Sunday, September 29, 2013

Iran returns to Oscar race with Farhadi’s “Past”

After a one-year hiatus, Iran has returned to the Academy Awards with “The Past”, a family drama by Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi.
A committee assigned by the Farabi Cinema Foundation announced on Sunday that the film will represent the Iranian cinema in the 2014 Oscar race in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Starring Berenice Bejo, the French-language film is Farhadi’s first project shot outside of his homeland. The film brought the Palme d’Or for Best Actress to Bejo at Cannes Film Festival this year. The film is about an Iranian man, who has ongoing domestic problems with his French wife. He deserts her and his two children to go back to his homeland, Iran. Farhadi won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for “A Separation” in 2012. Iran submitted “A Cube of Sugar” to the Academy Awards in 2013. However, the film missed the event since the then culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, boycotted the Oscars over the production of an anti-Islam video in the United States.

'' IGNORANT''--Saudi Sheikh blasted on Twitter for saying women drivers ‘risk damaging ovaries’

Comments by a Saudi psychologist that driving affects women’s ovaries and can lead to their children having health problems have outraged many women in the conservative Muslim country, who are protesting a de facto ban on women driving. In an interview Friday with the website, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan said campaigners should put “the mind before the heart and emotion, and look at this issue with a realistic eye.” “Physiological science and functional medicine [found that driving] automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis,” the judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association said. “This is why we find [that] for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees.” Many Saudis have expressed their anger in Twitter, mocking the Sheikh’s “great scientific discoveries.” A special hashtag “Women_driving_affects_ovaries_and_pelvises” appeared on the social network, and is widely used. The users posted links to the article in Al-Arabiya on the subject, expressing their concern over “how easily science can be abused.” A woman with the user name @Mshaal80 asked whether the Sheikh “studied Shariah, medicine or foolishness.” The Sheikh’s comments came in advance of a planned protest drive by women against the ban, scheduled for Oct. 26. A de facto ban on driving for women exists in Saudi Arabia and the country’s women are trying to challenge this by launching an online campaign that urges the women to take part in a protest drive on October 26. The declaration on the website has been signed by over 11,000 women. “Since there are no clear justifications for the state to ban adult, capable women from driving, we call for enabling women to have driving tests and for issuing licenses for those who pass,” the declaration said. On Sunday, the campaign's website was blocked inside the kingdom.

Scores of activists imprisoned in Bahrain

A Bahraini court has sentenced 50 people to between five and 15 years in jail for setting up a group that organises anti-government protests, and that authorities say is working to topple the government by force, activists say. Bahrain has seen almost daily protests by members of the Shia Muslim majority since February 2011, when it crushed a Shia-led uprising demanding that the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty give up power. Activists said the government had accused those convicted on Sunday of membership of the February 14 movement, which has been organising protests against the government since 2011. Bahrain's head of public prosecution had described the group as a terrorist organisation.Asked for comment, an official said a government statement on the matter was being prepared. The main Shia opposition party Al Wefaq called it a "black day for justice". Yousif al-Muhafda from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said that "a group of February 14 activists were sentenced to between five and 15 years in jail". The group said there were human rights campaigners among those convicted "under the internationally criticised and vague terrorism law", and that the sentences added up to more than 400 years in jail. "This was a sham trial with a political verdict, they should be released immediately," the group's acting president, Maryam Al-Khawaja, said in a statement. Mohammed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, which describes itself as a local rights group, said a member of the society's board had been given a 15-year sentence. Some of the suspects were convicted in absentia. Bahrain's Shia Muslims have long complained of entrenched discrimination in areas such as employment and public services, allegations that the Sunni-led government denies. The persistent unrest has placed Bahrain on the front line of a struggle for regional influence between Sunni Saudi Arabia, Bahrain's close ally, and Shia Iran, which denies Bahraini accusations of fomenting Shia protests.

