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Posts Tagged ‘news’

USAID fame Sunni Ittehad council and Iranian poodles MWM joining hands against talks with Talibans.

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment

USAID fame Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and Iranian poodles MWM joining hands against talks with Talibans. It gives some idea how things are going in the region especially Iraq and Afghanistan. Syria was just a trap set for rising Turkey and another way to exploit sectarianism in the region.

If Shias realize how harmful these Khomenists are for their interest then it can bring some chance of peace for them and others. If these corrupt Sunni Ittehad council guys start not to use sectarianism to gain monetarily or politically then they can do some good for others too.

Both are playing as puppets of USA/Iran and their slaves in army/agencies/politics to push Pakistan into more and more war mess.

Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are no saints and have committed too many transgressions against non-combatant populations but they are the result of this mess. This phenomenon of terrorism cannot be dealt properly if we do not address the root cause of this mess. Root causes are Pakistan army’s role of a mercenary organization for their client USA against Afghanistan and Pakistani tribes, Pakistan’s soil being used for NATO supplies to strengthen the occupation, Pakistani bases being used to occupy a neighboring country (also for drones) and finally one of the main root cause is the support to these wars and wrong actions provided by sectarian and social class fascists sitting in army, politics, media and civil society.

People need to learn that senseless bombings and operations have created most of these militants in the first place and continuing with this bullshit will only create more terrorism. But how can someone convince those who are blinded by sectarianism or dollars?

Do the designers of this war have any favorite sects or social classes?

The designers of this wars sitting in Washington surely make it look like a war between sufi vs non sufi or shia/barelvi vs deobandi/ahl e hadith/wahabi sects or between liberals and conservatives or moderates and extremists or between other social class groupsbut in actual they don’t share even a little bit of sympathy for anyone.

All they know is to exploit fault lines which they are doing. i agree that IK seems to be the only major leader who has some sort of idea what is going on with this war or in the region.

The unfortunate part is that their dollar slaves in Pakistan are also toeing their line despite seeing all the destruction. Another dangerous element of this war is Khomenist’s direct and indirect support which is also not helping the cause. They think they can go on for long with their sectarian imperialism but in actual they are destroying the future of not only Sunnis or others they don’t like but most importantly they are harming the interests of people they claim to represent i.e Shias in the region.

Its time to start acting like thinking humans not some sheep or insects. We need to come out of this self-destructive mode.

 

Hakeem-ullah Mehsud, Drone Strike and Peace Talks

November 1, 2013 Leave a comment

I just saw new reports saying that Tehrik e Taliban (TTP) leader Hakeem ullah Mehsud has been killed in recent drone strikes in tribal areas of Pakistan.

Hakim ullah was/is one of the most controversial figures of our country. His death like this might have made some people happy and some people are surely confused about the legitimacy or moral justification of extra-judicial killings.

In my view if you think that extra-judicial killing of Hakeem ullah Mehsud through a drone strike is a good news then you are part of the terrorism problem Pakistan is into. These strikes are not only an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty but they are one of the main reasons behind the mess.

They did similar with Naik Muhammad when he was willing to talk which motivated Bait ullah Mehsud to start his war, then same happened with Bait ullah Mehsud when there was a momentum of talks which paved way for Hakeem ullah Mehsud and now Hakeem ullah Mehsud got the same treatment when he was willing to talk. Hakeem ullah was not a saint (In fact I think of him as an unwanted product of this war mess) but killing him like this will only create more like him and not to forget the legitimacy USA will try to get for its drone strikes war crimes through this.

It seems USA and its puppets in Pakistan along with Khomenists in establishment and civil society don’t want Pakistan to come out of this war mess.

On one hand both USA and Iran are talking to Talibans using back doors but for Pakistan, they have a different plan. They want Pakistan to remain stuck in this war and internally implode.

