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Analysts: Navy brass view F-35C's stealth as overrated ; US Navy cuts F-35C buy by one-third
Your thoughts ? @Nihonjin1051 @SvenSvensonov @Peter C @AMDR @C130 @F-22Raptor

The top officer of one of three services projected to spend tens of billions of dollars on stealthy new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, now says "stealth may be overrated."

During a speech last week to a Washington audience, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert described what he's looking for in the next generation of strike aircraft — and it doesn't look...
Karachi Bank Robbery Turn Into Comedy of Errors
It's funny but also sad and worries about our security system, even bank gurnards are also useless. Read!
Karachi bank robbery turns into comedy of errors - thenews.com.pk

KARACHI: Bank robberies are on the rise in the provincial capital of Sindh with criminals making away with millions in cash. Robberies are well planned, coordinated and within minutes the criminals are in and out of the bank.

However, on Friday a criminal’s attempt to steal...
Chinese couple marriage in Islamabad
Chinese couple marriage in Islamabad

CHinese new year Islamabad
PAF & IAF weapons procurement delay
dude....your procurement and induction process is so slow and convoluted that by the time you actually induct them into squadrons and they are operational we will probably already be inducting new aircraft into our inventories
Another all too convenient "truth" many fanboys here like to parade around and let's just ignore the inherent differences in scale and procurement processes of India and Pakistan. By the way I've been hearing about...
Altaf Hussain writes letter to SC over Senate poll
LONDON: Expressing disappointment over the situation regarding upcoming Senate election, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ...
Abbottabad loses historic Taj Mahal cinema

ABBOTTABAD: The historic Taj Mahal cinema of Abbottabad city, which was also the only remaining in Hazara division, is being dismantled after its owner sold the property.

Mohammad Saeed Khan, who was running Taj Mahal cinema for the last about 40 years, said that the business was at full swing till 2010 and Abbottabad being a tourist city provided entertainment facilities to visitors, but later the business dwindled which forced the owner to sell the property. Built in 1948 by Mohammad Khan Hoti the cinema house once used to be full to its capacity of 600 spectators. He sold it in 1974.

Also read: 2014: A good year for Pakistani TV and cinema

There were also four other cinema houses in Abbottabad city. Two of them, Royal cinema and Umpire cinema, were owned by the cantonment board and the municipal committee, respectively. They were constructed before partition. Two other cinema houses located in the cantonment area are FFR Centre and AMC Centre.

Built in 1948 the cinema house is being dismantled by its new owner

However, the Umpire cinema was demolished by the municipal committee in 1996 to construct a commercial building on the site. Similarly, the Royal cinema was also dismantled by the cantonment board for the construction of a commercial plaza.

However, the two departments have not yet constructed plazas there and the land is being used for car parking and cabins constructed privately.

Saeed Khan said that the downfall of the cinema industry started with the downfall of Pakistan film industry which failed to produce quality movies. He said that the arrival of Internet, CDs, cable and other sources of entertainment also resulted in the gradual fall of cinema industry.

He said that for the last two years, not a single show even on the first day of a new film could attract more than 200 spectators. He said that of late the number of spectators had dropped to 50 visitors, which was resulting in a huge loss to the owners. He said that the law and order situation was another major reason for rollback of the business as fear of blasts and other terrorist activities had forced the spectators to keep away from cinema houses.

Saeed Khan, who is also runs Gulistan cinema in Lahore, said that Indian films had ruined the local culture and film industry.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015

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Govt bearing fuel, maintenance cost of former CJ’s car

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Friday that the Cabinet Division was bearing the fuel and maintenance costs of a 6000cc bulletproof car being used by former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

In a written reply, the law ministry told the House that the former chief justice was availing the facility in addition to his entitlement, ordered by the Islamabad High Court on January 15, 2014.

An intra-court appeal against the judgment has been filed, which is pending in the court, though an application has also been filed for an early hearing.

Also read: Iftikhar Chaudhry sends Rs20 billion libel notice to Imran Khan

The House was told that since January 30, 2014, as much as 4,689 litres of petrol had been issued to the Mercedes Benz car being used by the ex-chief justice.

A repair estimate exceeding Rs3.3 million has also been presented to the Law Division and funds through a special grant were required from the Finance Division.

In a written reply the House was told that “a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court was entitled to the minimum amount of pension equal to 70 per cent of the salary determined by the President from time to time under paragraph 16 of the Supreme Court Judge (Leave, pension and privileges) order, 1997 plus five per cent of each completed year of service either as the chief justice or as the judge not exceeding the maximum amount of pension equal to 85 per cent of the said salary”.

