[An Nahar] Britannia called on Chad on Saturday to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and eventually appointed himself president-for-life. He has fallen out with his Islamic mentor, Hasan al-Turabi, tried to impose shariah on the Christian and animist south, resulting in its secessesion, and attempted to Arabize Darfur by unleashing the barbaric Janjaweed on it. Sudan's potential prosperity has been pissed away in warfare that has left as many as 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. Omar has been indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court but nothing is expected to come of it. while he visits N'Djamena for a regional summit and to hand him over to the International Criminal Court ... where Milosevich died of old age before being convicted ... Chad is one of the countries signed up to the ICC's founding treaty which are legally bound to arrest Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the long-running Darfur conflict.
But several signatories have failed to do so, and Bashir visited Chad on Saturday for talks with central African leaders on security, including the operation against Islamists in Mali.
"If President Bashir is not incarcerated ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... , this will be the third time the government of Chad has failed to implement warrants issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," British minister for Africa Mark Simmonds said.
"Chad has committed itself to full cooperation with the ICC, and I reiterate the importance that the British government places on such commitments.
"The UK expects Chad to stand by its obligations and will be disappointed if it does not do so."
CAIRO - Fathy Ali is beyond anger as he queues for hours in a line of 64 trucks and buses to fill his tank with scarce subsidized diesel fuel, known in Egypt as "Solar."
"This has become part of my life. I come and wait for hours or days, depending on my luck," the chain-smoking bus driver said at a besieged gas station on Cairo's Suez High Road, wrapped in a scarf and thick coat for the long ordeal. "At the start it used to upset me a lot but now I've kind of given up."
Diesel supplies are drying up as a cash-strapped government struggles to cap a mounting bill for subsidies it has promised the IMF it will reform to secure an elusive $4.8 billion loan desperately needed to keep a sagging economy afloat.
The situation appears near breakdown with growing shortages, unsustainable subsidies and foreign exchange reserves running out, raising the risk that fuel bottlenecks lead to food shortages and pose a risk to political stability.
Foreign reserves are down below $15 billion, less than three months' imports, despite deposits from Qatar and Turkey. The Egyptian pound has lost 8 percent of its value this year and a black market has emerged for hard currency.
The nation's strategic reserve of diesel fuel is down to three days' supply, the official MENA news agency quoted a government official as saying last week. Bakeries that use diesel to make staple subsidized bread have been told to keep 10 days' fuel supply but not all have the capacity.
The Muslim Brotherhood-led government of President Mohamed Mursi this week postponed for up to three months a rationing system for subsidized fuel due to start in April in what looks like an attempt to avoid upsetting voters before parliamentary elections due that month.
But reforms cannot be delayed for long, economists say.
"Fuel shortages are a symptom of the strains on Egypt's unsustainable subsidy system," said Simon Kitchen, an economist at EFG-Hermes in Cairo.
Two government measures have aggravated the problem. In December, the subsidy on 95-octane petrol used by the wealthiest Egyptians was scrapped. That drove some motorists down-market to buy lower-grade fuel, raising the demand for subsidized 92-octane gasoline.
Super octane in the U.S. is 93 octane, though a gas station near us sells 115 octane (at $6.89 a gallon) for reasons that I can't fathom...
Then in a drive to curb theft, smuggling and other abuses, the government restricted distribution of heavily subsidized low-grade gas oil used by trucks, tractors and buses to filling stations owned and operated by the military. That caused longer lines at the pumps and increasing economic disruption. At several filling stations, queues led to fights breaking out this week, Egyptian media reported.
The situation is so serious that Mursi held an emergency meeting with ministers about it on Tuesday night and instructed the energy minister to ensure sufficient supply, according to presidential spokesman Yasser Ali.
Ah yes, instructions. That should do it. Kimmie did that in North Korea all the time. He'd visit a place and provide personal instruction. That's why Nork-land is a paradise, you know...
Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources Osama Kamal said subsidizing Solar, sold at a give-away price of 1.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.19) a liter, costs the government $35 million a day. Altogether, energy subsidies will cost 120 billion Egyptian pounds in the fiscal year to end-June, up from 115 billion pounds the previous year, he said. They account for almost all of the forecast 135 billion pound budget deficit.
Until Tuesday evening, when the diesel shortage became the number one topic of television and radio talk-shows, the government seemed to be in denial.
"There is no shortage," Kamal said. "There is a crisis in the distribution of Solar, not in the availability of it."
Asked whether a shortage of hard currency was constraining fuel imports, he said: "Financial resources are still available for imports but they must be reserved for the most important priorities."
To drivers and tour operators, the result is the same.
Khaled el-Manawi, a senior board member of the Egyptian travel agents' association, said the government was harming his industry, already hard hit by political turmoil, by withdrawing subsidized fuel from tourist boats.
Businessman George Bishoy, who owns a fashion accessories store in the affluent Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, said his business had suffered a lot from delays in the delivery of imported goods.
The daily al-Ahram quoted drivers complaining about the emergence of a black market in which a liter of diesel is sold at double the normal price.
The spokesman of the independent drivers' union, Tarek el-Bahary, told Reuters: "The Solar problem is devastating. Drivers are suffering daily and the elected president has failed to solve this crisis."
"The number of trucks has not increased, the number of trips has not increased but the government is unable to provide the Solar and unable to come up with creative solutions to solve the problem," he said.
