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Friday, February 24, 2012

Punjab allocates Rs2.024bn for traceable agri, livestock products 24-02-2012

Punjab government has planned to expand suppliers’ base of traceable agricultural and livestock products from the existing level of 20 to 250 in 2012, for which an incentive package of Rs2.024 billion has been allocated.

This was stated by Minister for Agriculture, Punjab, Malik Ahmed Ali Aulakh while addressing a post-International Green Week (IGW) briefing about success stories, the lessons learnt and the way forward for prospects of exports of agriculture and livestock products from Pakistan, here at Agriculture House, on Thursday.

Traceable agricultural and livestock products have a “tracking system”, a little piece of product code, by which consumers can get wise to the identity of agricultural and livestock products. This system stores information about how and where these foods have been produced, transported and processed.

Aulakh further said that Pakistan’s showcasing of 20 fully traceable agricultural and livestock products at Germany in a recent exhibition was historic achievement of the Punjab government.

He said that participation of Punjab in IGW at Germany has not only helped in improving the soft image of Pakistan, but has also introduced it as an emerging country for supply of traceable products for the world to meet food supply demand of ever increasing global population.

He said that Punjab government has diverted substantial resources to develop science-based, vibrant and internationally linked agriculture sector that can not only meet the food security challenges but also compete in domestic as well as in international markets.

Punjab government has entered into a certification regime to produce fully traceable agricultural and livestock products to reach high end markets of the developed world and to enhance export up to $2 billion annually, he added.

He said that Pakistan has the potential to become one of the largest economies of the world if it fully exploits its agriculture potential.

CEO of Star Farm, Asia, Hans Peter, in his briefing, said that no country has fully traceable products like Pakistan, which is having 20 at the moment. He said that Pakistan should be proud of this huge success and the whole credit goes to present Punjab government.

It was informed at meeting that participation of Punjab in International Green Week at Berlin, Germany proved a milestone to showcase traceable agricultural and livestock products from Punjab under brand name of ‘Traceable Pakistan’.

Under this initiative, Punjab government provided space to the private sector/ exhibitors to showcase their products at the Punjab’s pavilion where thousands of visitors tasted and witnessed traceable products from Punjab.

While elaborating on the way forward for the year 2012, it was told that provincial government has planned to assist farmers and suppliers of traceable products to form an association by establishing of offices in Lahore, Dubai and Germany.

The Agriculture Department will promote this new concept of marketing through road-shows, and will also hold a mega event “World Agriculture Forum” in Punjab, Pakistan on the pattern of “World Economic Forum” Davos, Switzerland.

A delegation for study tour to China will also be sent for learning use of modern system and techniques for productivity enhancement in collaboration with Bayer crop sciences and Star Farm China.

It is planned that exports of horticulture products from the existing level of $360 million to $1 billion would be increased and that of livestock products from the existing level of $40 million to $1billion will be achieved in the coming years.

Australian inquest considers dingo-baby mystery 24-02-2012

A coroner on Friday opened the fourth inquest into the most notorious and bitter legal drama in Australia's history: the 1980 death of a 9-week-old baby whose parents say a dingo took her from a tent in the Australian Outback.

Azaria Chamberlain's mother, Lindy, was convicted and later cleared of murdering her and has always maintained that a wild dog took the baby. She and her ex-husband, Michael Chamberlain, are hoping fresh evidence about dingo attacks on children will convince Northern Territory Coroner Elizabeth Morris and end relentless speculation that has followed them for 32 years.

Anne Lade, a former police officer hired by the court to investigate the case, told a packed courtroom that in the years since Azaria disappeared, there have been numerous dingo attacks on humans, some of them fatal. Rex Wild, a lawyer assisting the coroner, described several of the attacks and said he believed the evidence showed that a dingo could have been responsible for Azaria's death.

"Although it (a dingo killing a child) may have been regarded as unlikely in 1980 ... it shouldn't be by 2011-12," he said. "With the additional evidence in my submission, your honor should accept on the balance of probabilities that the dingo theory is the correct one."

Morris adjourned the hearing without saying when she would release her findings.

Azaria's death certificate still lists the cause of death as "unknown." The Chamberlains say they want to set the record straight on behalf of their daughter.

"It gives me hope this time that Australians will finally be warned and realize that dingoes are a dangerous animal," Lindy said outside the courthouse in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin. "I also hope that this will give a final finding which closes the inquest into my daughter's death, which so far has been standing open and unfinished."

Azaria vanished on Aug. 17, 1980, during a family vacation to Ayers Rock, the giant red monolith now known by its Aboriginal name Uluru. Fellow campers told police they heard a low growl followed by a baby's cry shortly before Lindy — who had been making dinner at a nearby barbecue area — went to check on her daughter.

Lindy said she saw a dingo run from the tent and disappear into the darkness. There were dingo prints outside the tent, and spots of blood on the bedding. Upon seeing Azaria's empty bassinet, Lindy screamed, "The dingo's got my baby!" — a line made famous by the Meryl Streep movie, "A Cry in the Dark," based on the case.

Azaria's body was never found, though her torn and bloodied jumpsuit turned up in the surrounding desert.

