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Posts Tagged ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Degrees of five more MPs declared fake

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ISLAMABAD: Degrees of five more parliamentarians were declared fake on Wednesday as the count keeps on growing.

The Peshawar University had received degrees of 105 parliamentarians for verification. While clearing 103, the university affirmed that it has no record of degrees of Akhunzada MNA from Bajaur and MPA Saima from Punjab. Both the parliamentarians belong to the Pakistan People’s Party.

The degree of Senator Akbar Magsi has also been pronounced fake by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University, Khairpur. Whereas MPA Salman Mohsin Gilani of the PML-N and Wasim Afzal of the PPP have been found fake, claimed a private television channel Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Balochistan University has received at least 60degrees of assembly members for verification. The university administration has established a committee for verification of degrees of members of Balochistan Assembly. According to a private news channel, which quoted the university sources, examination branch has received total 60 degrees sent by Higher Education Commission for verification Wednesday.

Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, verified 47 degrees of the parliamentarians out of 50 degrees by identifying two suspected degrees that it has received from the Higher Education Commission.

Media reports stated Wednesday, the HEC had forwarded 50 degrees of the parliamentarians to the BZU for verification and the university administration, after completing its official procedure for degrees attestation, declared two degrees suspected and issue clearance certificates for 47-degrees.

Further, the university administration said the decision regarding the degree of MPA Tariq Majeed has not yet been made, as his case was being pursued in the court; however, two degrees, one of an MNA and the other an MPA, have been found suspected.

Meanwhile, MPA Samina Khawar Hayat of the PML-Q has claimed that her educational degree is genuine and people creating propaganda against her are the same, who are disgracing politicians for their nefarious aims.

She said the politicians served the country more than anyone and they were being targeted at every point, adding the politicians are always defamed in the country. She said her degree is authentic. Samina said she had struggled for democracy and is proud of it.

She asked the TV channels and newspapers to confirm news before publishing and broadcasting in the media.

Meanwhile, 86 new fake academic degrees cases have been revealed in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa’s education department. Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak said in order to make performance of the education department better, recruitments on merit are necessary, reported a private TV channel. He revealed confirmation of 86 workers for having fake degrees from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa education department. Serious action will be taken against them.

‘Militants being funded from abroad’

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IGP Khyber Pakthunkhwa Malik Naveed Khan here Wednesday ruled out the possibility of terrorism threats to the provincial capital and said that militants and their leadership are in disarray due to massive losses suffered by them at the hands of security forces. A handful of militants might have been shifted to Khyber Agency following the successful military operation in Orakzai Agency but there is no threat to Peshawar as security forces and police are fully capable to thwart enemy’ designs. This he said while responding to questions of journalists after giving detailed presentation on the overall law and order situation and police sacrifices during the war against terror here at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines. However, he said suicide attacks could not be ruled out.

The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that massive losses suffered by militants in their strongholds could be judged from the fact that their leadership now can’t move from one place to other and their safe heavens have been destroyed as result of successful operations of security forces. It was the successful operation that has established peace in Swat and Malakand division. To a question about sources of funding to militants, he said that the way they were equipped, armed, driving vehicles, they might getting funds from some foreign quarters that needs to be blocked. The presence of large number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan for the last 32 years had also added to the difficulties of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in making close check on militants and terrorists, he added.

The IGP made it crystal clear that illegal emigrants would not be tolerated and would be expelled. The joint search operation that had conducted by paramilitary forces and Khyber Pakthunkhwa police against militants and anti-state elements in the outskirts of Peshawar has proved very successful, owing to significant improvement in law and order in the provincial capital, he maintained. The IGP said the entire nation was now united against the menace of militancy and terrorism and the time is not far away when this cancer would be uprooted completely, he remarked.

“Now, the government, political leadership, civil society, security forces, intelligentsia, people and religious scholars have joined hands with a strong resolve and commitment to wipeout the scourge of extremism, radicalization, militancy and terrorism and with the grace of God we will be triumph,” he remarked. To combat terrorism on sustainable basis, he said Quick Response Force and Elite Forces have been raised, saying that Quick Response Force present at every district headquarters can respond to any terrorists act within five minutes information. Likewise, 6725 Special Police Officers /Community Policemen have been recruited on merit to ward off the threats of terrorism and militancy. The introduction of community police has greatly discouraged militancy in areas where writ of Government was challenged, he added. The IGP said Khyber Pakthunkhwa police have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terror and it was acknowledged by all.

He said that 46 policemen had lost their lives in IED explosions in last two and half years, saying that 201 policemen had embraced martyrdom while fighting against terrorists while 229 militants were killed in 2009. The Police Chief said that 29394 explosive materials, 42 suicide jackets and 41010 hand grenades/dynamites/explosive materials have been seized during last two and half years by Khyber Pakthunkhwa police. Praising showers on police martyrs for their invaluable sacrifices for averting scores of terrorists’ attacks and protecting lives and properties of people of large number population, he said the heirs of martyrs would not be left alone.

