Sunday, October 23, 2011

histry is ended, Nusrat Bhutto is no more,

Nusrat Bhutto is no more

KARACHI - Pakistan’s former first lady, Begum Nusrat Bhutto died Sunday afternoon at Iranian Hospital in Dubai where she was brought under critical condition a day earlier.
The 82-year-old lady, whose husband and daughter both served as prime ministers of Pakistan, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the last many years and had been staying in the Gulf state for the last 10 years.
Begum Nusrat was the first member of ZAB family who died on a hospital bed. She witnessed the traumatic hanging of his prime minister husband Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and violent deaths of her two sons Shahnawaz Bhutto, Murtaza Bhutto and daughter Benazir Bhutto.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced 10-day national mourning and a public holiday today (Monday) to mourn Begum Nusrat’s death. He also cancelled all his political engagements. The Federal Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday was also put off. In line with federal government’s decision, the Punjab government also declared the day as a public holiday.
The federal government has also announced to posthumously confer Nishan-e-Pakistan on Begum Nusrat Bhutto for her services to the country and the democracy.
According to a spokesperson of Bilawal House in Karachi, the funeral will take place at Garhi Khuda Bux near Larkana. Her son-in-law, President Asif Ali Zardari reached Dubai, leaving his Jordon trip incomplete, where he was to participate in the World Economic Forum meeting.
Begum Bhutto’s body will be flown to Larkana by a special plane where she will be laid to rest at the ancestral graveyard beside the grave of her slain husband.
A pall of gloom descended on Pakistanis, especially in localities dominated by PPP, as soon as the official announcement was made about Nusrat Bhutto’s death in Dubai. People from all walks of life remembered the graceful figure of Begum Nusrat Bhutto attired in Sari and moving around in official functions and political rallies.
Borne on March 23, 1929 to a rich Iranian business family, Begum Nusrat was married to Mr Bhutto on September 8, 1951 and was her second wife. She had four children, Benazir, Murtaza, Shahnawaz and Sanam. Only Sanam Bhutto is now alive and living in London. He has no interest in politics.
Begum Bhutto went to Dubai along with her daughter Benazir Bhutto who spent eight years in self-exile and took care of her ailing mother apart from leading the PPP from abroad after her party suffered immensely from dictatorial regime of Ziaul Haq. The Bhuttos also spent most of the time of Nawaz Sharif governments abroad.
Nusrat Bhutto showed extraordinary personal strength and determination when she stood by her husband when he was ousted in a military coup on July 5, 1977 and was later sent to gallows on April 4, 1979, following what many allege was a politically motivated conspiracy and murder trial.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto herself led Pakistan People’s Party for several years after her husband’s demise. During Zia’s regime, she personally suffered immensely as a number of cases were filed against her. The military government and elected government of Nawaz Sharif haunted her for many years to discourage her from keeping PPP alive as a political force.
She led processions for democracy and got injured when she was hit by the police baton charge in one of the demonstrations in Lahore. She was said to be having a wound in her head as a result and was denied proper treatment and was banned from travelling abroad by General Zia.
Begum Bhutto was a staunch democrat and always stood by her husband since the day General Ayub Khan removed him as foreign minister from his cabinet in 1966. She encouraged ZA Bhutto to join politics and gave him strength to stand up and fight for democracy.
Begum Bhutto was elected member of the National Assembly in 1977, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997 before she shifted to Dubai with Benazir.
As the first lady she was at the forefront of social activities aimed at alleviating the lot of poor peasants through official channels and as a minister. She was seen as a mother figure by the poor womenfolk of Pakistan.
As a mother she had suffered hugely when her youngest son Shahnawaz Bhutto was poisoned to death in France and when her elder son was gunned down by Sindh Police in a staged encounter just a few yards away from 70 Clifton, where she lived after marrying ZAB.
Due to these most traumatic experiences, Begum Bhutto’s health deteriorated and she went to UAE with her daughter.
Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan from her eight years self-exile on Oct 18, 2007. She escaped a twin bomb blast attack on her reception motorcade on Sharey Faisal on October 18 but the assassins finally reached her on December 27 when they succeeded in assassinating her in an attack on her car after she was returning from a public meeting in Rawalpindi at Liaquat Bagh, where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Khan Liaquat Khan too was gunned down on Oct 16, 1951.
Nazir Siyal adds from Larkana: After the news of Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s death came, party workers, leaders and other people from all walks of life started gathering at Al-Mrutaza House in Larkana and President Zardari’s house in Naudero to participate in mourning rituals. The arrangements for Begum Nusrat’s burial at the ancestral graveyard of Bhutto family in Garhi Khuda Bux were also started.
It was learnt that prominent personalities from different parties and PPP activists and leaders will be reaching Larkana and Garhi Khuda Bux to attend the funeral and burial of Nusrat Bhutto. The place for her grave by the side of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s grave has been finalised by President Asif Ali Zardari and Sanam Bhutto. Arrangements in this regard were being made at Garhi Khuda Bux.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Family planning and Islam

