Tag Archives: pressure

First Tests For Fusion-Powered Spaceship Propulsion Successful

By Mark Hoffman

University of Washington researchers and scientists at a Redmond-based space-propulsion company are currently building components of a fusion-powered rocket, which could enable astronauts to travel to Earth’s neighboring planet Mars within weeks instead of months, at speeds considerably faster than feasible until now. The current travel speeds using fuel rockets make Mars travel a journey of about four years but the new fusion technology being tested by researchers at the University of Washington promises that in 30 to 90 days.

The lab tests have proven to be successful on each part of the process and the scientists are now planning to combine the sections into a one final and overall test.

“Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” said lead researcher John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”

The team has developed a technology using a special type of plasma that will be encased in a magnetic field. When the plasma is compressed with high pressure by the magnetic field, nuclear fusion takes place.

Continue reading First Tests For Fusion-Powered Spaceship Propulsion Successful

Pakistan Economy: Sinking Like A Rock, says Asian Development Bank.

Sinking like a rock: Slim chances of recovery for Pakistan’s directionless economy, says ADB

ISLAMABAD: Amid deep-rooted concerns over a “directionless” economy due to failure of the previous government and inability of the caretaker setup to take immediate meaningful steps, the Asian Development Bank has warned that Pakistan’s current growth model is unsustainable that also undermines future prospects.

In its Asian Development Outlook, the Manila-based lending agency has painted an extremely bleak picture of Pakistan’s economy that is “directionless” and immediate recovery chances are almost nil amid a worsening balance of payments position.

“A difficult political situation stalled effective policy response to macroeconomic and structural problems, especially regarding energy, and the end of the government’s 5-year term in mid-March limited political scope for major policy or structural reforms,” it said.

The economic developments in this fiscal year are unfolding along broadly similar lines as previous year, but with “deepening concerns about sustainability and the adequacy of forex reserves”.

A missing link in the ADB’s analysis of political failures is the role of bureaucrats in running the affairs of the government who often do not disclose actual extent of problems to the leadership.

Continue reading Pakistan Economy: Sinking Like A Rock, says Asian Development Bank.

Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

The west’s crisis is one of democracy as much as finance

The spirit of dictators like Ceausescu is finding new life in the response of the European elite to pressures in the eurozone

By: Slavoj Žižek

In one of the last interviews before his fall, Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad although freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. His answer was in the best tradition of Stalinist sophistry: true, the constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right to a safe, prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: if Romanian citizens were to be allowed to leave the country, the prosperity of their homeland would be threatened. In this conflict, one has to make a choice, and the right to a prosperous, safe homeland enjoys clear priority …

It seems that this same spirit is alive and well in Slovenia today. Last month the constitutional court found that a referendum on legislation to set up a “bad bank” and a sovereign holding would be unconstitutional – in effect banning a popular vote on the matter. The referendum was proposed by trade unions challenging the government’s neoliberal economic politics, and the proposal got enough signatures to make it obligatory.

Continue reading Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

Pakistan turmoil deepens as court orders PM’s arrest

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik & Matthew Green

ISLAMABAD | Agency: Reuters – Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister on Tuesday in connection with an alleged corruption scandal, ratcheting up pressure on a government locked in a showdown with a cleric who has a history of ties to the army.

The combination of the arrest order and a mass street protest in the capital Islamabad led by Muslim cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri raised fears among politicians that the military was working with the judiciary to force out a civilian leader.

“There is no doubt that Qadri’s march and the Supreme Court’s verdict were masterminded by the military establishment of Pakistan,” Fawad Chaudhry, an aide to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, told Reuters. “The military can intervene at this moment as the Supreme Court has opened a way for it.”

Thousands of followers of Qadri camped near the federal parliament cheered as television channels broadcast news of the Supreme Court’s order to arrest Ashraf on charges of corruption, who took over in June after judges disqualified his predecessor. Pakistan’s powerful army has a long history of coups and intervening in politics.

These days it seems to have little appetite for a coup but many believe it still tries to exert behind-the-scenes influence on politics. The ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party has weathered a series of crises with the judiciary and military over the last few years and hopes its parliamentary majority will help it survive until elections are called within a few months.

Continue reading Pakistan turmoil deepens as court orders PM’s arrest

Pakistan – “The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising”

Pakistan: Top Judges Attack P.M. Gilani With Poetry and Threats

The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising.

The opposition already calls him “the former prime minister of Pakistan.” His country’s Supreme Court has declared him “wicked”—a “criminal” seeking political “martyrdom through disobeying the law.” It may be a good thing for Yousaf Raza Gilani that he claims descent from Sufi saints, since he’ll certainly need the patience of one as pressure intensifies for him to step down.

