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Govt flexes muscles to tackle PTI show on Nov 30: by Tariq Butt   in The News, Nov 24, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Two modern riot control water cannons, over 12,000 rubber bullets, thousands of sticks and tear gas shells and nearly 15,000 police and paramilitary personnel are ready to curb any violence to be spawned by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the federal capital on November 30.

“The government is hell-bent on nipping the agitation in the bud,” a senior official told The News, listing the equipment procured and other elaborate measures and preparations to deal with any violence resorted to by the PTI when it will hold a public rally.

He said that the daily routine sit-in the D-Chowk has greatly affected the normal life of citizens. “A complete stop has to be put to this kind of mayhem.”The official said the riot control cannons would be filled with cold water so that its use certainly discouraged the protesters to agitate. “It will be very effective in this wintry season.”

He said that thousands of personnel of Azad Kashmir and Punjab police....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Real change: by Syed Moazzam Hai  in The News, November 24, 2014     

In our unceasing season of political discord and distrust electoral reforms come as the quasi single point of agreement among the sparring political parties – though they deeply differ on the degree and definition of such reforms. The focus of debate for such electoral reforms has been on the electoral process ranging from the funny and flimsy candidate scrutiny, bogus vote balloting and counting to dubious result announcements and the resultant election tribunals renowned for their persistent lethargy.

The debate disappointingly misses out the issue of the type of electoral process in the country. Being a former colony of the UK we have been obediently content with the single winner voting system. Such an infatuation is no surprise with the well below average intellectual capacities of our corrupt and incompetent ruling elite which in this 21st century is still hell-bent on ‘managing’ a mega city like Karachi with the British -era deputy commissioner system and reaps ethn....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Mood of the moment: by Amir Zia  in The News, November 24, 2014

The writer is editor The News, Karachi.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his dream team may not like to acknowledge and face the writing on the wall, but today’s Pakistan craves for sweeping changes in its political, social and economic power structure.

One may differ and argue against the tactics of Imran Khan and Allama Tahirul Qadri, but what all they are saying is not completely nonsensical. A number of their demands and critical views on the state of affairs in our Islamic Republic resonates in the hearts and minds of a vast number of Pakistanis who dream of an equitable distribution of resources, justice, peace, political stability, development and modernity in their country.

Several major political parties – from the Jamaat-e-Islami to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and from Baloch and Pakhtun nationalists to other smaller secular, religious and ethnic forces – are also articulating the call for change in one way or another. Some are chanting this mantra ....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Soulless society: edit in The News, Nov 24, 2014

November 20 marked the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the rights of the child. Marked annually as the Universal Children’s Day it serves as a reminder that much remains to be done for child rights worldwide – and especially in a conflict-ridden country like Pakistan. Our country is a cruel place for a child, especially for one born in poverty. At a time when the best part of the world is celebrating declining infant mortality to rising school enrolment, the Pakistani child doesn’t have much to cheer about. In recent times dozens or perhaps hundreds of children have lost their lives due to malnutrition and disease in the largely neglected and poverty stricken desert region of Thar. A large number of children have fallen victim to pneumonia or diarrhoea due to a dangerous mix of drought, poverty and poor health infrastructure.

What’s happening in Thar isn’t the exception but the norm. Countless children across the length and breadth of the country lose....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Preserving Khan Klub: edit in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2014.

Terrorism and regional conflict might be contributing factors that have led to the decay afflicting our cultural heritage, but our own negligence has played a much larger role in this regard. One historic building after the other keeps disappearing without much effort having been put to conserve them. The Khan Klub, a famous tourist spot when Peshawar used to be a centre of attraction for foreign and local tourists, has seen its glory fade like the rest of the city and the province, and is now used as a godown to store flour. This historic structure was much more than just a hotel. It was, and is, an architectural gem, which was built more than 200 years ago. As is true for several other heritages sites, the years that followed the 9/11 incident, saw Khan Klub first running short of visitors and then dying a death of neglect. While our narrative as a nation has been heavily marked by incessant commentary on our resilience, our actions have been contrary to it. The important question he....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Neglect of heritage:  Editorial   in Dawn, November 24th, 2014

