By The Associated Press - Monday, February 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
ISLAMABAD – A rare countrywide blackout has left Pakistan without electricity for almost two…
ISLAMABAD – A rare countrywide blackout has left Pakistan without electricity for almost two hours overnight.
The authorities blamed technical problems for the breakdown early on Monday, insisting it was not caused by sabotage.
Rai Sikandar, an official at the ministry of electricity and water, says there was a malfunction at a plant in the country’s southwest around midnight Sunday that put pressure on all major power producing systems, which subsequently stopped working.
He says the country “plunged into total darkness” for at least two hours.
Another official, Masood Akhtar, says power was restored to most of Pakistan by midmorning and that a few remaining areas should get it back in a few hours.
Energy-starved Pakistan experiences daily power outages but complete breakdowns are rare.
By macleans.ca - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Violence along the border has been rising, but new trade agreements can establish needed trust
While violence along the border between India and Pakistan has been rising in the disputed Kashmir region over the past month, coverage of the tensions is hiding a surprising reality: warming economic relations between the countries are giving rise to hope of a thaw in their historically strained relationship.
Trade between the nuclear neighbours has been rising steadily since 2004 and hit nearly US$2.7 billion in 2011; it’s expected to increase further since the two nations signed several new trade agreements last fall. And an expansion of the Wagah-Attari border crossing—the main land route between India and Pakistan—last April has allowed previously heavily restricted truck traffic to jump significantly.
All this is good news, says University of Western Ontario professor Salim Mansur: “Trade, travel and commerce will help to break down suspicion between the two peoples.” He cautioned, however, against getting too hopeful, noting that the trade agreements were a long time coming and there are still many other issues that need to be worked out. Still, “any small step forward in a long journey is positive and something to be cheered,” he says.
The new trade arrangements are expected to increase bilateral trade to $8 billion in the next two years.
By Adnan R. Khan - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM - 0 Comments
Zahida Kazmi has survived deadly roads, a fatwa and family abandonment
When it comes to rating her driving skills, on a scale of one to 10, Zahida Kazmi considers herself an 11. “I’m a better driver than most of the men on the road,” says the 57-year-old. “That’s why I get all the good fares.” Kazmi’s confidence is the product of two decades of doing what no other woman in Pakistan does: drive a taxi. In such a deeply patriarchal society, surviving so long in an industry run by men—and in a country notorious for its deadly roads—is a cause for celebration.
Becoming a taxi driver never frightened her, Kazmi says, sitting upright in her modest house in Rawalpindi, 15 km from Islamabad. “I was a widow with six children. They were my only concern. I wanted to give them a good life and a good education. I had a gun and, being a Pashtun, I knew how to use it. Sure, it was tough at first. The male drivers didn’t accept me, and the taxi drivers’ union refused to help. But once they realized I was serious, and they understood the position I was in, they accepted me.” Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Imran Khan, a cricket legend and former playboy, seeks to run the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Some English words don’t translate well to Urdu. “Propaganda” is one, and so is “Bush doctrine”—a phrase Imran Khan has been dropping into his speeches with increasing regularity to describe Uncle Sam’s with-us-or-against-us attitude toward politicians in his part of the world.
Khan’s admirers in Pakistan love it—whatever their language. But in Toronto last week, a more prosaic term stirred up the 1,800 partisans who had jammed a cavernous hall off the airport strip to bask in the glow of the Muslim world’s fastest-rising political star. When he uttered the word “fundraising,” a cheer rose from the crowd, as if to confirm that those on hand were more than happy to give. From across the room, amid billowing flags and bobbing signs bearing his likeness, you could see Khan’s white-toothed smile.
The $500-per-plate dinner that followed featured 200 well-heeled guests—grateful for some face time with a man touted as Pakistan’s next prime minister. Out in the lobby, donation boxes quickly filled with $20 bills, while volunteers gathered precious names and phone numbers for future cash drives. Pakistan’s electoral laws don’t allow votes from abroad. But the expats, said Khan at a pre-speech news conference, can exert influence in other ways: “We want donors to back our candidates. That’s the main reason I’m here.” Continue…
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:04 AM - 0 Comments
Protests over Innocence of Muslims swelled in Pakistan with hundreds of people setting fire…
Protests over Innocence of Muslims swelled in Pakistan with hundreds of people setting fire to a press club and government office. The clash killed one demonstrator.
