Posts Tagged ‘Islamabad’
Islamabad, Dec 7 (IANS) Pakistan is “entrenching the culture of corruption” and has been “indulging in wishful thinking of purging” it, a daily said Friday after the country was named as amongst the most corrupt countries in the world.
An editorial in the Daily Times Friday said that Pakistan seems to have ‘progressed’ from its previous ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Index, rising from 42nd to 33rd position.
The Index measures corruption on a scale of 100 to 0. The lower the ranking, the more corrupt a country is perceived as, “hence the ‘improvement’ for Pakistan as one of the most corrupt countries in the world”.
The daily said the Accountability Bill, with a new nomenclature, is gathering dust on the parliamentary committee’s desk for want of consensus on its content.
“To make matters worse, we are entrenching the culture of corruption by introducing tax amnesty schemes once again instead of going after those hoarding black wealth and studiously evading paying taxes,” it added.
The editorial observed that governments secure rule of law, keep the cost of doing business to a minimum, enable the judicial system to dispense cheap and easy justice, and ensure the integrity of the police. All this cannot happen unless a strong mechanism of accountability within each institution is enforced through legislation and enforcement.
“In its absence, the flow of corruption runs unabated.
“Countries such as Finland, Denmark and New Zealand, which had earned 90th rank on the Transparency International scorecard, are ones where people have strong access to information systems and stringent rules governing those in public positions,” it said.
The daily added: “We have been indulging in wishful thinking of purging the menace of corruption by installing different unsustainable and short-lived mechanisms in the past.”
It said that while military regimes could not be put in the dock for corruption, democratically elected governments were replaced with the promise that corruption would be rooted out.
“But every time we ended up with more rather than less corruption.
“In the present circumstances, if a start has to be made somewhere, perhaps it should be through an awareness and education campaign in the media, followed by civil society and activists taking up the cause to remove the perception that corruption is the only way to move ahead in life.”
Islamabad, Dec 6 (IANS) Indian minister Mullappally Ramchandran’s statement on terrorists’ training camps in Pakistan is an “uncalled-for outburst” that gives an inkling of the Indian government’s approach, a Pakistani daily said Thursday.
An editorial in the Dawn said that an example of the negative signals that come from New Delhi from time to time is the provocative and debatable statement made in parliament Tuesday by India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramchandran who identified 42 training camps for 2,500 militants in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The minister said that no less than 249 attempts had been made by militants so far this year to sneak into “Indian territory”.
“Then there was the allegation that all this enjoyed support from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies,” said the daily.
The editorial said that all observers of the South Asian scene admit there has been a reversal of Islamabad’s undoubtedly flawed, pre-9/11 policy with regard to militancy: Islamabad had to crack down on the networks because they had become a threat to Pakistan itself.
“…All that Mr Ramchandran’s uncalled-for outburst does is to give an inkling of the Indian government’s approach, which shies away not only from a Kashmir solution but from a resolution of less contentious issues such as Siachen and Sir Creek,” it added.
Islamabad, Dec 6 (IANS) At least four suspected militants were killed in a drone strike in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area early Thursday, media reports said.
The strike took place at pre-dawn, Xinhua reported citing the Ary TV channel.
A US unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house suspected to be a militant hideout in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.
The identities of those killed were not immediately known.
On Dec 1, Al Qaeda leader Abdul Rehman Azman, a Yemeni national believed to be a close aide of slain chief Osama bin Laden, was killed in a drone strike in neighbouring South Waziristan.
Thursday’s drone strike was the 37th of its kind in 2012. At least 265 people have been killed in such strikes this year.
Islamabad, Dec 5 (IANS) Authorities must apologise to the Hindu community for demolishing a temple in Karachi and hurting their sentiments, a Pakistani daily said Wednesday.
An editorial in the Dawn said the demolition of a Hindu temple in Karachi’s Garden area Saturday raises disturbing questions and is “a prime example of the callous attitude that officialdom often has towards this country’s non-Muslim citizens”.
“The authorities need to uncover the facts of the matter, especially regarding ownership, and apologise to the Hindu community for having hurt their sentiments by demolishing the temple.
“Even if the structure was illegally built, the community should be given an alternative site to build the temple. And if this is not the case and the demolition was illegal, then the temple should be rebuilt as it was,” the editorial said.
There is reportedly a dispute between a builder who claims to own the structure and the matter is in court. Yet the Pakistan Hindu Council and residents claim they were not given advance warning before the demolition squad showed up and that “religious objects were desecrated during the operation”.
