PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government is working on a feasibility study to construct another high-security prison in the province.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune the cost of the project has been estimated at Rs150 million. It has yet to be decided which district the prison facility will be established in. In the past, the government had suggested the high-security prison would be set up in Swabi.

A government official privy to the development told The Express Tribune there is a pressing need to construct a separate lock-up for militants.

“The decision was initially taken during the Awami National Party government following reports of clashes between the inmates and militants at prison facilities,” he said. The official said it takes time to construct a separate prison for this purpose. “As a result, high-security zones were created at jails,” he said.

Starting from scratch

Earlier, it was decided all militants at Central Prison Peshawar would be shifted to a jail in Mardan once it was completed and handed over to the jail administration.

This lock-up was believed to be one of the first high-security prisons in the country. The decision to construct the facility was taken during the ANP government in K-P. When it seized the reins in 2013, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government decided to repurpose Central Prison Mardan and introduced multi-layered walls at the facility. However, they did not construct a new jail from scratch.

According to the government official, the facility was not designed to be a high-security prison. “However, after attacks by militants on jails in Bannu and DI Khan, we revamped the lock-up on an urgent basis,” the government official said.

He added, “Even though the prison in Mardan has been completed, we felt the need to establish a separate facility for militants. This will be a well-equipped, medium-sized prison.”

Exchange of prisoners

Central Prison Peshawar has been under repair since 2013 and the total cost has been estimated at Rs1,408 million. As per the government’s plans, inmates had to be shifted to the lock-up in Mardan. The chief minister was expected to inaugurate the jail in Mardan. However, the ceremony  was postponed.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post High-security prison for province on horizon appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Two words are enough for people with normal hearing to distinguish the voice of a close friend or relative amongst other voices, new research has found.

“The auditory capacities of humans are exceptional in terms of identifying familiar voices. At birth, babies can already recognise the voice of their mothers and distinguish the sounds of foreign languages,” said researcher Julien Plante-Hebert from the University of Montreal in Canada.

The study involved playing recordings to Canadian French speakers, who were asked to recognise on multiple trials which of the ten male voices they heard was familiar to them.

Read: Love your job? It may ruin your weekends

To evaluate their auditory capacities, Plante-Hebert created a series of voice “lineups,” a technique inspired by the well known visual identification procedure used by the police, in which a group of individuals sharing similar physical traits are placed before a witness.

“A voice lineup is an analogous procedure in which several voices with similar acoustic aspects are presented. In my study, each voice lineup contained different lengths of utterances varying from one to eighteen syllables,” Plante-Hebert pointed out.

Forty four people aged 18-65 years participated in the experiment. Plante-Hebert found that the participants were unable to identify short utterances regardless of their familiarity with the person speaking.

Read: Don’t ignore your poop, advise doctors

However, with utterances of four or more syllables the success rate was nearly total for very familiar voices. ”Identification rates exceed those currently obtained with automatic systems,” he said.

“While advanced technologies are able to capture a large amount of speech information, only humans so far are able to recognise familiar voices with almost total accuracy,” he concluded.

The study will be presented at the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland.

The post We can identify a friend’s voice from just two words appeared first on The Express Tribune.

People who want to see New England’s colorful fall foliage no longer need to travel for the experience. A Boston-area man is offering to ship bundles of the dried up, multi-colored vegetation straight to your door for $19.99.

Kyle Waring, of Somerville, Massachusetts, set up the website earlier this year and began sending his first packages of hand-picked leaves to U.S. customers this week.

“I’ve hit over 200 sales so far,” he said.

Read: Stressed Italian cows get air-conditioned sheds to combat heatwave

Waring came up with the idea while contemplating “seasonal monetization opportunities” with his wife. They settled on leaves, he said, because “fall in New England is especially gorgeous and really strikes an emotional chord.”

It is not Waring’s first foray into seasonal offerings. Last winter, he shipped snow from Boston’s record snowfall for $89, using the website He said he received requests for 718 pounds (326 kg) of snow from around the United States.

Read: Trump campaign mistakenly tweets star-spangled Nazis

According to, Kyle offers bundles of three leaves of red, yellow and green, ranging from 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) in size. The leaves are preserved in a mixture of glycerin and water and shipped.

New England states bring in an estimated $3 million in tourism revenue during the autumn foliage season, which typically lasts for a couple of weeks in October.

