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Central line Tube train on Monday 23 January. ‘Woodhouse has been remanded in custody and will next appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 8 February 2012.’ The seven minute video was uploaded onto YouTube on 24 January, after another passenger filmed the outburst on a mobile phone the day before.

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‘Train Racist Rant’
Romford Woman Charged
One victim Pakistani Boy responded with smile and said Pakistan Zindabad and jiay Mutehida

Police have charged Jacqueline Woodhouse, 42, of Romford with racially aggravated common assault and a racially aggravated public order offence . ‘This is in relation to an incident on board a

Sir Alex Ferguson calls for a tough line against racism

UK Weather Warning: More snow at the weekend
Snow and -10C temperatures to hit UK

With some in football seemingly wanting to brush the issue of racism under the carpet, it is good to see Sir Alex Ferguson not only address the issue, but wanting to take firm stance against it. The Manchester United manager spoke ahead of his team’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday.

This will be the first league meeting between the two sides since Liverpool’s Luis Suarez served an eight-match ban for racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra back in October. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has told CNN that football must eradicate all forms of racism, following recent high-

profile incidents in England which have brought the matter back into sharp focus. One of Ferguson’s own players, France left-back Patrice Evra, was at the center of an incident last October which saw Liverpool’s Uruguay striker Luis Suarez banned eight matches for using Continued on page 2 >>

Forecasters are warning that the UK could face snow and freezing temperatures until the beginning of March. London can expect more snow on Thursday night and severe night time frosts throughout the end of the week. Forecasters predict up to 6cm of Continued on page 2 >>

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NEWS Sir Alex Ferguson calls for a tough line against racism

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

UK Weather Warning: More snow at the weekend
Continued from page 1 >> snow in the Midlands and East Anglia by Friday. The colder of Britain’s two contending weather fronts has established a grip on the eastern half of the country, with temperatures falling to lows below -10C overnight and fresh snow likely before the weekend. Severe weather alerts for ice are in force along the entire North Sea coast and stretching inland as far as the Pennines, Birmingham, Oxford and Hampshire, which mark the border with the warmer west. • Up to half an inch of snow could fall at Heathrow airport this weekend raising risk of fresh disruption • Boy, 10, collapses and dies while building a snowman with friends in Castleford, West Yorkshire • Temperatures down to -9C with 6cm of snow predicted for Friday • 100 per cent probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday morning.

Continued from page 1 >> racist language. Chelsea’s John Terry has also been removed as England captain ahead of his July trial for alleged racial abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October -- a charge he denies. said he did not understand why racism in football had once again reared its head. “I’ve had some fantastic black players, absolutely magnificent black players,

and every one I’ve enjoyed my working relationship with them. So I don’t understand where it’s coming from to be honest with you. I don’t understand it at all,” he said in a CNN interview at the Laureus Sports Awards. Sir Alex Ferguson said “This is a moment where we have to take stock. I think they should do something about it if it’s surfacing again and really be hard and firm on any shape or form of racism.”

India aid to continue: U.K.
Prime Minister David Cameron has re-affirmed Britain’s decision to continue its aid programme to India, amidst a row sparked by some ruling Conservative MPs demanding an end to it, and reports that India did not need it. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “We have reviewed our aid commitments to India. We
Publisher Salah Bu Khamas (UAE) Sabha Khan (UK) UK Office 10 Courtenay Road, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 7ND UK Phone: +44 20 8904 0619 Fax: +44 20 8181 7575 info@satribune.co.uk India Office Satya Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. C/O Satya Group. 1st Floor, Avenue Appt., Near Sheth. R. J. J. High School, Tithal Road, Valsad - 396001 Gujarat, India Phone +91 2632 222209 / 222211 Fax: +91 2632 222212 Post Box No. 98 /108 United Arab Emirates Office S.K. Group of Companies P.O. Box 9021, Karama Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 2659970, 3359929; Fax: +971 4 2659971, 3341609 www.sk-groupofcompanies.com Managing Editor & CEO Mohammad Shahid Khan Group Editorial Managers Gulzar Khan (India) Abdul Khalique (Pakistan) Editorial Board UK Frances Brunner FYI Tribune team Adrian Fellar Misbah Khan Reema Shah Rohma Khan Keziah-Ann Abakah Art Department UK Ali Ansar (Art Director) Md. Reazul Islam

continue to think it is right to stick to those aid commitments. We continue to provide aid to India, but we focus it on the three poorest states.” He added, “The reason we are doing that is because a huge number of the poorest people in the world live in these states. The Government has always been very clear about sticking to its aid commitments and the fact that it would not balance the books on the backs of the poorest people in the world. It

is going to stick to that.” International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell on Monday defended the aid, and said, “We will not be in India for ever but now is not the time to quit. Our completely revamped programme is in India’s and Britain’s national interest and is a small part of a much wider relationship between our two countries“. He, however, added, “We are changing our approach to India. We will target aid at three of India’s

poorest states, rather than central Government. We will invest more in the private sector, with our aid programme having some of the characteristics of a sovereign wealth fund.” International aid is among few areas that have not been subjected to deep funding cuts by the economically-strapped David Cameron government, which has faced much ridicule and more for continuing to send aid to an increasingly prosperous India.

Mind control could be future of warfar
Wars of the future might be decided through manipulation of people’s minds, concludes a report this week from the UK’s Royal Society. It warns that the potential military applications of neuroscience breakthroughs need to be regulated more closely. “New imaging technology will allow new targets in the brain to be identified, and while some will be vital for medicine, others might be used to incapacitate people,” says Rod Flower of Queen Mary, University of London, who chairs the panel that wrote the report. The report describes how such technology is allowing organisations like the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to test ways of improving soldiers’ mental alertness and capabilities. It may also allow soldiers to operate weaponry remotely through mind-machine interfaces, the report says. Other research could be used to design gases and electronics that temporarily disable enemy forces. This potentially violates human rights, through interference with thought processes, and opens up the threat of indiscriminate killing. The panel highlights the time that Russian security forces ended a hostage siege in a Moscow theatre in 2002 by filling the venue with fentanyl, an anaesthetic gas. Along with the perpetrators, 125 hostages died. The Chemical Weapons Convention is vague about whether such incapacitants are legal. Ambiguities like this must be ironed out, say the panellists.

Keith Vaz to visit India to repair relations
During his visit from February 11 to 17, Vaz will meet the Bidves on his arrival on Saturday in Mumbai and later visit New Delhi. He had already met the Bidve family in the UK, when they had gone there to claim Anuj’s body in the first week of January. Vaz will also hand over donations from the Anuj Bidve Memorial Fund to the Bidve family on Saturday, said the official mail from Vaz’s office. When contacted, Rakesh Sonawane, Anuj’s brother-in-law said, “Anuj’s father Subhash, mother Yogini, sister Nehal and I will meet Vaz in Mumbai at a hotel near the

British member of parliament Keith Vaz is to meet the family members of Anuj Bidve, the engineering student from Pune who was killed in Manchester city last December. The meeting will take place on February 11. An e-mail communication from Vaz,

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who is chairman of the home affairs committee, said that he would be visiting India to ‘repair relations’ following Anuj’s murder. The mail also stated that Vaz was ‘keen to encourage Indian students to study in the UK’ and strengthen the relations between the two countries. Anuj was doing an MS in Microelectronics course at Lancaster University, when he was killed.

international airport. We have already been informed about the visit. Vaz had helped us during our visit to the UK.” The UK government, especially the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had faced criticism when Anuj’s family learnt of the attack on him and his death through Facebook posts. Two officials from the GMP had later visited the Bidve family in Pune.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

NEWS

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60 years ago that Her Majesty ascended to the throne
A THUNDERING 21 gun salute was fired at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport this Monday to mark 60 years since the Queen came to the throne. Royal Navy gunners fired the 19th century saluting gun at noon to commemorate the anniversary of King George VI’s death. Queen Elizabeth on Monday marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the British throne with lodge in Kenya, taking the throne at 25 years old. In a statement from Buckingham Palace this morning, Her Majesty said: ‘Today, as I mark 60 years as your Queen, I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Philip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to receive throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth. ‘I hope also that this Jubilee year the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth. DRESSED in a sumptuous white gown and adorned with glittering jewels, the Queen presents an image of regal finery in two new photographs released today to mark reach the balcony overlooking The Mall. As the Queen reached the milestone of 60 years on the throne, she issued a heartfelt message renewing her pledge to serve the nation and its people. “In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness,” she said. The words echo her famous commitment on her 21st birthday, when she vowed: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” The 85-year-old monarch thanked all those who had given “wonderful support and encouragement” to her and the Duke of Edinburgh over the past six decades. And she said she and Prince Philip had been “deeply moved” by the many kind messages they had received about her 60-year milestone.

a message of thanks to her subjects in which the 85-year-old monarch declared: ‘I dedicate myself anew to your service.’ On February 6, 1952, King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham aged 56. Princess Elizabeth was informed of her father’s death while on holiday at the Royal hunting

so many kind messages about the Diamond Jubilee. ‘In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see

will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart as we join together in our celebrations. I send my sincere good wishes to you all.’ Around 100 people watched the gun salute at the entrance of Portsmouth Harbour from across the water at

her diamond jubilee. A full-length portrait features the Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, who wears his military uniform, medals and honours, while a second photograph has the Queen on her own. Both were taken in December in Buckingham Palace’s famous centre room, used by the Royal Family to

Britain set for more snow at the weekend amid fears for the great half-term getaway
• Up to half an inch of snow could fall at Heathrow airport this weekend raising risk of fresh disruption • Temperatures set to plummet to -13C. • Drivers are being urged to watch out for icy conditions and freezing fog on the roads with temperatures forecast to drop to as low as -10C in parts of England later. Reported daily mail. weekend, recording 16cm (6in). The thick blanket of snow that fell over parts of the UK caused major travel disruption, with Heathrow Airport axing half of all flights on Sunday night. The RAC has reported the busiest February weekend in its history, with 41% more calls than usual. The worst-affected area was Devon and Cornwall which had twice the usual number of call-outs. The South of England had 80% more The cold conditions look set to stay until the weekend with sub-zero temperatures making travelling hazardous for drivers and adding to air and rail travel delays. The Met Office has issued six severe weather alerts warning people to be aware of ice on untreated roads and pavements across much of northern, central and eastern England. The Highways Agency have confirmed that gritters were sent out to treat and clear roads in eastern areas on Monday night and during the early hours of Tuesday. The icy spell has seen daytime temperatures dipping four or five degrees lower than average for February, which is traditionally the coldest month of the year. Church Fenton in North Yorkshire saw the biggest snowfall over the breakdowns than usual and the West Midlands and Wales had 65% more. A 25-mile (40km) long section of the A1 northbound was closed for a number of hours on Monday morning after a series of crashes between Allerton Park, near York, and the Catterick area. Britain’s big freeze shows little sign of relenting with sub-zero temperatures set to bring more misery to commuters up and down the country in the coming days.

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

EDITORIAL
BAN NEGATIVE REPORTING OF ISLAM
Why is Islam being demonized more these days?
Muslims are being demonized all over the world. The so-called Islamic Jihadists are the main factor. People like from Osama Bin Laden, to Abu Qatada , Omer Bakri, Abu Hamza, Aswat or Al-Muhajiroun, Hizb Tahrir or Banned Muslims Against Crusades are who are a minority and double agents but they give all of mainstream British Muslims a bad name.. Too many critics of Islam, including atheists, fail to appreciate just how diverse and varied Islam can be. There are things you can say that apply to all or most Muslims, as is the case with Christianity, but there are many more things which only apply to some or a few Muslims. This is especially true when it comes to Muslim extremism because Wahhabi Islam, the primary religious movement behind extremist Islam, includes beliefs and doctrines not found elsewhere. It would be a mistake and unethical to criticize all of Islam on the basis of doctrines particular to Wahhabi Muslims. That Demonization hides a far more sinister strategy of a never ending resource war on the people of the world including the citizens of the US and the UK. The specious Global War on Terror (GWOT) hides the rapid erosion of basic rights guaranteed to people by their respective constitutions, international charters, treaties and conventions. What is being done to innocent Muslims everywhere an extension of the same phony GWOT. The civil society demands immediate stop to this Demonization. The 1997 Runnymede Trust report entitled ‘Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All’ stated that fundamental to Islamophobia is the attempt to depict Islam as being violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilizations. jihad, a word that translates into struggle and striving as being a religious war against the West(vi). This blatantly incorrect definition and explanation of jihad serves only to portray Islam as an agent for violence. There is a willful misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Islam that plays heavily on the post September 11 political climate. The violent actions of a minority of Muslims, to present a monolithic and demonic Islam that stands opposed to the West. Via constructed misrepresentations and knowledgeable ignorance, their writings distort the Islamic faith and present it as being a right wing political ideology akin to Nazism, Fascism and totalitarianism. Appearing before the Leveson Inquiry on January 24, Inayat Bunglawala said the amount of negative stories about Muslims in Britain is “demonizing” Islam and fuelling a “false narrative.” He called on the government to do all it can to “ensure a fairer portrayal, a more balanced portrayal of the faith of Islam” in the British media.

Raising the stakes on Iran
Israel and the United States, apparently acting in coordination with each other, raised the stakes at the regional poker table over the weekend. Obama blocks all Iranian assets held in US US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order to freeze all Iranian government assets held in the United States. A new executive order the president just signed puts a hold on all Iranian assets in the United States, including those of the country’s central bank, that blocks them from export, transfer, or any other movement, as part of a new round of sanctions by the government. Pentagon officials said that Israel has already started the countdown ahead of a military strike. American television contributed its part to reinforcing the above assessment by providing a description of the manner in which

foes alike that the United States was working in lockstep with Israel to solve the crisis, “hopefully diplomatically.” Iran strike will shock global economy “Whoever attacks Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is really making the decision to go to war with Iran,” former chief US negotiator at strategic arms reduction talks Richard Burt told reporters on Sunday on the sidelines of the 48th Munich Security Conference

Institution, also told Reuters that as a result of such attack, Iran will expel International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ending any possibility of a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue. “There is not a country on Earth that is going to blame them for doing that; they are all going to blame Israel. Once Iran is out of the NPT, the sanctions are

Israel is expected to strike Iran’s nuclear sites. It was a simple and logical operational account, Hollywood-style. It was so convincing in its simplicity that all that’s left was to ask when the show will get on the road. ‘Israeli attack will prompt Pakistani response’ !!! European diplomat based in Islamabad says Israeli strike would force Pakistan to support Iranian retaliation, while EU official says ‘political and economic consequences of attack would be catastrophic for Europe’ Israeli newspaper reported Monday. The diplomat’s statement raised the specter of putting a nuclear-armed Pakistan at odds with Israel, which is widely believed to have its own significant nuclear arsenal. Obama: Israel has not made decision on Iran attack, but it is rightly concerned U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Israel has not yet decided how to respond to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and said there was no evidence that Iran has the “intentions or capabilities” to wage attacks on U.S. soil. Asked in an NBC interview whether Israel was set to attack Iran, Obama said: “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program,” adding Israel is “rightly concerned” and the United States would work “in lockstep” on Iran. Obama says Israel and the US hope to solve to Iran nuke issue diplomatically. The president sought to assure allies and

(MSC) in Germany, a forum and a venue for the world’s thinkers and decisionmakers on security policy. The expert said a strike on Iran and Iran’s response, including attempts to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is vital for oil shipments, would lead to a sharp rise in oil prices that could seriously harm international economy. He said that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would entail a range of great, negative uncertainties adding, “This

gone,” he added. Meanwhile, Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at Washington’s Center for International and Strategic Studies, noted that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will only delay, not destroy, Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the “option” of a military strike, based on their allegation that Iran’s nuclear

is one reason why consistently the joint chiefs of staff of the uniformed military in the US do not like the idea of attacking Iran.” The expert stated that Israel must think long and hard before embarking on an attack because many suspect that it would spark a broader conflict and have wide-ranging and destabilizing consequences. For example, he noted, some regional powers aspiring nuclear weapons might respond to a strike on Iran by redoubling efforts to get the bomb as a deterrent. Ken Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings

program may include a covert military aspect. Iran vows to hit any country that stages attack A day after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s latest NATO missile shield remarks, a senior Iranian military commander said Iran will attack any country whose territory is used by “enemies” of the Islamic state to launch a military strike against its soil. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force, didn’t elaborate. His comments appeared to be a warning to Iran’s neighbors not to let their territory or airspace be used as

a base for an attack. “Any place where enemy offensive operations against the Islamic Republic of Iran originate will be the target of a reciprocal attack by the Guard’s fighting units,” the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Salami as saying today. The NATO missile shield program, the radars of which were installed at the Kürecik air base in Malatya in southeastern Turkey, will be commanded from the Alliance’s Ramstein Air Base, according to Panetta. Panetta reminded journalists at the conference that in addition to the radar station in Turkey, which has greatly disturbed neighboring Iran, missiles will be stationed in Romania and Poland. Four United States ships capable of shooting down missiles will be stationed at Rota, Spain, he said. The whole system will be managed from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who yesterday announced plans to visit the U.S. in March, said turmoil in neighboring Arab states and threats from Iran show that Israel must build up its military. Israeli leaders have been warning publicly that time is running out for a military strike that could stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. U.S. President Barack Obama said on NBC News yesterday that “our preferred solution is diplomatic but we’re not going to take any actions off the table.” “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do,” Obama told NBC. Obama said the two countries have “closer military and intelligence consultation than ever before” and “we are going to work in lockstep to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically.” Netanyahu will visit Washington in early March and speak at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, according to an announcement. French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a political journal that Iran may face military action by Israel if it doesn’t stop its threats and nuclear program. “We know that some in Israel are seriously considering” military intervention, Sarkozy said in an interview with the quarterly Politique Internationale published Sunday. “If Iran continues its senseless race to get the bomb and continues to threaten its neighbors, we are facing the risk of a military intervention,” he said.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

5 NEWS The Prince Saud now faces an international arrest warrant for ignoring the custody sentence.

French Jewish mother wins custody battle with Saudi prince
Saudi prince who ‘kidnapped their daughter and kept her in his palace for three years’ The Paris criminal court ordered Prince Sattam al-Saud from the kingdom’s founding royal family, to hand over custody of his daughter Aya to her French mother, Candice Cohen-Ahnine, and provide child support of €10,000 (£8,300) a month. The Telegraph reported that the Prince Saud now faces an international arrest warrant for ignoring the custody sentence. For the past three-and-a-half years, the prince has kept Aya in a Riyadh palace despite efforts by the French foreign ministry and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office to resolve the issue. But the French court ruling appears to have had no effect on the prince. “What do I care of Sarkozy?” he is cited as telling Nouvel Observateur magazine. “If need be, I’ll go like [Osama] bin Laden and hide in the mountains with Aya.” Miss Cohen-Ahnin, 34, and the prince met in London 14 years ago at Brown’s nightclub and their daughter was born in November 2001. According to report the couple was never married and their relationship ended when he offered to take her as his second (and simultaneous) wife. Sattam al-Saud tells the Telegraph, however that: Their relationship continued until 2006 when he allegedly announced that he was obliged to marry a cousin, but that she could be a second wife. She refused and they separated. Miss Cohen-Ahnine claimed that Miss Cohen-Ahnin was eventually spirited out of the country after the prince allegedly produced a document purporting that she had been Muslim but had converted to Judaism — a crime punishable by death. She said she was concerned about her daughter’s upbringing when sentence. Mrs Cohen-Ahnine said the court ruling was a “great victory for me and vindicates everything I have said … but I’m still very worried for my child’s future.” The prince denied ever having kidnapped the child or the mother. The prince said he would send under Saudi law “A foreign parent cannot take her or his children out of Saudi Arabia if the other parent is a Saudi national even if the foreigner has been granted custody rights.” This position is reiterated by the U.S. State Department which advises “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not a party to the Hague

her daughter was taken from her during a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2008 and that she was held in the prince’s palace where she had only fleeting meetings with her daughter. She said she managed to leave when a maid left her door open and she sought refuge in the French embassy.

she discovered Facebook photos of her in a niqab and playing with her father’s firearms. Despairing at the lack of diplomatic progress, she published Give My Daughter Back, a book recounting her ordeal, in October. Since the court ruling, the prince faces an international arrest warrant for ignoring the custody

lawyers to France to challenge the court decision but not his daughter. “France hasn’t got the right to take her back. She is a Saudi citizen and a princess. They cannot oblige a princess to leave this country,” he said. Digital Journal adds: International Family Law states that

Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.” Saudi law always favors a Muslim parent over a non-Muslim parent, and the family members of the father have more rights than a childs mother. So there is at least one Jewish princess in Saudi Arabia - who can never leave.

