Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dengue returns: tall claims of PUNJAB Govt dashed to ground

All tall claims of the Punjab government have failed to control dengue fever in the provincial capital of Punjab as the new case of dengue has been reported.
As per media reports, the new case of dengue at the outset of spring has also exposed the measures taken, if any, by the Punjab government.
Seven-year-old Maryam Lahore has been confirmed with dengue virus. When the resident of Gulshan Ravi was taken to a local hospital for treatment, the doctors diagnosed that she is suffering from dengue fever. However, her condition is improving.
Doctors informed that she would be discharged from hospital within a couple of days.

Nawaz paying lip service

PPP Parliamentary Leader in PA Shaukat M Basra on Wednesday said the PPP government was taking practical steps for recovery of the missing persons, whereas Nawaz Sharif was paying only lip service. In a press statement, he questioned: “Why was Mr Nawaz Sharif reluctant to declare his long march for the recovery of missing persons?” Balochistan was awaited his announcement, he said.

Nawaz Sharif: 3 references, several inquiries against Sharifs pending with NAB

Some three corruption references and almost half a dozen inquiries were pending with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Accountability Courts against former Premier and PML-N President Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his other family members, but the same could not be reopened as the Division Bench of Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench had barred the NAB to proceed against Sharif family.

Officials in the National Accountability Bureau informed The Nation that the Division Bench of Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench consisting of Justice Ijazul Hasan and Justice Wahid Khan, an appellate forum of Accountability Courts, had barred the Accountability Courts to proceed against Mian Nawaz Sharif and other family members in these three cases in October last year. The preemptive move was made in the Division Bench of LHC Rawalpindi after the incumbent Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari was appointed despite the objection on his appointment was made through a letter written to President Asif Ali Zardari by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch. Nisar Ali Khan.

Sources in the PML-N informed that they had secured stay order against reopening of these cases from the Appellate Court only to prevent the PPP-led coalition government to use these cases for arm twisting of the PML-N leadership though NAB.

So an application for early hearing of their petition, pending with the court for past several months, was initiated and the very next day of moving of the application by Akram Sheikh Advocate stay against the opening of these cases was secured from the Division Bench of LHC Rawalpindi.

All the three cases-Hudaybia Paper Mills,Ittefaq Foundries and Assets reference---were framed against Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family members after dislodging of his elected government in 1999 and during year 2000 and initially all the three cases had been fixed for trial at Accountability Court Attock where Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif were kept after the dislodging of their government. All these cases were adjourned sine die under some clandestine deal when Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family was exiled to Saudi Arabia.

These cases were reopened in year 2007 when the Supreme Court allowed Mian Nawaz Sharif to return back to Pakistan but once again he was sent back to Saudi Arabia moments after he landed here at Islamabad Airport.

The request for the reopening of these cases was again made in year 2010 when the then Prosecutor General NAB Dr Danishwar Malik had moved an application seeking reopening of these cases on the plea that as the accused in these cases had returned back to the country so the cases against them should be reopened. But the matter once again went into limbo when the Accountability Court Rawalpindi No. 1 judge directed the Prosecutor General to furnish the request for reopening of these cased duly signed by Chairman NAB but as the slot of Chairman NAB was vacant and once again the court had adjourned these cases sine die. In State vs Hudaybia Paper Mills (Pvt) Ltd-nine members of the Sharif family were accused of committing a corruption of Rs 642.743 million.

As per NAB allegations the accused had secured loan against the Hudaybia Paper Mills and later used this money to pay off the loans of other companies owned by the Sharif family. Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Mrs Shamim Akhtar (Mother to Nawaz Sharif), Mrs Sabiha Abbas, Mrs Maryam Safdar and former Federal Minister Ishaq Dar were the accused in this reference.

In State Vs Ittefaq Foundries etc, Mian Nawaz Sharif, his brother Mian Abbas Sharif and Kamal Qureshi were charged with the willful default of Rs 1.06 billion.

The main allegation against the accused in this case was that M/s Ittefaq Foundries Ltd obtained cash finance from National Bank. As per NAB allegations, the company willfully defaulted to pay back the amount in 1994. In State vs Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif etc is about the Raiwind assets.

Main allegation in this reference is that the accused had acquired vast tracts of land on which a number of palatial houses and mansions were constructed with less resources, which appeared to be grossly disproportionate to their known sources of income. As per NAB allegations, there involved an amount Rs 247.352 million that is under question. Apart from Mian Nawaz Sharif, his mother was also an accused in this case.

