Archive for February 10th, 2011
CAIRO: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak looked likely to step down on Thursday after more than two weeks of protests against his 30-year rule and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood said it looked like there had been a military coup.
Egypt’s military announced it was moving to preserve the nation and aspirations of the people after a meeting of the Higher Army Council which was not attended by Mubarak, a former air force commander, who was shortly to address the nation.
“It looks like a military coup,” said Essam al-Erian of the Brotherhood which is banned and is seen as Egypt’s biggest organised opposition group. “I feel worry and anxiety. The problem is not with the president it is with the regime.”
State television showed footage of Mubarak, sitting behind his desk in silence, in a meeting with Vice President Omar Suleiman. The station said the meeting was on Thursday, although that was unclear from the footage.
The news that the 82-year-old may hand over power, or be otherwise unseated, in this key American ally in the Middle East provoked loud and emotional cheers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point for pro-democracy demonstrations. But some in the crowd were quick to protest they did not want military rule.
Major General Hassan Roweny told tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square: “Everything you want will be realised.”
People chanted: “The people demand the fall of the regime, The regime has fallen”.
Others sang: “Civilian, civilian. We don’t want it military”– a call for a freely elected civilian government. It remains to be seen how far the armed forces, which have provided Egypt’s post-colonial rulers for six decades, are ready to accept that.
“We’re going to have to wait and see what’s going on,” said U.S. President Barack Obama, for whose country Mubarak has been a vital ally against radical Islam for three decades.
Asked if Mubarak would step down, an Egyptian official told Reuters: “Most probably”.
The BBC quoted the head of Mubarak’s political party as saying that the president might go before the day was out.
General Roweny urged the crowds to sing the national anthem and keep Egypt safe. U.S.-built Abrams tanks and other armoured vehicles stood by.
Anthony Skinner of the Maplecroft political risk consultancy said: “In the best case scenario, Suleiman would take over and there would be an accelerated transition to democracy. In a worst-case scenario, this turns into effectively a military coup and the military prove not keen on a transition to democracy.”
Analyst Michael Hanna from the Century Foundation said on his Twitter feed: “Will people be satisfied under military rule?
“This could create splits among the opposition, and that is probably what the army is hoping for,”
The head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also said it was likely Mubarak would step down in the next few hours.
“There’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the, hopefully, orderly transition in Egypt takes place,” Leon Panetta told a congressional hearing in Washington.
Joining a chorus saying that Mubarak’s departure could be imminent, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that the strongman may step down.
Poverty and repression
The president has been buffeted by widespread protests against poverty, repression and corruption that began on January 25 in an unprecedented display of frustration at his autocratic rule. It was partly inspired by the example of Tunisia, where street protesters toppled the strongman president on January 14.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand that Mubarak quit and clashes between protesters and security forces have killed at least 300 people.
Mubarak has clung on to power, promising on February 1 to step down in September. But that was not enough to end an uprising many now are calling the “Nile Revolution”.
Mubarak, who has ruled under emergency laws since he took over when Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamist soldiers, also said his son would not stand for election, appointed a vice president for the first time and promised reforms.
Alaa el-Seyyed, 26, a member of a protest organizing committee, was asked about possibility of the army taking over. He said: “It is an accomplishment for us. But we will stay until all of our demands are realised — democracy and freedom.”
“He is going down!” Zeina Hassan said on Facebook.
“We want a civilian state, civilian state, civilian state!” Doaa Abdelaal said on Twitter, an Internet service that many see as a vital catalyst for the protests in Tunisia and Egypt that have electrified oppressed populations across the Arab world.
“The army statement is wishy-washy. But we are confident that the day has come. Mubarak will step down, the people have won,” said protester Mohamed Anees, who is in his late 20s.
“The army is worried that tomorrow on Friday the people will overpower state buildings and the army will not be able to fire back,” Anees said. “The army now is pressuring Mubarak to resolve the situation.”
Organisers had promised another major push on the streets on Friday when protesters said they planned to move on to the state radio and television building in “The Day of Martyrs” dedicated to the dead.
Washington pressured Mubarak to speed up the pace of reform but stopped short of demanding the resignation of the president of the country, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel and an army which receives about $1.3 billion in U.S. aid a year.
The possibility of unrest spreading to other authoritarian states in the oil-rich region has kept oil prices firm.