CIA to remain in Iraq, Afghanistan after Special ops could expand in Afghanistan troops’ withdrawal to protect US interests
responsibility over to a senior special operations officer as part of that evolution. McRaven said special operations would combine targeting and training operations this summer to prepare for a smaller overall U.S. presence, but he stressed that no final decisions had been made. “I have no doubt that special operations will be the last to leave Afghanistan,” McRaven told a Washington audience, though he said he did not expect their numbers to rise. “As far as anything beyond that, we’re exploring a lot of options,” he said. The White House is considering handing the entire Afghan campaign back to special operations forces — an evolution expected to stretch well past the drawdown of most conventional NATO troops in 2014, according to multiple officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the still-evolving plans.

Adm. Bill McRaven said Tuesday that special operations forces in Afghanistan are preparing for a possible expanded role as overall U.S. forces begin to draw down after a decade of war. McRaven, the special operations commander who led last year’s Navy SEAL raid against Osama bin Laden, confirmed that special operations forces would be the last to leave under the Obama administration’s current plan, and that the Pentagon is considering handing more of the Afghan war

The Central Intelligence Agency is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan after the withdrawal of conventional U.S. troops as part of the Obama administration plan to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two war zones, U.S. officials have said. CIA stations in Kabul and Baghdad are likely to remain the agency’s largest overseas outposts for years, The Washington Post reports. U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven, the Special Operations commander who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year, said: “I

have no doubt that Special Operations will be the last to leave Afghanistan.” The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in December has led the CIA to adopt three methods of traditional espionage — monitoring developments in the increasingly antagonistic government, seeking to suppress al-Qaeda’’s affiliate in the country and countering Iran’s influence. The CIA is expected to have a more aggressively operational role in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said CIA’s paramilitary capabilities are seen as vital for keeping the Taliban off balance, protecting the government in Kabul and preserving access to Afghan

airstrips that enable armed CIA drones to hunt al-Qaeda remnants in Pakistan. The CIA has also largely bankrolled and built the Afghan intelligence service and it maintains a constellation of bases along the border with Pakistan. The CIA stations in Kabul and Baghdad were the largest and secondlargest in agency history, surpassing the size of the CIA’s station in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War and it had atleast 700 employees in the country. But the departure of U.S. forces in December has forced the agency to shut many facilities and reduce its presence by half, according to former CIA officials.

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

Russia dismisses Iran-Syria trade-off deal with US
Nothing could be further from the truth than the assertion that our country may cut a backroom deal, giving the green light to a US military operation against Iran in exchange for Western noninterference in Syria’s internal affairs.” Russian Foreign Ministry Russia has dismissed media reports that it would give “the green light” to the US to attack Iran in order to dissuade the Western powers from carrying out a military action against Syria. “Nothing could be further from the truth than the assertion that our country may cut a backroom deal, giving the green light to a US military operation against Iran in exchange for Western non-interference in Speaking at the 12th Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel on Thursday, Ya’alon stressed that Tel Aviv “must convince China, Russia and Turkey” to withdraw their support for Tehran over the USengineered bans on Iran’s energy and banking sector. Meanwhile, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on February 2 that he was worried that the US and Israel would “take matters into their own hands and launch a military strike against Iran.” He added that Britain had been attempting to demonstrate that “there are very tough things we can do which are not military steps in order to place pressure on Iran.” The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the “option” of a military strike against its atomic facilities. Iran argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

Syria’s internal affairs,” state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday. “We leave that to the conscience of their authors,” the statement pointed out.

The report comes as Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has threatened Iran with a military strike against its atomic facilities in an attempt to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear activities.

UK families £7,900 in debt experts warn as UK remains ‘among most indebted nations in the world’
UK households owe an average of £7,900 on personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards. UK families are typically £7,900 in debt from personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards, despite three years of paying them down, a report has found. PwC’s Precious Plastic report predicted UK consumers will continue their determination to pay down their debts, owing around £7,500 by 2013. But it highlighted ‘worrying’ signs in spending habits, particularly among the 25 to 34 age group, where

Somalia famine ‘ends’ but hunger threats linger – UN
Famine conditions have ended in war-torn Somalia six months after being first declared, the UN has said. The improvement in access to food is due to a good harvest and significant humanitarian assistance, it said. But the UN humanitarian coordinator for the country said the situation remained serious. Nearly a third of the population some 2.34 million people - still need emergency support, the Somalia Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit said. Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and has been wracked by fighting between militias. ‘Fragile gains’ in May,” he said. The UN said that the latest harvest in Somalia was double that of the average over the past 17 years, lowering food prices, though mortality rates in southern Somalia were still among the highest in the world. Although $1.3bn (£84mn) worth of aid has been poured into the country, the scale of the suffering is immense, says the BBC’s Martin Plaut. Last year, tens of thousands of Somalis fled rural areas - many over the borders to Ethiopia and Kenya in search of food. The UN estimates that a total of 1.5 million people have been displaced by the crisis. On Monday, al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab - which controls much of central and southern Somalia - expelled the International Committee of the Red

Meanwhile, credit card use could fall into permanent decline, with the rise of digital technology and payday lenders changing how people access credit, the Precious Plastic report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said. Each household paid off an average of around £355 of their unsecured debt in 2011, but UK households remain “among the most indebted in the world” despite three successive years of net repayments, the report said. The report predicted UK consumers will continue their determination to pay down their debts, owing around £7,500 by 2013. But it highlighted “worrying” signs in spending habits, particularly among the 25 to 34 age group, where a quarter have used credit to fund essential purchases in the last year.

a quarter have used credit to fund essential purchases in the last year. Average incomes have fallen by nearly 3.5 per cent in real terms over the past year, squeezing budgets even further as consumers have faced soaring bills. The report said that historically, the United States has been a strong indicator of what happens in the UK, but consumer credit in the US saw the largest increase in a decade in 2011. It put the contrast in behaviour down to UK austerity policies, which have had ‘a strong influence on consumer confidence and attitudes towards debt in the UK’. Bank of England figures showed last week that consumers cut their debts at the fastest rate in two decades during December, amid signs they dipped into savings to pay for Christmas.

“The gains are fragile and will be reversed without continued support,” said the UN’s Humanitarian CoOrdinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden. He said in southern Somalia alone,

The UN declared famine in two parts of southern Somalia last July and, in September, extended the famine warning to six out of eight regions in the country.

some 1.7 million remained “in crisis”. “Millions of people still need food, clean water, shelter and other assistance to survive and the situation is expected to deteriorate

Cross. The (ICRC) was one of the few international aid agencies delivering food aid to areas under rebel control.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

COMMENT

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Saudi Arabia in charge of US Policy: Israel cheerleads, Saudi’s finance & Cold War lives
By John Stanton
“The Hanbali school, known for following the most Orthodox form of Islam, is embraced in Saudi Arabia and by the Taliban..” Council of Foreign Relations--Islam: Governing Under Sharia, 24 October 2011. “In August a judge in Tabuk considered sentencing a man to be surgically paralyzed after convicting him of paralyzing another man in a fight two years earlier.” Human Rights Watch ,2011. “In September a Qatif court sentenced two high school pupils to six months in prison and 120 lashes for stealing exam questions.” Human Rights Watch, 2011. Watching, listening, and reading the media coverage, government commentary and think tank analyses on Iran’s nuclear capability and the desire by some to destroy it is like taking in Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First and Math skits. The logic behind the entire push for massive military action against Iran makes about as much sense as Costello’s math calculations. Abbott’s acceptance of it all (“you are hired”) is an appropriate analogy for the USA’s role in the madness as it is being suckered into another war in mid-east Asia at the insistence of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Israel and similar Abbott and Costello governed countries. If the USA has so much power, why are second and third rate countries in charge of its policies in mid-east Asia? All statements coming out of the mouths of US government officials signal confusion within the grand brains of the political, economic and military leadership. The US may or may not support a Saudi-Israeli operation against Iran said Secretary of Defense Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman general Martin Dempsey (USA) recently. That is utterly unbelievable. These are flammable times already and yet government officials, commentators-(and US presidential candidates--the world over are making foolish and unsupported statements about Iran and, hence, are ratcheting up the tension. President Obama says “I can’t control Israel (the USA controls/monitors all air traffic routes into and out of Iran). Israeli leadership says “only 500 casualties from an air strike” (using the logic of General Buck Turgeson in the movie Dr. Strangelove). The House of Saud says “cut the head off the snake (Colin Powell, former US Army general, once said this in reference to Saddam Hussein). In 1993 Israel said Iran would have nuclear weapons by 1999. Then they said that Iran would have them by 2001. The pro-Iranian war movement, and the Iranian leadership itself, would do well to get a copy of The Fog of War, 11 lessons from Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense, and watch it repeatedly. One of the points McNamara makes in the film is “I lived the Cold war every day, 24/7”. The Cold War has not ended as popularly reported. It has just shifted focus. They are all Schemers: Big Plot and Deadly Subplots In the overall US strategic scheme the Iranian matter as a subplot. The central focus of the story is an attempt by the USA’s political, economic and military leadership to answer two questions: How can strategy, policy, operations and tactics (SPOT) be developed now to inhibit the development of China and Russia’s instruments of national and international power? What SPOT’s are necessary to maintain America’s dollar disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house...Given my dissident politics, I should be up in arms about the Israel lobby. Not only have I supported the civil rights of the Palestinians over the years, but two of my principal intellectual mentors were George W. Ball and Edward Said, both severe critics of Israel and its extra-special relationship with the United States. Foreign Agents for Beheadings According to the Foreign Agents Registration a listing of 30 June 2011, the following US organizations and citizens represented Saudi interests: Hogan Lovela in Washington, DC (foreign policy interpretation of US reforms to date have involved largely symbolic steps to improve the visibility of women and marginally expand freedom of expression. Authorities continue to systematically suppress or fail to protect the rights of nine million Saudi women and girls, eight million foreign workers, and some two million Shia citizens. Each year thousands of people receive unfair trials or are subject to arbitrary detention. Curbs on freedom of association, expression, and movement, as well as a pervasive lack of official accountability, remain serious concerns. Iraqi Government Fears Saudi Arabia Simon Tisdall writing for the Guardian, UK (2010) reported that the Iraqi close ties to Russia. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is a reactionary monarchy and embodies itself as a caretaker of Islam, while having an extensive bond with the US and Western Europe. True, the rhetoric of the two countries may not correspond with their practice, but the ideological narratives they superficially embrace are in conflict, and much of their foreign policy aims have been at odds.” The US government approach to Syria, as it is with Iran, was largely crafted by Saudi Arabia. This is a country who speaks of the humanitarian crisis in Syria as though it is the USA. It is more intolerant of dissent than the USSR ever was. Of all ironies, the fact that the USA

and military dominance even as China and Russia--and to a lesser degree India and Brazil--are developing methods (currency swaps or basket of currencies minus the US dollar) to bypass the foundation of American global dominance-the dollar (and T-Bill)? Another subplot is “it’s about the oil.” But the data doesn’t quite support the argument. According to the Energy Information Agency there are only two mid-east Asian countries in the top ten that the US imports energy from. Saudi Arabia is in the number two spot with Mexico close behind. Iraq comes in at number seven. Rounding out the top ten are Canada (number one), Venezuela, Nigeria, Ecuador, Angola, Colombia, and Russia (Brazil is number eleven). The USA imports 49 percent of its energy needs. It is not a stretch to say that with the right combination of US political and economic policies, and some sacrifice by the American people, it could wean itself of off Saudi and Iraqi oil. So, how and why is it that Saudi Arabia is able to shape US foreign policy towards the mid-east Asian region as it does in the face of the Nazi-like rule of its own people? Why do Americans and Israelis so easily sell their souls to the Saud’s? Why isn’t Saudi Arabia featured at Regime Change Central? John Macarthur writing in Harper’s Magazine (2007) observed that “...I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with

Congressional legislative actions, lobbying); Ketchum in New York (media relations); International Merchandising Association in Ohio (brand management); Patton Boggs (monitoring US government statements on Saudi Arabia, legislative analysis, lobbying); Qurvis LLC (monitoring US media, spreading positive stories about Saudi Arabia, lobbying, developing Internet-WWW presence). The US Department of State, Human Rights Bureau, reported that in 2010 Saudi Arabia was an awful place to live unless you are a guy “...no right to change the government peacefully; torture and physical abuse; poor prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention; denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system; political prisoners; restrictions on civil liberties such as freedoms of speech (including the Internet), assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women and a lack of equal rights for women, violations of the rights of children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common. The lack of workers’ rights, including the employment sponsorship system, remained a severe problem.” Then there is the country analysis done on Saudi Arabia by Human Rights Watch (2011). “Human rights conditions remain poor in Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah has not fulfilled several specific reform promises;

government viewed Saudi Arabia as a threat to its internal security. “ Iraqi government officials see Saudi Arabia, not Iran, as the biggest threat to the integrity and cohesion of their fledgling democratic state, leaked US state department cables reveal. The Iraqi concerns, analyzed in a dispatch sent from the US embassy in Baghdad by then ambassador Christopher Hill in September 2009, represent a fundamental divergence from the American and British view of Iran as arch-predator in Iraq. ‘Iraq views relations with Saudi Arabia as among its most challenging given Riyadh’s money, deeply ingrained anti-Shia attitudes and [Saudi] suspicions that a Shia-led Iraq will inevitably further Iranian regional influence,’ Hill writes. ‘Iraqi contacts assess that the Saudi goal (and that of most other Sunni Arab states, to varying degrees) is to enhance Sunni influence, dilute Shia dominance and promote the formation of a weak and fractured Iraqi government.’ Hill’s unexpected assessment flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that Iranian activities, overt and covert, are the biggest obstacle to Iraq’s development.” Saudi Arabia, Syria: History of Dislike A Muslim News report (2011) reminds that Saudi Arabia and Syria have been at odds with each other for most of their history. As such, the current turmoil in Syria, in which Saudi Arabia and the US are involved on the ground--should be viewed through a historical microscope. Americans are largely deficient on the study of history other than their own. “Syria prides itself as a secular republic and a bastion of Arab nationalism with

negotiated with the USSR for decades and will not with Iran has to be in the top ten ironies of human history. What it says is that on crucial matters of mideast Asian matters involving war and oppression, the US political process is influenced and designed by repressive governments represented by American citizens. Young people die and will continue to die as a result of this. Human Rights Watch notes that “US pressure for human rights improvements was imperceptible. In September the Pentagon proposed for Congressional approval a US$60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the biggest-ever US arms sale. It is unknown whether the UK made efforts through the Two Kingdoms Dialogue to promote human rights, but if so they had no tangible effect... Before he died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, the former FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill complained to French investigator JeanCharles Brisard that Saudi pressure on the State Department had prevented him from fully investigating possible al-Qaida involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, which killed 19 U.S. servicemen, and of the destroyer Cole in 2000. As with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, there’s always talk of the Saudis playing a double game with al-Qaida publicly denouncing it and privately paying it off but you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand that the Saudis don’t have America’s best interests at heart.” John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com

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NEWS

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

Solution on Syria Remains Elusive for White House
The Obama administration, dismayed by the escalating violence in Syria and the blocking of tougher action against the Syrian government by Russia and China over the weekend, vowed Sunday to “redouble efforts” to push President Bashar al-Assad out of power. British prime minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the National Security Council this morning to discuss the situation in Syria. Earlier, foreign secretary William Hague had briefed the cabinet on developments following Russia and China’s veto of a UN resolution at the weekend. Along with other EU countries, Britain is working towards a new round of sanctions against Syria, expected to be agreed on February 27. These could include a freeze on Syria’s central bank assets and a ban on trade in precious metals. France and Italy withdraw Syrian

to West Asian and North African countries for discussions. It is not clear if that would include a mission to Syria itself. The United States announced Monday it was closing its embassy in Syria due to the worsening security situation, further isolating Damascus over its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.

sought to get beyond the veto by Russia and China a day earlier of a Security Council resolution backing an Arab League plan for a political settlement in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the veto a “travesty.” Mrs. Clinton, in remarks on Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria, placed the blame for the deteriorating situation squarely on

and the West — already battling to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions as the drumbeat of a possible Israeli military strike in Iran grows louder — must calculate how interference in Syria could change the game on Iran. Mean while The State Department said in a statement that the embassy had suspended operations and that U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, and

An official Syrian newspaper on Sunday hailed the Russian and Chinese double veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution on the regime’s crackdown, calling it a catalyst for the speeding up of reform. The daily government mouthpiece Tishrin was the only Syrian paper to comment on the veto, which drew swift condemnation from world powers.

ambassadors, more EU countries will follow suit. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has now arrived in Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad. According to the Russian foreign ministry he is accompanied by Mikhail Fradkov, head of the foreign intelligence service. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday by saying ‘’We believe in the necessity of continuing the efforts aiming at finding a solution and settlement to the Syrian crisis; and the Russian side intends to pursue work with the Syrian leadership,’’ Minister Lavrov underscored. ‘’Syria is need for peace and an agreement should be reached to away from whatever foreign intervention,’’ added Minister Lavrov. ‘’We reiterated our preparedness to assist in the emerging out from the crisis; and this was mentioned in the initiative of the Arab League on the 2nd of last November,’’ said Lavrov. ‘’Those who refuse dialogue should join us,’’ declared Minister Lavrov. China – which joined Russia in vetoing the UN resolution on Syria at the weekend – says it is seeking a political solution to the violence, Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China is considering sending envoys

Doing so without the force of a United Nations Security Council resolution, though, could mean having to look the other way as other countries arm the Syrian opposition, providing a recipe for all-out civil war, some Syria experts said. The UK has followed the suit

Russia and China. “Those countries that refuse to support the Arab League plan bear full responsibility for protecting the brutal regime in Damascus,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And it is tragic that after all the work that the Security Council did, they had a 13-2 vote.” At the heart of the worry about Syria is

all embassy personnel had departed the country. The announcement did not signal a formal break in American diplomatic relations with Syria but was considered a strong signal that Obama administration officials believe there is nothing left to talk about with Mr.

summoning their ambassador from Damascus. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says the British ambassador has been recalled from Syria for consultations in a move to express “abhorrence.” Hague has accused China and Russia of “betraying the Syrian people,” saying their vetoing a UN resolution condemning violence was a “grave error.” He pledged to increase pressure on the Syrian government through the UN and other bodies. On Sunday, the Obama administration

Iran. While the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen all fell, the eruptions that led to those outcomes were largely internal, with their most significant ramifications limited to the examples they set in the Arab world. A collapse in Syria, by contrast, could lead to an external explosion that would affect Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and even Iraq, foreign policy experts say, particularly if it dissolves into an Iraqstyle civil war. But just as important, with Iran and Hezbollah backing the Syrian government, the United States

Assad. Turkish leaders slammed the Syrian regime for a violent crackdown that claimed the lives of hundreds in the restive city of Homs in the country’s northeast over the weekend with President Abdullah Gül saying on Wednesday that Syria is on a path of no return. Turkey also warned Syrian regime against misreading the will of international community after the UN Security Council failed to adopt a strong resolution following a veto by Russia and China.