The outcry reached an unprecedented pitch last week as the court issued a 77-page “detailed judgment” against Gilani, publicly exhorting the people of Pakistan to rise up against him and his government. “The recent phenomenon known as the Arab Spring is too fresh to be ignored or forgotten,” wrote Justice Asif Khosa in an assenting opinion, citing “the responsibility of the people themselves to stand up for defending the Constitution and … for dealing with the delinquent appropriately.” Gilani’s alleged crime was to disobey the court’s order for him to request that Swiss authorities reopen old corruption cases against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari. (Gilani and the Swiss both maintain that Zardari has immunity from criminal prosecution.)

Continue reading Pakistan – “The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising”

Pakistan : Gathering of Jihadis linked to al-Qaeda in Islamabad demands holy war against US – chanting “death to America”

Gathering demands holy war against US

Excerpts;

Islamabad – Pakistanis poured onto Islamabad’s streets on Monday, chanting “death to America” and demanding holy war at a rally whipped up by right-wing, religious and banned organisations linked to al-Qaeda.

It was the latest show of support for Defence of Pakistan, a coalition of around 40 parties chaired by a cleric dubbed the father of the Taliban that include organisations blacklisted at home and abroad as terror groups. ….

…. “Today, we have gathered here to raise a voice of protest against US intervention in Pakistan,” chairperson Maulana Sami ul-Haq, who runs an extremist madrassa that educated several Taliban leaders, said.

Also present was member Hamid Gul, who headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency during the 1980s US and Pakistani-sponsored war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

His membership has helped fuel suspicions that Pakistan’s security establishment is backing the coalition as a means of exerting pressure on the weak government and whipping up rhetoric against the unpopular US alliance. ….

….. “Death to America” and “America deserves one treatment: Jihad, jihad” shouted the crowd in a bustling commercial area, an AFP reporter said. ….

To read complete report » news 24

http://www.news24.com/World/News/Gathering-demands-holy-war-against-US-20120220

Former CIA officer: Sharif begged our help against military in 1999. Why is he crying now?

Memo crisis adds pressure to US ties

By Reuters

Excerpt;

WASHINGTON: A political crisis in Pakistan may threaten not only the future of President Asif Ali Zardari but also keep pressure on an already tense relationship with the United States as it seeks to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.

A scandal over a murky memo that warned the Pentagon of a possible military coup in Pakistan has highlighted historic tensions between the weak civilian government in Islamabad and the powerful military, whose help Washington needs to battle militants fueling violence in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court began hearings this week into who was behind the memo, keeping the spotlight on a controversy that has added even more strain to US-Pakistan relations. ….

…. QUESTIONS ABOUT PAKISTANI MOTIVES

There are also doubts in Washington about how much turbulence Pakistan’s fragile democracy can withstand and whether courts can conduct a fair trial in a charged climate.

“The fact that the Supreme Court has now been involved gives (the memo matter) extra importance and legitimacy,” said Shujaa Nawaz, a Pakistan scholar with the Atlantic Council.

Pakistan’s top court is now moving ahead with the petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari’s chief opponent, raising questions about the political motivations for the case.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama’s 2009 review of US policy on the region, said Sharif himself initiated a similar petition over a decade ago.

He recalled a 1999 meeting with Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, who he said traveled to Washington to warn of what civilian officials at the time feared was a brewing military coup.

“It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it,” he said.

“That’s pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani.”

A coup did ultimately happen, in 1999, bringing General Pervez Musharraf to power until he resigned as president in August 2008.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/22/memo-crisis-adds-pressure-to-us-ties.html

So they find a way!?

Pakistan’s chief justice keeps up pressure on beleaguered Zardari

By Simon Denyer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s chief justice kept the pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday, demanding he respond to charges of undermining national security, in a Supreme Court inquiry into the “Memogate” controversy.

Zardari returned to Pakistan early Monday from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he had been receiving medical treatment for a heart condition.

His sudden departure nearly two weeks ago had sparked rumors he was fleeing the country, being ousted by the nation’s powerful military or trying to wait out the inquiry. However, his return has neither silenced the rumor mill nor ended the sense of mounting crisis surrounding his presidency.

He will continue to face pressure from the Supreme Court and the military,” said Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad. “The suspense will continue for quite some time.”

Zardari’s immediate troubles revolve around a secret, unsigned memo that surfaced last month, which solicited Washington’s help to rein in the Pakistani military and prevent a possible coup after the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden in May.

The memo was sent by Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who alleged that he was following the instructions of the Pakistani ambassador to Washington to convey a message from Zardari.

The government has denied having anything to do with the memo, but the ambassador, Husain Haqqani, has resigned and is trying to clear his name.

The opposition alleged that treason had been committed, and the Supreme Court took on the inquiry, collecting depositions from government and military officials last week.