I obey the will of Syrian people, not a particular group – Assad

If quitting the post could really somehow improve the situation in Syria, President Assad says he would not hesitate to resign. But he is not ready to leave the country during a time of crisis unless the majority of Syrians tell him to. “You don't quit your position and leave your country in the middle of the storm,” Syria’s President Bashar Assad said in an interview with the Italian Rai News TV channel on Sunday. “Your mission is to take your country to the shore, not to abandon the ship and the Syrian people.”
‘Self-evident’ aim to cooperate
Assad stressed Syria’s willingness to eliminate chemical weapons in the country, saying that Syria has no reservations on this issue. On Friday the UN unanimously passed a resolution which outlines the details of taking under international control and ultimately destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal by mid-2014. The President said it is “self-evident” that the government will ensure security to the UN team, which will be responsible for the dismantling process, adding however that terrorists might undermine the efforts. “Of course our role is to offer the data and to facilitate their procedures, which is available so far. But I think it's about the technical side or aspect of the implementation, about how to reach those places, especially when you have terrorists who could put any obstacle, and about how to dismantle and get rid of those materials,” Assad said.In the interview Assad pointed out that his government is ready for political dialogue with the opposition that has “a political program, a political vision,” stressing “when they are armed you don't call them the opposition, you call them terrorists.” “So, we can speak with every party in the opposition. Regarding the militants, if they give up their arms, we'll be ready to discuss with them anything like any other citizen.” “We cannot talk with al-Qaeda offshoots and organizations that are affiliated with al-Qaeda,” he added. “We cannot negotiate with the people who ask for foreign intervention and military intervention in Syria.”
Framework of Geneva conference unclear
Concerning the Geneva 2 peace talks that will focus on a political resolution of the ongoing Syrian civil war and are expected to take place in November, Assad said that as the framework of the conference is “not clear” yet, he is uncertain who will head the government delegation and if he will participate in it personally. The agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons was prompted by the chemical attack on August 21 in Ghouta near the capital Damascus. The US and its allies have blamed the Assad regime and threatened to carry out a military strike as a punitive measure.In the interview Assad reiterated that the idea of a military intervention is “not acceptable” for Syria, adding that there is no “armistice line” where you can put the UN enforcers. “So, even if you want to suppose that you can accept that idea – which is not acceptable for us – but if you want to accept it, where can you position those troops? No-one can draw a map. You need a clear map. There is no clear map. There are gangs coming from everywhere, and they are terrorists who should be fought, not isolated from the Syrian troops.” Assad blamed European states for “adopting the American practice” of cutting off relations with the opposing side. He stressed that there is no credibility in “talking about humanitarian aid and at the same time establishing the worst embargo we’ve ever seen since the existence of Syria after [gaining] independence.”
Using chemical weapons near Damascus ‘illogical and unrealistic’
Answering the question about the infamous August chemical attack, the head of state reiterated that the Syrian army never arranged to use chemical weapons during the crisis. “Logically and realistically, you don't use it when you're in advancement. The army was advancing. Why use it? You didn't use it for two and a half years while you had many difficult situations in different areas in Syria, you had much more terrorists facing you in other places more than Damascus. Why didn't we use it? Why only in that place?” He points out that the Syrian government itself invited the UN inspectors to investigate the use of chemical weapons, adding that it would have been illogical for the government forces to use chemical weapons the next day. Assad said there are still no verifications of the alleged videos and photos of the Ghouta attack circulating on the Internet that were used to build a case against the government. “In many places, the same pictures of the same children were used in different photos in different places, and you can find those pictures on the Internet,” he said.On the other side, we have complete evidence, like the materials, containers that the terrorists used, we have the confessions of some of the terrorists that conveyed chemical materials from neighboring countries, and you have the indication that the interest of whoever committed this crime wasn't the Syrian Army; it was the terrorists.” Assad compared the use of chemicals to the use of nuclear weapons, which is “under strict procedure because it's complicated technically first of all to activate the material itself.” “Second, not a single unit in the Syrian Army has chemical weapons anyway; you have specialized units, and if you want to use it, these specialized units should join the army in order to use the chemical weapons,” the President added. ‘Constitutional duty to fight terrorists’ When asked if he regrets acting tough against any sign of opposition at the very beginning of the crisis, President Assad explained that he “dealt with the situation according to the constitution,” citing as an example US actions during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. “We have to define the word ‘tough’ because we dealt with the situation according to the constitution. It's like, if you say, the Americans sent the army to Los Angeles in 1992. Do you call it tough, or do you call it that they sent the army to fight the rebels?” he asked. “So, according to the constitution we should have fought the terrorists, because from the very first week, we had many victims from the army and the police, from the very first few weeks.” "Mistakes committed on the ground that could happen anywhere in the world,” Assad said.
‘I will run for reelection only if Syrian people want me to be president’
When asked whether he thought of leaving stepping down, Assad answered he would if it guarantees peace and stability in the country. “But there is the other question; would the situation be better? So, for me as president, so far, I have to be in my position because when you have a storm, you don't give up your position.”However it is not for him to make the decision, Assad noted, it is the decision of the Syrian people who can talk through a ballot box. “I should obey whatever the Syrian people want,” he said. “There's no other way in any country. I mean, it's not the decision of any group in Syria; it's the decision of every Syrian citizen.” Concerning the 2014 elections the president said “if I feel that the Syrian people want me to be in that position, I will run. If not, I will not.” Assad urged that reform be led by the Syrian people, adding that when the crisis is over a lot of work will need to be done. “Even if we get over this crisis, we have so many things to manage after the crisis, the leftovers of this crisis, especially the ideological, the psychological and the social consequences on this society, so we have a lot of work.”

Clinton says Obama needs to call the GOP's 'bluff'

Former President Bill Clinton, who sat in the Oval Office during the last government shutdown, supports President Barack Obama's refusal to negotiate with congressional Republicans and argues he should call their "bluff" as the government nears a possible shutdown and default. "He could stop it, but the price of - the current price of stopping it is higher than the price of letting the Republicans do it and taking their medicine," he said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week."Clinton went on to say that House Republicans, having realized they have little chance of pushing through legislative items their party wants, have dug in and scrapped any plans of negotiating. "Give us what we want or we're going to shut the government down," Clinton said, describing how he sees the GOP strategy. "I think under those circumstances, the president has to take the position he's taken," he continued. "Which is 'You - not me - you voted to spend this money.' … You can't negotiate over that. And I think he's right not to." Obama has repeatedly vowed he won't bargain in the upcoming debt ceiling debate. If the debt ceiling isn't raised by October 17, the government won't be able to pay its bills. Republicans frequently point to Clinton's tenure, when he negotiated with congressional Republicans over raising the debt ceiling in 1996. But Clinton argued Sunday that was a different period in time, saying the negotiations then were "extremely minor" and the stakes at the time were not as large: "The economy was growing and the deficit was going down." He said while he was criticized for agreeing to lower the capital gains tax during those negotiations, in return he got the children's health insurance program, which ultimately led to coverage for 10 million kids up through Obama's first term. "That's what lawmaking is. It's that kind of compromise," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Clinton's former communications director in the White House. "There's no opportunity for that in this forum. We don't have enough time. They don't want - they're mad because they don't want to negotiate." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was at the helm of the House in the 1995-1996 showdowns, told CNN's Piers Morgan earlier this week that he was able to work with Clinton because the former president was able to "compartmentalize," compared to Obama. "It wasn't that we were friends, but we both understood that you had to find a way to work for America, even if as political rivals," said Gingrich, who's now a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." "We were little bit like two graduate students in that we would get in a room and we started talking and theorizing and remembering books and doing stuff. But in that process, you begin to get away from what you couldn't do and you begin to gradually work your way to what you could do." "My guess is that we spent more days together than Obama and (House Speaker John) Boehner has spent minutes together this year," he continued. "The president has to come off with his high horse. Boehner has to also say they may now be able to get everybody in his party to vote for something." Clinton, however, encouraged Obama to stick to his stand. "I think there are times when you have to call people's bluff," he said, according to a transcript of the interview. Republicans have signaled they plan to attach a number of items – including tax reforms and provisions to roll back regulations on businesses - in the upcoming debt limit debate. "If I were the president, I wouldn't negotiate over these draconian cuts that are going to take food off the table of low-income working people, while they leave all the agricultural subsidies in for high-income farmers and everything else. I just think it's - it's chilling to me," Clinton said.