Transgressions were done from both sides (army and talibans) but we need ot address the root cause first. Root cause lies in military operations and army’s support to USA war against afghanistan/pakistani tribal areas. I am not sure how many people will keep their sanity when they will be bombed day and night mercilessly especially when they know that different sections of society support these insane bombings by army and drones due to their sectarian and social class prejudices. Imagine the trauma for kids who were and are growing into this mess. these kids can be used by anyone for anything as they have only seen senseless death and destructions through out their lives especially at a time when thier minds and thought processes are taking shape.

How many suicide attacks were there before this war? How many militant taliban groups were operating as TTP before this war and military operations?

Peshawar Church attack, war, peace and Pakistan

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Really disappointed with the killing of 81 innocent people in a suicide attack on a church in Peshawar.

I Strongly condemn the church attack. If I am in a place where I see the person who planned this attack and I have a gun in my hand then I will surely put all the bullets in his head. But I am also not mad enough or driven by social class or sectarian hatred that I will vent all my hatred towards tribal people and demand senseless military operations in tribal areas to hunt down “suspects”.

It looks interesting to see whenever there is a momentum of talks, incidents like attacks on minorities or on senior govt./military officers speed up and all pro-war lobbies and sectarian/social class fascists speed up their pro-war propaganda. It seems they are not interested in ending this mess but are more interested in fighting an imported war. They need to know that a war designed on sectarian and social class fascism cannot bring peace.

Military operations especially where aerial bombings and heaver artillery are involved are bound to result in loss of innocent civilians including children. This will eventually produce more hatred especially when these attacks are backed by sectarian and social class fascists in establishment, civil society, media and politics.

This is what is happening from 9-10 years. Its time to think for those who are living in war trauma for a long time and try to bring them towards normal life.

First step will be to come out of this war and stop drones by any means necessary including shooting them down.

Second step will be to start dialogues with tribal elders and groups who are willing to talk. Then with the help of these elders and groups try to bring others on table as well but if they show resistance then, with the help of tribal elders and groups who are in favor of talks, look for other means.

Similarly, its finally time to see which groups and individuals from so called settled areas side want Pakistan to remain in this war.

In my view elements who don’t want Pakistan to come out of this war from both militant’s side or from establishment/political parties side have same source of power. Militant groups which are not in any kind of mood for talks are mostly linked with India or Iranian/American backed northern alliance.

Similarly, Khomenists and American puppets are keeping up their pressure for more and more war. Their only apparent point of difference is in Syria and that to doesn’t seem to affect their collusion in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.They are exploiting sufi/salafi , deobandi/barelvi, so called liberal/so called religious and other fault lines to forward their war agenda.

One can ask: Why Pakistan is being targeted? The answer to this will not be simple but to keep it simple, we can start with two issues:

(1) Gwadar

Iran feels it as a competing port for its Chahbar port which Iran is building with the help of India to strengthen its hold over Central Asia. Americans are pissed off because Chinese companies are building the port with high Chinese stakes in the area.

(2) Nukes

It is not a secret how India and Americans hate Pakistani nukes. They have a interest in keeping Pakistan into this war so that resulting chaos will force Pakistan to give up its nukes. Iran always sees Pakistani nukes as Sunni nukes and feels them as a hurdle for its future goals in middle east. It even snitched on Pakistan in 2003 when it helped USA to corner Pakistan on nuclear proliferation issue.

Its time for lazy heads in Pakistan to think actively. Need to come out of this war to get some chance for peace.

Musharraf’s party urges army to intervene: Another test case of Pakistani civil society

April 20, 2013 1 comment

It seems Musharraf’s gang is doing what is expected from them. They are willing to risk the whole country to save former military dictator, General (R) Musharraf. According to media reports, his crony and former DG ISPR General (R) Rashid Qureshi has urged army to intervene for protecting the former Pentagon pet dictator.
If army intervenes then the next Long March and Dharna should be at GHQ where the real evil resides. We support Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Insha Allah all the efforts and plans of these evil criminal minded satans will fail as Allah is the best of planners not them.

I think APML should be called as Anti-Pakistan Musharraf League instead of All Pakistan Muslim League.

