Pak-Iran gas pipeline to go ahead
Washington, D.C.: A senior US official in an exclusive interview with The Frontier Post acknowledged that the dialogue which took place in Murree between the Taliban leadership and the Afghan official was of the most importance and significance so far because it was for the first time that the representatives of Afghan government participated in an official capacity with the Taliban leadership. He also appreciated the efforts of the Pakistani leadership in holding such kind of dialogue in order to bring long lasting peace in the region. He confirmed that both the U.S. and Chinese official participated in the dialogue process as observers.
In reply to a question about the Operation Zarbe Azab he said that the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani armed forces will always be remembered and hoped that Pakistan will fulfill the commitment it has made to eliminate the terrorists networks without distinguishing between the good and the bad Taliban. He hoped that Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) will soon return to their homes in the Federal Administrative Tribal Areas.
The US official also appreciated the efforts of Afghan and Pakistan leadership for holding several sittings in recent months between the political and military leaderships of both the countries. He especially highlighted the statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calling the enemies of Afghanistan as the enemies of Pakistan.
When asked about the increase in Taliban attacks in different parts of Afghanistan since the American draw down, the US official was of the opinion that despite the increase of attacks by Taliban they have not been successful in achieving any territorial gains. He further said that the remaining ten thousand US troops will stay in Afghanistan for the years to come and the American annual fund of almost four billion dollars a year will also be continued for many years to come. He assured that America will not let Afghanistan fall into the hands of Taliban again and neither will his country let anyone use Afghanistan for their proxy wars.
With regard to Pakistan India relations, the US official welcomed the recent warm exchange of words between Pakistani Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa, Russia. He hoped that the two countries will resolve their differences in an amicable way.
When asked whether Pakistan has shared evidence with America of the Indian involvement in the terrorists activities in Pakistan, the senior U.S. official replied in negative.
To a question about to the recent US-Iran pact, the senior U.S. official said that he is satisfied and has faith in his president that the region will be more peaceful when Iran does not produce nuclear weapons. He was hopeful that concerns of the U.S. allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia will soon be assuaged.
Regarding Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline he said that the future of the project will be decided after the sanctions are lifted from Iran. Going a step further into Pakistan’s energy crisis, he said that Pakistan first needs to improve its internal infrastructure of energy sources.He suggested that Pakistan should first concentrate on the huge energy resources it has available with in the country and then think about bringing a pipeline which is hundreds of mile away and which has to pass through difficult terrains.
This correspondent was amazed to see tears in the eyes of the senior American official when asked how the U.S. officials reacted when they heard of the Peshawar Army Public School incident. He replied by saying “I have my own children and I can imagine how the parents must have been shattered by this gruesome incident.”
Washington DC: Service Chief of Deewa Radio, Nafees Takar in an exclusive interview with The Frontier Post said that most of the Afghans are worried about their future after the draw down of US troops from Afghanistan. He further said that it is through education that Pakhtoons on both side of the Durand Line can improve and enlighten their future.
Deewa radio operates under the Voice of America and is a US government sponsored radio with no aim to earn revenues despite being the largest heard radio channel by the Pakhtoon population. Having its transmitters installed in Dubai, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, Deewa radio has the best sound quality and it aims to highlight the American point of views to listeners of both sides of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Nafees Takar, who belongs to Takar village near Takhtbai in Khyber Pakhtoonkhw is the founding member and Service Chief of Deewa Radio. He has assembled some the best Pakhtoon journalists from Pakistan in the head quarters of Voice of America on Independence Avenue in Washington DC. The number of Pakhtoon journalists who are working in Deewa radio are twenty nine in Washington DC, twenty seven in different parts of Pakistan, seven journalists in the FATA region of Pakistan and one in Afghanistan. The US based Deewa staffers are given respectable salaries, latest equipment and are green card holders as well.
Regarding Policy matters, Nafees made it very clear that despite being a mouth piece of US government, Deewa Radio operates in a very balanced manner and no unnecessary pressures are exerted . He said \”we have callers who criticize the American drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan.\” When asked about the challenges that he faces in Deewa, Nafees said every morning the first thing he does is to check his email to make sure that all his staff members back home in Pakistan are safe and sound. Another challenge for Nafees and his team is the access to different parts of tribal area and Baluchistan, which are known as the conflict zones in international media.
Regarding Deewa Television, which is another project of the same group, Nafees said that at present they only have two shows and these shows can only be viewed through dish. He did say that with passage of time if the US government allocates more fund, Deewa television will be turned into a full fledged satellite tv channel but at present there are no such plans.
Nafees Takar highlighted the role of social media and said that him and his team are giving special emphasis to tools such as Facebook and Twitter to promote Deewa radio.
