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Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Mehram' condition imposed for women!

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The South African High Commission surprised a lady activist by refusing her a visa to South Africa where she was going to attend a conference, unless she got a signed permission slip from her husband stating that he was allowing her to travel alone! She had travelled to South Africa the year before for a holiday with her family and the visa had not been a problem. According to her, when she asked the South African High Commission whether they had now become a theocratic state rather than a secular one, she was told that they were observing the cultural norms of the country.
According to them, they knew that in Pakistan women, including working women, had to get their father or husband’s permission to travel anywhere! Obviously, the new High Commission staff is not conversant with Pakistani realities today.

Kishwar Naheed denied British visa!

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In yet another case of irrational highhandedness the British High Commission has denied a visa to renowned writer, poetess and feminist Ms Kishwar Naheed, despite the fact that she had been given five-year visas consecutively for the last ten years.
This time round, the reason stated for refusing her the visa was that her hosts could not afford to keep her! She presumes this refers to her doctor and literary friends in the UK whose addresses she had given.
According to Kishwar, she visits her son, living in Spain, every year and en route likes to drop in to London to look up old friends. She found it bizarre that suddenly the BHC refused her the usual visitor visa.
Taking it as their insult the literary circles termed the visa denial to Ms Naheed by British High Commission as totally unjustified as the lady was a world reputed writer and poetess known across the continents for her bold and progressive writing.
The officials at British High Commission said that it was the prerogative of the host country to grant or deny visa to the visitors.
It is pertinent to mention here that the British High Commission had lost several dozen passports of Pakistani visa seekers and in certain cases the High Commission officials did not bother to even respond to the applicants who were made to run from pillar to post in search of their passports - which have still to be recovered. Perhaps that is the BHC’s prerogative too?

Audit of All Housing schemes of Punjab (Pakistan) on cards

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The Punjab government is planning to launch land audit of all the approved housing schemes after finding massive irregularities including sale of plots allocated for educational institutions, hospitals, parks and graveyards.
The LDA has approved more than 200 housing schemes including two new housing schemes recently launched at Raiwind Road and Ferozepur Road.
It is learnt that around 350 illegal housing schemes have sprung up during the last five years. Most of them are located in Nishtar Town and Shalimar Town. The metropolitan planning wing of LDA has already notified a list of 116 private housing schemes that had been launched without getting approval from the competent authority as well as fulfilling other requirements.
The LDA town municipal squad will publish the list of all illegal housing societies in newspapers and will fine societies violating the Private Housing Schemes Regulation Act 2005. The authority had advised people to avoid entering into any sale and purchase of plots in these housing schemes.
LDA has formed a special team consisting of LDA officials from the metropolitan planning, town planning and revenue sections to conduct land audit of the schemes. The team will present its preliminary report within two weeks. The LDA will also launch a website to keep the people informed about genuine and bogus housing schemes and societies.
Sources revealed the both the initiatives had been taken on CM directives after receiving complaints that development work in a few housing schemes approved by the LDA was not being carried out according to the schedule.
CM secretariat received complaints that the plots reserved for public use including for parks, hospitals, schools and graveyards were being used for commercial and residential purposes. It also came to know that a number of plots of two new housing schemes reserved for public use were being sold out in connivance with the LDA officials, the sources added.

Pakistani Eunuchs may become tax collectors

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he Supreme Court’s advice that eunuchs be employed to recover loans from the defaulters may be read as a funny idea but this will only be due to little knowledge about the potential of this marginalised community.

Eunuchs are deployed in India not only for loan recovery but also for tax collection.

The court’s suggestion will definitely be bad news for the loan defaulters, it has stirred excitement among the eunuchs, who are waiting for the day when directed to go for recovery from the Sharifs, the Chaudhrys, the Wattoos and the like.

Almas Bobby, chairperson of She-male Rights of Pakistan, talking to The News said the country’s politics is rich with ‘political eunuchs’. “They say a man stands by his words, therefore, all those who back out from their commitments with the people are political eunuchs,” she said when asked to define eunuchs in politics. She never voted for a political party, saying the current political lot doesn’t reflect her aspirations and ideals.

