Mohtarma Bhutto to visit US and UK
Islamabad February 28, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto will be visiting the United States and the United Kingdom
During her visit she is expected to meet discuss the present political
situation with think tanks and policy makers in the United States as well as
the Pakistan Community, members of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the US and
with the press.
The reports published in a segment of the press that Mohtarma would be
meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina
Rocca are not correct. "No such meeting is scheduled as yet".
Meanwhile the Pakistan Peoples Party Foreign Liaison Committee has welcomed
State Department's spokesman Richard Boucher's statement urging General
Musharaf to ensure that the next elections be held in accordance with
'international standards' and with 'full participation' of all political
It is through the restoration of true democracy that the people of Pakistan
can be empowered and extremist forces stopped from taking the country back
to the dark ages, he said.
The spokesman said that the assassination attempts on General Musharaf
highlighted the need for Pakistan to move from one man rule to an
institutional form of government that could ensure continuity while
co-opting the people in the process through a popular base.
DHA Islamabad Ordinance criticised
Repeal of Ordinance and discussion in Parliament demanded
Islamabad February 23, 2005:
The Pakistan Peoples has denounced the promulgation of the Defense
Housing Authority Islamabad Ordinance 2005 as an attempt to by pass the
Parliament from questioning the rationale and justification for setting up
another civic Authority in the federal capital in addition to the Capital
The government on Tuesday issued an ordinance setting up a Defense Housing
Authority in Islamabad on the pattern of similar Housing Authorities set up
in Karachi and Lahore during previous military rules. The ordinance was
issued just before the National Assembly's meeting today.
In a statement today a spokesman of the Party said that under the
Constitution an ordinance can be issued only when the Parliament is not in
session and if circumstances warrant issuance of an ordinance. In view of
the fact that the National Assembly was scheduled to meet today there was no
need for an ordinance.
The ordinance should be repealed and the proposed law placed before the
Parliament for a thorough discussion and debate on the pros and cons of
setting up a Defnese Housing Authority in the federal capital, he said.
The proposed law should have been placed before the Parliament for a debate
and discussion, he said.
The promulgation of an ordinance just few hours before the session of the
National Assembly has dramatized the trivialisation of the Parliament and
also highlighted how real estate and commercial interests of some are being
advanced through questionable legal mechanisms, he said.
What was the urgency that the ordinance could not wait just for one day and
placed before the National Assembly, the spokesman asked questioning also
the circumstances that made the President feel 'satisfied' to bypass the
The spokesman said that the DHA Ordinance raised serious questions about
land and its utilisation and should have been brought before the Parliament.
Ignoring the Parliament and hasty promulgation of an Ordinance will continue
to raise doubts and questions which will refuse to die down easily, he said.
Mohtarma Bhutto condoles with Munawar Talpur on his mother’s death
Islamabad, 23 February 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has expressed her deep grief and sorrow over the death of Mir
Munawar Talpur’s mother.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in a condolence message addressed to Mir Munawar
Talpur wrote, "She was a loving and caring Mother who bore with strength and
fortitude the hard days of imprisonment and exile of her son as well as the
death of her dearest grandson. Her gentleness and nobility will always live
on as vivid memories in all those who met with her."
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul and
courage to family members and friends to bear this irreparable loss with
PPP demands relief for rain effected areas
Islamabad, 23 February 2005:
Mian Raza Rabbani, Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan has issued
the following statement:
I reiterate the demand of the Opposition voiced on the floor of the Senate
that the Government should declare the rain and flood effected areas of the
NWFP and Balochistan as calamity—hit areas. It is a mater of concern why the
Balochistan Government has till date not declared the effected areas as
The numbers of deaths, injuries and the extent of damage caused to people’s
homes was high, relaxation in the taxes will be of some relief to the
people. The Province needed resources to rehabilitate the affected people,
restore necessary infrastructure and provide housing facility to those whose
houses were washed away or had collapsed due to the rains.
It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has failed to provide adequate
machinery for removal of snow and as a consequence a large number of areas
still remain without excess and relief and rehabilitation work has still not
started in those areas.
This state of affairs reflects on the ability of the Government to react to
a national calamity in the shortest possible time. The Prime Minister has
gain gone a tour abroad while his Cabinet Ministers have not found the time
to tour or supervise the relief operations.
It is once again demanded of the Federal Government that the affected areas
of the two Provinces be declared calamity hit areas immediately.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto condoles the death of Begum Nadir Khan Khakwani
Islamabad, February 22, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Senator Asif Ali Zardari have condoled with
Begum Beelum Hasnain MNA over her mother Begum Nadir Khan Khakwani’s death.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in a condolence letter addressed to Begum Beelum
Hasnain paying rich tributes to departed soul wrote, "there are few words
that can express the grief over the passing away of a lady of character and
integrity, of strength and principles. So many memories come to my mind. I
recall how young Shah Nawaz and I went and met Begum Khakwani for the first
time in Lahore, how she hosted us, the press and political functions at her
residence and later in Lahore. I recall the courage with which Begum
Khakwani faced military dictatorship, her days in Kot Lakhpat Prison and her
commitment to the strength of our Nation, to the principles of democracy and
to the service of our people. Throughout her life she stood steadfast in
support of Quaid e Awam and Begum Nusrat Bhutto. She treated me like a
daughter. I recall with great happiness, the times I spent with Begum
Khakwani in her home, always feeling like it was my own."
The condolence letter further reads, "during her tenure as a Minister, Begum
Khakwani's performance remained stellar, owing to her deep affection for the
Party and the people of Pakistan. Begum Nadir Khan Khakwani would be
remembered as one of the most courageous, devoted, committed and loyal party
workers who believed in democracy and a society free of injustices. Such
people are our most valuable assets and the Party is proud of them."
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul and
for courage to family members and friends to bear this irreparable loss with
Former Interior Minister lambastes NAB for keeping mum over Imtiaz Shaikh
Islamabad February 22, 2005:
Former Interior Minister Major General ® Naseerullah Babar has
lambasted the NAB for looking the other way and not taking action against
sacked Sindh Revenue Minister Imtiaz Shaikh despite serious allegations of
corruption levelled by no less than the Province’s Chief Minister.
"It is most condemnable that the NAB has allowed itself to be used as
political arm of the dictators to pursue their political agenda", he said in
a statement today.
He said that Imtiaz Shaikh was a mere grade 18 officer who was promoted out
of turn to grade 20 and posted as Secretary to former chief minister Jam
Sadiq Ali and who also worked with another Chief Minister Syed Muzaffar
Hussain Shah. The fingerprints of sacked Revenue Minister of Sindh can also
be found in the notorious Mehran Bank scandal and in the land scam of
Boating basin in Karachi in early nineties, he said.
The former Interior Minister said that that a sitting Chief Minister had
made startling disclosures about his minister’s involvement in graft,
extortion and kidnapping. He said that the revelations about Imtaiz Shaikh
are only tip of the iceberg of corruption under Musharraf as the
investigation officer has also named another provincial minister Altaf Unnar
along with the dismissed Revenue Minister as involved in the land scandal,
The NAB’s silence throws dark light on the institution and its functionaries
he said and added "respect comes not with wearing glittering medallions but
with conducting oneself honourably without succumbing to temptations and
General Babar said that the Imtiaz Shaikh scandal highlighted the need for
freeing political prisoners and acknowledging the victims of NAB who were
deprived of liberty, denied livelihood and exiled on politically motivated
The scandal and the deafening silence of NAB also drives home the need for
setting up an independent anti corruption bureau headed and manned by men of
integrity and character who can stand up to political pressure in probing
corruption scandals, he said. Corruption is proliferating while NAB
continues to play the political games of its masters only for earning
extension in job to continue enjoying perks and privileges and foreign
junkets at public expense, he said.