MANY people, especially women, have asked me if family planning is permissible in Islam. They say the imams and ulema say the Quran prohibits family planning and quote a verse which says, “And kill not your children for fear of poverty — We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong” (17:31).
In no way does this verse refer to family planning because it is talking of ‘killing’ and you kill one who exists. No law in the world will permit killing one who is already born and hence the Quran rightly condemns the killing of children. Some people suggest that the verse in question refers to the practice of burying girl children alive and when asked they would say they could not provide for them and hence Allah responds that He provides for them.
Imam Razi suggests the verse refers to both male and female children being kept ignorant. Thus killing them has not been used as in killing the body but the mind which is as bad as killing the body. The word used here is ‘awlad’ i.e. children, which includes both male and female.
Imam Razi’s suggestion seems to be quite reasonable and in fact a large family means children cannot be properly educated by poor parents and hence parents ‘kill’ them mentally by keeping them ignorant.
They cannot even clothe them properly nor can they provide proper living space. In such circumstances one cannot raise quality human beings, and quantity does not matter much. That said, we should understand that at the time of the revelation of the Quran, the problem of family planning did not exist, nor did the need for population control.
It is a modern problem which has arisen in our time. Most nation states in the developing world do not have the economic means to support large populations, and when we say supporting large populations it does not mean only feeding them but also includes education and the provision of proper health services. These are the basic duties of modern nation states.
In fact, in view of the paucity of resources, it has become necessary to adopt family planning. When the Quran was being revealed there was neither any properly organised state nor education nor health services being provided by a state agency.
It is important to note that the Quran, which shows eight ways to spend zakat, does not include education or health which is so essential for the state to provide today. Thus what Imam Razi suggests is not only very correct but also enhances the importance of family planning in modern times as a small family can support better education and health services.
It would be interesting to note that as for verse 4:3 (which is used by Muslims for justification of polygamy) Imam Shafi’i interprets it rather differently. It ends with the words alla ta’ulu, which is generally translated as ‘you may not do injustice’ i.e. do not marry more than one woman so that you may not do injustice. But Imam Shafi’i renders it as ‘so that you do not have a large family’. The Quran has already mentioned that ‘if you fear injustice then marry only one’ woman and so there was no need to repeat it. That is why Imam Shafi’i feels it should be translated as ‘so that you do not have a large family’.
It can be seen that in understanding the Quran even very eminent imams and great scholars differed with one another. One should not impose one single meaning of a verse on all Muslims. The Quran could be interpreted differently by different people in their own context and circumstances, as has historically been the practice. Family planning being a modern need, one should not reject it out of hand and quote Quranic verses out of context.
Family planning does not mean killing children after they are born but to plan the birth of children in a way that parents can bear all the expenses for their education, health, living space, upkeep, etc. in a proper manner. The Quran also suggests that a child be suckled for two years, and it is well known that as long as the mother suckles she may not conceive. Thus, indirectly, the Quran suggests spacing between children.
In hadith literature, we find that the Prophet (PBUH) permitted prevention of conceiving in certain circumstances. When a person asked the Prophet for permission for ‘azl (withdrawal) as he was going for a long journey along with his wife and he did not wish his wife to conceive, the Messenger of Allah allowed him. In those days this was the only known method for planning the birth of a child. Today there are several more methods available.
Imam Ghazali allows even termination of pregnancy if the mother’s life is in danger and suggests several methods for termination. He even allows termination of pregnancy on health grounds or if the mother’s beauty is in danger, provided it is in consultation with her husband. Some scholars referring to the verse 23:14 conclude that one can terminate pregnancy up to three months after conception as the Quran, in this verse, describes the stages of development of the sperm planted in the mother’s womb; it takes three months for life to begin.
However, many ulema today oppose the termination of pregnancy. Whatever the case one cannot declare family planning as prohibited in Islam as it in no way amounts to killing a child. Even the termination of a pregnancy is allowed in order to properly plan the birth of a child according to one’s financial resources.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Afaq Ahmed to remain detained for one more month

