Saturday, December 1, 2012
At least two people were killed in a blast in Dir Colony area of Peshawar, Geo News reported. According to police, a bomb was planted in a motorcycle as pieces of a destroyed two-wheeler were found near the blast site. The police said that the two men who were killed in the blast were alleged suicide bombers.
Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday the "struggle will continue" after President Mohamed Mursi called a December 15 referendum on a draft constitution. "(Mursi) put to referendum a draft constitution that undermines basic freedoms and violates universal values. The struggle will continue," ElBaradei said on his Twitter feed.
Al JazeeraA Qatari poet, who has been sentenced to life for comments said to be critical of the Qatari leadership, will take his case to an appeal court, his lawyer Najeeb al-Naimi has said. Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for what is said to be attempts to destabilise the country. Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, criticised the Qatari government for the harsh sentencing. "The international community must admit that there is international terrorism in Syria supported by states, states that claim to want to protect human rights in Syria, states which do not hesitate to condemn a poet to a life sentence merely because he had the temerity to write a poem condemning the emir of his country," Jaafari said on Friday. Al-Ajami, who has been largely held in solitary confinement, spoke to the Reuters news agency in the presence of prison guards and others. "The Emir is a good man," he told the agency. "I think he doesn't know that they have me here for a year, that they have put me in a single room. "If he knew, I would be freed," he said. "This is wrong," al-Ajami said. "You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet." Al-Naimi said he would appeal next week against the verdict, which was handed down after six hearings. The poet was arrested in November 2011.
http://gulfnews.comBahraini police fired tear gas and stun bombs to break up protests overnight in predominantly Shiite villages around Manama, leading to arrests and injuries, witnesses said on Saturday. The protesters took to the streets in response to a call by the February 14 Youth Coalition for rallies against a blockade imposed on the Shiite locality of Mahazza, near the capital, since November 7. “The blockade will not make us afraid,” chanted the protesters, in reference to King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa. The protesters, some of whom wore masks, waved the Bahraini flag and pictures of prisoners.Police fired tear gas and sound bombs as the protests got unruly, leading to some injuries, according to the witnesses who did not specify the number of casualties. Police detained several demonstrators, and the skirmishes continued until dawn on Saturday, according to the witnesses. The United States last week expressed concern about the situation in Bahrain, one year after an inquiry report was issued on the unrest, saying the country needed to put more of its recommendations into effect.
Deutsche WelleUrbanization has led to the emergence of new attitudes towards sex, according to experts. At a conference on sexuality, they discuss how the change is affecting the dynamics of relationships and society as a whole.
Daily TimesPrime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday said that the Kalabagh project could not be launched with an executive or judicial order. Talking to a private news channel, the PM said that Pakistan was a federation of four units and all such important projects should be initiated with consensus. He said that some people were raising the Kalabagh dam issue at the time when elections were just round the corner. But such people had done nothing when they were in power for long periods of time, he added. The prime minister said that the three provincial assemblies had passed resolutions with consensus against the dam’s construction and discussions on the issue, which creates hatred, should be avoided. He said the first elected government was going to complete its tenure, which was a good omen, and would have a far-reaching impact on the country’s politics and democracy. Raja Pervez Ashraf said that elections would be held on stipulated time and the date would be announced in consultation with the leader of the opposition. He said that like the consensus appointment of the chief election commissioner, both the government and the opposition would work for strengthening the system. About the creation of southern Punjab province, the prime minister said that it was not a political or electioneering slogan but a genuine demand of the people of the region. He said that the government had taken all possible steps and formed a commission for the creation of new provinces. The stakeholders should not create hurdles in the creation of southern Punjab province, he added. To a question about government’s borrowing, the prime minister said that there was a big difference in perception and reality. The federal government had contained its expenditures, but the provinces had increased their expenses, even getting more funds under the 7th NFC Award. Despite inflation, the government’s expenditures have increased just by seven per cent, he added. The prime minister said that when the government came to power, the country was importing wheat, but now the commodity was being exported, earning foreign exchange. He said the government has provided food security to the people. The PM said that Balochistan was his government’s top priority. It