Monday, February 28, 2011

AFTER THE PHONE CALL ...!

SPY WHO 'LOVED' ME

If the reports on the issue are critically scrutinised, it looks like a staring down contest between the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and the US has begun. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chiefs, Leon Panetta and General Ahmad Shuja Pasha have spoken on the phone and the ISI has asked that information be given to it about all CIA operatives in Pakistan. It seems that the Raymond Davis affair has given way to something bigger, more substantial, and more beneficial for the security agencies of Pakistan.

The intelligence agencies of Pakistan have a few ideas of their own that they may feel might just get sorted out by the debacle that is the Raymond Davis fiasco. It is no secret that the US has persistently pressurised Pakistan for some time to relax its visa-processing regime for its citizens. Reports in the media have asserted that this request was acceded to by the government without proper security clearance and that visas were issued en masse starting from July last year. The reports imply that the security and intelligence agencies were bypassed for this purpose. If for the sake of argument (although US complaints of delayed visas have not abated) the assertion is accepted, it implies that either the security and intelligence agencies failed to insist on proper clearance or the government was able to circumvent well laid down and long established procedures for the purpose. Both arguments seem incredible as they imply a breakdown in government procedures, an assertion for which there is no proof except the (seemingly motivated) reports in the less responsible sections of our media. So what is the truth?

Our intelligence and security agencies are known to be less than well pleased with the efforts of the civilian democratically elected government to forge ties between the US and Pakistan that rely more on the political government rather than the older Musharraf-era conduit of the intelligence and security agencies. For the latter, the villain of the piece is our Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, who has been accused of responsibility for ‘unleashing’ the Raymond Davis brigade inside Pakistan. Now while this, and his alleged responsibility for the critical sections of the Kerry-Lugar Act regarding civil-military relations may be enough to earn him the ire of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, it exaggerates the role of the Ambassador and depreciates the way the US’s system works. It is very difficult to believe that anything manages to escape the careful watch of our intelligence agencies. Even if the civilian government has expedited visa issuance for US citizens (although the evidence does not support this contention), there is hardly a chance that these visas are granted without some measure of scrutiny by the establishment. However, it may be that this scrutiny has not been up to par, partly because the US and the CIA’s covert operatives had better covers than our spooks could detect. If this is so, it is hugely embarrassing for our redoubtable agencies. The Raymond Davis affair may just have handed Pakistan’s security agencies a convenient leverage to roll back any suggestion of a ‘liberalised’ visa regime and wrest complete control of it from the civilian government.

Davis may have sent the relationship between the two countries spiralling to new lows but the fact remains that there is a bigger picture at hand. While the whole affair may have given our security agencies more leverage to demand details of CIA operatives working within Pakistan, it may also have given them a bargaining chip in the greater game. It is well known that differences exist between Pakistan and the US, and the intelligence agencies of both, on the war on terror and the fact that Pakistan has given safe havens to the Afghan Taliban, its proxies for the approaching endgame in Afghanistan. This has restricted the civilian government’s say and leg-room to manoeuvre.

The Raymond Davis saga may just provide the security agencies of Pakistan with enough sway to ensure that, after the looming US withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, Pakistan has its finger in the proverbial pie with its Afghan Taliban proxies sitting comfortably at the Afghan table.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

POLITICAL DIVORCE BETWEEN PML-N & PPP IN PUNJAB- a bad decision?

Addressing a press conference in Lahore after a meeting of party members over the fate of the Punjab coalition government, Nawaz Sharif announced a parting of the ways with the PPP and elaborated at length why PML-N decided to embrace dissident members of its splinter party PML-Q, which he had hitherto rebuffed and refused to shake hands with. He said the members who did not violate PML-N policy and had been ‘duped’ into joining the king’s party would be welcomed back into the parent party’s fold. Much as he tries to gloss over it, the fact remains that he is once again opening the doors to horse-trading and the politics of defection a la the decade of the 1990s.

The fate of the PML-Q Unification Bloc and, by implication PML-N, is in the hands of the Election Commission, which will decide whether or not the defection clause applies to this situation where a sizeable group has violated a party’s discipline. The PPP has announced its decision to sit on the opposition benches in Punjab, while not renouncing the politics of reconciliation. In fact, the joint team of PPP and PML-N reviewing the progress on the 10-point agenda termed it satisfactory and decided to continue cooperating on the issues on which consensus had been achieved. This is contrary to the impression Nawaz Sharif tried to give regarding the PPP’s failure to implement the agenda in the given timeframe of 45 days. This changing of gears by the PML-N is going to have short-term as well as long-term implications for the country.

It is not clear what are the calculations of the PML-N, because it will not be easy to unseat the federal government. If the mid-term elections do not happen anytime soon, it will add to the animosity between the two parties from hereon. For now, Punjab has already become a political battlefield. The change of Opposition leader after the PPP’s joining the opposition benches in Punjab will be the first test of the new relationship between the two parties that have now become rivals instead of partners.

It is reported that Chaudhry Zaheer of the PML-Q will resign from the Leader of the Opposition post to make way for a PPP member to assume this position, given its strength. The coming days will reveal whether this transition is smooth or not, and how the new relationship will unfold. However, the signs that a new political racket is going to start are unmistakable.

In the circumstances that Pakistan faces today, this is a regrettable development. It is going to have a direct impact on the political scene, where the two biggest parties that were working hand in hand to the detriment of extra-constitutional forces, will now be consuming their energies undermining each other. This will also affect other areas of national importance. Political wrangling will have an adverse impact on an already teetering economy and the war on terror. If the old tradition of criticism for the sake of criticism were revived, any reform undertaken by the government would be met with resistance by the opposition regardless of its merit. Already, the PPP has met failure in getting approval for the proposed wealth tax and Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) from parliament due to a storm created by the opposition parties, including the PML-N, and even some coalition allies.

Also, the highly unpopular war on terror initiated by General Musharraf was given legitimacy by the across-the-board support of all the political parties. It is debatable how the divergence between the PML-N and the PPP is going to impact this war. This indecent burial of the Charter of Democracy is not something unexpected from the PML-N, but may prove detrimental to an already fragile democracy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING

Money cannot solve everything. It looks as if the richest monarchy in the Arab world and the largest global oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, may be getting jittery at the history-changing events developing across the Middle East. The ouster of decades’ long autocratic rule in Tunisia and Egypt and the wave of protests sweeping across Bahrain, Yemen and Libya have prodded Saudi Arabia into action to placate an ever-increasing disillusioned public.

Returning home after three months spent abroad for medical treatment, King Abdullah announced an extravagant aid package — to the tune of $ 35 billion — aimed at benefiting lower and middle income groups and unemployed youth, and addressing housing problems and high-inflation rates besetting the Saudi economy. This is an attempt by the Saudi monarchy to throw money at the problem as though that is all that is required. The Saudi monarchy is watching closely the rising stem of revolts in the Arab world, deeming it necessary to address issues before the people take to the streets of Saudi Arabia. As most of the reforms in the package aim to address the woes of the youth, it is quite obvious that the Saudi rulers have taken note of the fact that it is the tech-savvy youth demographic that is most active and passionate in the Arab protests.