There are six investigations against Sharif pending before the NAB following Chairman NAB's order. These pending investigations included; case of illegal appointments in the FIA against Mian Nawaz Sharif; misuse of authority by Nawaz Sharif as ex-Chief Minister Punjab in the construction of road from Raiwind to Sharif family house causing loss of Rs 125 million; Sharif Trust case against Nawaz Sharif/Sharif Trust involving allegation of money laundering, misappropriation of trust funds and acquisition of benami assets in the name of Sharif Trust; London properties case against Nawaz Sharif and others regarding owning of Aven Field properties in London; Illegal appointments in PIA allegedly by Mian Nawaz Sharif, and corruption in the allotment of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) plots involving ex-CM Nawaz Sharif, ex-DG LDA Brig (Retd) Manzoor Malik, ex-Director Estate and Shahid Rafi.

Two pending inquiries against Sharifs in the NAB included a complaint of allotment of LDA plots and another complaint about alleged misappropriation of government property by allotting 12 plots to Mian Attaullah instead of one in Gulshan Ravi Scheme ,thereby, causing loss of Rs 20 million to the State.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and other accused in plane hijacking and helicopter case were acquitted.

Pakistan vows to support, not lead Afghan peace drive

Pakistan will give its full support to any clear effort by the Afghan government to achieve a political settlement with the Taliban but does not want to lead a peace process that would impose a solution, Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday.

Khar said Afghans were tired of attempts by other countries to take charge of their affairs and, for the good of future bilateral ties, Pakistan should not be seen to be interfering too closely.

“We will support any (peace efforts) that are Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-driven. This is our first and last pre-requisite,” Khar said in a speech at Chatham House, an international relations think tank in London.

“But we will not lead. We cannot lead. We will only follow what our Afghan brothers and sisters decide is the course of action they will adopt,” she said.

Khar added that as long as that condition was met, Pakistan would not block any effort by any nation to assist the Afghan government in achieving a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan.

In a statement on Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Pakistan “to support and facilitate our direct negotiation efforts as part of the peace process”.

“Pakistan’s support to the peace process will be crucial to its success, as well as a significant contribution to the security and stability of Afghanistan and the entire region,” Karzai said.

Pakistan has consistently said it wanted peace in Afghanistan, but Afghans have long been suspicious of Pakistan’s intentions because of historical ties between Pakistani intelligence and insurgent groups such as the Afghan Taliban.

The Afghan Taliban announced last month it would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting it may be willing to use that as a tool in future negotiations.

Karzai has said he agreed with the idea of opening a Taliban office in Qatar.

After a period of greater strain than usual, relations between Kabul and Islamabad have improved.

Khar said Afghans had to decide for themselves what was the best course of action to achieve peace in their country. Peace was in Pakistan’s national interest but there should be only “one centre of gravity” in the effort to attain it and that should be an Afghan-led process, she said.

Al Jazeera's Bahrain documentary wins award

The journalists behind the Al Jazeera English documentary Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark have won the 63rd annual George Polk Award in Journalism.

Ranked among the US' most coveted journalism honours, the George Polk Awards - named after an American journalist who was killed covering the civil war in Greece in 1948 - have been administered by Long Island University since 1949.

A committee of jurors recognised Al Jazeera's May Welsh and Hassan Mahfood for producing a film that "gives a voice to the protesters for democratic rights and presents a harrowing, on-the-ground view of their brutal suppression".Previous winners of the awards include Seymour Hersh, Ted Koppel and Christiane Amanpour.

It is the second accolade won by the film, which was awarded the UK Foreign Press Association Award for Best Documentary in November 2011.The documentary, which was first broadcast on Al Jazeera English on August 4, 2011, follows the unraveling of the Bahraini uprising from the initial days at Pearl Roundabout to the chaotic scenes of injured protesters overwhelming the Salmaniya Medical Complex.

The film was shot entirely by Welsh with her field producer, Mahfood, over the course of a three-month period from February to April 2011.

Of the award, Welsh said: "Shouting in the Dark provides a visceral insight into a country that was often overlooked during a time of great upheaval in the Arab world. The bravery and spirit depicted in the film continues to touch the hearts of people across the globe. This award is a proud achievement for Al Jazeera, and recognition of the courage shown by the people I met whilst filming in Bahrain."

