Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
In the New York jail, Dr Aafia said, six masked men stripped her, tied her hands behind her back and made a video film. A woman covered her with a blanket while she was being taken back to her cell. She even stopped seeing her counsel to avoid being stripped every time she was taken out for a meeting. She was later shifted to the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, Texas, for tests and treatment.
by Stephen Lendman / April 1st, 2010
Today marks the close of another sad chapter in the life of our sister, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Today she was unjustly found guilty. Though she was not charged with any terrorism-related offense, Judge Berman permitted the prosecution’s witnesses to characterize our sister as a terrorist – which, based on copious (exculpatory) evidence, she clearly is not. Today’s verdict is one of the many legal errors that allowed the prosecution to build a case against our sister based on hate, rather than fact. We believe that as a result, she was denied a fair trial, and today’s verdict must be overturned on appeal.
She went to MIT and Brandeis, married a Brigham and Women's physician, made her home in Boston, cared for her children, and raised money for charities. Aafia Siddiqui was a normal woman living a normal American life. Until the FBI called her a terror.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Facing domestic criticism for his trip during a time that his nation battles deadly floods, the Pakistani president's U.K. trip had also been fraught because it came so soon after British Prime Minister David Cameron accused Pakistan of exporting terror. The remarks outraged many Pakistanis and caused a diplomatic row, in part because they were made during Cameron's visit to India, Pakistan's nuclear rival.
Mr Zardari, who is under criticism for visiting Britain while Pakistan is suffering from devastating floods, was in the middle of a speech when an elderly man in the 1,000 strong crowd hurled both shoes at him. The gesture is considered a traditional insult in Islam. An unidentified man was later ejected by police and security officials from the meeting...
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In October 2002 the Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) was established in pursuance to a decision of the federal cabinet. Converting the former Information Technology Commission, the Government formed the EGD as a cell within the Ministry of Information Technology.
Efficient and Responsive Public Sector to bring in Transparency in Government processes.
Our aim is to help public sector organizations in increasing efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness with the use of Information and Communication Technology. We are committed to build a robust e-government framework to make the government more responsive in delivering the public services to citizens and businesses. Major focus of E-government includes Infrastructure development of government departments, implementation of wide area networks, maximum usage of technology in delivering public services. The objectives of e-government are to
• Create more accountability and transparency in the public sector
• Modernize public services in which joined-up Government institutions communicate and work more effectively and efficiently
• Increase responsiveness of Government sector in delivering public services
• Bring Government close to citizen by providing them with easier access to information through personnel computers ,kiosks, telephone and other resources.
http://www.e-government.gov.pk/ that has too non-functional as to be...
The Justice Department is trying to find out if hundreds of FBI agents cheated on a test on new rules governing the bureau to conduct surveillance and when agents are permitted to open cases without evidence, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities are suspicious because some agents took the open-book test in groups, which is prohibited. Others also finished the extensive test in a suspiciously short amount of time.
"There are similar stories for practically every office, demonstrating the pervasive confusion and miscommunication that existed," Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association wrote to the Justice Department in a letter dated on May 18.
Motyka suggested the agents not be punished. He said the problem was due to a lack of communication about the rules.
When the FBI received more freedom to open investigations and obtain information in recent years, it promised Congress that it would instruct and test agents on what they were—and were not— allowed to do.
For example, for the first time the FBI was allowed to conduct surveillance without proof that a crime took place. They were also granted permission to consider race when opening early investigations.
Improprieties about the testing came up as early as last year when Assistant Director Joseph Persichini, head of the FBI's Washington D.C. office, which examines congressional wrongdoing and crime in the capital, retired during an investigation alleging that he cheated during an open-book test in 2009.
The latest probe seems limited to the D.C. office. Depending on the result of the investigation, the agents could be disciplined or even canned from their jobs.
Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before Congress. The alleged cheating scandal is expected to come up.
The Muslim country, which has banned content on at least 17 websites to block offensive and blasphemous material, is the world’s leader in online searches for pornographic material, FoxNews.com has learned.
“You won’t find strip clubs in Islamic countries. Most Islamic countries have certain dress codes,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. “It would be an irony if they haven’t shown the same vigilance to pornography.”
So here’s the irony: Google ranks Pakistan No. 1 in the world in searches for pornographic terms, outranking every other country in the world in searches per person for certain sex-related content.
