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Posts from — November 2009

The Baloch insurgency is no bluff: op-ed in The News, Nov 3

By Rahimullah Yusufzai
The writer is resident editor of The News in Peshawar

Shafiq Ahmed Khan described himself as a Balochistani, spoke about the rights of the Baloch people and publicly mourned and condemned the assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti at the hands of Gen Pervez Musharraf. Even then he was killed by those who insist they are fighting for the Baloch cause.

On Oct 25, Balochistan education minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan was shot dead by gunmen waiting in ambush near his house in Quetta. The killers escaped on a motorbike, but the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) made sure that there was no confusion about the identity of the attackers by immediately claiming responsibility for the assassination. BLUF spokesman Shahiq Baloch said the minister was killed due to his anti-Baloch policies, and to avenge the state-sponsored murders of Baloch nationalist leaders Ghulam Muhammad, Sher Muhammad and Lala Munir in Turbat in Balochistan sometime ago.

Shafiq Ahmed was the second Balochistan minister to be killed in the last few months. In July, the minister for excise and taxation, Sardarzada Rustam Khan Jamali, was gunned down in Karachi, a city with a significant Baloch population. The motives for his murder aren’t sufficiently clear, though it shocked and unnerved his colleagues in the large and unwieldy PPP-led coalition government ruling Balochistan. Subsequently, the house of Balochistan information minister Younis Mullazai in Quetta came under a grenade attack. There have been other targeted killings in the province, along with frequent acts of sabotage against government installations, infrastructure and utility services. A new trend in this campaign is the blowing up of properties of pro-government tribal elders. Frontier Corps soldiers and policemen are attacked and the settlers, the ones whose parents and grandparents came from other provinces to settle in Balochistan, are now a major target of Baloch separatists.

Shafiq was also considered a settler, even though he was born in Quetta in 1954. He studied in schools and colleges in Quetta before getting admission and qualifying from Balochistan University. He thrice won elections as councillor of the Quetta Municipal Corporation. Twice, in 2002 and 2008, he was elected member of the Balochistan Assembly on the ticket of the Pakistan People’s Party.

Senator Mir Lashkari Raisani, the PPP’s Balochistan president and brother of chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, unwisely and carelessly referred to Shafiq Ahmed’s family origins being from the NWFP, wondering aloud whether this could be a reason for his assassination. This was something farfetched as BLUF had publicly declared that he was killed for pursuing anti-Baloch policies. Shafiq Ahmed’s assassination had no link with the ongoing Taliban-inspired militancy in the NWFP and its tribal areas. Lashkari Raisani should have refrained from categorising Shafiq Ahmed as a settler.

Lashkari Raisani also highlighted two other intriguing points. One was his belief that Shafiq Ahmed was killed for raising his voice against Indian involvement in Balochistan’s affairs. This meant that the minister was eliminated for accusing India of supporting acts of terrorism in Balochistan. The other point that Lashkari Raisani made was the campaign of targeted killings of teachers in Balochistan and its culmination in the assassination of Education Minister Shafiq Ahmed. All this in his view was part of a conspiracy to deprive students of education and keep Balochistan underdeveloped. Lacking focus, Lashkari Raisani’s statement tended to create confusion about the motive behind the assassination.

In comparison, Chief Minister Aslam Raisani’s condolence message was sensible. He described Shafiq Ahmed as a Baloch leader. He termed his assassination as a violation of Baloch and Islamic traditions and asked the insurgents not to shed the blood of their own people for external forces seeking to destabilise Balochistan and Pakistan.

Shafiq Ahmed’s family had migrated to Quetta several decades ago from the village of Maloga near Oghi town in Mansehra district. His uncle, Ali Bahadur Khan, was a judicial commissioner in Balochistan and his father, Sher Bahadur, did business in Quetta. The family belongs to the Hindko-speaking Tanoli tribe living in parts of Mansehra and Abbottabad districts. Shafiq Ahmed and his family did maintain links with relatives in Mansehra and the rest of Hazara, but it was for all practical purposes now a Balochistani family. Asked in a recent event sponsored by the BBC Urdu service in Quetta whether he was a Pakhtun or Baloch, Shafiq Ahmed remarked that he was a Balochistani.

