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PML-N fails to submit bill in NA for repealing 17th Amendment
Saturday,
January 31, 2009
By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly session, which continued for 19 days, was prorogued on Friday without doing any legislative business except completing the debate on the presidential address to the joint sitting of parliament and adopting a vote of thanks.Just before reading out the prorogation, Chairperson Shakeela Khanum Rashid, who was chairing the session in the absence of Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, also read out the information to the National Assembly that the PML-N had voluntarily withdrawn the requisition for the National Assembly’s session.Just before the start of the session, the PML-N had announced that it would submit a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly to repeal the controversial 17th Amendment but failed to do so. The Friday’s session was dominated by points of order.Bashir Mehmood Virk of the PML-N asked on a point of order whether the Article 270 AAA was part of the Constitution as it was incorporated through the PCO of November 3. He said members of this House had taken oath under the 1973 Constitution. But in its present form, it contains the Article 270 AAA and it is appropriate to form a committee to decide whether the members took oath under the PCO or the 1973 Constitution. However, his question remained unanswered.Ahsan Iqbal, senior legislator of the PML-N, put the government on defensive when he raised the issue of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of his party through the Press Information Department.He said the PID was sending articles by ghost writers to newspapers that contained language that comes under the purview of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of the PML-N. “This is against the norms set by both the parties in the Charter of Democracy,” he added. He warned that continuation of such personal attacks would revive the culture of 90s.Replying to a point of order, the minister for parliamentary affairs observed that while criticism was justified there should be no personal attacks. He said the government respected the opposition and will take up this issue with the information ministry.
Munir Khan Aurakzai said the displaced persons of the Kurram Agency had again threatened to close the Parachinar-Peshawar Road if no steps were taken for their rehabilitation. He said the people of Fata were facing great hardships and the government should take immediate steps for their rehabilitation.
Justice (retd) Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar drew the attention of the chair to the arrest of Zarina Baloch and asked why she had not been produced before the court of law. Syed Asif Hasnain, on a point of order, said seven officials of the Landhi-Korangi Industrial Estate had been kidnapped for ransom and the workers of the industrial estate had threatened to go on strike if the officials were not recovered. He said such incidents were on the rise in the area and demanded deployment of Rangers for protection of the local people. Engineer Amir Muqam of the PML-Q raised the issue of irregularities in the distribution of Zakat in the NWFP and said the provincial government, led by ANP and PPP, had appointed party men for distributing Zakat, making its distribution a political issue.Minister for Zakat and Usher Noorul Haq Qadri conceded that there were complaints not only in the NWFP but also in the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. He said a special committee, comprising Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan and Law Minister Farooq H Naek, had been assigned to formulate a comprehensive monitoring system.Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Amjad Khan on Friday told the National Assembly that Chitral-Nawapass (Afghanistan) route would be opened in a couple of days. He was responding to a call attention notice of Shahzada Mohiuddin, Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada and Muhammad Nawaz Allai about the closure of passage to Chitral, resulting in difficulties to thousands of stranded passengers in Peshawar and Chitral. The minister said after the closure of Lowari Pass in the winter season, permission was sought from the government of Afghanistan for use of Randu-Nawapass route. He said this year too the issue was raised with Afghanistan but due to security situation on the border, the route was not considered safe for journey and, therefore, permission was not granted. He said now that the Afghan government had given permission and the route would be opened for traffic within a couple of days. Minister for Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan told the National Assembly that the Lowari tunnel had been completed but for the time being people could not use it as heavy machinery was still moving there. He said the Lowari tunnel is a project of national importance and the completion date of the project was September 2010. Shahzada Mohiuddin asked the Chair to take up the issue with the Afghan foreign minister in his upcoming visit to Pakistan that the people of Chitral be allowed to bring essential commodities with them from Afghanistan as they were facing severe shortage of essential commodities in Chitral.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=19991


