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Updated: 4 days 3 hours ago

Broken roads

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:25

KARACHI: I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned towards the deplorable state of roads in Karachi. The road from Jinnah Hospital leading towards the Kala Pul is in a deplorable condition. It has broken patches at various places and is often filled up with water that has leaked from sewage pipes.

Ambulances often face hurdles because of poor road conditions while on the way to the hospital, which puts the patients’ lives at risk.

The battered road causes severe traffic jams and inconvenience to commuters daily. I would request the elected representatives to look into this matter and take appropriate measures immediately.

Syeda Unzela Mushtaque

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th,  2015.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Pakistan-China economic corridor

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:23

ISLAMABAD: The government has planned to establish an economic corridor from China to Gwadar. This is certainly a great decision and will surely have far-reaching effects on our economy. Pakistan and China are old friends and are important countries in the world arena.

The economic corridor, however, has been surrounded by controversy of late. Some elements are trying to change its route to make it pass predominantly through parts of central Punjab, instead of through D I Khan. This will add to the already prevailing resentment in the country. It is indeed an alarming situation. Ours is a society where love and bonds of friendship and love for fellow countrymen are decreasing by the day. We should not allow others to create conflicts in our rank and file. Our leaders should forge unity on this crucial issue.

Syed Muzammil Hussain

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th,  2015.

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In the dark: PTI MPAs to protest against power outages

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:23

PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa MPAs from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have warned the federal government that they would start protesting if it failed to end prolonged power outages in the province. A resolution to this affect would also be presented before the K-P Assembly, they said.

PTI’s Peshawar District President Yaseen Khalil, MPA Arif Yousuf and Mehmood Khan along with party workers held a news conference at Peshawar Press Club after protesting against the federal government on Monday.

“The government should ensure Federal Water and Power Minister Abid Sher Ali does not interfere with the affairs of the province,” Khalil said.  “Wapda officials were asked to conduct maximum load-shedding in Peshawar and K-P,” he alleged.

The MPAs said they would present a resolution against such power outages during the ongoing session of the K-P Assembly. “There should be equal load-shedding throughout the country. It is the people of K-P who voted for PTI that are being made to suffer the most,” said Khalil. He added up to eighteen hours of power outages had badly affected businesses and routine life. The MPAs also criticised Wapda officials, saying  no efforts were made to resolve the problem despite repeated assurances.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

De-politicising the police force

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:22

SHIKARPUR: Generally, it is seen in Sindh that honest police officers appointed to the posts of SSP, ASP, DSP and SHO, who play a vital role in improving the law and order situation in their respective areas, performing their bounden duty with full commitment, dedication, zeal and zest, are transferred from the areas they have been posted because they do not work according to the wishes of the local politicians and landlords. In reaction to these transfers, the general public protests and stages rallies but the government still does not cancel the transfer orders.

On the contrary, police officers who listen to and work on directions of ministers, politicians, and waderas, instead of performing their professional duties honestly, are posted in the place of officers of integrity. The transfers and postings of police officers made on political grounds have resulted in a rise in crimes, such as kidnappings, robberies, thefts and motorcycle hijackings in Sindh, especially in the districts of Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Larkana, and Khairpur in the northern part of the province.

The police forces of the US, Canada, Japan, Britain and other European countries are totally independent in conducting their operational matters and investigations without any interference from politicians or bureaucrats. However, the situation is quite different in Pakistan. Our various police forces have been victims of political and bureaucratic interference from ministers, parliamentarians, local politicians and landlords. The result is poor performance of the police in handling the security situation, the state of law and order, in terms of crime prevention and detection, and in the delivery of quality policing services to the people.

The law and order situation is getting more and more aggravated as a result. The police force, being the principal law enforcing agency, has to be de-politicised and strengthened to restore and maintain durable peace in Sindh.

Shaikh Abdul Rasheed

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th,  2015.

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Remembering Justice Rana Bhagwandas

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:22

HYDERABAD: It is heartbreaking to bid farewell to Rana Bhagwandas, an eminent jurist, who died of cardiac arrest in Karachi at the age of 73. This legendary man achieved many milestones in his lifetime, became the first Hindu and the second non-Muslim to serve as chief of the highest court in Pakistan, albeit in acting capacity, and also worked as the chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission.

