Oct 122017
What about the economy?

Whenever a new project is launched, the ruling party never misses a chance to boast about the prosperity it is bringing to the country. The party’s opponents, on the other hand, blame it for hoodwinking people with false promises for votes. Both the parties seem to forget that neither prosperity nor peace can be attained without strong sustainable economy, for which none of them seem to be serious. For example, our ruling elite on the both sides took no serious and concrete steps to preserve forests and build dams, which are essential for water storage and for generation of cheap electricity. Instead, when in power, they go for loans and aid from foreign financial institutions for projects that satisfy their egos and help them keep a grip on power. Our country has been driven to the brink of disaster in every sense. We now rank amongst the lowest few such as Angola, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria on almost every index, but our rulers seem to be oblivious of the fact that things are not as rosy as they project. They should understand that by constructing motorways, flyovers and underpasses in a few cities and running orange train in Lahore at the cost of health, education and human degradation are not prosperity. The government needs to curtail its expenditure, increase income, and save money for strengthening the economy. Raja Shafaatullah (Islamabad) Click for detailed story

Sep 062017

GENEVA: Syrian forces have used chemical weapons more than two dozen times during the country’s civil war, including in the deadly attack that led to US air strikes on government planes, UN war crimes investigators said on Wednesday. In the most conclusive findings to date from investigations into chemical weapons attacks during the conflict, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said a government warplane dropped sarin on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province in April, killing more than 80 civilians. Outrage as Syria ‘chemical attack’ kills dozens in rebel-held town “Government forces continued the pattern of using chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas. In the gravest incident, the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, killing dozens, the majority of whom were women and children,” the report said, declaring it a war crime. The attack was previously identified as containing sarin, an odourless nerve agent. But that conclusion, reached by a fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), did not say who carried it out. In all, UN investigators said they had documented 33 chemical weapons attacks to date. Twenty seven were by forces of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including seven between March 1 and July 7. Perpetrators had not been identified yet in six early attacks, they said. The Assad government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons. Syria ‘did not and will not’ use chemical weapons: FM It said that its strikes in Khan Sheikhoun hit a weapons depot belonging [Read More…]

Jul 242017
Faction Leader Claims 30,000 Afghans Fighting in Iraq, Syria

ISLAMABAD � A prominent former Afghan insurgent leader Tuesday said 30,000 of his countrymen are fighting in Syria and Iraq.“Afghans are being trained to fight at home and abroad, said Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, while addressing tribal elders in Kabul.The controversial warlord’s Hizb-e-Islami faction recently concluded a peace deal with the Afghan government to end insurgent activities and pave the way for Hekmatyar to come out of years of hiding.Hekmatyar would not discuss the source of his information on the number of Afghans fighting abroad, but suggested they are doing so only to feed their poverty-stricken families.Today, you have 30,000 Afghans fighting in Iraq and Syria. God knows better how many of them have been killed, Hekmatyar said.Decades of conflict and poverty have forced Afghans to abandon their country and travel across the globe in search of livelihood.Millions of Afghans continue to live in neighboring Pakistan and Iran while conflict continues to uproot thousands in Afghanistan. Lately, some displaced families have found the battlefields in Syria and Iraq as a source of income because of Iran.IranSome refugees in Iran, mainly Shi’ite Hazara Afghans, are reportedly being recruited and trained to fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria. An estimated 3 million Afghans are in Iran, including about 2 million undocumented refugees.According to media reports, it is the undocumented refugees whom Iran’s Revolutionary Guards exploit and recruit to raise militias fighting in Syria. Reports also say that in return, the volunteers’ displaced families are offered legal status in addition to getting hundreds [Read More…]

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