Officials, doubtful that a dingo was strong enough to drag away a baby, charged Lindy with murder. Prosecutors said she slit Azaria's throat in the family car — which initial forensic tests said was splashed with baby's blood — and buried her in the desert. Lindy was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Years later, more sophisticated tests found that the "blood" in the car was a combination of milk and a chemical sprayed during manufacture. Three years into Lindy's prison sentence, a jacket Azaria had been wearing was found by chance near a dingo den. Lindy was released from prison and her conviction was overturned.

Still, three separate coroner's inquests have failed to agree on a cause of death for Azaria. The last inquest, held in 1995, returned an inconclusive finding, with the coroner saying there was not enough evidence to prove a dingo was responsible.

Since then, the Chamberlains have gathered new evidence of around a dozen dingo attacks on children, three of them fatal, said their lawyer, Stuart Tipple. That evidence was presented to Morris, the coroner, for consideration at Friday's inquest.

"When you actually look at what has already been given, and you consider the new evidence, we say you are compelled to make a finding that Azaria was taken by a dingo," Tipple told The Associated Press.

In court, Michael Chamberlain fought back tears as he spoke of the nightmarish aftermath of his daughter's death.

"Since the loss of Azaria I have had an abiding fear and paranoia about safety around dingoes," he said. "They send a shudder up my spine. It is a hell I have to endure."

Australians have followed the case closely since it began, and most have strong opinions. Although public support for Lindy has grown over the years, many still doubt that a dingo could have killed Azaria.

"I think that the people that don't think for themselves aren't ever going to be convinced, and it really doesn't matter what you show them," Tipple told the AP. "I could show them a video of the dingo taking the baby and it wouldn't convince them — because they've made their mind up."

Friends of Syria' to Assad: Immediate cease-fire or face new punishment 24-02-2012

The United States, Europe and Arab countries were set Friday to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents.

American, European and Arab officials are meeting in a major international "Friends of Syria" conference in Tunisia to work out the details for their 72-hour ultimatum end the violence and allow in aid, which will be backed by as yet unspecified punishments.

A draft of the conference's final declaration also states that the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of opposition organizations, will be recognized as "a legitimate representative of Syrians" and promised additional "practical" support for opposition groups. "This conference will help the Syrian people, the revolutionaries, I think, they will give us the power as a national council, a political umbrella for the revolution inside Syria and I think they will push the international community to take good steps against the Syrian regime," Haithem al-Maleh, executive director of the Syrian National Council told journalists ahead of the conference.

Former United Nations chief, Kofi Annan, was also named to be a joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to deal with the crisis.

International action over Syria has so far been hindered by Russia and China's continued opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria.

Both nations say they support a "speedy end" to the violence, but they have vetoed two U.N. Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning Assad's crackdown.

Alexei Pushkov, a Russian lawmaker, said Friday after meeting Assad in Damascus that the Syrian president sounded confident and demonstrated no sign he would he step aside. Pushkov warned that arming the Syrian opposition would fuel civil war.

In a statement Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry also called for "an immediate mutual cease-fire" to allow the wounded to be evacuated from Homs, and urged both the government and the opposition to take urgent steps to ease the humanitarian crisis. The ministry also voiced support for Annan's mission.

Western intelligence officials, however, say they believe Russia's patience may be running out with Syrian regime.

Tunisia's official spokesman Adnan Mancer said Thursday that Russia and China must "look to the future of their relations with the Arab world and consider what happens after Assad."

Diplomats said the meeting in Tunis on Friday would demand Assad's compliance. They said that failure on his part would result in tougher sanctions and predicted that his opponents would grow stronger unless he accedes and accepts a political transition that would see him leave power.

If Assad doesn't comply, "we think that the pressure will continue to build. ... I think that the strategy followed by the Syrians and their allies is one that can't stand the test of legitimacy ... for any length of time," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters in London after meeting about a dozen of her foreign minister colleagues to prepare for the Tunis event.
Clinton and others ruled out any overt, direct lethal military aid to Assad's opponents.

A draft of the Tunis conference's final document obtained by The Associated Press backs an Arab League plan that calls for Assad to turn over his authority to a deputy, halt all violence and prepare for internationally supervised elections.

The political transition would be akin to what happened in Yemen, where outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh quit in favor of his deputy after widespread protests.

The draft, which is still subject to change, also demands "that humanitarian agencies be permitted to deliver vital relief goods and services to civilians affected by the violence."

More than 5,400 people have been killed in the conflict, according to a U.N. estimate in January. Hundreds more have died since and Syrian activists place the death toll at more than 7,300.

Overall figures cannot be independently confirmed because Syria strictly limits independent reporting.

Homs, Syria's third-largest city, has been under a fierce government attack for nearly three weeks. Government troops continued to shell rebel-held areas in central Syria on Friday, killing at least four people, activists said.

To spur negotiations, the Arab League and United Nations on Thursday jointly appointed Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general, to be their special envoy to Syria with a mandate to bring an end to the violence and promote a peaceful political solution.

Annan will work on bringing an end to "all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis," the two bodies said in a statement.

American officials accompanying Clinton to the Friends of Syria meeting said the group would make clear to Assad that his regime has a moral obligation to end the shelling of civilian areas and allow assistance into the country. The burden is on Assad to respond to the demands of the international community, they said.

"The efforts that we are undertaking with the international community ... are intended to demonstrate the Assad regime's deepening isolation," Clinton said. "Our immediate focus is on increasing the pressure. We have got to find ways of getting food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance into affected areas. This takes time and it takes a lot of diplomacy."