Just a couple of months ago, I encountered this legendary man and found him to be an affable dignitary with a serene and calm exterior. His smiling face is still preserved in my mind. He discussed with me the hopes he harboured for our nation. He hoped that the nation would change for the better and come on the path of progress. There is no doubt that he was an optimist. I extend all my condolences and sympathy to his family and hope they all have the strength to go through this difficult time.

Nasiruddin Soomro

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th,  2015.

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Inconclusive rendezvous: High-level huddle over senate polls yields no results

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:06
KHYBER AGENCY / PESHAWAR: 

As horse-trading continued to remain a major concern ahead of Senate elections, a high-level huddle between the opposition and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government remained inconclusive.

A meeting attended by K-P Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak was held late Sunday night. Participants hoped to reach a consensus and ensure candidates were elected unopposed to the Upper House. However, conflicting demands meant the political leaders were unable to reach an agreement.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha told The Express Tribune the governor had requested political leaders to convene for this meeting. He claimed the meeting was productive and the parties remained open to discussion.

However, Nalotha added Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl sought two days’ time to consult their party chief. The PML-N leader said another meeting was likely on Tuesday (today). Nalotha denied that the chief minister had rejected the opposition’s demand for an additional seat. “Khattak said the opposition’s share amounts to five Senate seats, while the PTI was taking seven as it had to accommodate its two allied parties,” he said.

The PML-N parliamentary leader said they were ready to accommodate the Upper House aspirants of Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party. Some reports suggested PPP wanted two seats in the Senate with its five MPAs and this led to a deadlock as other parties with greater numbers in the assembly made similar demands.

However, PPP parliamentary leader Syed Mohammad Ali Shah denied his party made any such demand. He said they have nominated candidates for four senate berths, adding ANP, JUI-F and other parties have done the same.

He said that there was no immediate agreement, but both the opposition and the government agreed to continue talks.

Apart from the chief minister and governor, the meeting was also attended by opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman, K-P PPP President Khanzada Khan, ANP General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Jaffar Shah, Qaumi Watan Party parliamentary leader Sikandar Sherpao, Naltoha and Local Government Minister Inayatullah Khan.

FATA Candidates

Like the rest of the country, the upcoming Senate elections have awoken the Upper House aspirations of politicians in Khyber Agency.

Rumours are also afloat that a Senate seat was being sold for a staggering Rs400 million, while MNAs from the agency have started focusing their attention on development schemes.

A new coalition called the Khyber Political Alliance has emerged in the agency with the aim of mobilising political parties. One of the strongest candidates for a Senate seat is Al-Haj Taj Mohammad Afridi, the brother of incumbent MNA from the agency, Haji Shah Jee Gul Afridi.

Fata has four allotted seats in the senate for which 43 candidates have submitted nomination papers. Of the total, 36 were accepted. Besides Taj, Momin Khan—brother of MNA Nasir Khan—Al-Haj Syed Nawab Afridi and Al-Haj Nazir Afridi are also in the running. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

DDLJ to keep rolling on popular demand

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:04

MUMBAI: Bollywood film that was ending its record-breaking 1,009-week run at a Mumbai cinema will keep on rolling after a public outcry for its continued screening.

The romantic comedy Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which translates as “The Brave-Hearted Will Take The Bride”, first began showing at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir cinema on October 20, 1995 when its star Shah Rukh Khan was still a relative unknown.

The movie went on to become one of the best-loved of all Bollywood blockbusters, but following celebrations marking the 1,000-week landmark, it was decided to halt the show’s unprecedented run after a reported drop-off in audiences.

The news of the last screening however prompted a flood of requests to keep it going, said production house Yash Raj Films in a statement over the weekend.

A still from the movie.

The announcement “resulted in a spontaneous and an overwhelming outcry from the cinema-going audience, as well as dedicated fans of the movie, expressing their shock and disappointment”.

Due to the surge of requests received by the cinema’s management, “it has been mutually decided to continue the screening in the same 11:30am morning show,” the statement said.

