Tag Archives: Muammar

Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

By Shehrbano Taseer

2011 was a bleak year for Pakistan — even by its own harrowing standards.

My father, Governor SalmaanTaseer, was assassinated by his own fanatical security guard in January for his stand on Pakistan’s cruel blasphemy laws, and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down in March allegedly by the Punjabi Taliban for holding a similar view. In April, five of the six men accused of gang raping village woman Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a village council of elders were set free by the Supreme Court. Since the sexual assault on her in 2001, Mai has braved death threats to have her victimisers punished. She has appealed the verdict, but the court, it is widely believed, is unlikely to reverse the acquittal.

In May, Pakistanis around the world hung their heads in shame as Osama bin Laden was found and killed in sleepy, sedate Abbottabad, a stone’s throw from our premier military academy where Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani spoke just weeks earlier declaring that the “terrorists’ back” had been broken.Then the tortured body of journalist Saleem Shahzad was discovered and suspicion fell on the country’s intelligence services. Pakistan had yet to recover from the devastation wrought by the 2010 floods when the August monsoons inundated Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and especially Sindh affecting tens of million of people. My older brother, Shahbaz, was kidnapped on August 26. It’s January 2012 now and he is still missing.

These are just some of the highlights from a ruefully eventful year. All of these events played out against the cacophonous discord that we have become accustomed to: target killings, routine disappearances in Kashmir and Balochistan, suicide bombings, riots decrying the overall economic condition of the country, protests mourning the loss of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the unsettling hum of rote learning at poisonous madrassas.

But there’s nothing that’s bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. The narrative of lost hope is a tired one.

After the Arab Spring, the first question I was asked by journalists and interviewers was “When will it be Pakistan’s turn?”. General Zia tried hard to convince us that we’re Arabs, but we clearly are not. Watching Muammar Qaddafi’s bloodied and bullet-riddled body paraded up and down streets as protesters cheered, and seeing desperate dictators inflict violence on their own people, I realised that in many ways Pakistan is far ahead. Our transition from a dictatorship to a democracy was relatively smooth — no bloodshed, no political prisoners, no violence. And in 2010 — long before the Arab Spring — Pakistan’s nascent democracy returned the powers usurped by dictators back to parliament with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, passed unanimously in parliament. As a people, we are more critical, more engaged. We believe in peaceful evolution of existing structures, not revolution. A record number of people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections and the deadline isn’t even up yet. We’ve snatched our democracy back and we’re not letting it go.

Continue reading Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

Making the hard decisions to set our house in order

By Najmuddin A Shaikh

Last week, I had expressed hope that in the coming days we would make the hard decisions needed to prevent our country from sliding into anarchy and chaos. We would not then remain the country to which Muammar Qaddafi would point as an example of what could happen to Libya if his dictatorial regime was brought to an end.

Developments during the past week have not, to say the least, been encouraging. First we had the budget, in which no genuine effort seems to have been made to raise the tax base or to address impediments — energy shortages among others — and yet we have concluded that our deficit will remain under control and that growth will have an upward trajectory. Are we going to continue to go down the path of foreign aid dependency and have a government ‘of the elite by the elite and for the elite’ that taxes the poor and the now dwindling middle class mercilessly to nourish the ‘fat cats’ in the ranks of the bureaucracy and the political establishment? Can we not levy direct taxes that would bring the tax-to-GDP ratio to at least 15 per cent? Can we not spend more on education and health? Can we not stop treating the defence budget as beyond question? …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Arab uprising: What to do with dictators?

By the Monitor’s Editorial Board

Immunity or prosecution for dictators? That tough question hovers over the Arab uprising, just as it has in Latin America, parts of Asia, postcommunist Europe and other places.

In Yemen, international negotiators have reportedly offered amnesty to President Ali Abdullah Saleh as a way to entice him to resign after 32 years in power. Western leaders have hoped, too, that an exit could be found for Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, perhaps by letting him go to Venezuela or places in Africa.

And yet, Egyptian authorities are detaining the deposed Hosni Mubarak for questioning in a military hospital. They want to ask about his role in corruption and the deaths of hundreds of protesters who sought his ouster.

