Thursday, 30 January 2014

MNA Marvi Memon Speech (NA 7th Session)

“Mentoring & Monitoring” of PM Business Loans

MNA Marvi Memon, PML N, took the floor of the National Assembly on 18th Dec 2013 - with full force and determination to speak about the PM Business Loan.  

She highlighted the importance of the loan in the perimeter of injecting “equity” for the youth to take advantage of the “financial capital” being offered to them through this platform.

Further, she said that “entrepreneurial skills are needed to make the dreams of youth flourish.” She categorically stated ages of 21 years to 40 years to apply for the loan. Also she informed the house that the condition of being educated is not there – any illiterate man who possess some kind of special skills of entrepreneurship, he or she can obtain the loan.

She mentioned that in the 1st ballot of the successful loans to be granted, 15000 applicants will be chosen and then in the second month other 15000 be chosen and so on monthly basis the balloting will be done of the loan applicants.

Marvi Memon mentioned about great devotion to PM Business Loan in terms of “mentoring & monitoring” which is needed to make it a successful program. Henceforth, the steps taken to mentoring is being done by the party workers and the bank officials.

She came out strong on the floor to defend the position adopted by Maryam Nawaz Shareef as its Chairperson who is playing a vital role in the process of “mentoring” the whole team of PM Business Loan. Further, she added “Maryam Nawaz Shareef is taking keen and personal interest in the program to take it on the path towards success.”

Primarily, monitoring is done by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq and MNA Marvi Memon to ensure smooth flow of the process involved in imparting the loans. They both have visited the people at grass root level and the designated branches to “check upon” the applicants that they are being properly attended to and thereby, weigh the mileage achieved by the PM Business Loan.

Reporting BY:       
Kanwal Abidi
  • -          Islamabad   (7th NA session of Dec 2013)
  • -          Political Analyst & Journalist

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wake Up President under Article 247

NO Follow Up on Senate Sessions
Wake Up Call to PRESIDENT under Article 247
Senator Raza Rabbani gives viable Peace Solutions
*Political Analyst & Journalist

LAST YEAR 99th Senate session on 20th Dec 2013 – Friday witnessed a debate on the current political and security situation in the country with particular reference to Baluchistan, FATA and Rawalpindi incident.
The motion which was earlier moved by Senator Raza Rabbani, under the Rule 218 of business, to discuss the insurgency existing in FATA, was consequently, taken up by him to urge President Mamnoon to take immediate measures to restore peace and security in the region.

Senator Raza Rabbani quoted reference under Article 247, clause 2, that the President may from time to time give such directions to “the Governor of the province to exercise powers of his function to enforce peace and security in the region or any part of a Tribal Area”.

Further, he stressed the dire need for regulations implementation for the “peace and good governance” in FATA, under Article 247, clause 5, and urged President to take adequate steps.

The Leader of the house, Raja Zafarullah Haq, explicitly stated on 20th Dec 2013 that he would convey the “Sentiments of the House” to the President – but Senator Raza Rabbani, expressed his concern with the ending of the recent 100th Senate Session that “NO FOLLOW UP” on this issue has been acted upon.

He further added that serious issues like non-compliance on CCI meetings, matters related to privatization, non-payment of steel mill employees’ salaries, anti-labor policies suppressing the provincial autonomy granted in the 18th Amendment remained unaddressed by the ruling party.

A walkout by the opposition was witnessed on Wednesday 15th Jan - which was led by Senator Raza Rabbani on grounds of the government’s non-serious attitude towards legislative business and addressing problems at large.

