[News] Patient in Gilgit-Baltistan Visit Hospital for Entertainment

Amin (Gilgit): The secretary Health Gilgit-Baltistan, Sikander Khan stated that people of Gilgit-Baltistan visit to Govt. hospital for entertainment purpose that is why we are charging fees to stop patient to visit Govt. Hospital.

In Gilgit-Baltistan which has lesser health facilities as compared to the rest of Pakistan and people economically belongs to poor section of the society are now deprived of the basic right of provision of health.  The Govt. of Giglit-Baltistan has decided to charge the poor patient for visiting Government Hospitals and it has fallen like a sky on poor people who are already suffering from poor economic conditions and lack of economic and job opportunities in the area.

‘People of Gilgit-Baltistan Visit the Hospital for

Entertainment Purposes not for Treatment’

Secretary y Health Gilgit-Baltistan, Sikander Khan

In order to cover up the money in fact collected to be put into the pockets of senior govt official and minister for health the secretary health states that ‘People of Gilgit-Baltistan Visit the Hospital for Entertainment Purposes not for Treatment’. It has irked so many people and in coming days protests are planned around Govt. Hospitals. The people of the area and civil society organization are of the view that the health department is already selling in the black market the medicines meant for the patient and now they are also charging fees.

It is to be noted in the rest of the country all over the patient in the govt. Hospitals are not charged any fees.

[NEWS] CIA operating drone base in Saudi Arabia, US media reveal

US drone operating in Iraq (file)Drones reportedly carry out strikes without Yemeni government permission

The US Central Intelligence Agency has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years.

The facility was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

A drone flown from there was used in September 2011 to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was alleged to be AQAP’s external operations chief.

US media have known of its existence since then, but have not reported it.

Senior government officials had said they were concerned that disclosure would undermine operations against AQAP, as well as potentially damage counter-terrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

‘High-value targets’

The US military pulled out virtually all of its troops from Saudi Arabia in 2003, having stationed between 5,000 and 10,000 troops in the Gulf kingdom after the 1991 Gulf war. Only personnel from the United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) officially remain.

The revelation that US drone strikes against militants in Yemen have been launched from a secret base inside Saudi Arabia will be an embarrassment for the government in Riyadh.

King Abdullah has embarked upon a gradual process of reform in the face of a conservative religious elite who strongly object to the presence of foreign non-Muslim troops in the country.

Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s two holiest sites and the deployment of US forces there in the 1990s was seen as an historic betrayal. The campaign for their withdrawal became a rallying cry for al-Qaeda and its late Saudi-born leader, Osama bin Laden.

The Washington Post reported that President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, a former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, played a key role in negotiations with the government in Riyadh over building the drone base.

Senators are expected to ask Mr Brennan about drone strikes, the memo and the killing of Awlaki when he faces a confirmation hearing on his nomination to become the new CIA director on Thursday.

The location of the secret drone base was not revealed in the US reports.

However, construction was ordered after a December 2009 cruise missile strike in Yemen,according to the New York Times.

It was the first strike ordered by the Obama administration, and ended in disaster, with dozens of civilians, including women and children, killed.

US officials told the newspaper that the first time the CIA used the secret facility was to kill Awlaki.

Since then, the CIA has been “given the mission of hunting and killing ‘high-value targets’ in Yemen” – the leaders of AQAP who government lawyers had determined posed a direct threat to the US – the officials added.

The New York Times published its report on Tuesday night, ending an “informal arrangement” among several news organisations not to disclose the location of the base.

News organisations had been complying with a request from Obama administration officials, who said it might undermine operations and collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reported.

Two other Americans, including Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, have also been killed in US strikes in Yemen, which can reportedly be launched without the permission of the country’s government.

Kristian Coates-Ulrichsen, an expert on Gulf politics at the London School of Economics, told the BBC that Saudi anxieties about the growing threat of AQAP would have been behind the government’s decision to allow the US to fly drones from inside the kingdom.

“The Saudis see AQAP as a very real threat to their domestic security,” he said. “They are worried about attacks on their energy infrastructure and on the royal family, so it fit their strategy to allow the drone attacks.”

