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Saleem Shahzad murder report of inquiry commission

Syed Saleem Shahzad, a prominent Pakistani journalist, was abducted during broad day light from the heart of the capital on May 29, 2011. His abduction and subsequent brutal murder left everyone in a state of shock - not just his family and the community of journalist but also the public at large. Citizens were alarmed since the net of suspicious was cast, amongst others, on institutions of the state itself. The alarm soon turned into outrage, manifesting itself in the form of protests.
In response, the Government of Pakistan constituted the present Commission of Inquiry. The Commission comprised a judge of the apex Court, the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court, Inspector Generals of Police for Punjab and Islamabad and the President, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). It was assigned the task of inquiring into the background of this incident and identifying the cul prits involved in it. The Commissioners have also been asked to probe the constitutional implications of this situation, and to recommend measures to prevent therecurrence of such incidents in the future.
For six months, the Commission has done everything in its capacity to discharge its burden. The Commission held as many as 23 formal meetings, examined no less than 41 witnesses and went through a large volume of documents comprising the writings of the deceased, emails, telephone records and investigation reports as well as the reports of Commissions which have investigated similar incidents in the past. It is 5 on the basis of this extensive inquiry that the present report has been compiled.
The Commission has recorded all its findings and proposals in this Report, annexed by the appropriate records. In brief, the Commission concludes thus: Firstly, in all probability, the background of this incident is provided by the War on Terror.
As an investigative reporter, Saleem’s writings probably did, and certainly could have, drawn the ire of all the various belligerents in the
The Commission looked very hard for the kind of substantial evidence/tangible material – direct or circumstantial – which would allow it to single out the culprits from the various suspected quarters. Yet such evidence has not surfaced. From  what is available on the record, unfortunately, the culprits cannot be identified. Nonetheless, the Commission urges the Government to provide substantial compensation and support to the family of the deceased, and to deliver on promise already made. The Commission also urges the competent authorities to continue all investigations in the ordinary course of the law, and to 6 interrogate whosoever needs to be interrogated, diligently and without any
fear. Thirdly,  the such incidents, and the climate of fear they give rise to, imperil the citizen’s fundamental rights such as the right to life (Article 9), freedom of speech (Article 19), and freedom of information about public matters (Article 19A). The concept of rule of rule of law, under Article 4, is also put in danger.
Fourthly,  noting the gravity of the situation, the Commission recommends, inter alia: - that in the light of our Constitution, based as it is on democratic principles, the uncovering of  Truth before the public is very much in our National Interest; - that the Press be made more law-abiding and accountable through the strengthening of institutions mandated by law to deal with legitimate grievances against it. - that the balance between secrecy and accountability in the conduct of intelligence gathering be appropriately re-adjusted, with the aim of restoring public confidence in all institutions of the state; - that the more important Agencies (ISI and IB) be made more law-abiding through a statutory  framework carefully outlining their respective mandates and role; that their interaction with the media be carefully institutionally stream-lined and regularly documented; - that all the Agencies be made more accountable through effective and suitably tailored mechanisms of internal administrative review, Parliamentary oversight, - that a forum of Human Rights Ombudsman be created for judicial redressal of citizens’ grievances against Agencies, 7 particularly the grievances of the Press against attempts to intimidate, harass and harm them.
Ultimately, however, the Commission’s recommendations should be considered only as well-considered and research-based suggestions.
Ultimately, all organs of the state will have to effectively play their role if we are to achieve the goal stated in the preamble of the Constitution: “the preservation of democracy achieved by the unremitting struggle of the people against oppression and tyranny” In that regard, where the work of the Commission stops, the work of the others starts.
concerning the gruesome incident of the abduction and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad

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US military investigates Marine 'urinating' video

WASHINGTON: US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos has appointed a general to investigate and take any action stemming from a video of abuse by four Marines, the Pentagon said Friday.

The video, circulated on internet, appears to show four Marines urinating on the corpses of enemy fighters in Afghanistan, said Xinhua.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, is officially designated as the "consolidated disposition authority" for the allegations surrounding the video.

Waldhauser's investigation will be conducted in coordination with the ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe into the incident.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday condemned the video, saying the behaviour depicted in the video is "utterly deplorable", and he ordered the Marine Corps and the International Security Assistance Force to investigate.

"Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent," Panetta said in a statement.

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Vote to ensure bright future for Taiwan

Today is an important day for Taiwan, where more than 18 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots to select a new president and legislature that will set the course of the nation over the next four years.

Voters must go to the polls, no matter which candidate they support,since the elections will safeguard the people's rights as citizens of the country and will determine the fate of Taiwan.

Democracy in Taiwan, which has been a great achievement of the people, made on the back of their courage and sacrifice, is expected to move a step forward after the elections.