The Libyan uprising has been reduced to an isolated, hate-spewing dictator watching his iron-clad grip quickly loosening in the face of angry protests and Yemen is seeing nine ministers resign from public office. Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, the Arab public has finally decided that it has had enough of autocratic regimes, and no place epitomises a seemingly unshakeable monarchy like Saudi Arabia.

There have long been opponents of the Saudi regime but they have always been silenced by the kingdom’s repressive laws and policies. Many political opponents and underground groups have long demanded more gender equality, free elections to municipal councils, etc. However, for a theocracy like Saudi Arabia, introducing reforms that endanger the political-religious status quo will be out of the question. While this aid package is a premeditated move to curb any rising dissent within the kingdom, it must be asked: how far will doling out money go if it is not accompanied by freedom? Money can only go so far when the inhabitants of an oil-wealthy country are boiling over with frustration over the denial of their political, civil, human and gender rights.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

GADDAFI is too 'MUAMMAR' for state affairs, believe Libyans

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi vowed on Tuesday to die ‘a martyr’ in Libya on state television. He further added that he would call the people to cleanse Libya house-by-house unless protesters surrendered. It is important to note here that this is the first time Gaddafi announced his stance publicly since the revolt broke out. Recently, a lot of rumours were flying that Gaddafi had fled; perhaps he thought that it was important to give a public appearance in order to refute all such rumours.

Nevertheless, it is evident that Gaddafi’s regime is crumbling: at least seven Libyan ambassadors are no longer supporting him; his justice minister has resigned; the staff of Libya’s mission to the UN has declared allegiance to the people of Libya; two senior air force fighter pilots defected and flew their jets to Malta when asked to attack protesters. Even his soldiers have turned against him after the people came out on the streets demanding regime change after over four decades of his rule. Moreover, Gaddafi has virtually lost all his strength in the eastern coast and therefore resorted to the oldest trick in the dictator’s book — a brutal crackdown on protesters. On Monday, pro-regime militiamen shot on sight anyone found in the streets and opened fire from speeding vehicles at people watching from the windows of their homes. Almost 62 civilian casualties have been reported in Tripoli in the last two days.

The problem with Gaddafi, like most other dictators who have been in power for a long time, is that they never read the writing on the wall. The thought of giving up never crosses their mind. So much so that they do not even hesitate to massacre their people to prolong their rule. The UN Security Council held an emergency session, and western diplomats pushed it to demand an end to the retaliation against protesters. In addition, the French foreign minister, UN chief and UK foreign secretary strongly opposed the attacks on protesters. In the light of all this, it is becoming quite clear that Gaddafi will not be able to survive. Everyone is waiting for Gaddafi to realise this and spare himself and the people more trouble. The time has come!

Monday, February 21, 2011

TUM TO MUJHAY AZIZ HO 'NASWAAR' KI TARHA

Bahein galaay may daal kay kehta tha 'Raymond Khan'
'Tum to mujhay aziz ho Naswaar ki tarha"!

The United States government was unaware that Raymond Davis was hooked on ‘naswar,’ and in all probability he is now undergoing withdrawal symptoms, unless there is a friendly guard nearby to offer him some, or the jail doctors recommends weaning him away from what is a legal form of tobacco.

When the US Embassy was approached, they appeared unaware of Davis’s ‘desi’ addiction. Abrupt stopping of ‘naswar’ intake can be uncomfortable as junkies discover, if they are without their hourly ‘fix’. Withdrawal symptoms include headache and anxiety and anger.

According to a Bannu shopkeeper, the price of one packet of Bannu Naswar is Rs7. “One packet is enough for thirty pinches of ‘naswar.’

According to the challan by the city police in Lahore, a packet of ‘naswar’, was also recovered from Davis’s car, amongst other personal and lethal items that an undercover agent on active duty is expected to have with him at all times. US troops stationed inside Afghanistan are known to enjoy ‘naswar’ and have become hooked to it. Davis in all probability must have picked up the habit during his long stays in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It also reflects on the company he was keeping at the time. The problem of ‘naswar’ like chewing ‘pan’ is that one has to spit it out after a while.

Whether the Americans including Davis have found a socially correct way to deal with this aspect is unknown or did he spit it out of his car window?

According to Wikipedia, ‘naswar is held in the mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. If it is chewed it produces a bad taste in the mouth. Usually, the consumption varies but mostly people take it on an hourly basis.’ It is primarily used in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Sweden and India.

“Once I was sitting next to a Norwegian at a meeting in Europe and was surprised to see him enjoying ‘naswar’”, a Pakistani diplomat told The News. It is predominantly used by members of the Pashtun ethnic groups. Nowadays people of other regions i.e. Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan also use it and the number of addict people is increasing day by day.

Some of the great varieties of naswar are found in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, but Bannu is especially famous for it. There are different brands of ‘naswar’ in the provinces such as “Toor Khamar”, “Missile”, “Safarish Khan”, “Lucky” etc. Toor Khamar ‘naswar’ is prepared in Shahbaz Garhi, Pakhtoonkhwah, while Safarish Khan and Lucky are prepared in Havelian, Pakhtoonkhwah and Abbottabad, Hazara Division, Pakhtoonkhwah.

The News received telephone calls from the Fata area, and two calls from Waziristan when this correspondent had in an international Pushto programme, mentioned Davis’s love for ‘naswar’. “This is the only good thing we have heard about this American killer. We are glad that he has picked up this healthy habit from his Pushtun friends and acquaintances,” said a gentleman who identified himself as Wazir Khan.

Some of Khan’s friends had this to say, “So much attention is being given to three boys killed in Lahore by an American. What about the Pakhtuns who are being killed like flies by US drones? What will it take to get kind of worldwide attention?”
Courtesy Mariana Babar, The News

Sunday, February 20, 2011

LAHORE SHOOTINGS- UN ANSWERED QUESTIONS!

A court in Pakistan has delayed a hearing to decide whether an American who shot dead two men in Lahore last month has diplomatic immunity. The arrest of Raymond Davis has severely damaged relations between the countries. Much of the detail in the case remains unclear - the BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan looks at some of the unanswered questions.

Is Raymond Davis a diplomat?

If you are thinking of a suavely dressed man in a three-piece suit who holds meetings with local officials to further or broaden his country's agenda, you would be wrong. Mr Davis was definitely not employed for his diplomatic skills - he is more a "hands-on" person, working in what the US embassy says is its "administrative and technical affairs section". Reports from the US say he is a former special forces soldier who left the military in 2003 and is working for the US embassy in Pakistan. As such, the US insists he is covered by the Vienna Convention which guarantees immunity from prosecution for all diplomatic staff.
Could he be a spy?

Many Pakistanis believe he is - there seem few other credible explanations as to why he was going around Lahore with a Glock pistol in a car with local number plates without informing local authorities. It is a requirement for embassy staff - especially those from Western embassies - to inform local police of their movements, simply because they are prime targets for militants in Pakistan. Mr Davis's department in the US embassy is widely seen in Pakistan as a cover for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations. Mr Davis himself said he was a consultant employed by the US government. Researchers in the US say that since leaving the military, Mr Davis worked for a security firm called Hyperion LLC. But subsequent investigations by the US media have now shown that Hyperion exists only as a website. The offices that the company says it has in Orlando have been vacant for several years and the numbers on its website are unlisted. Mr Davis insists he was acting in self-defence.