As the crackdown in Bahrain deepened, Al Jazeera was the only international news provider to remain in the country.

"We are delighted to have won such a prestigious and coveted award," said Al Anstey, the managing director of Al Jazeera English.

"This recognition comes on the back of a series of high-profile award wins for the channel, and is a testament to Al Jazeera's commitment to put honest, eye-witness reporting at the heart of the global news agenda. We look forward to continue providing award-winning coverage to our growing audiences in the US and across the world."

As Olympics Near, Saudi Women Remain on the Sidelines

Denial of Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Sport in Saudi Arabia

International Olympic Committee to Saudi Arabia: Where Are the Women?
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to put the screws on Saudi Arabia, one of just three countries that has yet to field any women for the Olympic games. The other two countries, Brunei and Qatar, have either vowed to send women to London this summer or are struggling to send anyone to the Olympics. Saudi Arabia has no excuse, HRW says, and by not pushing them to field women the IOC is violating its own principles on gender equality. A researcher for HRW called women’s participation in sports a “wedge issue” for other women’s rights – a hefty claim in a country where women lack even the ability to drive and vote in most elections.

This report documents discrimination by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education in denying girls physical education in state schools, as well as discriminatory practices by the General Presidency for Youth Welfare, a youth and sports ministry, in licensing women’s gyms and supporting only all-male sports clubs. The National Olympic Committee of Saudi Arabia also has no programs for women athletes and has not fielded women in past Olympic Games.
In its interviews with Saudi women and international sporting officials, the report found that Saudi government restrictions put athletics beyond the reach of almost all women. There is no government sports infrastructure for women, with all designated buildings, sport clubs, courses, expert trainers, and referees limited exclusively to men. The ban on women’s private, for-fee sports clubs has forced women to restrict themselves to fitness gyms that rarely feature swimming pools, a running track, or playing fields for team sports. Membership fees there are beyond the means of many ordinary Saudi women and girls. Official sporting bodies hold no competitive sports for Saudi women athletes in the kingdom and do not support Saudi sportswomen in regional or international competitions.

Russia backs Red Cross call for daily Syria truce

Russia on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" about the humanitarian situation in Syria and said it backed an International Committee of the Red Cross call for a daily two-hour truce that could provide help to civilians.

"We are seriously concerned by incoming reports about the difficult humanitarian situation in Syria," said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

"We actively support the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross" to establish a truce, Lukashevich told a weekly press briefing.

"It is presumed that this pause will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to the nation's population."

The ICRC has been in talks with Syrian authorities and rebels to try to agree a temporary halt to the fighting so it can get access to the worst affected areas.

Lukashevich said Russia had submitted to the UN Security Council a proposal for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a special envoy to Damascus to negotiate the provision of humanitarian assistance to those who need it most.

Russia has emerged as President Bashar al-Assad's closest international ally and its support for a truce puts pressure on the regime to open the border to foreign supplies.

But Russia has refused to single out Assad for criticism and on Wednesday again called on both his forces and the armed opposition to end the violence.

"We once again urge all Syrian sides to end the violence. This concerns both the official authorities and the opposition, which must disassociate itself from extremists," Lukashevich said.

Zardari admitted to Dubai hospital

Reportedly, President Zardari has been admitted in a Dubai hospital for medical checkup.According to reports, President Asif Ali Zardari is hospitalized in Dubai Hospital for medical checkup on Wednesday, Dunya News reported.
However, president’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar has denied the reports and said that the president is in good health and is at home.

LAHORE: Dengue returns, new case reported

All the towering claims of the government have fallen flat as dengue has returned.
The new case of dengue at the outset of spring has also exposed the measures taken, if any, by the Punjab government.
Seven-year-old Maryam Lahore has been confirmed with dengue virus. When the resident of Gulshan Ravi was taken to a local hospital for treatment, the doctors diagnosed that she is suffering from dengue fever. However, her condition is improving.
According to doctors, she would be discharged from hospital within a couple of days.