Apart from the sizeable number of families from the NWFP’s Hazara region who settled in Quetta long ago, there are also substantial groups of settlers from Punjab, Sindh and Afghanistan who call Balochistan their home. Like every urban centre, Quetta has been attracting outsiders, particularly those with some skills, and its population has been growing. Urdu-speaking families and members of minority groups such as Parsi, Hindu and Christian also have been living and working in Quetta and some other cities and towns in Balochistan. Many families decided to settle in Quetta when it was being rebuilt after the devastating 1935 earthquake.

But it seems most settlers are now unwelcome because the Baloch separatists want to settle scores with the federal government, the military and the Punjab-dominated Pakistani establishment. The victims are scapegoats in a battle in which the increasingly violent Baloch separatist groups are pitted against Pakistan’s security forces, law-enforcement agencies and pro-federation political forces.

Denial of Baloch rights and the five military operations since independence have taken its toll on the population of Balochistan, but it seems no lessons have been learnt as force is still being used to resolve a conflict that is essentially political in nature and primarily concerns the socio-economic rights of the people of the province.

The BLUF appears more aggressive and violent than the Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Liberation Front, the two armed separatist groups that have been active for some years now in Balochistan. In February the BLUF kidnapped American John Solecki who headed the UNHCR mission in Balochistan, and freed him unharmed after much efforts, and probably a deal. The kidnapping signalled the arrival of the BLUF as the most radical of the three Baloch separatist groups even though it isn’t clear if these are separate or overlapping factions operating under different names. One lesson from the proliferation of splinter factions, which are far more radical militants and led by younger and emotional men, is that one must try and do business with the older and original groups headed by mature people because the leadership is passing to commanders who are mostly inflexible. This holds true for all militant groups, whether secular, nationalist or Islamic.

Young Baloch separatists forming part of the diaspora and living in Kabul, Kandahar, Dubai, London, Brussels and Geneva are now often calling the shots in Balochistan and setting the agenda. The Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Daud, and Herbeyar Marri are in London, Brahmadagh Bugti could be in Afghanistan. They largely control the radical separatist groups and it isn’t going to be easy doing business with them. They are presently demanding an independent Balochistan, but there are strong indications they are willing to remain part of Pakistan after grant of provincial autonomy under a deal guaranteed by international organisations and world powers. The trust deficit between them and the Pakistani establishment — which is wary of the external, primarily Indian influence on the Baloch separatists — is the main hurdle in making them talk to each other for a possible deal on managing Balochistan’s affairs.

Though an overwhelming majority of elected representatives in Balochistan are pro-Islamabad and the pro-federation political forces outnumber the ones demanding independence, it would be wrong to dismiss the Baloch nationalists and separatists as insignificant. They have the capability to keep Balochistan unstable through political means and armed struggle. Acts of sabotage and targeted killings, like that of Shafiq Ahmed Khan, aim at keeping up the pressure on Islamabad to accede to the separatists’ demands.

And this is not the only challenge confronting Balochistan. There is the issue of the Quetta Shura of the Afghan Taliban, which the US, without providing any evidence, is insisting operates out of the Balochistan capital to attack NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan. And, last but not least, is the issue of Jundullah, the Baloch Sunni militant group responsible for terrorist attacks in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province and based according to Tehran in Pakistani Balochistan. Sadly enough, the secret hand of the US also seems to be behind Jundullah. http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=206519

November 3, 2009   No Comments

India-Pakistan dialogue resumption:By Liaquath H Merchant

The Dawn, Nov 3
( The author is Co-chairman, Pakistan-India Citizens Friendship Forum, Karachi)

