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Words of a Lion-Hearted Pakistani Father | True Power of Emaan |

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What a way to grab all for the family, Mr Ambassador!

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Usman Manzoor | The News

New Pakistani Envoy to Syria “Invades” School With Family!
The new Pakistani ambassador to Syria, appointed by President Zardari, has summarily sacked the entire staff and faculty of the Pakistan International School in Damascus and appointed almost all his immediate family members for a collective monthly salary of $38,000 (Rs3.2 million).

The sacked teachers and staff members of the school run by the embassy, who were removed for no reasons and without any prior notice, have been compelled to go into litigation against the Pakistan Embassy, The News has learnt.

The Pakistan International School in Damascus (PISOD) is run by the embassy of Pakistan but within five months after the arrival of new ambassador, Aminullah Raisani, in September 2009, the management and faculty of the school was changed altogether without giving any reason and the school was stuffed with the relatives of the ambassador.

According to the list of newly inducted teachers Saeeda Yasmeen Raeesani has been appointed as Principal. She is sisterof the ambassador and is drawing $6,500 per month as salary while the previous principal Syed Tauseef Bokhari was getting $2,500. Another sister, Ms Abbas, has been appointed as Urdu teacher for $3,500 per month.

Two daughters, Amna Aminullah Raeesani and Quratulein Aminullah Raeesani, have been appointed as teachers. These two are getting $3,000 per month as salary while the school was paying only $1,700 for the same job to previous teachers.

Mohammad Ishaque, brother-in-law of the ambassador, has been appointed as accountant for $3,500 per month while the same job was previously with one Imran for just $900 a month. Attique-ur-Rehman and Syed Muhammad Ali, ambassador’s nephews, have been appointed as business teachers for $3,000 a month while the same job was done for $1,500 only before September 2009.

Nayla Atiq, granddaughter of ambassador’s sister, is working as Maths teacher for $3,000 a month while her predecessor was drawing $1,700 a month as salary. Ali Abdullah, the son-in-law of ambassador’s sister, and Muhammad Ahsan Shafique, ambassador’s cousin, have been appointed as teachers for $3,000 a month while their predecessors were drawing $1,500 a month.Another cousin of the ambassador, Rasheed Chattha, has been appointed as biology teacher for$3,500 a month while previously Ms Manal Sileman was doing the same job for $1,500 a month.

Balochistan: CIA’s Crumbling Project

Ahmed Quraishi:

A photograph has surfaced that shows a terrorist wanted by Iran visiting a US military base in Afghanistan. Another terrorist wanted by Pakistan has also been spotted meeting Indian spies under American watch—in Afghanistan.  Iran arrests one such terrorist but Pakistan’s pro-US government refuses to take a stand on a terrorist insurgency openly backed by rogue US elements, with Indian support.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—After occupying Afghanistan, rogue CIA elements launched a campaign to create a new state of Balochistan out of two conjoined provinces in Pakistan and Iran.

This was done to create the shortest possible supply route from the sea to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

The Sunni-Shia divide was exploited in Iran and a language-based divide was used in Pakistan. In other words, the result was a sectarian Balochi insurgency in Iran and an ethnic one in Pakistan.

This is how Jundullah was born in Iran and Balochistan Liberation Army in Pakistan. Both were armed and supported by CIA using the Afghan soil.

But this American terror infrastructure is now crumbling. Fast.

The idea of using Afghan soil for regional US strategies – against Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China, as the need be – has failed miserably. One reason is exposure. Eight years is enough time for everyone to understand the double game being played in the region in the name of war on terror, which is America’s war no matter how many millions of dollars the US government invests in propaganda in the region to convince the people it is otherwise.

Despite a pliant Pakistani government, Pakistan, for example, is not ready to cooperate with the United States if Pakistani interests are not protected along with US interests. Pakistan took a long time to take a stand. But it has come around finally. Of course CIA was not operating alone. It enlisted the help of India and several Western intelligence agencies, turning Afghanistan into a source of regional destabilization. That’s exactly what al-Qaeda was doing before 2002.

The arrest of the ringleader of CIA-backed Jundullah group, Mr. Abdolmalek Rigi, is a major development. Iran’s intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi showed damning evidence today to the media, confirming beyond doubt the terror group’s link to US intelligence in Afghanistan:

In a press conference Moslehi showed a photograph of the leader of the group, Abdulmalek Rigi, 24 hours before his arrest at a US troops camp in Afghanistan, as well as an ID card, an Afghan passport and a Dubai visa belonging to Rigi and prepared by the US to facilitate his travels in the region as evidence to show the terrorist leader’s cooperation with Washington and certain other countries.

