Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rahim Shah New urdu Song 2012

Assad says not to allow foreign scheme to undermine Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that what is happening in Syria is a foreign-backed scheme, stressing that his countrymen will not allow this scheme to achieve its goals "whatever the cost maybe." Assad's remarks were made during his meeting Sunday with head of Iran's national security Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who flew in one day earlier to hold talks with Syrian officials about Iran's new initiative, which aims at solving the Syrian crisis. Assad charged that the scheme is not only targeting Syria but the entire region, of which Syria constitutes the corner stone. " That is why the foreign powers are targeting Syria, in order to complete their schemes in the entire region." Assad, whose remarks were carried by state-run SANA news agency, stressed that the Syrian people will not allow the foreign scheme to achieve its goals whatever the cost maybe. For his part, Boroujerdi stressed the importance of the mutual interests between Iran and Syria, noting that Syria's security is Iran's security. He reiterated his country's continuous support to Syria. Boroujerdi also met Sunday with Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. The meeting with al-Sharaa marked the first public appearance of the vice president after numerous defection reports. Al-Sharaa was seen Sunday leaving his car and entering his office in the capital Damascus before his meeting with Boroujerdi. Syria's state TV has repeatedly denied the defection reports, however, the vice president did not appear in person to refute the claims, which left media outlets to further speculate about the al- Sharaa's alleged escape.

Pakistan: Judges Behaving Badly

How Pakistan's Supreme Court Is Undermining Democracy
A Foreign Affairs roundtable discussion on the causes of instability in Pakistan and what, if anything, can be done about them. On June 19, Pakistan's Supreme Court charged the country's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, with contempt, disqualifying him from being a member of parliament and consequently unseating him from power. Gilani's crime? He refused to revive a money laundering investigation against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari, who technically enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office. According to the country's constitution, only the election commission and the parliament itself have such authority. By simple fact, then, the Pakistani judiciary just pulled off a coup. The timing was particularly suspicious. The Supreme Court's decision came on the heels of a bribery scandal that involved Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. And because Iftikhar's accuser was Malik Riaz Hussain, a politically connected real estate tycoon with ties to the president, some have argued that the court sacked Gilani as revenge. Some in the Pakistani opposition have applauded the move, arguing that judicial intervention is the only way to deal with the corruption of Zardari and his party. In their view, the judges' soft coup was far less insidious than those led by generals in the past, which have invariably led to full-blown authoritarian rule. But as Pakistan heads into an election year, the aggressive move has left the state's democratic foundations weakened, its judiciary less credible, and its military more powerful. To be sure, the development serves as only another chapter in an ongoing saga. For years, the Supreme Court and the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have been at odds over the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), an amnesty law instituted in 2007 by Pakistan's then president, General Pervez Musharraf, as part of a U.S.-brokered power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto, who was the PPP's leader in exile. In return for the government's withdrawal of corruption charges against Bhutto and Zardari, her husband, the party agreed to support Musharraf's re-election bid in October 2007.

Pakistan's Judiciary is biased against PPP

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon on Saturday lashed out at judiciary and alleged that it was biased against the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Speaking to reporters, Sharjeel said, "Since three years, a PPP leader is lying in a jail and they are neither giving him bail nor sentencing him. If you [judiciary] think he is guilty, then punish him." The minister also mentioned the Arsalan-Riaz saga which involved the chief justice's son and said, "The biggest thief Arsalan Chaudhry is roaming out free and no one can arrest him. You have issued a stay order on his case. Is that not biased?" Memon also criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and said, "The PML-N has started doing dramas." "Look at the recent example of how Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa and his son left the party and came back," he added. He pointed out that in the recent by-elections in Multan, the PPP candidate emerged as victorious in spite of the joint opposition from the PML-N, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The minister also said that the day former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was sent home, the PPP candidate won by-election on a seat in Punjab.