During the opening hearing Monday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, a longtime foe of Zardari’s, was clearly unhappy that the president had failed to respond to a request that he submit a sworn statement about the affair, saying it could be taken as acceptance of the charges.

This is what happens in civil cases,” Chaudhry said. “When you don’t reply, then charges are deemed as accepted by you.”

Although the president can be impeached only by a two-thirds majority of parliament on the grounds of violating the constitution or gross misconduct, a Supreme Court verdict of wrongdoing in the Memogate affair would put significant pressure on Zardari.

Last week, the military appeared to be at loggerheads with the government, arguing in its depositions that evidence showed the memo did lead back to Haqqani and demanding a full investigation.

Read more » The Washington Post

Impact of OWS

– Finally, Higher Taxes for the 1% — Is Occupy Behind Governors’ Moves to Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share?

By Sarah Jaffe

Is the narrative around taxes finally shifting? Thanks to heavy public pressure, Governors Cuomo and Brown propose taxing their states’ ultrarich. …

Read more » AlterNet

PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charge

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Case: AHRC-UAC-242-2011

PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charges in an attempt to convert his girlfriend to Islam; Religious minority groups; blasphemy law; illegal arrest; arbitrary detention; fabricated charge

7 December 2011: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a young Christian labourer was arrested on the charges of burning papers of Quran, a Muslim holy book for making tea at home. He surrendered to the court arrest when he was informed that his nephew had been taken into custody by the police in exchange of his arrest. A Muslim mob is protesting and has surrounded the houses of Christians after an announcement was made from the loudspeakers of different mosques. One hospital also came under attack due to presence of some Christians who were admitted there. It is alleged the Muslim neighbours of the victim were forcing his girl friend to convert to Islam otherwise she would be arrested on fornication charges and intentional rape and she would face death by stoning.

The Christian population of Haroonabad Dherh is in danger by the attack of extremists. Around 800 Christians are living in the area and there are more than half a dozen churches in the community and there are chances that they will be attacked at any moment.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Continue reading PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charge

Afghan officials voice scant remorse to Pakistan

By Joshua Partlow and Karin Brulliard

A former Afghan official said Karzai is regularly frustrated by what he sees as the United States’ failure to take stronger action against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan or pressure Pakistan’s military or intelligence agency to address the problem.

“We put all our eggs in the American basket,” he said. “The problem is, that basket has a huge hole in it, and it’s called Pakistan.”

KABUL — The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.

The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.

While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and based in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials said the strike — which followed an operation by U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan army commandos — was justified because the troops came under fire first from a Pakistani border post. “We have absolutely nothing to apologize for,” a senior official said.

Read more » The Washington Post

A U.S.-Pakistan Reset

A charismatic envoy’s sudden downfall is the chance for Washington to move from engagement with Islamabad to containment.

BY SADANAND DHUME

It’s not every day that an ambassador’s departure from office makes international headlines. But then Husain Haqqani, who resigned Tuesday after serving for more than three years as Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, was no garden-variety diplomat. He managed to be unapologetically pro-American, while representing one of the most anti-American places in the world.

The extraordinary circumstances of Mr. Haqqani’s departure reveal much about Pakistan’s precarious politics. He was forced to step down, reportedly under pressure from the country’s notorious intelligence agencies, amid unconfirmed allegations that he secretly sought U.S. assistance to weaken the grip of the military. His exit should …

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

Sindh’s Centuries Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

Sindh: Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

The multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence between ethnic and religious communities that is traditional to Sindh is being tested as never before. However moves at the national and local level are being counted on to defuse a tense situation. ….

Read more » UNPO

Pakistani expert develops innovative neurology method

by Suhail Yusuf

KARACHI: A Pakistani scholar has devised a non-invasive way to sense brain pressure which could significantly change the current paradigm of neurological care of those suffering from brain injury or disease.

Monitoring intracranial pressure (ICP) is the most important thing to assess brain injury, hemorrhage (internal blood flow), tumors and other neurological problems. But current methods to measure this pressure are highly invasive – requiring a neurosurgeon to drill a hole in the skull to place a pressure sensor or catheter inside the brain – and are thus restricted to the very severe cases.

Pakistani scientist, Faisal Kashif has devised a non-invasive technology for ICP monitoring in his PhD thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US. The method is based on processing available clinical signals using a mathematical model of relevant physiology. It provides real time estimates of ICP and cerebrovascular impedance, the latter is an indicator of brain’s ability to maintain its blood supply.