The protesters first attacked the press club in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Upper Dir district on Monday. They were angry that their protest hadn’t gotten more news coverage.
The police then charged the crowd, beating them with batons, and protesters set a government office on fire. Police say that many armed protesters have surrounded a local police station.Along with the one fatality, many protesters have been wounded from fighting with police.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, August 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM - 0 Comments
An 11-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome in Pakistan has been arrested and charged with…
An 11-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome in Pakistan has been arrested and charged with blasphemy for allegedly burning passages from the Quran. Rifta Masih was jailed by police in Mehrabadi, near Islamabad, after being severely beaten by locals.
It’s alleged Masih, who is Christian, burned 10 pages. While the police initially showed hesitation in charging the girl, they eventually registered a blasphemy case against her and arrested her formally on Thursday.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said today that he is troubled by the violence. “Canada is concerned about the safety of the girl, her family and their community,” Baird said. “We urge Pakistan’s political and religious leaders to continue to co-operate to protect the family and community.”
If found guilty, the girl could face the death penalty.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, July 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM - 0 Comments
Tory Sen. Salma Ataullahjan held a one of the better receptions on the Hill…
Tory Sen. Salma Ataullahjan held a one of the better receptions on the Hill in honour of the Canada Pakistan Parliamentary Association.
By Michael Petrou - Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
While Washington and Pakistan are increasingly at odds, neither side wants to sever the relationship.
One year after American Navy SEALs slipped undetected into Pakistan and killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden where he had been hiding for years—in a compound a short walk from an elite military academy—Pakistan has finally taken steps to punish someone involved in the debacle.
They haven’t actually arrested anyone who was protecting the terrorist leader, mind you. Instead, last month, following a closed trial, a Pakistani tribal court sentenced Shakil Afridi, a doctor who ran a fake vaccination campaign for the CIA designed to confirm bin Laden’s presence in the compound, to 33 years in jail.
Afridi was arrested shortly after the May 2, 2011, raid. In October, a Pakistani government commission recommended he be tried for high treason because of his work for the CIA, and in the days following his sentencing it was widely reported that this was the reason for his trial. But when the court released its written verdict last week, it was revealed that Afridi had in fact been found guilty of assisting Lashkar-e-Islam, a militant group based in the Khyber tribal region, where Afridi worked. The court’s verdict notes there is evidence that Afridi worked with foreign intelligence agencies, but says it lacked jurisdiction to address those charges and recommends that a different court follow up.
By Adnan R. Khan - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 9:38 AM - 0 Comments
A new generation of militants is rising in Afghanistan, turning its sights on former allies
There is nothing suggesting violence in the Taliban fighter quietly sipping tea in a corner of the room. In any case, the police headquarters for Afghanistan’s Sarobi district sit next to the safe house we’re in. He knows the building well. Not long ago, he was a member of the security forces, charged with protecting Afghans from the Taliban fighters he now calls his “brothers.”
Jawad speaks animatedly, between cautious sips from his teacup. “When the foreigners first came here, I thought, why not work with them?” says the 28-year-old, a native of Uzbin, northeast of Kabul, the Afghan capital. “I never felt animosity for foreigners,” he adds. That, however, was then.
Jawad joined the Afghan security services a decade ago, as a teenager newly returned from Pakistan’s dilapidated refugee camps, where he’d spent much of his life. It was an exciting time. Finally, his family would reclaim their land. There was the promise of a new future, of prosperity guaranteed by the money the outside world brought with it.
By Adnan R. Khan - Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM - 0 Comments
The Afghan part of the journey used to be dangerous. Now that side is thriving—while Pakistan is not.
