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Showing posts from November, 2013

Can Nawaz Sharif Bring Peace To Afghanistan?

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During his first visit to Kabul since his election for a third term in May this year, Mr Sharif on Saturday met with Afghanistan’s President Karzai, and assured the leader that “Pakistan would continue to extend all possible facilitation for the Afghan peace process”. He said the release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former Taliban number two, freed from years of detention last September, would help to jumpstart peace negotiations with the Taliban. Afghanistan considers that Pakistan holds significant influence over the Taliban, who are believed to launch attacks from bases in the country. 

Read the full story here. 

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How Will Children Of Balochistan Remember Akbar Bugti?

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Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik told Dawn.com on Saturday that it was decided in principle to educate Balochistan's schoolchildren on the history of veteran Baloch and Pashtun leaders. He said that the names and political struggles of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, Khan Shaheed Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Mir Yousaf Aziz Magsi and other leaders would be included in the curriculum. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader, was killed in August 2006 in an explosion in a cave where he had taken refuge during a military crackdown ordered by Gen Pervez Musharraf, who was president and army chief at the time. Bugti had led an armed campaign to press for provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from Balochistan’s natural resources. The death of the Baloch chieftain had sparked angry protests in parts of the country. “We cannot deceive our younger generations,” Dr. Baloch said. “We want our kids to know about their elders who sacrificed their …

Is It Possible To Build A Road From Gwadar In Pakistan To Xinjiang In China?

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KARACHI: A conglomerate of two leading Chinese construction companies, China Railway Engineering Corporation and Sinotec, has offered to construct the Gwadar-Khunjrab Rail Link at an estimated cost of Rs250 billion. This cost includes Rs160 billion for infrastructure and Rs90 billion for locomotives on electric traction. This investment is designed on a four-year, soft-loan term basis.
The offer was made to Minister for Railways Khwaja Sa’ad Rafique on behalf of the consortium in a detailed presentation carried out by Song Shuan Ping. The loan can be treated as a professional loan, commercial loan or a grant and will be payable in seven years. Pointing out the strategic importance of Gwadar-Khunjrab Rail Link, Ping listed a number of benefits which could be availed once the project was operational. “The main aim of the link is to connect the Central Asian Republics with the Pakistan Railways Network,” said Ping. “This will immensely improve trade relations between China and Pakistan.” Pi…

What happened at Glasgow helicopter crash? Clutha pub Destroyed

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At least three people have died after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow, the BBC has been told. A source close to the investigation said the final number of fatalities would almost certainly be higher. The crash happened at The Clutha in Stockwell Street at 22:25 on Friday. People are still thought to be trapped. There were three people on board the helicopter - two officers and a civilian pilot. Thirty-two people have been taken to local hospitals. A senior fire officer said they had made contact with some people trapped inside the pub but the building was unsafe and they were taking a "methodical" approach to the rescue. The emergency services could be seen on the pub's roof trying to rescue people from inside. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is due to speak at a press conference shortly. There are expected to be updates from the police, fire and ambulance services. It has been reported that about 120 people were in the pub at the time …

Can India Succeed In Building A "Berlin Wall" To Divide Kashmir?

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India has drawn inspiration from the wall coming up on the West Bank and the Berlin Wall that symbolised Cold War to plan a 10-metre high embankment along the 198-km stretch of international border that separates Jammu from Pakistan, reported Indian media on Saturday.
The security wall is being erected to keep ‘infiltrators’ out, claimed the media. The wall will be higher and wider than both the Berlin Wall and the serpentine barrier that Tel Aviv is creating. It will be 135 feet wide and pass through 118 villages in the districts of Jammu (72), Kathua (17) and Samba (29).
Although there is no official estimate yet on the total cost, the Indian home ministry will fund the project, which will be handled by the Indian Border Security Force. The project spells revival of an idea mooted a few years ago after an attack on the police and army by two armed men.
Instead of brick and mortar that went into the making of the walls in Berlin and Israel, the proposed embankment will use earth excavat…

WILL LIBERALISM SURVIVE OBAMACARE?

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In response to the first half of the question, and bowing to the contemporary wisdom that anything can be reduced to the length of a tweet, I offer up this definition: American liberalism is belief system that combines egalitarian impulses with a conviction that markets often fail and that the government should seek to address these failures. (Actually, that’s about one and a half tweets, but never mind.) Now to how liberalism is faring. If you’ve been reading some of the articles out of Washington in recent weeks, you may have received the impression that it’s an endangered creed, and that the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act might just about finish it off. I’m not just referring to the coverage in conservative outlets like the National Review, theWeekly Standard, and the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, which have been publishing obituaries of liberalism for decades. In mainstream and even liberal publications, some of the best columnists in Washington have express…

Are Pakistanis Becoming More Wealthy?