Almas, who was born in Yorkshire (England) and returned to Pakistan when she was 10-year-old, belongs to Gujrat — the hometown of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi. Her mother’s family is from Multan — the city of Prime Minister Gilani. Her brother is a government contractor and the sister’s husband runs a rice mill.

“I’m waiting for the day when the eunuchs will be asked to knock at the door, beat drums and dance outside the residence of Manzoor Wattoo to force him return the public money. We’d also love to go to the Ittefaq Foundary, the Hudaibia Papers Mills and the Zahoor Palace to take back public money,” she said, adding the political class in collusion with the Army has been plundering money and stashing them in Swiss accounts. “The PML-N, the PPP and the Army: they all are tied among themselves through mutual interests.” She said they don’t have any pain for people, instead they have a Dard-e-Disco (Disco Pain). “They rob the country, deposit their ill-gotten assets in Swiss banks and spend happy hours in disco clubs abroad.”

As regard the court’s advice, it is largely based on the utility of this humankind in India, where they are employed to recover loans and collect taxes.

The municipal corporation of Patna, the capital of Bihar (India), for instance, had hired eunuchs to go from shop to shop, asking the owners to pay overdue municipal taxes in 2006. They were hired after the tax arrears ran into millions and the authorities failed in collection. Dancing and singing to the beat of drums, the eunuchs in bright Saris would go to shops. As the eunuchs went to different places for collection, the revenue officials would accompany them to settle outstanding arrears. Instead of offering them salaries, the eunuchs were granted four per cent of the amount collected. On the first day, the tax collectors met with considerable success, according to the report of a US TV channel, MSNBC.

The model was replicated later in Rajasthan (India) in 2007 when a village cooperative society hired eunuchs to recover outstanding dues from defaulters. Newspaper advertisements were displayed to appoint the eunuchs. The appointed eunuchs would knock at the doors of the defaulters from morning till night; they would station themselves outside the houses until people deposited the outstanding money.

SC advises govt to hire eunuchs for loan recovery

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday advised the government to consider appointment of eunuchs for the recovery of loans from defaulters.A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing a petition of Dr Aslam Khaki.

Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki had filed the petition in the apex court for the welfare of the unfortunate and vulnerable people left by the society to earn a living through begging, dancing and prostitution.

The court advised that a strategy be evolved in order to provide respectable jobs to eunuchs and suggested that the federal government and social welfare departments may consider appointing eunuchs for recovery of loans as was done in India.

During the course of the proceedings, the social welfare and health department Sindh informed the court that the eunuch’s community is being involved in polio vaccination drive. The court also directed the federal and provincial governments to ensure inheritance rights to the eunuchs as they are entitled to such rights, guaranteed in the constitution.

The court directed that as eunuchs are entitled to their inheritance rights therefore exercise for their registration must be completed at the earliest. In this respect, the court directed provincial secretaries and social welfare departments to approach the respective DCOs and convey the court’s direction that after tracing their family roots, the eunuchs are entitled to get their share of inheritance.

The court observed that there is no law of the land to deprive them of their respective rights. The court also directed the family members of eunuchs not to deprive them of their due share in properties and if they do so, the law will take its due course.

The eunuchs were also directed to extend their cooperation to the concerned authorities. The court also directed the concerned authorities to register the eunuchs in electoral rolls and directed the provincial social welfare departments to get copies of such electoral lists on the basis of National Identity Card (NIC) or any other documents on the basis of medical test.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who was the real Jesus?

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Do recently discovered ancient manuscripts reveal a different Jesus? Or…does the evidence reveal that the Jesus of the New Testament is the real Jesus?

Scholars examine the facts:

Who was---or is Jesus Christ? Ancient manuscripts tell us that Jesus was born around 4 BC and died AD 30. Although he never wrote a book or held a position of political power, Jesus’ life has influenced our planet more than that of any king, president, philosopher or other religious leader.
Written accounts from his followers tell us that Jesus bodily rose from the grave three days after his brutal execution on a Roman cross and burial. Yet TV documentaries, movies, and books like The Da Vinci Code have attacked the New Testament record of Jesus Christ, claiming it is unreliable; others claim Jesus is a myth.
Archaeologists, historians, textual critics, and paleographers have discovered a wealth of evidence that sheds light on this unique person in the history of our world. So what do the facts tell us? Can we trust the New Testament accounts of Jesus, or are the skeptics right?
What have scholars discovered about Jesus Christ?