There is a point, more figurative than literal, where crossing the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan starts to feel like leaving one world and entering another. That point used to be clearly marked: a gate delineated the international boundary, splitting the border town of Towr Kham in two. One side used to be the deadly half, the other merely dangerous. That gate no longer exists. Towr Kham, 60 km west of Peshawar in Pakistan, and 100 km east of Kabul in Afghanistan, has, in a sense, been reunited. But the feeling remains: that unnerving sense of leaving the relative safety of one place behind and entering the dark abyss of another.
In April 2002, when I first made the trip from Peshawar to Kabul, Afghanistan was the danger zone, so thoroughly devastated by decades of war that reaching the capital was an epic, bone-jarring odyssey through precipitous mountain passes and barren river valleys prickling with land mines. At that time, stepping out of the taxi on the Pakistani side of the border and walking to the Afghan side was the point at which the feeling of dread reared its ominous head.
It was on that side of the border, for example, where Taliban militants summarily executed four foreign journalists on their way to Kabul in November 2001. Death was everywhere on that treacherous route: in the deserted farm fields hugging the Kabul River; in the impromptu cemeteries whose graves seemed to outnumber the living; and ever-present in the pockets of Taliban fighters still carrying out raids on any foreigners they could find.
By Adnan R. Khan - Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
How a little-known group of ultra-orthodox Muslims are shaking up Mideast politics
If 2011 was the year the Arab street rose up in defiance of dictatorship, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the Islamist. That may sound scary. Over at least the past decade, the term has come to represent fanatics around the world obsessed with sharia law, Allah-bent on destroying Israel and the West in a frenzy of religiously inspired payback. Egypt is the latest former Western ally to fall under the so-called Islamist spell, and the most important one to date. At the end of its first free and open parliamentary elections that concluded on Jan. 11, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) stood atop a rubble heap of liberal secularist parties, winning a plurality of seats and poised to become the powerbroker in a country literally sitting at the nexus of the West’s interests in the Middle East.
In the aftermath, Western diplomats and right-leaning political pundits have been wringing their hands over possible futures: that Egypt will abrogate its peace treaty with Israel, that other Islamist movements will take inspiration from the MB example and increase their political activities, raising the spectre of Islamist politics threatening the world’s oil supply. Stoking the fears was who came second: a little-known group of ultra-orthodox Muslims, the Salafis. Their electoral success came as a shock to most observers, though not so much to Muslims themselves.
For years, moderate Muslims have been struggling against a rising wave of fundamentalist thought within their communities. Salafism is on the rise globally, posing a bigger threat to the West than groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who occupy a comparatively moderate zone in the Islamic spectrum. And the problem is not restricted to Muslim nations. In a series of interviews with Maclean’s in December 2010, Muslim leaders in Amsterdam complained of the rising influence of Salaﬁsm. “It’s the fundamentalists, the Salaﬁs, who are the real problem,” Muhammad Sajjad Barkati, the imam at Amsterdam’s Ghoussia mosque, said at the time. “The Salaﬁs are trying to convert everyone to their way of thinking. They are dividing the Muslim community.”
By Erica Alini - Monday, December 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 1 Comment
If Pakistan wanted an image makeover, Sherry Rehman is the right pick as ambassador to the U.S.
Exit the wheeler-dealer; enter a pretty human-rights activist. If Pakistan wanted an image makeover, Sherry Rehman was the right pick to replace Husain Haqqani, the former ambassador to Washington and notorious smooth operator. Rehman, an MP for the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, is currently living under police protection after uttering the same kind of criticism of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws that resulted in two other high-profile politicians being killed by Islamists. Her Hollywood-heroine credentials also include a career in journalism and picking a fierce fight with President Asif Ali Zardari in 2009 over media restrictions.
Rehman’s new job, though, will be tough as well. She lands in Washington at a time when U.S.-Pakistan relations are at a historic low. Her country’s military and spy agencies have such a reputation for shady links with jihadist groups—a topic on which Haqqani wrote an entire book—that Washington carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May without a word to Pakistani generals. To make matters worse, shortly after the U.S.’s deadly attack, Haqqani reportedly secretly asked the U.S. to back an attempt to rein in his country’s military by creating a new, civilian-led security team. The awkward proposal, news of which later leaked to the press, infuriated the generals and cost him the job.
