Archive for marzo 2013

Studente pakistano arrestato per spionaggio sui droni in Germania

Uno studente pakistano, Umar R. 28enne, è stato arrestato in Bremen nel Nord-ovest della Germania con accusa di spionaggio sulla technologia usata da un’azienda Israeliana che produce i droni militari, per reconnaissance, usati dalla Germania in Afghanistan. Umar ha cominciato a lavorare dall’Ottobre scorso per ottenere le informazioni segrete.
La notizia è stata lanciata dal News Focus e Reuters dopo che le autorità Federali Tedesche ieri hanno annunciato l’accaduto ufficialmente.
Umar R., studente pakistano, secondo News Focus, ha ottenuto illegalmente gli studi sul pilotaggio e navigazione degli droni finche non è stato catturato da un suo collega. Umar lavorava come studente assistente in un impianto per la ricerca. Secondo la dichiarazione ufficiale, afferma Reuters, lo studente è sospettato di lavorare per i servizi segreti pakistani da almeno fine Ottobre 2012, ed ha aggiunto che lui ha provato ad ottenere l’informazione sull’alta tecnologia per uso militare dei suoi capi.
Secondo l’analisi del Focus Umar ha ottenuto la conoscienza necessaria per lo scontro degli droni.

Un’altro studente Pakistano ha un simile precedente con Olanda che riuscì bene in quanto Dr. Qadir Khan, fondatore della bomba atomica, ottenne le informazioni tecniche per realizzare la bomba atomica sul proprio territorio di provenienza. Secondo alcune fonti è anche sospettato di aver venduto le informazione per realizzare la bomba atomica alla Libia, Nord Corea e Iran.

Per dettagli vedi:


Pakistan as a Global Leader in Islamic Banking and Finance

(Humayon Dar, The Express Tribune) Similarly, assets managed by banks offering Islamic financial services are 8.6% of total banking assets in the country. Net Islamic savings and investments are 8.19% of the total savings and investment in the banking sector in Pakistan.

Total Islamic banking assets in Pakistan stand at Rs837 billion ($8.5 billion), which is only a fraction of the total global Islamic financial assets of $1.631 trillion. Once considered a global powerhouse for Islamic financial thinking, Pakistan is now far behind a number of other countries, which have expended more energy into developing the Islamic banking and finance sector. London-based Edbiz Consulting has recently released a ranking of the top 10 countries in Islamic banking and finance on its Islamic Finance Country Index (IFCI). The ranking is presented in the table.

According to the IFCI, Iran has remained the number one market for Islamic banking and finance, primarily because its entire banking and finance sector is operating under Shariah law. But this cannot be the only reason, as the only other country with all of its banking and finance in compliance with Shariah, Sudan, stands only ninth. Pakistan, the third country that adopted a policy of Islamisation of banking and finance in the 1980s, stands just eighth – one point above Sudan.

Malaysia, on the other hand, has emerged as a true global leader in Islamic banking and finance. It has consistently stood at number two since the creation of the index in 2011. Committed to developing Islamic banking and finance as a strategic economic tool, Malaysia has this year enacted a new comprehensive law, the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013, which is coming into force from May this year.

The Government of Pakistan has given the Islamic banking project to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, which has very ably helped Islamic banking and finance grow by issuing guidelines to conduct Islamic banking business, and regulating and supervising the institutions offering Islamic banking and finance.

The government, however, has failed to develop the country as a centre of excellence for Islamic banking and finance, despite it having a number of strengths especially in ensuring Shariah authenticity of financial products. While countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council are involved in controversial practices like tawarruq (a financial transaction done through a series of commodity trades) and, likewise, Malaysian institutions are engaged in transactions based on bai’ina (sale and buyback) and bai’dayn (discounted trading in debt), Pakistan maintains a very strict view on Shariah matters, and the SBP has ensured that no controversial practices creep into the country’s Islamic banking and finance sector.

It was because of this strict Shariah supervision and control by the SBP (along with the Shariah advisory board of a Pakistani Islamic bank, BankIslami) that BankIslami won the prestigious Shariah Authenticity Award at the Global Islamic Finance Awards held in Kuala Lumpur in November 2012. This strength in Islamic banking should be further developed to make Pakistan as a centre of excellence for Shariah authenticity in the global industry.

After a lull of about four years following the inception of the global financial crisis, different countries have already started seeking a greater share in the global Islamic financial services industry. While Malaysia stood firm during the crisis, and rightfully claims to be the global leader in Islamic banking and finance, there are other countries that are reclaiming their share of leadership in the industry. Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid alMaktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, has affirmed that Dubai has all the ingredients of becoming a regional hub for Islamic banking and finance. The Bank of London and the Middle East, an Islamic investment bank in the UK, has recently claimed that Britain could do a lot more to become a European centre of excellence for Islamic banking and finance. Other financial centres like Hong Kong and Singapore have once again started positioning themselves to claim their share of the industry. It is, therefore, the right time for Pakistan to start highlighting strengths of its Islamic banking sector that at present comprises five fully-fledged Islamic banks and thirteen conventional banks with Islamic windows/branches.