is doing its best to restore law and order situation there and resolve other issues politically, he added. He said that the government had evolved a new policy of postings and transfers to appoint the most competent officers in Balochistan. All the development projects have been prioritised in the province, while special focus is being given on the early completion of Katchi Canal, he said and added that the Gwadar Port was being linked with Ratodero. He said that the government’s initiatives for the uplift of Balochistan were bringing positive results. Talking about the upcoming elections, the PM said that the government is determined to hold free, fair and independent election in the country. About the law and order situation of Karachi, the prime minister said that though the law and order issue was a provincial matter but the federal government was making all-out efforts to maintain the law and order in the port city. Regarding the issue of a Turkish power plant, Karkay, he said that the government would approach the apex court and request for an investor- friendly decision on the issue. agencies
The Express Tribune NewsCriticising the Lahore High Court’s decision on Kalabagh Dam, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said his province will never accept the contentious power project, Express News reported on Saturday. Speaking to media at the Sukkur airport, Shah said it was condemnable that old issues such as the Kalabagh Dam project were brought up. Highlighting water scarcity in the country, the chief minister said that the controversial project was a matter of life and death for the people of Sindh. He further criticised people for only protesting against issues that can be solved through simple amendments in the laws but are staying silent on the Kalabagh issue. Kalabagh Dam is against national interest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the project was against national interest. Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, Hussain said the Kalabagh Dam project can hurt the country badly. He also said that three provinces are against the project and the Supreme Court should immediately take notice and nullify the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision. Hussain pointed out that the 18th amendment allows provinces to take decision with regards to construction of dams.
Daily TimesA thorny issue such as Kalabagh Dam (KBD) cannot possibly be made on the stroke of a court’s order. A legal rationale is not that simple to follow in the case of this particular problem that has transcended the economic and technical realm to become a topic of political contention. As some political parties have rightly said, unless there is a consensus on building this dam among the three dissenting provinces, barring Punjab, not a single brick can be laid. Notwithstanding the fact that huge financial resources have been wasted in the feasibility reports of KBD and a similar amount of political energy has been wasted on the discourse towards this end, unless there is unanimity, these resources matter little in the long run when weighed against the ruction the Lahore High Court’s (LHC’s) decision has sparked off once again. The order of the LHC binding the Council of Common Interests to implement its 1991 and 1998 decisions about the construction of KBD in the interests of the people of Pakistan who are facing a severe energy crises owing to unavailability and insufficient use of natural resources, in this case water, that could be used in the production of electricity is thoroughly rejected by nearly everyone in the country. There has been a strike in Sindh and a renewed discussion of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa versus Punjab has erupted. The long held belief of Sindh regarding the degradation of its deltaic region, the desertification of Sindh in case the water of its canals is withdrawn, and the effects on the Mangrove forests had not been amply addressed and there is no way that Sindh, which is already feeling deprived of its share of water from the Indus, would agree to the building of KBD. The apprehensions of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa revolve around persuasive arguments of shortages and water logging respectively, which again have not been addressed to their satisfaction, as simplistically thought by the CCI or now the LHC. The issue has a political dimension and has the potential of damaging the sprit and solidarity of the federation that requires harmony amongst the provinces. There is no doubt that Pakistan is facing some crucial issues as far as energy is concerned. And we are in dire need of solutions to this crisis because our economy is entirely dependent on how quickly, efficiently and effectively we deal with this persistent problem. It is in this regard that the court has invoked Articles 9 and 25 of the constitution that enjoins the federation to make life easier for its people hence the order to construct KBD. Still the truth is that the remedy for the electricity crisis does not only lie with the building of KBD. The other part of the truth is that the country’s agricultural economy and its ecosystem are under strain because of water shortages being inequitably shared amongst the provinces. This lies at the heart of the resistance to KBD. Without addressing this issue, KBD will remain a pipedream, the LHC and CCI’s wisdom notwithstanding. With three provincial Assemblies unanimously having rejected KBD repeatedly, it would be the height of recklessness and folly to proceed and thereby invite a veritable storm the country cannot afford.