Clinton met Thursday in London with Juppe and foreign ministers and senior officials from about a dozen countries, including Britain, Germany, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. More than 70 nations and international organizations are expected at the Tunis meeting.

Several nations have proposed creating protected corridors through which humanitarian relief could flow but it was not clear whether a consensus could be reached on the matter, as such a step almost certainly would require a military component.

Baloch leaders demand end to Army operations

Baloch nationalist leaders have set stiff conditions, including stopping military operations and barring secret agencies any role in their turbulent province, to open dialogue with the Pakistan government that has extended an olive branch to them.

Reacting to amnesty offer made by the Interior Minister Rahman Malik to Baloch leaders in exile, Jamhoori Watan Party leader Shahzain Bugti, a grandson of Akbar Khan Bugti, who was killed in a military operation in 2006, set eight conditions for talks with the authorities.

Besides halt to military operations, the Baloch leaders demanded a ban on establishing new cantonments in the province and arrest and trial of former president Parvez Musharraf for his role in the "murder" of Akbar Khan Bugti.

The Baloch leaders spelt out the conditions at a news conference here yesterday, a day after Malik offered amnesty to Baloch nationalist leaders in exile, announcing that cases against them would be closed if they return home.

"All cases against Baloch leaders will be withdrawn if they return back home," Malik said in what appeared to be desperate steps to break a crippling impasse on Balochistan.

The offer was made to Baloch leaders in exile including Brahamdagh Bugti and Harbyar Marri with Malik calling them "to return to Pakistan to take part in the political and development process”.

Brahamdagh went underground when his grandfather Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation during Musharraf's regime. He is currently in exile in Switzerland.  Several other prominent dissidents, including Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Dawood, Harbyar Marri, son of veteran nationalist leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri and former leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly Kachkol Ali Baloch, are all living abroad on political asylum.

Senior leaders of Mengal family Sardar Akhtar Mengal, who was imprisoned more than a year during Musharraf regime and Senator Sanaullah Baloch are also settled abroad. Shahzain Bugti said, "There should be a ban on establishing new cantonments in Balochistan and secret agencies should have no role in the province. We want an end to the dumping of mutilated bodies (of Baloch activists)."

He said ongoing Army operations must be stopped at once and 13,000 "missing" Baloch youths should be recovered.

Branding Musharraf as the "murderer" of Akbar Khan Bugti, his son demanded that he should be arrested and brought to Balochistan for trial.

The fast-paced developments in Balochistan appear to have gained momentum within days of a resolution introduced in US Congress seeking the right to self-determination for Balochistan, which has triggered widespread outcry in Pakistan with leaders seeing in it moves by America to Balaknise their country.

To counter the fallout of the resolution, the PPP-led government is making efforts to convene an all-political forces' meeting on the issue to frame a political, monetary and security related package for Balochistan, but the move appears to be floundering.

Former premier and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has also set conditions to participate in an all parties' conference. Sharif said he will participate in the meet only if Akbar Bugti's killers are arrested and the "missing persons" recovered.

Malik has said Interpol will be asked to issue a Red Corner Notice to bring Musharraf back to Pakistan so that he can be tried for Akbar Bugti's killing. Musharraf has been living in self-exile in London and Dubai since early 2009.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Children of Taliban or Generation of Taliban

Dan Edge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy investigates how the war on terror is creating a generation of child terrorists in her homeland – children prepared to kill both inside and outside Pakistan.

With the recent attack in Lahore on the Sri Lankan cricket team, last year’s massive suicide bombing in Islamabad and assault on Mumbai, Pakistan’s radical Islamists are bringing violence to the major cities of Pakistan and beyond.

Sharmeen travels across Pakistan to investigate how the far the Taliban has infiltrated her country. In the north she finds the Pakistan army, backed by the Americans, locked in the deadliest conflict, killing thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands.

At a nearby refugee camp, Sharmeen interviews two teenage boys who are best friends. Their local madrassa was hit by bombardments from the Pakistani army and American hellfire missiles – whilst children were studying inside. One boy describes burying his cousin’s legs – the only body parts they could recover. One of the boys Sharmeen meets was in that crowd – he now wants to join the Taliban. But his best friend blames al-Qaeda for the attacks – he wants to join the army. Driven into enemy camps, both boys pledge to kill the other if they face each other on the battlefield...
And Sharmeen meets a 14 year-old boy already recruited by the Taliban who describes life in one of its extremist madrassas that provide religious justification for terrorist attacks. Hazrat describes how he graduated from training in small arms to rocket launchers and how to execute a suicide attack in a car.