Panic Grips Pakistani Generals as US Agrees to Sell Patriot Missiles to
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Special to the South Asia Tribune
KARACHI, February 20:
Panic has almost broken out in the Strategic and Planning Division of
Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi as in the next 24
hours a top level team of US technical experts will land in New Delhi to
brief Indian defence experts on US Patriot Advanced Capability-2
Anti-Ballistic Missile System which could shoot down any of the Pakistani
New Delhi made its first request to the US for this defence system in
November 2002 and it is now that Pentagon has decided to begin the sale
process in what the Pakistani GHQ believes would bring a virtual end to the
Pakistani nuclear deterrence and tilt the power balance in India’s favor,
despite Pakistan’s nuclear capability.
The Army strategists do not believe Musharraf’s closest ally and friend in
the War against Terror, US President George W. Bush, could be doing such a
devastating thing to Pakistan. “If India gets the Patriot anti-missile
defence system, where do we go, because it would be almost impossible to
penetrate with the indigenous Ghauris and Hataf missiles that we have,” one
worried analyst said.
Indian Defence Ministry has confirmed that a four-member team, led by Edward
Ross of the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), will be in New Delhi
from February 20 to 24 to discuss the missile defence system.
The team will present a technical brief to the International Security
division of the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence. Ross
is second in command to General Koffler at the DSCA in Pentagon. Indian
media reports say the Pentagon team will interact with officers of the
Indian armed forces and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)
during their four-day stay.
The Bush administration gave clearance for a classified technical
presentation of PAC-2 system as part of the Next Step in Strategic
Partnership (NSSP) agreement signed between India and the US last year.
Surprisingly General Musharraf or his Generals have not yet raised any hue
and cry in Washington about this escalation of the arms race in the
sub-continent but once the General gets out of his slumber, he is going to
make noise like a skeleton on a hot tin roof, according to analysts.
The first indication that Washington was willing to share technical data
came after Indian Ambassador to US, Ronnen Sen, flew to New Delhi last
November to discuss the missile defence issue with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee. It was then that the government
gave clearance to Sen to proceed further.
While the Indian defence establishment is keen to have a look at the PAC-2
system, it has its eyes on the future because this opens the way to PAC-3,
the latest upgrade of the anti-missile system developed by US defence majors
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
PAC-2 is a long-range, all altitude and all weather air defence system to
counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
The range of the missile is 70 km and it can climb to an altitude greater
than 24 km. The minimum flight time — time needed to arm a missile — is less
than three seconds and maximum flight time is just three-and-half minutes.
Patriots were first put to use by the Israelis in the first Gulf War when
Iraqi missiles fired at Israel were intercepted during flight and destroyed.
Ever since much advanced versions have been developed. Till date, Washington
has shared this technology, updated in 1991, with key allies, including
Israel, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
PAC-3 was seen in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and has a kill rate of
more than 95 per cent. Neither China nor Pakistan have this type of
anti-ballistic missile capability and the geo-strategic location of
Pakistani missiles makes the Patriots more effective as any Pakistani
missile could be intercepted in the air while in Pakistani air space or much
before it could reach any major Indian city.
Analysts are still not sure why Washington would go for such an escalation
but many believe it has lot to do with the intrinsic lack of trust in
General Musharraf and his Army Generals, specially their double games and
cover ups of the Dr AQ Khan nuclear sales network.
Pakistan defence managers have been claiming over the last few years that a
level of deterrence had been achieved with the development of
nuclear-capable long and short range missiles and it was this deterrence
which prevented India and Pakistan from going to war during the 8-month long
armed stand off of troops during the Vajpayee Government.
They concede that lack of spare parts and non-supply of new aircraft had
left the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) almost crippled with just a few F-16
fighters after most of them were cannibalized. The US has consistently
refused to consider Pakistani requests for new F-16 fighters, although
Pakistan has been declared a Non-NATO ally and military sales have resumed
These sales have so far been all on US terms and the latest goods in the
pipeline worth $1.2 billion are basically 8 P-3C Orion reconnaissance
aircraft which, many experts believe, Pakistan hardly needs in preference to
strike capability F-16s or equivalent aircraft.
So while the official Pakistani media is spinning yarn about the latest CBMs
with India and opening of a Bus Service to Srinagar, the GHQ strategists are
in a state of semi-shock as all their levers vis-à-vis India have been
neutralized and now Washington is willing to provide the Indians with the
capacity to neutralize the nuclear deterrent as well.
Independent defence experts believe the Pakistanis lost much of their
bargaining power in Kashmir when General Musharraf agreed to a ceasefire in
Kashmir, allowed India to build the fence on the Line of Control and when
India installed the latest and effective monitoring devices which almost
completely stopped the infiltration of Jihadis from the Pakistani side.
Once India was satisfied that Pakistan was no longer capable of keeping the
pot boiling inside Kashmir, it launched the political and diplomatic moves
to ease tensions and allow more room to Kashmiris. It also announced
symbolic withdrawal of Indian troops from Kashmir and agreed to the Bus
Service, even dropping the condition of passports for Kashmiris.
Surprisingly within India there is a strong section of defence experts who
do not want to acquire the Patriot Missile System from the US.
“There are disarmament fundamentalists who object to missile defence on the
basis of obsolete Kissingerian arguments that missile defence will unleash
an arms race. There are self-reliance fundamentalists who assert that India
can develop its own missile defence technology and therefore does not need
any US inputs. Thirdly, there are still veteran cold warriors who cannot
forget the Enterprise mission of 1971 and continuing US support to Army-led
Pakistani regime,” known defence writer K Subrahmanyam said in an article
But he wrote: “If we act on our own ancient wisdom, in this globalizing and
post-Cold War world, mindful of our own national interest and security, we
should exploit every opportunity to augment them.”
“India particularly needs missile defence because we have adopted a
‘‘no-first-use’’ doctrine in respect of nuclear weapons. Therefore, a
missile defence for our national decision-making center and some part of our
retaliatory forces would make our ‘‘no-first-use’’ posture more credible. It
would enhance the uncertainties of our potential adversary and act as a
disincentive to his ready resort to nuclear weapons.”
Secondly, he wrote: “Pakistan is not in a position to engage in such an arms
race without technological inputs from countries like China and North Korea
and large scale financial help from Saudi Arabia. In the present
international strategic environment, the probability of these developments
taking place is not high.”
“The US willingness to share information on the missile defence under NSSP
is an indication of America’s recognition of the realities of the
globalizing world and India’s role in it…The US is well aware that neither
in civilian commerce nor in arms purchases can Pakistan compete with India.
The US-Indian technology bridge has no analogue in respect of Pakistan.”
Amid this tightening noose around the neck, the GHQ in Rawalpindi is
depending wholly on the personal rapport and skills of General Musharraf and
looking up to him whether he would be able to persuade President Bush not to
create the huge imbalance in the sub-continent.
"If Musharraf fails, there would be a lot of angry and depressed faces in
the GHQ and Musharraf will have to double his own personal security and cut
down inter-action with many of his brothers in uniform. He will have to
spend more time ensuring his survival," according to an analyst.
The writer is Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online. He wrote this
piece specially for the South Asia Tribune.
PPP denounces NAB as political pot-pourri of the regime
Demands that reasons for filing and withdrawing reference be made public
Islamabad February 21, 2005:
The withdrawal of references against Federal Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat
has demonstrated conclusively that the NAB under uniformed personnel is
nothing but political pot-pourri of the regime used for promoting its dirty
Spokesman of the Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar said this
today commenting on the NAB’s plea in the Supreme Court to withdraw
corruption reference against the Federal Minister.
He said that the nation had a right to demand the reasons for which the
reference was first filed and pursued in courts for several years at public
expense and the reasons for seeking to withdraw it all of a sudden.
The comical accountability under military rulers has degenerated into a
theatrical farce the like of which has not been witnessed in recent times
any where in the world, he said.
The Party asks the NAB to inform the people as to how much of the tax
payers’ money was spent on the reference. It demands of the regime that the
money spent on the reference and also on the foreign junkets must be
recovered from the NAB officials.
The spokesman recalled that barely six weeks ago, on December 2 the Senate
was informed by NAB in writing that Faisal Saleh Hayat was a wilful
defaulter whose case was under trial in Accountability Court.
