Monday, January 24, 2011

VEENA MALIK..............WOMAN OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pukhtunkhwa times declares veena malik,''woman of the year'' for her outstanding social work in pakistan,for her boldness and courage to stand and defend herself in front of a conservative Pakistani mullah.

Veena Malik takes a lot of interest in social work and feels her responsibility for helping the poor and needy.
Veena Malik has worked for World Health Organization (WHO).
Veena Malik sponsors two children from SOS children's village, their names are Zain and Zafar.
Veena Malik also donated 5 lac rupees for IDP's fund.
Veena Malik has called a spade a spade, and for that I salute her!!!

Jordan protesters inspired by Tunisian ripple

Ripple protests could topple U.S. allies

By Nic Robertson, CNN
Tunisia has brought a blast of reality to Mideast politics. Aging autocrats have been put on notice they can no longer count on docile citizens.
But is an era of unrest approaching? Will the winds of change sweep east along the Maghreb and bring down regimes from North Africa to the Levant and even the Arabian Peninsula?
Beyond doubt, those winds are blowing. Across the region they are being driven by the same social and economic factors, including high unemployment, a booming birth rate, and exploding food prices.
According to the International Monetary Fund, if chronic unemployment and the social tensions that accompany it are to be avoided the Middle East needs to create another 18 million jobs in the next 10 years. From where they stand today that's a very tall order indeed.
Amre Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general and former Egyptian foreign minister, warned regional leaders last week: "It is on everybody's mind that the Arab spirit is broken. The Arab spirit is down by poverty, unemployment and the general decline in the real indicators of development."
Regional parties like the moderate Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood, scent opportunity.
"The same disease is in all Arab countries, we have different degrees only but the same origin of the disease, it is the same dictatorship, lack of democracy, lack of freedom restrictions on civil society," Esam el-Erian, spokesman for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said.
In Egypt as in other countries in the region the Muslim Brotherhood faces constant government harassment.Hosni Mubarak, the 82-year-old Egyptian president, fears their populist power. He allows them and other opponents of his regime a very limited political voice, enough he hopes to defuse anger at the monopoly of power he has exercised over 30 years in power.
It is a balancing act that is now in peril, according to his critics. Ayman Nour, an opposition leader jailed by Mubarak and only released following U.S. pressure, believes Tunisia's revolt has shortened Mubarak's days in power.
He said: "How change happened in Tunisia was the last resort after all peaceful methods were no longer an option. This is what happened in Tunisia and this is what could happen in Egypt. It is the only solution to a situation that never changes."
There is a presidential election scheduled in Egypt in September this year. The situation is primed, Nour says, everything is ready, all it needs is something to ignite popular passions.
El-Erian of the Muslim Brotherhood talks in more revolutionary terms. "Without solving the main problems we can only delay the revolution, delay the intifada" or uprising he says.
But for all the rhetoric -- and despite several incidents -- the government in Egypt remains very much in control.
In Tunisia the revolt was triggered by anger at the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, a young vegetable market trader who torched himself over his dire economic plight.
In the week following the flight of Tunisia's President Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali to sanctuary in Saudi Arabia, more than half a dozen Egyptians set fire to themselves like Bouazizi.
None triggered wider protests, never mind opened the floodgates to the very real reservoir of anti-regime anger.
But Ibrahim Houdaiby, a savvy young analyst from a family with a long political pedigree, says it is too early to draw conclusions. "There is a lot of anger, and there is a lot of frustration, and if this frustration is not yet tangible and did not yet manifest itself in violent and big forms it is possible that it might happen and it is in nobody's interest that it does."
At a funeral near Egypt's second city Alexandria, where the Egyptian police have an unenviable reputation for brutality, I got a strong sense of just how far away that spark for revolt may be.The gathering was tiny, just family and close friends. Twenty-five-year old Ahmed Hashem Sayed was the only one of the recent self-immolation cases to die of his burns.
As his slender shroud-wrapped body was being laid to rest only yards away on the other side of the high walls surrounding the tiny cemetery plot crowds going about their daily routines thronged the streets, none but a couple of curious kids joined the mourners.
Sayed's neighbor said his death had nothing to do with Tunisia and everything to do with his own poverty.
Later, on the muddy street of the slum where he lived with his family, his father told me his son was out of work more than he was in it. He didn't want to talk to us, didn't want to attract international attention, didn't want to make a martyr or national hero out of his son.
Houdaiby is sure Sayed was aware of Tunisian burn victim Bouazizi, who like Sayed was young and set himself on fire in economic despair, and although he may not have emulated him, he may well have been influenced by his actions.
The big regional lesson of Tunisia, according to Houdaiby, is that people have learnt they can bring about change themselves.
"What happened in Tunisia will of course impact the way people think. They know if they want things to change, at one point they will be able to change things"
But he adds Mubarak's regime has also learnt lessons, offering to subsidize bread and other essentials, albeit Houdaiby suspects, only until the current crisis seems over.
No doubt though, he says, the government's vehement denials ironically show how troubled it is by the Tunisian revolt.
"When you have the minister of foreign affairs saying that Tunisia could not be compared with Egypt and the situation is completely different and it is ridiculous that people are making any sort of comparison that says that they are worried."
And if they are worried in Egypt, with its large, tough state security forces, then other regional leaders may well be troubled too, warns El-Erian, spokesman for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. "If Egypt tumbles then watch the region follow, if change comes in Egypt, not in Tunisia, it will be domino sequences."
Indeed in the long run the United States may be the big loser. Many of the regimes on the defensive, like Mubarak's, are long-standing US allies.
And that says El-Erian -- who calculates that in a democratic Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood would have a large say -- could have serious implications for the United States.
"We are reflecting the opinion of the people and opinion and sentiments here are against the politics and policies of the United States in the region," he said.
It may sound like a bold statement, but on the streets of Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt to name but a few, U.S. credibility has taken a hammering over the past decade.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have only served to fuel popular anger with the U.S. over the regional autocrats they support.
The implication is if the winds of change do blow down one or two of the region's rulers the political voices emerging may well bring a new dynamic to such intractable problems as Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
That alone could reset the region in a way unimaginable today.

