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ANKARA: One of the most senior military figures detained on charges of involvement in Turkey’s failed coup bid appeared in court Monday, denying he was the mastermind of the plot.
Looking tired and haggard with his ear bandaged in images published by state media, former air force chief General Akin Ozturk appeared before the criminal court in Ankara.
The court was to decide if he and 26 other generals and admirals should be remanded in custody ahead of trial, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
— ANADOLU AJANSI (@anadoluajansi) July 18, 2016
They are accused of trying to overthrow the existing order and also of plotting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In his statement to prosecutors, Akin denied that he had been the ringleader of the coup, whose identity remains unclear.
“I am not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it I do not know,” Anadolu quoted him as saying.
Some Turkish media had earlier quoted him as confessing to have played a prime role in the coup but later replaced this information with his denial.
Turkey’s treatment of the coup suspects had alarmed its allies, with EU and US leaders urging Ankara to respect the rule of law.
Anadolu published images of Ozturk and other suspects on the stairs inside of the Ankara court house, staring blankly into the camera with their hands tied behind their backs.
Turkey has blamed the coup on supporters of Erdogan’s arch enemy, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, within the military.
DERA GHAZI KHAN / MULTAN: Police confirmed on Monday that Section 311 had been added to the Qandeel Baloch’s murder case, barring the family from pardoning the killer.
According to Capital Police Officer (CPO) Azhar Akram, Section 311 had been added to the FIR, meaning qisas or pardoning cannot take place.
The social media celebrity was strangled to death by her brother on Saturday in the name of ‘honour’.
With the state becoming the plaintiff, Qandeel’s father would not be able to forgive his son Muhammad Waseem and other suspects for his daughter’s murder if at any point he decided to do so, the CPO explained.
Waseem, after being arrested on Monday, brazenly said he had no regrets because his sister Fauzia Azeem had ‘dishonoured the family’ by making a controversial video with Mufti Abdul Qavi.
The CPO said police were investigating all others who were in contact with the model before she was murdered, including her parents.
Section 109 has already been included in the FIR while Qandeel’s other brother Aslam Shaheen will also be investigated.
The social media star’s cousin Zulfiqar aka Zulfi is already under police custody.
Akram said there was no proof of Mufti Abdul Qawi’s involvement in the murder but they were investigating his involvement as well.
A police team earlier reached Qandeel’s native Shah Sadardin area in Multan and recorded statements of her relatives.
The post Qandeel Baloch murder: Pardoning of killers impossible as state becomes complainant appeared first on The Express Tribune.
MONTREAL: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) called for Russia to be completely banned from the Rio Olympics and other international sport after an investigation found rampant state-run doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other events.
An investigation by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren for WADA found the FSB secret service helped “the state-dictated failsafe system” carried out by the sports ministry and covering 30 sports.
“WADA calls on sport movement to deny Russian athletes participation at international competition including Rio until ‘culture change’ achieved,” the international anti-doping agency spokesperson Ben Nichols said in a statement on Twitter.
International Olympic Committee members were to hold an emergency telephone conference on Tuesday to decide provisional sanctions over what IOC president Thomas Bach called “a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games.”
McLaren’s report said the cover up started in 2010 after Russia’s “abysmal” results at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and continued until 2015 after the Sochi Games.
President Vladimir Putin made the Sochi Games a showcase event and more than $50 billion was spent putting it on.
Russia, which had strongly denied any state involvement, is already banned from international athletics by the world body, the IAAF, because of doping exposed last year.
There will no be mounting pressure for that to be extended even though Bach and some international federations have said there has to be a way for athletes proved to be clean to compete in Rio.
“The IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated,” Bach said in a statement announcing the IOC conference on Tuesday.
McLaren’s report said the Sports Ministry under Vitaly Mutko organised the subterfuge under which tainted urine samples were replaced and kept away from international observers.
“The Moscow laboratory operated for the protection of doped Russian athletes within a state-dictated failsafe system,” McLaren said.
“The Sochi laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Winter Olympic Games,” he added.
McLaren did not make any recommendations on sanctions. But the call by WADA is likely to followed up by the United States and Canadian anti-doping agencies.
Both had said before the report’s release that a blanket ban on Russia from Rio, which starts August 5, should be considered if the evidence was damning.
“The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes’ analytical results or sample swapping and the active participation and assistance of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), CSP (Center of Sports Preparation for Russian athletes) and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories,” McLaren said.
WADA mandated McLaren to investigate allegations made by former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov in May.
Rodchenkov is now in hiding in the United States and wanted by Russian authorities.
McLaren called the Rodchenkov “a credible and truthful person” despite admitting to concoting doping cocktails for Russian athletes.
“I realise there are other aspects of his life that are not appropriate,” McLaren said. “I didn’t need to get into that.”
McLaren dismissed any notion that having less than two months to conduct the investigation or the reluctance of some witnesses to come forward compromised the results.
“I’m supremely confident in our findings,” McLaren said. “We’ve had a very intense 57 days.”
McLaren said his report was handed over to WADA on Saturday and had not been leaked in advance.
He said a US-Canadian letter pushing for a total ban on Russian competitors at Rio was based on “rampant speculation” about the findings.
“I don’t think it has any impact whatsoever on the report and I pay no attention to it,” McLaren said. “I’m positive the report was not leaked. What others did was all speculation.”
Rodchenkov said an intricate doping program was “working like a Swiss watch” at Sochi and helped at least 15 Russian medalists by making positive samples vanish and removing and re-sealing some samples.
McLaren said the evidence of tampering with sample bottles in Sochi was apparent and that similar bottles could be used at Rio without fear.
