Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mapping out Waziristan strategy with political parties and civil ...

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) district Dera Ghazi Khan President Samia Nusrat called on Pakistan Muslim League-Q senior leader and Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi here at the State Guest House on Monday and announced to join PML-Q along with women's district body and colleagues. Welcoming her in the party fold, Elahi said that women are the backbone in the development of social sector; women working in this sector are in contact with womenfolk at the grass root level and expressed the hope that by further integrating these contacts she would make the Pakistan Muslim League active at the grass root level. He said that we had established medical college, constructed roads, provided stipends and scholarships, free books, uniforms in the education field in Dera Ghazi Khan. On this occasion, Samia Nusrat said that thinking of PTI has changed, I have joined the Pakistan Muslim League on being impressed by positive thinking of PML-Q leadership. Punjab made record development during the tenure of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and this is why the districts of South Punjab regard Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as their benefactor, she added.

Cracks have appeared in the Khyber Agency chapter of Awami National Party as its former agency president announces to support the sitting MNA, who was elected as an independent candidate, and two of its office-bearers defect to Jamaat-i-Islami in Bara tehsil. ANP?s former agency president Abdur Rahim Afridi told a function organised by MNA Allama Noorul Haq Qadri in Peshawar of late that he along with his relatives would support the sitting MNA in the coming elections. Mr Afridi told Dawn that he was disappointed with the role of all political forces in pleading the case of Fata.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday to review the law and order situation in the province. Home Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri, Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh, Home Secretary Mohammad Akbar Hussain Durani, IG police Umer Khitab and Brigadier Khalid of the Frontier Corps attended the meeting. The meeting reviewed the strategy to contain incidents of targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom and other heinous crimes. They also discussed the security plan devised by law enforcement agencies for maintaining peace in the province.

President Asif Ali Zardari met his French counterpart Francois Hollande to discuss bilateral ties and international issues of mutual concern. President Zardari and Hollande also exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation in energy, trade and other sectors. The security situation in Pakistan with an emphasis on Afghanistan was also discussed. Following the meeting, President Zardari spoke to reporters alongside Hollande and said that Pakistan wanted to expanded relations with France and both countries would support each other on global issues.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Tuesday that exchange of visits by parliamentary delegations of Pakistan and Afghanistan would enhance trust and understanding between peoples of the two countries and would lead to better relations. Welcoming an 18-member Afghan parliamentary delegation which called on him at the Prime Minister House, Mr Ashraf referred to recent visits by chairman of Afghanistan?s High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani and Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and said such visits showed that relations between the two brotherly countries were on the right track. Assuring the delegation members that Pakistan backed peace and stability in Afghanistan, the prime minister said: ?We are neighbours, we have to live together and our generations will have to live together.? Senator Abdul Wali Raji, a member of the Afghan delegation, drew attention of the prime minister to the delay in clearance of Kabul-bound goods at the Karachi port. The PM assured the Afghan team of looking into the complaint of delay in clearance of Afghan goods at the Karachi port and welcomed the proposal for interaction among all sections of society.

Women parliamentarians have been taking an active part in introducing various bills for legislation in the parliament, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Vice Chancellor Dr Samina Amin Qadir said on Tuesday. She was addressing the concluding ceremony of a project titled ?Facilitating Women Parliamentarians in Pakistan,? said a press release issued by the organisers. The event was coordinated by the university?s Department of Defence and Diplomatic Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford under British Council?s INSPIRE programme. Qadir praised the achievements of the INSPIRE project by FJWU and University of Bradford. Nishat Riaz of British Council stated that the project was among the 10 that were selected out of the 166 applicants from across Pakistan three years ago, which is a proof of its success. After the concluding ceremony, a workshop titled ?Research Practices and Publications? was also organised. The workshop was attended by faculty members, doctoral scholars, researchers and students from various universities, research institutes and NGOs from Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It was conducted by three doctoral candidates from the University of Bradford. Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services Executive Director Khan Ahmad Goraya was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony. In his address, Goraya mentioned about the cooperation between PIPS, FJWU and University of Bradford (UK) and the British Council.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said that with elimination of large number of bogus votes, the hopes of those desiring to manipulate results in the forthcoming general election had been quashed. Addressing workers of Pakistan Peoples Party from Rawalpindi Division who had called on the premier at the PM House, Ashraf said that, ?we have entered the election phase and every step has been taken to ensure free and fair election in the country?.