Pakistan: Short Training for Women Workers Goes Far in Saving Newborns’ Lives

A new study suggests that “lady health workers,” as Pakistan calls them — women trained as part of a government program to give care to poor people in rural areas — can make a difference in saving the lives of newborns.
Researchers from Aga Khan University in Karachi followed almost 50,000 households in two health districts for two years. The areas where the women were assigned to work had 21 percent fewer stillbirths and 15 percent fewer newborn deaths than in other areas. That success was achieved even though the health workers generally had only 10th-grade educations and one extra week of training for the project. Also, they failed to hold almost half the planned group sessions for pregnant women and visited only a quarter of the babies within a day of birth.

The workers advised pregnant women to go to clinics for checkups and vitamins, and to give birth at clinics. They handed out “birth kits” with soap and clean razors to reduce the chance that cutting the umbilical cord would transmit tetanus. They instructed the widely used professional midwives, known as dais, in skills like getting newborns to breathe and giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. And they asked the dais to encourage mothers to keep premature babies warm instead of washing them in cold water, and to breast-feed them immediately.

Karzai bows to pressure on parliament delay

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has announced the inauguration of the new Afghan parliament will go ahead tomorrow after protests by rebel MPs.

Mr Karzai has been forced to back down after he tried to delay the opening of parliament by a month.

The lower house will be inaugurated tomorrow after MPs, the US and the United Nations warned Mr Karzai of a potential constitutional crisis if he postponed the ceremony.

He announced last week the inauguration would be delayed to give extra time to a special tribunal investigating electoral fraud.

But he now says parliament will be opened tomorrow because it is in the national interest of Afghanistan.

Palestine Papers spark fury in Ramallah

Emanuel Off Chicago Mayoral Ballot

Pakistan University announces scholarships for Afghan students

A university in northwest Pakistan today announced scholarships for Afghan students and scholars pursuing their Masters, MPhil and PhD studies.

