Burma: State of emergency imposed in Meiktila

Burma: State of emergency imposed in Meiktila

A state of emergency has been imposed in the Burmese town of Meiktila following three days of communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims.

A statement announcing the decision on behalf of President Thein Sein was broadcast on state television.

He said that the move would enable the military to help restore order in the riot-hit town, south of Mandalay.

At least 20 people are reported to have been killed since the violence began, but exact figures are unclear.

A BBC reporter who has just returned from the town said he saw about 20 Muslim bodies, which local men were trying to destroy by burning.

Meiktila MP Win Thein told the BBC Burmese service that scores of mostly Buddhist people accused of being involved in the violence had been arrested by police.

He said that he saw the bodies of eight people who had been killed in violence in the town on Friday morning. Many Muslims had fled gangs of Buddhist youths, he said, while other Muslims were in hiding.

Mr Win said that that violence that recurred on Friday morning has now receded, although the atmosphere in Meiktila remains tense.

Police say that at least 15 Buddhist monks on Friday burnt down a house belonging to a Muslim family on the outskirts of the town. There are no reports of any injuries.

The disturbances began on Wednesday when an argument in a gold shop escalated quickly, with mobs setting mainly Muslim buildings alight, including some mosques.

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Fisherfolk Rally Against Sale of Twin Islands of Sindh

Fisher folk protest against deal to sell islands

* PFF threatens to block port channels if projects not cancelled

KARACHI: Fishermen of Karachi coast on Friday threatened to block the channels of major Karachi Port and Port Bin Qasim if the government did not cancel the deal to hand over twin islands located near Ibrahim Hydri to Bahria Town.

A large number of people from the fishing community, both men and women, staged a protest demonstration, which started at the Sindh Assembly building and culminated at the Karachi Press Club.

The people, hailing from different coastal villages along the 129-kilometre long coastline, also staged a sit-in and demanded the government to realise that these islands are traditional fishing routes to the open sea. Hence, any development may harm their sources of livelihoods.

Chairperson Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) Mohamed Ali Shah, Saeed Baloch, Majid Motani, Tahira Ali, Yousif Kadani and Shujauddin Qureshi of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) were leading the procession.

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Pouring oil over raging fires

By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

When a person, in his opening lines, terms the May 28, 1998 Chaghai nuclear explosion as historic, it creates misgivings about the purpose of that write up. Mr Usama Nizamani in his article “Gwadar: an emerging paradigm for Pakistan and the region” (Daily Times, March 19, 2013) did just that. Celebrating any nuclear explosion as historic is a downright insult to the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s victims. It is analogous to celebrating ‘small pox’ and ‘Black Death’ as a blessing for mankind. A nuclear explosion that killed a mountain and adversely affects those living there can only be trumpeted as historic by those bent on destroying the world.

Nizamani then lauds the “subsequent development of various precise, improved and successful delivery systems — in order to deter immediate and inter-continental conventional military threats to the country.” Deployment systems, especially in the hands of trigger-happy persons and institutions only make nuclear weapons exponentially dangerous. Giving fancy names like Strategic Command and Control Support System (SCCSS) does not make nuclear weapons any more attractive than Vanity Fair ads would make Black Death or small pox.

The writer considers handing of Gwadar to China as “better late than never” and hopes that the “economic and strategic window of opportunity created by handing over of Gwadar port to China” will unfold new “strategic and economic horizons.” He conveniently overlooks Baloch resentment but then the Baloch concerns are of no consequence to those who see Balochistan as terra nullius. Support for Gwadar’s exploitation amounts to subscribing to the establishment’s approach of the systematic elimination of the Baloch. It also helps empower those who abet and collude in atrocities against the Baloch people.

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