Last straw?: APML urges army to intervene (Express Tribune)

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/538080/last-straw-apml-urges-army-to-intervene/

ISLAMABAD: Close associates of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf have asked top military leadership to intervene in the issue immediately before tensions between state institutions get worse.

“Top military leadership will come into action [as an ex-general is being denied justice],” Major General (Retd) Rashid Qureshi, a close friend of the former president told The Express Tribune.

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday cancelled Musharraf’s bail application in the judges’ detention case and ordered his arrest. On Friday, the former president was transferred from his Chak Shahzad farmhouse to Islamabad Police Headquarters.

“Enough is enough. Judicial activism will not be tolerated anymore,” General Qureshi said, adding Musharraf will continue to face courts until he gets justice.

“We will fight legally, morally and politically against injustice in Pakistan.” Read more

NAB bosses refuse to respond as details emerge–> Ansar Abbasi report in TheNews

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Ansar Abbasi

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-155380-NAB-bosses-refuse-to-respond-as-details-emerge

ISLAMABAD: Top bosses of the NAB have simply vanished to respond to the media queries pertaining to the alleged extreme coercive measures that were said to have been used during the last days on Kamran Faisal that may have led to his sudden death, either by suicide or murder.

 

Chairman NAB Fasih Bukhari and Director General Financial Crime Wing Kausar Malik, who are alleged to have held an insulting meeting with Kamran Faisal on the night of Jan 16, are neither responding on their mobile phones nor have replied to the SMS messages sent to them.

 

After repeated efforts the NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal was, however, helpful to the extent of responding to an SMS message, conveying: “Sorry for late response. In fact I’m still with some guests. As far as you question is concerned, it is totally untrue.”

 

The spokesman was asked if he could confirm whether Kamran Faisal was brought to Chairman’s office by Kausar Malik where the officer was alleged to have been pressurised to change his report in favour of the prime minister in the RPPs case.

 

A NAB official, speaking on the condition of full confidentiality, confided to The News that Kamran Faisal was under extreme duress to change his investigation report that had become the basis for the SC’s recent order to get Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and over 20 others arrested in the RPPs case.

 

The source said that in the evening of Jan 16 Kamran Faisal, who was an assistant director of NAB Rawalpindi, was sitting with his colleagues in the office of Rawalpindi NAB Additional Director Staff officer Shafqat, when he received a phone call from NAB Islamabad headquarter to rush there. Besides others, it is said, assistant director Shahzad was also present.

 

It is said that the phone call from the Bureau’s headquarter had come from Director General Financial Crime Wing Kausar Malik. After the phone call, Kamran is said to have shared with his colleagues that he was being summoned to Islamabad HQs. On this the NAB Rawalpindi additional director staff officer provided to Kamran the official vehicle Kia Registration No. 4242 to attend this urgently called meeting in Islamabad. The name of the vehicle’s driver was said to be Tariq.

 

When approached by The News Shafqat refused to discuss anything regarding this mysterious death. However, the source claimed that Kamran reached NAB’s headquarters and went to Kausar Malik’s office where he was told that he should change his report for the sake of the institution’s respect as on the next day (Jan 17) the Supreme Court was to hear the PM’s arrest case.

 

The source added that Kamran was reluctant to change his report on the wishes of his superior. Later, it is said, Kausar Malik took him to the office of Chairman NAB Fasih Bukhari who was also accompanied by one of the key prosecutors of the Bureau.

 

In the Chairman NAB’s office, the source said, all the three again pressed him to change his report and suggested to him that he could give the reason that for being upset he had wrongly included the name of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the RPPs corruption case. It is said that he was also asked to sign a blank stamp paper.

 

The source claimed that after his refusal he was asked to leave. Kamran later got back to Kausar Malik’s office and shared with some of his Rawalpindi colleagues what had happened to him. On Jan 17 hearing of the RPPs case, it is said that Kamran was also present in the SC.

 

Fasih Bukhari was contacted several times but he did not pick up his mobile. Bukhari also did not respond to The News query forwarded to him through SMS mobile message.

