Four banned outfit members nabbed

TAXILA: Four members of a banned outfit were arrested by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) during a raid in Rehbar Colony on Wednesday night.

Sources said the team raided the house of one of the members, enlisted in fourth schedule and arrested him.

Later on his identification, the team arrested his three colleagues and shifted them to undisclosed location.

The police sources said that the action was taken in line with National Action Plan (NAP) to ensure peace during Muharram.

Meanwhile, the law enforcement agencies in collaboration with army combed New Kashmir Colony, Garri Afghanan and Basti Area following the murder of two members of Shia community in Kashmir Colony on Tuesday evening, besides checking anti social elements.

The victims were going home after attending Majlis in newly constructed Imambargah Qaim Al-e-Muhammad when unknown the assassins opened fire on them.


Parliament Watch: Kashmir is for PML-N what Panamagate was for PTI

Carpe diem; politics is all about opportunities. If a party capitalises on an opening at the right time, it could mean the difference between acclaim and ridicule.

So it should come as no surprise that just as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) seized the opportunity presented by the Panama Papers leak in April this year, so too has the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) pounced on deteriorating relations with India to divert public opinion from a scandal that could potentially embarrass its top leadership.

It has been fascinating to see how political machinations have unfolded in Pakistan over the past couple of months. When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was at the United Nations General Assembly making a case against Indian excesses in Kashmir, PTI chief Imran Khan was burning the midnight oil, exhorting party workers to join him in Raiwind – near the prime minister’s residence – for an anti-corruption protest.

At the UN, the prime minister was appreciated for effectively highlighting the plight of the Kashmiri people. The political leadership back home was also happy with his stance.

But with tensions simmering between India and Pakistan along the LoC, all opposition parties distanced themselves from the march on Raiwind, leaving Mr Khan to shoulder the huge responsibility of pulling off a massive show single-handedly.

But he managed to pull it off. Political commentators across the board acknowledged that the PTI chief had pulled off an impressive show; not only was there a large crowd, but participants listened to him on the Panamagate scandal.

The PTI leader has now threatened to lay siege to the capital city if the prime minister and his family didn’t present themselves for accountability. On the flip side, PM Sharif and his cohorts are putting up a brave, yet restrained defence in the face of constant Indian posturing, which is also being seen as a moral victory.

Now, after having succeeded on their respective fronts, it seems that both parties have decided to stick to the same game plans that have afforded them success thus far.

In background conversations with close aides to both leaders – Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan – individuals from both sides confirmed their strategies and justified them under the prevailing circumstances.

For one senior PML-N leader, it was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had boldly raised the Kashmir issue in sharp contrast to his predecessors. “Why shouldn’t we take credit for it?” he asked.

No former leader, be it former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf or former president Asif Ali Zardari, no one had dared to speak on Kashmir in such a tone as PM Sharif adopted before the UN, he argued.

When confronted over why the government was whipping up tensions along the LoC, despite the army’s claim that no surgical strikes were carried out by India, the ruling party leader argued that it was the Indian leadership that had forced Pakistan to respond.

Moreover, another PML-N source said, whether they it was mere rhetoric or genuine threats from across the border, the calls for a multi-party conference and the joint sitting of parliament were actually issued by the PPP and other political parties; the government had only responded positively.

“Yes, at a time when Imran Khan is turning up the pressure on the government over Panamagate, these events are no less than a blessing in disguise for the government to divert the media’s prying gaze.”

On the other hand, the PTI leadership offers equally plausible arguments for its action plan. One of the party’s senior office bearers told Dawn that tens of thousands of people had come out in Lahore, not to appreciate the PM’s speech, but to seek accountability for him.

“The Kashmir issue is very dear to every Pakistani, but that doesn’t mean we should stop highlighting the government’s corruption and stand behind the prime minister whose name has appeared in the Panama Papers.”

As the PTI chairman said when he announced his boycott of parliament, the resolution passed by the multi-party conference was more than enough to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people. “The government wants to continue its propaganda to sideline the Panamagate scandal and the PTI will not let that happen,” said the PTI office bearer.

Samsung in hot waters after ‘new’ phone catches fire on plane

Singapore: A combination photo shows a Samsung Note 7 exploding as pressure is being applied to its fully charged battery during a test at the Applied Energy Hub battery laboratory on Thursday.—Reuters
Singapore: A combination photo shows a Samsung Note 7 exploding as pressure is being applied to its fully charged battery during a test at the Applied Energy Hub battery laboratory on Thursday.—Reuters

CHICAGO: A US flight was evacuated prior to takeoff when a passenger’s Galaxy Note 7 — reportedly a replacement in Samsung’s global recall — caught fire, landing the company in new controversy.

