Wanted: Pakistan’s best against Blackcaps

Khalid HussainSaturday, September 22, 2012         (thenews)
From Print Edition

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Editor Sports
Brendon McCullum on Friday showed that Pakistan’s opening World Twenty20 clash against New Zealand at Pallekele on Sunday won’t be a cakewalk. The big-hitting McCullum smashed a whirlwind 58-ball knock of 123 to single-handedly take the game away from a hapless Bangladesh side. McCullum’s stunning onslaught gave New Zealand a crushing 59-run triumph, leaving the Blackcaps full of confidence ahead of their second and last Pool D match against Pakistan.
McCullum’s ton that included 11 fours and seven sixers reminded me of a similar innings from New Zealand captain Ross Taylor at Pallekele last March against Pakistan. Taylor butchered an otherwise impressive Pakistani attack to lead his team to a big World Cup win. He was good against all the bowlers but was particularly punishing towards Shoaib Akhtar. The fast bowler was milked for runs in a manner that the Pakistan management could not bring itself to fielding Shoaib in any of the team’s remaining World Cup games. Shoaib retired from international cricket during the World Cup, an unceremonious exit for one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket. The Pallekele game turned out to be his last match.
Apart from McCullum and Taylor, New Zealand have a few other match-winning players in their line-up which make them a tough team to beat in this format. But that doesn’t mean that Pakistan can’t beat them. Pakistan, too, have some of T20 format’s most destructive players in their squad and just need to be at their best to avoid a mishap against New Zealand.
I would have seen Pakistan as outright favourites had Sunday’s game been played on a venue like Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium. At Premadasa, Pakistan’s spin battery that includes some of the world’s most lethal bowlers would have flattened New Zealand.
But Pallekele is a different story. It’s perhaps the most pace-friendly wicket in Sri Lanka, which is why New Zealand must be
fancying their chances of beating Pakistan and topping Pool D.
The good news for Pakistan is that their pace attack isn’t toothless either. Umar Gul is looking good while they have several other pace options in Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir, Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat.
Pakistan need to rethink their strategy of playing too many openers.
They can easily omit Imran Nazir and bring in a seasoned allrounder like Razzaq. I’m sure having played a lot of cricket in Sri Lanka in recent times the Pakistanis would read the conditions correctly and field the best possible combination for what is a very important match. Winning it would almost be a sure ticket to the Super-Eights but a loss would mean a must-win game against Bangladesh on Tuesday.
The way McCullum thrashed their bowlers must have left the Tigers wounded and they would give their best to upset Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have become the first of the minnows to pack their bags and go home after back-to-back losses. Zimbabwe’s showing was quite below-par as they never showed any real hunger to join the top eight teams of the competition. More of the underdogs are set to follow suit as we cruise towards to the business end of the tournament when the real battle for supremacy will begin.

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Anti-terror talks with US, Afghans soon