Can Mr Davis be convicted for the murders?

Maybe. It all depends on how eager the Pakistani authorities are to punish him. The fact that he is possibly a spy does not mean he is not covered by diplomatic immunity. It is common practice for intelligence services across the world to send operatives under the cover of assignments to embassies. Both Pakistani and US "diplomats" have been caught in such situations - and every time have been asked to leave the host country immediately with no possibility of a return. That is the maximum punishment that has been levied in the overwhelming majority of cases in countries which have signed the Vienna Convention. However, in some countries there are exceptions for serious offences committed, such as murder. Pakistan is one of those countries. The matter is now in the hands of the judiciary. But it is important to remember that Mr Davis has been charged with murder - the maximum sentence here is the death penalty.

Should Mr Davis have been carrying a gun?

Legally speaking, only Pakistani citizens with licences issued by the interior ministry are allowed to carry arms. No foreigner is allowed to carry arms, except soldiers or guards within the premises of an embassy. Both Pakistani nationals and foreigners caught carrying arms can be charged under a Pakistani criminal law which stipulates a jail term of six months to two years in addition to a fine. Mr Davis has also been charged under this law. Matters were further inflamed by the suicide of the widow of one of the men killed by Mr Davis.

Was he acting in self-defence?

That was the initial plea made by Mr Davis and the US embassy. However, subsequent investigations by the police, forensic labs and the local and international media suggest that the two men were driving away from Mr Davis when they were shot. In February Lahore's police chief said that Mr Davis was guilty of "cold-blooded murder" - he said that no fingerprints had been uncovered on the triggers of the pistols found on the bodies of the two men. Furthermore he said that tests had shown that the bullets remained in the magazines of their guns, not the chambers, suggesting they weren't about to shoot him. On the face of it, this leaves Mr Davis's claim that they were robbers - with one even apparently cocking a gun at his head - looking very thin. In addition, police say ballistics evidence shows that the pair were shot in the back - which again suggests they were moving away from Mr Davis, rather than about to attack him.
Who were the Pakistanis that Mr Davis shot?

In his initial statement, Mr Davis said they were robbers who were trying to steal his valuables. He and the US embassy have maintained this story. However, the men have no criminal records as such. Both have been identified as residents of Lahore by the police. The pair were carrying licensed pistols - a fact which led many to believe they might indeed have been robbers. However, security sources in Lahore say that they were part-time or low-level operatives for the local intelligence services. Although reports are sketchy about what they were doing in relation to Mr Davis, security officials believe it could be the case of a surveillance operation gone horribly wrong. Pakistani intelligence services routinely tail and monitor all embassy staff, Western or otherwise. A third man on his motorbike was killed in the incident by a mystery US car

What about the second car and its victim?

A side event to the main drama concerning Mr Davis was the fact a third man was also killed during the incident. He was an innocent bystander run over by a US embassy vehicle, which was initially said to have arrived to rescue Mr Davis. The fact that an embassy vehicle was able to get to the spot so quickly was a source of astonishment to anyone who is even vaguely aware of the geography of Lahore. Given the incident was over within minutes, it seems incredible that anyone could negotiate the 12km (7.4-mile) 40-minute drive in peak traffic in less than five minutes. But subsequent investigations have now shown that the second car - a Toyota Landcruiser - was with Mr Davis at the time of the incident. In fact, according to eyewitnesses, Mr Davis was leading and clearing the way for the Toyota when the incident took place. In the light of what happened afterwards, it seems Mr Davis was in "protective mode" and opened fire to "secure" whoever or whatever was in the Toyota - the interior of this vehicle was not visible as its windows were tinted. It is evident in local TV footage that the second vehicle is going away from Mr Davis at the time of the incident. As it disappears into the dust, Mr Davis calmly pulls over and gives himself up. Pakistani authorities have asked for the Landcruiser and its driver to be handed over - a request with which the US has yet to comply.
What about behind-the-scenes negotiations?

As well as public pressure, US officials have also privately warned Pakistan's government of far-reaching and severe consequences if Mr Davis is convicted. Unnamed US officials have also used the media to issue veiled warnings to Pakistan that diplomatic ties could be cut and all aid stopped. Despite Islamabad's public stance on Mr Davis, Pakistani officials are said to have privately assured Washington that he will eventually be released. However, public pressure means that at the moment this could lead to a massive anti-government backlash. Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has hinted that blood money could be paid to the families of the two men Mr Davis admits shooting, which could enable his release. There is speculation that US officials may try to establish contacts with the families in this regard. However, it is not clear that Mr Davis has been charged under laws which would allow blood money to be paid.

LONG LIVE PAK-US RELATIONS!

HIT-&-RUN KILLER REACHES BACK USA

An American driver and another person whose vehicle crushed a Pakistani motorcyclist to death in Lahore as they were rushing to the aid of Raymond Davis, who had committed double murder, have slipped out Pakistan and are back on American soil, a senior US official told an American television network.

The American sought for arrest after a court order, who the State Department only identified as a member of the US embassy’s staff in Islamabad, Pakistan, was behind the wheel when he struck and killed a bystander while speeding to the area where shooting took place. The driver of the vehicle held the same “diplomatic visa” as Davis, US officials told ABC News. Since his arrest, the US argued that Davis should be afforded diplomatic immunity as a member of the embassy’s “technical and administrative staff” and released.

Authorities in Punjab said they sent five letters to the US Embassy asking that the driver and vehicle be handed over, but have reportedly received no response. It is unclear when the driver and his passenger were spirited out of Pakistan, but a senior US official said it happened soon after the shooting incident, the report said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley declined comments when asked whether the Americans sought by Pakistani authorities were still in Pakistan. “I’m not going to comment,” was all he said.