Samsung has been struggling with a recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handsets due to complaints of exploding batteries, a problem the replacement phones are supposed to fix.

But on Wednesday, a Southwest Airlines flight leaving Louisville, Kentucky was evacuated after a passenger’s new Samsung phone began emitting smoke.

Brian Green, the owner, told tech news website The Verge that the phone was a replacement, which he picked up on Sept 21. He also provided a picture of its box, which has a black square symbol indicating that it was a replacement.

Some 60 per cent of US consumers had swapped their devices for replacements by the end of last month.

The Verge reported Green had powered down the phone for takeoff, an account The New York Times confirmed through other eyewitnesses.

The heat damage from the apparent explosion was so severe that a fire official could not independently verify the model of the phone, according to ABC News.

“Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7,” Samsung said in a statement.

“We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause,” the company added. “Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.” The unprecedented recall, the first involving Samsung’s flagship smartphone, has struck a blow to the reputation of the South Korean electronics giant, the world’s largest smartphone maker.

With ever-fiercer competition, Samsung is desperate to avoid a full-blown disaster that could hammer its reputation. Meanwhile the recall could cost the firm $3 billion in the long run, some analysts say.

“The continued news reports about the Note 7 aren’t good for Samsung, especially for its brand reputation,” Park Kang-ho, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co. told Bloomberg.

“If the noise continues even as phones are replaced, consumers will start raising doubts over the next Galaxy S model, so the faster Samsung settles things the better for its business.” Southwest Airlines said in a statement that all customers and crew “deplaned calmly and safely via the main cabin door.”

Na Maloom Afraad duo Mohsin and Kubra get together for TV drama Muqabbil

Mohsin Abbas Haider is set to make his TV drama debut with Muqabbil, and he’s got the company of his Na Maloom Afraad co-star Kubra Khanum for this first in his career.

Where there are old pals, there are selfies! Mohsin with Kubra on the set of Muqabbil
Where there are old pals, there are selfies! Mohsin with Kubra on the set of Muqabbil

The drama, written by Zafar Mairaj and directed by Ali Hassan, casts him in a rather subdued role, which means Mohsin finally gets to wrap up his funny man routine.

“The best thing about this drama is that for the first time in my 10-11 year career, the audience will see me in a role that isn’t loud or hyperactive. I play a very sober, sambhala hua (composed) person in Muqabbil.

Mohsin and Kubra with senior co-star Saifee Hassan
Mohsin and Kubra with senior co-star Saifee Hassan

“People don’t expect this kind of acting from me, but honestly, this is how I’d like to act. I hope I haven’t got the stamp of a non-serious, funny guy, and if I have, I hope to change that perception, and show my other side, my real side, through Muqabbil.”

Mohsin with senior co-star Saba Hameed
Mohsin with senior co-star Saba Hameed

Why come into dramas so late, we ask?

“I used to get offers for drama serials in the past as well, but due to [my daily gig at ] Mazaaq Raat, I wasn’t able to make time for them. I only did a few telefilms that would wrap up in a few days.”

“Now that I felt that I should take acting more seriously, I decided to step foot into our thriving drama industry because there’s no better place to explore one’s acting potential.”

“I talked to the Mazaaq Raat team, and they gave me the leeway to balance both projects together. So here I am.”

Pakistan’s Polish Patriot

‘Our Man in Karachi’

Recently declassified files reveal how the Polish secret services tried to recruit a Pakistani hero as a spy

by: Natalia Laskowska

Turowicz’s health was deteriorating. He knew he was a financial burden to his family. It would come as no surprise if he committed suicide, a Polish intelligence officer wrote in 1971.

Wadysaw Józef Marian Turowicz was one of the refugee pilots from Poland who joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and fought for Britain during the Second World War. No longer needed by the Allies after the war and unwelcome in their newly communist homeland, some of the pilots settled in Pakistan and helped to establish one of the most admired air forces in the world at the time.

An aeronautical and astrophysics engineer in addition to being an avid pilot, he would go on to rise to the rank of Air Commodore and also headed up its space and missile programmes. Pakistan would bestow numerous national and military honours on him, and also grant him and his family Pakistani citizenship.

