http://www.thedailystar.netA national consensus is needed to ban the politics of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, said Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif on Tuesday. He said due to BNP's utter support towards Jamaat, the government is unable to put an immediate ban on its politics. “If people of the country are united against the politics of Jamaat and demand it’s banning, the government will response positively,” said Hanif, also a special assistant to the prime minister. Despite the intention of BNP and Jamaat of foiling the trial of war criminals, the present government will complete the trial on the soil of Bangladesh at any cost, said the ruling party leader.He urged the pro-liberation, secular, democratic forces and other like-minded organisations to march forward together to abolish the politics of such fundamentalists. He expressed resentment over the poor security measures around Bangladesh Secretariat as the Shibir men went berserk on Monday. He said it caused due to the irresponsibility of law enforces on duty. "This time law enforces showed enough patience to control the situation. But it will not be followed further," added Hanif as he was warning the disrupters of Jamaat-Shibir. The AL leader was speaking to reporters at a press briefing day after the mayhem of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir in the capital. AL leaders Ahmed Hossain, BM Mozammel Haque, Mrinal Kanti Das, Faridun Nahar Laily, among others, were present at the press briefing held at the AL president's Dhanmondi office in the capital.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
RADIO PAKISTANPresident Asif Ali Zardari has emphasized the need for projecting positive image of Pakistan to counter negative propaganda and perceptions. He was speaking at the launching ceremony of the PTV's English News and Entertainment Channel in Islamabad on Tuesday. The President expressed the confidence that the launching of English News Channel‚ Pakistan will help achieve this objective. He said we have been mis-read and mis-thought in the international media and there was need to counter this perceptive. The President said majority of the Pakistani young generation especially living abroad did not fully understand Urdu and even they did not understand the poetry of Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz and other renowned poets. He said in these circumstances‚ there was a need to launch an English News Channel for providing latest‚ correct and accurate information to the young generation and to the international community. The President said launch of yet another TV channel will increase competitiveness in the field of electronic media. According to prepared text of the address‚ the President said the independent media is guarantor of human rights‚ freedom and liberties. He said we recognize and respect his critical role of the media in furthering democracy and the record of this government in upholding freedoms and tolerance for dissent speaks for itself. Referring to media freedom given during the present government‚ the President said the government has not taken any action against anyone in the media. He said the government has extended the hand of friendship to all political forces and added he felt satisfied that this policy of the government has started paying dividends. The President said the government is earnestly addressing issues in media freedom and added that a Press Council has been set up and its Chairman has been appointed. He said now it is the responsibility of the Press Council to move forward and move fast in consultation with all stake holders. The President said the present government has a history of supporting media freedom. He said Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister started the process of liberalization of the media. Addressing the ceremony of PTV English Channel‚ Information Minister said that media is enjoying unprecedented freedom in the country and not a single journalist has been victimized during the last five years. He said that international media has remained biased towards Pakistan and news about the country have been distorted. He hoped that PTV English Channel would project the real face of Pakistan at global level. The Information Minister said that democracy is flourishing in the country and credit for this goes to all the democratic forces. He said that our next target is launching of youth and music channels.
BY: Suhail Yusuf
Reporters Without Borders has censured Bahrain for imprisoning journalists and human rights activists. “We are sounding the alarm about the recent arrests of journalists and human rights activists in Bahrain and we condemn the government’s nearly two-year-old policy of harsh repression,” Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières -- RSF) said in a statement issued on Monday. “The authorities clearly want to obstruct journalists and prevent the flow of information about demonstrations and their suppression by the security forces,” the statement added. RSF cited the examples of Ahmed Humaidan, a Bahraini photojournalist, who has been in custody since December 29, 2012, and Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda, a human rights activist, who will go on trial on Tuesday on charges of circulating false news. Al-Muhafda, who is the vice president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the head of its documentation department, was arrested on December 17 and held for a month, but was finally released on bail on January 17. He is charged with deliberately disseminating false news on Twitter with the aim of inciting violence. RSF has asked the Bahraini judiciary to drop the charges against al-Muhafda, saying the charges were only filed to punish him for his commitment to the free flow of information about the human rights situation in Bahrain. Reporters Without Borders has called for his immediate release and the dismissal of all the charges against him. Over 30 international human rights organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, have sent a joint letter to the US president, calling on him to pressure the Bahraini government to free all the human rights defenders and activists being held in the Persian Gulf kingdom. Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the peaceful protesters. According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested. Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have "evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police" in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.