Barhamdagh Bugti supports Balochistan bill

Senior leader Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) and grandson of slain Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti has said that he supports the US Congress resolution on Balochistan self-determination.
In a telephonic chat with media persons from Switzerland here on Wednesday, Barhamdagh Bugti said that attacks were being carried out and bodies were being dumped in the province for two years. He said that forces were conducting operation in the province for the past six years but no betterment in law and order situation could be attained.
He clarified that Balochistan issue could not be resolved through so-called development packages aimed at gaining political mileage.
Barhamdagh said the elements responsible for atrocities in Balochistan are now talking about the All Parties' Conference. He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has now realized the plight of Balochis. He claimed that by raising Balochistan issue, Nawaz wants to save his political interests.
The BRP leader said that situation in Balochistan was not hidden from any one but nobody paid attention towards the deteriorating situation of the province.

Peshawar's Schools

''This is the actual situation,thanks to media.almost all politicians are really against education although they inagurate some institutions just to show their beautiful [ugly]faces in media.l donot know any pakistani politician whos children are uneducated,let alone educated in PAKISTAN GOVT SCHOOLS.lf people are educated then they study the party manifesto[prepared by paid INTELECTUALS] and people will be able to expose politicians.So politians got benefited by IGNORANCE IS BLESSING.''
mohammad parvez

Khushal Khan Khattak's 323rd death anniversary

Popular Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak was remembered at a function held at the Nishtar Hall on Monday night to mark his 323rd death anniversary.

Noted singers Fayyaz Khesh-gi, Bakhtiar Khattak, Musarrat Mohmand, Musharraf Bangash and Afghan singer Naghma enthralled the audience by singing Khushal Khattak’s poetry. Young artistes performed on the songs by Haroon Bacha, Qamro Jana and other singers.

A short documentary made on the life and struggle of Khushal Khan Khattak was also shown. The documentary, written by noted poet Yar Muhammad Maghmoom and voiced by Bakhtiar Khattak, reflected the heroic struggle of Khushal Khan Khattak. The great Pashto poet tried to awaken and unite the Pakhtun nation through his poetry against their Mughal enemies.

A live music performance followed the documentary, which received applause from the audience at the jam-packed hall. The hall was decorated with banners and posters inscribed with the poetry of Khushal Khattak.

Almost all the singers sang one piece from Khushal’s poetry. Some singers also sang the poetic pieces of famous poet Ghani Khan. Poha Khparawonki Jirga and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cultural Department had jointly arranged the function. Earlier, a mushaira and Quran Khwani were also held in Akora Khattak in connection with his death anniversary.

Born in Akora Khattak in Nowshera district, Khushal Khan’s ancestors had migrated from Teri in Karak. His great grandfather was the chief of the Khattak tribe. After the death of his father Malik Shahbaz Khan Khattak, he became the tribe’s head at the age of 27.

Khushal Khan’s life can be divided into two important parts. Most of his life he was engaged in the service of the Mughal King but during his old age he was preoccupied with the idea of the unification of the Pakhtuns. He was an intelligent and bold person since childhood. He fought the first war at the age of 13 along with his father. He was also a scholar, thinker, philosopher and boisterous poet. His forefathers were officers in the service of the Mughal Empire.

After the death of his father, the Mughal emperor Shahjehan appointed him as the tribal chief at the age of 27 in 1641. When Shahjehan died, Aurangzeb arrested Khattak and put him behind bars in the Gwalior Fort.

After release, he rebelled against the Mughals and later launched resistance against them. He also contacted other Pakhtun tribes like Mohmand, Afridi and Yousafzai and with the support of his people started offering resistance to the Mughals. During his imprisonment, the Yousafzai tribe with which he had fought wars gave shelter to his family.

At White House, B.B. King and Mick Jagger, among others, to play the blues


It didn’t smell like skunked beer or cigarette ash. The chandeliers weren’t replaced with neon. But Buddy Guy was there, conjuring ghosts from his cream-finish Stratocaster for a crowd of more than 200. Had the White House ever felt more like a roadhouse?

Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck were among the blues-rock royals assembled to perform at 1600 Pennsylvania on Tuesday night — an evening that ended with a singing performance from President Obama himself.
It was the latest (also: the loudest, wildest, most dynamic, most exciting) in a series of semi-regular concerts hosted by first lady Michelle Obama celebrating the American songbook.

Previous performances in the series have saluted the music of the civil rights era, Motown and Broadway, as well as jazz, country (twice), classical and Latin music. Now, to mark Black History Month, the Obamas honored the blues, arguably the most influential of any American musical genre.

“This music speaks to something universal,” the president said before introducing King. “No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that.”

