Sunday, 26 May 2013

The painful game of mudslinging

Mahmood Sadiq

In the middle of the last century, a man led a fragmented horde of ignorant people to achieve something unbelievable. His detractors called him a fraud and a pawn of the foreign occupiers. They casted doubts on his religious beliefs, some of them even declared him an infidel. Instead of wasting his energies in campaigns of counter abuse, he kept his moral high ground, ignored the negative propaganda and improvised.
He would spoke in a foreign language to massive crowds of locals, a vast majority of whom would not even understand his speech, yet they believed in him and whatever he said. This was so because it was not just the mouth of this old man that uttered words but his whole lean yet unwavering body effused trust and conveyed unflinching confidence.
He had earned this trust through long years of uprightness. Starting as a principled lawyer, he also upheld high moral values as a politician at a time as much in want of persons of character and integrity as is ours. Keeping focused, the old man eventually secured a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. Now we call him Quaid-e-Azam (the Greatest Leader) and his achievement, Pakistan.
We stand fragmented and humiliated again. We again need great leaders. If someone is there with the claim of leading us to the path of prosperity and honour, he must prove it through his conduct. His greatness should be visible to the ignorant us. He and his comrades must not indulge in mudslinging in response to the character assassination campaigns of his disparagers.
After our media attained a fair degree of freedom, which was reinforced by the arrival of social media, it was hoped that we would not take too much time in evolving a culture of constructive dialogue, fruitful discussion and positive debate. But unfortunately this has not happened.
In run up to the elections, we are seeing almost all the parties and their leaders picking at their opponents in the most malicious manner possible. I wish they focused on telling people what they have to offer and how they would solve the national problems. The media, both electronic and press, is equally to blame for this unfortunate practice. Ignoring their important role of gate-keeping, they are trying to gain maximum from election booty.
The situation on social media is even worse. Here we find meanness and mischief at full play. Most notably, the warriors of PTI and PML-N are trying every evil word and heinous depiction to debase each other's leaders. It's wrong and no argument can justify it. No election, no party, no leader can deliver the change we need, if we do not change ourselves. The upright leaders would start emerging and the corrupt ones vanishing the very day we proved that we are civilised people who deserve honest leaders.
I was impelled to write this piece after my eyes caught my Facebook friend Sana'a Aamir, who is a PTI zealot, engaging in a petty battle with a PML-N supporter. Sana'a is a brilliant young engineer from Lahore pursuing her PhD from the Netherlands. She argued that the rage and abuse at play on the social sites were the expression of frustrated people who were sick of corrupt. And I urged her to play her role to end this culture of sickness, instead of becoming a victim of it. “Gaali denay sy problems hal nahi hotay,” I told her. This is in fact a destructive way of dealing with the frustration; we need to invent better ways to fight off the evil,” I maintained. But may be many people believe in Franklin. P. Adms’s saying: “Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody, rather than for somebody.”
Now that three days are left to the polls, emotions are running high on all sides. But we need to realise and accept that no party is going to clean sweep the elections, and most likely we are heading for a hung parliament – as wished by the national and international power brokers. The destination is too distant, yet; we need to keep walking patiently and cover the voyage inch by inch with utmost care and wisdom.

Published in The Nation on 7-5-2013

Slave descendants of slaves!