The one thing I thought I remembered from my long, long ago Organic Chem class was that Octane was the percent of a certain type of Carbon ring and therefore it couldn't ever be higher than 100. The prof claimed that anything higher was marketing hype. This was back in the days of "Keotane" rating from, I think, Sunoco.
But reforms cannot be delayed for long, economists say. "Fuel shortages are a symptom of the strains on Egypt's unsustainable subsidy system," said Simon Kitchen, an economist at EFG-Hermes in Cairo.
You got me curious, Alanc - For example, petrol with the same knocking characteristics as a mixture of 90% iso-octane and 10% heptane would have an octane rating of 90. A rating of 90 does not mean that the petrol contains just iso-octane and heptane in these proportions, but that it has the same detonation resistance properties. Because some fuels are more knock-resistant than iso-octane, the definition has been extended to allow for octane numbers higher than 100.
Once upon a time, a co-worker dumped about 5 gallons of 115/145 AVGAS into his F150 tank ( said there was aleady 15 gallons of pump gas in it) about 2 days later he had the nicest small block paperweight in the neighborhood. Ford Blue and everything......
i limit my hi octane in my motorsporting to the 93 ; works just fine.
Slightly off topic: I don't know what happened to USN,Ret's neighbor but since higher octane burns slower (resists detonation) than the regular gas you need to address timing and jetting when using 115 octane race gas. Gives a longer duration thrust for a given power cycle and lets the engine run cooler if the engine is properly set up. Cooling was why high performance (especially air-cooled) aircraft engines were designed for up to 130 octane fuels.
Want to grenade an engine? Use gasohol in an engine not designed for it and/or in an infrequently used motorcycle or classic car. Cuts oil films, gathers moisture in heads, bores, bearings (promotes rust), rots fuel lines and pump diaphragms not designed for alcohol.
Tipover, While it was many years ago, i think the reson Tom's motor seized was because he did mess with the timing and it ran hot. he had been using smaller amounts of this AVGAS for some time. it was during the 70's oil embargo and the gas was from the daily fuel samples out of our station S-2's and T-28's. wonder if the high lead content helped?
"...Egypt was a corrupt socialist state during Mubarak's reign..." - Zhang Fei
Actually, they were moving away from socialism with some govt industries sold and others transferred to various private consortia. Unfortunately, the cronyism was pretty obvious and friends of Mubarek ended up with stuff at very favorable terms and other friends of Mubarek ended up with sweet commissions for their role in the transaction. This gave capitalism (or liberalism) a bad name.
Posted by: lord garth ||
"Unfortunately, the cronyism was pretty obvious"
You mean Bambi = Mubarak?
Posted by: Barbara ||
[LEADERSHIP.NG] Uncertainty has continued over the whereabouts of Sheik Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram sect also known as Jama'atu Ahalis Sunna Lidda Awati Wali-Jihad. Sheik Shekau is feared to have died sometime last year from the injuries he sustained after he was attacked in his hideout in Yobe State.
Security operatives told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND yesterday that Shekau, who relied heavily on propaganda in the past to advance his cause, had not made any statements in recent times, leading credence to the belief that he is dead.
Unlike before, Shekau has not claimed responsibility for any major attack by the sect in recent times, especially the killing of nine polio vaccination workers in Kano on February 8, 2013.
Security personnel said that Shekau's obvious absence from the scene led to the emergence of the relatively unknown, Sheik Mohammed Abdulazeez, who recently declared ceasefire on behalf of the sect, claiming to be Shekau's second in command.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has refuted a report in a national daily that "democracy breeds Boko Haram," which was credited to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal A.S .Badeh.
In a statement yesterday, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Y. Anas, said while "the caption was catchy and no doubt capable of attracting attention, it was equally misleading and capable of sending wrong signals to the public about the commitment of the NAF to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria."
The NAF notes that while the content of the story was a true account of what the CAS said, the caption was misleading and injurious to the sensibility of thousands of service men and women who put their lives on the line every day in combating the Boko Haram menace.
"It is more curious that the content of the story is totally at variance with the caption. Furthermore, the NAF as a responsible member of the Nigerian Armed Forces and its commitment to the Nigerian project will in no way through its leadership condone the perpetration of any act of illegality in any disguise and by anybody," he said.
It is noteworthy that the NAF has played and will continue to play important role in government's efforts to bring peace in Borno State in particular and to other parts of the country. Therefore, the Service cannot in any way talk about democracy in the way portrayed by the caption.
[Bangla Daily Star] The brutal killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar has strengthened the Shahbagh protesters' resolve and made them more confident of winning their battle.
"Touching our co-fighter's coffin, we now swear not to return home leaving our demands unfulfilled," Imran H Sarker, one of the key organisers of the movement, said after Rajib's namaz-e-janaza at the venue yesterday.
"The soul of our friend will not rest in peace until the spirit of the Liberation War is upheld, Jamaat and Shibir eliminated and their politics banned," said Imran, also a blogger.
The protesters called upon the nation to fight for the justice for the killing of Rajib, who was found murdered near his house at Pallabi in the capital Friday night.
They termed Rajib a martyr and a freedom fighter of new generation and vowed to carry out his mission which was to see the war criminals hanged.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ...Bangla dynastic politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Bangla Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. Her party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary elections. She has once before held the office, from 1996 to 2001, when she was defeated in a landslide... visited his residence in the capital's Pallabi yesterday afternoon and vowed to bring the murderers to trial.
Meanwhile, ...back at the Council of Boskone, Helmuth ordered the space pirate fleet to attack Zemblonia... through separate statements, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and International Committee for Democracy in Bangladesh (ICDB) expressed their solidarity with the movement.
