Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The Express TribuneLiving in Balochistan for the last three decades, a majority of the Afghan refugees have not registered themselves out of fear of forceful repatriation, said Major Farzand Ali, Director Operation Afghan Refugees Organisation Balochistan.
THE NEWSThe participants at the 33rd death anniversary function of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on Wednesday vowed to follow the principles of their leader and render every sacrifice for the attainment of the rights of people. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the PPP organised the main function at a hall opposite the Gulbahar Police Station where the emotionally-charged activists chanted slogans in favour of their party and its leadership. The venue was decorated with tricolour flags, banners and portraits of PPP leaders. However, some supporters and opponents of Federal Minister for Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan marred the event by making hullabaloo. The PPP activists, who had decided not to display the portrait of any minister and office-bearer, objected to the picture of Arbab Alamgir. Both the groups started chanting slogans in favour and against Arbab Alamgir. However, they ended the protest when the senior party leaders intervened. Provincial secretary information Syed Ayub Shah, former district nazim Azam Afridi, district president Israr Nahaqi, Akbar Khan Advocate, Ahmad Faheem, Tahir Abbas and others spoke on the occasion. Syed Ayub Shah said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had formed the PPP to rid the country of capitalists and landlords and give relief to the poor, but the current party leaders have deviated from the basic policy. He said ZA Bhutto had sent five million Pakistanis abroad during his government to strengthen the economy. He said the anti-PPP forces started hatching conspiracies against their leader and the imperialists forces succeeded in removing him but the brave jiyalas did not give up the struggle. He said the four-year performance of the PPP-led government was zero and it had let them down. He said the PPP government did not provide relief to the poor and this would mean there would be no one to drum up support for the party nominees in the next general elections. He said the governors, prime minister and ministers would have to come out of their offices if they wanted to win the elections. Azam Afridi said the services of Bhutto family could not be forgotten as he said made the country an atomic power. He said the current PPP leadership had disappointed them and it would be difficult to save the party if the situation remained the same. Some of the PPP activists who spoke on the occasion opposed any future alliance with the Awami National Party (ANP) and asked the central leadership to pull out of the coalition for the better future of the party and its workers. Wearing tricolour caps, the participants responded to the slogans and vowed to follow the directives of their leaders to foil the conspiracies of the anti- PPP forces bent upon dislodging the government. Terming ZA Bhutto a great philosopher and leader of international stature, they shed light on his life and urged the workers to spread his message. The said the PPP was ruling Pakistan due to the sacrifices rendered by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Meanwhile, PPP Charsadda chapter president Farah Aslam Khan eulogised the services of ZA Bhutto and said her party leaders rendered unmatched sacrifices for the cause of democracy and did not bow before dictators. She said the rulers ignored the sincere and dedicated party workers after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. MARDAN: PPP activists offered Quran Khwani and Fateha Khwani for the soul of ZA Bhutto on the occasion of his 33rd death anniversary at the residence of provincial council member Syed Abid Ali Shah. The speakers reiterated their commitment to follow the principles of their late leaders in letter and spirit. PPP gatherings were also held in all the districts of the province including Chitral, Nowshera, Swat, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Dera Ismail Khan and Abbottabad.