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PML-N fails to submit bill in NA for repealing 17th Amendment
Saturday,
January 31, 2009
By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly session, which continued for 19 days, was prorogued on Friday without doing any legislative business except completing the debate on the presidential address to the joint sitting of parliament and adopting a vote of thanks.Just before reading out the prorogation, Chairperson Shakeela Khanum Rashid, who was chairing the session in the absence of Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, also read out the information to the National Assembly that the PML-N had voluntarily withdrawn the requisition for the National Assembly’s session.Just before the start of the session, the PML-N had announced that it would submit a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly to repeal the controversial 17th Amendment but failed to do so. The Friday’s session was dominated by points of order.Bashir Mehmood Virk of the PML-N asked on a point of order whether the Article 270 AAA was part of the Constitution as it was incorporated through the PCO of November 3. He said members of this House had taken oath under the 1973 Constitution. But in its present form, it contains the Article 270 AAA and it is appropriate to form a committee to decide whether the members took oath under the PCO or the 1973 Constitution. However, his question remained unanswered.Ahsan Iqbal, senior legislator of the PML-N, put the government on defensive when he raised the issue of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of his party through the Press Information Department.He said the PID was sending articles by ghost writers to newspapers that contained language that comes under the purview of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of the PML-N. “This is against the norms set by both the parties in the Charter of Democracy,” he added. He warned that continuation of such personal attacks would revive the culture of 90s.Replying to a point of order, the minister for parliamentary affairs observed that while criticism was justified there should be no personal attacks. He said the government respected the opposition and will take up this issue with the information ministry.
Munir Khan Aurakzai said the displaced persons of the Kurram Agency had again threatened to close the Parachinar-Peshawar Road if no steps were taken for their rehabilitation. He said the people of Fata were facing great hardships and the government should take immediate steps for their rehabilitation.
Justice (retd) Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar drew the attention of the chair to the arrest of Zarina Baloch and asked why she had not been produced before the court of law. Syed Asif Hasnain, on a point of order, said seven officials of the Landhi-Korangi Industrial Estate had been kidnapped for ransom and the workers of the industrial estate had threatened to go on strike if the officials were not recovered. He said such incidents were on the rise in the area and demanded deployment of Rangers for protection of the local people. Engineer Amir Muqam of the PML-Q raised the issue of irregularities in the distribution of Zakat in the NWFP and said the provincial government, led by ANP and PPP, had appointed party men for distributing Zakat, making its distribution a political issue.Minister for Zakat and Usher Noorul Haq Qadri conceded that there were complaints not only in the NWFP but also in the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. He said a special committee, comprising Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan and Law Minister Farooq H Naek, had been assigned to formulate a comprehensive monitoring system.Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Amjad Khan on Friday told the National Assembly that Chitral-Nawapass (Afghanistan) route would be opened in a couple of days. He was responding to a call attention notice of Shahzada Mohiuddin, Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada and Muhammad Nawaz Allai about the closure of passage to Chitral, resulting in difficulties to thousands of stranded passengers in Peshawar and Chitral. The minister said after the closure of Lowari Pass in the winter season, permission was sought from the government of Afghanistan for use of Randu-Nawapass route. He said this year too the issue was raised with Afghanistan but due to security situation on the border, the route was not considered safe for journey and, therefore, permission was not granted. He said now that the Afghan government had given permission and the route would be opened for traffic within a couple of days. Minister for Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan told the National Assembly that the Lowari tunnel had been completed but for the time being people could not use it as heavy machinery was still moving there. He said the Lowari tunnel is a project of national importance and the completion date of the project was September 2010. Shahzada Mohiuddin asked the Chair to take up the issue with the Afghan foreign minister in his upcoming visit to Pakistan that the people of Chitral be allowed to bring essential commodities with them from Afghanistan as they were facing severe shortage of essential commodities in Chitral.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=19991