They are also entitled to get services of a driver and an orderly, 300 local calls per month, 2,000 units of electricity as well as 25mm gas and free supply of water.

Questioner Saeed Ghani of the PPP had also sought to know the names and dates of retirement of chief justices since 1985, but Law Minister Pervaiz Rasheed in his written reply said the information was not available with the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division. Therefore the Registrar of the Supreme Court was requested to provide the requisite information through a letter on May 5, 2014.

Five reminders were also sent but a reply was still awaited.

He provided a list of the chief justices who retired since 1985 which he obtained from the Supreme Court’s website.

The question was however deferred till Tuesday by the Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari who summoned the law minister to respond to his observations linked with the episode of information sought by the parliament and denied by the apex court’s registrar.

“Have you read Article 19-A of the Constitution,” he asked Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Sheikh who wanted to give a reply to the question on behalf of the law minister.

He said under the article, it was a constitutional responsibility of the minister to give information.

“How can one refuse to provide it,” he remarked.

“Who is supposed to get the fundamental rights implemented. Why the information sought by the parliament is not coming. How should we construe this silence,” Bokhari asked, and deferred the question till Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015

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Rawal note: Unending saga of metro bus

This March 23 will mark one year that the grand Metro Bus Project has been under construction in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but its end looks nowhere near. With the deadline of completing the Rs44 billion project on January 31 missed, the promise that it would ease life for the commuters of the twin cities has reduced to a faint hope.

All that the hapless citizens care for now is that the massive mess that the undertaking has created along the metro bus route is cleared first. Dust, debris, diversions and long detours around dug up roads have paralysed life and destroyed existing infrastructures and green belts and environment in the two cities with a combined population of nearly four million.

All agree that the twin cities badly needed a modern public transport system but the wisdom of running a bus service over elevated track in the densely populated Rawalpindi, and on a dedicated route on ground in Islamabad was challenged at the very start. But contractors and authorities sold on the successful launch of the metro bus in Lahore prevailed.

Also read: Metro bus track now opens by March end

That excuses for delay and poor workmanship are now being made is a different story. As someone commented, “to err is human; to blame someone else is politics”.

Critics say that Rawalpindi has suffered most from the alleged ill planning and bad workmanship. It is all there to see along the 11-kilometre long elevated track from Saddar to Faizabad over the main arterial Benazir Bhutto Road.

Construction material and debris have damaged footpaths, drains, green belts and service streets making them impassable. Street lights and the computerised traffic control system are dead. The flyovers at Chandni Chowk and the 6th Road, built at great cost, have also suffered damage.

“Millions will be required to restore these infrastructures, if and when the construction mess is cleared,” said a resident of the area.

What agitates many would-be commuters is no feeder service links the metro bus stations to busy places like the airport and the railway station. Neither drop-off zones and a bus or a taxi lay-by have been constructed for the purpose. “It seems the metro bus was designed not with people in mind but political gains,” observed a critic.

Malik Shakil Awan, a former PML-N MNA and member of the Metro Bus Project Implementation and Monitoring Committee, and Faheem Siddiqui, chairman of the Traders’ Action Committee, are also critical of the problems created by “the bad planning and execution” of the gigantic work.

They say that the heavy concrete pillars of the elevated track are not well aligned between Waris Khan and Liaquat Bagh, and Mareer Chowk and the Ministry of Defence building and reflect poor engineering. Drains in the two section also are of uneven level and will choke during monsoon and flood the Benazir Bhutto Road.

Faheem Sadiqui believes that the Punjab’s PML-N government was “trapped by its local leadership, and some so-called traders for launching the metro bus project, not realising the discomfort and losses it will bring to the people and traders of the city”.

“If the project is not completed by mid March, and the traders are not compensated for the loss their businesses have suffered over the past one year a protest will be organised,” he threatened.

When construction started in March last year, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had tasked the special branch of Rawalpindi police to monitor the pace of work and report him weekly. He did not want the people to suffer the pain beyond January 2015, the deadline set for completing the mega project.

And orders went out to the city administration to spruce up the alternative routes designated for smooth flow of traffic at the construction sites. Funds were released for the purpose. But the orders did not materialise.

“We have received dust masks only once since the work started and nothing else,” a traffic warden at a work site said.

Though the funds were all spent reflection jackets, mega phones, reflection tape, rubber cones, heavy torches, rain coats, electric rods, umbrellas, warning lights, long shoes etc the police allegedly never arrived.