Students and teachers of University of Asia Pacific and Institute of Architects, Bangladesh, yesterday joined the movement. Rajib was a student of the university and a member of the institute.
Spearheaded by a group of bloggers and online activists, the demonstration started on February 5, hours after Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was given life imprisonment in a war crimes case.
The 12th straight day of the demonstration passed with protesters venting outrage at the murder of Rajib, known in the Bangla blog community as Thaba Baba.
[Bangla Daily Star] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ...Bangla dynastic politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Bangla Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. Her party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary elections. She has once before held the office, from 1996 to 2001, when she was defeated in a landslide... yesterday said Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir ... the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh... have no right to do politics in Bangladesh, as they believe in terrorism, not democracy.
"They don't believe in democracy. They believe in terrorism and practise politics of terrorism," Hasina told journalists after consoling the bereaved family of slain Rajib Haidar, a blogger and activist of Shahbagh movement, at Rajib's Pallabi house.
"They don't have any right to do politics in independent Bangladesh," Hasina said in an emotion-choked voice.
The prime minister said she would do whatever is necessary to tackle this force. "I will not let them have that right as long as I am alive. I can assure you this."
Seeking people's cooperation to save Bangladesh from the clutches of Jamaat-Shibir, she urged all to stand beside the Shahbagh protesters. "We have expressed solidarity with the Shahbagh protesters."
Hasina reached Rajib's tin-roof house at Palash Nagar in Pallabi at about 3:45pm and stayed there for about 20 minutes. She consoled Rajib's bereaved family members and assured them of justice.
She later told journalists that the government has taken all measures necessary to ensure security of the Shahbagh protesters.
The youths have awakened the whole nation after 1971. "Rajib's killing happened at a time when the youths have united the whole nation."
Everyone can guess who were behind the killing, said Hasina. "But I promise that we will not spare the killers."
Referring to Rajib's murder, Hasina said she had feared that something bad might happen. "And it finally came true."
Blaming Jamaat-Shibir for the killing, Rajib's father Dr Nazimuddin told The Daily Star, "My son became their target, as he used to write against Jamaat-Shibir."
Nazimuddin, a freedom fighter, demanded that Jamaat-e-Islami be banned in Bangladesh.
Locals brought out processions in the area demanding exemplary punishment to Rajib's killers.
The body of Rajib, a blogger and activist of the Shahbagh movement calling for capital punishment to all war criminals, was found with stab marks near his Pallabi house on Friday night.
Meanwhile, ...back at the Council of Boskone, Helmuth had turned a paler shade of blue. Star-A-Star had struck again... National Human Rights Commission Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman told ATN Bangla that Jamaat-e-Islami should be banned for the sake of security of the people and maintaining peace in the country.
"A state and a government cannot tolerate such violent and confrontational attitude [of Jamaat]. Considering the importance of maintaining peace and safety of people, such illegal and violent party should be banned," the TV channel quoted him as saying.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
Hasina: Jamaat has no right to do politics
Because they're a jihad-by-riot-and-murder group. From Fred's yellow in-line:
...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores...
[Bangla Daily Star] Online Jamaat-Shibir activists had branded the slain blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider as an atheist who they said should have been resisted.
Rajib, better known by his online identity as Thaba Baba, was one of the main initiators of the movement at Shahbagh, demanding death penalty for war criminals, according to a web post on Sonarbangla, a blog run by Jamaat-Shibir activists.
An image of Rajib's Facebook page was also posted on the same blog.
On February 11, a Sonarbangla blogger with a pseudonym, Sporsher Baire (Out of Touch), wrote about the organisers of the ongoing Shahbagh movement.
Rajib was also named on the site.
After Rajib was brutally murdered in Mirpur in Dhaka on Friday, the Facebook page was not found on the site.
The Daily Star, however, had captured an image of this blog page.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission blocked the Sonarbangla blog yesterday morning.
The Bloggers and Online Activists Network has been demanding that the government block the page since it launched the protest on February 5 hours after an international crimes tribunal awarded Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah life term for war crimes.
Ahmed Rajib Haider used to write as Thaba Baba on different blogs. In his last Facebook status posted Friday afternoon, he called for banning the institutions owned by the Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... , an ally of the BNP-led 18-party opposition, in Bangladesh.
But mysteriously, most of the writings by Thaba Baba are not available on the internet from yesterday. A few of his writings are available, but whether those were written by Thaba Baba is not clear.
According to different bloggers' posts in Facebook, Shibir cadres have continued campaigning against the activists of the movement.
For example, a person named Dhansiri Wahid in his status on Facebook termed several of Shahbagh activists as atheists.
"It is a duty of all Moslems to kill those atheists," he said.
Wahid named Thaba Baba, Asif Mohiuddin, Bami Shial, Arif Jebotik, Doctor Aizu, Nijhum Majumder and other bloggers, saying he wanted to kill them himself.
Another Facebook account holder Farabi Shafiur Rahman in a post said the imam who conducted the namaz-e-janaza of Rajib yesterday at Shahbagh would also be killed.
This person also suggested throwing Rajib's body to tigers at the Mirpur Zoo.
Last month, another blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed at Uttara in the capital by some unknown people but he survived. Asif is a friend of the activists of Shahbagh movement.
[Bangla Daily Star] The ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance yesterday vowed to avenge the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar by ensuring capital punishment to war criminals and banning Jamaat-Shibir.
They made the pledge at a gathering in Tongi before bringing out a procession to Uttara.
