Saturday, July 7, 2012
DUNYA NEWSHaji Adeel said ANP backs Contempt of Court Bill but it has reservations over Dual Nationality Bill. Talking to Dunya News in Islamabad, ANP senior vice-president Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel said the objective of the Contempt of Court Bill is giving right to appeal to any affected person. He said if High Court or any other court convict a person in contempt of court, he should be given right to appeal. Haji Adeel said that the Contempt of Court Bill would be passed with a simple majority. He said the ANP would not support legislation regarding dual nationality in the parliament for the posts of president, prime minister, governors and chief ministers, federal ministers and other key offices in the armed forces. “For these important positions, one must have pure Pakistani nationality,” he stressed. Haji Adeel said the coalition government does not enjoy the two-third majority to pass the Dual Nationality Bill.
By Jomana Karadsheh and Moni Basu, CNNin an act of severance with the legacy of Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans went to the polls Saturday to elect a national assembly. The landmark vote was marred in places by disruptions that prompted polling centers to close but the overall turnout was greater than expected. The last time Libya held an election was almost half a century ago and for many people, the act of casting a ballot was novel after four decades of autocratic, one-man rule. The excitement was palpable simply in the numbers: More than 3,500 candidates stood in the election for a 200-seat national assembly. About 80% the 3.5 million eligible voters registered to cast a ballot. Men and women, young and old waited patiently in long lines in cities and towns across Libya -- some that were war zones only a year ago. After voting, people proudly waved their right index finger smudged in purple indelible ink as proof of their vote. More than 13,000 soldiers were on the streets Saturday. But not all went smoothly. In the eastern city of Ajdabiya, five polling centers opened but four others on the outskirts were closed. Earlier this week protestors in the east who feel marginalized by Libya's leaders in Tripoli attacked a warehouse and torched ballots and other election materials. The attack was one of several staged by those who see an unequal distribution of seats in the national assembly. Authorities flew in fresh ballots printed in the United Arab Emirates but the shipment did not arrive in time for all the Ajdabiya polls to open in tome. Seven other polling stations in and around Benghazi were also closed due to pro-federalist threats against voters. Some may open later in the day if the security situation improves or there may be voting Sunday at polls that were closed Saturday. On Friday, anti-aircraft fire hit a Libyan air force helicopter transporting ballot boxes from the eastern city of Benghazi to nearby areas, the Interior Ministry said. One person was killed. It was unclear who was behind the attack. Saturday's vote is sure to be a litmus test for post-Gadhafi Libya. The new national assembly will be tasked with appointing a transitional government and crafting a constitution. The nation's new leaders, however, will have their work cut out for them as they begin a new, more democratic era. Amnesty International published a scathing report this week on lawlessness in Libya, urging the nation's authorities to rein in revolutionary militias accused of a plethora of human rights violations and establish a functioning judiciary. The disparate groups came together to topple Gadhafi but remain divided along regional lines. More than 200,000 Libyans are still armed and often operate outside of the law, according to Amnesty. Security is just one of many obstacles. The new government must figure out how to unify the country as it moves forward. That includes a reconciliation process for Gadhafi loyalists. And there is the task of rebuilding a nation ravaged by dictatorship and last year's conflict. The National Transitional Council, Libya's de facto rulers since Gadhafi was captured and killed in October, inherited a land where few civil institutions existed. The new government will have to create a functioning society out of that vacuum. Libyans are clamoring for basic services -- at the top of the list is adequate health care. Other problems are easily visible. Heaps of trash litter roads because of the lack of proper disposal services. Campaign posters and billboards in Libyan cities and towns advertised all the candidates running. Most are unknown to Libyans as is the political process itself. Gadhafi was not one to cultivate political culture. But Libyans have high hopes for their future. "If Libya's issues are a mosaic, I believe I hold one piece of it," said Awziya Shweigi, one of the thousands of candidates. "It might be a small one, but an effective one that completes it." A geneticist by trade, she has been working to identify the bodies of those who died in Libya's eight-month uprising. Now, she said she wants to do more. Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who has been in Libya ahead of the parliamentary vote, said he was guardedly optimistic about Libya's transition. "The glaring shortfalls in the transition are the lack of development in the security sector and the continued activity of powerful militias," Wehrey wrote on the think tank's website. "It's tempting on the surface to see the situation on the ground as chaotic and alarming with armed men roving the streets. But it's not all bad news, in many cases the militias actually maintain a degree of discipline, provide pre-election security, and work with the government to police their own areas -- so things are being kept under control at least for now. The key question is how these militias will react to the election results and the subsequent distribution of power among tribes and towns." Because polling is virtually nonexistent, it's difficult to predict winners and losers in Saturday's voting, said Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations. "But it is clear that religion and identity politics will play a vital role," she wrote on the council's website. She, too, expressed optimism but questioned whether women would end up with any significant representation. About 45% of registered voters are women. "Solid, but imperfect progress," Coleman wrote. "In theory, half of the 80 seats reserved for political parties are supposed to go to women because political party lists are required to contain equal numbers of men and women," she said. Shweigi said she may not be an expert on defense or the national budget, but as a woman, she represents a large part of Libyan society. She is a widow and mother of six, and said her experience with family will make her an asset. She has been campaigning on the streets, fully covered in Islamic dress, talking to women -- and men. That's a huge change in this Islamic nation, said Samer Muscati of Human Rights Watch. "Previously we would not have as many pictures of women outside in public spaces, and now that's becoming a normal event at least in Tripoli and some other areas as well," he said. "So I think this election is changing women's participation not only in politics but also in a larger scale." Shweigi said she doesn't expect to win Saturday. But she, like so many other Libyans, feels she was born again after Gadhafi was gone. And she wanted to experience the fruits of the revolution.
Sunday Magazine Feature By Said Nazir Published: September 11, 2011If it weren’t for the support of their father and the persistence of their mother, Farida Afridi and Noor Zia Afridi would not be able to read a single word of this article. But today, the two are not only final year students of MSc in Gender studies and holders of MBA degrees, but are also determined champions of women’s education and empowerment. Farida and Noor’s long struggle against discriminatory tribal customs started when they were school children. “After we completed our primary education, our male family members wanted us to stop going to school,” says Farida. But the girls’ parents were adamant that they would continue their education. Since then, equal status for women and children’s rights have been issues close to their hearts. It was to win these rights that the two established the Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA) in the Jamrud subdivision of Khyber Agency in December 2008. “The government is oblivious of the general attitude of tribesmen towards women and the extent of inequality in our patriarchal society. This pushed us to start a struggle for their empowerment,” says Farida, sitting in her well-furnished office in Peshawar. Interestingly, though their struggle is for women’s rights, their inspiration was a male student-cum-social worker named Laal Jan. “We used to see Laal Jan as a student, doing social work in our village. His dedication provided us with the impetus to step into this field,” says Farida. It wasn’t a smooth ride. Their parents may have been in favour of their education, but seeing their daughters transform into pioneering social workers was something else. They faced tough resistance when they told their family about the path they had chosen for themselves — to promote women’s rights by launching an NGO. Eventually, Laal Jan came to the rescue, convincing the girls’ parents to support them after several long conversations. “I told them that there was no harm in women working in the field,” recalls Jaan. “Far from earning the girls a bad name, their social work would actually increase their families’ prestige, if they served the local community well.” “We told our parents that we would work in accordance with our religious and cultural traditions, assuring them that we would never let the family honour suffer because of our line of work. Finally, they agreed,” says chadar-clad Noor, who covers half her face while working in the office and in the field. As for Lal Jaan, he was not only the initial inspiration for SAWERA and a key mediator during its establishment — his association with the organisation has turned out to be a long term one. Presently, he is volunteering as a technical advisor. “With the exception of eight women volunteering for SAWERA, more than half of the 20-member staff consists of tribal women,” says Lal Jaan, who is of opinion that the local staff gives SAWERA an edge over all others in the field. Before the establishment of SAWERA, says Noor Zia, “Only men were leading NGOs in Jamrud. Rigid tribal customs prevented them from approaching women and addressing their concerns with ease. Ours is the only functional organisation in the area which is led by women, and works for the welfare of women and children free of traditional constraints.” Since its inception, SAWERA has held a number of awareness sessions for locals with regards to women and children’s rights. Highly attuned to local sentiments, SAWERA’s policy of respecting tradition has paid dividends. “We are well respected in the community…everyone knows our family background and our struggle for this cause has been well-received,” says Farida. “Keeping local tradition in mind, we cover ourselves in chadar and hold our activities inside houses — rather than out in the open — which encourage the local people to cooperate with us.” They also avoid implementing projects on controversial issues like AIDS and family planning, which may incite the local community against their cause. While local customs are a challenge that SAWERA has overcome beautifully, local militancy is another story altogether. Like all other organisations engaged