Jagger appeared to summon the genre’s cumulative energy when he came strutting into the East Room. Clad in a black leather coat, dark pants and cherry-red cross-trainers, the Rolling Stones frontman peacocked across the stage and punched the air, that mysterious electricity still crackling through his 68-year-old limbs. He is a man without an off switch, or even a dimmer, and he gave the White House performance by which all other White House performances shall now be judged.

Between a feral rendition of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and the Stones’ disco-blues gem “Miss You,” Jagger vamped through “Commit a Crime” alongside Beck, dedicating the performance to the late Chicago blues great Hubert Sumlin.

Sumlin was one of the genre’s many pioneers who died in the past year — among the others were Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Big Jack Johnson and, most recently, Etta James. Nodding to their forebears, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes offered a somber, stately rendition of James’s “I’d Rather Go Blind.”

Other moments in the program seemed to place the future of blues in the able hands of Gary Clark Jr., the 28-year-old Texas guitar ace who was given more time onstage than any other performer. He made the most of it, delivering a heavy, heartfelt “In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down)” before pivoting into a lithe “Catfish Blues.”

Also on the junior side of the spectrum was New Orleans phenom Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, 26. Earlier Tuesday at the White House, Andrews — along with guitarist Keb Mo and singer Shemekia Copeland — spoke at an educational seminar hosted by the first lady. More than 100 students from 24 schools across the country listened attentively as Grammy Museum director Robert Santelli traced the blues’ migration from the deep South into the bloodstream of contemporary rock-and-roll. Then, after a question-and-answer session, Mo, Copeland and Andrews broke into song, the students stomping their dress shoes on the State Dining Room hardwood.

That couldn’t compete with the ruckus that Andrews brought in the East Room that night, guiding the crowd through a rowdy call-and-response during “St. James Infirmary” — with even the first couple getting in the act.

But it wouldn’t be the only singing that President Obama did Tuesday night. As the evening’s performers finished off “Sweet Home Chicago,” Guy summoned the president to the stage. “I heard you singing Al Green,” he said, referring to Obama’s recent crooning at the Apollo Theater. “You done started something, and you gotta keep it up now!”

For a moment, the president appeared reluctant — who could follow Mick? — but he grabbed the microphone to trade a few lines with King: “Come on, baby don’t you want to go, [back to that same old place], sweet home Chicago.”

First Lady surprises White House visitors

17 Feb

First Lady Michelle Obama and family dog Bo surprise visitors during a White House tour.

Barack Obama sings duet with BB King at White House blues concert

US President Barack Obama is coerced in to singing a fews lines from 'Sweet Home Chicago' during the White House blues festival.The President delighted guests at the White House with another impromptu singing performance.
This time it was a duet with Blues legend BB King at the 'In Performace at the White House' event.It took some effort from King's fellow musician Buddy Guy to persuade President Obama to partake in a reprisal of 'Sweet Home Chicago' but he was soon singing a few bars from the classic hit about his home city.

It is not the first time crowds have been treated to his presidential vocals. In January Obama serenaded a packed auditorium during a New York fund-raising event

Afghanistan Face Challenges in Improving Social Justice, AIHRC Says

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that social justice in Afghanistan needs to be protected and improved.Nearly 36 per cent of Afghans are now living under the poverty line and 40 per cent of Afghans are unemployed.
"We have failed to eradicate poverty and create jobs in the country," Mohammad Musa Mahmodi, executive director of the AIHRC, said.
Some human rights activists believe that corrupt government officials, unemployment, poverty, lack of development, economic problems and insecurity are challenges that need to be overcome to improve social justice in Afghanistan.

Veena Malik signs a film for Rs 1 lakh!

She may be known for creating ripples with her publicity stunts but not many of us know the real story of Veena Malik.

Veena Malik, who has earned herself the title of being the latest 'drama queen' in town, is actually one of the lowest paid actresses in town.
Veena, who took to fame post her stint in the reality show Bigg Boss, is desperate to sustain the limelight. Since getting big projects is not an easy affair, it is learnt that the actress has lowered her price and is signing films for as low as Rs 1 Lakh.
Confirming this, our source says, "This might sound strange but the fact is that Veena Malik is one of the lowest paid actresses in town. Apart from her publicity stunts, the actress has no substantial work to talk about and now she has become the darling of every small time producer. It was surprising to know that the actress recently signed a film for just Rs 1 Lakh only."