The post New England man offers to ship autumn foliage for $19.99 appeared first on The Express Tribune.

KARACHI: Pakistan cueist Abdul Rahim progressed into the quarter-finals of the IBSF U18 World Championship on Friday after an impressive 4-0 win over Iran’s Arman Atashsokhan in St Petersburg, Russia.

Rahim was troubled in the first frame, which he won with a difference of just seven points, but the second one proved to be easier.

The third frame was a similar story to the first as Rahim had to fight hard, eventually winning it by 11 points.

The Pakistani then outplayed Atashsokhan in the fourth frame to set up a tie against Wales’ Tyler Rees in the last-eight.

Rahim had earlier beaten French Niel Vincent 3-1 in their last-32 match as he came back from a frame down.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Saqib crashed out of the championship after losing his last-32 clash 3-0 to Israel’s Amir Nardeia, who triumphed by scores of 61-41, 83-24 and 81-25.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.

The post Rahim makes it to quarter-finals in Russia appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Hollywood singer Katy Perry says she prefers men who take care of themselves, which includes taking care of their nails and teeth.

The Dark Horse hitmaker shared that she likes men with trimmed hair rather than completely waxed, reports

Read: American makeup artist astounds everyone with his mad skills

“If your teeth and nails are good, you’re a candidate. If you can’t clean under your nails and you want to touch me, forget it. Personally, the lesser the hair, the better. I like a trimmed man, but not completely waxed. I’m not into that f***boy look,” Glamour magazine quoted Perry as saying.

The 30-year-old also shared that there is a certain fragrance which always takes her back to memories of her first boyfriend.

“If I meet a guy in the elevator who’s wearing ‘Acqua di Gio’, I think of my first boyfriend. One of my favourite things about fragrance is the powerful memories associated with it,” Perry said.

Read: Bruno Mars to headline Super Bowl halftime show for second time

“My signature scent now is, and always has been, a blend of vanillas. And I never spray it on my skin. I spritz and walk through or levitate through. I like to spray it on my hair too. With ‘Mad Potion’, the two main ingredients are exotic vanilla and androgynous musk. It’s definitely a sweeter perfume. I like to be edible. I want somebody to… eat me,” she added.

The post Katy Perry prefers groomed men appeared first on The Express Tribune.

International help to assist Indonesia in combatting forest and agricultural fires cloaking Southeast Asia in haze has begun to arrive on Sumatra island, an official said on Saturday. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said a Bombardier amphibious aircraft and Malaysian crew arrived on Friday to begin water bombing South Sumatra. "They are currently being briefed by the disaster mitigation chief and the water bombing will start immediately after that," Sutopo told AFP.

Are you an excessive Facebook freak? Research reveals that it’s due to social anxiety and the need for social assurance by feeling part of a group.

The excessive use of social media can in turn negatively affect school performance, work, and one’s health and well-being, the study said. Researchers found that both social anxiety and the need for social assurance were positive predictors of problematic Facebook use.

Read: Reasons why close friends are good for your health

“But the link between social anxiety and excessive use of Facebook was only significant for users who had medium- to high-levels of need for social assurance — defined as a strong desire to seek companionship and interact with others,” said lead researcher Roselyn Lee-Won from the Ohio State University-Columbus.

The authors said that the combined social connections capability and messaging features of Facebook may offer an appealing social media environment for users with social anxiety.

Read: Depression doesn’t spread: researchers

“Problematic Facebook use seems to result from multi-factorial causes and personality attributes,” said clinical psychologist Brenda K Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, wherein the study was published.

The post Addicted to Facebook? It could be due to social anxiety appeared first on The Express Tribune.


Scores of students and doctors participated in a walk organised to mark World Sight Day on Friday.

The walk was led by Punjab Medical College Principal Sardar Alfareed Zafar, Eye Department head Muhammad Sultan. MPAs Najma Afzal and Shehab Ali were the guests of honour.

Zafar said World Sight Day was observed annually to raise awareness on visual impairment.  “The day provides a platform for organisations to encourage governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to support efforts for preventing blindness” he said. Zafar also spoke about cornea transplants. “Donate your eyes,” he said. “A dead man doesn’t need them but for a blind man, they can mean a new life.” He said all children should be examined by ophthalmologists at the time of admission in schools.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post Walk held to mark World Sight Day appeared first on The Express Tribune.


