Fix it campaign takes young Karachiites by strom

Karachi man, volunteers fix manholes after Sindh govt fails to

KARACHI: Alamgir Khan, whose Fix it campaign has taken young Karachiites by storm, has taken it upon himself to “fix” the appearance of city roads because the provincial government has failed to do so.

On Friday, over 100 citizens and civil society activists joined Alamgir, who has been anointed a local hero by many on social media, to seal gaps on the bustling University Road.

Alamgir told that the step was taken after the local administration failed to seal manholes despite two days having passed — the deadline Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had given local authorities to cover all gutters in Karachi or “face strict action”, in the wake of media reports criticising the state of roads.

It was then that Alamgir decided to take his campaign to the next level. His team arranged manhole covers at a cost of a meagre Rs13,000 and the group sealed gaps on University Road on Friday afternoon.

“At a cost of just Rs13,000 and in only six hours, we managed to seal 42 manholes on University Road,” he said.

The participants then painted the word “fixed” next to the gaps they had sealed.

Read more » DAWN
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Finally! Science proves that Canadians are way more polite than Americans.


It is a generally assumed principle, much like the sun rising in the east or bears hibernating in the winter, that Canadians are an unfailingly polite people. They don’t like to argue; they apologize for mistakes that others make.

We accept that Canadians are exceedingly polite — and now we have some data to prove it. Two doctoral students at McMaster University, a bit outside of Toronto, compared millions of geotagged tweets from the United States and Canada from 2015. They looked at the top 10 percent of words most likely to be used by Canadians and compared them with the top 10 percent most likely to be used by Americans.

They found that Canadians, true to form, are just way nicer on Twitter. This is a word cloud of each country’s most-used words — note that some on the American side had to be blurred out, as they were not appropriate for the university’s website:

Read more » Vox
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Isis militant Ali Saqr al-Qasem publicly executes own mother in Raqqa after accusing her of ‘apostasy’

Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle


By John Hall@johnmatthewhall

In a shocking low even by the standards of the so-called Islamic State, a militant has publicly executed his own mother after accusing her of apostasy.

The activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) said 20-year-old jihadi Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle in front of a large crowd.

Lena al-Qasem is understood to have been accused of apostasy – a crime that usually means leaving one’s religion but in practise is used by Isis as a justification for murdering anybody who doesn’t support or speaks out against the terror group.

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India identifies JeM chief Masood Azhar as ‘handler’ of Pathankot terror attack; plot hatched in Pakistan

New Delhi: In a shot in the arm for the Indian establishment, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, and two others have been identified by the intelligence agencies as ‘handlers’ behind Pathankot airbase terror attack.

Other than Azhar and Rauf, the other two handlers are Ashfaq and Kashim, the sources said. Rauf was mastermind of hijack of Air India plane in Kathmandu, in 1999 which was later taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan. The eight-day hijack crisis had ended after release of three hardcore militants including Azhar in exchange for the freedom of passengers and crew members who were held hostage.

The news agency further reported that Pathankot airbase terror plot was hatched in Markaz in Pakistan.

The details of these four persons have been shared with Pakistan “through proper channel” and India has pressed for stern action against them as a condition for any future talks with Pakistan, the sources claimed.

Read more » ZeeNews
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Netflix has extended its services to Pakistan

Pakistani users can rejoice because now they will be able to consume a lot ofNetflix content through its official presence in Pakistan. Netflix has opened its service for all the world including Pakistan. The announcement was made by the CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings at the keynote at CES Tech Show in Las Vegas.

For the uninitiated, Netflix is an on demand video streaming service, a better alternative to traditional television channels for watching movies, dramas and videos on your own terms.

Reed Hastings also confirmed that the service will begin offering HDR content in a few months time.

Read more » TechJuice
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The Indus Valley Civilization en-composed all of Pakistan.

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300-1300 BCE; mature period 2600-1900 BCE) extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which once coursed through northwest India and eastern Pakistan.

Read more » Crystalinks
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Pakistan expels senior Bangladesh diplomat as ‘spy’ row escalates


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked Bangladesh to withdraw one of its diplomats from Islamabad, Dhaka said Wednesday, in an apparent retaliation after the expulsion of a Pakistani envoy who allegedly funded a suspected extremist on trial for espionage.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Islamabad had on Tuesday asked Dhaka to recall senior diplomat Moushumi Rahman from its high commission in Islamabad within 48 hours.

“The political counsellor and head of chancery in Islamabad has been given till Thursday to leave the country,” Haque told AFP.