Meanwhile China says it was forced to veto a United Nations vote on Syria because it was called before differences over the text had been bridged. Both state-run media and country’s foreign ministry spokesman defended the decision. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a regular news conference that the vote on the UN resolution was forced through before all parties had agreed on the draft document. He also rejected criticism that China was favoring the government of President Bashar Assad, whose regime has vowed to press on with its military crackdown. Moscow sources charged that the motion had been intended to pave the way for war in Iran and a bid to overthrow the Tehran regime. debkafile’s military sources report that the Russians backed their hard line against the West by putting Rapid Reaction Force (aka Spetsnaz) units in Black Sea bases on the ready to set out for Syria and defend Damascus. In another report An undercover operation to topple Bashar Assad has been set in motion by a large group of nations, the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar– the most elaborate seen in the Arab Spring cycle. The latest DEBKA-

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Thursday, 09.02.12

aarc S
Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, the former vice-president, who had earlier claimed that the transfer of power had been peaceful and constitutional. “Do I look like someone who of national unity. In an exclusive coversation with Business Standard on the phone from Male, the capital of the Maldives, Nasheed pointed out that “The old regime, led by They could have done more. I have been talking about this (possibility) for three years,” Nasheed said, when asked why he hadn’t publicly articulated these concerns before.. tumult. Mean while The President of Maldives, Dr. Mohammed Waheed, had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today after taking office during which he reaffirmed the special and close ties that Maldives has with India and said that he was committed to upholding the Constitution of that country and the rule of law. The Prime Minister on his part conveyed his best wishes to President Waheed and said that India has always stood ready to provide any support or assistance that the people of the Maldives might require. The Maldives President said that he looked forward to meeting the Prime Minister at the earliest opportunity.

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

international

Ousted President says forced to resign at gunpoint
Despite claims by replacement that transition was peaceful, Mohammed Nasheed says ‘there were guns all around me’ Mohammed Nasheed, the ousted president of the Maldives said “There were guns all around me and they told me they wouldn’t hesitate to use them if I didn’t resign,” Nasheed, who won the former British protectorate’s first multi-party elections in 2008, told reporters after a party meeting on Wednesday. Nasheed said he and his supporters would “try [their] best to bring back the lawful government” and called on the Indian Ocean nation’s chief justice “to look into the matter of who was behind this coup”. His words contradicted statements by his replacement,

will bring about a coup d’etat?” Waheed told reporters. “There was no plan. I was not prepared at all.” He called for a government

former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, is back in the Maldives. The international community should have seen this coming.

The streets of the capital island, Male, were calm as people went to work and children attended school despite the political

US drone kills 10 in Pakistan
Pakistan High Commissioner declared Pakistan would have no choice but to support Iran if “aggressive” Israel attacks it: Daily Sun

Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran summit in Islamabad on 16th

American drones have killed as many as 10 people in the first such missile strike since Barack Obama officially acknowledged the covert CIA programme. A missile attack by an unmanned US drone aircraft in

north-west Pakistan has killed 10 suspected militants, Pakistani security officials say. The missiles struck a camp about 10km (six miles) Continued on page 10 >>

Presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran will meet here from Feb 16 to 17 at the third trilateral summit, committed to promoting regional cooperation and strengthening peace and stability. Continued on page 26 >>

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SAARC

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

India may have to settle for 7 PM contempt case: Supreme per cent growth this year, FM Court forms new bench for
country and put forward new reform measures. Mr. Mukherjee said that a high growth rate of above 9 per cent would be achievable only with the help of the industry in the country. FICCI President R. V. Kanoria has remembered widening direct tax net, privatizing coal-mines, boosting government assets and bringing back black money from foreign locations for containing the fiscal deficit of the government. Earlier, Mukherjee had said that the central government is not likely to achieve its 4.6% fiscal deficit target for the financial year. He said that it would be very difficult for the government to achieve the target in the financial year. Experts say that the government is likely to miss its target of reducing the budget deficit to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product one or two points in the current fiscal year.

Thursday hearing
The Supreme Court has formed an eight-member bench to hear Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s appeal against contempt charges. The bench will be headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and will hear the plea on Thursday . Justice Shakirullah Jan is also part of the bench. Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister filed an appeal through his lawyer in the Supreme Court against the contempt charges. Aitzaz had earlier, after the last hearing of the case, told the media that he would advise the prime minister to file an appeal. “An appeal has been filed. It has been received in the court,” a senior official at the Supreme Court told It also said that the court cannot question the prime minister’s responsibilities according to the Article 248 of the Constitution. Barrister Ahsan said he based the appeal on precedents set by top courts in Australia, Britain, France, India and the United States. “I have filed an appeal today. I have quoted more than 50 national and international cases and given specific reasons against the Supreme Court order,” Ahsan told reporters. He further said that there was no need for the premier to appear before the court as, according to the contempt of court law, a new bench needs to be formed after an appeal is filed.

India’s Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that that country might have to settle for GDP growth of 7 per cent this year. He said while speaking toa television channel that the country’s GDP growth ahs been 7.3 per cent and the two quarters are unlikely to have substantial improvement and thus the GDP growth for the year is expected to be around 7 per cent. Mr. Mukherjee has appealed to the corporate leaders in the country to help revive the growth in the country. The industry has urged the finance minister to take steps to boost investment in the

AFP on condition of anonymity. The 200-page appeal pointed out 53 legal and constitutional points which emphasise that the prime minister did not go against the Constitution by not writing a letter.

Pakistan, India to get more gas as Afghanistan halves its share
Pakistan and India will each get an additional 150 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of piped gas to be imported from Turkmenistan after Afghanistan halved its earlier agreed share of 0.5bcfd (billion cubic feet per day) in the contract for TAPI project. The development came about at the end of two-day talks held here between Pakistan and Afghanistan on various issues pertaining to the $7.6 billion TAPI project, a senior official who attended the meeting told the reporters. Under the earlier contract between Turkmenistan (seller) and Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (buyers), 3.1bcfd gas was to be transported, including 0.5bcfd for Afghanistan, 1.3bcfd for Pakistan and 1.3bcfd for India. Now Afghanistan has reduced its demand and wants to negotiate a Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Turkmenistan only for 250 million cubic feet of gas per day. During the meeting, Afghanistan wanted to discuss the transit fee that Pakistan will have to pay. However, Pakistan has asked Afghanistan to first finalise its Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Turkmenistan and transit fee with between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan was finalised, the three countries would be able to move forward on the issues of transportation, cost and transit fees. Pakistan also wants Kabul and New Delhi to first agree on the transit fee, which Islamabad will use as a benchmark to negotiate the transit fee with Afghanistan. “Under the TAPI project, India will pay two transit fees; one to Afghanistan and another to Pakistan. At Friday’s meeting, outlines for the transit fee were discussed, including the fee based on volume and fixed charges. However, issues would be deliberated upon in detail at the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting to be held in Dubai on February 23-24. The official said the TWG would also discuss the issue of developing the gas field in Turkmenistan from where gas is to be imported. In case Turkmenistan does not allow western companies to develop the gas field and also bars any Russian company to develop it, Pakistan and India would develop the gas field with the help of other countries.

India. “The diameter of the gas pipeline will remain the same,” the official said adding that once the gas sale deal

US drone kills 10 in Pakistan
Continued from page 9 >> south-east of Miranshah, North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, the officials said. Pakistan has previously complained that such attacks violate its sovereignty. Last month US President Barack Obama defended the use of drones to target militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. “Eight militants were killed and two wounded,” a Pakistani official told AFP news agency. “Militants have surrounded the compound and are removing the dead bodies.” Those killed included foreign fighters, officials said, but their nationalities were not specified. The US does not normally comment on drone operations, which have killed hundreds of people in recent years. 45 US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011. The New America Foundation think-tank in Washington says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years. PAKISTAN warned Britain to help stop the American “Drone Wars” that are slaughtering hundreds of its innocent civilians. The nuclear power chillingly declared it “has the means” to retaliate unless the carnage ceases. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan told UK tabloid The Daily Sun in an exclusive interview that his country’s relations with America are at their lowest ebb. In his interview He said: “Patience is definitely reaching exhaustion levels.” Mr Hasan said Pakistan backs the War on Terror waged by Britain and the US. But he urged PM David Cameron to condemn US drone attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban training camps in the north west of his country — dubbing them as “war crimes” and “little more than state executions”. According to the Sun Mr Hasan also declared Pakistan would have no choice but to support Iran if “aggressive” Israel attacks it. But his immediate concern is the drones known to have killed 535 civilians, including 60 children, in three years. Pakistan claims the real death toll is more than 1,000. The unmanned aircraft blast missiles at targets, directed by a computer thousands of miles away. The High Commissioner said: “I think time is running out until the Pakistan government can take a stand. “They will have to at some stage take punitive actions to stop them. They have got means to take such actions to defend their own frontier and territories. “But that will inflame the situation and stop the War on Terror and that is not what we want.” High Commissioner also said: “We know the damage — destroyed schools, communities, hospitals. They are civilians — children, women, families. Our losses are enormous. “Generally people think that deaths caused by drone attacks should be treated as war crimes. “There is so much animosity that perhaps the Americans are the most hated people in the minds of the people in Pakistan.” Mr Hasan urged Britain to tell the US its drone strikes are counterproductive. On Iran, Mr Hasan said: “We would not like Israel to attack any country, irrespective of whether it’s Iran or any nuclear country. We wouldn’t like to be seen as part of Israel’s campaign against any country. If Israel attacks Iran, it will have an impact on Pakistan as well. “We will have to safeguard our own interests. We also have a Shia population in Pakistan who will not take it lying down. He warned that India and Gulf countries could also get involved in any conflict. Historian Mark Almond said of Mr Hasan’s declarations: “This represents an escalation in tension.”

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

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11

WEEKLY REVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN NEWS

NATO leaks overshadow Kabul, Islamabad parley
A leaked secret NATO report says Pakistan is backing the Afghan Taliban ahead of the Pakistani FM’s visit aiming to warm ties between the two countries. Pakistan reacts angrily and says it has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan Pakistan’s security services were secretly aiding Afghanistan’s Taliban, who assume their victory is inevitable once Western troops leave, a secret NATO document revealed, news reports said yesterday. The leaked report – viewed by The Times newspaper and BBC – was compiled from information gleaned from insurgent detainees and was given to NATO commanders in Afghanistan last month, the media reports said. The State of the Taliban document claimed Islamabad, via Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, was “intimately involved” with the insurgency. The BBC said the report was based on material from 27,000 interrogations of more than 4,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives. “Pakistan’s manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly,” aware of Taliban activities and the whereabouts of senior Taliban personnel. Senior Taliban leaders meet regularly with ISI personnel, who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan,” it added. “ISI officers tout the need for continued jihad and expulsion of (NATO force) ISAF is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable.” Pakistan lashed out yesterday at a leaked report, saying pre-dawn air strikes killed dozens of local Taliban fighters. “This is frivolous, to put it mildly. We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan

the report was quoted as saying. Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), confirmed the document’s existence but said it was not a strategic assessment of operations. “The classified document in question is

a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions. It’s not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis,” he said. Pakistan aware of Taliban activities “The government of Pakistan remains intimately involved with the Taliban,” the report said. “ISI is thoroughly

foreign invaders from Afghanistan,” the report said. However, there was little evidence from the detainees that Islamabad was providing funding or weaponry. The Times quoted the report as saying the Taliban’s “strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact,” despite setbacks in 2011. “Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban,” the report said. “Once

and expect all other states to strictly adhere to this principle,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told Agence France-Presse. Later in the day, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the report could be “disregarded.” “We can disregard this as a potentially strategic leak [...] This is old wine in an even older bottle,” she told reporters during an official visit to the Afghan capital Kabul.

Afghan copper mine Peace talks outside Afghanistan income to increase will be ineffective: Hekmatyar
Leader of the Hezb-e-Islami, Islamic Party of Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said, secret peace talks between Washington and the Taliban group outside of Afghanistan will not have a positive impact. British Broadcasting Corporation following its latest report stated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has answered to a number of questions of BBC, which was presented to him by the spokesman of Hezb-e-Islami Haroon Zarghoon who is currently residing in Islamabad. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has said he was proposed to a open a liaison office in a foreign country but he denied the offer. Mr. Hekmatyar emphasized that they not want Hezb-e-Islami to be in exile by accepting an offer to open office outsie of Afghanistan. In a response to a question of BBC in regards to efforts by Hezb-e-Islami for coordinating the Taliban group and other militant groups fighting the Afghan government and coalition security forces, he said, Hezb-eIslami continously struggled to unite the mujahideens to have a united plan both for war and peace talks and for the future of Afghanistan, but unfortunately Hezb-e-Islami failed to do so due to domestic and foreign intereferences.

According to officials in the Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan, budgeted income as a result of the Ainak copper mine is expected to reach $163m by end of the Afghan year once Chinese Comapny MCC pays an additional payment of $107 m to govt. The officials further added, the Chine Comapny MCC is required to pay $560 million to Afghan government until 2014 and before copper extraction based on the agreement which was signed between the Afghan government and MCC. The officials also said, MCC has paid $133 million out of the $808 advance payment to the Afghan government. Afghan mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said, MCC paid $80 milllion to Afghan government when they signed agreement in 2008 and the company paid $53 million at the

beginning of Afghan calendar year 1390, and the company is required to pay $107 million before the end of 1390. According to officials in the ministry of mines of Afghanistan, the preliminary work on Ainak copper mine has been started and is in progress. MCC is required to pay $808 million as advance payment to Afghan government before launching copper extraction. Ainak copper mine located in eastern Logar province is considered to be one of the biggest natural resources of Afghanistan which has gained a major foreign investment. According to Afghan mines ministry officials, the samples of Ainak copper mine has been sent to China for decomposition purposes to China which was taken earlier by MCC and Russian officials.

In parts of his speech pointing towards indepdendent peace negotiations of militants groups with the United States of America he said, I urge to prevent independent peace talks by each militants groups with the coalition security forces in abid to prevent previous mistakes. We should prevent secret conspiracies and should not depend on foreigners and strangers. Such conditions and situation should be created which should pave the way for unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. A government should be formed with the support of the Afghans after achieving freedom. Leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar also believe that a government with the support of the

United States of America will not last longer once US troops leave Afghanistan. He said, Washington will not be able to guarantee the future of the government formed by them in Afghanistan as the Soviet Union failed to form a communist government. In response to feedback of United States regarding the visit of Hezbe-Islami’s delegation visit to Kabul he said, the delegation met with the Gen. David Petraeus Director, Central Intelligence Agency and Afghan president Hamid Karzai, but Mr. Hekmatyar emphasized that neither Washington nor the Afghan government have specific plans for peace talks and ending war in Afghanistan.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BANGLADESH NEWS

Bangladesh Gov’t Hit for Failure on Stock Crisis
Several lawmakers of the Awami Leagueled alliance in parliament yesterday blasted the Bangladesh government over its failure to stabilise the stockmarket, and demanded immediate arrest of those a probe body had held responsible for the market crash. They warned the government of a backlash from the people, especially at the next general election, if it failed to deal with the share market crisis. They also demanded that a discussion be held in the House on the share market crash. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finance Minister AMA Muhith were present in the House. The lawmakers also came down hard on the government over police action on share market investors on different occasions. “Why did the government not try those responsible for the stockmarket debacle after they had been identified by the probe body headed by Ibrahim Khaled?” asked senior AL leader Tofail Ahmed as he took the floor on a point of order. Amid applause from other legislators, the AL leader said, “It is true that people cannot move against us as we are in power now. They will try us on polling day at the next general election if the government fails to tackle the present market situation.” Following a share market debacle in January report to the finance minister in April. The report listed 100 people who had received shares in private placement. Many influential figures, politicians and businessmen are among them. The report said crooked traders took 20,000 taka (US$237) crore out of the market through direct listing, private placement, preferential shares, mutual fund and book-building method. (one crore is equivalent to 1,000,000) Referring to two stockmarket investors, who committed suicide recently in despair over the steady fall in the stockmarket, Tofail said, “Though in government, we, the people’s representatives, cannot remain silent in this situation.”

last year, the government formed a probe body headed by Krishi Bank Chairman Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled. The committee submitted its

Neutrality is the key
in the current situation.” He was speaking at a function organised by the EC Secretariat to bid farewell to him and his two colleagues -- election commissioners Muhammed Sohul Hussein and M Sakhawat Hossain. The EC Secretariat staff gathered at the National Economic Council auditorium at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital to say farewell to the outgoing EC. “Always behave properly whenever people approach you for service. They may not speak or be articulate in the way we are, but never misbehave with them. You will be able to take people’s confidence in the commission to new heights if you serve them well,” Huda told the EC staff.

Govt probing money laundering allegation
The government is investigating the allegation against Jamaat-eIslami of laundering money to engage foreign lobbyists to stop war crimes trial, said Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday. The perpetrators would be brought to book under the Money Laundering Act, if the allegation is found true, the minister told The Daily Star emerging from a seminar on war crimes trial at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity. In the seminar, Workers’ Party President Rashed Khan Menon MP said Jamaat leader Mir Kashem Ali on behalf of his party had invested $25 million for employing a US-based lobbyist firm to stop the war crimes trial. Sammilito Tarun Peshajibi Samonnay Parishad (STPSP) organised the seminar styled “Quick Implementation of War Crimes Trial and Present Perspective”. Addressing the seminar as the chief guest, the law minister stressed the need for holding the war crimes trial to resist religious bigotry, extremism, militancy and terrorism. He said, “The international communities should extend support for the trial in Bangladesh to establish democracy and rule of law here and in many other countries.” No evil force will be able to stop the trial as the incumbent government does not believe in the culture of impunity, the minister said, adding that religious bigotry, extremism, militancy and terrorism are affecting many countries as perpetrators are instigating and provoking such crimes. Those who were involved in killing 30 lakh people, violating two lakh women and committing many other crimes during the Liberation War of Bangladesh are being brought to justice, said Shafique Ahmed. While some are now in custody for trial, many more will also be brought to book as the investigation agency is carrying out probe into the crimes against humanity in 1971, he said. State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam, who was also present at the seminar, said trial of some top war crime suspects will be finished by this year while that of the other accused would continue in another tribunal expected to be set up in March. The BNP-Jamaat alliance is trying to obstruct the ongoing war crimes trial in the name of a movement for restoration of caretaker government system, he said. According to him, those who are trying to save the war criminals are worse than beasts. Qamrul said Awami League and its allies will hold such political programmes that the BNP-Jamaat alliance would not be able to move in the capital on March 12. Rashed Khan Menon said Jamaat has not only spent money to obstruct the war crimes trial but also is spreading propaganda against it on the internet. He demanded for increasing the number of prosecutors and investigators for completing the trial quickly and fairly. STPSP President Zakir Ahmed presided over the seminar which was addressed by, among others, SM Rezaul Karim, former secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association, and STPSP’s acting secretary Shahidul Islam Khokon.

Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday urged the staff of the Election Commission Secretariat to maintain neutrality “at any cost” and serve people with diligence in order to uphold popular confidence in the EC. He also reiterated that a free and fair parliamentary election could be

held under a political government. “It is very much possible to hold a free and fair parliamentary election under a political government if the Election Commission is given some authority,” Huda said while speaking to the EC Secretariat staff. “Nothing is impossible in this world. But it may not be possible

BNP out to scuttle war crimes trial
PM Sheikh Hasina again issued a note of warning in parliament, saying her government would take “legal action” against those who were trying to impede the trial of crimes against humanity which took place during the 1971 Liberation War. The premier also urged the people of the country to “mount pressure” on the BNP so that it refrained from assisting the war criminals. “As the holding of the trial of war criminals is one of the political commitments of the government, we are firmly committed to completing it,” Hasina said, asserting that her government would not backtrack from the task despite the obstacles in the way. She said a certain quarter had been trying its best, directly and indirectly, to hinder the trial soon after its commencement. They were carrying out propaganda at home and abroad and making all out efforts to create anarchy in the country. “People were surprised to see the opposition leader coming out in

favour of the war criminals. It is very disgraceful for the nation,” Hasina said as she responded to queries from lawmakers. “Doesn’t she understand that her [Khaleda Zia] efforts to save the war criminals are hurting the souls of thirty lakh martyrs and two lakh mothers and sisters who lost their honour in 1971?” The premier said her government had moved ahead to try those who had been creating hindrances to the holding of the trial under the

country’s existing laws. In this regard, she noted that sudden violence had erupted on December 18 last year in different parts of the capital and elsewhere in the country. At daybreak on that day a series of crude homemade bombs went off in Dhaka as hundreds of activists of the BNP and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami clashed with police, smashed more than a dozen vehicles and set some of those on fire. At least one person was killed and several others were injured during the violence.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BHUTAN NEWS

Bhutan Telecom to expand 3G network
By the end of this year at least 40 locations in western and central Bhutan will have access to 3G or third generation high speed Internet connectivity, which is today available only in the core areas of Thimphu city. Starting next month Bhutan Telecom will start work to expand its 3G network in Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Paro and Gelephu. 3G is the ‘3rd Generation’ technology for mobiles which enhances internet speed and enables features like video calling, faster audio and video streaming and quicker downloads. In urban Thimphu, six more locations will be added to the 14 existing 3G sites. The other 20 locations will be added in Phuentsholing, Paro and Gelephu and at tertiary institutes like Sherubtse College, College of Science and Technology and the college of business studies in Gedu. “Many young people at these institutions are in need of these services and they are the people who use these services more often,” the CEO of Bhutan telecom, Nidup Dorji, said. The present 3G sites in Thimphu are located within a five km radius of Bhutan Telecom head office. For 3G data service the speed range is 7.2 mbps. Data card users on the outskirts of

Thimphu and in other parts of the country have been frustrated by the slow Internet connectivity that can sometimes take half an hour to upload a photograph. “The speed and the progress decreases with increase in subscribers but we’ll fix this inconvenience by the end of the year,” Bhutan telecom’s marketing division general manager, Deo Kumar Biswa, said. He said that the September 18 earthquake last year sent a strong message on the lack of preparedness on the part of Bhutan telecom. “We are fully aware of the quality of services during such calamities. We are commissioning an in-depth study into these problems such as call congestions, call drops and data problems which will be solved within the year,” he said. Nearly a billion ngultrums has being kept for capital investments of which Nu 540 million is to be allocated to optimise and expand B–mobile’s network according

to the general manager. “We are planning to upgrade the towers and improve quality by providing radio

buses during such disasters.” Apart from the 3G services, Bhutan telecom will provide Next Generation Network (NGN), Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) services for fast and reliable communications and broadband connections

around the country. “We are sure that this project along with the fiber network that is being laid around the country by the government, will make communication more reliable and faster,” CEO Nidup Dorji said.

Malaria incidence drops to 194 from 40,000
Bhutan now targets to eliminate the disease after four years. Health Given the reduction in malaria incidence in the last 17 years, Bhutan is targeting to eliminate malaria cases by 2016. Bhutan’s Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP) report, which was published in the Malaria Journal on January 9, stated that malaria cases declined from 40,000 in 1994 to 194 in 2011, and deaths from 42 to one during the same period. The report’s author Dr Thinley Yangzom said Bhutan has reached a low level of malaria incidence, which means the country was at the point of achieving zero transmission of indigenous cases. Indigenous or local malaria refers to transmission of disease from one person to another were most at-risk as the group being economically productive, move out more than women and children. She also said Plasmodium is a protozoa, a parasite that causes different types of malaria depending on the species. She explained that among the five species of Plasmodium, P. falciparum is the most serious because it could kill if not treated within 48 hours. Health officials contributed the decline of malaria incidences to access to malaria diagnosis treatment throughout the country; introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapy for Plasmodium falciparum; increasing coverage of high risk areas with indoor residual spraying; insecticide-treated bed nets and providing long-lasting insecticidal nets.

in a same locality. Majority of indigenous cases in Bhutan were attributed to Plasmodium vivax that constituted 59.9 percent of the total infection recorded over the years. In 2010 alone, there were 436 microscopy confirmed indigenous cases of which 261 were caused by Plasmodium vivax, 140 by Plasmodium falciparum, and 35 cases were of mixed infections. Dr Thinley Yangzom said adult males

Avian flu confirmed in Sunsari; outbreak hits Ilam, Panchthar, too
While government authorities on Sunday confirmed the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Khanar and Itahari in Sunsari district, similar outbreaks were reported in Phakphok in Ilam district and Faktep in Panchthar, where more than 400 chickens have died. However, fowls in the affected areas are yet to be slaughtered, increasing the risk of the infection spreading to other localities. The Directorate of National Animal Health (DNAH) had suspected bird flu after around 7,000 chickens died in Pathibhara Poultry Firm at Khanar-4 and PK Poultry Suppliers at Itahari-6. As of Sunday evening, more than 8,000 fowls have died in the two poultry farms. “We have not been able to slaughter the fowls as we have not been able to check the health of personnel who are to slaughter the fowls, while there is a lack of Tamiflu (the drug to treat the flu) and sending safety gears to the team has been delayed,” Dr Bol Raj Acharya, the

Eastern Regional Veterinary Health Director, said. Dr Shreeram Prasad Shah, the chief of the District Public Health Office, Sunsari, said the date of Tamiflu stored in the area has already expired. The medicines sent by the centre, however, arrived late on Sunday evening. The district veterinary office has directed authorities concerned to increase surveillance in all poultry farms in the area. In Ilam and Panchthar, authorities have declared an area of 3 km around the two sites as infected zone.

A team led by doctors has been deployed at the site in Ilam. Around 200 households live in the outbreak area. “We have deployed security personnel to stop the import and export of chickens and poultry products,” said DSP Bishnu KC said. In Kathmandu, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Praveen Mishra said, “People need not panic. We are prepared to handle the situation.” General symptoms of the flu are fever above 100.4 F, cough, sore throat, muscle ache and difficulty in breathing. Bird Flu, also known

as Avian influenza, is an infection caused by the avian (bird) influenza (flu) A viruses. The influenza A viruses occur naturally among birds. Most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. The faeces of the Aves are considered the most dangerous medium of transfer. Eggs still being sold? SUNSARI: Though the government confirmed bird flu outbreak in Sunsari district on Sunday, PK Poultry Farm and Suppliers in

Itahari-6, where hundreds of fowls died, has been reportedly selling eggs using cartons of another farm. Chineshwor Mehata of the District Veterinary Office said they found some egg cartons inside the PK poultry that were labelled as Purbanchal Poultry Farm, which is based at Bisanpur in Saptari. “If the report is true, the virus spread could get serious,” said Dr Bolraj Acharya, director of the Eastern Regional Veterinary Office. Sadananda Dev, the operator of the Purbanchal Poultry Farm, said PK Poultry Farm has long been using his company’s logo.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF INDIA NEWS

India to US: Don’t set back IT success story, ease visas
Voicing concern over protectionism, India has asked the US to address issues faced by Indian IT professionals, who pay $15 billion in taxes, and reminded Washington that this ‘success story’ should not be set back by stringent visa regulations. “We do hope the current economic challenges in the US would not lead to protectionism and that concerns of Indian IT industry will be addressed quickly,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Monday at at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank. Mathai, who is on his first visit to the US as foreign secretary, was speaking on ‘Building on Convergences: Deepening India-U.S. Strategic Partnership’. Reminding Washington of the contribution of the Indian IT industry and its role in building robust India-US relations, Mathai said the Indians industry employs over 100,000 in the US, up from 20,000 six years ago. “It supports 200,000 other jobs, including indirect ones, apart from enhancing the competitiveness of some US industries. Most Indian companies are setting up development centers. Indian IT industry contributed $15 billion in taxes over the last 5 years,” he said. “This success story should not be set back by stringent visa regulations which act as a non-tariff barrier,” he stressed. Alluding to over $200 million paid by Indian IT professionals going to the US in visa fees, Mathai said: “Perhaps $30-$50 million has been taken from young aspiring Indians working in businesses whose US visas were rejected. The pink slip has become a greenback!” “It needs reiteration that the targets of these discriminatory actions are precisely those who have contributed intellectually to the climate of reform in India, and who have been votaries of strong India-US relations,” he said.

Priyanka Gandhi: Rahul Gandhi ‘not focused’ on PM job
Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress party’s star campaigner in Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, says brother Rahul is not focused on becoming PM. He is working to “bring in positive change in the state and not for his reputation”, she told reporters. The fourth-generation scion of the famous Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Mr Gandhi is being seen as the PM-inwaiting. Mr Gandhi is an MP from the state and although he is not contesting the assembly elections beginning 8 February, he has been campaigning extensively in the politically crucial state, which sends the most members to parliament. The state was once a Congress stronghold, but the party has lost ground over the years to regional parties and Mr Gandhi is trying to revive the party’s fortunes there. Recently, Mr Gandhi has been joined by his hugely popular sister Priyanka and mother, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi. “You people always try to analyse the politics of Rahul Gandhi in terms of whether he should become the Congress president or prime minister,” Ms Gandhi told reporters in Rae Bareilly town on Sunday. “But Rahul Gandhi does not do so. Same is with our family. We are bothered only about the work to be done,” she said. Ms Gandhi also praised PM Manmohan Singh, whose government has been coming under increasing pressure over corruption scandals and a slowing economy. “I think we have an extremely good prime minister. We are fortunate to have a prime minister who is so honest and who works well and I think no question [about replacing him] arises at this moment.”

Team Anna to begin campaign in UP on Thursday

Ahead of the assembly polls, Team Anna will begin its campaign in Uttar Pradesh from Thursday Lokpal Bill, pressing various political parties to make clear their stand on the issue. In a statement released today, the activists said they will hold meetings in Mahadev Talab Maidan in Fathepur of Barabanki and in Ramlila Maidan in Gonda tomorrow. Team Anna has claimed that they will not target any single party during the campaign but put forward the need for a strong lokpal. Anna Hazare and his team had shot off a series of letters to leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and BJP president Nitin Gadkari, last week trying to put them on the mat on the Lokpal issue ahead of assembly polls in five states.

UP chief minister Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were the other receipients of their letters. While in the letter to Singh, the Prime Minister is asked to show some courage to withdraw the “weak” Lokpal Bill and bring a stronger one, the one to Gandhi asked the Congress leader whether his party will dare to bring a law on the lines of “strong” lokayukta law in Uttarakhand. Gadkari was questioned on why his party did not insist on Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, in which it is a coalition partner, to bring a strong Lokayukta law like the one passed by BJP government in Uttarakhand. He was also asked why BJP changed tracks on bringing Lokayuktas through Lokpal Bill.

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Afghan civilian casualties record rise for the fifth year
• UN report says 3,021 civilians killed in 2011 • 8% increase on 2010 and fifth consecutive rise • Number of suicide bombings static but toll rises 80%
The civilian death toll for the war in Afghanistan reached a record high last year with 3,021 deaths, according to the United Nations. The report, which has been released in each of the past five years, records the deaths of all non-combatants based on the United Nations’ reporting and investigations, and it has come to serve as a grim metronome of the war that documents the conflict without rhetoric. Of the documented deaths, 77 per – with a further 4,507 civilians wounded, the UN report said. Many were killed by roadside bombs or in suicide attacks, with Talibanaffiliated militants responsible for three-quarters of the deaths. The number of deaths caused by suicide bombings jumped to 450, an 80% increase over the previous year, even though the number of suicide attacks remained about the same. “A decade after the war began, the human cost of it is still rising,” said often rigged with enough explosives to destroy a tank – killed 967 people in 2011, nearly a third of the total. The figures come as Nato begins to map out plans for international troops to withdraw and hand over responsibility for security to Afghan security forces. The presence of western forces has managed to reduce civilian casualties in the troubled southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. But the UN found that insurgents had focused devices and suicide attacks.” Kubis said the Taliban banned the use of land mines as “un-Islamic and anti-human” in 1998 when they ruled Afghanistan with their harsh interpretation of Islamic law. But the UN report said there was little difference between mines and the buried homemade bombs used by the Taliban. The majority of improvised devices have about 20kg (44lb) of explosives and are triggered when a person steps on, or a vehicle the report said. Actual explosions increased by 6%. The UN attributed 77% of the deaths to insurgent attacks and 14% to actions by international and Afghan troops. The cause of the remaining 9% were classified as unknown. The conflict last year also had an unprecedented impact on refugees, forcing 185,632 Afghans from their homes in 2011, an increase of 45 percent from the previous year. Overall, the 39-page report charts a

cent were caused by the Taliban and other insurgent groups, an increase from 2010 despite repeated pledges by the Taliban to try to avoid killing civilians. By contrast, the number of civilians killed by pro-government forces, including NATO troops, the Afghan Army and governmentbacked militias, fell to 410, or 14 per cent of the total killed. In nine per cent of cases, the party responsible was not clear. The number killed rose by 8% last year – the fifth consecutive rise

Georgette Gagnon, director for human rights for the UN mission in Afghanistan. The single deadliest suicide attack since 2008 occurred on 6 December, when a bomber detonated his explosives-filled vest at the entrance of a mosque in Kabul, killing 56 worshippers during the Shia Muslim rituals of Ashoura. Roadside bombs remain the biggest killer of civilians. The homemade explosives – which can be triggered by a footstep or a vehicle and are

instead on areas along the country’s border with Pakistan. They were also relying more on roadside bombs and suicide attacks in places like bazaars, school grounds, footpaths and bus stations. “The tactics have changed,” said Jan Kubis, the UN secretary general’s special representative to Afghanistan. “The anti-government forces being squeezed in certain areas ... move to some other areas and again use these inhuman, undiscriminating weapons like human-activated explosive

drives over rigged pressure plates. “These are basically land mines,” Kubis said of the roadside bombs. “So why is this ‘inhuman and unIslamic’ weapon being increasingly used?” The number of roadside bombs planted last year overwhelmed security forces’ improved ability to detect and defuse them. An average of 23 roadside bombs a day were either detonated or discovered and defused last year, twice the daily average in 2010,

series of disturbing signs that suggest that the country could become even more dangerous. The report notes that more than 185,000 Afghans, a 45 per cent increase over 2010 and more than in any previous year, were displaced in 2011, many as they fled conflict. The report also points out that while casualties caused by NATO are dropping, those that were the fault of Afghan government forces rose almost 200 per cent just for the sixmonth period of June to December.

Pakistan says sanctions cannot affect Tehran-Islamabad ties
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has hailed the ‘deep-rooted’ relations between Tehran and Islamabad, stressing that the bilateral ties are not affected by the Western sanctions on Iran. Iran and Pakistan have bolstered their relations in political, economic and cultural fields and no obstacle can prevent the two nations from promoting the amicable relations, which are based on goodwill and mutual respect, Bashir said on Sunday. Meanwhile, the director of the Federation Ali downplayed the Western sanctions against Iran and said such restrictions against Iran would not affect the growing relations between Tehran and Islamabad, particularly in trade and economic fields. Pakistan is an independent country and will not permit foreign powers to sway the country’s decisions, he added. Iran and Pakistan are determined to increase the value of bilateral trade to five billion dollars within the next 2-3 years, the Pakistani official emphasized. The United States, Israel, and their Western allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to push the United Nations Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran. Tehran has categorically refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.

of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senator Haji Ghulam

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The WINNERS of ZEE CINE AWARDS 2012 are …
• Best Actor - Male - Ranbir Kapoor ( Rockstar) • Best Actor - Female - Vidya Balan (The Dirty Picture) • Best Film - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara • Best Director - Zoya AkhtarZindagi Na Milegi Dobara • International Icon - Male Farhan Akhtar • International Icon- Female Katrian Kaif • Best Music - A R Rehman (Rockstar) • Best Lyrics - Irshad KamilNadaan Parindey (Rockstar) • Best Dialogue - Rajat Aroraa (The Dirty Picture) • Best Choreography - Pony Verma - Oh La La (The Dirty Picture) • Song of the Year - Chamak Challo (Ra One) • Best Screenplay - Imtiaz Ali and Musaam Beg (Rockstar) • Best Background Music - Ranjit Barot (Shaitaan) • Best Action - Pazrvez, Firoz , Spiro, ND Gill (Ra One) • Best Editing - Aarti Bajaj (Rockstar) • Best Cinematography - Carlos Catalaon (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) • Best Art Director - TB Abid (Don 2) • Best Sound Design - Resul Pookutty and Amrit Pritam (Ra One) • Best Actor In A Supporting Role - Male - Farhan Akhtar (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) • Best Actor In A Supporting Role - Female - Swara Bhaskar (Tanu Weds Manu) • Best Actor In A Comic Role (Male/Female) Divyandhu (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) • Best Actor In A Negative Role (Male/Female) - Prakash Raj (Singham) • Best Debut Director - Siddique (Bodyguard) • Best Actor Debut - Male - Rana Daggubati (Dum Maro Dum) • Best Actor Debut - Female Parineeti Chopra (Ladies Vs Ricky Behl) • Best Playback Singer - Male Mohit Chauhan – Jo Bhi Main (Rockstar) • Best Playback Singer - Female - Shreya Ghoshal- Saibo (Shor In The City) • Best Story - Reema Katgi and Zoya Akhtar (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) • Best Visual Effects - Keitan Yadav and Haresh Hingorani (Ra One) • Best Use of Digital Media - Ra One • Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Fresh Singing Talent - Kamal Khan- Ishq Sufiana (The Dirty Picture) • Lifetime Achievement Award Jeetendra • ETC Best Marketed Film - Ra One • Jury Award For Best Actor Shahrukh Khan (Don 2) • Jury Award For Best Actress Vidya Balan (The Dirty Picture) • Jury Award For Best Film - The Dirty Picture • Jury Award For Best Director Imtiaz Ali (Rockstar) • Special Award - Mr Wang, Founder, China E Television

Zee Cine Awards 2012 turned out to be one starry night in the city of Macau, what with the hottest faces of the Indian film glitterati walking the red carpet at ZEE’s prestigious awards ceremony and some awe-inspiring dance acts and hilarious comedy gags by the showstoppers of Bollywood. The evening was hosted in style by Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra, naughtily spoofing every nominated film and sending ripples of uncontrolled laughter through the audience. The glitzy soirée saw Ranbir Kapoor and Vidya Balan picking up the top laurels of Best Actor and Best Actress respectively for their performances in Rockstar and The Dirty Picture. Zoya Akhtar made multiple trips upstage to collect the Best Film, Best Director as well as Best Story Awards for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. While it was Shah Rukh Khan’s return as Don 2 that bagged the Jury Award for Best Actor, Vidya’s turn as Silk scored a double whammy as she took home the Jury Award for Best Actress too! Hours before the awards show began, there was an enormous crowd building up right outside The Venetian® Macao to catch a glimpse of their favorite movie stars. Prominent amongst the celebrities walking the red carpet were actors Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan, Dia Mirza, Kalki Koechlin, Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, Randhir and Rajeev Kapoor, Farhan & Adhuna Akhtar, Zeenat Aman, Mithun Da and son Mimoh. When Vidya went up on stage to pick up her well-deserved Best Actress (Popular Choice) and Jury Award for Best Actress trophies, the actress said, “This is a very emotional moment for me as I began my career on Zee TV with Balaji Productions first show on television, Hum Paanch. And now years, later, to be standing and receiving the Best Actress Award on a Zee TV platform and that too for my work in a Balaji Production is just fabulous. Life has come a full circle with me winning not one but two awards at Zee’s awards ceremony for a film I’ve done with Ekta almost 20 years later.” Vidya also thanked her lucky mascots – her twin niece and nephew whose very presence

has brought in a wave of applause and awards her way. When she coyly acknowledged her beau Siddharth Roy Kapoor by thanking a “special someone who makes every day worth living”, she sent the crowd into a frenzy. The most exciting acts of the evening included Ranbir dancing for the very first time at an awards ceremony. The crowd went berserk when he descended from the stadium’s high ceiling on a rope wearing a harness. Besides his ‘Rockstar’ performance, the young

show in his trademark tongue-in-cheek, witty andaaz. The immensely talented dancers of Zee TV’s Dance India Dance rocked the stage with an act that proved once again why DID is the ultimate platform for dance in the country. Representing the power of women on Zee TV were primetime show leading ladies Mitali Nag (Krishna in Afsar Bitiya), Rati Pandey (Indira of Hitler Didi) and Asha Negi (Poorvi of Pavitra Rishta) who openly demonstrated their love and adulation for Vidya Balan, an actress who has successfully transcended the medium of television and made a carved a very special niche for herself in the world of films. Adding to the festivities, The Venetian® Macao presented an exotic lion dance, laser drumming, singing gondoliers and acrobatic Shaolin monks. As Shah Rukh went up on stage to collect his Jury Award for Best Actor (Don 2),

Kapoor paid homage to his late grand-uncle Shammi Kapoor with a medley of his most popular dance hits and Shahid joined him in raising a toast to the evergreen spirit of the late Dev Anand. Later, in the course of his acceptance speech, Ranbir cheekily thanked SRK saying, “I would personally like to thank Shah Rukh for having eased out his monopoly over the awards and letting someone else take home the Best Actor trophy.” Always ready with a witty comeback, SRK quipped, “I look forward to the day when my son, in a few years, will give you a run for your money and beat you at the awards game, Ranbir!” Shahid had the women going weak in the knees with his killer moves as he swayed to this year’s most popular tracks including the title track of Singham, his own Saj Dhaj Ke from Mausam and a catchy remix of the pop ditty ‘I’m sexy and I know it’! Vidya Balan paid a scintillating tribute to the sirens from the South dancing to the raunchy number ‘Nakka Mukka’ and her popular ditty Ooh La La. Katrina Kaif raised the temperatures as she showed the boys what a chikni chameli she can be when she decides to! Farhan Akhtar also presented a segment of the awards

he said, “Every award I take home is solely for my family. If it weren’t for their understanding of my profession and being there for me at all times, being the strong and stable support system that they are, I wouldn’t be half the actor I am today.” The lifetime achievement award went to the Jumping Jack of the 80’s Jeetendra who seemed just about as pleased at receiving the award as he was about seeing his daughter Ekta Kapoor on a winning spree with The Dirty Picture. Ekta, as she went up to collect multiple awards for The Dirty Picture said, “I really have to thank Punit and Subhash ji for everything Zee has meant to me over the years. It was with Zee that I began my television career many years ago and together,

we have done some very interesting work on television. Today, receiving so many awards for my film at the Zee Cine Awards means the world to me!” As Farhan Akhtar collected his Best Supporting Actor trophy for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, he thanked his sister in a cute way saying, “This wouldn’t have been possible without ‘The Mental...The Zoya’ … making this film with her will remain one of the most memorable filming experiences of my life!” Zee Cine Cine Awards 2012 with title sponsor Lebara Mobile, powered by Neesa Premium Basmati Rice, in association with The Accident Genie, Cofresh, Royal Sweets, Champion Atta, State Bank Of India and Gujarat Tourism turned out to be an evening of glitz, glamour and acknowledgement for the most deserving artistes of the world’s biggest film fraternity. With millions of votes pouring in every year from across the globe, it is doubtlessly the most definitive measure of viewers’ choice in movie awards – The World’s Biggest Viewers’ Choice Award.