IN the midst of the attacks in Pakistan by terrorists and militants, the offer of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resume the peace process – dialogue — with Pakistan came as a pleasant response as we do need to have a sense of security and peace on our eastern border so that more emphasis may be given by security forces to deal with militants within and in our northern region.
The Indian prime minister is reported to have said: “I strongly believe that the majority of people in Pakistan seek good neighbourly and cooperative relations between India and Pakistan. They seek a permanent peace. This is our view as well.
“I call upon the people and government of Pakistan to show their sincerity and good faith. As I have said many times before, we will not be found wanting in our response.
“I appeal to the government of Pakistan that the hand of friendship that we have extended should be carried forward. This is in the interest of people of India and Pakistan.” There may be some conditions placed by India for political reasons but Pakistan’s response like India’s should be that all issues and differences are open for dialogue and discussions as this is the only way forward. The Indian prime minister is reported to have earlier said that we can choose our friends and partners but not our neighbours. This is a fact that applies to both sides so let us live with this in mind.
The recently-concluded ‘intraKashmir dialogue’ held in Srinagar from Oct 9 to Oct 11 organised by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), New Delhi, was evidently a success as working groups discussed and came up with recommendations and solutions on:
(i) Across Line of Control (LoC) trade, (ii) LoC cooperation in different fields and (iii) Dialogue process.
Sixty-four participants representing communities and regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan participated in the dialogue over a period of three days.
The discussions included the dialogue process, confidence-building measures and expansion of economic cooperation across the LoC. The discussions were encouraging as they dealt with the following :
(i) Facilities for package tours including pilgrimage tourism.
(ii) Educational linkage between regions and reservations of seats in different educational institutions, particularly professional colleges, with free exchange of academicians and students for the purpose of study and research.
(iii) Exchange of artists and arti sans and holding of cultural shows and sport events on both sides.
(iv) Cooperation in the field of media, exchange of newspapers and entertainment channels.
(v) The need for a focused, sustained and uninterpreted dialogue process between India and Pakistan which should not only be result-oriented but time- oriented as well.
(vi) Promotion of trust and confidence between different civil society groups and non-governmental organisations.
(vii) Delinking of terrorism from the dialogue process.
(viii) Restoration of back -channel diplomacy (ix) Promotion of facilities for travel between the two countries.
(x) Condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Sushobha Barve, the heart and soul of the ‘Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, New Delhi, must be congratulated for her dedication over the years and the achievements at the present conference.
A link-up between the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation and similar organisations in Pakistan would indeed serve the hopes and aspirations of the people of India and Pakistan for a durable peace. The need of the present time is for a people-to-people contact, freedom of trade, travel, tourism, cultural exchanges, resumption of cricket and other sporting events, exchange of visits by academics, students, musicians, professionals, artists, artisans and exchange of information, books and technology.
We must inspire trust and confidence in each other and leave behind the era of suspicion and mistrust and get down to basics.

This piece appeared as letter to Editor


November 3, 2009   No Comments

Sindh protests over water discord: By Dilshad Azeem in The News, Nov 2

ISLAMABAD: The Sindh government has blamed the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) for violating the inter-provincial Water Apportionment Accord (WAA) 1991, The News has learnt.

“As far as water distribution is concerned, the only thing in vogue is the 1991 Water Accord. The Irsa is a creation of the 1991 accord and the creation cannot alter or violate the accord under which it was created,” an official letter sent to the Irsa by the Sindh government says.

The document was duly signed by Sindh Minister for Irrigation and Power Murad Ali Shah and was addressed to the Irsa through its provincial member Mohammad Khan Memon.“The Irsa decided, in its last advisory committee meeting, not to entertain any provincial pressure in water distribution since all federating units have their representation in the authority to discuss and take vital decisions,” an Irsa spokesman responded when approached.

The Irsa spokesman said not only Sindh Minister Murad Shah but also Punjab Minister Raja Riaz, in their separate letters, had sought water distribution in accordance with their respective province’s interpretations.

“All Irsa members, five in all, unanimously took a decision to go by the accord in accordance with the three tier mechanism instead of accepting any pressure,” he said while expressing indifference to Sindh’s latest letter wherein Irsa was directly blamed for violation of WAA.

Sindh Minister Murad, early October, wrote a letter to the water and power minister, calling for water distribution under para-2 of the WAA which Punjab Minister Riaz has rejected.“It is requested that looking at the people’s government manifesto of equity, the Irsa may be directed for fixing water shares of all provinces proportionate to the allocation given in para-2 of the accord,” Murad’s earlier letter said.

In the latest communication on the Rabi season allocations, finalised by Irsa on Oct 13, 2009, Murad again sent an official communication to the Irsa on Oct 22, 2009. “I want to reiterate to Irsa that as far as water distribution is concerned, the only thing in vogue is the 1991 Water Accord.

