assembled in the hostel of the
Services Hospital and planned to address a press
conference.

He said police were also being dispatched to the hospitals
where doctors were reported to have stopped work.

According to sources, termination of service orders were
also issued to at least 25 YDA members.

Emergency and other services were suspended in hospitals in
Gujranwala and Multan after reports of the police crackdown
reached there.

Earlier in the day, the provincial health department
finalised a plan to run outpatient departments of the
teaching hospitals through temporarily arranged doctors
after no breakthrough was achieved in talks held between
striking doctors and the principals of medical
institutions.

Again rejecting an offer for mediation by the principals,
the young doctors refused to end the strike
‘unconditionally’ and said they would only negotiate
directly with the chief minister on the service structure
issue.

After there rounds of fruitless talks with the principals,
the YDA handed over to them their three demands for
presentation to the chief minister.

The health authorities handed over lists of 40 to 45
doctors to the head of each teaching hospital for OPD
duties in the absence of the striking doctors. The EDOs
provided 30 doctors each from district and tehsil
hospitals, besides army doctors and newly recruited women
medical officers.

Police had been alerted to provide security to these
doctors at the OPDs.

The sources said heads of the teaching institutions told
the young doctors during the talks held in the Lahore
General Hospital that the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was
ready for negotiations to address their legitimate demands
but they should first end the strike unconditionally.

The Postgraduate Medical Institute’s Dr Tariq Salahuddin
led the team of principals.

“The doctors are ready to end the strike within minutes but
we want to present our legitimate demands directly to Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif,” Dr Mudasar Razaq of the YDA told
Dawn.

He said the doctors had submitted a proposed service
structure to the health authorities but they had presented
a fabricated picture of financial impact to the chief
minister.

Dr Mudasar said the YDA had dropped their other demands so
that their main demand is acceptable to the government in
view of its financial situation.
“Our major demand is one-scale upgrading of all doctors,”
he said, adding that the move would cost only Rs950
million. The second demand, with an estimated cost of Rs760
million, is that stipend of postgraduate residence should
be equal to the initial salary of a medical officer and the
stipend of a house officer to the salary of a newly
recruited medical officer (BS-18).

Dr Mudasar said the third demand, for health professional
allowance equal to basic salary, would have a financial
impact of about Rs5.8 billion.

“We are ready to reduce the financial impact on this demand
through dialogue,” the YDA representative said.

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02, July, 2012

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NA session likely to Ratify ordinance

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----

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, July 1: The government is considering an option
of convening a session of the National Assembly to approve
a presidential ordinance issued on June 24 to provide legal
cover to all decisions taken by former prime minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani and his cabinet between April 26 and
June 19.

On June 19, the Supreme Court disqualified Mr Gilani and
declared the office of prime minister unoccupied since
April 26 when he was convicted in a contempt of court case
and handed down a symbolic punishment of about 30 seconds.

“Once in session the house can take up anything under the
sun for discussion, but at the moment the main objective
behind convening an unscheduled session of the National
Assembly is to pass the presidential ordinance,” sources
said when asked if the government intended to use the
legislature for rhetoric against judiciary.

The day the Supreme Court sent prime minister Gilani home,
PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) decided to take the
court ruling to the National Assembly for discussion. The
party’s leaders said they reserved the right to go for a
thorough discussion on possible repercussions of the court
decision.

The sources said some elements in the party had argued that
actions of the former prime minister should be indemnified
before July 12 when Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will
submit his response in the NRO judgment implementation case
to the court.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the
presidency was yet to receive a summary from the law and
parliamentary affairs division for convening a session of
the National Assembly.

The Director General (Media) of the National Assembly,
Anjum Mughal, was also unaware of any such move.

According to the schedule for the fifth parliamentary year,
the assembly is due to meet on July 30.

Unlike the past when a president could issue and re-issue
an ordinance as many times as he liked, after the 18th
Amendment a presidential ordinance can only be issued for
120 days. Afterwards, in case the president wants to re-
promulgate it, he needs to get a resolution adopted by
either house of parliament for the purpose. An ordinance
not re-promulgated or not adopted as a bill lapses after
120 days.

Throughout last week, the media was rife with reports about
government’s plan to take some action before the Supreme
Court sends another PPP prime minister home for not writing
a letter to Swiss courts for reopening graft cases against
President Asif Ali Zardari.

But government leaders, including Prime Minister Ashraf and
Law Minister Farooq H. Naek, vehemently denied that any
such move was being planned.
There were reports of proposals being discussed to change
the law to protect the offices of president and prime
minister from court proceedings on charges of contempt.

According to one report, the government intends to set up a
separate constitutional court as agreed in the Charter of
Democracy to deal with issues such as presidential immunity
which at the moment appears to be the bone of contention
between the government and the superior judiciary.

Former Prime Minister Gilani refused to write the letter
citing Article 248 of the Constitution which provides
complete immunity to the sitting head of the state against
court cases.

So intense was a hype about an impending clash between the
judiciary and executive that on June 28 Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar had to rope in the law minister for a
briefing arranged for heads of foreign diplomatic missions
about the future of the government. The briefing was held
to allay fears of diplomats of a perceived confrontation
between the judiciary and executives and the latter’s
alleged plans to undermine powers of the apex court.

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02, July, 2012

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World Bank wants Pakistan gas losses reduced to 2pc

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By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, July 1: After two years of consultations with
key energy sector players, the World Bank has concluded
that Pakistan should reduce its gas losses from 10 per cent
to one-to-two per cent to meet international standards.

The World Bank that has been studying Pakistan’s gas system
under a $272 million (Rs26 billion) natural gas efficiency
project has noted with concern that the Sui Southern Gas
Company Limited (SSGCL) has reportedly lost $160 million
(Rs15 billion) in 2011-12 alone owing to system losses.

The findings of the World Bank – finalised after detailed
consultations with ministries of petroleum and natural
resources, finance, economic affairs, planning commission
and the management of SSGC – have come at a time when the
Sui gas utilities are resisting calls by the Oil and Gas
Development Authority for reducing their benchmark system
losses to below seven per cent.

“The bank’s project team sees no reason why Pakistan in the
longer term, with efforts subsequent to this project,
should not be able to reach international standards for UFG
(unaccounted for gas) at 1-2 per cent,” said the final
aide-memoire provided to the government of Pakistan last
week. Key to success would be to attack the UFG problem by
segmenting the distribution gird, bringing UFG in renovated
segments down to below one per cent and keep it at that
level, it added.

The bank noted with concern that since it started technical
discussions with the SSGC in February 2010, the magnitude
of the UFG problem had risen from 33 billion cubic feet
(BCF) per year to an estimated 40BCF for fiscal year 2011-
12.

“Increase in gas prices has exacerbated the cost of UFG to
approximately $160 million for that year,” it added.

The World Bank said that UFG has been on the rise for more
than a decade and was anticipated to reach 10.1 per cent
this year. The cost of UFG has risen even faster, whether
based on cost of domestic gas production or the value of
imported petroleum products that could have been saved if
all the UFG were available for consumption.

Equally disturbing is the fact that while the SSGC has been
able to improve its UFG data over the last two years, it is
not yet clear what portion of losses could be attributed to
leakages, gas theft, metering errors (slowing or
malfunctioning), accounting errors and other errors,
although leakages apparently constitute by far the largest
component.

Balochistan has a high proportion of unaccounted for gas as
compared to the proportion of gas consumption.
Interestingly, about 85 per cent of UFG in Balochistan is
in Quetta, where the security situation is manageable for
SSGC and where the problem could be efficiently addressed.

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02, July, 2012

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Pakistan-India border guards meet today

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By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 1: Border guards of India and Pakistan will
meet in New Delhi for the first time on Monday amid reports
that a hotline between their bosses is being proposed to
pre-empt reported breaches, including incidents of cross-
border firing.

A high-level delegation of Pakistan Rangers and Interior
Ministry officials arrived in the Indian capital on Sunday
for the five-day talks with the Border Security Force
(BSF), Press Trust of India said.

Led by Pakistan Rangers Director General (Sindh) Maj-Gen
Rizwan Akhtar, the 18-member delegation was received by BSF
chief U.K. Bansal as they were flown here from Amritsar
after entering India through the Wagah border in the
morning.

The Pakistan delegation also includes the second Rangers DG
(Punjab) Maj- Gen Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain, Additional
Secretary in the Pakistan Interior Ministry Najibullah Khan
and other senior officials.

The top brass of both the border guarding forces had been
meeting in other cities. They are meeting in Delhi for the
first time and the talks are aimed at thrashing out a host
of issues, including recent incidents of firing and
ceasefire violations that Indian officials blame on
Pakistan.
The news agency said BSF would flag the death of two BSF
personnel in the last few months because of alleged sniper
firing and a spurt in the smuggling of narcotic drugs from
across the border.

The BSF delegation will also include senior officials from
the Ministry of

Home Affairs, PWD officials of the Punjab government,
sleuths of the Narcotics Control Bureau and officials from
the Survey of India.

The Indian side would raise the issue of alleged illegal
crossing of Pakistani nationals into Indian territory and
an early return of inadvertent crossers. The problems of
fishermen and confiscation of their fishing boats by both
sides would be discussed. India alleges the construction of
unauthorised defence infrastructure along the international
border, reports said.

A joint record of discussions will also be signed on July
5, when the talks conclude. Delayed two-day talks between
the foreign secretaries of the two countries are also
expected to conclude in New Delhi the same day.

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02, July, 2012

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Security along Afghan border being beefed up

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TIMERGARA, July 1: Security is being beefed up in Lower and
Upper Dir districts to check militant attacks from across
the border, senior security officials said on Sunday.

Talking to journalists, the officials said that militants
from Afghanistan had been attacking border check-posts for
quite some time. Three attacks were repulsed in as many
days in which 34 militants were killed and many others
injured.
The death toll could not be confirmed from independent
sources.

The sources said that the number of security personnel and
check-posts in the border area was being increased to stop
militants’ infiltration. —Correspondent

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02, July, 2012

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Rare meeting between Afghan official, Taliban envoy

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ISLAMABAD, July 1: A Taliban emissary sat face-to-face this
week with a senior Afghan government official responsible
for peace talks in a rare high-level gathering between the
bitter adversaries, an official said on Saturday.

The encounter at a peace and reconciliation conference in
Kyoto, Japan, was a positive sign in faltering attempts to
find a peaceful end to the conflict in Afghanistan. It also
provided an unusual opportunity for Afghan President Hamid
Karzai’s government to sit down with its enemies — the
Taliban and the Hezb-i-Islami militant group. Siddiq
Mansour Ansari, a peace activist who was invited to attend
the meeting this week at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, said
it was the third peace and reconciliation conference
organised by the school but the first time the Taliban had
sent an emissary.

The Taliban’s former planning minister, Qari Din Mohammed
Hanif, took part in the conference “to explain the policies
of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah
Mujahed told The Associated Press by telephone.

The Afghan government was represented by Mohammed Masoon
Stanikzai, a senior member of the government’s High Peace
Council, which is responsible for talks with the Taliban.
Mr Ansari said the conference was not intended to find a
peace settlement but to air ideas and differences.     “In
this third Doshisha conference all the parties presented
their ideas and agendas but there were no concrete
agreements,” he said.

Mr Karzai and US officials are trying to draw the Taliban
back to negotiations towards a peace deal between the
Afghan government and the militants that would end a war
that American commanders have said cannot be won with
military power. The Taliban have refused to negotiate with
the Karzai government, saying the US holds effective
control in Afghanistan. The Obama administration has set a
2014 deadline to withdraw forces, and is trying to frame
talks among the Afghans beforehand.

Qari Hanif said peace talks with the United States in Qatar
were suspended earlier this year after the US reneged on a
promise to release Afghans from the military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and allow them to go where they
pleased, according to Mr Ansari.

In an attempt to restart the talks, the Obama
administration is considering sending several Taliban
detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in Afghanistan,
US and Afghan officials said.

Under the proposal, some Taliban fighters or affiliates
captured in the early days of the 2001 US invasion of
Afghanistan and later sent to Guantanamo under the label of
enemy combatants would be transferred out of full US
control but not released.

But Mr Mujahed said the White House’s proposal won’t coax
the Taliban back to the negotiating table.

“We want the prisoners to be freed and allowed to go
anywhere,” he told the AP. “But we do not want that they be
released from one prison and shifted to another prison,
which means from Guantanamo to Bagram. The Americans are
not sincere in talks and they are responsible for the
stalemate.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami, despite reports
of infighting in Afghanistan, found common ground at the
Kyoto conference in their demand that all foreign troops,
including trainers, leave Afghanistan after 2014.
“The Taliban insisted on complete withdrawal of foreign
troops from the country after 2014 and called the Karzai
government a puppet saying they would not negotiate with
Karzai or his government,” Mr Ansari said.

Mr Ansari said the conference would seek to set up an
international commission that could act as a peace broker
between the Afghan government and militants.—AP

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03, July, 2012

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Stop-gap measures provide some relief to patients

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By Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE, July 2: Normality started returning to government
hospitals in Punjab on Monday after temporarily arranged
army doctors and other medics took over outpatient and
emergency departments.

About 150 army doctors treated patients at the OPDs which
had remained closed for 13 days because of a strike by
young doctors.

Punjab police also sent some officials holding medical
degrees to some teaching hospitals in Lahore.

Deputy Inspector General of Elite Force Dr Mirza Shakeel,
who is a graduate from the King Edward Medical University,
attended to patients at the Mayo Hospital OPD.

Meanwhile, Gawalmandi police registered a murder case
against eight doctors of Mayo Hospital following the death
of a one-and-a-half years old child.

The boy’s father, Muhammad Afzal, alleged in the FIR that
doctors had removed the drip being administered to Fahad in
the emergency department soon after they heard about arrest
of their colleagues during a police action in the Services
Hospital.

Another patient, Naseer Wali of Gujranwala, died in same
department early on Monday morning, but Mayo Hospital’s MS
Dr Zahid Pervez said the patient had received treatment.

The district coordination officer (DCO) of Lahore said 33
doctors had been taken into protective custody and sent to
jail.

The health authorities provided around 600 doctors to major
state-run hospitals after the striking doctors refused to
resume work.

The army doctors and medics worked under heavy police
security.

The emergency wards which had been abandoned by the young
doctors shortly after the arrest of their colleagues,
particularly office-bearers of the Young Doctors’
Association, late on Sunday night were manned by doctors
from the office of the director general (health), Social
Security Hospitals, district and tehsil headquarters
hospitals and senior, ad hoc and contract doctors.

In the provincial capital, 57 doctors were sent to Mayo
Hospital, 90 to Services Hospital, 50 to Jinnah Hospital,
27 to Lahore General Hospital, 40 to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
and 19 to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.

Meanwhile, the provincial chapters of the Medical Teachers’
Association and the Pakistan Medical Association demanded
early release of the arrested doctors.

At a meeting held between a delegation of the MTA and
government representatives at the Allama Iqbal Medical
College, senior doctors expressed their inability to
provide round the clock treatment.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Chief Minister’s
Special Assistant on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique and
Health Secretary Arif Nadeem represented the government.

MTA’s representatives, led by the association’s general
secretary, said the tug of war between the government and
young doctors and the arrests had created panic in the
medical community.

A three-member committee was constituted to mediate between
the government and the YDA on the issues of the arrests,
strike and service structure.

Addressing a press conference along with representatives of
paramedics, PMA general secretary Dr Abrar Ashraf announced
tow-hour agitation daily from Tuesday till the release of
the arrested doctors.

He termed the police crackdown on doctors the worst example
of ‘terrorism’. He said the doctors would lodge cases
against the senior officers involved in the incident,
including the Lahore police chief.

“Black flags will be hoisted on public sector hospitals in
protest against the police crackdown on doctors,” he said.

The PMA leaser said deployment of army doctors in the
‘civil’ hospitals was also a condemnable act.

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03, July, 2012

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Decision on NATO routes likely: DCC meeting today on ties
with US

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----

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, July 2: The Defence Committee of the Cabinet
will meet on Tuesday to discuss the revised terms of
engagement with the United States and a new agreement on
Nato transit routes amid expectations of a breakthrough in
ties with Washington.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will chair the highest
forum for civil-military coordination on national security
for the first time. The meeting is likely to take the
controversial decision of reopening of Nato supply routes
suspended after an attack on the Salala post last year in
which 24 Pakistani troops lost their lives.

The weekend visit by a high-level US delegation led by
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and also including
Isaf Commander Gen Allen, who was here for second time in
four days, and a telephonic conversation between Prime
Minister Ashraf and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
generated hopes of the two countries striking a deal on
Nato routes and other contentious issues weighing down
their relationship.

The ground for progress was, however, set by last week’s
meeting between Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Gen
Allen after which the two issued an unprecedented joint
statement virtually declaring resumption of troubled
military ties that were at the heart of the recent strains.

Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman has returned to
Islamabad to attend the crucial DCC meeting.

Although Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan has kept
insisting that no final decision had been taken yet, it is
obvious that the two sides have broadly agreed on major
issues.

Even the composition of the US delegation showed that the
two sides were discussing more than just reopening of
ground supply routes – a key priority for the US that has
spent almost $2.1 billion to ferry supplies and equipment
in and out of Afghanistan since November.

Details about what had been agreed during the talks were
not available, but both American and Pakistani officials
noted significant progress.

Sources told Dawn that the two sides had agreed to
institute a mechanism to prevent recurrence of a Salala-
like incident. Moreover, the Americans were ready to make a
statement lamenting the death of Pakistani soldiers in the
border attack. The statement meant to satisfy Pakistani
demand for apology has been carefully worded in a manner
that satisfies the concern of both sides.
Islamabad and Washington have also moved forward on the
issue of drones and are said to be close to agreeing on an
alternative mechanism for targeting militants in tribal
areas. As quid pro quo the US will start releasing held
payments of the Coalition Support Fund.

Mindful of strong reaction to a settlement with the US on
supply routes, an official involved in negotiations said
the package had been crafted in a manner that it had
minimum blowback for the political and military leadership.

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03, July, 2012

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----

PM invites Baloch leadership for talks

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----

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, July 2: It is old wine in new bottle. Presiding
over a special meeting on Balochistan on Monday, Prime
Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said: “I have invited Baloch
leadership for dialogue to address all their grievances
within the framework of the federation.”

In his opening remarks at the meeting, he said: “Let me
categorically declare that Balochistan issue is on my
priority list and I have invited disgruntled Baloch leaders
to start dialogue with the government to resolve the crisis
at the earliest.”

Mr Ashraf said: “I will soon visit Balochistan with a view
to finding out an acceptable solution of the Balochistan
problem after holding detailed discussion with all
stakeholders.”

The prime minister also directed Law Minister Farooq H.
Naik to hold a meeting on Tuesday, exclusively on missing
persons, with defence, interior and law secretaries,
Balochistan chief secretary, IG FC, IB chief, head of ISI
in Balochistan and IG police.

The issue of missing persons in Balochistan has witnessed
progress in preceding months primarily because of Chief
Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry whose intervention has
reportedly led to the recovery of many missing persons.

The prime minister said that with the withdrawal of army
and deployment of FC tangible results had been achieved.
Now FC sought guidance and instructions from Chief Minister
Aslam Raisani on the issue of internal security, he was
quoted as saying in an official handout issued after the
meeting.

The Balochistan chief minister once again pressed for more
money under the head of development grants and complete
control of FC as far as its deployment in the province was
concerned, a participant of the meeting told Dawn.

He said Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh
Mohammad warned the prime minister of impending dangers if
a timely political solution wasn’t found by the government.

“I am afraid things could get out of hands in Balochistan
if the government doesn’t reach out to estranged Baloch
leaders,” the chief secretary is reported to have said at
the meeting.

When the prime minister asked about missing persons, heads
of law-enforcement agencies complained one by one against
unnamed elements for bringing them into disrepute as if
they were directly involved in the crime, a source said.

“We have repeatedly shown evidence to the chief justice of
the Supreme Court on the situation in the province and the
role of law-enforcement agencies, but failed to prove our
point,” the prime minister was told when he inquired about
the ongoing hearing in the apex court on the issue of
missing persons.

The meeting decided to put up a strong legal team to defend
the agencies’ role in the province. However, Raja Ashraf
cautioned the agencies and said they were being checked to
ensure that they should not act independently in connection
with law and order and only provide assistance to the
provincial government when required.
Another official source told Dawn that Law Minister Farooq
Naek has been given a prominent role to fix the law and
order situation in Balochistan.

Senator Raza Rabbani had earlier headed a cabinet committee
constituted to assess the needs of the province and “to
very minutely review the situation and firm up its
recommendations for reduction in the sense of alienation
and deprivation”.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez
Shaikh, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah,
Chief Minister Aslam Raisani, Interior Secretary Khawaja
Siddique Akbar, Petroleum Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry,
Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, IB
chief Aftab Sultan, IG FC Maj Gen Obaidullah Khan and IG
(Police) Balochistan Tariq Umar Khitab.

APP adds: The prime minister said despite its financial
constraints the government would ensure provision of funds
for public welfare programmes in Balochistan.

He mentioned the financing of mega projects, particularly
Gwadar Ratu Dero Road (M-8), Kachhi Canal, Gwadar Deep
seaport on a priority basis.

He said the federal government had committed an amount of
Rs1 billion for the rehabilitation of internally displaced
persons of Dera Bugti district.

He said the federal government was fully aware of the
excesses committed against the people and the province
which caused a serious sense of deprivation.

He said besides moving towards a solution of the issues and
meeting the demands of Balochs, the government had tendered
an unconditional apology to them.

The prime minister said that although the politically
motivated activities in Balochistan were quite serious, the
graph of conventional crimes was also on the rise.

He said the federal government had sanctioned 3,000 posts
of Federal Levies for law and order duties and highway
security in Balochistan.
Raja Pervez said the government was committed to providing
Rs2 billion for the purchase of arms ammunition,
communication equipment and required transport for police
and levies in the province.

He directed the Balochistan government to speed up its
efforts for protecting the highways, key installations,
particularly gas and electricity, so that the pace of
development was properly maintained.

The menace of kidnapping for ransom also needed to be
curbed with an iron hand, he added.

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03, July, 2012

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Afghan troops intrude into Kurram, kill two villagers

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By Hussain Afzal

PARACHINAR, July 2: Afghan National Army troops intruded
into a village in Kurram Agency on Monday and killed two
tribesmen and injured another, officials said.

The incident took place in Muqbal village, some 20km south
of Parachinar, the agency’s administrative headquarters.

Hours before the incident, a security post of the ANA came
under attack near Anzer Kali in Danda Pattan area of
Afghanistan’s Paktia province. The border post is adjacent
to Kherlachi village in Upper Kurram.

Sources said the pre-dawn attack had been repulsed by the
Afghan army. They said Afghan troops intruded into
Pakistani territory while pursuing the fleeing attackers
and came across people of Muqbal village.
Local people said the ANA personnel fired at three farmers.
Lahore Khan and Gul Wazir died on the spot while Khwaja Din
was injured.

Residents said they had seen more than 50 Afghan soldiers
near the village and armed tribesmen exchanging fire with
them. The gunbattle continued for over an hour.

Assistant political agent Javidullah Mehsud and other
officials visited the village after the incident.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan deployed troops at two
trade posts with Afghanistan – Kherlachi and Borki – last
month after about five years.

INCURSION DENIED: Afghan defence officials denied the
alleged incursion. “We are not aware of such an operation
by the Afghan National Army in that area,” AFP quoted
Daulat Wazir, a spokesman for the ministry of defence, as
saying.

Colonel Ahmad Jan, a spokesman for army corps 203 in
southeastern Afghanistan, said: “It is not true; our forces
have not entered Pakistan. We have not had any operations
near the border recently.”

But in Pakistan, border attacks have raised fresh concern
that Pakistani Taliban, who fled a 2009 army offensive,
have regrouped and again pose a threat.

Officials said dozens of militants based in   Afghanistan had
attacked a checkpost in Upper Dir on Sunday   for the second
time in eight days. They said six militants   were killed
after crossing into Sabir Killey village in   Upper Dir.

One official said there were reports that `hundreds of
militants’ were gathering in Afghanistan’s eastern province
of Kunar. “Authorities have alerted local lashkars (tribal
militia) amid fears of a bigger clash,” he told AFP.

Afghan threat: Afghanistan threatened on Monday to report
Pakistan to the UN Security Council over what Kabul alleges
is the shelling of its villages along the border between
the two countries.
Authorities in the eastern province of Kunar have
complained for weeks of being bombarded from across the
frontier, blaming the barrage on Pakistani security forces.

Thousands of villagers in Kunar fled their homes as a
result of “Pakistani rocket shelling” in recent weeks,
officials said last week.

Foreign ministry spokesman Faramarz Tamana said Kabul was
discussing the attacks with Islamabad and President Hamid
Karzai would raise the matter with Prime Minister Raja
Pervez Ashraf when he visits Afghanistan in the coming
weeks.

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03, July, 2012

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----

Appointment of CEC: PML-N rejects govt request for new
names

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----

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, July 2: Leader of the Opposition in the National
Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N said on
Monday that he would stick to the names he had already
proposed to a parliamentary committee for appointment of
new chief election commissioner (CEC) and described the
government’s request to add more names to broaden the
choice as “far from clear or honest”.

Commenting on reports that the PPP had decided to establish
“informal contacts” with the opposition PML-N in an effort
to seek some new names of the party’s nominees for the
office of CEC to broaden the choice, Chaudhry Nisar
categorically said he would not do it.

“As leader of the opposition I will not propose any (new)
name for the CEC nor will I be a party to any proposal of
the government,” he said in a statement from London.
“Any change or modification in the panel for the sake of
consensus will again be dependent on consultation and
concurrence of all political parties,” Chaudhry Nisar said.
He claimed that it was after consultations with major
opposition parties, including Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-
i-Insaaf (PTI), that he had submitted the three names to
the bi-partisan parliamentary committee, headed by PPP’s
Syed Khursheed Shah, which is responsible for final
approval of the appointment of CEC.

The PML-N stalwart said that despite the fact that there
was no legal or constitutional obligation on the opposition
leader to consult opposition parties he had done so and
even contacted the parties having no representation in
parliament.

He said he had held consultation with Jamaat-i-Islami (JI),
Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP), PPP-Sherpao, PTI,
National Party of Balochistan and Sindh’s nationalist
parties before submitting the names to the committee.

Chaudhry Nisar said the deadlock over the issue of CEC’s
appointment would continue “if the government insists on
getting its own choice appointed to the position”. He was
of the opinion that “if the intention is to hold free and
fair elections acceptable to all then the consensus on the
new CEC can be arrived at within no time”. But, he said,
the intentions of “the government are far from clear or
honest”.

Chaudhry Nisar said his party would follow the same policy
in the case of appointment of a caretaker set-up. “Not only
do we intend to propose names of people with a background
of impeccable integrity and commitment to the country but
also having the support of all opposition parties, both
inside and outside the parliament. Only through this
process we can ensure that the next elections, which are of
vital importance for the country’s future, are free, fair
and transparent.”

When contacted, leaders of the JI and PTI confirmed that
the PML-N had consulted them at the time of submitting its
nominees for the CEC office. However, PkMAP chief Mehmood
Khan Achakzai refused to say anything when asked if his
party had been consulted by the PML-N on the issue.
JI leader Liaquat Baloch told Dawn that the PML-N had
informed them about the three names as a matter of
principle, adding that his party had no objection to any of
the nominees. However, he said, the PML-N had assured the
JI leadership that it would hold another round of
consultation before agreeing with the government on any one
name.

A source in the PTI said that Chaudhry Nisar had informed
Imran Khan through a messenger that the opposition was
planning to nominate Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim
for the ECE office. He claimed that the PML-N had not taken
the PTI leadership into confidence on the other two names.

The deadlock over the issue of CEC’s appointment was
created when the PML-N rejected all three names proposed by
former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and later refused
to hold further consultations with him, saying the party
would not hold talks with a convicted person.

The PML-N later nominated Acting CEC Justice Shakirullah
Jan, Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim and Justice
(retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid for the post. The government has
proposed the names of Justice (retd) Munir A. Sheikh,
Justice (retd) Amirul Mulk Mengal and Justice (retd) Zahid
Qurban Alvi.

The PML-N received a boost when a government’s coalition
partner — Muttahida Qaumi Movement — supported its nominee
Nasir Aslam Zahid.

Under the 18th Amendment, the tenure of the CEC has been
increased to five years from three and the procedure for
his appointment has been changed. The CEC was earlier
appointed by the president, but under Article 213 of the
Constitution, the prime minister in consultation with the
opposition leader in the National Assembly is required to
forward three names to the parliamentary committee for
confirmation of one of them.