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India calls for South Asia research on common diseases
South Asian countries should together work for research on diseases affecting them and which are responsible for a high mortality rate, India’s Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says. research. We must work together in the region to ensure that all nations benefit in finding indigenous solutions to diseases such as malaria, kala azar, cholera, drug resistance, and other health problems,” Azad said at the inauguration of the South Asian Forum for Health Research (SAFHer). “These diseases have been contributing to mortality rate in the region,” Azad said. The countries participating in the conference are Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, among others. The minister emphasized on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) playing a pivotal role in taking ahead the South-South cooperation. ICMR is India’s premier health research body. “I hope we have concrete plans on healthcare emerging from this meet. This could be in terms of personnel, training, or multilateral research project”,” Azad added.

RAJAR: Sunrise Radio back in pole position
Sunrise Radio has been declared as the most listened to Asian radio station during the past three months, according to official data from RAJAR. Audience sampled during the period of October and December 2011 saw Sunrise Radio add 37,000 extra listeners. Its weekly reach now stands at 490,000 with listeners tuning in for an average of 7.1 hours, down from 8.4 hours in the previous quarter. Year-on-year, Sunrise Radio has added 9,000 extra listeners nationally. Overview of Sunrise Radio National This time last year: 481,000 As it stands now: 490,000 Difference: + 9,000 three months and more surprisingly 139,000 listeners down over the past six months. Overview of Sunrise Radio London This time last year: 371,000 As it stands now: 332,000 Difference: - 39,000

Kismat Radio
Kismat Radio - The Litt Corporation’s adult contemporary station has had a severe beating in the ratings this time around. The station has lost a

“Each country in south Asia can take a lead in one of many areas of healthcare through collaborative

Bird flu mutation studies must go on, says scientist
Pestilence watch: Culling ordered after H5N1 virus discovered in Nepal and India
NEPAL – Health workers in Nepal are to cull thousands of chickens following the discovery of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the southeastern part of the Himalayan country. “We sent samples for investigation to London after chickens started to die of a mysterious disease in commercial poultry farms,” said Ram Krishna Khatiwada, of of itching and vomiting but that is only panic. We will get the situation under control in one or two days.” Nepal’s first reported outbreak of bird flu in poultry was in January 2009 in the eastern part of the country. The virus reached the capital Kathmandu for the first time in December last year, with health workers culling hundreds of AIR correspondent reports a huge pit has been dug to bury the culled birds and elaborate arrangements have been made for disinfecting the area. Five more rapid response teams have been engaged for creating awareness among the people in Bhubaneswar. The culling operation was launched after the Odisha government received

BBC Asian Network

the government’s Directorate of Animal Health. “We have received the test reports today that confirm infection of bird flu in poultry farms in Khanar and Ithari of the Sunsari district.” Bird flu has also been confirmed in the eastern hills of Panchathar district and the teaproducing area of Ilam, Katiwada told AFP, adding that surveillance of farms was to be stepped up and 4000 chickens would be killed in the affected areas. “There has not been infection to humans in the area so far. Some have complained

chickens and ducks. If it spreads to humans, bird flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, pneumonia, respiratory disease and sometimes death. India: In Odisha, about 20,000 birds have been culled in a farm of Central Poultry Development Organization (CPDO) at Bhubaneswar following detection of avian flu H5N1 virus. Culling operation will resume today in the CPDO farm and the rapid response teams formed for the culling operation plans to cull rest of the 9,000 birds in the farm.

an advisory from the Centre to eliminate poultry birds at the CPDO farm and three km radius area around it. The culling operation in other areas of Bhubaneswar is likely to be completed in five to six days. The H5N1 virus was reported at the farm after culling took place at Keranga in Khordha district and Betanati in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha last month. CPDO had sent samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, which confirmed the detection of bird flu virus.

Even though the BBC Asian Network performed exceptionally well in the previous quarter, this time around, the station has witnessed a slight loss. From 507,000 in Q3/11 to a new weekly reach of 472,000 in this quarter - a loss of 35,00 listeners. When data is compared with statistics from this time last year, the station is down 5,000 listeners. The station will be disappointed with today’s news after taking the station to new heights late last year with outstanding RAJAR results. It is unclear why listeners drifted away from the station during this period. One piece of positive news for the station is that it is being listened to longer than Sunrise Radio. BBC Asian Network is being listened to 7.3 hours, 0.2 minutes more than its commercial rival. While the BBC Asian Network’s future is safe for now, the station’s budgets are under the scanner with many back-end changes expected to be rolled out later this year. How much of this affects the station’s output remains to be seen. Overview of BBC Asian Network National This time last year: 477,000 As it stands now: 472,000 Difference: - 5,000 Local Sunrise Radio remains the undisputed leader locally in the Greater London region with its weekly reach at 332,000 - a drop from 360,000 in the previous quarter. The station has lost 28,000 listeners in the previous

huge 64,000 listeners in a space of three months. Kismat Radio now attracts a weekly reach of 69,000, down from 133,000 in the previous quarter and more disheartening a loss of 95,000 listeners since a year ago. Overview of Kismat Radio This time last year: 164,000 As it stands now: 69,000 Difference: - 95,000

Buzz Asia

The Litt Corporation’s troubled youth station, Buzz Asia continues to struggle in the ratings. Even though it has picked up slightly, the change is miniscule. Buzz Asia has added 7,000 listeners. Surprisingly, Buzz Asia has been hovering around the 100,000 mark for a year - more or less around the same time since the Litt Corporation took over the station. Buzz Asia has held meetings recently as part of efforts to revive the station. Overview of Buzz Asia This time last year: 113,000 As it stands now: 108,000 Difference: - 5,000 Other UK based commercial Asian radio stations such as Radio XL in Birmingham, Sabras Radio in Leicester and Asian Sound in Manchester do not subscribe to RAJAR.

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Lahore: 23 killed, dozens trapped under factory rubble
17 women and 45 men were at work when a factory crumbled in Lahore. The three-story factory collapsed on Monday in Lahore after a gas explosion, killing at least 23 people and trapping dozens, emergency officials said. “The factory has completely collapsed and two houses next to it as well,” an emergency official at the site told Reuters by telephone, adding authorities were having trouble getting heavy rescue machinery to the area because of narrow streets. Karamat Ali, a spokesman for the government Rescue 1122 emergency service, said 10 dead, including a 10-year-old boy, and 13 survivors had been pulled out of the rubble. He said 17 women and 45 men were at work when the factory, which produced veterinary medical products, crumbled. The death toll was expected to rise. The incident is likely to raise “The factory was supposed to be sealed. We will investigate why it was still running,” city official Ahad Cheema told reporters. It was not clear why it had been ordered sealed. Pakistan s government is often described by opponents as too corrupt and inept to tackle an array of problems, from struggling industries to Taliban insurgents who carry out suicide bombings across the South Asian nation. “My house is near the factory. I felt a strong jolt and my house shook. I thought it was a bombing,” said Awais Raza. Emergency workers and residents were shifting rubble by hand as authorities struggled to move a large crane to the site to help with the rescue. “We are looking for voids in the destruction where there are likely to be survivors,” Rizwan Naseer, head of Rescue 1122, told reporters at the site.

fresh questions about Pakistan s industrial safety. Building and

zoning regulations are weak and often not enforced, critics say. A

senior city official said the factory should not have been operating.

Pakistan committed to gas pipeline project with Iran: Zardari
President Asif Ali Zardari meets Iranian Vice President Ali Seedlou at the Presidency on Tuesday ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said Pakistan was committed to early implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project in order to meet the ever growing demand of the country for energy and power. He said the government was also pursuing a trade liberalisation policy across the border and proposed for elimination of tariff and non tariff barriers between Pakistan and Iran to further boost trade ties and realise the true business and trade potential. The President said the recent agreement between the two countries to work towards expanding PakistanIran Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to include additional items from both sides and making it an agenda item for the next meeting of the trade committee was a welcome move to enhance trade links between the two countries. This was stated by the president during his meeting with the visiting Iranian Vice President Ali Seedlou here at the Presidency. He said that enhancing bilateral cooperation particularly in energy, security, communication and infrastructure would help the two energy, horticulture, livestock, communication, infrastructure development and engineering sector. About cooperation in banking Sector, the president said the establishment of Joint Working Group and the proposed visit of a delegation of Iranian bankers to meet Pakistani counterparts would give impetus to the cooperation in the banking sector besides facilitating bilateral trade. The president said facilitating export of meat and Kinno from Pakistan would help the two countries enhance mutual trade. He said that opening of a new border crossing at GabdReemdan will connect southern parts of Balochistan and Karachi with Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas through the Coastal Highway. He said Pakistan was ready to grant multiple entry visas to the businessmen from Iran on reciprocal basis. Discussing implementation of mutually agreed projects, the president said besides expeditious implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project, Pakistan also wanted to carry forward the proposed projects of 1000 MW Taftan-Quetta Power Transmission line and the 100 MW Gwadar power supply. The Iranian vice president said Iran had already laid gas pipeline on its side of border and was ready for realisation of the most important energy project of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

countries to overcome the challenges in the way of realisation of full existing potential of their equation and to realise the goal of raising the bilateral trade to $ 5 billion which he said was doable. Those who were present during the meeting included Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Advisor to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Interior Senator Rehman Malik, Senator Babar Awan, Secretary General to president M. Salman Faruqui, federal secretaries Foreign Affairs, Petroleum and Economic Affairs division and other senior officials. Iranian vice President was accompanied by senior Foreign Office officials. The Iranian ambassador in Pakistan Alireza Haghighian was also present. The President said that both the countries were poised to play

important role in the promotion of intra-regional and inter-regional connectivity which was the key to the socio-economic development of the people of the region. He said resource constraints can be overcome by joining hands and enhancing cooperation in all the areas particularly trade,

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF PAKISTAN NEWS

PM Gilani to Qatar to discuss Afghan peace
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani heads to Qatar on Monday to discuss Afghan peace efforts in the ultra-rich Gulf state where the Taliban and US officials have begun preliminary contacts. Pakistan, which last week sought to reach out to Afghanistan following a period of particularly bad relations over violence plaguing both countries, insists that any process to end the 10-year war in Afghanistan, be Afghan-led. President Hamid Karzai is believed to have felt sidelined by contacts between the United States and the Taliban, who are leading an increasingly deadly insurgency against his government and 130,000 US-led foreign troops. Islamabad has officially billed mechanisms and institutional linkages,” he added. The Taliban confirmed last month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the United States. Contacts between both sides have already begun, focused on a possible prisoner exchange. “There are certain ideas and suggestions on Afghan reconciliation and when Prime Minister Gilani meets Qatar’s leadership, these will certainly come under discussion,” a senior Pakistani official told AFP on condition of anonymity. “The Americans have been briefing us on all developments aimed at pushing forward the peace process in Afghanistan and we have clearly told them that Islamabad strictly adheres to a policy of noninterference,” he added. Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is regarded with deep suspicion in Western capitals given its longstanding ties to the Taliban, Haqqani network and other fighters, whose leaders are based in Pakistan. But for the same reason, no peace in Afghanistan will be considered lasting without Pakistan’s support and involvement. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said last week that Pakistan was willing to do whatever the Afghans wanted to end the war, but insisted the process should not be led by the Americans or any other foreign power.

Gilani’s three-day visit to Qatar as an opportunity to boost ties and maximise trade. “He will meet among others the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin

Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani,” foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said. “The prime minister’s visit is aimed at opening new vistas for enhanced mutual cooperation and activating the existing structured

ISI chief Pasha ready to ‘get out of job’ unlikely to get extension
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is unlikely to give another extension to ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha in line with a decision made by the top ruling-PPP leadership, several party leaders said on Thursday. “There is no question of giving a further extension to Pasha if one goes by the state of relations between the government and the military, especially the premier spy agency, since the US raid in Abbottabad on May 02 last year to kill Osama Bin laden,” said a close aide to President Asif Ali Zardari, who did not wish to be named. “Some hawks in the PPP even proposed that the ISI chief should have been sacked in the wake of his role in the memo scandal,” the Pakistan People’s Party leader said. He was referring to the controversy over a mysterious memo, made public by PakistaniAmerican businessman Mansoor Ijaz, which had sought US help to stave off a possible coup in Pakistan last year. During the memo controversy, which “nearly proved to be the final nail in the government’s coffin”, the ISI chief’s role had been “suspicious”, the presidential aide said. Another PPP leader, who too spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said though there was an impression after Gilani’s recent meeting with the Army and ISI chiefs that government-military relations were on the mend, this was not the case. “Efforts are still on to get the Prime Minister in one way or another. The Army’s top brass is not Prime Minister, and some in the PPP believed this was enough to initiate action against the ISI chief.While the government insisted that a parliamentary panel should investigate the memo issue, the Army and intelligence chiefs had urged the Supreme Court to order an independent probe. The apex court subsequently set up a threejudge commission to investigate the scandal. Prime Minister Gilani recently said that the Army and intelligence chiefs had acted in an “unconstitutional and illegal” manner by filing affidavits on the memo issue in the apex court without getting the Defence Minister’s approval, but subsequently distanced himself from the remarks in an apparent bid to ease tensions with the military.

happy with him,” the leader said. After Ijaz made the memo public, the ISI chief met him in London to gather evidence about the unsigned document. Questions have been raised about Pasha meeting Ijaz outside the country without getting approval from the

Off the hook: Three phrama firms get clean bill of health
suspected of supplying spurious drugs which caused the deaths of over 100 people. The FIA has power to initiate legal action under the Drugs Act, 1976 (XXXI of 1976) in a case where drugs found are spurious, a senior member of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the matter told The Express Tribune. According to the Drugs Act, spurious drug means “a drug which purports to be a drug but does not contain the active ingredient of that drug; or which purports to be the product of a manufacturer, place or country of whom or of which it is not truly a product; or which is imported or exported or sold or offered or exposed for sale under a particular name, while actually it is another drug; or the label of which bears the name of an individual or company purporting to be its manufacturer or producer, whereas the individual or company is fictitious or does not exist.”

Pakistan cannot afford war over Kashmir: Gilani
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday acknowledged that the Kashmir issue would have to be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy as Pakistan “cannot afford wars” in the 21st century. Four wars have already been fought on the Kashmir issue and the region still “was a flashpoint”, but in the 21st century “we cannot afford wars”, Gilani said. “We want to resolve issues through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus,” he said while addressing a convention at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’. Gilani said the Kashmir issue remained the cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy. “We are Pakistan’s policies should be made through national consensus and by the chosen representatives of the people, and not by individuals, he said. The Kashmir policy had been the focus of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government in line with the vision of the party’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he said. Rallies were held across Pakistan to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, which is a public holiday. The day has been observed by Pakistan since 1990 to highlight the Kashmir issue. During the rallies, Pakistanis pledged to continue supporting the Kashmiris for what they claimed was their “right to selfdetermination”.

The Federal Investigation Agency Punjab has discharged cases against three pharmaceutical laboratories allegedly responsible for supplying contaminated medicines to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) after they were cleared of criminal offence. Reports received from laboratories in and outside the country have so far not declared any medicine manufactured by the three pharmaceutical firms as ‘spurious’, sources familiar with the matter revealed. As a result, the FIA has been barred from carrying out further investigations into the pharmaceutical firms, which were

committed to continue with the moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. The whole nation, including all the political parties, is united on the cause of Kashmir,” he said. Since Pakistan is a responsible country and a responsible nuclear power, it has to make responsible policies, Gilani said.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF MALDIVE NEWS

India relieved as stalemate in Maldives ends
enior officials here heaved a sigh of relief that the two-month-long political confrontation in the Maldives appeared to be getting peacefully resolved despite belligerent statements from a section of the Islamists against Mohd. Nasheed who resigned as the country’s chief executive earlier in the day. Having been in touch with all sections of the political spectrum, New Delhi would like mainstream parties to form a national government under Mr. Nasheed’s deputy who has now been sworn in President. After hearing many of the actors involved in the stand-off between

S

Mr. Nasheed and the Opposition, New Delhi too felt a coalition government would provide Maldives greater stability at a time when it was trying to put in place an alternative

to its overdependence on tourism. Officials here discounted suggestions that India had put all its eggs in the Mr. Nasheed-led Maldives Democratic Party basket.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after his address to the Maldivian Parliament last year had met all Majlis Members and especially spent time with the prominent ones

among them, including the Leader of the Opposition, they pointed out. “All Maldivians are welcome. We never denied meeting them,” they said. After clashes took place and a posse of policemen joined the supporters, the Opposition was very categorical that some sort of change in situation must take place, said officials. With India gently nudging the process, talks were held (disrupted at one time by overenthusiastic Mr. Nasheed supporters), a general agreement has been reached on the formation of a national government of both the ruling party and opposition legislators.