“Any use of historic uses in any form will be a violation of the accord as determined by the law division,” his letter reads. “How can Irsa decide to use any criteria in the absence of decision?”The Irsa conveyed in its Oct 15 official letter: “In the absence of any decision by the authority on the issue, it has been decided by Irsa that criteria for Rabi 2009-10 as per practice in vogue may be issued”. However, Murad described this statement as self-contradictory. “In view of the expected pressure, the five Irsa members took a decision not to bow before any pressure,” Irsa spokesman Khalid Idris said. http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=25337

November 2, 2009   No Comments

JSQM chief fears he may be killed ‘by agencies’

THATTA, Nov 1: Chairman of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz Basheer Khan Qureshi has said that he has received life threats from personnel of intelligence agencies who said that he would be eliminated before Nov 7, when the party has planned a march in Karachi.

Mr Qureshi said JSQM vice-chairman Akash Mallah and activist Noor Mohammed Khaskheli had gone missing from Bhitai Nagar, Hyderabad, and added claimed that the two had been picked up by the agencies.

Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, Mr Qureshi said he wanted to lodge an ‘FIR’ through media that if any thing happened to him and his colleagues, an FIR should be registered against PPP rulers and the ISI.

Mr Qureshi said the JSQM had chalked out a comprehensive programme to stage rallies across Sindh against the missing of Mallah and Khaskheli. If they were not released, the party would call for a strike in the province, he said.

He said the PPP that had betrayed Sindh and Sindhi people was afraid of the Nov 7 march of the JSQM in Karachi.

In reply to a question, the JSQM chairman admitted that none of the nationalist leaders had so far offered to participate in the march. However, he was of the firm belief that all sons of the soil would step forward for the independence of the motherland.

He said party vice-chairman Akash Mallah, who was recently released, had been picked up again by the agencies to prevent the party from taking out rally in Karachi.

Our Hyderabad Bureau adds: JSQM activists staged a protest demonstration outside the press club to protest against the missing of Mallah and Khaskheli.

Speaking on the occasion, Haji Anwar Mallah, Mushtaq Umrani and Fatah Channa said that the Sindh government was harassing JSQM leaders and workers to sabotage the scheduled “March for Independence in Karachi on Nov 7.

They warned the government to stop conspiracies against the nationalist forces and not to create any hurdles in the programme of march.

They said that the people of Sindh would foil all conspiracies against Sindh by joining the rally in Karachi. They demanded immediate release of Mallah and Khaskheli. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/jsqm-chief-fears-he-may-be-killed-by-agencies-119

November 2, 2009   No Comments

‘Kashmiris’ right to self-determination should be supreme’

By Tariq Naqash in The Dawn, Nov 2
MUZAFFARABAD, Nov 1: Renowned Kashmiri human rights activist Dr Syed Nazir Gilani has asked Pakistan to stick to the right to self-determination instead of using the vague term of “aspirations” of the people of Kashmir.

“It would be wrong and unwise on the part of Pakistan to skip the urgent need to clarify between accession, self-determination and aspirations on the one hand and unfairly hope to manipulate ‘wishes and aspirations’ through an interchange of political culture on either side of the Line of Control on the other,” he said.

Dr Gilani who is secretary general of London-based Jammu Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) was talking to Dawn during his visit to Azad Kashmir.

According to him, ‘aspirations and wishes of Kashmiri people’ was a vague term and ran the risk of diluting and confusing the basic issue.

Kashmir, he said, was not a dispute as ordinarily understood but it was the question of a title of the Kashmiri people to self-determination, embedded in 132-year-old rights movement, charter obligation of 194-member nations of the UN and envisaged in the UN resolutions on the region.

Disputes could fluctuate with the change of political climate but self-determination could not be changed, he said.

He feared that India and Pakistan might not act in fairness and equity if Kashmir was treated as a dispute “because at the time of settlement of disputes, sovereign interests of both nations will reign supreme.”

“The two sides may continue to dispute with each other but they have no right to sandwich us and our inherent right to self-determination for their self-serving disputes,” he said.

He said it would be unwise and unhelpful if India continued to avoid its contractual obligations and international commitments due towards the Kashmiri people.

“The Kashmiri people are equal to any other people under the principle of self-determination and as members of the UN, India and Pakistan have Charter obligations to discharge towards self-determination and equality among people,” he said.

