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Posts from — April 2015

Karachi attacks : edit in the News, April 19, 2015

Targeted attacks have returned to Karachi. On Thursday, the vice-principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College Debra Lobo was shot in the face by militants who claimed to be linked to the Islamic State. The American citizen has survived the attack – but only just. On the same day, the SHO of the Preedy police station, Ejaz Khwaja, was shot dead by two gunmen. The SHO was travelling to the police station in civilian clothes and was unarmed when he was shot. The disturbing thing is that Khwaja was the third Preedy SHO to be shot dead in the last two years. The government responded by announcing a Rs3 million award for any information leading to the arrest of anyone involved. An investigation committee comprising senior police officials was also formed, but the response reeks of a non-systematic approach to the killings. Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah asked the investigating team to identify any ‘lapse in security’.

Such incidents leave us wondering how the government can get away with such non-serious responses to such incidents. The fact that this was the third SHO to be killed in the same precinct surely means that the police should have compiled some information on who is targeting them. And if it is impossible for them to operate, surely, they can call on the Rangers or the intelligence agencies. Surely, police officers cannot be left at the mercy of target killers? And doesn’t a claim that one of the attacks was by an IS affiliated group require a little more attention? The morale of any officer posted to the said precinct is bound to be low. The drastic action required cannot be achieved by setting up an investigation team, which media reports are already claiming has not been able to get off the ground yet. Police have only ruled out a connection with previous police murders in the same precinct, which would be the last thing to do in such a case. On Friday, police reported that they had arrested a target killer and had killed a member of a banned organisation. Similar small victories are part of maintaining the tense law and order situation in Karachi. However, until there is a coordinated approach from law enforcers, there appears to be no solution on offer.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-8-313600-Karachi-attacks

April 20, 2015   No Comments

Our Afghanistan policy: By Hussain Nadim in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.

The writer is Project Director of Peace and Development Unit at the Planning Commission.
Pakistan may be the “worst neighbour in hell” as the sentiment goes in Afghanistan. However, the recent shift in Afghanistan’s policy on Pakistan depicts a new Afghan mindset — a new-found ‘respect’ for Pakistan, freeing it from the accusation of being a state that caused instability in Afghanistan.

Just a few years ago, while attending seminars on Afghanistan in the US, the UK, or Australia, it was rare to find Pakistan not being targeted as the barrier to peace in Afghanistan. Moreover, the war against the Taliban was considered to be the only option to foster peace, a strong Indian role was advocated, and presence of American troops was deemed to be a necessary condition for peace in Afghanistan. That has changed drastically. The recent panel discussion titled “Peace in Afghanistan” at the University of Sydney — which included Afghan, British, and Australian experts — to my surprise, took a pause to exclusively praise General Raheel Sharif and the government of Pakistan.

“Peace with the Taliban has been made possible by the positive role played by General Raheel Sharif to reach out to the Afghan government and recognise that stability in Afghanistan means stability in Pakistan,” one Afghan panelist at a recent seminar not only appreciated the pivotal role played by Pakistan in negotiations with the Taliban but also lauded the positive mediation between Afghanistan and the US — a rare acclaim that Pakistan never receives when it comes to Afghanistan’s challenges. The panel discussion went on for over two hours raising interesting points. First, the panelists agreed upon a diplomatic solution as the only solution when it comes to dealing with the Taliban. Second, empowering warlords and certain Mujahideen was considered to be the only reliable solution for a truly national government which sounded like making space for a the ‘good Taliban bad Taliban’ policy. And third, pressing Pakistan to play a major role in brokering peace because of its clout over the Taliban and the ability to convince the US on strategic policies was considered crucial. My only thought at the end of this seminar was that all of these points had been vehemently advocated by Pakistan for decades at different forums at the cost of being labelled as a ‘state sponsoring terrorism’ and a rogue nation.

Today, as these recommendations are being considered and hailed as the Holy Grail for success in Afghanistan, perhaps, Pakistan deserves some gratitude if not an apology? Given that the seminar panelists on Afghanistan at the University of Sydney did not even fleetingly discuss a potential role for India in the Afghan peace process came as a surprise, and says a lot about the new Afghan government’s policy on the subject. Pakistan is clearly the priority for Ashraf Ghani’s government that understands that no lasting peace in Afghanistan is possible without full unconditional support from Pakistan, which also means taking India out of the equation. Similar signals have been given by the US administration on the centrality of Pakistan’s role.