In what appears to be a new crisis in the making for the beleaguered election body, the ECP has been deluged with complaints about the alleged biased attitude of returning officers appointed to supervise upcoming local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.

“The ECP has received dozens of complaints that returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) are favouring some political parties. Secretary ECP has written letters to chief secretaries asking them to issue clear instructions to the ROs to maintain their impartiality,” said an ECP official.

After lower judiciary led returning officers were maligned for their role in alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections, top judiciary declined to spare its officers for election processes.

The ECP appointed government officers-mainly from district administration group as DROs and ROs to conduct LG polls in Punjab and Sindh.

There had been apprehensions they would remain disinterested in organising the polls. While polling for the first phase is scheduled later this month, ECP is already receiving dozens of complaints against these government officers.

ECP officials claim, their secretary in his letters to chief secretaries of both provinces has warned that the commission would take ‘strict’ action against any RO who violates ECP’s instructions.

Under the existing laws, the ECP does not have any direct powers to take action against such officials. It can only send references against them to their parent departments. Given the political culture in the country, the government departments are hardly seen taking action against their staffers.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015


The post ROs role in upcoming LG polls comes under question appeared first on The Express Tribune.

BEIJING: Novak Djokovic’s China Open charge showed no sign of slowing as he destroyed towering American number one John Isner 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals in a lightning 52 minutes on Friday.

The top-ranked Serb brushed off the 6ft 10in Isner to notch his 27th straight victory at a tournament where he has never been beaten and has now won 23 sets in a row.

Djokovic finished off Isner with a service winner on his first match point to move past Jimmy Connors and into sole second place for best unbeaten starts at a tournament, behind Nadal’s 31 at the French Open.

Next up for the seemingly unstoppable Serb, who won three out of four Grand Slam finals this year to reach 10 major titles, is Spain’s David Ferrer, who beat Taiwanese wildcard Lu Yen-hsun 6-3, 6-1.

Earlier, life was a little trickier for Rafael Nadal as he was forced to come from a set down against America’s Jack Sock before setting up a chance for revenge in the semi-finals against Fabio Fognini.

The out-of-sorts Spanish great, scrapping to recover his form after a tough year, was outgunned by Sock’s howitzer forehand but he dug deep to see off the world number 30, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“It was an important victory for me. Obviously I finished the match playing better than what I started,” said Nadal.

Nadal, into his first hardcourt semi-final for more than a year, will now face Fognini, who has beaten him three times this season.

“He’s a great player. When you play against a great player, especially if you don’t play to your best, your chances are lower,” said Nadal of the Italian, who beat Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

“If I am able to play my best tomorrow… I am going to have my chances. If not, it’s going to be tough. It’s simple. Sport is simple.”

In the women’s draw, Ana Ivanovic beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-5 to set up a semi-final with Timea Bacsinszky, who recovered from a first-set ‘bagel’ to beat Sara Errani 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Agnieszka Radwanska beat Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4 to go into a semi-final clash with the in-form Garbine Muguruza, who halted the run of American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 7-5.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.

The post Djokovic brushes aside Isner to reach China Open semis appeared first on The Express Tribune.


Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale says he is fit and raring to go as Wales look to end their 57-year wait to qualify for a major tournament by booking a place at Euro 2016.

Chris Coleman’s side head into their last two Group B qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and at home to Andorra on October 13 knowing they need just one point to guarantee their berth at an elite event for the first time since the 1958 World Cup.

Wales, who have never appeared at the European Championships, will be able to start planning their trip to France for next year’s finals if they beat or draw with Bosnia and they could even make it with a defeat, if third placed Israel lose or draw against Cyprus.

After the frustration of failing to seal qualification in a nervous draw against Israel last month, Coleman’s unbeaten group leaders have a second chance to make history when they head to the Stadion Bilino Polje in Zenica.

“We have been working hard for many years to be in this position,” said Bale. “We have all been playing with each other for six to eight years. The manager has come in and been amazing.”

Wales defender Chris Gunter can’t wait to savour the feeling of making history for his country. “We’re not the biggest nation but we probably should have done better than we have, certainly the teams I’ve been involved in, and for Welsh fans it’s been real hard times over the years,” he said.