Judges should not rule nation, says chief justice of India

''Judges should not rule nation''
Asserting that the judges should not govern the country or evolve policies, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia on Saturday wondered what would happen if the executive refuses to comply with judiciary's directives.e asked judges if they would invoke contempt proceedings against government officials for not complying with their decisions and disapproved a recent Supreme Court judgement which said "right to sleep" was also a fundamental right. "Judges should not govern this country. We need to go by strict principle. Whenever you lay down a law, it should not interfere with governance. We are not accountable to people. Objectivity, certainty enshrined in the basic principles of the Constitution has to be given weightage," he said, delivering a lecture on 'Jurisprudence of Constitutional Structure' at the India International Centre here. Kapadia said judges should go strictly by the Constitutional principles which has clearly demarcated the separation of powers among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. "Right to life, we have said, includes environmental protection, right to live with dignity. Now we have included right to sleep, where are we going? It is not a criticism. Is it capable of being enforced? When you expand the right, the judge must explore the enforceability." "Judges must apply enforceability test. Today if a judge proposes a policy matter, government says we are not going to follow. Are you going by way of contempt or implement it?" he asked. The CJI said judges must abide by the principles of Constitution while dealing with Centre-State relations, federal policy, etc., in the wake of the recent scandals but clarified he was not mentioning the "coalgate" scandal.

Devotees Aim To Restore Pakistani Province's Cultural Identity

NRO implementation case: PM to appear before SC

PM Raja Pervez Ashraf
will appear before the Supreme Court today in NRO implementation case. A meeting of PPP government and its coalition partners headed by President Asif Ali Zardari held at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Sunday. The meeting decided that the PM will appear before the Supreme Court while the federal ministers and the coalition partners would accompany the prime minister. Meanwhile, two main coalition partners of the government including MQM and ANP had advised to avoid confrontation with the institutions. Leaders of PPP, ANP and MQM attended the meeting in which the strategy of case proceedings in the Supreme Court was discussed. Earlier, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also called on President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed with him the current situation.

Thousands flee Waziristan in fear of military sweep

Thousands of people have fled one of Pakistan's troubled northwestern tribal districts in recent days, fearing a military offensive against Islamist militants, locals and officials said. Panicked residents have hastily left the area of North Waziristan despite officials repeatedly insisting that Pakistan has no immediate plan to launch an offensive in the volatile region, they added. North Waziristan, one of Pakistan's seven tribal districts and riddled with militancy, is considered a stronghold of the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives. Although Pakistan has fought Taliban militants across much of the region it has so far withstood American pressure to move against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan. "Thousands of people have so far left the area, they are fleeing their homes due to the fear and rumours of a military operation," Saif-Ur Rehman, a government official in the main town of Miranshah, told AFP. Tasleem Khan, another government official confirmed the evacuation. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders North Waziristan, told AFP that thousands of people have reached several districts in his area. Rumours started early this week after a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban told local media that it had received "an exclusive intelligence report" about an offensive in North Waziristan. In an email sent to media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the campaign was to be launched on August 26 and would last one month. Government and military officials have taken to local radio, asking people to remain calm. "This is a peaceful area with a peaceful atmosphere. The government has no plan to launch any military operation here," a radio announcement heard by local residents said. On Saturday, some 2000 tribal elders and religious leaders warned the government to not to launch any offensive and threatened to move to Afghanistan "in case of any military operation". "We will migrate to Afghanistan, if Pakistan launches any military operation," Maulvi Abdur Rehman, a religious leader who presided over the tribal Jirga said. The Jirga held in Mirali Town of North Waziristan also requested residents to stay at home. An AFP reporter in the area witnessed people fleeing their homes in vehicles. Washington has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September and of acting like the "veritable arm" of Pakistani intelligence. Pakistan has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban crossing the Afghan border to launch attacks on its forces.

