Pakistan News

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that talks will be held with Swiss authorities in August to bring back US$200 billion to Pakistan from banks in Switzerland.

In a statement issued here, he said talks would be held in several phases and it could take three to four years to bring back the said money to the country.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senator said that economic situation was fragile when his party took charge of the affairs of the country.

Dar said international monetary institutions had predicted that the country would be bankrupt in 2014, but the PML-N government with good performance proved that Pakistan has a strong economy.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari, who left office last September after five years, was dogged throughout his tenure by corruption allegations involving Swiss banks dating back to the 1990s.

He was accused along with his late wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, of using Swiss banks to launder $12 million of illegal kickbacks.

Switzerland enacted a new law in 2011 to make it easier for countries to recover assets stolen by politicians and hidden in its banks.

In early 2012, Switzerland said it had returned $1.83 billion in illicitly-placed assets to countries involved in the Arab Spring regime changes, but Pakistan's current tax agreement does not allow it to take advantage of the law.

SIALKOT: Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif has ruled out any timeframe for early completion of the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and said it will continue till elimination of terrorism, militancy and insurgency from the tribal areas.

Talking to journalists at his residence on Sunday, he said that though announcement of any timeframe for the operation was not possible at the moment, the government would take mainstream political parties into confidence over eradication of terrorism and early rehabilitation and repatriation of the people displaced from the NWA.

He said the Zarb-i-Azb operation was continuing successfully with the prayers of the nation. The government wanted an early completion of the operation.

The minister said the nation stood united against terrorism and people were even ready to sacrifice their lives while fighting the militants alongside the armed forces personnel.

He added that the PML-N government was fully aware of the internal and external threats to the country and was making hectic efforts to cope with them. The government was committed to weed out terrorism from the country with the support of the masses.

Mr Asif urged the media to play its pivotal role and perform its national obligation in letter and spirit.

Later, addressing the party workers, the minister said the armed forces were fully capable of uprooting terrorism and ensuring a durable peace and rule of law in the country.

He said the government was also strengthening national institutions through promoting democracy, as there was rule of law in the country.

He also issued orders on several applications submitted by the people of his constituency regarding collective issues.

MPAs Chaudhry Mohammad Ikram, Chaudhry Arshad Warraich and PML-N leaders Mehmoodul Hassan, Babar Khan, Shujaat Ali Pasha and others were also present.

 

The decision has been made; or been made public, at least.

The war is ours, finally. The time for talks, indeed, is over. Pakistan Army has launched an operation against the militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).

After all these years, and the loss of so many dear lives, we’ve been jolted into action. Over the next few days, details will pour in of exactly what and how the Army hopes to achieve from this operation. And over the next few years, of course, we’ll get to see the ramifications materialise in our daily lives, too. The military operation might be underway in NWA, but it is going to spill over in other parts of the country as well.

This is not the first operation against the militants, and Pakistan is not the first country in the world to launch a retaliatory operation against a domestic threat either. In fact, Zarb-e-Azb is the tenth operation undertaken by the Pakistan Army since 2007. But, the battle lines, ever so murky over the last few years, have finally been drawn clearly. Similar insurgencies have been fought all over the world. Very recently, Sri Lanka has successfully concluded a 30-year struggle with its own rebels. One can only hope that it will not take us that long to do so.

Both are battle-hardened, and have proved their mettle in the arena.

But we shouldn’t feel heroic just yet. Bear in mind that the international community has been coaxing, and sometimes even forcing, us to eliminate the militant threat for a long time now. Pakistan’s secretive harbouring of terrorist groups in the past has not been very conducive for our international image, either. Moreover, the decision to launch the operation, coming at a crucial time, will generate some monumental bickering within our ranks.

Why an operation? Why so late? Why now? Does the recent insurgency in Iraq have anything to do with this? What about talks? Who’s providing the funding? Surely, the missiles will separate the good militants from the bad ones, right? Will we allow the militants to lay down arms and follow the state’s writ? Do the ends justify the means?

Some of the questions will be legitimate, and further our understanding of the conflict; others, not so much. The ‘analysts’ and the TV presenters will run themselves hoarse while providing their ‘analyses’. But know this: there are no easy answers.