She visits a valley in the north west of Pakistan called Swat which was, until 18 months ago, a peaceful tourist attraction. She goes to one of 200 schools that have been destroyed by the Taliban. Amongst the ruins, she meets two former pupils, young girls who are angry that they are now forbidden to have an education and resentful that they will soon have to wear burqas. One tells Sharmeen: “Education is a ray of light and I want that light.” As they’re filming, a Taliban mortar lands in the neighbourhood and they have to flee to the relative safety of one of girls’ home.
In Peshawar, the main city in the north of two million people, Sharmeen meets some of the child victims of the violence at a specialist paraplegic hospital.
When US will leave the Afghanistan and Peace come there?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Al-Shifa trying to expand eye camp network

Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has decided to expand the network of free eye camps at union council level in far-flung areas of the country to minimise the challenge of blindness under its outreach eye care programme. The announcement was made at a conference held to mark the first death anniversary of great humanitarian icon and founding president of Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospitals, Lt Gen (r) Jahan Dad Khan, on Monday. Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital President Lt Gen (r) Hamid Javed said that though Jahan Dad Khan left a year ago, his selfless work for the people will keep him alive for his service of the humanity. He said Al-Shifa, based on the vision of Gen Jahan Dad Khan, had decided to expand the network of free eye camps at union council level under the community outreach programme. He said the trust had treated millions since its establishment at its four state-of-the-art hospitals located in Sukkur, Kohat, Muzaffarabad and Rawalpindi. He said that besides this, more than 150,000 patients at 500 free eye camps were treated every year, which makes it one of the largest outreach eye care programmes in the country. He said that blindness had become a major challenge in the country, especially in under-privileged areas where non-availability of proper treatment had left many blind. He said that the trust would double the number of free eye camps to cope with the challenge and provide treatment to the people at their threshold. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, speaking on the occasion, said Gen Jahan Dad Khan was such a glory that he picked off fallen eyes of the blind and roamed the world to rescue these with light. He went from door to door to collect the means of providing hope to the blind. Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Vice President Saeed Ahmad Qureshi, renowned columnist Baig Raj and Dr Hasan also paid tributes to Gen Jahan Dad Khan for his service to humanity. Pakistan Times report

US can strengthen ties through cultural exchange

Talking about various US-Pak initiatives, US Consul General in Lahore Nina Maria Fite said that the consulate had introduced special programmes for promotion of cultural activities as well as preservation of historic sites in Lahore as well as Punjab under the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

She also expressed the wish of fostering relations between the two strategic partners through close people-to-people contacts.

Talking to APP on Sunday, she said, “With the melting of snow on the advent of spring season in Pakistan, the frost in Pak-US relations will also thaw.”

The US diplomat said the US was waiting for the strategic paper from Pakistan on Pak-US relations after duly approved by its parliament. The US is committed to stronger relations with Pakistan since both the countries had various common causes that needed cooperation, she added.

She expressed the US government’s resolve to provide maximum support to Pakistan in the fields of economics, education and culture. The US is happy to be here in close partnership with the people of Pakistan, she added.

Nina took pride in the fact that she watched very closely the making of Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement during her posting as deputy economic counselor in Kabul, Afghanistan, stressing that greater trade ties with neighbouring countries in the region would ensure economic boom.

She said she was enchanted by the charm, beauty, timelessness and rich cultural heritage of Lahore.

Replying to a query, she said being a graduate in architecture, she admired fascinating and wonderful architecture of the Mughal period reflected in Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque as well as the contemporary architecture of Al-Hamra.

Nina further said she was awed by the magnificence and grace of the Shalamar Gardens, adding that she had been to the chrysanthemum exhibition at Jilani Park and looked forward to the rose exhibition to be held in April.

“I am touched by the hospitality of Lahorites. The people are large-hearted and have made me feel great wherever I went in Pakistan, especially Punjab,” she said while eulogising the hospitality of the people of Punjab.

The US diplomat said the recent events had not affected the Pak-US educational and cultural ties at all, stressing that besides other educational and economic programmes, Pakistan was the largest shareholder in the US Fulbright scholarships offered to students every year.

Nina also expressed the hope that her sojourn in the metropolis will usher in an era of closer Pak-US relations, bringing out humane aspect of the ties. app

Demystifying the village-naming hierarchy 2012

Aizaz Cheema, one of the recent fast bowlers to represent Pakistan, hails from a village called “75-B.” Curious name? decided to dig out the history and tradition behind naming villages in Punjab.

Historically, there are several reasons behind naming a place in Punjab, but penning history or tracing out its anthropological roots in culture is a subject less entertained in this part of the world.

While tracking down roots or reasons behind a village name, two major classifications can be drawn: “before” and “after,” i.e. before or after the arrival of the British.

In the pre-colonial era, there were different traditions behind giving a name to any village or settlement. These traditions, sometimes, became myths but parts of oral history provide viable justification behind naming a village.

In some cases, names were assigned to villages on the basis of a historical incident; the social, religious or spiritual influence of a personality upon local populace; heritage; clan; biradri or ethnic group.

In remembrance
Located on the Depalpur–Basirpur Road in the Depalpur district, the village Bhuman Shah comprises 1,500 households. According to Professor Aurangzeb – from the department of Political Science at the Government Degree College, Sahiwal– Bhuman Shah was a Hindu saint, who spent his whole life in the area and thus the village was named after him.

Saint Bhuman was also, notably, the founder of Udaseyain sect in Hinduism, which was founded approximately 250 years ago.

The Hujra Shah Muqeem town was named after Pir Shah Muqeem, who stayed in hujra (a temporary residence).

Chak Bedi was named after Bedi clan among Sikhs, one of whose renowned members was Urdu short story writer Rajinder Singh Bedi. This village is still located near Head Sulimanki.

The town of Haveli Lakha was named after a person named Lakha Watoo – meaning Lakha Watto found a haveli (permanent residence) in the area.