Afghans: Sources confirm Badruddin Haqqani is dead

Associated Press
خص کم جهان پاک
Afghanistan's intelligence agency said Sunday its operatives have confirmed that the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan, even as the Taliban vowed that he was alive and well. Shafiquallh Tahriri, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said Badruddin Haqqani was killed last week. He did not provide any further details, and would not say what information the agency's operatives were basing their conclusion on. Tahiri's account is similar to one provided Saturday by a senior Taliban leader who said Haqqani was killed in a drone strike. It also hews closely to a version provided by Pakistani officials who said they were 90 percent sure the militant commander was killed Tuesday in a missile attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. Haqqani's death would mark a major blow to the organization founded by his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, which is viewed by the U.S. as a powerful enemy in Afghanistan. The son is considered the network's day-to-day operations commander. The Haqqani network has been blamed for a series of high-profile attacks and kidnappings in Afghanistan, and the U.S. considers it one of the most powerful militant groups operating in the country. The Taliban, who are closely allied with the Haqqani network, have rejected all reports of Haqqani's death. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Haqqani is alive and in good health in Afghanistan. "A number of media have reported that Badruddin Haqqani has been killed. We would like to inform all media that this rumor is not correct," Mujahid said in the email to reporters late Saturday. "Badruddin Haqqani is in the country and is occupied with his operational responsibilities. He is alive and healthy. The rumor about him being killed is more propaganda of the enemy," he said. In a telephone call with The Associated Press on Sunday Mujahid continued to maintain that Haqqani was alive. The U.S. does not comment publicly on its drone program, which is widely reviled by the Pakistani public and has been a source of tension with Islamabad. The areas where the American drone strikes generally occur are extremely remote and dangerous, making it difficult for reporters or others to verify a particular person's death. Badruddin is considered a vital part of the Haqqani structure and is believed to have played an active role in kidnappings, extortion and high-profile operations in Afghanistan. Tahiri said that Haqqani's responsibilities included arranging foreign suicide bombings, maintaining relations with other insurgent groups, recruiting Pakistani Taliban fighters to the Haqqani group and overseeing operations in southeastern Afghanistan and in Kabul. "He was the mastermind of the organized suicide attacks in Kabul," Tahiri said, referring to a number of high-profile strikes in the Afghan capital targeting everything from hotels to Western embassies. "He was the mastermind of the organized suicide attacks in Kabul," Tahiri said. Still, there are likely people waiting in the wings to replace Badruddin, said former Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, now an opposition leader. "They are going to find another person to replace him. What I know is that his elder brother, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is playing a larger role in the the Haqqani network," Saleh said in an interview on Afghanistan's Tolo television. He said until the group's ability to operate across Afghanistan and Pakistan is limited, "killing their commanders or leaders will have its effect, but not that large of an effect." The U.S. State Department has designated Badruddin, along with his father and brothers — Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin — as terrorists. The State Department said in May 2011 that Badruddin sits on the Miram Shah Shura, a group that controls all Haqqani network activities and coordinates attacks in southeastern Afghanistan. Badruddin is also believed to have been responsible for the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter, David Rohde, the department said. After their father effectively retired in 2005, Badruddin and his brother Sirajuddin expanded the network into kidnapping and extortion, both highly profitable for the organization, according to a recent report by the West Point, N.Y.-based Combating Terrorism Center. Afghan intelligence authorities have released intercepts of Badruddin orchestrating an attack against the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in 2011, the CTC said. The U.S. has long viewed the Haqqani network as one of the biggest threats to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as the country's long term stability. The group has shown little interest in negotiating with the Washington, and has pulled off some of the highest-profile and most complex attacks in Afghanistan, although not necessarily the most deadly.

Kamra attack: Swedish team to ascertain losses

Swedish experts will visit Pakistan to ascertain losses to aircrafts during Kamra Base attack. A team of experts from Sweden will reach Pakistan soon to determine losses to planes caused during militants attack at the Minhas Airbase in Kamra. According to the sources, each militant, who took part in the attack, had four hand grenade and five magazines of bullets. The last attacker blew himself up at 11:00am when quick reaction force responded the militants attack. The sources informed that security in Kamra is still on high alert.