The government under Shaheed police package has already announced free education, residential plots, Rs. Three million for heirs of martyred, reservation of special seats for their children and full salary till superannuation have been ensured. The IGP said that a batch of 25 policemen suffered by trauma and mental disorder due to terrorism has performed Umra and another batch will also be sent that had resulted improvement of their health. He said that 500 plots have been distributed among the heirs of martyrs in Regi Lalma township while colonies would also be constructed for policemen at Karak, Kohat, Nowshera and Haripura districts.

A monument would also be constructed for police martyrs at each district while police stations and police lines named after martyrs. In addition to policemen, he said that gallantry medals for civilians who demonstrated bravery would be given, saying that this award will also be given to a journalist. The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that a record number about 100 developmental projects were underway including construction of police lines, stations, posts, colonies etc that after completion would improve the socio-economic condition of policemen.

Regarding aid pledges of international donors countries, he urged the Friends of Pakistan to relax its rules and helped government to further strengthen and equip Khyber Pakthunkhwa police being the front line force in war against terrorism to defeat militancy, terrorism and insurgency once and for all. He said that terrorism was global issue and not related to Pakistan. The IGP also stressed the need for strengthening of Criminal Justice System to curb militancy and terrorism and radicalization on sound footings.

North Waziristan is the final frontier

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Sherry Rehman

There is a saying in Pakistan that if you can’t defeat your enemy, befriend him. This is particularly true in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan, where, in six agencies, there’s an unprecedented military offensive against militants. Despite many tactical alliances and ceasefire pacts in Waziristan, Pakistan has gone in with firepower backed by US drones. The cornerstone of the security policy here is to attack militants close to the al-Qaida, but spare armed syndicates that protect Pakistan’s flanks.

The turbulence in the Af-Pak border zone has led Washington to put out strategic leaks about possible military intervention inside Pakistan. The heart of the problem is what could alter the dynamics of declining US-Nato successes in the Afghan theatre. North Waziristan agency (NWA), and what the Pakistan army is able to do there, seems to have become the litmus test for US-Pakistan relations. After Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bomb attack in Times Square, the pressure on Islamabad to act against anti-US Taliban in NWA has increased. Islamabad pleads capacity constraints; the US cites commitment gaps.

The stakes are high. After failing to build institutional structures in Afghanistan, the test for Washington is linking US-Nato ground offensives in the south and Loya Paktiya to Pakistan’s push on the militant Haqqani-led groups from NWA. The Obama presidency needs a game-changer in a theatre where success is elusive despite a COIN (counter-insurgency) strategy that focuses on population safety. The expected Taliban reversals have not happened despite a massive offensive in Marjah. In Washington’s view, Pakistan is pulling its punches as it may need the Taliban when the US exits Afghanistan.

For Pakistan, this is a battle for its stability and survival. Action is overdue against terrorist and sectarian groups in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. There is a compelling need to act against extremist groups after the massacre of nearly a hundred Ahmadiyas in Lahore recently. The Punjab government needs to do a counter-terror sweep of its cities. The federal government must back up this action with pro-minority legislation. None of this requires the military to act, but such actions will see heightened terrorist attacks on civilians and military alike. This is something that the government will have to brace itself for.

The challenge in NWA is that Islamabad does not have the military or civilian capacity to open all fronts at the same time. Enmeshed in a blighted strategic endgame, with a growing terrorist threat, tanking economy and India posturing to the east, the military option in NWA cannot be a hair-trigger decision. The terrain has sobered the ambitions of several imperial powers, including the British, Russians and now perhaps the Americans. Despite impressive successes in other agencies, the army now faces 50,000 massed armed guerrillas in NWA. Hardened groups such as the Tehrik-I-Taliban, the Haqqani-group and jihadist outfits such as LeT and Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, Lashkar Zil, al-Qaida veterans and Salafists have sought sanctuary there after resisting army operations in surrounding areas. Islamabad’s fear is that if it shoves a fist into this hornet’s nest, maintaining the fragile consensus against terrorists at home would be difficult, as well as protecting its cities from further attacks.