Last year, his younger brother Abdolhamid Rigi was arrested by Pakistani intelligence and handed over to Iran. The younger Rigi admitted on television to meeting US diplomats, or possible intelligence agents, in Karachi and Islamabad.

The worst part of the story is that former President Musharraf might have allowed CIA-backed Jundullah to use Pakistani soil, along with Afghanistan’s, to mount operations inside Iran. Of course there were times when Iran did the same: organize and arm sectarian militant groups inside Pakistan as part of Iran’s policy of militarizing Shia minorities in neighboring countries. But that was a different time. What the Americans were doing in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan was tied to the parallel terror insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan.

It is possible that this was one more concession that Mr. Musharraf granted US in Pakistan. But it is Pakistan and its intelligence that arrested and handed over Jundullah leader’s younger brother to Iran last year. Pakistani intelligence might have had something to do with the arrest of the elder Rigi too. But Iranian officials are denying that Pakistan helped them in any way in this arrest, and won’t say where Abdolhamid Rigi was seized. Read more of this post

A maturing Pakistan

Shahzad Lodhi

To change is to get mature. This is as true as change is constant. The fact of the matter is that time spares no body and only those survive who realize the change and align themselves with the new requirements. Pakistan is passing through a change which may give it a new look altogether in times to come. With apology to all those who see a weaker or a divided Pakistan in view of the rapid changes and political turmoil the country is passing through, a new vibrant Pakistan is in the making.

The ongoing controversy over the appointment of judges heightened by the official notification has been fully debated in the media. It has not only sent shock waves among the saner elements but has in many ways raised questions about the mode of governance and the motivating factors behind such misadventures. Perhaps such a stir was long over due to set the ball rolling for a rethink of the whole range of the modus operandi of centers of powers in the past.

Fortunately, there seems a silver lining in this apparently disturbing scenario, thanks to a rejuvenated judiciary and dedicated Armed forces. Political parties by and large have been unable to steer the ship of state clear out of stormy weather. But credit must be given to the media which has played a balancing role in not only educating the people but also trying to show things in true perspective. True that our media needs a code of conduct that may keep its newly acquired freedom in certain limits its positive role in raising awareness and educating general public is undisputed. There were days when only one state television used to run in Pakistan. Reporting was done in accordance with the then government’s directives. Now according to estimates at hand more than one hundred tv channels are operating while growth is expected to be seen in coming years. Media has helped people to form and reform their social and political beliefs. It has given an encouragement to a common man to stand for his rights and condemn injustice in the society. Education of the masses is a must to progress and our media has fortunately done this job well. Civil society is seen standing against inequality and corruption as social evils. It is now believed that those holding public offices are accountable and answerable for everything they do And if something negative is reported against them in the national press, they will have to explain it before 17 crore people of Pakistan with whom the ultimate power rests. Read more of this post

Fear Is No Policy Surrender Is No Option: Gen (R) Hamid Gul

The former head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency – ISI – in conversation with Al Jazeera’s Kamahl Santamaria..

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Two Pakistani Officials Fired For Promoting Indian Propaganda

You will not believe this. But this happened in Pakistan. And two junior government officials might lose their jobs over this. But with a pro-US government in power in Islamabad, and former employees of Voice of America allowed to steer the nation’s media policy, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a Pakistani mouthpiece promoting Indian spin.

India’s Central Reserve Police Force, used by India’s government to suppress the Kashmiri struggle for freedom, killed a 16-year-old Kashmiri boy the other day.

Nothing new in that. Indians have done worse, like mass graves and genocide. What was unusual here is that Makhdoom Babar Sultan woke up one morning this week in his home in Islamabad to read a clarification in a major Pakistani newspaper issued by the chief of the Indian CRPF assuring readers that Indian occupation police in Kashmir had nothing to do with murdering the 16-year-old, who was last seen throwing stones at Indian soldiers.

Mr. Babar scrathced his head.  He was shocked to see who hen he tried to see who wrote the story. It was APP, or the Associated Press of Pakistan, the official news agency.