By HALA ELKHOLYMistaken are those who think the young are helpless. Egypt began to demonstrate exactly that two years ago Jan. 25. Today it still does. In the lead-up to Egypt’s third year of revolution, groups of young, angry and disappointed Egyptians showcased their ability to dissent in a series of events around the capital. Jan. 23, hundreds of the “Ultras,” originally organized to support their favorite soccer team, flooded an underground metro station and blocked the tracks for a few hours. Simultaneously, they brought Cairo’s 6th of October Bridge, which cuts across the city from east to west, to a halt amidst the end-of-day rush hour, paralyzing traffic all around the city. Their rowdy sit-in around the main downtown stock exchange rounded up their warning signals. This young group might not have been among the main dissenting groups demanding change two years ago, but they have developed today into a forceful group with a grievance they will not ignore. Their initial involvement in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in the earlier stages of the Egyptian revolution shed light on their abilities to organize and their numbers around the country. They developed from young, energetic soccer fans to a true patriotic stakeholder following the brutal massacre in Port Said February 2012. The Port Said Massacre took the lives of 70 fans and their friends. The survivors will not forget and will not forgive easily. They have since awaited legal justice. Jan. 23, they announced they have had enough dallying in the courts. A verdict was postponed to Jan. 25, with rumors it could be postponed again. They might not be the biggest groups, they might not be the greatest politicians and they might not be the only revolutionaries, but they are, however, the youngest and therefore a force to be reckoned with. Their power stems from their values, for unlike adults, they have not yet learned to compromise. Their integrity, their pain and their loyalty to their massacred friends continue to ignite their drive to demand justice. Unlike their seniors, they have an unrestricted imagination, flowing energy and very strong links to each other. They believe in the virtues of right and wrong enough to fight for them vehemently. The one thing they are not afraid of is death. In all their recent chants, they declare they are willing to die if justice to their martyrs is not served. “Justice to them or we die like them,” is a translation of one of their popular slogans. It has already been two years since the first wave of revolution; the second wave is just beginning. Time is of the essence to all in Egypt. The old should never underestimate the young. The passage of time adds to the young and younger, while it takes away from the old. The future is theirs and the present will be shortly. It would be wise of the old not to underestimate their young. Unarmed with experience, unlimited by boundaries, unrestricted in their hearts and thoughts, youthfulness is their power. They will carve their way through. They are the hope for Egypt; the oldest human civilization, to once again rejuvenate and become youthful. We have been warned.
So the president waves his forefinger at us during a long awaited speech amid bloodshed and chaos, declaring a 30-day curfew in the three major canal cities and a state of emergency, while allowing harsher measures to be taken by his now-beloved Ministry of Interior. It is quite interesting that he would impose curfew in Ismailia (which didn’t have much rioting until the curfew decision!) and leave Cairo, which is paralysed by the violence in its downtown area and the frequent cutting of major roads and bridges. These are of course questions to be asked and never answered. Egypt is bursting with opposition to this decision, except of course those who support Morsy (no matter what he does and before he does it), and those who believe that crushing people will bring “stability”. I am not one of those; I am against all acts of violence and oppression. A state of emergency and curfews and more weapons are never the solution. Besides, what will be the gain from announcing a state of emergency? The police already detain people without warrants; many were taken from their homes in the past few days. Also, Egyptians never respect curfews; they held protests during curfew hours right after the president’s speech. So basically, the only gain is legalising random detention and allowing the use of lethal weapons in facing protesters. Admittedly, we are hearing of protesters carrying firearms, which was not the case two years ago, back then the strength was in the numbers of