http://gulfnews.comIndia's government and the army furiously denied on Wednesday an "alarmist" front-page newspaper report detailing how troop movements towards the capital in January had spooked the cabinet. The Indian Express claimed the unnotified nocturnal deployments had sparked concern about a possible coup at a time when relations between the head of the 1.13-million-strong army and the government are strained. It said the government had taken measures as a precaution on the night of January 16-17, including asking lookouts to identify the troops involved and ordering police to take measures to slow traffic on the highways into the capital. "These are alarmist reports and should not be taken at face value," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said outside parliament, adding that no one should work to lower the "dignity and respect" of the army chief position. Defence Minister A.K. Antony, speaking at the launch of a nuclear-powered submarine in south India, told reporters the suggestion the government had been worried was "absolutely baseless"."They (the army) will not do anything against Indian democracy. They are true patriots," he declared. The deployments - by a column of mechanised infantry travelling in armoured personnel carriers and a separate column of paratroopers - were "usual, natural activities", he said. Indian Army spokesman Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya told AFP that the story in the respected broadsheet was "baseless and incorrect". "Certain troops' movements which have been reported were part of routine training as per standard operating procedures," he said. The Express cleared its front-page for the story under a dramatic three-line headline stating: "The January night Raisina Hill (the political establishment) was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt." Quoting several unnamed sources, it said that the defence minister and the prime minister were informed and the troops were ordered to halt. They were then sent back to their bases in states neighbouring the capital area. The army explained afterwards that the deployments were to test the capabilities of the infantry to operate in fog and for the paratroopers to link up with their planes. While these reasons were initially "viewed with scepticism", the Express reported, the defence ministry had since come to the conclusion it was "a false alarm caused by some non-adherence to standard operating procedures." The incident was important because it underlined the distrust between the army and the government, the paper stressed in the story which was jointly written by its high-profile editor Shekhar Gupta. "The relationship between the army and political leadership of the country is at an all-time low," the spokesman for the main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ravishankar Prasad, told reporters. "The equilibrium between the civilian leadership and the army must be restored and respected." India's army chief V.K. Singh has had a public falling out with his civilian bosses sparked by his bid to stay in office for an extra year. In January, the same day as the manoeuvres detailed in the Express, he took his case to the Supreme Court, asking unsuccessfully for his birth date as registered in army records to be changed. The general, a widely respected veteran who faces mandatory retirement this May at the age of 62, had claimed his birth date had been wrongly recorded. Since this dispute, he has embarrassed Antony by detailing how he was offered a $2.8 million bribe in 2010 to fix a supply contract, a complaint which was not followed up by the government. And last week, a letter he wrote to the prime minister complaining how India's tank fleet lacks ammunition, its air defences are "97 percent obsolete" and its elite forces need essential weapons was leaked to the media. Uday Bhaskar, a security analyst and former head of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, told AFP that India's military was "one of the most apolitical armies in the world. I don't give any credit to this." The country has very little history of its disciplined army interfering in political affairs. After a 1984 army onslaught against Sikh separatists in northwestern Punjab state, some Sikh soldiers mutinied, leading the government to put in place safeguards against a coup.
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG
http://statesman.com.pkBy Farzana Raja The name of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and founding father of the Pakistan Peoples Party, is and will always remain an icon of struggle for the rights of people. The courageous leader scarified his life to protect the rights of Pakistani nation and to make Pakistan a modern progressive democracy. That is the reason that the great Quaid-e-Awam will live in the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan forever. The enemies of Shaheed Bhutto were actually the enemy of Pakistan and its people as they were aware that the process of progress and development ushered by his democratic government would be unstoppable under his dynamic leadership. The social and economic well being of the people was the focal point of the policies of Shaheed Bhutto. The slogan of ‘roti, kapra aur makan’ is very much reflective of his economic agenda, which is not only quite relevant today but will also remain so in future as well. While marking 33rd “Youm-e-Shahadat” of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, every democracy loving Pakistani rightly owes it to Shaheed Bhutto for living in a democratic Pakistan, free from tyrannical rule of undemocratic and oppressive forces. April 4, 1979 was indeed a black day when the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was committed on the behest of the then dictator Zia ul Haq. The forces of darkness succeeded to eliminate the most popular leader of the people for his ‘crime’ of giving voice to poor people of Pakistan and for his promise to rid the downtrodden masses of the country of the bane of poverty. Shaheed Bhutto wanted to make the defense of the country stronger and for this it was his democratic regime that gave Pakistan its nuclear programme. Besides, to strengthen the economy of the country, various futures oriented projects including Pakistan Steel Mills and Heavy Mechanical Complex were initiated by ZAB government on urgent basis. Shaheed Quaid-e-Awam instilled a new zeal and vigor in the people of Pakistan at a time when their hopes were diminishing and their dreams were getting shattered as a result of various internal and external factors. These were the difficult hours in the history of the country when the courageous people of Pakistan, as a result of follies of their short-sighted