Interview: Common interests, Chinese leaders' wisdom contribute to strong China-Afghanistan ties: Karzai

Common interests and Chinese leaders' wisdom have contributed to a strong China-Afghanistan relationship, said Afghan President Hamid Karzai here on Saturday. "This visit of mine proved with great certainty that China and Afghanistan have developed a strong relationship, based on commonality of interest between the two countries. This is also very importantly (based) on the wisdom of the Chinese leaders," Karzai said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua before winding up his four-day state visit to China.
During his stay in China, the Afghan president met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, and attended the 2013 Euro-Asia Economic Forum held in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. On the current bilateral ties, Karzai said: "I'm happy with this relationship. So are the Afghanistan people." China-Afghanistan relations have made steady progress over the past years. During Karzai's visit to China in 2012, the two neighboring nations established a strategic cooperative partnership. And China has provided as much aid as possible for the peaceful reconstruction in the war-battered country. Appreciating China's role in Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction, Karzai said that China is a "very stable neighbor" and has provided assistance and support to enhance stability in Afghanistan and in the rest of the region. Referring to China as Afghanistan's "very important and very wise neighbor", he said that China has "contributed significantly and in a quiet way to the peace process of Afghanistan." While conveying a message of "gratitude" for China's support, Karzai also stressed that Afghanistan will be a "trusted neighbor and partner" of China. The Afghan government has been striving to attract foreign businesses and those from China in particular to participate in the country's peaceful reconstruction. To allay concerns over security situation in Afghanistan, Karzai said that the government has taken and will adopt all necessary measures to provide Chinese investors with a favorable environment. "We are also aware it is necessary to provide security for Chinese businesses," he said. On his current visit to China, he said that it was a "full trip by all accounts".Karzai said that he exchanged views with Chinese leaders on a broad range of issues and the two sides have not only expanded bilateral ties, but also shared common views on a lot of international and regional issues. With his fifth visit to China coming to an end, Karzai said he was deeply impressed with China's long history and civilization as well as its ability to preserve it and share it with the rest of the world. China's "achievements of development" and the people's "heightened living standard" have left him with an equally deep impression, he said. "The two combined gives China a great future as you move forward," Karzai said. An ethnic Pashtun, Karzai was born in 1957. He graduated from Habibia High School in Kabul in 1976 and took a postgraduate course in political science at Himachal Pradesh University in India from 1979 to 1983. In addition to his native tongue Pashto, he is also well versed in foreign languages such as Dari, Urdu and English.

Taranai Azaadi: '' AZAD PASHTUNISTAN ''


Loy Afghanistan Pashtunistan Wake Up Pashtun

Witness to Peshawar blast: "Women and children were burning." 40 people were killed

At least 40 people were killed and about 100 were wounded after a bomb exploded at a bazaar in Peshawar, officials at a Pakistani hospital said.
A car carrying 220 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives detonated in the city's historic Qissa Khawani bazaar, destroying at least 10 shops, several vehicles and leaving a huge crater, said Shafqat Malik, chief of the bomb disposal unit. The Pakistani Taliban, Tehrik-i-Taliban, condemned the attack and denied any involvement. Qissa Khawani bazaar, or the "storytellers' market," was the site of a bloody massacre in April 1930 when British soldiers fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds. At the time, Pakistan was part of India -- and India was under British rule. Alamzeb Khan was working at a nearby tea stall when he felt the earth shake. The impact of the blast knocked him to the ground. "When I got up, everything was on fire. Women and children were burning in (a) Suzuki pickup, and a number of vehicles were destroyed, besides the shops (that) were also on fire," Khan said.
The death toll is expected to rise, as most of the wounded are critically injured, said Dr. Arshad Javed, chief executive of Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Already, people are sharing stories of incredible loss. One family traveled to Peshawar to attend a wedding. Now they're planning a mass funeral. In all, the family lost eighteen members in the attack, including children. A gruesome week Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has endured a violent week. On Monday, 81 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Protestant church in one of the deadliest attacks ever on the Christian community in Pakistan. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in response to U.S. drone strikes in tribal areas. And on Friday, at least 17 people were killed and more than 30 others wounded in an explosion that ripped through a bus carrying government employees. Sikander Khan Sherpao, senior minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, suggested the attack had been carried out by forces wanting to sabotage recent efforts by the national government to pursue peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban. No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack at the bazaar. The Pakistani Taliban decried the loss of innocent life but at the same time struck a defiant note. "We are targeting the government machinery and the law enforcement agencies but not general public," said spokesman Shaidullah Shaid. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is rife with Islamic extremists and has been the site of clashes between Pakistani security forces and militants. Earlier this month, Pakistani officials announced plans to pursue peace talks with Taliban militants and withdraw troops from parts of the volatile northwestern region, which borders Afghanistan.

PESHAWAR IS BLEEDING....blast kills 40, injures 100

This is the third attack in Peshawar in the last eight days.
The blasts took place September 29 in the busy Kissa Khwani market near a police station in the city of Peshawar, toppling buildings and setting shops and cars ablaze. Zaheerul Islam, a deputy city commissioner, said investigators had arrived at the scene. "They are collecting evidence to find out what kind of and how much explosives were used," Islam said. "But I can tell you, it was a huge blast." An eyewitness said the explosions took place around 11:00 a.m. local time. "We couldn't see anything; everything turned dark," he said. "People were running around. There were dead bodies everywhere. There were no ambulances. People had to carry the wounded in their cars and on bikes." A second man said he watched helplessly as a car carrying women and children burst into flames. "They burned to death in front of our eyes," he said. Local police said six children and two women were among the dead. Police are investigating whether a car had been used in the explosion. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, strongly condemned the blast. "Those involved in the killing of innocent people are devoid of humanity and all religions," Sharif said in comments released by his office. The September 29 attack was the third major bombing to hit Peshawar in the past week. A twin suicide attack at a Peshawar church on September 22 killed 82 people, sparking nationwide protests by Pakistan’s Christian community. On September 27, a bomb hit a bus carrying government employees, killing 18 people. The violence comes as the government looks to open peace talks with the Pakistan Taliban.

