9 Mar

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Thank you so much for liking my post, Philipina (is that the right designation?) Princess-


The blog is so sweet, so lovely that it hurts my heart

Thank you for including Pearl Buck as one of the writers of a book you are most grateful for! What do you think of Madeline L’Engle?

Monica’s sweetness has won her about 3,000 followers. I have a daughter your age, Monica who is on the other side of the world. It’s nice to know that lovely souls like the two of you are starting to make the world a prettier, more literate place.

Speaking of the other side of the world,

Usman Hashmi, is that where you are, Hyderabad?  My daughter that I mentioned above is studying in Hyderabad. The photographs show a lovely city. Your article on global warming scared the heck out of me. What a prolific journalist! It’s almost…

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Gunmen kill senior journalist in Balochistan

1 Mar

QUETTA: Armed gunmen killed senior journalist Mehmood Jan Afridi in Kalat town of Balochistan on Friday evening.

Deputy Commissioner Kalat, Bashir Ahmed Bazai said gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at Mehmood Jan Afridi in Bus Addah area of Kalat.

He said the assailants managed to escape from the spot. Police and levies personnel reached the area and started investigation into the incident.

“This seems to be an act of targeted killing”, Bazai said. The dead body of slain journalist was shifted to civil hospital Kalat.

Mehmood Jan Afridi was working as reporter with Daily Intekhab. He had been a journalist for the last twenty years.

10 Feb

Constitutional impasse in Balochistan: JUI-F presents formula to end deadlock

4 Feb


ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, the third largest party in the Balochistan Assembly after the PML-Q and PPP, has offered its unconditional support for the ruling coalition to elect a new chief minister.

The JUI-F has urged coalition partners to nominate a new chief minister or let Maulana Fazlur Rehman make a choice to enable Balochistan to move ahead with other provinces in democratic transition.

Talking to Dawn, senior JUI-F leader Senator Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani said the sooner the government heeded to his party’s advice the better it would be for continuation of the political process in the crisis-ridden province and for the rest of the country.

Maulana Sherani, who is also chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council, said his party had asked the PPP to immediately lift governor’s rule and let the political process take its due course in Balochistan.

He said JUI-F would support any move to replace deposed chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani. “I assure the ruling PPP leadership that Nawab Raisani will resign within seven days after his reinstatement and the parliamentary parties in the provincial assembly can unanimously elect a new leader of the house,” he said.

At present the PML-Q has 19 MPAs, PPP 14, JUI-F nine, BNP seven and ANP four. There are 10 independent MPAs in the 65-member assembly.

Explaining his party’s formula to resolve the political crisis, Maulana Sherani said the PPP, PML-Q and ANP should nominate a new chief minister or leave it to the JUI-F and BNP. He said his party and the BNP were ready to sit on opposition benches if the other parties wanted their own chief minister.

He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman had discussed the issue of lifting governor’s rule with all parties in the ruling coalition, but their response was still awaited.

“Our concern at the moment is to proceed smoothly towards the general election which is possible only in the presence of a working chief minister and leader of opposition in the Balochistan Assembly after the passage of the 20th Amendment,” Maulana Sherani said.

He said that after the dismissal of the Raisani government last month, JUI-F had offered a similar democratic recourse under which a new provincial government without Mr Raisani could have been formed, but the government didn’t pay heed to it.

Constitutional experts are also of the opinion that after the constitutional amendments the federal government has no other option but to either reinstate Mr Raisani or replace him with someone else to move towards the general election.

They said only the chief minister could recommend dissolution of the assembly if the PPP wanted to do so before April 6 when it would complete its five-year constitutional term. Secondly, positions of the chief minister and leader of the opposition are mandatory for the formation of a caretaker set-up.

A senior PML-Q leader confirmed the talks between his party and the JUI-F leadership on the issue of ending governor’s rule and replacement of Nawab Raisani and suggestions given by the JUI-F. “The PML-Q leadership will hold a meeting with the PPP in a day or two and discuss the Balochistan issue,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, PPP’s information secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira said a JUI-F delegation had met his party’s leadership with a set of proposals for political arrangement in Balochistan. But he said he was not aware of any recent development because he had been in his home constituency for a couple of days.

But another PPP leader said the JUI-F proposals would be discussed at a party meeting after the return of President Asif Ali Zardari from the UK next week.

Responding to an unprecedented sit-in held by the Shia Hazaras who had refused to burry the 86 victims of twin bomb blast in Quetta till the dismissal of the Raiani government, the centre had imposed governor’s rule in Balochistan Jan 14.

The JUI-F and BNP have since been protesting against the governor’s rule in sessions of the Senate and National Assembly and in Balochistan and demanding reinstatement of the elected government.

Sindh’s water needs for Kharif sowing to be met

4 Feb


Jacobabad, Feb 3: Amid reopening of canals after a month-long closure, water shortage for the ongoing Rabi season has dropped from 17 to 13 per cent owing to better river flows and improved water management by provincial governments.

As a result, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has decided for the first time to carry over reasonable water storages in reservoirs to meet Sindh’s early sowing requirements for Kharif, especially for the main cash crop – cotton.

“Whatever additional water we receive in the system from now onwards will be set aside to meet Sindh’s requirement,” Irsa spokesman Khalid Idris Rana told Dawn on Sunday, adding it was part of the water regulator’s strategy to facilitate cotton sowing in Sindh during early Kharif.

He said the reduction in water shortage had encouraged Irsa to seek fresh distribution plans from the provinces for their improved shares. He said two major factors had contributed to improved water availability for Rabi — river flows increased by 6pc to 0.15 million acre feet (MAF) and provinces were able to improve water management and curb system losses, which dropped from the estimated 1MAF to about 0.5MAF.

Mr Rana said provinces had already started opening canals after keeping them closed for over 35 days (Dec 25 to Jan 31) and Irsa had increased discharges from two major reservoirs. The discharges from Mangla dam have been increased from 15,000 to 28,000 cusec in two stages since Jan 31 and those from Tarbela dam from 32,000 to 40,000 cusec a week earlier.

The reduced discharges had caused a decline in hydropower generation to less than 1,000MW from an installed capacity of over 6,700MW. The power generation will gradually improve over the next few weeks.

Mr Rana said the current weather system had brought rains to the plains and snowfall to the hills which would also have a positive impact on standing crops because it would further reduce water shortages, improve crop yields, curtail requirement for canal water and help bring down input cost of crops. He said provinces had sown crops on the basis of 17pc water shortage and were anticipating higher dependence on tubewells to meet the shortage during the Feb-March period, but timely rains and lower shortage would reduce dependence on tubewells.

He said water share for Sindh and Punjab had been increased to 40,000 and 44,000 cusec, respectively. Punjab is getting 28,000 cusec from Mangla dam, 6,000 cusec from Chenab, 5,000 cusec from Thal canal, 4,000 cusec from Taunsa barrage and 1,000 cusec from Chashma Right Bank Canal.

Balochistan is being provided 3,000 cusec as per its requirement and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been allowed to utilise 3,000 cusec from Chashma Right Bank Canal.

The Irsa spokesman said that total water storage in major dams currently stood at about 3MAF. The water level in Tarbela was recorded at 1,440 feet on Saturday against its dead level of 1,378 feet. Likewise, water level in Mangla stood at about 1,135 feet against its dead level of 1,040 feet.

2 Feb
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