Opposition Leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan criticized Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef for not coming to Senate and asked him to take notice of his party’s performance. He categorically stated that if there are “no follow ups” on senate sessions, then what is the need of the Upper House - in order?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Panic at Turkish Borders

Turkey seals border against al-Qaeda
The turmoil on the Turkish border is likely to intensify following major operations by the Syrian army in Aleppo and Idlib. The regime's move pushed opposition forces northward against the border and prompted infighting between them. At the moment, the Turkish border, already the scene of crucial developments because of crossings of refugees, militants, arms and ammunition as well as traditional smugglers, had become even more volatile because of the clashes between the Islamic Front and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
The Syrian border crossings of Bab al-Salameh, Carablus and Tal Abyad, which face the Turkish crossings of Kilis-Oncupinar, Gaziantep-Karkamis and Sanliurfa-Akcakale, respectively, were captured by ISIS one after the other. When Turkey closed the crossings because of this development, the trucks waiting there to cross into Syria were diverted to the Cilvegozu border crossing at Reyhanli-Hatay. But after the Jan. 20 car-bomb attacks at Syria’s Bab al-Hawa facing Cilvegozu, Turkey closed this crossing as well. The queue of trucks waiting at Cilvegozu was 30 kilometers (19 miles) long on Jan. 22. Only Syrians wanting to go back to their country are allowed to cross.
FSA - FREE SYRIAN ARMY escapes to Turkey:
A senior official told Al-Monitor that although Bab al-Hawa is technically under the control of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), ISIS has a presence in the area and passages are therefore risky. He said, "There was stiff opposition to al-Qaeda at Tal Abyad, which is across from our Akcakale border crossing. But when al-Qaeda got the upper hand in the clashes, FSA people manning the crossing abandoned their weapons at the border and escaped to Turkey. Turkmen villages in the area were evacuated. At the moment, there is no force other than al-Qaeda at Tal Abyad. That is why we had to seal off the Akcakale border crossing. Three hundred trucks a day used to pass through that crossing. Now the owners of the Akcakale-based truck fleets have formed a pressure group and they want us to reopen the crossing. They say they have commercial obligations and they have to deliver. According to them, al-Qaeda has transferred control of the crossing to civilians. Turkey is now assessing the situation but if you ask me, to allow trucks to cross from there would only benefit al-Qaeda because although ISIS may have withdrawn, it is al-Qaeda that actually controls the crossing."
The official continued, "There was a long clash at Carablus about a week ago. In the end, the Tawhid Brigade gave up and ran away. About 1,500-2,000 civilians living in tents near the border also crossed into Turkey. These were people who had escaped from clashes at Hama and Homs. Most of them are Turkmen. Turkey was keeping them in camps on the Syrian side instead of letting them cross into Turkey. But when the border was closed, humanitarian assistance was disrupted and Turkey had to accept these refugees."
He concluded, “There were bomb attacks in the town of Azez across from our Oncupinar. At Bab al-Hawa across from Cilvegozu, control is in the hands of the Islamic Front.”
One can sense a martial command in the region, especially to the east, where the Kurds are. The Nusaybin, Senyurt and Ceylanpinar crossings that provide access to Qamishli, Derbesiye and Serekaniye are controlled by the Kurds and already are closed. According to the official who spoke to Al-Monitor, vehicles going to Qamishli are processed at the Habur border crossing. At Senyurt, humanitarian assistance trucks are occasionally allowed through. That Turkey erected a wall at Nusaybin to prevent illegal crossings was interpreted as enmity toward Kurds and a challenge to Kurdish efforts to set up an autonomous region in Rojava.
The official said it is impossible to prevent illegal crossings on a border of 910 kilometers (565 miles), but the least Turkey could do would be to devise policies that would discourage the villagers on the Turkish side from joining the smuggling enterprises common there.
Alarm over terror
Another reason for Turkey’s increased vigilance on the border is the intelligence gathered on al-Qaeda’s intentions to stage attacks in Turkish cities. The latest report reaching the security units concerned ISIS plans to launch suicide attacks in Ankara, Istanbul and Hatay.
Intelligence reports said ISIS was specifically targeting the big hotels where the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition hold their meetings, hence the urgent warning sent to police and the gendarmerie. Turkey’s support of the Islamic Front, which is now fighting ISIS, and the recent detentions of al-Qaeda militants in some cities have increased fears that Turkey itself may be targeted.

Re Edited By:          KANWAL ABIDI
                      *Political Analyst & Journalist
Information Gathered from: FEHIM TASHIKENT
* columnist and chief editor of foreign news at the Turkish newspaper Radikalbased in Istanbul.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

BILAWAL Sweets not Tweets !!!

