President resolves to ?further strengthen democracy in Pakistan?

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said the greatest threat to democracy is from extremists and militants who want to foist their political agenda on the people by bullet rather than ballot.

In a message the President said, “I am pleased to learn that the International Day of Democracy is being observed throughout the world today under the auspices of the United Nations to assess the state of democracy around the world and to reinforce commitment to democratic ideals.”

He said intolerance to dissent and disagreement also endanger democracy.

The President complimented democracies of the world and reiterated firm resolve to further strengthen democracy in Pakistan.

“The people of Pakistan are resolute in safeguarding their democratic rights and reject the anti democracy elements that derail the democratic process,” he added.

“The ethos of the people of Pakistan is democratic. Early this year their chosen representatives unanimously adopted changes in the constitution to restore its pristine democratic credentials.”

He expressed confidence that the elected parliament in keeping with democratic traditions would ensure that the democratic constitution was not subverted by any one.

“Our people may have endured spells of dictatorship due to coercion but they have neither accepted nor accorded legitimacy to dictatorship,” the President added.

Zardari said they have not accepted any adventurer sabotaging the democratic process. That is why all Bonaparte and undemocratic adventurers in Pakistan finally ended up as footnotes in history.

“Our people have offered great sacrifices for democracy. Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and many others laid down their lives for the cause. But democracy has yet to gain strength. For democracy to gain strength, we need to work in a spirit of harmony and reconciliation,” he added.

He hoped that the observance of the International Democracy Day would lend strength to the pro-democracy forces throughout the world and discourage potential dictators from curbing the aspirations of the people through political adventurism.

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Drone attacks have rulers consent: Fazl

PESHAWAR: Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has claimed that relentless drone attacks are being carried out in Pakistan?s tribal areas with consent of the rulers.

Talking to media men here at Sakhakot, the JUI (F) Chief maintained that innocent people targeted in drone attacks are labeled as terrorists.

He termed the call of brining revolution in the country issued by MQM Chief Altaf Hussain as a joke with the nation. ?Feudal system cannot be eliminated in Pakistan by sitting in London,? he added.

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Openness in dialogue ?a step forward in anti-terror campaign?: Karzai

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday vowed to expand scope of their talks aimed at greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism besides collaboration at bilateral political and economic levels.

Addressing a joint press conference here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Asif Zardari and his Afghan counterpart said both the countries suffered from a common enemy of terrorism that need to be tackled with closer collaboration between their security and intelligence agencies.

President Zardari said, “we have a common cause and suffer from this cancer of terrorism. They are friends of nobody and are our joint enemies.”

He said the two countries needed to “raise the bar” and had more in-depth cooperation to fight terror networks.

President Karzai said the objective of his visit was to have an open dialogue that was substantive, realistic and issue oriented and part of the ongoing campaign against terrorism.

Responding to a question about recent remarks made by his National Security Adviser in which he alleged that Pakistani intelligence agencies were helping the terrorists, Karzai said the matter was discussed during the talks.

“This is an ongoing dialogue and the fact and the ground reality is that both the countries are suffering from terrorism. They (terrorists) have to be based somewhere. They did not come from Ivory Coast or Bakina Faso. They came from our soil.”

He said the issue was how to tackle the sanctuaries, training, finances and resources used for the acts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Openness in dialogue is a step forward, that is substantive, realistic in the ongoing campaign against terrorism.”

He mentioned the recent spate of attacks in Pakistan and said Afghanistan too faced such gruesome and inhuman acts. He said it was a problem for both the countries and they must find a solution for their stability and that of the region.

To a question about involvement of India in acts of terrorism in Pakistan, Karzai said his country would act if provided evidence of use of its territory in the acts of terrorism in Pakistan.

“I speak with a clear voice and conscience. Afghanistan would be committing a great wrong to itself, if we allow our territory to be used by any country against Pakistan.” He said it was not in the interest of Afghanistan.

“If you have any evidence give it to us,” he said and assured that his country would definitely act if it finds any proof.

Regarding talks with the Taliban and his offer of peace to Mulla Umar, President Karzai said apart from campaign against extremism and terrorism, he was also engaging other means to bring peace and stability to his war torn country.