An agreement was reached between a delegation of visiting Afghan university Chancellors and Vice Chancellors and officials of the University of Peshawar.

According to a formal pact, the University of Peshawar will grant admission to 48 Afghan students for Masters degree and six MPhil or PhD students from the coming academic year.

Twenty-four Masters'' students will be given fully funded scholarship and all six MPhil or PhD students will be granted full free-ships.

The joint declaration said Afghan students who do not come under the free-ship will be charged fees equivalent to those for Pakistani students.

Welcoming the Afghan delegation, University of Peshawar Vice Chancellor Azmat Hayat Khan said serving the people and students of Afghanistan would be a privilege for the varsity.

He said the University of Peshawar is currently host to over 70 Afghan students and is ready to train the faculty of Afghan universities to build their capacity to global standards.

Veena, the 'Hero' from Pakistan

Who is afraid of Veena Malik?

Yasser Latif Hamdani
Daily Times

After 63 years of independent existence, a constitution, one of the largest armies in the world and a nuclear arsenal to boot, we still feel insecure about our identity as Pakistanis when it comes to the Indians. May I ask the ghairat brigade why a country of 180 million people suddenly feels threatened by the actions of one of its citizens?

Veena Malik is our new punching bag. As I write this article, yet another TV show anchor has gathered a number of misguided and self-righteous but confident youth to bash Veena Malik, who has become the focal point of our collective honour. Voices of reason and common sense are drowned out by the thumping of hands and feet of our post-Zia populism.

Still one must attempt to talk reason and sense to this new semi-educated, completely unenlightened and socially illiterate urban ‘middle class’ high on the opium of honour and shame even if it is incapable of understanding that not everyone carries the chip of culture, tradition and honour of an entire country on their shoulder. Veena Malik went on the Bigg Boss show in her personal capacity and was not representing anyone but herself. She was not representing the indigenous cultures of Pakistan, the Muslim woman or even the working woman. Given that most of our urban middle class loves to watch Indian films and Indian television, the only possible ‘charge’ against her seems to be that she is a Pakistani woman. My suggestion is that we should think 100 times before making Pakistani citizenship a crime in Pakistan. It has already become almost that in many other countries in the world.

Let me reiterate that Veena did not do or wear anything on the show that is unacceptable in Pakistan’s media, fashion and society circles. I certainly would not want to pass judgement on the goings on in our entertainment industry. Still, the irony here is that Veena is being castigated for her “short dresses”, but only a year earlier we were ready to declare Indian tennis star Sania Mirza our collective national bahu (daughter-in-law) despite her tennis attire, which was as short if not more. Of course, we quickly backtracked after she delivered a stinging and well-deserved slap on our collective national face by saying that she was merely cricketer Shoaib Malik’s wife and not Pakistan’s bahu.

Indeed, there are many in our ghairat brigade who think that by acting like a “buri aurat” (loose woman), Veena Malik has tarnished Pakistan’s image abroad. Of course, the same guardians of Pakistan’s image are not bothered in the slightest by bloodshed and murder in broad daylight. Some of them, including leading columnists and writers in the national press, actually support murder and bloodshed. To our ghairat brigade it does not matter that the world thinks of Pakistan as a terrorist haven. It matters however that a young woman, who has chosen to earn her bread and butter through the entertainment industry and has managed against adversity to educate her siblings through it, is somehow defiling Pakistani culture by wearing clothes on an Indian television show that are considered the norm in Pakistan’s entertainment industry. Should Veena have reinforced the stereotypes of Pakistan by wearing a burqa or swimming in a burqini? Would that not be hypocrisy?