"Rajib, your bloodshed has strengthened the movement. We swear we will ensure that these traitors, Jamaat-Shibir-Razakar, are hanged till death," Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said.
AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the main opposition BNP still seemed confused about its alliance with Jamaat.
"I would like to thank Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir [acting secretary general of BNP] through this rally for exposing the true character of his party. By his words, he has proven that they are the protector and defender of the war criminals," he added.
Apart from Uttara, procession was organised at two other points in the capital.
In the Venn Diagram of political thought, those same people articulate that the Constitution is something made up by a bunch of old/dead white men, several of whom owned slaves, and is inappropriate as a basis to rule for government. So what.
[Dawn] Should US drone pilots or cyber warriors thousands of miles from the battlefield be eligible for a more prestigious combat medal than soldiers maimed or killed in action? I think they ought to get a medal hickey for every corpse.
The Pentagon concluded this week the answer is "yes" -- at least in extraordinary circumstances, and announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, outranking even the Bronze Star.
While supporters cheered America's nod to the changing nature of warfare, it has triggered an angry backlash with some veterans and active-duty troops upset over the most substantial shakeup in the hierarchy of military medals since World War Two.
Opponents say the new medal's rank is too high and sends a signal -- inadvertently, perhaps -- that the Pentagon does not sufficiently value the sacrifices of front-line troops.
For Brian Jopek, whose 20-year-old son, Ryan, earned a Bronze Star when he was killed by a roadside kaboom in Iraq in 2006, the debate is intensely personal.
"To me it's just a slap in the face, not only for my son, me, other members of my family," Jopek, who also served in Iraq and is now a journalist in Wisconsin, told Rooters.
Highly decorated Infantry Advanced course students newly returned from Vietnam, some making trips to Martin Army Hospital for treatment of war wounds; week 12 or so of 26, handed Reduction in Force (RIF) letters informing them that had 90 days remaining on active duty. As nieve young basic course students, we all watched in disbelief.
The skill level on some of the pilots and gunners is extreme. You might be dealing with 3 or so seconds of latency which is hard to compensate for. Getting the mission completed takes more skill than piloting a plane from the cockpit would.
It depends whether you think the medals should be for merit, or for taking risks?
It depends whether you think the medals should be for merit, or for taking risks?
We have badges for skill - paratroopers have different badges depending on skill. We could do the same thing for drone pilots.
The idea of giving this a higher precedence than the silver star is absurd.
Posted by: Frozen Al ||
We've had truck drivers who've had their vehicle blown out from under them get less than a bronze star, why should the jockeys back in the states get something more?
As Al points out, we have proficiency badges for jumpers with accoutrements so they tell whether the individual just past school or did combat jumps.
There are existing medals that can fill the function if they'd quit using them as 'end of tour' awards and use them as impact awards instead. Just add a new device [service term for a modification to an award ribbon*], to signify a difference.
* ie - oak leaf cluster (bronze and silver), 'V', numerals, etc
Police catches nude men and women
Daily Nawa-e-Waqt reports that Peerwadai Police raided Biradari Hotel in Rawalpindi and placed in durance vile Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! four nude women and two men. Police have started the paperwork but haven't done much else against them under Hudood Laws.
Cleric kept Jhang safe from Shias
Daily Islam reports that Maulana Esaar Qasmi, a religious leader and also a parliamentarian, used to guard the streets of Jhang in the night to monitor the activities of Shias. He was assassinated on Jan 10, 1991. His mission of declaring Shias non-Moslems will not stop.
'Sheikhul Islam' is a joke
Famous columnist Attaul Haq Qasmi writes that he is not an admirer of Tahirul Qadri, and refers to him as Sheikhul Islam not out of respect but to make fun of him. Every Pak writer calls Qadri Sheikhul Islam out of jest.
Judge wanted cybersex with litigant
Reported in daily Islam, a senior civil judge of Faisalabad ...formerly known as Lyallpur, the third largest metropolis in Pakistain, the second largest in Punjab after Lahore. It is named after some Arab because the Paks didn't have anybody notable of their own to name it after... has been made OSD for sexually harassing a woman whose case was pending in his court. He would call the lady in the night and force her to have cybersex with him. The woman approached the Lahore High Court and the action was taken.
Tahirul Qadri is a friend of Hindus
Daily Ummat says that Tahirul Qadri is a friend of the Hindus. In India, he made speeches on the blessings of Geeta. He was also a special guest of the terrorist Narendar Modi in February 2012. In a live TV program, he held Geeta in his hands and spoke about its blessings continuously for two hours.
Sherry Rehman won't come back
Daily Islam claims that Ambassador Sherry Rehman has sought a political asylum in the US. She fears for her life and won't return to Pakistain.
Bridegrooms of Delhi
Daily Ausaf quotes Prof Abdur Rehman Makki as saying that Delhi will be adorned like a bride very soon. Mujahideen will conquer the city and enslave Hindu women. He said that he needed 10,000 hands to defeat the Indian army in the Occupied Kashmire.
No Taliban in Karachi
Reported in Ausaf, Allama Shah Owais Noorani, senior vice president of Jamaat Ulema-e-Pakistain Noorani Group, said there are no Taliban in Bloody Karachi. Taliban control 80% of Afghanistan. They can occupy Bloody Karachi any time they want but they will not do it because they are Pakistain's friends. Some groups are using the name of the Taliban to extort money in Bloody Karachi.