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03, July, 2012

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Aid worker of Pakistan origin rescued in Somalia

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NAIROBI, July 2: Somali and Kenyan troops rescued four
foreign aid workers held hostage inside Somalia, three days
after they were seized from a refugee camp in neighbouring
Kenya, the armies said on Monday.

Looking exhausted, the four flew into the Kenyan capital
Nairobi where they exchanged hugs with colleagues after
stepping off a military helicopter.

Friday’s attack at the Dadaab refugee camp was the first
abduction of foreigners from Kenya since the east African
country sent troops into Somalia in October to crush Al
Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked militant group. A Kenyan driver
was shot dead during the kidnapping.

“We are happy to be back. We are alive and we are glad this
has ended,” Quratul Ain Sadazai, a 38-year-old Canadian of
Pakistani origin, told reporters.

The four work for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). It
named the other three as Glenn Costes (40) from the
Philippines, Steven Dennis (37) from Canada and Astrid Sehl
(33) from Norway.

Mr Costes limped from a bullet wound to the leg, but the
four appeared to be otherwise in good health.

Colonel Abduallahi Moalim, a Somali military commander,
said Somali government soldiers in the Lower Juba region
that borders Kenya stopped a vehicle carrying supplies for
the attackers on Sunday.

The army seized three of the occupants who directed the
force to the hostages being held near the border between
the towns of Diff and Dhobley, he said.

“Our forces have rescued the four aid workers kidnapped
from Kenya in an overnight rescue operation. They are
healthy and unhurt,” Col Moalim said.
Col Cyrus Oguna, spokesman for Kenya’s military, said the
two forces launched a joint operation after receiving
intelligence about the stages’ hereabouts.

“They are receiving medical attention. They are exhausted,”
he said. “There was a gunfight during the rescue and one
gunman was killed and two escaped.”

Kenya deployed troops in the Horn of Africa country days
after two Spanish women working for Medecins Sans
Frontieres were kidnapped at Dadaab in October. They are
still being held.

“This is a day of relief for us and for the families of the
abducted,” Elisabeth Rasmusson, secretary general of the
NRC, said in a statement.

Dadaab, 100km from Somalia, was set up in 1991 to house
Somalis fleeing violence at home. It has become the world’s
biggest refugee camp with almost 500,000 residents.

The sprawling camp has also been hit by a series of
roadside bomb and grenade attacks which the Kenyan security
forces have blamed on Al Shabaab sympathisers.

Kenyan and Somali forces have gradually pushed Al Shabaab
fighters out of a number of strategic towns since the
incursion in October, although they still hold the port
city of Kismayu.—Agencies

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03, July, 2012

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Transporters carrying pilgrims to Iran denied permission

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----

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, July 2: The local administration has refused to
issue no-objection certificates to transporters carrying
pilgrims to Iran till foolproof security arrangements are
made.

Official sources said that the Quetta deputy commissioner
had not issued NOC to any transport company so far after a
bomb attack on a bus in the Hazarganji area last week that
killed 14 Shia pilgrims and injured over 20 others.

“No ban has been imposed on plying buses between Quetta and
Taftan,” a senior official of the provincial government
told Dawn, adding that a strict security system for safety
of pilgrims was being planned.

The sources said that a high-level meeting would be held on
Tuesday to take important decisions about security
arrangements.

The normal bus service between Quetta and Taftan was,
however, being run without any interruption, the sources
added.

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03, July, 2012

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Foreign secretaries to meet tomorrow: Delhi talks to focus
on agreed steps’ implementation

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By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 2: Putting newer measures for building
trust on the table may appear attractive, but when foreign
secretaries of Pakistan and India meet on Wednesday their
chief concern will be implementation of the already agreed
steps.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani will leave for New
Delhi on Tuesday for two days’ talks (July 4-5) with his
Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai.
The agenda of the meeting, which will conclude the second
round of bilateral dialogue under the resumed peace
process, includes peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir,
cultural exchanges, and conventional and nuclear confidence
building measures.

The meeting will also set the ground for a meeting of
foreign ministers next month.

As the foreign secretary prepares to leave for India,
Pakistan does not look very upbeat about the progress
achieved so far in the talks but is still keeping its hopes
attached to the process.

There has been little progress in various segments during
the current round except for the movement on trade.

“We will try to move forward inch by inch,” said an
official, aware of the preparations for the Delhi meeting.

About Pakistan’s strategy, another diplomat said the
political leadership had mandated the foreign secretary to
move forward on all issues.

However, officials were more concerned about discussing the
enforcement of the existing CBMs instead of proposing new
ones.

Trans-LoC trade that was once dubbed the biggest CBM is yet
to be fully operational with some hitches hindering smooth
functioning of business. And so is the cross-LoC travel
which is also facing a number of problems.

The Pakistani side is also likely to renew its proposals
for civilian nuclear energy cooperation and an agreement on
early notification of nuclear accidents.

Other proposed CBMs likely to be considered include pre-
notification of cruise missile tests and movement of heavy
weaponry along the LoC.

Though counter-terrorism is discussed under the interior
secretaries’ segment, this being one of the core concerns
eventually always ends up on foreign secretaries’ table. So
issues relating to Hafiz Saeed, Abu Jundal, the recently
arrested Mumbai attacks coordinator of Lashkar-e-Taiba will
all come up some time during the course of Jilani-Mathai
parleys.

EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS’ LIST: India and Pakistan, according
to 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, exchanged on Monday
lists of each other’s nationals in their custody.

The exchange takes place twice a year – on January 1 and
July 1.

The Foreign Office handed over the list to the Indian High
Commission, while the Pakistani High Commission in New
Delhi received the list of Pakistani prisoners in Indian
jails from the Ministry of External Affairs.

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03, July, 2012

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Babar Awan argues his own case

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By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, July 2: Former law   minister Babar Awan said on
Monday that the Supreme Court   Rules, 1980, and the Contempt
of the Court Ordinance, 2003,   under which he is being
prosecuted on contempt charge   were remnants of martial
laws.

“When the Supreme Court Rules were framed in 1980 the
country was without any constitution and former prime
minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had already been executed
through a judicial order in 1979,” he told a bench
comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Athar Saeed.

The former law minister is facing the charge for his jibe
at the judiciary at a press conference he addressed on Dec
1 last year soon after the Supreme Court had ordered a
probe into the memogate scandal by Tariq Khosa.
Mr Awan, who himself is arguing his case, alleged that the
contempt ordinance of 2003 which usually had a life of 120
days was given a blanket protection through indemnity under
Article 270 AA of the Constitution.

“With utmost heart burning, I would like to point out that
the judges who had taken oath under the Provisional
Constitution Order (PCO) also enjoyed protection under
Article 270 AAA but they were sent home through the July
31, 2009, judgment and eventually we lost gems of judges.
This is all pick and choose and in fact a doctrine of
necessity,” he alleged.

Mr Awan recalled that although a seven-judge Supreme Court
bench held former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty
of contempt on April 26, a 16-judge larger bench in 2007
seized with intra-court appeals in the manhandling of the
chief justice had still not decided which particular
contempt law was applicable. As a result all the police
officers are on bail although the case has not yet been
decided. Propriety demands that these appeals be decided
immediately, he emphasised.

He also referred to the regrets he submitted twice
especially to Justice Asif Saeed Khosa for his utterances
at the press conference against his family and argued that
if the remorse he had expressed were not considered by the
court he would have to move an application requesting
Justice Khosa to come in the witness box because being an
aggrieved party he had to explain which part of the
utterances he had taken exception to.

He recalled that six persons were present at the press
conference and four of them spoke, but only he was
discriminated by arraigning in the contempt case.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Irfan Qadir expressed serious
reservations over the April 26 Supreme Court judgment of
convicting the former prime minister for contempt and held
the verdict illegal, void and ab initio, especially in view
of the pending appeals in the chief justice manhandling
case. The cases of police officers were more serious than
the one that involved the former prime minister, the AG
said, adding that the April 26 order by the seven-judge had
changed the entire jurisprudence.
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04, July, 2012

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DCC approves accord after US says ‘sorry’ over Salala
attack: NATO supply routes reopened

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, July 3: The Defence Committee of the Cabinet
allowed on Tuesday reopening of Nato ground supply routes
for the sake of Afghan peace and stability and facilitating
drawdown of coalition forces from Afghanistan after US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ‘sorry’ over the
deaths of 24 Pakistani troops in the Salala border post
attack.

The decision of the defence committee, which serves as the
highest national security policy coordination forum, was
announced by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira at the
conclusion of its meeting. He said the decision had been
taken in accordance with a mandate given by parliament and
aspirations of people.

The “DCC decided to reopen the Ground Lines of
Communication (GLOC) through Pakistani territory to and
from Afghanistan to facilitate the transition and the
subsequent transformation process in that country,” a
statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office later said.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had in his opening
comments made it clear that the decision to open the
transit routes, which remained suspended for over seven
months, had already been taken as he said: “The continued
closure of supply lines not only impinges on our
relationship with the US, but also on our relations with
the 49 other member states of Nato/Isaf.”

While the session presided over by Raja Ashraf with
services chiefs and key federal ministers in attendance was
in progress, Secretary Clinton issued a statement saying
she had spoken to Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani and said
“sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military”.

She said that she had been assured by Ms Khar about the
reopening of the supply routes known as Ground Lines of
Communication (GLOC) in the official terminology.

But, more important to note in Secretary Clinton’s
statement was that both of them “acknowledged the mistakes
that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives”.
This was quite a significant change in the stance on the
part of Pakistan, which had always said that the strikes on
border posts were deliberate and planned.

A Pentagon inquiry into the incident had concluded that
November 25-26 air strikes were the result of mistakes and
botched communications on both sides. But, the findings
were then dismissed by Pakistan military.

The details of the final settlement as available from
statements by the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary
Clinton show that Pakistan wouldn’t charge any additional
amount for the use of land routes. Moreover, there is a
provision for transporting lethal equipment through
Pakistan if it is booked for Afghan National Security
Forces.

Negotiators from the two countries kept haggling over the
fee for transit until Pakistan renewed the demand for an
apology in mid-June then leading to Washington withdrawing
its negotiating team from Islamabad.

Information Minister Kaira defended the decision on not
levying any new fee saying it proved that Pakistan’s stance
was principled and was about national honour and dignity.

Beyond the “sorry” word, which has started a debate if it
was suitable substitute for the demanded apology, the only
worthwhile outcome from Pakistani context was an assurance
that there would be no repeat of Salala type attacks.

“We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and
Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again,”
Secretary Clinton said.
Mr Kaira said negotiations over the drone strikes and the
appropriate tools for fighting militancy would continue. Ms
Clinton too mentioned the importance of taking coordinated
action against terrorists who threatened Pakistan, the
United States and the region, but stayed short of saying if
that meant an understanding on future strikes by pilot-less
predator drones.

Pakistan’s move to reopen the GLOC was immediately welcomed
by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Isaf Commander Gen
John Allen, who was here twice over the past few days to
finalise the deal and is being credited for repairing
ruptured military to military ties that were at the heart
of soured bilateral relationship.

Ambassador to the US Ms Sherry Rehman said: “As we announce
the opening of the GLOC, it is clear that Pakistan is
playing a role as a responsible global partner in
stabilising the region.”

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04, July, 2012

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US appreciates decision not to press fee issue

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By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, July 3: A statement issued by US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton here on Tuesday shows that the US-
Pakistan agreement envisaged that “consistent with current
practice, no lethal equipment will transit the GLOC (Ground
Lines of Communication) into Afghanistan except for
equipping the ANSF”.

It indicates that Pakistan will also allow the US to use
this route for arming the Afghan National Security Force.
The agreement contains three main points, the US apology,
Pakistan’s decision to forgo transit fee and an
acknowledgment that both sides made mistakes that led to
the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers in Salala on Nov 26.

The agreement ended seven months of intense tensions which
at times threatened to undo a half-century old relationship
between the two allies who played a key role in defeating
the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Although a US team recently spent six weeks in Islamabad
trying to get the routes reopened, it returned to
Washington in early June without achieving that objective.

The two sides discussed at least three drafts of a proposed
resolution but failed to finalise a statement which could
satisfy both. However, a magical word that does wonder in
mending individual relations — sorry — also helped the US
and Pakistan in concluding an agreement.

As Dawn reported on June 18, the Pakistanis informed the
Americans that they would forgo their demand for increasing
the transit fee if the US apologised over the Salala
incident.

But Secretary Clinton’s statement showed that Pakistan went
a step ahead, reminded the Americans that it was not
charging any transit fee and would not charge any in future
as well.

This was Islamabad’s response to US Secretary of Defence
Leon Panetta’s claim that Pakistan had raised the entire
issue to “price gouge” the Americans.

Pakistan’s position on the transit fee made the Americans
realise that the Pakistanis were serious over the apology
and that Washington would have to come up with a statement
that satisfied Islamabad without hurting the Obama
administration in the November elections.

And that’s why Secretary Clinton’s statement includes an
apology but also mentions “the mistakes” both sides made in
Salala, leading to a US air raid on a Pakistani military
post.

“I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic
incident in Salala last November,” said Secretary Clinton.
“I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the
Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives.”
While saying ‘sorry’, Secretary Clinton also tried to
convince the Pakistanis that the US interest in Pakistan
was not tactical and that they wanted a long-term
relationship with Islamabad.

The US, she said, was “committed to working together” with
Pakistan “in pursuit of shared objectives on the basis of
mutual interests and mutual respect”.

Secretary Clinton also addressed another issue that has
been constantly discussed in Pakistan since the May 2 US
raid on an Abbottabad compound that killed Osama bin Laden:
Pakistan’s sovereignty.

This issue is also raised every time a US drone strikes a
target inside Fata.

“As I told the former prime minister of Pakistan days after
the Salala incident, America respects Pakistan’s
sovereignty,” Secretary Clinton said, adding that
Washington wanted to work with Islamabad, and not alone, in
defeating the terrorists.

“In today’s phone call, Foreign Minister Khar and I talked
about the importance of taking coordinated action against
terrorists who threaten Pakistan, the United States, and
the region,” she said.

Secretary Clinton and Ms Khar also agreed to take
coordinated steps in supporting Afghanistan’s security,
stability, and to back efforts towards reconciliation.

The two countries will also continue to work together to
advance the many other shared interests they had, from
increasing trade and investment to strengthening people-to-
people ties, the statement said.

“Our countries should have a relationship that is enduring,
strategic, and carefully defined, and that enhances the
security and prosperity of both our nations and the
region,” Secretary Clinton said.

Dispelling a common perception in Pakistan that the US
wanted to take unilateral action against militants hiding
in the country, she said: “The foreign minister and I were
reminded that our troops – Pakistani and American – are in
a fight against a common enemy. We are both sorry for
losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against
terrorists.”

This part of the statement will also allay concerns in the
US that Pakistan is helping the militants in launching
attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“We have enhanced our counter-terrorism cooperation against
terrorists that threaten Pakistan and the United States,
with the goal of defeating Al Qaeda in the region,”
Secretary Clinton added.

She noted that Pakistan’s decision to forgo transit fee was
“in the larger interest of peace and security” in
Afghanistan and the region and was a “tangible
demonstration of Pakistan’s support for a secure, peaceful,
and prosperous Afghanistan and our shared objectives in the
region”.

“This will also help the United States and Isaf conduct the
planned drawdown (of their forces in Afghanistan by 2014)
at a much lower cost.”

Pakistan’s decision was “critically important” to the men
and women fighting terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan,
she added.

“In concluding the call, I reiterated our deep appreciation
to the government and the people of Pakistan for their many
sacrifices and their critical contribution to the ongoing
fight against terrorism and extremism,” said the top US
diplomat.

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04, July, 2012

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Pressure grows on Punjab health system

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By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE, July 3: As the Punjab government and the striking
doctors stuck to their stance on the issue of strike and
service structure, the patients continued to suffer owing
to the absence of a large number of trained medics from the
state-run hospitals. On directives of the health
department, heads of most of the teaching and district
hospitals started issuing show-cause notices on Tuesday to
the striking doctors with a warning to ‘resume their duties
within 24 hours or face termination’, a source said.

The provincial government warned that an unconditional end
to the strike would be the only option before initiating
dialogue on the demand for service structure, while the
agitating doctors termed it a futile exercise.

Office-bearers of the Young Doctors’ Association asked the
government to release immediately all the arrested doctors,
quash FIRs and withdraw termination orders against them to
get the emergency departments fully functional.

The young doctors continued their strike in the emergency
and outpatient departments.

Mediation efforts of senior doctors, including the
provincial chapters of the Medical Teachers Association and
Pakistan Medical Association, bore no fruit.

Consequently, the level of healthcare standard in the
emergencies and the OPDs could not improve despite posting
of around 700 more doctors at the hospitals on Tuesday.

A senior official of the health department claimed that the
striking doctors had started returning to their duties. He
said 171 striking doctors had resumed work -- 30 in Mayo
Hospital, 25 in Jinnah Hospital, 68 in Services Hospital,
five in Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, 19 in Nishtar
Hospital, Multan, 15 in Rawalpindi hospitals and nine in
Bahawal Victoria Hospital.

The government released 24 of 33 doctors arrested in a
crackdown on July 1 from Services Hospital and claimed they
had given undertaking that they would not take part in
agitation and would resume their duties.

The YDA Punjab claimed the detainees released were medical
students.
Branches of the Medical Teachers Association in various
teaching hospitals continued to threaten to withdraw their
services if the government did not release all the doctors
forthwith.

The situation particularly worsened at the Punjab Institute
of Cardiology when the MTA warned that the institution
would be closed if the doctors were not released.

Around a dozen cardiac surgeons also withdrew their
services from the OPD and some other departments of the
PIC.

The health department said it had appointed 11 cardiac
consultants at the PIC from other districts after the
senior doctors stopped work on MTA’s call.

The department issued appointment orders on Tuesday of
another 672 doctors, including 400 women medical officers
(WMOs) and 200 medical officers recruited by the Punjab
Public Service Commission and 72 arranged from Social
Security Hospitals.

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04, July, 2012

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PAC releases list of judges owning two plots

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By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, July 3: It was a day of double whammy for the
Supreme Court. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the
National Assembly released names of retired and serving
judges of the apex court who have been allotted more than
one residential plots in Islamabad and directed the Auditor
General of Pakistan (AGP) to clarify if government funds
spent on judges’ salaries and other operations of the
Supreme Court could be taken up for scrutiny as is done in
the case of other government departments.
The committee met on Tuesday with Nadeem Afzal Gondal in
the chair.

Allotment of more than one residential plot to government
servants and judges in the capital city was allowed by
former prime minister Shaukat Aziz. And PPP government went
ahead with the policy of making multiple allotments of
residential plots to bureaucrats and judges of the Supreme
Court.

Under the policy, a civil servant of the federal government
promoted to BS-22, will automatically be given a
residential plot of one kanal in Islamabad, even if he
already owns one in the city. The same policy was followed
for judges of the Supreme Court.

“To me it looks another NRO which the former military man
carved out for judges and bureaucrats and successfully
implemented to extend his rule,” Mr Gondal said.

He said that on Tuesday the PAC would review the policy
under which this favour was extended only to a selected
lot.

“It doesn’t make sense why people need more than one
residential plot in one city,” questioned the PAC chairman
and said the committee’s only concern was to put on record
the privileged people and classes in the country. The PAC
released names of 15 Supreme Court judges, including three
serving judges, who own two plots each in Islamabad.

The list includes names of former chief justice of the
Supreme Court Abdul Hameed Dogar and senior judge Mian
Shakirullah Jan, who is currently working as the acting
Chief Election Commissioner, Justice Tassaduq Hussain
Gilani, and Justice Nasirul Mulk, three sitting judges of
the SC who own two plots each in sectors D and G of the
capital.

Retired Supreme Court judges, Justices Mansoor Ahmad,
Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, Mohammad
Javaid Buttar, Syed Saeed Ashhad, Sardar Mohammad Raza
Khan, Javed Iqbal, Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, Falak Sher,
Syed Jamshed Ali and Syed Azhid Hussain also hold ownership
rights to two plots in Islamabad.
Former judges Justices Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Ghulam Rabbani,
Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed, Mohammad Sair Ali and two serving
judges Justices Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Khilji Arif Hussain
have got one plot each given to them under special scheme
meant for BS-22 officers.

The PAC directed the defence secretary to provide a similar
list of military generals who got more than one residential
plot, along with the policy paper followed in the armed
forces to this effect.

The committee released a separate list of 204 BS-22 civil
servants of the federal government, both serving and
retired, who over the past many years have been allotted
one kanal plots for having achieved the highest grade.Over
50 of them already had residential plots allotted to them
under the regular federal government housing scheme for
public servants.

The PAC asked the auditor-general to clarify, if accounts
of the Supreme Court were auditable just like those of
other government departments.

The SC in a written response to a PAC query said: “The
remuneration payable to the judges of the Supreme Court—
Article 81 (a)—and administrative expenses, including the
remuneration payable to officers and servants of the court—
Article 81 (b)—are amounts which are charged upon the
federal consolidated fund and same are not paid out of the
public accounts of the federation.”

The SC said the National Assembly had no oversight role on
expenditures charged upon the federal consolidated fund,
which were duly covered under Article 82 (1) of the
Constitution.

Above all, it said, a plain reading of the Constitution
would show that the Supreme Court wasn’t part of the
government, as explained under the Article 81 of the
Constitution.

“The Supreme Court is, in fact, separate from and
independent of the government. If, at all, there was any
ambiguity on this end, the same is set at rest by Article
90 of the Constitution as now amended.”
In response to the SC letter, the PAC chairman said: “Let’s
settle this issue once for all and the AGP should tell the
committee in categorical terms, if we have the right to
take up SC expenditures.”

The AGPs, both sitting and former, have been arguing during
the PAC meetings that the SC expenditures are not only
auditable but its registrar, like other principal
accounting officers, may be called to the PAC for scrutiny.

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04, July, 2012

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Readership survey

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TODAY’S edition of Dawn carries the DAWN Readership
Questionnaire. It comprises 39 questions for readers to
answer. Your answers will enable us to learn more about
your lifestyle patterns and readership habits enabling us
to produce a newspaper tailored to your reading
requirements.

As a token of our appreciation for your time and effort,
the names of the respondents will be entered into a
computerised Lucky Draw, giving you a chance to win one of
23 prizes including air tickets to Bangkok, iPads, laptops,
plasma TVs, BlackBerry Curves and iPod Nanos.

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04, July, 2012

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Punjab healthcare crisis: It takes two to tangle
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By Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE, July 3: The standoff between the young doctors and
the Shahbaz Sharif government continues to affect
healthcare services across Punjab. The stopgap arrangement
— induction of new medics, asking a few hundred senior
doctors to work overtime and deployment of some 150 army
doctors, etc — in public hospitals has had only a small
impact, given that the province is faced with the absence
of some 22,000 striking doctors.

The government imposed the Essential Services Act followed
by the Sunday-night swoop on a YDA meeting in Lahore. Many
young doctors were arrested which only exacerbated the
situation.

Young Doctors’ Association (YDA), which is fighting for a
service structure and better pay and is the force behind
the two-week strike at the hospitals, seems determined. It
asks the government to release the arrested doctors,
withdraw cases and apologise publicly for its action before
doctors return to their jobs to “provide emergency services
only”.

A complete end to the strike is conditioned on the
government’s acceptance of YDA’s ‘minimum demands’: future
induction of medical officers in BPS-18 instead of BPS-17,
enhancement of the stipend for postgraduate residents and
increase in the doctors’ health professional allowance. The
total cost of these demands is estimated to be Rs4 billion
a year.

Caught between the government and the striking doctors are
the poor users of the public healthcare facilities. Many
deaths have been blamed on a lack of proper treatment in
the wake of the strike. While their repeated strikes – it
is the eighth major strike call by the YDA since its
formation in 2008 – have cost the young doctors public
support, the government also has drawn flak for its poor
handling of the situation.

The YDA came into existence in 2008 following the
suspension by the chief minister of some women doctors of
Mayo Hospital, Lahore, over alleged negligence. A group of
young doctors protested the order and got their suspended
colleagues reinstated. This emboldened the young doctors:
they could force the government to bow before them by using
their street power.

Since then the YDA has led a series of strikes. In October
2008, the YDA Punjab launched a province-wide strike for a
week for a raise. The monthly salary of a house officer
then was Rs 12,000 and that of a postgraduate resident
Rs15,000. The demand was accepted and salaries doubled.
Then last year’s 37-day strike forced the government to
again raise their pay.

The salary of a doctor in BPS-17 was enhanced to Rs42,000
to Rs44,000 and in BPS-18 to Rs52,000 to Rs54,000. A
committee was also formed to look into the demand for a
service structure, transfer and time-scale promotion to
senior grades. But no progress was made on the issues –
doctors say because of opposition from the bureaucracy.

Service structure

In April this year, the transfer of 691 young doctors to
the district level health facilities was seen by the YDA as
part of a plan to weaken it. Yet another agitation ensued.
The YDA said it was not opposed to transfers but these
should have been done under a formal service structure
which was being denied to them. The order was reversed
after a week-long strike and another committee set up on
May 7 with Khwaja Salman Rafique, the special assistant to
the chief minister on health, as its chairperson.

The service structure proposed by the committee for all
cadres of doctors was rejected by the health bureaucracy.
Objections were raised against the demands for a universal
one-scale upgrading, provision of official residence and
cars for doctors in BPS-20 and 21 and increase in health
professional allowance and stipend for house officers,
medical officers and postgraduate residents because of a
“massive financial impact of Rs423bn a year”. In response,
the YDA first scaled down its demands to a point where it
would cost Rs33bn and then the price tag was reduced to
Rs6.2bn.

The scale upgrading remained a divisive issue and the
health ministry objected, prompting the YDA to call another
province-wide strike last month.
The strike began on June 18 but the doctors continued to
provide emergency and critical care services. The
government, however, told the YDA to call off the strike
unconditionally before a dialogue could be initiated and
launched a media campaign that dubbed the striking doctors
as murderers and highlighted incentives given to them over
the past four years.

There are an estimated 14,000 posts of BPS-17 doctors,
7,200 of BPS-18, 2,600 of BPS-19, around 600 of BPS-20 and
7 posts for BPS-21 doctors in Punjab. The bureaucracy says
that after one-scale upgrading, the health department would
have 2,600 posts in BPS-20 and 600 posts in BPS-21, posing
a serious threat to the existing health hierarchy in the
province. The health department’s top post (health
secretary) is in BPS- 21, while usually an official of BPS-
20 is appointed as secretary. In the existing situation the
demand for BPS-22 for the doctors was not acceptable to the
health department. The district management group (DMG)
officials in other departments also endorsed this view
which is suspected to have played a big role in preventing
a deal between doctors and the government.

Legal hitches

“They have made a habit of agitating every two months,”
says Khwaja Salman Rafique. “We have promoted 600 doctors,
increased the number of posts to remove the backlog of
stalled promotions, raised their salary bill to Rs24bn a
year from Rs8bn in 2008. How can we keep increasing their
pay? There are hundreds of thousands of other government
employees. They would demand the same.”

Besides, he says, there are some legal hitches in the
acceptance of some of the demands like one-scale-upgrading.
“This simply cannot be done,” he says and urges strikers to
resume work unconditionally.

Dr Aftab Ashraf, the Punjab YDA press secretary, argues:
“Is it a crime if we are asking for a service structure to
govern our appointments, transfers and promotions? Today if
you do not have the right connections you are stuck in BPS-
17 for 20 years in a remote area. There have been doctors
who were appointed in BPS-17 and retired in the same grade
after spending a lifetime in the service. Our fate lies in
the hands of a BPS-16 section officer.”He says the YDA in
its meeting with senior doctors sent by the chief minister
on Sunday had agreed to scale down the demands to a point
where these would not cost the government more than Rs4bn.

“The same night the police attacked our meeting and
arrested our people. We are not going to call off the
strike unless our demands are met, arrested doctors
released and those terminated from services reinstated,” he
says.

Dr Izhar Ahmed Chaudhry, a leader of the Pakistan Medical
Association, says it is wrong to compare doctors with other
government employees.

“We are on call 24 hours a day and work under stressful
conditions,” he says. “The federal government has already
accepted this and allowed special grades for doctors
working in its institutions.”

60-year-old demand

Medical Teachers Association (Punjab) general secretary Dr
Tehseen Riaz says the young doctors are fighting for a 60-
year-old demand of medical professionals. “The government
has money for distributing free laptops and for sasti roti
schemes. It has no money, no service structure for doctors.
The government could not break the resolve of the striking
doctors but instead it has shattered the entire public
healthcare system.

Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based political analyst, is
also not amused by the way the chief minister has handled
the issue: “A good administrator always anticipates the
consequences (of his actions). When the Punjab government
let the police loose on the striking doctors it thought the
action would scare them and they would return to work. That
hasn’t happened and the government doesn’t have a long-term
strategy to cope with the emerging situation.”

According to a senior doctor considered close to the PML-N:
“Instead of talking to the striking doctors, the Sharif
government chose to threaten them and ran a media campaign
to demonise them.

“This is not the way of a political government. Last year,
ultimately the chief minister sat with the doctors and the
matter was resolved in 15 minutes. I guess he will do it
again but only after more lives have been lost and the
patients have suffered much more.”

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04, July, 2012

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Chemical quota case: Approver blames Shahab, Musa

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By Malik Asad

RAWALPINDI, July 3: The Minister for Textiles Makhdoom
Shahabuddin, Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani, and Principal Secretary to the PM,
Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, face an uphill task to prove
wrong a statement by the former director general of health,
Dr Rashid Juma, if they want to get a clean chit in the
ephedrine case.

The statement by Dr Juma, recorded by the Anti-Narcotics
Force on June 16 and submitted in the Lahore High Court,
alleged that the three accused were behind illegal
allocation of 9,000kg of chemical ephedrine to two
pharmaceutical companies, Berlex and Danas.

A two-member LHC Rawalpindi bench, comprising Justice
Shahid Hameed Dar and Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Younis,
directed the ANF on Tuesday to record statement of Makhdoom
Shahabuddin after his counsel Shah Khawar told the court
that his client wanted to join the investigation to reply
to allegations levelled against him.

Dr Juma, an approver in the ephedrine case, said in his
statement that Makhdoom Shahab, Ali Musa Gilani and then
health secretary Khushnood Akhtar Lashari pressured him to
allocate ephedrine quota of 9,000kg to Berlex and Danas. He
alleged that he allocated the quota because Musa Gilani and
Khushnood Lashari had blackmailed him.
Dr Juma said Musa Gilani had pressured him to allocate
6,500kg ephedrine quota to Berlex and Makhdoom Shahab told
him to give 2,500kg quota to Danas.

He said Anjum Shah, who was very close to Makhdoom Shahab
and Khushnood Lashari, also asked him to allocate ephedrine
quota to Danas. He said when he was about to constitute a
panel to process his request, Makhdoom Shahab called and
told him that Anjum Shah had complained that he was not
issuing orders for conversion of ephedrine.

Dr Juma said Mr Lashari used to remind him that he was a
contract employee. He claimed that Musa Gilani and
Khushnood Lashari did not refer the case of his extension
in service to the prime minister deliberately and used it
as a “blackmailing tool”.

Dr Juma, who served as director general of health from June
2008 to November 2010, said the entitlement of Berlex and
Danas was 500kg of ephedrine, but because of the
intervention of Khushnood Lashari the two companies were
granted 9,000kg quota.

According to him, the process for the allocation of quota
started on March 15 and ended on March 24, 2010.

Dr Juma alleged that soon after Berlex and Danas applied
for local sale of ephedrine, Makhdoom Shahab, Musa Gilani
and Khushnood Lashari started lobbying in favour of the two
companies.

He said that Tauqeer Ali Khan, an alleged front man of Musa
Gilani, came to his office and told him to talk to Musa on
his cellphone.

Dr Juma said Musa Gilani introduced himself as the son of
Yousuf Raza Gilani, asking him for allocation and
conversion of ephedrine.

He claimed that Khushnood Lashari, as health secretary,
violated rules and procedure while his unnecessary
interference resulted in illegal allocation of ephedrine
quota. He said Tauqeer Ali Khan was a regular visitor to
Lashari’s office.
Dr Juma accused drug controller Sheikh Ansar of being an
accomplice of Makhdoom Shahab, Musa Gilani and Khushnood
Lashari.

Wasim Ahmed Qureshi, ANF special prosecutor, told the court
that investigators, in order to maintain credibility of Dr
Juma’s testimony, wanted the special court for Control of
Narcotics Substance (CNS) to record it, but the court
rejected their plea. He requested the LHC to direct the CNS
court to record Dr Juma’s statement.

The High Court, however, adjourned the hearing to July 11.

The same court granted interim bail to Rizwan Khan, former
director of Danas pharmaceutical company, till July 9 and
directed him to deposit Rs500,000 as surety bonds.

The interim bail of Makhdoom Shahab was extended till July
9.

Advocate Faisal Hussain, counsel for Musa Gilani, told Dawn
that Dr Juma’s statement needed strong corroborative
evidence in its support. In his pre-arrest bail
application, Dr Juma made no mention of Musa Gilani, he
said, adding that it was strange that he tried to drag his
client in his recent statement.

Faisal Hussain said it was a politically-motivated case
designed to stop Musa Gilani, a popular figure in his
constituency, from entering politics.

Shah Khawar, counsel for Makhdoom Shahabuddin, told Dawn
that being an authority in the health ministry, Dr Juma was
the main accused in illegal allocation and conversion of
ephedrine. In order to save his skin, Dr Juma had now
started blaming those who had nothing to do with the scam,
he added.

Mohammad Asghar adds: Makhdoom Shahabuddin appeared before
the ANF investigation team on Tuesday for a second time
since his arrest warrants were issued and denied allegation
that he had pressured health officials for the issuance of
export quota for ephedrine, Dawn has learnt.

A source said Mr Shahabuddin told the investigators that he
was not an accused in the case registered against him
because he was actually a “complainant”. As health minister
he had ordered a probe into the allegations, Makhdoom
Shahabuddin contended.

In his written statement, he denied that he had pressurised
health ministry officials to issue ephedrine quota or
directly allocated any such quota, the source said.

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04, July, 2012

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Another MNA suspended by SC

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By Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD, July 3: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court
suspended on Tuesday the membership of MNA Jameel Malik of
PML-N for holding dual nationality and Chief Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who headed the bench
categorically stated that nobody was above the law.

“If the chief justice and prime minister can be put on
trial there is no exception for anyone,” he said while
responding to remarks made by Mr Malik’s counsel that the
case had put the legislature on trial.

The MNA had conceded before the court that he also held
Dutch nationality.

Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain
are the other two judges on the bench hearing the case
relating to legislators holding dual nationality.

The chief justice said the court had to focus on public
interest, regardless of the number of lawmakers holding
dual nationality.

When Anwar Mansoor Khan, the counsel for Adviser on
Interior Rehman Malik, pointed out that former prime
minister Shaukat Aziz also held dual nationality, the chief
justice remarked: “Why do you show an American businessman
the way to come to Pakistan and become the prime minister?”

Justice Khwaja said the court would issue a notice to Mr
Aziz and former military ruler Pervez Musharraf too if a
petition was filed.

The counsel argued that the Supreme Court was not the forum
where his client should present documents to prove his
innocence because it was the exclusive jurisdiction of
parliament, the National Assembly speaker, chairman of
Senate and speakers of the provincial assemblies.

He also argued that the onus was on the petitioner to prove
his claim about any lawmakers holding dual nationality.

The chief justice said it was the domain of the court to
interpret the Constitution and it was for parliament to
introduce amendments to it.

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04, July, 2012

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Rs2.5bn Ramazan package

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By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, July 3: The Economic Coordination Committee
(ECC) of the cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs2.5 billion
relief package on essential items for Ramazan and decided
to divert natural gas from the fertiliser industry to the
power generation sector to reduce electricity loadshedding.

Having far-reaching economic consequences, the decision to
give priority to the power sector over fertiliser and
industrial consumers would, however, be cleared by the
prime minister and perhaps by the federal cabinet before
implementation.
A meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Dr
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh could not take a decision on pricing of
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) airmix with natural gas even
though it allowed in principle import of 250 million tons
of LPG subject to clearance of bidding process by the ECC.

A scathing criticism by PM’s Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim
Hussain against Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra)
chairman Saeed Ahmad Khan marred the otherwise smooth
proceedings of the meeting. Sources said as the Ogra
chairman started critical examination of the LPG airmix in
the natural gas transmission system, he came under severe
attack from the adviser for entering into the government’s
domain of policy-making.

“He (Saeed) is telling lies. Ogra should not interfere in
policy-making and instead should limit itself to regulate
and monitor the oil and gas sector,” Dr Asim was quoted as
saying. He was, however, advised by the finance minister to
let the Ogra chairman speak his mind as one of the major
stakeholders.

Petroleum secretary Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry informed the
meeting that mixing of about 10 mmcfd (million cubic feet
per day) of LPG into the natural gas system would increase
the weighted average cost of gas by about 6 per cent while
mixing of 150mmcfd of LPG would increase the cost of gas by
27 per cent.

An official statement said the ECC approved import of LPG
equivalent to 250 mmcfd with the condition that procurement
methodology and tendering would be brought to the ECC
through a detailed presentation in its next meeting. The
meeting directed the law ministry to look into the question
of price determination of LPG on a monthly or six monthly
basis.

An equally important question brought before the ECC was
the continued default of the only private sector joint
venture partner of Pakistan Railways. The meeting
constituted a committee to look into the matter.

The ministry of railways had requested the ECC to allow
railways to take over ‘Business Train’ for its failure to
comply with contractual obligations.
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----

04, July, 2012

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----

Number of missing people on the rise

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----

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, July 3: The number of “missing people” has been
constantly rising despite efforts of the government,
parliament and the Supreme Court to resolve the issue. This
is reflected in a statement issued by the Commission of
Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances here on Tuesday.

The latest figures released by a two-member commission
headed by Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal show that a total of
518 cases of `missing people’ were under investigation
before it till June 30.

It says that on Jan 1, 2011, there were 138 cases pending
before the commission which received 634 new cases over the
past 18 months, increasing the total number to 772. It says
that the commission formed under the directives of the
Supreme Court some two years ago has so far disposed of 254
cases.

It claims the success of the commission in tracing 30
people last month when it held its proceedings in Quetta
and Islamabad. The statement provides a list of the 30
people but without answering two key questions -- from
where these `missing people’ were recovered and who had
picked them up.

But the commission has expressed its determination “to make
all-out efforts to trace the missing people”.

Addressing a news conference in Quetta last month, Justice
(retd) Javed Iqbal, who is also heading the Abbottabad
Commission investigating the US operation which resulted in
the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, reportedly
held foreign intelligence agencies responsible for the
deteriorating situation in Balochistan claiming that there
was “concrete evidence” against them.

Justice Iqbal had also regretted that the authorities had
not been not able to compile complete details of those
enlisted as missing people, and said there was a “baseless
propaganda” about the actual number of the missing people
in the country.

At that time, he had given the figure of 460 missing
people, stating that 18 disappeared were from Islamabad,
117 from Punjab, 174 from Sindh, 170 from Khyber-
Pakhtunkhwa, 57 from Balochistan and 12 each from Azad
Kashmir and Federally Administered Areas (Fata). He also
disclosed that 42 bodies of missing people had been found
in Balochistan.

In May, the government faced a tough situation in Senate
when a number of senators, including from treasury benches,
asked it to present the report of the commission on missing
people before the parliament.

Minister of State for Interior Imtiaz Safdar Warraich had
told the house that the report of the commission had
already been presented in the Supreme Court and to the
prime minister.

In March   this year, a Parliamentary Committee on National
Security   (PCNS) headed by PPP’s Raza Rabbani announced that
it would   take up the issue of forced disappearance of
hundreds   of people.

Political analysts believe that taking up the issue of
missing people by the PCNS will be a major development as
the powerful parliamentary committee having representation
of almost all parties in parliament will get a chance to
scrutinise laws governing functions of intelligence
agencies in the country.

The term of “missing people” has been in use in the country
since the military regime of Pervez Musharraf announced its
support for the US in the war on terror.

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----
04, July, 2012

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----

Mumbai, Kashmir stalk foreign secretaries

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----

By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 3: A decade ago Jalil Abbas Jilani was
acting chief of

Pakistan’s already depleted high commission in Delhi after
the attack on the Indian parliament. Then like his boss he
too was sent home through the Wagah border over unverified
charges of giving money to a Kashmiri leader.

On Tuesday, the erstwhile persona non grata strolled across
the familiar checkpost as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary to
hold talks with his Indian counterpart. And the two-day
engagement from Wednesday has a lofty objective. It could
set the stage for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
eventually visit Pakistan.

There was little to indicate imminent success though. The
Indian media has been highlighting the arrest of an alleged
mastermind of the Mumbai carnage after he was deported from
Saudi Arabia on June 21. Abu Jundal, the media says,
faithfully echoing Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s public
allegations, had helped establish the direct involvement of
the Pakistan state in the 2008 nightmare in Mumbai.

Mr Jilani, whose experience of India included his calm
handling of the swinging fortunes at the 2001 Agra Summit,
handled the Jundal issue with poise. “Pakistan will support
India in its fight against terrorism.” He insisted though
that India must share all evidence and information about
Jundal with Pakistan.On its part, India plans to give Mr
Jilani a dossier on Jundal, including the passport
allegedly issued by Pakistan. Indian media says it
indicates the involvement of state agencies of Pakistan in
the Mumbai plot.
The ubiquitous official sources have said copies of the
Pakistani passport and Pakistan’s domestic identity cards
evidently issued to Jundal in the name of Riyasat Ali will
be given to the visiting delegation.

The passport, which is valid till 2014, is said to have
enabled him to travel to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan.

Reports said India would also hand over a list of Jundal’s
Pakistani contacts given by him during his sustained
interrogation here.

And, India will again place its demand for voice samples of
26/11 accused, including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and the
outfit’s operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

That’s what the Indian media expects the talks to focus on.
Mr Jilani, however, offered a different likelihood. He
started off his visit by meeting three senior leaders from
Kashmir opposing Indian rule in the valley. They were Syed
Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.

“It’s unfortunate that no headway is being made vis-a-vis
Kashmir. Nothing has moved despite several rounds of Indo-
Pak talks,” Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
complained after meeting Mr Jilani.

Most Kashmiris are unhappy with Indo-Pakistan relations
making headway on trade issues and not their problem.

“Relations between India and Pakistan cannot be strong
enough till the Kashmir issue is resolved,” said Mr
Geelani, regarded as a hardline leader. He had opposed
Pakistan’s decision to grant most favoured nation status to
India.Mr Malik, who heads pro-independence Jammu and
Kashmir Liberation Front, asked both the countries to seize
the present moment to solve the problem.

“Kashmir has witnessed transition from violent movement to
peaceful struggle. This should be acknowledged by the two
countries and they should push for a resolution as soon as
possible. India and Pakistan cannot afford to freeze the
Kashmir issue. If they don’t resolve the problem, it will
have far-reaching consequences and younger generation can
once again explore the option of taking up the arms,” Mr
Malik said.
Even as the important issues of Mumbai and Kashmir stalked
the two sides on Tuesday, the possibility of a joint
statement and a joint news conference on Wednesday seems to
indicate a more acceptable fare that would enable both top
officials to claim progress even if it is a bit tardy.

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05, July, 2012

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----

Contempt law being amendedGovt move to clear judicial
hurdle

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, July 4: With the Nato supply route controversy
almost sorted out, the government on Wednesday started
rolling up its sleeves to wriggle out of the problems it is
facing as a result of recent judicial decisions.

At a meeting, the cabinet approved a bill to change the
contempt law to clip the judiciary’s wings. The proposed
bill will provide immunity to federal and provincial
government leaders from being charged with or convicted of
contempt of court.

Ironically, the bill is similar to what Nawaz Sharif had as
prime minister introduced in 1997 during his clash with
then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

Legal experts believe that with the adoption of the
proposed changes in the contempt law by parliament, a new
round of confrontation might start between the executive
and the judiciary.

Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted in a
contempt of court case for refusing to implement an order
of the Supreme Court regarding writing a letter to Swiss
authorities against President Asif Ali Zardari. His
successor Raja Pervez Ashraf has been asked to submit his
reply on the same issue on July 12.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Information Minister
Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet had given its approval
to the Contempt of Court Bill, 2012, for introduction in
either house of parliament.

If adopted with simple majority, the bill will provide a
constitutional cover to the powers of top government
functionaries against the effects of contempt law.

Through the bill, Mr Kaira said, “the scope of the right to
appeal has been enlarged, including incorporation of other
necessary provisions relevant to contempt proceedings”.

After the passage of the bill, the information minister
said, contempt proceedings could not be initiated against
holders of public office as mentioned in Article 248(1) of
the Constitution.

Article 248(1) reads: “The President, a Governor, the Prime
Minister, a Federal Minister, a Minister of State, the
Chief Minister and a Provincial Minister shall not be
answerable to any court for the exercise of powers and
performance of functions of their respective offices or for
any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of
those powers and performance of those functions.”

The minister dispelled a perception that the government
intended to undermine the superior judiciary. With the
enlargement of the scope of right to appeal, the minister
said, once an appeal by a convict in a contempt case was
accepted, his/her punishment would automatically stand
suspended.

Dual nationality

Mr Kaira said: “The cabinet approved a draft bill tabled by
the ministry for overseas Pakistanis proposing amendment in
Article 63(1)C of the Constitution to enable Pakistanis
having dual nationality to contest election for the
membership of parliament.”

After threadbare discussion, the cabinet held that if top
civil servants and judges who too were involved in state
affairs, could hold dual nationality, why should there be
this discrimination against politicians.

When approached, Supreme Court Bar Association president
Yasin Azad said that although parliament had the right to
amend the Constitution and law, such a move would be
considered mala fide in the current circumstances.

He said only a simple majority was required to amend a law,
while for making a constitutional amendment a two-thirds
majority of the two houses of parliament was needed.

The Supreme Court is hearing several cases against
parliamentarians and has suspended membership of a number
of legislators holding dual nationality.

In reply to a question, Mr Kaira said: “According to my
personal opinion, if you allow voting right to dual
nationals they cannot be stopped from contesting elections,
and if you don’t want them simply remove their names from
the voting list.”

Ahsan Iqbal, PML-N’s Deputy Secretary General, said holders
of dual nationality should be allowed to vote and contest
elections, but once elected they must surrender their
foreign nationality before taking oath as people’s
representatives.

On the proposed changes in the contempt law, he said after
the bill was presented before the house, PML-N’s legal
experts would be consulted and a formal position would be
taken.

APP adds: The information minister said that the cabinet
unanimously endorsed the decision of the Defence Committee
of the Cabinet for reopening the ground lines of
communication to and from Afghanistan.

He said Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf informed the
cabinet that it was vindication of Pakistan’s principled
stand after the unfortunate Salala incident.

Raja Ashraf said the US would have to respect Pakistan’s
sovereignty so that future relations between the two
countries were enduring, strategic and carefully defined
for peace and security in the region.
Mr Kaira said the prime minister also informed the cabinet
that in view of Pakistan’s larger objective of peace and
stability in Afghanistan and the whole region and also its
cooperative relations with 50 member states of Nato/Isaf
“we will facilitate the transition process to help enable
Afghanistan’s national institutions to meet the challenges
they are facing”.

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05, July, 2012

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----

Pak-India talks on positive trajectory

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 4: India and Pakistan    held a first round of
foreign secretary-level talks here on    Wednesday, and
sources close to the discussions said    they had progressed
on a positive trajectory, contrary to    gloomy projections
made by the media.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani
counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani met just days after the
arrest of a key suspect in the attacks on Mumbai. The issue
of terrorism did figure in Wednesday’s meeting and is
expected to find reference together with all the key topics
discussed between the two countries in a joint statement to
be issued after a final round of parleys on Thursday.

Confidence-building measures including Pakistan’s proposal
to shift heavy weaponry away from the Line of Control were
discussed as was the larger issue of a political settlement
of the Kashmir dispute. Notifications of nuclear accidents
and related emergencies were discussed in the wake of the
Fukushima disaster, sources said.

They said an indication that all was well between the two
sides was evident from the fact that there was no acrimony
over the drafting of the statement which was almost ready,
an unusual occurrence between the two.

Mr Mathai who attended a dinner hosted by Pakistan’s new
envoy Salman Bashir praised the high commissioner for
quickly facilitating what he said were important
discussions involving two significant delegations. Mr
Mathai said his mandate was an old one – to seek stable and
strong ties with Pakistan. Mr Jilani said he was heartened
by the positive tenor of the talks that dovetailed with the
desire of the entire range of Pakistan’s leadership to
improve ties with India.

Outside the precincts of Pakistan House, where Liaquat Ali
Khan once lived and which now works as the sprawling
residence of Pakistan’s high commissioner, the Indian media
was highlighting the arrest of Abu Jundal, an alleged
Indian mastermind who was deported from Saudi Arabia with a
Pakistani passport. Pakistan has asked for more details in
the case in order to assist with India’s quest to fix
responsibility.

The suspect told Indian investigators that officials from
Pakistan's intelligence agency were present in a control
room in Karachi while he and others directed attackers on
the ground in Mumbai.

Last month, India and Pakistan held inconclusive talks on
resolving long-standing disputes over the Siachen Glacier
and the Sir Creek maritime boundary. This week’s two-day
meeting is expected to prepare the agenda for talks between
the countries’ foreign ministers. A date for that meeting
has not been announced. A joint press conference on
Thursday is expected to throw light on this.

Wednesday’s talks focussed on peace and security, including
the threat posed by terrorism, the decades-old dispute over
the Kashmir and confidence-building measures to push closer
ties, an Indian official said.

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----

05, July, 2012

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----
Terrorists kill three in Kuchlak

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, July 4: Terrorists belonging to an outlawed
organisation ambushed an official vehicle and killed a
senior government official and two other employees in
Kuchlak area, some 25 kilometres from the provincial
capital on Wednesday.

Abu Bakar Siddique, a spokesman for the banned Lashkar-i-
Jhangvi, called journalists from an unspecified place and
claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to police, Assistant Director of Local Government
in Pishin Muhammad Saeed Khan and junior official Ghulam
Yasin were coming to Quetta when their car was sprayed with
bullets. The two officials died on the spot while their
driver Mohammad Aslam died in hospital.

A senior police officer described the incident as targeted
sectarian attack and said that one of the man killed in the
attack belonged to the Shia Hazara community.

Police rushed to the area and shifted bodies and the
injured to a hospital.

“Three government officials killed in the ambush were
posted in Pishin eight years ago,” DIG Operations Hamid
Shakeel told Dawn.

He said the assailants who were on a motorcycle escaped
after the attack.

LANDMINE BLAST: An FC soldier was killed and two others
were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine in Telimat
area of Dera Bugti district on Wednesday.

Levies’ sources said that the vehicle of the Frontier Corps
was carrying ration for the troops. The vehicle was blown
up and sepoy Rafiq was killed on the spot.
The FC troops deployed in the area rushed to the place and
took the body and the injured to Sui hospital.

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05, July, 2012

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----

‘US respects people’s aspirations’: No secret deal with US:
Khar

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 4: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
denied on Wednesday any secret deal for reopening Nato
supply routes and insisted that the American ‘sorry’ showed
their respect for aspirations of the people of Pakistan.

“I can today tell the people of Pakistan that US respects
their aspirations as stated by the parliamentary
recommendations,” Ms Khar said at a reception at the US
embassy to celebrate America’s 236th Independence Day.

She described the breakthrough in ties as a ‘turning point’
and hoped that the new beginning would translate into a
strong friendship.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ‘sorry’ on
Tuesday for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops killed in a
border post attack to secure resumption of Nato supplies.
Pakistan was further assured that there would be no repeat
of Salala-type incidents, but the agreement did not touch
upon several other parliamentary demands, including
cessation of drone attacks.

The government ministers, anticipating a strong backlash by
the opposition, however, made it a point to emphasise that
the deal was in accordance with the April 12 parliamentary
resolution on new terms of engagement with the US.
The foreign minister, who looked upbeat over Tuesday’s
developments that led to the reopening of supply routes,
also said she expected that the two countries could convert
the insurmountable challenges in their relationship into
new opportunities. She noted that there was no other option
but to work together.

The foreign minister further said that the progress
achieved so far would now help the two countries to engage
seriously on other issues.

Ambassador Cameron Munter, who will soon be leaving
Islamabad, in his brief comments wished that Pakistan would
keep its promise to achieve the promise made to it by the
US.

Earlier in the day, Ms Khar said there was no “secret
agreement” with the US to end the seven-month long
suspension of supply routes. She rather contended that the
US had to “back down”.

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05, July, 2012

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----

Woman working for NGO shot dead

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Ibrahim Shinwari

LANDI KOTAL, July 4: A woman worker of a non-governmental
organisation was gunned down in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber
Agency on Wednesday.

According to her family, three men who were hiding in
bushes opened fire on 26-year-old Fareeda when she came out
of her home in Ghundi in the morning to go to her office in
Hayatabad area of Peshawar.

The assailants escaped on a motorcycle when members of the
family rushed to the place after hearing gunshots. “Fareeda
was the only bread-earner for her parents, three brothers
and a widowed sister,” her relatives said.

She was human resource manager in the NGO working for
tribal women.

She had received threats from a militant group a few weeks
ago. Local officials said they had arrested three local
people suspected of having links with banned groups.

Human rights activist Zarteef Afridi was killed in a
similar attack on Dec 8 last year in the same area and the
banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for
the murder.

Local officials said the family of Fareeda had not informed
them about the threats given by militants.

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05, July, 2012

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2,000 booked for burning ‘blasphemer’ to death

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Our Correspondent

BAHAWALPUR, July 4: Police registered on Wednesday an FIR
against about 2,000 men for killing a man, causing injuries
to eight police personnel, rioting and torching a police
station, four residential quarters and four police vehicles
in Channigoth on the outskirts of Bahawalpur.

SHO Ghulam Mohyuddin of Channigoth told Dawn by phone the
FIR had been lodged under sections 302, 395 PPC and 7
section of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

He said none of the accused had been named in the FIR and
no arrest had been made.
The case is about a Tuesday night incident when hundreds of
people attacked the Channigoth police station where a man
had been detained for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.

The mob set the police station on fire, started beating the
man and dragged him to an open place and set him on fire.
The crowd watched as the man known as Malang (insane) kept
screaming for help.

The fire destroyed parts of the police station and four
police vehicles.

Malang had been detained on information about the alleged
‘blasphemous’ act.

Police used teargas and fired in the air but failed to
disperse the charged crowd.

According to sources, a heavy contingent of police and
elite force had been sent to the town from Bahawalpur and
Liaquatpur to help local police.

But before it reached the place the mob had entered the
police station and overpowered the two constables guarding
the lock-up.

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05, July, 2012

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Officer linked to ephedrine case complains of victimisation

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 4: A senior official of the government’s
drug regulatory body requested the Supreme Court on
Wednesday to save him from victimisation and said he might
be made a petitioner in the ephedrine case.
Deputy Director General of the Drug Regulatory Agency of
Pakistan Muhammad Tanvir told a three-judge bench headed by
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that he had been
made officer on special duty (OSD) and transferred to
Gilgit-Baltistan despite the fact that there was no office,
staff, budget or any other equipment to perform duty in the
region.

The applicant claimed that he had been subjected to
victimisation because of the statement he had recorded
before the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) investigating the
ephedrine scandal and for his constant opposition to the
grant of unlawful and illegal drugs quotas of ephedrine on
fake demand for manufacturing tablets.

The Supreme Court is seized with a petition moved by the
ANF against the import of the proscribed chemical – a
scandal that also involves former prime minister’s son Ali
Musa Gilani.

The court issued notices to Interior Secretary Khawaja
Siddiq Akbar and FIA Director General Fayyaz Leghari and
adjourned the hearing for a date to be decided later.

Muhammad Tanvir alleged that he had been transferred on the
orders of the highest authorities, including Principal
Secretary to the Prime Minister Khushnood Akhtar Lashari,
under political influence with mala fide intention to force
him to change his statement.

He said Qazi Abdus Saboor, Director General of the Capital
Administration and Development Division (CAAD), had been
posted as Director General (Health) on the intervention of
Khushnood Lashari and given the charge of Chief Executive
Officer of the Drug Regulatory Agency on May 28. Mr Tanvir
said the total demand for ephedrine in Iraq as per rules of
the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was
3,000kg, but an export quota of 6,000kg had been approved
for Can Pharma Multan and Berlex Lab International Multan
on fake documents. Likewise, he said, the annual demand for
ephedrine in Afghanistan was 50kg, but a quota of 2,500kg
had been allocated to Danas Pharma (Pvt) Ltd on similar
documents.

Mr Tanvir said that another quota of 1,000kg had been
approved for Cherwell Pharma Hattar, but he took measures
to cancel it.
In Pakistan, he said, the annual demand for ephedrine was
not more than 100kg, but Berlex Lab and Danas Pharma had
been granted 9,000kg by converting the quota from export to
local manufacturing in 2010.