Another surprising shift from conventional wisdom was the blame squared on the US for its aggressive policies and taking of sides in Afghanistan’s politics. While the Karzai government took the major blame at the seminar for not allowing peace and blocking the Qatar rounds with the Afghan Taliban, there are high hopes associated with the new Afghan government and it is hoped that its cordial stance on Pakistan will get major breakthroughs in the peace process.

As the Afghan panelists at the seminar rightly pointed out: “Afghanistan has to change its mindset towards Pakistan, filtering the propaganda, and realising that Pakistan could be a source of stability in Afghanistan.” This closely aligns with Ghani’s policy on Pakistan that is a shift away from Karzai’s pro-Indian and aggressive stance on Pakistan. Given the new dimensions of the peace policy in Afghanistan — with the US and Afghanistan governments on the same page as Pakistan for the first time in 14 years — it appears that peace might just come to Afghanistan at last. http://tribune.com.pk/story/871519/our-afghanistan-policy/

April 19, 2015   No Comments

New Signs of Danger for Americans in Pakistan

By MICHAEL KUGELMAN in the Wall st Journal, Apr 17, 2015
The writer is senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
On April 16, in the volatile Pakistani megacity of Karachi, gunmen shot a 55-year-old American woman named Debra Lobo. They attacked her as she drove home from her job as an administrator at a medical college. Luckily, Ms. Lobo survived.

The attack was a troubling reminder of the dangers of Karachi, one of Pakistan’s most violent cities. But it was also highly unusual. Despite Pakistan’s well-earned reputation as a dangerous place, Americans there are rarely targeted by terrorists.

To be sure, there have been several incidents. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and killed in 2002. Four American auditors for an oil and gas company were gunned down in 1997, and two U.S. diplomats were shot dead in 1995. These tragedies all happened in Karachi.

More recently, an American was among a group of foreign tourists massacred on a Pakistani mountain pass in 2013. Last year, a Pakistani-American doctor was shot to death in a small town in eastern Pakistan. In 2011, Warren Weinstein, a U.S. aid worker, was kidnapped from his home in the city of Lahore. He remains in captivity.

Still, in a country where thousands have been killed in terrorist violence in recent years, these examples represent a relatively small number.

There are several reasons why Americans are rarely attacked in Pakistan. Their numbers are relatively small. Most of them live in the safer areas of large cities, and can afford security. Additionally, most Pakistani terrorists, despite their anti-American rhetoric, target their fellow Pakistanis more than they do foreigners.

Unfortunately, however, the attack on Lobo could portend greater dangers for Americans—and not just because leaflets left at the crime scene vowed, multiple times, to “burn America.”

The leaflets claimed that Islamic State staged the attack. They also declared that the assault on Ms. Lobo was revenge for Monday’s killing, by Pakistani security forces, of five terrorists in Karachi. These terrorists are thought to have been members of al Qaeda’s newly established South Asia branch.

Whether Islamic State or al-Qaeda shot Lobo is not yet known. This much, however, is clear: Islamic State is trying to make inroads into Pakistan, and al Qaeda and its Taliban allies are undoubtedly worried about this new competitor. These rival jihadist groups may calculate that targeting Americans in Pakistan can be a surefire way to one-up their competitors and attract new recruits.

Ominously, Americans in Pakistan could soon find themselves caught up violently in an intensifying competition for influence between Islamic State and al Qaeda.The writer is senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
What does the attack on Debra Lobo mean?: by RAFIA ZAKARIA In Dawn,April 18, 2015
It is not known yet for sure if they were responsible. On Thursday evening, Debra Lobo, the Vice Principal for Student Affairs at Karachi Medical and Dental College and a Professor of community medicine was attacked by four unidentified gunmen as she made her way to the University Campus.

According to reports it was around three p.m. in the afternoon, just barely at the cusp of Karachi’s rush hour. The road was full of cars and people and because it is Karachi; also assassins.

The injured Ms.Lobo was rushed to hospital. In an unlucky city, she was lucky she managed to get there in time. In last reports, she was said to be in stable condition.

The rest of Karachi is far from stable.
If the vast and varied buffet of hate filled extremism that is already laid out for its misled souls every dawn and dusk were not enough; this latest horror points to the local germination of a foreign evil.

Unverified reports from the scene of the attack on Ms. Lobo said that flyers in Arabic and English were found on the scene of the attack. According to Pir Mohammad Shah, a senior police official present at the scene, the leaflets said that the attack was carried out by the “Lions of Daula Al-Islamiyyah”, which is the name Daesh uses for its territory.