ISLAMABAD: A team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday raided the house of former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi after a civil court in Islamabad issued arrest warrants for him in the Hajj corruption case.
Kazmi was not at his house when the team raided his house.
Earlier today, Islamabad civil court judge Aslam Gondal issued the warrant for Kazmi, reported Express 24/7 correspondent Faisal Shakeel. The development came after today’s (Thursday) case hearing on the scam.
During the hearing, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials investigating the case informed the Supreme Court that they have found evidence of corruption by Kazmi.
The officials also asked the court to question Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani in the scam case.
The Religious Affairs Secretary, who also appeared in court, stated that the ministry has compensated 96 per cent of the pilgrims affected by the scam in the Hajj arrangements. He said no middle man will be hired for the government’s Hajj operation from next year and that the Hajj quota will be alloted on merit.
The court ordered the Religious Affairs Secretary to frame a transparent Hajj policy.
The FIA is probing into an embezzlement of millions of rupees in Hajj affairs, the crossfire over which provoked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani into axing two federal ministers from the cabinet three days back.
The corruption and irregularities in the Hajj scam which had put an extra burden of Rs35,000 on each pilgrim this year and led to the sacking of former federal minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Azam Swati has sent ripple effects through the political landscape of the country ending up in the JUI-F quiting from the coalition.
A Saudi prince had previously written a letter claiming that Pakistani government officials had refused his offer of a cheaper place of accommodation, opting instead for a more expensive residential area. The Chief Justice had taken suo moto notice of the case.
KARACHI: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Thursday said that former cricketers should first do their homework and review performances of players before giving their analysis on the national team’s possibility of winning the world cup.
The captain, coach Waqar Younis and manager Intikhab Alam later addressed a farewell press conference in the eastern city of Lahore.
Afridi said that the morale of the team is high and former captains should support them. He said that other than Pakistan, it would be difficult to term any team as a favorite as India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia have all been performing very well.
“I think it’s an open tournament with no one favourite team,” said Afridi. “I think India is one of the top favourites. South Africa has been playing well and Australia can still win,” the Pakistan captain said.
Coach Waqar Younis said that there are no rifts among players or the management and Sohail Tanveer was taken out of the squad due to his lack of fitness. He added that he has not witnessed Junaid Khan’s performance himself as much, but he has heard a lot about him from other people.
Waqar said he felt his team could also triumph.
“If you ask me, this team has the potential to win. For sure they have the potential to win the World Cup,” he said.
“The main thing is to give it your best and the best results will come.”
Afridi wants Pakistan-India World Cup final
Afridi said a possible duel with India in the World Cup final would be ideal for the tournament and a boost to international cricket, drawing billions of viewers.
“There is a possibility that Pakistan and India play the final of the World Cup and if that happens it would be ideal for the World Cup, one-day format and for the game of cricket,” Afridi told AFP.
Arch-rivals Pakistan and India are in separate groups of the 14-team World Cup, jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and starts on February 19.
The top four teams from each of the two groups meet in the quarter-final and Afridi hopes both India and Pakistan avoid each other until the April 2 final.
“Both India and Pakistan have to play above their potential to reach the final but it would be ideal for the billions of people around the world,” said Afridi, who will be playing his fourth World Cup.
Pakistan have not beaten India in the four matches they have played at World Cups.
India beat Pakistan by 39 runs in a highly charged quarter-final at Bangalore in the 1996 World Cup.
The two have not played each other outside tournaments since the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, which claimed 166 lives and caused a diplomatic rift between New Delhi and Islamabad.
However the pair met in the Champions Trophy held in South Africa in 2009, where Pakistan beat India, the last international match between them.
Afridi said beating their arch-rivals in the Mumbai final would be the “icing on the cake.”
“We would love to beat India in India and in a World Cup match because we have never done this before and this could be a great motivation,” said Afridi.
Playing down any possible threat from Hindu fundamentalists during the World Cup, Afridi said: “People of both the nations love cricket and I don’t see any threat.
“But yes, if the atmosphere is highly charged it would definitely spur both the teams on and bring out the best in the players from both the sides.”
Cricket had united both the nations and has the power to do that again, he said.
“I know that this beautiful game has the charm and the power to bring the nations closer,” he said.
“What we have seen in the past is an ample proof of that. When India came here in 2004 people from both sides came closer and when we toured India we were welcomed by their people, so it’s a mutual love for the game.”