Pakistan is top dog in searches per-person for “horse sex” since 2004, “donkey sex” since 2007, “rape pictures” between 2004 and 2009, “rape sex” since 2004, “child sex” between 2004 and 2007 and since 2009, “animal sex” since 2004 and “dog sex” since 2005, according to Google Trends and Google Insights, features of Google that generate data based on popular search terms.
The country also is tops — or has been No. 1 — in searches for “sex,” “camel sex,” “rape video,” “child sex video” and some other searches that can’t be printed here.
Google Trends generates data of popular search terms in geographic locations during specific time frames. Google Insights is a more advanced version that allows users to filter a search to geographic locations, time frames and the nature of a search, including web, images, products and news.
Pakistan ranked No. 1 in all the searches listed above on Google Trends, but on only some of them in Google Insights.
“We do our best to provide accurate data and to provide insights into broad search patterns, but the results for a given query may contain inaccuracies due to data sampling issues, approximations, or incomplete data for the terms entered,” Google said in a statement, when asked about the accuracy of its reports.
The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan did not reply to a request for an interview.
In addition to banning content on 17 websites, including islamexposed.blogspot.com, Pakistan is monitoring seven other sites — Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, MSN and Hotmail — for anti-Islamic content, the Associated Press reported in June.
But it’s not to censor the Pakistani people, Reynolds said. It’s to shut out the rest of the world.
“[It] could lead to conversion, which would undermine the very order of the state,” he said. “Part of protecting the society is making sure that there is no way it could be undermined in terms of foreign influences.”
Pakistan temporarily banned Facebook in May when Muslim groups protested the page containing blasphemous material. The page remains on Facebook, but Pakistani users are unable to view it, said Andrew Noyes, manager of Facebook’s Public Policy Communication.
And while Pakistan is taking measures to prevent blasphemous material from being viewed by its citizens, pornographic material is “certainly” contradictory to Islam, too, Reynolds said.
The country’s punishment for those charged with blasphemy is execution, but the question remains what — if anything — can be done about people who search for porn on the Web. “It’s a new phenomenon,” Reynolds said.
It said in a press release: “The Ministry for Special Initiatives wants to make it clear that neither any approval was sought nor any approval was given by the Prime Minister. In fact, the project director was not even present during that presentation and his claim is totally baseless. The project director has also falsely accused that the prime minister was “quoted” during the Contract Award Committee meeting as having given this approval. The fact is that the prime minister was never quoted during this meeting. The meeting was chaired by the federal minister for special initiatives and attended by additional chief secretary, Balochistan; secretary local government, Punjab; member P&D, Punjab; secretary public health, Sindh; secretary Local Government, Balochistan. The minutes of the meeting also prove this fact.
“The revised PC-I of the project is yet to be prepared as per instruction of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) that had directed that revised PC-I should be put before ECNEC after tenders for Punjab had been finalised.
“It would be pertinent to note that the press release of the meeting issued by the Prime Minister’s Media Office carried by the press on May 09 said, ‘The PM, however, noted with concern that the project was initiated in haste, without proper feasibility study and due consultative process with provincial and district governments. He underscored the need for developing a sense of ownership of the programme, taking all the stakeholders on board.’ “The prime minister had issued such instructions from time to time before as well. In compliance of these directions of the prime minister, various committees comprising of senior officers from each province and concerned federal ministries were formed for pre-qualification of firms and award of tender. Since the project is to be implemented by the provinces, the Ministry of Special initiatives gave complete autonomy to these committees, particularly the provincial representatives. All decisions were taken with consensus and in case of any difference of opinion, the majority view always prevailed.”
Rauf Klasra adds: The clarification deals with the allegation of the director project and does not contradict the story. I stand by the story.
Public-private venture for upgrading livestock sector ends up as grazing ground for misappropriations, embezzlements
By Junaid A. Ranjha:
The MoSI report states that out of the established cooling tanks, only 25 ordinary small farms have benefited from this scheme while the rest have been provided to multi-national processors through PDDC s funding. The company also mobilized major chunk of allocations for developing an infrastructure to set up dairy processing units for a former federal minister, the PDDC source further added.Secretary Special Initiatives, Abdul Shafiq refused to comment on the issue after repeated attempts to get ministry s side on the questions raised by two separate reports of MoSI and PC.The Pakistan Dairy Development Company commonly known as Dairy Pakistan is a public-private joint initiative to bring about long-term structural change in the dairy industry in Pakistan.