Copies of Daily Express, Tribune torched in Quetta

The Express Tribune

Unidentified persons set newspaper bundles of Daily Century Express and The Express Tribune on fire in Quetta on Tuesday morning.

The hawkers could not distribute the newspapers across the province because of the incidents that took place in the newspaper market and on Saryab Road.

According to the distributors, a group of armed men reached the market near Quetta Press Club (QPC) and snatched the piles. “The men sprinkled petrol on them and set them on fire,” one of them explained. Similarly, a group of assailants intercepted the hawkers on Saryab Road, grabbed their bundles and set them on fire.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, All Pakistan Newspaper Society, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Awami National Party (ANP) and journalists condemned the incident, and termed it an attack on media freedom.

The transmission of Express News has remained suspended in the city for a few days and has yet to resume. Police have been deployed to its office after receiving threats from unidentified perpetrators. The province is the most dangerous place for journalists as around 20 were killed last year.

Benazir Bhutto: 27 terrorist groups involved in BB’s murder

Frontier Post

No less than 27 different terrorists groups had joined under the umbrella of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to assassinate Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Federal Minister for Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik told members of Sindh Assembly on Tuesday.The briefing was arranged after a resolution was put forward by MPA Ghulam Mujaddad Isran and unanimously adopted by the House seeking details about the status of investigations and the actual culprits as well as facts that led to assassination of the twice elected prime minister of the country.Malik said the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has come forward with fool proof evidence and undeniable proofs against perpetrators of the crime adding that forensic details of the crime have been collected that can stand any counter assessment at any court.He said eight people have been nominated in the case, including former president Pervez Musharraf, former CPO Syed Saud Aziz, Khurram Shehzad Haider (the latter two are presently on bail) besides five TTP activists who are behind the bars.“Both Pervez Musharraf and militants based in FATA considered Benazir Bhutto a threat for themselves as she was a strong proponent of democracy and democratic values,” he said. He said TTP had been attempting Mohtarma’s assassination since long with Osama bin Laden as the major financier and his linkage as well as that of TTP activists, including those who were at one point or other students at Madrassa- e- Haqqania (Akora Khattak), has been well established.The interior Minister said that former president and General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf will be immediately arrested, once he returns to the country, for intentionally or unintentionally conniving with the killers of Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The Minister for Interior Affairs, extensively assisted by the team of investigators comprising members of joint investigation team (JIT), said a challan has been presented against the former president and he has already been declared proclaimed offender by the court, with all his property and bank accounts in the country attached with the court.“He has been challaned for deliberately denying VVIP security to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto while it was provided to two other ex- prime ministers,” he said. Khalid Qureishi, Head of JIT informed the MPAs that failure to provide adequate security commensurate to threat to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, despite repeated requests, assisted the terrorists to carry-out suicidal attacks.“Number of notices have been served to the former president and we will get him as soon as returns to the country,” said federal minister for interior affairs. The basis of the fact that he too considered Benazir Bhutto a threat was the fact that he had told her not to come back before elections and that her security was based on her relationship with the then government. Former president has also been accused to have ordered a press conference immediately after the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto through which wrong information was communicated.The briefing that spanned for more than four hours also included presentations by other members of the JIT team.

People in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s riverine areas lurching from one crisis to another


An unchecked reconstruction of houses along river embankments in the flood-prone areas has been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with no official agency moving to act in the public interest, experts say.

Officials of international relief organisations involved in providing assistance to the provincial government in rehabilitating the flood affected population told Dawn that the problem was common in almost all those areas where a large number of houses and localities along watercourses were destroyed by rising river levels in 2010.

“New houses, in place of those destroyed in the 2010 floods, are being reconstructed in the riverine areas of Charsadda, Nowshera, Swat, and Peshawar with no one taking note of the anomaly,” said the coordinator of a European funded housing project meant for rehabilitating the flood affected communities.

More than 265,000 households in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been found eligible for receiving housing subsidy, being extended under Citizen Disaster Compensation Program (CDCP), after suffering losses to their houses because of the 2010 floods, according to an official source.

The disbursement of CDCP funds has triggered reconstruction activities in many parts of the flood-affected districts in the province with many affected families rehabilitating their old structures in riverine areas, raising concerns among housing experts of non-governmental organisations.