Fourth placed Bosnia sit two points behind Israel and must win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying.

Ireland beat world champions Germany

Germany coach Joachim Low saw his world champions humbled 1-0 by the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2016 qualifying on Thursday but blasted the home side for scoring from their “100th long ball”.

Shane Long’s 70th-minute strike gave Ireland a first competitive victory over the Germans, who still have their fate in their own hands, with a home game against Georgia to come on Sunday and only one point required to reach the finals.

“It was one of the most unnecessary defeats we have suffered in recent years,” said Low.

“It was to be expected that we would face nine or ten players behind the ball and Ireland hitting long, hopeful balls. They only had one opportunity to score.”

Martin O’Neill’s men guaranteed themselves at least a playoff spot, and have a serious chance of automatic qualification for the finals in France next summer. “I’m naturally delighted to win the game,” said O’Neill, who refused to get carried away just yet. “Unfortunately we have still a long way to go yet but it was great to beat the Germans, the world champions, considering the things we had to overcome.”

Northern Ireland qualify for first time

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill pledged that his side will “make an impact” at the Euros after securing a historic qualification for the tournament.

Captain Steven Davis scored twice as O’Neill’s men beat Greece 3-1 at Windsor Park in Belfast on Thursday to qualify for their first major championship since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and their first ever Euros.

“We’re not just going to go to France and enjoy it,” said O’Neill, whose side have risen from 88th to 35th in the FIFA world ranking during his tenure. “We’re going to go and try to make an impact. I genuinely believe, fitness and availability willing, we can go there with a real optimism. 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.

The post Almost there: One point stands between Wales and Euros appeared first on The Express Tribune.


A rift seems to be developing within the federal cabinet after three ministers, each of them heading a key economic portfolio, publicly accused each other of poor performance.

Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal have over last 48 hours publicly vented their frustration against each other. Although the cause for tensions between them appears to be political, they have picked each other’s economic performance to settle their scores.

“Some ministries and divisions feel irritated at the close scrutiny of development projects, but this cannot distract the Planning Commission (PC) from its responsibility to safeguard public money and ensure its effective utilisation,” a commission handout issued on Friday quoted Iqbal as saying.

The planning minister issued the statement in response to Khawaja Asif’s outburst against his ministry.  At a seminar this week, Asif accused Iqbal of working against national interests by delaying the approval of many critical energy sector projects.

“Emperor Shah Jahan could never have built the Taj Mahal if the Planning Commission existed in his time,” Asif said, adding that the commission specialised in delaying and derailing key national projects.

In the same seminar, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called for disbanding the Planning Commission entirely.

Responding to these accusations on Friday, Ahsan Iqbal said: “Business as usual is unacceptable in the execution of public sector development programme due to the presence of a professional team of Planning Commission members.”

Iqbal blamed negligence, poor project management and lack of capacity of some ministries and divisions for “poor estimates of the development projects” that eventually caused delay in their execution.

“The Planning Commission has rationalised the amount of PSDP projects to the total cost of Rs490 billion during the last financial year which is almost equivalent to the total allocation of PSDP amount for a year”, said Iqbal.

A recent project portfolio review by the Asian Development Bank revealed that Pakistan could utilise less than one-fourth of $2.5 billion loans for the energy sector.

Insiders say Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to give preference to one federal minister over another and interference of senior leaders of the ruling party in the affairs of the water and power ministry and the petroleum and natural resources ministry were the causes of frustration for Asif and Abbasi.

Prime Minister Nawaz is said to have given charge of all energy sector projects, particularly those initiated under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, to Ahsan Iqbal and most of other energy-related issues are said to be handled by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Ahsan Iqbal mostly chairs meetings on energy projects under the CPEC and his ministry often does not invite the water and power minister to attend these meetings, according to planning commission sources. They fear that lack of coordination with the water and power ministry might adversely affect progress on CPEC projects.

Khawaja Asif was unavailable for comment. However, people close to him say that in closed-door discussions Asif has started absolving himself of any kind of responsibility of deteriorating conditions in the energy sector.

The government has failed to bring an end to load shedding and the circular debt has mounted up to over Rs600 billion or 2% of Gross Domestic Product during the last one and a half year.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.


The post Cabinet rift out in the open as ministers clash appeared first on The Express Tribune.