“The bottles can be described as tamper evident,” he said. “With relatively easy training, people can idenitify if there are any problems in Rio.”
He said there should be no problems with sample bottles in Rio.
McLaren found some Russian officials involved in the doping program were on national sport federations but added, “What we don’t know is how far their knowledge goes.”
There was no mandate to find individual dope cheats or conclusions about people being forced to dope in the Russian programme.
The post Call for Russia ban from Olympics after probe finds state-run doping appeared first on The Express Tribune.
LONDON: England added premier pace bowler James Anderson, all-rounder Ben Stokes and leg-spinner Adil Rashid into an expanded 14-man squad announced Monday for Friday’s second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
The trio took no part in England’s 75-run defeat in the first of a four-match series at Lord’s on Sunday.
But Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, and Stokes have both been passed fit following their respective shoulder and knee injuries.
Meanwhile Rashid, yet to play a home Test, could feature as a back-up or even an alternative to Moeen Ali after the off-break bowler came in for some harsh treatment by Pakistan’s batsmen at Lord’s.
Anderson and Stokes helped prove their fitness by taking part in the ongoing County Championship match between Lancashire and Durham at Southport, near Liverpool.
Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Vince (Hampshire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Ben Stokes (Durham), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire)
The post Desperate measures: England call Anderson, Stokes for second Pakistan Test appeared first on The Express Tribune.
KARACHI: National heroes are humans like the rest of us, but they are also representatives of a certain country and its people. They are looked up to as icons and inspirations. Their actions influence a great number of people. Shahid Afridi, being a huge youth icon, should exercise some control over his spontaneous remarks about cricket and talent in Pakistan, even though I consider some of his points to be accurate, especially regarding better training and corruption in the Pakistan Cricket Board. He said there is “no talent in Pakistan.” Being a national hero, one has certain responsibilities, which should be carried out maturely. Maybe everyone in Pakistan has come to the conclusion that they can say whatever they want to say without any consequences on their part.
Nawabzada Danyalur Rehman
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2016.
ISLAMABAD: The debate on Panama Leaks is skewed and disfigured. Advocates of one side of the debate forcefully argue to extend the scope of accountability, ostensibly to prove that they want a corruption-free world, including Pakistan. This suggestion is akin to promoting a nuclear-free world. This line of argument has many votaries, altruistically. The real purpose behind this seemingly holistic approach is to prolong the odyssey and agony to save the skin of the third-time prime minister. The opposite camp disputes this position vehemently. The opposition parties have at least nine arguments in favour of accountability of the Sharif family first.
Firstly, they argue that the fish rots from the head. If the mind is sound, the body will be healthy and robust. Secondly, the prime minister must clear his name because he is supposed to be the face of Pakistan. Thirdly, Abdul Sattar Edhi has set a marvelous example that rulers around the world, including the ones in his own country, need to follow. Nawaz cannot skip his accountability by merely paying lip service to the greatest Pakistani of our times. Fourthly, Kashmir is bleeding and crying for support from Pakistan wherein the PM is morally and physically incapacitated. The world will not listen to a tainted leader who lives like an emperor while the people find it hard to make ends meet. Fifthly, Nawaz is supposed to lead by example instead of precept. Sixthly, the terms of reference (TOR) dialogue has proven to be the malicious intention of the chief executive. The opposition TORs are in the larger interest of the PM and the country. Seventhly, a chilling wave of uncertainty has gripped the country with some people calling upon the COAS to take over the reins of power. Panama Leaks-based uncertainty is a national security threat to the teetering state ruled by predators without compunction. Eighthly, the PM has lost moral ground, which makes him unfit to rule a nuclear power besieged by power cuts, corruption, terrorism, grinding poverty and regional tensions.
Nawaz Sharif must accept opposition TORs to break the deadlock which can sink the rulers along with the country they are supposed to love and serve. Last but not the least, a controversial PM in Edhi’s Pakistan is a disservice to the icon of humanity.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2016.
NAWABSHAH: In Pakistan, management systems, especially government ministries and departments, are headed by politicians. Although most of them are educated and are well-versed in administration, there are several others who are under-educated or even uneducated. The irony is that they control the bureaucracy manned by Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) officers, who are highly qualified and get selected only after a rigorous selection process that is conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission. These officers are from various faculties, including the humanities, science, the arts as well as engineering and medicine. There are many officers who come from the elite Pakistani institutes of technology and the Pakistani Institute of Management. They undergo thorough training and probation periods upon joining service.
In comparison, ministers are rarely highly qualified. At most, they may be graduates in some cases. Invariably, they are inadequately educated to handle the department and the officers who work under them. There are examples where in spite of this, a minister may have administrative acumen and can run the ministry efficiently but there are not many such instances. The situation arises wherein the ill-equipped minister faces a challenge in grasping a complex issue. The minister may have to rely heavily on the babudom. He may feel crippled without their assistance and face hurdles in taking a decision. At the same time, the highly educated officer may feel awkward to take instruction from the uneducated or under-qualified minister and it may be a hindrance in the way of day-to-day functioning. The bureaucrats do not even have courage to oppose the decisions of politicians and they are like toothless tigers in front of politicians.
The bitter truth is that in our country, politicians are very powerful people. Bureaucrats are like puppets in the hands of politicians. If a bureaucrat raises his voice against a politician, then he is transferred immediately or kept waiting for a posting. We may find a number of senior and competent bureaucrats awaiting posting for years. The question which arises from this system is: aren’t there enough well-educated people in this nation of more than 180 million people, who can efficiently govern the ministries across the provinces and at the centre? Isn’t there any way out from always electing candidates with little or no qualification at all who are responsible for the present condition of the country in several ways?