in this field, SAWERA occasionally gets threats from militants. Preferring to be part of the solution, it held a workshop on peace in the region last year in which more than 50 women participated. “Women can play an active role in countering terrorism and militancy,” says Noor. “By educating women, we can prevent their sons from becoming militants and by educating children we can enable them to choose a better future for themselves.” At present SAWERA is running three Information Technology (IT) centres in Jamrud, with segregated classes for male and female students. “Half the students are female — they were enrolled by their parents only after our colleagues addressed their reservations about sending their daughters to the IT centre,” Noor reveals. The project aims to equip students with enough computer skills to enable them to secure jobs. “One of the primary objectives of SAWERA is the financial empowerment of women which is essential for their self reliance and independence,” says Lal Jaan proudly. And most of SAWERA’s projects focus on just that. The NGO opened two garment shops with the help of a donor, which are successfully being run by two poor women from their homes in Gul Rehman village. Also, during 2009, SAWERA helped establish six male and female Community Based Organisations (CBO) each, later linking one of the female CBOs with an international donor, which is now running a vocational training centre for women in Tedi Bazaar Jamrud. “A number of women are making money out of it, while others are learning the skill of sewing and embroidery,” says Farida. Farida and Noor Zia earn a small amount of money from their work to support their studies and to sustain their NGO when they have no running projects. “We don’t give financial support to our families, neither do we ask them to support us,” says Farida, who along with Noor, enjoys financial independence. In an effort to disprove stereotypes, Farida and Noor are paving the way for many others and have cleverly surmounted the multiple challenges of being women in tribal society. Now, they want to reach out to more and more people, by extending their operation to the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. “This is just the beginning … we still have a long way to go to change the plight of women in these areas,” says Noor. The two girls, who started with a personal struggle to acquire an education, have actually begun a women’s movement which may well have far-reaching and radical consequences in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 11th, 2011. http://tribune.com.pk/story/247182/positive-pakistanis-sister-act/
http://criticalppp.com/archives/82661A condolence meeting was held in SPO office Peshawar to remember Ms. Farida Afridi who was brutally assassinated by the
http://www.telegraph.co.ukIndia's foreign secretary has told Pakistan that the biggest confidence building measure it could take to improve relations between the two countries would be to arrest the 2008 Mumbai terror attack suspects. His comments were made following talks with his Pakistani counterpart in New Delhi, which were part of a series that has raised hopes of significant progress in improving the fraught relationship. The two countries came close to breaking point following the massacre in Mumbai in which ten terrorists killed 166 civilians. Hopes of a breakthrough had increased in recent months following a series of "confidence building measures" to increase trade and people to people contacts across the border. However, they have been overshadowed by reports that a terrorist suspect arrested in Saudi Arabia has told Indian investigators that Pakistani intelligence figures were in the Karachi control room where the key plotters directed the ten terrorists in the atrocity. His reported claims echo those made by India's home secretary and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh shortly after the attacks, which raised fears of a new war between the nuclear neighbours and rivals.Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, an Indian Muslim from Maharashtra who was recently deported from Saudi Arabia allegedly told investigators he had taught Hindi to the ten attackers and given them tips on how to dress like typical young Mumbaikars. He is believed to have joined the Lashkar e Taiba group which carried out the attacks. The LeT began as a militant group fighting to end Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, but it has since grown to become a global terrorist organisation with close ties to al-Qaeda. It is believed to have been used by Pakistan's security forces as a proxy for attacks on Indian troops in Kashmir. Indian frustration over the lack of progress in Pakistan's investigation into the Mumbai attacks has been muted recently, but it surfaced again yesterday when Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Islamabad should do more if relations are to make progress. "I emphasised that terrorism is 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," he said. His counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani however rejected Indian claims of state complicity. Islamabad is however "willing to enter comprehensive co-operation in order to defeat the forces of terrorism," he said.
APPPrime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Saturday said Pakistan needed political continuity to become a stronger and respectable nation among the comity of the nations. Talking to notables from his constituency here at PM House, the Prime Minister said, “Pakistan has vast natural resources, which are many times more than the oil rich countries of the world but could not be exploited due to the political uncertainty and disruption of the political process.” He said economic development and corresponding prosperity are intertwined with political stability.