KP PPP to dissolve organisations, hold intra-party polls
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, on Saturday endorsed the suggestions of the party’s special committee to dissolve all the ward and divisional organisations of the party and hold intra-party election. Addressing a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, PPP leader Liaqat Shabab said the special committee, formed to establish the reasons for the party’s defeat in the May 11 general election and come up with suggestions for the local government elections, has submitted its findings and suggestions to the provincial office-bearers in a meeting chaired by PPP provincial president Anwar Saifullah Khan. Flanked by party leaders Zulfiqar Afghani, Ayub Shah and Shazia Aurangzeb, he said the meeting held on Friday endorsed the suggestions of the special committee to dissolve all the ward and divisional organisations of the party in the province and hold elections for new office-bearers. He said the PPP provincial office-bearers also discussed the upcoming local government elections and decided to nominate five conveners at divisional level to look after the party’s affairs. Liaqat Shabab said Azam Khan Afridi was nominated as the convener for Peshawar division, Sher Azam Wazir for Bannu division, Ahmad Hasan Khan for Malakand, Shamroz Khan Jadoon for Hazara division and Abdus Samad Khan for Mardan division. He said the conveners were authorised to go into seat adjustment with other political parties for the upcoming local bodies’ elections in their respective areas. He said the conveners would also have the authority to nominate candidates for the local government elections. He said the PPP provincial office-bearers in the meeting passed a resolution reposing confidence in the party’s central and provincial leadership. He said they also condemned the bomb explosion on a Charsadda-bound bus and killing of 19 government employees and injuries to 46 others in the incident.

Peshawar blast death toll reaches 37

At least 37 people were killed and more than 80 injured in a blast near Khan Raziq police station in Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar, Geo News reported. Several vehicles and adjacent buildings were damaged. Law enforcement agencies have cordoned off the area. A police official who also confirmed the blast, said it took place immediately after a car stopped in the market. Police officer Zahid Khan said the Sunday explosion appeared to have been a bomb planted in a parked car and detonated by remote control. The blast killed at least 37 people and wounded more than 80 others, Commissioner Peshawar Sahebzada Muhammad Anis. He said four more people succumbed to injuries at the hospital. AFP adds: An official at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital, Jameel Shah, also confirmed the new toll. Local officials said the blast took place near a police station but they did not initially believe the station was the intended target. "Police station does not seem to be the target as it was away from the attack site," bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik said. He said, "It looks like the market was the target." He told AFP the evidence suggested it was a remote controlled bomb. "In fact, the whole car, which had been parked along the roadside, was converted into a remote controlled bomb," he said. Sunday's attack was the third major bombing to strike Peshawar and its suburbs in the past seven days. Last Sunday a twin suicide attack at a Peshawar church killed 82 people. On Friday, a powerful bomb tore through a bus carrying government employees on the edge of Peshawar city, killing 18 people.

Balochistan-Earthquake: Homeless hearts know what pain is all about!

How does catastrophe look like? This question was asked by a child and his mother just slightly smiled but the question needs to be answered even I myself cannot find the answer, yet. When we all are born, living in catastrophe and have not been able to find its answer. Strange, maybe we do not want to accept reality of the catastrophe which leaves unending sorrows behind while putting the lives on the ashes of death. A mother that was incapable of answering her child about catastrophe. Now, she can show the face of mayhem through Balochistan’s earthquake. We journalists live in the world of news and know well that how situations can be turned into its worst phase. News are coming and giving facts regarding the damage in Balochistan due to earthquake. Sometimes, one thing makes us speechless and in the inner you become helpless, as it happened to me when I saw a picture of annihilated mud-home and a few children were leaving that home. Countless people have become homeless. Perhaps, people can say that if you face catastrophe then destruction becomes the destiny. It is very easy to say such kind of words and for a while can give a pause to the criticism but the pain of the homeless and loss can be felt by those whose souls have been injured. While looking at the picture of the damaged mud - house, I recalled my memories, when a girl was weeping and asking that where is my home? Do we have any home? Is our destiny in homeless? Constantly asking for house, then she stopped weeping, took a deep breath and said you people will never know the sorrow of being homeless. I do not know where is that girl now? If she saw picture of destroyed mud house in Balochistan, now she can surely say that homeless hearts know what the pain of being homeless is! On the earth one thing you cannot compare that’s anguish, hence sorrows have been walking in Balochistan but just now catastrophe has shown the real picture of people living in Balochistan. Natural disaster has done its work and snatched lives along their houses, villages and cities. None is able to stop the wave of nature but state ought to do practical work, Balochistan is not untouchable province. It needs honest and worthwhile work by ruling party. Baloch people are suffering and especially children who are awfully affected. How do they feel when they are not receiving relief fund because due to absence of law and order situation around, international NGOs are refrained from going to Balochistan, according to the report? What’s the hell! Which type of law and order is being talked of? When your province has lost its villages where the damage live on, how do you see the existence of law and order on the dead-bodies. So, government must wake up and stop giving lame excuses. Many dead bodies buried without their shrouds. Ruling party PML-N pretends to be the powerful government that even cannot provide shroud to their bodies. And we do keep hopes alive that government will help them. However, are we senseless? Since people know rich rulers never help them. Balochistan has faced powerful struck earthquake but Mr. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on his foreign trip, Oh I meant it can be said the ostensible foreign trip for democracy. When rulers would be asked about the nation, a nation that is crossing the line of disaster and their government is following three best steps of ignored-policy known as “Don’t see, Don’t Listen, Don’t Speak” then all matters will be fine. Of course, it is for rulers, not for the people. While enjoying democratic trip, Mr. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must know that Baloch people have lost everything in earthquake. Sadly, What Mr. Nawaz Sharif is laughing for? How could he smile on his trips when people are dying and becoming homeless? I think, Mr. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif does not know about facial language of Diplomacy, if anyone’s country has serious loss and the damage, its rulers do not live smile on Media, nor turn their faces gloomy either. But one should be balanced in having gesture as Facial-Diplomacy leaves message to the world and Prime minister Nawaz Sharif Sb. was passing smiles that means he is no longer worried for his country people. If Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had known the art of Facial-Diplomacy as Bhutto(s) knew and knows it well. Government’s performance is very poor in Balochistan, people have pretty idea that in the disaster of Balochistan, country rulers would ask the world for funds. Are the rulers (they) are the merchants of catastrophe? However, if Pakistan’s assemblies rich ministers, politicians, businessmen and lords put hands in their pockets and take out money for Balochistan, even money must be utilized honestly for the recovery of ongoing damages in Balochistan then government may not need any funds from foreign countries. Bitter truth is that rich people seems poorest to help their people. Who will give money to affectees? None! In fact, merchants of catastrophe, they need such kind of incidents when their corrupt hands can collect more money. Government would ask for funds later funds go into their invisible boxes but hardly money can be used for people. After sometime, common people will collect bricks and start building their damaged and poor houses. Think for those who lost their families and homes, now living across the road-side who will give them home? I would leave this question for my dear people. We have homeless hearts, they are sleeping on the road while looking at the sky, and the sky may whisper that do not worry if people of the world do not give you shelter, my huge shelter is always here for you and someone might drop tears from his/her eyes, when they have no more even mud house and become homeless, their lives on the road. So, catastrophe actually looks like them whose lives become homeless. Isn’t it?