Educated leaders are necessary for the country’s prosperity, growth and bright future, but one can’t arrive at the conclusion that graduation has to be the sole criterion for selecting a candidate by political parties. Yes, education will certainly help understand issues and analyse the same for making a decision, but again, a lot depends on the inclination of the minister concerned to make the right one.
Ahmed Shad Umrani
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2016.
KARACHI: Abdul Sattar Edhi was a simple and humble man who dedicated his entire life to serving the poor, needy, ailing and homeless children, women and men, wherever and whenever he found them. He was the man who picked up babies from the roadside and from doorsteps, gave refuge to orphans, the destitute, women, children and to the homeless. He was the man who established and operated orphanages, homes, medical clinics for the poor and gave the last bath to dead persons whenever and wherever they were found and arranged for their burial with dignity. He was undoubtedly Pakistan’s most revered figure, a legend, a man who left his permanent footprints in the sands of time.
Luminaries and leaders of all ranks and affiliations flocked to see him during his final days in hospital and also attended his funeral. His farewell from this world was grand and impressive but none of this would have impressed Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Realising the selfless dedication of Edhi sahib to Pakistan and its citizens, the Jinnah Society unanimously chose him for the First Jinnah Award in 1998 and I still recall with pride my first meeting with him in early that year when I went to his office in Karachi to seek his concurrence for acceptance of the Jinnah Award and his agreement to attend a function of Jinnah Society which he very happily did.
The award was conferred to Abdul Sattar Edhi by then Governor of Sindh Lieutenant General Moinuddin Haider on behalf of the members of Jinnah Society. He will always remain alive in our hearts as a person like him is born perhaps only once in a 100 years.
Liaquat H Merchant
President, Jinnah Society
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2016.
LONDON: A man has been jailed for four weeks after attempting to break into Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s London home, British police said Monday.
Gabor Roman, a 25-year-old of no fixed address, was arrested on July 10 in the plush London street where the Portuguese boss lives.
He appeared before a London court on Tuesday charged with attempted burglary.
“He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four weeks in prison,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The Sun newspaper, which carried the story on its front page, said the incident took place while Mourinho was watching Portugal win the European Championships on television.
The tabloid said his maid screamed as she saw Roman trying to get in a basement door.
A private security guard hired by local residents noticed his unusual behaviour, going from house to house trying the doors.
Following the scream, the guard blocked Roman as he tried to get away, The Sun said.
It had a picture of Mourinho and his wife looking out of the window as Roman was arrested.
The post Man jailed for burglary attempt at Mourinho’s London home appeared first on The Express Tribune.
KARACHI: What is heartburn?
The stomach combines food, acids and enzymes to begin digestion. There are special protective cells that line the stomach to prevent the acid from causing inflammation. The esophagus, however, does not have the same protection, and if stomach acid and digestive juices reflux back into the esophagus, they can cause inflammation and damage to its unprotected lining. Heartburn is a burning discomfort usually in the centre of the chest that continues up to the throat caused by this reflux.
Triggers for heartburn may vary for everyone, but chewing gum, chocolate, caffeinated drinks and fried foods tend to be a common factor, Dr Zaigham Abbas, Ziauddin Univeristy Hospital Department of Gastroenterology head shares. “There are a number of myths associated with treating heartburn. For example, many people believe that drinking cream or milk can serve as a heartburn remedy. However, I would not recommend drinking milk to reduce heartburn, as it has been proven that milk temporarily reduces the symptoms only to later increase acid production by the stomach, which causes more heartburn.”
Some easily available, natural foods to help aid heartburn are listed below to help you live a healthier, heartburn-free life.
Banana is a naturally low-acid fruit — a smart choice if you are feeling symptoms of heartburn. A banana will help relieve discomfort because it will stick to the irritated esophageal lining. It forms a protective film that coats, protects and soothes.
Ginger, when consumed in moderation, is an age-old cure-all for many digestive ailments. It has been used throughout history as an anti-inflammatory and as a treatment for gastrointestinal conditions. Simply peel or grate an inch or so of ginger root and steep in boiling water to make a pain-soothing tea. It’s an effective anti-inflammatory.
You’ll start your day off with fewer digestive issues if you have an almond milk smoothie for breakfast. Almond milk is a great balancer for acid reflux. It is alkaline so it helps neutralise acidic foods.
Salad, without tomatoes and onions, combined with cheese and high-fat dressing works great for acid reflux. Celery, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and other greens all work wonders. Green veggies are also great for being appetite suppressants, excellent sources of roughage, helping lowers cholesterol and improving eyesight.
Oatmeal is just about the best breakfast recommended. Sit down to a bowl of oatmeal and it will not only coat and buffer your stomach lining, but also provide you with healthy fibre.
Poultry is great for heartburn. It can be boiled, baked, grilled, or sautéed, however, you must remove the skin, which is high in fat. High in protein, a four-ounce portion provides two-thirds of the recommended daily amount. While chicken is perfectly fine, deep-frying it in greasy oil will only trigger heartburn.
Fish and seafood
Seafood should be baked, grilled or sautéed but never fried. Shrimp, lobster and other shellfish are also fine. Wild fish should be preferred over farm fish.
Seafood is an excellent source of protein in a low-acid diet. As with chicken, the most effective GERD recipes for fish will limit or exclude spices and heavy seasonings to avoid heartburn issues.