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Highway security: Buses asked to enter G-B before midday

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 13:00

GILGIT: Passenger buses travelling between Rawalpindi and Gilgit-Baltistan on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) have been asked to enter G-B before midday. This was decided at a meeting held on Monday by G-B Home Secretary Sibtain Ahmed at his office. The decision has been taken in view of threats to passengers commuting on KKH, a strategic route that connects G-B with China and the rest of Pakistan. “Buses reaching Basari check post after 12pm will not be allowed to enter the territory,” said Ahmed. Ahmed directed the DCs to strictly implement the orders which, he said, were taken in the greater interest of people travelling on the highway. He added the decision for buses to enter the territory during the day was prompted by the advice of the administration of Hazara which also advises day-time travel.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

How young girl’s quest to become a model led to her death

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:45

LAHORE: Police on Monday solved the 40-day old murder of a female student who had traveled from Sialkot to Lahore to become a model.

Areeba, 20, had shifted to Lahore from Sialkot to study at a private university. Initially, she lived with her maternal uncle but later she moved to a girl’s hostel on Wehdat Road.

According to the police, the young girl wanted to become a model and her passion led her to make-up artist Tooba.

On January 12, Tooba had invited Areeba to her house for dinner. At the dinner, Tooba’s accomplice Aslam allegedly tried to rape Areeba. When the aspiring model resisted, she was killed and her body was stuffed in a bag. Her body was then dumped outside a bus stand on Bund road on the morning of January 13.

Police said that CCTV cameras recorded Areeba’s body being dumped at the bus stand and the video helped them trace the alleged murderers.

Officials claimed that Aslam, a rickshaw driver, admitted during questioning that, with permission from Tooba, he had allegedly attempted to rape Areeba. Upon resistance, they killed the aspiring model.

Wehdat Colony police had initially lodged an FIR for kidnapping against unknown people but later, Sherakot police booked Tooba and Aslam under Section 302.

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Never be late again: Japan makes clocks which will keep time for 16 billion years

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:04

TOKYO: Japanese researchers have built a pair of clocks which claim are so accurate that they will lose only a second every 16 billion years — longer than the Earth has been around.

“Cryogenic optical lattice clocks” are not pretty — they look more like giant stripped-down desktop computers than ordinary wall clocks — but they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them.

The research team led by Hidetoshi Katori, a professor at the University of Tokyo, believes it has taken the technology way beyond the atomic clocks that are currently used to define the “second”.

The new clock uses special lasers to trap strontium atoms in tiny grid-like structures, according to the team, which published the study this month in the journal Nature Photonics.

It then measures the frequency of the vibration of the atoms, using them like “the atomic pendulum,” according to the study.

The system is so delicate that it must operate in a cold environment, around -180  Celsius (-292 Fahrenheit), to reduce the impact of the surrounding electromagnetic waves and to maintain the machine’s accuracy, the team said.

Researchers connected the two clocks for a month, and estimated that it would take some 16 billion years for them to develop a one-second gap.

That is significantly more accurate than the caesium atom clock, used to define “one second”, which can develop a one second error every 30 million years, they said.

The technology could be applied to satellite-based global positioning systems and communications networks, while also serving as a foundation for various precision technologies, the team said in a statement.

“Through improved precision, we hold high hopes for accelerated discussions on redefinition of the ‘second’,” the statement said.

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Rebuttle: KE claims govt owes them Rs100b

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 21:08

KARACHI: K-Electric refuted claims made by the state minister for water and power, Abid Sher Ali, about the company’s total dues.

In a press release issued by the company, they claimed that it was the government who owed them Rs100 billion, not the other way round as Ali claimed at a press conference held in Hyderabad. The company said that the minister had gone on record over KE’s dues, different figures at different times. For example a few days ago Ali claimed KE’s payables had gone up to Rs30 billion.

According to the KE spokesperson, Ali should stop throwing random figures around. “It is not K-Electric but the government who owes us Rs100 billion in arrears,” he said. “The government claims to have ‘eased’ the circular debt in the country but KE had not received its dues.”

Responding to the minister’s comments about nationalising the company, the spokesperson said this was a contradictory stance. “On one hand the ministry is looking to privatise major entities and, on the other, they are talking about nationalising a profitable organisation.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

 

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Rooting out corruption: Office of excise and taxation dept raided

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 20:58

SUKKUR: A team of anti-corruption department along with the civil judge raided the office of the excise and taxation department in Mirpur Mathelo on Wednesday and seized records pertaining to property tax.