A similar quantity was approved for 2011, but it was never
issued because the two companies failed to establish bona
fide use of the quotas as per applicable conditions.

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05, July, 2012

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Dual-nationality case: FIA chief faces action for
misleading court

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, July 4: Fayyaz Leghari, the director general of
Federal Investigation Agency, found himself in hot water on
Wednesday when the Supreme Court asked one of its senior
officers to book him for wrongly arraigning a PPP member of
the Punjab Assembly for having dual nationality.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Muhammad Chaudhry ordered the additional registrar to lodge
a criminal complaint against the FIA chief and other
officers for providing misleading information that Tariq
Mahmood Alloana, an MPA from Mandi Bahauddin, was a US
citizen.

Islamabad police chief Bani Amin is required to supervise
investigation into the matter and submit weekly reports to
the Supreme Court registrar for perusal by judges.

“False and fabricated material was placed on record which
warranted action under the relevant laws,” observed the
court hearing a case relating to parliamentarians having
dual nationality.
“Prima facie an action was taken to misguide the court,
knowing well about the importance of the case of public
representatives performing their duties in provincial
assemblies under the Constitution,” the court said, adding
that every government functionary was bound to assist the
court and not mislead it.

The chief justice also expressed dissatisfaction over the
performance of the FIA and said: “No inquiry pending with
the FIA has ever seen the light of day.”

The court also issued notice to PM’s Adviser on Interior
Affairs Rehman Malik on a petition moved by Mehmood Akhtar
Naqvi who claimed that the appointment of Mr Malik as
adviser soon after suspension of his Senate membership was
illegal and contrary to the Constitution.

MQM LEGISLATORS: The court suspended the membership of two
MQM legislators -- MNA Farhat Mahmood Khan and MPA Nadia
Gabol -- because of their failure to refute allegations
that they held dual citizenship despite repeated notices
issued to them.

The allegations were levelled against the legislators in a
petition filed by Advocate Waheed Anjum.

Farhat Mahmood held US passport and Nadia Gabol British
passport, the bench said, adding that it appeared that they
had acquired citizenship of these countries.

“Therefore, prima facie the bench is satisfied that both
these members of assemblies suffered from disqualification
under Article 63(1 c) and at par with other members whose
memberships have already been suspended.

Both the legislators can raise objections in case they have
not acquired the citizenship of other countries or submit
replies after which an appropriate order could be passed,”
the court said.

Meanwhile, at the request of PML-N MPAs Dr Muhammad Ashraf
Chauhan and Chaudhry Nadeem Khadim, the court postponed
similar proceedings against them for two weeks.

Dr Ashraf Chauhan is under treatment in the UK while Nadeem
Khadim also is in Britain. The court asked them to engage
counsel if need be.
During the proceedings, FIA’s Director Legal Muhammad Azam
Khan apologised to the court over the mistaken identity of
Tariq Alloana which led to the court’s embarrassment.

The deputy director who had signed the document relied on
information retrieved from computer by an operator who only
provided passport number, he said, adding that the
information so collected by the FIA was about Tariq Mahmood
Alloana, a resident of Chakwal. The names of the parents
and even the date of birth of both the Alloanas were
identical.

The court expressed dismay over the casual attitude of FIA
officials and warned of lodging criminal cases against them
for dereliction.

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05, July, 2012

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Govt, young doctors make competing claims

-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE, July 4: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said
here on Wednesday that doctors had ended their strike, but
the Young Doctors Association immediately contradicted his
claim.

“We will not resume work in outpatient and emergency
departments till the release of all doctors, quashing of
FIRs against them and issuance of a notification of service
structure,” Punjab YDA Punjab spokesman Dr Mudasar Razaq
Khan told Dawn soon after the law minister had issued the
statement.

He described the minister’s announcement as a conspiracy
hatched against the striking doctors and said no
representative of the YDA had attended the talks held
between the principals of medical institutions and the
government on Wednesday.

He also contradicted a statement of Dr Zulqernain, a
purported spokesman for the YDA, that the young doctors
would resume duty in emergency wards. Rana Sanaullah told
reporters the matter had been resolved in an hours-long
meeting between government representatives and the
principals.

He said the two sides had reached an agreement under which
the young doctors would announce to end their strike and
the government would release all the arrested doctors.

Meanwhile, a handout issued on Wednesday said Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif had praised the role of doctors and
said the striking doctors should immediately call off their
strike, unconditionally, and take up their responsibility
of serving the ailing humanity.

He said negotiations with the doctors could only be held if
they ended their strike. He said if the doctors called off
their strike and assumed their responsibilities, their
genuine demands would be considered in consultation with
senior doctors.

The chief minister constituted a committee comprising
senior doctors, public representatives and government
officers and asked it to submit its recommendations as
early as possible.

He was addressing a meeting of senior doctors, vice-
chancellors, principals and professors held at the chief
minister’s secretariat.

The senior doctors appealed to the chief minister to pardon
the striking doctors.

Mr Sharif said doctors had taken oath of serving the ailing
humanity by rising above personal interests, but the
striking doctors were playing in the hands of elements who
were not concerned about problems and difficulties of the
masses.

He said going on strike and not attending to patients for
pressing their demands was tantamount to violation of the
oath taken by doctors.
He said the government had so far exercised restraint but
this behaviour would not be tolerated any longer.

The chief minister said the Punjab cabinet had cut the
salary of its members by 25 per cent last year and 30 per
cent this year, but the remuneration of doctors had been
increased.

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05, July, 2012

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Pakistan, Afghanistan report rise in polio cases

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PARIS, July 4: Conflict in Afghanistan and vaccination
problems in Pakistan have led to a rise in polio cases
there, imperilling efforts to wipe out the disease
worldwide, a study said on Wednesday.

Newly introduced vaccines had the potential to eliminate
polio in these countries if sufficient numbers of children
could be reached, according to the paper, published in The
Lancet medical journal.

Last year, Pakistan reported the highest number of polio
cases in a decade, 198 in total, compared to 144 in 2010,
while Afghanistan had 81 cases — up from 30 the year
before.

“Polio eradication in Pakistan has been affected by weak
service delivery,” said the paper, with fewer children
reached.

“The eradication of poliomyelitis in parts of Pakistan and
Afghanistan has been complicated by armed conflict,
security concerns, cultural barriers and natural disasters
that have limited accessibility.” Philip Minor of the
British National Institute of Biological Standards and
Control, in a comment published with the study, warned the
virus could spread to polio-free areas.
“Clearly, if one country has poliomyelitis the whole world
is at risk,” he said.

Poliomyelitis, a crippling disease of the nervous system,
was endemic in more than 125 countries in 1988, according
to the World Health Organisation (WHO) website.

Today, only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria remain on the
list. India was removed from it in February thanks to the
impact of a massive vaccination campaign.—AFP

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05, July, 2012

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US expected to release blocked funds

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By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, July 4: Pakistan is expected to receive $2.5
billion during the current financial year from the United
States under three different heads, particularly the
Coalition Support Fund (CSF) following a thaw in tense
relations between the two countries.

Informed sources said the disbursements might relieve the
government of the pressure it was facing because of
depleting foreign exchange reserves which necessitated an
immediate bailout programme from the International Monetary
Fund.

The sources said the major disbursements were expected on
account of CSF for services Pakistan had previously
rendered for coalition forces in Afghanistan. Under this
head, the US is expected to pay $1.5-2 billion during the
current fiscal year. About $700 million to $1 billion is
expected under the Kerry-Lugar Berman Act and Foreign
Military Financing (FMF).
An official said that about $1.3 billion worth of CSF bills
had already completed the 10-stage approval and
reconciliation process of the US government and just needed
banking instructions for its transfer into Pakistan’s
accounts. Another $800 million to $1 billion worth of bills
had also got through the reconciliation process and were
awaiting approval process because of political issues
surrounding the closure of supply routes.

“We are expecting disbursements to start within the current
month,” an official told Dawn but declined to quantify the
first instalment. Pakistan had originally estimated a
payment of $1.3 billion from the US on account of CSF for
the just concluded financial year (2011-12) that was later
scaled down to $800 million but worsening of relations
after the US attack on Salala border posts and closure of
the land route for Nato supplies resulted in stoppage of
disbursements by the US.

He said the United States had a 10-stage approval process
for CSF disbursement and $1.3 billion amount had passed
nine stages more than six months ago when the process was
stalled. Non-payment by the US was one of the major reasons
for Pakistan to miss its fiscal deficit target for the last
financial year by a wide margin. Against a budgeted target
of four per cent of the GDP, the annual deficit widened to
over 7.6 per cent of the GDP.

He said that along with last year’s held up amounts, the US
was also expected to speed up in coming months the approval
of more bills. The official explained that these amounts no
more required parliamentary approvals and would just need
to go through reconciliation procedures at the bureaucratic
level.

Pakistan also estimates to get about Rs8.2 billion
($85million) from the United States on account of the
Kerry-Lugar Aid programme.

Until May 2011, Pakistan’s defence authorities had billed
about $12 billion to the US under the CSF. The US had
disbursed most of the bills except $3.5 billion that were
still outstanding. But this amount did not include services
Pakistan provided to coalition forces in Afghanistan since
May 2011 when defence authorities stopped sending bills as
relations started worsening in the wake of unilateral US
action in Abbottabad which left Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin
Laden dead.

An official said that according to rough estimates the
total outstanding amount on account of CSF would be in the
vicinity of $4.7-5 billion including the previously billed
amount of $3.5 billion. The monthly CSF bills averaged $100
million.

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06, July, 2012

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Draft of new contempt law: Move to kill two birds with one
stone

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By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, July 5: The government has tried to kill two
birds with one stone with its proposed amendment to the
contempt law.

The Contempt of Court Act 2012 which the government intends
to get passed in the upcoming session of the two houses of
parliament provides blanket immunity to top government
functionaries for their executive actions. It can also be
used for initiating disciplinary proceedings against a
judge, without fearing that the move may come under the
ambit of contempt.

The draft law approved by the cabinet on Wednesday,
available with Dawn, states: “A true averment made in good
faith and temperate language for initiation of action or in
the course of disciplinary proceedings against a judge,
before the chief justices of the Supreme Court and high
courts, the Supreme Judicial Council and the federal or
provincial governments, shall not amount to contempt of
court.” The new law will also have an overriding effect and
if passed by the parliament, the erstwhile Contempt of
Court Act 1976 and the contempt of court ordinances 2003
and 2004 will stand repealed.

Unlike the contempt of court ordinances 2003 and 2004 which
explained in details about three different types of court
contempt — civil, criminal and judicial — focus of the
proposed law is on the actions which don’t amount to
commission of contempt of court.

Besides protecting powers and performance of holders of
public office mentioned in Article 248 of the Constitution,
which include the president, prime minister, governors,
chief ministers, federal and state ministers, the proposed
contempt of court act 2012 also shields ‘any authority’
against the contempt charges. One of its clauses read as
“remarks made in an administrative capacity by any
authority in the course of official business, including
those in connection with a disciplinary inquiry or in an
inspection note or a character roll or confidential” shall
not amount to contempt of court.

“If passed, the law which only needs a simple majority in
both the houses of parliament of members present at the
time of its presentation, may also prove to be a blessing
in disguise for former law minister Senator Babar Awan and
property tycoon Malik Riaz who are currently facing
contempt charges,” said a legal expert.

Under the proposed law, if an accused or convict of
contempt of court files an appeal, his/her show-cause
notice or original order will remain suspended till final
disposal of the matter. It said: “An accused person may
also at any stage submit an apology and the court, if
satisfied, may discharge him or remit his sentence.”

Political and legal experts are of the opinion that the
proposed law will encourage discussions not only on court
judgments but also under-hearing court cases, both at
public and private levels.

Justice (retd) Wajhiuddin Ahmad, Supreme Court lawyers
Salman Akram Raja and Babar Sattar and veteran politician
and legal expert S.M. Zafar have rejected the proposed law,
saying the only intention behind the move appeared to
undermine the superior judiciary.
Contempt of court will not apply if: A public officer
holder exercises power for which he enjoys constitutional
immunity under Article 248(1) of the constitution; a
request in good faith and in temperate language before the
chief justice of the Supreme Court or the high court or the
Supreme Judicial Council, the federal or provincial
governments for initiating disciplinary action against a
judge; fair comments in good faith and in temperate
language about general workings of the courts; fair
comments on a court decision but again in temperate
language; unless forbidden by a court, fair and accurate
reporting of any judicial proceedings; publication of any
material even if amounts to contempt on a sub-judice matter
(pending before court) by a person who had no information
regarding pendency of such matter on which he is commenting
before the court; similarly distribution of such material
by a person who had no information regarding pendency of
such matter before a court of law; a plea of truth taken as
a defence in the contempt proceedings; any remarks by an
authority in an administrative capacity in connection with
a disciplinary inquiry or in an inspection note or a
character roll or a confidential report; and a true
statement in good faith on a matter not connected with the
judicial functions of a judge.

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06, July, 2012

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Time for protective legislation in parliament

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----


By Raja Asghar



ISLAMABAD, July 5: An urgent session of the National
Assembly beginning on Friday and one of the Senate from
Monday are likely to take up some rare protective
legislation the government wants to bring in the face of an
unrelenting judicial offensive.

Besides the planned bills, including one seeking to protect
elected government functionaries from contempt of court
proceedings, the first regular session of the National
Assembly after Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf replaced
his Supreme Court-disqualified predecessor, Yousuf Raza
Gilani, last month will also be watched for its conduct:
whether a better sense prevails after rowdyism of the past
two months.

However, any fireworks on the government’s new legislative
plans and its decision to restore overland route for
supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan will come after
Friday’s sitting of the lower house which, beginning at
11am, will be devoted to paying homage to the memory of one
of its most active lawmakers, Fauzia Wahab of the ruling
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who died last month after a
complicated gallbladder operation.

The assembly met for a day on June 22 after her death but
that was a special session to elect a new prime minister
and the customary adjournment for a dead member was put off
until the next regular session.

The most important government bill likely to produce most
sparks will be a contempt law amendment, which Information
and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said after a
cabinet meeting that approved it on Wednesday would provide
immunity to federal and provincial government leaders from
being tried for contempt of court in the discharge of their
official functions.

The urgency of this and a constitution amendment bill to
allow holders of dual nationality to contest elections was
evident from presidential orders summoning the two houses
of parliament soon after the cabinet approved the
legislative drafts.

It was a Supreme Court conviction for contempt of court on
April 26 that cost then prime minister Gilani his job for
refusing to write to Swiss authorities to reopen disputed
money-laundering charges against President Asif Ali Zardari
on grounds of his constitutional immunity.
And the court has now asked Prime Minister Ashraf to submit
his reply to a similar demand on July 12.

The new law, which is likely to face stiff opposition from
the Pakistan Muslim League-N which led the political
campaign against Mr Gilani and went to court as well to get
the annulment of a ruling of the National Assembly Speaker,
Fehmida Mirza, that had exempted the former premier from
attracting disqualification because of the contempt
conviction.

But its passage will not be much of a problem as it needs
only a simple majority of members present in either house
while the PPP-led coalition enjoys the support of
overwhelming majority in both the chambers.

The question of allowing holders of dual nationality to
become voters and contest elections had also gained urgency
after the Supreme Court suspended the membership of several
federal and provincial lawmakers.

That requires removal of a constitutional bar for which the
bill, proposed by the ministry for overseas Pakistanis,
could get support even from opposition parties as members
suspended by the Supreme Court belong to almost all major
parties.

Another important legislation that needs approval of the
two houses is a June 24 presidential ordinance granting
indemnity to all actions taken by Mr Gilani as prime
minister from the date of his conviction on April 26 to
June 19 when the court ordered his disqualification.

But there was no official word yet about which of these
laws would be brought first.

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06, July, 2012

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Krishna to visit Pakistan in September: Foreign secretaries
seek end to hostile propaganda
-----------------------------------------------------------
----

By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, July 5: The incorrigible naysayers were isolated
and the maligned idealists were rewarded by India and
Pakistan whose foreign secretaries set the stage on
Thursday for a political engagement between the two
countries — despite the never ending hiccups — to
consolidate the gains of their revived dialogue.

Among important decisions arrived at between India’s Ranjan
Mathai and Pakistan’s Jalil Abbas Jilani after a
comprehensive review of the entire gamut of relations over
two days of delegation-level talks is a proposed September
visit to Islamabad by Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna.

Couched in the stack of nuanced paragraphs of a joint
statement was also an earnest appeal to media on both sides
to end their mutually hostile propaganda. A joint statement
and a joint press conference reflected heightened trust and
confidence between the two officials.

However, the near obsessive media focus on terrorism to the
exclusion of what might be happening in turbulent Kashmir,
or in the daily tragedies of the routinely imprisoned
fishermen and for that matter what goes on a daily basis in
the minds of men handling nuclear tipped missiles probably
prompted the two to seek greater exchanges between
journalists.

Mr Mathai opened the press conference. He said the
discussions covered peace and security, including
confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir and the
promotion of friendly exchanges. “We have also taken stock
of the current state of our bilateral relations and
reviewed progress in the various secretary-level meetings
held on different issues in the second round of our resumed
dialogue.”

While they might not agree on all issues, they did agree
that relations between the two countries had to be
normalised, Mr Mathai said. “There is a determination on
both sides to take forward our dialogue with an open mind
and a constructive spirit.”
On Jammu and Kashmir they agreed to continue discussions in
a purposeful and forward looking manner with a view to
finding a peaceful solution “by narrowing divergences and
building convergences.”

This is perhaps where Mr Krishna will step in with his
Pakistani counterpart.

Before he was bombarded with their pet topic by the Indian
media, Mr Jilani too was sanguine about the future.
“Pakistan seeks friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly
relations with India. We must make sincere and serious
efforts towards building mutual trust applying political
will in resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful
means, and continue to work for promotion of peace, harmony
and cooperation.”

Asked about the arrest of Abu Jundal and the Indian home
ministry’s allegations about Pakistan’s officials being
involved in the Mumbai carnage, Mr Mathai offered a
measured reply.

He emphasised that terrorism was the biggest threat to
peace and security in the region, and that bringing the
guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks would be the
biggest confidence-building measure of all. The arrest and
the ongoing interrogation of Abu Jundal has now added
urgency to this matter.

He took up the issue with Foreign Secretary Jilani and
shared information with him. “As you are aware, the
investigation is under way and we will

continue to pursue this matter with determination to its
logical conclusion. The Home Minister, as you are also
aware, has already addressed this issue.

“Mr Jilani was asked to speak in Urdu. He said terror was
lethal for both countries. He stressed that his government
took the challenge very seriously. He denied the charge of
any state agency’s involvement in the Mumbai terror attack
and urged India to work for a joint probe into the affair.

“I assured him that the entire evidence, whatever evidence
that India has, should be shared with us, and we will
investigate this matter. We will even be willing to offer
joint investigation into the whole affair,” Pakistan’s
foreign secretary said.

“Our home ministry and the interior ministry…should meet
more often. The respective agencies should meet more often
and enter into a comprehensive cooperation in order to
defeat the forces of terrorism,” Mr Jilani said.

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06, July, 2012

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Wapda supply to KESC to be suspended: Plan to ‘re-rent’
185MW from RPPs

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By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 5: With power sector’s payables touching a
record Rs477 billion, the government is expecting to bring
into use about 1,745MW of power generation capacity before
Ramazan by suspending 650MW supply to the Karachi Electric
Supply Company and re-renting 185MW from defunct rental
power plants (RPP).

An emergency meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy
headed by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh held on
the directives of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf
discussed various measures to ensure continuous power
supply between Iftar and Taraweeh.


The meeting was informed that with improved river flows and
the onset of monsoon season, about 1,000MW of additional
hydropower generation would be available while 650MW
currently being provided by Wapda to the KESC would also be
diverted to the former’s own system.

An official said the KESC was facing severe criticism for
keeping its two plants shut and instead using cheaper
supplies from Wapda on the premise that it was not getting
adequate gas supplies.

The meeting decided to provide furnace oil to the KESC to
bring into production its two closed plants and suspend
Wapda supplies to Karachi. It also decided in principle to
utilise about 185MW from RPPs whose contracts had been
cancelled by the Supreme Court. The court had also ordered
an inquiry against all people involved in the process of
hiring RPPs.

With these additions, the government estimates the total
generation would reach 15,745MW. The meeting was informed
that the power generation on Thursday stood at about
12,940MW and demand at 18,713MW, a shortfall of about
5,773MW.

As some members of the cabinet committee were in a hurry,
it decided to meet again on Monday and give a final shape
to the plan, including release of subsidy by the finance
ministry. In the meanwhile, the water and power ministry
has been asked to reconcile its figures on receivables,
payables and subsidy requirements.

The meeting was informed that a commitment about supplying
207mmcfd of gas made by the petroleum ministry a few days
ago had not materialised. However, furnace oil supply which
averaged 14,300 tons in June was being increased to 28,000
tons which would help increase total generation to 14,000MW
by next week.

A key question about the recovery of receivables, however,
remained unanswered. The finance ministry was critical of
inability of the power sector to recover its bills. The
meeting agreed to release about Rs20 billion to the
Pakistan State Oil to ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies.

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06, July, 2012

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Broader talks with US on key issues needed: Sherry
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ISLAMABAD, July 5: Pakistan and the United States are set
to resume broader talks on security cooperation, militant
threats, aid and other issues in the wake of an agreement
to reopen supply routes into Afghanistan, Pakistan’s envoy
to Washington said on Thursday.

But bridging underlying differences that strained US-
Pakistani ties close to the breaking point will be daunting
as the allies remain at odds over how to handle the twin
threats of the Taliban in Afghanistan and militants in
Pakistani tribal areas.

The agreement reached this week prompting Pakistan to
reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, clinched when
US President Barack Obama’s administration ceded to months
of Pakistani demands to apologise for the US air attack
that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, was a
relief for both countries.

“I certainly think it opened the door to many other
issues,” Ambassador Sherry Rehman said in an interview.

“There’s a long road ahead, but both sides can use this
opportunity to build a path to durable ties,” she added.

A US official said no specific commitments were made to
increase military or counter-terrorism activities for
Pakistan, but there was a ‘good faith agreement’ to
continue talks on those issues.

“A number of other things became stuck with all this,” the
official said.

“It was never a money haggle or a transactional deal,” Ms
Rehman said, speaking during a visit to Islamabad where she
helped usher in the arrangement ending the months-long
deadlock.

The death of the 24 soldiers inflamed public opinion among
Pakistanis already angered by US drone strikes, the
presence of CIA personnel in Pakistan and other issues.
“We’re a very hospitable people but we don’t like being
taken for granted — that was the public sentiment,” she
said, stressing why the apology was so vital.

“You had 24 boys draped in flags… that’s not something that
was going away from the public domain. At every level this
percolated up and down” Pakistani society.

While the breakthrough is welcome news for both sides, a
harmonious road ahead is unlikely. Issues that have
inflamed bilateral ties persist, including US accusations
that Pakistan harbours militants and meddles in
Afghanistan, Pakistani chafing at US drone strikes and
fears on both sides that Pakistan’s western neighbour will
revert to chaos after most NATO troops leave by the end of
2014.

Pakistan has long complained that the United States has
overlooked its contribution to the fight against militants
— scores of Al Qaeda fighters were apprehended in Pakistan
with American help — and the threat Pakistanis themselves
face.

Late last month, more than 100 fighters loyal to Taliban
leader Fazlullah snuck across the Afghan border and staged
an ambush inside Pakistan. Several days later, the fighters
released a video of what they said were the heads of 17
ambushed soldiers, along with their identification cards.

It was a chilling reminder of the threat militants based in
Afghanistan pose to Pakistan — the mirror image of the
situation that fuels US complaints about Pakistan, and a
threat that would be sure to become more serious if
Afghanistan were to slip back into civil war.

The United States repeatedly has pressed Pakistan to pursue
the Taliban and its allies, especially the Haqqani network,
which it blames for a series of high-profile attacks in
Afghanistan. Ms Rehman said that most of Al Qaeda has been
decimated with Pakistani cooperation, and that Islamabad
would go after foreign fighters linked to other militants
according to “Pakistan's priorities” and time frame.

The immediate military priority was combating militants who
target Pakistani security forces and civilians, she said.
“We are going after our own right now — foreign fighters
and militants who are on our soil, who are attacking us. If
there is someone beheading me I am going to go after him
first.”

Ms Rehman said Pakistan stood to pay a high price if the
NATO project in Afghanistan did not produce a stable
country, in part because instability was likely to spill
over the two countries' porous border.

“For Pakistan, the stakes in Afghan stability are very
high,” Ms Rehman said.—Reuters

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06, July, 2012

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Two NATO containers cross into Afghanistan

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By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, July 5: Two containers carrying goods for NATO
forces crossed the Chaman border into Afghanistan on
Thursday.

“Two big containers loaded with Nato supplies were allowed
to cross into Spin-Boldak district of Afghanistan after
orders to that effect were received from the authorities in
Islamabad,” said Imran Razaq, Deputy Collector of Customs
in Chaman.

He said the customs department had received the orders
earlier, but security forces deployed at the border were
intimated on Thursday.

Sources said that two of the four containers which had been
there in the customs house since November last year when
Pakistan closed Nato supply routes had gone to Afghanistan
after customs clearance and the other two would leave on
Friday.
No fresh container reached Chaman from Karachi so far. “A
new convoy of containers is expected in two to three days,”
custom officials said.

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06, July, 2012

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People’s Representation Act redefined: Poll law violators
to face contempt proceedings: EC

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By Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD, July 5: The Election Commission has barred
holders of public offices from misusing their official
position to influence the outcome of an election in any
manner whatsoever and has warned those found to have done
so would have to face contempt proceedings entailing
disqualification.

According to a notification issued by the commission on
Thursday, the prime minister, chief ministers, federal
ministers, ministers of state, advisers to the president
and the prime minister, provincial ministers and advisers
to the chief ministers or any person on their behalf will
not visit the constituency and a polling station after an
election schedule has been issued, till the completion of
polls.

An official of the commission told Dawn that the
notification had been issued ahead of the by-election in a
constituency of Bannu scheduled for August 28, but would
become part of the code of conduct for the next general
election.

He said the provision of the code of conduct had blatantly
been violated in the past by holders of public offices
because no punishment was prescribed for it.
He pointed out that the Supreme Court had observed in a
judgment on June 8 that the commission was empowered not
only to act against illegal actions relating to the
election or corrupt practices, but also to review all
election activities for their affects on the standard of
‘fairness, justness and honesty’ that elections were
expected to meet.

The court also held that the Election Commission was
empowered to take pre-emptive measures to ensure that the
spirit of democracy and fairness of elections was observed.

He said it was against this background that the commission
for the first time had made it clear that legal action
under section 103 of the Representation of the People Act
of 1976 relating to contempt proceedings would be initiated
against the public office-holders abusing their official
position to manipulate poll results in any manner.

The holders of public offices have also been barred from
inaugurating, committing to undertake or announcing a
development project for the advancement of the campaign of
a candidate of his choice and thus influence the result of
election.

The notification said no executive authorities in the
federation and the provinces should use state resources
anywhere in the country for unfair advantage of a candidate
or a party, nor exercise undue influence affecting the
interest of a candidate or a party for participating in any
election.

Government employees found to be misusing their official
position in any manner calculated to influence the results
of an election will be tried by a court of sessions under
section 95 of the Representation of the People Act of 1976
and if found guilty may be punished with imprisonment for a
term which may extend to two years.

Bulk transfers and postings of civil servants will not be
made after the issuance of the schedule for elections till
the completion of polls and individual transfers and
postings except under exceptional circumstances, in
exigency of service and public interest, would be made with
prior approval of the commission.
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06, July, 2012

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FO justifies ‘sorry’ by Khar as expression of regret

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By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 5: When Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
said ‘sorry’ for losses incurred by the US in the war on
terror it was a mere expression of regret for the loss of
American lives in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, the
Foreign Office explained on Thursday.

“I think loss of lives is always regrettable and of course
you feel sorry for that,” Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam
Khan said at his weekly media briefing.

The statement issued by the US State Department on
Secretary Hillary Clinton’s July 3 conversation with Ms
Khar said: “The foreign minister and I were reminded that
our troops -- Pakistani and American -- are in a fight
against a common enemy. We are both sorry for losses
suffered by both our countries in this fight against
terrorists.”

Some diplomatic observers feel that this particular
reference to both Clinton and Khar saying ‘sorry’ for the
lives lost while fighting terrorists was actually put in
the US statement to define Secretary Clinton’s ‘sorry’.