Couscous and rice
Couscous (semolina wheat), bulgur wheat, and rice (especially brown rice) are all outstanding foods for acid reflux. A complex carbohydrate is a good carbohydrate! A single cup of couscous contains almost 10% of the body’s suggested fibre intake for the day. Brown rice is always a healthy choice. It’s high in fibre, which can help regulate the digestive tract, plus it’s heart-healthy and chock-full of B vitamins, which can help keep the body full of energy.
The writer is a student of history at LUMS
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2016.
KARACHI: The formation of a football players’ association in Pakistan will not be an easy task, according to former national captain and Tulsa Roughnecks striker Kaleemullah.
Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune last month that he had been in contact with FIFPro and that Pakistan will finally see a players’ union registered with the international body.
The registration process of the players is taking place, but Kaleemullah feels that the players need to show more enthusiasm and take a stand.
The 23-year-old is on a break from his United Soccer League season and believes that he will communicate with fellow footballers directly and invite departmental players to sign up for the association.
“It can be a frustrating process and many players don’t understand the benefits they will reap,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune. “I’ve called up as many players as I could from the US. I’m going to try again once I’m in Pakistan, I’ll ask departments to have their players sign up for it as well.”
It hasn’t been smooth sailing though. “So far it’s been hard for everyone to unite,” he said. “We need to do this as soon as possible since we haven’t had any footballing activity for almost a year-and-a-half now.”
Kaleemullah said the players should not hesitate about being part of the association and come together with one voice in order to get the Pakistan Football Federation issue resolved.
“If we have 200 players out on the streets or at press clubs, raising their voices together to resolve issues, only then will anyone hear us,” he said. “Otherwise the courts will drag the case on for another two years.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2016.
The post Football in distress : ‘Formation of players association no easy task’ appeared first on The Express Tribune.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand announced it was tightening rules surrounding foreign trusts Wednesday after numerous documents in the Panama Papers leak referenced the South Pacific nation.
Officials in Wellington said the changes would improve the disclosure and registration of foreign trusts, as well as strengthening anti-money laundering rules.
“The changes to the foreign trust rules are a matter that the government intends to move quickly on,” Finance Minister Bill English said.
The unprecedented leak in April of 11.5 million files from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed how wealthy individuals use anonymous offshore entities to hide their assets.
New Zealand was referenced more than 60,000 times in the documents, according to local media given access to the material before it was made public.
Prime Minister John Key initially dismissed any concerns, saying the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gave New Zealand’s tax laws “a clean bill of health” in 2013.
However, he ordered a review a few days later after coming under increasing pressure.
The review, released last month, found it was “reasonable to conclude that illicit funds are being hidden in New Zealand foreign trusts”.
It said that while it was inaccurate to describe New Zealand as a tax haven, tightening the rules would help maintain the country’s reputation for probity.
Under the changes, a database will be set up allowing police and tax officials to search for details of foreign trusts and their beneficiaries.
The opposition Labour Party welcomed what it termed a U-turn on disclosure by Key but said the database should also be open to the public and New Zealand’s tax partners.
“This does nothing to assist foreign tax authorities uncover fraud or tax evasion from the global mega-rich using New Zealand foreign trust structures,” Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said.
New Zealand is part of a 36-nation taskforce set up to share intelligence on combating tax avoidance.
The taskforce met over the weekend in Paris and said in a statement it had made “excellent progress” in identifying taxpayers and their advisers for further investigation.
The post New Zealand tightens trust laws after Panama Papers appeared first on The Express Tribune.
ISLAMABAD: A day after posters begging army chief General Raheel Sharif to launch a coup popped up in major cities of the country, the Pakistan Army distanced itself from the campaign launched by a largely unknown political party ‘Move on Pakistan’ which seeks to install a ‘government of technocrats’.
“Reference posters with COAS [chief of army staff]’s picture being displayed across various cities, army or any affiliated organisation have nothing to do with it,” the chief military spokesperson, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, wrote on microblogging site Twitter Tuesday evening.
The posters, which also appeared in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi as well as several cantonment areas, featured a large photograph of Gen Raheel. “Talk of leaving has become old, for God’s sake come now,” reads the posters, referring to Gen Raheel Sharif’s decision to step down at the end of his tenure this year.
The campaign raised many eyebrows and created quite a buzz on popular social media sites. Political analysts view the campaign with suspicion, while most mainstream political parties used it as a pretext to engage in a verbal duel.
The Pakistan Peoples Party, the largest opposition group, said the PML-N government was using the campaign as a ruse to give out an impression that the military could stage a coup if the opposition, which is planning street agitation, went ahead with their protests.
“The government wants to scare us by creating an impression that the military can take over if the political situation deteriorates. There is no threat of martial law nor is the army ready for any such move,” said Aitzaz Ahsan, the leader of the opposition in the Senate, who belongs to the PPP.
His senior party colleague questioned why the government did not dare to pull down the posters. “I am dead sure the army chief is not aware of politics behind this poster campaign,” Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, said in a statement.
In a quick rejoinder, the government’s spokesperson, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, said the campaigner has given his cellphone numbers in the posters, “Aitzaz should better speak to him to ask about his motives”.
Though the prime minister and his government are plagued by accusations of corruption and inefficiency, Rashid said the government was not in hot water in the face of threats of street agitation from an increasingly hostile opposition.
The information minister said the talk of extending the army chief’s tenure amounted to undermining the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb. “The army chief’s tenure has not expired. It’s not appropriate to discuss this issue,” he added.
The main politico-religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, which is also expected to hit the streets against the government, blamed the government for leading the country to political chaos. But it says undemocratic steps must be discouraged. “Some elements want to derail democracy. It is a responsibility of the government and the armed forces to discourage them,” JI leader Liaqat Baloch said.