‘Wait a second’, he said to himself, ‘What is APP doing promoting the viewpoint of Indian occupation forces in Kashmir?’

Pakistanis already know that their government in Islamabad was basically tailored by the Americans and the Brits. No secret in that. The Am-Brits expect this government to push their agenda, which these days includes urgently patching up with India so that the Pakistani people and their military can be convinced to allow Indian soldiers into Afghanistan to help the Americans with their failed occupation there.

But peddling Indian propaganda? That’s going too far.

Unlike the rest of us, Makhdoom Babar is lucky to own a newspaper. So he rushed to his office in the morning to write a story on this, titled ‘APP Starts Promoting Indian Govt’s Kashmir Propaganda’.

Two APP journalists have been suspended and a probe is underway that might lead to some more job losses.

Earlier, two journalists from the state-run PTV were suspended for visiting the US embassywithout permission. Read more of this post

Zardari’s art of oratory keeps one guessing

MR Right is mad at people who say President Zardari recounted in a recent speech scores of his ‘sins’ that were making him unpopular but forgot to mention the most? obvious one. “Which one is that?” I asked. “He makes bad speeches,” Mr Right said. “His critics think he should leave it to others in his party because some of them have better natural talent to offend the public.” “They must be referring to a party bigwig who is good at making embarrassing ‘khapay or not khapay’ (Needed or Not-Needed) comments about Pakistan,” I pointed out. “But I don’t agree with people who call President Zardari an unimpressive or weak orator. I swear he speaks with authority,” Mr Right observed.

“After his stern warning at the Benazir Bhutto’s second death anniversary meeting in Naudero that anyone daring to cast an evil eye on democracy would be dealt with severely, the demand for protective gear for the eyes suddenly went up in the market. Believe me, he sounded like the great Z.A. Bhutto who had once warned agitators not to underestimate his strength to crush them because he could be weak but not the chair he was occupying at that time. He thumped his chair with his right hand,” Mr Right added.

“She is an old-fashioned lady,” Mr Right remarked. “She has definitely lost touch with etiquettes of politics which have undergone tremendous change over the years. Look at the Lahore Lion Nawaz Sharif, he didn’t find anything objectionable in his speech. He rather expressed his confidence that President Zardari’s utterances would not harm democracy.”

“This shows you too have developed a liking for President Zardari’s style of governance, his handling of his opponents and his understanding of national issues, “I asked.
“Yes, you may call me his biggest fan,” Mr Right replied. “I adore his foxy ways to make it to the top. And I love his speeches, which contain nothing but words of great wisdom. He can become a model for other speakers who want to leave an impact in politics.”

“Really?” I could not hide my astonishment. “ Yes, I want to open a school for budding speakers in Pakistan to train them in the art of public speaking, “ Mr Right replied. “ The school will show videos of President Zardari’s speeches in class rooms as I find them extremely educative.”
“Are you serious?” I said.

“Definitely,” Mr Right continued. “He is an enigmatic speaker, nobody can make out what he is saying and who he is referring to. This is how a seasoned politician should deliver his speech.”

“But the audience should at least be able to figure out the target of his ire, the cause of his concern and identify enemies,” I said. “And why he is always taking about ‘non-state actors’ cooking up stories and hatching a conspiracy against everything, democracy, government and nation?” I said. “That’s what I like most about him, he is a man of his word,” Mr Right stressed. “He mentioned the word ‘conspiracy’ in one of his earlier speeches and continues to repeat it every time he appears in public. Others should learn from him how to adopt a consistent stand. My ‘school for speakers’ will help those politicians who change their stand every day and only confuse their followers.”? “Are you referring to Nawaz Sharif & Co, the ‘double talk’ dealers? One day, one of their leaders advises the president to quit and next day he clarifies that his party will not ask him to leave,” I said. “And Mian Sahib himself assures help to the PPP boss to remain in saddle for five years and then immediately demands removal of those involved in corruption. People are unable to understand his party’s policy.”

Mr Right smiled. “I have a very fine piece of advice for them: Don’t listen to them.” “But it doesn’t solve the problem,” I said. “As a listener, everybody wants to know the trick to read their leaders’ minds?” “For this also President Zardari has provided a solution,” Mr Right said. “Every good speaker must have a spokesman who specialises in clarifications and is able to make his speech pleasant by turning all the thorns of his speech into roses”.