“ICP is a key neurological vital sign and is affected in several brain pathologies – even in concussions and migranes – and this non-invasive method could help in monitoring a vastly larger pool of patients,” said Kashif. He further added that unlike the invasive approaches which require a neurosurgical facility, the non-invasive method can also be applied in emergency-care settings where most trauma patients are first brought. Having access to ICP in a timely manner can guide doctors to provide life-saving interventions. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Split in Sindh PPP Imminent; Nawaz-Mirza under Pressure for Alliance; Fahmida Mirza Offers to Resign

– Split in Sindh PPP Imminent; President Offers Aitzaz An Important Position, May Play Prominent Role in Future; Nawaz-Mirza under Pressure for Alliance; Fahmida Mirza Offers to Resign

Aitzaz May Play Prominent Role in Future; How Fasih Bokhari Was Nominated as Chairman NAB?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: There seldom comes a cooling off interval in Pakistani politics – at least not these days. With every passing moment, the temperature gets higher and the hectic moves and counter moves by the stakeholders create more and more confusion. Amidst all that, the moves by one of the players, Zulfikar Mirza may soon result in split within his own party.

On his return from Malaysia, Zulfikar Mirza dropped another bombshell; he addressed a press conference along with the leaders of the Peoples Amn Committee and announced that following in the footsteps of Imran Khan, he would carry three suitcases to London, UK, filled with evidence against Altaf Hussain of MQM. The statement of Mirza created another storm in the troubled city of Karachi, Sindh and prompted MQM demands for his arrest. The rampant political crisis is destined to lead towards a final showdown within the PPP ranks as well as between the PPP and its love-hate partner the MQM.

A group of PPP dissidents from Sindh is getting united with a resolve to fight against any effort for passing the proposed Local Government Ordinance, which was first introduced by military dictator Musharraf and then reintroduced by Babar Awan known as Mr. Tughral in the political circles of Islamabad.

The move is not only to oppose the local government ordinance bill, but the built in opposition to the government-MQM alliance is also coming to the fore. The group emerging around Mirza in Sindh will ultimately gain strength, and the people in the province having sympathies with PPP will by and large go with Mirza team, says a PPP leader from the political team of the president, Zardari.

The central leadership of the party is trying its best to control the damage caused by Mirza, but for the first time in the history of the party, it appears that all the efforts by the leadership are going in vain as dissent in the party is visibly increasing.

The game does not end there; rather another innings of the long and tiring game of politics is being started again, and the umpires of the game have become, as always, the main players of the innings now. There are clear indications that the behind-the-scene players who ‘encouraged’ Mirza to go up in the arms to such an extent where he put his relationship with the president at stake are trying to bring Mirza and Nawaz Sharif closer on some point of mutual interests and that is the opposition of MQM and elimination of corruption, sources in the power circle of Islamabad have revealed. ….

Read more » Indus Herald

Peace is not in line with Pak generals – Karzai

Ruling out negotiations: ‘Taliban talks futile’

With no headway being made, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides have hinted that they may abandon efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that negotiating with the militant leadership was futile.

Instead, Karzai has said, negotiations should actually be held with Pakistan – an apparent dig at Islamabad, which is regularly accused of harbouring the Taliban’s senior leadership.

The comments come on the heels of fresh allegations that the assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul was planned in Pakistan. Rabbani was killed in a bombing by a purported Taliban emissary who had come to visit the former Afghanistan president last month.

The frustration with stalled talks and the escalating violence come months before a key conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany – where it is expected that the Afghan end game will be charted. There had been reports that the Taliban leadership would be involved, in some manner, about the future of the war-torn nation.

“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s a joke,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Karzai and his aides have decided to shift their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has allegedly provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents.

“Their messengers are coming and killing … So with whom should we make peace?” Karzai said in the recorded address to the country’s senior religious leaders.

“I cannot find Mullah Muhammad Omar,” Karzai said, referring to the Taliban supreme leader. “Where is he? I cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it? “I don’t have any other answer except to say that the other side for this negotiation is Pakistan.”

Afghan officials have also unilaterally cancelled plans to host a trilateral meeting on Oct 8 with Pakistan and the United States. Instead, a special Afghan delegation will present Pakistani leaders with evidence about the killing of Rabbani, WSJ reported.

Courtesy: → The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

What if we win?

– By Omar

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi…c7K_story.html

Going from bad to worse? It seems that tragedy is turning into farce. Pakistan should do something quickly to help the US before the US loses the war (see below). Pakistan’s rational and far-sighted response may now be America’s best hope!

Many of my Pakistani friends are happy because they think this is a zero-sum game: what is bad for the US is good for Pakistan. I disagree. First of all, I dont think the US is done yet. Confused, yes. Done? probably not.
But even if we imagine that everything goes downhill for the US from now onwards and they eventually pull out defeated, it is not likely to be a fatal blow (Some Paknationalists imagine a Soviet Union scenario, but their knowledge and analysis are both terribly off in this case). The US, while chastened and shocked (as after Vietnam?) will not be seriously wounded by defeat in Afghanistan; What happens to the economy at home will be far more crucial than what happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, neither of which have a big role in the economy, and the role they do have is entirely negative.

