All posts by TAUQEER RIAZ

Digital Journalist/Columnist/Blogger & Social activist. --------------------------------------------- Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tauqeerriaz On FB:www.facebook.com/tauqeerkhanutmanzai.

Quetta blast case registered

QUETTA: An FIR has been registered at the Civil Line police station against unknown culprits involved in the blast allegedly targeting Adviser to Chief Minister on Education Sardar Raza Mohammad Barech vehicle on Joint Road in Quetta on Tuesday, Geo News reported Wednesday.

According to police,pakistan-Quetta-blast-FIR_12-3-2014_167559_l the case of the blast that occurred near the vehicle of Sardar Raza Mohammad Barech has been registered on the complaint of an injured citizen against the unknown miscreants.The FIR included attempted murder, explosives act and anti-terrorism provisions, however, no arrest has been made so far.It may be mentioned that Sardar Raza Mohammad Barech narrowly escaped an explosion on Joint Road on Tuesday. Two persons were wounded in the blast allegedly targeting Barech’s vehicle. Fortunately, he and his driver remained unhurt in the explosion.

Fire at Naz cinema in Lahore extinguished

LAHORE: A fire which broke out earlier in the Naz cinema here has been extinguished.

NazCinema-Lahore-Fire_2-28-2015_176645_l

Six fire tenders and Edhi Foundation ambulances were rushed to the “NAZ”cinema located on NISBAT road to fight the blaze.According to rescue sources, the fire started as a result of a short circuit.Due to the swift action by the fire department there was no loss of life or major damage reported.

PPP moots own formula

ISLAMABAD: The ruling PML-N was left high and dry by their trusted opposition ally, the PPP, after the latter refused to back the government-sponsored 22nd amendment and chose instead to present its own formula to combat horse-trading in the upcoming Senate elections.

54f0ff7a4ca21In the recent past, the PPP had rescued the government when the protesting PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek were sitting outside parliament, then backed them again over the formation of the controversial military courts. However, in the latter case, there was also considerable pressure from the military and many in the party weren’t happy with the co-chairman’s decision to vote for the 21st Amendment.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was expecting the same generosity from Mr Zardari, but this time the PPP leader wants a trade-off,” said a participant of the meeting the government had convened to develop a consensus on open balloting in Senate elections. PPP leaders present in the meeting told the PM that instead of changing the constitution, political parties should devise a consensus formula and get their candidates elected to the Senate unopposed on the basis of their electoral strength.

Though the JUI-F sits on government benches, they also opposed the proposal to take constitutional measures against horse-trading, arguing that the decision will only taint politics and politicians in the country.

The response from the PPP and JUI-F, without whose support the government can’t secure the two-thirds majority necessary for the passage of amendment, has put the government on back foot.

In background discussions, leaders of the main political parties accused each other of playing dirty politics. “Can I ask why the PML-N has awarded a ticket to Ms Kalsoom Parveen in Balochistan, a sitting BNP-Awami senator,” a JUI-F leader asked. Since Ms Parveen was known for successfully manoeuvering voters her way, the ruling party had chosen her for the ticket, he said.

With just 4 members in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 8 in Punjab, why is the PPP still insisting on secret balloting? “Don’t go by our existing strength in the two assemblies; we are a former a ruling party and have trustworthy contacts,” a senior PPP office-bearer said.

According to the PPP source, the PML-N and PTI have joined hands to change the voting system fearing a backlash from its own MPs, “which we refuse to accept”.

On the other hand, the JUI-F which has 16 MPAs in KP and 8 in Balochistan, is also hoping that a few additional votes will return their candidates from the two assemblies.

A government source said that given the party’s strength, the PPP couldn’t win seats in KP and Punjab but could play the role of a spoiler, which the PML-N leadership was trying to avoid. “I personally believe the government shouldn’t hesitate to offer the odd seat to the PPP either in KP or Punjab and take the party onboard, because a loss in the presence of the required strength will be a major embarrassment for the government.” A similar arrangement could be reached with the JUI-F, he said.

ISI chief completes US visit

WASHINGTON: ISI chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar left for Pakistan on Friday after a visit to the United States as the new head of the country’s prime intelligence agency.

54f10dad0eaffDuring his four-day stay in Washington, Lt Gen Akhtar held a series of meetings with senior officials at the White House, State Department and the Department of Defence.

Being a guest of CIA chief John Owen Brennan, he met the heads of all major US intelligence agencies and briefed them on the security situation in the Pak-Afghan region.

At the White House, the ISI chief and his team, which included Director General Counter-terrorism Maj Gen Tariq Qudus, had a detailed meeting with US Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and her team.

In her current capacity, Ms Monaco is the chief counter-terrorism adviser to the US president.

At the State Department, the ISI team met Deputy Secretary Antony J. Blinken.

Although there was no briefing during or after the meeting, official sources suggest the talks focused on Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate reconciliation between the Taliban and Afghan government.

YouTube ‘unblocking’ short-lived joy

ISLAMABAD: For those who have been able to access YouTube in the last a few days, the joy is short-lived.

54f11ecf71981“The reason why YouTube was accessible in certain parts of the country was because of a technical fault which will be fixed,” said Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman on Friday.

The rumours that YouTube was accessible in certain parts of the country during the last a few days are true. According to a senior official in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), YouTube became accessible through certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) due to a technical fault.


Minister says issue of YouTube blockade will be addressed through new cyber crime bill


“The news of unblocking YouTube will be announced officially, not done quietly,” said the official.

The minister stated that the YouTube issue was being addressed in the cyber crime bill which she hoped would be approved by the government in about two months.

She explained that the Bill safeguarded the interests of the service providers (Google in this case which owns YouTube) by not

holding it responsible for any blasphemous or anti-state content posted online by individuals/users.

“We saw how a blasphemous content was shown in France and its fallout was seen in the streets of Pakistan. No government will take the responsibility upon itself to unblock YouTube until a concrete solution is found to deal with objectionable content on internet,” she said.

Wahajus Siraj, the convener for Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), explained how unlike Pakistan countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia, entered into agreements with the USA.

“Under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, these countries are in a position to request service providers such as Google to follow local laws and remove objectionable content from YouTube.” He said Pakistan also needed to enter into a similar agreement to be able to request service providers to block objectionable content.

The news that YouTube had become accessible spread like a wildfire but many internet uses remained disappointed as some could access YouTube and many others could not.

“It was too good to be true but I still immediately switched on my laptop but an error window showed on the screen instead of YouTube,” said medical practitioner Hyra Farooq, who then started calling friends to confirm if the news was correct.

The video sharing website has been banned in Pakistan since September 2012 after the search engine giant refused to take down a blasphemous film triggered protests around the world and in Pakistan.

As the ban on YouTube enters into the third year, internet users in Pakistan continue to access it through alternate channels.