Friday, February 18, 2011

TIME TO MOVE FORWARD

Courtesy Daily Times Feb 18, 2k11 The Raymond Davis affair has, unfortunately, blown up into a full political crisis. Instead of remaining a legal matter concerning only the Foreign Office and relevant government authorities, it has entered the domain of public discourse and cheap political manhandling. Much has been said and commented about the American who still cuts a shadowy figure. However, it is being pressed upon the Pakistani government that murderer or not, Raymond Davis holds a diplomatic passport and, as signatories of the Vienna Convention of 1961, it is implicit upon us to acknowledge that he enjoys diplomatic immunity as stated in international law. Senator John Kerry, on his recent one-day visit to Pakistan emphasised as much: international law supersedes the dictates of our local courts. The senator came to Pakistan in what can best be described as a damage control exercise. He spoke lucidly, candidly and politely but he did not refrain from conveying the underlying message: that Pakistan and the US must act responsibly to resolve this unfortunate incident. That, in the end, is what the entire debacle boils down to. We must set our emotionalism and raging sentiments aside and converge at a point where national interest is not put at stake. Ever since Raymond Davis shot two men in Lahore last month, the governments of both Pakistan and the US have mishandled the case in varying proportions. The Pakistani government, without considering the huge risks associated with the case, did not take into account the fact that Davis could very well be a diplomat (which the Foreign Office has also confirmed) before putting him in the lockup and proclaiming to the media that the courts would handle the issue. The US, on the other hand, asserted itself too aggressively when it insisted initially that Davis enjoyed full diplomatic cover before producing proof for their argument. Even now, if the brothers of Davis’s victims are to be believed, the US offered them ‘blood money’ — dollars and green cards — to drop the case. This is no solution and the US itself needs to act responsibly and cautiously. For all its premature huffing and puffing, the government in Pakistan now finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Its awkward position is such that if Davis is not released, vital assistance and ‘friendship’ with the sole superpower will be put at stake and if he is released, the public backlash in Pakistan could shoot through the roof. It is not a walk in the park for the US either as it cannot afford to simply drop Pakistan from its list of allies like a hot potato. The gains made in the war on terror and the threats to NATO supply routes that run through Pakistan are all huge costs if ties are broken. That is why Senator John Kerry’s soft-spoken entrance to soothe the potential fallout came as a welcome break from the high-pitched emotionalism that has rocked this case to and fro. It must be mentioned that the senator did offer a consolation prize. If the Foreign Office, and officials of both governments cooperate and engage in a rational way and hand over ‘the diplomat’, Raymond Davis, to his country, Kerry assured us that complete criminal investigations would be carried out on US soil. This is considerably far more than what we have been offered by the US so far and, if better sense prevails, we ought to move forward to bring this whole sorry affair to a close. As far as any public reaction to responsible action is concerned, the right-wing only needs an issue to exploit and the Americans have given them some juicy ammunition. Now that the blasphemy issue has died down, Raymond Davis is the perfect pawn for street agitation. The Pakistani government is no stranger to right-wing agitation and, if handled cautiously, this issue too will eventually die down.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

RAYMOND DAVIS, HIS TRICKS & SECTION 302

By Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Islamabad

Many opine that Pakistan will not have to face any kind of negative consequences in case it refuses to release Raymond Allen Davis- a killer of two ‘innocent’ Pakistanis, despite growing US pressure. They are of their views adding that even isolation of Pakistan in the comity of nations would be a blessing in disguise and the Islamic Republic would emerge as a stronger country. If tiny countries like Cuba and North Korea could withstand pressures, there was no reason why Pakistan could not do so!


The challan submitted by the city police against US national Raymond Allen Davis in a court reveals that the accused tried to cheat the police by concealing the facts.

The challan reads that “Davis continuously told lies to the investigation team and completely refused to help them reach the facts, saying that the American consulate had directed him not to reply to any query of the police”.

The text of the incomplete challan submitted in the court is being produced here:

“The case was handed over to Lytton Road Police Station In-charge Investigation Inspector Muneer Ahmad. During the investigation, the inspector took the dead bodies of the two (victims of Davis) – Faizan Haider and Faheem Shamshad – from the emergency ward of the Services Hospital and in the guard of policemen sent them to the mortuary. Lytton Road Police Station SHO, Atif Meraj Khan, took the belongings of the dead and other material in his custody and got them registered in fardats (the relevant papers) and handed over to the investigation officer. The detail of the things is as follows: one belt, one pistol pouch, one handbag, two wallets, five mobile phones (Nokia 18910, Samsung, A1303, Sony Ericsson T 700, Nokia 1616, 6300), Pakistani and foreign currency (Yen 58,915, Omani Baisa 1100, Piso 10), two national identity cards bearing Faizan Haider and Zohra Shahzad’s names and different pieces of papers. Later, the IO visited the crime spot and took in possession the following things: the deceased persons’ Honda motorcycle bearing number LOV 4030, the blood of the two deceased on cotton buds, two pistols of 30 bore belonging to the deceased, pieces of shattered windowpanes of the accused’s vehicle, two empties, a 9mm pistol.

They were sealed and registered in relevant documents. The IO drew a rough sketch of the crime scene and recorded the statements of eyewitnesses. The witnesses said that the accused first shot at the deceased from inside his car and then came out of the car and fired two shots at Faizan Haider from the back. He took pictures of the dead Faheem and then called someone through his wireless to rescue him. The witnesses, traffic wardens Muhammad Hussain and Waqas Khaliq, told the IO that when the accused (whose name, according to his passport, is Raymond Allen Davis) ran from the crime scene in his car (Honda VTI) bearing number LEC-10/5545, they chased him and managed to overpower him at Old Anarkali Chowk and with the help of local police handed him over to Old Anarkali circle DSP, Raza Safdar Kazmi. The police also took in possession the following things from the custody of the accused: 9 mm Glock pistol, five magazines, 78 live bullets of 9mm, a passport, a long-range wireless set, global positioning system (GPS) with charger. From the car of the accused, the police took in possession the vehicle’s registration book, four empties of 9mm, two mobile phones, a telescope, an infrared light, a digital camera, a cutter, head torch, small torch, survival kit, memory card, 19 cards of different nature, a packet of niswar, Rs 5,805 and $126 in cash, ATM card, a PIA ticket, receipts of money changer and Bank Al-Falah, chit of the embassy, blank cheque of Federal Saving Bank, USA, etc.

All things were recorded while the two traffic wardens signed the papers as witnesses. The IO collected all these things from the custody of the Old Anarkali circle DSP and now this all material is being sent to the federal government through the Ministry of Interior for action and research. The DSP handed over a hand-written statement of the accused, written in the presence of the DSP, to the investigation officer. This statement reads that when the accused “halted his car at the traffic signal of Qartaba Chowk, one of the two motorcyclists pulled his pistol at him. He took out his pistol and fired at them in self-defence. The driver of the motorcycle ran away and the second fell on the motorcycle. He came out of the car and took three pictures of the boy and informed his embassy for his rescue”. He also said that when people gathered he managed to escape with his car.

The investigation officer inquired from the accused and he verified his statement word to word. The accused was officially taken into custody in this case and was shifted to a safe place for his security. A Land Cruiser which came to rescue Davis violated the one-way and ran over a citizen Ibadur Rehman. The Land Cruiser, which had a fake number plate, LZN-6970, while moving recklessly went to the US consulate. Different things fell off the Land Cruiser, and were found near the Faletti’s Hotel and Shimla Hill. These included: four magazines, 100 bullets, four battery cells, a scissor, a pair of gloves, compass with knife, battery, black coloured mask, a piece of cloth having American flag, special battery, small stick with pouch, a piece of iron, cloth bandage, a cloth magazine bag.