Ghotki anti-corruption assistant director Saifullah Phulpoto, along with the second civil judge and judicial magistrate of Mirpur Mathelo, Samiullah Qureshi, raided the office following complaints of massive corruption in property tax.

While the excise and taxation officer was not there at the office, other staff members, including inspectors, managed to escape. The anti-corruption team took into custody the available records of the property tax. They also sealed the locked cabinets containing property tax and other records as there was nobody left in the office to open them for inspection.

When contacted, Phulpoto told The Express Tribune that complaints regarding massive corruption in property tax were pouring in since long. He said that the excise and taxation officer and his inspectors used to send challans of huge amount to the property owners and when such people came to their office for bargain they slashed the amount to half.

According to Phulpoto, after pocketing the huge amounts the officials issued challans of minimal charges to the property owners. “We have sealed the cabinets of the excise and taxation office and after getting the keys from the staff we will open them and seize the records,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

In condemnation: Lawyers boycott in Khairpur

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 20:57
SUKKUR: 

The legal fraternity in Khairpur boycotted court proceedings on Wednesday and banned the entry of the police in the court premises.

The protest was held against the anti-corruption police who had beaten up two lawyers in a bid to arrest them on Tuesday.

Some lawyers were sitting at a hotel opposite the district and sessions court, when anti-corruption officer Taj Wassan raided the hotel along with his team and tried to arrest two lawyers, Bakht Rajpar and Ashraf Gopang.

A scuffle ensued as the lawyers resisted and the anti-corruption officials started beating them up. Their colleagues rushed to the rescue and forced the officials to leave.

On the other hand, A-Section police station SHO Aamir Khan reached the spot arrested the anti-corruption officer. SHO Khan said that Wassan went to the district and sessions court on Wednesday and apologised, after which the lawyers called off their protest. Wassan was not available for comments.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

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May 12 suspect: SHC issues notices to Rangers, police, jail chiefs

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 20:10

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Sindh Rangers director-general (DG), Sindh IG and Karachi Central Jail superintendent on a petition against the detention of suspect Abdul Rafique in connection with the May 12 carnage in the city.

A division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto also issued notices to the deputy attorney general (DAG) and the advocate general (AG) to file comments by February 27.

Last month, law enforcers had claimed to have tracked down one of the suspects of the carnage in 2007, when more than 50 political workers were killed in armed clashes during the visit of then-deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry.

On Wednesday, Parveen Akhtar, the wife of the detainee, took the law enforcement agencies to court, accusing them of detaining him illegally. The petitioner claimed that Rangers personnel raided her house in Mehmoodabad Block 3 on February 7, taking away Rafique, 41, to an unknown location.

The detainee’s family members later approached Rangers authorities to seek information of his whereabouts but the officials refused to share any information. Akhtar said that the Rangers presented Rafique in court the following day, obtaining custody of him for 90 days.

She said that her husband was kept under preventive detention in Karachi Central Jail, where she went to meet him on February 13 but was turned away by the jail authorities. “This is a violation of the petitioner’s fundamental rights,” argued her lawyer, Mumtaz Khan.

Khan pleaded the court declare Rafique’s detention illegal since he had no criminal history.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Kickbacks? HIT chairperson says APCs available locally at third of cost

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 20:06
ISLAMABAD: 

A decision by the Sindh government to procure armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from a foreign firm has allegedly caused a loss of Rs4.7 billion as a domestic manufacturer revealed that the same vehicle was available for a price three times cheaper.

A parliamentary panel — the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence Production — was informed on Wednesday that the provincial government had decided to procure 39 APCs from Serbia for Rs170 million each instead of locally-produced vehicles at Rs50 million each. The revelation by the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) chairperson highlighted allegations of kickbacks in the deal by the Sindh government in 2013.

“The Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were in power at the time of the purchase and they took kickbacks,” claimed Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain.

Committee chairperson Khawaja Sohail Mansoor of the MQM responded by saying that whoever was involved in the malpractice should be held accountable. The committee was of the opinion that as APCs of similar specifications were manufactured by HIT, there was no justification to import them and first right of refusal should be given to national manufacturers.