ISLAMABAD: Members of an international observatory board on polio have expressed concern over Peshawar and Karachi turning into the last battlegrounds in the fight to eradicate the disease, urging concerted efforts between Pakistan and Afghanistan for the purpose.

Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the national coordinator of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio and had attended the meeting of International Monitoring Board (IMB) in London this week, said that continued transmission of the virus in Peshawar remained a concern.

He added that the meeting pressed for concerted efforts between Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) and Afghanistan to eradicate the disease.

Dr Safdar told The Express Tribune that IMB members, as well as other participants, detailed how sewerage samples from the Peshawar-Khyber block constantly showed presence of polio virus resulting in as many as four cases from the area. “Special emphasis was also laid on Karachi where positive environmental samples continue to emerge,” he said, adding that together with northern Sindh the metropolis accounted for all the four cases reported from the province in 2015.

Appreciation for Pakistan

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, the prime minister’s focal person for polio, highlighted Pakistan efforts to combat the disease at the meeting and how these had resulted in an 85 per cent decline in number of cases.

IMB Chairman Liam Donaldson congratulated Pakistan for the progress achieved since the last IMB meeting in April 2014, and hoped commitment at all levels would continue till the virus is eradicated.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post Polio monitoring group eyes Peshawar with concern appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Dadri, Uttar Pradesh Over 10 days after a mob lynched a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh apparently for slaughtering cattle, forensic tests of the meat have shown that it was mutton, not beef.

Residents of the Bisara village in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh had attacked the family of Muhammad Akhlaq, 50, on September 28. The mob beat Akhlaq to death and severely injured his 22-year old son Danish after rumours had spread that they had slaughtered cows and were consuming beef.

Policemen, who had confiscated meat from Akhlaq’s house after the incident, had sent samples to a vet for preliminary tests and to a forensic lab in Mathura. The vet had reported that the meat was mutton.

A top government official on Friday said that report from the lab in Mathura also confirmed that the meat in Akhlaq’s fridge was mutton, Times of India reported.

The official added that had the meat not been tested, the opposition would have alleged that the government was hiding facts.

Meanwhile, a day after an Indian Kashmir states assembly member was assaulted by fellow MPs, he staged a sit-in protest in Srinagar on Friday, CNN-IBN reported.

Abdul Rashid Shiekh had been assaulted in the assembly by nearly a dozen MPs belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday for serving beef.

On Friday, Rashid and his supporters camped outside the assembly, vowing to stay there till the Himalayan state’s chief minister explained why a bill against a controversial ban on beef was not being allowed in the assembly.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post Mutton found in lynched man’s fridge appeared first on The Express Tribune.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will raise concerns over a stronger Afghan Taliban and their assault on Kunduz during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Barack Obama, scheduled to be held later in October.

The agenda for the meeting was decided in a high-level huddle at the PM House in Islamabad on Friday which was attended by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, along with PM’s Adviser on National Security Sartaj Aziz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, among others.

An official handout of the meeting stated that they reviewed the security situation in the country.

However, well-placed sources in the government said that the military leadership provided its input on key agenda topics for the upcoming meeting. They discussed the implications of recent military advances by Afghan Taliban. The fall of Kunduz, however brief, was seen as a sign of the militant group’s rising power, which was alarming for Pakistan.

While updating Obama on Pakistan’s efforts to broker talks between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government earlier this year, it was decided that Pakistan will seek greater role for China at the table of any future negotiations.

Further, Nawaz and Gen Raheel discussed prospects of putting up a fence on the border with Afghanistan. The proposal was reportedly discussed in this week’s Corps Commanders meeting in Rawalpindi. In this regard, sources said that Pakistan will seek America’s help in convincing Afghanistan to support the endeavor.

Pakistan will also raise the issue of strained ties with India and the frequent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. India’s involvement in Balochistan will also be raised.

Further, it was decided that Pakistan will renew its demand for access to a civil nuclear deal like the one the US has with India. Nawaz will also discuss defence procurements with Obama.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post Nawaz-Obama meeting agenda finalised appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Pop singer and actress Selena Gomez has revealed in an interview that she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus, which led to her canceling the end of her tour in 2013, but that the disease is now in remission.

“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy,” Gomez, 23, told Billboard magazine. “That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke,” she said.

Read: How Bieber gives ‘goosebumps’ to Gomez?