The FIR number 48/11 was registered on January 27 in the Lytton Road Police Station under Sections 302/34/427. On January 29, the dead bodies of the deceased - Faizan Haider and Faheem Shamshad - were handed over to their families after autopsy for burial. The accused, Raymond Davis, was produced in the court of Muhammad Zafar Iqbal Sial, judicial magistrate, with the written permission of district and sessions judge, Lahore. Davis was remanded for six days. The special investigation team formed to look into the case interrogated the accused and he could not produce licence of the pistol and another case, 49/11 of carrying illegal weapon was registered against him. The map of the crime scene was made. The postmortem reports of the deceased were received and according to that report the deceased Faizan Haider received five arm injuries. Two injuries were on the backside left buttock near the spinal cord and three in the front - right side of the chest, two on the left thigh. The deceased Faheem also got five arm injuries – two injuries on the back side in lumber area. One bullet entered the left elbow and crossed in front, second entered in the head from the upper side of the ear and third entered from the left side of the belly and came out from the right and another bullet hit the left thigh. The parcels of the material related to the case have been submitted to a chemical examiner and the Forensic Science Laboratory.

The car used by the accused is the property of one Sohail Nisar, a resident of Gulberg, who has given it to a company ‘Capital Car Rental’ and the company has given it on rent to American consulate on annual basis. The car has also been sent for forensic examination. On 11 February, on the conclusion of physical remand, the accused is being sent to jail on judicial remand.

During investigations it has come to light that the stance of the accused that he fired in self-defence is not correct on the following grounds: The postmortem report says that (1) Faizan and Faheem received three injuries each from the back side. (2) witnesses say that the accused fired at Faizan Haider at a time when he left the motorcycle and ran to save his life (3) the accused himself admitted that he fired at Faizan from the back when he was running (4) two empties recovered from the crime scene prove that the accused fired at the deceased after coming out of the car (5) the accused claims that one of the deceased cocked his pistol and pointed at him while the investigations reveal the chamber of the deceased’s pistol were empty and the bullets were in the magazine. And no one saw them aiming at the accused. (6) if the accused had to fire in self-defence he could fire at the lower part or legs of the deceased as he was an expert at using arms.

The accused has said in his written statement that he was coming from the embassy while the GPS record says that he was coming from his private residence at Scotch Corner, Upper Mall. The accused has concealed the fact. He refused to reply to any question during investigations, saying the American consulate had forbidden him to answer any question.

The blood samples are examined and proved that it is human blood. A forensic expert has confirmed that the empties had been fired from the same pistol recovered from the possession of the accused. The statements of the witnesses, recovery of weapon, and other evidences prove that the accused Raymond Allen Davis is guilty of committing a crime under section 302 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and an incomplete challan is being submitted against him. It is requested that the case be heard”.

Monday, February 14, 2011

TO MY VALENTINE ON V-DAY

TO MY VALENTINE ON V-DAY
(I know she wont read it & if she does, she isn’t my Valentine)

BY MAHTAB BASHIR
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
ISLAMABAD

I see you in silver clouds
And when raindrops hit my window
I feel you in the gentle breeze
And when raindrops pour in the willow
I see you in the crimson twilight
And when soft moonlight brightens my night
I hear you in the rushing streams
And green valleys where beauty reigns
I see you when the dawn prevails
When the Sun comes up and darkness vanishes!

I know that the going has been tougher on you lately, but patience will bear you the sweetest of fruits. It is the sole soother in those dark and lonely nights when your life feels like a hallucination. When all the misdeeds of past and the guilts flow down from that once-praised mind to that cherished body. You feel like banging your head but patience and the belief in God keeps you alive and going.

Self-belief is what gets hurt the most but believe me no matter what happens, you are still the best and yes you can still rise again. So lift your face, feel the Sun, and take a deep breath. It will make you feel better. Yes, I know how it feels when none is ready to look at you, nobody believes in you, and when the best of moves backfire and nothing seems to be going your way. In those hard times- my friend, close your eyes and feel that I am there next to you, giving my shoulder to cry on.

But, look out! These painful times should not distract you from the path of honesty, goodness and truthfulness. Because these are the things that will keep you going on and lend you the strength to put up with these stiff time. They will serve as the light in your soul which will guide you and ensure that you make it in the end. Don’t feel ashamed in letting that overwhelming sea of tears drops out of your eyes. It will only enlightened your burden, your soul.

Hiding emotions and pain will only worsen it, but on the other hand, don’t let this turn into self-pity, for it will demoralise you further. Think that people who deserted you at this moment weren’t worth being with. But most importantly, I am with you- always near your heart!


Just like every dark night brings a beautiful and bright dawn, your life will soon meet the beautiful dawn. Trust in God and remember you are not alone and everything will be yours!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

RAHAT FATEH ALI KHAN DETAINED AT IGI AIRPORT

Main Jahaan Rahoon/
Main Kahin Bhi Hoon/
Teri Yaad Saath Hay ...
Kehny ko saath apnay ik duniya chalti hay
Per chhupkay iss dil may ‘Foreign Currency’ palti hay …..
Bus .......

New Delhi, Feb 13: Noted Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was detained at the Indra Gandhi International (IGI) airport here this evening by revenue intelligence sleuths for allegedly carrying a huge amount of undeclared foreign currency.

Khan, who is a hit Bollywood playback singer, arrived here on a flight from Karachi and was intercepted by personnel from Directorate of Revenue Intelligence acting on some prior information, official sources said.

They said the singer was carrying a huge amount of foreign currency (reportedly 100,000 US $) which he did not declare to the immigration authorities. Two other persons accompanying him have also been detained, the sources said.

Khan is being questioned and the amount of the money is being ascertained, they said. The 37-year-old, nephew of Pakistani singing legend Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, was earlier too involved in a controversy when organisers of a concert in Gurgaon filed a police complaint against him in July last year for his failure to turn up for a show.

Khan has several hit numbers to his credit and had won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer this year for 'Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji' from the movie 'Ishqiya'.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'GOOD FRIDAY' FOR 'EGYPT' or 'MUBARAK'!

BY MAHTAB BASHIR
ISLAMABAD
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally resigned on Friday after delegating the responsibility of running the country to the Egyptian Armed Forces. Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on the media. Mubarak’s decision comes a day after Mubarak’s speech for which people all over the world waited with bated breath on Thursday night. Rumours were rife before his televised address that Mubarak was going to step down. Before Mubarak’s address, US President Obama said, “We are following today’s events in Egypt very closely, and we will have more to say as this plays out. What is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold. It is a moment of transformation.” Apparently, CIA chief Leon Panetta had said there was “a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening”.

Unfortunately, Hosni Mubarak surprised not just Obama and Panetta but the whole world when he refused to step down till a political transition takes place in September. It was ironic to see Mubarak telling the Egyptians that “the blood of your martyrs and injured will not go in vain. I assure you that I will not relent in harshly punishing those responsible” when he himself is solely responsible for the deaths of innocent Egyptians. Mubarak further said, “We will prove that we are no one’s servants, that we do not take instructions from anyone, and that only the demands of the citizens and the pulse of the street take our decisions.” It was astounding to see the stubbornness of a dictator who had not been able to read the writing on the wall: the people of Egypt wanted him to leave. But then again, all dictators are not just delusional, they cling to power for as long as possible.