India Debates Misuse of Social Media

India has blocked more than 250 websites after provocative online content spread panic among people from the country's northeast, prompting some of them to flee Indian cities. The crackdown has sparked a debate about how the country will cope with misuse of social media. Officials say the websites that were blocked had posted edited images and videos of victims of earthquakes and claimed they were those of Muslim victims caught in recent ethnic strife in India's northeastern Assam state and Burma. As the images went viral, rumors began about reprisal attacks against Hindu migrants from the northeast working in other parts of India. Hate text messages warning of violence circulated widely. Worried about their safety, thousands of the migrants fled Indian cities last week to return to Assam. Taken aback by the mass exodus, the government says the "unity and integrity of the country is at stake." Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde says that "elements" had used social networking sites to whip up communal sentiments. Shinde says a number of the sites had been uploaded from Pakistan. Shinde adds that the government has gathered a lot of evidence through the investigation, whether from Facebook communication or text messaging. Officials have also blamed social networking sites such as Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook for not screening objectionable content. Cyber specialists say the government needs to go beyond the blame game and learn how to manage misuse of social media on the massive scale witnessed last week. About 100 million people in India use the Internet, the third-largest number of net users in the world. About 700 million people have mobile phones. Cyber law expert, lawyer Pawan Duggal says this is the first time the Internet and mobile-phone technology have been used to incite fear in a community. "India has to wake up to the need of putting cyber security as the number-one priority for the nation," Duggal noted. "Unfortunately, India does not even have a cyber-security policy. The nation does not have any plan of action, should such an emergency happen again. India needs to have its own cyber army of cyber warriors." The government has been involved in a dispute with web companies such as Google and Facebook for several months and has called for them to devise a voluntary framework to keep offensive material off the web. India routinely asks these companies to remove what it calls "objectionable content," which has led to fears India may be diluting web freedom. Sunil Abraham heads the Center for Internet and Society in Bangalore, an advocacy group for net freedom. He says the government's recent crackdown on hundreds of websites is warranted, but says it needs to be more sophisticated and aggressive in handling threats and rumors emanating from the internet. "Social media websites and other Internet intermediaries should have been asked by the government to run banner advertising or some other form of messaging that revealed the lack of truth in the rumors that were circulating," Abraham explained. "The best way to deal with misinformation is to produce more accurate and more credible information. By just blocking access to fraudulent information, you do not fully undermine the power of rumors because by the time the government had decided to act the photographs and videos had already gone viral. And even though the websites are blocked these images will continue to circulate." The exodus of northeast migrants from Indian cities has slowed in recent days as India has moved to block multimedia and bulk text messaging, and panic has subsided after repeated assurances of safety by the government.

Eid in Afghanistan is a 'festival for men'

As Afghanistan celebrated the end of Ramadan, the men had more fun than the women, who got stuck cooking and cleaning. But now it's the women's turn to enjoy Eid. "Thank God it's over!" says 23-year-old Nasima in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. She is referring to Eid - the Muslim festival which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. In Afghanistan the festival is celebrated for a total of three days. Nasima would have gladly done without: "Like most celebrations in Afghanistan, Eid is a festival for men," she tells DW. She lifts up her glass of green tea slowly, blowing on it. It's the first time in ages that she's been able to enjoy her tea in peace. "I'm exhausted. I've just been cooking and cleaning for the past few weeks."Traditionally, the end of Ramadan is a time for men to visit their friends and families and entertain guests. The cooking and cleaning is the responsibility of the women. Cursing each plate Like most young married Afghan women, Nasima has to live with her husband's family. It is traditional for young couples to live with the man's family for economic reasons. Up to 20 people might live under one roof. Nasima spent the whole of Ramadan and Eid looking after the men of the household and their guests. She said she cursed the guests each time she washed up a plate. "Not really badly though!" Her tea has now reached the right temperature. She takes two gulps and complains that the men don't help the women at all. "You can believe me when I say we were preparing fantastic dishes for iftar (the fast-breaking dinner) from dusk till dawn. Afterwards, the men thanked the Blessings of Ramadan for such a laden table but did not thank us at all."But it has nothing to do with blessings, she says - "It's our hard work that ensured the table was full." She is quiet one moment and then complains that many Afghans have forgotten the reason for fasting and do not know the real meaning of Ramadan. "God wants Muslims to fast so as to purify themselves, but not to overindulge." Before she is able to continue, somebody knocks at the door. "Oh god, who is it now?" she asks sighing and makes her way to the kitchen. For most women in Mazar-e-Sharif, Eid begins a week after the end of Ramadan. "It's our turn when the men have stopped their visits, and stopped receiving guests. And only if we are allowed by the men to visit our friends and families. But then we really do have fun," Nasima says laughing.

U.S. General Asks Kabul To Share Information On Spy Claim
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan wants to see intelligence from Kabul to support its claim that spies from neighboring countries encourage Afghan troops to turn on NATO forces. U.S. General John Allen says Kabul has not yet shared such intelligence. He said he wants to understand how Kabul came to this conclusion. Allen said on August 23 that there are probably a variety of reasons for an increase of "insider attacks" by Afghan troops against NATO soldiers over the past year, including the infiltration of Afghan forces by the Taliban. Kabul has been recruiting tens of thousands of police and soldiers to prepare for NATO's withdrawal by the end of 2014. Afghan officials have admitted some insider attacks were carried out by recent recruits who were not properly vetted.