 

Kausar Malik also did not respond to The News. An SMS message sent to him on Friday evening was responded in the midnight conveying that his mobile phone battery got exhausted so “just saw” the message. He promised to coordinate with The News on Saturday but it did not happen despite repeated efforts. Kausar Malik even did not bother to respond to the questions sent to him.

 

These questions included: a) Will you please explain why did you call Kamran to your office on 16th evening? B) Why did you take him to the Chairman NAB? c) Did you and the chairman pressurise him to change his report?

 

Meanwhile an unidentified caller from an official number starting with 924 figure had called this correspondent on Friday evening claiming that late on the evening of Jan 17 Kamran was badly scolded by his senior in the Rawalpindi NAB office for refusing to change his investigation report. The caller claimed to be a young officer of the NAB. However, this fact has also not been officially confirmed.

 

 

Statements by Chief Justice of Pakistan and Army Chief –> We support the Supreme Court, Chief Justice and the Constitution

November 6, 2012 2 comments

In past few days there were some statements given by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhar and Army Chief General Ashfaq Prevez Kiyani. According to media reports, Kiyanis words were (from Pakistan Today):

“Any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and armed forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest.”

Also he said:

“No individual or institution has the monopoly to decide what is right or wrong while defining the ultimate national interest.”

These words may not seem very harmful but if we look them in the context of Asghar Khan case and recent proceedings of missing persons cases in the
Supreme Court then one can get some idea about the possible target of the statements.

On the other hand, SC released a speech of CJP which he gave earlier but the timing of releasing the speech to media seems to be interesting and apparently it is related with the statement by Army Chief. In the speech, honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary renewed his stance to protect the constitution.

According to media reports, he said:

“Gone are the days when stability and security of the country was defined in terms of number of missiles and tanks as a manifestation of hard power available at the disposal of the state,” the chief justice said while speaking to a delegation of the 97th National Management Course, National School of Public Policy and National Management College Lahore at the Supreme Court building.

Also he said:

“The composition, powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court are set out by the Constitution itself and the court exercises original, appellate, review and advisory jurisdictions and its decisions are binding on all other courts of Pakistan,”

I am glad that he acknowledges the struggle by the justice loving people of Pakistan who didn’t buy Musharraf’s national interest or national security type bogus cards and supported the judiciary.

“The present day Supreme Court is alive to the fact that it has been restored to its original position by unprecedented struggle carried out by a consort of such professional classes as lawyers, students, media persons and civil society at large.”

If I have to choose between judiciary and useless army, I will choose judiciary and constitution. It seems army chief is upset because of Asghar Khan case and missing persons cases. Also people like IK have openly said that if he will be in power then generals will also be made accountable in front of the law. Indeed these are some disturbing times for anti-Pakistan corrupt mercenary generals. Army will be the biggest hurdle in any genuine change against the forces of evil and status-quo. Prime example of Army’s support to status-quo is NRO which was given to the corrupt political and bureaucratic elite.

Kiyani needs to understand that if they follow the constitution and respect the principles of justice, human rights and freedom then people will not criticize them. Exceptions are those who are working on foreign agenda but if we look into it then we can see that most of them were supported by Army because of the pro-war stance by these people. If army wants respect then they have to come out of this American war and leave their role of mercenary army. They also need to focus on defending the country instead of taking part in political activities or taking control of land and economic resources of the country. Also accountability of culprits in the institution is also required to improve the image of the institution. We need a credible or even a strong defense but not at the cost of freedom, justice and  human rights.

We support CJP and SC. Its our moral and constitutional responsibility to protect the constitution and country from these evil Khakis who only know how to serve their lust of power. They only love that Pakistan which is under their boots and we have to change this situation and inshaAllah it will be changed in a good way.

Malala Yousafzai injured in attack–> Sad news from Swat

October 9, 2012 15 comments

Just heard a sad news from Swat. Malala Yousafzai, the teenage kid who got national peace prize got seriously injured in a shooting attack. This is sad, really bad and cowardly whoever has done this. It is also bad by the government to use this kid as a symbolic person against militants and expose her to such danger. It is ridiculous that first they used her for political gains in the war and then left her without adequate security. Not only the attackers but the people responsible for her security and exposing her to such danger should be made accountable for this.