The Americans will likely be suspicious of Rehman too. She’s already under scrutiny for appearing to share some of the Pakistani military’s foreign policy fixations. According to the Financial Times, for example, she is worried about India’s growing influence in Afghanistan, a long-standing concern for the Pakistani army. It will take all her charm to win over Washington.
By macleans.ca - Monday, November 28, 2011 at 11:38 AM - 3 Comments
Islamabad threatens to draw down cooperation on Afghanistan after soldiers killed by NATO drone
Pakistan has closed its borders to NATO supplies, and gave the U.S. 15 days to vacate an air base used for drone strikes, after a NATO attack reportedly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Saturday, the Financial Times reports. U.S. officials profusely apologized for the accident, which they said was “highly likely” caused by a NATO aircraft. But the deaths of Pakistani troops, who may have been mistaken for Taliban militants along the ill-marked border, threw a new wedge between Washington and Islamabad at a time when the U.S. needs Pakistan’s cooperation to ensure an orderly withdraw from Afghanistan and to pressure the Taliban into negotiations. The diplomatic rift also gave China an opportunity to play up its strategic posturing as Pakistan’s ally, Reuters reports. “China believes that Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and the incident should be thoroughly investigated and be handled properly,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.
By Paul Wells - Friday, November 25, 2011 at 7:30 AM - 14 Comments
Paul Wells on how everywhere the news is the same: bad
The other day, Martin Scorsese screened his new 3-D children’s movie, Hugo, for his daughter Francesca, who was turning 12, and 50 of her friends. Two thoughts occur:
It’s probably a good thing Scorsese didn’t have a daughter turning 12 the year he made Taxi Driver.
It’s official: you’re an inadequate parent.
“What? A pinata?! Daddy, I wanted 3-D Jude Law! Francesca’s dad gave her 3-D Jude Law!”
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 9:10 PM - 13 Comments
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf surely knew that Osama bin Laden was hiding in a compound a short walk from a Pakistani military academy, says Conservative MP Chris Alexander, who previously served as Canada’s first resident ambassador in Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taliban.
“I can’t prove Musharraf’ knowledge, but everything I know about Pakistan’s system would tell me that he as chief of the army staff and he as president would have known,” Alexander said during a speech today at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 4 Comments
Sure, he’s pulling troops out of Iraq, but he’s found lethal new ways to flex America’s military muscle
Barack Obama used U.S. air power to prevent a massacre and facilitate the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. He sent a team of Navy SEALS to conduct a secret surgical strike in Pakistan that took out Osama bin Laden, America’s public enemy number one. He sent a Predator drone armed with Hellfire missiles to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, whose extremist preaching was linked to several attempted terrorist attacks against the U.S. All three objectives were achieved without invasion, occupation, or the loss of American lives.
The last decade was dominated by the Bush administration’s “shock and awe” display of U.S. military might, a swagger that descended into a “long war” of occupation and nation building in Afghanistan and Iraq that left thousands of Americans dead and wounded, and cost upward of a trillion dollars. But cold, calculating and nimble, Obama has turned a new page on the projection of American power. His emphasis on technology, intelligence, and leaning on allies is leaving a smaller and less costly U.S. military footprint on the globe, but one that is proving to be just as lethal to its adversaries.
In his first days as President, Obama ordered interrogation techniques cleaned up and the prison at Guantánamo Bay to be closed within a year. Congress objected, and Guantánamo has remained open, but the President has added zero detainees to the inmate population. Indeed, he’s barely taken any prisoners—instead, he has presided over many more drone strikes against terrorist suspects than George W. Bush. He is not waterboarding enemy prisoners who have been removed from the battlefield; he is killing them where they stand. (The administration denies frequent accusations that it is killing militants when capturing them would have been feasible.)
By Alex Ballingall - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:05 AM - 0 Comments
The Beygairat Brigade has struck a chord among disillusioned Pakistanis.