Meanwhile, officials overseeing the huge project have installed a laser beam show atop the elevated bus track to what a citizen called “not to entertain but to fool the restive population”.

“They say the project may be completed in March, but nobody tells when the dug up Benazir Bhutto Road will be re-carpeted,” said the frustrated citizen.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015

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‘Pakistan’s domestic dilemmas are linked to international

KARACHI: In the post cold war world, military dominance in Pakistan is more of a liability than an asset, said noted historian Ayesha Jalal while presenting salient features of her book The Struggle for Pakistan at the Mohatta Palace Museum on Friday evening.

Ms Jalal said her work attempted to tackle the contemporary narratives on Pakistan that existed at the international level, the narratives that suggested that Pakistan was a mistake, a failed state and an irrelevant state. Narratives such as these tended to flatten out Pakistan’s history, only taking present perspectives into account. Her book was an attempt to contest such narratives, she said.

Referring to her earlier work, her second book, she said sources available to her in 1980 revealed that the effects of the cold war had to do with the state of martial rule in Pakistan, and she stood by her research. Military dominance was the enduring feature of Pakistan in the country’s post-colonial history. She said her research was built upon not just opening up of archives but also revisiting literature written at the time of partition, including Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories.

Speaking on the points of analysis in her book, Ms Jalal first touched upon the topic of why Pakistan was created. She said it’s generally considered that religion was the main impetus for the creation of the country; though it may be true, it’s too loosely explained in history and little understood. In 1947, Muslims were divided into two hostile states, and a third came into being in 1971. Another generally considered notion was that the rot started with M.A. Jinnah’s death and Pakistan lost its moorings, but Gandhi had also died.

She argued that the military rise to dominance should be understood in the context of challenges of the cold war. Pakistan’s domestic dilemmas were inextricably linked to international conflicts, she said, and alluding to the dismemberment of East Pakistan mentioned that she was not fond of using the word ‘inevitable’ because “human beings make choices”.

Elaborating on the point of domestic dilemmas being linked to international conflicts, Ms Jalal said that institutional imbalances in Pakistan started to happen at an early stage of the country’s inception. She said during his 1968 visit to Dhaka, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto asserted that Bengal autonomy was in the best interest of the country. He had even accepted four of the six points presented by Sheikh Mujeeb. The talks between Bhutto, Yahya Khan and Sheikh Mujeeb were never abandoned; it was the military junta in Rawalpindi that shut down all prospects and considered war as a last resort. Mr Bhutto had an independent foreign policy as he forged a closer relationship with China and redoubled his efforts in having good relations with oil producing countries. He successfully held an Islamic Summit in Lahore on which the Jamaat-i-Islami capitalised as Maulana Maududi had ties with Saudi Arabia; and Saudi Arabia used the petrodollars windfall to counteract the influence of Shah of Iran. This led her to comment, “We forget that nationalism underlies the sectarian imposition… it’s [sectarianism] a complicated problem.”

Ms Jalal said Ziaul Haq’s military intervention heralded unprecedented change since no one had anticipated the longevity of that military spell. Here too international factors were at play as in 1979 some important events took place — the Iranian Revolution, Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, etc — along with the increase in the anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan brought about a qualitative shift in Pakistan as the Afghan jihad gave a new lease of life to General Zia. Those who opposed the dictator included urban women who led street protests against his policies and a London-based group that wrote a letter to an America senator warning him of the dangers of funding and supporting Zia.

Ms Jalal said during the 1999 military coup, Pakistan was a different country — there was a crystallisation of new political dynamics: active judiciary, vocal media, conscious civil society, etc.

On the subject of whether the 2013 elections were free and fair, she said they were fair to the extent that Pakistan’s structural and existential realities permitted them to be. “A free and fair election will remain an aspiration, not a reality,” she said and termed the 2013 elections as an ‘important landmark’ because they took place in the face of Taliban terror. The TTP had set the tone for the campaign labelling democracy ‘unIslamic’.

As for whether terror could be overcome, Ms Jalal said it’s not going to happen in a great hurry. Giving the Arab Spring reference, she hinted at small similar springs in Pakistan on regional levels that the Centre dismissed as secessionists. She advised to the political mainstream to accept regional demands.

Discussing positive aspects of the country’s growth, Ms Jalal said the burgeoning popular culture drawn on rich artistic traditions in the midst of it all was a remarkable feat. A number of Pakistani artists were in the vanguard of creativity in the subcontinent. The contrast between collective failure and individual success was not novel, she stressed and iterated moderation versus extremism signified the battle for the soul of Pakistan. The dream existed and it would be expanded through literature and art, she said, adding that democracy was the hope that the people needed to depend upon to realise their thwarted aspirations.