The Frontier PostThe Lahore High Court decision directing the federal government to initiate work for building the proposed Kalabagh Dam is not going to find support from any major political player in the country. And without strong and well spread support, the project is undoable. One, however, cannot but appreciate the stance of Punjab CM for restraining from using the decision as a license to push for the dam; rather, he has chosen the option of'Kalabagh Dam yes but not at the cost of Pakistan.' The mainstay of the LHC decision is the approval of the project over two decades ago by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The judges have directed the Islamabad government to implement the CCI decision in this regard. It would have been a much better verdict, if it had contained an order to take a fresh decision from CCI on the issue. After all, circumstances change with the passage of time and a decision taken in 1989 might not be suitable in the changed conditions. At the time, the CCI was approving the project in 1989, The Frontier Post had organised a seminar in Abbotabad on the subject. The seminar ran uninterrupted for 17 hours and had representation from all the provinces, including those from the Saraiki belt. The representatives of all areas, including those from Hazara, had rejected the project. Former finance minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, NWFP then, Nawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, quoting ex-chairman Wapda Nasir ul Mulk, had said, during the seminar, the dam water would stand twenty-six feet high from Khushalgarh Bridge and definitely flood Kohat district; the inundation of Nowshera district and adjoining areas a far-gone conclusion. The proposed site of the dam is also located in a salty mountain range. If the dam is built, the seepage of water will dissolve the salt and make the mountains there unstable; also, the salt will reach underground creating the twin problems of salinity and water-logging in vast stretches of the surrounding land. Quoting the same source, Mohsin Ali had said there was no provision even for a glass of water for KP in the design of the dam other than the sure eventuality of large inhabited areas of the province coming under water or being plagued by water-logging and salinity. The objection of those from the province of Sindh was that there was not enough water in the system for further storage. Sindh representatives also expressed the apprehensions, narrating their past experiences that the water stored in Kalabagh Dam would be used for irrigating Punjab land. They also said Sindh being tail riparian the land there would be deprived of water and the meagre amount of river water which fell in the sea would not be available. Though to many the water that falls in the sea is wasted that, however, is not the case: river water pushes the seawater back and stops it from flowing into land. Currently, there is not enough water flowing from the rivers to push back the sea, which has resulted in the salty seawater making hundreds of thousands of acres of Sindh land barren. There are many more objections of the people of the three minority provinces on the design, purpose and location of the project. Politically, the fact that the assemblies of three provinces have passed resolutions against it-- should be enough to give a rest to the proposal for the dam until such time when a consensus is reached.
Radio PakistanMinister for Information and Broadcasting says construction of Kalabagh Dam is a political issue and judiciary should not give verdicts on the issue Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that the government fully respects the judiciary as independent judiciary is vital for democracy. Speaking at a function in Wazirabad on Saturday he said construction of Kalabagh Dam is a political issue and judiciary should not give verdicts on the issue. He said such judgments could lead to criticism of the courts and we don't want that to happen. The Minister said national consensus is vital before going ahead with the construction of Kalabagh Dam. He said such issues are usually resolved in Council of Common Interest through political consensus. The Information Minister said the government will provide every possible security to the journalists enabling them to perform their professional duties. To a question‚ he said the PPP and its ally PML-Q will contest next general elections jointly. He said talks are also underway with other political parties for seats adjustment.