KARACHI: The Sindh government under MPO decided on Wednesday that Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM-H) chairman Afaq Ahmed will not be released from the district jail Malir and according to the home department’s notification, will remain in prison for one more month, DawnNews reported.
Ahmed, who was arrested on April 3, 2004, was granted bail in the last of the cases against him by the Sindh High Court on Tuesday.
Hundreds of MQM-H supporters, who had gathered outside the Malir District Jail protested the decision and blocked the National Highway.

Clinton says US close to decision on Haqqanis

WASHINGTON: The United States is close to deciding on whether to label the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist group, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday amid calls for a tougher stance on militants accused of series of high-profile attacks.
“We are in the final, formal review that has to be undertaken to make a government-wide decision to designate the network as a foreign terrorist organization,” Clinton told reporters in an appearance with Egypt’s visiting foreign minister.
Clinton, noting that the United States had already placed a number of individual leaders of the Haqqani network on its terrorism blacklist, said the United States would work with Pakistan to put pressure on such groups.
“We’re going to continue to struggle against terrorism and in particular against those who have taken up safe havens inside Pakistan, and we’re going to continue to work with our Pakistani counterparts to try and root them out,” she said.
A move to name the Haqqanis as a terrorist group would bar US citizens from providing support to the group and freeze any assets it might have in the United States — a symbolic step that might relieve some of the mounting US political pressure to take a harder line with Pakistan.
The Haqqani network has been in the spotlight after US officials accused it of mounting this month’s attack on the US embassy in Kabul with the support of Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency.
The United States has long pressed its ally Pakistan to pursue the Haqqani network, one of the most lethal Taliban-allied Afghan groups fighting Western forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan denies it supports the Haqqanis and says its army is too stretched battling its own Taliban insurgency to go after the network, which has an estimated 10,000-15,000 fighters.
The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, last week urged Clinton to put the Haqqani network on the terrorism blacklist, saying there was no question it met the standard for inclusion.
Some analysts have speculated that the State Department has not yet taken that formal step in hopes the Haqqanis could be reconciled as part of Afghan peace talks between the government and insurgents. Any such talks now seem unlikely at best.
The Haqqani network, based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area, is named after aging leader Jalaluddin Haqqani.
The elder Haqqani was among the mujahideen leaders that fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and his group received CIA backing then.
Clinton noted she raised the issue in a 3-1/2 hour meeting last week with Pakistan’s foreign minister, underscoring that the Haqqanis represented a threat not only to US interests but also to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The United States and Pakistan have vital strategic interests that converge in the fight against terrorism,” Clinton said, noting what she said were “tangible results” of cooperation on anti-terrorism including Pakistan’s recent capture of a senior al Qaeda operative.
“I have no argument with anyone who says this is a very difficult and complex relationship, because it is,” Clinton said. “But I also believe strongly that we have to work together despite those difficulties.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 students among 37 killed as school bus(of faisalabad) crashes in Kallar Kahar

CHAKWAL: At least 37 people — 30 students, six teachers and a school principal — were killed and more than 65 suffered serious injuries when a school bus overturned in Kallar Kahar area on Monday night.