In same manner, Dera Ghazi Khan, Darya Khan (a small town in southern Punjab) and Dera Ismail Khan (in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) were named after three brothers’ residences (translating to dera in Punjabi language).

The forest resort of Changa Manga in Kasur district is named after two brothers (Changa and Manga), who, during the British rule, were famous dacoits and had used the jungle as their secret hideout.

Mahar Nazir Ahmed, 57, informs that Moza Murad Kay Kathiya was named after Murad Ka Kathiya, who along with Mokha Waniwal, killed a British Assistant Collector and army Captain Lord Berkeley near Koray Shah at eastern bank of River Ravi, during 1857 War of Independence.  Murad Kay Kathiya was sentenced for life and eventually died in Sahiwal’s central jail.

The city of Mian Chanu was named after two saint brothers, Mian Manu and Mian Chanu. A shrine that still stands in the city centre marks the grave of one of the brothers.

A drowning tale
Satgara, another historical village in Okara district, tells an interesting tale. According to Nusrat Iqbal, a local Punjabi poet, the village has a history of being drowned in Ravi River seven times. The number seven translates to “sat” in Pubjabi, hence the name Satgara.  Another tale, according to Sir Denzil Ibbetson in the “Tribes and Castes” narrates there were seven houses at that locality at the time of naming, leading to the name Satgara. Despite the two theories, there is no difference of opinion on seven (sat). Interestingly, Satgara is a place where Mir Chakar Khan Rind was killed while fighting against armies of Mughal Emporer Aurangzeb and his shrine can be found in Satgara.

Irrigation and the British
Under the second classification, villages were named on the bases of the Canal Irrigation System (CIS) laid down by British on the five rivers after annexation of Punjab on April 2, 1849. The British divided all land into two main categories: Proprietary land – owned by the King or army generals and panchayat (tribal council), and Crown’s Wasteland, according to Irfan Habib, a local.

In fact, human settlement can be directly associated to availability of water and its scarcity. Punjab was the land of rivers, which compelled the British (for their own political reasons) to dig canals, in case water needed to be transferred to far off places for irrigation. Thus, the Northern India Canal Drainage Act of 1873 was brought in place to define application of water for public purposes, construction and maintenance of head-works, and supply of water for irrigation.

The main objective of canal system was to develop, plan, utilise and manage human settlement for irrigation in a judicious, equitable, sustainable and sound economic manner. Interestingly, emperors of Tughlaq and Khilji dynasty dug four canals but it couldn’t match with the irrigation system introduced by the British. The imperial rulers developed head works, barrages, dams or weirs on rivers to develop main water channels for smooth flow of water.

Rana Masood, a senior employee of the local irrigation department, says these main water channels or canals, run through ‘Crown’s Waste Land’ across India in a manner similar to the human veins, which run through the body and supply blood to each part.

The logical sequence followed for the distribution of water for irrigation purposes can be explained in the following manner:

From the rivers emerged dams, barrages and head-works, which gave way to canals and in turn, the canals led to distributaries (DISTY), leading to minors (MIN) and finally, minors gave way to sub-minors (S-MIN). For instance, Lower Bari Doab Canal emerged from Head Balloki and Pakpattan Canal from Head Sulaimanki. Before digging out the canals, the British made two important calculations: the Gross Area to be covered by the canal and the proportion of Cultural-able Commanded Area (CCA) for that particular gross area. Both calculations fall under the category of “Crown’s Waste Land”.

The canal system is used for irrigation in all provinces of the country.

“The names of chaks (villages) emerged during calculation of CCAs and digging of a canal, DISTY, minor or sub-minor in different regions,” Masood adds.

For instance, the Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC), which was dug during the period of 1911 to 1913, receives water from Head Baluki at 6,750 cusecs. The British designed canals in such a way that they have the potential to increase the capacity and LBDC’s capacity was subsequently increased to 9,841 cusecs in 1988.

Naming villages on the basis of canals

The British divided CCA in two part of LBDC, “Left side of LBCD” and “Right side of LBCD.” If a DISTY (another water channel) were developed from the left side, it would be named 1-L, the second 2-L and so on. If a DISTY was dug from the right side, it would be named 1-R, second 2-R and so on.

The Cultural-able Commanded Area is equally divided on both sides of a canal, with chak numbers, which means the CCA area allocated to each chak on both sides of LBDC.

For instance, in the case of 4-R DISY one minor was provided at the right side and from that one right side minor four sub-minors were dug both on left and right sides of water channels. The name of village would then be 1R/4-R, 1R/1R/4-R and 2R/1R/4-R and 1L/1R/4-R and 2L/1R/4R and so on. Let us say chak number 78/4-R which means 78 chak number on right side of fourth DIST at LBCD. Chak number 3R/14-L means chak number 3 on left side of 14 DISTY at LBCD. (14 DIST is located on left side of LBCD).

The Pakpattan Canal finds its source at Head Sulimanki and has divisions named EB & WB. (Sulimanki Division, Eastern Bar Division & Western Bar Division). Chak number 70/EB in tehsil Arifwala, district Pakpattan means Chak number 70 on Eastern Bar Division side of Pakpattan Canal. Chak number 2L/11-L means Chack Number 2 on left Minor on 11 left side DISTY upon LBDC. Now Chak number 1L/9-L means first minor on left side of ninth DISTY on left side of LBCD. Chak number 1R/1L/9-L means 1st Sub Minor on right side of 1st left side Minor at 9th left DISTY of LBCD. This is how Chaks emerged with reference to irrigation water availability according to CCA for total 58 main canals across Pakistan. All chaks names given with reference to water channels’ sides.

