Zaheer-ul Islam Appointed DG ISI
Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul Islam, Commander 5-Corps (Karachi), has been appointed the new Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to succeed Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who will retire on
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani appointed Lt. General Zaheer-ul Islam as the new DG ISI. Lt Gen Islam has already served the organisation, thus bringing with him rich experience in the fields of internal security and intelligence.
Director-General Rangers, Sindh, Lt Gen Ijaz Chaudhry, has been shifted to Karachi as Commander 5-Corps while Maj Gen Rizwan Akhtar, GOC 9-Div, Peshawar, will succeed Lt Gen Ijaz Chaudhry as DG Rangers, Sindh.
The new DG ISI hails from Kahuta (Murree) where he served as GOC during the Musharraf era. Following weeks of consultations at the highest civil and military levels, two important decisions were taken in a meeting of the President, the Prime Minister and the army chief last week: no more extensions as DG ISI for Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who has already availed it twice; and the appointment of a new DG ISI.
Belonging to 13-Punjab (Infantry), Lt Gen Zaheer-ul Islam was promoted to the present rank last year and shifted to Karachi as Commander 5-Corps, after he served more than 3 years as DG (C) in the ISI. He had been dealing with internal security.
Government Decides To Name Farooq H. Naek As New Law Minister
The ruling alliance has decided to bring in Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek as the new federal law and parliamentary affairs minister in place of Senator Maula Bux Chandio.
Naek is being brought in to deal with the complex constitutional scenario that may emerge sometime in the next few months. Senator Farhatullah Babar has been tipped as the favourite replacement for the slot while Senator Raza Rabbani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik are also being considered for the office.
Senator Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan could be leader of the House while current leader of the House Senator Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari could be Chief Whip in the Senate since both offices enjoy the status and perks of federal minister. Barrister Ahsan is likely to have an important meeting with the leadership of the ruling party within 24 hours here and in case he agrees to accept the office of Chairman Senate, he would be the choice of the ruling alliance; otherwise, Senator Babar could get the top office of the upper house.
Chairman Farook H. Naek has already been informed about the decision of the alliance pertaining to the change in his assignment.
US Honours Pak Woman For Promotion
Of Gender Rights
The United State honoured a Pakistani activist Shad Begum from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for her contribution to efforts towards improvement in the lives of women in conservative communities.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conferred the International Women of Courage award on Shad Begum at a ceremony, also attended by Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman.
According to the citation, Shad Begum is a courageous human rights activist and leader who has changed the political context for women in the conservative district of Dir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
As founder and executive director of Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen Talash (the Union of Women's Welfare), Shad provides political training, microcredit, primary education, and health services to women in the most conservative areas of Pakistan. Shad not only empowered the women of Dir to vote and run for office, she herself ran and won local seats in the 2001 and 2005 elections against local conservatives who tried to ban female participation. Despite recent calls for suicide attacks against her by local extremists, Shad continues to work out of Peshawar to improve the lives of women in the communities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The US also honoured Afghan activist, Maryam Durani, who is a member of the Kandahar Provincial Council for her efforts to protect and promote rights of Afghan women.
President Signs Status Of Women Bill Into Law
On the occasion of the International Women's Day 2012, President Asif Ali Zardari signed the National Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2012 into a law at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, expressing hope that the Commission would play a significant role as a watchdog of women's rights and help bring a positive change in women-related policies and legislation.
The President reiterated the PPP's commitment to working for the rights of women, saying the promotion of women's rights was part of the history of the struggle of the Pakistan People's Party. "Our leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first woman ever elected prime minister to head an Islamic nation and as a woman leader she felt a special responsibility to address issues relating to women," he added.
The President said the National Commission on the Status of Women had been made independent and autonomous and was empowered to protect the social and legal rights
Bill Signed To Strengthen SBP
President Asif Ali Zardari gave assent to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) (Amendment) Bill, 2012 to strengthen the power of the Central Board of the State Bank to formulate and implement monetary policy and control the government borrowing.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly on November 4, 2010 and subsequently introduced in the Senate. It was passed by the Senate in May last year with amendments. It was again passed by the National Assembly last month with the amendments made by the Senate.
Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that under the Amendment Bill, SBP may require banks or financial institutions to hold minimum reserves on deposit accounts with the Bank in pursuance of its monetary policy objectives.
Powers of the Federal Government to supersede the Central Board have also been withdrawn, he added. A new sub-section in the Bill says, "The Bank, the members of the Central Board or the staff of the Bank shall not take instructions from any other person or entity, including government or quasi-government entities.
The autonomy of the Bank shall be respected at all times and no person or entity shall seek to influence the members of the Central Board and Monetary Policy Committee or the staff of the Bank in the performances of their functions or interfere in the activities of the Bank.
Pakistan Test Fires Hatf II Ballistic Missile
Pakistan last week successfully test fired the short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf II (Abdali) as part of the process of validation of land-based ballistic missile systems.
According to an ISPR press release, Hatf II (Abdali), with a range of 180 kms, carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy. It provides an operational level capability to Pakistan's strategic forces, additional to the strategic and tactical level capability, which Pakistan already possesses.
The test was witnessed by Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Commander Army Strategic Force Command Lieutenant General Tariq Nadeem Gilani, senior officers from the armed forces, scientists and engineers of strategic organisations.
ECP Slaps Waheeda Shah With Two-Year Ban
In a split decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified PPP candidate Waheeda Shah for two years and declared Sindh's PS-53 by-election null and void, ordering immediate re-polling in the constituency.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza and Election Commission Member (ECM) Justice (retd) Roshan Ali Essani, both from Sindh, opposed the decision, as the electoral body decided the slapping case by a majority.
According to the insiders, the CEC and ECM Sindh contended that the petition by another candidate from the same constituency, Mushtaq Ali Talpur, was not maintainable and hence there was no question of the disqualification of Shah or of declaring the PS-53 election null and void.
ECP spokesman Muhammad Afzal Khan told media persons the convicted candidate would not take part in elections till March 6, 2014 but reserved the right to file an appeal against this judgment.
ECMs from Punjab Justice (Retd) Riaz Kayani added a note to the judgment authored by Justice (retd) Fazlur Rehman of Balochistan while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shahzad Akbar Khan supported it.