Read more » DAWN
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With Attacks in Afghanistan and India, Pakistan Must Get Serious About Terrorism

By Former Columnist for The Daily Times of Pakistan

For the people of Pakistan’s restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the year 2015 ended just like the past one had: on a bloody note. On Dec. 29, a bomb explosion targeting a government office killed at least 26 in Mardan, some 30 miles northwest of the provincial capital Peshawar. The breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the jihadist terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the TTP bragged about the attacks it carried out in 2015 in a year-end report, along with charts and infographics posted to its website. Regardless of which faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed what attacks, it is clear that for Pakistan’s Pashtun heartland the war against jihadist terror is not over by any means. Pakistan’s army Zarb-e-Azb operation, now into its 19th month, does, however, seem to have disrupted the TTP’s command and control structure and its ability to launch cohesive attacks inside Pakistan at large.

Read more » The Huffington Post
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The Sindhis of Sindh And Beyond


As I sat there, on that dreaded dentist’s chair with my mouth wide open, and subject to poking, and prodding by a myriad tools, gizmos and devices, my polite dentist tried to distract my attention away from the pain. She tried to make polite conversation.

Having noticed my last name, she asked if I was Sindhi. Now, as an Indian, if your last name ends with the three letters ani, the odds are fairly high that you are indeed going to be Sindhi; that is you are going to be from a community that finds its origins and traces its roots back to the Sindh province in what is now Pakistan. For someone not from that part of the world, for her to know and point out correctly my origins and community was actually quite impressive! It probably showed more knowledge and a keen sense of observation on her part than any great acknowledgement or global recognition of the Sindhi community.

I nodded yes that, I am indeed Sindhi

Read more » The Huffington Post
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Oregon Under Attack’: Anger over limited response to hostile militia takeover of US government building

By Adam Withnall@adamwithnall

The start of an armed separatist movement in rural America – or an out-of-control local dispute?

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The Onus is on Pakistan to Prove it is Serious About Fighting Terrorism

This in turn depends on whether Pakistan will change course or continue to back those who attack the Afghan parliament and Indian military and civilian installations.


For the people of Pakistan’s restive Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province, the year 2015 ended just like the past one had: on a bloody note. On December 29, a bomb explosion targeting a government office killed 26 in Mardan some 40 miles northwest of the provincial capital Peshawar. The breakaway Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction of the jihadist terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the TTP bragged about the attacks it carried out in 2015 in a year-end report, along with charts and info-graphics, posted to its website. Regardless of which faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed what attacks, it is clear that for Pakistan’s Pashtun heartland the war against jihadist terror is not over by any means. Pakistan army’s Zarb-e-Azb operations, now into its 19th month, does seem to have disrupted the TTP’s command and control structure and its ability to launch cohesive attacks inside Pakistan at large though.

Read more » The Wire
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‘Pakistan to be among top economies in 2025’

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal claims that Pakistan will be among top 25 economies of the world by 2025.

“Pakistan is a successful emerging state which can be developed economically through self-belief and defeating the negativity,” he said while addressing an alumni reunion at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) here on Saturday.

He said the country needed seven to eight percent transformational growth in the next 10 years to mobilise resources for social uplift of the backward areas and create jobs for growing population.

He said the Vision-2025 and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would help realise the dream of economically developed Pakistan.

News courtesy: Dawn, January 3rd, 2016
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‘Treatment’ of terrorists: PPP for Imran’s arrest

LAHORE: The PPP has demanded that the PML-N government arrest Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for his confession that terrorists had undergone medical treatment at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore.

“The law-enforcement agencies should seize the record of the Shaukat Khanum and register a case against Imran Khan for facilitating terrorists,” PPP Lahore Information Secretary Faisal Mir said in a statement here on Saturday.

He said more than 48 hours had already passed but no action was taken against Imran Khan, which reinforced the statement of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that the PML-N was only doing ‘target killing’ of the PPP.

Read more » DAWN
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Pakistan’s Punjab province govt launches income support program for special persons

Punjab govt launches Khidmat Card Programme for special persons


LAHORE (Web Desk) – The Government of Punjab on Tuesday launched Khidmat Card Programme with two billion rupees for providing financial assistance to special persons, the Radio Pakistan reported.

Under the programme, special persons will be provided 3,600 rupees after every three months.

Initially, two hundred thousand people will benefit from the programme.

Addressing the ceremony in Lahore today, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said special persons from the entire province will benefit from the programme.

He said the objective of the scheme is to empower the special persons financially. He said special persons have equal rights in the country.

The Chief Minister said the programme will be monitored at every level, and it will be implemented transparently.

On the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif also distributed Khidmat Cards among special persons.