protesters and the rocks they managed to find on the streets. But then, isn’t it Morsy and Co’s strategy to leave the MOI as corrupt as it has always been, so now heavy firearms are sold everywhere for reasonable prices? They have left the MOI without punishment for their crimes, isn’t it a consequence that everyone is becoming a criminal? Didn’t they insist on keeping that failure of a government until people became hungry with no hope to eat? These are not the people fighting for a constitution…they are fighting for food, for justice, for survival. They can burn it all down. Morsy, if you think that meeting the opposition figures on a “national dialogue” will bring an end to this, you are completely delusional. To think that the shameful National Salvation Front or the weak political parties or even the popular activists can put a stop to this, or have any control over those on the streets, you must be joking. You are not fighting ElBaradei’s fans, nor Hamdeen’s, nor even Shafiq’s. The ladies and gents of Heliopolis and Zamalek are no longer your battle, you have moved behind those who have good jobs and posh homes. You are now face to face with those who have lost everything, including their hope for a better future and their faith in you. It will not be the likes of me marching on those protests anymore, it will be those who can handle violence, those who have nothing left to lose, who are way too many and way too chaotic. Now those who support Morsy’s crackdown on Egyptians believe that we can only be controlled by force. Those fools who, because they can only survive as slaves, think that all Egyptians are like them, and they repeat their revolution-days rhetoric, slamming us with the forever boring question: “what is the solution? You are complaining over and over… do you have a better solution to stop the bloodshed, and get the criminals and killers off the streets? Do you have a better solution than the use of force?” Well, I don’t have a solution. But then again, I am not the one who caused this deadlock, and as the Egyptian proverb goes: That who conjured the demon, should exorcise it! I am also quite positive that if our rulers want a peaceful solution, they can find one. If they realise that they are no longer an illegal organisation, if they move beyond the phobia of those trying to overthrow their regime, beyond the treason conspiracy theories. If only they ask themselves, why were people out on the streets in the first place? Maybe then , they will realise that it is Morsy and Co’s fault. They did this! Their interior ministry did this by continuing to torture people and detain them for no reason, while not doing their real job of maintaining peace and order on the streets. Their cabinet and its continuing failures in all aspects, on top of which the economic disaster we are living. Their constituent assembly and its deformed constitution. Their judges and their political agendas. Their counsellors, and their guidance bureau who time after time prove their ignorance of strategy and policy making, and most importantly how they ignore the poor people of this country. The solution is never weapons and force and detentions; it might give them a momentary gain, but it will backfire at the slightest spark. Even if they can control it now, can they control it a week from now? How long can their uniforms sustain dealing with this chaos? Those fighting you now are the Egyptians who are frustrated with their miserable daily hardships, their every day struggle, and guess what? They have no leader, but apparently they have a lot of weapons… and you have taken away their hope! Deal with it… and never ask me to approve of curfews and emergency laws and murder!
Defence minister says ongoing unrest, which has killed more than 50 people, "could lead to grave repercussion".
The Egyptian defence minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, has given warning that the unrest sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state. Failure to resolve the situation "could lead to grave repercussions if the political forces do not act" to tackle it, Sissi said on Tuesday, in comments posted on his Facebook page. "The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations," he said. His comments were excerpted from a speech he gave to students at a military academy. Sissi, who is also the head of Egypt's military, further said that the political, economical, social and security problems facing Egypt constitute "a threat to the country's security and stability". His comments will be seen as a warning to Egypt's political class, which has done little to end the unrest.