HIT chairperson Lt Gen Wajid Hussain told the committee that the HIT had provided B-6 level vehicles to the Sindh government in 2005, as per the requirements of the Sindh police. He added that HIT could, however, now supply B-7 and advanced versions of the APCs. “We can provide vehicles for Rs50 million similar to those ordered for Rs170 million,” he claimed.

The committee observed that the imported vehicles had been exempted from tax while there was no tax exemption for the local defence production industries. It decided to call the Federal Board of Revenue chairperson, chief secretary, home secretary, police IG and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) management to the next committee meeting.

The committee discussed the first right of refusal in detail, unanimously deciding that the Ministry of Defence Production and PPRA managing director would issue a letter to all federal and provincial departments directing them to ensure adherence to  PPRA’s Public Procurement Rule 24. A report on the implementation of this decision is to be submitted to the secretariat within 15 days.

The rule reads: “(1) Procuring agencies shall allow all prospective bidders to participate in procuring procedure without regard to nationality, except in cases in which any procuring agency decides to limit such participation to national bidders only or prohibit participation of bidders of some nationalities, in accordance with the policy of Federal Government. (2) Procuring agencies shall allow for a preference to domestic or national suppliers or contractors in accordance with the policies of the Federal Government.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

India’s ailing air force at risk in tough neighbourhood

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 19:49

BENGALURU, INDIA: India’s air force risks a major capability gap opening up with China and Pakistan without new western warplanes or if local defence contractors can’t produce what the military needs in a timely manner.

A 2012 agreement to buy 126 Rafale fighters from France’s Dassault Aviation has stalled due to a dispute over the assembly of the aircraft in India. India’s first homegrown fighter, the Tejas light combat aircraft, will finally be delivered next month, 30 years after it was conceived.

But senior air force officers privately said they were unimpressed, with one former officer, an ex-fighter pilot, saying the plane was “so late it is obsolete”.

While India’s navy is undergoing an accelerated modernisation drive, experts said India was vulnerable in the skies because of its reliance on a disparate fleet of ageing Russian-made MiG and French Mirage fighters, along with more modern Russian Sukhoi Su-30s. But half of India’s fighters are due to retire beginning this year until 2024.

“It could lead to humiliation at the hands of our neighbours,” AK Sachdev, a retired air force officer, wrote last year in the Indian Defence Review journal. A coordinated attack by China and arch-rival Pakistan could stretch the Indian military, he added.

It’s a scenario defence strategists in New Delhi have been asked to plan for, Indian air force sources say, although experts say such an event is highly unlikely to happen, primarily due to nuclear weapons owned by all three.

India’s ties with China, though warm in recent times, are still hamstrung by a dispute over their Himalayan border that led to war in 1962. New Delhi is also wary of China’s expanding naval presence in the Indian Ocean and its close relations with Pakistan.

Multiple crashes

India’s air force has 34 operational squadrons, down from 39 earlier this decade and below the government approved strength of 42, a parliamentary committee said in December. In 2012, the then defence minister had said that more than half of India’s MiG fighters had crashed and burned.

In this time, however, China has managed to project its military power, by exponentially ramping up its defence budget and boosting production capability in all areas, particularly aerial. It is flying locally built fourth-generation J-10 fighters and is testing two fifth-generation stealth fighter jets.

On the Western front, Pakistan is upgrading its Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters as well as using JF-17 warplanes developed with China. To replace and upgrade its fleet of ageing Mirages and F-7Ps, Pakistan is also in talks with China to buy J-10s.

But India still maintains an edge over Pakistan – the sheer size of its air force. But the slow modernisation means victory would come with heavy casualties, said Richard Aboulafia, Washington DC-based vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, an aerospace and defence think tank.

So far, India has bought more Su-30s and upgrading other existing fighters to keep itself in the game. Though keeping up may soon be no longer enough.

“We do need to increase our defence preparedness,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the opening ceremony of the Aero India airshow in the city of Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Tejas criticism unfounded

K Tamilmani, a senior official at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a defence ministry agency which designed and developed the plane brushed aside criticism of the light aircraft.

