Sonia playing down the situation in Kashmir, says Geelani

Srinagar, MTT News Desk: A day after the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi expressed satisfaction over what she said “remarkable progress” made in Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK), the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that Sonia is deliberately playing down the situation in OSJK to conceal the realities.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani in a statement in Srinagar said, “The statement of Gandhi (Sonia) is nothing but a crude joke with the people of Kashmir. The drama is enacted with an eye on the next year’s General Elections.”

Sonia has expressed satisfaction over “remarkable progress” made in the territory but emphasised the need to “take note of the cry of pain and anguish” emanating from the people.

The APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, demanded the return of the mortal remains of Muhammad Afzal Guru and Muhammad Maqbool Butt.

If Congress president is sincere in resolving Kashmir issue then she should accept the demand of the Kashmiris on priority and return the mortal remains to their families,” Geelani said.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is also the President of Jammu & Kashmir Tahreek e Hurriyat (TeH), said that since the Congress president herself was a woman she can well understand the pain of a woman who was even not allowed to meet her husband prior to his execution, Geelani referred to the widow of Muhmammad Afzal Guru.

The APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani criticised the Congress for continuation of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

3 Indian soldiers injured in fighting with Mujahadeen

Srinagar, MTT News Desk: In Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK), at least three Indian army soldiers are critically injured in a fight with Mujahadeen e Kashmir in Srinagar district.

The Mujahadeen conducted an attack on Indian army in Nowgam area on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday morning, officials said.

They said the injured personnel were rushed to the hospital and search operations have been launched against Mujahadeen e Kashmir.

India is occupying OSJK since 66 years through use of its military. The Kashmiri never accepted Indian occupation and since then, struggling for the right of self-determination.

Kashmir is an un-resolved part of dividing Hindustan into India and Pakistan. The people of Kashmir want to join Pakistan while India is trying to force them to become part India using its armed forces.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Kashmiris are killed by Indian army so far, while 10s of thousands of Kashmiri women were raped by the same Indian army.

Islam Denounces Religious Intolerance

By Sajjad Shaukat

Although sectarian violence in Pakistan has gradually increased which took the lives of several persons, yet it has become fiercer. The religious minority sects and communities remain under constant threat of bloody attacks from the misguided Sunni extremists and the banned outfits.

Besides a perennial wave of sectarian attacks, on March 3, this year, the deadly twin blasts killed more than 50 people in the Shia-dominated Abbas Town of Karachi. On February 17, more than 100 Hazara Shias were killed on the Kirani Road in Quetta.

After the previous incident in Gojra, religious intolerance in the country took a dangerous turn when on March 9, in retaliation to blasphemy by a Christian, a frenzied mob torched over 100 houses and shops in Joseph Colony at Badami Bagh area of Lahore.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif including almost all the Sunni political and religious parties strongly condemned the assaults on Christian property. Shahbaz Sharif who ordered an immediate inquiry, declared the Badami Bagh incident as the worst example of barbarism. In this regard, police arrested more than 100 miscreants from different parts of the city. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also taken suo motu notice of the Joseph Colony tragedy.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Peoples Rights along with other civil society organisations held joint demonstrations, while the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the attack as another shameful act against Christians. On March 16, Yume-e-Rawadari (Day of Forbearance) was observed to show solidarity with the Christians in relation to the Joseph Colony tragedy, while on the instructions of the Punjab government the construction and repair work of burnt houses and Churches of the colony is continuing expeditiously.

Islamic scholars (Ulemas) of all schools of thought expressed deep sense of sorrow over the Badami Bagh incident. In a meeting, they unanimously remarked that this unholy act was an open challenge of anti-Islamic forces to two billion Muslims living in the world. While viewing the sad event as a sign of religious extremism, they vigorously denounced anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistan elements. The meeting recalled that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind, and declared that the killing of any non-Muslim citizen living in an Islamic state is haraam (Forbidden).