Agents selling votes in tribal areas
Daily Mashriq reports that votes are being auctioned in the tribal areas. The rate is between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000. The condition is that the selling agent must have at least 500 votes. The newspaper urges the Election Commission to take action.
Jihad will disintegrate La Belle France
Shamim Akhtar predicts in daily Islam that after the UK, the USSR and the US, another superpower is going to disintegrate. La Belle France has entered Mali without learning any lessons from Afghanistan, and very soon it will break apart with the power of jihad.
Why must a journalist be secular?
In his column in Jang, famous news hound Ansar Abbasi responded to criticism by his former boss and veteran journalist M Ziauddin, who had reportedly accused him of believing he was the 'sole proprietor' of Islam.
Abbasi said he was an honest journalist and could never be influenced by anyone. He took pride in being an Islamist. Why must a journalist be secular?
Protect Paks, not Shahrukh Khan
Religious figure Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi advises Hafiz Muhammad Saeed ...who would be wearing a canvas jacket with very long sleeves anyplace but Pakistain... in Ausaf that instead of inviting Shahrukh Khan to come to Pakistain and providing him Jamatud Dawa's protection, he should protect Pak citizens who are being killed every day.
CEC doesn't want to annoy MQM
Daily Ummat reports that chief election commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim is not involving the army in the verification of voter lists at the behest of the MQM, because he belongs to the Bohra community. The Bohra community is a recent target of sectarian violence. Only MQM can provide them protection. Therefore he does not want to annoy the MQM.
Ban on Turkish plays will not help Pak dramas
Writer and intellectual Amar Jalees wrote in Jang that Pak filmmakers and artists persuaded President Ayub Khan in the 1960s to ban Indian films in Pakistain. At that time there were 2,000 cinemas in Pakistain. The local film industry was producing only 20 films per year. Then, holy mans demanded that English films should also be banned because they promote obscenity. They were banned too. As a result, a majority of cinemas were converted into shopping plazas. More than 100,000 families lost their livelihood. The Pak film industry did not benefit from these decisions. Today, Pakistain does not even produce two films per year.
Pak drama industry will suffer the same fate if the producers and artists persuade the government to ban Turkish dramas. They should not be afraid of competition, and must improve their production.
Pak drama industry
I knew it, I just knew it. But would they listen? No. I told ya back in '04 that the Paks had a rapidly evolving Drama Industry, but did they listen? No! All the pre-cursor signs were there, eye-rolling, frantic hand gestures at odd times, strangely sculpted teefs, C4 and a thriving cross-border goat industry. It was all there, it was just a matter of connecting the dots. But did they listen? NO!
But is was a long time ago....
Things were different then.
A car bomb was a Pinto.
We had Kodachrome then....
[Dawn] As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan for the second time, Pakistain is looking for a role in Afghan politics once again. This time, though, it's putting its eggs in more than one basket.
Reports of Islamabad attempting to control proxies in Afghanistan are nothing new. For decades Pakistain has been involved in power politics next door, from supporting the mujahideen against the Soviets and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ... who used to be known in intelligence circles as The Most Evil Man in the World but who now seems merely run-of-the-mill evil... and the Taliban against the Northern Alliance to allowing Mullah Omar ... a minor Pashtun commander in the war against the Soviets who made good as leader of the Taliban. As ruler of Afghanistan, he took the title Leader of the Faithful. The imposition of Pashtunkhwa on the nation institutionalized ignorance and brutality in a country already notable for its own fair share of ignorance and brutality... 's presence in Pakistain and arresting Afghan Taliban who could have facilitated intra-Afghan reconciliation talks.
But conversations with senior Pak security officials and security and foreign policy analysts indicate that as the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan draws closer, direct and more active contact has been established not just with the Mullah Omar-led Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, but also with members of the former Northern Alliance.
These contacts are a last-minute bid to prevent even more instability this side of the border and seem designed to indicate to the Taliban and the United States that Pakistain supports an intra-Afghan rather than a fundamentalist Islamist government in Kabul.
The conversations revealed that the Pak military now prefers a coalition government in Kabul to Taliban rule, making communication with multiple groups essential preparation for the uncertain post-2014 political scenario. A Taliban administration is considered a risky option carrying the potential for both civil war in Afghanistan and new safe havens there for Pak thugs, and the best-case scenario is seen as being a loose federation of autonomous regions with a coalition set-up at the centre.
That thinking would indicate a move away from the state's policy of banking on the Taliban as the primary, if unreliable, ally in Afghanistan. "The shift came about when it became clear that 2014 was a genuine deadline," says former foreign secretary Najmuddin Sheikh.
But direct contact with multiple Afghan groups has not openly been admitted to despite increased public activity on the reconciliation front, including Pakistain's release of Taliban prisoners and the Chequers summit last week where the Pak and Afghan presidents and military and intelligence chiefs indicated a six-month timeframe for a "peace settlement" but provided no further details about a desired political outcome.
And while in public the Taliban have said they are only willing to talk to the United States, Pak security officials tell Dawn the cut-throats are open to talking to the northern, non-Pakhtun leaders, their traditional rivals, as the Western withdrawal draws closer.
Pakistain's outreach, which adds to the publicly known reconciliation efforts facilitated to various degrees by several countries including the Afghan government, the United States, Germany, Japan and La Belle France, is unlikely to sit well with President Karzai.
These separate strands of talks came about, according to Mr Sheikh, because international donors and Isaf members were eager to "get out with some honour" long before the US decided it made sense to talk to the Taliban. But he points out that Mr Karzai has felt sidelined by these efforts and wants his government to be considered the sole Afghan interlocutor.