Afghanistan: Abdul Rahman Pajhwok’s 100th birth anniversary marked

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Saturday organized a special ceremony in connection with 100th birth anniversary of a renowned Afghan writer, poet and diplomat Abdul Rahman Pajhwok. Diplomats, writers, government officials and academicians attended the ceremony. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, said that late Pajhwok was a great politician, culture figure, writer and a patriot who had made several considerable achievements in his life for the nation. “He supported freedom of speech and media as he was a seasoned journalist and writer. He was an outstanding diplomat in Afghanistan’s history and his knowledge in International Relations and Politics helped the country in international political arena. Pajhwok was the first diplomat from Afghanistan who worked as president of the United Nations General Assembly,” the minister said. Zalmai Rassoul hoped that young diplomats would be encouraged by Pajhwok’s work to remain committed to play their role in development of the country. Chief of the Public Relations Department of MoFA, Abdul Qahar Abed, said that Abdul Raman Pajhwok was a veteran politician, and writer who contributed in different fields through his writings. Abed said that Pajhwok became diplomat in 1946 and proven his skills and capabilities in short time. He became a high ranking official in Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan. He served as president in deferent branches of the UN General Assembly. Due to political problems in Afghanistan in 1978 he resigned from his position in the UN and came back to his motherland. Later he became sick and died in 1995, in Hayatabad area of Peshawar. President Hamid Karzai in his massage which was read by the president’s advisor, Yahya Maroof, said the personality of Pajhwok would persuade the young diplomats to prove themselves while exhibiting their skills and performing well. Abdul Raman Pajhwok was a smart diplomat of Afghanistan in foreign country. During his career he worked hard to protect and promote the national interest at international level. He performed his duties honestly and with great zeal, President Karzai said. Karzai said that Pajhwok had command over the two national languages and published several poems and other writings. In the ceremony other writers also shed light on personality and writings of Abdul Rahman Pajhwok. Biography of Abdul Rahman Pajhwok: Abdul Rahman Pajhwok was elected as president of the United Nations General Assembly in the twenty-first session, and served as permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations since April16, 1958. He remained member of Afghanistan’s delegation to the General Assembly since 1948. He was born in Ghazni province on March 7, 1919. He received his education in Afghanistan. He started his career as a journalist. He joined Foreign Publications of Government Press Department as director. Later, he worked as Director General of Bakhtar News Agency. In 1946, he was appointed as Cultural and Press Attaché in Afghanistan’s Embassy in London. The following year, he joined the Information Section of the International Labor Organization, where he remained for two years. In 1949, he returned to his country’s diplomatic service and became Cultural and Press Attaché at Afghan Embassy in Washington. He remained there until 1951 when he returned to Kabul to take over the position of Director of the Asian and African Affairs Section and to serve as acting Director of the United Nations Section of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Political Department. In 1957, he was appointed as Director General of the Political Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post he held until his appointment as Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Pajhwok represented Afghanistan during the Economic and Social Council from 1959 to 1961. He was a member of the Commission on Human Rights from 1961 to 1963, serving as chairman in the latter year. In 1963, he served as Chairman of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to Vietnam, sent to examine the relations between the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and the Vietnamese Buddhist community. He was Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Oman in 1964. Mr. Pajhwok has represented Afghanistan at several international conferences, including the Bandung Conference in 1955, the Preparatory Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Cairo in 1961 and the Belgrade Conference of Non-Aligned Nations (also called NAM) in 1961. He headed the Afghan delegation to the conferences of Foreign Ministers in Djakarta in 1964, and Algiers in 1965. He was also a member of the delegation of Afghanistan to the Second Conference of Non-Aligned Nations, held in Cairo in 1964. He served as president and honorary member of the Royal Afghan Academy of Literature. He has also been a member of the Society of Historical Studies of Afghanistan.