Within six weeks of its statement the NAB no longer sees Faisal as a wilful
defaulter nor sees the need for pursuing the case in the Accountability
Court, he said.
He recalled that earlier in November two references were withdrawn against
federal minister Mr. Liaquat Jatoi and a third one withdrawn a few weeks
later for finding ‘no evidence against him’. The process of withdrawing
references against Jatoi began when the exiled politician ditched the
democratic opposition to join the King’s Party.
Last year cases were also withdrawn against federal minister Jehangir Tareen.
Cases against MQM Governor of Sindh Mr. Ishrat ul Ibad have also been
withdrawn and a question asked in the Senate about it was killed in the
Chamber, he said.
It is outrageous that accountability has been so brazenly manipulated for
pursuing political agenda. It is sickening that uniformed personnel in the
NAB have become willing political tools in the hands of the rulers.
He recalled that a few weeks ago the Supreme Court stingingly observed that
the BMW case against Asif Zardari appeared to have been filed with ‘malafide
intent’. In the Faisal reference today it pointed to the repeated defaults
by the federal minister. It also remarked that if the case had to be
withdrawn the NAB should not have wasted the Court’s time. When public
functionaries refuse to resign and stick to their positions despite such
reflections on their conduct it only shows the extent of degeneration, he
Musharraf Protecting Doctor Who Bankrupted Nebraska, Embarrassed Pakistan
Special SAT Report
NEW YORK, February 19: A
Pakistani doctor who caused the biggest Hepatitis outbreak in US history,
was sued by over 100 victims in
paid millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements has now lost his
medical license in the State of New York as well. But he continues to be the
Minister of Health in Pakistan's largest province, Punjab.
"The continuing saga of Dr Tahir Ali Javed has caused
tremendous embarrassment for all Pakistani doctors doing a wonderful job in
the US but when people here learn that he is Minister of Health under the
military rule of General Musharraf, the whole country and its system looks
like a joke," a senior Pakistani heart specialist settled in New York
When more than 120 patients filed legal cases to claim
damages from Dr Javed and his clinic, he fled the country to Pakistan but
through his connections with the Pakistan Army, maneuvered to become a
member of the Punjab Assembly in the 2002 elections and was immediately
named as the Minister of Health of the province with a budget of billions of
In September 2003 the State of
Nebraska, where Dr Javed
practiced medicine as a cancer specialist, revoked his medical license after
accusing him of "unprofessional conduct and gross negligence" which resulted
in an outbreak of Hepatitis C in
hurting hundreds of patients.
In March 2004 the State of New York issued its "Factual
allegations" under New York law which included "negligence on more than one
occasion", "gross negligence", "moral unfitness", "abandoning or neglecting
a patient under and in need of immediate professional care, without making
reasonable arrangements for the continuation of such care" and "failure to
maintain a record of each patient which accurately reflects the evaluation
and treatment of the patient."
Dr. Javed, who was accused of "moral unfitness" by the
State of New York, in a "Surrender Order" admitted some of the charges
stating: "I, hereby, do not contest the allegations…." and requested the
authorities to allow him to surrender his medical license. Click to
As if confirming the charge of moral unfitness, Dr. Javed
continued to issue numerous statements denying all the accusations against
him and even accusing newspapers of working for "Zionists". But while doing
so publicly, he was also signing "surrender" documents privately, admitting
all the charges and seeking to get away from the destruction he had caused
in the US.
The NY State issued the order to revoke his license on
March 17, 2004
stating that "the name of the Respondent be stricken from the roster of
physicians in State of
Click to read order
But these actions by the States of Nebraska and
New York have not
affected the pending cases against Dr Javed and millions of dollars are
being paid by the Insurance Companies and
Medical Malpractice Fund.
South Asia Tribune has obtained some details of the amounts
involved in these cases and while individual settlement figures are
confidential, it is learnt that the Nebraska Fund may be paying over $50
million to the victims of Dr Javed. This amount is in addition to what the
Insurance companies would have to pay.
Reports in local
confirm that more than half the malpractice lawsuits filed against Dr. Javed
and his former Fremont cancer clinic have been settled out of court.
In 2002 and 2003, state health officials linked the reuse
of syringes and other unsanitary practices at Javed's clinic to 99 Hepatitis
C infections. The clinic closed after Javed fled to his native
Pakistan. The state later
also revoked medical license of his head nurse, Linda Prochaska.
Reports quoted the District Court Clerk Linda Nelson saying
that only 45 cases remained unresolved out of over 100 filed against Dr.
Javed, the Fremont
Center and some of its nurses and the Fremont Area Medical Center, the
county-owned hospital that leased the clinic its space.
Earl "Chip" Greene estimated the number remaining at 40.
Greene is an attorney for the Nebraska Excess Liability Fund. The fund pays
damages, up to a cap set by the Legislature, to patients when settlements or
court awards exceed malpractice insurance limits.
L. Tim Wagner, director of the Nebraska Insurance
Department, which oversees the fund, said 54 cases had been settled, leaving
39. He declined to disclose settlement amounts, individually or in total,
saying that might jeopardize future cases and violate settlement agreements.
Wagner previously had worried that the sheer number of
Hepatitis C claims would bankrupt the fund and prompt unprecedented special
assessments for the health professionals and facilities that now pay into
But so far, he said, it's looking like the fund will break
even – with about $58.3 million in assets, $63 million in anticipated
liabilities, and interest earnings to cover the gap. Among the more recent
cases settled are two that had been set to go to trial this year – those
filed by Eleanor Daehnke and the husband of the late Cheryl Gentry.
Dr Javed's gross negligence has brought about changes in
some laws of Nebraska.
State lawmakers were considering a Bill introduced by State Sen. Don
Pederson of North Platte, which would require doctors, hospitals and other
participating health care providers to carry more malpractice insurance and
be responsible for a larger share of malpractice claims.
"I think it's very important we maintain the Nebraska
Hospital-Medical Excess Liability Fund," Pederson said. This fund pays
malpractice claims above a set amount. Claims below that level are the
provider's responsibility and typically are covered by private malpractice
Under the system, the Lawmakers increased the maximum
malpractice payment last year. Payments now are capped at $1.75 million for
incidents occurring after Jan. 1 and $1.25 million for prior incidents. The
increase was the third since the fund was created in 1975.
In October, Dr. Javed admitted using unsanitary practices
that allowed Hepatitis C to spread among clinic patients. At least 99 people
were infected, including one who died.
But back in
Pakistan, as Punjab
Health Minister, Dr Javed shamelessly keeps on making public statements
about health of millions of people. In one such ironic statement he
"stressed the need for hospitals to dispose waste and make sterilized gloves
and good quality syringes available. He said about seven Hepatitis patients
were being reported in Lahore hospitals daily.
After taking care of Hepatitis patients in
Nebraska, it is the turn
of poor Pakistanis who don't even have a place to appeal, if they get the
medical treatment prescribed and practiced by Dr Javed.
But more shameless and arrogant are the political and
military masters who are keeping Dr Javed, and men like him, in top decision
making positions of the country, despite the proven record of their crimes.
Mohtarma Bhutto welcomes Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus service
Islamabad February 16, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has welcomed the announcement today that Pakistan and India
have agreed to run Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus service from April 7, 2005.In a
statement today the former Prime Minister said that the bus service would
help alleviate the sufferings of divided Kashmiri families and also promote
the prospects of safe and open borders in South Asia. "The formula of safe
and open borders in South Asia, without prejudice to the Kashmir Dispute,
can help build tension- free relations with India" she said and added that
such relations can help set the stage for the South Asian Association of
Countries moving towards a common market on the pattern of the European
Union. She said that the start of bus service between Srinagar and
Muzaffarabad would further boost the peace process in the region. She said
that the Party felt vindicated that its vision of India-Pakistan relations
to benefit the over a billion people of the region was eventually being
owned even by those who dubbed her and the PPP as security risk when it was
first propounded. Mohtarma Bhutto expressed the hope that other issues
including a nuclear restraint regime and mutual reduction in conventional
forces would also be addressed.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's Message on Ashura
Calls for resistance against tyranny and injustice
Islamabad, February 19, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has issued following message on Yom-i-Ashur, the day of
martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, falling on the 10th of Moharram,
corresponding to February 20, 2005.
"Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) sacrificed his own life
and the lives of his dearest family members and faithful followers on this
day for the cause of truth and justice and to resist oppression and tyranny.
This supreme sacrifice offered by the Imam teaches us that tyranny,
oppression and falsehood must be resisted no matter how heavy are the odds.
"As we pay homage to the great martyrs of Karbala and reflect on the lessons
of their supreme sacrifice today, we must also look inwardly and do some
soul searching. Today the need for learning a lesson from the martyrdom of
Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) is even greater because
tyranny and oppression continue to stark the land in different forms and
"On this day therefore we reiterate our resolve that no matter what the odds
we shall neither submit before tyranny and injustice nor let evil let its
"On this day I also urge my countrymen to rise above sectarianism, forge
unity among their ranks and dissociate themselves from all those elements
who are fanning sectarianism and anarchy. I also urge the countrymen to
challenge and drive out those who behind the façade of seeking to curb
extremism and terrorism are only conspiring to perpetuate their illegal hold
PPP condemns victimization of political opponents by CM Sindh
Islamabad February 19, 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned the victimization of political
opponents by the Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim and urged the human
rights bodies and legal fraternity to raise voice against the regime’s
policies of high handedness against its political opponents.
The latest case of political victimization is that of a Sindhi Engineer Wali
Muhammad Rahimoon, who resigned from Sindh government service and announced
mounting a political challenge to the sitting chief minister of the
Engineer Rahimoon who belongs to the electoral constituency of chief
minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim was picked up by the police from his Karachi
flat at midnight the other day. Four cases were filed against him and he was
detained and tortured in the CIA center in Karachi.
In a statement today spokesman of the PPP condemned the arrest and inhuman
treatment of Wali Mohammad Rahimoon as a blatant and glaring example of
victimization of political opponents. The spokesman recalled that even the
colleagues of Arbab Rahim in the Party and in provincial government have
publicly accused the Chief Minister of resorting to torture and
victimization of his opponents.
The spokesman said that Rahimoon was being pressurized to change loyalty and
desist from challenging the autocratic rule of Arbab Rahim and warned that
strong arm tactics will not deter democratic forces in the country. The
spokesman urged human rights bodies and lawyers community to take note of
the incident and raise their voice.
Mohtarma Bhutto condoles death of Rafik Hariri
Pays glowing tributes to former Lebanese Prime Minister
Islamabad February 15, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has condoled the death of Mr. Rafik Hariri and paid glowing
tributes to the former Lebanese Prime Minister.
Rafik Hariri was killed in a huge bomb blast in Beirut on Monday, which also
claimed another ten lives.
Paying glowing tributes to Rafik Hariri the Chairperson PPP said that the
former Lebanese Prime Minister was a veteran political figure and an
energetic go getter who will be remembered for leading the drive for the
reconstruction of the war ravaged Lebanon.
When the call of conscience so dictated Rafik Hariri even resigned the
office of Prime Minister without qualms, she said in her message.
"The raising of funds in the international capital market for the
reconstruction of post-war Lebanon and the rebuilding of his war torn
country would always stand a monument to the memory of Rafik Hariri".
Few have so successfully meandered their way in life from ordinary worker in
a fruit farm to an office accountant, to a school teacher to construction
business to finally become his country’s Prime Minister, she said recalling
the success story of Hariri’s life and the flowering of every effort of
which he had become a part by design or by fate.
The former Prime Minister recalled her meetings with Rafik Hariri and said
that she was truly impressed with his philanthropist and humanitarian
activities particularly in spreading education. One of the last
philanthropist acts of late Hariri was when his construction firm pledged to
contribute millions of dollars in aid of the victims of tsunami which swept
Asian shores recently, she said.
It is indeed tragic that such a man should be cut down so brutally.
The former Prime Minister also prayed for the soul of Rafik Hariri and
offered condolences to the bereaved family and the people of Lebanon.
Mohtarma Bhutto grieved over deaths due to dam rupture and floods
Demands inquiry into dam rupture, compensation to affected people
Islamabad February 12, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has expressed profound grief over the loss of precious lives
due to rupture of Shadi Kor Dam in Pasni, Gawadur district and due to
incessant rains in Frontier, Tribal, Northern Areas and other parts of the
country during the past few days.
Death toll due to floods caused by the rupture of the dam in Pasni had
crossed 60 while another over 500 people are reportedly missing. Besides,
scores of people were killed during to incessant rains in parts of NWFP,
tribal and northern areas, Murree and other parts of the country.
Several villages were swept by the gushing floodwater when the dam burst on
Thursday. The dead included several commuters when a passenger bus from
Turbat to Karachi was swept by floodwater on the coastal highway.
In a message today from Jeddah the former Prime Minister said that she was
profoundly grieved and shocked over the loss of lives, the miseries caused
to unsuspecting people and damage to the property due to floods and rains
throughout the country.
She demanded an investigation into bursting of the dam and action against
those responsible for faulty construction if it was found that the burst was
the result of faulty poor design and poor construction.
Mohtarma Bhutto asked the rulers to immediately deploy state resources to
search for those missing and rehabilitation of the affected people. She also
asked for adequate compensation to the victims and their families.
The Party Chairperson asked Party leaders to visit the affected villagers
and extend all possible assistance to them. She also prayed for those who
lost their lives in the floods and rains and expressed sympathy with the
Backtracking on debate on petroleum prices Condemned
Islamabad, 12 February 2005:
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan has
issued the following press statement:
The refusal of the Government to allow a debate on the increase in prices of
petroleum products, gas, electricity and other items is condemned. The
Minister of State for Finance agreed for the said debate on the floor of the
House but when the motion for debate was brought by the Opposition the
Government backed out. This step has exposed the fact that the Government
has not rational for the said increase in prices and fears that its hollow
economic policy will be exposed on the floor of the House.
This step further reinforces the fact this is a Government that protects the
interests of big business and the multi nationals at the cost of the common
man. The price hike is the major issue of the people of Pakistan today and
if the senate can not debate this matter than it has no right to exist.
The anti peoples policy of this Government has crushed the common man
economically while a cartel of big business reaps heavy profits and multi
nationals are allowed to transfer Pakistan’s wealth abroad at the cost of
the middle class, lower middle class and working class.
The Opposition will resist forceful through parliamentary practices this
move of the Government when the House meets on Monday.
PPP dismisses claims by Shaikh Rashid
Islamabad February 11, 2005:
Spokesman of the Pakistan Peoples Party has dismissed the claim of the
Federal Information Minister that the government was in contact with the PPP
over the seat adjustment for the next general elections in the country as
‘outlandish and aimed at driving a wedge in the opposition parties’.
In a statement today spokesman of the Party said that it appeared that some
elements in the regime were un-nerved over the pledge of PPP and PML (N) to
jointly struggle for the restoration of democracy, holding of free and fair
elections within this year and restoration of the 1973 Constitution.
Federal Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad claimed Thursday that the
government was in constant touch with the PPP and that there was every
possibility that the ruling Party ‘contests the coming elections in
collaboration with the PPP’.
The PPP will defeat in the elections the henchmen of military dictators and
bonaparts rather than joining hands with them through electoral adjustment,
the spokesman said.
The democratic opposition parties have demanded holding of elections during
this year even as the political orphans grouped under the tutelage of
ambitious generals are opposing it for fear of their own political survival.
It is an illusion of the Information Minster to think that the PPP is
talking with the regime about electoral adjustment. But illusions of
individuals cannot delude people, the spokesman said
Mohtarma Bhutto meets Mian Nazwaz Sharif
The two vow to continue struggling for democracy
Islamabad February 10, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto today met former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in Jeddah
today to condole with him the death of his father Mian Muhammad Sharif.