The United States was reluctant to apologise over the
Salala incident in which 24 Pakistani soldiers had been
killed in a Nato attack and after protracted negotiations
both sides settled for the word ‘sorry’ to meet the
Pakistani demand for apology for moving forward with the
relationship.
Spokesman Khan insisted that Ms Clinton saying ‘sorry’ had
different connotations as compared to the two saying sorry
for the losses in the war on terror.

The Foreign Office’s interpretation of Ms Khar’s ‘sorry’ as
just ‘regret’ could intensify debate in the country where
critics are lashing out at the government and military for
agreeing to reopen the routes without getting an
unconditional apology as demanded by parliament.

Prior to Secretary Clinton’s ‘sorry’ the US had offered
regrets over the Salala incident on almost 20 different
occasions, but that failed to convince the Pakistani
leadership which kept insisting for a clear apology.

The spokesman who had to do a lot of explaining at the
briefing about the Pakistan-US deal that led to the
reopening of suspended Nato supply routes, also denied that
Ms Khar had accepted that mistakes had also been committed
by Pakistani troops in the events leading to the Salala
incident.

“First of all, I think the para does not say that they
‘accepted’. It says they ‘acknowledged’. And as far as my
understanding of this para is concerned, Foreign Minister
Khar did not say that she accepted or acknowledged that
mistakes were made on our part,” he noted.

The State Department’s statement had said: “Foreign
Minister Khar and I (Clinton) acknowledged the mistakes
that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.”

A Pentagon investigation into the Salala incident had
concluded that mistakes were committed by both sides. But
the report was rejected by the military and Defence
Committee of the Cabinet in January.

Mr Khan advised the media against getting into semantics
and said that instead this development needed to be seen in
the context of a larger objective of peace and stability in
Afghanistan and the region and the cooperative relationship
that Pakistan had with the 50 member states of Nato and
Isaf (International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan).
“Let me also assure you that the decision has been made in
the larger national interest and in the light of
parliamentary recommendations,” he said.

“The decision to block NATO supplies was made to ensure
that the country’s sovereignty was not violated again and
our red lines are respected, and of course, we would not
take the losses of our forces lightly.”

The statement by Secretary Clinton, he underscored, clearly
indicated that “the Americans understand our sensitivities
and respect our sovereignty”.

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06, July, 2012

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Shahbaz’s security chief hurt in blast

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LAHORE, July 5: Major (retd) Moaz, the chief security
officer of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, was
injured when an explosive device went off in his Iqbal Town
residence on Thursday.

He was admitted to Sheikh Zayed Hospital with multiple
injuries and his condition was stated to be stable.

DIG (operations) Rai Mohammad Tahir told Dawn that Major
Moaz had parked his official double-cabin vehicle outside
his Kareem Block residence in the afternoon. Some people
fixed a small explosive device with a magnate under the
vehicle.

Major Moaz came out in the evening and started driving the
vehicle. The device got detached and fell on the ground.
His maid, who was shutting the door, noticed something
having fallen from the vehicle and took it inside home. She
informed members of the family who called Major Moaz who
returned immediately, parked the vehicle and started
examining the device.
The device exploded and shrapnels hit his both legs. He was
taken to the hospital by a neighbour.

The DIG said Major Moaz had not given his statement to
police and it was not known whether he had received any
threats.

He said that security had been provided to him and a
investigation had been launched. Bomb disposal personnel
have collected evidence and their report about the nature
and quantity of explosives used in the device.

He said a case would be registered against unidentified
suspects under section 324 of the PPC, 3/4 Explosive Act
and 7-ATA. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah met Major
Moaz in the hospital and told reporters that he was out of
danger.—Staff Reporter

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06, July, 2012

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----

Where is premier’s PS Khushnood Lashari?

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By Imran Ali Teepu

ISLAMABAD, July 5: The Prime Minister’s Office is reported
to be in a fix because few civil servants are keen to be
elevated to the key bureaucratic position of principal
secretary to the PM.

“The general elections are to be held in March next year
and since these eight months will add no additional value
to the resume of a bureaucrat who will prefer to serve for
a longer period in the next government,” a senior official
told Dawn.

Where is Principal Secretary to the PM Khushnood Akhtar
Lashari? It is a million-dollar question. Is he on medical
leave?
According to a bureaucrat, it is difficult to say anything
about the possibility of Mr Lashari’s return to his
position, especially because of his alleged involvement in
the ephedrine scandal.

Prime Minister’s public relations officer Farah Jabeen told
Dawn: “He [Mr Lashari] is on leave.” Asked if he will
return to his office, she said: “The word over the
grapevine is that he will return.”

Another senior official of the PM’s House, who did not want
to be named, said Mr Lashari was to resume his duty in the
first week of July and rumours about his staying in the UK
permanently should not be given any importance.

A close friend of Mr Lashari, who did not want to be
identified, told Dawn: “Mr Lashari underwent prostate
medical tests and also a biopsy in London.”

He said Mr Lashari was due to arrive on Tuesday but he had
to delay his return because his physicians advised him to
undergo biopsy.

“He will also undergo a few more tests,” he added.

The additional charge of establishment secretary which Mr
Lashari held has already been given to Information
Secretary Taimoor Azmat.

According to a senior official, Mr Azmat was close to the
presidency, especially to Secretary General Salman Farooqi,
and he was given the responsibility because there was no-
one to handle transfers and postings of civil servants.

Special Secretary Munir Ahmed, who had been posted in the
establishment division, was not given the additional charge
of establishment secretary. “Mr Ahmed assists the
government in court cases,” an official said.

Hasan Nawaz Tarar, who is second in command at the PM’s
secretariat, has been given the additional charge of
principal secretary to the PM.

“Since an additional secretary has been given the
additional charge of principal secretary to the PM
indicates that Mr Lashari is likely to make a comeback,”
said an official of the PM’s House.
But there are rumours that the PM’s House has started
considering the names of officials, including Secretary for
Cabinet and Defence Divisions Nargis Sethi, Capital
Administration & Development Division Secretary Imtiaz
Inayat Elahi and Shahid Rafi, a retired civil servant, as
Mr Lashari’s replacement.

Shahid Rafi worked as secretary in the ministry of water
and power when Raja Pervez Ashraf held the charge of that
ministry. Mr Rafi is being investigated by the National
Accountability Bureau for his alleged involvement in the
rental power projects scam.


An official said Nargis Sethi had served as principal
secretary to the PM, but her close association with former
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani might not go well with
Raja Ashraf.

The official said Imtiaz Inayat Elahi was known as a non-
political person and was not involved in a major
controversy during various assignments.

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06, July, 2012

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Awan tells SC he is being discriminated against

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By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, July 5: Former law minister Babar Awan bemoaned
on Thursday before the Supreme Court hearing contempt
charges against him that he was being discriminated against
and this created an impression that standards of dispensing
justice were different for different people.

“Justice will be seen to be done only if people are treated
with parity,” he argued.
Mr Awan is facing the contempt charge for his media jibe at
the judiciary. He had severely criticised the apex court at
a press conference on Dec 1 last year soon after it had
ordered an inquiry into the memo scandal by Tariq Khosa, a
former director general of the FIA, and attacked a sitting
SC judge for being a brother of Mr Khosa.

On May 17, a two-judge bench had indicted Mr Awan for
bringing the apex court into hatred and ridicule by
defaming and scandalising through the press conference.

On Thursday, Mr Awan regretted that he was being arraigned
in the contempt case only because he was a senior advocate
of the Supreme Court and it was not expected of him to
ridicule the judiciary. He cited the case of Dr Arsalan
Iftikhar, son of the chief justice, who is facing the
allegation of financial wrongdoing.

“I admire the Supreme Court judgment in the Dr Arsalan case
because the provisions of Article 10-A which ensures fair
trial was rightly invoked,” he said, adding that he was
happy because he was law minister when this concept was
incorporated through the 18th Amendment in the
Constitution.

Mr Awan also said the Supreme Court had rightly decided
that allegations involving Dr Arsalan should be decided by
a proper forum despite a lot of furore and hullabaloo in
the country at the time.

He cited another case involving a PML-N member of
parliament who was accused of grabbing land worth Rs6.5
billion, but this matter was also referred to the trial
court concerned. The purpose of this argument, he said, was
to convince the court to refer his matter to the Pakistan
Bar Council, the mother organisation regulating the affairs
of the legal fraternity.

Mr Awan deplored that it was the seventh month that his
licence to practise before the Supreme Court had been
suspended.

Justice Eajaz Afzal observed that the court had to examine
whether the instant matter related to the contempt of court
or a case of professional misconduct. The counsel, he said,
should not pre-empt the court’s decision because if the
court came to the conclusion that it was the case of
professional misconduct then it would send the matter to
the PBC, otherwise proceed with the contempt matter.

Mr Awan argued that the bench was a quorum non judice and
had no authority to proceed with the contempt case,
especially when the chief law officer who is attorney
general had said the country was without any law on
contempt

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06, July, 2012

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Sherry, Donilon played key role in breaking the deadlock

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By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, July 5: US officials have said that National
Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Ambassador Sherry Rehman
played a key role in breaking the deadlock between Pakistan
and United States by arguing for a compromise settlement
acceptable to both sides.


In an article on the process, the Wall Street Journal said
on Thursday that a signal was conveyed when Mr Donilon
appeared at a backyard barbecue hosted by Ambassador Sherry
Rehman at her residence.

The paper quoted US officials as saying that his attendance
was seen by the Pakistanis as a clear signal that the White
House wanted to resolve the dispute and get the
relationship back on track.

Ms Rehman had been shuttling between the State Department
and the White House asking them to reach a compromise to
move forward, the WSJ article said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides
consistently urged an apology for US mistakes in the name
of improved relations, the WSJ said.

Officials also told the paper that the White House came to
realise that there was no way that Islamabad, in an
election year in Pakistan, could reopen the routes without
an apology to calm the irate Pakistani public and the
military’s rank and file.

US officials said the apology by Mrs Clinton also helped
get the Pakistanis to drop demands for huge mark-ups in
NATO payments for each cargo container transiting Pakistani
territory.

Officials said the word “sorry” was the solution that was
acceptable to the Pakistanis.

The White House balked at authorising Mrs Clinton to use
the word “apologise.” US officials said some senior White
House advisers were concerned such language could be used
by Republicans to cast Mr Obama as an “apologiser-in-
chief.”

The officials said the final language was far less than
what Pakistani officials initially sought. Mrs Clinton
stopped short of taking responsibility for the deaths. The
Pentagon says Pakistan was party to blame for the incident.
Besides, WSJ said, a Pakistani politician speculated that
the Zardari government needed financial support from the US
to move forward.

The US is expected to transfer more than $1 billion in
frozen military aid, a first instalment on arrears that
Islamabad says Washington owes.

By Tuesday, the standoff over the border crossings had
become a symbol of Washington’s troubled relations with
Pakistan, a country that since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks
has become a sometimes difficult ally in the US war on
terrorism.

More broadly, officials said they hoped the deal opening
the border crossings would now clear the way for talks
aimed at reaching a more sustainable joint approach to
counter-terrorism.
US officials, the paper said, were concerned that Pakistani
opposition would imperil a US campaign against Pakistan-
based militants using armed Central Intelligence Agency-
piloted drones.

In the past, the US and Pakistan shared intelligence and
made lists of common militant targets, but that cooperation
broke down over a series of controversial incidents
beginning in early 2011.

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07, July, 2012

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Allies agree to support four new bills

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By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, July 6: Parties in the ruling coalition vowed on
Friday to ensure smooth passage from parliament of four
important bills apparently aimed at protecting the
government from Supreme Court’s action.

The pledge was made by PPP’s allies at a meeting jointly
presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime
Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

The bills relate to contempt of court, dual nationality,
increase in pension of judges and validation of actions and
decisions taken by former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
after his conviction in the contempt case.

The appointment of a new chief election commissioner also
came under discussion.

The President’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said Law
Minister Farook H. Naek had briefed the meeting on
legislative measures proposed to be placed before the
National Assembly and the Senate during the current
session.
Inside sources said some leaders of parties in the ruling
coalition had expressed concern over the bills, but later
agreed to support them. “Coalition partners reiterated
their support for the government,” the spokesman said.

CONTEMPT OF COURT BILL: Mr Naek said one legislative
measure was enacting of a law relating to contempt of
court. He was quoted as saying: “The proposed contempt law
is a blend of the powers of the court to punish for its
contempt with the right of citizens in a democracy for fair
comments and criticism.”

He explained that the proposed law provided for punishment
for contempt as well as full opportunity to the accused for
a fair trial, including transparent procedures for right to
appeal. He said the right to appeal was being streamlined
in the bill.

The bill is likely to be approved by the National Assembly
and the Senate before July 12 – the Supreme Court’s
deadline for the government to write a letter to the Swiss
authorities to reopen money-laundering cases against
President Zardari.

The Contempt of Court Act 2012, which the government
intends to get passed from the coming session of the two
houses of parliament, provides blanket immunity to top
government functionaries for their executive actions. It
can also be used for initiating disciplinary proceedings
against a judge, without fearing that the move may come
under the ambit of contempt.

The bill is obviously aimed at avoiding a situation in
which Prime Minister Ashraf may face a similar contempt of
court like his predecessor did for not writing the letter
to Swiss authorities.

DUAL NATIONALITY BILL: “The 22nd constitutional amendment
seeks to remove impediments in the way of Pakistanis
holding dual nationality/ citizenship from contesting
election to parliament,” the law minister said.

He said a number of countries in the world allowed their
citizens to hold dual nationality and the Pakistan
Citizenship Act also permitted it.
The bill is aimed at allowing voting and participation in
elections for Pakistanis holding dual nationality. It will
benefit parliamentarians of the ruling coalition with dual
nationality.

The Supreme Court has disqualified a number of
parliamentarians for holding dual passport. The government
had to make Interior Minister Rehman Malik an adviser after
his disqualification by the court.

GILANI’S DECISIONS: The law minister said the fourth
legislative measure was an ordinance which would be placed
before the National Assembly to validate acts, orders and
decisions taken and issued from April 26 to June 19 by the
former prime minister.

The Supreme Court order dated June 19, 2012, and the
notification of the

Election Commission are retrospective from April 26, 2012,
when Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified as member of the
National Assembly and ceased to be prime minister.

Mr Naek said it was necessary that acts and orders issued
by the prime minister from April 26 to June 19 were given
protection and validity to avoid legal complications.

JUDGES’ PENSION: The law minister briefed the meeting on
the rationale and background of proposed legislative
measures which had already been approved by the cabinet. He
said a constitutional amendment bill, called the 21st
constitutional amendment bill, will be placed before the
National Assembly to increase the pension amount for widows
of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts from 50 per
cent to 75 per cent.

The meeting was attended by former Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani, Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry
Pervez Elahi, Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, Senator Afrasiab
Khattak, Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Nadeem Ahsan, Senator Mir
Israrullah Zehri, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi and Munir Khan
Orakzai.

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07, July, 2012
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Precious Gandhara relics seized

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By S. Raza Hassan and Bhagwandas

KARACHI, July 6: Police seized a large number of artifacts
and relics dating from the Gandhara civilisation during
search of a trailer-mounted container in Landhi early on
Friday morning and caught two people.

Some of the heavier stone artifacts were damaged due to
defective packaging, transportation and careless unloading
from the container at the police station.

The haul comprised statues of Gautama Buddha, life-sized
idols, plaques and utensils.

Gandhara was a Buddhist civilisation which evolved in the
Peshawar valley and in parts of what is now eastern
Afghanistan over 2, 000 years ago.

The artifacts enjoy protection under the Antiquities Act of
1975. The law restricts digging of and trade in protected
objects, prescribing long prison terms and heavy fines,
Qasim Ali Qasim, an official of the Sindh Culture
Department, told Dawn.

Majeed Abbas, a police official, said the truck was
intercepted on a tip-off. He said the artifacts and relics
were kept in a godown in Ibrahim Haidery, a coastal fishing
village near Karachi. From here they were being transported
to Sialkot when the police intercepted the trailer and
brought it to the Awami Colony police station.

The police have detained the driver and the cleaner.
According to police, the two identified the owner of the
contraband consignment as Arif Butt. No more arrests were
made till Friday midnight.

In reply to queries by Dawn, National Museum chief Mohammad
Shah Bokhari said till late in the evening inventory had
been made of 38 artifacts while five huge boxes would be
opened on Saturday morning.

Mr Bokhari had gone to the police station along with an
authority on Gandhara civilisation, Ejaz Illahi. Many of
the artifacts are life size and some even bigger. The
pieces, mostly grey- or blue-coloured, are made out of
stone. They date back to between AD 1 and 500. He said a
large number of brooms and related items were used to
cushion, as well as camouflage, the priceless pieces.

According to Mr Qasim, the Culture Department director, one
of the statues was a Boddhisattva (Buddha before achieving
Nirvana). Among others was a “Hariti” (a witch who, as the
legend goes, used to kill children, but after meeting
Gautama Buddha repented and was transformed into a
protector of children); and a “Jataka” — a stone panel
depicting the scene at the time of Buddha’s birth.

A good number of the sculptures were three to four metres
long and very heavy. Since police did not realise that
these were priceless gifts from antiquity, they did not
bother to seek labourers’ help for unloading the relics.
The objects were damaged as these were hurled down to the
ground from a considerable height.

“When I saw the recklessness, I advised police to get some
help, mechanical or manual. Sense prevailed and soon two
mechanical lifters were pressed in,” Mr Qasim said.

He said that it was mystifying why the artifacts were
brought all the way from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Karachi if
their destination was Sialkot. “Probably the smugglers
intended to smuggle these out of the country through
Karachi port or airport, but after failing to do so, they
decided to send the consignment to Sialkot dry port for
eventual shipment overseas,” the director speculated.

This is not the first time that a large haul of artifacts
has been seized. A few years ago over 1,500 artifacts —
including over 400 Gandhara sculptures, pre-historic
(Balochistan) and Islamic era relics — had been caught by
anti-narcotics authorities at Karachi port.

In another seizure over 500 artifacts — including Islamic-
era pottery and coins — were seized in a post office by the
Customs.
AFP adds: Mr Qasim said he believed the items had been
brought to Karachi a piece or two at a time.

“The thieves and mafias involved in this business dig in
the northwest, which is filled with Gandhara sites with
little control by the authorities,” he said.

“They dug up ancient pieces, accumulated them in Karachi
and then intended to send them to Afghanistan in the garb
of a NATO vehicle after Pakistan reopened the route.”

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07, July, 2012

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18 gunned down in Turbat restaurant

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By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, July 6: Gunmen killed 18 people having lunch in a
roadside eatery in Horr Shorly area of Turbat on Friday.
Two other men were seriously injured.

No organisation claimed responsibility till late Friday
night for the attack by six gunmen.

The killing appeared to be different from the familiar
pattern of recent attacks targeting mostly Shia pilgrims
going to Iran, although the victims also were traveling to
Iran.

Official sources told Dawn that most of the people in the
group were from Punjab. They reportedly planned to enter
Iran illegally in order to subsequently go to Europe. They
had stopped in Horr Shorly for lunch when they were pelted
with bullets. “Six men on three motorcycles came to the
restaurant and started firing indiscriminately at the
people having a meal,” a senior official of the district
administration said, adding that 18 people died on the
spot.
The attackers managed to escape. The motive for the attack
could not be ascertained, the official said.

Law-enforcement personnel rushed to the site and took the
dead and injured to Turbat hospital.

Doctors said all victims had suffered multiple bullet
wounds which caused immediate death. The condition of the
two injured was stated to be critical.

District   administration sources said that the victims
belonged   to different areas of Punjab and they had paid
money to   a gang of human traffickers to be taken to
European   countries via Iran and Turkey.

Sources said the victims had earlier arrived in Karachi and
travelled through the coastal highway to the Guddan area of
Turbat to cross into Iran.

Sources also said the group avoided entering Iran via the
Zero-Gate in Taftan on the Pak-Iran border, possibly
because they had no legal travel documents. Law-
enforcement personnel have cordoned off the entire area to
trace suspects.

Although no group had claimed responsibility for attacking
the group, police sources citing findings of a preliminary
investigation claimed that separatist militant groups
appeared to be involved in the killing.

Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani condemned the
killings and said human smugglers and traffickers involved
in the incident would be arrested.

 Cleric shot dead

A religious scholar was gunned down in the Sariab area of
Quetta on Friday night.

Official sources told Dawn that two gunmen on a bike came
to the Musa Colony and opened fire on Maulana Muhammad
Qasim who was standing outside his house.“

The Maulana was hit by five bullets and died on the spot,”
police said. The attackers managed to escape.
Police rushed to the place, took the body to a hospital and
handed it over to the family after post-mortem.

Maulana Qasim belonged to Sar Mastani Baloch tribe, a
police official said, adding that it appeared to be a
sectarian incident.

No group claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack
till late Friday night.

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07, July, 2012

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Twenty die in double drone attack

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MIRAMSHAH, July 6: Twenty people were killed and four
others injured when missiles fired by US drones slammed
into a residential compound in North Waziristan on Friday
night, three days after Pakistan reopened Nato supply
routes to Afghanistan.

According to sources, six missiles hit the fortress-like
residence of tribesman Muhammad in Zoi Nari locality of
tehsil Dattakhel at around 8:45pm.

Local people rushed to the site of the attack and started
rescue work while drones continued to hover over the area.
They retrieved 17 bodies and two injured persons from the
rubble of the house.

At about 10:30pm, the drones fired another two missiles on
the compound, some 35km from the agency’s headquarters of
Miramshah, when tribesmen were still carrying out rescue
work. Three people died and two others were injured in the
attack.

Local tribesmen feared the number of the people killed or
injured might go up because they had to stop work due to
the hovering drones. They said most of the bodies retrieved
were mutilated beyond recognition.

Other sources said most of the dead were militants.

They suspected that the house, completely destroyed in the
attack, was being used by militants.

It was the first drone attack since the US and Pakistani
authorities reached an agreement to reopen Nato supply
routes Pakistan had closed after a US air raid on the
Salala checkpost in Mohmand tribal Agency along Afghanistan
border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The government and opposition parties and tribal people
wanted the resumption of NATO supply routes linked to
suspension of drone attacks. The parliament had also
demanded a halt to the raids. The fresh attacks will
certainly provide religious groups and opposition parties
ammunition to assail the government for deciding to reopen
the routes without obtaining such an assurance from the
United States.

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07, July, 2012

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A timely deal rescues fraught ties — for now

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By Cyril Almeida

THE dramatic, synchronised announcement of a breakthrough
in stalled ties with the US last Tuesday took most
officials, diplomats and observers in Islamabad by
surprise.

That a deal would eventually be worked out was accepted in
many quarters — stubbornness notwithstanding, neither the
US nor Pakistan had indicated that it wanted ties to break
down entirely — but the timing was unexpected.
The suddenness of the apology-cum-reopening deal has
fuelled speculation that both sides saw the window of
opportunity for an agreement was on the verge of closing:
July 4, Independence Day in the US, offering a final chance
for American officials to slip in an apology before the US
presidential election campaign kicks into high gear.

The weekend of July 4 has seen drama in the Pak-US
relationship before: in 1999, then-prime minister Nawaz
Sharif rushed to DC for an emergency meeting with President
Clinton to end the Kargil conflict and save his
premiership.

Was history repeating itself this week, but for very
different reasons 13 years on?

According to Bruce Riedel, “Washington is largely closed
for the holiday … no one is really focused on the deal that
much which is probably fine with Secretary Clinton who does
not want to be accused of apologising to Pakistan by the
Romney camp.”

A Pakistani official in Islamabad speaking on the condition
of anonymity offered a similar assessment: “The weekend of
July 4th was crucial. The demand hadn’t been for an
‘unconditional apology’ but we made it clear that something
had to be done. But the White House was resistant to the
idea of yet another apology.”

Finding the right moment for a soft apology that would
avoid President Obama being painted as the ‘apologiser-in-
chief’ by his Republican opponent was only part of the
problem, however: the other part was getting the fractious
policy-making elite in the US to agree that a deal had to
be made.

According to analysts and officials familiar with debates
on Pakistan policy in the US, two factors helped nudge the
White House towards a deal this week: a reluctance to be
wholly dependent on Putin’s Russia via the Central Asian
states and the Northern Distribution Network; and the fear
that Nato allies with more severe domestic budgetary
constraints and shorter withdrawal timelines than the US
may enter into their own deals with Pakistan.

While European diplomats in Islamabad strenuously denied
that the US’s European allies could contemplate separate
supply-route deals with Pakistan, what appears more likely
is that they put pressure on the US and Pakistan to settle
their seven-month old dispute.



Moral high ground

Privately, officials familiar with the negotiations for
reopening the supply route pointed towards a significant
role for the UK, which was part of the negotiation process
as the unofficial representative of European countries. On
the Pakistani side, the surprise was the exclusion of the
well-publicised demand for higher transit fees.

Individuals familiar with the thinking of the Pakistan Army
leadership suggest that Gen Kayani had indicated a
willingness to drop the demand for higher transit fees in
recent weeks.

Quite why that is so is disputed, however.

According to one individual who spoke on the condition of
anonymity to protect private conversations, Gen Kayani
suggested that the demand for higher transit fees was a
mistake as it made Pakistan lose the ‘moral high ground’
and painted the country as an opportunist.

Bruce Riedel, though, believes that it was because the
Pakistani negotiating point man, Hafeez Shaikh, had wrested
concessions from the US on other payments due the army:
“Finance Minister Abdul Hafez Shaikh gets most of the
credit here. He came across as serious and non-ideological.
He was also focused on the coalition-support-funds issue,
which he discussed only in private. Since the army really
wanted their money he got the generals the thing they
wanted most.”



Hot pursuit

A Pakistani official involved in the Pak-US negotiations
offered a different assessment, suggesting that the army
had finally begun to pay attention to officials on both the
American and Pakistani sides arguing that the longer the
supply-route closure continued, the more likely hardliners
in Washington would prevail in the debate on whether to
engage or punish Pakistan.

“If things continued like this, by September, if there was
some incident in Afghanistan, we’d probably have American
boots on the ground in Pakistan, raids to go after the guys
they want to go after,” the official said. “We couldn’t
afford that.”

The story of why now, why the apology and why the decision
to not charge higher fees is not complete, however, without
the story of the near-dysfunctional policy-making apparatus
on both the Pakistani and American sides.

“There is still no centre of gravity in decision-making on
Pakistan in the US. No visible leader leading the charge.
And the situation is mirrored in Pakistan,” said Shuja
Nawaz, director of the South Asia Centre at the Atlantic
Council, a US think-tank.


Nawaz suggested that the involvement of US Deputy Secretary
of State Thomas Nides and Assistant Secretary of Defence
Peter Lavoy helped bring the diplomats and the defence
establishment in the US on the same page, while the
national security principals at the White House had been
continually engaged on resolving the impasse with Pakistan.

But with so many officials involved – often officials with
divergent views on how to handle the complicated
relationship with Pakistan – there is little possibility of
the arguments over Pakistan ending anytime soon.

The same is true of Pakistan. At least four different power
centres were pulling the process of stabilising relations
with the US in different directions: GHQ; the presidency;
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Hina Khar; and the
Pakistan embassy in DC.

With ideological differences compounding the differences
over strategy and tactics – to the extent that any are
visible – on the Pakistani side, the capacity to respond
effectively and collectively when the next crisis in Pak-US
relations inevitably hits is more in doubt than ever.

More likely, the deal to reopen the Nato/Isaf supply route
may prove to be the exception in a pattern of deteriorating
ties between the US and Pakistan over the last couple of
years.

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07, July, 2012

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NATO accord may soon be replaced by new pact

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By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, July 6: An agreement on Nato ground transit
routes reopened earlier this week after a seven-month
blockade, may soon be replaced by a new bilateral logistics
pact between the United States and Pakistan.

The routes were reopened under the agreement that existed
at the time of closure of supplies on Nov 26 in response to
a US attack on the Salala border chekpost which left 24
soldiers dead.

“We have resumed our relations from the point where we left
in November last year,” US Deputy Chief of Mission Richard
A. Hoagland said at a ceremony while referring to the
arrangement governing the resumed supplies. However,
diplomatic sources say that the reopening under the
previous arrangement was done as a stop gap arrangement
after the government agreed to permit Nato cargo to pass
through the country.

Pakistan and the US are now negotiating a Memorandum of
Understanding for transit of US cargo.Other Nato countries,
if interested, may later accede to it.

“The idea behind the new agreement is to manage the transit
traffic,” an official said.

The negotiations on the new arrangement, which started in
early May, continued till last month and sources said that
90 per cent of the technical discussions had been
completed.