The mood in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after Mubarak’s Thursday speech was full of despair and anger. On top of that, Vice President Omar Suleiman addressed the nation and told the protestors to “go home” and “unite and look to the future”. Suleiman’s words were akin to adding insult to injury. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets all over Egypt yesterday, a day dubbed as ‘Farewell Friday’ — which proved to be just that. In the face of all the anger, Hosni Mubarak decided to flee the hotbed of Cairo and landed in the salubrious surroundings of Sharm el-Sheikh while Suleiman broke the news of Mubarak’s resignation. The Egyptian military announced on Friday that the 30-year-old state of emergency would be lifted “as soon as current circumstances end” and asked the protestors to go home and resume normal life. The military also confirmed “the need to resume orderly work in the government installations and a return to normal life, preserve the interests and property of our great people”.

Egypt’s military is one of the strongest in the Arab world. Hosni Mubarak was able to crush the voice of the Egyptian people with the help of his military and secret police. At the beginning, the military was relatively impartial between the regime and the protestors and did not take any action against the latter. It seems that the armed forces wanted to give Mubarak a safe exit. It now remains to be seen whether they will bring in a new interim leader to oversee the transition. Such a leader, to be efficacious, would have to be acceptable to all. However, if the military decides to hold on to power itself, more chaos may ensue. In such a scenario, a little spark can ignite a huge fire and if the unrest in Egypt continues, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy of descent into chaos and bloodshed.

LOVEBIRDS ALL SET TO FLUTTER THEIR WINGS

By Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Islamabad

Valentines Day is just around the corner and so is the Spring. It is that time of the year in which love is in the air. Couples around the Federal Capital shall be celebrating Valentines Day in their own special way on 14th of February. However, there are a few places in and around the city that are worth checking out. Daily Times highlights places that have been popular over the years, some that are new additions to the city scene, and few that are yet to be explored.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C02%5C11%5Cstory_11-2-2011_pg11_9

Though country is gripped with the uncanny hands of extremists and radical forces looming threats to such activities yet love needs no restrictions- as per lovers.

It is not quite surprised with the preparations, sales and the crowds that were all geared towards this event. The whole of Islamabad's Super Market (F-6), Jinnah Super Market (F-7) and F-10 Markaz seem to be celebrating it in full swing. The Illusions gift and CD/DVD store shown above had changed the whole theme of the store to that of red hearts. The store's lighting was a shade of pink and giant hearts dotted the floor outside. Most restaurants and bookstores had also made similar adjustments to their look and feel.

The rear side of Rawal Dam situated at Murree Road lead to Rawal Lake, and Lotus Lake at the foothills of Shakarparian- both lead the way through a vista of falling leaves of tree are those unknown spots for most couples in the city. It can be amazingly romantic during afternoons again and just sitting under a tree beside the lake can be quite an experience. The best part about these places are that people don't bug you much, although there may be a few looks from curious onlookers, so cool it down a bit. Looking towards Murree Hills is also a great spot to go for a drive, it's one of the best places to celebrate the occasion but not usually in solitude.

Recently developed by CDA, Lake View Park is all set to become a very popular hang-out during Valentines day. The place brings a new experience to all Islamabad dwellers and couples from around the city visit it everyday. Rawal Lake was always a popular place for couples, and the Park brings a new touch to the lake. The idea of drifting down the water in a paddle-boat seems distinctly romantic for couples. The best time to visit the place is when the spot is under the twilight Zone.

The restaurants, café, hotels and guest rooms may be a stereotyped dating places, all around the cities but we still say few of restaurants at Margalla Road are worth visiting on Valentines day. The atmosphere definitely suits the love-is-in-the-air occasion and offers a nice place to talk to your loved one. We are almost certain that the place shall be flooded with couples on the 14th, but we also think that if you have issues that need to be sorted out, these are spots to be.

Tonga Ride at Saidpur Village can also be a nice way to spend some time together. Although one may have to face a bit of fright from being spotted by elders, Tonga ride is always pleasant and so is the atmosphere at Saidpur Village, that has emerged as an hot picnic spot over the few years. Visiting the village means spending time at modern and village at a time that may be quite pleasant, however try to abstain from crowded spots.

Islamabad’s new found high skyline, has created new places for couples to date. Many love-birds date on the roof of restaurants, and cafes located in Blue area and almost every downtown plazas of the city. Sometimes this gets quite risky. However, risks are always enjoyable!

Different outlets of Ice Cream parlours in various sectors are also nice places to date at times. We also presume that these branches shall be filled with people. We also think that it is not the best season for ice cream, but do try out the coffee.

Love stuck valentines visit the College and University campuses as well. There is nothing much to do in the campus but to sit around, exchange of romantic words and gifts, a quick refreshment at campus cafeteria can also be enjoyable experience.

Fatima Jinnah Park (F-9) has its fair share of mushy valentine's couples every year. This park is said to be the most popular place amongst lovers from all parts of the city. The eating outlets and the greenery must have something to do with all of this. Couples from different walks of life sit and chat here in each other's arms with no idea of the time.


Taking a drive out of the city on Valentines Day is definitely a great way to spend the occasion. Amongst all the places to go, Bhurban and Nathia Gali seem to be the best options. Bhurban can be quite romantic during the afternoon and the drive there can be a great way to spend some time together with a loved one.

Besides these, Shakarparian Hills, Damn-e-Koh/ Pir Sohawa, Pakistan Monuments, Margalla Hills Tracks, Visit of Zoo, Lok Virsa, Saidpur Village, Shahdara point, Chattar Park, and even Faisal Mosque is one of the favourite spots for lovebirds to celebrate the V-day.


Although there may be many other ways in which the love-struck community celebrates Valentine’s Day, Daily Times hopes that these places may suit your wants. However, wherever you may spend your time, remember that it's the ‘spirit of the occasion’ that is the most important.

Friday, February 11, 2011

UNCERTAINTY REIGNS IN CAIRO, AS MUBARAK REFUSES TO QUIT

By Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to remain in office has drawn widespread criticism although he has been bolstered by the backing of the country’s army. Anti-government protesters demonstrate prior to the televised speech of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in which they believed he would step down, at the continuing anti-government demonstration in Cairo, Egypt. Mubarak refused to step down or leave the country and instead handed his powers to his vice president, remaining president and ensuring regime control over the reform process, which stunned protesters demanding his ouster, who waved their shoes in contempt and shouted, "Leave, leave, leave."

Mubarak was widely expected to stand down last night, bringing an end to his 30-year rule.

However in a televised statement he said he would pass some of his powers to his vice president, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who would oversee a transition ahead of elections in the autumn. The precise details of this remain unclear.

Protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square who were watching the statement reacted angrily to Mubarak’s comments, raising their shoes as a sign of disrespect towards their president, reports the BBC.

President Obama issued a strongly worded statement in response saying it was “imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality”.

This morning, the Egyptian army’s Supreme Military Council appeared to indicate that they would not take issue with the transition timeline being proposed by President Mubarak but said they would guarantee free and fair elections when they do take place.

The army also said they would repeal the country’s 30-year-old emergency rule when the “current situation has ended”.

But they called for a return to normal life despite thousands of protesters returning to Cairo’s symbolic Tahrir Square.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LET THE COURTS DECIDE, NOT GOVERNMENT!

By Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
mahtabbashir@gmail.com

Mr Davis belonged to a country where the Second Amendment to the constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms. Assuming Davis is a diplomat, his behaviour displays scant regard for Pakistan and its regulations, coupled with the violent gun culture of the US. Excluding self-defence or temporary insanity for the moment, if we consider the question whether Davis would have adopted the same course of action if he were stationed in France, it is reasonable to guess that it is highly unlikely that he would. If robbed in Paris, he would probably not reach for his gun, but rather would have had a criminal complaint registered. However, in a country where vigilantism is encouraged tacitly, rather glorified overtly, Mr Davis decided to shoot two people who had apparently attempted to mug him. He was certainly also aware of the constant grossly generalised venom indiscriminately directed against the Americans as a people. This does not in any way justify the conduct of Davis, and the law should take its course, holding him accountable.

The government is in a classic catch-22 situation. In Raymond Davis’ case it has very difficult options. The employee of the US consulate in Lahore had shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore, ostensibly in self-defence, an incident whose motives and details remain murky. The status of Raymond Davis is also far from clear. The US is seeking diplomatic immunity for him, but things have been complicated for the government — which may have been inclined to grant immunity to save its relations with the US — by the reaction of the right wing forces and now the suicide of the widow of one of the murdered Pakistanis.

After weeks of rallies by religious outfits in support of the blasphemy laws, which are now gradually losing wind in the face of a firm denial by the government that any such move is afoot, releasing Raymond Davis may add fresh fuel to their reactionary agenda. They may view it as a golden opportunity to whip up anti-American sentiment among the public and pit them against the government. Currently, Davis is in the Punjab government’s custody and a court is hearing this case.

This has not gone down well with the US, which has heightened efforts to get him released. US Ambassador Cameron Munter has met President Asif Ali Zardari and sought his release. To send a firm signal to Pakistan that it means business, the US has postponed all bilateral diplomatic contact till this happens. Already the implications of this impasse have started making themselves felt. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi postponed his visit to Munich, Germany, where he was scheduled to attend a security conference, because Pakistan has been informed that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton might not be able to meet him there because of this dispute. President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to the US next month too has been jeopardised because of this issue. If Pakistan fails to comply with the US’s wishes, its position will be compromised in the trilateral negotiations involving the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition, painstaking diplomatic efforts by the US to reach out to the people of Pakistan and the ensuing strategic dialogue initiated last year are at risk. Moreover, various aid packages from the US, on which Pakistan is heavily dependent, are also in jeopardy.

The shooting in Lahore by an allegedly American diplomat Raymond Davis has been the subject of much controversy. The primary focus has rightly been on the legal position governing an incident like this. The diplomatic status of the shooter has not been clarified yet. The extension of the Vienna Convention’s immunity is being debated, although for any concrete determination, the facts surrounding the incident including diplomatic status, self-defence and the criminal antecedents of the shooter and the victims are imperative. There, however, remains a broader question relating to the incident: what would prompt a foreign diplomat to resort to such means (excluding self-defence) in a country with an evidently hostile population?

A study conducted by The National Bureau of Economic Research in 2006 through a Berkeley and Columbia professor, focused on exploring the relationship between illegal car parking by foreign diplomats in the New York City and corruption in their home countries. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, which allowed for the examination of the role of cultural norms of the home country. In essence this means that consular personnel and their families benefit from diplomatic immunity, a privilege that allows them to avoid paying parking fines. The study generated a revealed preference measure of corruption based on real world behaviour of government officials, all acting in the same setting. According to the study, the act of parking illegally fits remarkably well with a standard definition of corruption by Transparency International, i.e. “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”, suggesting that the comparison of parking violations by diplomats from different societies serves as a credible measure of the extent of cultural norms of corruption. The results found persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on the existing survey-based indices) had significantly more parking violations. Incidentally, relevant to current events, Egypt has been the worst offender, racking up 17,633 tickets due to illegal parking by its diplomats in New York between 1997 and 2009 for a total of $ 1.9 million.

The cultural norms of a country affect the behaviour of its foreign diplomats. Equally significantly, the study revealed that officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favourable popular views of the US committed significantly more parking violations than those having more favourable views. This illustrates the role that sentiment, affinity and perception play in economic decision-making and diplomatic behaviour. The seminal point relevant to the Raymond Davis incident is that the perception of the country and its laws where a diplomat is stationed influences his behaviour and inclination to respect and comply with the domestic regulations of that country. A particularly interesting finding of the study mentioned above is that countries with larger proportions of Muslim population experienced particularly pronounced declines in parking violations in the months following the September 11 attacks in New York City.

The response to the incident manifests the typical knee-jerk reactions permeating our public discourse. The Foreign Office should clarify his diplomatic status and his permission to carry firearms. Mr Davis, if he legally can be, should be investigated for the deaths of three Pakistani citizens. It should not, however, be posited as a crusade against the US. The unfortunate incident in Lahore should be viewed as an opportunity to emphasise our ability as a state and a nation to comprehend, enforce and comply with the laws, both domestic and international, rather than brandishing our imaginary, fragile national ego.

It is not that Washington’s own interests would not be hurt by this impasse in relations. Pakistan is critical to the US’s involvement in Afghanistan. The likelihood is that Pakistan will take help from the court. The government will try to defuse the situation by creating a fait accompli. The Foreign Office may declare Raymond Davis a diplomat by presenting relevant documents in the court. If Raymond Davis is spirited away in this manner, this will ruffle quite a few feathers among the religious and other rightwing parties, which are keen to pounce upon any opportunity to create instability. However, so much is at stake for both Pakistan and the US that there is greater probability that they will retreat from the brink. In real life when David met Goliath, he won, but a client state like Pakistan does not have the option of standing up to the Goliath that the US is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

IT'S OFFICIAL: NO 10 IS FULL OF NITS

DAVID Cameron has admitted there are nits in No 10 - after two of his kids came home from school with head lice.

The PM warned journalists visiting Downing Street that if their scalps started itching it was down to his daughter Nancy, seven, and son Arthur, four.

The youngsters have been treated with medication and are using an extra fine comb to get rid of the blood-sucking lice.

Asked about the nits, Mr Cameron told the reporters: "If you find them when you get home I apologise. Let me know and I'll send you a comb and some ointment."

The news comes a week after pest control experts were called to Downing Street to get rid of rats. A rodent had been spotted outside No 10 on TV news.

But nits are not associated with dirty heads - they live in any hair where they can feed on the scalp. They are normally caught by children when they attend primary school.

The PM's spokesman was asked if the Cameron children's head lice problem had spread to other members of the family - David, wife Samantha or baby Florence, six months.

He said: "It's contained at the present time."

THE SUN

MR PRESIDENT- CONGRATS! NOW ADMIT LIKE A MAN

February 6th, 2011
Shazia Nawaz interviews Tanveer Zamani to find the truth about her marriage to President of Pakistan- that has become talk of the town in Pakistan & abraod!