AFP officials who saw the leaflets reported that they also said, “We shall lie in wait until we ambush you and kill you wherever you may be until we confine and besiege you in America and then God willing, WE WILL BURN AMERICA!”

Ms. Lobo, the police informed the press at the scene, was an American citizen. It was the sort of statement that the Karachi police have become adept at handing out at the scene of death and disaster.

If the dead person had a known political affiliation, they can shrug and say, “It was political enmity”, if they had a name that identified them as Shia, well then “it was sectarian enmity”. If neither of these applies then there is, of course, the all-purpose “family enmity”.

In the case of Ms. Lobo, an educator who devotes her life to teaching Pakistanis community medicine they latched on to her American nationality. As far as the Karachi police are concerned, the victim is always to blame and if there is a reason for hating them, well then their death is entirely explicable, and consequently completely ignorable. Such is the condition of the enforcers of law in a land where no good deed goes unpunished.

If this were not so, Karachi would not be littered by the heaps of bullet-ridden bodies. In recent weeks, the various episodes of political dramatics have left the city an abyss of chaos; where all sides; the ones losing and the ones hoping to win, seem to revel in darkness and disorder.

With such a demonic chorus, cheering so gleefully at the collapse of everything it is no surprise that the good souls are being targeted and exterminated.

The very existence of women like Ms. Lobo, those who believe in the city’s young people, particularly its girls are a threat to the quagmire that Karachi’s political losers, its land grabbers, its terrorists want to maintain. Education and commitment, healing and development, are not things they are interested in, and so they kill and let kill, perpetuating the nihilism that is their common creed.

With a population of nearly 22 million people, Karachi is the largest Muslim city in the world. Whether or not Daesh or its affiliates was behind this particular attack, they will probably be the orchestrators of the attacks of the future. A city where the police are largely ineffectual, where “operations” never result in outcomes and local political powers seem embroiled in endless infighting is a magnet for any extremist group seeking a headquarters.

The Federal Government, they must know from the most cursory perusal of the city’s Metro pages, will predictably look the other way.

The people used to attacks, will cower and take cover, some, like Debra Lobo will be lucky, saved by the prayers of the thousands they have helped and healed.

Others will be less so, flyers proclaiming the vengeful vendettas of this or that flavour of hatred, this or that brand of terror, laid on their dead bodies on yet another bloodied Karachi street. www.dawn.com/news/1176531/what-does-the-attack-on-debra-lobo-mean

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Black shadow: Editorial in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.

The dark shadow of the Islamic State (IS), the extremist organisation that has terrorised the Middle East and wishes to establish a caliphate across the Muslim world, has fallen over us. The assailants who shot at US national Debra Lobo in Karachi, have claimed to be affiliated to the organisation. This is the first such incident where militants have claimed affiliation with the IS instead of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or al Qaeda after carrying out an attack of this kind.

Ms Lobo, the vice-principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC), was shot at as she was leaving her place of work on April 16. The 55-year-old was fortunate to survive but has been critically injured. The unknown assailants, four persons on two motorcycles, shot Ms Lobo and have since vanished. Leaflets on the scene in Urdu and English claim that the attack was carried out to avenge the killing of five suspected TTP militants who were killed by Rangers personnel in Kaemari on April 8. Ms Lobo, who had moved to Pakistan from the US in 1998 and has been associated with the JMDC since then, was apparently targeted since she was a US national. The manner in which the attack was carried out raises many questions for the future. Are we to now see an active wing of the IS, or groups affiliated to it, operate in our state? If so, what will this mean for all of us? The scenario does not appear to be a pleasant one. If militants claiming affiliation to the IS were able to strike on a busy Karachi road, in a city where a massive security operation is currently underway, they can strike again elsewhere. This is not something that will help our wider battle to overcome militancy. The complacency in certain government circles that the IS has little or no presence in Pakistan needs to be revisited. Any denial of facts and being ill-prepared in the face of a crisis is the last thing we need. How we combat this state of affairs remains to be seen. We have to succeed if we are to survive. http://tribune.com.pk/story/871513/black-shadow/

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Civilian or khaki justice? : by Saad Rasool in the Nation,Apr 19, 2015