Abdul  Sattar, a senior clerk at LBDC Circle office Sahiwal informs us that all chak names were given with reference to canal and distributries laid down for irrigation purpose. Interestingly, one finds a number of villages, still intact with both references. Like their name reference with any tradition or figure and with irrigation system reference. Like Village 4 GD first called Gulam Rasool Wala in Gogera area before British arrival.

Later, after canal laying its name was put village 4GD Rasool Wala. (4th DISTY In Gogera Drain Canal). Falik Sher lives in village 68/4-R (Rath Sayal). He said Rath Sayal was a Rajput caste. The people of Rajput tribe started living in village. Later British named it Chak Number 68.

“This village is dominated by Siyal Rajput, hense its’ both name runs common. Chak 68/4-R, Rath Siyalain Wala.”

Mahar Basher Ahmed is ex-councillor from village 98/9-L (Lakain Wala). He revealed that his great great grandfather Mahar Guhaan Khan Luck migrated from Sargodha and settled here before the LBDC system was laid down. The chak was named 98/9-L as it falls on 9th left side DISTY of LBDC. But as majority of Luck Biradri still lives here it is named after 98/9-L (Lakanwala).

Actually, a discipline named cultural anthropology deals with such sense of historiography but unfortunately such disciplines could not flourish among our educational institutions because of our “ideological compulsion”. It is time to revisit our local history with peoples’ perspective.

Multan cricket run by petrol pump owner

Multan: From fighting for titles to fighting of survival, Multan’s cricket is experiencing an unprecedented slump and, with an interim committee headed by a bus-terminal owner, faces a tough ask on and off the field.

In the 2006-07 season, Multan won the Silver League title — and a promotion to the top tier of first-class cricket, the grade-II under-23 crown and the U15 event. Now, they have lost eight of their nine matches to sit bottom of Division-II. In the domestic Twenty20 event, Multan were eliminated after finishing third in their four-team group. The slump, regarded by many, is due to the ad-hocism implemented by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt who replaced long-serving president Mian Munir Ahmed with Inamul Haq.

Now, Sahiwal’s Sohail Shafqat, a bus terminal owner, has been handed over the responsibilities by Zaka Ashraf, a bold move especially since Shafqat admits he is a novice in cricketing matters.

“My passion to work with cricket brings me here,” Shafqat told The Express Tribune. “I’ve formed a five-member committee comprising former first-class cricketers to give me suggestions. I have my own bus terminals as well as petrol and CNG stations so I’m not here to make money but only to ensure deserving individuals get a chance.

“Things were not good prior to my appointment I have come up with a plan to put them back on track.”

Shafqat also confirmed that he had invited Munir to work with him for the improvement of the region’s cricket. The former president Munir, blaming Butt for destroying the structure, also revealed that he had sought a meeting with Zaka Ashraf but to no avail.

“I’ve sought time from the new chairman for a meeting, but haven’t heard anything yet. I won’t lose my respect by running after him.”

LHC seeks reply from Punjab govt. on medicine purchase policy

Justice Umar Ata Bandial of the Lahore High Court (LHC), while hearing petitions against deaths from spurious drugs provided by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Monday, directed the provincial government to inform until February 22 about the steps it was taking to change its policy concerning purchase of medicines.
Condemning the deaths from fake drugs, the judge observed, “The court being the guardian of basic human rights would not let anyone play with the lives of the masses.”
He also ordered the investigation team probing into the PIC issue to submit a report until the next hearing, informing the court about those responsible for sale of substandard drugs.
Meanwhile, the Punjab health secretary submitted a detailed report regarding
current statistics of patients suffering from medicines’ reaction, admitted to different hospitals across the city.
According to the report, a total of 929 patients were admitted to different hospitals of the province from December 23, 2011 to February 11. Out of these, 707 patients were discharged after recovery, while 103 patients were still under treatment, the report said.
Replying to a query about payment of Rs 500,000 to each victim’s family, the additional advocate general assured that the Punjab government would provide compensation to the bereaved families before the next hearing.
Earlier, Additional Inspector General Zulfiqar Hameed informed the court about some irregularities on part of the PIC, unearthed during investigation. “The hospital’s priority is not to buy quality medicines but to purchase those that are the cheapest,” he said, adding that a tablet available in market for Rs 20 had been purchased by the PIC at Rs 0.75.
A petition in this regard had been filed by Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique. staff report