He helped establish the Pakistan Air Force and was known as the godfather of Pakistan’s space and missile programme.But Air Commodore Władysław Turowicz (pronounced Vuadisuav Turovich) was a Pole who became a Pakistani hero.

A Polish man who became the national hero of Pakistan. His name does not exist on the pages of Polish history, but he figures in the records of Służba Bezpieczestwa, or SB, the security service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the People’s Republic of Poland, which allocated a big budget and a group of its best men to recruit Air Commodore Turowicz into its structures.

“Did he spy against Pakistan?” I asked the employee of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw who guided me through the microfilms on Turowicz and his family.

The institute has recently opened to the public thousands of files from the notorious agency which was the main intelligence organisation in communist Poland from 1956 until the end of the People’s Republic in 1989.

“It is not clear, there’s been no research on the Polish pilots in the Pakistan Air Force, so you must go through all these files to find out. But I hope he didn’t, those pilots were people of better sort, of much higher standards,” he said leaving me with SB reports, intercepted letters to family members, photographs, bills, medical checks, conversation transcripts, and handwritten notes of several agents involved in recruiting Turowicz.

Turowicz with other officers (Chaklala, 1954) -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.
Turowicz with other officers (Chaklala, 1954) -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.

The SB’s preliminary note says Turowicz, with his high rank in the Pakistani military, huge respect and knowledge, would be a valuable asset for the organisation. It seems they became interested in recruiting him when he joined the national space agency after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and further reinforced their efforts when Pakistan was about to launch its nuclear program.

According to the biographical file, Turowicz was born in 1909, in Wadziejewsko village, Siberia, to an aristocratic family. The very Polish name of the village might suggest it was colony for Poles imprisoned or exiled by the Tsar; it is also unlikely that Polish aristocrats would live far in the Amur valley, on the border of Russia and China, for reasons other than political.

In 1920, with his parents and siblings, Turowicz began the journey to Poland which finally was a sovereign republic again after 150 years when Russia, Prussia and Austria annexed its lands.

They reached Poland in 1922, and settled down in Warsaw. After matriculation, Turowicz was enrolled at the Faculty of Aviation of the Warsaw University of Technology. A brilliant aeronautical engineer, he graduated with honours.

He liked air racing. In 1936, at the Warsaw Aero Club, he met his future wife Zofia who, at the age of 20, was already a famous glider pilot. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Turowicz — then a Polish Air Force lieutenant — was stationed in south-western Poland. He received the order to retreat to Romania and was soon locked up in an internment camp. Zofia found him there in 1940, and somehow managed to receive permission for them to marry.

In autumn 1940, they began the journey to the West. Through Hungary, Yugoslavia, Switzerland and France, they reached England. Turowicz joined the Royal Air Force as a flying instructor and a test pilot.

Turowicz being decorated by President Ayub Khan in 1966 for meritorious service to the Pakistan Air Force -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.
Turowicz being decorated by President Ayub Khan in 1966 for meritorious service to the Pakistan Air Force -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.

The first SB officer in charge of recruiting Turowicz reported he could not get accustomed to life in England and left when an opportunity arose in 1948. That opportunity was in the newly formed state of Pakistan and he moved with 30-odd other Polish pilots to RAF’s base in Karachi.

The statement is unconvincing. Unfortunately, documents on the group of Polish pilots who helped establish the Pakistan Air Force remain classified in Great Britain, which had seen over 8,000 Polish air personnel arriving on its shores in 1940. Many of them, who could no longer fight in their country which had been torn to pieces by the Nazis and Soviets, believed they could strive against the German Luftwaffe from the sceptred isle.

Polish Squadron 303 was considered the best unit in the Battle of Britain.

But the RAF no longer needed them after the war. Neither did Poland. Many pilots who returned after the war were imprisoned by the new communist regime. The government of Pakistan chose 30 Polish officers from the RAF, offering them three-year contracts and a home when they could not return to their land of original belonging.

A beautiful documentary film directed by Anna Pietraszek, Polish Eaglets Over Pakistan (2008), has thus far been the only attempt to bring them back — or at least their names — to Poland.

A monument in honour of Turowicz at the Pakistan Air Force Museum -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.
A monument in honour of Turowicz at the Pakistan Air Force Museum -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.

Group Captain (retd) S. Ahtesham A. Naqvi of PAF spoke to Pietraszek about how, even after 60 years, he remembered the Polish pilots as his teachers, instructors at the Pakistan Air Force Academy in Risalpur, and friends.