“Now with the political decision taken, the MoU could be
signed soon,” one source said, adding that it would go
through the process set by parliament for signing of any
agreement with a foreign government.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the two sides have opted
for a bilateral agreement instead of the one for all
coalition countries as was the case in the past. Two
plausible explanations are that negotiators might be
looking at the post-2014 scenario when Nato would have
withdrawn its forces from Afghanistan and it would be
mainly the US that would be using the route. Secondly, as
one could make out from statements of the Pakistani
leadership prior to the decision to reopen the routes, they
don’t want strains with the US at any stage in future to
affect their ties with other countries involved in
Afghanistan.

While presiding over a DCC meeting which approved the
reopening of routes, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf
said: “The continued closure of supply lines not only
impinges on our relationship with the US, but also on our
relations with 49 other member states of Nato/Isaf.”

This is a scenario that the government is probably trying
to avoid in future.

The sources confirmed that Pakistan and the US, as part of
their talks on routes, had been discussing the US
assistance for repair of roads being used for transporting
the cargo for Afghanistan.

The discussions have been taking place with the ministry of
finance and the National Highway Authority which has
already identified several strips which needed repair. It
is likely that the US, instead of directly funding the
roads repair programme, might get it done through some
international financial institution.

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07, July, 2012
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Pakistan to scan all Containers

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KARACHI: All containers passing through Pakistan to supply
Nato troops in Afghanistan are to be scanned to ensure they
do not contain ammunition and weapons, customs officials
said on Friday.

Islamabad reopened overland routes to Nato convoys earlier
this week after closing them in protest at a US air raid
that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border post in
November.

A number of trucks have already crossed into Afghanistan,
but the vast majority are still at the Karachi port, where
they have stood idle for the past seven months.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad plummeted following
the air strike and blockade, which ended after US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the deaths.

The two sides are still rebuilding trust and officials in
Karachi said there would be thorough checks to ensure the
convoys conformed to parliamentary guidelines barring the
transport of lethal supplies.

“We scanned the containers randomly in the past, but now
every container will be duly scanned,” Karachi customs
spokesman Qamar Thalho said.

He said any item “not mentioned in the agreements between
Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Nato” could be
seized.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity said the
move was intended to stymie opposition parties and
religious groups – who have criticised the resumption of
supplies.

“A strict scanning of the cargo is just one important
measure not to give enough space to the opposition to
exploit public sentiments,” the official said.
Religious parties and campaign groups held protests against
the resumption of NATO supply lines in Karachi, Islamabad
and Multan on Friday.

Up to 1,500 trucks packed with NATO supplies have been
stranded in Karachi during the blockade, unable to unload
and find other work.

Rana Mohammad Aslam, vice president of the All Pakistan
Goods Carrier Association, said 560,000 rupees ($6,000)
compensation per vehicle would be paid to the truck owners
by NATO subcontractors.

The land routes into Afghanistan are vital as the United
States and NATO withdraw troops and equipment built up
since the 2001 invasion.

The blockade had forced the United States and its allies to
rely on longer, more expensive routes through Central Asia,
Russia and the Caucasus, costing the US military about $100
million a month, according to the Pentagon.—AFP

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07, July, 2012

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Ayub Qazi new principal secretary to premier

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ISLAMABAD, July 6: It has taken Prime Minister Raja Pervez
Ashraf nearly two weeks to appoint his full-time principal
secretary. On Friday, he transferred eight federal
secretaries and appointed a new managing director of the
Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Supplies Corporation
(Passco).

At the time of Mr Ashraf’s election as prime minister on
June 22, Khushnood Lashari was holding the charge of
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, but was abroad
on leave reportedly for medical reasons.
When Mr Lashari, who is one of the accused in the ephedrine
scandal, prolonged his stay in London, the prime minister
started looking for his new top aide and eventually
appointed Ayub Qazi, a BS-22 officer of the District and
Management Group (DMG).

A soft-spoken man, Mr Qazi was already working as special
secretary in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat looking after
the PM’s development funds.

Many believe that Mr Lashari is prolonging his stay in
London to avoid the ANF-led investigation into the scam
which also involves Musa Ali Gilani, son of former Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and Textile Minister Makhdoom
Shahabuddin.

Mr Shahabuddin was federal minister for health and had Mr
Lashari as his secretary when the unaccounted for quota of
ephedrine was imported.

Another significant reshuffle of the day was of Taimur
Azmat Usman who has been transferred from the ministry of
information to the establishment division. Choudhry Rasheed
Ahmad, a well-known figure of the information services,
will now work as secretary information.

According to the grapevine, Mr Usman’s differences with
Director General of Radio Pakistan Murtaza Solangi, a PPP
loyalist, have led to his posting out of the ministry.
Radio Pakistan falls under the administrative control of
information ministry. Otherwise, he was a good fit with
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira.

Dr Waqar Masood, who was directly inducted into civil
services by the late Benazir Bhutto during her first
government and is known as a PPP favourite, has been moved
from the economic affairs division to the ministry of
petroleum and natural resources. He has been replaced by
Javed Iqbal, another DMG officer who had worked as chief
secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and later as secretary of
Pakistan Railways.

Mr Iqbal’s differences with Minister for Railways Ghulam
Ahmad Bilour are quite a known story in the federal
bureaucracy. “Mr Bilour wanted a complete ‘yes man’, which
Mr Iqbal known for his clean reputation, refused to act
like and hence he was eventually posted out of the
ministry,” said a federal secretary who didn’t want to be
identified.

Ijaz Choudhry, who was working in the petroleum ministry,
for the time being, has not been given any new assignment.

The posting of Israr Rauf, a BS-21 officer of income tax,
as secretary of the Capital Administration and Development
(CAD) under Nazar Mohammad Gondal, is being seen as the
most intriguing in the bureaucratic circles.

Most of the time of his service, Mr Rauf has worked for the
Federal Bureau of Revenue.

“Mr Gondal has especially asked for Mr Rauf who is known
for developing quick rapport with politicians and then
milking them to his favour,” said an official close to Mr
Rauf.

Imtiaz Inayat Ilahi has been transferred from the CAD to
the regulation and services ministry under Dr Firdous Ashiq
Awan. It is a less attractive assignment, compared to Mr
Ilahi’s earlier posting as chairman of the Capital
Development Authority, where he had served for three years.

Maj-Gen Tauqeer was appointed managing director of Passco.

Kamran Qureshi has been posted as secretary of Kashmir
Affairs.—Khawar Ghumman

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07, July, 2012

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US wants to rebuild ties in all sectors

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By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, July 6: The United States wants to rebuild its
relations with Pakistan in all sectors, from Afghanistan to
increasing bilateral trade and investment, says the US
State Department.

A senior State Department official Patrick Ventrell noted
at a briefing in Washington that the United States had
already started using the Pakistan route for supplying its
troops in Afghanistan.

The two countries agreed on Tuesday to reopen the route
Pakistan had closed after the Nov 26 US air raid that
killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The United States has said
sorry to Pakistan over the incident.

“We are pleased that Pakistan has decided to open the Nato
supply lines and that the first few containers have moved
across the border,” said Mr Ventrell. “It’s a tangible
demonstration of Pakistan’s support for a secure, peaceful,
and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Responding to a question   on restoring the once strong
relationship between the   two countries, the State
Department official said   the US was focused on moving
forward in its relations   with Pakistan on all fronts.

The two countries, he noted, had many shared interests,
including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,
increasing bilateral trade and investment, expanding
regional trade, and strengthening people-to-people ties
between the Pakistani and American nations.

“So we’re really looking to moving forward with Pakistan in
our relationship as best as we can,” he said.

Other US officials said that even at the peak of the supply
route controversy, the Obama administration never thought
of ending its relationship with Pakistan.“We knew that good
sense will prevail and this problem will be sorted out,”
said one official.

At a separate briefing, Tim Lenderking, director of the
Office of Pakistan Affairs at a State Department bureau,
observed that the decision to reopen the supply lines
brought Islamabad “back into alignment” with the
international community’s efforts for Afghanistan.

Addressing the 35th annual meeting of Pakistani-American
physicians in Washington, Mr Lenderking described the Nov
26 incident as a “terrible tragedy”. Now that the dispute
was over, the two countries could move forward to rebuild
their relationship, he added. “We recognise that hugely
important works need to be done.”

The US official observed that while the United States and
Pakistan had many common interests, “no two countries can
have a 100 per cent agreement on everything”.

While rebuilding this relationship, he said, the goal would
be to “merge our interests with your interests” but there
were certain things that Pakistan will have to do itself.

The United States, he said, could help Pakistan improve its
capacity to improve power generation, “but ultimately, you
have to find a solution to the energy crisis” which was
crippling the Pakistani economy.

Similarly, he added, Pakistan would also have to expand its
tax net. He noted that no external support could revive an
economy when only two per cent people paid their taxes.

David McCloud, a senior USAID official, told the meeting
that the United States was supporting the completion of
Gomal Zam and Satpara dams as well as rehabilitation of
Muzaffargarh, Guddu, Tarbela and Jamshoro power plants.
Together, these efforts will enhance Pakistan’s power
generation capacity by up to 1,000MW.

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07, July, 2012

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Asma in UN team to probe Israeli settlements

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GENEVA, July 6: The United Nations named French judge
Christine Chanet on Friday as the leader of a team of three
experts who will investigate whether Israeli settlements in
the Palestinian territories violate human rights law.
The other team members are Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir
and Botswana judge Unity Dow.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) launched the probe in
March under an initiative brought to the 47-member forum by
the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s ally the United States
was the only member to vote against it.

The council said Israel’s planned construction of new
housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-
state solution and the creation of an independent
Palestinian state.

Israel on Friday condemned the investigation. “The
establishment of this mission is another blatant expression
of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC,” a foreign
ministry statement said.

“This fact-finding mission will find no co-operation in
Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel
and the Territories.”

The council’s president, Uruguay’s ambassador Laura Dupuy
Lasserre, announced the names of the investigators after
holding consultations among member states, diplomats said.

As the team will not be allowed access to Israeli
settlements, they are likely to have to gather information
from second-hand sources, including media.

Even if the investigators conclude settlements violate
human rights law, US opposition is likely to stymie any
attempt to impose any punishment on Israel.—Reuters


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07, July, 2012

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LHC asks doctors to resume emergency services
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By Wajih Ahmad Sheikh

LAHORE, July 6: The Lahore High Court directed the striking
young doctors on Friday to resume work in emergency wards
of public sector hospitals by Saturday morning. The court
also directed the Punjab government not to unduly harass
the striking doctors and allow them to return to emergency
wards.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the directives while hearing
petitions against the strike and for cancellation of young
doctors’ licences for allegedly committing professional
misconduct.

Punjab Health Secretary Arif Nadeem assured the court that
the government would have no objection to the return of
doctors nor would it stop them from resuming work in
emergency wards.

The judge expressed the hope that the Young Doctors
Association (YDA) would abide by its commitment and resume
work in emergency wards.

During the proceedings, representatives of the YDA were
reluctant to come up with any commitment about resuming
work at the outdoor patient department (OPD) in hospitals
when the judge asked them to call off their strike
completely.

They demanded that their colleagues arrested in a case
about the death (murder) of a baby should be released
immediately and the case against them quashed.

But the judge said the doctors were on remand and the court
could not order their release without hearing the
complainant. “The court has sympathy for the young doctors
but denying treatment to patients is illegal and the strike
is a clear violation of Supreme Court’s directives,”
Justice Ahsan observed.

Dr Basit, the counsel for the Pakistan Medical and Dental
Council, told the court that not only the strike by young
doctors was illegal but the YDA itself was also illegal. He
said the young doctors had been committing professional
misconduct and the council received two references against
them. “The council being a regulatory body can cancel their
(doctors) licences,” he said.

But the judge asked the counsel not to take any adverse
action against the striking doctors till a decision on the
case.

Additional Advocate General Faisal Zaman informed the court
that 32 striking doctors detained by the government had
been released. He said parents of the doctors had given an
assurance that they would not participate in any protest.
But the doctors had not called off the strike so far, he
added.

Mr Zaman said the Supreme Court had declared the strike by
young doctors illegal and also restrained them from such
activity in future. But, he said, the doctors went on
strike again in violation of the SC order.

He said that in compliance with the SC orders, a court-
constituted committee had submitted the proposed service
structure for young doctors. He said the Punjab chief
minister had also set up a commission comprising
representatives from the government and medical profession
to resolve the issue.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, representing the petitioners, said
the young doctors should be asked why instead of
approaching any court of law for their grievances they
opted to go on strike. He said by denying treatment to
patients, the doctors had violated Article 9 of the
Constitution and committed contempt of court.

He alleged that the YDA representatives had not only
observed strike but also forcibly stopped other doctors who
wanted to continue work. He said that in the presence of
the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) the establishment of
an unregistered body (YDA) suggested political motives.

He urged the court to direct the PMDC to take action
against the striking doctors.

Earlier on court’s permission, YDA Punjab Secretary-General
Nasir Abbas delivered an emotional speech on the issue. He
cried when he told the court about ‘injustice’ being meted
out to young doctors.
But he had no answer to the question why the doctors went
on strike instead of knocking at the door of courts against
the ‘injustice’.

Mr Abbas insisted that the four doctors arrested in the
murder case should be released immediately. He said that
under the Punjab Health Care Commission Act, doctors could
not be booked under Section 302 of the PPC in case of any
alleged negligence resulting into death of a patient.

He said YDA President Hamid Butt could not appear before
the court because of fear of arrest as police continued to
raid residences of doctors.

Mr Abbas claimed that the doctors were going to call off
their strike but the government had ordered their arrest
and police started raiding their residences and hostels.

The court adjourned hearing till Saturday and summoned
complete record of the case registered against the doctors
of Mayo Hospital on charges of murdering a minor boy.


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07, July, 2012

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YDA ready to comply with court order

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By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE: The Young Doctors Association Punjab announced on
Friday night that it had ended strike in ‘emergency wards’
of state-run hospitals.

The doctors had refused to work in emergency wards after
police recently raided the Services Hospital and arrested a
number of their colleagues.
Dr Mudasar Razaq, a spokesman for the YDA, told Dawn that
the decision had been taken by the YDA in its general
council meeting in compliance with the Lahore High Court
directives to the young doctors to resume work in emergency
wards of public sector hospitals.

Presided over by YDA President Dr Hamid Butt, the meeting
decided to continue strike at OPDs and indoor departments
to keep pressure on the government to announce service
structure for young doctors, Dr Mudasar said.

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

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01, July, 2012

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Abbottabad commission

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OVER a year after it was formed, the commission set up to
investigate the Osama bin Laden raid has yet to deliver its
findings. In that time it has spoken with dozens of
civilian and military officials and members of Bin Laden’s
family. At a December press conference the head of the body
said it would complete its work soon, and as far back as
January a member of the commission had told this newspaper
that almost all interviews and investigation had been
completed, that the writing process was under way, and that
it should take about a month to complete it. Since then,
several new deadlines have come and gone, including in May
and June of this year.

 There was reason for hope when the commission was formed.
Unlike the parliamentary resolution calling for it, it was
tasked with establishing not just why and how the raid took
place, but also with looking into Bin Laden’s presence in
Abbottabad. Instead, the long delay is simply creating the
impression that this critical national incident, like so
many other controversial political events and security
failures in Pakistan’s history, might also remain shrouded
in secrecy. The longer the report is delayed, the more
tempting it will be to believe that making public the facts
of the matter would be too uncomfortable for those in the
civilian or military establishments. But there is also a
perception among those following the commission’s work that
its report will likely not fix concrete responsibility or
name specific individuals, especially when it comes to the
security establishment. That would be a disservice to
Pakistan — and would make this body as redundant as others
that have recently failed to take a stand, such as the
Saleem Shahzad commission — and make it even more unclear
why there has been such a delay in releasing the findings.

May 2, 2011 was arguably Pakistan’s most embarrassing and
shocking military failure after the loss of East Pakistan,
which brings to mind the Hamoodur Rehman commission’s
findings. That report was kept under wraps for nearly 30
years before it was declassified after a leak. Many other
events in Pakistan’s history that deserve to have been
unearthed remain opaque years and decades later. Given the
pace of developments in this country, it is all too easy to
keep important discoveries private while the nation gets
caught up in the latest political drama or security
failure. With the stakes in the May 2 case being as high as
they are, there is reason for concern that the same is
happening with the findings of the Abbottabad commission.

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01, July, 2012

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A bit of good news

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THE PML-N’s positive response to the prime minister’s offer
of talks on a mutually acceptable chief election
commissioner deserves to be welcomed for more than one
reason. For one, the reciprocity and political common sense
in evidence in Lahore on Friday should serve to lower the
political temperatures at a time when the country and the
system are still reeling from last month’s judicial and
political tremors. These included not only Yousuf Raza
Gilani’s disqualification as prime minister and
parliamentarian but also the court notices to President
Asif Ali Zardari and Raja Pervez Ashraf on dual office and
the Swiss letter. Against this background, the two
mainstream parties’ decision to talk things out points
perhaps to a realisation on both sides of what is at stake.
Whether a general election is held early next year or
circumstances force the coalition government to advance it,
the two parties’ conciliatory gesture is a good omen. An
election is not in the air, but Friday’s progress should
serve to induce an election-oriented atmosphere and
sideline the irritants that have often served to blur
national priorities by focusing on trivialities.

It is time we reminded our politicians in power and in the
opposition how even a single piece of good news can make a
difference to the morale of a nation fed up with nerve-
racking crises and ‘gates’ which hit the country with
astonishing frequency. The media — sometimes equally guilty
of having wrong priorities of display and comment — jumped
at the bit of amiability seen in Lahore and made it the
lead story. The CEC is the linchpin of an election, for the
constitution’s Article 220 makes it the “duty of all
executive authorities” to assist the CEC in the discharge
of his duties and functions. A caretaker prime minister is
not on the cards yet. But the spirit the PPP and the PML-N
have shown on the question of the CEC’s appointment should
guide their conduct in the other case. A truly neutral
caretaker set-up, with the prime minister and the CEC
acceptable to all sides, should help make the general
election transparent.

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01, July, 2012

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Not strange bedfellows

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THE prospective alliance between the Pakistan Tehrik-i-
Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami would be a predestined coming
together of parties with similar views on important issues
in today’s Pakistan. The JI and PTI, which has been called
a ‘good-looking Jamaat-i-Islami’, have identical positions
on protecting the judiciary. They are convinced the country
is in the clutches of the most corrupt. On to problems more
nagging and more central to our existence, Imran Khan
appears to have a telltale ideological affinity with the
Jamaat on militancy, on the Taliban and Al Qaeda and on the
US. Given all these factors, a united JI-PTI front was only
a matter of time. That time has now arrived and with the
announcement of the PTI-JI front to fight the ‘corrupt’
rulers, there is a prospect of street struggle, one which,
many would be hoping, aims beyond a mere election contest.
The two parties — especially the JI, which, to its
misfortune, is again regarded as the junior partner in the
relationship — will be hoping to build it into a campaign
for change on the pattern of the recent Middle Eastern
uprising recently.

For starters, the JI’s help should bolster the numbers in
the anti-government campaign the PTI has already launched.
It may also lend the protest the fiery element the JI is
known to infuse in extreme action. The JI has been quite
desperately offering it to the PML-N and failing that, it
is all too willing to place its services at the disposal of
an even cleaner Imran Khan. This handshake after a rather
long informal association will raise questions about PTI’s
ideology and its roots. This can be conveniently dubbed an
‘alliance of fundamentalists’. Or more meaningfully, it can
be looked at from the perspective of a large enough group
of people who believe a compromise between the hardliners
and mainstream Pakistan is still possible.

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02, July, 2012

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NLC scandal

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THE financial scandal at the army-run National Logistics
Cell which caused a loss of nearly Rs1.8bn through illegal
investments between 2004 and 2008 was back in the news on
Saturday. Chairman NAB Fasih Bokhari told a press
conference that the three generals implicated in the scam
could be court-martialled by the army — if the army’s
separate investigation produced evidence of serious
wrongdoing. This is simply not good enough. The army’s
investigation was announced

in November 2010 at a time when it was believed that the
parliamentary Public Accounts Committee under the
chairmanship of Chaudhry Nisar was about to announce its
own findings. November 2010 to July 2012 is long enough to
have determined who in the army-run NLC was responsible for
the losses suffered by the organisation and what criminal
prosecution they should face — there being virtually no
doubt that some financial malfeasance was involved.

Are the high-profile targets — now retired generals — the
reason for the slow pace of the investigation? Very likely,
yes. But it’s not just the army that may be trying to
shield several of its own. NAB too seems to drag its feet
when it comes to investigating corruption and misdeeds
committed by men in uniform — leading to a suspicion that
the many men who once served in uniform and now serve at
NAB may be protecting their own kind. But then, what of the
PAC, which gave the army time to follow through on its own
investigation but has not pressed for a quick resolution of
the affair (the PAC, though, is admittedly a rudderless
committee since the exit of Chaudhry Nisar).

In matters of corruption, the debate can often break down
to mindless partisanship. Talk about corruption in the
armed forces or the judiciary, and supporters will hit back
with endless stories of corruption in the political class.
But perhaps therein lies a story worth exploring: while
politicians have been given a bad name and hanged —
literally in some cases — there is still a lack of genuine
public understanding about the extent of corruption and
malfeasance in other institutions. What that does is lead
to a false choice: corrupt politicians out to squeeze every
last drop they can from the system vs noble and patriotic
men in other institutions who may be occasionally misguided
but have Pakistan’s best interests at heart. So there’s a
very real and urgent need to pull back the veil and take on
whatever skeletons come tumbling out of hitherto closed
closets. The NLC case, then, is a test case: a test for
whether or not Pakistan is genuinely moving towards a more
level playing field.

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02, July, 2012

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Doctors’ strike

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WITH TV images of patients’ suffering being beamed live
into every home, the striking young doctors in Punjab need
to be aware that, regardless of the legitimacy of their
demands, public patience may be wearing thin. Also that
most of those being denied treatment are so poor that they
rely solely on the strike-hit government hospitals for
treatment. While the doctors say they aren’t protesting for
more money, the Punjab government maintains that the
‘service structure’ they seek adds Rs23bn to the provincial
health budget, an amount it can’t divert from frontline
healthcare provision to their bank accounts. The government
also says it has already given the young doctors raises
worth Rs4.5bn. Unfortunately, all the signs are that the
battle lines are hardening — especially after the police
action last night on the Services Hospital hostel in Lahore
that saw the arrest of dozens of doctors. Such a situation,
both on the part of the doctors and the administration,
whose strong-arm tactics cannot be condoned, does not augur
well for patients, especially those who can’t afford
private treatment.

Meanwhile, the element of militancy that has crept into the
strike action has caused some senior professors and doctors
to privately say they feel threatened if they staff
outpatient departments, even though they are not bound by
the strike call. It is sad that such action is now being
associated with a noble profession that has public service
at its core. We don’t need to remind the doctors of their
Hippocratic Oath. Although the representatives of the Young
Doctors Association, Punjab, have repeatedly said they are
providing cover for essential medical services, they need
only look in their own hospital yards to see the mass of
suffering humanity. Now army doctors have been called in.
Given the deadlock, what is needed is an independent
arbitration and reconciliation service modelled after the
UK’s ACAS which can be asked to step in if employees and
employers can’t sort out disputes. For the moment, we can
only call for restraint — especially after last night’s
events — and dialogue so that the fundamental right to
healthcare can be restored to the people.

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02, July, 2012

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High salaries, no merit

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PAKISTAN’S national carrier has generated more controversy
in recent times than many other state-owned enterprises.
All matters ranging from the appointment of a new managing
director, to his relations with employees or the board and
chairman, to restructuring plans have been tainted with
controversies. If the dispute over powers between the
former PIA chairman and the new managing director that made
headlines a few weeks ago was bad publicity for the
airline, the management’s failure to fire the deputy
managing director as recommended by the parliamentary
committee on defence is equally damaging. Apparently, the
committee had sought Salim Sayani’s sacking because of his
failure to deliver what he was employed for and to justify
his monthly salary package of Rs5m. Possibly, the
management is not firing him because of the ‘high cost’ —
equal to his salary for two years — his removal involves.
The price may be high, but the intangible costs of his
continuation in the job could be even higher.

Of late, the government is employing ‘professionals’ like
Mr Sayani to fill top jobs in the SOEs and paying them
exorbitant ‘market-based’ salaries. Ostensibly, it is done
to ‘turn around’ the SOEs that have been reeling under
years of mismanagement, corruption, overstaffing, political
and bureaucratic interference and to make them profitable
entities. Few would dispute this policy. But the problem
does not lie so much in inflated salaries as in the
‘selection’ of ‘suitable’ people hired for political rather
than professional reasons. If the SOEs, which are costing
the country’s taxpayers Rs400bn annually, are to be
restructured political and bureaucratic intervention will
have to stop. This also holds true for the appointment of
top managers who should be inducted on the basis of their
competence alone. Only that will lead to the needed revamp
of the SOEs on modern business lines.

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03, July, 2012

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Dual citizenship

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WITH all the back and forth about dual citizenship, it is
time for some concrete legislation on the issue. The
Election Commission has started asking by-election
candidates to declare they have no other passports, and
that is a step in the right direction. Regardless of the
lack of such restrictions in many other countries, the
Pakistani context is important to keep in mind. There is a
general perception — and a logical one — among Pakistani
voters that their elected representatives are less honest
and committed than they should be because their foreign
passports mean they have a limited stake in the country’s
future. From time to time Pakistanis living abroad have
even parachuted in to serve under certain governments, only
to go back to their other country of citizenship after
their terms end. Given the widespread view, and some
evidence, that these convenient escape routes encourage a
lack of dedication and corruption and other criminal
behaviour among those in power, Pakistanis should be
willing to renounce foreign citizenship if they want to be
elected to parliament in this country.

The current state of the nation also argues in favour of
such a restriction. Pakistan’s progress has long been held
back by poor governance and dishonesty, and it needs
dedicated politicians. It is also going through a
particularly delicate period on the foreign policy and
security fronts, matters about which confidential
information is made available to many lawmakers. The same
is also true of Pakistanis in other positions of authority
and public responsibility who have access to sensitive
information, including judges and senior bureaucrats, and
there is a need to look into framing rules, or enforcing
any existing ones, about dual citizenship in those
positions as well.

Overseas Pakistanis and some politicians have made the
argument that citizens living abroad still have stakes in
Pakistan and send home remittances, and as such should be
able to run for office. But as far as their right to be
involved in politics at home is concerned, it can be
exercised through giving them the right and facility to
vote in Pakistani elections. From those in power, though,
Pakistan requires a long-term commitment. Some political
parties appear to be resisting such a change to keep
certain parliamentarians eligible, now and in future
elections. But they need to take a broader view of what the
country needs: at this point in its history, and likely for
the foreseeable future, anyone wishing to enjoy the
prestige, responsibility and privileges of serving as a
Pakistani parliamentarian should be willing to renounce any
other citizenship they might have.

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03, July, 2012
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Neglected art

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IT is now the National Art Gallery’s turn to flash other,
extremely worrying sides of the picture. A report in this
paper says how nature and a lack of resources are combining
to rob the paintings hanging at NAG of their colour and
texture. There are signs of paint wearing off and a few
scratches are visible — and we are not talking of the works
of old masters here. The paintings in danger are relatively
new, as art goes, having been done by Saeed Akhtar, Colin
David and their contemporaries. If these cannot stand the
environment that has been created around them, one can only
pray that works going further back in time will withstand
the general neglect. What makes matters more complicated is
that NAG is considered to be one of the better-managed art
facilities in the country. Many other galleries and studios
have failed to fend off the damage that inevitably occurs
when paintings are not well protected.

The standard official answer to the concern shown at this
gradual crumbling of heritage routinely ends with a lament
about lack of resources and other priorities. Pages after
pages of appeals and warnings have gone unheeded, leading
to the assumption that the government is complacent as
these art works slowly die. If that is painful, the
incredulous follows when a minister is next found talking
about the importance of art to counter the negative
tendencies in society. It is obvious that the government is
not doing enough on its own to fight negligence. The latter
in art preservation is proof of the gap that exists between
the hollow chants of the need to promote a ‘soft image’ —
as if this was an end unto itself — and the actual official
thinking.

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04, July, 2012

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Vulnerable to fraud

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THE healthcare fraud in the US involving the British drug-
maker GlaxoSmithKline places before Pakistan a worrying
picture of its own pharmaceutical industry. While the Glaxo
fraud vindicates the worldwide scepticism regarding the
operating of profitable pharmaceutical businesses, in the
Pakistani context the concern runs much deeper. As the
culture of not questioning the quality and purpose of
medicines persists here, Pakistanis are dangerously exposed
and liable to submit to unscrupulous agents of the market
who are at their most efficient in places where public
awareness and resistance are low.