The way government and some NGOs used Malala as a symbolic warrior is similar to child soldiers used by African war lords to fight their dirty wars.

May Allah give her health.

 

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Swat: Malala Yousafzai injured in attack

Source : http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=70793#Comments

SWAT: Malala Yusufzai the National Peace Award winner who came under the global spotlight for her efforts to bring back peace to her hometown Swat came under attack earlier today. Malala Yousafzai was injured along with two other girls when unknown assailants opened fire on her vehicle in Swat, Geo News reported.

According to police, Malala a children’s rights activist received two bullets, and was rushed to the District Headquarter Hospital in Saidu Sharif, and later shifted to a hospital in Peshawar.

It is important to mention that Malala had been receiving threats to her life, after which she was provided with a special car and unarmed security by her school.

The international children’s advocacy group Kids Rights Foundation nominated Malala for the International Children’s Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl nominated for the award.

For her courageous and outstanding services for the promotion of peace under extremely hostile conditions in Swat, she was awarded the first National Peace Award by the Pakistani government on 19 December 2011.

Video shows Libyans helping rescue U.S. ambassador after attack

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Here are some other interesting aspects of the sad incident happened in Libya.

 

Video shows Libyans helping rescue U.S. ambassador after attack

(Reuters) – An amateur video appears to show Libyans trying to rescue U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens from a room filled with smoke at the U.S. mission where he was found unconscious after last week’s attack by a mob protesting against a film that denigrates the Prophet Mohammad.

The video, which appeared on the internet and a copy of which was obtained by Reuters in Benghazi, confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire.

Read More

Aafia Siddiqui Issue–>Shameful attempt by some anchors to give it another twist using the same old nationality rant

July 29, 2012 2 comments

Recently some anchors, including reputed anchor like Kamran Khan (Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath host) and not so reputed anchor Sana Bucha (Lekin host), have tried to show that Aafia Siddiqui is an American national or she is a dual national. Aafia’s family has repeatedly denied these allegations. It was also interesting to see that how an international lawyer like Ahmer Bilal Sufi (also affiliated with PILDAT) didn’t discuss the real aspect of the case i.e. her abduction and reasons behind her abduction.

My views on this issue are that dual national or not, the reality is that she was illegally abducted from Pakistani soil and she was a daughter of a Pakistani family. This is a ridiculous argument again trying to cash in false nationalism over single nationality or dual nationality which is not proved and most importantly was never contested in USA court in fake Afia trial. They also didn’t discuss the main accusation on the media on her i.e. her links with Al-Qaida as they didn’t have enough grounds for that. Shame on these social class fascists.

How can you allow someone to be abducted without due process if that person (national or not) has entered legally in Pakistan? The case on her was prosecuted for a stupid charge that she snatched gun from USA marines and then in the process got shot herself. No finger prints were there on the gun as was admitted by US official who gave the testimony in the case.

Apparently the momentum is being created to make a ground for the release of Dr. Shakeel afridi.

It is really shameful how things are being presented in the media. Either it is an act or irresponsibility and lack of prudence or lack of honesty, in both cases media organizations should see the professionalism standard of their anchors and opinion makers. Civil society should raise the issue on any forum.

Read also:

https://united4justice.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/aafias-sentencing-a-question-mark-over-usa-justice-system-shame-for-pakistan-army-and-government/

https://united4justice.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/aafia-siddiqui-indictment/

 

 

 

 

 

New NADRA Smart ID cards:Another way to invade privacy

July 22, 2012 4 comments

I have just read a news on NADRA’s plan to launch smart NIC card. They are starting it with overseas Pakistanis which will eventually be enforced on locals as well.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120967-Nadra-introduces-smart-ID-cards-for-overseas-Pakistanis

http://www.onepakistan.com/finance/news/general/10139-nadra-set-to-launch-new-smart-nic-for-overseas-pakistanis-in-europe.html

I feel this will be a real big attack on privacy and they will use it for tracking/monitoring people they want to monitor. This will be bad news for honest journalists, judges and any other person who doesn’t want to give up his/her freedom. They will share the information with their foreign masters like they already do for many other things.

