Random header image... Refresh for more!

Opposition renews call for full-time foreign minister KHAWAR GHUMMAN in Dawn, May 25th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Following the government’s lacklustre response to the drone strike that reportedly killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, opposition parties have once again criticised the prime minister for not appointing a full-time foreign minister.

Following the PPP’s lead, the PTI also submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday to discuss national security matters on the floor of the house in the aftermath of the drone attack.

Although Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed Tariq Fatemi as special assistant and Sartaj Aziz as adviser on foreign affairs, he is keeping the portfolio of foreign affairs with himself. Opposition benches in both houses of parliament have, time and again, highlighted the absence of a full-time foreign minister, but to no avail.

“I don’t understand why a full-time foreign minister cannot be appointed; why either Fatemi or Aziz are not given the ministry or why the position cannot be filled fr....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

Pakistan’s foreign policy in shambles: Nizami REPORT in Pakistan Today

The Pakistani government has failed to come up with a satisfactory response on the US drone strike that has reportedly killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan on Saturday, Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the current situation in his talkshow DNA on Channel 24, Nizami said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had made an unsuccessful attempt to clear the air regarding the drone strike on the Afghan militant chief in Balochistan.

“Nisar has himself admitted that Wali Muhammad, who the Americans claim was in fact Mullah Mansour, had obtained genuine Pakistani documents from NADRA officials in Balochistan. How is it possible that the Taliban chief, who was reportedly living in Pakistan for so many years, was not being monitored by Pakistani agencies? There are several such questions that the government needs to answer in this regard,” he said.

“Protesting against the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty ....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

MQM warns of sit-ins against federal, provincial govts Report in The News, May 25, 2016

Karachi:  The federal and provincial governments were yet again warned by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), on Tuesday, of sit-ins and protests, against both the authorities’ lack of concern towards the metropolis’ issues.

Addressing a press conference, the party’s Rabita Committee senior deputy convener, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, questioned whether Karachi was a priority for either of the governments.

According to the MQM official the federal authorities did not provide enough development funds to the provincial government while the latter does not use up the amount assigned on city projects.

“The governments have adopted the policy of serving interests of particular cities and areas which has resulted in a criminal negligence of the city, the economic hub of the country.”

Excluding Karachi, Nawabshah, Hyderabad and Sukkur, the rest of the province enjoyed all sorts of privileges, Siddiqui added.

He asked the prime minister to complete th....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

MWM hints at joining anti-govt movement REPORT in Dawn, May 25th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) leader Allama Nasir Abbas on Tuesday hinted that his party may join the proposed anti-government movement to be launched by the opposition political parties after Ramazan.

“We deplore the government for killing people at will like it did in Model Town Lahore a few years ago, supporting corruption and money laundering and not caring for the lives of the citizens,” said the MWM secretary general.

He was speaking to the media along with Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at the MWM’s hunger strike camp outside the National Press Club.

Allama Abbas has been on a hunger strike for the last 12 days, taking only water and medicines for diabetes and blood pressure.

“We may be part of any movement that would be formed after Ramazan,” he said.

He said Pakistan should be a country that Quaid-i-Azam had visualised, not an extremist state that it has become now. He blamed the PML-N government for di....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

Madressah finances being analysed to trace source of their funding IMRAN AYUB in Dawn, May 25th, 2016

KARACHI: After geo-tagging of the seminaries across the province, the Sindh police have started analysis and audit of their finances to trace the source of their funding and spending, in line with the National Action Plan’s initiatives which requires the database of all madressahs operating across the country, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The move initiated by the Sindh police, the official said, could take time as the job required special skills and information from different sources to determine the channels of funding, its sources and then utilisation.

“We have already done the geo-tagging of the seminaries,” additional inspector general of police Sanaullah Abbasi told Dawn. “After that months-long project, we are now analysing the facts and checking records which also require a sort of audit of accounts to determine the source of funding, channel of funding and then the nature of consumption of all that money.”