The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore. He has a Masters in Constitutional Law from Harvard Law School.
Earlier this month, the Army Chief “confirmed” the death sentence for six TTP militants, who had been tried in the military courts, recently established under the 21st Constitutional Amendment, and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015. On Thursday, these death sentences were suspended by a seventeen member bench (Full Court) of the honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a petition filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which challenges the constitutionality of the amendments made to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and seeks clarification of the 21st Constitutional Amendment, on the grounds of fundamental rights and due process of law.
The decision of the honorable Supreme Court, on the one hand, is being hailed as a (minor) victory by human rights activists and most of the legal fraternity, while, on the other hand, it is being criticized by those who view ‘military justice’ as the only real solution to terrorism in this land.
The tussle highlights an inherent disconnect in our societal ethos, and brings to surface the ideological issues that are brewing at the core of our national identity.
The first set of issues, voiced by those who value the ‘results’ more than the ‘process’, follow a familiar trajectory: Is ‘law’ more valuable than ‘life’? Should those who murder our children be afforded the respect and compassion of our laws? Does the constitutional empire of fundamental rights extend even to those who seek to destroy the Constitution, and all that it stands for? Does the State have a responsibility to protect those who seek to destroy it? Should law come to the rescue of those who are lawless? What good would it be to uphold a law that protects those who have a gun to our head? Why wait for ‘conclusive’ evidence, when it comes in the form of a suicide attack? What good is a smoking gun, if it comes in the form of a mushroom cloud?
The counter narrative, emanating from (leftist) human rights activists, argues an equally passionate trajectory: The law is not an instrument of convenience, to be applied at our leisure. Its letter and spirit becomes even more imperative in times of exigencies. What good would the law be, if its command dwindles in the face of adversity? How better can we test the tenacity of our constitutional protections than by applying them to the very people who offend its fabric? What would be the virtue of ‘equality’ and the ‘due process of law’, if these are only applied, timidly, among a select few? In fact, is it not our brutish desire and animalistic instinct of revenge that the law is designed to protect against? And if so, should the command of law, and its due process not be even more jealously applied when dealing with the alleged terrorists?
The answers to these questions cannot simply be extrapolated from legal doctrines. Nor can they be conjured from heated moments of passion. These issues rest at the core of who we are as a people, and who we wish to become as a nation. Yet, sadly, there is no national consensus concerning this ideology.
It is one thing for private citizens within the country to have discordant views on these questions of grave implication. It is quite another for institutions within the State to be contentious about the same issues. At the moment, it seems that the bar and (probably) the bench, oppose installation of the military courts, as a ‘parallel judicial system’. Supporting their point of view, albeit for very different reasons, is an alliance of the right-wing religious political parties, their supporters, and a fraction of the leftist liberals. On the other end, is the narrative of the security agencies (military and civilian), with support from most of the mainstream political parties, and a large section of the civilian society that has been a victim of the ‘mindless malice of violence’ (Robert F. Kennedy). This constituency claims to value ‘human life’ over the nuances of law, and backs their contentions with footage of blood-soaked corpses, and a stream of patriotic taranas.
Caught between these clashing ideologies and conflicting passions, Pakistan remains a State where Mumtaz Qadri and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi continue to face their trials for murder, while being showered with rose-petals in the courtroom. We are a nation that laments the judiciary’s inability to convict the terrorists, but seeks judicial intervention to stop their executions. We are a country that hates TTP, but chants slogans in favor of the ‘liberal’ lawyers who petitioned the court to stay the hangings of TTP terrorists.
This game of cat and mouse has gone on for far too long. Viewed through the lens of either law or logic, each of the conflicting philosophies (the human rights narrative, and the national security narrative) has its merits. But it is time that we stop taking half measures in either direction. Individual dissent aside, it is time that the State institutions in Pakistan – the polity, the military, and the judiciary – arrive at a deliberate and concerted strategy, which is constitutional as well as practical, in countering the plague of extremism.
The stay granted by the honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, as an ad-interim measure, should be seen as an opportunity for all stakeholders to work out a unified approach that is true to our constitutional ethos and democratic spirit, while still addressing (comprehensively) the existential threat of terrorism that is faced by our country today.
Nations are judged by the manner in which they rise to meet the challenges that history places upon their doorstep. This is our moment. Let us stand up and be counted as a formidable nation.http://nation.com.pk/columns/19-Apr-2015/civilian-or-khaki-justice

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Dire Situation: edit in the Nation,Apr 19, 2015