September 22, 2012 – Updated 414 PKT 
From Web Edition

WASHINGTON: Foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, Thursday revealed that her country would soon hold confidential talks with the United States and Afghanistan to improve a three-way counterterrorism relationship beset by misunderstandings, including one over the Pakistan-based Haqqani network that Washington considers the greatest threat to Afghan stability.
But she refused to say whether her government was ready to take any action against the militants.
In an interview with a foreign news agency, Khar said senior officials from the three countries have been instructed to come up with a strategy for repairing cooperation that has suffered since US-Pakistani relations collapsed a year and half ago.
That chill in relations was brought on by a CIA contractor’s killing of two Pakistanis, the unilateral US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound inside Pakistan and the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani troops in November by Nato forces.
A key element of the talks will be to determine which militant groups can be persuaded to lay down their arms as part of an Afghan peace treaty, a key if so far lagging part of the US strategy to stabilize the country as it withdraws forces over the next two years.
“This has to be a joint effort to determine who is a threat … to determine how do we deal with those who are a threat, and how do we bring in those which are not,” said Khar, who was in Washington on her first official visit since being appointed Pakistan’s top diplomat last year.
“We are willing to work with anyone against any forces which are a threat to peace and stability.”
Khar also addressed other contentious points in the US-Pakistani relationship, heaping scorn on the doctor who allegedly helped the US track down bin Laden in Pakistan last year and defending her government’s decision to declare a national holiday on Friday so people can demonstrate against an American-made Internet video that ridicules Islam.
Lawmakers have been demanding tough Pakistani action on the Haqqani network, which the Obama administration formally designated as a terrorist body on Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the news agency in August that he believed a Pakistani attack on the network would occur soon.
A subsidiary of the Taliban and based in the remote North Waziristan region of Pakistan, the Haqqani network is responsible for several attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, including last September’s rocket-propelled grenade assault on the US Embassy and Nato headquarters.
American officials estimate it has 2,000 to 4,000 fighters and that it maintains close relationships with al Qaeda.
Khar dismissed the notion that Pakistan had any special responsibility to deal with the Haqqanis, lumping them in with the 5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
“We would be happy to send each one of them back and live in peace in Pakistan,” she said.
But she refused to say whether her government would be willing in its three-way talks with the US and Afghanistan to commit to taking on the Haqqanis militarily.
The White House declined to comment on the counterterrorism talks, but US officials familiar with the developments saw cause for optimism in the upcoming negotiations, which were worked out by President Barack Obama’s chief Afghanistan and Pakistan advisers, Marc Grossman and Doug Lute, in a meeting last week with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
A “working group” will include top US officials from the White House, State Department and Pentagon along with their Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, one current and one former US official said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks publicly.
The US and Pakistan are also holding talks on other counterterrorism issues, including CIA drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, but the talks so far have produced no breakthroughs, US and Pakistani officials say.
Pakistan wants the drone strikes stopped, or it wants to control the drones directly _ something the US refuses.
Khar called the working group a “turning point.”
But she made it clear that Islamabad was not simply going to do Washington’s bidding, sharply criticizing Panetta for his comments about supposed Pakistani military operations.
Khar said Panetta was speaking “beyond his scope.”
“He is obviously welcome to talk about what military action will take place by American troops,” Khar said, but not Pakistan’s.
And she pointed a finger back at the United States for the “hundreds” of militants crossing the border from Afghanistan and “slaughtering our soldiers,” including 17 troops who were beheaded recently.
Khar also sought to explain the Pakistani decision to declare Friday a national holiday, saying the “day of loving the prophet” would motivate the peaceful majority to demonstrate their love for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and not allow extremists to turn it into a show of anger.

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US drone strike kills 3 in N Waziristan

September 22, 2012 – Updated 834 PKT
From Web Edition




MIRANSHAH: At least three persons were killed when a suspected US drone fired missiles in North Waziristan Saturday morning, Geo News reported.

According to initial reports, the strike took place in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan where a drone fired missiles on a vehicle that killed three passengers.
Witnesses told that drones continued hovering over the area even after the strike that triggered fear among the residents.

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Sacrilege be declared crime globally: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Friday demanded from the world community to declare sacrilege a crime globally.
Sacrilege was intolerable for the Muslims, as it was not the issue of freedom of expression instead it was the question of violence on earth, Geo News reported.
Addressing the Ishq-e-Rasool Conference here, the prime minister said that freedom of expression didn’t mean that revered personalities be made a target, adding that protest against such despicable acts was our religious duty.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that the world today was threatened by religious extremism and one of the reasons of extremism was disrespect to other religions.
PM said that the miscreants have targeted the greatest personality of the universe whom no power on earth could ever cause any damage.
PM said that the sentiments of the Muslims were not taken care of, while the debate on holocaust was forbidden. Pakistan has the right to protest against the anti-Islam film and added that all the religions, beliefs and the revered personalities must be respected.
He said that Pakistan was the only Islamic country observing protest day officially and this was not all but President Asif Ali Zardari would be taking up this issue in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
He said anti-social elements were using the concept of freedom of speech in an offensive manner, adding that, Islam was a religion of peace and preached respect for all faiths.
PM Ashraf further said that a significant factor leading to increased extremism the world over was lack of mutual respect among followers of different religions.
He said if such actions did not stop, they would create instability worldwide.

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Who Should We Blame?

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PAKISTAN-ISLAM-UNREST-FILM-US-LIBYA

While in the wake of the controversial US video clandestinely uploaded, numerous protests and a backwash of anti-Youtube and US rhetoric can be well witnessed around us; there might surely be facts that lay lurking in the twilight zone of the reality and its portrayal.