Pakistan is another matter. I dont think stoppage of US aid is going to be a necessarily fatal problem (severe sanctions are another matter, but maybe China can prevent those?). And the inevitable military coup (perhaps a “hidden one” in which a civilian caretaker regime is installed by the army) may even lead to a temporary improvement in administration in the core region for a while; but this “victory” will not solve deep seated problems in the structure and direction of the state. In fact, it will likely make them worse as the jihadi faction starts looking for a victory dividend. In any case, Afghanistan will erupt in open civil war and that will suck us into all kinds of trouble. Even in the best case scenario, it will be very tough. In the worst case scenario, we may collapse before the last American takes off from the embassy roof. The risks in case of “victory” are enormous.
Does this mean that someone in Pakistan will in fact sort out the confusion and help the US out just to save itself? While that may appear logical, it does not appear likely. This is a genuine mess. The kind where nobody is sure what will happen next.

A joke from the nineties suddenly appears to be prescient: Nawaz Sharif was portrayed as something of a simpleton, getting by on the advice of his shrewd father (abba ji). Here is the joke:
Nawaz Sharif: Abba ji, the economy is in terrible shape and nothing is working. What can we do now?
Abba ji: Son, there is only one solution. Start a war with America. They will bomb the country and utterly destroy it. Then they will occupy us and launch a Marshall plan and we will be rebuilt with their money. Look how rich Japan and Germany have become after losing a war to America.
Nawaz Sharif: But abba ji, what if we win?

PS: the “all parties conference” in Pakistan has just released its resolution. They seem to agree with me. Who knows, the corrupt elite may have enough self-awareness to sneak out of this one ….

Notice that Pakistan is opening up trade with India. We delayed an American victory in Afghanistan for 10 years because we dont want Indian influence in Afghanistan. We dont want Indian influence in Afghanistan because the Indians are our eternal enemies. Now the Americans are threatening us, so we are going to make peace with India to relieve pressure on the economy. When we are friends with India, will we still need to deny them “influence” in Afghanistan? Inquiring minds want to know….

Courtesy: → BrownPundits

ISI urged attacks on US targets: Officials

– By Reuters

WASHINGTON: US officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack US targets.

The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks US officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike againstthe American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Some US intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.

Another US official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.

While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack US targets.

While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.

This week, top US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, ….

Read more → The Express Tribune

Army Gives Clear Deadline to Settle Karachi Issue

– By Aijaz Ahmed

IH Exclusive Report

The cat seems to have finally come out of the bag after dilly-dallying and procrastination of about three months as military top brass has issued a clear cut deadline to the struggling and fragile political government both in the center and the province to settle Karachi issue by 30th October, sources in the power corridors have revealed with complete confidence and authority.

Zardari-Kayani meeting, a file photo

This scribe saw fear on the faces of many in the ruling structure, and heard certain whispers in the parliament lobbies and pathways of other buildings on the power map of Islamabad ever since the military spokesperson issued a statement on Karachi issue in very awkward manner that put already weak government under further pressure. The fear appeared to have increased manifold the day Army Chief had a detailed meeting with president Asif Ali Zardari at the Capital Hill of Islamabad.

The follow up event, which was none other than the corps commanders’ meeting, was an additional factor due to its unusual end as no formal statement was issued against the normal practice for the last so many years. The footage issued by ISPR was also evident of the fact that the military top commanders were looking grim and worried over the situation of Karachi. The military hierarchy seemed to be under pressure more so as a large number of the common Pakistanis and almost all analysts of high stature consider army leadership responsible for the situation due to its clear-cut support for MQM, a creation of General Zia ul Haq.

The latest deterioration in the situation in Karachi appeared to be due to the multiple factors with the political interests of MQM remaining at the top. The worsening situation has alarmed every one as the situation strengthened fears about the very survival of Pakistan. Many among the political forces, traders, and even liberal intellectuals who have been posturing neutrality are very much disappointed in the present political dispensation and have demanded the deployment of Army under Article 245 of the Constitution.

Only two rival political parties, PPP and PML-N were still resisting army action due to certain reasons. However army was looking reluctant to accept the responsibility, but at the later stage the thinking appeared to have changed and an indication of will was given by Army Chief himself few days back. In this scenario the army chief had a one to one meeting with the president. The insiders having close relations with both presidency and the GHQ are of the view that the army chief has conveyed sentiments of his colleagues in the army to the civilian government. Sources from both sides confided that the October 30th has been given as deadline with a clear-cut message that ‘if the situation does not improve and issues are not addressed then we will address Karachi issue in our own way’. The message, according to the sources, has spread fear among the top party leadership as this is not only a message for an action in Karachi, but also an indication of distrust over the competence and abilities of the civilian government to deal with the situations, sources maintained. The action will not remain confined to Karachi only, the government at center and the provinces will be sent back home was the actual message between the lines, sources added. ….