However, all the measures and condemnation of the Badami Bagh episode clearly show that majority of Pakistanis are against assaults on Christian community. There are minority of religious fanatics who are instigating other people for such sorts of event. At this juncture, while some foreign powers have already launched propaganda against Islam and Pakistan in connection with religious intolerance, the burning of the houses of innocent Christians by the fundamentalist elements has further damaged the image of Pakistan abroad. In the recent past, Pakistans civil and military leadership including other parties had strongly condemned Taliban for the failed assault on Malala Yousufzai. But US-led some western countries, especially India manipulated the incident in relation to the Talibanisation of Pakistan to distort the countrys image.

In the past few years, terror attacks on the worship-places of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shias and Ahmadis including their peoples sporadic killing clearly signals foreign hands behind these incidents because they seek to show Pakistan as a Sunni conservative state.

The appropriate way is that if any individual commits blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), strict punishment under the law should be ensured to that person, but whole the Christian community should not be targeted.

It is notable that unlike a theocratic state, in an Islamic country, rights, life, property and beliefs of all the religious communities and sects are fully protected by the government. In this context, while addressing the Constituent Assembly on August, 11 1947, Quaid-i-Azam said that he did not want Pakistan to be a theocratic state. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal, secular and progressive state where the followers of every religion, faith, and sect were treated as citizens of equal status and they enjoyed equal rights. He explained, You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.

In fact, there is no place for religious intolerance in Islam, but unfortunately it has pervaded the Pakistani society to such an extent that bigoted pseudo-religious leaders have tarnished the tenets of Islam, and are preaching violence against perceived offenders of Islam. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was described as being a mercy due to the message he brought for humanity: We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures, (Quàân 21:107). The tolerant spirit of Islam towards non-Muslims, whether they are those residing in their own countries or within the Muslim states, can be clearly seen through history. Before the coming of Islam, tolerance had never been preached as an essential part of religion.

Religious bigotry is found in every religion and fundamentalists avail every opportunity to persecute the people of other community. Modern era presents a number of such examples. In this regard, various forms of state terrorism have continued by the Israeli armed forces on the Palestinians. While with the backing of Burmese military regime and the covert assistance of Hindus, recent bloodshed of the minority Rohingya Muslim community at the hands of the Rakhine extremist Buddhists in Burma (present Myanmar) presents another such example. Similarly, during the Bosnian War (19921995), Serb forces slaughtered more than 10,000 Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and buried them in the unamed mass graves. The ethnic leansing campaign of the state terrorists continued by the Serb Army. That genocide was repeated in Kosovo where several Muslim men and women were murdered.
While tarnishing Pakistans image, US-led some western countries and their media have totally ignored Hindu terrorism which emanates from the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism). Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalists parties such as BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and other similar groups have been propagating Hindutva which is also being encouraged by the government officials. This Hindu ideology which resulted in sporadic attacks on the other ethnic and religious communities, especially Muslims and Christians has reflected the intentions of the BJB and the subsequent Congress rulers. While Indian constitution declares the country to be a secular state, but in practice ideology of Hindu nationalism has been implemented. In this context, destruction of Babri mosque in 1992, genocide of Muslims in Gujrat in 2002, discovery of more than 3000 unmarked graves who were killed by the Indian security forces in the fake encounters in the occupied Kashmir etc. might be cited as some instances.

Recently, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confessed the nexus between BJP and the RSS, disclosing that organised training camps run by these fundamentalist parties were promoting Hindu Terrorism. They also revealed that these parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts including Gujarat and Babri masjid incidents.

Nevertheless, these Pakistani Taliban and their external-backed affiliated extremist groups are defaming Islam which is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights. Islam strongly denounces intolerance of other religious communities and sects. It is due to this fact that now, people from all segment of life and majority of politicians including general masses want that a handful of terrorist elements including religious fundamentalists must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-created ideology in Pakistan.