Shahbaz Sharif declared ‘absconder’

Declaring the Punjab chief minister as an absconder and a missing prisoner, the Sindh government disclosed on Saturday that there was no record present with Landhi jail about Shahbaz Sharif’s release in the plane hijacking and other cases. Sindh Prison and Law Minister Ayaz Soomro while addressing a press conference at Sindh Assembly building also appealed the superior judiciary to take suo moto notice of matter as no judicial order for release of Shahbaz Sharif was available in the record of Landhi jail. Flanked with the secretaries of Law and Prison Departments, IG prison and other senior officials, the provincial minister for prison department announced that Sindh government will publish advertisement in the national newspaper about the missing prisoner-Shahbaz Sharif and appealed him to come back in the jail as there was no any record of his release. Sharing the official documents with the media persons, the Provincial minister said that that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif were sent to Landhi jail Karachi on the order of Anti-Terrorism Court judge Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafari in 1999 in plane hijacking case. He, however, reminded that the Nawaz Sharif was shifted to Attock Fort on February 7, 2000 as per history ticket available in the office of judicial branch of this prison. But, he said that an ex-under trial prisoner Shahbaz Sharif was imprisoned in Landhi Jail on December 30, 1999 in plane hijacking and other corruption cases pending with the NAB and was transferred to Central Jail Adiyala on April 7, 2000 but he was not brought back to the jail despite all the cases were still pending before the ATC-1 Karachi. Soomro said that due to disturbance/jail riots took place at Landhi Jail on October 15, 2008, relevant record of release of Shahbaz Sharif, an ex-convict prisoner has not been found in the jail record, so far. Shahbaz Sharif was brought to Landhi Jail on the orders of the ATC judge, so how could any prisoner be released without the order of judiciary, he raised a question. He added that the Sindh government will pursue the case and will write to the Punjab government to bring the absconder Shahbaz Sharif back to Landhi jail. To a question, provincial minister said jail authorities might have written to courts regarding release of Shahbaz Sharif without judicial order. Soomro said that mercy and review appeals of 312 death-sentenced prisoners were pending before the Supreme Court and High Courts for about a decade but no decision has yet been come. In such appeals, 263 appeals are in Sindh High Court and 43 appeals pending before the Supreme Court. The minister said during the visit of jails, prisoners complained with him about the delay in the decision on their appeals filed in the apex courts for mercy and review of death sentence. Instead of taking up political cases, he appealed to the superior courts to process the appeals of the prisoners speedily. Sharing details of the appeals of death-sentenced prisoners, he unveiled that 76 death-sentenced prisoners of Karachi Central Jail were pending before the Sindh High Court and Federal Shariah Court, while 26 appeals were at Supreme Court, waiting for verdict since several years. Similarly, appeals of 108 prisoners of Hyderabad central jail in Sindh High Court and 11 appeals pending before the Supreme Court, while appeals of 72 prisoners of Sukkur Central Jail and six appeals of prisoners of Larkana Central Jail were still pending before the Sindh High Court and Supreme Court. He added that mercy appeal of a lady prisoner Asma Nawab, who is in Women Prison Karachi for death sentence, still pending in High Court for about a decade. The minister said that not a single death-sentenced prisoner hanged as PPP was against the death sentences. He added that the federal government has forwarded a draft law to the provinces to make changes in the existing law of sentences. The PPP government has suggested abolishing of death sentence and converting it with the enhanced in life term sentence of 25 years from existing 14 years, he added. Following the threats of attacks on the Karachi and other jails, the security has been beefed up in and outside the jails; provincial minister said and maintained that the rangers and police were deployed in this regard. Besides the intelligence network of inside jails has been improved, the jammers are being installed in all the 27 jails of Sindh province, which host a total of 13,380 prisoners. Soomro added that a separate jail is being built behind the Landhi Jail, where dangerous prisoners would be kept. Sharing the reforms about the jails, he said that nomenclature of old names of the jails’ staff was being changed with the new names, besides salaries of the jails’ police force are also made equivalent to the Sindh Police. The minister further said that during the present government, at least 455 Indian prisoners have been released. Presently, at least 80 Indian prisoners were still in the jails of Sindh and they would be released soon, if courts heard and disposed off their cases speedily.