Mahmood Sadiq

This time too, Pakistani ‘leaders’ of sorts marked the Labour Day by staging street shows on behalf of the economic slaves, many of whom kept doing what they have been doing for years – sweating all the day to help their 'benevolent' masters 'earn' big bucks.
Traditionally, it is the so-called labour organisations and not-so-civil society groups of all shades which consider it their prerogative to market their trademarks on this very day. But the election being just over a week from today, the political parties too took 'great' pains to get the maximum out of it.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has always been 'sacrificing' for the sake of the downtrodden; it did so 'wonderfully well' during its now expired 5-year term and probably it would keep doing so in future too because its leaders know very well that if poverty is vanished no one would be there to vote for them. Under the 'able' leadership of late Benazir Buttoo's husband, the PPP-led government opened its vault for the poor. Through it's 'exemplary' alms scheme of BISP, it helped the poor understand that begging was far better than earning livelihoods with respect and dignity.
To the nation as a whole it brought countless gifts. Through loadshedding, it saved people's money; obviously lesser power means meagre bills. It 'educated' the public about water hazards during and after the floods. It also ensured that large swaths of urban population, facing no direct threat of large-scale flooding, are guarded against an even dangerous thing – the potable water.  The long assortment of multi-billion scams, ranging from Hajj saga to RPPs, is bright feathers in its cap. The public sector corporations underwent amazing progress, for example a number of times people saw trains flying off their tracks, and PIA planes started running off the airs.
I warn the readers not to believe in my 'propaganda' against the PPP because despite my being actually from the labour class, I often dupe myself by identifying me with the lower middle class; and this is no secret that starting from its aristocratic roots the Muslim League over the years has come to be seen as a representative of the middle classes. So, now you see the conspiracy!
But the Nawaz League, the dominant faction among all the ML debris, has for quite some time been flirting with the labour class too. Through its Danish Schools, it has given world class education facility to all the children of Punjab's poor. No one now sleeps on the streets after the construction of Ashiaana houses. And how can you forget the (hyper)active chief minister Shahbaz Sharif going from this branch to that branch to save the people from dying from dengue at our ‘state-of-the-art’ public hospitals.  The unlucky ones did die though and died in large numbers but who can fight with the 'fate'.
Above all, the outgoing Punjab government launched Saasti Roti scheme, ridding the poor of the main cause of their concern. But I just mistakenly read somewhere yesterday that the loss caused to public kitty by this 'kind' scheme was actually ‘mere’ Rs30 billion, ‘slightly’ more than Rs8 billion as reported previously. The transport system in Lahore, which you can safely take as WHOLE of the Punjab, was OVER-hauled by widening of roads and it was crowned by the marvellous Metro Bus. You won't see any traffic mess anywhere in the city but if you still see it, it's your own fault.
I have already strayed too far from my topic, so I won't remind you what great contribution to overall national development was made by junior partners of the PPP or the opposition parties for that matter. As for the Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), I was convinced of the truth in its slogan of change the very day it opened its doors to the chip of the old corrupt block. I am too much a coward to talk about religious parties' role in 'elimination' of sectarianism and their 'protecting' the minorities.
After all, it just takes a 'sacred' mouth to declare anyone infidel, Mirzai or any other condemnable creature like that. I also cannot compromise my loyalty with the country and endanger my life by asking such stupid questions as how many of my fellow citizens – the civilians as well as those in uniform – have died in 'our' war against terrorism, or who earned how many billions from transportation of Nato containers.
Coming back to Labour Day, I would like to tell that all this 'mischief' started from a casual chat about the state of labourers between me and my colleague Tahir, who wanted to write on it. He gave me a piece, requesting me to edit it and keep it as short as possible – but i ended up writing this lengthy shit.
During the chat, he told me that some 13 years ago, when he was a teenager, he used to visit his dad in Nida-i-Milat office where peon Hafeez would serve him with tea and biscuits. Now, the same man is serving as office BOY at The Nation. Hafeez is gloom, misery and disappointment incarnated.
Tahir asked me why Chaha Hafeez could not improve his plight despite working for years. I pointed out that he himself too has not achieved any great feat: "Your dad was a journalist, you are also a journalist.
The only change is that he worked for Urdu newspapers and you have been doing it for English papers." Then I told him how my grandfather rose from a peasant to a land holder, like many other men of his age; and that the greatest achievement of my father was that he somehow managed to sustain the status he had inherited; and about my fears that I won't be able to even do that. I also made him to see the 'progress' Hafeez has made – previously he used to serve at the first floor and he is at the fourth now.
This made him broke into laughter and when he regained his senses, I told him that this 'unfruitful' discussion has reminded me of a PTV play I had seen in my childhood.
There was a character; whenever someone would ask him who he was, he would reply: Ghulam Ibne-Ghulam, Ibne-Ghulam, Ibneee.... Ghulam! (A slave – descendent of a long chain of slaves). Despite all this utterly disappointing darkness of entrenched exploitation, hope is there for an appreciably just socio-economic order where Hafeez and his likes would all have bright eyes and smiling faces.