In Pakistain, though, domestic instability has changed views, says Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser at the United States Institute of Peace, a Washington-based think tank. The security establishment "wants to get the Taliban back into Afghanistan in an inclusive reconciliation and power-sharing process," he says. "They don't want to attack Taliban sanctuaries or give the Taliban power. This has been the policy for some time, and other countries are now moving closer to Pakistain's game plan."
The Pak strategy is in part driven by the belief that both the Taliban and the northern leaders remain formidable groups.
Pak intelligence estimates that the Afghan Taliban are a well-organised force of 40,000-50,000 fighters grouped into thug, political and finance wings with significant funding from the narcotics trade and extortion along transport routes in their areas.
But the northern leaders are also financially strong and highly motivated, controlling a wide expanse of land and commanding the support of several different ethnic groups. Leaving the two to divvy up power in Afghanistan would be a recipe for another bloody civil war.
According to Pak security officials, December's intra-Afghan talks outside Gay Paree -- which included representatives from the Taliban, the government, and, significantly, members of the former Northern Alliance -- were particularly important in terms of demonstrated Taliban willingness to consider a coalition and put forward specific demands related to such a set-up.
It remains, unclear, though, how Mullah Omar's status in the eyes of the Taliban as Amirul Momineen, the leader of the Moslem ummah, could be reconciled with a power-sharing system.
Other well-known challenges remain, including the extent to which various factions and commanders within the Taliban, including Mullah Omar, agree on talks, let alone the notion of sharing power. They are also unlikely to accept even the residual American presence in Afghanistan that Washington and Kabul are negotiating. And the long-standing rivalry between the Taliban and the former Northern Alliance could scuttle any power-sharing agreement. For this reason, Pakistain's preferred post-2014 scenario also includes a complete American withdrawal and a regional understanding in which neighbours, particularly Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, agree not to play favourites in Afghanistan.
In one example of the fears about rivals next door, the security establishment appears to believe that Iran has spread its influence beyond the Persian-speaking Herat ...a venerable old Persian-speaking city in western Afghanistan, populated mostly by Tadjiks, which is why it's not as blood-soaked as areas controlled by Pashtuns... region and is simultaneously supporting the Taliban with arms, safe havens and support for the narcotics trade as a way to get America out of the region, maintain its own influence in Afghanistan and contain that of Pakistain, which it sees as being too accommodating of American demands.
Journalist and Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid cautions that talk of a coalition set-up is premature. "The Pak military is now interested in a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan. But the talks are very far from anything like that," he says, adding that they are still at the stage of trying to agree on confidence building measures. He also points to significant roadblocks and open questions. "The Taliban say they won't talk to Karzai. They are opposed to a residual US force. And what about the upcoming elections? Can power-sharing be worked out before then?"
Pakistain may be interested in a coalition government next door, but whether the Taliban are interested in sharing power is another matter altogether. And if they aren't, the consequences for Pakistain's security situation could be disastrous.
Continued on Page 49
[Dawn] Three members of the minority Hazara community were rubbed out in Quetta on Thursday. This, barely a week after two brothers were targeted in the same city. Ridiculous. What obligation does a state have to ensure the safety of its citizens?
The second and third weeks of November saw an attack on the Shia Hazaras every other day.
While the Human Rights Commission of Pakistain has stated that more than 800 Hazaras have been killed since 2001, the figure must surely have gone up given the increasing number of attacks. As it is, around 112 people have been killed and more than 148 Hazaras were maimed in 58 incidents in 2012 alone.
Majority of the concerned parties remain aloof to the situation in Pakistain, with the perpetrators of this violence roaming freely. Amidst an increasing sense of insecurity among the members of Hazara community in Quetta, human rights When they're defined by the state or an NGO they don't mean much... groups and Hazara diaspora have been busy raising the issue in the West.
At a recent conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden aimed at highlighting the "genocide of Hazaras in Pakistain," more than 200 people were in attendance, including human rights activists and members of civil society.
Historian, writers and rights activists spoke at the conference including Ali Dayan Hassan of Human Rights Watch ... dedicated to bitching about human rights violations around the world... and Professor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed of Stockholm University.
"The Human Rights Watch believes that Hazara face a double jeopardy due to their sect and ethnicity. This has created a sense of extreme insecurity among the Hazara community, particularly in the city of Quetta," Hassan said, while speaking to the conference via a video link.
Blaming the state's inability to deal with the problem, Hassan said: "A third of all Shias killed in Pakistain over last one year are Hazara. Such a disproportionately high number of such a small community has been targeted repeatedly and with impunity."
While the human rights situation in Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... has been deteriorating over the years, the rights watch group's official said "militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ... a 'more violent' offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistain. LeJ's purpose in life is to murder anyone who's not of utmost religious purity, starting with Shiites but including Brelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Rosicrucians, and just about anyone else you can think of. They are currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda ... target Shias across Pakistain and Hazaras in particular."
He said it were the same cut-thoat groups that attacked Hazaras in Mazara-e-Sharif of Afghanistan in late 1990s as well and "have found safe haven in Quetta and target the Hazara community."
See REALTED DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > [Farsi News AGNECY = FNA] IRANIAN MP CRITICIZES ISLAMABAD'S WEAKNESS [negligence] IN PROTECTING PAKISTANI SHIITES.