Associated PressAfghanistan's president warned on Tuesday that all efforts at peace talks with the Taliban should go through the government, and appealed on the country's powerbrokers not to engage in such negotiations if the authorities are sidelines. Hamid Karzai insisted the government — and not foreign powers — must lead the talks if the country is to have any hope of emerging from a decade of fighting as a strong and unified nation. He said some Afghan powerbrokers and prominent political figures had been approached by foreign powers to hold talks through side channels, rather than working through the High Peace Council set up by the Afghan government. "All our politicians must know that the peace process will only have a good result if we are unified and the process goes forward and the process will go forward through the High Peace Council," Karzai said. The president said participating in talks with the Taliban without the government would weaken the country and urged all to refuse those offers. The Afghan peace process has made little headway since it began several years ago and has been hobbled by distrust between the Afghan government and the United States. Karzai has repeatedly decried foreign, and specifically American, efforts to jumpstart the talks while keeping the Afghan government in the dark. On Tuesday, Karzai upbraided his Western allies for trying to undermine what he said had to be an Afghan process. Though he referred mostly to the interference of "foreigners" in general, Karzai at one point directly targeted the United States, which is in the process of negotiating terms for its long-term presence in the country. "We told American government during our recent visit that no foreigners should try to hold the Afghan peace process in their hands," Karzai said. Since U.S.-backed talks broke down last March in a dispute over the release of five Taliban detainees held in American custody at a military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the High Peace Council has tried to take a greater role. The Taliban, meanwhile, have established a presence in Qatar and the council says they are hoping to be involved in talks with those in the Doha office. "I want to call on the Taliban and our politicians not to let the foreigners cheat them. Peace is only possible from one source: the High Peace Council, which includes all Afghans, all parties," Karzai said. Karzai spoke Tuesday at a conference about water management, where he first talked about the need for clean water systems and then broke off to address what he described as a "very important issue" — the varied attempts at peace talks with the Taliban.
DAILY TIMESBillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates will this week deliver the annual BBC Richard Dimbleby Lecture in which he will spell out his commitment to rid the world of poliovirus, which can cause paralysis and even death within hours. Medical experts have demanded concrete steps to eradicate poliovirus from affected countries of the world. According to them, it is high time for making a strong strategy to protect children from this crippling disease. Bill Gates is the single most influential voice in global health, so when he turns his attention to an issue, it is worth listening. Through the Gates Foundation, Gates and his wife Melinda have already given away nearly $30 billion of their fortune and there are tens of billions more in the pipeline. He has spoken of his passionate belief in the power of vaccines and his determination to defeat polio. In his lecture Gates will liken the pace of innovation in computers with the fight against polio. He will say, “In the late 1970s we had a dream of giving everybody access to computer technology – a vision of a computer on every desktop. Now there is a computer in every pocket. The pace of innovation keeps getting faster. The same is true of polio. It was first recognised at least 4,000 years ago, but it was just 200 years ago we figured out it’s contagious – just 100 years ago we learned it’s a virus. Just 50 years ago we developed the vaccine to prevent it. Just 25 years ago we resolved to eradicate it.” But Gates will also acknowledge that the final push against polio is proving extremely difficult. “I can say without reservation that the last mile is not only the hardest mile, it’s also much harder than I expected,” he said. The killing of nine health workers last month was a reminder of the challenges facing those trying to chase down the virus and protect every last child. Part of polio’s danger is its utter portability – it can be spread across borders by one infected traveller, who can continue to transfer virus for weeks. Only last week an emergency vaccination programme was ordered in Cairo after samples of the poliovirus were found in sewage – the strain matches that in Pakistan. The oral polio vaccine can –in very rare cases – trigger polio. The World Health Organisation says this happens in one in 2.5 million first doses of vaccine. Over the past decade 15 billion doses of polio vaccine drops have been given and there have been 200 confirmed cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. But with naturally occurring polio cases now so low there is a minority which claims the oral live vaccine is causing significant harm. This is a now or never moment – exterminate polio from the planet over the next few years or face a humiliating retreat which could see the virus re-emerge in scores of countries. Gates recognises what is at stake for global health: “Polio eradication is a proving ground, a test. It will reveal what human beings are capable of, and suggest how ambitious we can be about our future.”
Daily TimesPakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has said that efforts are being made by undemocratic forces to install unconstitutional government in the country for the next two to three years. During an informal talk to the media on Monday, Rabbani said that dissolution of the Election Commission of Pakistan would be an unconstitutional move. The senior PPP leader said that efforts were being made to create conditions similar to those of the 1977 general election in the country. He said that under a deliberate attempt, some elements were trying to damage the credibility of the ECP and make it controversial. He said that undemocratic forces were trying to postpone the election and there was a sword hanging over the democratic process. “The future of democratic process hangs in the balance.” Rabbani said that the only constitutional move available to remove chief election commissioner or members of the ECP was to use Article 209. He urged all democratic forces to unite and jointly fight those who wanted to derail the democratic process, and foil all conspiracies aimed at creating anarchy in the country. The senator’s comments came at a moment when the country prepares for historic general election.