This article was published in The Nation on 2-5-2013

Monday, 5 September 2011

Incessant rains scale up destruction in Pakistan

Unending rains, which have stoked floods killing more than 85 people in the country and incurring huge financial loss, continue battering Sindh and Balochistan areas, and thereby increasing the scale of destruction.
Several villages and standing crops on vast areas in the Salehpat tehsil of Sukkur remain inundated by heavy rains as more water is coming down the hills. Hundreds of mud houses and standing crops on thousands of acres of land have been washed away in Dadu and Nawabshah, Nausehro Feroze, Larkana, Qambar, Shahdadkot and Ghotki.
Pakistam Army, Pakistan Navy and Rangers personnel are busy in rescue work in the affected areas of Lower Sindh districts, where according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Dr Zaffar Qadir, overall about 50 persons were officially killed in lower Sindh districts.
There is a dire need of tents, food ration, blankets, medicines in the flood and rain hit districts of province where 90 percent displaced persons were spending days under open sky. The traffic system has also been disrupted in scores of small cities and towns of Sindh where two to three feet rain water has accumulated.
The spread of epidemics have aggravated the miseries of the affected people as diarrhoea, gastro, malaria and skin diseases are growing rapidly in interior Sindh. More than 10,000 domestic cattle including cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, donkeys, horses were also killed by epidemic diseases in Mirpurkhas and Umerkot districts while thousands of domestic cattle were reportedly killed in different districts of Sindh due to continuous heavy rainfall and floods in lower Sindh districts.
Ali Nawaz Wah and Pandraho Wah canals in Faizganj area of district Khairpur developed 50-feet-wide breaches, inundating eight villages and the surrounding areas. In a roof-collapse near Garhi Pul a child was killed and six women were injured, while after the rain, a man and a woman died of snakebites at Nara and Paryalo.
NDMA chairman said that teams have visited the affected parts of Sindh including Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Badin, Hyderabad and other districts. He said that a rescue operation has been conducted in village Sain Dad Alyani where water had entered the village after a breach in Puran Canal near Naokot.
As a result about 250 persons were stranded in the village. Mirpurkhas DCO Ghulam Hussain Memon along with SSP Mirpurkhas Riaz Ahmad soomro reached there along with 100 police personnel and started the rescue work in the village. The rescuers pulled out the stranded person from the village and shifted them to safer places.
Meanwhile owing to dozens of breaches in Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) system the LBOD Sim Nullah, Puran Canal, taluka Jhuddo, Naokot, Taluka Hussain Bux Mari, Digri, Tando Jan Muhmmad, Sindhri, Samaro, Kunri and other towns and adjoining areas of these tehsils have submerged in flood water and large number of people have been displaced who are being helped by the personnel in shifting their families to safer places.
Torrential rains have wreaked havoc in Nasirabad, Jaffarabad, Osta Muhammad, Suhbat Pur, Dera Allah Yar, Dera Murad Jamali, Tambu, Manjho Shori, Baba Kot, Rojhan Jamali and other areas of Balochistan. Heavy rains in Sanjawi, Ziarat and surrounding areas filled the Nullahs with water which washed away roads cutting the links of the area with different cities. Rains devastated dozens of mud houses; whereas apple, tomato, potato, vegetables and other crops were also destroyed.
In Punjab, a surge in the Sutlej river submerged more than 100 localities along the riverine area near Burewala on late Saturday.
Standing crops on hundreds of acres were inundated in more than 100 localities, including Salara Rotar, Ghai Shah, Mongar Salar, Baloch, Rahim Shah, Budin Shah, Jheelan Wali, Haider Khan, and other localities.
On information, Burewala Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Attif Dar along with police, Rescue 1122 and officials of other departments concerned reached the areas and started the rescue operation.Boats of Rescue 1122 were also dispatched to the affected areas.
The assistant commissioner told the media that a central control room had been set up in Farooqabad while three relief camps were working round-the-clock in Farooqabad, Sahu kay and Jimlara. Vehari DPO Syed Ali Nasir visited a police relief camp and ordered policemen and rescue personnel to provide all facilities to the affected people.
On the other hand, a safety bridge in Muzaffargarh has broken due to which the standing crops on 4,000 acre have been destroyed. The roads and streets in Khanpur tehsil of Rahimyar Khan also remained submerged under knee-deep stagnant water, which the administration has so far failed to drain out.
Heavy monsoon rains wreaked havoc in Kalat district too where flash floods swept away dozens of houses and three vehicles on Sunday.According to reports, Kalat and adjoining areas received heavy downpours on Sunday that caused flash floods in streams and nullahs. The flood swept away dozens of mud-houses in Killi Khel, Killi Pashar and other small villages of Kalat besides forcing the people to take refuge on top of nearby mountains.
A police official, Abdul Sattar, said more than 20 houses were swept away in Killi Mughalzai while several electricity poles were also flooded that suspended power supply in the district.
The flash floods damaged crops, swept away household-items and cattle. Sources said three vehicles on National Highway were also swept away by flash flood, however, occupants were rescued by highway police. The flood also disconnected road link between Quetta and Karachi at Kalat area for several hours, causing inconveniences for passengers.
Meanwhile, relief camps have been established in Kalat district by provincial government and Frontier Corps where affectees are being provided food and medical aid.
In Chitral, at least seven houses and standing crops on hundreds of acres land were washed away by torrential rains in remote areas of the district in the wee hours on Sunday. However, no human loss was reported.
Incessant rains wreaked havoc in Booni and Owi, the far-flung areas, located about 80 miles north of Chitral town, as rainwater flooded nullahs which overflowed badly affecting Karway Golokh and Mogdor villages. Seven houses along with valuables were swept away. The houses belonged to Nasirudin, Nasir Khesro, Penan Zar, Adena Zar, Sher Azad, Mir Mohammad and EDO Health Dr Sher Qayyum.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Use 300,000 arms I licensed to you: Mirza