Iran MP Monadi claims that negligence on the part of Pakistan's Govt. is all but allowing violent, anti-Shia, Pak Sunni hardliners seemingly effortless ability to harass, persecute, + miurder Pak Shias in an attempt to change the demographic patterns of Pak Society to the detriment or loss of Shias.
[Dawn] With peace talks with the Pak Taliban on the agenda, newly-appointed Khyber Pakthunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan does not plan to shy away from the traditional tribal jirga system as a platform for dialogue.
The media's focus on him is not without reason -- Khan is the first civilian from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to be appointed governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... in Pakistain's restive northwest.
Listing peace as his top priority, Khan is in favour of talks with the Taliban even if they are unwilling to lay down their arms, citing tribal customs.
"I believe the grinding of the peace processor is heading in a successful direction. I would be willing to take on any task to hold peace talks with the cut-thoats," he said. "Peace is our priority and we shall go for it."
At the age of 42, Khan, who hails from an influential family of Nawagai in Bajaur Agency, aka Turban Central ...Smallest of the agencies in FATA. The Agency administration is located in Khar. Bajaur is inhabited almost exclusively by Tarkani Pashtuns, which are divided into multiple bickering subtribes. Its 52 km border border with Afghanistan's Kunar Province makes it of strategic importance to Pakistain's strategic depth... , is the youngest among his predecessors to have governed the region, hit badly by militancy and unrest.
The engineer, with a political background, is well accustomed to politics in Pakistain's tribal areas.
A graduate of the University of Engineering and Technology in Taxila, Khan first contested and lost the NA-43 Bajaur Agency seat in the 2002 elections. However, if you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning... he won the same seat in the 2008 elections as an independent, and was made Federal Minister for Sports. He was later nominated Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions.
His family's political legacy is also impressive: his father, Bismillah Khan, had twice won the NA seat from Bajaur Agency, while his elder brother, Hidayatullah Khan, is a senator.
Now, with dialogue between the government and the Taliban becoming a greater possibility, the governor's appointment is considered the key to success.
The governor believes that the traditional tribal jirga, which equally allows for negotiations with or without guns, is the best way to resolve the longstanding conflict between Islamic fascistiand the Pak government and military.
"If we go by tribal bylaws of resolving conflict, we should be holding peace talks whether one does or does not lay down arms. There is no bar on it," he said.
"I believe first we have to kick start the process. Then we shall discuss the conditions, as in the tribal way to resolving disputes, you may not start with pre-conditions or guarantees," he explains. "When you start talking, then you enter the next phase of guarantees."
[Dawn] Pressure from Pakhtun rustics has forced the Pak Taliban to seek a negotiated settlement of their war with the Pak military, says a Washington Post report published on Friday.
The report describes Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain as a "fractured and cash-strapped", group which is losing support of local rustics frustrated by a protracted war..
TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud recently offered to start peace talks with the government, raising the prospect of a negotiated end to Pakistain's war against bad turbans.
After interviewing analysts, Fata residents and turban experts, the Post concluded that Mehsud heads a narrow network of faceless myrmidons who often have links to criminal gangs and have only limited influence in a vast tribal region.
The report calls TTP a collection of "scores of bad turban groups led by commanders with disparate agendas and varying loyalties".
But the Post warns that Mehsud's offer to talk peace may be "an attempt to regain stature, silence critics and gain concessions from a weak government heading into nationwide elections".
The report points out that some of Mehsud's most powerful commanders have broken away and set up their own fiefdoms in other parts of the tribal area.
Besides thousands of Pak Taliban and local rustics, Mehsud also has a large number of imported muscle, including Uzbeks and other Central Asians.
The foreigners are "mostly disliked by local residents" who also have started voicing their frustration with the war which has forced thousands of rustics from their homes. Many people in Fata see Mehsud's Taliban as killers and criminals.
"The TTP in North Wazoo is looking for talks because it is losing the support of the local people," an Islamabad-based think-tank, Fata Research Centre, told the Post.
"They are weak, there is infighting," FRC director Mansour Mehsud said. They used to have the support of most people but not anymore," said Mansour Mehsud. "People used to think that they would bring justice based on the holy Koran but instead fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people."
He said the Pak Taliban also were running out of money and that extortion and kidnappings had become one of their biggest sources of income.
A wealthy trader living on the edge of the tribal area, who was afraid of giving his name because he feared retribution, told the Post the Taliban swindled thousands of dollars from him.
He said he was threatened, his family was terrorized and then a bomb went kaboom! at his home, seriously wounding his niece.
Commenting on the TTP's peace offer, the Post notes that "in brazen disregard for Pak law, the video in which they offered peace talks featured convicted killer Adnan Rashid, who beat feet from death row during a jailbreak by the Taliban last year," the report points out.
[Dawn] The paramedical staff in Bajaur Agency, aka Turban Central ...Smallest of the agencies in FATA. The Agency administration is located in Khar. Bajaur is inhabited almost exclusively by Tarkani Pashtuns, which are divided into multiple bickering subtribes. Its 52 km border border with Afghanistan's Kunar Province makes it of strategic importance to Pakistain's strategic depth... on Friday announced to boycott the coming polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... campaign in the region in protest against the World Health Organisation officials' alleged misbehaviour.
The announcement was made after a meeting of Bajaur Paramedical Association here.
BPA chairman Ghulam Hazrat chaired the meeting, where office-bearers of the association and senior staff of the local health deportment also showed up.
Participants showed concern over the WHO officials' alleged misbehaviour with paramedical staff in the region and decided that paramedics would not take part in the polio drive beginning on Monday (Feb 18).