Balochistan on strike to remember Bugti

The sixth death anniversary of the founder of Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) and Balochistan's former Governor, chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti is being observed today. To mark this day, a shutter down and wheel jam strike is being observed across the province on the appeal of JWP and Baloch Republican Party (BRP). All the business centres in Quetta remained closed, while there was hardly any traffic seen on the roads. A shutter down strike was also being observed Gwadar, Turbat, Khuzdar, Kalat, Mastung, Noshki, Chaghi and Awaran, while in some areas there was also a wheel jam strike. This strike has the support of Balochistan National Party, Baloch National Voice, National Party, Muslim League-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, transporters and trading community. Nawab Akbar Bugti companions was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Kohlu area on August 26, 2006.

Cricket bringing peace in Afghanistan

is bringing peace to war-ravaged Afghanistan and can further stabilise the country if foreign teams tour, an official said Sunday. Afghanistan took a big step at international level by playing former world champions Australia on Saturday, their second limited overs match following their first against Pakistan six months earlier. Despite their 66-run defeat, Afghanistan put up a great fight, further hinting they can improve if given more chances against top teams. Afghanistan Cricket Board president Omar Zakhilwal believes the Australia match will go a long way in promoting the game and, in turn, peace in his country. "It's a great occasion," Zakhilwal told AFP. "The one-day matches with Pakistan and Australia will go a long way in promoting cricket which is bringing peace in our country." Cricket has attained enormous popularity in the country which has been mired in conflict since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001 with United States-led coalition forces still fighting insurgency and extremism. Cricket has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last three years after it was introduced by youths who learnt the game in refugee camps in Pakistan following the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979. In 2009 Afghanistan finished fifth in the 2011 World Cup qualifiers, earning the right to play one-day internationals. Afghanistan then qualified for the 2010 World Twenty20 held in the Caribbean followed by their silver medal finish in the Asian Games in China the same year. They have once again earned the right to play the fourth edition of the World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka next month. "The whole of Afghanistan is looking forward to the World Twenty20. If you see the performance of our players, and even though we may not have won these matches, but the way the players stood up to the pressure of international cricket proves that we have come a long way," said Zakhilwal. "The youth are drawn away from hostilities by cricket. Today they watch, tomorrow they will play." Zakhilwal, also the finance minister in the Hamid Karzai-led government, said the Australia match sends a positive message to the world. "The message is that with determination and with a cause, these youngsters, who've gone through difficult times, can train and have big dreams. "80-90 percent of the population were watching the match on television and listening to the radio. This is uniting the nation and is sending a positive message to the youth, so cricket is proving more than the game." Zakhilwal said his Board owed a big thanks to Cricket Australia (CA). "For them to give us this opportuntiy and come all the way from Australia to play is a great help. If any other country comes forward and plays, it will be good for our cricket." Zakhilwal said his board was in touch with India, who they are placed with in the World Twenty20, along with defending champions England. "We are in discussion with India to play a match and we also hope they invite our players into the Indian Premier League because that will establish them further," said Zakhilwal. "If any team comes to Afghanistan and plays then it will be good for us. There are so many misconceptions about Afghanistan, teams can feel fully secure in Kabul, they will have lot of fans who will cheer for them," he said.