During the meeting the two leaders also had an extensive informal exchange
of views on the country’s political situation.
Mohtarma Bhutto accompanied by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari had arrived in Jeddah
for the performance of umra.
It was decided that a joint statement and an agreed charter of democracy
will be jointly prepared and issued to the media.
Mohtarma Bhutto was accompanied by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and Advocate Farooq
Naek while Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was assisted by Mr. Ahsan Iqbal.
The two sides agreed on the need for the restoration of the 1973
Constitution for overcoming the nation’s constitutional and political
Both leaders agreed to adopt a minimum programme for the restoration of
democracy in the country. For this purpose it was agreed to set up a working
group comprising of Senators Mian Raza Rabbani and Safdar Abbasi from the
PPP and Senator Ishaq Dar and Mr. Ahsan Iqbal of PML(N) to identify minimum
democratic agenda to be followed.
The two leaders also resolved to continue struggling for the restoration of
democracy. They noted that some undemocratic elements within the country
sought to create rift between them so as to weaken the struggle for the
restoration of democracy . In this context they resolved not to allow these
elements create rift between them for achieving their anti-democratic
Mian Nawaz Sharif also briefed Mohtarma Bhutto on his meting with Qazi
Hussain Ahmad and Maulana Fazal ur Rehman.
Mohtarma Bhutto also met the son and the son in law of Mian Nawaz Sharif.
The meeting lasted for about three hours.
Asia Times Online
US digs in deeper in Afghanistan
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
KARACHI Feb 9, 2005-
After Afghanistan and Iraq, a new phase in the United States' "war on
terror" is under preparation in which the military-minded decision-makers in
Washington have short-listed various possible targets, including Iran and
Syria. In this scenario, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will
play a role, as will Pakistan.
A legacy of the Cold War is widespread anti-US sentiment in the South and
Central Asian regions, including Pakistan, which has strong links to
militancy. The US has already drawn Islamabad into its fold, and wants to
keep a close eye on it to ensure it remains fully on side, and Washington
also wants to be in a position to monitor the region closely.
Well-placed sources in Brussels have told Asia Times Online that as a
result, a strong NATO base will be established in the Afghan province of
Herat, bordering Iran, and a logistics hub for NATO might be established in
Pakistan's southern port of Karachi.
Construction work has already begun on the NATO base in Herat, under the
surveillance of Italian troops stationed there as part of the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force contingent of peacekeepers in the
country. Currently, about 8,000 of these soldiers from 36 countries serve in
Kabul and nine provinces north of the capital. The new base in Herat is
expected to be big enough for about 10,000 troops, will feature a military
airbase, and will act as NATO's headquarters in the country. There are also
about 18,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
A request for a NATO logistics hub in Karachi has already been conveyed to
Pakistan. General Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, NATO deputy secretary general,
was scheduled to meet Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf in
January, but the meeting was postponed. Their next meeting is likely to be
scheduled within the next few weeks and a decision taken on the hub.
A top retired military official and strategic expert told Asia Times Online
that this development signifies longer-term goals for the US and its allies
"The development looks to be part of a new US plan in the region because
previously they had a logistic hub at Karachi airport as well as an
operational facility at Jacobabad Airbase. As soon as they occupied
Afghanistan, they abandoned the Karachi airport facility and moved
everything to Bagram Airbase [near Kabul]. Similarly, they have kept a very
minimum of infrastructure at Jacobabad Airbase and abandoned operations from
there. Their operations now also originate from Bagram Airbase," the
"After having abandoned their facilities at Jacobabad and Karachi, the
reopening of facilities in Herat and Karachi port gives a clear message that
the US has some new and long-term designs in Afghanistan," the same
strategic expert maintained.
"However, we cannot imply with the construction of a logistics hub that NATO
would have any plans for a military base at Karachi port because the port's
infrastructure and limited capacity do not allow for such a military base,
which essentially needs a big area."
The strategic picture is completed when one tracks other US footsteps: it
has asked for the use of a base near Khuzdar in Balochistan province (about
400 kilometers from Karachi), which will soon be operational for US troops.
Now that President George W Bush has won his second term, his priorities
have visibly changed. The manhunt for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan
has virtually stopped. Whether it is military exercises or dialogue between
the US and Pakistan, the "war against al-Qaeda" is a lesser priority: more
important are agreements over the sale of military hardware and an increased
role for the US in the region.
Syed Saleem Shahzadis Bureau Chief, Pakistan, Asia Times Online. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact
us for information on sales, syndication and republishing.)
Mohtarma Bhutto condemns journalists killing in Wana
Demands judicial probe, compensation
Islamabad February 8, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Part Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has condemned the murder of two journalists in Wana by armed
attackers and demanded a judicial probe, arrest of the killers and
punishment to them in accordance with the law of the land.
Two journalists working for national and international media were gunned
down while their colleague was seriously wounded in a gun attack on them in
Wana, hed quarter of the South Waziristan Agency on Monday evening. Mir
Nawab, 32 and Allah Noor Wazir’ 28, died on the spot when assailants fired
at the van they were traveling in.
Their killing widely condemned by cross section of the society also provoked
uproar in the Senate which was in session at the time they were shot and
In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that she was shocked
over the gruesome murder of professional journalists who were gunned down
while discharging their professional duties to keep the public informed
about what was going on the Wana.
"They were cut down not only in the prime of their careers but also in the
prime of their lives which makes the tragedy even more poignant and the
crime more unpardonable".
Mohtarma Bhutto said that the broad day light and brutal murder of the
journalists was a warning to the newspapers community that the operation in
tribal areas was off limits for them. The gruesome incident would serve a
serious blow to the peoples right to know what was happening in the tribal
areas, she said.
She said that it was critical that the incident was impartially investigated
and the culprits brought to justice to avoid finger pointing.
The former Prime Minister also demanded a judicial probe into incident.
Mohtarma Bhutto also prayed to Allah ‘to shower His Blessings on the
departed souls’ and speedy recovery to their injured colleague.
She also demanded of the rulers to pay adequate compensation to the families
of the journalists who died in the line of duty.
PPP lauds WHO report on polio eradication in Pakistan
Safdar Abbasi says credit goes to Mohtarma Bhutto for polio eradication
Islamabad February 8, 2005:
The Pakistan Peoples Party has welcomed the report of the World Health
Organization that South Asian countries had significantly slashed polio
cases and ‘knocked the wind’ out of it.
According to the latest WHO report although the three countries in the
region Pakistan, India and Afghanistan still have polio ‘are on target to
end the disease by the end of the year’.
The polio eradication program in Pakistan was fully embraced by government
in 1993 though WHO had been asking for it since 1988, the report said.
In a statement today Senator Dr. Safdar Abbasi said that it was the PPP
government in 1993 led by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, which had embraced the
WHO programme in a manner that has finally knocked the wind out of the
It was the PPP government which mobilized student volunteers from around the
country and the Health ministry raised money from late Shaikh Zayed Bin
sultan Al-Naehan and WHO to make free vaccine available nationwide as son as
Mohtarma Bhutto launched the anti-polio drive, he said.
He said that as part of its social agenda the PPP government ran a major
media campaign against polio and mobilized student volunteers to administer
the vaccine in villages throughout the country including the Northern Areas.
Today if the Head of WHO's Polio Eradication Program chief publicly admits
that Pakistan was among the countries that had ‘knocked the wind out of
polio’ it is largely due to the commitment of Mohtarma Bhutto and the PPP to
social and human development of the people of Pakistan, he said.
He recalled that at the height of campaign against polio in mid nineties
also the WHO praised Mohtarma Bhutto and her government for her commitment
to polio eradication.
Senator Safdar Abbasi said that it was a great pity that a leader who was
eulogized by international organizations for her services was the victim of
witch hunting by the regime.
The World Health Organization report said that when it started its polio
eradication campaign in 1988, an estimated 350,000 children were paralyzed
with this crippling disease. That figure dropped to just over 1,200 last
year with most of the cases confined to Africa.