The right hour has come that Pakistans media, politicians and leaders of religious parties must show practical unity against zealots who seek to create chaotic disorder in the country to accomplish their self-motivated designs. And the real spirit of Islam needs to be understood clearly. For the purpose, particularly, Ulemas must continuously preach that Islam considers killing the innocent persons of other religious communities and sects equal to murdering the entire humanity, telling the people that the state and religion exist side by side without interfering in each others domain.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs.

4th F-22 P Frigate for Pakistan Navy

By Zaheerul Hassan

Handing over two pusher tugs on Tuesday, Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) is all set to deliver to Pakistan Navy the 4th F-22 P Frigate PNS ASLAT next month.

Also, the KS&EW is constructing for Navy a fast attack missile craft and a 32-ton tug expected to be handed over as per contract schedule. The Navy has also signed a contract with KS&EW for construction of a 15000-ton capacity fleet tanker.

Tuesday saw the KS&EW formally handing over two pusher tugs to Pakistan Navy in a ceremony held here at the Karachi Shipyard with Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafiq present as a chief guest on the occasion. Addition of these tugs in the Navy fleet is considered to be an important milestone achieved towards self reliance.

Addressing the ceremony, Admiral Muhammad Shafiq said while Pakistans geographical location and geo-strategic environment essentially necessitated building of a strong and balanced Navy to defend the countrys maritime interests; realisation of the countrys force goals through foreign acquisitions only was becoming increasingly difficult.

The changing geo-political dynamics also suggest that access to the foreign defence technologies, particularly in the high end domains, would be either denied or hard to come by in the coming years, said the chief guest.

Accordingly, self reliance has been at the forefront of policies, and it is in this context, Pakistan Navy had been supporting and interacting closely with the local defence industries, particularly Karachi Shipyard, to make a steady progress towards indigenization.

Appreciating the efforts of Karachi Shipyard, the Admiral said Karachi Shipyard had delivered up to Navys expectations and had been a major support to PN fleet for new constructions, as well as, for repair of the ships.

Karachi Shipyard also deserved acclaim for its revival and unprecedented progress during testing times when the global shipping industry as a whole was on the declines, he said. It was well poised to manifest its potential of undertaking major shipbuilding and engineering projects for the country and also for the foreign clients to earn and save valuable foreign exchange.

Recent award of contract for construction of 15000-ton capacity fleet tanker by PN was manifestation of the same. He assured of all out support of Pakistan Navy to KS&EW for its revitalization so that all future growth plans were timely materialised.

Earlier, Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, Managing Director KS&EW, gave a brief account of the progress of Karachi Shipyard and underlined the projects being undertaken for Pakistan Navy.

He said presently KS&EW was undertaking construction of five vessels for Navy. He apprised the 4th F-22 P Frigate PNS ASLAT has successfully completed all harbor and sea trials and would be handed over to PN in April this year.

In addition, a Fast Attack Missile Craft and a 32-ton Tug are also under construction which would be handed over to PN as per the contractual schedule. The ceremony was attended by a large number of PN officers, engineers and technicians of Karachi Shipyard.

The design, drawing and kit of material for the two pusher tugs had been supplied by the Damen Shipyards of Holland.

In fact, Pakistan Navy modernization will enable her to defend effectively the country coastal boundaries.

Govt leaves legacy of incompetence, corruption

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on day Sunday the democratic government has left a legacy of massive corruption and incompetence pushing country and masses into total gloom.

Those who take politics as a lucrative business secured their future through plunder while leaving 180 million people insecure, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Speaking to business community, she said that last five years would be remembered as a black chapter in the history of Pakistan.

The government made new records of incompetence, corruption, nepotism, lawlessness, bulldozing laws and clash of the institutions, she added.

Farida Rashid said that most of the economic, fiscal, foreign and internal policies of the government met with failure while Pakistan faced international disgrace on various occasions.