Read more → Indus Herald

The newspaper is afraid to name the MQM terrorist attack (instead talk of the party that controls Karachi!). The police are being pressured to release those arrested in the attack. MQM is running torture cells and prisons of its own, and the MQM killed police officers who did their duty to curb MQM’s terrorism in 1990s. So cops are scared!

– Bus attack: Can the Sindh police fight back? Yes, they say, but only criminals, not politics

SINDH – KARACHI: The killing of four policemen in Korangi on August 20 by suspected hitmen belonging to a political party has not only further dampened the morale of the force, but some senior officers went as far as to call it the final nail on the coffin of their independence.

(Read: The case continues: Man shot dead before bus attack)

“We always took care not to touch their [political party] people,” said a senior police officer, who did not want to be named. “But even then our personnel have been targeted and killed.”

The visibly depressed officer said that to add salt to fresh wounds, the force is being pressured to release the suspects in their custody. At least a dozen men, including four belonging to a political party, were caught.

The state of affairs is such that from a constable to the highest ranking officer, no one is prepared to take any action against the target killers even if they see the crime taking place in front of their very own eyes. “How can they do anything at all in this climate of fear?” asked the officer. “Even before the Chakra Goth incident, everyone in the force knew that all police officers who played an instrumental role in the 1990s were knocked off one by one.”

Another senior police officer admitted to feeling ashamed when he had to face his men. “The problem is simple,” he said. “The attackers not only belong to the parties currently in power in the Sindh government, but also among the undisputed rulers of this city.” He listed the numerous torture cells operating in the city under the banner of political parties. “Some even have proper lock-ups like the ones we have here, with space to accommodate a dozen hostages.” But when asked whether he would raid any such cells, he retorted, “Are you mad?”

The junior police officers, however, criticise their police leadership for lacking spine. “They fear being transferred and losing their perks if they work against the wishes of a political party,” said one head moharrar, whose job is to run a police station. A police inspector who was injured during an attack in the recent past, says that to date he hasn’t received the compensation promised by the government. “These senior police officials don’t even come to the funeral ceremonies of some of our men, so what can we expect from them?” he said. Police officials say the only option to save the Sindh police is to give them a ‘free hand’ and complete independence from the influence of political parties. But can this happen soon or anytime at all? A senior police officer put it plainly: “I don’t think so…I’ve lost all hope that things will improve.”

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/237339/bus-attack-can-the-sindh-police-fight-back-yes-they-say-but-only-criminals-not-politics/

→ News sdopted from facebook

Pakistan-U.S. security relationship at lowest point since 2001, officials say

By Karen DeYoung and Griff Witte

The security relationship between the United States and Pakistan has sunk to its lowest level since the two countries agreed to cooperate after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, endangering counterterrorism programs that depend on the partnership, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Both sides say further deterioration is likely as Pakistan’s military leadership comes under unprecedented pressure from within its ranks to reduce ties with the United States. The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, was jeered last month by fellow officers who demanded in a town-hall-style meeting that he explain why Pakistan supports U.S. policy.

Kayani “is fighting to survive,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of current sensitivities. “His corps commanders are very strongly anti-U.S. right now, so he has to appease them.” …

Read more: The Washington Post

Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: AQ Khan Under Threats; Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Excerpt:

Islamabad: Developments are taking place at a fast pace ever since Osama bin Laden was killed in a limited operation by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, 60 miles north of the federal capital, Islamabad.

The life of the most wanted man on earth was dangerous for peace and stability in Pakistan, but his death has become a nightmare for Pakistan, that puts the very fiber of the society at stake and integrity of the country in danger. The “Ghairat” (honor) brigade of media is very active as it is trying to bring the democratic dispensation under pressure on one hand and point its guns towards the security institutions on the other hand.

The debate sparked by the May 2 operation focused on Pakistan’s national sovereignty, but nobody amongst the hawks were ready to accept the fact that although the US action was undoubtedly a clear breach of the national sovereignty, the presence of ObL on Pakistani soil, especially in a garrison city like Abbottabad had equally subverted the national sovereignty and undermined our security framework. …

…. Indeed the military leadership admitted its failure, but the briefing given to the sitting was not very significant, says Syed Zafar Ali Shah, a PML-N hawk. Although general Pasha surrendered before the parliament, it was for the sake of their institution, and not for the supremacy of the civilian rule, he added. The attitude of the uniformed top brass was rather contemptuous towards the elected representatives of the country, sources said adding that it was evident from the tone of the soldiers and the response they given to the elected representatives who asked tough questions or pointed out political hobnobbing by the agencies.