Activists of civil society have expressed concerns over the unnecessary delay in holding the local government's elections and bringing in place a representative local government system under the Local Government Act 2012 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

FATA: Local leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have termed reforms in Frontier Crime Regulation insufficient and a joke with tribesmen, saying that the government should immediately extend the civil law and basic rights to Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata).?They were speaking at a public meeting held in Pashat in Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur Agency on Saturday. Former MNA Shahabuddin Khan, Rahat Yousaf, Gul Kareem and others spoke on the occasion.??We reject the reforms because they do not provide any relief to the tribesmen,? said one of the elders. They said that majority of the tribesmen wanted complete abolition of the FCR. They said that the FCR and unlimited powers of political administrations were the main causes of unrest, backwardness and lack of social justice in tribal areas.?The elders demanded of the government to respect the wishes of tribesmen and immediately extend judicial and basic rights to the Fata.??The Frontier Crime Regulation and lack of basic rights and proper justice system are the main hurdles in the way of development of Fata and its people,? they said.?They said that the sitting assembly members from Bajaur Agency had done nothing for the welfare of people and they should not beg for their votes again. They asked the relevant authorities to launch accountability of parliamentarians from the area, claiming that they had been misusing funds allocated to development of the region.

FATA: The situation demands a fresh strategy involving locals, all political parties and stakeholders, with an aim to win over the hearts and minds. The army must be relieved of the burden of local administration. It can be redeployed in D.I. Khan. Development work must start with the cooperation of local tribes. Elected representatives and civil society organisations must rally people and show their presence by sharing their grief and treating them with dignity. Political parties must establish offices inside North and South Waziristan.?The government should hold negotiations with tribes to redefine social contracts. No joint Nato-Pakistan operations should be conducted. We should not overstretch the army?s deployment in Fata and Swat. Political activities must be allowed in Fata, elections must be held across the tribal area, committees be formed to write a new social contract, the Frontier Crimes Regulation needs to be rewritten, Fata be declared a separate province, and development work must be started at a rapid pace to bring tribal people into the mainstream.

The father of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls? education, has been named a UN special advisor on global education, UN envoy Gordon Brown said Monday.?Brown added that the 15-year-old schoolgirl, who is recovering in a British hospital after being brutally attacked on her school bus on October 9, will herself join the campaign when she is better.

ANKARA: A two-day trilateral summit of Presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkish will begin today (Tuesday) in Ankara.?Turkish President Abdullah Gul, his?his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will participate.

President Zardai will arrive here from France.?Turkish President Abdullah Gul, President Asif Zardari and Karzai will discuss "means of strengthening bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially at the security level," a high-ranking Turkish diplomat said.?The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan will hold talks in a bid to resolve a row after Kabul claimed an attack against its spy chief was planned in Pakistan, an official said.?The assassination attempt on National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Asadullah Khalid was carried out Thursday by an attacker who claimed to be a Taliban peace envoy but had a bomb hidden in his underwear.?Afghan President Hamid Karzai did not directly blame Pakistan for the attack but said the Taliban alone would not have been able to carry out the bombing and that "bigger hands were involved".?The Pakistani foreign ministry rejected the claim and said it was ready to help investigate what it called a criminal act.?The summit in Ankara will be the sixth in Turkey, a NATO member, since the regular consultation mechanism was established in 2007 to encourage both countries to cooperate against extremism.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry suggested on Monday that the local government elections could be helpful in checking the menace of extremism in society because it provided people-to-people contact at the grassroots level.??One of the reasons behind growing extremism and dacoities in the neighbourhoods is that we have lost interaction with the people at the ward and union level,? the chief justice observed, adding that the country?s founding fathers had deliberately incorporated constitutional provisions for holding local bodies? elections.?The observation was made when a three-judge bench took up a petition filed in 2009 by Rab Nawaz from Quetta.

VEHARI: Nawaz Sharif is copying the Tehreek-i-Insaf?s rhetoric about building a progressive Pakistan as a welfare state, just like he is copying President Asif Ali Zardari?s corruption methods, said PTI chief Imran Khan on Monday. Talking to reporters here after paying his condolences to PTI leader Mumtaz Khan Khich over the death of PPP MPA Sardar Khan Khichi, Imran Khan said that Nawaz Sharif and Zardari were allies in a quest to take turns in power so they could keep making dirty money. He said Sharif spoke about reconstructing Pakistan, but it would be better if he first spared Punjab from devastation and destruction, as he actually had a government there. He said Sharif should not celebrate his by-election victory too much.