Government continued to plunder national resources during five years but made a history of loot during its last few days, she observed.

She said that almost all the policies were made to please nobility which took toll on Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), rupee lost value, record loans were borrowed while collections and forex reserved dwindled.

Government failed to provide enabling environment, improve law and order as well as the circular debt contributing to flight of capital, shifting of industrial units and brain drain.

Incoherent policies left millions jobless while 10 million youth stepped in the job market with no opportunities available. Even the largest urban employment providing sector of textile failed to create a single job, she informed.

Farida said that oil and gas exploration was systematically discouraged to justify import of costly fuel for which the CNG sector was also destroyed.

Government took around Rs 2.7 trillion loans from international lenders out of which 2.3 trillion were used to finance politically run Public Sector Enterprises but none could come out of losses to become profitable entity.

Unprecedented corruption estimated at Rs 1800 billion, shook the foundations of the country and put its very survival.

Masses must learn a lesson as Pakistan cannot afford another round of such democracy, observed Farida Rashid.

The PPP’s Election Manifesto is Funny

By Saeed Qureshi

The ruling partys election charter is least groundbreaking or revolutionary. It seems to be written as if to fill in the blanks with a hodge-podge of overblown objectives. Unveiled by the partys parliamentarians, the manifesto proffers a heavy load of commitments that it could not fulfill during its previous five years in power.

The manifesto was announced in English before the media, by the commerce minister Amin Fahim who himself has been involved in creepy financial scams. Makhdoom Amin Fahim is also the senior Vice Chairman of the PPP.

The parliamentarians, in tandem with Amin Fahim, espoused seven priority issues that the new government of the PPP would take-up in the first 100 days at both the federal and the provincial level. The most outstanding hallmark of the new manifesto is to raise the minimum wage ceiling of the ordinary workers to Rs. 18000 by the year 2018 which is 5 years away.

Besides, poor sections of the society would be given Roti, Kapra Aur Makan (bread, clothing and housing).This slogan is a refrain from the past. It was the central theme of the founder of the PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on the eve of launching the PPP in 1967. That became the symbol and slogan of the PPP and that hugely burnished its image as the party of the downtrodden and poor.

The other salient features of the manifesto are, mass education and health, jobs for all, elimination of terrorism, and upholding and hoisting high the democratic culture. The manifesto calls for the creation of a separate province in South Punjab. Eradication of polio by 2018 is part of the newly revealed election agenda of the PPP.

The new PPP government would make the military budget accountable, ensure workers representation in the parliament, facilitate employment of women, and provide security to the minorities; it would give freedom of expression. It would also generate additional 12000 MW electricity. All this stuff is run of the mill and part of every political partys agenda.

The unveiling of the manifesto was tagged and supplemented with the achievements of the PPP government in the preceding five years. The speakers claimed providing jobs to Lakhs of people, sustaining democracy and establishment of the Counter Terrorism National Authority and passing Anti-Terrorism Law Bill.

All these sparkling promises and new lofty goals unfolded by the PPP stalwarts ring hollow. It appears that the PPP had to draft this heavily nourished menu of dainty pledges in a hurry. One would wonder and rather question that if the PPP could not offer a semblance of good governance for five years, how could it fulfill all these marvelous and high sounding undertakings in the coming five years.

However, one feather in the cap of PPP is that it resisted derailing of the bandwagon of the democracy for five years. It did so despite tough challenges and heavy stumbling hurdles, though that resistance was predominantly motivated for an urge to remain in power. Its other notable achievement is amendments in the constitution devolving due powers to the provinces.

But other than that, it has earned more flak and discredit for its misdeeds and glaring shortcomings that kept the country on the tenterhooks of an unremitting trauma. The package of reforms did not make any meaningful difference in the lives of the common man. As a matter the people of Pakistan judged the PPP leaders from their conduct which on the whole was unblemished.