The tone was harsh and not like that of a person wanting to admit his mistakes, said Zafar Ali Shah. He however, was silent on the question that why PML-N did not ask for certain resignations over the Abbottabad incident. Sources closed to Mian Nawaz Sharif on the other hand answered this question. The close circles of Mian Nawaz Sharif have confided that the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had a one on one meeting with Mian Nawaz Sharif on May 9th at his residence in Murree. The said meting took place on the first day of PML-N central leadership’s meeting in Islamabad when Mian Sb asked his party men to demand for the resignation of military top brass.

PML-N sources are of the view that Mian Saheb was to demand resignations during his next day press briefing, and some how this was conveyed to the Army leadership that created bit of worry in Rawalpindi, thus the COAS rushed himself to his Murree residence and requested him not to do so. Mian Sb, according to the sources while accepting the suggestion, changed his words, but kept very harsh tone. This was also indicated in 15th May media briefing when he demanded agencies budget and expenditure to be presented in the parliament. …

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Israeli hardliners have started a massive campaign to undermine Obama’s stand that peace can only come with a truly independent Palestinian state

Obama Sees ’67 Borders as Starting Point for Peace Deal

By MARK LANDLER and STEVEN LEE MYERS

WASHINGTON — President Obama, seeking to capture a moment of epochal change in the Arab world, began a new effort on Thursday to break the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, setting out a new starting point for negotiations on the region’s most intractable problem.

A day before the arrival in Washington of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mr. Obama declared that the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — adjusted to some degree to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank — should be the basis of a deal. While the 1967 borders have long been viewed as the foundation for a peace agreement, Mr. Obama’s formula of land swaps to compensate for disputed territory created a new benchmark for a diplomatic solution.

Mr. Obama’s statement represented a subtle, but significant shift, in American policy. And it thrust him back into the region’s most nettlesome dispute at a time when conditions would seem to make reaching a deal especially difficult.

The Israeli government immediately protested, saying that for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders would leave it “indefensible.” Mr. Netanyahu held an angry phone conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday before the speech, officials said, in which he demanded that the president’s reference to 1967 borders be cut.

Israeli officials continued to lobby the administration until right before Mr. Obama arrived at the State Department for the address. White House officials said he did not alter anything under Israeli pressure ….

Read more : The New York Times

THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Something has changed

By: Huma Yusuf

TWO weeks after Abbottabad, the jury’s still out on Pakistan. Who knew? Who didn’t? And does anyone at all feel bad about the whole thing?

While international journalists and US lawmakers continue to ask these questions, Pakistan observers are at pains to point out that the answers matter little given that nothing has changed — the status quo has been maintained.

Continue reading THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper

Stback on HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan

By Khalid Hashmani

It quite disappointing that the present Government surrendered to the pressure from vested interests and decided not to implement an important provisions of Pakistan’s constitution.  As I explained in my last e-mail on this subject, the constitution does not allow the central government to have any role in education (Higher or lower) matters except to be involved in standards for higher education, research and technical institutions and foreign ministry related matters pertaining to foreign students in Pakistan and Pakistani students in foreign countries. 

I had thought that there was a chance that return of democracy and parliamentary rule will lead to a negotiated end of denial of rights of Sindh, Balochistan and others. But, this is not to be and I am sure many of us who fought for the return of democracy are wondering what should be done next? The undue pressure from the un-elected and those who benefited from the current faulty Higher Education Commission (HEC) system joined hands to force the Pakistani government in making this terrible decision. I have no doubt in my mind that this short sighted step is going to have long term repercussions as many would conclude that the vested interests are too strong to defeat no matter what.

I find an element of truth in what a friend said few years ago when I argued that Sindhis could get a fair deal. He said “There is no use to expect much good from an arrangement that has failed Sindhis for so many times.

Incidentally, it was claimed that Higher Education Commission (HEC) only gives scholarships to those who secure admission to world’s top 50 institutions. I took the list of 61 candidates who were approved for scholarships around November 10, 2010 http://www.hec.gov.pk/InsideHEC/Divisions/HRD/Scholarships/ForeignScholarships/ISSIP/Pages/results_16_meeting.aspx) and compared it to top 100 schools listed on (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/). I found that a substantial majority of those approved did not have admission in any of the top 100 universities/colleges. Only the intended universities of 17 out of 60 (the intended university of one student is not listed) were on the top 100 list.

I feel that this setback on the HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper and the weaker will continue to come on loosing end.

Siraiki Province: PML-N Falling Into Zardari’s Trap; To Be Limited To Central Punjab

By: Aziz Narejo

In a glaring example of cynical, reactionary and unprincipled politics, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif the other day demanded that Sindh be divided and Karachi be made a province. His statement justifiably created furore in Sindh and the parliamentary parties including PPP, MQM and ANP as well as other politicians and activists swiftly condemned the unimaginative and unscrupulous statement by the PML-N leader.