According to police, the accident took place near Salt Range after brakes of the bus failed. The school principal was identified as Mr Hafeez.
Students of the Grammar School, situated in Millat Town of Faisalabad, accompanied by teachers, were returning to Faisalabad from Murree and Islamabad where they had gone on a picnic. They were on way to Faisalabad via Kallar Kahar, also a picnic point, when the tragedy struck and more than 100 students were on board the bus.
The bus overturned after its brakes failed, trapping all students and teachers inside it, DPO Syed Ali Mohsin told Dawn. Bodies of the victims and the injured students were taken out of the vehicle after cutting open body of the bus, Kamran Rasheed, district in-charge of Rescue 1122, said.
He said all bodies and the injured people were taken to Fauji Foundation Hospital, Kallar Kahar, and DHO hospital, adding that the rescue agency was shifting some of the critically injured people to hospitals in Rawalpindi and an emergency had been declared in all hospitals concerned to cope with the situation.
“We have received 10 bodies and 20 injured students,” Medical Superintendent of Fauji Foundation Hospital, Col Mohammad Abid, told Dawn.
He said the injured were being given the best possible treatment. “Two students are in critical condition. We are doing our best.”
Dr Azam Samore, of the DHQ Hospital, said that 20 bodies and 50 injured students had been brought to the hospital.
Ali Mohsin, the DPO, said that police had been put on high alert and they were helping and coordinating with Rescue 1122.
“We, along with the personnel of the Motorway Police, have tried our best to save maximum lives,” he said.
Parents and relatives of the students and teachers, jolted by the tragic news, were coming to Chakwal till filing of this report late in the night.
Some of the victims were identified as Arsalan Arshad, Abu Turab, Ahsan Raza, Noman Azam Noman Faryal, Mehtab, Tajammul, Zohaib Ali and school Principal Hafeez.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Latest News, LHC rejects plea against discount on dengue test

LHC rejects plea against discount on dengue test 

Lahore High Court (LHC) has rejected laboratory owners’ plea to cancel govt orders of charging Rs.90 as dengue test fee.
According to a private television channel, Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan of Lahore High Court started hearing on the petition.
The report submitted in the court by Punjab health secretary maintained that Rs.90 for dengue test is suitable as the owners of the laboratories were looting people by charging large amount for the test.
The laboratories owners took the stance that the machine for the test costs Rs 1 million while the fee charged as Rs 90 does not even meet the expenditure of the machinery.
After hearing arguments from both parties, the court remarked that the masses cannot be deprived of the discounted facility of dengue test while Rs 90 is a suitable fee. The court rejected the petition after hearing arguments.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Space shuttle lands safely after final flight:

WASHINGTON, July 21 (INP): The 135th and final flight of America’s space shuttle fleet landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center early Thursday – ending the three-decade lifetime of a technologically remarkable and versatile spacecraft the likes of which the world is unlikely to see for a very long time.

The shuttle Atlantis and its four crew members touched down in Florida at 5:56 a.m., shortly before sunrise, after a 13-day mission to the International Space Station, the now-completed space laboratory which could never have been built without the huge cargo-carrying capacity of the shuttle.

“After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle’s earned its place in history. And it’s come to a final stop,” radioed commander Christopher Ferguson.
“Job well done, America,” replied mission control. Ferguson and the rest of the crew — pilot Doug Hurley, and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim — had been awoken hours earlier with Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America.”

Ferguson said the shuttle “has changed the way we view the world and it’s changed the way we view our universe.”

Atlantis left the space station Tuesday after delivering a year’s worth of supplies. The one million-pound station, which took 12 years and 37 shuttle flights to build, is clearly the most enduring legacy of the shuttle program.

Now formally designated as a national science laboratory and orbiting 250 miles above Earth, the station is just beginning to perform the science that was always planned for it. Together, the 135 shuttle flights logged more than 537 million flight miles in low-Earth orbit.

Hailing the space shuttle and its astronauts, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said after touchdown that the program was responsible for a long number of “firsts.” But he also focused on what’s to come.

“This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today, we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary--and difficult--steps to ensure America’s leadership in human spaceflight for years to come,” Bolden said.

“Children who dream of being astronauts today may not fly on the space shuttle . . . but, one day, they may walk on Mars. The future belongs to us. And just like those who came before us, we have an obligation to set an ambitious course and take an inspired nation along for the journey.”
One of the shuttle’s final missions was to deploy an eight-pound micro satellite, the last of 180 satellites and observatories large and small that took off from the shuttle. The spacecraft, first conceived in the late 1960s, was initially designed to be a launch pad for many more and larger vehicles, but that promise was never achieved.

With no American spacecraft available to fly to the space station, it will now be re-staffed using Russian Soyuz spaceships and re-supplied by Russian and possibly European and Japanese capsules. The administration is also promoting a program to speed the development of private spaceships that are expected to begin providing services in several years as well.
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