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According to a study of a financial think-tank from Switzerland, there are 415 people in Pakistan, who own more than $30 million each as compared to 310 last year, registering an increase of 33.9 percent, which is a record in Asia. Collective income of these people remained around $50 billion, the study revealed.
Only seven to eight business groups of the 22 families continue to operate their businesses significantly and the remaining families have either closed their businesses or have shifted abroad.
Dr Ishrat Husain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and a renowned economist, said only Dawoods, Adamjees, Sehgals, Shaikhs, Nishats and a few others have survived the economic ups and downs during this period, while Haroons, Batlas, Valikas, Isfahanis, Noons, and Rangoonwalas, have disappeared from the economic scene.
The nationalisation process in 70s also affected their economic position, he said, adding that some of the families went abroad and later shut their bu…

Nawaz Sharif Of Pakistan In Afghanistan On A Special Visit

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travels to Kabul on Saturday to hold "in-depth" consultations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on how to promote bilateral relations and Afghan peace efforts. 

This will be Mr. Sharif's first official visit to Afghanistan since his election after May's parliamentary polls. 

A foreign ministry statement issued Friday in Islamabad says the Pakistani leader will also hold talks with members of the Afghan High Peace Council tasked with persuading the Taliban to end violence and join a sputtering political reconciliation process. 

Read the full story here. 

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Chance For Pakistan To Complete A Clean Sweep Against South Africa Cricket Team

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Usually once a series is won there is not much to get excited about but this is a little different. Pakistan, who have already racked up what their captain Misbah-ul-Haqcalled "a really big achievement" by beating South Africa for the first time in a bilateral series, stand to add to it. Victory at Centurion will make them only the second team to whitewash South Africa in an ODI series of three matches. Although South Africa will be concerned with avoiding that fate, they also have the smaller picture to consider. While the Twenty20 side has found its rhythm, the ODI outfit cannot seem to do the same. Batting inconsistencies continue to work against them and even though one game cannot help them fix it, it may be an opportunity to solve some problems. Without Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, some of South Africa's next generation will be on display and with public speculation mounting about whether there is space for the two stalwarts in the set-up, this will be the chance…

Final One Day Between South Africa & Pakistan - Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn all out

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The opener Graeme Smith will be replaced by Henry Davids for South Africa's third and final one-day international against Pakistan in Pretoria on Saturday. Smith has been allowed time off following the death of his grandmother, Cricket South Africa said on Friday. South Africa are also without Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, who are sitting out the game as a precaution because of the three-match 50-over series against India starting next Thursday, which will be followed by two Test matches. Steyn has a mild side strain and Kallis a badly sprained little finger. Pakistan have already won the series after success in the first two ODIs in Cape Town last Sunday and Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, which they won by one run.
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Pakistan army's new head is General Raheel Sharif

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In a ceremony full of pomp in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, General Ashfaq Kayani has handed over the reins as the country's army chief.

It is one of the most important roles in South Asia in terms of regional stability, and many observers await to see how his successor General Raheel Sharif will approach the job particularly in relation to the conflict in Afghanistan. While many Pakistanis question whether or not their country is safer after General Kayani's tenure, he has been praised for not doing what some army chiefs have done there in the past - stage a coup.
Read the full story here. 


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Application For Pakistani Visa At Gerry’s Visa Services in Bradford - My Experience

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By Sikander Hayat
I wanted to share an experience with you guys. I needed to apply for a Pakistani visa and went online to see what the process was to get the visa. My search took me to the website of the Pakistan high commissioner in London. This website stated that Pakistan High Commission in London and other high commissions have stopped processing visa applications and that all applications are now dealt though Gerry’s Visa Services. I went on this website and it gave the addresses of different offices in United Kingdom. I chose the Bradford office, which I thought was the easiest one to get to 80 miles but still nearer than anything else.
I got my docs ready, signed & dated everything and left home at 6:00 am to get there on time for 9:00 am as same day visa service is provided between 9:00 am and 11:00 am. I got there right on time at 9:00 and after spending some time in looking for parking, I went in. There was only two more people in the office as customers. There were thr…

Lyari - A City Under Siege By Gangs

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By Sikander Hayat 

Lyari is one of the eighteen constituent towns of the city of Karachi, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It is the smallest town by area in the city but also the most densely populated town. It is bordered by the towns of SITE Town to the north across the Lyari River, Jamshed and Saddar to the east, and Kemari to the west across the main harbour of Karachi. This town is infamous for its gangs and continuous violence among those gang to control the turf in the city.
Drugs & arms smuggling are the main reasons why gangs fight to the bitter end to control the profits. Many police operations have been conducted in this area but the issues still linger as these operations are not followed up by the economic development. Infrastructure in Lyari is creaking under the pressure of population and poverty is rampant. Pakistan Peoples Party has been the political party of choice for the people of Lyari for many years but the party has not delivered the better prospects th…