Dhiyana reiterates call to impeach President
Former Secretary General of SAARC Dhiyana Saeed has reiterated her calls for the impeachment of President Mohamed Nasheed. Speaking at the meeting of the 23 December Coalition held at Artificial Beach area on last Friday, Dhiyana said that it is legally questionable the Constitution empowers only the Peoples’ Majlis with the powers to impeach the President. Dhiyana said that the President Nasheed is flouting the law and violating the rights of the people. The former Attorney General expressed grave concern about the threat posed by President Nasheed to the Judiciary and the media. Dhiyana said that she has been receiving phone messages from supporters of President Nasheed calling her a coward for going home

Leaked audio: President requests Police to control media
An audio of President Mohamed Nasheed requesting the Police to control the media outlets who are covering the anti-government street protests has surfaced. In the leaked audio which was aired by VTV, a top official of Maldives Police Service is heart speaking to the President saying that some of the media coverage of the ongoing civic protests have sparked differences within the ranks of the Police officers. He tells the President that it is imperative to bring these media outlets under control. The Police officer additionally tells the President that some Police officers are harassed on the streets because of the ‘wrong portrayal’ of the Police during the media coverage of the anti-government protests.

to seek treatment for the injuries she received when the riot Police forcefully arrested her. She said that her determination will never be wavered. She added that she is even ready to sacrifice her blood for the people. Moreover, Dhiyana reiterated her calls to the President to stop violating the constitution and the

laws of the country. Two weeks in to the series of antigovernment protests organized by the opposition, former SAARC Secretary General Dhiyana Saeed was taken in to police custody along with 10 other women whilst sitting peacefully at the republic square portraying their disapproval of the government’s actions.

In the audio, the President informs the Police Officer to bring all those who harass the Police to custody and to take immediate action against such people. Although the President said that the media should have the freedom to disseminate news to the public, he said that the media should be kept within bounds.

UK MPs concerned over Judiciary: Foreign Min.

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embers of Parliament in Britain have expressed their growing concern over the state of judiciary in the country, labeling Judges “under qualified, corrupt & unreceptive to democratically elected govt”, a press release by the

Foreign Ministry said. The press release further stated that in a recent Parliament session, John Glen, a ruling Conservative Party MP, called the Leader of the House to urgently make time for a debate on judicial reform in the Maldives.

In response to the question, George Young, also a Conservative Party member and Leader of the House of Commons, said that the British government was doing everything possible to resolve the crisis in the Maldives, the press release added.

The Ministry’s press release also claimed that Young also said that the British Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt, understands the problems inherent in the Maldivian judiciary and was in discussions with President

Nasheed to find an urgent solution to the problem. “We want to help Maldives to make progress towards democratic reform in the direction that my friend John Glen outlines” he added the press release said.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF NEPAL NEWS

Nepal’s only international airport shut due to grass fire
A grass fire has closed Nepal’s only international airport and forced flights to divert to India. Police spokesman Raviraj Shrestha said the fire spread close to the runway but away from the terminal building Tuesday evening. No damage or casualties were reported, and it was brought under control within hours. The fire and smoke were visible around part of Nepal’s capital, Katmandu. Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Lokendra Bista said he ordered an investigation into how the fire started. February is the start of the spring tourism season in the Himalayan nation. Tribhuwan International Airport is the main airport and the only one with international flights. Shrestha said a few flights were diverted, but the exact number was not available.

Final Sudan scam verdict ‘this week’
The Special Court has said the final hearing on the Sudan scam is drawing near. Officials say the final verdict may come out within this week. The court has already completed hearing on the involvement of 34 police officials, including three former IGPs—Om Bikram Rana, Hem Bahadur Gurung and Ramesh Chand Thakuri. Currently, hearing on the involvement of Shambhu Bharati, director of Bhagwati Traders, who had supplied the Armed Personnel Carriers (APCs) from Assured Risks P Ltd to Nepali peacekeeping mission in Sudan, is underway. “Today some lawyers defended from Bharati’s side and the final verdict will be issued after the response of the government attorney to defendants,” said Special Court Registrar Dhir Bahadur Chanda. The court said Bharati is the last defendant. On June 7, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had filed cases against 34 police officials and two suppliers—Bharati and Michael Rider, director of the London based Assured Risk, on the charge of embezzling some Rs 290 million of the total Rs 445 million in supplying APCs for peacekeeping mission. But Rider has not appointed his lawyer to defend the case.

33-party meet: PM to direct NA to begin integration process pronto
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has said he will immediately issue directives to the Nepal Army to begin the process of integrating the former Maoist combatants. Addressing an all-party meeting called by three major parties in Singha Durbar on Thursday, Bhattarai said there was no alternative to taking the peace and constitution-writing process forward. “Work to bid farewell to retiring fighters will start tomorrow [Friday]. I will direct the Nepal Army today to start the integration process,” the prime minister told the 33-party meeting. However, as of Thursday evening, it has been learnt that the Prime Minister’s Office has not forwarded any official directive on implementing the November 1 peace deal to the Nepal Army. The NA is awaiting an instruction through the Ministry of Defence to create a directorate for the purpose of integrating into the Army some of the camped Maoist fighters. “The prime minister has already instructed the Nepal Army to start the integration process. They will implement the decision made by the Special Committee: there is no need for a fresh instruction,” Prime Minister’s personal aide Bishwadeep Pandey said. In the all-party meeting attended by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala and CPNUML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, among other leaders, Bhattarai stressed the need for consensus among parties to end the deadlock on peace and constitution. He urged leaders not to focus on toppling his government. “Let us not concentrate on supporting or toppling the government. It will do no good. I am committed to national unity,” a participant quoted the PM as saying in the meeting. Top guns of the NC and the UML stressed the need for progress in the peace process and demanded that the government scrap its decision to legalise land transactions carried out by the Maoist ‘People’s Government’ during the party’s decade-long insurgency to create an atmosphere of trust. “We have not raised the issue of the prime minister’s resignation. I don’t understand why the prime minister took up the issue of toppling the government at the all-party meeting,” said NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel.

2012-13 declared as PM turns to India to ease fuel supply Nepal Investment Year
The government formally announced on Monday that fiscal 2012-13 would be observed as Nepal Investment Year (NIY). The first meeting of the National Directory Committee (NDC) chaired by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai decided to move the campaign ahead as per the government’s plan. For starters, the NDC has formed four sub-committees and their coordinators. According to Radhesh Pant, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Investment Board, the members of the sub-committees will be selected soon after which they will start work. The four sub-committees are the Programme Sub-Committee, Investment Promotion Sub-Committee, Investment Sector Identification SubCommittee and the Act, Rules and Policies Revision Sub-Committee, said Pant. Their coordinators are, respectively, secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Lila Mani Poudel, FNCCI president Suraj Vaidya, Investment Board CEO Pant and vicepresident of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Deependra Kshetri. “The sub-committees will get four to five months to accomplish their assigned tasks. If they encounter any problems, they will be resolved by seeking political and procedural assistance that NIY will be observed successfully,” said Pant. The meeting has also decided to conduct a public campaign to create a favourable environment to draw investment from overseas. “We will launch promotional events like road shows, awareness campaigns and presentations on the need for investment to develop the national economy,” added Pant, “We will also soon host an extensive investment forum.” NIY is one of ambitious programmes of the government that seeks to double foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. Expediting the preparations for NIY, the government gave the Investment Board its full shape a couple of days ago. After failing to manage imports and end a month-long petroleum scarcity, which has spawned desperation among consumers and unruly activity in the market, the government has approached India for increased supplies to Nepal. Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who met with petroleum dealers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottlers on Thursday, said he has already talked to New Delhi about the supply problem and requested its help. “I have personally talked to the Indian authorities about ending the scarcity. The supply-related problems will end soon,” Bishnu Prasad Chaudhary, Minister of State for Commerce and Supplies, quoted the prime minister as saying during the meeting. As Dr Bhattarai did not elaborate, Chaudhary and the other participants in the meeting were unable to explain what actually the prime minister had asked and what the Indian response was. However,

sources said the prime minister´s request to India was twofold: step up petroleum supply and issue the fuel on credit for the time being. Currently, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the sole petroleum products supplier to Nepal, sends in supplies depending on the volume of payment it receives from NOC. But NOC, saddled with a cumulative loss of well over Rs 20 billion, has failed to garner funds on its own and the Ministry of Finance (MoF), which has so far provided or guaranteed loans of Rs 21.36 billion, has also exhausted

its resources. So the country has been unable to import enough fuel to meet normal demand over the past one month. Although Commerce and Supplies Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta did not categorically confirm the prime minister´s request for supply on credit, he said India has responded positively and committed itself to step up the supply. “Requests to India for more fuel and issue of fresh loans of Rs 2 billion to NOC have put multiple arrangements in place. Now the supply will ease within a week,” Bhatta told Republica. Meanwhile, the cabinet on Thursday decided to immediately provide two billion rupees to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to ease fuel supply within a week and give 33 percent concession to students, poor and farmers on cooking gas and kerosene. The agitating students have called off their protest after the government decision.

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

SAARC

23

WEEKLY REVIEW OF SRILANKA NEWS

Sri Lanka Tamil party holds discussions with US envoy
Leaders of Sri Lanka’s major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, met with the visiting The United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp and held discussions with various issues affecting the Tamil community, TNA sources said. According to a TNA release, Rapp who arrived in Sri Lanka on February 5 for a 4-day visit has met with the TNA leader R. Sampanthan and the parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran. The Obama envoy is in Sri Lanka to mainly review the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and discuss the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations and accountability issues with relevant officials. The U.S. officials’ visit ahead of the UN Human Rights Council Sessions due to commence on February 27 in Geneva is viewed as crucial since the US government is preparing to support a UNHRC resolution that will ask Sri Lanka to take more concrete actions towards reconciliation and especially, addressing the accountability issue and implementing the recommendations put forward by the LLRC. United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake and State Department’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero will also arrive in Sri Lanka on February 12 for a twoday visit.

Lanka marks Independence with pomp and pageantry

Sri Lanka celebrated the 64th anniversary of gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1948 with pomp and pageantry in the sacred and ancient city of Anuradhapura, under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday. The day’s events not only symbolized the freedom gained from the administrative, economic and social bindings of the former British colonizers, but also the hopes and aspirations of a nation that enjoys peace and prosperity after ending nearly a three decade long scourge of terrorism. The event evoked memories of the past, and remembered those who strove and fought for the freedom that the country now enjoys. The celebration which included a grand

parade from the Security forces and Police personnel, cultural troupes and the President’s address to the nation, carried the message that Sri Lanka achieved independence not through division, but rather by uniting as one. The events demonstrated that it was this unity in diversity that the country celebrates on February 4, with a truly Sri Lankan identity. The President launched the Independence Day celebrations with the hoisting of the National Flag at 8:50am. Two minutes silence followed in remembrance of the fallen heroes who made the supreme sacrifice in defending the motherland. A grand march-past with the participation of 1,400 Army personnel, 250 Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force personnel and

Civil Defence Task Force personnel and Police personnel each and 200 cadres from the youth brigade was held followed by a cultural parade consisting traditional dancers from all provinces. The colourful cultural parade included 46 cultural troupes representing all ethnic groups. The performances were inline with the history of the nation symbolizing the culture and heritage that runs into centuries. The holding of the Independence Day celebration once again out of Colombo, in the former Kingdom of Anuradhapura, also symbolised the government’s intentions of achieving true equity in all sectors and all areas. The President in his address to the nation also emphasised that “we have to give the rural people who comprises

80 percent of our population the results of giant development works we have initiated in the country. It is not only an expectation but also a challenge which we are ready to take up.” Emphasising on making the country a knowledge hub, enhancing economic development and strengthening unity, he said: “We would be able to utilize the giant development works built by us for national development only if we can bring up a citizen equipped with modern, scientific, technical and language skills and who could be on par with anybody else in the world. “We would be able to exist as an independent and sovereign state only if we strengthen our economy. We have to get together and work just

as we got together and worked with dedication to defeat terrorism.” He also noted that the country was engaged in the task of creating a stable peace and national unity after liberating the country from terrorism and added that this was not a task confined to one individual or a party. He also pointed out that yet conspiracies and propaganda of terrorists based overseas have not abated. He added: “When such things happen abroad, some people here do various things to destabilize the Motherland. They expect to achieve in Sri Lanka certain results that happened in some countries. Both these groups are one. Fuel and nutrition for this struggle in Sri Lanka are received from separatism active in foreign lands.”

13th Amendment full of flaws: TNA Glowing plaudits for SL
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was riddled with flaws and therefore it could not be accepted as a basis for power devolution under the present circumstances. The TNA’s latest remarks came in the backdrop of some quarters including India asking the government of Sri Lanka to evolve a political solution based on the 13th Amendment plus. TNA spokesman MP Suresh Premachandran told the Daily Mirror yesterday that the 13th Amendment was already a part of the Constitution, there is no need for the government to consult the TNA to implement it meaningfully. “If the government is genuinely

from int’l community
committed to it, there is no need for them to have a dialogue with us. Today, the 13th Amendment is full of flaws. The government can devolve powers to the governors of the provincial councils instead of empowering the boards of ministers. It is a constitutional lacuna,” he said. Also, he said that the national policy planning is done today by the central government despite the 13th Amendment. “The provincial councils need land, police and fiscal powers. If the Centre is involved in all these matters, the hands of the provincial councils will be constitutionally tightened,” he said. Referring to the one year long political dialogue with the government, he said that none of the key areas of power devolution or sharing had been discussed. Leaders of many countries yesterday congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa on taking tremendous strides towards development in the aftermath of the 30-year conflict which claimed the lives of thousands of people belonging to all communities. In congratulatory messages to the Lankan President and Prime Minister on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s 64th Independence Day, they lauded the dynamic and charismatic leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who saved the country from the scourge of terrorism. These leaders said ruthless terrorism deprived the Lankan people of many things and slowed the development march. They say that the relations with Sri Lanka have increased in all forms under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in his congratulatory message said that Sri Lanka and India share a centuries old friendship and a common heritage. “Our close bilateral relations are characterized by the spirit of mutual understanding and constructive cooperation” , he said.

24

BUSINESS

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

Improving India ties would help Pakistan economy: IMF
Noting that investment climate in Pakistan is not good, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today said improving relations with India and the recent WTO tariff exemptions for 75 items should help the country to overcome its current economic crisis. Noting that investment climate in Pakistan is not good, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today said improving relations with India and the recent WTO tariff exemptions for 75 items should help the country to overcome its current economic crisis. The IMF mission chief for Pakistan Adnan Mazarei in a conference call with reporters at conclusion of its consultations with Pakistan said the country’s security scenario and general economic health are a problem, even though its leaders have taken some steps to address the situation. Mazarei said it is correct to say that Pakistan economy is facing huge vulnerabilities and risks. It is because of building global economic pressures and needs to build buffers, he added. Investment climate in Pakistan is not very good, and steps need to be taken to attract it, Mazarei said. “Improving relations with India and WTO tariff exemptions for 75 items recently should help Pakistan,” the IMF official said in response to a question. Noting that pressure on rupee could continue, he added those balances of payments are also affected by political situation in the country.

India GDP growth to slow at 6.9% for 2011-12
India’s gross domestic product or GDP growth is expected to be lower than 7% at 6.9 per cent, according to advance estimates for the year ending March 2012. This is the slowest growth after 2008-09 when India registered a growth rate of 6.7 per cent. “There may be slow growth in the sectors of ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ (2.5%), manufacturing (3.9%) and construction (4.8%). The growth in the mining and quarrying sector is estimated to be negative(2.2%),’ the government release said. These estimates confirm a slowdown in growth in the second half of the financial year 2011-12. Growth in the first half of the fiscal deficit slowed to 7.3 per cent. Analysts expected the government to announce a growth range of 7 to 7.5 per cent for the full year. India’s growth has slowed from

8.4 per cent registered in the financial year 2010-11. Commenting on the GDP growth estimates, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, “The 6.9 per cent is consistent with what we have been saying. “We said 7 per cent for year (2011-12) as whole. (With) 7.3 per cent in the first half and 6.9 in the third quarter, 7 per cent is possible.” Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) at current prices is estimated at Rs. 26,09,963 crore in 2011-12 as against Rs. 23,31,382 crore in 2010-11. Gross capital formation is the percentage of GDP invested in creating new fixed assets. Any weakness in gross capital formation means an economy is slowing down. This means GFCF grew 11 per cent against a fall of 0.6 per cent in the quarter to September 2011. The government and the RBI had earlier said that global economic slowdown and the high domestic interest rate regime is likely to act as a dampener on the current fiscal’s growth. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 3 February 2012 said that the country’s economic growth is likely to slow down to 7-7.5 per cent blaming the continuing uncertainty in the global economic environment. RBI advised the government on Monday that it was necessary to cut the fiscal deficit to stimulate growth. Fiscal deficit is the amount the government has to borrow from the central bank (RBI) to meet its expenses.

This Spring, young love will blossom across the globe, in the new Twentieth Century Fox and Rose Productions’ film ‘London Paris New York’, releasing in cinemas on 2nd March 2012. Starring Bollywood’s latest crush and singing sensation Ali Zafar (Tere Bin Laden, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) and actress Aditi Rao Hydari (Yeh Sali Zindagi, Rockstar), ‘London Paris New York’ tells the quirky tale of two star-crossed, twenty-somethings, who find themselves drawn to each other in the most unlikely of circumstances, amidst the exciting backdrop of three of the world’s most vibrant cities – London, Paris and New York. A coming-of-age comedy designed to appeal to the youth, ‘London Paris New York’ speaks their language, reflects their aspirations and the angst and joys of falling in love. ‘London Paris New York’ marks the writing and directorial debut of Anu Menon, a former student at the London Film School. The film throughout intersperses the significance of the number three, as it follows the journey of love between ‘Nikhil’ (Ali Zafar) and ‘Lalitha’ (Aditi Rao Hydari) who meet for a night in three cities, London, Paris and New York. Mirroring three states of love in a heart-warming, amusing and stylish plot, ‘London Paris New York’ is said to bring razor sharp wit back into Bollywood’s romantic comedies. Ali Zafar is a multi-talented artist - musician, composer, songwriter, singer, actor, painter and model - who shot to fame with hit songs like ‘Channo’, ‘Rangeen’ and ‘Chal Dil Merey’. Adding further impetus to ‘London Paris New York’, Ali has penned and performed the musical score for the film too, whose aim was to create a fresh sound, which experiments with various genres in line with the emotions showcased in the film. He used Pop influences in London, Electronic Sufi in Paris and Blues Rap in New York, blended together with a strong Bollywood undertone. The soundtrack also features its multi-talented stars Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari singing songs on the official soundtrack. Dancer and actress Aditi Rao Hydari made her acting debut in 2007 in Sharada Ramanathan’s acclaimed film ‘Sringaram’. She is best known for her role in popular film ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’, and also in Rockstar and Dilli 6. Synopsis: ‘London Paris New York’ is a film that captures the angst of being in your twenties, the most dramatic period

of your life - when you have to find a career; you have your first significant relationship and most importantly form your identity in this world. It is the story of ‘Lalitha’, a middle class South Indian girl from Chembur (an eastern suburb in Mumbai) who is on her way to New York to study politics on a full scholarship, and Nikhil, a Punjabi, rich kid from Bandra (a posh western suburb of Mumbai - read new money) who is going to study Film Making in London, fully funded by his father’s money. They decide to hang-out together one evening in London and find that they are completely drawn to each other even as their future lies on separate continents. The film follows their personal journey and their love story as they meet in London, Paris and New York for a night each over

eight years. The film is in three chapters and each chapter is shot in a manner that mirrors the mental state of ‘Nikhil’ and ‘Lalitha’. The three bridges on the three rivers - Thames, Seine and Hudson - witness the three states of their love. Music is integral to the film and takes form according to the moods. The three cities also give a dramatic canvas to create different exciting themes - Pop-Romance in London; Electronic-Sufi in Paris and Blues-Rap in New York, all blended in true Bollywood style. The dialogues are natural and fresh and you get a sense that you are eavesdropping on these two characters. The film is romantic but not sentimental, and even though the pair discuss meaningful things, the film is always underpinned by humour. ‘London Paris New York’ is released by Twentieth Century Fox on 2nd March 2012.

