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Punjab Being Ruined By Drug Culture



Punjab Being Ruined By Drug Culture

Punjab Being Ruined By Drug Culture

Chandigarh: It is Punjab’s best kept secret and yet is talked about in virtually every household in the state. The rampant drugs racket and substance abuse in the state have now come to haunt its political elite, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

Having been dismissive of all allegations that its senior leaders, including ministers, had links to the state’s multi-million dollar drugs racket, the Punjab government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had to face embarrassment last week when a senior minister was forced to resign after his son’s name figured in the racket.

Swaran Singh Phillaur quit as jails and tourism minister after his son Damanvir was named by drug kingpin Jagdish Singh Bhola during interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Rs 6,000 crore ($1 billion) international synthetic drugs racket.

Phillaur’s resignation has increased the clamour of the opposition parties to remove Punjab’s powerful revenue minister, Bikram Singh Majithia, the brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar described as “drama” the Punjab government’s latest drive against drugs – a raid on a village last week in Moga district known for substance abuse – initiated after the Lok Sabha elections.

“Badal must display political will to teach a befitting lesson to those who have benefited enormously at the expense of a drug-ruined Punjabi generation. Accepting the resignation of one minister is hypocrisy of the highest order when the anti-incumbency verdict (May 16) in the Lok Sabha elections against Akali-BJP government is on record,” Jakhar said.

The Akali Dal, which won only four of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the polls, had to face an anti-Akali Dal sentiment from the electorate. Much of this is being linked to people being fed up with the indifferent manner in which the Badal government has been taking the drugs menace.

“(BJP leader) Arun Jaitley has himself seen the plight of Maqboolpura basti in Amritsar, where every single house has lost its kith and kin to drug abuse. He had to suffer an inglorious defeat due to the wrath of the people against the Akali-BJP government as being patrons of the drug business in Punjab,” Jakhar pointed out.

But the Akali Dal seems to be in no mood to oblige the opposition on the drugs front.

“The Punjab Congress leadership should stop the political blame game on the issue. Serious deliberations are the need of the hour to save youth from the clutches of this menace,” was the cliched response of Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema.

A recent sample survey indicated that 70-75 percent of the population, especially in rural areas, indulged in substance abuse.Punjab has a population of 28 million.

The Badal government, in an obvious move to draw away attention from drug trade in Punjab, has been blaming the central government and the Border Security Force (BSF) for not curbing smuggling of heroin and other drugs from the Pakistan side into India.

The BSF had recovered over 322 kg of heroin valued at Rs.1,610 crore on the international market along the 553-km long international border between India and Pakistan in Punjab. This year, till May 25, the BSF has already recovered over 245 kg of heroin valued at Rs.1,225 crore.

During the election campaign that kicked off March 5 when the model code of conduct came into force till the 10-phased poll ended May 12, the Election Commission has revealed that 156 kg of heroin worth nearly Rs.780 crore was recovered in Punjab.


Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin



Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told




The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus



Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.




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