Please consult with some honest person who is an expert in the area (and also not a puppet of security agencies) and start an awareness campaign through media on this issue. Its not necessary to accept any thing in the name of technology. Privacy is a right given to us by our religion and constitution and we shouldn’t give it up so easily in the name of welfare services, security or whatever fancy terms governments use to enslave their population.

Also if you link it with the fact that people like Rehman Malik run private security and intelligence firms overseas then things will look worse.

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Nadra introduces smart ID cards for overseas Pakistanis — The News

by Murtaza Ali Shah

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120967-Nadra-introduces-smart-ID-cards-for-overseas-Pakistanis

LONDON: The official launch of the National Database and Registration Authority’s new ID Card — the Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) — descended into a complete ruckus on Sunday night as Pakistani journalists and community leaders walked out of the launch ceremony.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan and various senior Nadra officials from Pakistan and Europe were present for the launch, dinner and musical evening which was attended by over 200 invited guests.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General who took charge a couple of days ago, told the gathering that the Smart card is a 3rd Generation chip-based identity document that is built according to international standards, has over 36 physical security features that uses latest encryption codes making it the safest card in the world.

He informed the audience that Nadra plans to open its public facilitation centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow and later will expand into the rest of Europe. But ugly scenes erupted when Nadra officials refused to take questions from media and community leaders about various aspects of the new scheme and made it to the dinner hall, where singer Raheem Shah performed with a live band.

Journalists protested that there were too many controversial and critical issues surrounding the launch of the new scheme and it was important to ask searching questions and that Nadra officials must address the anxiety of the community as they had deep-rooted security concerns about their personal details being manipulated and fiddled with.

It was then agreed that Tariq Malik will answer questions of journalists after the dinner. The new Nadra DG gave an assured performance before the journalists and did his best to provide satisfactory answers but he admitted that there were some areas about the bidding process and the takeover by the UK based company in which he had no involvement and decisions were made at the top. But he assured that stringent action will be taken against the partners if they failed to meet the strict criteria set by the Nadra, failing which their contract will be terminated after a year.

It also became clear during the launch that the company that International Identity Services (UK) Limited (“IIS”) made responsible to assist Nadra actually belongs to the son of Mian Afzal Khalid, a veteran Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader in the UK who is also Chairman of PPP’s Federal Council (UK).

It was not immediately clear how, of all the people and companies, the contract went into the hands of a diehard PPP leader. Mian Khalid, who was present at the launch along with other PPP leaders, told The News that he had nothing to do with his son’s business. “Politics has played no part and my son has secured the contract on the basis of merit,” he said.

Tariq Malik said that Smart Nicop will provide 2.5 million overseas Pakistanis in Europe with priority travel, banking facilities and increased security as well as the existing visa-free entry to Pakistan.

He said Nadra’s top concern remained protecting public information and no one other than a select number of Nadra staff will be allowed access to the data of citizens.After The News highlighted the issue of the Nadra contract for issuance of the Nicop cards, Nadra was at pains to point out that IIS has been awarded the contract to provide marketing and support facilities for the centres, with all processing for the Smart Nicop being carried out by Nadra, with approximately 500,000 Pakistani holders of the existing card in Europe will eventually need to upgrade.

But it was not clear immediately whether the community will happily pay more than three times the amount it is currently paying for the same services. Pakistanis in Europe have felt the fee was raised without consulting them in times of austerity when economic conditions in Western Europe have made Pakistanis amongst the worst hit migrant groups.

Both Nadra and IIS said that the decision to make IIS a partner was followed by a public tender “under internationally recognised procedures and was made after extensive consultation with key stakeholders” but the latest discovery of a senior PPP leader’s involvement in the scheme will raise further questions about the whole tender and bidding process, therefore the questions around the whole scheme are unlikely to go away.