President Ma Ying-jeou of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), who is seeking a second term, was tied with Tsai Ing-wen of the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), according to the most recently released poll results Jan. 4, while James Soong,the presidential candidate of the minor opposition People First Party (PFP), was trying his best to win support.

As the three candidates are well-educated and have tremendous experience in the political arena, their talent and abilities are not dwarfed at all by the leaders in other democracies, while Tsai is the first female presidential candidate in the country's history, polishing the image of the DPP and helping the party earn support from female and swing voters.

In this presidential race, the partisan dogfighting between the China-friendly KMT and the pro-independence DPP has escalated. The two camps have almost equal support in the country, in particular after the DPP rose from its low ebb following a series of corruption scandals in the era of former President Chen Shui-bian.

That is the reality of Taiwanese society and this divided Taiwan is expected to continue and dominate elections in the future.

Cross-strait relations has remained a focus in the election campaigns with Ma advocating his party's "1992 consensus" -- described as a tacit understanding reached in 1992 that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means -- to forge closer ties with the mainland, while Tsai denies the existence of any such consensus.

This presidential election can serve as a referendum on Ma's China policy and could decide how Taiwan will deal with the mainland in the future.

The progress of Taiwan's democracy has drawn massive attention from China, Hong Kong and Macau, while many election observers from other countries and areas have arrived here to monitor the races.

When the election results come out, the candidates should stay rational and accept the outcome, accommodating the opposition,

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British PM describes Syria situation as ‘appalling’

In the latest show of strength against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, demonstra2rs have taken 2 the streets in support of military defec2rs who have switched sides.

The head of the Arab League has warned that the country may be sliding 2wards civil war, a conflict that could create unrest across the region.

During a television interview in Saudia Arabia, British Prime Minister David Cameron described the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters as “appalling.”

“My view, our view in the United Kingdom, is that President Assad has lost the consent of his people,” he said.

“That is not surprising when you see the appalling brutality that has been meeted out by elements of the armed 4ces in Syria against ordinary civilians and people who are protesting. I think it is appalling what has happened.”

But while the opposition against him is fierce and relentless, President Assad still enjoys support from within his country.

Some of his backers gathered after Friday prayers in Damascus.

“We only choose Bashar,” was one of the slogans they chanted.

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Myanmar frees 302 political prisoners

Myanmar confirmed on Saturday that 302 political prisoners were freed under the latest amnesty that was welcomed by the international community as a significant step forward.

On Friday, the government released them based on a list of 600 prisoners of conscience provided by "a political party", Home Minister General Ko Ko said in Naypyitaw, the administrative capital 350 kilometres north of Yangon.
Of the 600 inmates, 430 were judged to be political prisoners, but 128 of those were kept in custody because they had also committed serious crimes, Ko Ko said.
Other ministry officials confirmed that the prisoner list was provided by the National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma said the NLD list was far from complete.
"As far as we know, there are still more than 700 political prisoners in Myanmar jails," spokesman Bo Kyi said.
The association said 347 political prisoners had been released under three previous amnesties by President Thein Sein since March.
Friday's amnesty was hailed by Western democracies as a major step forward for the once-pariah state.
The US government said it would send an ambassador to the Asian nation for the first time in more than 20 years. The European Union hailed "a further step toward a new relationship with Burma-Myanmar".  Prominent political activists Min Ko Naing, Htay Kywe, Zaw That Htwe, Jimmy and Ma Nilar Thein, Ko Ko Gyi and Sander Minn were among those released.
At least nine journalists were also freed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Others included former prime minister Khin Nyunt, who fell from grace in 2004; Khun Tun Oo, a Shan ethnic minority rebel leader; and Buddhist monk Gambira, a leader of the 2007 street demonstrations.
Gambira expressed relief, but said the country "still has a long way to go".  "Although they are releasing prisoners now, they still have characteristics of the dictatorship. What kind of democracy is this? They had to wait until today to release us," the monk told the Norway-based exile broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma.
Amnesty International urged the government to do more.
"This release of political prisoners is a major step forward, but the gates must be opened even wider to all remaining prisoners of conscience," said Benjamin Zawacki, a Myanmar researcher.
Thein Sein has followed a reformist track since assuming power.
He initiated a political dialogue in August with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, paving the way for her to contest the April 1 parliamentary by-election.
The president also initiated ceasefire agreements with three ethnic minority rebel groups: the Shan State Army-South, Chin National Army and Karen National Union.
The release of all political prisoners and end to hostilities with ethnic minorities are the two main conditions set by the West for normalising ties with Myanmar. The country has been under economic sanctions since the army cracked down on the 1988 demonstrations, killing an estimated 3 000 people.