Former minister asks Sindhis to take revenge if he is murdered by MQM

KARACHI - Former Sindh Senior Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza on Friday said he has issued 300,000 arms license among the Sindhi people as he urged them to use these weapons against the MQM, if they kill any Sindhi or other innocent.
Addressing a gathering at Ghaghar Phattak, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza asked the MQM leadership to ‘kill him’ if they want to stop him from unearthing the ‘facts’ against MQM, claiming that he has bundle of facts against the party. “What you will do if they kill me,” he asked the gathering and then himself suggested to kill at least kill 50 people in revenge. The people responded they will take his revenge by killing thousands of the opponents.
Mirza demanded end to the reconciliation process with MQM and termination of the Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad. He said that reconciliation by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was unacceptable to him.
Earlier, the former Sindh minister was warmly welcomed at Karachi by the activists of various political and religious parties on his arrival in the metropolis from Badin. Several thousands of the activists of Awami National Party (ANP), Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), Sindh Dost Ittehad (SDI), Sindh National Party (SNP), Punjabi Pukhtoon Ittehad (PPI), defunct Peoples Amn Committee (Lyari) and some activists of PPP reached at the Ghaghar Phattak Karachi to receive Zulfiqar Mirza.
Mirza urged the people of Sindh to support his struggle to protect Pakistan Army and Pakistan from the anti-state elements’ conspiracies. He said that he would not allow the conspirators to succeed in their plans against Pakistan. However, he clarified that he did not believe in ethnicity and that he considers the people as Pakistanis and Muslims. He urged the youth to play their role for strengthening the country and supporting the Army. Reiterating his loyalty with President Asif Zardari, he said that those who oppose the president should consider him as their enemy. He also asked the masses to strengthen the hands of PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and President Zardari.
Condemning Interior Minister Rehman Malik, he said that the Malik misled President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani about the Army and ISI chiefs. Malik has told them if the party will end the coalition with MQM, General Kiyani and General Shuja Pasha will topple the government, he added. He accused Malik of siding with the MQM and blackmailing the federal government. He repeated the allegation that Malik released the terrorists arrested in his (Mirza) tenure in the name of reconciliation, saying the arrested target killers belonged to MQM.
Mirza also breathed fire on Babar Awan, another close aide of President Zardari, saying he had not accepted the so-called reconciliation of Babar Awan which made hundreds of mothers to lose their sons. He demanded the government immediately end the negotiations with MQM and oust the Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad from his slot as he claimed that the peace in the city will not be possible in the presence of Ebad.
He complained that his friends in the PPP were distancing themselves from him as they no more attend his phone calls. He said he believes that some quarters in the Army and judiciary support his stance on the Karachi killings.
Thousands of the activists of the various political parties accompanied the caravan of Dr Zulfiqar Mirza from Ghaghar Phattak to Lyari. A large number of police and Rangers also provided security cover to the caravan.