Obama says, US, India have common goals in Afghanistan
Leaders of the United States and India on Friday said the two countries had shared interests in Afghanistan, as the war-hit country is on the verge of a critical political juncture. US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a joint press conference at the White House pledged to remain committed to bringing lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan. “We both have a shared interest in making sure that Afghanistan continues on its path to a peaceful, democratic country,” said Obama, adding that the US and India shared an interest in making sure that they helped Afghans stand up for the rights of all groups and that the rights of women and minority groups were protected. Obama stressed the upcoming elections must happen in a way that maintained and continued to strengthen stability in the troubled country. Both the leaders reiterated their commitment to contribute to peace, stability and development in Afghanistan during the critical transformation decade 2015 to 2024. In a joint statement, the two leaders said they reflected on the important strategic partnerships the US and India had formed with Afghanistan. Obama and Singh reaffirmed their commitment to supporting a smooth security and political transition. “The leaders recognized that violent extremists continue to pose challenges to Afghanistan’s security and stability and, in this context, emphasized the need for coordinated international support to help build the capacity of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” the joint statement said.

Polio virus: BA voices fear Pakistanis might face travelling ban

Daily Times
The Balochistan Assembly Saturday expressed fear that if the crippling poliovirus is not eliminated from the country, Pakistanis could face a ban on travelling abroad. The legislators also stressed expediting rescue and relief activities in the earthquake-affected areas. The session of the Balochistan Assembly began on Saturday after a day’s break, with Speaker Jan Muhammad Jamali in the chair. Due to non-furnishing of replies to the questions asked by some members of the House the question-hour was deferred. Having no other agenda, the members of treasury and opposition benches spoke on different issues on points of order, however, eradication of polio and relief activities in the earthquake-hit areas dominated the session. Leader of the National Party (NP) Rehmat Baloch said that as September 30 was being observed as the World Anti-Polio Day to create awareness about the disease, therefore, all members of the House must monitor anti-polio campaigns in their respective areas. He said some corrupt people had made polio campaign as a source of their income. He said that in Panjgur the polio teams did not administer polio drop to the children. “The local officers, by showing dummy teams, receive TA, DA allowances,” he added. Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Gul Muhammad Dumar said that he had recently visited his constituency where he was astonished to see that schools were closed and the teachers were absent despite being paid regularly. He said law and order, health and education needed special focus of the government otherwise the people would not be satisfied. Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader Nasrullah Zehray welcomed observance of September 30 as the international polio day and said it was a good step. Zehray noted that no polio case had surfaced in Pishin, Qila Abdullah and Quetta since March 14. He said that world had decided to eradicate polio until 2015 and if we fail to eradicate the disease from the country, Pakistanis could face travelling bans. He also said there were only a few countries, including Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, which still had poliovirus. “We should actively participate in the anti-polio campaigns to get rid of this crippling virus,” he added. PkMAP leader Sardar Mustafa Khan Tareen said that the Civil Hospital was right in front of his house but during the last three months, the polio teams have not visited his house to administer polio vaccine to children. He said polio teams were not working actively which was also one of the reasons polio cases keep surfacing. Speaking on his turn, MPA Mujeebur Rehman Muhammad Hassani said in order to eradicate polio, monitoring committees had been constituted at the district level, and they should be monitored through MPAs and deputy commissioners. Speaker Jan Muhammad Jamali regretted that funds were coming from foreign countries for the eradication of polio but were not channelised properly. Other MPAs, including Obaidullah Babath, Shahida Rauf, Dr Hamid Achakzai, also spoke about the eradication of polio and gave their recommendations and expressed their resolve to cope with the deadly virus.

4 killed in NWA drone strike

At least four people were killed and several other injured in drone attack near Miranshah at Darga Mandi on Sunday, officials at Miranshah said. Official said two missiles were fired at a house killing four people inside the house. The officials however did not disclosed who the killed were and what their background was. On the other hand curfew was also imposed on all major roads of North Waziristan Agency.

Bilawal Bhutto strongly condemns the Peshawar blast
PPP Patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in a bomb blast near khan Ghazi police station in Peshawar. He said that every segment of our society wants peace, the terrorists seem to be unbridled in mounting attacks. He expressed sympathies with those injured and demanded the government and concerned authorities to provide all possible assistance on urgent basis. He prayed Almighty Allah to bless departed souls with eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families.

Bombs kill 33 in northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar

Twin blasts in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar killed 33 people and wounded 70 on Sunday, a week after two bombings at a church in the frontier city killed scores, police and hospital authorities said. Islamist violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to tame the insurgency by launching peace talks with the Taliban. The blasts hit outside a police station in an area crowded with shops and families. Police said it appeared at least one of the explosions had been a car bomb. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. A crowd gathered outside the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, where many of the victims had been taken. Distraught relatives frantically tried to dial mobile phone numbers of those caught up in the blasts but were unable to get through. Women sobbed as ambulances pulled up with more bodies. "Who is burning Peshawar, who is burning Peshawar?" screamed one woman in a long headscarf. Shopowner Sher Gul said he had made repeated trips on his motorbike to bring six people to hospital. Gul cursed a provincial government minister who came to visit the victims. "Why have you come so late?" Gul shouted. The blasts follow an attack by a Taliban faction on Peshawar's Anglican church last Sunday that killed more than 80 people, the deadliest attack on Christians in predominantly Muslim Pakistan. The Taliban have repeatedly rejected Pakistan's constitution and have called for the full implementation of Islamic law and for war with India. Sharif is due to meet Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later on Sunday, only hours after Singh described Pakistan as the "epicenter of terrorism in our region". Another Pakistani politician, former cricket player Imran Khan, has suggested the Taliban might open an office in Pakistan to negotiate but the suggestion drew an angry response from those caught up in Sunday's blasts. "The government wants to open an office for the Taliban? What office? They are killing us, for how long do we have to suffer like this? I have no hope," said Waheed Khan as he searched for his nephew, a rickshaw driver, among the dead and wounded.