The Beygairat Brigade, or Shameless Brigade, has struck a chord among disillusioned Pakistanis. The band from Lahore recently uploaded a video to YouTube for a satirical song called Aalu Anday, named after a frequently served potato and egg curry. It’s highly critical of the state, implying it offers the people the same corruption and lack of accountability day after day. The video closes with band member Ali Aftaab Saeed holding a placard that reads: “If you want a bullet through my head, like this song.” It has more than 200,000 views on YouTube. “We really wanted to become a voice of the silent majority, which never gets to say what they really want to say,” Saeed told Public Radio International’s The World.
It’s the latest iteration of Pakistani satire to gain attention of late. The government recently banned a play called Burqavaganza, which is critical of the burka as well as bureaucratic secrecy. According to the New York Times, the Ministry of Culture said the play “pollutes young minds.” One wonders what the Beygairat Brigade thinks of that.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM - 66 Comments
Pakistan is helping insurgents. Could that be seen as an act of war?
The United States has never directly attacked Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), despite the ISI’s long-standing ties to Islamist militias and terrorist groups opposed to the U.S. and its allies. Yet Pakistani spies occasionally still die from American bombs.
In 1998, the Clinton administration launched cruise missiles at jihadist training camps in Afghanistan in retaliation for al-Qaeda’s bombing of two American embassies in East Africa. The missiles missed Osama bin Laden but killed a team of ISI agents training militants at the camps.
In November 2001, as many as 1,000 ISI agents and Pakistani soldiers from the Frontier Corps found themselves trapped in the Afghan city of Kunduz—along with their Taliban allies and members of al-Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The Pakistanis had been ordered to leave Afghanistan after 9/11 and had had two months to do so, but they decided to stay and fight with the Taliban instead. The Pakistanis might have reasonably expected to share the fate of their compatriots who died as collateral damage in the American cruise missile attacks three years earlier. Instead, Pakistan asked for and received U.S. permission to send rescue planes. Along with the airlifted ISI agents and Pakistani soldiers were Taliban commanders and international jihadists, including al-Qaeda.
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 12:28 PM - 5 Comments
It is fitting that Terry Glavin begins his book Come from the Shadows: the Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan with a quote from George Orwell — who once said it is not enough to oppose fascism; one must stand against totalitarianism in all its forms.
Orwell, a far-left anti-fascist who took a bullet in the throat while fighting Franco’s brutes during the Spanish Civil War, was angered by the inability of too many of his fellow leftists to counter dictatorial thuggery in those with whom they shared a common enemy. Stalinists got a free pass because, ostensibly, they opposed fascism; they didn’t deserve it.
Glavin, also of the left, is frustrated by the limits of his supposed comrades’ solidarity and internationalism. Afghanistan’s democrats — its students, human rights activists, women, socialists and secularists — should, by rights, be championed and supported by the western left. They are, after all, fighting for the same things liberals in Canada struggled for and earned over the last century. What’s more, they’re fighting for these rights against an explicitly fascistic strain of religious and ethnic extremism embodied in the Taliban. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Saudi Arabia grants women the right to vote, U.S.-Pakistani relations deteriorate further
Steps in the right direction
The king of Saudi Arabia has granted women the right to vote, acknowledging they can make “correct opinions.” This in a place where females can’t travel without a male’s permission, and where one woman who drove, despite a ban, was sentenced to 10 lashes. King Abdullah’s decision also permits females to run for Shura Council. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has approved draft regulations allowing women’s shelters to remain independent from government, and receive donations without state intermediation.
It was an exciting week in space news: NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, deployed by the space shuttle in 1991, fell from orbit. A troublemaker on Twitter, armed with some Orson Welles quotes, managed to spread rumours worldwide that UARS had fallen near Okotoks, Alta. Fortunately, it appears the satellite crashed harmlessly somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. A few days earlier, space geeks were titillated with another report: physicists think they saw neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, which, if conﬁrmed, would disprove Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM - 4 Comments
Comments come after accusation that Pakistan supports Afghan insurgent attacks
Pakistan is warning the U.S. that it may lose an important ally if it continues to wield accusations of Pakistani support for insurgents in Afghanistan. Speaking to Geo TV in New York, Pakistani Foreign Minister Rabbini Khar addressed the U.S. directly. “You cannot afford to alienate Pakistan, you cannot afford to alienate the Pakistani people,” she said. “If you are choosing to do so and if they are choosing to do so it will be at [the United States’] own cost.” The statements come a day after Mike Mullen, the top officer for the U.S. military, accused the Pakistani intelligence agency of supporting Afghanistan’s insurgent Haqqani network in several attacks in recent months, including last week’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. He called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence service.