“We will engage with those who are not part of al-Qaeda and terrorist network and abide by the Afghan Constitution and the gains made in the 10 years … and have no enmity with us.”

He said his government was trying to seek all means to defeat the Taliban who were not “reconcilable” while engaging in a substantive dialogue to bring security and stability to both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

President Zardari said his country stood against terrorism and was part of the solution and its democratic government was not part of the problem.

To a question about Indian violence in held Kashmir, President Zardari said,” Pakistan condemns the brutal way in which India is handling the democratic struggle of Kashmiris”.

Karzai said he had a close relationship with the Indian Prime Minister and India had been a main contributor in the Afghan reconstruction and helping in areas like education and scholarships.

President Karzai while responding to the same question on India”s handling of the situation in Kashmir said if there was anything his country can do, it would humbly provide help if asked by Pakistan or India.

To a question regarding rumours about future of democracy, President Zardari said he did not need to comment on such rumours. “Rumours are rumours.”

He stressed the need for keeping people aware about democracy.

He said democracy was working and it played its role during the natural disaster of floods and members of parliament were instrumental in dealing with the situation.

“We did not beg for it (democracy). We got it by fighting for it and we know how to defend it,” the President remarked.

Karzai said the Afghan nation felt pain of the people of Pakistan during the disastrous floods.

He conveyed the heartfelt sorrow of the Afghan people and expressed the belief that Pakistan would soon get over the difficult times.

He said Afghanistan would contribute with whatever assistance it can give for the flood victims.

Afghanistan is among the countries which have provided aid to Pakistan to overcome the tragedy.

Expressing his appreciation for the Memorandum of Understanding on trade and transit, he said it would be turned into an agreement.

President Zardari thanked Karzai for supporting Pakistanis in their moment of pain.

He said they had an interesting discussion for a better future of coming generations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Both countries geo-strategically have an important place, which if converted to positive use, they can show better performance for their countries,” he added.

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WADA puts 4 Pak cricketers to dope tests

LONDON: World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has taken samples for dope tests from four Pakistani cricketers in London, Geo News reported Wednesday.

Skipper Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Akhtar submitted their urine samples for the tests.

The dope tests are being conducted at a time when three Pakistani cricketers are already facing suspension for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing.

In 2006, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif had tested positive for dope tests. Asif had also tested positive for dope test in 2008 after IPL.

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Four Pak cricket players to undergo dope tests in London

LONDON: Another challenge awaits Pakistani cricketers in London where four players are to undergo dope tests before the 3rd ODI against England on Friday, Geo News reported Wednesday.

A team of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has arrived in London to carry out the random dope tests on four players before the match to be played at The Oval, Pakistan cricket team Manager Yawar Saeed said.

WADA has not yet disclosed as to which players will undergo the tests but it is being expected that four senior players including Captain, Shahid Afridi, fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar and batsmen Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal may have been shortlisted.

“Under this agreement WADA can conduct random dope tests during any competition or out of competition at any time of the year,” Yawar SAeed said.

The carrying out of dope tests by WADA would be a major challenge for Pakistan team as the exercise is being conducted at a time when three Pakistani cricketers are already facing suspension for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing.

In 2006, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif had tested positive for dope tests. Asif had also tested positive for dope test in 2008 after IPL.

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Decision made to breach Manchhar from RD-7 to 9

DADU: Manchhar Lake burgeoned past extreme dangerous 121-foot level, posing massive threat to Bhan Saeedabad, Geo News reported Wednesday.

The outpouring lake water exposed over 250,000 population of Bhan Saeedabad area of Tehsil Sehwan at increased risk.

According to the Irrigation Department, the water from the Lake would be let out into Indus Link by causing a cut from RD-7 to 9. A decision in this regard has been made. The water would be unleashed from Karampur into Indus Link.

DCO Dadu Iqbal Memon is leading the crew to cause a breach with heavy machinery; however, the local people are not allowing him to carry forward with the cut.

Meantime, the torrents from various canals of the Lake have inundated at least 60 villages and crops standing on several acres of land.