Letter to the Editor - DAWN


Living on a bomb shell – has become the mental state of every citizen.

In such circumstances, to tweet behind the “twitter wall” and acclaim that “Go man go, kill the terrorists” and “Go man go - protect the honor of every sister” – is not needed!

Indeed he is the only politician taking a strong stance against the terrorists – but we do not need to be vocal about it. We need strategy of political solution. What we need is Bilawal as Chairman of largest political party to say “come forward man come forward n let’s talks over the table” – a peace dialogue is much needed to deal with the situation of Pakistan.

If Bilalwal B Zardari cares to see what social media is talking off and what is the existing trend of sentiments of his esteemed nation – then he would not be sending “Bilawal Sweets” to us.

At this hour, political maturity demands that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari calls off the Sindh Cultural Festival. People are talking of Sindh 2 from Sindh 1 – in such circumstances, if so called “security” is not letting him come to the land of Pakistan, and then he should not be handing out sweets to the citizens in shape of his tweets – but practically show solidarity with the nation.

KANWAL ABIDI   - (Political Analyst & Journalist)
-          Karachi
-          22nd JAN 2013

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Snowden & Russia in the light of US Senate Debate

Monday, 20 January 2014

Iran NOT in Syria Peace talks - UN

Iran excluded from Syria peace talks: UN


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes an announcement at the UN headquarters in New York on January 19, 2014
View galler

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes an announcement at the UN headquarters in New York on January 19, 2014 (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

New York (AFP) - The United Nations on Monday canceled Iran's invitation to attend a Syria peace conference this week on account of its refusal to back calls for a transitional government in Syria.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is "deeply disappointed" at Iran's statements rejecting a 2012 communique adopted by international powers on ending the Syria war.
"Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation," Nesirky said at a press briefing.
Ban issued a surprise invitation on Sunday for Iran to attend the start of the Syria peace conference in the Swiss town on Wednesday.
But the Syrian opposition threatened to withdraw from talks if Iran was present and the United States had demanded the invitation be retracted if Iran did not accept the communique, which called for a transitional government.
Just before the UN announcement, Iran's UN envoy Mohammad Khazaee reaffirmed his government's rejection of the communique adopted in Geneva in June 2012.
"Iran has always been supportive of finding a political solution for this crisis," Khazaee said in a statement.
"However the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept any preconditions for its participation in Geneva II conference.
"If the participation of Iran is conditioned to accept Geneva I communique, Iran will not participate in Geneva II," he said.

Syrian National Council Quits Peace Talks

Syrian National Council quits opposition coalition


A handout picture released by the Syrian National Coalition shows SNC president Ahmad Jarba (L) and Secretary general Badr Jamus at their general assembly on January 18, 2014 at a hotel in a suburb of Istanbul
View gallery

A handout picture released by the Syrian National Coalition shows SNC president Ahmad Jarba (L) and Secretary general Badr Jamus at their general assembly on January 18, 2014 at a hotel in a suburb of Istanbul (AFP Photo/MHD Ziadeh)


Beirut (AFP) - The biggest bloc in Syria's opposition-in-exile, the Syrian National Council, said late Monday it was quitting the umbrella Syrian National Coalition in protest over the Geneva II peace talks with the Damascus regime.
The group said taking part in the talks would renege on its "commitments" to not enter negotiations until Syrian President Bashar al-Assad left power -- something he refuses to do.

National Coalition Joins Geneva 2

Syria's National Coalition confirms participation in peace talks on Jan 22


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Syria's western-backed opposition National Coalition confirmed it would take part in international talks on January 22 after an invitation to Iran to attend the talks was retracted by the United Nations on Monday.
"We appreciate the United Nations and (U.N. Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon's understanding of our position. We think they have taken the right decision. Our participation is confirmed for 22 January," Monzer Akbik, chief of staff of the president of the National Coalition told Reuters.
Another coalition member, Anas Abdah, said they would send a list of conference delegates to the United Nations later on Monday.
(Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Diplomacy Ring of US, Iran & Israel:

 Focus on Historic US – Iran Deal:

Written by: KANWAL ABIDI
                     *** Political Analyst & Journalist

The historic tweet of Iranian President Rouhani “The deal is done” around 3.30 am – on 23rd November night – was a moment to celebrate in Tehran. A ten year ice was broken with US government and Tehran looked forward to easing of the sanctions. It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that an international agreement had been reached to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll some elements of it back.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive pact that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.
Shortly after the agreement was signed at 3.00 a.m. in the Palace of Nations in Geneva, President Obama, spoke from the State Dining Room in the White House, to hail it as the most “significant and tangible” progress of a diplomatic campaign that began when he took office.
“Today, diplomacy opened up a new path towards a world that is more secure now,” he said, “a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.”
In Geneva, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said he hoped the agreement would lead to a “restoration” of trust between Iran and the United States. In an avuncular stance and smiling, he reiterated Iran’s longstanding assertion that its nuclear program was peaceful, adding that the Iranian people deserved respect from the West.
Secretary of State, John Kerry, who flew to Geneva early Saturday for the second time in two weeks in an effort to complete the deal, said it would “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
Iran, which has long resisted international monitoring efforts and built clandestine nuclear facilities, agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, a level that would be sufficient for energy production but that would require further enrichment for bomb-making. To make good on that pledge, Iran will dismantle links between networks of centrifuges.

US growing strong on Iran’s sites and soils:
There are widespread hopes, and fears fewer in number but more virulent, of the relationship between Natanz – The Iranian nuclear fuel enrichment site and Itamar – one the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, that is, the connection between Iran’s relations with the West and Israel-Palestine peace. US Secretary of State John Kerry, in remarks made since the Iran channel showed its promise, leaves no doubt that the Obama administration considers these two threats to regional security to be conceptually connected.
In Washington, the decision to turn a new page in relations with Iran has, for the first time in more than a generation, begun to remove practical, operational, bureaucratic and ideological constraints that have defined US policies in the region. There are encouraging signs that this “new thinking” is already enabling US policymakers to consider possible opportunities that Washington has shunned for decades — Iran, of course, is at the top of the list. Since 1979, no one within US policy and security bureaucracy has seen any value in thinking outside the box on Iran. Challenging the consensus view of Iran as a charter member of the “axis of evil” was a terrible career move.
Today, however, thinking about the possibilities of an improved US relationship with Tehran is back on the agenda. And, as a consequence, there is space for more critical thinking by the Washington policymaking bureaucracy. And if Iran is no longer a taboo subject, then what is preventing Washington’s reassessment of other “little Irans” formerly beyond the pale — for example, Hamas, Hezbollah and even Syria’s terrible Bashar al-Assad?
The decision to open a dialogue on Iran’s nuclear program, if it is to be fruitful, must necessarily engage both US and Iranian policymakers, and therefore everyone else, in far broader considerations aimed at defanging other threats to regional security and devising “win-win” solutions across a range of issues according to the model being discussed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany or P5 + 1.
A quick look at the map identifies both the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s Hezbollah as important factors in this equation. Each has long been considered by its enemies as a “spoiler” — crashing the party organized by Washington and Israel. But without underestimating the continuing power of this view, the blinkers that have long limited Washington’s space for considering these charter members of the axis of evil are being lifted. In both cases, new US thinking on Hamas and Hezbollah would have to be reciprocated by its respective leaders Khaled Meshaal and Hassan Nasrallah, while each attempt to navigate an improved place in the new Middle East being imagined by Washington and Tehran.
All threaten to upend Israel's view — and not only Israel’s — of how the future should unfold. In this new context, every car bomb in Dahia or shelling of the Gaza Strip is viewed, perhaps with justification, as a provocative challenge by dead-enders of all stripes to embryonic reconciliation orchestrated by US President Barack Obama and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There is a real potential indeed for such actions to threaten or even overwhelm the still-fragile connections being forged. Washington and Tehran together are each obligated to communicate their commitment to succeed and steel themselves against being whipsawed by those anxious to change the subject and resume more familiar, comfortable — if deadly —business as usual.
Israel upset over US and Iran Deal:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to revise his attitude toward Obama’s efforts on Natanz and Itamar - promises to cause him increasing trouble in the months ahead. During an October visit to Rome, Netanyahu acknowledged that “the solution of the Iranian issue may have a decisive influence on the Palestinian issue — for bad and for good.” Obama has left no doubt that the train on Iran has left the station, apparently without Netanyahu aboard.
In both Natanz and Itamar, Kerry is adopting the standard of increasing mutual security through agreement — not force, or war, or continuing occupation — and enabling a US-led diplomacy to create a stable framework for peace that will in each case increase Israel's security. Netanyahu sees only the potential perils of this holistic connection and the challenge that it presents to his worldview.
As Obama stressed in remarks on Dec. 8 in Washington, “The United States’ military cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our intelligence cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our support of Israel’s security has never been stronger."
For Netanyahu, these soothing words are not a source of comfort, but rather a cause for concern. If Bibi’s warning against a diplomatic solution for Natanz is rejected by Obama, then what, Bibi fears, will stop Obama from having his “own way on Itamar?” And he is right.