Read the evidence:

The following articles are from Y-Jesus magazine.

The King of Pop - Jacko's life, death and controversy

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Although he often made the headlines for the wrong reasons - especially in the later years of his life - the King of Pop was mourned around the world, and his music defined a generation.
But his death did not just seal his legacy. It has also led to more rumours about his life, scandals and controversy.
The mystery surrounding the man excited millions.
And his death from a cardiac arrest at the age of just 50 shocked the entire world, and he is sure to be in the news for some time to come.
What will happen to his children? Is he really their father? Does he have a secret lovechild?
No one even knows for sure if or where he has been buried.
Check out BILD.com's dedicated Jacko page to see articles and videos taking a look at the life, death and the controversy of the King of Pop.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Passports go missing at UK visa office

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Over a dozen people have landed in trouble, some of them in quite serious problems, when the British High Commission Islamabad office told them that it had lost their passports.
The High Commission has also asked these visa seekers to come up with fresh passports for reprocessing of their cases, some of the affectees informed TheNation on Sunday.
The sources in the British High Commission confirmed that the passports of several people had gone missing during the course of these passports’ movement from Islamabad to Abu Dhabi for visa processing, but could not give the exact number of the passports that went missing.
Like many other embassies and missions in Pakistan, British High Commission also gets the applications for British visa seekers through Gerry's, a courier company charging hefty fees for the purpose.
But the people at Gerry's said that they were responsible for the safe provision of the documents to the embassy or the mission concerned and if something went wrong with the documents in the mission they were not responsible for that.
The officials at Gerry's were not aware of the exact number of the missing passports during the processing in British High Commission. However, they did admit the issue as a number of visa-seekers approached them with the complaints of missing passports but on realizing the situation they turned to British High Commission for relief.
The problem turned quite serious as some of the passports had valid visas for several countries and in certain cases people suffered huge loss as they failed to attend some of their important business meetings abroad.
One Zafar Mahmood Chief Executive Officer Global Marketing Services, who too had lost his passport at the hands of British High Commission, narrating his ordeal to TheNation informed that he had applied for business visa for UK on July 7, 2009 and dispatched his passport No BH0152992 along with all relevant documents through Gerry’s (ref. No. GRY-PK-01-096361-X).
He said that initially he was kept on queries for quite some time and after several contacts with Gerry’s office, Islamabad visa section and Abu Dhabi visa section of British High Commission he finally got a response from Abu Dhabi visa section on Sept 7, 2009 to approach the Islamabad Gerry’s office as they had dispatched the documents after processing.
He further said that since he was a frequent traveler and had to move abroad in connection with his business meetings, and since he was to move to Dusseldorf Germany immediately to attend Medica 2009 starting from Nov 17 where he had set over 15 business meetings, he finally decided to withdraw his application on Oct 29, 2009.

Israel admits to organ thefts

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Israel has admitted that it harvested organs from the dead bodies of Palestinians and Israelis in the 1990s, without permission from their families.

The admission follows the release of an interview with Jehuda Hiss, the former head of Israel's forensic institute, in which he said that workers at the institute had harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers.

In the interview, which was conducted in 2000 when Hiss was head of Tel Aviv's Abu Kabir forensic institute, he said: "We started to harvest corneas ... Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

BANK ALFALAH MINI CARD - POOR SERVICE.

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I am a user of credit card of Bank Alfalah Limited, who claims itself "the Caring Bank". Bank has sent me Visa Mini Card and charged Rs.580/- for it.

The card was received by me on 08 Dec 2009 but its lamination on both sides sheded off itself. The poor service by Bank Alfalah Limited. I contacted to help line 111-225-111 where I was advised to contact at 35888630-9 for complaint.

Do you have the same problem or want to say anything.... please go ahead.

JUNAID AKRAM-LAHORE

 
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