Pakistan is the fifth largest milk producer in the world, the PDDC project was envisioned to turn Pakistan into one of the top five dairy processing countries. Dairy Pakistan is embarking on the White Revolution - a phased plan targeting all the key players in the dairy sector.The implementation of White Revolution was designed in three phases - Horizon one, two and three.The Prime Minister has allocated Rs2 billion for Horizon I. The Horizon II costing Rs5.86 billion will focus on increasing productivity of rural areas and create a link between the value-chain.The White Revolution has PSDP funding of Rs2.654 million for Horizon-II that aims to develop community farms, milk pockets, military farm upgrades, bulk milk vending, training of master trainers for management practices, rural contractors, biogas program, regulation development program and breeding farms.The company has spent Rs182.59 million in 2008-09 with throw-forward amount of Rs2.471 billion and has an allocation of Rs100m for the current fiscal 2009-10. For the year 2007-08, Rs500m were allocated for the project, out of which Rs313m were released whereas Rs200m were utilised.The reports of PC and MoSI clearly state that the project failed to achieve its set targets and some of the interventions have not been reported even to date.The MoSI in its report dispatched to the PM s secretariat says that the PDDC management lacks the capability and commitment to work for the development of livestock sector.The PC report lays bare the facts that PDDC was assigned to establish 100 community farms at the cost of Rs542m but it has set up only seven farms. For milk pockets development with cost of Rs408m that include four HTST plants and 25 small plants none of them were developed even after spending Rs1.32m.The company was to upgrade military farms with cost of Rs284m but no break through has been reported and this component of the project has been put on hold. The setting up of five pasteurisation plants with associated vending outlets at a cost of Rs331m is still in the initial stage, the PC report added.About training of 300 master trainers and training of 8,250 farmers with cost of Rs406m, the report said that no progress has been made for master trainers while only 500 farmers were trained.Linking of finance program of executing middlemen with cost of Rs116m is yet to be initiated, it said, adding that creation of rural businesses contractors for equipment and servicing, only a single unit is operational and 10 application in process.For the establishment of biogas program with cost of Rs61m, the report highlighted that only 215 plants have been installed, said the report and no progress have been made to produce 200 heifers with cost of Rs506m.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
China and Pakistan have been cooperating in the field of civilian nuclear technology for many years now and since China became a member of the IAEA all the civilian reactors given by China have been subject to IAEA safeguards. Unlike in the case of India, after the Indo-US nuclear deal, Pakistan continues to go by the normal safeguards agreement for Non-NPT states. In India’s case it may be recalled, the US managed to get an India-specific safeguards agreement from the IAEA for those reactors that the US will either be providing fuel for or helping construct. Moreover, it is India that will decide which reactors will come under these loose safeguards and according to a unique provision - not present in any other IAEA safeguard model - India can opt out of the safeguards when it sees fit! The US also got country-specific export exceptions for India from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), which goes contrary to not only the NPT but also the NSG’s own guidelines. Ironically, the NSG first came into being in 1975 as a reaction to the 1974 Indian nuclear test where the explosive device used plutonium from a Canadian-supplied reactor. Even at that time, Canada irrationally chose to penalise Pakistan by immediately withdrawing aid to the KANUPP reactor despite it being under IAEA safeguards.
Now once again, the US is threatening to victimise Pakistan and try and sabotage the civilian nuclear deal with China - which is similar to and a continuation of past cooperation under IAEA scrutiny. The chosen forum for the present pressure on Pakistan is the upcoming NSG meeting in New Zealand. However, both China and Pakistan need to remember that the NSG is merely a ‘club’ of suppliers of nuclear technology where membership is by choice and there is nothing internationally and legally binding with regard to its decisions. So Pakistan and China are under no obligation to give in to unreasonable country-specific demands targeting Pakistan’s civilian nuclear programme - after all, China’s membership of the NSG is voluntary and while it can explain its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, it is under no compulsion to abandon it at the behest of the NSG. Another Muslim state, Iran, is also going to be targeted at the New Zealand NSG meeting.
Gilani said on Tuesday, however, he wanted to clarify and "get it right". "As far as the US is concerned, we're not bound to follow it," he said while speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad. "If these are UN (sanctions) then according to international laws, we'll consider them." US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke warned Islamabad on Sunday against over committing to the natural gas pipeline project because of the expected effects of the sanctions.