He said death of a generation in Kashmir had caused a serious number deficit in the process of self-determination. “In fact, we have killed the right of self-determination for some time. It is not realisable in the near future and we need to defend this principle at least,” he said.

The JKCHR secretary general pointed out that the position taken by Libya at the 64th session of UN General Assembly and by China to endorse visa to the citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir was in accordance with the Charter obligation of the two countries as envisaged in the UNCIP resolutions on Kashmir.

Dr Gilani who was elected at the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993 to represent the ‘Unrepresented peoples and nations of the world’ termed the Chinese interest in Kashmir as a ‘significant development.’

China which shared a border with Kashmir had played a lead role during the discussion of Kashmir at the UN and at the 241st meeting of the UN Security Council held on February 5, 1948, making a serious case for ‘pacification,’ he said, recalling that China had also come up with Articles of Settlement on 18 March, 1948 at the 269th meeting of the Security Council.

He said Pakistan should adopt a stand like that of China and also press the OIC nations to follow the suit. “The OIC should also accept Kashmiris as a separate nation,” he said. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/kashmiris-right-to-selfdetermination-should-be-supreme-119

November 2, 2009   No Comments

India sees Pakistani hand in fake note flood: The Daily Times, Nov 2

NEW DELHI: When India’s central bank admitted discovering 400,000 fake notes in its currency reserves, many here woke up to the scale of the country’s counterfeit money problems.

Worse still, the embarrassing admission related to a survey from the last financial year to March 2009 and authorities say the problem has since got worse.

Police and the central bank have observed a tripling in the value of notes detected or seized in raids in recent years and authorities are convinced the source of the deluge is a familiar foe across the border: Pakistan.

“We have had some success in tracking the routes and will continue to counter it, but behind this racket is an organised effort in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir,” Home Minister P Chidambaram said recently. “It’s not just a cottage industry.”

Hardly a day passes without news of arrests of currency smugglers, but police say they are only catching the ‘smallfry’, while the ‘big fish’ act with impunity “over the border”.

Many locals here complain of withdrawing fake notes from bank machines and ever-vigilant shopkeepers routinely check the watermarks that are meant to protect the larger denomination 500 and 1,000-rupee notes.

A report this year by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), a state body that tracks money flows, said counterfeit currency was brought in by militants from abroad and then moved through criminal networks.

Smuggling: The DRI said that 130 million high-quality counterfeit notes were being smuggled into India every year and only a fraction were detected.

The security establishment is now clamouring for more scrutiny of India’s banking system and the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has instructed nationalised banks to install sorting machines to weed out fakes.

“If the circulation of counterfeit notes was not checked then the economy could be running with over 25 percent fake notes making the rounds across the country,” said analyst Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Managment.

The RBI is also running awareness campaigns, even educating schoolchildren to detect fake notes, and plans to introduce a billion special plastic-coated notes that are tougher to counterfeit. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\11\02\story_2-11-2009_pg7_4