Tahir Khalid, head of operations for IIS said in a statement: “The new Nicop card is a milestone for Pakistan. The launch has been a carefully considered journey for IIS and Nadra, which was necessary given the highly sensitive nature of this product. IIS has worked to meet all the demands of Nadra without compromising data security and we are looking forward to promoting the benefits of Smart Nicop to local Pakistani communities.”

Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
From Print Edition
 154  18  3  5

LONDON: The official launch of the National Database and Registration Authority’s new ID Card — the Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) — descended into a complete ruckus on Sunday night as Pakistani journalists and community leaders walked out of the launch ceremony.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan and various senior Nadra officials from Pakistan and Europe were present for the launch, dinner and musical evening which was attended by over 200 invited guests.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General who took charge a couple of days ago, told the gathering that the Smart card is a 3rd Generation chip-based identity document that is built according to international standards, has over 36 physical security features that uses latest encryption codes making it the safest card in the world.

He informed the audience that Nadra plans to open its public facilitation centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow and later will expand into the rest of Europe. But ugly scenes erupted when Nadra officials refused to take questions from media and community leaders about various aspects of the new scheme and made it to the dinner hall, where singer Raheem Shah performed with a live band.

Journalists protested that there were too many controversial and critical issues surrounding the launch of the new scheme and it was important to ask searching questions and that Nadra officials must address the anxiety of the community as they had deep-rooted security concerns about their personal details being manipulated and fiddled with.

It was then agreed that Tariq Malik will answer questions of journalists after the dinner. The new Nadra DG gave an assured performance before the journalists and did his best to provide satisfactory answers but he admitted that there were some areas about the bidding process and the takeover by the UK based company in which he had no involvement and decisions were made at the top. But he assured that stringent action will be taken against the partners if they failed to meet the strict criteria set by the Nadra, failing which their contract will be terminated after a year.

It also became clear during the launch that the company that International Identity Services (UK) Limited (“IIS”) made responsible to assist Nadra actually belongs to the son of Mian Afzal Khalid, a veteran Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader in the UK who is also Chairman of PPP’s Federal Council (UK).

It was not immediately clear how, of all the people and companies, the contract went into the hands of a diehard PPP leader. Mian Khalid, who was present at the launch along with other PPP leaders, told The News that he had nothing to do with his son’s business. “Politics has played no part and my son has secured the contract on the basis of merit,” he said.

Tariq Malik said that Smart Nicop will provide 2.5 million overseas Pakistanis in Europe with priority travel, banking facilities and increased security as well as the existing visa-free entry to Pakistan.

He said Nadra’s top concern remained protecting public information and no one other than a select number of Nadra staff will be allowed access to the data of citizens.After The News highlighted the issue of the Nadra contract for issuance of the Nicop cards, Nadra was at pains to point out that IIS has been awarded the contract to provide marketing and support facilities for the centres, with all processing for the Smart Nicop being carried out by Nadra, with approximately 500,000 Pakistani holders of the existing card in Europe will eventually need to upgrade.

But it was not clear immediately whether the community will happily pay more than three times the amount it is currently paying for the same services. Pakistanis in Europe have felt the fee was raised without consulting them in times of austerity when economic conditions in Western Europe have made Pakistanis amongst the worst hit migrant groups.

Both Nadra and IIS said that the decision to make IIS a partner was followed by a public tender “under internationally recognised procedures and was made after extensive consultation with key stakeholders” but the latest discovery of a senior PPP leader’s involvement in the scheme will raise further questions about the whole tender and bidding process, therefore the questions around the whole scheme are unlikely to go away.

Tahir Khalid, head of operations for IIS said in a statement: “The new Nicop card is a milestone for Pakistan. The launch has been a carefully considered journey for IIS and Nadra, which was necessary given the highly sensitive nature of this product. IIS has worked to meet all the demands of Nadra without compromising data security and we are looking forward to promoting the benefits of Smart Nicop to local Pakistani communities.”

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