APPThe Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has found irregularities to the tune of billions of rupees in the department of Agriculture and Dairy Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and directed high level inquiry against the responsible officers, to recover the amounts. The meeting of the committee was held at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House Abbottabad with Speaker, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Kiramatullah Khan in the chair. Besides members Saqibullah Khan Chamkani, Malik Tehmash Khan, Syed Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha and Fazal Shakoor Khan, Secretary Assembly Amanullah Khan, Secretary agriculture Afsar Khan, Vice Chancellor Agriculture University Peshawar Dr. Bahadar Khan, Director General Livestock Dr. Ghufranullah. Director General, Audit Sikandar Khan and other officers and officials. The meeting took Auditor General Audit Observation 2010-11 about Director General Extension and Dairy Development Department and took a number of decisions during the course of inquiry about embezzlement of Rs.8.2 million in the Department of Livestock and Dairy Development. The committee ordered inquiry into the matter and recovery of the amount. The Speaker also ordered inquiry into the dairy development farm and windmill in D.I. Khan. He directed the presentation of the report in Public Accounts Committee with immediate effect. The committee while discussing the matter of same departments audit report 2009-10, also found some irregularities and dubious entries in stock register and showed concern over the matter. The department replied that a clerk was forcefully retired in this matter and recovery was also made from him. However, the committee rejected the plea of the department, saying that merely a clerk cannot be held responsible for such a big embezzlement. The committee was of the view that involvement of the officers concerned can not be ruled out. The committee further observed that due to lack of command and control system in the department, such irregularities occurred which cannot be tolerated at any cost. The committee directed the audit department to further thrash out and investigate the matter and present a comprehensive report within a period of two weeks. The committee meeting will now meet on Monday.
EDITORIAL:FRONTIER POSTThe Bank of China (BOC), the second Chinese bank after the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) is making its entry in Pakistan. Entrance of Asian banking giants following exodus of western banks suggest changing dynamics of banking industry in Pakistan. ICBC, the world's biggest bank by capitalization, has already started operations with one branch each in Karachi and Islamabad. The BOC, in which the Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund holds a substantial stake, is focusing on corporate and personal banking and also on investment banking. The expanding bilateral trade between Pakistan and China has attracted Chinese financial market giants to mark their presence in Pakistan. The BOC recently entered Kenya and has operations in other countries, including South Africa and Zambia. The recent HSBC decision to wind up its operation in Pakistan is undergoing restructuring after continued global financial crisis and failure of banks in United States and now in Europe. The Royal Bank of Scotland was also the victim of financial crisis in Europe. Pakistani bankers said the entrance of Chinese banks could change the banking trend which largely depends upon government papers for profitability. The African experience shows that the two Chinese banks have enormous skills and energy to explore and grab the potential available in Pakistan, a market of 180 million population. The leadership of the two countries has been emphasising to increase the volume of bilateral trade which has increased in the last three years, mostly in favour of China. Pakistan has also signed a currency swap agreement (of $1 billion) with China to improve bilateral trade and investment. The decision of two Chinese banks to start working in Pakistan may also be a broad indication of Islamabad's keenness of promoting cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation that will give Pakistan a huge economic opportunity, particularly reaching the markets of Central Asian Republics, Russia and, of course in the first instance, China. Banking anal ysts said the weakening of European banks and Arab economies have also opened space for the Chinese banks to tap the potential. Simultaneously, the initiative of a Turkish bank, Isbank, to enter into Pakistan is also a positive sign for the growth of financial sector. India is also making effort to open banks in Pakistan to increase its trade with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The entry of Chinese banks in Pakistan will no doubt give a boost to the already all weather friendship between the two neighbouring states, but augurs well for the country's sluggish economy that has, under the operational influence of western banks, failed to pick up pace and stands relegated to one of the lowest even in South Asian perspective. The step is a healthy departure from an unhealthy past and strongly indicates that Islamabad has seriously been pursuing the goal of looking eastwards.