Russia ready to invest billions in Pakistan, Afghanistan: Medvedev

DUSHANBERussia and Pakistan has urged the Nato-led coalition in Afghanistan to step up training of local forces, while Russian president lamented slow pace of work on vital energy projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying his country is ready to invest billions of dollars.
The call by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Friday to the coalition partners in Afghanistan for pacing up security training ahead of their planned withdrawal was joined by Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Tajik leader Emomali Rahmon during a quadrilateral regional summit in Dushanbe.
"The heads of state emphasise that reduction of foreign military presence in Afghanistan should be accompanied by adequate increase of efforts by the participants of the international coalition for training and arming Afghan national security structures," the leaders' joint statement said. The four nations also agreed to work more closely to combat extremism and drug trafficking along with organised crimes.
Speaking after the talks, Medvedev stated that security in Central Asia is the sole responsibility of the countries of the region. He said he believes that help from other countries is important but not crucial. "In the end, responsibility for what is going on in the region will fall on our countries - Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan," Medvedev stressed, adding that it is a view shared by "all participants of today's summit."
The Russian leader pointed out that currently a lot depends on partners "who help solve various tasks in the region." However, these are non-regional powers, and in Dmitry Medvedev's opinion it is necessary for the four states taking part in the Dushanbe summit to step up their efforts. "Otherwise, we take the risk that the great efforts we are undertaking are in vain," the president explained. In particular, he was at pains to point out that Moscow is willing to develop political dialogue with Afghanistan.
Earlier, during the summit meeting the Russian president lamented a lack of progress in joint energy projects with Pakistan and Afghanistan in his meeting with his counterparts in the four-way summit. "There's a whole range of projects that have been on the table for a long time which have seen no movement forward and which should be implemented," Medvedev said in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. "It is time to move from words to deeds," he said, referring to a project codenamed CASA-1000, whose aim will be sending power from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a trans-national gas pipeline.
Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" into the CASA-1000 project to send power from Tajikistan and fellow Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. "But for it to happen, necessary organisational decisions should be taken first, we have to be invited," Medvedev told reporters after the talks.
He also confirmed Russia's interest in a key trans-national gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. The 1,700-kilometre (1,050-mile) Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline has been on hold for many years due to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and economic reasons.
The gas price has also been a contentious issue. "The question is at what price Turkmenistan would be selling gas to the project's participants?" Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko told reporters in Dushanbe. The TAPI pipeline aims to transport over 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually from the Dauletabad gas fields in southeast Turkmenistan and could become a cash cow for Afghanistan in transit fees.
There is a series of projects which have been on the table but there has been no progress in their implementation," Medvedev concluded. These projects cover the transport, agriculture, chemical, construction and food industries.
On the other had, in his meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on the sideline of the summit, President Asif Ali Zardari proposed a trilateral trade agreement to include Tajikistan along the line of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.
While talking to President Hamid Karzai, President Zardari said that in order to eradicate poverty and illiteracy, the root cause of breeding militant mindset, the regional countries need to concentrate on exploring more economic opportunities for their people and to provide them better future prospects.
Briefing the media about the meeting, Spokesperson to President Farhatullah Babar said that the president while emphasising upon the need to have trilateral trade arrangements said that such an arrangement would not only benefit the people of the three countries would also generate huge economic activity in Afghanistan.
Recent incidents on the border also came under discussion during the meeting. The two leaders welcomed setting up of a joint military commission to deal with such unwanted incidents that could hamper the amicable equation of the two countries.
Discussing development of Afghanistan, the president highlighted that the two countries direly need energy avenues to meet their developmental requirements. He said that we should work zealously on all the energy related projects to meet our growing needs and to expedite process of development. The president also emphasised upon the early implementation of CASA-1000 project.
President Zardari said that connectivity through all available modes hold the key to the development of the region by tremendously boosting the mutual trade activities and prompting people to people contacts.
The president said that Pakistan has always called upon the international community to support and work for the permanent solution to the issues in Afghanistan and we are ready to provide all possible assistance to the international community in this regard. He said that Pakistan would continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation. He also called upon international funding agencies to honour their commitments with respect to vital projects that promise a new era of development and prosperity in the region.
The President said that we look forward to the fifth meeting of the trilateral 'Core Group' later this month in the USA. He said that Islamabad would soon host the 2nd working level meeting of the Joint Commission for Peace Reconciliation. The President said that the success of Afghanistan transition hinges on the progress in reconciliation with various factions as well as preparedness to Afghan institutions to handle its responsibilities. He said that Pakistan was ready to provide all help in capacity building of Afghan institutions.
President Zardari met Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met here at Qasr-e-Millat, Dushanbe, and discussed matter relating to bilateral relations, regional situation, common challenges and the way forward in addressing the issues of common concern.
Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that from the onset of the meeting, President Zardari thanked his Tajik counterpart for providing an opportunity to the leadership of the four participating countries to meet and have candid discussions at the platform of Quadrilateral Summit and also during their one-on-one meetings. During the meeting the two Presidents agreed upon the need to work earnestly on extending existing connectivity modes between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
The two presidents also welcomed Russia's intended participation in building rail link network among the four participating countries of the Summit. Matters relating to extending air links between the two countries also came under discussion. Various options in this regard were discussed by the two presidents and both the sides agreed to work further on establishing air links as soon as possible. The two presidents also agreed upon early implementation of CASA-1000 project for the mutual benefit and called upon IFIs to honour their commitments.
President Emomali Rahmon appreciated President Zardari for his efforts for promoting regional connectivity which promises to usher a new era a development for the region. Later the two Presidents left for Ismail Somoni where President Zardari laid the foundation of Pakistan Embassy Complex.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Talks go on, so do deaths