rulers, were haplessly facing looming threats to social, political and geographical integrity of the country. In the face of all these challenges, it was the unmatched wisdom of Shaheed leader who dealt with these challenges in most befitting and efficient manner. He prescribed greater national harmony as the only solution to keep the social, political and geographical integrity intact and protected. Shaheed Quaid-e-Awam gave a gift of unanimous Constitution to nation to infuse a sense of national harmony and integrity. Besides, he initiated mega developmental projects including Steel Mills and Kamra Aeronautical Complex aiming to revitalize the ailing economy of the country and to lay down the future economic roadmap of the country. Quaid-e-Awam always exhibited phenomenal love and affection for the poor and downtrodden of the country. This fact is quite evident from the fact that he took numerous revolutionary pro-poor steps in short span of time during his democratic tenure. The main thrust of the policies of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the manifesto of his party was to uplift the lives of socially and economically deprived segments of society. In this connection, he promised to the deprived segments of society of the basic amenities of life. Considering education a key to bring about a real economic revolution, new educational institutes and Polytechnic institutions were established and upgraded by his democratic government. Besides, scholarships for the students were increased aiming to promote higher education among the bright and diligent students of Pakistan. Throughout his democratic regime, Shaheed Quaid-e-Awam strived hard to strengthen institutions, correct the economy and improve the living standard of the people. It's indeed a coincidence that the present democratic government which is the heir of Bhutto’s legacy, is confronting with similar daunting tasks of correcting the ailing economy as well as to develop, strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions. Being the heir of the legacy of Shaheed ZAB, today, the democratic government under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, is focused on to serve poor and destitute of society. The PPP led Federal Government took courageous steps soon after its inception to alleviate the economic troubles and hardships of the masses. This agenda is in the pursuance the guiding principles of Quaid-e-Awam as well as the vision of his great daughter, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The initiation of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is the part of the same legacy. It is first ever comprehensive social protection net which is expanding by every passing day despite various economic woes of our national economy. The programme has recently extended its life insurance facility to millions of new beneficiary families registered with BISP, which is an unprecedented step in the entire South Asia. Turning the pro-poor and pro-people socio-economic vision of Shaheed Bhutto into reality, BISP has also envisaged Waseela-e-Taleem initiative to provide education to millions of children of poor deserving families. Besides, the programme has already introduced various initiatives including long-term interest free financial assistance, vocational and technical training opportunities to poor beneficiary families and is about to launch health insurance for the poorest of the poor who cannot face any health shock, in addition to monthly cash grants. At the occasion of 33rd ‘Youm-e-Shahadat’ of Shaheed ZAB, the PPP led democratic government and BISP would reinvigorate its policy of serving the masses of Pakistan and to make Pakistan a modern, progressive as well as developed nation as it was dreamt by the Shaheed Qaid-e-Awam.
By Sarah Kakakhel / Save the ChildrenA large “Welcome to Peshawar” sign greeted me as I got off the motorway from Islamabad. I could not help but think how different the two cities were. The federal capital lies at the foot of the Margalla range, lush green and welcoming, a quiet city with its wide, tree-lined avenues and neatly planted gladiolas. Peshawar, on the other hand, is loud and bustling as the city buzzes with activity. The mountains in the backdrop are barren and steep – protecting the city from the violence that is a common feature on the other side. I was in Peshawar as part of the Save the Children team to assess needs of the Internally Displaced People (IDP). The government of Pakistan has been clamping down on militant groups in the Khyber Agency, part of the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), since mid-January. Hundreds of thousands of people are said to have fled or are fleeing. Many may not have a place to stay, food to eat or money to see a doctor if they are sick. Majority of them are now seeking shelter at Jalozai camp or are living in Peshawar with extended families, friends or in rented houses. As I crossed the heart of the city towards the main road that led to the Tehsil Bara in the Khyber Agency, traffic dwindled and it was hard not to miss the significant drop in the number of people wandering the streets. Nevertheless, we continued down the dusty, winding road that would bring us to a small settlement in Cheeni Village.
The Express Tribune
http://economictimes.indiatimes.comPakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will be accompanied by a 40-member delegation when he arrives here on a "private visit" during which he will have lunch with the Prime Minister and pay obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. There is minister in that delegation which comprises the President's family members, senior officials of the Presidency and a media contingent, official sources said, without naming any particular minister. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will host a lunch which will be preceded by a meeting between the two leaders, they said. "We are still in discussion", they said when asked if Home Minister P Chidambaram will be part of the Prime Minister's delegation since there are reports that Interior Minister Rehman Malik could be accompanying the President. Sources kept insisting that it was a "private visit" of Zardari and India had conveyed that if it was convenient, the Prime Minister would host a lunch for him here. The two leaders had last met in 2009 on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Russia. On the agenda of the meeting, the sources said, "All issues of interest will be raised...The lunch is preceded by a meeting between the Prime Minister and President Zardari," but refused to give any details of matters that are likely to figure. The sources said the Pakistan President will go to Jaipur and from there will head to Ajmer.