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http://www.thenews.com.pk
PML-N fails to submit bill in NA for repealing 17th Amendment
Saturday,
January 31, 2009
By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly session, which continued for 19 days, was prorogued on Friday without doing any legislative business except completing the debate on the presidential address to the joint sitting of parliament and adopting a vote of thanks.Just before reading out the prorogation, Chairperson Shakeela Khanum Rashid, who was chairing the session in the absence of Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, also read out the information to the National Assembly that the PML-N had voluntarily withdrawn the requisition for the National Assembly’s session.Just before the start of the session, the PML-N had announced that it would submit a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly to repeal the controversial 17th Amendment but failed to do so. The Friday’s session was dominated by points of order.Bashir Mehmood Virk of the PML-N asked on a point of order whether the Article 270 AAA was part of the Constitution as it was incorporated through the PCO of November 3. He said members of this House had taken oath under the 1973 Constitution. But in its present form, it contains the Article 270 AAA and it is appropriate to form a committee to decide whether the members took oath under the PCO or the 1973 Constitution. However, his question remained unanswered.Ahsan Iqbal, senior legislator of the PML-N, put the government on defensive when he raised the issue of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of his party through the Press Information Department.He said the PID was sending articles by ghost writers to newspapers that contained language that comes under the purview of character assassination of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of the PML-N. “This is against the norms set by both the parties in the Charter of Democracy,” he added. He warned that continuation of such personal attacks would revive the culture of 90s.Replying to a point of order, the minister for parliamentary affairs observed that while criticism was justified there should be no personal attacks. He said the government respected the opposition and will take up this issue with the information ministry.
Munir Khan Aurakzai said the displaced persons of the Kurram Agency had again threatened to close the Parachinar-Peshawar Road if no steps were taken for their rehabilitation. He said the people of Fata were facing great hardships and the government should take immediate steps for their rehabilitation.
Justice (retd) Fakhar-un-Nisa Khokhar drew the attention of the chair to the arrest of Zarina Baloch and asked why she had not been produced before the court of law. Syed Asif Hasnain, on a point of order, said seven officials of the Landhi-Korangi Industrial Estate had been kidnapped for ransom and the workers of the industrial estate had threatened to go on strike if the officials were not recovered. He said such incidents were on the rise in the area and demanded deployment of Rangers for protection of the local people. Engineer Amir Muqam of the PML-Q raised the issue of irregularities in the distribution of Zakat in the NWFP and said the provincial government, led by ANP and PPP, had appointed party men for distributing Zakat, making its distribution a political issue.Minister for Zakat and Usher Noorul Haq Qadri conceded that there were complaints not only in the NWFP but also in the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. He said a special committee, comprising Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan and Law Minister Farooq H Naek, had been assigned to formulate a comprehensive monitoring system.Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Amjad Khan on Friday told the National Assembly that Chitral-Nawapass (Afghanistan) route would be opened in a couple of days. He was responding to a call attention notice of Shahzada Mohiuddin, Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada and Muhammad Nawaz Allai about the closure of passage to Chitral, resulting in difficulties to thousands of stranded passengers in Peshawar and Chitral. The minister said after the closure of Lowari Pass in the winter season, permission was sought from the government of Afghanistan for use of Randu-Nawapass route. He said this year too the issue was raised with Afghanistan but due to security situation on the border, the route was not considered safe for journey and, therefore, permission was not granted. He said now that the Afghan government had given permission and the route would be opened for traffic within a couple of days. Minister for Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan told the National Assembly that the Lowari tunnel had been completed but for the time being people could not use it as heavy machinery was still moving there. He said the Lowari tunnel is a project of national importance and the completion date of the project was September 2010. Shahzada Mohiuddin asked the Chair to take up the issue with the Afghan foreign minister in his upcoming visit to Pakistan that the people of Chitral be allowed to bring essential commodities with them from Afghanistan as they were facing severe shortage of essential commodities in Chitral.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=19991


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Updated at: 1140 PST,
Saturday, January 31, 2009

PARA CHINAR: A jirga would continue on Saturday for restoration of peace and recovery of kidnapped persons in Kurram Agency.

According to sources, armed men had kidnapped five persons including a tribal leader Pir Syed Askar Ali Shah Naqvi and killed one person in Chappri and Torghar areas three days ago. In reply, rival tribe had kidnapped several people.

On Friday, a jirga of notables of Tori, Hamzakhel, Mastukhel held in Para Chinar to discus recovery of kidnapped persons and restoration of peace. According to jirga sources, a jirga would be held again today in which members of peace jirga would take part.


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Updated at: 1140 PST,
Saturday, January 31, 2009

PARA CHINAR: A jirga would continue on Saturday for restoration of peace and recovery of kidnapped persons in Kurram Agency.

According to sources, armed men had kidnapped five persons including a tribal leader Pir Syed Askar Ali Shah Naqvi and killed one person in Chappri and Torghar areas three days ago. In reply, rival tribe had kidnapped several people.

On Friday, a jirga of notables of Tori, Hamzakhel, Mastukhel held in Para Chinar to discus recovery of kidnapped persons and restoration of peace. According to jirga sources, a jirga would be held again today in which members of peace jirga would take part.


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Updated at: 1140 PST,
Saturday, January 31, 2009

PARA CHINAR: A jirga would continue on Saturday for restoration of peace and recovery of kidnapped persons in Kurram Agency.