Diplomacy as an end unto itself:
President Obama in his speech on 10th Sept 2013, talked of placing “no boots on the ground” and a limited military strike” to avert any Syrian threat. Obama stated that his preference was always to resolve the issue “diplomatically’.  Few months back, Syrian regime denied it possessed any chemical weapons, it turns out that Syria now is actually removing its chemical weapons and has provided a comprehensive list that they have already begun taking these weapons out of Syria.  And although that does not solve the tragic situation inside of Syria, it turns out that removing those chemical weapons will make us safer and it will make Israel safer, and it will make the Syrian people safer, and it will make the region safer.

And so I do not see military action as an end unto itself.  Military action is one tool that we have in a tool kit that includes diplomacy in achieving our goals, which is ultimately our security. We should make “diplomacy as an end unto itself”.

Likud Convention Speech of Netanyahu – 18th Dec 2013
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dedicated a large part of his speech on Dec.18 at the Likud Party convention to the Iranian nuclear program. He behaved in an alien way, dismayed by the Iran deal - as if “no agreement” had been signed between the world powers and Iran. He carried same old threatening tone with the bottom line that “Israel will not accept a nuclear bomb.”

This was an anachronistic speech, lacking in vision, and most of all, detached from the international reality created after the signing of the Iranian Geneva deal on the night of Nov. 23. The significance of the interim agreement is that in the next few months, at least until negotiations over a final agreement, the “world powers are giving diplomacy a chance”, calming the tone and halting the threats. Only in Netanyahu’s world has time been frozen. 

Focus on President Obama’s Year-end News Conference – 20th Dec 2013
President Obama in his year - end news conference, from the White House, on 20 Dec, Friday, ahead of the vacations, spoke of various issues of Obamacare, health laws and diplomacy pursued with the Iran. Obama categorically stated few facts and came out forceful in his speech that “America has nothing to fear from Iran.”
“We lose nothing under this negotiation deal” stated by Obama – under his diplomatic stance. Current deal of $ 7 billion will be beneficial to restore diplomatic relations with Iran and at the same time US has made clear that Iran cannot build new nuclear plants and neither can they extend on the networks of the centrifuges.
Obama says “if negotiations would fail – Iran knows very well, they can come under high economic pressure.” He assured the American nation that we can do it in “one day” to burden Iran once again by the sanctions. At the end, he wished his nation and the world a “happy new Year” with a concrete and a definite message of “diplomacy as an end unto itself.” But, on the other hand, PM Netanyahu has left the message that “Deal is a Christmas present” for @Iran.
At the end, Israel hopes that Obama will not arrive at the wrong conclusion from what had transpired in Syria. To solve the Iranian problem, Jerusalem says, Obama needs to demonstrate much greater resolve, creativity and a much larger stick than the one he flashed at Syria.
Written By:
-          Political Analyst  &  Journalist 
      President Mishal Welfare Trust  
      Public Advocate @ Citizens Advocacy Platform 
      Peace/Human Rights Activist

The writer can be reached through Twitter @KANWALanalyst