The All Pakistan Muslim League, the party of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who had imposed the last martial law in the country, does not endorse the campaign but says it is a natural reaction of people to the failures of the government. “The government has failed to deliver which is why the masses are calling for a military intervention,” the party’s secretary general, Dr Amjad, told The Express Tribune.
Political analyst Hasan Askari said he did not foresee any threat to the current political system in Pakistan. “There cannot be an organised movement unless there is a popular sentiment present,” he said, dismissing the posters.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is said to be preparing to name a successor to the wildly popular general, whose three-year tenure expires in November. Widely credited with the country’s improved security situation, Gen Raheel is the frequent subject of hashtags such as #ThankYouRaheelSharif and #PakLovesGenRaheel.
“The way General Raheel Sharif has dealt with terrorism and corruption, there is no guarantee that the next man would be as effective as him,” said Ali Hashmi, a spokesperson for ‘Move on Pakistan’, a largely-unknown political party which is behind the campaign.
“Dictatorship is much better than this corrupt government,” Hashmi told The Express Tribune.
Hashmi, whose party has run a similar campaign in January, said they were planning more such events. However, he added that they were not calling for a military takeover and that their call for the army chief was being misinterpreted. “Since the government and the opposition are on warpath, we fear the country might slide into political chaos,” he said. “And we want the army chief to install a government of technocrats.”
Hashmi said that authorities in Islamabad and Punjab had removed the posters — but that they continue to attract attention in other provinces.
The Move on Pakistan is one of 330 political parties registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). A Faisalabad-based businessman, Muhammad Kamran, is mentioned as President of the party on ECP’s website. Reportedly, he owns a chain of private schools in different cities of Punjab, including Lahore.
The party claims to have ‘hundreds of thousands’ of members who support the campaign. “We have suspended membership for now. Before the launch of this campaign hundreds of thousands of people were registered as our members,” Hashmi claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2016.
BUDAPEST: A population slump in Hungary is presenting Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration government with a headache: how to plug labour supply shortages without turning to foreigners.
Hungary, an EU member since 2004, has seen 400,000 people leave the country since 2008, and 850,000 over the past 35 years.
In addition, since the 1980s, the ex-communist central European country has had one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, bringing the overall population below the 10-million mark.
As a result, at least a quarter of Hungarian firms are experiencing problems finding workers, said the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists (MGYOSZ) in a recent study.
“The Hungarian economic train can’t get out of the station because there are no wheels,” said the report.
Call centre employee Mark Stern and his teacher wife Rita, about to move to Ireland with their toddler Marci, are among the latest to join the exodus.
“We have friends in Ireland, we speak English and there are lots of opportunities for people there who want to work,” Rita, 32, told AFP in Gyomro, a town outside Budapest, as she made her farewells.
The conservative Orban, in power since 2010 and a father of five himself, has attempted to redress the dire situation with a raft of measures aimed at getting Hungarians to have more babies or return from abroad.
Since June, Hungarians returning have been able to benefit from a welcome-back present of 3,000 euros ($3,330) as well as help finding work and accommodation.
Only 105 people have taken up the offer since June 2015, however.
Couples planning to have three children in the next decade, or those with three kids already, can get 10 million forints (35,700 euros, $35,480) towards buying a property, and a low-interest loan of the same amount.
More than 12,500 people have signed up for this scheme in the past year, contributing to a rise in real state prices of between 10 and 30 percent, according to economists.
There is more the government can do, said Balazs Kapitany, head of the national demographics office, not least when it comes to red tape for re-entering the education and health systems.
But longer term, he says, it will be difficult for Hungary’s population to grow.
“The children from Hungary’s 1970-75 baby boom will soon be too old to have children, and the succeeding generations are not very numerous,” he said.
The answer, and one turned to by other European countries facing similar, if less acute, challenges may be immigration, Mihaly Varga, Hungary’s economy minister, said last week.
But, in spite of employer woes, importing workers would be a difficult measure to swallow for a government that has put up billboards telling foreigners not to take Hungarians’ jobs.
The premier has often argued that immigration cannot compensate for labour shortages, and has been anything but welcoming to foreigners, particularly Muslims, in the last year.
The influx of mostly Muslim refugees and migrants into the EU over the last 12 months poses a security threat and threatens the continent’s Christian identity, Orban has said.
Around 400,000 migrants and refugees passed through Hungary in 2015 before the government sealed off the southern borders with razor wire and fences.
An EU plan for member countries to take in migrants according to a mandatory quota meanwhile has also been furiously slammed by Budapest which will put the issue to a referendum in October.
The need to reconcile Orban’s anti-foreigner stance with Hungary’s growing demand for new sources of manpower looks though to have already caused a shift in approach.
According to Varga, the ministry is mulling a plan by MGYOSZ that proposes allowing non-EU citizens to live and work in the country.
The scheme could copy countries like Poland, the body said, where around one million people from neighbouring Ukraine are employed.
Labour shortages in sectors like tourism and construction could be filled by “skilled, culturally integrable guest workers,” according to MGYOSZ.
The post Hungary’s anti-immigrant PM faces workforce shortage appeared first on The Express Tribune.
LONDON: Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir will hope to put the 2010 spot-fixing scandal behind him once and for all when he returns to the scene of the crime in Thursday’s first Test against England at Lord’s.
Six years ago, during a Lord’s Test against England, Amir and Pakistan new-ball partner Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled no-balls on the instructions of captain Salman Butt as part of a sting operation carried out by a tabloid newspaper.