Mohtarma Bhutto says fall of revenue collections shows dismal economic
Islamabad, 7 February 2005: Former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
said that the economic failure of the present regime was hurting development
of the country. She said that democracy and development went together.
Mohtarma Bhutto recalled that PPP had doubled the income of the country by
doubling the revenue collections.
Revenue collections under the PPP government had doubled from seven percent
of GDP to fourteen percent of GDP.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that the Central Bureau of Revenue has conceded
that revenue collection for the month of January this year declined by a
huge 19.6 pc against the target set for the month. She said that such
revenue figures highlighted two facts. First that the people of the country
were suffering untold miseries due to lack of domestically generated
resources. Second, that restoration of democracy was necessary to alleviate
the problems of the working classes and the middle classes.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto also expressed concern over the arrest of journalist
Afazl Nadeem of Jang Group and Geo. Nadeem was booked under Official Secret
Act for publishing a news item based upon a letter of National Crisis
Management Cell of the Interior Ministry. Mohtarma said that a free press
was essential to a vibrant society.
Meantime Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned the kidnapping of businessman
Khawaja Masood. The PPP said that the crime situation was worsening day by
day. The PPP recalled that it had restored the writ of government during its
PPP government was tough on crime. The result was that dacoits and
terrorists knew that they would be successfully persecuted for crimes and
gave up disturbing law and order as well as the security of the ordinary
Mr. Masood was kidnapped and held for ransom for two days. He was freed
allegedly after payment of Rs100 million ransom by his family.
Balochistan: Musharraf's Diagnosis, Treatment Destined to Kill the Patient
February 5: Events in Balochistan are a manifestation of unfolding changes
in the region in and around west of Pakistan. Pakistani rulers have been
repeatedly urged to wake up from their deep slumber and sickening apathy
towards a situation that was advertently developing into rendering our
beloved homeland into a failed state on the verge of becoming yet another
All the saner
warnings, appeals and protestations seem to have fallen on the stony ground
and Pakistan under military heels is sliding towards a tragic denouement,
especially when General Pervez Musharraf instead of curing the disease wants
to kill the patient.
As the head of
the institution that should have learnt a lesson from the tragedy of former
East Pakistan on the basis of once bitten twice shy, he seems to be more
power drunk than General Yahya Khan when he warned Pakistani Baloch
compatriots that they would not know "what hit them" in offering solutions
to their piled up grievances that include military cantonmentisation of the
province and a sense of deprivation emanating from continued step-motherly
Any student of
history should be able to tell the Pakistani rulers that when a country
ceases to manage itself, its borders also cease to exist. Islamabad's
supposedly all-wise and all-knowing military establishment has rendered
Pakistan into the "sick man" of the region, its waters are perpetually
troubled and offer open invitation to all who want to catch the fish or
claim their pound of flesh.
We being one of
the most strategic pieces of the 21st century jigsaw of the great game as
being packaged in the new gift wrap of Pax Americana, we are naturally
getting embroiled in ominous circumstances that tempt many other powers in
the region to seek some piece of territorial share that an ultimate
Balkanization in our region would offer them as well.
has been rendered into a myth once again much in the same manner as it was
done in the days of Ayub Khan allowing the United States to have bases in
northern Pakistan that were used to fly its spy planes over the erstwhile
Soviet Union or for that matter Pakistan under Zia when he sold the country
for American "peanuts" to become Washington's frontline state in its Jihad
against the Russians.
Now we are a
frontline state for American jihad against those very jihadis who were
waging Jihad for them in the eighties. In the process our own writ has
ceased to exist, American agents man country's entry and exit points, our
land has become a big base for their American military operations. Pakistani
troops directly help US military fire at suspected terrorists hideouts
inside Pakistan - a fact loudly appreciated and acknowledged in Washington
by Colonel Cardon B. Crawford, the Director of Operations for the US
military command in Afghanistan.
its troops help American fire has been described as "a huge step forward" in
the fight against Al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects hiding along the
Afghan-Pakistan border. While Washington has minced no bones about this
"huge step-forward", Pakistan's Interior Minister has maintained Pakistan
would only share information with the US relating to terror targets in
tribal areas of the country but the US forces deployed in Afghanistan would
never be allowed to hunt terrorists inside Pakistan.
reporters recently, the minister said as a leading partner of international
alliance against terrorism, Pakistan had to share all information with the
US-led peace force to destroy terrorist network in the Pakistan-Afghanistan
In the worsening
situation when one does not know whether one is coming or going and in the
light of various observations made by Pakistani and foreign geo-strategic
experts about the lengthening shadow on Pakistan's future, one had expected
that our military rulers who have been a parasite to the country, would
realize sooner than later, that if something God forbid happens to Pakistan,
they would lose the body on which they gloatingly feed themselves.
attuned to the commando-instinct of survival as they are, they should grasp
the gravity of the lethal Balochistan situation and get down to serious
business of resolving it before it gets beyond them. They must know that
they can buy some time for themselves by being pawn in the new great game
but once their utility is over, they would be deposed to the dustbin of
history as General Ziaul Haq was. For the time being they are much needed
since Iran has to be sorted out, Afghanistan has a long way to go to
stabilize, Iraq and Middle East continue to be on the boil.
failure to handle Balochistan as a domestic problem emanating from its sense
of deprivation and exploitation has converted it into a bigger bone of
multi-nation contention. Leading Pakistani analyst Dr Jaffer Hussain
believes that the United States is latently opposed to "significant Chinese
presence" in Balochistan and in future if an operation is conducted by the
United States against Iran, (inevitable in the recent observation of Seymour
M. Hersh, New Yorker January 24, 2005), it would have a safe haven back line
In the other
view Pakistani scholar Zia Haider currently at the Stimson Center in
Washington, believes that both Iran and India look at the Gwadar Port with
disfavor and suspicion. They see it as a rival to Iran's Chahbahar Port that
was built with Indian assistance and was meant to serve as Central Asia's
conduit to warm waters. Gwadar would be a gateway to making Pakistan a new
Center of trading activity among the energy-rich Gulf, Central Asia,
Afghanistan and China, as well as provide the Pakistan Navy with strategic
depth along its coastline.
It will also
enable China to diversify its crude oil import routes and extend its
presence in the Indian Ocean. Besides that, Haider believes Gwadar port
fuels bitter discontent among local Baloch nationalists who believe that the
benefits of the project will bypass them and who maintain longstanding
grievances against Pakistan's federal government.
The port also
presents a potentially irresistible target to Al Qaeda as payback for
Pakistan's cooperation in the US-led war on terror. While Pakistan and China
believe that the port will deliver significant economic and military gains,
India, Iran, and the local Baloch view it as a potential threat to their
economic interests and security, and Al Qaeda presumably rejects it as
Pakistan's steppingstone to becoming a stronger, more prosperous state.
This reminds me
of the days of late Shah of Iran when Iran-Pakistan enjoyed extra-ordinary
relations since the inception of the country. They got consolidated during
General Ayub's time to the extent that Iran served as Pakistan's strategic
depth in those days. It is said that Pakistan Air Force's F-104s had found
bases in Iran as a safe haven during 1965 war with India. We also received
lot of spare for our planes from Teheran when Washington had imposed an
embargo on supplies.
was believed to be wary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's ambitions to make Pakistan
self-sufficient in oil and other resources. He did not like Bhutto signing
oil exploration deals with the Soviet Union to explore oil and gas
reservoirs in Balochistan. Besides, he did not support Bhutto's idea of
stronger OIC and ZAB's historic advice to the Oil producing Arab states to
use oil as a weapon.
This led to the
absence of the American policeman in the region at the famous historic
Islamic Summit held in Lahore in 1974. Later his support to General Ziaul
Haq following Bhutto's overthrow showed how annoyed he had been with ZAB.
This fitted in the overall conspiracy against Bhutto who had staked his life
to make Pakistan nuclear powerful and self-sufficient in oil etc.
province as strategically placed as Balochistan with abundance in untapped
natural resources, Islamabad's attitude towards it should not have been
colonial and imperialistic. There is a consensus among commentators on the
affairs in Balochistan that its alienation has entirely
been to the fact that it was not only treated as step-motherly but also kept
out of the decision making process.