November 2, 2009   No Comments

What needs to be done in Baluchistan: op-ed in the News, Nov 1

By Gibran Peshimam
The writer is city editor, The News, Karachi.
Judging by the feedback, the reaction to labelling Balochistan’s fast-deteriorating and drastically-changed situation Pakistan’s chief problem – one that will carry on beyond operations in the Tribal Areas and the NWFP – has met with across-the-board agreement. However, the persisting question is how to tackle the situation.
The need to bring the Baloch nationalists and others stuck in the middle on board is obvious. Yet, the question of how and whether any measure will earn the trust of these elements remains highly debatable. For starters, let it be known that what needs to be done now is obviously diametrically opposed to what is being done now and has been done in the past in Balochistan. That is, Islamabad needs to push boundaries, break stereotypes and think out-of-the-box.
Big. Long-term. Enduring.
No status quo, not even hybrids (ala the trademark ‘three pronged’ proposals of a certain London-residing retired general). No, those will not do. More of the same in terms of policy means more of the same in terms of results. That’s a time-tested policy. We need pristine. The good stuff. Uncut, unadulterated.
In short, unprecedented.
Any compromise has to begin with the release of the ‘missing’ people, a large chunk of who are activists or sympathisers of the Baloch nationalist movement. Releasing them unconditionally, in a dignified manner possibly with an overarching apology, would send the right signals to begin with. You cannot say that you sincerely want to work with the nationalists while keeping them habeas corpus in a practice that is against all civilised norms.
This is just the beginning of the appeasement process. We need more drastic steps. This would, as mentioned earlier, entail engaging the true representatives of Balochistan.
Call on Brahmdagh Bugti. While he may not hold as much clout as the establishment alleges he does, the point is that he is the default protagonist-in-chief of the Baloch resistance. But this, needless to say, will be difficult.
In a recent interview, the young Bugti, alleged to be operating from Kabul, shows that he is in no mood for reconciliation. And why should he be? According to reports, he was there when his grandfather, the indomitable Nawab Akbar Bugti, was killed in the mountains by the state of Pakistan.
Before that, in 1959, Babu Nowroz, one of the original Baloch nationalists, was called down from the mountains with his companions, including his sons, to negotiate after those in power swore on the Holy Book that they would not be arrested. They were. And then hanged.
Nawroz’s death penalty was later turned into a life imprisonment, owing to his age.
So when Brahmdagh says, “If someone expects us to still negotiate with the people who ruined our lives then you are not being fair with us,” he is spot on justified.
To mitigate this, there needs to be a concerted, institutionalised reconciliation process. If the establishment can conjure up an audacious document to give the past plunderers of this country a clean slate to come back and restart their trade, then surely such a concession can be afforded to people who have been suppressed for decades, and whose return is a big part of saving your largest province from brutal secession. Drop the cases of sedition, subversion and other such charges against Brahmdagh, against Hairbayar and Gazin Marri and other Baloch leaders. This should be approved unconditionally by parliament and made into law instantly. The BRL – the Balochistan Reconciliation Law.
To show even more sincerity, pull out the armed forces from the areas where these leaders will be returning to. Call in the United Nations. Let them come in and handle their return to ensure that any sign of mistrust is mitigated.
They will come. The credibility of coming out into the open, onto Baloch soil, will be a proposition that will definitely attract them. In any case, if Brahmdagh is indeed in Afghanistan as is alleged, then he should know that history shows that the Baloch nationalists have been expelled from there before – Prince Abdul Karim, the brother of the Khan of Kalat – and there is no reason it cannot happen again, especially with a fickle and stretched Washington calling the shots.
Then show them that you are sincere in conceding self-determination. That freedom is possible without complete secession. This will entail constitutional guarantees. Now, this is a process that Pakistan needs to move to regardless of its policy towards Balochistan. The federation has long been struggling under the centralised control policy of Islamabad. What is needed is a step towards a confederational system that goes deeper than just abolishing the Concurrent List, which should have been done a long time ago to begin with.
The constitutional guarantee can take the form of a 50-50 basis sharing formula between the centre and the provinces. That is, 50 per cent of the constitution should be written by the centre, and the rest can be decided by the respective province itself, which should be absolutely free to decide on issues such as employment quotas, investments etc. You want only Baloch to run Baloch affairs, including the law-enforcement agencies? You want a massive chunk of resource revenue? It’s your call. Land ownership, the works.
All this may sound drastic. But what other option is left? If you want to be taken seriously, you have to abandon shallow moves such as conjuring up polished old policies under the garb of fresh initiatives, such as what the Balochistan Package is sure to be.
Of course this is all a moot point if the government doesn’t have the will or the spine to confront tradition and abandon archetype strategies that are more about conceited jingoism than heartfelt patriotism. Sadly, this is probably the case. The government that tries this, or any other drastic last-ditch attempt to win over the trust of the Baloch, will have to be iron-willed.
As it stands, anything less, and the Balochistan Package might as well be categorised as foreign aid. http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=206262

November 1, 2009   No Comments

Preservation of ancient sites falls victim to terrorism: The Dawn, Nov 1

TAXILA, Oct 31: Terrorism, suicide attacks have started taking its toll on excavation and research work on cultural heritage as seven foreign teams of archaeologists and researchers have decided against initiating their projects especially preservation of ancient sites including Buddhist till indefinite period.
Sources in federal department of archaeology and museums have confirmed that seven foreign teams of archeologists and researchers from France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, England and China would not join their excavations, preservation and restoration work due to prevailing security situations in country especially in the NWFP.
While confirming the suspension of the visit of the foreign experts, Bahadur Khan, deputy director federal department of archaeology and museums said despite issuance of NOC to seven foreign teams of researchers, they had refused to begin the work.