He said the aim of all that exerci....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

Pakistan’s $700 million dollar spat with the US: By Karamatullah K Ghori in The New Indian Express, Chennai, May 25, 2016

The writer is a former Pakistan diplomat
Pakistan’s roller-coaster relations with the US have hit their lowest rung in recent months. According to de facto FM, Sartaj Aziz, what’s to Pakistan its most important relationship in the world has hit the nadir over a three-month period. The ruckus is, ostensibly, anchored in the US going back on its earlier commitment to subsidise the purchase of 8 fourth-generation multi-role F-16 fighter jets for Pakistan Air Force. Obama administration had pledged to fork out $430 million for the deal out of a total price tag of $699 million; Pakistan was to pay the balance.

Earlier this month, however, the administration backed out of its commitment under mounting pressure from Congress. Although Obama spokesmen critiqued the Congressional arm-twisting for “unnecessarily complicating progress” in ties with Pakistan, the White House still buckled under the heat and reneged on its undertaking. The blow had the Pakistanis fuming. Congre....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

US Senate okays reimbursement fund for Pakistan ANWAR IQBAL in Dawn, May 25th, 2016

WASHINGTON: The US Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a proposal to set up a new fund to reimburse Pakistan for its efforts in the war against terror. The new fund also delinks the country from Afghanistan.

The committee’s chairman, Sena­tor John McCain, introduced the bill, which sets aside up to $800 million for reimbursing Pakistan and the proposal is included in the Senate version of the National Defence Auth­o­risation Act, 2017, passed on May 18.

Under the current arrangement, Pakistan is reimbursed from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and has received a total of $3.1 billion since 2013. The CSF expires in the 2016 financial year, which ends in October.

The bill, however, requires Pakistan to keep open ground communication lines to Afghanistan for receiving reimbursements from this fund. And $300m is linked to taking action against the Haqqani network.

Another bill, passed by the House of Representatives last week, linked $450m from a t....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

Bill tabled in US Senate to block $300 million aid to Pakistan By Wajid Ali Syed in The News, May 25, 2016

WASHINGTON: Following the US drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in Balochistan, the top Senate members on Tuesday introduced a new bill to block $300 million aid to Pakistan.

The resolution requires the secretary of defense to certify that Islamabad is taking demonstrative actions against the Haqqani Network.

The lower house also passed such a bill last week for the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017. The next fiscal year NDAA is scheduled to come up before the Senate for voting as well, where several Senators are expected to bring similar amendments.

The house amendment wants secretary of defense to certify to Congress that Pakistan is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the US to persecute minority groups seeking political or religious freedom.

Earlier, the White House expressed objection to the bill saying, “the administration objects to section 1212 of HR 4919, which would make $450 mi....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

Lessons from Chabahar: EDITORIAL in Dawn, May 25th, 2016

On the day when Pakistan struggled to find the words with which to register its reaction to the killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike on its soil, the leaders of India, Iran and Afghanistan were preparing to meet in Tehran to finalise an agreement. The latter will take economic cooperation between the three countries to a new level. That meeting took place on Monday. And on that same day, our Foreign Office relayed its ‘concern’ over the drone strike to the US ambassador even as President Obama hailed it as “an important milestone”. Also on that day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, seated between his Afghan counterpart and the Indian prime minister, spoke in a televised address following the signing of a transit accord in which he said, “from Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul, this is a crucial message … that the path to progress for regional countries goes through joint cooperation and utilising regional opportunities”.

Over the years, Pakistan is bec....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments

No more blanket powers for cops: by Shakhawat Liton and Ashutosh Sarkar in The daily star, may 25, 2016

Dhaka: The police have finally lost the century-old wide discretionary powers concerning arrest, detention in custody and remand, as the Supreme Court yesterday upheld a High Court verdict against the arbitrary use of their sweeping authority.

The HC verdict delivered on April 7, 2003 asked the government to amend some provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1898, which provided the police with the controversial powers, for their inconsistency with the constitution.

In its full verdict, the court outlined some recommendations for making changes to the provisions.

It also made proposals for bringing amendments to three other laws for safeguarding people’s liberty and fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. They are Penal Code 1860, Police Act 1861 and Evidence Act 1872.

The HC verdict said the amendments are required to limit the arbitrary use of powers by the police and magistrates in relation to arrest and remand and to take ....... Read more

May 26, 2016   No Comments