29 killed in Peshawar police station blast

At least 29 people were killed and more than 70 injured in a blast near Khan Raziq police station in Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar, Geo News reported. Police have confirmed the blast and said it occurred in a vehicle, parked near the police station. Initial report said that the explosive material was planted in the vehicle and was detonated with a remote device. Commissioner Peshawar confirmed killing of 10 people in the attack. Rescue sources have confirmed that more than 40 people including children were wounded and have been shifted to Leady Reading Hospital. Hospital sources said 29 people have been killed in the attack. Emergency has been declared in the LRH. Several vehicles and adjacent buildings were damaged. The blast occurred a week after a twin suicide blasts at a Church killed more than 80 people.

Pakistan: Dialogue, but with whom?

The Express Tribune
Pakistan came into being following a historic struggle of the Muslims of the subcontinent. Addressing the newly-found nation, the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had said that “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State”. It is unfortunate that the ideals of the Quaid-e-Azam were quickly brushed aside soon after his death and a group of vested interests took control of power. This group brazenly used religion to perpetuate its hold on power. The Afghan war pushed the country into the raging fire of war in the late 70s. The fire continues to burn with intensity even today as people of Pakistan across its length and breadth are falling prey. There are no visible signs that the country could be pulled off from this fire and put on the path of progress and prosperity. Extremism is beginning to stifle the spirit of Pakistan and the dreams of the founding fathers are turning into nightmares. Thousands of lives have been lost in bomb blasts and suicide attacks. This includes officers and men of country’s armed forces and paramilitary forces as well as thousands of innocent civilians. Despite this, a recently held All Parties Conference (APC) gave the government the mandate to hold talks with these extremists and militants. The main spirit behind this mandate was to give peace a chance. The militants, however, continue to strike relentlessly. A serving major general of the army was martyred in an IED blast after the offer of dialogue to the Taliban. Militants spurned the offer by carrying out two suicide blasts in a church in Peshawar killing scores of people, including women and children. They have made it clear that they would continue to strike in future as well. These recent acts of terrorism have provoked a huge wave of anger in the country and some quarters are demanding that the dialogue offer with the Taliban should be withdrawn forthwith. In response to this anger, some pro-Taliban parties are arguing that these recent attacks were carried out by some fringe groups and not the Taliban. They are also claiming that there are nearly 25 groups within the Taliban and some of them are still not in favour of talks, thus the possibility of their involvement. This argument throws the whole question of talks into deep complication: if the Taliban is not a unified body and lacks the ability to control other militant groups, would it be fruitful to talk to it? Should we talk to the Taliban or these fringe yet powerful groups or both? There are some politicians in the country who maintain that the issue can be resolved by holding dialogues and some even suggest that the militants should be allowed to open an office for this purpose, thereby recognising them as a legitimate stakeholder. This is a dangerous idea. A country has its own well-defined stakeholders: armed forces, the police, bureaucracy, economists, major political parties, ethnic and religious groups, etc. These stakeholders play positive and constructive roles in the process of nation-building, thereby strengthening the country. On the other hand, there are elements that work for weakening the country by engaging in destructive activities. It is these non-stakeholders who are commonly termed anti-state actors or anti-state elements. Those who claim to be the most patriotic people in Pakistan but consider these non-state actors as the integral part of the state seek to legitimise what is patently illegitimate. We all want peace in the country and we all want to see the country emerging as a modern democracy among the international community. We all recognise the importance of holding dialogues for resolving issues but I would like to put a question to leaders, scholars and academicians. Dialogue but with whom?

Balochistan: Three Children Recovered Days After Awaran Earthquake

The Baloch Hal
Three children were recovered alive after three days from the rubble in Mashkay tehsil of Awaran which was badly hit by 7.8-quake on Tuesday (September 24). Amid the dust and wreckage in Mashkay, there have been some moments of hope – three children, the youngest just three years old, were found alive in the ruins of a house. Similarly, three dead bodies were also retrieved as the people are still awaiting massive rescue and relief help from the government functionaries. A large number of journalists present in Awaran and Mashkay for coverage told this scribe on phone that no rescue teams had arrived in most of the parts of Awaran and Mashkay. “Some rescue teams are engaged in the relief work in urban Awaran, but no team has reached far-flung areas where a massive devastation has occurred,” they added. Some local people staged a noisy demonstration outside the office of the deputy commissioner, demanding immediate relief and rescue for their trapped dear ones. Mashkay Assistant Commissioner Mir Naseer Ahmed Mosiani told media persons that a widespread death and destruction had been caused by the earthquake and there was no water available for human consumption while most of the natural springs had disappeared following the earthquake. He confirmed that more than 200 people had lost their lives in Mashkay only. A local journalist, Ismail Sasoli, claimed more than 400 people had been injured in Mashkay alone. The assistant commissioner said that more than 10,000 tents were needed for the Mashkay subdivision whereas official and other sources confirmed that only 200 tents had arrived in Awaran. Mir Naseer Ahmed Mosiani categorically said the environment in Mashkay subdivision was completely peaceful and normal and there was no threat to life, so volunteers should come and start the rescue and relief operation. “Scores of volunteers, belonging to some non-governmental organizations (NGOs), managed on their own to reach Awaran. All of them were stopped at check posts for unknown reasons and no official of the district administration came to guide them to start the relief work,” a local journalist, Shabbir Rakhsani, complained. He added there was no control room in the entire district to guide and help the people ready to undertake rescue and relief operation. There was a general impression of the local people reached by telephone that the government’s rescue and relief efforts were still missing even after three days of the deadly earthquake. A journalist visited Teer Tej village where 2,000 mud houses collapsed and more than 80 people lost their lives. According to some NGOs, the Frontier Corps detained relief truckloads at Lasbela, disallowing them to take the supplies to the affected people when they refused to hand over the supplies to the FC troops more than 200 kilometers away from Awaran. After intervention by the higher officials, these truckloads were, however, allowed to move. The trucks reached at 3am at Awaran where they were parked close to the DC office, but did not reach the quake victims. A large number of people gathered outside the DC office and expressed their anger while some of them took away food and items from the trucks in desperation. There was only one doctor to provide medical aid to the injured. He was just giving painkillers to the patients as there was no other medicine available. There was no x-ray facility to detect bone fractures as well.Meanwhile, an aftershock of 5 at Richter scale was reported in Awaran and the other affected areas, with no report of loss of life and property so far. PDMA Chief Hafiz Basit told a news conference in Quetta that a 50-bed hospital in Awaran had been made functional, having doctors and medicines. Mir Jan Muhammad Buleidai who was also present on the occasion said 22 truckloads of supplies had been dispatched to the affected areas. He confirmed that seriously injured people were being shifted to Karachi for better treatment.