Pakistan: Needless restriction on bank accounts

A Pakistani-born British citizen recently narrated his ordeal trying to operate his account during his stay in Islamabad, which reflects the absurdity of one of our present banking regulations. He was, like most other overseas Pakistanis, a frequent visitor to the country and upon his arrival used to deposit adequate amount of British pounds in his foreign currency account maintained with a local bank. After meeting the necessary expenses during his stay in Pakistan, he used to leave the remaining balance in his foreign currency account, which soared to thousands of pounds over the years. His foreign currency account not only met his banking requirements adequately, but he was happy that he was contributing to the much-needed foreign exchange requirements of the country. At the end of his last visit to Pakistan, he went to his bank for some withdrawal but was shocked to learn that his account had become dormant and he had to fulfil certain formalities to revive his account. He was informed that every account becomes dormant if no transaction is made during a period of six months. After fulfilling the procedural formalities, his account was revived. He withdrew all the balance in one go and deposited the money in his bank account in England, where no account is made dormant, even if it is not operated for years. The letter writer is sure that, after learning about this condition, most of the expatriates would prefer to close their accounts with Pakistani banks. We cannot but appreciate this Pakistani-born British citizen for pinpointing a problem that is faced by hundreds of depositors in the country almost every day. As such, his case was not solitary or unique. The only difference was that he had the luxury to transfer his money to his account abroad. Leaving aside this particular case, we fail to understand the logic of such a requirement by the SBP. Maybe the State Bank was concerned about the possibility of some misdeeds if the bank accounts were not regularly operated at short intervals, but such wrongdoings could have been easily checked and averted by proper monitoring or supervision of the suspected accounts. Anyhow, the harm done by this requirement far outweighs the perceived benefits. As happened with the British citizen, every depositor will be shocked at first, to know that his account has become dormant in such a short period and then will try to withdraw the amount in cash after fulfilling the necessary formalities. He will not make an effort to comprehend the rationale behind the requirement, but his confidence in the banking system of the country will be certainly undermined due to the threat of dormancy of his account. Some of the depositors may even perceive it as a first sign of default by their banks. Unfortunately, it is believed that most of the institutions in Pakistan are unfriendly towards the common people and such a perception would strengthen further. In an environment like this, it would be more difficult for the banking institutions to mobilise the higher level of deposits which are essential to expand the credit base and revive economic activities in the private sector. Sadly, the present requirement of the SBP works the other way by forcing depositors to avoid banking altogether, or withdraw certain amounts from their accounts frequently to keep their accounts operational. Some of the depositors could circumvent the restriction by giving both the cheque and deposit slip of the same amount at the same time to the cashier of the bank, without making any real transaction. While the client undergoes unnecessary inconvenience, the bank has to suffer in terms of wastage of stationery and manpower. We would not be surprised if some of the clients had already given standing instructions to their banks to operate their accounts once in a six-month's time themselves, merely to keep their accounts operational. All of this discourages the banking habit and could adversely affect the saving rate of the economy which is not in the long-term interests of the country. Keeping all these factors in view, it would be better to give the banks' clients free choice to operate their accounts without any kind of constraint but if this is not possible due to certain reasons, the period after which the accounts could become dormant, if no transaction is made, should be extended from six months to about five years. Depositors need to be facilitated and the State Bank should not subject them to an inconvenience which appears to be largely unnecessary.

Cardinal to contest Rimsha’s case

French cardinal Jean Louis Tauran has announced to contest the case of 11-year old Christian girl Rimsha, allegedly accused of burning Quranic verses. A French media source, has quoted an interview by cardinal in which he has said that the alleged girl was illiterate, who could not read or write. Cardinal Jean, who is incharge of interfaith dialogue chapter in the Vatican, also said that the accused girl was a filth scavenger for her livelihood, and was definitely not obvious of the contents of the already discarded book. Declaring the issue as a serious and quite conflicting, he stressed on a dialogue over the issue, as it was impossible for an underage, illiterate girl to express her views about Quranic verses.

Patients in misery: Doctors’ strike paralyses Quetta hospitals

The Express Tribune
Following a strike call given by the Pakistan Medical Association Balochistan (PMA), doctors in the province refused to treat patients in all government hospitals on Friday. All major hospitals in Quetta were closed, once again, in condemnation of the recent wave of target killings and kidnapping for ransom. Out-Patient Departments (OPD) of Helper’s Eye Hospital, Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Fatima Jinnah TB Sanatorium and Provincial Sandeman Hospital remained deserted. The decision to continue the strike was taken by the doctors at a general body meeting of PMA Balochistan chapter on Thursday night at Sandeman hospital with its President Dr Sultan Tareen in the chair. The meeting reviewed the situation following the release of senior psychiatrist Dr Ghulam Rasool on August 17 following a ransom payment of Rs50 million. Dr Rasool had been abducted earlier by unknown persons on August 1. The doctors have prepared a four-point charter of demands for the provincial government and announced that the strike will continue till their demands are met. The four points of the charter are: arresting the abductors of Dr Ghulam Rasool and Dr Din Muhammad Baloch, provision of security to doctors both inside hospitals as well as outside, recovery of ransom amount from the government and ensuring a crackdown on all elements involved in target killing of doctors in the province. The meeting announced that doctors would continue serving patients in emergency wards as well as continue their private practice at non-government clinics. The strike call has raised numerous questions about whether doctors are neglecting their Hippocratic oath by refusing to treat the majority of poor patients who travel great distances from all over Balochistan for quality medical treatment at Quetta hospitals. The recent strike call follows two earlier strikes by doctors that lasted for 24 hours. With many patients going untreated, the refusal of doctors to provide services in government hospitals, where health care is relatively affordable, while continuing their private “business” has drawn the ire of local residents across the provincial capital.