Pro-government Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, who survived a suicide attack last month, has denied playing a role in the expulsion of Mehsud tribesmen from parts of South Waziristan Agency. A jirga of Ahmedzai Wazir tribal elders and clerics had asked Mehsud tribesmen to leave Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, by December 5 or else they would be forced out.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to export its Sindh strategy for the upcoming polls ? of forming alliances to bolster its vote bank ? to Balochistan, discussing preliminary steps for an expected seat adjustment with the Balochistan National Party (BNP), The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and BNP Acting President Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, along with other senior BNP leaders, met at Raiwind, where the two sides discussed the current political situation in Balochistan and possible solutions to the crisis in the province, according to PML-N?s media wing.

Pakistan has signalled its readiness to deal with terrorists operating within its borders as well as with those who cross over to Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday. The statement followed a clarification by officials of the Defence and State Departments of a Pentagon report that tended to create an impression that Pakistan was still allowing terrorist safe havens in Fata to operate. The officials said the report was old and since then Pakistan had carried out several ?complementary operations? with Afghan and Nato forces against the terrorists.

The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly sought on Tuesday a detailed government response on foreign-funded development projects, with focus on billions of dollars from the Kerry-Lugar fund. Members of the committee also expressed their reservations over spending of public money by non-governmental organisations without any effective government control. They were of the view that not only should the government put in place proactive monitoring procedures to check how NGOs were working in the country, but also scrutinise their sources of funds whether they come from government or from international donors.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek has said that the Swiss authorities have not yet replied to the government?s letter regarding reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, reported Express News on Tuesday. Naek was speaking to the media after attending a session of National Assembly?s Standing Committee on Law and Justice. Replying to a question, the minister said that since the letter has not been replied to, graft cases against the president cannot be reopened. In the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, the Supreme Court had ordered the government to write a letter to Swiss authorities. Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was also disqualified from his post when he failed to comply with the court orders. The government had finally dispatched the letter around a month ago but has not received any response as yet.

Awami National Party die-hard leaders from Qambarkhel Teshil of Bara, Khyber Agency along with other workers announced to join Jamaat-i-Islami, here on Monday. Addressing at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club, ANP president from Qambarkhel, Javed Afridi and General Secretary Haji Sabir Afridi said that they had decided to join Jamaat-i-Islami owing to poor performance of the ruling ANP government in the province.?Flanked by Faisal Shah Afridi, JI Ameer Khyber Agency and others leaders from Tehsil Bara, Javed Afridi said the government had completely failed to resolve the problems of tribal people during last four and half years. He said that a large number of people had been displaced due to excessive military operations and faced with desperate situation at their makeshift IDPs camps.?While speaking on the occasion, Shah Faisal Afridi said the leaders of ANP are being frustrated by poor performance of their party and joining the JI, which has become a most popular political party in the Khyber Agency. "JI will clean sweep in upcoming general elections in the Khyber Agency", he claimed.

Speakers at a seminar here on Monday said that problems of tribal people were increasing with each passing despite introduction of reforms in Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) by the government.

They said that the only solution to problems of tribal people was complete abolishment of FCR. Otherwise, administration would continue to exploit people of tribal areas, they added.?The seminar was organised jointly by Citizen Rights and Sustainable Development (CRSD), South Asia Partnership (SAP) and Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) in connection with World Human Rights Day at Peshawar Press Club.?CRSD chief executive Idrees Kamal, Fata Lawyers Forum president Ejaz Mohmand, Zar Ali Afridi, Samiullah Afridi, Shams Naveed, Nisar Mohammad Khan, Aqeel Yousafzai, Ashraf and Nusrat Bibi addressed the seminar.?The speakers said that children and elderly people were detained in different tribal regions despite announcement of FCR reforms. They demanded of the government to repeal FCR.?They said that human rights were being violated under FCR in Fata areas despite extension of Political Party Act to the area.?People were facing severe problems owing to discretionary powers of administration, they added.?The speakers said that Pakhtuns, particularly tribal people, were deprived of basic human rights under a conspiracy. They said that FCR was main hurdle to provision of human rights in Fata.??Tribal people have to remain silent over injustices because under the constitution they have no right to move high court or Supreme Court,? said Ejaz Mohammad.?He said that FCR was against the human rights and lawyers had already moved court against it but their efforts were yet to bear fruits. He said that 90 per cent problems of tribal people would be solved if they were given access to information and right of appeal.?Meanwhile, the students of University of Peshawar at a function here on Monday termed the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights as secular understanding of human rights with its clauses contradictory to Islamic Sharia.