Tunisia’s justice minister, meanwhile, seeks the extradition of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia when youthful demonstrators forced him from his 23-year rule in January. Tunis wants him to answer to more than a dozen charges, including murder and drug trafficking. …

Read more: Yahoo New

Qaddafi Forces Pull Back as Rebels Retake Ajdabiya

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

AJDABIYA, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces retreated from this strategic city on Saturday, running for dozens of miles back along the coast in the first significant advance for Libyan rebels since American and European airstrikes began a week ago. …

Read more : The New York Times

International Pressure on Qaddafi Intensifies

Qaddafi’s Army and Jets Strike at Rebels

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

BENGHAZI, Libya — Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war.

The attacks by the colonel’s troops on an oil refinery in central Libya and on cities on either side of the country unsettled rebel leaders — who earlier had claimed they were close to liberating the country — and showed that despite defections by the military, the government still possessed powerful assets, including fighter pilots willing to bomb Libyan cities.

But the ease with which at least one assault, on the western city of Zawiyah, was repelled by anti-government forces raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious challenge to the rebels’ growing power.

An international campaign to force Colonel Qaddafi from power gathered pace on Monday as the Obama administration announced it had seized $30 billion in Libyan assets and the European Union adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions. As the Pentagon began repositioning Navy warships to support a possible humanitarian or military intervention, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly told the Libyan leader to surrender power “now, without further violence or delay.” …

Read more : The New York Times

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The U.N. Security Council called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.

By EDWARD WYATT

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.

The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.

Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down. His statement, which the White House said was made during a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was the strongest yet from any American official against Colonel Qaddafi.

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya. …

Read more : The New York Times

The great war of the 21st century?

Gerald Celente, the man behind the famous Trends Journal, is Max Keiser’s guest for this edition of Press TV’s On the Edge. The main focus the show is on the relationship between Middle East uprisings and financial changes as a result of such political transformations. Enjoy.

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Fighting Nears Tripoli, Where Qaddafi Keeps Grip on Power

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

TOBRUK, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya kept his grip on the capital, Tripoli, on Wednesday, but large areas of the east remained out of his control as the uprising against his 40-year rule spread to more cities.

Libyans fleeing across the country’s western border into Tunisia reported fighting over the past two nights between rebel and pro-government forces in the town of Sabratha, home of an important Roman archeological site 50 miles west of Tripoli. Thousands of Libyan forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi have deployed there, according to Reuters.

“The revolutionary committees are trying to kill everyone who is against Qaddafi,” said a doctor from Sabratha who had just left the country, but who declined to give his name because he wanted to return. …

Read more : The New York  Times

WikiLeaks Cables Detail Qaddafi Family’s Exploits

By SCOTT SHANE

WASHINGTON — After New Year’s Day 2009, Western media reported that Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, had paid Mariah Carey $1 million to sing just four songs at a bash on the Caribbean island of St. Barts. …

Read more : The New York Times

U.N. Diplomats Break With Qaddafi

By COLIN MOYNIHAN

Members of Libya’s mission to the United Nations renounced Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Monday, calling him a genocidal war criminal responsible for mass shootings of demonstrators protesting against his four decades in power. They called upon him to resign. …

Read more : The New York Times

Libya protests: Death toll mounts as unrest spreads

Rights groups say there is a rising death toll from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Libya.

Amnesty said 43 people had died in protests on Thursday, while other reports suggested dozens more were killed on Friday. The government has blocked websites and shut off electricity in some areas. State media outlets have warned of retaliation against anyone criticising Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The mainstay of the unrest is in regional towns and cities, where many people live in poverty.

Foreign journalists operate under restrictions in Libya, so it has been difficult to independently verify much of the information coming out of the country.

But the BBC has confirmed that several websites – including Facebook and al-Jazeera Arabic – have been blocked.

And the airport in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, has been closed, amid reports that protesters have taken it over. …

Read more : BBC

Libya: Violent protests rock city of BenGhazi

Hundreds of people have clashed with police and government supporters in the Libyan city of Benghazi. At least 14 people are said to have been hurt, with witnesses saying police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. The overnight unrest followed the arrest of an outspoken critic of the government, who was reportedly freed later. Pro-democracy protests have recently swept through several Arab nations. The demonstrators have forced the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt from power. However, correspondents say it is unlikely that Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi – who has ruled the country since a coup in 1969 – will lose power any time soon. …

Read more : BBC