Pakistan is desperate for new energy sources, saddled with expensive generation and a daily shortage of as much as 5,000 megawatts. Frequent outages hamper industry and have sparked street protests against the government. The pipeline, expected to be completed by 2015, originally would have terminated in India. However, New Delhi has been reluctant to join given its long-running rivalry with Pakistan.
APP adds: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said Pakistan was not bound to follow the US restrictions placed on Iran, but would consider implementing the UN sanctions under its international obligations. Addressing a luncheon in honour of parliamentarians the Prime Minister clarified his remarks made on Monday at Garhi Khuda Bux about the impact on the over seven billion dollars Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, if sanctions were imposed by the US or the UN on Iran.
In his address to the parliamentarians Prime Minister Gilani said all state institutions need to work within their constitutional ambit for achieving the greater good, for serving the masses and in the larger interest of the country. Prime Minister Gilani said the people of Pakistan have elected its representatives for a period of five years with a view to solve their problems.
Gilani said the government has never claimed that there were no problems or it knew the solution to all ills, but said that it was learning from experience and its mistakes. He said the government has good ties with the opposition, the media and all other pillars of the state and believes that the country can progress and move forward by adhering to the policy of reconciliation and consensus.
He recalled that the government responded forcefully when its writ was challenged by extremists in Swat and Malakand. He said the government with the support of all political forces in the country forged a strong policy against the militants and the entire nation stood as one. He pointed that the recent budget by the federal and the provincial governments have been prepared in difficult circumstances but keeping in view the global economic condition and the ground situation tough decisions have been taken, in the larger national interest. He said efforts were being made to maintain the pace of national progress.
He hoped that the parliamentarians would continue to guide the government on issues of good governance and legislation. The Prime Minister mentioned the achievements of his governments that included the 7th NFC Award, the 18th Amendment to restore the constitution to its original form, the Benazir Income Support Programme, Agaz-e-haqooq-e-Balochistan and the Gilgit-Baltistan empowerment package.
Gilani said his government was committed to address the issues of law and order, terrorism, unemployment and poverty by allocating more resources. "We have to inevitably take tough decisions, and positive results were coming," he added. He said the parliamentarians should stand united by rising above their party and personal affiliations to find a solution to the ills afflicting the society. He said his government has distributed development funds to all the parliamentarians without any discrimination.
He expressed satisfaction at the performance of the parliament and said it has come up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan. He said supremacy of the parliament needs to be ensured. He said certain elements wanted conflict between the government and the judiciary but said all such attempts would fail. He dispelled such impressions and said his government enjoyed good ties with all state institutions.
He said the judiciary was trying to bring about social justice in the society. Gilani said his government was following in letter and spirit all the rules and regulations and has nothing to hide. "We are not law breakers, we are the law makers."
|Video: Gen. McChrystal comes under fire|
WASHINGTON - As Gen. Stanley McChrystal makes the long trip back to Washington, pundits are weighing in on whether a Rolling Stone magazine article about the “Runaway General” could be grounds for the man in charge of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan to step down from his post.
Below is a roundup of the top 10 excerpts from that article, which is slated to come out this Friday.
- “Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”
“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite me?”
- Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect…. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later…. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s a guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.
- Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan. “I found that time painful,” McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. “I was selling an unsellable position.”
- The biggest military operation of the year – a ferocious offensive that began in February to re-take the southern town of Marja – continues to drag on, prompting McChrystal himself to refer to it as a “bleeding ulcer.”
- In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side…. Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, “turn up, have a meeting with [President Hamid] Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it’s not very helpful.”
- “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” [McChrystal] groans. “I don’t even want to open it.”
- By far the most crucial — and strained — relationship is between McChrystal and Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador.
- “We’ve shot an amazing number of people,” McChrystal recently conceded.
- “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.”
- McChrystal may have sold President Obama on counterinsurgency, but many of his own men aren’t buying it.
Stanley McChrystal: The runaway general
|Video: Gen. McChrystal comes under fire|
|Video: McChrystal profile author surprised at fallout|
|Video: White House won’t confirm McChrystal’s job security|
|Video: McChrystal profile author surprised at fallout|
|Video: Obama: McChrystal 'showed poor judgment'|
|Video: Gen. McChrystal comes under fire|
|Video: Obama: McChrystal 'showed poor judgment'|
|Video: Rolling Stone: McChrystal quotes on the record|