By Cynthia Reynolds - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
The new foreign minister is young, female and stylish—cause for celebration and controversy
The appointment of Pakistan’s new foreign minister is dividing opinion across the conservative nation. Hina Rabbani Khar is the first woman to ever hold the position in that country and, at 34, she’s also the youngest. While some argue her selection is a sign of hope for a new, more moderate direction for the hardline nation, others see the appointment of the wealthy businesswoman—and a member of a powerful Punjabi family—as business as usual. Some also consider her vastly inexperienced. Khar, who’s held mostly junior portfolios, slipped into government after a 2002 ruling required politicians to have a college degree; she ran for office after the rule disqualiﬁed her veteran politician father. Pakistan’s archrival India, meanwhile, is offering its own take on Khar: for the moment, it appears to have settled on style icon.
During her first official visit to Delhi last month, part of the new efforts to revive relations between the long-time foes, the press had little to say about Khar’s political skills. Instead, the media gushed over her black Hermès Birkin bag, Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, and classic strand of pearls, comparing her to Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni, even Kate Middleton. One columnist referred to her as Pakistan’s “weapon of mass distraction.” It’s not the first time the press has seized upon her image; pictures of her in trendy slim-fitting jeans have raised eyebrows throughout Pakistan, prompting traditionalists to question whether the co-owner of Polo Lounge, a trendy restaurant on downtown Lahore’s polo grounds, is out of touch with the conservative—and poor—country. Regardless, she now helms one of the most volatile relationships in world politics.
By macleans.ca - Monday, July 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM - 0 Comments
South Sudan celebrates the birth of a nation, while Ontario struggles to contain a C. difficile outbreak
The U.S. finally took a firm stand on Pakistan by suspending $800 million of the more than $2 billion in aid it offers the country each year. Pakistan has been, at best, an unreliable ally in the war on terror. It recently arrested a number of CIA informants who helped locate Osama bin Laden within its borders and cut visas for U.S. personnel operating near the Afghan border. Pakistan may not always see eye to eye with the U.S., but the fact is that American aid is what keeps its military and, lately, economy afloat. This warning shot should provide a crucial dose of reality.
Happy days, here again
A new quarterly Bank of Canada survey suggests a record 57 per cent of businesses “across all regions and sectors” will hire new employees over the next year (the highest level reported since 2005), while only four per cent expect to reduce staff. This coincides with a Statistics Canada report showing solid job growth for the third straight month, with a net gain of 28,000 jobs in June. That’s in sharp contrast to the U.S., where only 18,000 jobs were gained last month.
By macleans.ca - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 3:10 PM - 6 Comments
Pentagon announces decision to withhold $800 million in military aid
Pakistan’s balance sheet will be short $800 million after the U.S. decided to suspend military aid payments to the country. The relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. has been steadily deteriorating for months, reaching a new low point after the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Over the past 10 weeks, Pakistani authorities have arrested an army major on charges he helped the CIA find bin Laden and expelled more than 100 U.S. military personnel. According to the New York Times, the deferred money represents more than a third of the $2 billion in miltary aid the U.S. sends Pakistan. About $300 million of the funds were earmarked to pay for patrols along the Afghan border.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
Media reports say five arrested by Pakistani intelligence agency
Pakistan’s intelligence agency has arrested five alleged CIA informants who helped execute the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to media reports from the U.S. The New York Times reported that the owner of the safe house rented by the CIA to spy on the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad was among those arrested. While Pakistan denied the reports, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations told the BBC that people had been arrested for interrogation. Among those targeted were people suspected of throwing flares into bin Laden’s compound to guide approaching U.S. helicopters on the night of the raid, as well as those who allegedly helped the helicopters refuel in Pakistani territory. Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been strained since the operation was carried out in May. There has been speculation that high-level Pakistani authorities were aware of bin Laden’s presence in the country.