All three received five-year bans from cricket and, together with sports agent Mazhar Majeed, jail terms.
Such was the impact of the controversy, that Amir’s six for 84 in the first innings of that match has largely been forgotten.
For all his time out of cricket, the 24-year-old retains the ability to swing the ball late at sharp pace, as he showed with a first-innings haul of three for 36 in Pakistan’s tour opener against Somerset.
It means an England side missing all-time leading injured wicket-taker James Anderson and sidelined all-rounder Ben Stokes, should not have things all their own way as they did in the preceding 2-0 home series win over Sri Lanka.
While the likes of former Pakistan batsman Ramiz Raja have expressed doubts about the wisdom of letting Amir back into international cricket, players on both sides have accepted the situation.
“We could talk or moan about it and have our opinions, but the fact is it is not going to change him opening the bowling at us on Thursday or playing against us throughout this [four-match] series,” said England batsman Joe Root.
Amir is far from the only threat in a Pakistan bowling line-up also featuring fellow left-armer Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
The key to the series could lie with both teams’ top-order batsmen.
England were repeatedly bailed out of early collapses against Sri Lanka by in-form middle-order batsman Jonny Bairstow.
Pakistan have a strong middle order in skipper Misbah-ul-Haq fellow veteran Younis Khan and the in-form Asad Shafiq.
But doubts persist over openers Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood, just as there are concerns as to whether Alex Hales, yet to score a Test hundred, is the right man to partner skipper Alastair Cook at the top of England’s order.
The combative Riaz is looking to target Root, now promoted to number three by England.
For the Yorkshireman, that was just pre-series “trash talk” but Riaz said of Root: “He is the backbone of the England team, and getting him out early will put the pressure on England.
“If he thinks it is just trash talk then hats off to him.”
Turning to Amir, Riaz added: “He is a very intelligent bowler and he is a very strong lad…He is eager to perform.”
England will have to decide whether to give a debut to either Jake Ball or fellow paceman Toby Roland-Jones, wo plays at Lord’s for Middlesex, as the fourth-placed team begin their bid to leapfrog Pakistan (third) in the world Test rankings.
The match will also mark the return to Test cricket of England batsman Gary Ballance after he was dropped last year.
But an unconcerned Riaz said: “We are not worried about what England has picked or they haven’t picked.
“The only thing we know is that England is a good team in their home conditions.”
For Riaz, and many Pakistanis, there is more riding on this match than just the raw result.
“Under the captaincy of Misbah this team is much more united,” he said.
“We have seen the hard time of Pakistan cricket and we have managed to make the people all over the world believe that Pakistan is a good Test team.
“The Pakistan team are a strong team and can always give you a hard time.”
Being without Anderson is blow for England.
However, when he was ruled out of last year’s fourth Test, fellow quick Stuart Broad took eight for 15 on his Trent Bridge home ground, as Australia were skittled out for 60, to set up an Ashes-clinching win.
The post All eyes on Amir as ‘united’ Pakistan return to Lord’s appeared first on The Express Tribune.
MAIDENHEAD: Jim Charlesworth has no doubts about the abilities of his local MP and neighbour Theresa May. “She will be the best prime minister this country has ever known,” the 69-year-old said.
May, who will replace David Cameron as Britain’s next leader on Wednesday, is widely viewed as hard-working, tough but approachable in her constituency of Maidenhead in southern England.
“I can’t say a wrong word about that lady — she will get this country back on its feet,” Charlesworth told AFP.
May has represented Maidenhead, west of London, since 1997. She was re-elected as its Conservative MP last year with 65.8 percent of the vote.
“I never voted for her but I do respect her, she is a very hard-working MP,” said Anne Matkin, 64.
She said May was “always willing to listen and to help people” despite, for the past six years as interior minister, holding one of the toughest jobs in government.
“She spends a lot of time in the area,” adds Maxine Lattimer, a 46-year-old housewife with five children, describing her as a “nice, caring woman”.
She recalled how May attended a recent parade to celebrate St George’s Day, in honour of England’s patron saint, along with her bodyguards.
After six years as home secretary, she now has the tough task of uniting the country and leading Britain out of the European Union.
Lattimer has no doubt that May is the right person to lead the Brexit negotiations.
“She’ll be very assertive, she’ll work really really hard for the best interest of Britain. She won’t shy away from difficult decisions — she is tough when she needs to be,” she said.
The 60,000 residents of Maidenhead, many of whom commute to work in London, bucked the trend across England by voting for Britain to stay in the EU.
May, too, had wanted Britain to stay in and although she kept a low national profile, residents here say she had campaigned locally for the status quo.
“People felt that she did her bit,” said Martin Trepte, editor of the local newspaper, the Maidenhead Advertiser, which has a circulation of 17,000.
May has repeatedly said that she will uphold the will of the public and that “Brexit means Brexit”.
Trepte described her as a “mature, grown-up politician” who “knows her stuff” — and says there are no skeletons in her closet, at least as far as he knows.
“In 19 years there has been nothing murky at all,” he said.
He added: “We don’t know too much about her. She’s quite a private person. We know she goes to church regularly.”
May attends church in Sonning, a picturesque village on the banks of the River Thames where she lives with her husband Philip.
Its charms have attracted other high-profile neighbours including Hollywood actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.
Gil Cattermole, another of May’s neighbours, recalled popping in for a chat before the politician became home secretary and had to step up her security.
“I used to go around to her house and talk to her,” said the 69-year-old, noting that when May now goes to church, she is accompanied by several armoured Range Rovers.