From a crippling load shedding to pervasive corruption to the callous indifference in curbing lawlessness, violence and terrorism have eclipsed the meager achievements of the PPP. The PPPs high command has not given any importance to the murder of its chairman under one pretext or the other.

Of late one of the talkative stalwarts asserted that although PPP knew the names of the assassins, yet could not divulge because they were more powerful than the state and the government. If this in the level of coyness and compromise of the PPPs leaders then how could it pick up courage during the next tenure in office to take bold decisions in public and national interests.

There has been incessant and running tussle between the apex judiciary and the PPPs outgoing government for these preceding five years. From the treason trial of former president Musharraf to Memogate to rental power plants scams, to import of ephedrine, to Swiss bank case, and investigating several high profile murder cases, the government deliberately dithered and no conscious efforts were made or willingness shown to execute supreme courts orders.

All these five years, the executive has been playing hide and seek with the judiciary with regard to the implementation of the decisions of the Apex court. The obvious reason for such a devious conduct was that in these cases several PPP heavy weights were involved. The rental power plants scandal is the elephantine case in which the outgoing interim prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is the principal actor. He was ordered by the Supreme Court to be arrested yet he remained in the office.

The Benazir Income Support program (BISP) is an eyewash mega corruption project for helping the poor families or removal of the poverty. An unbelievably hefty amount of 72 billion rupees was allocated every year for distribution among the needy people. For five years it comes to staggering 350 billion rupees. No one knows where 350 billion rupees have gone and why still the poverty could not be eradicated. Had this amount been spent on building highways, new dams, bridges and power generation units, the country would have hugely benefited both socially and economically?

The blackouts, the persistent water crisis, the ramshackle transportation, the explosions, the insecurity, the robberies, extortions and a host of other crimes are driving the people crazy with no hope for a better future. The studied debilitating and destruction of Railways, PIA and several similar nation building organizations have pushed the country backward for several decades. There is a universal outcry and deep seated repugnance about the PPPs five years dismal performance not only in Pakistan but also aboard.

As such giving even a slim benefit of doubt to the PPP and voting it into power again by the electorate seems to be a far cry and a hard to achieve tall order. The PPP of today suffers from a tarnished image. On the contrary what can be surmised is that a whole litany of charges could be opened up against the respective PPP leaders, keeping them busy for pretty good time. If they slip out of the country, like Hussain Haqqani, then it would be an entirely different scenario.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Former military leaders express anguish, sorrow over Joseph Colony incident

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) on Friday expressed deep anguish and sorrow at the inhuman destruction of Joseph Colony at Lahore terming it lowest form of governance.

This was observed in a special meeting of the Executive Council of PESA held to discuss some of the serious issues that are vital to integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The meeting observed that Joseph Colony attack was a repeat of Gojra carnage with a difference that no life was lost this time.

Mass killings of Hazaras amount to ethnic genocide, the former military leaders said, adding that inaction against the culprits and cash awards to the affected people cannot wash the humiliation caused to Pakistan in the international community.

Religious leaders should spread the principles of human values, equality and freedom that are most cherished by Islam. Objectives Resolution also guarantees that fundamental right and the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed and any violation must be dealt with a firm hand, they opined.

PESA members appreciated the independence and courage shown by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in going ahead with preparation of revised nomination papers despite non-approval by the President.

They lauded the prompt support extended by the Supreme Court. However real test of the ECP will be implementation of the conditions prescribed under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Real change can only come when individuals with tainted past are weeded out right from the start, the former military strategists said.

PESA office bearers expressed concern over the on-going Anti-Army campaign through some selected electronic and print media. Its sole purpose is to destroy integrity and strength of the force that is engaged in defending countrys geographical and ideological frontiers and the national values.

Thousands of officers and soldiers have sacrificed their lives in fighting the extremist elements who want to enforce their own version of Islam. It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite this anti-Army campaign, the masses retain their total faith in the Armed Forces and look up to them as true defenders of the Republic.