MUCH is made by people in high office about the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Pakistan has on paper legislation that should work to protect and preserve its legacies. On the ground, though, the situation at most sites of historical importance is one of abject neglect. Consider, for example, the case of Taxila, which boasts the remains of several important Buddhist monasteries dating back to ancient times. The Mohra Moradu stupa and monastery among them is of such significance that it was included in Unesco’s list of world heritage sites in 1980, and years ago, sheds were erected to protect the scores of stucco structures there from climate-related deterioration.  Today, however, these are in a sorry state. The sheds over the stupa and the cells housing the sculptures are damaged, and rainwater as well as seepage have damaged most of the contents that date back to the 4th and 5th centuries A.D.

 

What the passage of hundreds of years could not ....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Revolution Jargon: edit in The Nation,  Nov 24, 2014

With appeals to voters cleverly woven into his fiery speeches, Tahirul Qadri is back in Pakistan with a particular kind of vengeance: political. As he addressed a large crowd in Punjab’s Bhakkar district on Sunday, it was clear that Qadri’s tune had changed. Apart from his usual statements inciting destruction, tearing down of the system and violent revolution, his speech now included specific demands for PAT votes in the district by-polls to be held on Saturday. This was the preparation ground, he said, for the bigger battle yet to come. It is clear to see that Qadri, without a hint of discretion and with irony that is lost on nobody, will now play into the system. The jargon for revolution does not work, he has realised, without the legal legitimacy that only votes can grant. Because corrupt and inefficient though they may be, the current PML-N rulers remain a government brought in through an election and that gives them one special privilege: the benefit of the doubt. Qadri now ....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Complacency as threat recedes:  Editorial   in Dawn, November 24th, 2014

THERE will be no mid-term elections Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decreed, and his words ought to be taken seriously given that the only constitutional path to mid-term polls lies in Mr Sharif’s agreeing to dissolve the National Assembly. For now, much of the threat posed by the anti-government tandem of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri has obviously dissipated.  Notwithstanding what Mr Khan may be claiming in his frequent rallies in the run-up to Nov 30, the Islamabad rally is unlikely to produce the kind of political pressure that can cause a government to fold — barring, of course, a dangerous gamble by the PTI leadership and the outbreak of violence in the heart of the federal capital, as happened on Aug 30 and Sept 1.So the prime minister may well be justified in his confidence, though that does not quite answer the question why the government has been unable to truly hit the reset button and start anew on its governance programme, while also taking the steps necessary to addre....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Timing of govt victory in Swiss court puts PM in tight spot: by  Khaleeq Kiani  in Dawn, November 24th , 2014

ISLAMABAD: Although the ability to recover national assets stashed away in foreign banks should come as good news to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the timing of a recent judgment in favour of the government of Pakistan may put Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a very awkward position.

 

A Swiss federal tribunal has ruled that a valuable jewellery set that was seized by authorities in connection with investigations into allegations of graft belonged to former president Asif Ali Zardari or the legal heirs of the late Benazir Bhutto. The set, which includes a necklace, a bracelet, a pair of earrings and a ring, is said to be valued at over $180,000.

 

In the judgment issued on Oct 29, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the tribunal rejected ownership claims filed by Bomer Finance for the jewellery. The company was allegedly formed by Mr Jens Schlegelmilch and linked to Mr Zardari and was at the centre of the SGS-Cotecna investigation.

&nb....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Pakistan and Kalabagh Dam can’t go together: Asfandyar

CHARSADDA: Reiterating his party’s stance on the controversial Kalabagh Dam project, The Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan and this dam can’t go together.

Speaking at the residence of the former director general FIA Zafarullah Khan, who announced joining the ANP, Asfandyar said any bid to build the Kalabagh Dam would damage the Federation of Pakistan. Referring to a statement of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the ANP chief said the former wanted to irrigate the arid land in the Punjab at the cost of KP.

“We will not let anyone drown our lands to irrigate the lands in South Punjab,” he said. He warned that implementing such projects would have adverse repercussions and would harm the integrity of country.

Asfandyar said the recent grand Jirga hosted by his party in Islamabad on the issue of the displaced people sent a message to the world that Pakhtuns were against viole....... Read more

November 24, 2014   No Comments