One obvious way for Pakistan to claim a role in the global Islamic financial services industry is to deepen its domestic Islamic banking and finance sector. Given that this is election year in Pakistan, it will certainly be a good strategic move by a political party to put Islamic banking and finance on top of its election manifesto. While the Jamaat-e-Islami is a natural candidate, it will only benefit other mainstream political parties to start owning Islamic banking and finance. While outsourcing the ownership of the Islamic banking project to the SBP has worked so far, it will certainly benefit the government even more if it starts owning and hosting the project in Islamabad.


Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2013.

Catholic Church Keeps Shrinking in Rawalpindi (Pakistan)

Minority woes: The church keeps shrinking, canteen keeps growing
(By Zahid Rabbani for The Express Tribue)

“Taking into account the present day security situation in Pakistan, a canteen right under the sanctuary where Father Anwar Pastras — a priest of the Diocese of Rawalpindi — sits to preach, is a threat to people coming to the church as a terrorist can come through the canteen to disrupt the church’s peaceful environment. It is the height of indifference on the hospital’s part that we cannot remain safe even inside a church,” said Babu Sajid Amin Khokhar, catechist in-charge of the Holy Family Catholic Church.
“It is really sad that despite making major contributions to the city`s health and education needs, Christian community itself is still suffering today,” adds Khokhar.
Pastras recalled that in the past, “the tandoor (clay oven) of the canteen was also right under the sanctuary, which used to make the floor so hot it was difficult to sit there. Finally, church authorities bore the expenses of shifting the tandoor outside the church building.”
“A canteen had been built in the basement of the new hospital building. God knows why it was closed down. The former Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital had also pledged to shift the canteen from its present location, but he was transferred before he could fulfill that promise. The present MS was also contacted in this regard, but he claimed they lacked funds,” he added.
Pastras and Khokhar found it paradoxical that “on one hand, the hospital’s MS claimed lack of funds was the reason the canteen could not be shifted, while on the other hand, precious land from a compound adjacent to the church has been given on a Rs4.2 million contract to run a canteen and shops. Who will ask the hospital administration where all that contract money went?”
“We also offered to bear the expenses of shifting the canteen elsewhere as we did in the case of the tandoor, for which we are still awaiting the MS’s response,” they say.
The HFH medical superintendent told The Express Tribune that under an agreement signed between the two parties, the hall on the upper floor of the church belonged to the hospital and not the church. But the church authorities denied this, and when the hospital was asked for proof by the church, they could not produce any such agreement.
The canteen dispute is not the only bone of contention. The handing over of the hall on the upper floor of the church is also an issue.
In the mid-1990’s, priest John William first demanded the return of the upper story hall because of a considerable increase in the local Christian population.
“Our community is growing and there are a considerable number of Christian workers in the hospital, so we need the hall to accommodate them,” explains Mukhtar Masih, who works at HFH.
I just can’t understand why the hall is not being returned as the hospital administration has several halls in the new block built in front of the church building and many more in the new building. The training institute also has several halls where conferences are held. They can also be used by the hospital administration,” says Khokhar.
The demand for the return of the hall was also made by the Christian community on August 11, 2011 during a programme in connection with Independence Day celebrations, where MNA Shakeel Awan was the chief guest. Exactly a year later on August 11, 2012, MPAs Ziaullah Shah, Raja Hanif and Malik Iftikhar also promised to get in touch with the Punjab chief minister on the issue, but with no results.
British citizens purchased 22 acres in 1969 and handed over the property — designated solely for a church — to church authorities through a trustee deed. According to the deed, the property can only be used for the welfare of the Christian community.
A mosque, several shops and a number of illegal houses built on land grabbed from the property would suggest otherwise.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2013 at the following link:

Netherlands’ Ambassador for Human Rights Lionel Veer calls on Dr Paul Bhatti

His Excellency Lionel Veer Netherlands’ Ambassador for Human Rights called on Dr Paul Bhatti Minister In Charge for the Ministry of National Harmony here at the latter’s office. Both dignitaries discussed the situation of human rights in Pakistan and also the various efforts being made to bring minorities into mainstream society.
During the course of conversation, Dr Paul briefed the visiting Ambassador about recently held National Conference on Inter-faith harmony and the declaration that was agreed upon after the Conference. Mr Paul also discussed the setting up of National Harmony Council that was recently approved by the government for the purpose of ensuring inter-faith and inter-sect harmony.
Ambassador for Human Rights Lionel Veer said that his country was committed to promoting human rights and religious freedom and applauded the efforts of Dr Paul Bhatti in this regard. Mr Paul also underscored the need to address two things i.e. poverty and education; in order to reverse the increasing tide of militancy and extremism in the society. Dr Bhatti also thanked Ambassador Lionel Veer for his country’s assistance in promoting inter-religious dialogue and relationship.

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