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has released its annual report, State of Human Rights (for 2014), which confirms that the situation in Pakistan remains worrisome as ever. The reports covers human rights, labour and unemployment, the justice system, journalists’ safety, prisoners’ rights, forced disappearances and missing persons, universal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and the state of education, health, housing as well as law and order in the country.
Perhaps the most distressing finding of the report is that there has been a significant increase in sectarian violence. There were no less than 147 incidents of sectarian violence in the country, which included 144 terrorist attacks and 3 sectarian clashes. Unfortunately, the Parliament is yet to find the time and resolve to even discuss this issue. Those who can’t bring themselves to talk about it cannot be expected to do anything about it either. As minorities remain on the receiving end, the federal government has not passed a single piece of legislation to protect their interests.
The overall law and order situation is also highly unsatisfactory. Murders, kidnappings, rapes, honour killings, police encounters – the numbers are too high in every province. There are not many observable indicators which would point towards possible improvement. Statistics make it clear that both provincial and federal governments are consistently failing in fulfilling their claims.
While it is true that provincial governments in KP, Punjab and Sindh have taken steps to decrease gender disparity, their efforts do not reflect the magnitude of the problem that they are half-heatedly attempting to solve. While Balochistan is also seriously afflicted with general problems prevalent in all other provinces, its missing persons remain missing. There is little reason to believe that 2015 will prove any better than previous years. The courts seem to have given up. The government has learnt what’s good for it and is unwilling to touch the issue.
Data on health and education is also very discouraging. Dire situation of hospitals, limited access to health services and education, polio, infant morality rate – the state is falling short on all accounts. In the absence of institutions, infrastructure and will, it will continue to fail its citizens.http://nation.com.pk/editorials/19-Apr-2015/dire-situation

April 19, 2015   No Comments

The final say: edit : edit in the News, April 19, 2015

By staying the execution of six persons, stated to be convicted terrorists, the Supreme Court has made it plain that the 21st Amendment, passed by the National Assembly early this year, is not a final part of our legal structure and is open to question. The executions of the six men had appeared imminent after the Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, on April 2 this month ratified a military court decision that they be hanged. But the matter has now become far less clear-cut, with a 17-member full bench of the SC ruling that the executions be stayed until a decision had been reached on the 21st Amendment, and certain aspects of the 18th Amendment. The 21st Amendment, passed earlier this year, in the wake of the Peshawar school attack in which 132 children were among those killed, establishes military courts – which are to stay in place for two years – to try terrorists. The law was challenged almost immediately after it was ratified in January this year. At the latest hearing, petitioners which include the Supreme Court Bar Association as well as other bar associations, argued also that the trials of the men sentenced to be executed had been held in secret, and their families not informed about their detention or where they were being held. The issue of human rights violations involved in capital punishment, especially when it is delivered by irregular courts, was also brought up.

All these matters have been raised by activists in the country who argued that executions and military courts were not the best way to combat terrorism. The legality of the courts has also been questioned besides provisions within the 18th Amendment which redefine certain terms included in the constitution. The case is thus of crucial importance to our future, and to our framework of law. Developments within it will, therefore, be watched closely. We cannot make any judgement on what the outcome should be or how matters should be handled. The SC full bench has made it clear that it is not satisfied with the attorney general’s defence of the amendment or his contention that the trials had been fair and unbiased. The final verdict rests with the 17 judges and we trust they have the wisdom and expertise to determine what the best ruling would be keeping in view the overall situation in the country, the need to deliver justice and also to combat the terrorism scourge that has overtaken us quickly and needs to be managed in a way where we can escape all that it has imposed upon us. The outcome in this case is then crucial.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-8-313599-The-final-say

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Karachi operation : Edit in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

GIVEN the menu of items discussed at the last apex committee meeting in Karachi, it would appear that the Rangers’ operation in the city is approaching an important turning point. They appear to be moving beyond simply apprehending violent elements, to actively draining the swamp that breeds them, — with a particular focus on the sources of funding which come from “extortion, illegal hydrants, kidnapping for ransom” and other such activity.

Additionally, a computerised record of all seminaries in the province will need to be compiled with details on size as well as sources of funding. Other measures include the creation of a land record to identify land grabbing. Many of the rackets that are identified in this list find patronage from powerful groups, including political parties. Yet only these parties can execute the actions, while remaining committed to bringing in a more just and formally bounded system of local government that would carry on the exercise in the future.

And therein lies the problem. The operation is now at a very sensitive point, where the will of the political parties must be harnessed to reform the tools and system of governance in a way that chokes off the spaces where rackets have developed. But if the list of rackets to be shut down does not expand to include the foreign sources of funding that lie behind the banned militant outfits that also operate in the city, many of the actions outlined at the apex committee could come to be seen as a political move.