The issue, said a Peshawar-based official of a UN agency, said the issue had been brought to the provincial government’s notice, but no one had acted so far to correct the situation, avoiding catastrophes in future.

A relevant official of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, when approached, said the Authority was not directly involved in the reconstruction drive. The PDMA, he added, was working hard to pay housing subsidy to the affected families.

He, however, said those who had been raising the issue they should pinpoint the areas where this reconstruction in the danger zones was taking place.

“It is a complex issue as building codes are non existent and not many people (among the constructors) are bothering about building seismic resilient structures or attaching importance to laying stronger beams and columns while constructing houses,” said the official.

Some 50,000 houses were destroyed in Charsadda district and as many in Nowshera district in 2010 where a roaring River Kabul and its tributaries wreaked havoc.

“I don’t think that the reconstruction (of houses) at the same old places is going on at a large scale, it might be the case in some places where residential localities close to riverbanks suffered losses,” said the official.

He, however, said several localities that were inundated by floodwaters were in the flood-prone zones being situated close to watercourses but the government didn’t have the resources to shift the entire localities to safer places.

There does not appear to be a quick fix to the problem, according to international non-governmental organisations’ officials.

The European Agency representative said a vast majority of the affected families could not shift to safer places. “They don’t have the financial resources to buy land at places away from the flood-prone areas for building houses,” said the official. He said billions of rupees being spent by local non-governmental organisations on the reconstruction of houses were at risk of getting washed away in an event of future floods.

“UN and other international agencies that have provided money for the reconstruction are looking into it,” said the official.

The PDMA official said the government’s civic bodies had not paid due attention to check the dangerous practice because land occupancy issues were a major obstacle.

Some hold the view that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government could have taken actions as serious as the government of Punjab took to avoid the reconstruction in the flood-prone zones, particularly, along riverbanks or on dry riverbeds.

The government of Punjab, said the UN official, had barred Wapda and other service delivery agencies from extending their facilities at places declared dangerous after the 2010 floods.

Frequently made administrative changes at the district government level have also been cited as reasons behind the lose grip of the civic bodies, failing to check the reconstruction at unsafe places, according to NGO workers.

The district governments’ employees concerned with disaster management, said a local NGO’s representative, lacked the required training leaving them insensitive to issues with potential to pose future hazards.

Not many of the district coordination officers – administrative heads of district governments – were also sensitive enough to pay attention to the problem of reconstruction in the unsafe places as, added the NGO representative, most of them remained busy with day to day administrative affairs, particularly the security situation in their respective districts.

“This leaves the issues like reconstruction of houses in riverine areas on the back burner,” said the NGO official.

Pak military's new job: Making iPad copies
Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan's military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad.

It's a venture that bundles together Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, and shines a light on the military's controversial foothold in the consumer market. Supporters say it will boost the economy as well as a troubled nation's self-esteem .

It all comes together at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers - when they are not working on defense projects - assemble the PACPAD 1. "The original is the iPad, the copy is the PACPAD ," said Mohammad Imran , who stocks the product at his small computer and cell phone shop in a mall in Rawalpindi , a city not far from Kamra and the home of the Pakistani army.

The device runs on Android 2.3, an operating system made by Google and given away for free. At around $200, it's less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices and cheaper than other lowend Chinese tablets on the market, with the bonus of a local , one-year guarantee.

The PAC in the name stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where it is made. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop.

Such endeavors are still at the pilot stage and represent just a sliver of the military's business portfolio, which encompasses massive land holdings , flour and sugar mills, hotels , travel agents, even a brand of breakfast cereal. The military is powerful, its businesses are rarely subject to civilian scrutiny, and it has staged three coups since Pakistan became a state in 1947. Many Pakistanis find its economic activities corrupting and say it should focus on entirely on defence.

Pakistan records 11 polio cases in 2012

Pakistani medical workers have diagnosed two more children with polio, bringing the number of polio-afflicted children nationwide to 11 this year.The two children are from Khyber Agency and Hyderabad, Sindh, Dr Altaf Bosan, co-ordinator of the Prime Minister’s Polio Eradication Cell, told Central Asia Online February 21.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has four polio cases this year, with two each in Balochistan, Sindh and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and one in Punjab.

Last year, Pakistan led the world with 198 cases. This year, it already leads again with 11 cases so far, followed by Afghanistan (three cases).