Tag Archives: focus

Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties

Japanese Ambassador calls on the President

Islamabad; May 24, 2013: Japanese Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Hiroshi Oe today called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties between the two countries were discussed during the meeting.

Courtesy: http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/japanese-ambassador-calls-on-the-president/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

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BlackBerry inventor starts quantum technology fund aiming to turn “Star Trek” devices into reality

BlackBerry Inventor Starts Fund to Make Star Trek Device Reality

By Hugo Miller & Jon Erlichman

Mike Lazaridis, inventor of the BlackBerry smartphone, is starting a C$100 million ($97 million) quantum technology fund that’s aiming to turn devices like the medical tricorder from “Star Trek” into reality.

The fund, called Quantum Valley Investments, is being financed exclusively by Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, an old friend and co-founder of Research In Motion Ltd. (BB), the company behind the BlackBerry. The goal is to commercialize technologies from a cluster of research labs that have been bankrolled by Lazaridis. At least one startup has signed up with the fund and the first products may emerge in the next two to three years, he said.

“What we’re excited about is these little gems coming out,” Lazaridis said in an interview in Toronto. “The medical tricorder would be astounding, the whole idea of blood tests, MRIs — imagine if you could do that with a single device. That may be possible and possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these quantum breakthroughs.”

Lazaridis, who stepped down as RIM’s co-chief executive officer 14 months ago, is putting his time and fortune into quantum computing and nanotechnology — sometimes referred to as the “science of the small” — which uses atomic-sized technology in fields ranging from medicine to cryptography.

Quantum Computing

He opened the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre in his hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, last September, financing the effort with a $100 million donation. That lab complements the Institute for Quantum Computing and the more-than-decade-old Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, both founded with more than $250 million of Lazaridis’s own money and additional funds he helped raise.

The Quantum Valley fund will probably focus on one to two dozen companies, he said. It may take a few years to make the investments, said Lazaridis, who declined to name the startups that are under consideration.

“We’re being very strategic with the funds,” he said. “This is not a venture capital fund that we’re all used to.”

Noninvasive medical-testing equipment — the real-life versions of the scanning devices used by “Star Trek” medics — will probably be a focus of the fund.

Continue reading BlackBerry inventor starts quantum technology fund aiming to turn “Star Trek” devices into reality

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

Karzai says “Screw talking to the Taliban, I’m talking to their bosses in Pindi.”

– Karzai rules out more Taliban negotiations

Afghan president says killing of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani has convinced him to change focus

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has ruled out further attempts to negotiate peace with the Taliban.

He said the killing of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former Afghan president who was leading efforts to broker peace with the terrorist group, had convinced him to focus on dialogue with Pakistan instead. …

Read more » guardian.co.uk

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Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months

by Paul McGeough

PAKISTAN could collapse within months, one of the more influential counter-insurgency voices in Washington says.

The warning comes as the US scrambles to redeploy its military forces and diplomats in an attempt to stem rising violence and anarchy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now,” said David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House.

“You just can’t say that you’re not going to worry about al-Qaeda taking control of Pakistan and its nukes,” he said.

Read more → THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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Courtesy: → Duniya TV News (Khari Baat Luqman Ke Saath, 5th July 2011 – p1)

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Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

– The Pakistani planners apparently lauded the UN separation of the Taliban and al Qaeda on the sanctions blacklist. This distinction does not necessarily mean lifting the sanctions; it in fact sets the stage for further sanctions against al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, especially the India-oriented Punjabi jihadist groups based in Pakistan’s heartland

In his speech on June 22, 2011, Barack Obama outlined the drawdown of the US forces from Afghanistan. He declared his plans to pull out 10,000 troops from Afghanistan at the year’s end and another 23,000 by mid-2012, essentially withdrawing all troops inducted during the 2009 surge. Obama pledged the drawdown at a steady pace until the transition of security to the Afghan authorities by 2014.

The deliberations leading to his decision, including the stance of his various advisors, congressional hearings after the speech and indeed sections of the speech itself hint towards what lies ahead in the Pak-Afghan region, not only in the next two years but also after 2014. When it came to selling Obama’s plan to the congressional leaders, the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, ‘excused’ himself and was represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who conceded before the House Armed Services Committee that he had hoped for a slower pace of withdrawal. Mullen had described the plan as more aggressive and riskier than he was originally prepared to accept.

Similarly, General David Petraeus and the man set to replace him as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General John Allen, have stated that Obama’s final plan was not one of the options proposed to the president by General Petraeus. Except for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, most officials have placed their dissenting note on record. Nonetheless, the US brass has closed ranks behind Obama and seem to have taken ownership of the task he has assigned them.

From the Pakistani perspective, there are multiple indicators pointing towards things heating up for them in the near future. Most importantly, Obama stated in his speech: “Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am president, the US will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.” While the US military commanders may have differed on the pace of drawdown from Afghanistan, it is this aspect of his plan that they totally concur with.