Japanese team of researchers was headed by Prof. Masui of NARA University, Koran team by Prof Mon of Dungook Buddhist University Seoul, British team by J.R. Knox of British National Museum, Italian team by Prof Claree of ISAO, US team by Dr Mark Kneyor of Wisconsin University, French team by Dr F.F Jarriage of Jumiet Museum and Germen team by Dr Hupman of Hdelburg University.
Abdul Ghafoor Lone, who looks after the administrative affairs at the federal department of archaeology and museums in Islamabad, when contacted confirmed that foreign delegations of archeology experts would not be visiting Pakistan for excavation and exploration due to law and order situation in Pakistan.
A senior archeologist Mehmoodul Hassan, who leads many excavations teams in different parts of the country especially in Taxila, while talking to this reporter said that these foreign teams were playing key role in excavations, preservation and restoration of ancient sites of cultural importance.
He said earlier such foreign teams had made remarkable discoveries and preservation at Julian-II near Taxila, pre-historic sites at Bunnu, Balochistan and Buddhist sites at Swat valley.
He said that if these teams came here over one dozen sites could be preserved and restored for coming generations.
Ali Gohar, conservation engineer at federal department of archaeology and museum sub regional office at Taxila said that previous experience of working with the foreign teams contributed a lot in cultural heritage and training of Pakistani archaeologists and archaeological engineers. He said the experts of the developed countries had many skills and were equipped with latest and modern tools of the preservation and excavations.

November 1, 2009   No Comments

STPP vows to protect Sindh’s resources: The Dawn, Nov 1

NAUSHAHRO FEROZE, Oct 31: The Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party (STPP) is struggling to create awareness among people about their rights and to get back the provincial resources for the benefit of poor and downtrodden lot.
Chairman STPP, Dr Qadir Magsi told this to a gathering in Moro on Saturday.
The Pakistan People’s Party has handed over Sindh to a particular party and the people were living in abject poverty despite the fact that this province was full of natural resources like petrol, gas and coal and harbours, he said.
Magsi said that it was a shame that people here were jobless, selling their children and youth committing suicides out of sheer frustration.
Settling of outsiders was an attempt to convert Sindhis into minority in their own land and deprive them of their right to employment, he said.

November 1, 2009   No Comments

It takes four years to lodge an FIR:The Dawn, Nov 1

LARKANA, Oct 31: On the intervention of the Supreme Court, a murder case has been registered four years after the killing.
The FIR of the murder case of Asif Ali Gopang, who was killed in July 2005 in Larkana, was registered on Saturday against eight people.
Talking to journalists, complainant Mukhtiar Ali Gopang, father of deceased, alleged that Malik Mohammed Ayaz Awan, an official at Hyderabad post office, bore grudge against him after he had sent proofs of his corruption to the high ups.
Mukhtiar alleged that Malik Ayaz in connivance with some people killed his son on July 16, 2005, and threw the body in the Rice Canal.
When approached, Mukhtiar said, the then SHO of Taluka, inspector Syed Asif Shah, refused to register an FIR.
“Since then I approached several officials to secure justice but to no avail. Finally I sent an application to the chief justice of the Supreme Court who asked the Sindh IG to send a report about the murder case,” Mukhtiar said.
The IG asked Larkana DIG Sanaullah Abbasi to send a report about the case, he said, adding that the IG immediately took action.
The former SHO was arrested and his name was incorporated in the FIR on the charge of negligence, Mukhtiar said.
Those nominated in the FIR registered under sections 302, 201, 217, 218, 342, 34 and 120-B of the PPC with Taluka police station include Ayaz Awan, Gul Mohammad Shaikh, Taj Mohammad Shaikh, Shafi Mohamnmad Shaikh, Imtiaz Ali Gopang, Irfan Ali Gopang and Sarfraz Gopang.
The complainant said that the Shaikhs and the Gopangs were involved in a land dispute with him. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/it-takes-four-years-to-lodge-an-fir-119

November 1, 2009   No Comments