Indeed, no other
province has been subjected to so many ruthless military inventions as
Balochistan. The Balochs have reasons and past as a proof, to believe that
they are being exploited, that they are being denied full economic benefits
of their explored resources and that they are kept backward by design and
In the Senate
debate even Treasury Senator Munim Khan Baloch reiterated that harmony
between the Center and provinces had never existed as Islamabad had always
been imposing its decisions on the federating units. Such policies, he
recalled, had resulted in the dismemberment of East Pakistan.
Time and again
voices were raised to implore Islamabad to do something that could heal the
Baloch wounds before it was too late. The fire was simmering over the years
and now it has exploded into an inferno that threatens not only Balochistan
but also the entire country.
It is in the
grip of an armed insurgency. Pakistani newspapers are full of headlines
every day of the bomb blasts, attacks on trains, military and other vital
installations. Pakistan military is also out there to prove the warning of
General Musharraf-hitting the people hard with its firepower. The Baloch rag
tag self-styled Balochistan Liberation Army, so far treated as a big joke by
the Pakistani military, is gaining in sinews of war and firepower.
commenting on their successful acts of subversion apprehend that they must
be having some support from somewhere to make them stronger and more
effective by the day. Dr Shirin Mazari believes that their "acts of sabotage
are clearly not random but have careful planning behind them -- as well as a
certain level of technical sophistication. And of course there is the very
important financial aspect. All these indicators prove the strong external
linkages to what is happening in Balochistan." Her views can also be taken
as the views prevailing in Islamabad's corridor of power.
consensus is bitterly opposed to military action; dialogue and
reconciliation are supported as the best exit routes. This was also the
considered view expressed in the Senate when a debate was initiated on
Balochistan on Thursday (Feb. 3). No doubt the Opposition senators lashed
out at Islamabad's handling of the Balochistan crisis, they also showed the
way out through political dialogue for conceding greater provincial autonomy
and handing over of all
provincial resources to the government of the province.
the efforts of the parliamentary committee for reconciliation and solution
of the Balochistan crisis, the main hurdle seems to be lack of trust and
confidence between General Musharraf's government and the Baloch
representatives. Latter have reservations. They charge that while there is
little progress towards dialogue, every move is being countered by more
emphasis for seeking a military solution.
If the General
was sincere, he should stop blowing hot and stop accumulating troops in
Balochistan. The consensus view among the Senators is that the claims made
by the President, the prime minister or the military spokesperson that no
military operation had been launched in Balochistan are false. In fact,
Balochistan is being subjected to a full-scale military operation.
to be buried deep down. Balochs are our brothers and they should not be
treated step-motherly. In their prosperity lies greater national prosperity.
They are too few in number and their needs can be satisfied fully with
honesty of purpose. And it can be said with confidence that whatever is in
excess of their needs can be used for the good of the rest of the country.
In conclusion, if something untowardly happens to Balochistan, it would be a
fatal blow to Pakistan. Let the people understand that by saving Balochistan
they are actually saving Pakistan.
(Courtesy South Asia Tribune)
PPPP reconciliatory team visits Chitral
CHITRAL, Feb 6:
To diffuse the tension in the party ranks on district level, the highly
powered committee constituted by Benazir Bhutto held interviews with the
party workers who had gathered in hundreds from the length and breadth of
the district.The committee consisted of a former provincial minister of the
Punjab Ghulam Abbas, president of PPP Parachinar Dr. Riaz and former lady
MPA Begum Shahazada Sulaiman.
The committee turned to the senior
workers to ascertain their views to appoint the district president in which
four candidates contested who included Haji Aziz, Mohammad Hakeem Advocate,
Haji Zahir Shah and Imam Abdul Waheed. The results will be announced later
on after the approval of Benazir Bhutto, the sources in the party told. Soon
after the meeting with the workers, the committee members and district
president Eidul Hussain addressed a press conference. They said that the
party was fully united under one banner and Chitral will remain a stronghold
of PPP. They expressed the hope that the party will have a clean sweep in
the forthcoming local bodies elections.(Zahiruddin)
PPP condemns increase in gas prices
Islamabad, 5 February:
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate has issued
the following press statement:
The increase in the rates of gas by the Government is condemned in the
strongest possible terms. This increase of 8% in the rates of gas will break
the back of the middle and working classes in the country.
It was on the 2 February 2005 that the Government increased the prices of
petroleum and its related products. Petrol prices were raised by Rs. 2 per
litre, Kerosene oil by Rs. 1, light diesel oil by Rs. 1.41. These increases
had a crippling effect on the budget of the common man for whom
transportation and items of daily use in the kitchen registered a tremendous
increase. The poor people were still grappling with this increase when they
have been burden with the enhancement of rates of gas.
The Government is pursuing an anti peoples’ policy and is allowing the oil
marketing companies cartel to maximise their profits and transfer them out
of Pakistan at the cost of the common man. This is a Government which
represents a handful of big business houses and is working to frame policies
in order for them to reap huge profits while the common man is hand to
The Opposition in the Senate raised the issue of the increase in petroleum
prices in the Senate and staged a token walk out. The arbitrary increase in
the rates of gas will be taken up in the Senate to expose the anti peoples’
economic policies of the Government
Pakistan Leads U.S. Fire to Afghan Border
By ROBERT BURNS
- In a new advance in cooperation with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani
troops have recently helped direct U.S. artillery fire into Pakistan, a
senior U.S. officer said Tuesday.
"That's a huge step forward," said Army Col. Cardon B. Crawford, the
director of operations for the U.S. military command in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, including the
hunt for Taliban and al-Qaida figures who have found refuge in the border
region with Afghanistan. But U.S. combat troops have not operated inside
Pakistan, and Crawford indicated that the Pakistani collaboration on U.S.
artillery strikes into Pakistan from Afghanistan was new.
"The Pakistanis have adjusted our artillery fire into the Pakistani side of
the border to go after anti-coalition militia," he told a group of reporters
over breakfast at a Washington hotel.
Crawford offered limited details about the artillery operations, but
stressed that the Pakistani cooperation has been valuable, since there are
no U.S. troops on that side of the border.
"A howitzer will shoot, let's say five, six, 10 kilometers (up to six
miles). There has to be somebody out there who says, `Here's the target.'
And when the round lands, he'll say "go left, go right, go up, go down."
Lt. Col. Pamela Keeton, spokeswoman for the U.S. military command in
Afghanistan, said later that the incident happened in early November and was
mentioned in a U.S. public statement Nov. 6.
Keeton said militants were firing mortars or other projectiles at the Afghan
town of Shkin in Paktika province from a spot near the Pakistani town of
Wana when Pakistani soldiers used U.S.-supplied radios to call in
adjustments to artillery fire from American forces on the Afghan side of the
Keeton said this is the only time that U.S. forces have fired artillery into
Citing another example of increased cooperation with Pakistan's military,
Crawford said U.S. forces are training Pakistani troops in how to execute
air assault operations. He said the training was being done inside Pakistan
but he was not more specific.
Crawford also said "there's a huge effort" to capture or kill al-Qaida
leader Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in or near the
Afghan-Pakistan border region. Crawford would not say whether U.S. forces
have come close to finding bin Laden, but he said al-Qaida has become less
of a threat in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaida has "no effective presence" inside Afghanistan now, Crawford said.
He also said there are signs of divisions within the Taliban leadership, and
he suggested that the Afghan government is preparing a new plan that would
be designed to "widen the fissures" within the Taliban leadership. He
declined to provide details.
PPP denies any contact with regime
Islamabad, 2 February 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party has denied reports in a section of the press that a
senior official of a sensitive agency has gone to Dubai for a fresh round of
"reconciliation" talks with Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto. A PPP spokesman in a statement said that no official or
representative of the government had come to Dubai to meet the former Prime
Minister. The PPP was unsure why sources in the government, who were
attributed as sources for the said contact, would be spreading
According to a section of the press, the regime had decided to approach the
PPP Chairperson following reports that Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader
former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had agreed to join hands with the
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) in its anti- government campaign during a
meeting with Qazi Husain Ahmad and Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Jeddah on the
eve of Eidul Azha.