Community members claim they have been living in the location for over a century. They say they have been harassed to vacate the land.
Though an official claims no place of worship was damaged in the `anti-encroachment’ operation, images in the media of Hindu idols surrounded by rubble “makes such denials questionable”.
The editorial said it was not assuming that the temple was deliberately targeted.
“Yet the matter should have been handled more tactfully considering the sensitivities, specifically the fact that a place of worship was involved.”
“Would such action have been taken if a mosque had been built on illegally occupied land instead of a temple?” the daily asked.
The daily pointed out that clumsily handled situations such as this only add to the discomfiture of minorities living in this country.
As it is, in many instances non-Muslims have hardly been given equal treatment in Pakistan and have been increasingly marginalised with the growth of extremism, it said and added that in such circumstances, disrespecting a non-Muslim place of worship only adds to the alienation.
Islamabad, Dec 4 (IANS) World snooker champion Mohammad Asif is one of the many unsung heroes of Pakistan sports who fail to make their presence felt in a country that is completely obsessed with cricket, said a Pakistani daily.
Just when it seemed that nothing could go right for Pakistan, Mohammad Asif’s stunning title-winning triumph Sunday at the IBSF World Snooker Championship came as a timely reminder that all’s not lost for the country, said an editorial in the News International.
No one in Pakistan anticipated that he would go on to become the world champion. Asif began the championship as an underdog but proved to be the proverbial dark horse of the tournament as cruised into the final with eight victories on the trot.
The final that spanned over almost eight hours, Asif displayed nerves of steel on his way to a memorable 10-8 victory.
And Pakistan erupted in joy.
The daily said that Asif has become only the second Pakistani to win the world snooker title after Mohammad Yousuf, who bagged the crown 18 years ago in the 1994 World Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Asif’s is a true rags-to-riches story. This hard-working cueist comes from a humble background, has never had much training and isn’t even employed.
“In fact before his heroics in Sofia, Asif had been one of the many unsung heroes of Pakistan sports who somehow fail to make their presence felt in a country that is completely obsessed with cricket,” it said.
The daily said that snooker has never been really able to attract much support from the public or private sectors.
“National snooker officials have to run from pillar to post to collect funds to send teams abroad to feature in international events like the World Snooker Championship. But Asif’s commendable achievement should prove be a game changer not just for the player but also for Pakistani snooker,” it added.
Islamabad, Dec 3 (IANS) The outreach to India could be the centrepiece of the Pakistani government’s foreign policy credentials going into the election, a leading daily said Monday, lamenting that the process of trade liberalisation with New Delhi has been “gummed up because of parochial interests”.
An editorial in the Dawn said trade with India is supposed to be the game-changer in relations between the two countries.
“Better ties with India, including flinging open the doors to mutually beneficial trade, is supposed to have become a bedrock principle among mainstream politicians. But few things here follow a smooth script,” it said while referring to Pakistan missing a self-imposed deadline to allow all tradable items to cross the land border with India.
Agriculturalists and their supporters in cabinet are reluctant to endorse the government’s own plan ahead of an election, it said.
“The thinking is typically protectionist, and bereft of a full understanding of what Pakistan would have to do after cabinet endorsement of trade liberalisation with India.
“…given the quality of debate in the cabinet and the electoral considerations of politicians becoming paramount with an election on the horizon, rational argument is an unfortunate casualty in decision-making,” the daily added.
Equally worrying, the editiorial said, is how easily the decision-making process can be manipulated by vested interests, even on the civilian side.
“The outreach to India could be the centrepiece of this government’s foreign policy credentials going into the election; the manifold benefits of trade, including the positive spillover for other security aspects of the fraught Pakistan-India relationship, are undeniable; and with an economy struggling to return to a high growth path, every little bit can help – and yet the process of trade liberalisation with India has been gummed up because of parochial interests.”
It went on to say that after over six decades of a “dispiriting” relationship with India, there are few reasons or excuses that have not been proffered to thwart better ties.
“But at least this much has become clear: without bold and courageous political leadership, meaningful improvements in Pakistan-India relations will never materialise,” it said.
“The issues and disputes between Pakistan and India are very real. The hawks on the Indian side are equally real, as is the growing suspicion of Pakistan across the Indian elite in government, civil society and the media. But none of that is reason to stop trying. Trade is a win-win situation for both Pakistan and India; the federal cabinet needs to better educated in the matter,” the daily added.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan wants the Pakistan army to monitor polling in any constituency the poll panel pin-points during the next general elections.
The Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman said change was possible only through ballot, Online news agency reported Sunday.