Peshawar Church Attack; An Act Of Hatred Says United States Secretary John Kerry

The US secretary of state John F. Kerry said in the fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum that he was deeply distressed over recent Peshawar Church attack. “ There’s no way to describe these other than as acts of hatred, cowardly acts that take innocent lives, and they really ought to reinvigorate all of us with respect to the challenges that we face and that we’re discussing here today,” he said. “In Nairobi, we know that at least 68 innocent men, women, and children are dead, many more injured, including some Americans, and probably many of you sitting here, I know, have citizens of your own countries. In Peshawar, there was a heinous attack on the All Saints Church, long a bastion of interfaith harmony and cooperation, and at least 85 people were killed and another 100 injured,” he continued. He further said, “Now tragically, there is nothing that can erase the bitter feeling that these attacks leave in their wake. The haunting images are going to forever be seared in our minds, and they unfortunately meld with haunting images from too many countries and too many places where people resort to these completely empty, nihilistic acts.” Secretary Kerry added, “I think the images out of Peshawar of lifeless bodies strewn across a church, and in Nairobi, likewise, people up and down the mall lying lifeless, parents hugging their children for safety, people running in fear. At the same time, we have images of the heroism of rescuers and the collective cry of the Kenyan and the Pakistani people, who say loudly: “This was an attack on our families and our communities.” He assured, “The United States stands firmly with the people of Kenya and Pakistan, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and those who wait for the wounds of loved ones to heal.” “So, my friends, we face a common threat in terrorism, whether it’s in a church in Peshawar or at a mall in Nairobi, and our charge is clear: We need to prove to the world that what we build together, and the power of our ideas, is far more powerful than what the terrorists seek to destroy. In the attacks of the past week, death has made war upon our collective house, but the victims and their families are not alone. They’re not without kith and kin. They have the steadfast support of the United States and its partners and the allies,” he reassured.
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Pakistan : Protestors Violent Over Peshawar Church Attack Booked Under Blasphemy Charges

According to details, Karachi police has registered a blasphemy case against three Christian men namely Babar, Ilyas and Robert under blasphemy laws as an outcome of being involved in violent protests over Peshawar Church attack. The three Christians has allegedly participated in a violent protest staged a day after suicide attackers blew up a Church in Peshawar killing more than 100 Christians. Reportedly, during the protest, a fight and punch-up took place between Christians and Muslim youth after some of the protestors threw stones at a mosque at Zaman Town in the Korangi area. “As a result of the protestors turning violent a Muslim man also died in the brawl after he got hit in the head,” the police said. Moreover, the Muslim-Christians clashes resulted in torching of houses of Christians ; the situation was however later brought under control by intervention from police. The police confirmed on Friday, 27th of September, 2013 that Nazir Ahmed- a member of administrative committee of the Khulfai Rashideen mosque has filed an FIR against three Christians namely Babar, Ilyas and Robert for allegedly committing blasphemous acts. According to the police, the complainant has accused that the three Christian men pelted stones during the protest whereby hitting the names of the caliphs with stones and sticks that is seen as a deliberate desecration. Mohammad Khan the concerned police officer said, ”The three men were arrested on Thursday 26th of September but were released on bail on Friday. The case was registered under section 298-F that is a lenient clause of the law as the maximum sentence under this act was three year imprisonment. Under the main clause of the blasphemy law the maximum punishment is death here.” “A murder case against three other men was also registered but they were absconders,” the police said.
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Christians are not enjoying equal rights as claimed by PM Nawaz Sharif in UN speech
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC said that Christians are not enjoying equal rights in Islamic Republic of Pakistan as claimed by Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif in his speech in General Assembly session of United Nation in New York today. In his address to UN General Assembly, Premier Nawaz Sharif demanded rights of Palestinians and expressed concern on propaganda against Islam and Holy Quran in Western world but fell short to amend blasphemy laws which are root cause of violence against religious communities in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif mentioned in his speech incident of suicide bombing attack on Peshawar Church which killed 86 Christian men, women and children and injured more than hundred but not assured security measure to stop such massacre. Nazir Bhatti said “Whenever Nawaz Sharif comes in power, the violence against Christians rises in Pakistan” Commenting on claims of equal rights by Nawaz Sharif, PCC Chief said “Christians cannot elect their representation in parliament with their votes; Christian youth have not equal opportunities in jobs nor have in higher education admissions, if these are equal rights for minorities in Pakistan then its mockery of equal rights” The province of Punjab which is governed by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group for decade which is headed by Mian Nawaz Sharif have never ensured justice to Christians which are second biggest population of this province after Muslims weather it was incident of Gojra or Korian or Bahminwali where Muslim mob destroyed Christian properties and burnt alive Christians. The PML (N) government in Punjab sold thousands of jobs of Christians in Lahore Metropolitan Corporation to their Turkish friends denying privatization menu and plans to expand their privatization in other cities of Punjab only jobs of Christians in this tenure instead of Privatization of sectors of these corporations which have Muslim employees. Nazir Bhatti said that repeal of blasphemy laws and right to elect Christian representation in Local Governments, Provincial Assemblies and National Assembly with Christian votes is only step forward to equal rights for minorities in Pakistan. PCC Chief said that Christians are being treated like 2nd class citizen in Pakistan and never enjoy equal basic democratic rights.