The PESA members expressed surprise at policies of some of the TV channels, who spare no occasion to blame past military rulers for all the problems but at the same time they are giving almost daily coverage to political ambitions and programme of General Musharraf.

Musharraf flagrantly violated the Constitution, brought ignominy through misadventures like Kargil, Lal Masjid and tragedies of Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto and Sardar Akbar Bugti.

His unconditional submission to USA on just one phone call brought the war on terror inside Pakistan. On the economic front, through his inaction over building the Neelum Dam he has caused threat of perpetual loss of Jhelum River to Pakistan which could render Punjab into a desert, they said.

As a citizen of Pakistan, Musharraf should be free to return home but at the same time he should face the cases that are registered against him.

It was decided to hold a news conference to details about the conspiracies and plans of certain powers to not just destabilize but also break up Pakistan as one nation.

Pakistan Rejects US Pressure

By Sajjad Shaukat

By rejecting US growing pressure and defying the threat of sanctions, on March 11, this year, Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the much-delayed section of a $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

President Ahmadinejad hailed that work on the pipeline project was going ahead despite US-led international sanctions against Iran. Hinting towards the US, he accused foreign elements of undermining Irans relations with Pakistan and to thwart its progress by using its nuclear programme as a pretext. In his address, President Zardari regarded the pipeline project as very important for Pakistan, adding that the prosperity of Pakistan and Iran was inter-linked and that the former was striving to become self-reliant.

Iran has completed 900 km of pipeline on its side of the border and Iranian contractors will also construct the pipeline in Pakistan. In this regard, Tehran has also agreed to lend Islamabad 500 million dollarscost of the 750 km Pakistani section of the pipeline.

The project has faced delays since it was conceived in 1990s to connect Irans giant South Pars gas field to India via Pakistan. Due to its pro-American tilt, India did not sign this gas pipeline project. Therefore, Islamabad and Tehran continued talks on the project.

Pak-Iranian ties have rapidly been strengthening day by day. During the visit of Irans Vice President for International Affairs Ali Seedlou, both the countries signed three agreements on November 13, last year as part of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to promote economic cooperation, timely completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and electricity import from Iran. Both the sides agreed to increase bilateral trade to $5 billion marks. For the purpose, in the recent past, Iranian President Ahmadinejad had also visited Pakistan.

In the third trilateral summit at Islamabad, on February 17, 2012, President Zardari, President Ahmadinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai put their heads together to forge regional cooperation in multifaceted areas. They pledged to eradicate terrorism and militancy from the region. In response to Karzais blame game regarding cross-border terrorism, Zardari had clarified, I deny this notion that any of our armed forces are directly or indirectly involved. He stated, without naming America, Who was the owner and financer of former chief of Tehreek-e-Talban Pakistan Baitulllah Mahsood.

Zardari vowed to fight US pressure on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, saying that the external forces can not undermine bilateral relations. Notably, Pakistan also assured to support Tehran, if the US or Israel launches a military attack on Iran. While hinting towards the US, the Iranian president revealed that the problem in the region had no local roots, but it was imposed from external fronts. In fact, Pakistan and Iran are quite sincere about regional cooperation among the three countries including stability in Afghanistan, but Hamid Karzai has been implementing American secret diplomacy in the region.

However, despite American several warnings to abandon this gas project, Pakistani government continued talks with Tehran.

Under the project, initially, 21.5 million cubic meters of gas will be supplied to Pakistan, which will produce 4,000 M.W electricity, urgently needed to energies its homes and industries. The project will bring economic prosperity, providing better opportunities to the people of the country.

In fact, America neither seeks to see prosperity in Pakistan nor wants to see stability in the country including Iran. Washington is also against Pak-Iranian close relationship.