GSK pleaded guilty to misdemeanour in the biggest such case
in US history and agreed on a settlement. It will have to
cough up $3bn — $1bn in criminal fines and $2bn in civil
fines. The agreement “would resolve allegations that the
British drug-maker broke US laws in the marketing of
several pharmaceuticals”. The company was further accused
of failing to provide the concerned US department with
safety data about a drug and of underpaying money owed to
Medicaid, the healthcare programme for the poor. Compare
this with Pakistan where pharmaceutical companies have few
checks to contend with. In the US case, doctors were bribed
with spa treatments and meals for endorsing illegal drugs.
This type of unfortunate marketing can almost be described
as the foundation stone of the strategy adopted by
pharmaceuticals that operate in Pakistan. There is no
accountability of doctors who may not always have a good
medical reason for prescribing or promoting a certain drug.
Against a developed American system that is on trial for
its failure to effectively check malpractice, Pakistan is
still struggling to create a beginner’s guide on hauling up
drug-makers whose products are questionable. One has only
to recall the tragic deaths of 130 heart patients who were
administered defective medicine by the Punjab Institute of
Cardiology only a few months ago to gauge how grave the
situation is.

The fake drugs racket thrives in a set-up where raw
material quotas for qualified manufacturers are not that
easy to come by and drug-makers are loosely regulated.
Unhealthy marketing practices are routine with the federal
government and provinces still attempting to define
jurisdiction and responsibilities. Theoretically, the
enforcement of many of the drug laws has been devolved to
the provinces. But practically, there is utter confusion,
which, among other things, makes the proposed Drug
Regulatory Agency a distant dream. Given the examples at
home and abroad, it is necessary to sound the alarm bells.
An evaluation of the way medicines are manufactured,
marketed and distributed is urgently needed. But can that
happen without more clarity on devolution?

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04, July, 2012

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Lower inflation

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THE annual inflation number has been released, and it is a
moment for cautious optimism — with the emphasis being on
caution. If official statistics are to be believed — and
there is some concern that technical changes made this
fiscal year now understate price increases — the consumer
price index stood at 11 per cent this year, down from 13.7
per cent in 2010-11. Given the inflation in the mid-20s
that persisted in the current government’s first year in
office, the administration should be credited for bringing
an alarmingly high number broadly under control. And in
recent months it has successfully passed on reductions in
global commodity prices to consumers. But the achievement
also needs to be put into perspective. For one, much of the
decline in inflation is due to global price declines,
especially those of oil and certain food items, rather than
improvements on the domestic front. And inflation still
remains stubbornly in the double digits for the fifth year
running, a reality borne out by the common complaint among
citizens that even basic needs, including food, fuel,
electricity and transport, remain hard to meet.
 Even more worrying is the persistence of the fundamental
issues behind this problem, which remain in place and are
getting worse. The State Bank recently pointed out that
inflation remains high because of continued, and
continually increasing, government borrowing, itself a
function of the growing fiscal deficit. And the new budget
doesn’t inspire confidence that the required belt-
tightening will take place, at least not before the next
elections. The recent expansion of the cabinet and the hike
in salaries and pensions of government employees are just a
couple of indications of how politics continues to trump
sound economic management, even as the fiscal deficit for
2011-12 will likely come in at nearly eight per cent. Add
to that a low tax-to-GDP ratio, electricity and other
subsidies, and the losses racked up by public-sector
enterprises, as well as a precarious external accounts
position that is weakening the rupee and making imports
more expensive, and the outlook for inflation doesn’t look
bright.

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04, July, 2012

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ATM charges

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THE Competition Commission of Pakistan has found that the
practice of charging the same rate (Rs15 per transaction)
by 28 different banks for cash withdrawals by customers of
rival banks from their ATMs represents an example of price
collusion and an act of a cartel. The banks in question are
members of an ATM network ‘switch’, 1-Link, itself a
guarantee limited company created and owned by 11 of the
member banks. 1-Link is one of two such ATM networks
operating in the country. Having found 1-Link and its
members guilty, the commission has fined all the offending
parties Rs770m in total.

The problems with ATMs in Pakistan have been commonplace
for some years now, with network outages and frequent
shortages of cash being some of the commonly highlighted
ones. Additionally, security problems in some places mean
customers often have to worry when they go to withdraw
funds from their accounts. While the banks and 1-Link claim
that the CCP has wrongly applied competition law in fining
them, customers may rightly wonder about the extra Rs15
they are charged every time they use an ATM of another bank
— are they getting a service that is reasonably safe and
efficient at a competitive price? While the State Bank of
Pakistan has worked towards keeping the charges by networks
such as 1-Link and its client banks in check and there has
been some effort at improving the customer experience at
ATMs — ensuring they are stocked with cash over weekends
and holidays, providing brightly lit and more secure
spaces, etc — there is still a long way to go. More
broadly, as the CCP fine indicates, there are all manner of
small fees and charges that banks bill customers in the
hope they won’t notice or mind. More vigilance by the State
Bank and entities like the CCP will help.

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05, July, 2012

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NATO supplies deal

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AFTER seven months of obstinacy by both sides, and a year
and a half of tensions between the US and Pakistan, the
reopening of Nato supply routes holds in it the promise of
a turning point in the relationship. Whether through a
recognition of our increasing international isolation, a
desire to be involved in the future of Afghanistan, or
simply a realisation of the limited power Pakistan really
had in these negotiations, the Pakistani civilian and
military leaderships have finally demonstrated a
willingness to compromise despite hurt sensitivities and
political pressure at home. In return, the US needs to be
extremely conscious of Pakistani sovereignty going forward,
including when it comes to the unilateral use of drone
attacks. If both sides grasp the opportunity this moment
presents, it could help turn a dysfunctional relationship
into one that can actually help solve the region’s security
problems.

In fact, the most significant advantage Pakistan could
derive from this moment is to start reversing the
reputation it has developed of being an obstacle to peace
in the region. The outcome of the talks has shown Pakistan
did not gain much else from miscalculating the leverage it
really had and then sticking stubbornly to that
calculation. We have managed to obtain an apology — though
some argue it wasn’t formal or direct enough — but not much
else is different seven months later. There will be no
transit fees, Pakistan had to say mistakes were made by
both sides — a significant step back from the earlier
position that the Americans attacked Pakistani soldiers
deliberately — and the coalition support funds that will
now come through represent overdue reimbursements for money
already spent and will not solve the ongoing issues that
come up every year with processing CSF payments. In the
process, we have risked our reputation with the other Isaf
countries as well. The lesson from all this should be that
a concern for Pakistani sovereignty has to be balanced with
the need to play a constructive, cooperative role in the
region.

Aside from sorting out lingering issues with America,
particularly counterterrorism cooperation, the task at home
now is to rein in any violent right-wing reactions. The
right was encouraged when public anger was needed as
evidence of Pakistan’s political constraints, and by the
same token it can probably be controlled now that a deal
has been struck. But the risk with fostering intolerant
forces is that they cannot always be managed. The Taliban,
too, have said they will retaliate. It is now the security
forces’ responsibility to make sure that truckers, and the
communities that they pass through, remain safe.

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05, July, 2012

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KP leader’s murder
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THE killing of the ANP’s district president, Khan Gul
Bittani, in Tank on Tuesday is another grim indicator of
the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan returning to its tactic of
targeted killings of political and community leaders in
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas. Late June, the
leader of an anti-Taliban laskhar and three of his
associates were killed in the Bazid Khel area of Peshawar.
Several other similar incidents have occurred in recent
weeks. The tactic may be new — or rather a revived one —
but the problem is old: the state’s inability to decisively
tackle the Taliban threat as it morphs and ebbs and flows.
Part of the problem is still the unacceptable level of
problems in coordination between the intelligence agencies,
security forces and local law-enforcement agencies. The
killing of a tribal leader, local politician or leader of
an anti-Taliban group on a road or in a bazaar is usually
over in the blink of an eye — so what is needed is the
intelligence and the resources to find the killers in their
hideouts where they plan such attacks.

There is a wider problem though: the absence of a
comprehensive strategy to deal with militancy and
insurgents. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government tried to take
a longer view on dealing with militancy recently but the
paper produced and discussed by the provincial government
will require serious implementation — and implementation is
where the best laid plans come unstuck. Even the best of
intentions sometimes lead to unintended negative
consequences. For example, the superior judiciary’s pursuit
of missing persons is admirable and deserves the fullest
support. But the intelligence and security agencies have
been left with a dilemma in the murky world of militancy:
continue with business-as-usual tactics and risk the
court’s ire or avoid detaining suspected militants until
the evidence is overwhelming, and in the process, risk
letting the militants carry out more attacks. The solution
ought to be that the federal and provincial governments
work together to overhaul anti-terrorism laws but the
paralysis at both those levels makes such an outcome very
unlikely. So on Pakistan muddles through, except that the
problems are growing.

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05, July, 2012

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Meeting on minorities

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SOUTH Asia has had few opportunities to celebrate its
diversity. Instead, what we have heard are voices of
concern about the treatment of minorities in the region. At
Tuesday’s Regional Conference on the Rights of Religious
Minorities in South Asia, held in Islamabad, speakers
deplored the treatment meted out to marginalised religious
communities in South Asia. A speaker from India said the
way Hindus treated Muslims in his country was linked to the
Pakistani penchant for going after the minority Hindu
community. He was happy to note that people belonging to
all religions believed in Mahatma Gandhi. But
unfortunately, little appears to have been said about how
putting faith in the non-violent Mahatma is useful for the
targeted. A Pakistani Hindu was of the view that Pakistan
was as much his country as anybody else’s. Yet the reality
could be gauged from his account of cases of unending
persecution of Pakistan’s Hindus. In much the same vein, a
Pakistani Christian talked of his community’s contribution
to the country’s progress — but eventually it is the sad
comparison the present offers with the past that puts the
national journey in doubt. The Mahatmas, the rights
activists and the natural instinct for tolerance
notwithstanding, the picture is dismal overall.

One consensus coming out of the meeting was that all
religions abhor violence. The special reference to Islam
was unavoidable given how its name has been used for a
violent cleansing exercise from Tirah to Timbuktu. That
point inevitably leads to reflections about the protective
and trendsetting roles of the state which, today, is quite
inseparable from religion. “No non-Muslim ambassador or
federal secretary ... Hindus barred from the atomic energy
commission…” — the state has, in fact, failed its
minorities, and failed to set an example of tolerance for
all its people.
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06, July, 2012

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Selective criticism

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THE deal is done — the Nato/Isaf supply route has been
reopened — but the domestic fallout is gathering steam.
From across the political opposition, salvos have been
fired against the government. The civilians in the
opposition are accusing the civilians in government of
striking a bad deal, of failing to get a proper apology and
of selling out Pakistan’s interests. Curiously, however,
the opposition’s ire, and memory, is very selective. While
the army has seen some of its power diminish in recent
years, Pakistan-US relations are very much its domain:
neither the decision to close the supply route nor the one
to open it once again could be taken without the army
leadership’s consent. In fact, a reasonable argument could
be made that the entire trajectory of a relationship
stalled since November was controlled by the army
leadership from behind the scenes. For example, it seems
inconceivable that the decision to charge no fees — other
than the commercial costs of clearing and transporting the
shipping containers — was taken by the civilian government.
And yet, the political opposition has hammered away at the
government with nary a mention of the army’s role in this
entire episode. The right to oppose a government’s decision
is a democratic right, but when done in such a selective
manner, history suggests that the only thing that is
undermined is the democratic process. A little more honesty
and forthrightness by the political opposition would be
welcome.

The security establishment too must shoulder some of the
blame for the angry denunciations of the government’s move
to stabilise ties with the US. For, there’s a general
perception that many of the political and religious leaders
opposing the supply-route decision were unleashed by the
security establishment itself as a buffer against American
demands. It’s an old trick: fan the flames of anti-
Americanism as a buffer against US demands so that when
demands are made that the state isn’t willing to accede to,
it can point to opposition on the street and in the cities
as a legitimate reason for not acquiescing. But using such
tactics like a faucet that is turned on and off as per
requirement still leaves the very real, and very serious,
problem of dealing with the anti-Americanism that is
unleashed and takes on a life of its own. The tactic may
yield short-term gains but in the medium and long term it
only erodes the space for rational decision-making.

The onus, then, is on the army to publicly support the
decision to reopen the supply route that the government has
publicly, though perhaps nominally, taken. The ISPR channel
has been used often to convey army sentiments, so why not
on this issue?

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06, July, 2012

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Blasphemy lynching

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THE most obvious implication of the burning of a man to
death in Bahawalpur is the brutality of Pakistani society
when it comes to alleged blasphemy cases. In this instance
the victim was also mentally ill, proving once again that
the law is blatantly abused and punishment doled out
without evidence or reason. But Tuesday’s incident is also
a reminder that in the face of blasphemy allegations, the
country’s justice and law-enforcement systems are helpless.
The victim was pried out of a police station that was also
set on fire. This follows two similar incidents in June,
when mobs attacked police stations in Quetta and Karachi to
demand that blasphemy suspects — one a drug addict and the
other mentally ill — be handed over. Last year some lawyers
and religious groups demanded that the judge who sentenced
Salmaan Taseer’s killer to death be handed over to them,
though thankfully he did not meet the fate of Justice Arif
Bhatti, who was killed in his office in 1997 for striking
down allegations of blasphemy against two Christians. Over
a decade has passed since that incident, and the state has
yet to make clear in no uncertain terms that vigilante
justice is not acceptable simply because the case happens
to be one of blasphemy. The Punjab government is
particularly guilty of this, turning a blind eye to the way
in which right-wing groups abuse and support the law in
that province.

The other alarming aspect of the incident is that it is yet
another instance of a mob taking justice into its own
hands, a problem not limited to blasphemy cases. The size
of these groups makes it difficult to hold anyone
responsible; who will be held to account in the Bahawalpur
case, for example, when 2,000 people have been booked and
no one named? From rioters destroying shops and vehicles to
protest energy shortages, to the Sialkot lynching case, to
the blasphemy incidents mentioned here, all the evidence
says that intolerance and lack of compassion, combined with
lack of faith in the state and the justice system, has
turned Pakistan into a shockingly brutal society.

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06, July, 2012

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Save it, general

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IT was a potential gift for the United States on its
independence day. If the reopening of the Nato supply route
was not enough cause for celebration, we had a proven
strongman offering the Americans a reincarnation of Abraham
Lincoln. In his own modest way, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf
was being his old self since the reasoning behind the
comparison between Pakistan’s former president and Mr
Lincoln was as simple as his logic has ever been. The
resultant conclusion was as categorical as when Gen
Musharraf was hailed the new Kemal Atatürk in the months
following his military coup in 1999. “I know he [president
Lincoln] had violated the constitution because his
responsibility was to protect the state and therefore
protect the constitution. So this has been the dilemma of
Pakistan all through its history.” This is how Gen
Musharraf made a grab for the long unclaimed Lincoln
mantle. Perfect — a justification for one coup supported by
an ‘example’ from American history.

 What if a century and half separated the two visionaries?
It is fate that throws up great saviours at a time of its
choosing. But as fate would have it, Gen Musharraf’s
remarks were reported just a day before Pakistan underwent
the painful ritual of marking the anniversary of the start
of the Zia martial law that was so pivotal to changing the
course of this country, this society and this state. Gen
Musharraf has his views and he has rights. He is free to
predict a role for himself in Pakistani politics. The
problem is that if his latest elaborations are a guide to
the tone of his future politics, his presence is hardly
something for the inhabitants of this land to look forward
to. Thank you, sir, we have been saved enough times
already.

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07, July, 2012

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Deadlock persists

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THE only outcome of the foreign secretaries’ talks in New
Delhi is that there is no outcome. Matters remain where
they were before Jalil Abbas Jilani and Ranjan Mathai met.
For two days, they put their heads together and then came
out with a joint statement that might as well not have been
there, notwithstanding the familiar ‘they agreed’ refrain
on issues ranging from visa liberalisation and cultural
contacts to Kashmir and nuclear CBMs. At Thursday’s press
conference, Mr Jilani refuted Indian Home Minister P.
Chidambaram’s charge that the evidence gathered after
Zabihuddin Ansari’s arrest confirmed Pakistani ‘state
actors’ were involved in the Mumbai carnage. Sadly, once
again on the eve of talks, prospects of peace dimmed
following the arrest of the suspected terrorist in
circumstances that remain a mystery. And judging by its
reaction, India has still not emerged from the shadows of
the Mumbai attack. At the same time, Pakistan has continued
to stall on trying to punish the Mumbai suspects,
increasing Indian frustration.

Beginning with their meeting in Bhutan in 2010, which gave
rise to what the media called the ‘Thimphu spirit’, Yousuf
Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh met several times and
pledged to push the peace process forward in a manner that
appeared genuine. At Mohali, where they watched the cricket
world cup semifinal in March last year, Mr Gilani extended
an invitation to the Indian prime minister to visit
Pakistan — an offer that was renewed by Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar when she was in New Delhi in July the
same year. The two prime ministers met again in the
Maldives and South Korea, but without achieving a
breakthrough even on less contentious issues. The apogee of
good intention was reached over the April ‘lunch’ when
President Asif Ali Zardari not only invited the host prime
minister to visit Pakistan, the latter accepted the invite
and said he would be “very happy to visit Pakistan on a
mutually convenient date”. Given the way things are moving,
one shouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t agreed on a
“convenient date”.

The MFN issue is bogged down by Islamabad’s insistence on
the removal of non-tariff barriers; in May the interior
secretaries merely spoke of an agreement on a liberal visa
regime “at an early date”, and in June the defence
secretaries reported failure on Siachen. This is a record
the two sides should be ashamed of. The only consolation
for the people of South Asia is that the two governments
continue to talk. There is no breakdown of communication,
and this perhaps is the only sop.

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07, July, 2012

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Contempt act

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WITH each step the

government and the judiciary have taken in the NRO
implementation and prime minister’s contempt of court cases
over the last few months, the political and the legal have
become more closely intertwined. And with the arrival of a
new prime minister the possible implications of this tussle
have only gotten more worrying. Giving its timing and
content, the new contempt of court act the government is
trying to pass into law is clearly an attempt to save a
second prime minister from being sent home too once the NRO
implementation hearing resumes on July 12. But while
legislating to confront immediate challenges is not
necessarily the most principled or long-term approach to
lawmaking, the action is also one of an elected government
with its back against the wall in the face of a Supreme
Court at whose hands it has already suffered one major
defeat.

This could now play out it in a couple of different ways.
Passing the law through parliament requires only a simple
majority, which will be easy enough for the ruling party to
pull off. But petitions contesting the law will inevitably
be filed, and at that point the court could either take an
aggressive stance against it or find a way to let it slide,
which would enable the SC to let the current prime minister
survive despite having sacked Mr Gilani. In fact, the
procedure for hearing contempt of court cases laid out in
the new law, or the process of determining whether the law
is valid in the face of the court’s existing judgments,
could well delay a decision in the NRO implementation case
till the point elections are held. That could be one way to
minimise disruption to the democratic set-up. Ultimately,
what ends up happening next will depend on the court’s
mood. Is it hell-bent on getting a letter written by a
stubborn government in order to establish its authority
vis-à-vis other institutions? Or will it be willing to take
advantage of this development to step back for the greater
good of the system?

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07, July, 2012

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Jamrud killing

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“LOCAL officials said the family of Fareeda had not
informed them about the threats...” So reads a sentence
from Dawn’s report on the horrendous killing of a woman NGO
worker in Jamrud. No one has as yet claimed responsibility
for the murder, which took place on Wednesday, but it bears
all the hallmarks of a targeting killing by religious
extremists. The belief that women would not be targeted in
this manner in the conservative Pakhtun culture has proved
erroneous. The principle the militants subscribe to now is
one that sets them against all NGO workers — men and women.
There is a pall of fear in the areas stalked by the
militants; although there must also be those people who are
determined to carry on despite the danger they expose
themselves to. If the family of the brutally gunned down
Fareeda had received threats, circumstances demanded that
they should have informed the law enforcers. Yet the fact
is that no reminder needs to be sent to the administration
about the long prevailing law and order situation that
facilitates murder and other acts of crime.

A day after young Fareeda, the sole breadwinner in her
family, was killed, there were reports that some NGOs were
shutting down their field offices in a troubled part of
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kohistan. They have no option since the
administration has abjectly failed to provide them with
protection. Well-known human rights activist Zarteef Afridi
was killed last December right where Fareeda lived and
died. Soldiers have been ambushed, many members of the
ruling Awami National Party have been killed and other
political parties are also under attack. Clearly, and
despite the war, the militants have deep roots in Pakistan.
The fight will require a more concerted effort, not just by
the ‘authorities’ but by the people in general.

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DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS
*DWS
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          C O L U M N S / A R T I C L E S N E W S

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01, July, 2012

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The Final Betrayal

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By Cyril Almeida

STUBBORN, irrational, emotional, paranoid — the self-
appointed custodians of the national interest easily lend
themselves to parody, if there’s anything funny, that is,
about the stewardship of a declining state chock-full of
ill-resourced people, well-resourced terrorists and nuclear
weapons.

Wherever there is a conspiracy theory against Pakistan to
peddle — no matter how convoluted or deranged — someone in
that orbit of influence will peddle it.

Unhappily, sometimes they don’t have to try very hard.

The outside world regards Pakistan’s generals as self-
interested, which is fine, but also not very competent —
which isn’t so good given the volatile mix of factors that
has Pakistan seemingly always teetering on the edge.

And that leads to debates and ideas there that play out
very badly over here.
A new book is about to hit Pakistani shores that will
elicit howls of anger and we-told-you-sos through gritted
teeth in certain quarters.

It’s not so much what has been written but who has written
it: David Sanger, The New York Times Washington
correspondent more plugged in than most to the US national-
security establishment.

Sanger’s words carry more weight because he has both access
and insight, and what he has to say about debates within
the Obama administration on Pakistan will not go down well
here.

Put on your best Pakistan-lovin’, everyone’s-out-to-get-us,
the bomb-will-keep-us-safe, we’re-a-fortress-of-Islam hat
and sample these words from Sanger’s ‘Confront and Conceal:
Obama’s secret wars and surprising use of American power’:

“Of course, [keeping Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal] ‘safe’
meant very different things to the men …. To the Americans,
it meant preventing terrorists from getting a hold of
nuclear weapons or material from the world’s most
vulnerable arsenal. To Kayani, it meant, first and
foremost, protecting that arsenal from the Americans, and
making sure that, unlike that night in Abbottabad when they
snuck in to kill Osama bin Laden, no SEAL team could seize
or disable Pakistan’s arsenal. It was hardly paranoia. The
Americans had an elaborate, well-rehearsed plan to do
exactly that, which had been ramped up and revised when
Obama came into office [emphasis added].”

With your uber-nationalist hat on, the only thing you take
away is: the Americans are out to get our nukes!

The outside world, of course, will focus more on the
‘world’s most vulnerable arsenal’ and probably nod in
agreement.

Or try this on for size:

“This approach [a new way of dealing with Pakistan that the
Obama administration is debating] — some call it
‘mitigation’ — has three goals. The first is helping
Pakistan keep its arsenal safe — while improving the
American ability to find and immobilise the weapons if that
effort fails. The second is to keep the Pakistani civilian
government from being toppled, by the army or extremists,
through various forms of assistance. And the third is to
keep up the pressure on insurgents and Al Qaeda operatives,
mostly with drone strikes.”

What the paranoid here will read: the Americans want our
nukes; they know the army is standing in their way so
they’re propping up corrupt civilians who will sell their
souls for a fistful of dollars; and American activities
inside Pakistan are really about destabilising the country,
to make it look weak and speed up the end goal of defanging
our nuclear programme.

Here’s some more from Sanger:

“There was another reason to establish an ‘enduring
presence’ in Afghanistan after 2014 — a reason the White
House did not want to discuss. It was Pakistan. The United
States could live with an Afghanistan that was messy, even
with some parts of the country under de facto Taliban
control once the international forces pulled back. But
stability in Pakistan — and the security of the Pakistani
nuclear arsenal — was another story. The Amerin forces in
Afghanistan had a role as a ‘break the glass’ emergency
force if Pakistan, and its arsenal, appeared to be coming
apart at the seams.”The hawks’ are likely to read: it was
never about Afghanistan; getting Al Qaeda was just a ruse;
the US wants to use its base in Afghanistan to project
power inside Pakistan — Iran too; it’s all about keeping
Muslims down — and remake the configuration of power in
Afghanistan to favour India and to harm Pakistan.

Of course, less paranoid, more rational minds will see in
the debate in the US a less conspiratorial version of
reality.First, as Sanger writes, “for all the Pakistani
paranoia, there is no good plan for sweeping up Pakistan’s
nuclear weapons, largely because on any given day it is not
entirely clear where they all are.”

Second, American national-security circles primarily worry
about Pakistan not because we have nukes or because we’re a
predominantly Muslim country with nukes — they worry about
Pakistan because we have both internal instability and
nukes. “Pakistan, as Obama told his staff in 2011, could
‘disintegrate’ and set off a scramble for its weapons. It
was his single biggest national security concern, he told
them — and the scenario he had the least power to prevent.”
Three, because Pakistan has been seen through the muddied
lens of Afghanistan the past decade, the US is yet to truly
sit down and decide what it wants to do about Pakistan.

“So three years into [Obama’s] presidency, the arguments
over how to deal with Pakistan still rage. ‘On this issue,
more than any other, you get such disparate accounts from
different parts of our government,’ one senior State
Department official conceded to [Sanger]”.

Those three facts combine to produce something akin to an
opportunity for Pakistan: set our house in order for our
own sake and the outside world will respond positively.

But the problem with irrationality, emotionalism, paranoia
and stubbornness is that opportunities are obscured by
ever-present threats, sometimes real, often invented.

The Americans think Pakistan and its army worry about the
Fourth Betrayal — a repeat of 1965, 1971 and 1989 when the
US either turned its back on Pakistan or refused to help.

But we may already be beyond that; we could be in the realm
of the feared Final Betrayal — a Pakistan neutered of the
one element that supposedly guarantees its survival: its
nuclear programme.

As Sanger claims, one of the first things Kayani did in the
aftermath of May 2 was to move around the components of the
nuclear arsenal — just in case the Americans tried to take
it out.

The writer is a member of staff.

cyril.a@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/#!/cyalm

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02, July, 2012

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The Pakistani minefield
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By Hajrah Mumtaz

THE recent attack on the Aaj TV office in Karachi is
another stark reminder of the manner and speed at which the
ability to speak and report relatively freely is being
eroded in Pakistan.

It was one of the few incidents of its kind even in a
country and a city that have become inured to violence.
Drive-by shootings and gunmen on motorbikes are no longer
news in Karachi, but on this occasion the target was a news
outlet; two people, one of them a security guard, were
injured. As is usual, the attackers were able to escape
from the scene and melt away into the populace. It is
unlikely that they will ever be hunted down or prosecuted.

What was unusual, though, was the claim made a little while
after by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, owning
responsibility for the attack. The militant group said that
more news organisations were to be similarly targeted for
not giving enough space to its point of view.

The TTP ‘spokesman’ named in particular a major local news
network for using ‘bad language’ in terms of what he
referred to as the ‘mujahideen’.

It must be acknowledged here that it is not entirely
certain whether or not the TTP was behind the attack. In a
place as violent as Pakistan, issues such as copycat crimes
or attempts to cover the motives behind a killing by
intentionally giving it a different hue are bound to crop
up often.

In any case, assessing the actual reasons for which a crime
was committed is largely a lengthy process of deduction and
finding proof. It would not be surprising if at some later
point it were to emerge that the TTP merely took advantage
of the fact that persons unknown had attacked that office
and turned the situation to what the militants consider to
their own advantage. As columnist Irfan Husain wrote in
this paper on Saturday, terror can be a weapon in the
arsenal of those seeking power.
Yet this doubt over whether or not it was actually the TTP
that orchestrated the shooting incident does not alter the
fundamental fact that comment and reportage in Pakistan
increasingly involves negotiating a lethal minefield.

Journalists here, and elsewhere under dictatorial or
oppressive circumstances, have always been aware that their
work could cost them. In this country in particular, there
is a long history of stifling news and related commentary
through tactics of violence and intimidation by both state
and non-state actors.

While the suspicions about the identity of Saleem Shahzad’s
murderers have not been properly addressed by a craven
state, to give just one recent example, there is hardly any
doubt that he was killed for his work. And what was Salmaan
Taseer killed for but his views regarding the need for a
parliamentary review of the so-called ‘blasphemy laws’?