Saarc international I Thursday 09 February 2012

ENTERTAINMENT

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Prateik & Amy Jackson: Will they? Won’t they?
runner up. The English starlet, who is making waves with her film career in India, stars opposite Bollywood heartthrob and youth icon Prateik Babbar (‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Aarakshan’). The entire film is a breath-taking combination of a story told through the eyes of the critically acclaimed Master Director Gautham Vasudev Menon set against the exotic backdrop of Kerala, Agra, Jaipur and Mumbai. The film is a reworking of Menon’s path-breaking Tamil screen hit, ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa’. His other works include the Tamil blockbuster ‘Khakha Khakha’ which was also reinterpreted in Bollywood for the Box Office hit, ‘Force’. ‘Ek Deewana Tha’ is offset by a simply outstanding and memorable composition by multi-Oscar winner, A.R. Rahman (‘Slumdog Millionaire’) with lyrics penned by India’s most popular and sought-after lyricist, Javed Akhtar. Synopsis: ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ is the story of Sachin (Prateik Babbar), an engineer who has managed to complete his degree, but who is completely obsessed with the world of cinema

Well the gossip aunties are busy spinning stories of romance between Prateik and Amy Jackson and the two seem to be enjoying each other’s company... But yesterday Prateik threw a bomb and said he had proposed Amy many times but met with rejection... Well Amy was mum on this but maintained that their relationship has

Hailing from the new age genre of Hindi cinema that presents a fresh and youth-targeted perspective, ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ retells the classic, intense love story with fresh impetus for a new generation of cinemagoers, releasing through Twentieth Century Fox on 17th February 2012. ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ weaves an emotive

her attention or generally try to make conversation with her. Jessie is a Malayalee Christian with strict orthodox parents. To make

people in the world why did I fall in love with Jessie? ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ is released through Twentieth Century Fox on 17th February 2012. Prateik, Amy speak about their offscreen chemistry Ever since Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson started working for Gautam Menon’s Ek Deewana Tha, speculation about their relationship has been making rounds. “Me and Prateik are very very close. We have shot for five months and obviously we had a lot of chemistry. How come we can’t get romantic when you have such romantic songs?” Amy said. Prateik said he was very comfortable with Amy on screen and off screen as well. Latest reports say the two have been staying together for a while, and Prateik seems to be quite happy with these rumours. “She is beautiful, isn’t she? If there are speculations about me moving in with a beautiful girl then I am happy about it. But no, we haven’t,” the 25-year-old actor said. The leading lady, who is starting her career with Ek Deewana Tha, however believes she does not need support of any rumours to accelerate her career in showbiz. “I came here with completely open arms. And now I have joined the film industry and I am loving every moment of it. My dedication towards it is at the highest peak. So I wouldn’t use somebody because I believe I can become a hero on my own and I don’t need any rumours to help me do that,” she said.

helpe She was quoted saying, “Me and Prateik are very very close. We have shot for five months and obviously we had a lot of chemistry. How come we can’t get romantic when you have such romantic songs?” No doubt Prateik is bowled over by the beauty and charm of Amy. Prateik kept on saying, “She is beautiful, isn’t she? If there are speculations about me moving in with a beautiful girl then I am happy about it. But no, we haven’t.” Both were present at the success bash of the music of ‘Ek Deewana Tha’ yesterday and kept everyone guessing about their relationship status. But nobody can deny the fact that the two were looking cute together and if they move in together we won’t mind at least and if they won’t we want them to remain as friends forever... Former Miss England Runner Up, Amy Jackson, makes Bollywood debut in the Multi-Oscar winner A.R. Rahman’s Musical ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ Twentieth Century Fox presents the youth Bollywood love story of the year on 17th February 2012

and powerful tale of how the path to true love never runs smoothly and that following your dreams comes at a price as it explores the highs and lows of being in love and the pleasures and

and films. Hanging around at film sets, waiting outside directors’ offices and spending time with an assistant director-friend is what makes most of his days. And just when life was churning its monotonous cycle, Sachin and his matters worse, she is also a year older to Sachin. All the odds seem stacked against him. And finally one day, when pushed into a corner, he confesses to her that he likes her. But Jessie is headstrong and refuses to accept that she has any feelings for him. She insists that they should be friends and that anything further would make life very difficult for her. And yet, she feels the need to meet him and talk to him. A beautifully essayed love storymusical between the quintessential romantic Sachin and the confused yet headstrong Jessie, ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ is an intense, yet feel good love story between the two lovers as they understand the pangs and pleasure of first love while battling with the situations that life has placed them in, making Sachin question - of all the

pains associated with it. Making her Bollywood debut in the female lead after a successful run in Tamil Cinema is British actress and model Amy Jackson, who is also former Miss Liverpool, Miss Teen World, Miss Teen Great Britain, and Miss England

family shift to a temporary home in Juhu and it is in this new place, that he sees ‘her’ for the first time – Jessie (Amy Jackson). It is love at first-sight for Sachin and when he finds out that she lives in the house upstairs, he leaves no chance to watch her, catch

26

COMMENT
impose his evil, oppressive dictatorship over the whole world and mislead mankind’ and deceive mankind. That evil would take the road to heaven and make it look like the road to hell; and he would take the road to jahannam and make it look like the road to heaven. Those who see with only external knowledge; that’s all; the PhD from the University of Cape Town will be unable to penetrate his deception. Will form judgment on the basis of external knowledge; of external observation and would be deceived; would believe that they are on the road to heaven; when in fact they are on the road to hell and they don’t know it. The purpose of the spiritual quest’ the ultimate purpose, in this world, of the halaqatul zikr, is to be able to see what otherwise cannot be seen. The ultimate purpose in this life of the spiritual quest is

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

Surah Fatiha and Spiritual Quest
We begin with Allah’s Blessed name; we praise Him and we glorify Him as He aught to be glorified and we pray for peace and blessings on all His noble messengers and in particular the last of them all, the blessed Prophet Muhammad. Nabi Muhammad warned; he warned of an age that is to come, which would be a terrible age, more terrible than any age that mankind would ever had experienced since Adam came on earth. Very few would survive that age. A terrible, evil, mastermind will attempt to take control of the world. And that terrible, evil, mastermind of whom Allah had hinted when He said: That terrible, evil mastermind will attempt to

Shiekh Imran Hossein

Tribune Comment
mastermind will have a PhD in deception. That in that age things will not be what they appear to be. That appearance and reality would be completely opposite to each other. That he

therefore spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge comes when external knowledge and internal knowledge are harmoniously integrated with each other. Allah ? speaks in the Holy Qur’aan about a people who have no internal knowledge; who do not pursue the spiritual quest or who pursue the spiritual quest but are not conscious of what is the goal of the spiritual quest. Who believe perhaps that the spiritual quest is ultimately for the purpose of being able to perform karamah; actions which look like what the Prophets performed as miracles; and who do not understand that the spiritual quest is ultimately, for the purpose of acquiring internal knowledge. And He says of such people who are

spiritually blind. He says [in the Holy Qur’aan in the 7th Sura, al-Araaf [The Heights], Verse 179:] They have hearts but they do not understand They have eyes but they do not see They have ears but they do not hear [They are like cattle] These people, who would be the multitudes in that last age, they have a status equivalent to cattle. Even with a PhD from the University of Cape Town! Yes! They have a status equivalent to cattle.

Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran summit in Islamabad on 16th
Continued from page 9 >> Presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran will meet here from Feb 16 to 17 at the third trilateral summit, committed to promoting regional cooperation and strengthening peace and stability, but the event is expected to have more visuals than substance. “We aren’t expecting anything major in the joint declaration to be issued at the end of the two-day summit,” a Pakistani diplomat said. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai are expected to arrive in Islamabad on Feb 16. The three sides have been holding the trilateral summit since 2009, but so far they have made little headway in substantively bolstering cooperation because of their mutual suspicions. Additionally, US influence on Afghanistan and Pakistan has prevented the forum, established on President Ahmadinejad’s initiative, from taking off in real terms. The joint declarations issued at the end of the two previous meetings virtually carried nothing more than reiteration of their commitment to the much cherished goals of expanding political, security, economic and cultural ties, maintaining peace and stability in the region and attaining prosperity of their people. The three-way format that is primarily focused on exploring cooperation in the fields of economics and trade, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism, would provide an opportunity to the leaders to discuss connectivity issues, efforts for jointly fighting terrorism and organised crime, improving border management, controlling narcotics smuggling, in addition to reconciliation with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The three countries are faced with common problems of drugtrafficking, terrorism, trans-national crimes and failing economies, but Afghanistan is of major interest to the other two — Iran and Pakistan — because both share border with it, have hosted Afghan refugees and are impacted directly by the developments in the wartorn country. But, more significantly it is Afghanistan which makes Islamabad and Tehran to converge and also diverge. Despite the prevailing cynicism about the trilateral forum, leaders of Pakistan and Iran have expressed strong confidence in it. President Asif Ali Zardari, talking to visiting Iranian Vice President Ali Seedlou on Tuesday, expressed the hope that the “forthcoming summit would prove to be an important milestone in our journey towards finding peace, stability and Afghan-led conciliation process”. He stressed the need for the regional countries to jointly combat extremism and terrorism. “It is high time that the regional countries work together and extricate our people from the threat posed by extremists and militant mindset.” During his last visit to Kabul, President Ahmadinejad had impressed upon President Karzai to use the trilateral forum to discuss his country’s fractured relations with Islamabad.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

SPECIAL FEATURE

27

Believe me, Muslims are not a herd
can bargain with political parties on behalf of this “collective” vote, as if individual Muslims have no opinion of their own and can be herded together in a pre-determined direction for a price decided mutually between the politicians and the community’s self-appointed spokespersons. The Muslim vote bank helps communal Hindu organisations to manufacture their own “Hindu vote bank,” and use the whipped up Muslim threat to achieve their ultimate objective: a HinduMuslim electoral polarisation. The secular sections too have become unwitting participants in this game. Their intention is presumably to lift Muslims out of their sense of insecurity but the constant focus has only served to perpetuate the fear and victimhood that have been the bane of the community. Experts on 24x7 TV channels habitually use the vote bank theory to offer pat explanations for Muslim behaviour and to reach pre-fabricated conclusions. I know I will be roundly attacked for these assertions for they question the very basis on which sectarian elements on both sides have built their arguments. The Muslim Ulema refuse to accept the ground reality of Islam in India which is as much mired in caste politics as any other Indian religion. The plain truth is that Muslim society is as divided as Hindu society and along the same caste and regional lines. Caste is such a formidable Indian/ Hindu institution that no ideology can escape it: Islam, Christianity, Marxism, rationalism, modernism have all floundered on the bedrock of this hard reality. Islam became acceptable in medieval Indian society as a caste group and not as a religious group. Mughals, Pathans, Turks, Sheikhs and Syeds were regarded as sub-castes, so much so that other Indian converts to Islam came to be conveniently regarded as outcasts. Diverse and complex It suited the Turk/Pathan/Mughal rulers to be treated as caste groups and not as a monolithic religion. Those who understand Western Uttar Pradesh Muslim society will vouch for the existence of castes such as Jhojhas, Ranghars, Gharhas which are peculiar to Muslims of this area. Then you have Muslims divided along Hindu caste lines, among them Muslim Rajputs, Mode Jaat (Muslim Jat) and Khatri, Gujjar, Tyagi and Teli Muslims. Others such as Ansaris, Qureshis, Rayanis, Sulemanis and Saifis are as divided socially as any other caste groups. Add to this the Shia-Sunni and Deobandi-Barelvi divides and a dozen other divisions based on different school of thoughts, and you have a complex and diverse rural India do not vote as a single religious group. Their caste rivalries are so strong that if, for example, the Qureshis vote for one party, the Ansaris will vote for another. And the beauty of this voting is that it is irrespective of the candidate who could be Hindu or Muslim. To be sure, there does emerge from time to time a temporary “Muslim vote,” when the community faces a common threat like the “Ram Mandir” movement, or anti-Muslim pogroms as in Gujarat, Meerut or Bhagalpur. In fact it is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which by raising obfuscate the truth when they talk of Muslims voting for this or that party under the sway of one fatwa or another. The voting behaviour of Muslims is as varied as that of any other religious group, based on their socio-economic, rural-urban and caste-religion divides. Influence of global events In the last 40 years of my active journalistic life I have always been asked this question by my friends from the media: “What will be the impact of Bangladesh or an IndiaPakistan war or the situation in Iran or the death of Saddam Hussein on Indian Muslim voting behaviour? Recently it was Salman Rushdie who was thought to be able to affect Muslim voting. My reply has always been that these issues do influence the minds of a section of Muslims but they do not influence their voting behavior. They voted for Indira Gandhi despite her being responsible for the break up of Pakistan. They voted for the Janata Party in 1977 despite the presence of the Jana Sangh in that camp. They went along with V.P. Singh despite his association with the BJP. They voted by and large with the Left Front in West Bengal but moved towards Mamata Banerjee as the general mood changed in that state. The point I am making is that Muslims don’t generally vote against the trend in their State. Even when they vote for a particular party it is never as a single, undifferentiated block. The media and analysts should stop looking at Muslim voters through the prism of a “vote bank” and start treating them as individuals and groups. The subconscious contempt we have for the “other” (read Muslims) leads us to believe that they somehow behave irrationally, as a herd led by their fanatic leaders. The legend of the Muslim vote bank is strong and will be used and reused in this election as in the previous ones. However, for a better understanding of Indian politics it is best that we think beyond the vote bank. (Shahid Siddiqui is a former Member of Parliament, editor of Nai Duniya and currently a member of

Shahid Siddiqui
Opportunistic politicians are projecting Muslims as a monolithic ‘vote bank,’ whereas the reality is of a diverse community divided along caste and theological lines. The myth of the Muslim vote bank, though denied by sociologists and debunked by psephologists, refuses to die. It reasserts itself with new vigour at every election. Even those well aware of the diversity within the community cannot resist building their arguments on this spurious claim. The vote bank theory has been convenient for labelling Muslims and shoving them into handy brackets. It was done in India to explain the political behaviour of Muslims across regional, linguistic, caste, class and social barriers. Today it is done globally to gloss over inconvenient and inconsistent behaviour: it is a one-size fits all formula that cuts across regions and rides over locational differences and circumstances. Whether they are Thai, Chechen, Palestinian or European, Muslims are judged unfailingly by their faith and socalled beliefs. In this foretold story, everything is pre-decided: the crime, the culprit, the cause, the evidence and the punishment. The vote bank The idea that there is something called a “Muslim vote bank,” which behaves uniformly across the board, suits equally the Muslim leadership and its right wing Hindu counterpart. Muslim leaders and middlemen

community. Before Independence these divisions were not as sharp as they are today, primarily because the British had to be fought as a common enemy. However as electoral politics came to the fore, caste and sub-caste divisions got etched in bolder relief. Caste divisions in Muslim society were never as sharp or as rigid as they are in Hindu society. With the coming of democracy they became distinct political groups, and more so since the Mandalisation of North Indian politics. Today, Muslims in

the bogey of the Muslim vote bank, that turns this fragmented vote into a formidable political entity. Muslim leaders in turn play the “Indian Islam/Muslims are in danger” card in order to unite the community under one banner. Contrary to popular assumptions, the Muslim vote never goes en masse to a single party, be it the Congress, the Samajwadi Party or the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Before Independence , even the Muslim League could never get more than 50 per cent of the Muslim vote in U.P. So analysts deliberately

Please tell me again … What is the war in Afghanistan about?
Continued from page 29 >> strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the Californiabased oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions.[3] Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban: The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company. When those talks stalled in July, 2001 the Bush administration threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands. The talks finally broke down for good the following month, a month before 9/11. The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.

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COMMENT

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 02 February 2012

A border too far for Bangladesh
Syed Tashfin Chowdhury
DHAKA - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government last week showed its determination to maintain improved ties with New Delhi, defying public anger over the torture of a young Bangladeshi man by Indian border guards while signing with India a US$1.5 billion power plant deal that threatens Bangladesh’s most famous natural asset, the Sundarbans. Even as the furor continued over the videoed treatment of 22-year-old Habibur Rahman by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, who stripped him, lashed his arms to a bamboo pole across his back, and thrashed him about the body and on the soles of his feet, the BSF on Friday handed over the body of another young man, Saiful Islam, 25. Saiful’s elder brother said the BSF had tortured his sibling with sharp weapons before killing him. The BSF denied the claim, saying they had recovered the body at Lalpur, about two kilometers inside India the Bangladesh border, the Daily Star reported on Sunday. The BSF’s savage treatment of Bangladeshis, often related to bribes for smuggling cattle, has been a long-running sore, but the video of the torture of Habibur Rahman, made public in mid-January, has increased demands for an end to the brutality. Habibur told Asia Times Online that after an hour of torture in the end-of-year attack, and before losing consciousness, the BSF members discussed bathing him “in petrol and then putting him on fire”. The Bangladesh government is “not worried about these incidents”, Syed Ashraful Islam, general secretary of Hasina’s ruling Awami League and minister for local government, rural development and cooperatives, told the press on January 19 after the video clip became public. Days later, Bangladesh Finance Minister A M A Muhith and Indian Power Secretary P Uma Shankar attended the signing of the power plant agreement in Dhaka. The Indian government’s reaction to the video of the border thrashing was immediate once it was made public. Eight BSF jawans were suspended on January 18 for their alleged role in the incident and the next day the government said a full investigation had been ordered. The Indian media also reacted angrily to the behavior of the country’s border guards. The Hindu urged an “unreserved apology” to Bangladesh for the “brutal conduct” of BSF personnel. Yet it was not until January 23, as public anger rose, that Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina told the Foreign and Home Affairs ministries to take up the issue with the Indian side. The next day, State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haque said the Bangladesh Border Guards were on “high alert” and had been asked to “take steps for a meeting with BSF at the directorgeneral level in February, before its scheduled meeting in March”. More than 900 Bangladeshis and 164 Indians were killed along the border by the BSF between 2000 to 2010, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. The issue looked set to improve said Habibur, who at the start of the video can be seen tied to a stake on the far left of the picture as cattle and their drivers pass through. “As I could not pay up, they stripped me naked, tied my hands and legs, jumped on my chest and beat me with thick sticks,” said Habibur. “Some BSF personnel were witnessing my torture while sipping tea. Another recorded the whole incident through a mobile camera. “They probably thought I was dead after I fainted, as they threw my naked body into a mustard field, The trade is good for Indian traders as smuggled cattle is sold “at a price 35% to 40% more in Bangladesh than in India”, said Shahin Miaji, a cattle trader and butcher shop owner in Dhaka. It is also good business for the government. Shahin estimated that nearly 65% of Bangladesh’s total cattle supply, ranging between 20,000 to 25,000 cattle daily, comes from largely Hindu India, where the demand for beef is negligible. Some media reports in Bangladesh say cattle worth $81,000 is smuggled into member and released, according to some reports, as a cautionary tale to other smugglers. The video was posted on YouTube by Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, a Kolkata-based non-governmental organization. India is Bangladesh’s secondmost important trading partner, trailing only the European Union, but issues arising from their 4,000 kilometer common border have blighted their relationship, most recently involving a brief armed conflict in 2001.

after India and Bangladesh agreed last March to avoid using lethal weapons in dealing with illegal activities on the frontier, and in July Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said India had ordered the BSF not to shoot, except in self-defense. Yet between April and December, 16 Bangladeshis were shot dead by the BSF, seven others were tortured and three more were killed through other methods. In January alone, two Bangladeshis were killed by the BSF, nine were injured and three were allegedly abducted, according to Dhaka-based human rights organization Odhikar. The body of one, 22-year old Saddam Hossain Babu, was recovered from a river bank on January 24 with torture marks on his hands and neck. He had been picked up by BSF personnel three weeks earlier. Last year, 31 Bangladeshis were reportedly killed, 61 injured and 23 abducted. Habibur, a day laborer, told Asia Times Online he had earlier crossed into India after bribing Bangladeshi border guards 20 takas (US$2.33) to get work as a cattle smuggler. Due to a lack of cattle-handling experience, he failed to get a job and was returning to Bangladesh when Indian border guards picked him up late on December 9 and took him to a BSF camp. Out of cash, he was unable to pay any bribes. “They beat me for half an hour ... as I did not have any money or mobile phone,” he said. “Around dawn on December 10, they again asked for money from me,”

from where other Bangladeshi cattle-runners rescued me and brought me back to Khanpur in Bangladesh.” The “horrific images of torture ... show what rights groups have long documented: that India’s Border Security Force is out of control,” Human Rights Watch South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said. “The Indian government is well aware of killings and torture at the border, but has never prosecuted the troops responsible. This video provides a clear test case of whether the security forces are above the law in India. “Whenever offenses attributed to the BSF occur, its leadership insists that there will be an internal inquiry and action taken,” said Ganguly. “But secret proceedings and suspensions or transfers won’t end the abuses. Torture is a serious crime that should be prosecuted in the courts.” Much of the BSF violence is against smugglers of cattle, whose export is banned by India. While the present Bangladeshi government is unwilling to strain ties with India, international trade experts and cattle traders in Bangladesh say it also does not want to disturb trade involving influential smuggling rings that has prevailed for over three decades. “Both governments are subtly tolerant particularly toward cattle smuggling,” Manjur Ahmed, adviser to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce (FBCC) and Industry, told Asia Times Online.