The PML-N government and Punjabi nationalists seem to be under considerable pressure as the demand for a separate Siraiki province is gathering momentum in southern Punjab but this was most crooked and uncalled for response that could ever come from anyone with even the slightest political wisdom. PML-N leader was obviously trying to get back with the PPP. It may be noted that PM Gilani has suggested the creation of a new province in southern Punjab and PPP manifesto committee is deliberating to make it a part of the PPP manifesto for next elections.

No Sindhi would have any objections if Shahbaz Sharif, other PML-N leaders and Punjabis as a whole turn into nationalists but all the Punjabis and others should understand that Sindh and PPP are not ONE and the same. They are two separate entities. PML-N can’t and shouldn’t get back with the PPP by hurting Sindh. It must agree or disagree with the Siraiki people’s demand for a separate province with the force of arguments and not by playing tit for tat, conspiratorial and ugly politics.

PML-N should also realize that with this kind of politics they will be completely routed out from Sindh and their aspirations to become a “national” party or to form next government will die for ever.

Do they understand that this is exactly what PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari wants the PML-N to do? Are they willingly falling into the trap set by Zardari ..? Do they realize that with this kind of politics, they will forever become a Central Punjab party? Are there any sane elements in PML-N who would rein in Shahbaz Sharif and the likes of him in their party? Guess not. Good luck to them on their journey to doom.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

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

The myopia continues – Cyril Almeida

Excerpt:

…..  Well, no less a person than the American president has weighed in on what he thinks ought to be the fate of a piddling employee/contractor of the American government.

Whatever spurred those comments — he was asked a question rather than made a prepared statement — you can be sure the weight and might of the American state machinery will press very, very hard to ensure their president isn’t embarrassed by the self-righteous defiance of some judges and a few politicians in a country surviving on American handouts.

The Americans want their guy back and, by golly, they seem bent on getting their way. Which leaves our response.

By now the cat is out of the bag. When the interior minister, the ex-foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’.

One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.

Which leaves the obvious question: once the government had, surprise, surprise, screwed up, what did the self-appointed custodians of the national interest make of the situation?

Forget all that mishegoss about Vienna conventions and legal minutiae and the like. In its dealings with the US over the past decade, the security establishment’s concern for the letter of the law has been, at best, patchy.

Tongues are wagging in Islamabad that the calculus would have been far simpler: through a stroke of luck, the Pakistani state now has something the Americans desperately want back — Raymond Davis — so what will the Americans be willing to give in return?

The Davis incident has come at a time when by all accounts relations between the US and Pakistan were growing more tense, and worse was expected in the months ahead. All manner of American pressure was expected to be put on Pakistan to further US counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency goals in this country and across the border in Afghanistan.

Some believe the contours of the security establishment’s response had become visible in recent months: discreetly and indirectly encourage anti-American sentiment in the country as a bulwark against American pressure. If/when the Americans leaned too heavily on the security establishment here, the generals would be able to turn around and say, we can’t do what you want, the people won’t let us.

But long after Raymond Davis is back home in the US, hawking his talents in the lucrative private sector there, we here in Pakistan will still be stuck with the fallout.

The security establishment seems to view extremist sentiment like a faucet: turn it off, turn it on, leave it half open, depending on the need of the hour. But in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that.

Once released into society, the poison lingers on, its pernicious effects revealed years and maybe even decades later. Kind of what Pakistan looks like today, 30 years since Zia tried to Islamise this unfortunate land and her luckless people.

The recent evidence is just as harrowing. Hafiz Saeed was trotted out in support of the blasphemy laws, and everyone knows what that fire ended up consuming. Now the right-wing is up in arms again, demanding the head of Raymond Davis, arguing for a swap with Aafia Siddiqui, crying out for the lives of Pakistanis to be treated at par with American lives — with the security establishment passively looking on, possibly counting the benefits.

Who knows, the arrogant Americans may or may not get their way on Raymond Davis. The security establishment may or may not be able to wrest some compromises from the US in return for facilitating the release of Davis.

But Pakistani society will be uglier, more intolerant and a little more vicious as a result — and that surely cannot be worth whatever the short-term tactical advantage which may or may not be gained.

Read more : DAWN

Some good work from USAID

U.S. Provides Equipment To Lady Health Workers

ISLAMABAD: More than 1,500 Lady Health Workers who work in areas in Punjab and Sindh provinces affected by the floods will receive kits of basic equipment to assist them as they offer vital health care services to families in their communities. This donation is part of the United States’ continuing support for Pakistan’s flood relief and recovery efforts.

The kits were donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to Pakistan’s National Program for Family Planning and Primary Health Care. Kits include blood pressure monitors, scales, thermometers, blankets, tents, and basic furniture. This equipment will enable Lady Health Workers to set up health houses to provide basic services in flood-affected communities. …

Read more : ONLINE