They would be viewed as an attempt to choke important resource lifelines of the parties while leaving those of militant organisations largely untouched. The operation has been carried out with some skill thus far, but it is important that it is not perceived as one against the rackets of political parties alone. Banned militant groups that operate in the city don’t have access to many of the rackets outlined, such as illegal water hydrants, but they are able to operate quite freely out of this city nonetheless. Some groups that are either banned or on a ‘watch list’ have been able to hold rallies in the city while the operation has been under way. Such disparities in the treatment of different groups runs the risk of giving the operation a political colour, which must be avoided since, at the end of the day, the operation’s success depends crucially on the cooperation of the political parties.http://www.dawn.com/news/1176802/karachi-operation

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Gloves off in Sindh : Edit in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2015

The provincial implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) formulated in the wake of the massacre at the Army Public School in December 2014 has been somewhat patchy to say the very least. The provinces were for the most part unprepared and in some instances unwilling to pick up on what was required of them under the NAP, and apex committees were constituted to ensure there was no backsliding. The Sindh apex committee appears to have now chosen to grasp the nettle, and at a meeting on April 17, decided to move against those who are the financiers of terrorist groups in the province. The committee was informed that “a large number” of terrorists from proscribed groups have been arrested, but we have yet to see any prosecutions.

The chief minister of Sindh was clear in his determination to root out terrorist funding; saying that extortion, the illegal use of water hydrants and kidnapping for ransom were all funding channels for terrorists. Large amounts of arms and ammunition have also been seized, which had been purchased on the black market and do not come cheap, another indicator that very substantial funds are being raised by the terrorists. Also discussed were the computerisation of madrassas and the proliferation of private security agencies, not all of which are necessarily engaged in legitimate work.

The scope of the NAP is very broad, and would challenge any government in its implementation. That it has taken so long for the provinces to gear up and finally start to implement the NAP should not surprise anybody. The NAP represents a paradigm shift in terms of how national security is addressed at a local level, and requires inter-agency coordination where little if any existed before, and a sharpening of bureaucratic responses where before was a sleepy response to security matters if there was any response at all. Cutting off the funds of terrorist organisations by addressing local problems such as illegal hydrants and extortion is a realistic and practical move. We hope that the chief minister is as good as his word.http://tribune.com.pk/story/872140/gloves-off-in-sindh/

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Altaf calls PTI, JI ‘branches of Taliban, Al Qaeda’: REPORT in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has called the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami ‘bran­ches of the Taliban and Al Qaeda’ and predicted a massive defeat for his party’s rivals in the NA-246 by-election on April 23.

Addressing a huge rally on Liaquatabad flyover on Saturday, the MQM chief said the people of Karachi had already rejected the pro-Taliban forces and they would vote for his ‘progressive, liberal, peace-loving and democratic’ party.

He asked the ‘establishment’ to ‘treat us as Pakistanis’.

“I appeal to the establishment to consider us Pakistanis as well. Don’t doubt our patriotism as our hearts are already wounded. We are true Pakistanis and want to serve this country for its prosperity and long-lasting peace. If we have committed any mistake, forgive us and we forgive you for yours’.”

He asked the ‘authorities’ to understand the problems faced by Karachi.

Mr Hussain raised voice for ‘rights of the people in Balochistan, Fata and south Punjab’ and urged the prime minister to address their grievances.

He urged the government to raise the issue of recent violence by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council.

He congratulated MQM candidate Kunwar Naveed Jameel in ‘advance’ as “I am confident” that he would defeat his opponents convincingly.

He criticised the PTI and JI for blaming the MQM for their “failure to win people’s hearts and minds”.

“But I ask my workers not to be emotional,” he said. “Don’t lose patience and you will get a reward on April 23 when Kunwar Naveed Jameel will emerge victorious. We will welcome PTI and JI in our constituency and offer them sweets on our victory. Our party only preaches love, peace and harmony which ensure our victory.”

Addressing the international community in English, he said the MQM stood for equal opportunities for all segments of society.

“I assure every segment of the society and the international community that Pakistan will be a true democratic state under the MQM government,” he said. “We want every religion respected and have been striving for the people of all religious backgrounds. We hate to discriminate on the basis of religion.”

He said his party wanted to put an end to status-quo in the country with positive changes in every economic and social sector which promised freedom of speech, food, electricity and clean drinking water to the people of Pakistan. http://www.dawn.com/news/1176862/altaf-calls-pti-ji-branches-of-taliban-al-qaeda

April 19, 2015   No Comments