The general elections, due in early 2013, would begin an era of modern politics, which would end family-oriented politics in the country, he added.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) A Pakistani plane which had on board a number of VIPs, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, caught fire Sunday just before taking off from the port city of Karachi, Geo News reported.
The Islamabad-bound Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight had several Members of the National Assembly, federal ministers and the country’s chief justice on board when it caught fire.
The flight, PK-300 was on the taxiway when the fire was noticed in one of its engines, sources said.
Rescue teams were rushed to bring the fire under control and evacuate passengers, the report said.
“Smoke billowing out of the burning engine escaped into the fuselage after they opened the emergency exit hatch. It was suffocating in there. I saw many passengers who were not feeling well at all,” said federal minister Maula Bux Chandio who blamed PIA for its mismanagement and incompetence.
The national flag carrier has a history of technical issues owing to an outdated and ill-maintained fleet, the report said.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) Two major terror attacks were Sunday averted near Pakistan’s Peshawar city when four militants — three suicide bombers and one handler — were killed when their explosives-laden vests exploded prematurely, a media report said.
The first incident took place in Dir colony area of Peshawar when a motorcycle-riding suicide bomber was being equipped with a vest by his handler, the Dawn reported.
Security officials said the explosives detonated while the handler was camouflaging the suicide vest with another jacket. Both the handler and the suicide bomber were killed.
The incident took place near a security check-post, which was probably the target of the attackers, the report said.
In the second incident, two suicide-bombers were killed in Garang area of Mohmand before they could reach their destination, officials said.
In another incident, bomb disposal squad personnel defused explosives planted on a motorcycle in Tarnab Farm area on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Bomb expert Zahid Khan told Dawn the motorcycle was fitted with a remote-controlled detonator as well as a mobile phone detonator.
The ignition system of the motorcycle was also connected to the bomb, which had six to seven kg of explosive material and was filled with pellets.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) A court in Pakistan has restrained a military estates officer and the administration of the port city of Karachi from demolishing a pre-Partition era temple.
The Sindh High Court Saturday issued an order restraining the demolition of the Shri Rama Pir Mandir in the Soldier Bazaar area, the News International reported Sunday.
The order came on a petition filed by Ram Chander, a resident in the temple premises, who challenged the demolition of the temple and its adjoining quarters and took to courtthe military estates officer, police and a private builder.
The petitioner’s counsel told the court that families of worshippers lived in the compound of the temple constructed more than 100 years ago, and that the property was duly notified by the Evacuee Trust of Properties.
He said the the private builder in connivance with the authorities was trying to encroach on the temple land.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the northwest tribal province of Pakistan, is the most dangerous place for journalists in the country, as 14 of them have been killed in the line of duty in the last 11 years.
Balochistan with 12 journalists murdered in the same period was ranked second, followed by Sindh with nine killings, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with eight, and Punjab and Islamabad with three each, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) said in a report.
The study titled “Murder of Pakistani Journalists from January 2002 to November 2012″ said at least 48 journalists were killed in Pakistan in the last 11 years, and 35 of them were targeted because of their work.
Of the 48 journalists, 25 were shot, three killed in suicide attacks, seven in bomb blasts, nine abducted before murder, and four were killed in crossfire.
In 2012 alone, six journalists were killed across the country, the Daily Times reported.
Many others have been injured, threatened, coerced into silence, unjustly detained, abducted and beaten by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, militants, tribal and feudal lords, the report said. The number fo journalists thus ill-treated is not clear.
Over the last 10 years, the murder of Daniel Pearl, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was the most high profile case, followed by that of Saleem Shahzad, a correspondent for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online.
Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) At least 80 Shia Muslims were killed in targeted attacks across Pakistan in November, a Shia organisation has said in a report.
The Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan (MWM), a group set up to unite all scattered organisations and clerics of the Shia community on a single platform, Saturday released the data in its monthly report.
The report said 28 Shias were killed in Sindh, 27 in Punjab, 14 in Balochistan and 11 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Daily Times said Sunday.
Among major cities, at least 26 Shias were killed in the port city of Karachi and 23 in Rawalpindi.
Many of those killed were attacked by suicide bombers during Muharram mourning processions. In some cases, grenades were hurled and there were reports of firing also.
The Islamic month of Muharram is considered a sensitive period in Pakistan, and many attacks on Shias by extremist Sunnis during Muharram have been reported in the past.
Massive attacks took place on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram which marks the death anniversary of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussain Ibn-e-Ali 1,300 years ago.