At the Bull Inn, a pub where Clooney has been spotted, May is also well known — although they expect to see less of her once she enters Downing Street.
“She’s always been very charming, very nice to customers and staff. She seems sort of genuine and very passionate about her beliefs,” owner Christine Mason said.
“I bumped in her at the petrol station the other week. She is still relaxed doing the normal things in life. Always says ‘hello’ — nice lady.”
When Egypt’s military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, Egyptians like Nabil dared to hope that their conservative country was on the brink of change.
Like many gay Egyptians, Nabil faced a life of persecution and intolerance, and when the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi came to power in 2012 he fled to the United States.
Many believed that Morsi’s ouster amid mass protests a year later and replacement with then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would nudge Egyptian society in a more liberal direction.
But two years after Sisi took office, those hopes have been dashed by a crackdown, not just on the gay community, but on writers, intellectuals and even belly dancers who have fallen foul of conservatives and Egypt’s influential Islamic authorities.
“I was hoping that with the change of that theocratic regime of the Muslim Brotherhood the people will realise that they’ve been fooled all this time and become less conservative,” Nabil said.
But any thought of returning from the United States, where he has been granted asylum, has been set aside for now.
“Things are worse. Egypt has gone backwards,” says Nabil, 29, who asked to be identified with a pseudonym for his protection.
Morsi’s overthrow unleashed a crackdown on his supporters that killed hundreds of protesters and detained thousands.
Authorities then began rounding up liberal and leftist political activists who had been involved in the protests against Morsi and the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
As Sisi has consolidated his rule, the suppression of political dissent has paved the way for a rise of conservatism, says rights lawyer Negad El Borai.
“One-voice regimes are usually conservative by default,” El Borai says. “They’re linked not only to restrictions in the political sphere, but in freedoms in general.”
Sisi had initially promised modernity and vowed religion would not be used in politics again.
But the authorities’ actions say otherwise.
In April, 11 men accused of homosexuality were sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years after they were convicted of “debauchery”.
Egyptian law does not prohibit homosexuality, but gays are prosecuted under debauchery laws.
“They like to show they are still Muslims: ‘We’re a Muslim state you guys, we have arrested some gays here’,” says Nabil.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) has documented at least 200 cases against gays and transgender people since Morsi’s overthrow.
“The sentences are terrifying,” says Dalia Abd El-Hameed, head of the gender programme at the EIPR.
The crackdown has widened, with several artists jailed for violating morality laws.
In February, writer Ahmed Naji was imprisoned for violating “public modesty” after a state-run newspaper ran an excerpt from his novel that described a sex scene.
Islam Behairy, an Islamic researcher, was in December sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting religion” over remarks he made on his television programme criticising books in the Sunni Muslim canon.
Al-Azhar leads backlash
In January, poet Fatma Naoot was sentenced to three years in jail after she criticised in a Facebook post the slaughter of cattle and sheep for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. She had left the country.
And last year, three belly dancers known as Shakira, Bardis, and Reda El-Fouly served time on accusations they broadcast “obscenities” in music videos.
Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top Islamic authority, has been central to the conservative backlash, leading a charge against Behairy that saw his television programme discontinued.
“Al-Azhar today has more political influence than under Mubarak,” says El Borai.
The constitution adopted in early 2014 after Morsi’s overthrow strengthened Al-Azhar’s role, making it “the main reference on religious studies and Islamic affairs.”
Some critics say a lack of legal clarity is allowing for morality laws to be applied too broadly.
Lawmaker Zakareya Mohyeldin is trying to abolish an article in the criminal code that leaves the definition of blasphemy vague.
That section “imprisons thinkers and it is against freedom of thought and creativity,” he says.
But others, including El-Borai, do not believe changing laws is the solution.
“You can incorporate the best law in the world, but if society and the judiciary are not open and just, this law is worthless,” he says.
The post Liberal hopes dashed as post-Islamist Egypt turns conservative appeared first on The Express Tribune.
Aries | March 20 – April 18
Life would be easier if you could make decisions regarding potential changes in your domestic or working setup. However, the actual basis for these is shifting and will continue to until the Full Moon, which accents these matters, on the 19th. Knowing that, for now, stick to exploring your options.
Taurus | April 19 – May 19
When a Taurus makes a decision, it’s rock solid. That’s because when potential changes first arise, you ask lots of questions and delve into answers in detail. However, the foundation on which certain arrangements were made has itself shifted, which will require a substantial review of both recent facts and your conclusions.
Gemini | May 20 – June 19
By no means are you narrow-minded. Yet in the past you’ve spent so much time thinking about and discussing crucial issues that you feel little need to talk them over and, still less, to heed others’ advice. Actually, you should. Certain individuals are better informed then you, about several matters.
Cancer | June 20 – July 21
Don’t be surprised if you feel either somewhat distant from those closest or, worse, there’s a serious clash. Actually, this is no reason for worry but, rather an indication of a timely and much needed recalibration of the balance in your relationship. Times are changing and so, too, much these alliances.
Leo | July 22 – August 21
Ordinarily, a sudden change in one particular individual’s attitude towards you would mean either you’ve upset them or there’ve been disturbing remarks. And, naturally, you’d ask what’s wrong. In this case, however, the individual in question is in the midst of deep inner turmoil, and those changes reflect that, nothing more.
Virgo | August 22 – September 21
The time has come to speak your mind. You’ve kept your thoughts to yourself, mostly because you didn’t want others to think you were being critical when, in truth, you were simply concerned about certain decisions they’ve made. You needn’t worry. The individual in question will be delighted to hear your comments.