Speakers here at a condolence reference remembered the late Dr Kamal, Chief Executive, Shaheed Bhutto Foundation and founding chairman, Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) as symbol of democracy and a brave social worker. The condolence reference was held under the auspices of Society for Rights and Development (SRD), Tribal NGOs Consortium, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network and SPO here in Peshawar Press Club (PPC) on Saturday.?Those who addressed the gathering included chairman, Tribal NGOs Consortium, Zar Ali Khan, Zahir Shah Safi, Asad advocate, Tur Gul Chamkani, Idrees Kamal, Aimal Khan Khattak, Ali Wazir and Engineer Ghani Gul Mehsud. In his opening remarks, Zar Ali Khan said that the death of Dr Kamal had created a vacuum, which could not be filled in the near future. He said that the late Dr Kamal was a personality who had adopted the mission of restoration of peace and development of the tribal areas.?He wanted to see the tribal areas of Pakistan at par in development with other parts of the country. He particularly attributed the announcement of FATA Reforms 2011 to his struggle and dedicated work. Zahir Shah Safi advocate said that Dr Kamal was a political and social worker and played a crucial role in the introduction of FATA reforms and struggled to bring political and social change in the tribal areas. Engineer Tur Gul Chamkani recalled the practical efforts made by the late doctor for bringing reforms in FATA. He said that the mission initiated by late Dr Kamal would not be left unaccomplished and would be carried forward.

ISLAMABAD:?The government rejected on Saturday a ministry proposal to grant 150,000 Afghan refugees visa permits for a long-term stay in the country, an official requesting anonymity said.

The proposal was shot down with a strongly worded note of disagreement and displeasure, with the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) describing the proposal as ??against national interest,? the official added.?According to him, the proposal was designed without taking security agencies, the ministry of foreign affairs or the provincial government into confidence.

KARACHI: Six political parties have demanded of the Chief Election Commissioner (ECP) to terminate Election Commissioner Sindh while National People's Party (NPP) called for holding by polls on 6 vacant seats of Sindh Assembly.?A delegation headed by Jamaat-e-Islami's Muhammad Hussain Mehanti and comprising member NPP Arif Mustafa Jatoi and member Sunni Tehreek Matloob Awan called on the ECP, Fakhruddin G Ibrahim here on Monday.?During the meeting, the delegation put forth recommendations in writing in connection with the delimitation in Sindh including Karachi and verification of voters' lists.?Muhammad Hussain Mehanti presented to the ECP the application on behalf of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-N, Tehreek-e-Insaf, Sunnit Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema-e- Pakistan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, requesting the ouster of Election Commissioner Sindh.?They said a single party was provided the benefit by gerrymandering carried out in the past.

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional on Monday agreed to form an electoral alliance in Sindh for the upcoming general elections.?hief of JI?s Sindh chapter, Dr Merjul Huda Siddiqui called on PML-F chief Pir Pagara Syed Sibghatullah Rashdi at the latter?s residence.?Criticising the incumbent government, Pir Pagara said that today every Pakistani is worried about the ongoing situation of the country, as the government has destroyed all important institutions during its tenure.?He claimed that some 35000 people with criminal record were recruited in police and practically thieves were given the responsibility of policing.?Welcoming the deal between two parties, Dr Meraj said the agreement has given his party a new courage. He said the Sindh government is being held hostage by ?terrorists,? adding that the people of Sindh have always voted for the PPP, but in return, he said, this party has done nothing for the province.?The JI leader said it is high time for all positive forces to join hands in larger interest of the nation and the country. It is pertinent to mention that earlier this month, the chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also announced, after a meeting with Pir Pagara, that his party will make seat adjustments with the PML-F in Sindh during the upcoming general elections.


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