Gomez canceled concerts in Russia and Australia saying at the time that she needed “to spend some time on myself.”

The move, followed by a stint at an Arizona rehabilitation facility, generated tabloid rumors of struggles with pills, alcohol, or even difficulties over her breakup with pop star Justin Bieber, which Gomez told Billboard angered her.

“I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy,” she told the magazine in its new issue which was out on Thursday.

“But I was angry I even felt the need to say that. It’s awful walking into a restaurant and having the whole room look at you, knowing what they’re saying. I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”

Gomez gained fame as a Disney Channel actress in her teens on The Wizards of Waverly Place, before launching a music career with hits such as Love You Like A Love Song.

Read: 5 fun facts about Instagram you probably didn’t know

“It’s so disappointing that I’ve become a tabloid story. It took away everything I loved about this business,” she added.

Gomez, whose new album Revival debuts on Friday, said she is staying healthy now through “diet, routine and medication,” as well as by surrounding herself with supportive friends.

Some 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. The disease mainly strikes females between the ages of 15 and 44 years old.

The post Selena Gomez says suffered from lupus, underwent chemotherapy appeared first on The Express Tribune.

RAMALLAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Ready for action in her pink muslin top, her manicured fingers clutching stones she picked up from the roadside, the 18-year-old declared that “the nation doesn’t only belong to the boys!”

Young Palestinian women have increasingly joined males to hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers and chant slogans as unrest has spread in recent days in the occupied West Bank.

Some defying disapproving families, wrapped in black-and-white scarves, they have joined the front lines, where they face rubber bullets, tear gas, stun grenades and even live fire.

For Israeli security forces, stones and firebombs pose a potentially deadly threat. In other words, the women could die.

“We make up half of society. We also have the right to defend our country,” said the student, kohl-lined eyes visible behind her traditional keffiyeh, during a face-off with the army at a checkpoint outside the city of Ramallah.

“We’re 18, we’re adults and we’re no longer scared.”

But she refused to give her name or have her photo taken.

“If my parents knew I was here…”, said another young woman, long hair escaping from under the keffiyeh, as she drew her thumb rapidly across her throat to mime slaughter.

Her family may not approve, but she believes being here is “a matter of conscience.”

“If everyone’s scared, no one will sacrifice themselves for the nation,” she said.

Like other frustrated young Palestinians, the women say they want to end Israel’s occupation as well as “harassment” by Jewish settlers who live in the West Bank.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has called for resistance and not violence, but many young Palestinians have grown tired of the 80-year-old leader’s pronouncements and of Israel’s right-wing government.

In the runup to his speech at the United Nations headquarters last month, Abbas said he would use the opportunity to drop a “bombshell.”

In the end, all he said was that he was no longer bound by past accords with the Jewish state, accusing the Israeli government of breaking them.

But it remains unclear whether those words will translate into action.

“He promised a bombshell during his last speech but we still haven’t seen anything,” said young woman, whose face was also covered.

The “intifada continues because we stopped listening to the president a long time ago,” said a first-year literature undergraduate.

Abbas has prided himself on obtaining Palestine the status of observer state and saw the Palestinian flag raised at the United Nations for the first time on September 30.

But it’s not enough, these women said.

“It should be up to the people to decide, and I don’t believe in negotiations,” said an 18-year-old accounting student, referring to decades of peace talks.

As she spoke, an Israeli stun grenade whistled in, sending her and her friends running.

They dispersed like a flock of birds, but nearby another group of young women launched into action.

Molotov cocktails and stones in hand, they ran up to the frontline beside the young men to throw them.

Young women are also present at the funerals of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

Keffiyehs on their shoulders, dressed in the red-embroidered national robes or decked out in the latest skinny jeans, they shout: “To Jerusalem, we go, martyrs by the millions.”

“National unity: Fatah, Hamas, Popular Front,” they also chant, referring to the names of different Palestinian political movements.

Representing all political parties, young women turn up in droves at student union meetings and protests.

At a recent union gathering at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, there were more women than men — although the men were the ones who shouted breathlessly into the microphone and stood in front, necks draped in the scarves of the different political movements.

Other young women have gone even further.

One of them is battling death after she stabbed a Jewish man in Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday and he shot her.

The post Manicured fingers throwing stones: Palestinian women join unrest appeared first on The Express Tribune.

