Thursday, June 30, 2011

Osama Bin Laden's 'intriguing handwritten notes'

BBC has reproduced an image of handwritten notes recovered from the building in Abbotabad, Pakistan, which reportedly housed Mr. Bin Laden for years. There is debate about the authenticity of the document.

Without knowing much about the content in the text below and also pleading ignorance of OBL's handwriting from the past, I can certainly say one thing: there are too many harakaat listed in the document that gives the impression that the document was produced by or for a non-native Arabic speaker who would need the harakaat to know how to pronounce the words in Arabic correctly.

BBC News - Osama Bin Laden's 'intriguing handwritten notes'
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Millions of Afghans to go hungry

Logo of the UN World Food Programme in SVG formatImage via WikipediaAs the NATO starts to wind down its operations in Afghanistan, the humanitarian organizations also start planning their exist. An unfortunate development in Afghanistan involves the World Food Programme (WFP) who announced recently that owing to insufficient funds, it will be unable to feed millions of Afghans.

This is a repeat performance from the last US exit from Afghanistan. As the Americans deserted Pakistan and Afghanistan in the mid eighties, the aid agencies followed the suit. WFP is perhaps offering a repeat performance.

International Development - WFP Downsizes Afghan Food Aid Operations
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A billion without water and sanitation by 2015

figure01Image by Image Editor via FlickrThe U.N. Millennium Development Goal on expanding access to water and sanitation services by 2015 is likely to be missed as donors increasingly shrink away from funding water projects and are instead focusing more on health and education-related initiatives, according to new research by the World Bank and Water Aid.

“We are way off track, and 1 billion people will be let down. The aid flows are very small compared with what is needed,” the Guardian quotes John Garret, a senior policy analyst at Water Aid, a U.K.-based non-governmental organization focused on providing water and sanitation services to people in developing countries.

Among those who will be hardest hit by this projected failure to meet the MDG on water and sanitation are women and girls, the World Bank said in a report it released in May, the Guardian notes.

Water Aid is due to publish a new report next month that is based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Guardian says the NGO’s analysis has shown that water and sanitation programs shrank in number as compared to the total projects funded by donors in the last 20 years.

“In the mid-1990s, water and sanitation made up about 8 percent of global financial aid, putting it ahead of issues such as reproductive health and population growth,” the Guardian says. “But between 2007 and 2009 – the last year for which comprehensive figures are available – it was just over 5 percent.”

Julia Bucknall, the World Bank’s water chief, said this decline maybe due to donors’ and the public perception of water and sanitation as an unglamorous policy area.

“It just does not attract donor funding,” Bucknall told the Guardian. “It seems to be easier for people to talk about disease, and ignore sanitation.”

International Development - Water, Sanitation MDG Off Track – World Bank, Water Aid
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Uzbek couple bombs Pakistani police station

Uzbek in Hojent with his son.Image via WikipediaFor years it was known that the militants from the Soviet Caucasus were active in Pakistan, getting trained to target Russian interests. It is becoming increasingly evident now that the Uzbeks and other militants are in fact being used as beachheads in Pakistan by the local Pushtun-based militants.

Earlier, an Uzbek husband and wife team blew themselves up in a coordinated attack on a police station in Kolachi that involved six other militants. This should be sufficient evidence for defence strategists in who have also spoken about Pakistan's strategic depth and have justified rearing militants from Pakistan and abroad.

No one is more vulnerable to such attacks than the Pakistani themselves. The misguided policies followed by the so-called defence experts in Pakistan have turned the country into a tinderbox. This is certainly not a sustainable state for Pakistan who is now becoming the biggest victim of the militants it has reared over the past three decades.

Pakistani Taliban threaten husband-and-wife bombings | Pakistan | DAWN.COM
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

U.S. Image in Pakistan Falls No Further Following bin Laden Killing | Pew Global Attitudes Project

U.S. Image in Pakistan Falls No Further Following bin Laden Killing | Pew Global Attitudes Project

"Most Pakistanis disapprove of the U.S. military operation that killed Osama bin Laden, and although the al Qaeda leader has not been well-liked in recent years, a majority of Pakistanis describe his death as a bad thing. Only 14% say it is a good thing.

Moreover, many Pakistanis believe the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound – which was located about 35 miles from Islamabad – will have a negative impact on the already strained relations between the U.S. and their country."

Monday, June 6, 2011

I was ignorant about tax procedure: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – The Express Tribune

Member FBR Khwar Khurshid Butt should have known that ignorance of law is no excuse. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's plead ignorance of the tax laws as his reasons for not filing taxes. Rahat should have been fined heavily for his ignorance and should have forced to pay unfiled taxes with penalty. The FBR official instead let a tax cheat go scott-free!

I was ignorant about tax procedure: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – The Express Tribune