Will Israel Attack Iran? Impact of Iran’s Nuclear Deal With The West

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By Sikander Hayat 

Finally Iran has agreed to conditions set by the West to freeze the uranium enrichment at a level which is below the weapons grade. There will be full international inspection of Iran’s nuclear plants and if Iran goes back on any of the pledges that it has made to the international community, all sanctions will come into action again.
This is wise move by Iran but this is not the final agreement and just an initial understanding. Iran also need to stop harassing its neighbours by supporting Shia groups in these countries. It also has to stop trying to export the shia revolution to other countries.
Only once these conditions are met, Iran can become a full member of the international community.
International community also needs to help Iran to move towards full democracy and loosen the hold of Mullahs on Iranian nation. A democratic Iran will be a less of a danger for the neighbourhood than the current regime in Tehran. If the West had not conspired against the de…

America's Foreign Policy by The Economist

Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho By Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

British Pakistanis Are Corrupt? Dominic Grieve Of The Conservative Party Blames The Whole Pakistani Community

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By Sikander Hayat
Tories are turning into their normal self and there cannot be a better example of this than the statement by Dominic Grieve that Pakistanis living in UK are the only corrupt community in this country. Pakistanis are part of the British mainstream and are no more corrupt than any other part of the wider british society. There are anti corruption laws in this country and if there is any individual who is involved in any such activity must be punished. I have few question that I need to ask of Mr Grieve to understand the “special” roles that British Pakistanis play in the corruption story in United Kingdom:

How many bankers who robbed this country and brought it to near financial collapse were of Pakistani origin? How many members of parliament who fiddled their expenses were of Pakistani origin? How many policeman who were taking money from newspapers to sell stories were of Pakistani origin? How many journalists who hacked people’s personal phones and destroyed lives for…

Pakistan Cricket Team Finally Succeeds Against South Africa - Cape Town’s Pakistani Community Provides Full Support To Pakistan Team

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By Sikander Hayat

Finally, Pakistan has beaten South Africa in a cricket match at Cape Town. This win has come after a series that Pakistan lost 4 -1 in United Arab Emirates. For me, the biggest discovery of the match was to see Billawal bowling fast & with purpose. He used his mind and reacted to batsmen actions very well. I believe that Pakistani selectors should persist with him for a while and give him a good go.
Sohail Tanweer bowled well as well and proved that he should be in the team. Muhammad Hafeez after a long time showed that he can bat. Before his current bad patch, Hafeez was Pakistan’s premier allrounder and was a backbone for Pakistan batting. It is good to see him back. Umar Akmal though did score runs but he is not an intelligent batsman and cannot read the situations very well. He is a good prospect for T20s but playing him in a one dayer or a test would be a big gamble.

Pakistani team had very good support as diaspora Pakistan came to see the match in large numb…

United States Attacks Hangu - Drones Hit An Islamic School In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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By Sikander Hayat 

Hangu has been attacked today by US drones killing 3 teachers & 5 students. This is the second such attack after Pakistan government announced the plan for a peace process with TTP (Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan). Hangu is a  town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and is the principal city of the district of Hangu. Pashto is the main language spoken in Hangu, although a minority speaks Punjabi (in the Majhi, Saraiki and Hindko dialects). As the national language, Urdu is also spoken.
With America impending agreement in Afghanistan to have permanent bases for another 10 years at least and may be for the foreseeable future, it is now increasingly attacking the factions fighting US forces in Afghanistan to eliminate threat to its presence in Afghanistan. Naseer Uddin Haqqani was killed in Islamabad by agents belonging to foreign agencies and now reported another Haqqani was the target of today’s attack.
Hangu was a peaceful District until 2006, when the T…

Khalistan Movement - The Past & Current Situation

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The Khalistan movement is a political secessionist movement which seeks to create a separate Sikh country, called Khalistan in the state of Punjab currently under Indian rule.

The Punjab region has been the traditional homeland of the Sikhs. Before its conquest by the British it had been ruled by the Sikhs for 82 years, the Sikhs ruled over the entire Punjab from 1767 to 1799, till their confederacy was unified into the Sikh Empire by Maharajah Ranjeet Singh. However, the region also has a substantial number of Hindus and Muslims.

Following India's independence in 1947, The Punjabi Suba Movement led by the Akali Dal aimed at creation of a Punjabi-majority state (Suba) in the Punjab region of India in the 1950s. Concerned that creating a Punjabi-majority state would effectively mean creating a Sikh-majority state, the Indian government initially rejected the demand. After a series of protests, violent clampdowns on the Sikhs, and the Indo-Pak war of 1965 the Government finally agre…