“Poles came to help us when we were abandoned by everyone else,” he says in the documentary.

The Poles might have felt the same.

Plaque at PAF Museum Karachi
Plaque at PAF Museum Karachi

Air Vice Marshal M. Akhtar, Air Commodore Kamal Ahmad and Squadron Leader Ahmad Rafi remember them as kind, noble and soft-spoken. They were not “foreigners” they say; Turowicz was “like an elder brother.”

Akhtar says that the first thing that impressed him and which he found endearing was that Turowicz, as a senior officer, had the privilege to be served food in his own room but would always come to eat at the canteen with the younger pilots.

In SB files, the agent described him as “a Pakistan enthusiast.” He interpreted Turowicz’s enthusiasm as “a debt of gratitude.”

Turowicz was interested in everything related to Poland. All of the SB agents involved in the operation to enlist him — diplomats, representatives of a foreign trade agency or engineers — observed that Turowicz was a “pre-war kind of patriot.” They were convinced this deep, idealistic patriotism only needed a proper material incentive to have him recruited, especially as his health and the family’s financial situation were not good; Zofia had to become a physics and mathematics teacher to support them.

‘Pre-war’ in the Polish language is charged with meaning other than chronological. Years ago, when it could still be used for people, my grandmother would recommend a doctor as “a good pre-war physician.” My mother, who had not witnessed the war, often mentions ‘pre-war’ manners or gallantry if a man has to be described as courteous. We all know the pre-war intelligentsia was of better quality, higher moral standards. In this term there is a lot of what Pakistanis call lehaaz — good upbringing, graciousness.

Air Commodore Wladyslaw Turowicz (Second from right), Mrs Zofia Turowicz (Third from left) with other officers and cadets (1954, Chaklala)
Air Commodore Wladyslaw Turowicz (Second from right), Mrs Zofia Turowicz (Third from left) with other officers and cadets (1954, Chaklala)

Between 1918 and 1939, Poland saw remarkable economic and scientific developments, the flourishing of mathematics, philosophy and psychology. The famous Lwów-Warsaw school of thought was then at the height of its international recognition. The Second World War, followed by nearly half a century behind the iron curtain, cut this legacy off in every possible sense.

It was surprising, at the very least, to see the ‘pre-war’ attribute used by SB functionaries; to many Poles now their agency remains the most despicable manifestation of Poland’s post-war reality.

Turowicz is buried at the Karachi Christian Cemetery -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.
Turowicz is buried at the Karachi Christian Cemetery -Photos by Tahir Jamal/White Star. Courtesy Pakistan Air Force Museum.

While reading the letters of Turowicz family members or persons who posed as their friends, I could not contain the feeling of guilt. Going through personal correspondence and reports of those who intercepted it, feels like two-fold eavesdropping. At some point the agents seemed to be close with Turowicz. Maybe a real friendship was established — if anything meaningful can flourish from an unequal relationship based on a betrayal of intimacy.

Through the archive files I entered Turowicz’s private life without invitation and with helplessness. In films, when our heroes are in danger, sometimes we want to warn them and change the course of what has already happened — it was the same kind of futile desire to intervene.

Statue of Turowicz at PAF Museum Karachi.
Statue of Turowicz at PAF Museum Karachi.

In 1966, the SB approached Turowicz’s eldest daughter who was visiting her aunt and grandmother in Warsaw. A handsome officer was put in charge of courting her to gain an entry point to her father. He could have been successful, as even the aunt and grandmother saw in him a potential husband for the young lady. But the story ended soon, as another agent stationed in Pakistan had already begun to establish a cordial relationship with Turowicz himself.

It seems the first attempt at recruitment was unsuccessful. During a reception hosted by a Polish diplomat, one of the guests who allegedly represented the Polish Air Force, insisted on a one-to-one conversation Turowicz. After a while Turowicz left the party.

In 1970, Turowicz visited Poland for the first time after the war, to receive treatment at a well-known orthopaedic clinic near Warsaw. A doctoral student in engineering was placed at the same clinic to seek Turowicz’s help in translating English technical terms. On the last day, the student asked whether Turowicz loved Poland enough to do something for its benefit.

AOC SAC receiving Consul General, Republic of Poland at the PAF Museum-14 August 2006.
AOC SAC receiving Consul General, Republic of Poland at the PAF Museum-14 August 2006.