According to sources, armed men had kidnapped five persons including a tribal leader Pir Syed Askar Ali Shah Naqvi and killed one person in Chappri and Torghar areas three days ago. In reply, rival tribe had kidnapped several people.

On Friday, a jirga of notables of Tori, Hamzakhel, Mastukhel held in Para Chinar to discus recovery of kidnapped persons and restoration of peace. According to jirga sources, a jirga would be held again today in which members of peace jirga would take part.


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By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH
Published: January 11, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/world/asia/12pstan.html?hp

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
At the same time, a separate and equally deadly battle played out just 60 miles to the south. Gangs of Sunnis and Shiites fought each other, rampaging through the villages of the Hangu district over the weekend, destroying dozens of homes and leaving at least 40 people dead between the rival groups, according to reports from authorities carried by Pakistani news media and accounts from local residents. Hundreds of Taliban fighters rushed in to support Sunni gangs, as government attack helicopters hovered overhead, trying to intimidate gunmen into withdrawing.
“Both sides are trying to overrun each other’s villages,” said Abdul Rehman, a Sunni and resident of Hangu. He estimated that 60 people had died and said the incoming Taliban fighters appeared eager to drive Shiites out of the region. “They seem to be bent on settling this Shia question for good.”
Taken together, the battles underscored the persistent lawlessness in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan, where Taliban militants and other warlords have tightened their grip despite the Pakistani military’s attempts to make inroads in the past year.
The assault in Mohmand was particularly troubling. In the past, militants have often pulled away from high concentrations of Pakistani troops, only to return later. But this time, an estimated 600 Taliban fighters directly assaulted a paramilitary base at Mamad Gatt, according to Frontier Corps officials.
The western tribal areas have been a haven for Pakistani Taliban forces who stage attacks in Afghanistan, and they have been a focus for American diplomats, who have pressed the Pakistani government to do more to disrupt the flow.
But this attack involved mostly Taliban from the Afghan side of the border, who flooded into the mountainous area and joined with Pakistani fighters in the assault.
Armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns, the militants swarmed the Mamad Gatt fort on Saturday night and fought heavily through the morning, according to one Frontier Corps officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information. By Sunday afternoon, he said, most militants had left, though there were still scattered skirmishes.
The battle took place in a district formally known as the Mohmand Agency, one of seven semiautonomous agencies along the border. Mohmand is northwest of Peshawar, the frontier hub city of three million that has come under increasing pressure from Taliban encroachment.
The Frontier Corps’ estimate of 40 dead militants could not be independently confirmed. According to some local reports, a number of Pakistani soldiers were captured, in addition to the six killed and seven wounded.
According to a Pashto-language television channel, one Taliban fighter who was killed was a midlevel commander in his 20s, Muslim Khan, also known as Garang, who was responsible for detaining a reporter and photographer for The New York Times in Mohmand in July.
The fighting over the weekend also followed the Pakistani military’s decision in late December to move about 5,000 troops abruptly from deployments in western Pakistan eastward to locations that would allow the military to defend the border with India more quickly if armed conflict broke out. Pakistani officials say more than 100,000 troops remain in the west.
The separate violence, in the Hangu district, involved a flaring of sectarian tensions after Shiites protested that a curfew forbade them from turning out for an important religious procession.
According to local residents, a large number of Shiites who live on the road from Hangu to Kohat marched toward Hangu to confront authorities about the curfew. Fighting then erupted with Sunnis who live in the area.
Hundreds of Taliban fighters — some in pickups with truck-bed-mounted machine guns — flooded into Hangu from the neighboring Orakzai district prepared to fight on the side of the Sunnis, despite reports that an assembly of local tribal elders had agreed to a cease-fire on Sunday. Sunni guerrillas fired on Shiite enclaves with mortars and reportedly seized a Shiite mosque and madrasa.
The Taliban from Orakzai Agency are under the command of Hakimullah Mehsud, a lieutenant of the warlord
Baitullah Mehsud. Most of the Sunnis in Hangu belong to the same tribe as the Orakzai fighters.
The Shiites got help from members of the Turi tribe from another adjoining district, Kurram Agency, some residents said.
“Our force consists of young and inexperienced boys who are educated and as such don’t know the art of fighting heavily armed Taliban,” said one Shiite resident, Muzaffar Khan

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