It is time for us, as a nation, to stand firm. But while doing so, we must not allow anger to cloud our sensibilities, and lose sight of the broader issue. Zarb-e-Azb is going to define Pakistan’s future, and there are some very pertinent matters that have to be kept in mind.

First of all, as a result of the military conflict, the rest of the country will see a wave of internally displaced persons (IDPs) flocking to the safer areas of the land. While the Pakistani state should provide safe passage to the displaced, stringent checks will have to be made to ensure that militants are not allowed to escape into other regions of the country in this way. Furthermore, if the operation runs long (and I have a feeling it might), the IDPs will have to be integrated into the national mainstream through efficient management of human and physical resources.

Secondly, with the Army busy on the Western frontier, it is time for Pakistan to get more regional and international support behind this endeavour. Rather than playing the oft over-played ‘victim’ card, Pakistan should take ownership, and have the wherewithal to see the operation through. It is an opportunity to improve relations with the neighbours, which will allow us to focus on the issue at hand, and not let our energies be diverted. The safe havens in North Waziristan have been a cause of concern for quite some time, so hopefully the operation will provide the impetus to a broader regional cooperation.

Thirdly, the contested Durand Line, that serves as the territorial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, must be made less (read non) porous, to not let the militants take refuge in Afghan land during times of heavy conflict. Without an effective control of the boundary, the militants will easily migrate to safer areas across the border. With the NATO forces drawing down as well at the end of this year, this contingency must be addressed.

Both invoke a divine right to the title.

Fourthly, all locations within Pakistan that can provide easy targets for the militants (and our past experience tells us that this list runs very long) to retaliate over the operation in NWA must be given hefty security upgrades. A lot of Pakistani lives have already been lost in the events leading up to this day. Efforts must be made to ensure protection and safety for all citizens. Pakistan is going to be at war now, and a dedicated drive can be launched nation-wide, to educate the masses on the necessity for the operation, and provide guidelines for individual and communal safety.

But… only one of them will be left standing by the end of it.

Lastly (and I’m fearful this might fall on deaf ears) we must learn from our past mistakes. Regardless of the outcome of the operation, we have to understand that it is not just the matter of eliminating a few militants or bombarding some remote hideouts. We know from experience that the enemy is quick to replace their fallen, so the problem here is much deeper. In order to truly eliminate the militant threat, a more moderate and multi-cultural approach has to be adopted in our daily lives, one that leaves no room for any extremist ideologies to flourish anymore.

KARACHI: Karachi airport has been reopened for passengers and all flight operations, said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa.

Earlier on Sunday, a five-hour attack by militants on the international airport in Karachi left at least 28 dead, including ten terrorists.

The attack was claimed by banned militant organisation Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

"Karachi airport has been cleared and handed over to Civil Aviation Authority and the Airport Security Force," Major Asim said while speaking to Dawn.com.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will resume its flight operation by 4 pm Monday afternoon after security clearance, a spokesman of the national flag carrier told APP on phone.

“Four PIA employees were martyred in the terrorist attack,” he said. They were identified as Farrukh Leghari, S.M. Ilyas, Fazal Zubairi and Tanvir A. Khan, he added.

A report on the Karachi airport attack, which was presented to Prime Minister Sharif on Monday, revealed that terrorists wanted to destroy all the aircraft.

It also disclosed that terrorists had entered the airport from two separate locations.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz on Aviation Shujaat Azeem had said that the Karachi airport would be made operational at 4 pm today.

He moreover said that security was heightened at all the airports.

Meanwhile, the CAA spokesman had said that air traffic control operations and other activities would also be resumed with the revival of normal flight operations.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sharif had ordered authorities to reopen the Karachi airport for public as soon as possible.

He also directed the CAA to facilitate the passengers in every possible manner.