ToloNewsDisplaced Afghans and women should be the major concerns for donors giving aid to Afghanistan, human rights groups said Wednesday. Amnesty International said that any aid funding pledged to Afghanistan at a donor conference in Tokyo next Sunday must also help those displaced by decades of conflict and living in miserable conditions. Half a million Afghans who have been uprooted by insecurity live in urban slums, deprived of their right to adequate housing, food, water, health and education, a statement on the group's website said. "The burgeoning problem of displacement is a human rights crisis and could lead to greater instability in the otherwise relatively stable urban areas - the Afghan government and its international partners must address this long-neglected issue," Amnesty's Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq said in the statement Wednesday. The US refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that the number of people displaced inside the country could rise to 700,000 by the end of 2013, Amnesty noted. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that a failure to include women in decision-making processes and high-level policy discussions increases the fear that women's rights might be bargained away in the desire to bring peace through a compromise with the Taliban. HRW said on it website that donors in Tokyo should make it clear to the Afghan government that continued international support will be linked to further progress on women's rights. Furthermore, they should ensure that adequate funding remains available to support schools, clinics, hospitals, shelters and other essential services. It noted that half of all Afghan girls are not in school, very few finish high school, and attacks on girls' schools are common. While women in public life or working outside the home face threats and sometimes violence. The meeting in Tokyo on July 8 of will bring together as many as 70 international organisations and donors with the aim of securing aid commitments for Afghanistan after 2014 when most Nato troops will withdraw from the country. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that he is seeking $3.9 billion in annual international assistance to rebuild the country's economy at the Tokyo conference. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will attend the high-level international conference, Japan's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Daily TimesTens of billions of dollars have poured into Afghanistan since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in late 2001, but graft is rife from local police to high officials, and patience among donor countries is wearing thin Ahead of the exit of foreign combat troops, Afghanistan faces pressure to tackle pervasive corruption as it seeks billions in new aid at an international conference in Tokyo on Sunday. Tens of billions of dollars have poured into Afghanistan since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in late 2001, but graft is rife from local police to high officials, and patience among donor countries is wearing thin. Afghanistan wants to see around $4 billion a year in civilian assistance pledged in Tokyo for its aid-dependent economy, amid fears that donations could dry up when NATO pulls out in 2014. But a principle of “mutual accountability” will be stressed at the 70-nation meeting, making continued payment of aid conditional on Kabul making progress, particularly on transparency. After more than 30 years of war, the Afghan economy is weak and the country cannot survive without foreign aid. According to the World Bank, spending on defence and development by donors accounted for more than 95 percent of GDP in 2010-11. Without a functioning economy, Kabul covers only $2 billion of the $6 billion it spends each year not counting security costs, said a Western diplomat, with donor countries making up the difference. President Hamid Karzai, who will be in Tokyo along with officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, has called for $4 billion a year in civilian aid for Afghanistan. That would add to the $4.1 billion promised annually at a Chicago conference in May for security costs. The Western diplomat said the Afghans were terrified that when NATO pulls out, the money will disappear with them. Sources expect a deal worth up to $3.9 billion a year to be agreed in Tokyo, but after more than 10 years of sacrificing soldiers and tax dollars to the Afghan cause, leading donors are proving hard to persuade. “We are not blind. We feel a considerable fatigue among the taxpayers,” said another diplomat. European Union ambassador Vygaudas Usackas said the bloc was “committed to continue to prioritise the support to Afghanistan in the coming decade, enhancing our overall support post-2014”. But the money will come with strings attached. A European diplomat said work was needed in five key areas: better management of public finances; improved tax collection; guarantees on rights, particularly for women; legal reforms; and “credible” elections in 2014. “Without tangible progress in these five areas, it will be difficult for donors to maintain their support to Afghanistan,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, who will jointly chair the Tokyo conference, said he was hoping it would result in pledges worth at least $3.0 billion a year. But in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper published Friday, he also warned of conditions for Karzai’s government. “(Kabul) must improve its governance capacity, including eradicating corruption,” he said, adding a mechanism to review progress in these areas every two years had to be developed. But there is resistance from the Afghans, who regard such conditions as attacks on their sovereignty. “Many times, the international community wanted to tell us what to do or not and how to do it. But the Afghan government can only be fully responsible if it’s able to make its own decisions,” said a senior Afghan government official. Aid organisations are also worried about what will happen to aid after 2014. Since 2001, life expectancy has risen from 47 to 62 years for men and from 50 to 64 for women, according to Oxfam, which warned the good work of the last decade could be undone. “Development gains made in Afghanistan over the last decade are in danger of being thrown away if levels of aid fall away in conjunction with the withdrawal of international troops in 2014,” the British aid group said. Oxfam said the United States, Afghanistan’s biggest single donor, has already cut development aid by nearly half in 2011, from $4.1bn to $2.5bn.