These are high-profile cases involving murdered public
figures, but the malaise affects all of us. How much do we
not say because of the knowledge that an opinion can get
you killed? Quite a lot, I would argue.

The self-censorship is evident in the manner in which poor
Aasia Bibi was left in detention and the blasphemy law
issue was allowed to quietly disappear from public
discourse in the aftermath of Mr Taseer’s murder.

It is evident in the manner in which most, if not all,
formal or public speeches begin with a religious reference,
a practice which was once ritual but in today’s oppressive
landscape has become in effect mandatory.

It is evident in the qualifiers that are used and the
carefulness with which any issue that has the potential of
becoming controversial is addressed in public, whether on
television or the street or in one’s own house with one’s
own guests.In Pakistan, after all, matters that can invoke
raging controversy range from basics such as whether or not
women should have the right to vote or marry of their own
volition to whether a group that hides its very serious
crimes under the garb of religion can be considered
legitimate.

As a society, this increasingly common self-censorship
leads to more space being made for extremist or
obscurantist views. As the voices of rationality and
moderation are hushed, those that promote obscurantism are
emboldened and encouraged to roar. But for those in the
business of shaping public opinion at large, such as the
media or politicians, the act of staying quiet or not
countering regressive discourse can in different ways end
up making them unwitting colluders in the process of
legitimising the forces of darkness.

This precisely is what the TTP’s claim about the motives of
the attack on the television station illustrates (whether
it is true or not is, in this context, immaterial). Call
them what you will — militants, terrorists, insurgents —
one of the points where all the various groups of all hue
of violent ideology converge is the desire to get their
point of view out to the world.

Like any party seeking to win over hearts and minds, they
need to be able to explain the rationale — such as it is —
behind their actions. Without the ability to advertise
their logic and their goals, their acts are rendered a
little more meaningless.

The importance, then, of public figures making the effort
to counter the backward-looking or extremist narrative
should not be underestimated. They are at risk, but so is
every forward-looking citizen in the country. In being the
people’s representatives, they are also the voice.

The media, meanwhile, also remains aware of its role and
align itself with progressiveness — as by and large it has.
The extremists’ threats are very real, but the only way
Pakistan can dig itself out of this hole is by fighting
back.

The writer is a member of staff.

hajrahmumtaz@gmail.com

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04, July, 2012

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Barbaric killings

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By Rafia Zakaria

IN a remote village in rural Nigeria,   on the banks of a
river, about a month or so ago, there   washed up 40 bodies.
Many of them, those of village women,   of little children in
ragged shorts and many men, including   the village elder,
had been beheaded.

The carnage was reported in the press on May 28 of this
year — the reason behind the killings supposedly was a land
dispute between warring villages. The angered ones, to
demonstrate the depth of their ire, decided that their
enemies must not simply be killed but also decapitated.

Thousands of miles away, the residents of Cadereyta, an
industrial town in Mexico, had recently witnessed a similar
horror. On May 13, 2012, the morning brought the sight of
nearly 49 headless bodies, some without limbs, strewn all
over the town square.

The massacre was said to have been ordered by the Zetas
drug cartel. Graffiti identifying the drug cartel was
sprayed all over the area, and within hours a video of men
dumping the bodies was on the Internet. It showed men
pulling bodies out of trucks and piling them up.

The men then leave a message written on a blanket,
threatening security forces and the rival Gulf and Sinaloa
cartels. “Nobody can do anything against us,” the message
said, “If they do, they will lose”.

In Pakistan, at the end of June, the Taliban also released
a video. In it, the names of 17 Pakistani soldiers were
recited, their identifications flashed before the camera.

All seventeen had been beheaded by the Taliban, whose
spokesperson Ehsanullah provided the video and also the
following statement: “We are not enemies of Pakistan and
its people; in fact we are enemies of the infidels and the
democratic system that has been imposed upon us.”
The killings were carried out by the Tehrik-i-Taliban
Pakistan in the Upper Dir area and reportedly orchestrated
by Maulana Fazlullah who enjoys support in the region. The
soldiers, who were kidnapped a few days earlier, were
killed over two days. In the video, their heads are on a
white sheet, while Taliban soldiers, masked and clutching
their weapons, stand right behind them.

Perhaps events such as these, the killing of many in ways
intentionally brutal, have always been occurring in
disparate and far-flung areas of the world where justice
needs to be seen to be believed, where greed and revenge so
skews the capacity for empathy that simply taking another
life is not enough.

The scepticism afforded by these reservations regarding the
timelessness and ubiquity of such violence are certainly
instructive: it is nothing new that humans can be brutal
and that naked, raw violence, mercilessly inflicted,
enables its own propaganda of power.

The notable thing about this mode of killing and its sudden
resurgence is not ‘novelty’ but rather its argument against
justice as a state-dominated private affair. In almost
every case recounted here, decapitation is directed not at
the individuals killed, but at those who will witness their
end.

The deaths are publicised through the most modern of
technologies — video productions of death produced for
propagation via the Internet to anyone who owns a computer.
It is this second prong, the recording and popularisation
of the act, that needs to be seen not as an accidental
regression into barbarism but a deliberate and substantive
critique of state-provided justice.

In most liberal democratic states which possess a legal
system, justice is based not on visibility but on
procedure. Criminal convictions, the handing out of
punishment, happens in this sense invisibly, beyond the
walls of prisons, in rooms and cells beyond the view of the
public.

The legitimacy of justice, at least theoretically, depends
on the procedures followed, evidence presented, the verdict
considered not just because it is imposed by a powerful
judge who can take out a gun and begin shooting the
accused, but because rules have been followed.

Beheadings, grotesque, horrific and public, are in this
sense, not simply acts of outrageous violence but also acts
that question the validity of procedural justice as a
concept.

Combining barbarism with the connectedness of the
millennial age, they challenge both state power and
procedural justice by saying that violence secretly
inflicted behind walls is a weakness, which their own acts
of brazen and public killing can supersede with ease.

In this sense, the barbarism of beheadings is not simply
the act and its lurid dissection of the dignity of life, of
a human body but also a challenge to states whose own forms
of justice are not open to the onlooker.

The exploited vulnerability used by cartels in Mexico,
village militias in Nigeria and the Taliban in Pakistan is
the same; the average Mexican, Nigerian and Pakistani
already sceptical of governments that misuse their power,
under whose rule people ‘disappear’ and executions happen
in the dead of night; can hold those secrets against the
openness of the admitted barbarians.

The misuse of procedure by corrupt judges, well-heeled
politicians and crooked lawyers, all of whom have used it
to hide their own acts of injustice, are now indicted by an
abandonment of all procedure represented in the grisly
brutish power of those killing because they can,

In countries where the outward trappings of procedural
justice exist, courts and lawyers that require the hapless
to go through the motions but are nevertheless unable to
deliver the product, decapitation in its open and
deliberate barbarism represents a rebellion.

It presents a question which asks the most exploited
whether the choice is simply between those who kill openly
their depravity for all to see, and those that do so in
secret behind the front of procedure.

The Writer is an attorney teaching political philosophy and
constitutional law.
rafia.zakaria@gmail.com

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04, July, 2012

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Save us from our ‘saviours’

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By Mahir Ali

“THE state is being run to the ground at the moment, and
people are again running to the military to save the
country. Should we save the country and do something
unconstitutional, or uphold the constitution of the country
and let the state go down?”

It is perhaps fortuitous that these deathless words were
uttered last Saturday not by an incumbent general but by
Pakistan’s most recent coup-maker. It would have been more
satisfying to say ‘last’ instead of ‘most recent’, but who
can be entirely confident on that score?

Pervez Musharraf was speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival,
where he also reiterated for the umpteenth time his resolve
to return to the country whose fortunes he presided over
for nearly a decade without a credible mandate.

His evident advocacy of a military takeover can hardly be
expected to enhance his stature as a potential political
player in a country that has declared him a proclaimed
offender and asked Interpol to take him into custody.

That, too, is a political manoeuvre, and there’s no
evidence Interpol has taken it seriously. (It’s perfectly
possible the Swiss authorities would be equally dismissive
of a missive from any given Pakistani prime minister.)

In Musharraf’s quest for political intercession, his main
problem is not the potential charges against him but the
fact that the All-Pakistan Muslim League he founded a
couple of years ago boasts little more than a disembodied
head.

Musharraf’s primary constituency — certainly the only one
that really mattered — during his years in power was the
army. The breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League
(PML-Q) that he nurtured disowned him long ago and now
shares power (or at least office) with the PPP.

The retired general may not realise it, but his sporadic
threats to return to Pakistan echo those of Benazir Bhutto
— who divided her time between London and Dubai, much as
Musharraf does, and finally returned home only after he
facilitated it under western pressure. With tragic
consequences. And now there’s a warrant out for him in
connection with her assassination.

Musharraf’s chances of a political resurrection have anyhow
been minimal, but his apparent support for a military
should, in the public eye, completely disqualify him as a
contender.

It may be entirely coincidental that Musharraf’s wishful
thinking about doing “something unconstitutional” to “save
the country” came on the eve of the anniversary of
Pakistan’s darkest moment in this context: it was 35 years
ago tomorrow that Gen Ziaul Haq violated the constitution
by seizing power from an elected government. His stated
intention, too, was to ‘save the country’; he almost
destroyed it instead. He certainly succeeded in ruining it
for more than a generation.

The preponderance of faith-based initiatives, all too many
of them wedded to violence, are but one of the Zia regime’s
odious legacies. It isn’t one that Musharraf sought to
reinforce, although the fact that Zia’s undistinguished son
was catapulted into the post of religious affairs minister
suggests he felt obliged to appease some retrograde section
of his military constituency. More generally, he was in
many ways a considerably less unreasonable and more
polished military dictator than his crude predecessor in
the post.

His enlightenment did not, however, extend far enough for
him to realise that there is really no scope for khaki-clad
saviours in national politics.
It is true that varying proportions of the populace,
including some political parties, have invariably greeted
the advent of military rule with glee. Quite a few took
Ayub Khan at his word when he declared he had assumed
power, forestalling the first national elections, because
the politicians were making a mess of things. One of his
subsequent justifications for dictatorial rule was the
novel claim that Pakistan’s climate rendered it unsuitable
for democracy.

Zia’s 1977 coup followed months of rioting and state-
sponsored retaliatory violence. It’s pertinent to recall,
though, that it came after the agitation had more or less
petered out and an agreement had been reached in
negotiations between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government and
the multi-party opposition. Zia initially acknowledged that
the PPP would have won that year’s elections even if there
had been no rigging, and promised fresh polls within 90
days.

Less than two years later, Pakistan’s first democratically
elected prime minister had been consigned to his grave; the
resurgence in his popularity following his overthrow had
transmogrified him into a candidate for elimination.

Ironically, some of those who found cause for rejoicing in
this profound travesty of justice today share common cause
— and power — with those who rely on Z.A. Bhutto’s
‘martyrdom’, as well as that of his elder daughter, as a
source of political legitimacy.

Meanwhile, those who periodically paid tribute to Zia —
notably Mian Nawaz Sharif and his cohorts — seem to have
suspended their public displays of devotion to the vilest
of Pakistani tyrants.

Many of those who ought to have known better found cause
for jubilation in Musharraf’s 1999 cockpit coup. There were
reasons aplenty to detest Nawaz Sharif’s second government,
but it ought to have been reasonably clear that the re-
establishment of military rule was hardly likely to serve
as a solution.

Much the same holds true today. The quality of governance
is appalling, but elections are due within less than a
year. It is perfectly possible that another incompetent
administration will thereafter be sworn in. But what is the
alternative? Pakistan’s nearly 65 years of existence have
been marred by around 33 years of military rule. Had that
been a viable path to progress, it would have manifested
itself as such long ago.

The democratic process, whatever its shortcomings — and
there are many — at least holds out the prospect of
meaningful change. That may seem like an audacious claim,
given a narrow spectrum that stretches from Asif Ali
Zardari to Imran Khan, but there is at least the prospect
of other forces arising in due course to challenge, and
perhaps ultimately transform, the untenable status quo.

A sine qua non of a sustainable Pakistan is the military’s
relegation to the subservient role it plays in most
democracies. Musharraf’s contrary inclinations ought not to
debar him from the political process; the lessons he
refuses to learn may become unavoidable were he to end up
with the lowest tally of votes in a proper electoral
contest.

mahir.dawn@gmail.com

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05, July, 2012

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Not by code alone

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By I.A. Rehman

THERE is little reason for the Election Commission of
Pakistan (ECP) to believe that its code of conduct for
candidates for election to the National Assembly issued
last week can guarantee free and fair elections. It
certainly has to do a great deal more.


The ECP has tried to implement the Supreme Court
directives. These directives are apparently related to
issues raised by petitioners in a particular case and who
might not have taken up all the factors that make the
electoral process unfair or undemocratic. Even otherwise
there is no need to burden the SC with matters that lie in
the domain of politics.

The code envisages a mechanism to monitor a candidate’s
expense on his election campaign. This has been an issue
ever since elections were introduced in the subcontinent.
Filing of expense returns has always been mandatory under
the law and many have lost their seats for its violation.
That candidates spend much more than the prescribed limit
is common knowledge. Gen Ziaul Haq knew this and was also
unable or unwilling to stop it and therefore fell back on a
hypocritical excuse — saying that he did not want his
parliamentarians to lie, he deleted the expense returns
provision from the law.

The ECP wants each National Assembly candidate to deposit
up to Rs1.5m in a separate bank account and meet all
election expenses out of it. The amount of Rs1.5m has been
the ceiling on election expenses for many years. This
method of controlling election expenses is unlikely to
yield the desired result. The candidates will use the
special account only for legitimate expenses. They will not
use it for purchasing votes.

For unlawful transactions undeclared funds are used and the
credit is given to friends or the party backing the
candidate. Thus election expenses cannot be controlled
unless restrictions on the use of party funds and friends’
contributions are strictly enforced. Failure to keep
account of election expenses is an offence under the Penal
Code though the penalty is ridiculously low.

The decision to ban the setting up of candidates’ camps
near polling stations needs to be examined. The ban on the
issuance of voters’ identification slips at these camps can
easily be defended because this system violates the
principle of secret ballot. But this ban will be justified
only if the ECP informs each voter of the polling
station/booth where he may cast his vote and his number on
the electoral rolls or if the National Database
Registration Authority can offer each voter what is
described as a smart vote card.
But candidates’ camps are needed for other purposes too.
The polling agents need a place to rest. The candidates
have a right to post monitors who can respond to any
irregularity in polling.

However, it is true that the cost of setting up camps alone
can sometimes exceed the total expense limit and it is an
unbearable drag on less affluent candidates. Two possible
remedies may be considered. Either the camp size and the
number of volunteers there may be fixed on the low side, or
the ECP can set up a single camp at each polling station
where one nominee each of the candidates may be
accommodated.

Likewise the ban on the use of transport needs to be
discussed. The principle that no voter is more than two
miles away from his polling station has been talked about
in the past too. It does not solve matters. The restriction
on transport to cart voters works well if constituencies
are small. In Pakistan many constituencies comprise such
great territories that use of transport is unavoidable.

Unfortunately, codes of conduct cannot overcome the
conceptual and structural flaws and deficiencies in the law
or the inability of the ECP to use its powers to deal with
corrupt practices and crimes.

For instance, the ECP has the power to cancel polls in any
constituency, indeed in the whole country, if some
fundamental principles of fair voting have been violated.
It has been one of civil society’s standing grievances that
the ECP cancels polling only when violence disrupts
peaceful voting or in the event of booth-capturing but
never when women are not allowed to cast their votes.

In addition to preventing women from voting the offences
mentioned in Section 171-C of the Penal Code and Section 51
of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) demand
constant vigilance on the part of the ECP. The Penal Code
provision says that anyone who “induces or attempts to
induce a candidate or voter to believe that he or any
person in whom he is interested will become or will be
rendered an object of divine displeasure or of spiritual
censure” commits the offence of undue influence.

In the RPA section the definition of undue influence
includes, besides abduction, fraud and maligning of the
armed forces, invocation of divine displeasure or religious
sanction or use of a place of worship for canvassing. One
wonders whether the ECP or any court will punish those who
exploit the religious sentiments of voters or use mosques
and prayer leaders for electoral gain.

Then there are issues that have been highlighted over the
past many years. The system of joint electorates was
restored in 2002 but the Ahmedis are still victims of the
Pakistani version of apartheid. Has the complaint of the
minorities against non-listing of their names in electoral
rolls alongside their Muslim neighbours been removed? What
is the ECP doing about the proposal for mobile polling
stations for people living in desert/katcha areas or
prisoners?

The SC has ruled that the first-past-the-post rule violates
the majority principle and has favoured compulsory voting
and imposition of a condition that only those receiving
over 50 per cent of the votes in a constituency should be
elected.

These are contentious issues that have been debated by
teachers of politics, civil society organisations and
international experts for a long time. The ECP must not
take any hasty step in these matters. Electoral reform is
not a push-button affair and it cannot be done through laws
or whiplash alone.

The role of power, status and money in elections needs to
be eliminated not only because it makes a mockery of free
and fair election but also because it blocks the democratic
will of the people, as the poor, including peasants and
workers, cannot contest elections. Until we have a more
just environment the case for reservation of seats for
working people is becoming irresistible.

The system of democracy, including the election system, is
under threat, on the one hand, from the vested interest
created by authoritarian rulers and, on the other hand,
from the extremists who wish to establish their brand of
Islam through the use of explosive devices.

In these circumstances the ECP should first tell the people
that it has put its own house in order. For the first time
we have a multi-member permanent election commission and
the public wishes to know how it will function in order to
achieve the desired level of efficiency and maintain its
independence not only of all state institutions but also
from the prejudices and fads and foibles of its members.

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05, July, 2012

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Terror without doubt

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By Jawed Naqvi

KARL Marx may have miscalculated the shelf life of profound
social upheavals but his self-declared motto to an
interviewer — “doubt everything” — could be a useful
starting point for some journalists.

In particular, the questioning spirit must become mandatory
if the beat involves keeping an eye on the tangled web of
zealous states and their use of multi-layered agencies to
hoodwink their own citizens among others.

It is curious that often those that should be the prime
suspect as sources of disinformation are not confronted
with simple questions journalists are taught to ask. On the
other hand, many scribes assume the role of Squealer,
George Orwell’s propagandist pig, by faithfully
transmitting official handouts as credible news.

Technology has not helped. The race to break the story on
TV has found the media tripping up badly. What is the gain
from such reckless hurry if the difference between
Sarabjeet Singh and Surjeet Singh mocks their enterprise?
Were they not required to report, with a degree of
accuracy, which of the two condemned Indians was actually
released from the Pakistani jail?

It gets that much more worrying when the error in a
narrative had crept in not in a reporter’s hurry to beat
the deadline but was carefully inserted fiction. It doesn’t
seem to matter if a fellow journalist is at the receiving
end of a sloppy or tendentious reporting. The ordeal of
Iftikhar Geelani and Syed Mohammed Kazmi is a case in
point.

You could have easily spotted the malevolent hand of the
state apparatus after a so-called recorded confession of a
convict was thrown out by the apex court as bad evidence in
the parliament case but it got prime time TV on a premier
New Delhi channel — a bizarre attempt to deny the man
acquittal, which he got nevertheless.

Goebbels would blush at today’s democracies that use the
media to wage wars, declare emergencies, suspend civil
liberties and even impose press censorship. The United
States went a step further when it successfully hoodwinked
its own top official with inspired disinformation as a step
to occupy Iraq.

“Yes, a blot, a failure will always be attached to me and
my UN presentation,” writes Colin Powell, the former US
secretary of state in a new book that draws on his
experience in the Iraq war. “I am mad mostly at myself for
not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me.”

Powell makes a spectacle of himself as he laments that no
intelligence official had the “courage” to warn that he was
given false information that Iraq had WMDs during
preparations for his February 2003 briefing to the UN.

Powell’s unsupported assertions of mobile Iraqi biological
warfare labs and a “sinister nexus” between Iraq and Al
Qaeda terrorists, was based on “deeply flawed” evidence.
“So why did no one stand up and speak out during the
intense hours we worked on the speech?” Powell writes.

As I write this the foreign secretaries of India and
Pakistan have finished their first round of talks and are
meeting again to set the stage for a foreign ministerial
meeting, followed possibly by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh’s visit to Pakistan.

Practically every time the two countries are about to mend
fences something catastrophic happens to distract them.
There are people in New Delhi that don’t want the prime
minister to go to Pakistan.
So how could Jalil Abbas Jilani and Ranjan Mathai, the
foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India, meet without the
naysayers subverting the proceedings? The hawks’ case was
shored up when a fugitive was deported from Saudi Arabia
into the safe arms of Indian sleuths two weeks before the
talks.

I have watched this game before — the handing over of seven
Sikh hijackers of an Indian plane to India by Dubai. This
was probably in 1983, a year before Indira Gandhi was
assassinated. Then we witnessed the arrest of Hashim
Qureshi the mysterious hijacker of the Ganga, the Indian
plane he commandeered to Lahore and destroyed. The incident
had prompted India to shut its air corridor to Pakistani
troops flying to battle the Bengali upsurge in 1971.

Qureshi was arrested under L.K. Advani’s watch, the former
home minister, the self-styled iron man. Not much later,
the hijacker greeted me with aerated drinks and branded
potato chips in his prison cell in Srinagar. Suddenly he
was freed and projected as a chief ministerial hopeful of
Jammu and Kashmir. Men at work?

The iron man also let off the seven hijackers, probably as
part of the condition Dubai had set for deporting them.
These incidents are a journalist’s challenge to explore but
I have yet to see anything informative in India’s
mainstream media.

To me, the latest case of ‘deportation’ raises as many
questions as it purports to answer. The first question that
comes to mind is: has Saudi Arabia helped India in showing
up Pakistan’s ISI spy agency as a bastion of international
terror? If that be so my question is instantly elevated to
one about a tectonic diplomatic shift in Riyadh, not one
related to a mere repatriation of a dubious suspect in the
Mumbai carnage of November 2008. Whoever Abu Jundal is and
whatever his role in the targeted massacre of unsuspecting
people — innocent Indians and foreigners alike — he could
only have been deported by the Saudi intelligence to New
Delhi with a thorough assessment of the diplomatic pros and
cons vis-à-vis Pakistan. It would be farfetched to imagine
that Jundal was dispatched to India with the consent of the
Pakistani spy agency. Was he then handed over with the full
knowledge that the Saudi favour to India would be seen by
Pakistan as a betrayal by Riyadh with which Islamabad has
had a long and intimate bonding?
Going by the official Indian account of Jundal’s
deportation, the implications are huge and diplomatic. They
are enormous, not because the captive has helped nail parts
of Pakistan’s state apparatus as complicit in the Mumbai
tragedy. That is already a given. There are any number of
Pakistani journalists who will agree with India’s assertion
of ISI’s complicity. The bigger question is about the
bigger implications of this big catch. Any doubts?

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.

jawednaqvi@gmail.com

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07, July, 2012

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From here to Timbuktu

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By Irfan Husain

SOME 12 years or so ago, I was in Tangier, the lovely
coastal city in Morocco, and went to pay my respects at the
modest tomb of Ibn Battuta, the town’s most famous son.
Born there in 1304, he left for a pilgrimage to Makkah when
he was 21.

Since then, he barely stopped travelling, covering around
75,000 miles by the time he died in 1368 or 1369. By far
the most prodigious explorer of the Middle Ages, he visited
China, much of South Asia, vast tracts of Africa, and south
and east Europe, and left behind a complete record of his
epic journeys.

Ibn Battuta passed through Timbuktu in 1352 when it was a
small, bustling town. It had not then attained the
importance it would a couple of centuries later as a major
trading centre where camel trains passed through on their
way from the west coast to many points in Africa.
In Mali, Ibn Battuta commented on the piety of the Muslims
he encountered. Apparently, the mosques were so full that
fathers would send their sons early to reserve a place for
them for Friday prayers. Apart from being an important
trading centre, Timbuktu was also a focal point of Islamic
scholarship with three universities and 180 Quranic
schools. Many stunning mosques were built there, as were
imposing shrines to Sufi saints and other holy men.

Gradually, Timbuktu lost its importance to the point where
its name became synonymous with a remote, almost mythical
place. ‘From here to Timbuktu’ is an expression denoting a
huge distance. Nevertheless, this did not prevent Dr A.Q.
Khan, our very own nuclear proliferator, from visiting the
now run-down town three times and apparently buying a hotel
that he named after his wife, Hendrina.

Given its long history and striking architecture, it is no
wonder that Timbuktu has been named a Unesco world heritage
site. Sadly, this distinction has not stopped thugs of the
Ansar Dine, or Defenders of the Faith, from destroying and
damaging a number of ancient mosques and mausoleums.

Justifying their sacrilegious acts, an Ansar spokesman
claimed that the design of the tombs was “idolatrous” as
according to him, Islam prescribes about “the way and size
in which tombs are built”. This is news to me, but then I’m
no Islamic scholar.

This wanton destruction of historically and religiously
significant structures is reminiscent of the Taliban’s
demolition of the famous giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan.
So outraged was the entire world at this criminal act of
vandalism in early 2001 that even Muslim countries did not
protest when the Taliban were attacked and sent packing
later that year in the wake of 9/11.

Apart from their ignorance and brutality, the other thing
the Taliban and the Ansar Dine have in common is their
Wahabi/Salafi belief. This literalist Saudi tendency has
seen the destruction of historically and religiously
important buildings, including ancient tombs in Makkah and
Madina. Entire historic sites have been bulldozed.

Curiously, most of the Muslim world has remained largely
silent over this desecration. But none of this is new: the
destruction of religious buildings has been going on in
Saudi Arabia for centuries. Irfan Ahmad, who is associated
with the Centre for Islam in the Modern World at
Australia’s Monash University, writing in Issue 15 of
Islamica Magazine (now sadly defunct) informs us:

“In 1802, an army led by the sons of Mohammed Ibn Abd al-
Wahab (the founder of Wahabism) and Mohammed ibn Saud
occupied Taif and began a bloody massacre. A year later,
the forces occupied the holy city of Makkah. They executed
a campaign of destruction in many sacred places and
levelled all the existing domes, even those built over the
well of Zamzam… In 1806, the Wahabi army occupied Madina.
They did not leave any religious building, including
mosques, without demolishing it…”

Wahabis/Salafists and other fundamentalists draw
inspiration from the mediaeval scholar Ibn Taymiyyah to
rationalise the destruction of ancient religious buildings.

This quotation from Ibn Taymiyyah is deployed by them to
defend their antipathy towards ancient holy sites: “The
leaders of Islam agreed that it is not permitted to build
the mausoleums over the graves. They cannot be considered
mosques and praying over them is not permitted.”

Presumably, if these fundamentalists could have their way,
most of the world’s historical, religious and architectural
heritage would have been levelled by now. Pyramids, temples
and churches that have stood for centuries would have gone
the way of the Bamiyan Buddhas.

Mughal contributions to civilisation like the Taj Mahal,
and Istanbul’s Ottoman Blue Mosque, would have been razed
by the likes of the Taliban and the Ansar Dine. The
exquisite Moorish buildings in Spain would have been blown
up or bulldozed if the Salafis had their way.

Unsurprisingly, these hordes have little to contribute to
learning and culture: they know only to kill and destroy.
Rather than preserving the past and respecting the dead,
they campaign to erase every vestige of history from memory
except their version of it.

Oddly, they claim to speak exclusively for a religion that
enjoins its followers to seek knowledge from the far
corners of the world. In their view, any Muslim who differs
from their narrow vision of the faith is a non-believer and
therefore ‘wajib-ul-qatal’, or deserving to be put to
death. They have thus appointed themselves judge, jury and
hangman.

The Muslim mantra is that these extremists are a small
minority, and their views and actions should not colour the
world’s opinion about Islam as a whole. But the truth is
that even a tiny fraction of some 1.3 billion Muslims
amounts to enough dangerous militants to cause havoc around
the world.

In places like north Mali, north Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia,
Afghanistan and large tracts of Pakistan, this cancer is
spreading. Something all these areas have in common is a
power vacuum that is being filled by extremist groups
subscribing to the rigid, intolerant belief of Al Qaeda.
Invariably, they follow the strict code of Salafism
espoused by the Saudis.

Faced by these dangers, the Muslim world has opted for
silence and supine inaction. In some cases, there is active
if covert support from the state. Few raise their voices in
protest. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before Ibn
Battuta’s small mausoleum in Tangier is demolished, too.

The writer is the author of Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan,
Islam and the West.

irfan.husain@gmail.com

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DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS*DWS
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