Allies favour PM’s appearance in court

Two key allies of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have opposed a hawkish, and increasingly popular, view prevailing in the ruling party that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf should not appear before the Supreme Court on Monday to face contempt charges. Background interviews with leaders of the coalition partners revealed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) are strongly against the reported plan of the prime minister to abstain from the court proceedings whereas the Awami National Party (ANP) is yet to come out with a clear stance. Talking to Dawn, leaders of the PML-Q and MQM said they would advise the PPP during their meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari scheduled on Sunday not to go for a confrontation with the judiciary. The President’s spokesman, Farhatullah Khan Babar, confirmed that he had convened a meeting of the coalition partners to discuss the situation. Gilani backs AG According to sources in the PPP, a majority of senior party members, including former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, during a meeting at the Presidency on Friday night endorsed the viewpoint of Attorney General Irfan Qadir that under the Constitution the prime minister was not answerable to any court for his official acts. The PPP members were of the view that since there had been no change in the party’s stance about writing a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening a money laundering case against President Zardari in line with the Supreme Court’s decision, there would be no use of putting the prime minister in the dock. A PPP leader said that the party was also considering an option to challenge the court’s directives of summoning the prime minister. The sources said the president was of the opinion that since the prime minister’s absence would be considered in some circles as an open defiance of the court’s orders, the coalition partners should also be consulted before taking such a step. After the meeting, PPP leaders claimed that the party had worked out its strategy, but said that a final decision about the prime minister’s appearance before the Supreme Court would be taken after consultation with coalition partners. The MQM’s spokesman, Wasay Jalil, said the party’s chief Altaf Hussain had already declared that the country could not afford confrontation between institutions and it believed that the courts must be respected. In reply to a question, he said the prime minister must appear before the apex court and that the MQM would give this advice to the president. He said MQM’s parliamentary leader in National Assembly Dr Farooq Sattar and Senator Babar Ghauri would represent the party in the meeting. Similar views were expressed by PML-Q’s information secretary Kamil Ali Agha who said that the prime minister had no choice but to obey the court’s directives and appear before it. He said Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi had already advised the prime minister that he should appear before the SC. However, ANP’s Zahid Khan refused to speak on the issue, saying his party had so far not held internal discussion on the matter and would be able to declare its stance on Sunday. He said ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Senator Afrasiab Khattak would attend the meeting at the Presidency. He, however, made it clear that the PPP should not take the ANP for granted by believing that “we will be with them through thick and thin”.

Pakistan: Hearing of case against PM tomorrow
The Supreme Court will on August 27 resume the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as he has been issued notice to appear before the apex court and explain government’s inability in relation to implementation of its verdict on National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). A five-judge special bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed will take up the case. While issuing notice to PM Raja Pervez Ashraf on August 8, the bench said in its order: “We hereby issue notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf under Section 17 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance (V of 2003) read with Article 204 of the Constitution to show cause as to why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt of this court by not complying with the relevant directions oft the Court”. Besides, other than the special bench, the Supreme Court has also constituted three different benches to hear other important cases during the week commencing from August 27. The bench ‘number one’ comprises Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain; ‘bench number two’ consists of Justice Asif Saeed Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed; while ‘bench number three’ will have Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry. It is vital to mention here that two benches of Supreme Court will hear customs, sales tax, service matters and human rights cases in Karachi Registry during the next week. A bench of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Sarmad Jalal Osmany and the other bench comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Amir Hani Muslim will hear important cases in Karachi from Aug 27.