Having a degree in literature, Nafees seemed very inclined towards promoting Pakhtoon literature and said that for three years there was a show at Deewa radio on the topic of Islamic mysticism through which all the literary works of the ancient Pakhtoon authors were highlighted and the public at large had really appreciated this initiative of Deewa radio. Regarding a similar such initiative, Nafees Takar informed that Deewa radio will soon be launching a book along with a cd which will have the old famous Pashto poems and pictures for the Pakhtoon children. He hoped that the Pakhtoons in Pakistan and Afghanistan will enjoy this product of Deewa radio and will serve as a marketing tool as well.
Nafees Takar also showed extreme sadness over the recent demise of great Pashto poet Raj Wali Shah Khattak and said that Deewa radio had allocated two full hours to his life and works.
Regarding Pakhtoon women , Nafees Takar said that Deewa radio and tv gives a lot of emphasis to women issues and there are many shows which are specially meant to promote women empowerment, their education and the role they are playing at present times in Pakhtoon society and the much stronger role which could play after getting proper education and equal opportunities.
When asked what makes him the most happy being Service Chief of Deewa radio, Nafees Takar said that \” I am really happy when a caller calls and says that I use to not send my daughter or son to school but now I do. I am really happy when a caller calls and says I use to not vote but now I do.\”
White House, Washington D.C: The U.S. President Barack Obama has said that his government will now communicate with terrorist groups holding Americans hostage abroad.
The U.S. government will stick to its “no concessions” policy — often incorrectly interpreted as “no negotiations” — while also allowing government officials to talk with terrorist groups like ISIS that have kidnapped Americans, according to a presidential policy directive Obama outlined on Wednesday.
The changes, which also include the creation of an interagency “fusion cell” to streamline efforts to free American hostages and improve communication between the government and families, follow a months-long review of U.S. policy.
Obama also made it clear that the U.S. government will not prosecute families looking to pay ransoms to terrorist groups holding their loved ones hostage — a threat some families faced during their ordeals.
“No family of an American hostage has ever been prosecuted for paying ransom for their loved one. The last thing we should ever do is to add to a family’s pain with threats like that,” Obama said at the White House.
“I’m making it clear that our top priority is the safe and rapid recovery of American hostages,” he added.
The U.S. president further said that he will be appointing a special envoy who will be specifically dealing with the American hostages in any part of the world. He emphasized the need for better organization of all government departments with regard to the new hostage policy.
I don’t really know how many journalists from Pakistan have attended the daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington D. C but indeed I felt honoured being present there among journalists representing big media groups from around the world.
The Interior Minister, Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan in his meeting with Director General Anti-Narcotics Force, Major General Khawar Hanif has said that drug money has remained the back bone for terrorists activities in the country and all efforts should be made to cut the financial backbone of the terrorists.
There is nothing to disagree with the Interior Minister but the fact remains till date that Pakistan is the biggest drug trade route to international markets and especially for heroin. Almost all of this heroin comes from Afghanistan and land, air and sea routes of Pakistan are used for their onward destinations. There is also no denial to the fact that terrorists make most of their earnings from the drug dealers and producers, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The second highest earnings of the terrorists are through extortion and kid napping.
The real achievement of the government should not be just busting hauls of narcotics every year but instead real success will be achieved when the root causes of drug trade are finished once and for all.
Pakistan can neither stop the terrorism in this region alone nor can it stop the menace of drug trade by itself. Both terrorism and drugs trade are common enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, it is up to the governments of both these countries to decide how seriously they want to address this issue.
One other group of criminals who are associated with drug dealers and terrorists are private lenders who are also called as \”sood khore\” in this region. These private lenders provide the financial resources to drug dealers to achieve their heinous goals. These private lenders mostly charge thirty percent for three months lending which they provide and there is no legitimate business which can give you thirty percent profit every three months. These private lenders are equal partners in crime with drug dealers and terrorists.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, our government should keep a strict vigil on inflow of goods from Afghanistan. The search of goods should be done at entry point from Afghanistan and also at entry point of tribal areas and settled areas. Services of sniff dogs and sophisticated X-ray machines are used all the world for tracing drugs which are kept hidden. Pakistan must acquire the latest technology for tracing drugs which are kept in differ compartments of couriers during their course of transportation.
According to different estimates every year almost five billion US dollars are earned by different drug dealers and growers who are mostly based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With such a huge amount at stake both the drug dealers and terrorists work hand in gloves with each other to achieve their evil goals. It is this black wealth which is earned through drugs trade that is the back bone of terrorists.
The leadership of both Pakistan and Afghanistan should sit together and find a long lasting solution to the menace of drugs trade. Both the governments should use spray technology through aircraft for destroying opium fields in far flung areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. State Banks of both the countries should also take action against private lenders and strict punishments should be awarded to them. Currency exchange businesses and those doing \”Hawala\” business should also be kept under strict observation and inward flow of money to Pakistan and Afghanistan should be to minutely monitored.
Success of operation Zarbe Azab and National Action Plan heavily depends on dismantling the financial sources of terrorists and their biggest source is the drug money. Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan and Director General Anti Narcotics Force should hold regular meetings with their Afghan counterparts in dismantling the menace of drugs trade from this region. Exceptional results will be seen if both the governments are successful in achieving this goal.