On June 28, 2011, at the US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General Allen and Vice Admiral William McRaven — the Obama nominee to head US Special Operations Command — were quite candid, not just about Obama’s overall plan, but the aspects of it that deal directly with Pakistan. In response to Senator Carl Levin’s question about Pakistan’s attitude vis-à-vis the militants, especially the Haqqani network, Admiral McRaven bluntly noted that he did not expect any change in Pakistan’s approach towards these proxies because it was “both a capacity issue for the Pakistanis and…a willingness issue”. More ominously, when asked by Senator Bob Graham: “Do we believe Mullah Omar is there with the knowledge of the ISI and the upper echelons of the army?” McRaven responded, “Sir, I believe the Pakistanis know he is in Pakistan.”

Where does this leave us, or more importantly, lead us? As much as Obama has a visceral dislike for war and, unlike George W Bush, is not trigger-happy, he has made up his mind that he will not be gun shy when it comes to enforcing the key elements of his plan to end the war in Afghanistan, which means tossing away the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, in favour of a counter-terrorism effort along the Durand Line. Buoyed by the results of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Obama will not reinvent the wheel and intends to apply the same model for both the Haqqani network and the ‘irreconcilable’ Afghan Taliban. The primary US focus will now be on the Pakistan-supported insurgents.

Continue reading Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

From Hindi to Urdu – Language can unite

– Language can unite – by Zubeida Mustafa

MORE than six decades after Partition, India and Pakistan continue to be locked in disputes which even take them to the brink of war.

It is difficult to believe that people who had lived side by side for centuries now refuse to recognise the commonalities in their culture and languages. Against this backdrop comes a breath of fresh air in the form of a new book that focuses on social harmony rather than cultural discord.

Dr Tariq Rahman, a professor of sociolinguistic history at the Quaid-i-Azam University, has published his 11th book titled From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (OUP) that should make many scholars sit up. Some have already challenged his findings. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

Focus should be Pakistan not Afghanistan, Sen. Lugar

US senators see Afghan hope, Pakistan fears

by Shaun Tandon

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Leading US senators on Tuesday saw momentum for political reconciliation in Afghanistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and urged a greater shift in focus to fighting extremism in Pakistan. …

…. Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the same committee, questioned why the United States was spending some $120 billion a year in Afghanistan, where some 100,000 US troops are deployed.

The question before us is whether Afghanistan is strategically important enough to justify the lives and massive resources that we are spending there, especially given that few terrorists in Afghanistan have global designs or reach,” the Indiana lawmaker said.

“To the extent that our purpose is to confront the global terrorist threat, we should be refocusing resources on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, parts of North Africa and other locations,” Lugar said.

Senators voiced concern about what they saw as support from Pakistan for the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, ….

Read more : Yahoo News

via Wichaar

Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

By: Khalid Hashmani

The Balochistan Society of North America (BSO-NA) organized a conference titled Balochistan Conference 2011 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Saturday, August 30, 2011. The conference focused on key issues faced Baluch including “Balochistan’s Case and Prospects”, “Human Rights Violations in Balochistan”, “Baloch Target Killings and Genocide”, and “Geo-strategic Importance of Balochistan for Peace and Security in South Asia”.

Continue reading Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

Bin Laden’s death, Pakistan’s counter punch to the United States – by Shiraz Paracha

After losing the 2004 presidential elections US senator John Kerry said that one video message of Osama Bin Laden cost him the Presidency. Days before the 2004 elections Bin Laden in a video message had urged the US public not to elect President George W. Bush again. The message had quite the opposite but desired effect as President Bush was re-elected with a big margin of votes.

Osama Bin Laden’s appearance just before the 2004 elections was a shrewd and calculated move where the Pakistan military helped Bush to retain the Presidency for the second time. Bin Laden was never a dangerous and formidable enemy as the Americans led the world to believe. Actually, the myth around Bin Laden’s power, influence and reach was carefully orchestrated by the U.S.

Bin Laden wasn’t a military commander or a guerrilla nor was he a religious or spiritual leader. He was also not a politician. He was a rich businessman and a friend of a former head of the Saudi intelligence agency who introduced him to the CIA in the 1980s. The CIA was looking for sponsors for its proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Bin Laden provided money and the CIA and the Pakistani ISI helped in planning that war.

At the end of the Cold War, Bin Laden was one of the characters that fulfilled needs of the world’s biggest imperialist power which was pursuing its strategic interest in the beginning of the 21st century using new tactics and means. Bin Laden was a tool, a puppet and an actor whose strings were in many hands. It is an old trick of imperialist powers to exaggerate threats and create fear among the public about real and perceived enemies.

Presenting threats out of proportion and enemies bigger than actually they are, Western militaries and secret services play mind games with their own public and the media are partners in the military mind games or psychological operations. During the Cold War, the U.S and its allies presented the Soviet Union as an evil power that was a threat to ‘civilization’. After the Cold War the focus was on personalities such as the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. All of them were presented as evil figures who wanted to destroy the West.

Probably retired Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed of the Pakistan Army and the then head of the CIA knew more about who was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington but in the post 9/11 America, Al-Qaeda was presented as the culprit and the biggest threat. Every Western TV network ran the same footage of alleged Al-Qaeda training camps at unknown locations where some people were taking ‘military training’ in a childish way. The training footage was a joke but it worked well in the charged atmosphere after the 9/11 incidents in the U.S. …

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