Libra | September 22 – October 21
Obviously you’d rather have the support of those who matter in the pivotal decisions you’re making. But with things moving so swiftly, there’s little time to gather facts and still less to discuss matters with others. You know what’s best. Take action now, you’ll soon get the back up you’re seeking.
Scorpio | October 22 – November 20
Although you’re perfectly capable of being bold, you’d rather approach things in a manner so subtle nobody notices, at least until arrangements are settled. However, with forthright Mars in Scorpio, you’ll find in certain matters you’ve no choice but to be frank, about your objectives and your plans to achieve them.
Sagittarius | November 21 – December 20
Unlike many people, you’re happy to receive unsolicited advice and truly enjoy talking to those whose knowledge is greater than yours. Yet even you could find the ideas currently being suggested as a remedy for certain persistent problems are too far out for your taste. Still, explore them. You’ll be glad you did.
Capricorn | December 21 – January 19
It would be easy to regard the sudden, surprising and, in some cases, unsettling events as reason for concern. Actually, disruptive as these are, they’re also about breakthroughs, some as exciting as they are unexpected. Knowing that, explore absolutely everything that comes your way, however unwelcome it seems at first.
Aquarius | January 20 – February 18
Being inquisitive by nature, you tend to regard plans as fixed until you encounter somebody interesting or a new idea. These aren’t just exciting, but give you good reason to rethink things about which, only recently, you were seriously enthusiastic. Obvious as it is to you, others may need an explanation.
Pisces | February 19 – March 19
Commitments vary. While some involve social plans, and others future promises, as many relate to business. Equally, some are casual, while others are serious because of the nature of the arrangements. What’s vital is to ensure all involved agree how seriously the commitment between them is meant to be taken.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2016.
DALLAS: President Barack Obama implored Americans of all races to show more unity and understanding as he addressed an emotional memorial for five slain policemen in Dallas Tuesday.
The president, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, leaned heavily on scripture as he ministered to a country stunned by gun violence and torn asunder by race and politics.
“I know that Americans are struggling right now with what we’ve witnessed over the past week,” he said.
A succession of shootings, each racially charged, has led to a sense that “the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened,” Obama said.
“I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.”
From Charleston to Orlando to last week’s ambush in Dallas, by a black gunman out to kill whites in retribution for police violence, the past year has seen a torrent of slaughter motivated by hate.
Each week seemingly brings new shaky footage of a police officer shooting dead a black American — images that quickly go viral and revive tough questions about race and policing.
Obama’s speech included a frank admission that his own efforts to tackle violence, guns and racism had come up short.
“I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency,” he said with uncommon candor. “I’ve seen how a spirit of unity born of tragedy can gradually dissipate.”
“I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been.”
Eight years ago, Obama’s rhetorical prowess made him America’s first black president and raised hopes that the country could overcome deeply entrenched societal divides.
Tuesday’s memorial service showed a weary president whose hopes for change had been thwarted.
The way out, Obama said — suggesting work that will continue beyond his presidency — was for Americans to open their hearts to each other.
Black Americans protesting police racism, he said, must understand how hard the police’s job can be.
“You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context?”
But Obama also challenged a mostly-white police force and white Americans at large to admit that while the edifice of legalized racism had gone, prejudice remained.
“We have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point,” he said.
“We’ve heard it at times in our own homes. If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts.”
That call for unity was echoed by former president George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor.
“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions,” said the Dallas resident.
But Obama, a Democrat, also made a call for Bush’s fellow Republicans to realize the cost of their opposition to gun control and spending on mental health and drug treatment.
“We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment,” Obama said, pointing to a string of causes for violence.
“We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs. We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”
Following the service, Obama met for more than an hour with families of the officers killed and wounded, along with Bush and Vice President Joe Biden, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The three men were accompanied by their wives.
Last week, the fatal police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, prompted nationwide anger, with thousands of protesters taking to the streets from coast to coast.
They also seemingly motivated black Afghanistan war veteran Micah Johnson to carry out his deadly rampage in Dallas just as a protest against police brutality was wrapping up.
Johnson, 25, used a high-powered rifle for the killings, also wounding nine other police officers and two civilians in Thursday’s sniper attack.
Before he was killed by a police robot, Johnson told negotiators he wanted to murder white cops in revenge for the black deaths.
The memorial paid a poignant tribute to the fallen “peacemakers in blue” — Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith.
Each officer was represented by an empty chair in the auditorium, adorned with a folded US flag and officer’s cap.
BEIJING: Beijing insisted Wednesday that it had sovereignty over the South China Sea, defying an international tribunal ruling that its claims to a vast swathe of the waters had no legal basis.
China was “the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited” the islands of the South China Sea islands and their waters, and had “continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them”, Beijing said in a white paper on settling disputes with the Philippines, which brought the case in The Hague.
Beijing’s claims to the waters — extending almost to the coasts of other littoral states — are enshrined in a “nine-dash line” that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.
China had “never ceased carrying out activities such as patrolling and law enforcement, resources development and scientific survey” on the islands and in “relevant waters”.
The white paper says that China says it wants to settle the disputes “on the basis of respecting historical facts”.
But the document was in direct contradiction to the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday, which said that “there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources”.
The UN-backed tribunal also said that any “historic rights” to resources in the waters of the South China Sea were “extinguished” when China signed up to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
As such, it said there was “no legal basis” for China to claim historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line.
China had no possible entitlement to areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, it added.
Beijing boycotted the PCA proceedings, saying it had no jurisdiction to rule on the issues, and has mounted a huge diplomatic and publicity drive to try to discredit the tribunal and its decision.