Expressing hopes the two nations resume cricketing ties, Afridi said billions of cricket fans are missing a “big thing”.
Pakistan fly out to Dhaka early Friday morning where they are due to play warm-up matches against Bangladesh and England.
Pakistan open their World Cup campaign with a match against Kenya at Sri Lankan town of Hambantota on February 23.
The missile, which is terrain hugging with high maneuverability and pin point accuracy, has stealth capabilities and can carry strategic and conventional warheads.
The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Khalid Shamim Wynne along with other senior officers from the armed forces. Officers from strategic organisations, scientists and engineers were also present.
Wynne reiterated that the test will go a long way in consolidating Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability, and further strengthening national security.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also congratulated the scientists and engineers on the success of the test.
The missile tests are part of a process of validating the system.
He joined explorling realm of journalism in 1994 and started writing articles in the daily Muslim. His first articles depicting the deploring plight of Sindi people was captioned as “Save the Pakistani Youth” was highly appreciated by the people. Besides, he used to teach English language and literature at degree and Master level in the private sector of Pakistani institutions. Again, when he came to the UK in 2000 he joined a well reknowned private college as a Head of Business Depatment and later on took over the charge of V/Principal. Now, he has joined the daily Alkhbar Islmabad as professional journalist/columnist and has been contributing his provoking articles exposing all kinks of evils prevailing in the society under the name of Akas-e-Khayal. His basic education is MA English Literatre, MA TEFL, Diploma in American Literature and presently doing EdD (Doctorate in Education) from Brunel University, Uxbridge, London.
Zahida Hina (Urdu: زاہدہ حنا) (born 1946) is a noted Urdu columnist, essayist, short story writer, novelist and dramatist from Pakistan.Zahida was born on October 5, 1946 in the Sasaram town of Bihar, India. After the partition of India, her father, Muhammad Abul Khair, emigrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi, where Zahida was brought up and educated. She wrote her first story when she was nine years old. She graduated from University of Karachi, and her first essay was published in the monthly Insha in 1962. She chose journalism as a career in mid 60s. In 1970, she married the well-known poet Jon Elia. Zahida Hina was associated with the daily Jang from 1988 until 2005, when she moved to the Daily Express, Pakistan. She now lives in Karachi.zahida hina also worked inradio Pakistan,bbcurdu and voice of America.
Hamid Mir (Urdu: حامد مير, born July 23, 1966) is a Pakistani journalist and editor. He is news anchor, terrorism expert, and security analyst who regularly participates in international conferences. He is also known for his columns in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and English newspapers and hosts a popular political talk show on Geo TV with the name of Capital Talk. He was banned from TV by the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf in 2007. He was again banned by the Zardari-led PPP government in June 2008.
Ata ul Haq Qasmi is one of the leading and most popular columnist of Pakistan who has been writing Urdu columns for more than last 45 years in the leading newspapers with the name of “Rozan-e-Dewar Sey”. The most distinguished character of Qasmi’s column is his satire on social inequalities of the society and his anti dictatorship stance which he boldly takes in his columns. He has a unique style of writing incomparable to any other columnist because of his humorous way which holds the reader till the last line of his column which is his punch line. Qasmi was also elevated to the position of Ambassador of Pakistan in Norway and Thailand during 1997 to 1999. He is also a very famous drama writer and poet. His books of columns include “Column Tamam”, “Shar Goshiyan”, “Hansna Rona Mana Hay”, “Mazeed Ganjey Farishtey” and many more while his TV Drama Serials include the most popular “Khwaja and Son”, “Shab Daig”, “Sheeda Talli” etc. His travelogues are also very popular and one of the best is “Shoq-e-Awargi”. Qasmi has also received the Pride of Performance and Sitara-e-Imtiaz (highest civil awards) from President of Pakistan in addition to many other awards over his literary contributions. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousfi has termed Qasmi as the best columnist of Pakistan while Altaf Gohar has termed him as the most wittiest columnist of Pakistan.
Haroon Rasheed:Is one of the Leading Columnist of pakistan.he wrote column in Jang newspaper and works with Geo group of network.He also Consider as one of the leading analyst of politics.his vision is broad and his most of the prediction about the coming days of Future politics is true.he belongs to the middle class family.In start of his carrier he spend his life in misery but later in because of his constant struggle he got the major post in Literature.