File Photo
KARACHI – Killings continued in blood-soaked Karachi without losing pace on Sunday as did the meetings of PPP and MQM leaders, who said they gathered ‘to work out solutions’ to the law and order problem and help end the bad blood between them.
The meeting came as at least eleven more people lost their lives to the relentless bloodbath, surging up the body count in five-day spate of murders to 90.
Sindh Governor’s House was the venue for Sunday’s joint meet where Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, Home Minister Manzoor Wasan, Local Bodies Minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Law Minister Ayaz Soomro represented the PPP while Babar Khan Ghauri, Adil Siddiqui, Raza Haroon and Dr Saghir Ahmad participated from the MQM side. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and some other prominent figures of PPP and MQM were also present.
The meeting reportedly discussed the Karachi situation and underlined the need to develop the ‘confidence’ of masses on law and order situation. The meeting also discussed the concerns of the business community of Karachi over their receiving of life threats and extortion slips. It was decided that ‘stern action’ will be taken against the area SHO, if he will not address the complaints of the businessmen.
Interestingly, neither of the parties supported the army deployment in the metropolis as being demanded by the Karachiites.
Sources in the MQM said that after the bitter experience of two months of separation from the government, the party is expected to rejoin Sindh and federal cabinets within a few days. But they said there were certain issues that remain to be resolved in this regard, they said, adding that MQM was interested in the Sindh Home Ministry beside other things.
The MQM had parted ways with the PPP-led coalition due to its reservations regarding elections on two seats of Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly reserved for Karachi. The party has quit the present ruling coalition at least thrice, though its recent spat with the ruling party appeared to be the most severe and certainly the longest one.
Meanwhile, at least eleven more victims fell prey to the current ethnic turmoil. Bodies of the two young men were found dumped in a cemetery in MPR Colony, Orangi Town. The victims Zeeshan Sattar and Faisal Qadeer were cousins and had left their home to buy food for Sehri when unknown assailants abducted them and later dumped their dead bodies after killing them. Police said the victims had no affiliation with any political party, saying it appeared to be case of ethnic violence.
A rickshaw driver named Rustam Faqeer Muhammad was gunned down near Bismillah Hotel in the limits of Pak Colony Police. SHO Shakeel Sherwani said victim was a resident of Rangi Muhalla, Ranchore Line. Deceased was on his way to home when armed men intercepted him and shot him dead. Also in the remits of Pak Colony Police, a body in a gunny bag was found from Lyari Naddi Raxer Lane. The identity of the victim was yet to be ascertained. Police said victim was killed after torture.
Unidentified gunmen shot dead a cobbler, Gauhar Zaman, near Qatar Moor, in Orangi Town Police limits. Police said the victim hailed from Bajaur and was a resident of Banaras Chowk. Body of an unidentified man was found from Teen Hattie Bridge in the remits of Super Market Police.
Another decapitated corpse bearing torture marks of a youth was found from Macchar Colony in the jurisdiction of Docks Police.
A PPP activist was shot dead while other injures in Orangi Town. Shoaib, 32, was sitting with his friend Qasim outside his home when unidentified armed men on motorcycle opened fire, injuring both of them. Police shifted them to Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) where Shoaib succumbed to his injuries. A man named Adil was shot dead in Orangi Town Sector 7 while he was sitting in front of his home. Police found a body young man in a gunny bag from sector 9-E in the remits of Orangi Town Police. The identity of victim was yet to be ascertained.
A passerby, Saeed Alam, was killed during an armed clash in Bilal Colony within the remits of Korangi Industrial Area Police. Police said victim was the resident of Bengali Para. Miscreants also torched a rickshaw and a car during the clash. Heavy aerial firing was continuing in Bilal Colony.
Two houses were torched in Mahmoodabad area after the armed clash between two drug peddlers. Police and Rangers deployed in Chenesar Goth were unable to stop the violence and arson that continued from Saturday and claimed the lives of two children.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Estranged Sher Afgan quits Musharraf’s party