جیو ٹیلی وژن نیٹ ورک اور جنگ میڈیا گروپ نے حامد میر پر قاتلانہ حملے کے بعد پاکستانی فوج اور اس کے خفیہ ادارے آئی ایس آئی کے سربراہ پر الزام عائد کرنے پر معافی مانگ لی ہے۔۔

انگریزی روزنامے ’دی نیوز‘ اور ’روزنامہ جنگ‘ میں شائع کیے گئے اس معافی نامے میں ادارے نے موقف اختیار کیا ہے کہ جنگ گروپ پاکستانی فوج اور اس کی قیادت کو عزت اور احترام کی نگاہ سے دیکھتا ہے۔

بیان میں کہا گیا کہ ’ہم نے ہمیشہ سرحدوں کے تحفظ اور ملکی سلامتی کے لیے ان (فوج) کی قربانیوں کا ہر دور میں اعتراف کیا اور یہ جنگ گروپ اور جیو نیوز کی ادارتی پالیسی کا بنیادی جزو رہا ہے۔‘

بیان میں کہا گیا ہے کہ ادارے کی انتظامیہ اور ٹیم کے ارکان اس پر عمل کرتے رہیں گے۔

ادارے نے بیان میں تسلیم کیا ہے کہ ’اپنی خود احتسابی، ادارتی بحث اور رائے عامہ کے بعد ہم اس نتیجے پر پہنچے ہیں کہ 19 اپریل کو حامد میر پر حملے کے بعد ہماری نشریات حد سے متجاوز، پریشان کن اور جذباتی تھیں۔‘

بیان میں مزید کہا گیا ہے کہ ’یہ نشریات اگرچہ میڈیا کے موجودہ طریقہ کار اور سلسلہ ہائے واقعات کے مطابق تھیں جن میں الزام کی خبر کے ساتھ ساتھ آئی ایس پی آر کا نقطہ نظر بھی ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر کی تصویر کے ساتھ بار بار نشر کیا گیا تھا۔ اس کے باوجود انھیں گمراہ کن، غیر متوازن اور نامناسب سمجھا گیا اور ان سے ایک مہم کا تاثر ملا۔‘

خیال رہے کہ گذشتہ ماہ حامد میر پر قاتلانہ حملے کے بعد جیو نیوز اور حامد میر کے بھائی نے پاکستان کے خفیہ ادارے آئی ایس آئی کو اس حملے کا ذمہ دار قرار دیا تھا جب کہ فوج کے ترجمان نے ان الزامات کو افسوسناک اور گمراہ کن قرار دیتے ہوئے آزادانہ انکوائری کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔

بیان کے مطابق’ بطور ادارہ، آئی ایس آئی، اس کے ڈائریکٹر جنرل لیفٹیننٹ جنرل ظہیر السلام، ان کے اہلِ خانہ اور مسلح افواج سے وابستہ تمام افراد اور ہمارے ناظرین کی بڑی تعداد کو جو دکھ پہنچا، اس پر ہم ان سے خلوص دل کے ساتھ معافی کے خواستگار ہیں۔‘

بیان میں ادارے نے وضاحت کی ہے کہ’ہمارا کبھی بھی یہ ارادہ نہیں رہا کہ ہم کسی ادارے یا شخصیت کو نشانہ بنائیں۔‘

بیان کے مطابق آئی ایس آئی کے سربراہ پر عائد کیے جانے والے الزامات پہلے خود حامد میر کی جانب سے سامنے آئے اور حملے کے بعد ان کے خاندان کے ایک فرد نے انھیں دہرایا۔

ادارے نے منگل کی اشاعت میں معافی نامے کی تفصیلات کے اجراء کا بھی عندیہ دیا ہے۔

جیو نیوز پر صحافی حامد میر پر قاتلانہ حملے کی خبر نشر کیے جانے کے بعد باقی میڈیا گروپس کے ہاتھوں انھیں شدید تنقید کا سامنا کرنا پڑا۔ اس کے علاوہ عوامی سطح پر بھی جیو کے خلاف مظاہرے کیے گئے۔

اس صورتحال کے بعد جنگ، جیو گروپ کی انتظامیہ نے اعلیٰ سول اور عسکری حکام کو ایک خط میں بقول ان کے ان کے خلاف جاری مہم کا نوٹس لینے اور ادارے کے دفاتر اور ملازمین کو سکیورٹی فراہم کرنے کا مطالبہ بھی کیا تھا۔

 

ISLAMABAD: The fate of holders of multiple passports hangs in the balance as the interior ministry has decided not to extend amnesty period for cancellation of additional passports beyond Jan 30, 2014.

Sources told Dawn that a large number of individuals had obtained more than one passport on the basis of multiple computerised national identity cards (CNICs) issued to them by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra). Most of such passports were issued when the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) was not in use.