The US has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to extend the most-favoured nation status to India and commended its recent moves to expand its economic co-operation with neighbours.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/“The US welcomed the Government of Pakistan’s plans to extend most-favoured-nation status to India by the end of the year,” the US State Department said in a statement at the conclusion of the US-Pakistan Economic and Finance Working Group meeting, which was co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and the Pak Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. “The United States commended Pakistan’s recent efforts to expand economic cooperation with its neighbours. Both sides discussed ways to improve trade and transit with Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, citing the importance of enhanced trade for the region’s stability and prosperity,” said the State Department at the conclusion of the working group meeting that focused on expanding bilateral economic engagement, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. Both sides committed to broadening private sector ties between their two countries, the State Department said. “Nides highlighted the US Government’s many initiatives in this area — including a Pakistan investment conference in London hosted by the Office of the US Trade Representative in October, the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, and a series of conferences and virtual meetings devoted to training and mentoring Pakistan’s entrepreneurs,” it said. In other meetings, senior State Department officials and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also highlighted the positive results of ongoing civilian assistance programmes in Pakistan, including significant contributions in sectors critical to economic growth — such as the addition of more than 400 MW of capacity to Pakistan’s power grid and the construction of over 650 km of roads to date. “Both sides agreed that Pakistan’s prosperity is predicated on energy sector reform; the US welcomed Pakistan’s commitment to undertake the reforms needed to attract greater investment,” the State Department said.
AL ARABIYA NEWSA Twitter post ignited a battle of arguments over a post tweeted by a Saudi cleric describing the newly-introduced waitress at a fast-food restaurant in Saudi Arabia as “prostitutes”. The debated topic sparked when Saudi Sheikh Ali Al Mutairi reacted to a number of Saudi tweets calling for the boycott of popular American fast-food restaurant, Hardee’s. The reason? The burger chain had recently allowed women – for the first time – to work as waitresses at their branches across the coastal city of Jeddah. “At the beginning of her shift she’s a waitress. When her shift ends she becomes a prostitute. The more she’s around men the easier it becomes to get closer to her”, tweeted Al-Mutairi, whose twitter account (@4aalmutairi ) boasts more than 5,000 followers. Despite this cleric’s views reflecting an existing frustration amongst some conservative segments in Saudi Arabia which oppose women’s right to work and fear that allowing females to mix with men may lead to unwanted social behaviours, Mutari’s rather controversial tweet was deemed too extreme to many Saudis on Twitter. “Prostitution is not in working trying to survive but it is in corrupted minds that use religion to distort other’s reputation,” posted one male in response to Mutar’s tweet. “Prostitute? So any female employee in my country is a whore now?” wrote a female tweep by the handle of @Sulafa_97.Many commented by telling Sheikh Al Mutairi that through doubting the morality of ‘chaste’ women and describing them in the way he did, the cleric would be committing a serious vice, according to well-known Islamic teachings. Another tweep posted pictures of some Hardee’s waitresses posted over social media by saying “These women are all covered up that I wouldn’t look at them, plus if your sister goes to that restaurant would you prefer a man or a woman taking her order?” Despite the reaction to Sheikh Al-Mutairi’s views being mostly critical, there were some supportive tweets like one which says, “We know your intention and we give you the benefit of the doubt; stay as you are, a splinter in the throats of liberals”. As reactions mounted and a hashtag was created to discuss his tweet, Al-Mutairi replied to many of his critics saying: “In the name of God, I have seen this hashtag and some are asking to apologise because they think I have defamed Hardee’s waitresses – the truth is I warned from the dangers of sexes mixing, at the beginning she is a waitress and in the end they will want her to become a prostitute and between are the devil’s steps”, tweeted the sheikh. “As for hypocrites who shave their beards and moustache (a common way of describing liberals in Saudi Arabia), there is no apology for them because their zeal isn’t for God,” he added. The Saudi Ministry of Labour has been implementing a strategy which aims at creating more job opportunities and workplaces for women. However, segregation of sexes is applied in most public venues across Saudi Arabia.