News courtesy: Dunya News Tv
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Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric

Saudi Arabia has executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the interior ministry said.

He was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences, it said in a statement.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalisation.

Shia-led Iran said Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for the execution.

Read more » BBC
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Turkey faces big losses as Russia sanctions bite

Russian sanctions are now affecting Turkish tourism, construction firms and food exports, amid a bitter dispute over the Syria conflict.

The Kremlin reacted with fury when a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syria-Turkey border in November.

Russia has banned:

  • The import of Turkish fruit and vegetables, poultry and salt
  • The sale of charter holidays for Russians to Turkey
  • Construction projects with Turkish firms in Russia unless a special exemption is granted

There are restrictions now on Turkish citizens working for companies registered in Russia.

And Russia has suspended work on TurkStream – a new Black Sea pipeline that was to boost Russian gas exports to Turkey.

Read more » BBC
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Pakistan’s Interior minister accused of backing terrorists

Chaudhry Nisar AliInterior minister accused of backing terrorists

ISLAMABAD: Taking cue from her party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a little known PPP MNA on Friday staged a blistering attack on the powerful interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, accusing him of providing support to terrorists and militant organisations.

Read more » DAWN
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Islamabad diary – Alone with one’s prejudices

By Ayaz Amir

Ayaz Amir

The beliefs I grew up with lie exhausted if not dead. The world has moved on. We grew up in a different world and this world, the one around us, has altogether different landmarks.

Guys like me, fed on a diet of half-baked and little-understood Bolshevism, pined for some kind of a socialist utopia. ‘The East was Red’ was one of our favourite slogans and we stirred to such symbols as Che Guevara’s cigar-chomping photographs. Imperialism was a term much in vogue in our discussions and images of the Vietnam War moved us greatly – which should give you an idea of how antiquated and long-gone-by that world was.

With those beliefs gone all that people of my type are left with are their prejudices…quirky humours, old-fashioned likes and dislikes. I hate the mayhem on our roads caused by the proliferation of motor cars. And Centaurus shopping – to which my daughter dragged me the other evening because she wanted to get something from the Mango store there – comes close to my vision of hell.

My vision of hell is not of hell-fire. It is of a place choked by motorcars, rickshaws and motorbikes, the air thick with exhaust fumes and of pavements run over by cheap merchandise. Some weeks ago I walked down Shah Alam Market in Lahore. Wrestled through would be the more apt description. Before that I had driven through Brandreth Road where the merchants park their cars three abreast in front of their shops. Imagine what is left of the road. That road and Shah Alam Market in rush hour would be anyone’s idea of hell. All our inner cities are now like that.

Bhabra Bazar in Rawalpindi is where I occasionally go to pick up the odd candlestick, silver serving dishes, brass lamps…things like that. From there I walked to City Saddar Road and back. It was a nightmare, a walk through the suburbia of hell.

Our inner cities, the old quarters of all our cities from Peshawar to Multan, and from there to inner Sindh, could have been so vibrant, so full of colour and life. We have destroyed them, utterly. And given them over to the unchallenged rule of the Qingchi rickshaw and the Chinese-made motorbike, on which three passengers or four or even five is the norm.

Our cities large and small are spreading horizontally, devouring agricultural land. Look at advertising…the biggest ads are of housing colonies and apartment blocks. Looking at them you could be forgiven for thinking that the only happening enterprise in Pakistan is real estate…or the next best thing, shaadi or wedding halls.

Look at Islamabad. The only place in that growing expanse of a capital, its sides now bursting and spreading in all directions, is one tiny market, Kohsaar Market. There you have two or three places where you can have a cup of coffee…and sit outside a la Paris or something similar. No place to sit outside in Super Market, none whatsoever in Jinnah Super Market.

Read more » The News
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Will General Raheel Shareef get an extension in November 2016?

I think you are asking the wrong question. The real question is not whether Raheel Shareef will get an extension, but will he give an extension to the other [Nawaz] Sharif.

However, on a more serious note, it is only in Pakistan that the extension of the army chief becomes such a big issue. In a stronger democratic dispensation, the retirement (or not) of an army chief would be a routine matter that would not garner any attention. This is how it should be treated in Pakistan, too.

No one can deny that Raheel Shareef proved to be an extremely competent army chief, but this does not mean that Pakistan Army is devoid of other generals who can do an equally good job. The strength of an institution lies in the smooth manner in which succession takes place. The army as well as those discussing Shareef’s impending retirement should remember that.

In fact, we all need to remember Charles De Gaulle’s words that the “graveyards are full of indispensable men” and focus on the importance of institutions.

Read more » DAWN
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