Fraudulent information, including change of date of birth, name and parentage, was used by applicants to obtain more than one passport.

After introduction of the AFIS, the officials detected the cases of issuance of more than one passport to individuals who were blacklisted — and barred from obtaining a new passport or getting their passports renewed.

Following frequent requests from the passport holders, the immigration and passports department requested the interior ministry in June 2006 to formulate a policy about cancellation of additional passports on the ground that many of the blacklisted people had valid visas and wanted to go abroad for employment or education.

The recommendation of the department for grant of amnesty to the people tendering written apology and producing a certificate from Nadra about cancellation of any additional CNIC was approved by the ministry.

The amnesty was initially granted for the period up to July 26, 2006 and was later extended up to Dec 31, 2009 with some changes in the cancellation policy like a penalty and police verification.

It was further extended till June 30, 2011 in Dec 2010 and till Jan 2014 in Feb 2013.

The passports department received 6,469 applications from individuals for removing their names from the blacklist from 2009 to 2013.

According to the sources, 5,086 applications have been disposed of and 1,383 are under process. An official said all cases of multiple passports recovered under the amnesty policy would be disposed of in accordance with the policy.

But it is not clear what will happen to holders of duplicate or multiple passports who could not avail the amnesty, many of whom might have gone abroad before placement of their names on the blacklist. It is also not clear if all cases of multiple passports have been detected.

بھارت نے پاکستان میں مامور بھارت کے دو صحافیوں کو ملک سے نکال دینے کے حکومتِ پاکستان کے فیصلے کو افسوسناک قرار دیا ہے۔

وزارت خارجہ نے ایک بیان میں کہا ہے کہ صحافیوں کی موجودگی اعتماد سازی کا حصہ ہے اور اس کا تحفظ کیا جانا چاہیے۔

وزارت خارجہ کے ترجمان اکبرالدین نے کہا کہ ’پاکستان میں مامور دو بھارتی نامہ نگاروں کا اچانک اور مستقل اخراج افسوس ناک ہے۔‘

انھوں نے مزید کہا کہ بھارت اور پاکستان نے ہمیشہ اس امر کو تسلیم کیا ہے کہ معلومات کی آزادانہ ترسیل اور ان تک رسائی اعتماد سازی کا ایک اہم حصہ ہے۔

انھوں نے کہا کہ ’آزاد صحافیوں کو کام کرنے کی اجازت نہ دینا اس تصور کے منافی ہے۔‘

اکبرالدین نے کہا کہ ایک دوسرے کے ملکوں میں صحافیوں کی تعیناتی اور اطلاعات کی آزادانہ ترسیل اعتماد سازی کا بہت اہم پہلو ہے اور دونوں ملکوں کو اس کا تحفظ کرنا چاہیے۔

اس سے قبل حکومت پاکستان نے دارالحکومت اسلام آباد میں مامور روزنامہ ہندو کی نامہ نگار مینا مینن اور خبر ایجنسی پی ٹی آئی کے نمائندے سنیش فلپ کو 20 مئی تک ملک چھورنے کا حکم دیا تھا۔

حکام نے دونوں صحافیوں کو بتایا کہ ان کے ویزے کی تجدید نہیں کی جا رہی اور انھیں 20 مئی تک ملک چھوڑ دینا ہوگا۔ بھارتی صحافیوں کو ملک سے نکالنے کا کوئی سبب نہیں بتایا گیا ہے۔

اکبرالدین سے جب پوچھا گیا کہ بھارتی صحافیوں کے اخراج کا کوئی تعلق پاکستان میں میڈیا کی آزادی کے سوال پر جاری بحث سے تو نہیں ہے، تو انھوں نے جواب دیا کہ ’مجھے اس بات پر حیرت ہوئی ہے کہ پاکستان میں میڈیا کی آزادی پر بحث کے دوران بہت سے الزاما ت بھارت پر بھی لگائے گئے ہیں۔‘

دونوں بھارتی صحافیوں کو ایک ایسے وقت میں پاکستان سے نکالا گیا ہے جب بھارت میں پارلیمانی انتخابات کے بعد جمعے کو ایک نئی حکومت تشکیل پانے والی ہے اور پاکستان سے تعلقات نئی حکومت کا اہم ایجنڈا ہوگا۔

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