"We condemn the misbehaviour of our colleagues by the WHO officials and our boycott of polio activities will continue until they are not transferred from the agency," Mr Ghulam Hazrat said.
He said paramedics were the backbone of health services, especially polio vaccination, and that they always did their job with commitment.
"We are not ready to take part in the upcoming polio activities in the agency under the command of Dr Shaukat and Dr Sher Khan from WHO," he added.
Mr Ghulam Hazrat said the local administration, health department and WHO would be to blame if paramedics boycotted polio vaccination and therefore, they all needed to properly address the matter without delay.
"We have already informed all the people concerned about our boycott," he said.
Local health officials have expressed concern ...meaning the brow was mildly wrinkled, the eyebrows drawn slightly together, and a thoughtful expression assumed, not that anything was actually done or indeed that any thought was actually expended... about the paramedics' decision, which, they said, would have negative bearing on vaccination.
"The decision of boycotting polio campaign by paramedical staff is a matter of serious concern for us because the health deportment can't run the campaign without their," an official said.
The official said around 224,690 children in the region could be adversely affected if polio campaign was not carried out.
Meanwhile, ...back at the Esquimeau village Jack was learning how to rub noses with Nootka's wife...... an official of the local administration said the administration had taken note of the matter and was trying to convince paramedics to review their decision.
He said if paramedics didn't take part in the vaccination campaign, then strict action would be taken against them.
* DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > IRAN PLANS TO BUILD NAVY BASE NEAR PAKISTAN COAST | [Farsi News Agency = FNA] IRAN BUILDING NAVY BASE ALONG SOUTHEASTERN COASTS.
* RELATED WAFF >[Yahoo News] IRAN PLANS TO ESTABLISH NEW NAVY BASE.
Outside of Persian Gulf in Sea of Oman/Arabian Gulf in Pasabandar.
Iran Navy seeks to develop Makkan Coasts which it historically had ignored or underutilized.
IMO more indication that Iran's anti-USN, anti-Aircraft Carrier strategeery is too contain or isolate any US or US-led intervening = invasion? forces to outside the Persian Gulf AMAP ALAP where they can be attacked by Iran's LR Conventional Airpower + LRBMS [TLCMS, SCUDS, DF-21's or Copy]. DESPITE THEIR PAST RHETORIC TO THE CONTRARY, IRAN'S MULLAHS WOULD LIKE THEIR ANTI-INVASION/GROUND WAR "LAST-RESORT" OPTION OF DETONATING NUKES-WMDS ON IRANIAN SOIL DOESN'T OCCUR AMAP ALAP.
By the same token, its prolly safe to say that in any US-Iran war, the USN Fifth Fleet Base, HQ at Bahrain will Iran's first target in Preemptive or Conventional, Limited TacNuke? "First-Strike"???
* PRESSTV > IRAN WARSHIPS TO DOCK IN CHINESE PORTS: NAVY COMMANDER.
Straits of Malaccas + prob HAINAN andor SHANGHAI - Hong Kong? Macau?
TURKEY + PAKISTAN NAVIES???
* SAME > PAKISTANI PORT[Gwadar]INTEGRAL TO CHINA'S MARITIME EXPANSION.
Broadly true asper China's influence in Indian Ocean + IOR Trade, but we must remember that in China's = Beijing's mind IT WON'T MEAN ANYTHING WIDOUT THEIR DE FACTO CONTROL OF TAIWAN UP IN NE ASIA. China's "post-US", future "World #1", "Manifest Destiny" + its "String of Pearls/Turtles of War" strategy is based on their control of Taiwan.
TAIWAN = APEX/TIP OF THEIR TAIWAN-HAINAN-GWADAR GEOPOL TRIANGLE. NO TAIWAN = NO POST-US
"MANIFEST DESTINY" FOR CHINA, at least for most or all of the 21st century.
WID REUNIFICATION WID TAIWAN STALLED, THAT MOVES THE ISSUE OF WHOM CONTROLS TAIWAN MORE TO THE MILITARY SIDE, VIA ACT OF WAR.
[An Nahar] Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri stated on Saturday that those "protecting the killers of late PM Rafik Hariri have no right to talk about his history".
Hariri's Twitter statement came as a response to Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's Saturday speech during which he said the late PM was supportive of the party's arms until "peace was reached in the Middle East".
"Hariri had told me he would resign from the premiership to avoid being in conflict with Hizbullah," Nasrallah stated during the commemoration of the party's "martyr leaders".
Hizbullah's leader lashed out at Saad Hariri, accusing him of trying to strike a settlement over backing him for the premiership.
He revealed: "You proposed to neutralize the arms of the resistance if we agreed to support you as a premier".
"We will not support you because we want a president who is present in Lebanon," he expressed.
Referring to Hizbullah's controversial arsenal of weapons, Hariri had said on Thursday during the March 14 commemoration of late PM Hariri that "today, every Lebanese is able to see that the problem is not a fatal mistake in (the Bekaa town of) Arsal, the problem lies in fatal weapons widespread across Lebanon, because there is a mini-state more powerful than the state.
Hariri had also addressed the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, saying: "But is it possible that Hizbullah continues to bury its head in the sand and refuses to see the state of anxiety, alienation and division that exists in the Islamic arena as a result of its refusal to hand over the suspects. Is it possible that Hizbullah refuses until now to hand over the accused in the assassination attempt against (MP) Butros Harb?"
Four Hizbullah members have been named suspects by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Beirut truck bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others on Feb. 14 , 2005.