“The Tejas has a safety record that is unbeaten,” Tamilmani told Reuters by telephone, adding it would provide a platform to develop more advanced fighters in the years ahead. Indeed, with the amount of crashes that the Indian airforce has had to deal with, at least two since the start of the year, security it seems to weigh more heavily than being able to compete before more advanced and superior fighters.

Impasse over Rafale Jets

The Rafale fighters are expected to replace some of India’s MiGs and Mirage fleet. But India is insisting Dassault take full responsibility for production of the aircraft at a state-run facility in Bengaluru, Indian defence ministry officials have said.

France, while agreeing to help Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd stick to delivery schedules, has shied away from offering guarantees for production of the aircraft made at a facility over which it has no administrative or expert control.

India would decide on the fate of the deal only after March, when a defence ministry committee delivers a report on the issue, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said at the airshow.

But cancellation of the multi-billion dollar deal would be “disastrous”, said Deba Mohanty, chairman at Indicia Research & Advisory, a New Delhi-based defence consulting firm.

“It’s a really tricky situation in which the supplier is unhappy, the bureaucrats are unhappy and the end user is disappointed,” said Mohanty.

India has successfully introduced Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane and P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft and Lockheed Martin’s C-130J transport, all bought ‘off the shelves’, over the last few years. That shows off-the shelf solutions work best, experts said. But the Modi administration’s “Make in India” programme, and the emphasis on building up a domestic defence industrial base to cut dependence on foreign supplies which make India the world’s biggest arms importer, means the Rafale programme may not go as smoothly as hoped.

In this regard, the best hope for India is its Tejas Mark II, a slightly larger plane than the original, which will feature more powerful engines, better radars and upgraded avionics.

India is also looking to add trainer jets, light transport aircraft and helicopter to its list of indigenous defence programmes. “People who fly planes, want the best value for money, which means off-the-shelf,” said Aboulafia. “People who want jobs and technology development schemes have different priorities. That’s why the two groups don’t like each other much.”

Categories: Pakistan & World News

World Cup: Zimbabwe to bowl first against UAE

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:59

NELSON: Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bowl against the United Arab Emirates in their Pool B World Cup match at Saxton Oval in Nelson on Thursday.

Zimbabwe lost their opening match to South Africa by 62 runs while it is the first outing in the tournament for the UAE.

Although beaten by South Africa, Zimbabwe were not disgraced and have kept the same line up in their search for their first points in the tournament.

UAE, a squad of part-time cricketers, return to the World Cup for the first time since their sole previous experience in 1996 while Zimbabwe have been regular fixtures since 1983.

Captain Mohammad Tauqir forecast a bold opening saying the pitch looked good and UAE “are targetting a score of 280-300.”

The wicket is expected to offer assistance to the quick bowlers early before it flattens out to become a perfect batting strip and with short boundaries at the ground there is the potential for high scores.

The two sides have never met before and the UAE have lost all 10 of their previous ODIS against Test-playing nations.

Teams

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Tinashe Panyangara, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams

UAE: Mohammad Tauqir (capt), Khurram Khan, Amjad Ali, Amjad Javed, Andri Berenger, Krishna Chandran, Mohammad Naveed, Nasir Aziz, Swapnil Patil, Rohan Mustafa, Shaiman Anwar

Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Johan Cloete (RSA)

TV Umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)

Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

Weather: Fine at first, late showers. Maximum temperature 25 Celsius

Categories: Pakistan & World News

‘Terrorists’ do not speak for one billion Muslims: Obama

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:54

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Western and Muslim leaders to unite to defeat the “false promises of extremism”, saying they must jointly reject the premise that militant groups represent Islam.

“The terrorists do not speak for a billion Muslims,” Obama told a Washington conference on countering radicalism that drew delegates from 60 countries in the wake of a string of brutal attacks in Europe and the Middle East.

Describing groups like Islamic State (IS) and al Qaeda as “desperate for legitimacy,” Obama faced down domestic critics who have pilloried him for not describing attacks in Denmark, France, Syria and Libya as the work of “Islamic radicals.”

Obama said associating IS or al Qaeda with Islam would be to accept the false narrative those groups want to put forward. “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors.”

“They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists. We are not at war with Islam —we are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Obama told delegates at the three-day conference that the fight against extremism could not be won with military might alone.