Dr Sher Afgan Niazi Saturday resigned from the newly-born APML of Pervez Musharraf over serious differences with other party leaders.
The resignation of the political veteran is a big jolt for the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), which was registered with the Election Commission sometime back and is still in its infancy.
Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, who is a former minister from Mianwali and was supposed to be close to party chief Gen (r) Musharraf, took the decision due to non-recognition of his services for the party and ignoring of his proposals for turning the party into a real political force, besides lending a cold shoulder to him by Musharraf himself.
Dr Sher Afgan Niazi confirmed the report of his resignation to The Nation, telling, “It is worthless to work with a party that lacks a practical approach and whose leaders pay no heed to good advice. Holding of few scattered public meetings cannot establish APML as a true political force.”
Coming down hard on some party leaders, he claimed that one of the leaders who is supposed to manage party affairs remains abroad and gives priority to looking after his business, while the others of the same camp limit themselves to nominating such persons for various party offices as have no solid political background and they don’t bother to consult the senior leaders of the party.
Asked whether he raised the issue with party chief Pervez Musharraf, he said, “It is saddening that Major-Gen (r) Rashid Qureshi raised his concerns before Musharraf on his (Niazi) behalf, however the former president not only refused to admonish the said ‘non-political elements’ in APML but he also made it clear on Qureshi that Dr Niazi would be answerable to the same ‘so-called’ leaders”.
Dr Niazi claimed that the mentioned leaders had time and again hatched conspiracies against the people he nominated for some party positions and they posed to be siding with senior leadership’s decision, however later they didn’t let them work and made them ineffective. About his future political plans, he said that political situation in the country was in a flux and he would not take any decision in a hurry.
APML spokesman Fawad Chaudhary said that party leadership hasn’t received any resignation from Dr Niazi so far. He said that he along with other party men would address all the grievances of veteran party leader, adding that without Dr Niazi’s towering leadership, the newly-born party could not flourish. But Dr Niazi categorically said that he would not review his resignation decision even if Musharraf himself tried his best to persuade him to return.
APML leaders would meet party founder Pervez Musharraf next week in Dubai and the issue of Dr Niazi is expected to figure high in the meeting. It is believed that Dr Niazi would be pursued to join the second round of party meeting in which efforts would be made to bring him back.