Meantime, floodwater-besieged Juhi is cut off from the rest of the country on the consecutive tenth day today.

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Governor Gilgit-Baltistan passes away

ISLAMABAD: Shama Khalid, the very first woman Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, passed away in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Mehdi Shah confirmed the above news while Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira also confirming it, expressed condolence.

She was suffering from cancer and was admitted in a hospital here.

Shama Khalid, who took oath of Governor Gilgit-Baltistan on March 23, 2010, rendered a number of valuable services in the department of women?s health.

The deceased has been survived by two daughters and a son.

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PCB Chief flies to Delhi to meet ICC President

LAHORE: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt has flown to Indian capital New Delhi to meet the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Sharad Powar in connection with the three Pakistani players facing charges of spot and match-fixing.

The meeting is a significant one considering that the three players have filed appeals with the ICC over the allegations that first surfaced during the fourth and final test match between England and Pakistan that was played at Lords in London.

British tabloid The News Of The World came out with video evidence of spot-fixing involving test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif during England?s record breaking effort in the first innings where they recovered from 112/7 to post a total in access of 400 with batsmen Jonathan Trott and all-rounder Stuart Broad featuring in a world record partnership for the eighth wicket that was enough to send the visitors reeling to an innings defeat, which was their heaviest in terms of runs.

The trio was subsequently suspended by ICC for an unspecified period, and the body claimed that there were 23 charges against them; the players had the right to appeal against the decision within fourteen days and the trio filed their appeals with the help of the PCB legal consultant yesterday.

Currently both Scotland Yard and the Anti Corruption and Security Unit of ICC are investigating the trio, yet it seems that the Scotland Yard is set to exonerate the players after allowing them to travel back to Pakistan without levelling any charges against them. The three players returned to their homeland last week and have since then maintained a low profile with very little interaction with the outside world.

Besides the trio wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, who is featuring in the ongoing ODI series in England is a part of the investigations for the test match, and is likely to be interviewed by the ACSU, once he finishes his national duty in England.

Pace man Wahab Riaz is another player who was questioned by Scotland Yard. Interestingly PCB claims that the bowler volunteered to appear in front of the investigating officers, as he wanted to clear himself of the accusations levelled by The News of the World.

Wahab was filmed receiving a jacket from bookie Mazhar Majeed in London that the tabloid alleges contained 10,000 pounds that were handed over to the bookie by the tabloid as a bid to spot-fix the Lords test.

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Gas supply restored to CNG stations in KP, Punjab

PESHAWAR: The CNG pumping stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab began functioning again in the wake of restoration of Qadirpur Gasfield, Geo News reported Wednesday.

All Pakistan CNG Association?s central Chairman Ghayas Abdullah Pracha told Geo News that the closure of CNG stations was announced for the repair work of Qadirpur Gasfield; however, the work completed now.

He added therefore, the gas supply has been restored to the CNG stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

According to Pracha, all gas pumping stations will remain open in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

He thanked Federal Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar and GM of SNGPL Rashid Lone for their role in the restoration of Qadirpur Gasfield.

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Pak rivers situation back to normalcy

LAHORE: The situation regarding the rivers of Pakistan have turned back to normal with River Indus witnessing low flood at Kotri, Sukkar and Guddu barrages, as the water is persistently receding at all three places, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to Flood Forecasting Center, the inflow and outflow at Kotri Barrage recorded a decrease of 50,000 cusecs during last 24 hours. Kotri recorded an inflow of 299,000 cusecs and outflow of 278,000 cusecs.

Sukkar Barrages received 223,000 cusecs and discharged 176,000 cusecs. Also, inflow of 209,000 cusecs was recorded at Guddu Barrage with outflow at over 194,000 cusecs.

According to experts, the water will go further down in the forthcoming days. The water at dams sustained its maximum level during the past several days.

Tarbela Dam is witnessing a level of 1550 feet and Mangla Dam sustained its water level at 1206 level.

Tarbela receives and discharges 131,000 cusecs with Mangla Dam?s inflow and outflow at 28,000 cusecs.

The reserve of usable water at both the dams is 11.610 million acre feet.

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