Notably, on January 5, 2012, US President Obama unveiled a new defence strategy which calls for greater US military presence in Asia. Nevertheless, US new defence strategy is part of Indo-US hidden agenda in Afghanistan against Pakistan and Iran. First of all US seeks to protect the puppet regime of Karzai and Indian influence in Afghanistan under the umbrella of its military presence, after the withdrawal of NATO troops. India which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a strategic partnership agreement with that country on October 5, 2011, wants to further fortify its grip there to get strategic depth against Islamabad, while US bases in Afghanistan and the Gulf will enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran. In December, 2011, Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone that had been launched from Afghanistan.

While playing double game with Islamabad, sometimes, US top officials praise Pak sacrifices regarding war on terror, sometimes, admits that stability cannot be achieved in Afghanistan without the help of Pakistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops, sometimes, realises that US wants to work to put its relationship with Pakistan on a stronger footing, but at the same time, it blames Islamabad for safe-havens of militants and cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Especially, US has been supporting cross-border infiltration in Pakistan with the assistance of American CIA, Indian intelligence agency, RAW and Israeli secret agency, Mossad which have well-established their network in Afghanistan to denuclearise Pakistan. For this purpose highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons are being sent to Pakistan, who are regularly conducting subversive acts and sectarian violence in various regions of the country.

Particularly, Balochistans mineral resources and geo-strategic location with Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia have further irked the eyes of the US and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. Besides, CIA, RAW and Mossad have perennial been backing bomb blasts, suicide attacks, abductions, target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups such as Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (Gods soldiers), and Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) in order to fulfill their cover agenda so as to dismember Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistans Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik repeatedly disclosed that he had proof about training camps being run in Afghanistan, and supply of arms and ammunition from Afghanistan to Balochistan. Recently, he revealed that there are links among BLA, Jundollah and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Tehreek-e-Taliban which have been destablising Pakistan.

BLA and Jundollah are also working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with Iran. In the past few years, their militants kidnapped and killed many Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Jundullah conducted several subversive acts in the Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. Especially, Tehran has repeatedly pointed out US and CIA for patronage and funding of those terrorist attacks.

In this context, the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi had stated, It is obvious that the same forces which are working in Pakistani Balochistan are also working in Iranian Sistan. While, Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had indicated, The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at creating a division between the Shias and Sunnisthose who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents.

Pak-US war of nerves which started in the recent years, accelerated due to American coercive diplomacy towards Islamabad. In this regard, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban, they started false allegations against Pak Army and countrys Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the Afghan Talibanespecially American top officials continuously emphasised Islamabad to do more against the insurgents. Differences increased between them because ISI thwarted the anti-Pakistan activities of the US Blackwater and CIA agents. On this agencys information, Pakistani rulers expelled several American spies operating in the country.

Since May 2, 2011, Pak-US relations further deteriorated when without informing Islamabad, US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden in a covert military operation. And in the aftermath of the deliberate air attack on Salala Army outposts on November 26, 2011 in Mohmand Agency, which killed 26 soldiers, Pakistans bold steps such as vacation of the Shamsi Airbase and boycott of the second Bonn Conference, closure of NATO ground supply routes through its territory to Afghanistan for several months show that Islamabad has already started rejecting US power diplomacy.

Moreover, by setting aside the parliament resolution, the trip of DG ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam to America, protest-rallies of Pakistans political and religious parties, ignoring the Pak-US new rapprochement, CIA-operated drone attacks have kept on going on FATA.

Consequently, Pakistan has rejected US pressure owing to latters duplicity; while it has further strengthened Pak-Iranian cooperation by implementing the gas pipeline project.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

[tags Pakistan, Terrorism, Pipeline, Iran, Taliban, Balochistan, Salala}

Tehsil Dar Office, Pabbi, Nowshera Inaugurated

Nowshera, 19 March 2013: Tehsil Dar Office in Pabbi, Nowshera was inaugurated by His Excellency Lars-Gunnar Wigemark Ambassador of the European Union. He was accompanied by Mr. Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP Pakistan.