Earlier, CEO of the Dawn Media Group Hameed Haroon introduced the author to the audience. Nasreen Askari hosted the event that was organised by the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh and the Mohatta Palace Museum.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015

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DJ told to probe harassment charge in ‘staged’ encounter case

KARACHI: While throwing out the appeal of SHO Ismail Lashari against the order of the Sindh High Court for registration of a murder case against him for killing a 17-year-old boy in a fake encounter, the Supreme Court on Friday categorically warned Malir SSP Rao Anwar that he would be held responsible if any harm came either to the victim’s father or his family.

SHO Lashari, who along with other police officials was booked for killing Anisur Rahman Soomro on the SHC’s order on the petition of victim’s father, Anwar Soomro, had moved the apex court against the registration of the murder case against him by arguing that he was not heard by the high court.

Know more: SC summons IGP in ‘staged’ encounter case

A two-judge bench comprising Justices Amir Hani Muslim and Maqbool Baqar dismissed the plea of SHO Lashari as it found “no infirmity in the impugned judgment, which could warrant interference”.

The bench also ordered that SHO Lashari and other police officers involved in the Soomro murder case “shall not be given field posting” till the completion of a departmental inquiry against them.

Malir SSP directed to appear in court when summoned

At the outset of the hearing, the judges became irked when they perused the service record of SHO Lashari and two other police officers as it showed that the police officer was dismissed from service at least three times and demoted as many times besides being placed under suspension several times.

Inspector General of Police Ghulam Haider Jamali could not offer any explanation when Justice Hani asked him to justify if the police officer of such a patchy service record could be in uniform.

However, the IGP told the judges that he had formed an inquiry board comprising the city police chief and DIGs of East, South, Administration and Special Branch to investigate the allegation against the police officers.

IGP told to screen out shady cops in three months

He said that the law and order in the city was a serious issue and all-out efforts were being made to control the situation.

The IGP claimed that the situation had improved to a great extent across the province since he was posted as the provincial police chief. “Earlier, eight to 10 people were being targeted and killed daily, but now there is no targeted killing in the city,” he added.

The bench appreciated the IGP, but said that the situation could not be brought under control as long as there was political interference in policing.

The court directed the IGP to screen out all police officials having such patchy record and proceed against them under the police rules. “This exercise shall be completed by him within three months from today,” it further ordered.

Meanwhile, SSP Rao Anwar, represented by Advocate Abid S. Zuberi, filed his reply denying the allegation of the victim’s father that he was putting pressurise on him to withdraw the murder case of his son against the police officials.

However, on the request of the victim’s father the bench directed the Karachi South district and sessions judge, Ahmed Saba, to hold an inquiry into Mr Soomro’s allegation and submit a report within one month.

It ordered that the Malir SSP and any other person to be summoned by the district judge would have to appear before him during the course of the inquiry.

Besides, the bench transferred the investigation of the murder case against police officers to the East-SSP directing him to supervise the investigation and submit a final charge-sheet against the accused in the trial court.

The case had taken an intriguing turn on Thursday when Mr Soormo complained to the court that SSP Anwar was putting pressure on him to withdraw the murder case against policemen, offering him Rs2.5 million.

Earlier on Feb 5, the apex court had ordered the police authorities to suspend two SHOs who were facing an investigation for allegedly killing a man in a fake encounter, and restrain the police from posting them in the province without seeking a prior permission of the court.

The two SHOs along with other police officials were allegedly involved in the killing of 17-year-old Soomro in June 2014.

According to the victim’s father, Anis was a Class X student who was arrested along with his two friends by the Sachal police near Safoora Goth in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on June 12, 2014.

He had informed the judges that he had repeatedly visited the police station to learn reasons for the arrest of his son and his friends. But SHO Lashari demanded Rs500,000 for his son’s release and later killed him in a fake encounter, because he was unable to pay the bribe, he said.

Mr Soomro had also filed a petition in the district and sessions court in Malir on June 20, 2014 against the illegal confinement of his son, informing the judge that the police had threatened to kill his son if he could not pay the bribe that they had demanded.

Following the hearing, an official raided the police station on the order of the district and sessions judge, but the young boy was not found there.

Mr Soomro said his son had been detained for 10 days at the Sachal police station before he was taken to a nearby Afghan refugee camp where he was killed on June 22, 2014.

He said his son had never been associated with any militant group, although the police had initially claimed to have killed four Taliban, including the victim.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015

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