The existence of the base was likely a “sensitive issue” for both Washington and Riyadh, Mr Coates-Ulrichsen added.

Leaked memo

A source close to the Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Anwar al-Awlaki (file)
Anwar al-Awlaki was among three Americans killed in drone strikes in Yemen in 2011

Saudi Arabia is home to some of Islam’s holiest sites and the deployment of US forces there was seen as a historic betrayal by many Islamists, notably the late leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden.

It was one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born militant to justify violence against the US and its allies.

The revelation of the drone base came shortly after the leaking of a US justice department memo detailing the Obama administration’s case for killing any American abroad who is accused of being a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or its allies.

Lethal force is lawful if they are deemed to pose an “imminent threat” and their capture is not feasible, the memo says.

The threat does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack, since such actions are being “continually” planned by al-Qaeda, it adds.

NBC News said it was given to members of the US Senate intelligence and judiciary committees as a summary of a classified memo on the targeted killings of US citizens prepared by the justice department.

The latter memo was written before the drone strike that killed Awlaki.

Under President Obama, the US has expanded its use of drones to kill hundreds of al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. It says it is acting in self-defence in accordance with international law.

Critics argue the drone strikes amount to execution without trial and cause many civilian casualties.

Scouts vehicles being used to smuggle arms and explosives

By Asad Kharal / Creative: Muhammad Suhaib

The report revealed that in some cases women along with infants were also being used to facilitate smuggling. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

LAHORE: Pakistan’s porous western borders, which continue to play host to militancy and terrorism, are now facing a new threat that has developed innovative ways to smuggle arms.

As the country struggles to eliminate terrorism, recent reports suggest that women and children and vehicles used by scouts are now being used to smuggle weapons and explosives in different parts of the country.

Intelligence and law enforcement agencies recently released a report identifying sources of this smuggling mafia. The report states that official scouts vehicles, used as protective cover against authorities, lead the way while a convoy transporting arms and explosives follow them in the northern areas of the country.

Extracts from the report, available with The Express Tribune, explain in detail how the smuggling mafia operates. Smugglers usually use their privately owned vehicles while transporting arms and explosives but a scouts car now leads the way to ensure clearance from the police force at different check posts.

The report revealed that in some cases women along with infants were also being used to facilitate smuggling. Women clad in the burqas usually accompany the smugglers while they are transporting their consignment from one place to the other.

The report states that various police and custom officers also facilitate these smugglers at different check posts.

Besides the porous western borders of the country, Darra Adamkhel, southern Peshawar and Sakhakot Market – situated in the northwestern region of Mardan – are considered to be places where the weapons and explosives are manufactured.

The smugglers follow five routes to smuggle weapons. The first route usually starts from Darra Adamkhel and ends at Rawalpindi. The smugglers travel from Darra Adamkhel to Peshawar from where they go towards Attock, Haripur and then through Wah to reach Rawalpindi.

The other route is from Darra Adamkhel to Peshawar and then moving towards Mansehra from where they go towards Kaghan, Chilas and then Gilgit.

Two other routes begin from the Sakhkot Market and then move towards Mardan from where one route leads to Rawalpindi while the other route ends in Gilgit.

A fifth route that is used by smugglers only during the summers originates through Chitral, passes Ghizer and ends in Gilgit.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2013.

[News] Saudi Freed By the Court for Raping and Killing Daughter

Fayhan al Ghamdi 300x208 Saudi gets off light for raping, killing daughter

RIYADH: A Saudi preacher who raped his five-year-old daughter and tortured her to death has been sentenced to pay “blood money” to the mother after having served a short jail term, activists said yesterday.

Lamia Al-Ghamdi was admitted to hospital on Dec 25, 2011 with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns, the activists said. She died last Oct 22.

Fayhan Al- Ghamdi, an Islamic preacher and regular guest on Muslim television networks, confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, the activists from the group “Women to Drive” said in a statement. They said the father had doubted Lama’s virginity and had her checked up by a medic.

Lama al Ghamdi Saudi gets off light for raping, killing daughter

Randa Al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been raped “everywhere”, according to the group.

According to the victim’s mother, hospital staff told her that her “child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed”.

The activists said that the judge had ruled the prosecution could only seek “blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment”.