Turowicz certainly loved Poland, but that Poland was already owned by the past, or maybe it never existed. His Poland was a collection of nostalgias — inherited from parents in Siberia and later his own, and informed by pre-war nobility and honour.

A few days after the incident with the agent in student garb, the Polish diplomat who had befriended Turowicz’s family in Karachi invited him and his sister for a dinner in Warsaw. Discussion focused on a rumour that the Polish Communist Party’s secretary’s translator was a spy and had escaped to Germany. After a long silence, Turowicz confessed he had met many spies, especially during the Indo-Pakistani war. He said they were slimy, worthless people, men without qualities, whom he would never let close.

He then raised his voice: “I will never become one of them.”

The file ends with signatures, stamps of senior officers and a note that the operation was aborted since all further attempts to recruit Turowicz would be to no avail.

The writer is a Jakarta-based Polish translator and doctoral candidate in Southeast Asian studies at Leiden University. She tweets @cukiereczki.

Air Commodore Turowicz

A retired group captain from PAF recalls the most unlikely Pakistani soldier

by S. M. Hali

Of the many post-Second World War episodes, one which merits attention is that of a group of Polish officers and men, who had sought refuge in Britain after their homeland was invaded by Germany. Most volunteered for the armed forces; a considerable number joined the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Air Commodore Władysław Turowicz
Air Commodore Władysław Turowicz

When Pakistan offered them three-year contracts with high salaries, 30 Polish officers choose to join the Royal Pakistan Air Force (RPAF) as it was known then. (‘Royal’ was dropped in 1956 when Pakistan became a Republic). They were led by Squadron Leader Wadysaw Józef Marian Turowicz, a pilot and engineer. He was commissioned in the Polish Air Force as an aeronautical engineer and fighter pilot, but later immigrated to the United Kingdom to join the RAF.

During the Second World War, he flew the British-built Handley Page Halifax Bomber and also served in the RAF Aeronautics Division as a technical inspector, overseeing aircraft electrical and system information for organising, testing, and evaluating aircraft.

When Turowicz joined the Royal Pakistan Air Force in 1948, he brought his tremendous skills and knowledge with him. He set up technical institutes in Karachi, and taught at and revitalised the Pakistan Air Force Academy where he also worked as chief scientist. In 1952, Turowicz was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander, in 1959, to the rank of Group Captain, and in 1960 he became an Air Commodore and an Assistant Chief of Air Staff in charge of PAF’s Maintenance Branch.

Air HQ staff circa 1961-Turowicz seated extreme right.
Air HQ staff circa 1961-Turowicz seated extreme right.

In 1966, the Government of Pakistan transferred Turowicz to the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), Pakistan’s national space agency, as its chief scientist. After the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, he and Nobel laureate Dr. Abdus Salam successfully convinced the then president, Ayub Khan, of the importance of a space programme for a developing country like Pakistan. The duo also persuaded the US Government to invest and train Pakistan’s scientists in the field of rocket technology.

Turowicz was appointed head of Suparco in 1967 where he initiated the space programme, upgraded the Sonmiani Satellite Launch Centre, installed the Flight-Test Control Command, the Launch Pad Control System and System Engineering Division. Turowicz embarked upon a project for the fabrication and launch of a Pakistani satellite which enabled Pakistan to master the field of rocket technology. Few people are aware that the renowned engineer designed ballistic missiles of short and medium range and also participated in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Mrs Zofia Turowicz (third from left) with other instructors and cadets (Chaklala,1954)
Mrs Zofia Turowicz (third from left) with other instructors and cadets (Chaklala,1954)

Turowicz was killed in a car crash on January 8, 1980. He was buried with full military honours. For his meritorious service, Turowicz was honoured with many awards including the Sitara-i-Pakistan, the Tamgha-i-Pakistan, the Sitara-i-Khidmat, the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the Abdus Salam Award in Aeronautical Engineering and the ICTP Award in Space Physics. The Pakistan Air Force placed a memorial in honour of Air Commodore Turowicz at the PAF Museum while Suparco established the Wadysaw Turowicz Space Complex in Lahore.

A side note: Zofia, Turowicz’s wife also contributed to the Pakistan Air Force in her own way. She taught gliding to Shaheen Air Cadets in Karachi and Rawalpindi, and applied mathematics and particle physics at Karachi University. She too was honoured by Pakistan’s government for her achievements and was awarded the Pride of Performance and Sitara-i-Imtiaz.

Life sketch at PAF Museum Karachi
Life sketch at PAF Museum Karachi