The floods in 2010 and 2011 caused unprecedented destruction, submerging one-fifth of the country and affecting close to 20 million people. For recovery and restoration of communities in flood-affected districts across the country, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Pakistan launched a US$90 million Early Recovery Programme (ERP). The European Union contributed US$20 million to this programme. This programme is among the largest early recovery and restoration programme carried out by UNDP.

120 buildings have been reconstructed and rehabilitated comprising local administration agriculture departments, livestock, health, education and revenue offices. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 26 buildings were rehabilitated and reconstructed including 17 revenue, agriculture, education, livestock and local administration offices. The buildings have been reequipped with printers, desktop computers, registered softwares, photocopy machines and furniture.

The Early Recovery Programme (ERP) covered 4,000 villages across the country benefiting more than 5.5 million people in 29 most-affected districts, across the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir by rehabilitating the communities and building their resilience from future disasters. The ERPs interventions created temporary employments benefiting 1.3 million people through cash for work schemes to primarily rehabilitate community based infrastructures (e.g. roads, bridges, culverts, and irrigation canals). 1.7 million people have been supported in restoring affected communities livelihood opportunities resulting in significant increase of local economic development and agricultural based income generation. 10,494 community organizations members have been capacitated in disaster risk management and planning, through provision of tailored needs trainings and advocacy programs, resulting in the establishment of early warning systems and risks mitigation plans. Those organizations have helped to build foundations for the affected communities to continue improving their living conditions, with increased resilience. 1,042 Community Based Disaster Risk Management Committees have been established and trained in community disaster risk management and planning. The programme restored 60 micro-hydro power units and established 2,000 biogas plants to provide communities with access to alternate energy. Additionally, solar water pumps, street lights and heaters were also introduced in the affected communities. 1,912 disaster resilient and energy efficient houses handed over to communities. Assistance was provided to the government institutions to establish one window operations through which more than 4,000 individuals were helped to receive legal documents lost during the floods. These range from birth certificates and national ID cards, to marriage certificates and landownership documents.

The UNDP, in coordination with the Government of Pakistan, national and international partners, local authorities and institutions, and communities across the country, sought to support the millions of survivors recover from the devastating floods, linking relief to recovery and paving the way for meaningful development. Working in all of the flood-affected provinces and regions, and adopting a multi-dimensional and integrated approach, UNDP supported the most vulnerable in the worst affected areas, including women, children, elderly and disabled people.

PEW terms pipeline development greatest achievement of the Government

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said inauguration of Pakistani portion of Iran gas pipeline, economically and strategically crucial for the future of our country, is the greatest achievement of the incumbent Government.

This historic decision, taken after a long delay, will help attract investment, provide jobs, and revive sliding economy while it has renewed hopes among dejected masses and business community reeling under severe energy crisis, it said.

The decision shows that Pakistan has decided to put its own interests ahead of the interests of all other nations and it is unwilling to sacrifice economy for the sake of the sole super power which has helped government gain global admiration, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

President Zardaris bold step will result in enhanced regional connectivity while balancing Pakistans relations with Iran and the Arab world to enhance our dignity among comity of nations, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that slapping sanctions on Pakistan is against US interests, as it will have negative impact on war on terror and make US withdrawal from Afghanistan difficult.

He said that that American apathy towards Islamabads economic compulsions resulted in rapid developments related to the project, which have surprised many independent observers.

US continued to offer costly and unviable solutions to Pakistans energy problems including TAPI but it refused to sign a Civil Nuclear Agreement as she did with India which was discrimination with an important ally, Dr. Murtaza Mughal noted.

The decision will go a long way in ensuring energy security for Pakistan and improve our energy mix heavily tilted towards oil.

He warned that Iranian gas will of little use if government failed to introduce power sector reforms, attracted investment in exploration and cull circular debt.

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