PESHAWAR: Managing Editor of The Frontier Post, Jalil Afridi has written a letter to Director General, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar with regard to former officials of ISI who are bent upon destroying a patriotic newspaper, The Frontier Post.
In his letter dated 17th March 2015, addressed to the DG ISI, Managing Editor of The Frontier Post has mentioned names of former official of ISI, Omar Jawaid Gandapur who was posted in Peshawar in its legal desk and another individual namely Major (R) Javed Iqbal. Jalil Afridi in his letter has stated that both these individuals are involved in defaming the armed forces by using their name in different illegal activities and that they are also causing huge financial loss to The Frontier Publications Private Limited, under which The Frontier Post operates.
Regarding Omar Jawaid Gandapur, Jalil Afridi in his letter stated that Omar Jawaid Gandapur is son of former judge of Peshawar High Court who has illegally built his law chamber office on a property in Lahore which is owned by Jalil Afridi and his brothers and a police guard is also placed there. Jalil Afridi letter further said in his letter that \”this police guard is provided to the former judge by the government of Pakistan for his personal security and not for deputing on someone elseï¿½s property.\”
The Frontier Post Managing Editor has also mentioned in his letter that since last one year he has been facing members of banned terrorist organizations, drug dealers, land mafia and private lenders (sood khores) who are bent upon damaging his company and properties. Regarding one individual who has been an active member of banned terrorist group of Khyber Agency, Jalil Afridi in his letter stated that the said individual forcibly tried to take possession of one of his properties in Peshawar and video recording evidence was provided to the CCPO Police Peshawar in this regard but till date no action has been taken against that person.
Jalil Afridi in his letter requested the Director General ISI for conducting an inquiry to the facts that he has mentioned in his letter. He also requested that more than two hundred staffers who are associated with The Frontier Post should be saved from destruction and should be allowed to continue their work in peaceful manner.
LAHORE: World\’s leading American Soft drink manufacturer company Coca Cola has beat the sales of rival another American company Pepsi for the first time in Pakistan. From March 2013 till March 2014 this year Coca Cola drinks are sold in more numbers than Pepsi in Pakistan which is something that has never happened before.
Coca Cola took over their manufacturing of drinks from their franchise bottlers almost seven years ago and in span of only seven years they have left behind their major competitor Pepsi. On the other hand Pepsi soft drinks manufacturing still lies with their franchisees bottlers.
Some marketeers believe that it is due to poor marketing policies of Pepsi which has let them down, whereas Coca Cola in last few years through their marketing strategy have been amazingly close to the pulse and hearts of their consumers.
An advertisers when asked for his comments said that all that Pepsi does is sponsors cricket and that\’s it, whereas Coca Cola has touched almost every market.
Another advertiser said that \”if it was not up to Mountain Dew and some chips products such as Kurkurai and Lay\’s, the Pepsi plants/bottlers would probably have closed down.
Pepsi and Coca Cola are world leading soft drinks manufacturers who have the world class competition with each other. Both these companies adopt the best marketing strategies in the world whereas they also have the biggest spending on marketing of their products.
A source of condition on anonymity also confirmed to The Frontier Post that for Pepsi, Pakistan is one of the most important country and the reason for that is because Pepsi makes its Syrup (out of which the drink Pepi is made) only in three countries in the world and one of these three countries is Pakistan.
A senior tax officer when approached, told The Frontier Post that \”we are very thankful to Pepsi and Coca Cola for the huge amount of tax they pay to the government of Pakistan. But these companies are also making billions from Pakistan.\”
It is also pertinent to mention here that bottlers franchisees of Pepsi in Pakistan are all big businessmen with strong political affiliations.
LAHORE: It is learnt through a reliable source that the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul is minting money through the issuance of visa to mostly the Afghan nationals and few other nationals as well.
Every day thousand of Afghans cross back and forth into Pakistan through either Torkham or Chaman borders, whereas due to strict security on the border it is now almost impossible to enter into Pakistan with out a valid visa. Taking advantage of this opportunity, a group of influentials in the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul are minting money through the issuance of visa. Those who refuse to pay the desire amount for visa are told that their documents have to be sent to Pakistan for clearance and in such case the visa seekers have to wait for months. An expert on Pak Afghan situation when approached for comment said that how can they be so greedy and ignoring the menace of terrorism which is taking place on both sides of the border and claiming the lives of innocent people on regular basis.
It is pertinent to mention here that this scribe had brought this same issue into the notice of a senior official in Kabul Embassy two months ago as well but it seems no action so far has been taken against the visa mafia.
Akhtar Munir, Press Attache at the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul when contacted for the Embassy version in this regard said that Pakistani Embassy is the most lenient Embassy in Kabul with regard to the issuance of visa and that more than seven hundred visas are issued every day.\” He further said that Even if you give the whole world to the Afghans, it is just not possible to make them happy.