This can be no “shock and awe” exercise that can be switched off by remote control. Pakistan has already lost over 3,000 people in two years as a result of the terrorist backlash; the economy has taken a $35 billion hit. The question is, will the US be around to help hold down Pakistan’s fist when its army swoops on al-Qaida strongholds such as Mir Ali? The military’s tactic in any counterinsurgency initiative in mountainous terrain is ‘pincer and choke’ the enemies’ escape routes. The 8,000-feet high mountainous trails in NWA are legendary for providing escape routes to Afghanistan. So, if these routes are not blocked, the whole exercise will lead to the enemy escaping to hospitable terrain. Given the unequal number of border checkposts on either side of the Durand Line, it is unlikely that any permanent flush-out of Waziristan is possible. If the NWA is grand central for terrorists, then the Afghan border provinces provide strategic depth. While the US-Nato forces in Afghanistan need to do their bit, Pakistan will have to step up border checks and review unwritten peace deals with tribal leaders who change sides too often.

The other question is: how long can the Pakistani army stay in the agencies it has secured? Is there a civilian ‘build, hold and transition’ component to the project? Once again, before putting pressure Pakistan with an escalating war, huge governance commitments such as ROZ (reconstruction opportunity zones) assistance will have to roll off the US machine. Why should Pakistan be expected to do more than reverse the Taliban tide in some areas, when US has not been able even to broker a new post-insurgency model for Afghanistan? Pakhtun alienation is not a concern for exiting nations, but it has huge blowback potential for Pakistan – Karachi is host to five million Pakhtuns.

What will help is a phase-by-phase plan for securing the area, holding it until the tribes that have been terrorized by the Taliban are able to return and do business. Second, though the elites in Waziristan’s tribal areas have been marginalized by the Taliban, they will resist governance models that diminish their pre-Taliban political powers. The military will have to stay in Waziristan until the police and frontier corps in that area is strengthened, and the tribal leadership prepares for critical reforms and political activity by mainstream parties. FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) reform will only work if introduced incrementally, and the government’s recent announcements, if implemented, will be a brave start. At the federal level, security sector reform is critical because peace deals with militants who promised not to attack government installations have almost always failed. As a temporary tactical move, there is some use in neutralizing militants to focus on the main enemy, but not in the long-run. The state must start assuming charge of security.

The politics of a military operation are never easy. No military relishes fighting inside its own borders, and no civilian, elected government embraces the use of force as a first, or even second option. The government has thrown its full weight behind the operations, despite the costs that accrue from such initiatives. As a result, Pakistan now has its own generation of lost people, human tragedies, economic crises, internal strife and political instability.

While the military presses on with an offensive in Orakzai agency, there will be little room to divert forces for anything more than strategic strikes on NWA areas where the terrorists cluster. Pakistan must dismantle al-Qaida as well as India-centric jihadist outfits as a priority. It also must allow Kabul to form its own stable government and hope for a friendly partner. But it will need Pakhtuns to maintain stability in Afghan border provinces after the expected US troop withdrawal in 2011. Seeking more than surgical raids in NWA is asking for too much. Pakistan must act decisively against terrorists, but using its own gameplan.

Sherry Rehman is a member of the National Security Committee in Pakistan’s Parliament

Punjab boycotts IRSA meeting

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* Punjab member says province being denied rights owing to undue favours to Sindh
* Shafqat suggests govt appoint federal representative from Gilgit-Baltistan

By Zeeshan Javaid

ISLAMABAD: Due to reservations over the nomination of a federal representative in the Indus River System Authority from Sindh for 10 years and demanding his substitution with a member from Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab boycotted an IRSA meeting on Tuesday that decided to close down the Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal (CJLC) over protest from a Sindh member.

After the meeting, an IRSA spokesman told reporters that the authority had decided to close the CJLC after protest by a member from Sindh. “Punjab has already used its share of water, therefore there is no other option than to close the project,” he said.

He said IRSA had increased Punjab’s water share from 100,000 to 116,000 cusecs, while the authority would provide the province additional water share from the Mangla Dam.

He said water outflow in Mangla Dam has been increased by 10,000 cusecs, while in Tarbela the outflow would be raised from 5,000 to 95,000 cusecs, however the authority has been providing 3,000 cusecs of water to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1,000 cusecs to Balochistan.

IRSA’s member from Punjab, Shafqat Masood, told Daily Times the authority has been working with consensus with all members for the last few years, but Punjab’s rights have been denied in the last three to four months owing to undue favours to Sindh.

He said it had been decided during the Musharraf regime that the federal representative in IRSA would be appointed from Sindh, a practice continuing for the last 10 years, which is unfair and unjustified.

Suggestion: Masood said the Punjab government had written to the federal government to resolve the issue of selection of a federal representative. He questioned, “Why doesn’t the government appoint the member from Gilgit-Baltistan to develop a neutral consensus on the water issue?”

It has been learnt that the Punjab government has stopped its representative from attending IRSA’s meetings and has accused the authority of having turned “blatantly pro-Sindh” and harming the federation.

As IRSA official said the issue has been referred to the Punjab CM who is taking it up with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The department is now waiting for instructions from the provincial chief executive, he added.