Indian exporters hopeful to end indirect trade

India and Pakistan, which are moving forward to enhance trade ties through the present move started by two countries, are required to at least end the indirect trade to reduce the high freight cost.
Since both countries are importing goods via a third station, the freight cost could have been reduced drastically if the same were allowed to be traded directly, thereby, reducing the price of imported goods. This was expressed by leading Indian exporters here at Lahore Expo Centre on Monday. The representatives of at least 100 companies were attending the three day, The Indian Show 2012, being organised by Federation Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Indian exporters who are hopeful to get maximum share in the Pakistani market after the expected development regarding grant of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India said, despite the past unfriendly environment for trade between the two South Asian neighbours, many goods produced/manufactured at both sides have been traded indirectly.
Talking to Profit, Assistant Director Spices Board Ministry of Commerce and Industry India, Sopal Ram, said various kinds of spices were being imported in Pakistan from India which is the largest producer/exporter of these items, but in an indirect way. The country has at least 2,000 registered exporters who were allowed to trade after meeting the approved standards of the government. The quality of Indian spices could only be questioned when the value addition was made in the product by the country that is importing it.
He claimed the spices had a huge demand in Pakistan and the products could be cheaper if these were allowed for imports/exports directly. “The visiting people at expo centre have shown great interest in the highly qualitative products,” he said, adding that his country could make the entire demand of spices in Pakistan.
Tom Jose, Manager Marketing and Business Development of The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India said, Pakistan could export the raw material/unfinished gems and jewellery to India, which has recorded exports worth $43.14 billion during financial year 2010-2011. He said that India has comparatively better technology for finishing and value addition of products.
A Surender. Sr Regional Manager, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, said India is exporting various fuel furnace oil, lubricants, diesel, etc, with competitive prices and freight costs to meet the energy crisis of Pakistan. The corporation was a fortune of global 500 company engaged in the business of refining and marketing of petroleum products in India with a turnover of $23,390 million and market sale of 27 MMT.
A representative of tea development board of India informed that a successful negotiation was going on at government and concerned associations level to start direct tea export to Pakistan. Islamabad, which is importing a large quantity of tea from the African region especially Kenya, could obtain the same products at competitive prices and freight costs, if the import was formally allowed in Pakistan.
“India can meet the tea demand of Pakistan, as the former is already exporting to various European, Asian and African countries,” he said, adding that despite a Preferential Trade Agreement with Kenya, Pakistan was not benefiting from the reduced tariff of tea due to the high freight cost. Both exporters in India and Importers from Pakistan were negotiating the issue, while the matter was also under discussion at the government level. The first ever exhibition organised by India was attended by thousands of visitors from all walks of life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fata Cultural Festival in Pakistan February

Fata Cultural Festival in Pakistan February

Ijaz fails to appear before Pakistan commission on memo

From Rezaul H Laskar Islamabad, Feb 9 (PTI) American businessman Mansoor Ijaz today failed to avail a final opportunity to depose before a Pakistani judicial commission investigating the memo scandal, with his lawyer saying that he was prepared to record his statement at the Pakistani mission in London. The Supreme Court-appointed commission observed that Ijaz had made a U-turn on the issue of coming to Pakistan to depose despite all sorts of assurances given by the government about his security. During a hearing last month, the commission had given Ijaz a final opportunity to depose before it today about the mysterious memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last year.  
The three-judge commission issued the direction after Ijaz failed to appear before the panel on two occasions. In messages sent through this lawyer Akram Sheikh, Ijaz had cited security concerns as his reason for not coming to Pakistan. During today's hearing, Sheikh told the panel that Ijaz does not want to come to Pakistan but is ready to provide evidence about the memo and record his statement outside the country. After consulting Ijaz during a recess in the hearing, Sheikh informed the commission that Ijaz was prepared to record his statement at the Pakistan High Commission in London. Sheikh further contended that the commission does not have the right to summon Ijaz, who is a US national and had voluntarily offered to appear before the panel.

Gas from Iran in Pakistan

Iran has not just built its own portion of the gas pipeline from the gas fields to the Pakistani border, but it has also offered to build the Pakistani portion, from the Pakistani border, to the main distribution point, from where it can be piped across the country. This offer was made by visiting Iranian Vice-President on international affairs Ali Saeedlou in his meetings with the President and PM’s Finance Adviser Hafeez Sheikh, and should be accepted by Pakistan immediately. The US has persuaded India to withdraw from the project, but currently there are no sanctions on Iran for exporting gas. As such, Pakistan is free to make a decision on its own. Pakistan, although it has a government sensitive to US interests, also is in great need of Iranian gas to help overcome its energy shortages, and has resisted all pressure so far, and has assured Iran that it will continue with its plans to make the pipeline operational. In this context, the latest American statement has come directly from the State Department, evidence of US diplomatic interest in Pakistan's final decision. With this in the background, President Zardari’s announcing of increased visa facilities for Iranian businessmen shows that Pakistan is serious about the goal of increasing Pak-Iranian trade to $5 billion, from the current $1.5 billion. Therefore, the relationship is not just about gas, but also about greater trade between the two neighbouring, friendly countries, adding economic ties to the already existing cultural, religious and fraternal ones. This may disturb the US, but Pakistan is looking to its wider national interests as a matter of survival.This becomes particularly important at this point, when there is to be a setting of rules of engagement with the USA. Pakistan must make it a condition that its dealings with Iran, as well as with China, should not be made a source of friction by the US. As with the gasline project with Iran, there are several projects with China, both civilian and military. While Iran is an irritant to the US and China is similarly a concern, the US itself is the best example, given the giant trade volume is has with China.

Bloodletting underway in Syria, as rebels falter

It's a bloodletting in Syria. Civilians are facing tanks. There's every indication the dictatorship is moving to crush, once and for all, the eleven-month-old rebellion against the 40-year dictatorship of the Assad family.