To begin with, where it’s important to condemn and castigate the mockery of what is of  highest sentimental value to us and the Muslims across the globe, it is equally crucial to get a deep insight into details eclipsed by the emotional backlash.
The first critical questions is why where google has pulled down the video in Singapore, India and Saudi Arabia, is showing an apparent reluctance in Pakistan?  It should not be shocking to note that these countries have already signed ‘Mutual Legal Treaty’ with their US google and youtube counterparts and so inherently covering the two into the jurisdiction of the local courts. India for one has already signed this treaty four years back. The


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Army summoned to protect red zone in ISB

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army has been summoned to protect the red zone and diplomatic enclave from demonstrators protesting against the anti-Islam film here.

Protesters pelted vehicles with stones near a five star hotel located close to the red zone. At least nine policemen have been injured during clashes with protesters. Police have used tear gas and baton charged protesters to disperse them.
The police have also placed containers around the red zone as a measure to restrict the protesters from entering the area and marching towards the diplomatic enclave.

Nation observing Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool

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By Muhammad Anis
September 21, 2012 – Updated 39 PKT
From Web Edition

 


ISLAMABAD: The country, particularly the federal capital, will see yet another wave of widespread protests today (Friday) against a blasphemous film that was posted on the internet and has sparked demonstrations across the Muslim world.


All religious and political parties have given a protest call to workers and the public to march towards Islamabad from Rawalpindi and adjoining areas of the twin cities.


In light of the decision taken by the federal government, governments in the centre and provinces have announced a public holiday today (Friday) to observe “Yaum-e-Ishaq-e-Rasool (SAW)” while appealing to the masses to register peaceful protest against the condemnable blasphemous act.
The traders’ community and petroleum and CNG associations have announced shutting down their businesses and joining the protest rallies while the transporters’ association has also said that public transport will remain off the roads.
Official sources said in view of Thursday’s strong protest and clashes between protestors and police, which resulted in injuries to scores of police personnel and others, authorities concerned have decided to review security arrangements in Islamabad.
A spokesman for the Difa-e-Pakistan Council on Thursday said that the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamaatud Daawa and other religious parties would take out a rally from Aabpara Chowk after Jumma prayers to the National Press Club. He said the JI amir Syed Munawar Hassan, Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, Ejazul Haq and other leaders would lead a protest demonstration in Lahore.
Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, amir of Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, has asked people to participate in the protest demonstrations, and announced that an all parties conference would also be held in Islamabad on September 26. He also appealed to the masses to register their protest in a peaceful manner, adding that they should not damage or put on fire public property and vehicles.
The spokesman said that besides Islamabad, calls have been given for protest rallies in four provincial capitals, other major cities and Azad Kashmir.
Dr Waseem Akhtar, a senior central leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), said it would not be possible to cool down people all over the country unless the US ambassador was ousted from Islamabad. “The US, in the name of freedom of expression, is continuing to patronise elements that time and again commit blasphemous acts,” he said, adding that the US government should apologise to Muslims all over the world.
The PPP, PML-N, PTI, JUI-F and other parties have also announced holding protest programmes in major cities of the country.

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US to modernize nuclear arsenal: report

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WASHINGTON: The US government plans to undertake the costliest modernization of its nuclear arsenal in history, even though the military as a whole is facing stiff spending cuts, The Washington Post reported late Saturday.

The newspaper said there is no official price estimate for the effort to upgrade and maintain the 5,113 warheads in the inventory and replace old delivery systems and renovate the aging nuclear facilities.

But a study this summer by the Stimson Center, a Washington think-tank, estimated costs would be at least $352 billion over the coming decade, the report said. Others say the figure could be far higher, particularly if the work is delayed even longer, the paper noted.


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–> Upgrading just one of the seven types of weapons in the stockpile, the B61 bomb, is likely to cost $10 billion over five years, The Post noted. It would cost up to $110 billion to build 12 replacements for the aging Ohio-class submarines, the paper added, citing estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

According to the report, the Minuteman III ballistic missiles are undergoing a $7 billion upgrade. At the same time, a nuclear-capable fleet of F-35 strike aircraft is being built to replace existing aircraft at a cost of $162 million an airplane, the paper pointed out. Modernizing the buildings and laboratories where the refurbishments will take place is expected to cost at least $88 billion over 10 years, the report said