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NRO implementation case: Legal shackles restrain NAB in ‘service matters’

While the apex court is pressuring the government in2 implementing its verdict on the defunct National Reconciliation Ordinance in 22, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) find itself bound in legal shackles.
The National Accountability Ordinance 1999 restricts NAB from initiating criminal proceedings in service matters, sources 2ld The Express Tribune.
In its NRO ruling, the Supreme Court had directed NAB 2 take action against Ahmed Riaz Sheikh, the sacked additional direc2r general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Adnan Khwaja, the sacked managing direc2r of the state-run Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) and officials of the establishment division, interior ministry and FIA who are involved in the illegal contractual appointment of Khawaja and illegal reinstatement and promotion of Sheikh.
A senior NAB officer 2ld The Express Tribune that the bureau can take action in service cases only if these involve financial corruption. “But 4 action against these officials, the NAO 1999 needs 2 be amended,” he added.
NAB had served notices on 4mer establishment secretary Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, 4mer at2rney general Malik Muhammad Qayyum, OGDC’s 4mer MD Adnan Khawaja, FIA’s 4mer ADG Ahmed Riaz Sheikh and other officials of the establishment division, interior ministry and FIA who were “responsible 4 illegal contractual appointment” of Khawaja and reinstatement and promotion of Sheikh.
According 2 the procedure, these officers will face departmental inquiries, during which they will be given a chance 2 defend themselves, failing which legal action will be taken against them.
On Friday, the interior ministry, establishment division and FIA officers, who were allegedly involved in the illegal reinstatement of Sheikh and illegal appointment of Khawaja presented relevant records and recorded their statements in the NAB headquarters in Islamabad.
“The NAB headquarters will remain open on Saturday despite public holiday where investiga2rs will record statements of Quraishi, Khawaja and Sheikh,” a senior official of the bureau said. “Regional offices in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi will remain open on Saturday,” he added.
Broadcast media outlets reported on Friday that Khawaja and Sheikh have been taken in2 cus2dy but NAB officials refused 2 confirm the arrests till the filing of this report.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.

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Pakistan PM says democracy at stake

With his government at risk of dissolution, Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, has called on parliament 2 choose between democracy and dicta2rship.

Seeking support from their coalition partners, members of Gilani's ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), taking part in an emergency parliamentary session on Friday, introduced a resolution 2 endorse democracy .

2 be debated in the lower house on Monday, the resolution expressed "full confidence and trust" in the current civilian government.

The resolution also calls 4 all state institutions 2 operate within the bounds of the nation's constitution, a statement believed 2 be an affront 2 the nation's powerful military, which has been accused of interfering in the nation's political matters.

“It must be decided whether there will be democracy in the country or dicta2rship,” Gilani said of the confidence vote.

In his address, however, Gilani said "we are not against any institution", referring 2 both the military and judiciary by name.

The mandate is expected 2 pass. Though its failure would not have an immediate affect on the PPP, it could further hamper the reputation of the already unpopular government.

Gilani has called a meeting of the cabinet's defence committee 4 Saturday. The meeting is said 2 be intended 2 help defuse tensions between the civilian government and army. 

The resolution comes amid the fallout of last year's memo-gate scandal, in which an unsigned memorandum addressed 2 Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, called on the Obama administration 2 thwart a military takeover of the civilian government.

The apparent provocation was the US raid that led 2 the death of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda chief, in May.

Gilani's address came on the day that Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan president, returned from an overnight trip 2 Dubai.

Zardari's second trip 2 the Gulf state in as many months led 2 renewed speculation that he was fleeing be4e he could be 2ppled by the nation's powerful military.

Zardari's spokesman, Faratullah Babar, said on Zardari's return that “he is com4table and perfectly alright”.

Monday is also when a full 17-member supreme court decision is due on the government's response 2 a six-point “do-or-die” ultimatum handed down by the nation's highest court 2 the government 2 reopen old corruption cases against Zardari and others.

The corruption cases were originally s2pped after the 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a corruption amnesty issued by the government of Pervez Musharraf, the 4mer president.

The possible outcomes of the high court's decision has led 2 new talks of a “constitutional coup”, rather than a military one, in which the supreme court would pursue a course of action that would lead 2 the government's ouster.

The high court has described Gilani as "not an honest man".

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Watch Albatross 2011 Hollywood Movie Online

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Beth, a bookish teenager, befriends Emilia, an aspiring novelist who has just arrived in town. Emilia soon begins an affair with Beth’s father that threatens to have devastating consequences.
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The movie opens with a shot from the air of the hills and dales of Devon, England that zooms down into a field where three men are around a horse on her side. The year is 1914. Young Albert Narracott is watching the scene through a fence.
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