Homs, a city of 1.7 million people, which is a little bit more than Philadelphia, is under siege by tanks and artillery for the fifth day in a row. Scenes like this are playing out in several Syrian cities and towns tonight.

Syria matters because of its neighborhood. It borders both Israel and Iraq. While the government there has banned independent reporting, CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward got to the battle lines with the rebels. Ward found a battle being fought by farmers and workers, very close to home.

Just outside of the city, the rebels moved in on a checkpoint set up by the Syrian army to choke off rebel traffic. The men crept through an olive grove. Then the attack began. As they opened fire, the enemy remained hidden from view.

"You are surrounded," the rebel leader called out to the Syrian soldiers. "Defect and join us."

But there was no surrender, and the battle raged on

For rebel-held Syrian towns, constant funerals
U.S. mulls humanitarian aid, not arms, for Syrian rebels
Syria's rebels: Ordinary men fight and die
U.S. closes Syria Embassy, pulls all staff

Many of the fighters were young and inexperienced, like Fouad Khashan, a 23-year-old mechanic. Hey was among the group that was yelling "charge!" as they lobbed grenades at the enemy. But the bullets kept on coming.

Moments later Fouad was hit. Under fire, the commander struggled to lift his limp body. Other men joined in to help.

They tried to reclaim this checkpoint. They haven't been able to do it yet and now there is a casualty. Someone has been hurt very badly. They try to take him to a hospital. At the hospital, body after body was hurried up the stairs. The men weeping for their fallen brothers.

"The honor of the Arabs is dead," said one man, who then cursed President Assad.

Later, with guns blazing and crowds chanting, the dead were carried home. Where the women waited, their wailing piercing the night air.

"Bashar al Assad is a dog," one woman cried.

At least four people were killed in the fighting Wednesday.

The rebel fighters are simply no match for the army regulars. They have no military training. They're not physically fit. They're up against an army with artillery, tanks. Soon the Syrian army will begin to use air power as well.
Pakistan Times
Many rebels say at this point there's no turning back. Too much damage has been done. Too much blood has been shed. They've been living under repression 40 years. They want to speak their minds with freedom, choose their own government. And they're willing to die to get there.

Authorities probe 911 response to Josh Powell's home

Authorities have launched an investigation into how dispatchers handled 911 calls from those seeking help before Josh Powell killed his sons and himself in his Washington home.

Critics have said it took too long for dispatchers to grasp the danger of the situation and alert police.

"We will investigate all aspects of this incident, and if there is a need to refine our processes, (as we do continually) we will do so," said Tom Orr, director of the Law Enforcement Support Agency, which operates the 911 call center. " If there is a need to investigate from a disciplinary perspective and assign individual responsibility, we will do that as well."

Orr's comments come as the community come to grips with Sunday's murder-suicide at Powell's Graham, Washington home. Powell is accused of snatching his young sons from a social worker who was delivering them for a supervised visit, locking the door, hacking the kids with a hatchet and starting an explosive fire in the home.

Tapes of 911 conversations, released this week, detail the frantic social worker trying to get help.

But even after she told a dispatcher that she smells gasoline and Powell will not let her in the home, a dispatcher continued to ask questions about her job and says "life-threatening situations come first." "This could be life-threatening," the social worker pleads. "He was in court on Wednesday and he didn`t get his kids back and this is really ... I`m afraid for their lives."

The social worker's husband said she was badly shaken up.

"She`s very upset and traumatized. She has said that she thinks this is something that is going to be a life-changing event," the husband told CNN affiliate KCPQ.

Call center records show that it took eight minutes for the dispatcher to send a police car and it took an additional 13 minutes for a police car to get to Powell's home, the affiliate reported.

"We try to get it right every single time. With humans here sometimes, there are mistakes made. I can`t tell you whether that was the case here until the investigation is complete," Orr told the affiliate.

Services for Charlie, 7, and Braden Powell, 5, will be held Saturday. Family members said they were having a hard time dealing with their grief.

"How could you do that to your children?" their grandfather, Chuck Cox, told HLN's Nancy Grace on Wednesday night.

Cox said the social worker should not have been taking the boys to Powell's residence alone.

"I'm glad she is safe," he said. "She could very well have been in that house. He could have closed the door behind her."

Powell was embroiled in an ugly custody dispute with the Cox family that stems back to the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox-Powell.

According to investigators, Powell had said the last time he saw his wife was the night he and his sons -- then ages 2 and 4 -- left to go camping after midnight in freezing weather.

Police have said they will continue to investigate her disappearance despite the deaths.

Chuck Cox said he tried to prevent the visitation.

"We had warned the police ... everybody, that he (Josh Powell) was capable of hurting those children and we were very concerned," he said. But, apparently, the law allowed for it, according to Cox.

"I don't think we could have done anything more," he said.

The grandfather restated his belief that his son-in-law, whom he described as very controlling and unlikeable, is responsible for Susan's disappearance.

According to Chuck Cox, Josh Powell bristled when he heard or saw evidence that the boys were close to their grandparents.

The Coxes said the boys at first would not talk about their missing mother, but then opened up a little bit.

One said he last saw her on a camping trip, Chuck Cox told HLN. But then they would forget details or not want to talk about her.

"They went back to a trained and coached response," the grandfather said. "Josh didn't want them saying anything about it."

Police raid in the day Show

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