It is then argued that with India there is a special sensitivity involved. This, of course, is the crux of the matter. After 63 years of independent existence, a constitution, one of the largest armies in the world and a nuclear arsenal to boot, we still feel insecure about our identity as Pakistanis especially when it comes to the Indians. Indians, of course, have a lot to do with it, but may I ask the ghairat brigade why a country of 180 million people suddenly feels threatened by the actions of one of its citizens? Are Pakistan’s ‘ideological frontiers’ so permeable as to crumble every time an actress from Pakistan wears ‘inappropriate’ clothing in India, clothing that is a norm in the Pakistani entertainment and fashion industry? I am frankly unsure of what these ideological frontiers are. After all, the same ghairat brigade never raises an eyebrow when Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his party declare — time and again — that Jinnah was not a real freedom fighter. Instead, the ghairat brigade supports the appointment of reactionaries from his party to the highest offices of Islamic ideology.

I digress. Getting back to Veena Malik, the kind of hate that is being promoted against this one individual is a dangerous trend. We have already seen where that leads. The country cannot afford such violence anymore. The ulema and anchors who are raising a hue and cry against her have clearly forgotten the lessons of Islam, which enjoins every believer to avoid slander and libel against individuals. Making this an issue right now when the state is going through an unprecedented upheaval will only lead to further heartbreak. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) should take immediate action against all the anchors who are trying to exploit a poor woman for their own ratings. To me, Pakistan’s honour and integrity are violated by their actions and by the actions of those they condone, including those cricketers who are allegedly involved in spot fixing. My appeal to all of these champions of Pakistan’s honour is to cry “halt” before it is too late and there is nothing left to defend.

The writer is a lawyer. He also blogs at and can be reached at

Veena Malik gets support from Miss Pakistan World

Miss Pakistan World Annie Rupani Sunday came out in support of Pakistani actress Veena Malik who is under fire from the Muslim clergy in her country for getting too close with Indian actor Ashmit Patel during her participation in Bigg Boss-4 in India.

Slamming Mufti Abdul Qawi who said in a TV interview Friday that the actor has "insulted Pakistan and Islam" by her behaviour, the Houston-based Miss Pakistan World said the mullahs have no right to pass judgment on Veena Malik.

"I fully support Veena Malik for standing up for her beliefs and values. Though unfortunate, Veena Malik's lashing out may be the only way to make her voice heard. Women are constantly being suppressed under the name of Islam, when in reality, Islam promotes the equality of men and women," the 21-year-old Boston university student, who was crowned Miss Pakistan World in Toronto in August, told IANS.

The Karachi-born beauty said: "Currently in Pakistan, a high percentage of women are abused, beaten, raped, and killed, yet men are not being held responsible for their actions. Pakistani women's literacy rates are rising, leading to their outward participation in society."

But clerics cannot stand these women, she said, who are becoming "strong-willed and passionate, and pushing the bounds of traditional norms. They are trying to project this as a religious issue, but in reality, it is only cultural. Any woman has the right to choose her friends or husband, and Pakistan being a democratic country allows any one to marry regardless of religion. So Veena has not broken any laws or the constitution of Pakistan".

She said the bold actress has shown that Pakistani women are "beginning to push past their status quo and the culture is starting to deal with consequences. But it will take some time. Veena Malik has shown India that Pakistani women are not weak and submissive".

Calling Malik's criticism a symptom of the radicalisation of Pakistani society, she said: "As the world is globalising and western ideas and beliefs are permeating all societies, some Muslims react by clinging tighter to their religious roots and condemning western ideas.

"Radicals are reacting out of fear and in defence of their religious and cultural background, but liberals like Veena should hold strong to their beliefs and help others to understand how Islam is compatible with these beliefs and ideas."

Asked if Veena Malik should again go to Indian shows despite all the turmoil her Bigg Boss entry created, she said: "As I said, Veena did not commit any wrong actions on the show. Therefore, she should continue to proudly represent Pakistan on Bigg Boss. She has changed the radical face of Pakistan in front of India. Not all Pakistanis are terrorists or support terrorist acts. And India knows that now."

Added her mentor and Miss Pakistan World pageant pioneer Sonia Ahmed: "Veena Malik has now become an icon for progressive and modern Pakistan women. She is one of the very few women who have stood up to the clerics."