The PPP denied the report which is the second PPP denial of any contact
within the space of one week following a spate of officially sponsored
reports in the press conveying a contact.
PPP Says Economic Crisis Remains Despite End of IMF Program
Islamabad, 02 February 2005:
Coordinator of the Economic Committee of the PPP and former federal Minister
and MNA Naveed Qamar has issued the following statement today.
"The financial assistance following the events of September 11 had enabled
Pakistan to temporarily say "goodbye" to the IMF. However, the Party
cautioned that the long term future of Pakistan had been "mortgaged" through
rescheduling of debts.
"Rescheduling on its own can be beneficial if the interest payments deferred
are used to reduce the capital debt and invest in human resources. However,
in the present reckless and irresponsible financial climate, the interest
monies saved through deferred interest payments are being squandered on
white elephant projects such as building a new General Headquarters and new
"The regime may claim to have said good bye to IMF but the fact is that we
are still being monitored by the IMF in critical areas. Moreover, the regime
still begs and borrows from other international lenders as well as from the
open market which is far more expensive and detrimental to national economy
as is evident from the floating of bonds".
"By spending more than we earn on the basis of the September 11 financial
windfall, Islamabad was endangering the future of the unborn children of the
The PPP leader said that the monies should be invested in reduction of
capital debt as well as on improving education and health. The PPP is
committed to producing an educated manpower equipped to deal with the modern
technological world so that the country could create jobs, increase
productivity and growth and allow its citizens to lead prosperous lives, he
Syed Naveed Qamar said that without a representative and democratic
government, the basic needs of the people were being ignored. Joblessness,
inflation, hunger, economic suicides were creating misery and suffering and
the future of the country was being mortgaged.
"An independent and sovereign Pakistan could be built only when debt was
cleared which the present regime was ignoring".
The PPP noted that without the financial assistance of September 11 events
and saddled with a Moeen Quereshi IMF agreement for fiscal control, it had
achieved a great victory for the Nation by becoming the first government to
pay off capital debt.
It may be recalled that PPP paid off one billion dollars of expensive debt
during its tenure. However after its overthrow the fascist regime of Farooq
Leghari once again borrowed one billion dollars at the most expensive rates
to compromise Pakistan's independence and self reliance.
The need of the hour was to make Pakistan a democratic country, giving
respect to its people by investing in its youth and preparing to meet the
challenges of the new world with dignity and enlightened moderation, he
Mohtarma Bhutto condemns killing of fisherman in Karachi
Demands judicial inquiry
Islamabad, 2 February 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto has expressed shock and grief over death of a 70 year old
fisherman in Kimari alleged due to torture by the officials of a security
agency and demanded judicial probe into the incident and punishment to the
According to press reports, a seventy years old poor fisherman Abdul from
Kimari was severely tortured last week by a Navy official resulting in his
death. Fishermen have held protest demonstration against this atrocity and
demanded the arrest of the killer of Abdul.
In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that this is not the
first time that lives and properties of poor downtrodden people of Pakistan
have come under threat by the personnel of the state.. She said that tenants
of Okara military farms were still being tortured and hounded. The poor
fishermen of Badin were deprived of their fishing rights by Rangers and now
an old man became target of atrocities allegedly committed by security
She said that incidents like this only increased the isolation of the
security personnel from the people which was externally detrimental to the
morale of the forces.
Demanding immediate judicial inquiry into the death of the fisherman, she
reiterated PPP’s commitment to fight for the rights of the people of
Pakistan. The former Prime Minister also extended her sympathies to the
family and friends of Abdul and prayed for eternal peace for the departed
Benazir moves SHC against EC
KARACHI, Feb 1: PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto has moved the Sindh High
Court against the registration of two breakaway factions of her party, the
Patriots and the Sherpao Group, on their merger as the Pakistan People's
Party by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The former prime minister said the ECP had no authority to allow the merger
of splinter groups and register them under the name of the parent party. The
decision taken by the ECP on June 17, 2004, on an application moved by the
two factions was violative of the principles of natural justice, the
provisions of the Constitution and the Representation of People Act, she
It was also repugnant to the ECP's constitutional mandate to hold free, fair
and impartial elections. The decision would confuse people as it was likely
to mislead voters into believing that the defectors represented the real
PPP, she said.
Besides the ECP, Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao of his
own group of the party and Defence Minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal of the
Patriots have been cited as respondents.
PPP secretary-general Jahangir Badr is the co-petitioner. The PPP's
parliamentary party, which is led by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, is registered as
the PPP Parliamentarians.
Ms Bhutto was disqualified from contesting the polls or leading the party in
the October 2002 elections. Her petition against the disqualification is
Government needs to do more to create
Welcoming some of the recent gestures made by the government towards the
political opposition, Senator Akbar Khawaja of the PPP has called for more
substantive actions, especially the resolution of the “uniform issue” which,
he added, couldn’t be swept under the carpet.
Currently on a brief visit here, Senator Khawaja said the release of Asif
Ali Zardari and the announcement of Sen Raza Rabbani as leader of the
opposition were “symbolic gestures” to reduce the causes of mistrust between
the government and the opposition, especially with regard to the 17th
Amendment and the two-offices issue.
He said more would need to be done by the regime to establish trust and
create an atmosphere of genuine political reconciliation. “One swallow does
not make a summer,” he said, while expressing the hope that instead of
trying to sow discord in opposition ranks and creating divisions instead of
unity, the government should make a sincere, unconditional effort to clear
the air and work on the basis of a nationalist, not a partisan, agenda.
The PPP senator said, “If the restoration of the 1973 constitution and the
promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, and better relations
with the opposition under the law are important to the ruling order, the
reconciliation process deserves support while being kept under continuous
and unceasing scrutiny and assessment. Genuine reconciliation measures will
increase openness and foster mutual trust, understanding, and confidence
among Pakistan’s political stakeholders.
“However, it would be a mistake to interpret the PPP’s positive and trusting
attitude as its willingness to compromise on its resolute and principled
stand on the two-offices issue. The announcement of Sen Raza Rabbani and the
release of Asif Ali Zardari after eight years are actions that their
intrinsic merit has earned. The facts are that the Senate was incomplete
without an opposition leader and the continuing internment of Mr Zardari on
unproven charges was bringing the regime nothing but growing embarrassment.”
Sen Khawaja said the real litmus test of the government’s sincerity would
lie in the adoption of the following actions: release of political prisoners
and withdrawal of the trumped-up cases on which they are being held; safe
return of political exiles led by former prime ministers Mohtarma Benazir
Bhutto and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif; fresh elections open to all citizens and
parties; judicial reform, and restructuring of the National Accountability
Bureau and the Election Commission in the interest of justice and
transparency; allocation of a fair proportion of the chairmanship of the
Senate’s standing committees to the opposition; and an end to the practice
of “bulldozing” bills and resolutions initiated by the parliamentary
February 3, 2005
Words of Shaheed
There was a great Prime Minister, the first Prime Minister, the father
of the present Prime Minister of India, who said, "We were too old, we
were too tired to oppose Pakistan, and Pakistan had to come into being.
But we hope that one day we will get together gain." I too hope so, not
that Pakistan will emerge as subservient to India but in the sense that
we will get together again as equal friends, in a common fraternity,
living in a common subcontinent and sharing the common effort of seeing
that poverty, ignorance and misery are wiped out. If there are any two
countries in world that are the poorest in the world, they are Pakistan
and India. Our resources might be tremendous, but the fact is that we
two are the poorest in the world. Yet in the last 24 years, we have gone
to war three times. Three times there has been conflict in the
subcontinent. I remember that Prime Minister of the Soviet Union once
telling me that even rich nations try to avoide war; poorer nations
should make a greater attempt to avoid war.
Speech at the Security Council, New York
December 12, 1971