Communities, he said, must do their part.

“These terrorists are a threat first and foremost to the communities they target,” he said.

He further clarified that no religion is responsible for terrorism, rather people are responsible for violence.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Sindh bans bear-baiting

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:47
KARACHI: 

The prevalence of bear-baiting and the horrible torture that the animal has to suffer has finally compelled the Sindh wildlife department to promulgate the law.

The department issued a notification on Wednesday, imposing a complete ban on illegal practices such as bear-baiting, fighting and forced begging with animals. Anyone found involved in any of these acts will be fined with Rs100,000 or will be placed behind bars for two years.

While the practice of begging with bears is common in different parts of the province, bear-baiting is a favourite in the upper and central parts of Sindh. Most of the people involved in bear-baiting are influential ones. Unfortunately, the bear belongs to a poor person, usually a beggar, and the dogs belong to rich, influential landlords.

During the galas arranged in particular areas, the bear is tied from the nose, with its nails already cut. It is made to fight at least three dogs, who attack its nose during the round. “It is a cruel activity that no sensible person can look at it,” said wildlife secretary Naila Wajid Khan.  “The bear is enlisted in the protected schedule and we’ll confiscate these animals wherever we find them.”

After confiscation, the bear will be kept in the rehabilitation centre for 15 days. The four most commonly found bears include the brown bear, the grizzly, the Asiatic black bear and the Himalayan black bear. Wildlife officials said that Sindh used to be a habitat for these bear species but is not any more. Now these animals are brought for baiting from Peshawar.

The wildlife secretary informed The Express Tribune that her department has also suggested the federal government introduce this law across the country. According to the wildlife conservator, Javed Ahmed Mahar, the price of a bear is about Rs50,000. Influential people take advantage of poverty and hire a bear for the baiting, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Emotional art: A loud journey of expression

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:42

KARACHI: When you walk into the Koel gallery, you are touched. Young artist Rabeya Jalil’s artworks are emotional and expressive when it comes to comment on social issues.

The exhibition, titled ‘Name. Place. Animal. Thing.’ is loud and leaves a powerful impact on the viewer. The works seem to be talking and drawing attention of them. And they aim to speak only the truth. For instance, the masterpiece titled ‘The Proposal’ seemed to be a comment on the mechanism of marriage proposals in our society. The artwork is divided into six pieces and is quite intriguing. It manages to get the viewer engaged with the help of its crudity.

In one of the six pieces, a math problem is solved on a paper. Another depicts an Urdu inscription reading ‘yeh meri likhai hai’ [this is my handwriting]. The last one shows a stern face, which is a symbol for the to be mother-in-law who judges a girl on all possible aspects – her ability with math, handwriting, etc – and then finally decides if she is the ‘perfect one’ for her son. The fact that even today sending a rishta and choosing a woman for marriage the ‘traditional’ way remains the not-to-be-violated territory of the man or his family is brilliantly commented on in this piece.

The way the artist has made her work look untidy and messy has a remarkable effect on the viewer. This attempt at drawing ugliness is a comment on the ugliness of society itself. For example, the artwork titled ‘Nurturing to kill’ is a perfect depiction of how might is right. A cat is drawn above a smaller animal. A mightier creature is above the cat and the human figure supersedes all of them. This speaks of the brutal, callous and selfish nature of the human kind. We nurture anything for our benefit and later kill it when it serves its purpose.

Another interesting work related to the cave spider which, according to Islamic tradition, acted as an assistance from God for the Prophet (pbuh) and his companion when the Quraish persecutors were after their lives. However, in this artwork, the spider serves as only a web-producing creature and not a saviour – hence the title. In this case, the web is that of education. The illustration contains a page of an English, Math and Urdu notebook above a blank page – an obvious symbol for art. It seems to be a comment on how our parents discourage us from taking up art instead of the standard ‘successful’ subjects. This particular artwork is the suppressed voice of the many young artists who are killed by their very families.

Jalil talks about how individuals choose a ‘mutated self’ in her artist statement. “We kill the artist in ourselves because society thinks art’s not right for us. And it is not just about art. This is a symbol for all the choices we make in our lives based on societal expectations.”

Her works are on display till February 23.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

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