I have to be crazy to be up at 1 am and writing all this when I have to be at work early in the morning. And let’s face it, patients like to see their doctors fresh and rested, so I should finish this quickly. It’s too late and I’m too tired, so my advance apologies for all the typing and grammar errors I am going to make here.

The topic is too interesting and excitement is too much. I can not sleep on it. Guess who I spoke with? Yes, Dr. Tanveer Zamani. Or should I call her Dr. Tanveer Zamani Zardari?

When I read Farah Naz Isphahani’s statement denying Zamani’s marriage to Zardari, I was shocked. No, not because she denied it, but because of the way she denied it. Isphahani was angered by this marriage. She called Zardari a widower and sort of expressed that she likes that status of his. Mr. Husain Haqqani, one of my favorite intellectuals of the country, too was angered by the marriage.
Why?

It is political jealousy. Couple holds political jealousy towards Zamani. How would I know? I just spoke with the lady and she thinks so.

Zamani picks up the phone if you call her toll free number given on her Facebook page. I introduced myself and to my surprise, she knew me well. She has been watching my YouTube show and has been reading me on all the APPNA lists and blogs for a while now. I have to admit, I was flattered.

Would not you be?
I found her beautiful and graceful in all her videos on YouTube. She has studied too much but yet has been able to maintain her beauty. Spotless skin and slim figure. Stress did no harm.

Zamani agreed to interview for my blog. She trusted me since we have a lot in common and we had chemistry. We have same profession, good looks, and we both seek publicity.

Not a cheap one though she said. And I agreed. Neither of us would do it. I, and she said that she, would not make up a rumor like this just to promote herself.

She did not make a rumor. She indeed is married to our president.
No, she did not say it like that. But she said it in so many words.
ME: So, are you married to Zardari?
Her: I would not comment on that.
That was not an acceptable answer. Cutting it short for you readers, she does not deny it but actually accepts it in so many words.

It was 13th of january when Zardari landed at JFK and only Haqqani was there this time to receive him, along with three bodyguards. Although Haqqani flew with Zardari alone from JFK to Washington, DC, but Zardari was not willing to share the matters of heart with Haqqani. No good man would share matters of his heart with any other man.

They met Obama the next day. And guess what Zardari asked for? Security for Tanveer Zamani.
That information almost gave me tears in my eyes. The man cares about her. Guess who was there listening to this request?

Our very smart ambassador who they say later leaked the info out.
“ It has to be him. since he was the only third person there,” Zamani says.
Haqqani dropped Zardari off at JFK to go back to Pakistan. He does not know where Zardari went.

He went to Dubai to marry Zamani. “There were more animals in the wedding than humans,” Zamani joked. But she made that joke based on the article on the net that mentions number of animals sacrificed that day. If I was upset at Farah Naz Isphahani’s anger at this marriage, Zamani has to be too.

Why in the world party insists on keeping the man single?
Why has he been told to deny the rumor? Why are they pressurizing him so much? Why is Haqqani constantly calling Zamani on the phone and telling her not to talk to people and deny the rumor?
Neither myself nor Zamani liked it. Does Haqqani himself not enjoy the marital bliss with a wonderful and cute woman? Would it be better for Zardari to stray instead of marrying one woman to fulfill his needs?

A blogger has been writing for months about their affair, Zamani said. Blogger has written it all. How they met and how it all started. How he was a playboy and changed and how he started smiling instead of laughing aloud. Then why does Haqqani have to come out and say that Zardari has never even met Zamani?

It would break my heart to think that Haqqani lied. I truly like him. I liked/like Salman Taseer a lot more. But then Haqqani is all we have left now when it comes to intellectuals. He is no match for Salman Taseer though, God bless ST’s soul.

So, does Haqqani know that Zamani and Zardari have met? A brilliant mind as he is, he has to know after watching Zardari asking for extra security for Zamani.
Zamani said that she would not confirm the news. Plan was to keep it a secret for 2 years. Why so?

ME: I do not understand how in the world bright and mature children of a widower would be upset if their father re-married

HER: He is hiding it because he gets votes as BB’s widower.
But then she said that she is not saying that ‘he’s hiding it’. But if he was hiding it, this is why he would be.

When did it become a crime to remarry for a widower?
Why would we not vote for him if he went ahead and did it the Islamic way instead of doing ‘it’ randomly?

HER: Would you not like a woman like me in A- WANE- SADAR?
Regardless of the news being true or not.
ME: I most certainly would.
Me: So, you are married then and this is why you are not denying it?
I became direct again.

She said again, “I am not going to be Bill Clinton. So, I am going to stay quiet instead of denying it first and then accepting it later.”

I tried to be tricky and clever, “ So, who leaked the wedding news?”
She said, “The designer. We go to other countries and go around like no one knows us.”

Was I too clever or did she tell me that on purpose?
Then she added, “I am too busy at work, since I was away for so many days and my work piled up.”
Me: So, do you love him, or are you just marrying him for money?

Her: Shazia, you and me, we are both doctors in USA. We earn in dollars and we pay taxes in dollars. His pay is less than my pay.

Me: But he has billions.

Her: Everyone knows my loyalty to him. My father yelled and yelled. My mom said that he is a bad person and he is very ameer (rich).

And I said, “if he is Ameer, I would make him Ameer-ul-Momeeneen.”
I would take a bullet for him. People say that if he was good enough for BB and if he is good enough for me, he must be a good person. After all, we see something in him.
ME: So, you married him then?

HER: I said no comments.
In the end, we had heart to heart conversation. I told her that how if a guy does not stand by you after marrying you and denies it, he is not worthy of you. I shared the story of that Indian politician with her, who became a Muslim to marry his mistress and later divorced her under pressure.
Zamani sounded worried.

She thinks that it is rivalry that is making the ambassador and his Mrs. deny this marriage. Of course, regardless of the fact if she is married or not.

Her: I mean, it broke my heart. There is no woman in A-WANE-SADER. Do they not want any woman there? would it not be good for our people if a woman like me is there? Everyone knows my dedication to him and to the party.

Well, at 2 AM in the morning, when I finish writing this, I ask Mr. President to be a man and accept his wife. It would not take your votes away, if corruption did not. Corruption should have though.
No wise children would expect their father to be single for life. That is plain cruel.
In the end I asked, “So, is he a good kisser?” Now I was going all American on her. She laughed at this question.

Zamani did not understand the statement that FN Isphahani made to her husband, “ Zamani is a dignified woman. She would not do it”.
I simply do not like that statement. Dignified women do not fall in love and do not marry?

In the end, it was difficult to tell if I was too clever to get all the info from her or she did that on purpose. Either way, world should know her thoughts, and Zardari, if really has married her, should come out and accept it.
Payar kia hay chori nahi kee

Disclaimer: PPP denies this marriage in the strongest possible terms. They are outraged by this rumor and call it a publicity stunt by Dr. Zamani. Only God (and Zamani and Zardari) knows the truth. My apologies to everyone whose feelings are hurt by this interview. My intentions were good.

Addendum: And now I hear that she already has a husband and is married. She said a lot of things during her interview as I mentioned above but word “husband” was not said by her even once. Oh well!