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: Two months after its lawmakers tendered their resignations from the Senate, the National Assembly and the Sindh Assembly, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced its return to the legislative bodies on Friday after the government agreed to form a civilian committee to oversee the paramilitary Rangers-led operation in Karachi.

The MQM lawmakers had handed in their resignations in protest against the surgical operation that they claimed was being used for the victimisation of their party.

The announcement came after three-day long talks between the government and MQM in Islamabad. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar led the government’s panel while Farooq Sattar led the MQM team. Later, both the leaders held a press conference after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Talking to the media, Dar said a five-member Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) will start its work from Monday to formulate its rules of procedures and Terms of Reference (ToR) within five days.

Dar said the eight MQM senators will withdraw their resignations as the Senate resumes its session on Monday. “The MQM will also join the National Assembly and the Sindh Assembly after beginning of their sessions,” he added.

The finance minister said the MQM’s resignations were not accepted as they were politically motivated. “So government approached them to review their decision and later both sides succeeded to reach an agreement,” he said.

Dar said Karachi operation was started with the MQM’s consent and would continue as all surveys showed law and order situation of the port city had improved. He said the GRC would submit its final report regarding MQM’s grievances to the federal government.

He also appreciated the reconciliatory efforts of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman, who, on the request of the government, visited to the MQM headquarter 90 to convince the party to take back its lawmakers resignations. The MQM’s Farooq Sattar elaborated the scope of the GRC said, “The MQM from day one demanded a civilian oversight, parliamentary monitoring committee or the GRC on ongoing Karachi operation”.

He said the GRC would address their grievances over the alleged forced disappearances of the MQM’s workers, their targeted killing and violation of basic human rights. “The GRC is preliminary a step, which will address the MQM’s complaints of disappearances of its workers,” he said.

Sattar said that after notification of the GRC, the MQM would start its negotiation with government to get permission to carry out its charity work and political activities at sector level in Karachi.

“The MQM will also negotiate with government over the issue of the ban on the MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s telephonic speeches to the party workers,” he said, adding that the MQM wanted level playing field for upcoming LG election in Sindh province.

Details of the MoU

According to details of the MoU which both the leaders shared in a joint press conference, it is mutually agreed that the government will issue notification for constitution of the GRC.

The GRC will address the MQM’s and any other political party’, person or entity’s concerns regarding the alleged abuse of power or authority by a law enforcement agency or any other government institution during the ongoing operation.

The notification will be issued within five working days of the signing of the MoU. The GRC shall consist of five members of which federal secretary interior will be an ex-officio member and the secretary.

The GRC shall adopt its own procedure and rules of business. The federal government shall provide secretariat support to the GRC. The GRC shall complete its work on the complaints within 90 days.

Immediately upon its notification and preferably within 15 days, the GRC shall take up and attend to the grievances relating to Karachi, under the law and the Constitution, in particular matters relating to life and liberty. The GRC may on case to case basis submit its findings to the federal government.

Sticking points

Although, the MQM and the government’s teams have agreed on the GRC, they have neither agreed on the GRC’s ToR nor committee’s composition.

Sources said the MQM wanted that the GRC should include human rights activists, technocrats and a retired judge – most probably Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid – to probe the MQM’s allegations. Apart from it, the MQM also wanted to determine the ToR of the GRC prior to returning to the assemblies.

However, the MQM has agreed to return to legislatures without first determining the committee’s composition and ToR apparently in view of the upcoming LG elections in Sindh province.

Talking to The Express Tribune, an MQM lawmaker, who wished not to be named, said there were serious concerns that if the party campaigned for the LG polls without taking back its resignations, it might have to face grave difficulties at the hand of law enforcement agencies as it would be without support of its parliamentarians.

SC seeks Senate chairman’s statement

The Supreme Court also directed the court’s registrar to submit Senate Chairman Raza Rabbibi’s ruling regarding resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Quomi Movement (MQM) legislators from National Assembly, the Senate and provincial assemblies.

The three-member bench, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, heard the case related to the resignation issue of the MQM and PTI. During the course of proceedings, Justice Amir Hani Muslim questioned whether the apex court could intervene in the proceedings of the parliament.

