Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Saudi Arabia's Eastern province has been hit by yet another anti-government protest rally in which demonstrators have condemned the long-time rule of Al Saud for its suppression of protests. The protest erupted in the Qatif region on Wednesday following the beating of two women by Saudi forces. The protesters also called for an end to Riyadh’s military intervention in neighboring Bahrain and the regime’s violation of people’s privacy in their homes. The demonstration was staged despite a strict ban on all public gatherings. Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in the oil-rich Eastern Province, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination. However, the demonstrations have turned into protest rallies against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in Eastern Province. The Saudi interior ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches or protests, and calls for them, because that contradicts the principles of the Islamic Sharia, the values and traditions of Saudi society, and results in disturbing public order and harming public and private interests.” Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Article 24 of the charter states that “every citizen has the right… to freely pursue a political activity [and] to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also criticized the Al Saud regime for silencing dissent through intimidation and violation of the basic rights of citizens. (Source: Press TV)
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that nearly one million children in Yemen are suffering from poor nutrition, many of them struggling with death. "An estimated 967,000 children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition," United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said at a press briefing on Wednesday, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, the world body has appealed to the international community to assist millions of vulnerable people in Yemen who are in need of healthcare, clean water, basic sanitation, and nutrition. In response to the crisis, aid organizations in the impoverished Arab country are asking for nearly $40 million to help 267,000 children who are at risk of dying if proper treatment is not administered. Children in Yemen also face the threat of unexploded ordnance and land mines, which have reportedly claimed the lives of 13 children and left another dozen injured in the first quarter of 2012.
Punjab government is closing the doors of education on usTo punish the historic Government Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College’s administration for being politically active against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Punjab government has apparently decided not to provide any financial support to the college for faculty development, infrastructure and other needs, Pakistan Today learnt on Wednesday. The college’s Mass Communication Department, especially, is being made to face the brunt and no regular faculty has been hired to impart education to the students. The department has also received a warning from the Punjab University that said that the department’s affiliation with the university would be cancelled if faculty is not arranged soon enough. Sources in the administration said the Education Department had been requested again and again to provide the required faculty but a PML-N mafia was not allowing this. “MAO College has always been anti-Sharifs and now since they are in power, they are doing all they can to suppress any anti-PML-N activities in the future,” sources said, adding “the CM has time and again claimed that he has taken many initiatives to promote education in the province but on the other hand, his government is punishing the students of MAO College for expressing their opinion.” “We have received many requests from MAO Principal Dr Farhan Abadat Yar Khan over the issue of lack of staff but there is nothing we can do about it because the education minister and the Higher Education Department are not interested,” an official in the HED, asking not to be named, said while talking to Pakistan Today. “Boys belonging to the middle class study at the MAO College and come from far flung areas of the province but the CM is not giving the college its due respect,” he said. “Our college’s student union sided with the PML-Q and now PML-N is taking its revenge. The Mass Communication Department gets the top position in the university examinations and it would be unfair to them if Punjab government remains obstinate on the issue,” a faculty member of the college said. “We are not asking for laptops but for teachers to teach us,” a student said, adding that their future was being compromised over a political issue. “The Punjab government is closing the doors of education on us,” he said. Lahore Director Colleges Rana Naseem said he was not aware of the actual status of MAO College’s Mass Communication Department and added that he would enquire the matter. He said however in the beginning of this session, Punjab government had permitted all colleges’ administrations to hire visiting faculty and it was the administration’s fault if they had not hired anyone.
The Express TribuneTwo successive blasts at the under construction mausoleum of former Awami National Party chief Ajmal Khattak on Grand Trunk Road, Akora Khattak, in Nowshera left five people injured, officials said on Wednesday evening. According to details, Nowshera police were trying to clear people gathered at the site of a bomb explosion at the under construction mausoleum of Ajmal Khattak. As the people, and journalists were being asked to leave, another improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the same graveyard. Five people including three journalists were injured. “Chaos broke after the second explosion took place,” Siddique, an eyewitness told The Express Tribune. “Neither the police nor journalists went close to the area after the explosion.” An official of the bomb disposal unit said that around four kilograms of explosives were used to carry out the first attack while approximately a two kilogram IED caused the second explosion. Nowshera police said that investigations were still underway into the incident. Condemnations from various factions and sectors poured in. The injured were rushed to District Headquarters Nowshera hospital. Earlier, a bomb went off at the under-construction mausoleum of famous Pushto poet and a former Member National Assembly, late Ajmal Khattak on Grand Trunk (GT) road, Akora Khattak area of Nowshera, badly damaging the structure. No loss of life was reported in the incident, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack thus far. Police have arrested the guard of the building and are currently interrogating him. Police said that initially five armed people approached the under construction building of the mausoleum and over-powered the guard. He was tied with a rope before the armed men placed explosive devices inside the building which went off with a big bang. Up to 80 per cent of the mausoleum was damaged. “They were five people who came to the area and planted bombs there and fled the area after the explosion,” said a police official of the local police station while talking to The Express Tribune. The provincial government had provided a Rs10 million grant for the construction of building at the grave of late Ajmal Khattak. The grave is situated along the main Grand Trunk (GT) road in a graveyard. They said that the move was aimed at creating unrest among the local people. Ajmal Khattak was the former president of Awami National Party (ANP) and a former MNA. He died of illness on February 7, 2010 in Peshawar. Last month, an anonymous threatening letter was found at the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan which warned of ‘dire consequences’ if some rituals were not abolished. Security was beefed up after the letter was received. Similarly, a letter was received last year followed by two terrorist attacks at the shrine that killed more than 55 people and injured over 150. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the attacks.