Najmul Hasan Rizvi—Khaleej Time

The winds of change

An independent and proactive judiciary is a panacea for many of the shortcomings of our democratic system, mainly a lack of accountability. — Photo by AP

There is consensus on three issues across the political spectrum of Pakistan: that military takeovers are not the solution to our problems; that corruption is a major issue in this country and we need accountability; and that we are proud of our independent judiciary and media, which have emerged as a check on an overweening executive, whether civilian or military, after decades of struggle.

The ghost of army takeovers has been laid to rest, ironically enough, by the Musharraf experience. The general’s exit revealed how he had weakened the federation as a result of his policies: a trigger-happy approach in Balochistan; confused and ineffective attempts to stem the rising tide of the Taliban; and monumental incompetence in not planning for the country’s energy needs, which has left the economy in a shambles. With such a damning record, who in God’s name would want the army back?

But the PPP’s use of the ‘establishment’ as a red herring does not hold water, and that too at a time when the army is preoccupied with a full-blown insurgency and is experiencing heavy losses among its troops. They have shown great professionalism and done a magnificent job under their present leadership, realising that dabbling in politics had only tarnished the military’s reputation. They are important stakeholders when it comes to our security, especially since we are in the middle of a war; it was a blunder not to have consulted them over the Kerry-Lugar bill.

It is impressive the way the PPP government has contributed to the strengthening of the federation through its Balochistan package and the NFC accord. Mr Zardari’s heart was in the right place from day one on the issue of Balochistan; and on the NFC award; the PML-N also made a very positive contribution. However, when it comes to corruption, rumours are rife from the shores of Karachi right upto the Khyber Pass.

The role of the media has been outstanding in exposing corruption and other scandals: the Doctors’ Hospital’s misdeeds, the Punjab Bank scam and the Pakistan Steel Mills scandal; the list is endless. These comperes, journalists and the channels they represent have shown great commitment in revealing widespread corruption, which has reached new heights under this dispensation. It takes hard work, integrity and courage to take on an incumbent government.

It was this same commitment that had Musharraf on the run; and now the PPP government is reacting in a similarly intolerant fashion. As social activist Tahira Abdullah argued in a TV discussion recently, all channels should follow the practice of inviting a representative of the government in their talk shows, so that their point of view is not left out.

It might be pertinent to recall the attacks on Bush in the international media, and how it reached a crescendo with the throwing of the shoe at him in Baghdad. I don’t remember Bush complaining like our government; and if the strategy is to pick on a chosen few of the media to denounce, it only results in their ratings going up.

While there is much drum-beating about the sovereignty of parliament, the latter’s performance has been dismal. Political parties are the weak link in the political system, resulting in a supine parliament.

In a democratic dispensation, it is a vibrant and well-informed parliament that must discuss the issues of the day, and voice the concerns of the people. The vacuum left by a passive parliament, has been filled by the media and judiciary; and they have emerged as the voice of the dispossessed and voiceless.

Living up to its reputation, parliament scarcely carried out any meaningful legislation over the last one year, which is its primary responsibility.

Musharraf, in a last-ditch effort to shore up his power, came up with the National Reconciliation Ordinance — a deal brokered with the help of what can only be described as ‘imperial’ powers.

Any court of law would have thrown out the NRO, because it is selective and therefore unconstitutional. The government was given four months by the judiciary to get the NRO approved by parliament, and when it failed to do so, the expected and only possible decision was taken. The government’s inability to get it approved in parliament, or even defend it properly in court, shows that even the government had found its case to be indefensible.

The demand for the rule of law and justice, but on a level playing field, has moved beyond the drawing rooms of our well-heeled civil society to the common man. It is the marriage of the media and the judiciary/lawyers which has transformed Pakistan’s political landscape.

The striking down of the NRO has two aspects: it is an assertion of our sovereignty, for the NRO was brokered by western powers in cahoots with a ruler who had little public support; and it has put the issue of accountability on the front burner once again. It is interesting but not surprising, that such an important decision got scant coverage in the western media, or only with negative overtones.

An independent and proactive judiciary is a panacea for many of the shortcomings of our democratic system, mainly a lack of accountability. By moving beyond the NRO and calling in a list of bank defaulters, the judiciary is reaffirming its role as the guardian of the people’s interest. It is for the political forces and civil society to ensure that the government implements the rulings of the judiciary.— Dushka H. Saiyid

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