Petitioner Zafar Ali Shah, a former PML-N lawmaker, said that parliamentary proceedings was a different matter while the office issue of Speaker National Assembly chamber was another issue which should not be related to the parliamentary proceedings and the court should review the matter.

He said that the resignations of PTI’s National Assembly members were pending in the speaker’s office for the last eight months. He said that the Senate chairman also gave ruling regarding resignations of PTI and MQM parliamentarians.

The chief justice remarked that he had not reviewed the chairman’s ruling and directed to submit before the bench. Syed Zaffar Ali Shah said that the resignations are in the office of the speaker, as they are not being accepted deliberately.

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned the case for one month after issuing notices to the defendants.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015

The post MQM to reclaim seats in assemblies appeared first on The Express Tribune.


In an apparent swipe at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that the country‘s power woes cannot be solved by torching power bills or by issuing speeches from atop a container.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the 1,180 megawatt Bhikki power plant in Sheikhupura on Friday, Nawaz said that his government was not only trying to end the energy crisis, but also in a way that lowered energy prices.

Nawaz said that those criticising the government just for the sake of criticism were not serving the people. Without naming the PTI, he said those hurling abuse at him or his government should at least adopt a decent language.

He also denied having ever promised to end load-shedding within six months of his election.

“Some people attribute this statement to me that I had announced ending the power shortages in six months. When did I say this during my election campaign?” Nawaz asked, before clarifying: “I said electricity shortage will be over in five years of our government’s tenure and we are working towards that.”

The premier said that the Bhikki power project, expected to be completed by the end of 2017, had been estimated to cost Rs95 billion in its initial proposal by NEPRA, but they rationalised the cost. “The cost of this project was estimated to have been Rs95 billion, but it will be completed in Rs55 billion.”

“Media should ask why the project will be completed for far less than the approved cost by NEPRA.” He added that the project would save Rs360 billion over its 30 year life. Further, work on Bhikki and two other power projects would help save the exchequer a whopping Rs1.08 trillion.

Nawaz also criticised opposition to the Kissan bailout package, vowing to take it up in court. “Our Rs341 billion package was meant for small-scale farmers,” Nawaz said as he lamented politicization of the programme. “Opponents linked it (Kissan package) to the local government elections at the expense of farmers.”

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Bhikki project will be completed utilising funds of the province, while it has been jointly commissioned to Harben Electric International of China and General Electric of US.

While promising transparency in the construction of Bhikki power plant, he said that two other power projects of 1,200MW each will be constructed in Hawali Bahadar Shah and Balloki. The Punjab chief minister added that the projects will help end load-shedding in the country.

He also criticised detractors of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stating that work had started on projects under the multi-billion dollar programme.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015


The post Burning power bills can’t end blackouts: Nawaz appeared first on The Express Tribune.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has expressed concern over Thursday’s cancellation of the Samjhauta Express operation, which inconvenienced over 200 passengers from both countries.

Authorities in Pakistan ordered the Delhi-bound Samjhauta Express to return to Lahore railway station from the Wagah border on Thursday after Indian rail officials raised fears over possible security risks in the wake of widespread farmers’ protests.

The Foreign Office on Friday here summoned a senior Indian diplomat to convey Pakistan’s concerns over the cancellation of Samjhauta Express train service.

“The Acting Deputy High Commissioner of India, Mr Raghuram was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Director General (South Asia)Dr Mohammad Faisal to express concern over the cancellation of the operation of Samjhauta Express on October 8,” said the statement issued by the foreign ministry.

The cancellation, the statement said, caused inconvenience to more than 200 passengers from both Pakistan and India.  “The Government of Pakistan has taken all nry ecessasteps to accommodate the stranded Indian passengers, who were not permitted to cross the border yesterday (Thursday),” said the foreign office.

“We expect the Indian side to make utmost efforts to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future and facilitate the travellers from Pakistan and India,” it added.

The train, which runs twice a week between Lahore and Delhi, was carrying 130 Pakistani and 80 Indian passengers. The Samjhota Express is one of the two active rail links between the two countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.

The post Envoy summoned over Samjhauta Express return appeared first on The Express Tribune.


Subscribe to The Dardistan Times aggregator

Bottom Featured


Responsive Adsense

left The Dardistan Times encourages everyone to Contribute to the site.

Subscribe to News

Get News right in your email. Please enter your email and subscribe.

Enter Your Email