Bangladesh daily. Once the cattle are brought in from India, the smuggler tells Bangladesh customs officials that he found them near the border and that they were probably trafficked. The customs officer takes the cattle, whatever the number may be, then lets the “good Samaritan” buy them back at 500 takas (US$6) per cow making them legal livestock. Akbar Ali Khan, a former chairman of the National Board of Revenue chairman, last week said the payment system was set up by the Bangladesh government in 1993 so it could take in revenues from already established smuggling networks. Once the cattle are sold in the markets, the money they garner is channeled back to Indian businessmen through the illegal hundi, foreign currency payment system, which itself is nourished by gold smuggled from Bangladesh to India. “Drugs, phensedyl and light arms are also smuggled into Bangladesh across the border. We hardly hear of the BGB [Border Guard Bangladesh] apprehending these smugglers,” said Ahmed of the FBCC. Illegal trade has long been “accommodated” and “the killings and torture of Bangladesh cattle fetchers at the border are actually due to botched negotiations between the cattle trafficking rings and the BSF,” he said. The treatment of Habibur was made public through an 11-minute video, apparently taken by a BSF

Matters have recently improved, leading to a state visit to Bangladesh by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last September, when Premier Hasina signed a “Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development between India and Bangladesh”. The pact was seen to make important headway on issues such as shared water systems and crossborder trade. Yet since then, concern in Bangladesh has grown that India seems prepared to press ahead unilaterally with construction of the Tipaimukh dam, which may threaten the livelihood of millions of Bangladeshis, and no progress is seen on implementation of border realignments intended to remove dozens of troublesome enclaves in both countries. A $1 billion loan by India to Bangladesh under an August 2010 agreement remains virtually untapped. On January 16, the government in Dhaka said it planned to abandon eight of 21 projects planned under the loan due to “tough conditions”. Terms of the loan require Bangladesh to procure from India 85% of the goods, works and services involved in any project. Only one project, initiated by the Bangladesh Road Transport Corp, is going ahead smoothly, while 19 others are stuck due to procurement complications, the Financial Express reported. Syed Tashfin Chowdhury is the Editor of Xtra, the weekend magazine of New Age, in Bangladesh.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 02 February 2012

COMMENT

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The Global March on Jerusalem A Call to Join
Laura Stuart
31st of March 2012 is what is known as “Land Day“, a day significant in the very full diary of Palestinian suffering. It is a day which recalls when, in the name of security, Israel decided to steal even more Palestinian land, something they have continued doing until the present day. On Land Day, International Peace Activists will take part inThe Global March to Jerusalem and march towards Al Aqsa masjid in Occupied Jerusalem. They will be joined by humanitarians from around the globe, a host of mixed nationalities, religions and political persuasions all uniting to particpate in this historic event. Their aim is to highlight the illegal occupation and other Israeli injustices towards Palestinians. After the two masajid in Mecca and Medina respectively, Al Aqsa masjid in Jerusalem is the third most important masjid to the world’s one and a half billion Muslims, . Despite Al Aqsa masjid being so important to Muslims, it is almost impossible to visit because of the Illegal Occupation by Israel. Palestinians who live in Israel or East Jerusalem are able to pray in Al Aqsa but others from the West Bank wishing to go and pray, are subject to age restrictions and military checkpoints. Palestinians from Gaza would not get permission to travel there at all. Muslims from the rest of the world might be able to visit Al Aqsa as part of a tour of the Holy Land, however everyone is subject to the whims of the Israelis issuing visas. Personally I would love to visit Al Aqsa but am highly unlikely to be issued a visa by the State of Israel due to a series of events I suffered as Join us as we intensify our struggle against forced exile and the system of Israeli apartheid on Land Day 2012. We Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed and uprooted from our lands starting in the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) which resulted in the creation of the millions of refugees who are now living in the Diaspora. Nineteen years later, in 1967, Israel illegally annexed EastJerusalem and the West Bank in a move which marked the Naksa (Setback), and subjected the remaining Palestinians to a brutal military occupation. We are now in 2012, and we are still living in exile or under the Israeli apartheid regime, the illegal construction of colonial settlements is confiscating the remaining parts of Palestine, the Separation Wall divides and separates villages and towns, and Palestinians in Jerusalem are threatened of being driven out of their homes and lands for the mere purpose of the Judaization of this sacred city. But we will not leave. We will stand and be firm. We will not permit thousands of years of our attachment to our land and our Holy City to be broken. We therefore invite and call upon all persons of courage and good will around the world to stand up and walk, with your fellow human beings, regardless of religion, of political affiliation – to stand up as responsible human beings and walk peacefully towards Jerusalem on the 30th of March, 2012. We therefore ask all our brothers and sisters throughout the world to join Palestinians on Land Day, 30 March, 2012, in challenging the barriers, borders and procedures that separate Palestinians from Jerusalem and from their homes and lands in all of historic Palestine.

an unarmed civilian activist at the hands of the Occupation State. Having been kidnapped from the Mavi Marmara in International waters of the Mediterranean in May 2010 by pirates a.k.a. Israeli Occupation Special Forces, taken to Hebrew speaking Palestine (Ashdod) against my will at gunpoint then imprisoned in Beer Sheba prison for allegedly entering the State of Israel illegally and breaking immigration laws! Yes, really ! You just couldn’t make that sort of lunacy up! I am now subject to a ten year ban from entering the State of Israel. My personal belongings which were stolen from me such as camera, mobile phone, cash etc have never been returned to me by the pirates, I don’t like to complain about my missing belongings too much since there are 8 widows and 29 orphans in Turkey who lost so much more. It is alarming to follow the Meir Amit Institute

reports about the “Global March to Jerusalem” and see their obvious attempt to portray the march as likely to become rowdy and violent. Given Israel’s tendency to respond to protests with violence, this is hopefully not a pretext for opening fire and murdering unarmed civilians. This peaceful event is being seen by Israel as a threat to their legitimacy, and well they might because the publicity surrounding it will ultimately awaken more people in the world to the injustices that Israel perpretrates on Palestinians. But for some reason Israel is blind to the reality that it is its leaders and citizens such as the settlers, and their policies of ethnic cleansing, stealing land and apartheid that deligitimises the State in the eyes of the world. Here below is the call from Palestinians to join the March

Please tell me again … What is the war in Afghanistan about?
William Blum
With the US war in Iraq supposedly having reached a good conclusion (or halfway decent … or better than nothing … or let’s get the hell out of here while some of us are still in one piece and there are some Iraqis we haven’t yet killed), the best and the brightest in our government and media turn their thoughts to what to do about Afghanistan. It appears that no one seems to remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9/11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines. President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 countries? Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere, with Afghanistan probably being one of the worst places for them, given the American occupation. The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia — which reportedly contains the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world — and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan. Afghanistan is well situated for oil and gas pipelines to serve much of south Asia, pipelines that can bypass those not-yet Washington clients, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Pakistan-India) had Continued on page 27 >>

are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has

been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001. Never mind that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why hasn’t the United States bombed those

30

SPECIAL FEATURE

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

Abu Qatada was exposed as an MI5 double agent!!!

Abu Qatada To Be Released Monday On Bail
Abu Qatada, who was once dubbed “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, will be released from prison on Monday after being granted bail. Abu Qatada who demonized Islam as a Jihadist’s religion only will be freed from jail – with a judge’s permission to do the school run. Abu Qatada is considered such a threat that he will be permitted to roam the streets for only two hours a day. A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Qatada should remain in detention, our view has not changed. That is the argument we made to the court today and we disagree with its decision. Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said most people would be ‘astonished by this decision considering Abu Qatada is wanted on terrorism charges in eight countries’. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘The Home Secretary needs to explain urgently what action she is taking on the national security implications of this judgment. Qatada has spent much of the past decade in a high-security prison and has cost taxpayers more than £1million in benefits, prison costs and legal fees. Qatada is expected to walk free from Long Lartin high-security prison in Worcestershire on Monday. Under his bail conditions, he will be forced to wear an electronic tag and comply with a 22-hour curfew within a defined zone around his home address, thought to be in Wembley, north there remains a real risk that evidence obtained by the torture of others may be used against him. Many British newspapers Tuesday supported the government and voiced anger about Abu Qatada’s impending says. Abu Qatada cleric exposed as an MI5 double agent!!! While he remained on the run, one intelligence chief in Paris was quoted as saying: “British intelligence is saying they have no idea where he is, but we know where he is and, if we know, I’m quite sure they do.” Almost a year later, Abu Qatada was found hiding in a flat not far from Scotland Yard. According to The Times, London, 25 March 2004, reported that Abu Qatada, an Al-Qaeda cleric, is an MI5 agent. raising criticism from European governments, which repeatedly called for his arrest. Britain ignored warnings — which began before the September 11 attacks — from half a dozen friendly governments about Abu Qatada’s links with terrorist groups and refused to arrest him. Intelligence chiefs hid from European allies their intention to use the cleric as a key informer against Islamic militants in Britain. Instead, MI5 agents held three meetings with the cleric, He also promised to “report anyone damaging the interests of this country”. He pledged to MI5 that he would not “bite the hand that fed him”. He also promised to “report anyone damaging the interests of this country”. Jordan told Britain that he had been convicted for terrorist attacks

London. Meetings with anyone other than his immediate family will have to be approved by security officials. If he breaks the conditions, he could be back behind bars within hours.

Judges in Britain have described Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, as “truly dangerous” and have backed his deportation. Spokeswoman for the European Court, Clare Ovey, explained why the decision not to extradite Mr Othman had been made. Qatada will be released despite the Home Secretary Theresa May stating he would be kept behind bars while she considered all legal options to send him back to Jordan. Mrs May wanted him kept in jail while British diplomats continue to seek assurances from Jordanian authorities that evidence obtained by torture would not be used. But, at a hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, Mr Justice Mitting said he should be freed with stringent bail conditions. UK Attorney General: rule of law applies to cleric Britain’s attorney general said Tuesday he understands why the government is angry about a court’s decision to release

release. The Daily Telegraph newspaper said the case “epitomizes the waning power of the British state to decide who can and cannot remain in this country,” while the Daily Mail said the ruling meant there would be a “terrorist on the school run,” referring to the fact

Abu Qatada _ whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman _ has never faced criminal charges in Britain, but authorities in Britain have accused him of advising militants and raising money for terrorist attacks. He has been described in both Spanish and British courts as a leading al-Qaida

that Abu Qatada would be allowed to walk his children to school. Earlier in January 2012 Mohamed Ali, head of the Islam Channel TV station,

figure in Europe. A Palestinian-Jordanian citizen, Abu Qatada arrived in Britain in 1993 and was detained in 2002 under anti-

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a radical Muslim preacher, Abu Qatada, cannot be deported from the UK to Jordan while

an extremist cleric described as one of Europe’s leading al-Qaida operatives on bail but that authorities must follow the rule of law with everyone.

said Abu Qatada, the Islamist preacher who has been fighting deportation to Jordan is not an extremist or a threat to national security. Mr Ali has known the cleric for more than 20 years and

terrorism laws that at the time allowed suspected terrorists to be held in jail without charge. Indignant French officials accused MI5 of helping the cleric to abscond.

in Amman seven months before September 11. Bisher al-Rawi is a British resident being held at Guantanamo. In the letter, seen by The Independent on Sunday, Mr al-Rawi alleges that: He was recruited by MI5 weeks after 11 September and was in contact with Abu Qatada. MI5 always knew where Abu Qatada was hiding after he fled his home in west London hours before new powers to detain suspects without charge came into force in December 2001. He lived at Elephant & Castle, close to MI5’s headquarters, for nine months before being arrested. Throughout this time, Mr al-Rawi had ‘numerous’ meetings with three MI5 agents - ‘Alex’, ‘Matthew’ and ‘Martin’ - in hotels and bars in London, passingmessages between them and Abu Qatada. Continued on page 31

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

NEWS
This forced the ICC to intervene and say that no dispensation has been given to anyone. In fact, what Ajmal meant was his elbow has a natural angle of 23 degrees and that he does not exceed the permitted 15 degrees tolerance limit. Ajmal’s lack of fluency in English resulted in the confusion and the PCB also clarified Ajmal’s comments through their team manager Naveed Akram Cheema, who said: “Ajmal was referring to the angle of elbow abduction, i.e.

31
the angle of the upper arm to the forearm and not the degree of elbow extension. This angle is approximately 23 degrees in Saeed’s case.” ICC General Manager Cricket, David Richardson, said: “There is a big difference between the “elbow carry angle” (elbow abduction) and the degree of elbow extension. There is nothing preventing a bowler bowling with a bent arm, provided he does not straighten it beyond the permitted degrees of tolerance.”

India after loosing 17 matches, won by 8 wicket
Continued from page 32 >> loves challenges. We have this challenge [of winning abroad] in our minds and everybody is just focusing to prove themselves outside Pakistan. My team has already had some success. Meanwhile, an interview given by Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to the BBC created a stir. He claimed that he has a special allowance for his bowling arm to exceed the bending limit currently permitted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). “Someone is telling me my action is bad because the ICC allowed

me as a bowler 23.5 degrees, because my arm is not good. A few years ago I had an accident.

Otherwise, no problem, the action was cleared by ICC,” he told BBC.

Continued from page 32 >> captain. That much has been made clear by events today. The Football Association have stripped John Terry of the England captaincy, it was announced earlier Saturday. The decision was made after his trial for the alleged racist abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand was delayed until July 9 following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates court on Wednesday. Terry denies the charges. The FA board’s decision to take away the captain’s armband from Terry comes after months of pressure from

No way back for Terry

anti-racist campaigners and Black footballers past and present who said any player facing such allegations should not lead his country. “The seriousness of the allegations mean that he can’t lead the nation,” said Piara Power, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe said earlier this week. “The FA must do the right thing.” The news about Terry losing the captain’s armband came hours after news broke that energy secretary Chris Huhne is to be charged with perverting the course of justice.

Continued from page 32 >> newspaper on Wednesday. “I am on medication and doctors have time and again told me that I am responding well and that I would be back playing cricket. I am a fighter and I will return

Cancer-hit Yuvraj vows to return stronger

stronger than ever.” A senior Delhi-based oncologist who has been treating the 30-year-old Yuvraj, Nitesh Rohatgi also said Monday the cricketer would be able to start active training by May.

After Mr al-Rawi expressed anxieties his safety was at risk from his contacts with MI5, a service lawyer “assured” him that it would “aid him in his defence [and] would appear as witnesses on his behalf”. David Rose wrote in The Observer,on Sunday 29 July 2007 about Al Rawi heading “I helped MI5. My reward: brutality and prison’ When Bisher al-Rawi agreed to work for the British government, he thought he was doing the right thing. He spent four gruelling years at Guantanamo Bay for his efforts. David ross further wrote A secret telegram was sent from the British Security Service to the CIA, in which they told the Americans that al-Rawi was carrying a timing device for a bomb - in reality, an innocuous battery charger from Argos - on a business trip to Gambia. Al-Rawi, the telegram added, was an ‘Iraqi extremist’ associate of the preacher Abu Qatada, later described as Osama bin Laden’s ambassador to Europe and now in a British jail It did not, however, mention the fact that al-Rawi had been seeing Qatada at the request of MI5. John Loftus, a terrorism expert and a former prosecutor for the US Justice Department, has publically revealed that the so called mastermind of the 7/7 London Bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, is a British ‘Intelligence Asset’. Former Justice Dept. prosecutor and terror expert, John Loftus, revealed that the so-called Al-Muhajiroun group, based in London had formed during the Kosovo crisis, during which Fundamentalist Muslim Leaders (Or what is now referred to as Al Qaeda) were recruited by MI6 to fight in Kosovo. Loftus stated that “...back in the late 1990s, the leaders all worked for British intelligence in Kosovo. Believe it or not, British intelligence actually hired some Al-Qaeda guys to help defend the Muslim rights in Albania and in Kosovo. That’s when Al-Muhajiroun got started.” In a blistering attack on MI6 John Loftus went on to spell out that British Intelligence and the US Dept of Justice had protected Haroon Rashid Aswat. “Back in 1999 he came to America. The Justice Department wanted to indict him in Seattle because him and his buddy were trying to set up a terrorist training school in Oregon... we’ve just learned that the headquarters of the US Justice Department ordered the Seattle prosecutors not to touch Aswat... apparently Aswat was working for British intelligence.” According to MI-5 counter-intelligence whistleblower David Shayler, “MI-6 is in bed with al Qaeda,” All these reports and other facts showing that Abu Qatada or Abu Hamza or Omer Bakri and Anjum Chaudhry all were more than just a terrorist or extremist they are agents against Muslims living in Britain Continued from page 30 >>

Abu Qatada To Be Released Monday On Bail

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DEFINITELYDUBAI.COM

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India’s cancer-stricken World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh has vowed to return “stronger than ever” to competitive cricket, saying he was responding well to treatment in the United States. The ace all-rounder, named man of the tournament after India’s World Cup win in April last year, is currently undergoing chemotherapy

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 09 February 2012

Cancer-hit Yuvraj vows to return stronger
for a rare condition, mediastinal seminoma, a malignant tumour located between his lungs. “I have immense faith in the doctors here and by the grace of God I shall be back to my best soon,” Yuvraj said from his hospital in Boston in remarks published in the Times of India Continued on page 31 >>

Sports

SAT

Ajmal’s lack of fluency in English resulted in the confusion

Pakistan include Malek at Misbah’s request

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ulHaq has sought the inclusion of former captain Shoaib Malek in the one-day and Twenty20 squads against England. Malek did not initially figure when the line-ups were announced early on Tuesday, but a Pakistan Cricket Board

(PCB) statement later said: “On the request of team captain Misbah, the National Selection Committee has agreed to send Malek to join the Pakistan squad.” Pakistan skipper Misbahul-Haq announced his new challenge for the team following

the clean sweep over England. He has decided to prove that his team is formidable on foreign wickets too, especially on conditions different from Pakistan wickets “This will be my team’s next challenge. This team Continued on page 31 >>

No way back for Terry after captaincy loss and racism row
The decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy for his involvement in a race row with Anton Ferdinand has undoubtedly acted to spark both debate and discussion about the future of the stalwart centre-half, with possibly the most intriguing twists and turns yet to come. The decision to take the captaincy from Terry was probably the right one in terms of morality, but at the same time it will have a significant effect on England’s European Championship preparations and

Stand trial after EURO 2012

authorities have acted to solve that particular case and remove doubt either way, he cannot be England’s Continued on page 31 >>

short term future. There is no doubt that from a moral standpoint, we can’t have a man who awaits trial for racial abuse acting as the biggest

football representative in the country, especially when it would mean lining up alongside so many black players wearing the three

lions. The question of whether John Terry is a racist or not is not one that can be answered on the football pitch, but until the relevant

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