Former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Jamshed Dasti has decided not to join Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). Whilst talking to media on Saturday, Jamshed Dasti said he has decided to proceed to the National Assembly as an independent candidate. He however added that he would vote to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif for the role of the prime minister and hoped to work towards the prosperity of the country.
Pakistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Saturday decided to promote mutual cooperation to curb the border violations. Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Gen Joseph F Dunford, on Saturday called on General Ashfaq Kayani to discuss the issues in connection with Afghanistan peace and stability. During the meeting, both discussed issues related to the conditions on both sides of the border. They stressed to improve coordination between the troops on both sides of the border to monitor and monitor and control the illegal border movements. They also agreed on intelligence sharing and to launch coordinated efforts against drugs peddlers as well as terrorists. They reiterated their commitment to fight terrorists. Gen Dunford also lauded the sacrifices made by Pakistani security forces in the war on terrorism.
Former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and prime minister in-waiting Nawaz Sharif at his Raiwind residence on Saturday and announced joining the PML-N. During the meeting, both leaders discussed the political situation in the country and formation of government in Balochistan. Jamali congratulated Sharif on his party’s victory in the general election and assured his whole hearted cooperation to the PML-N government. He hoped Sharif would be able to steer the country out of the prevailing crises including that of unprecedented electricity load shedding. Jamali said he decided to join PML-N in the interest of the troubled province of Balochistan. He said it is time that all political forces extend a helping hand towards the new government in the greater interest of the country. Responding to a question post the meeting, Jamali said the Balochistan issue could not be resolved through “packages” but required sincere efforts to take all stakeholders into confidence. Sharif thanked Jamali for his gesture and said per its commitment to the masses, PML-N would do its level best to address all problems in the shortest span of time. He said he was well aware of the excessive load shedding in sweltering heat and knew that people had pinned high hopes on him. PML-N has emerged as the leading party in the general election held a fortnight ago and over 40 independent candidates have joined the party so far.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is involved in backchannel contacts with major opposition parties to win a vote of confidence for its nominee for the slot of prime minister –Nawaz Sharif— in an attempt to get him elected as premier unanimously. However, no major breakthrough has been achieved in this regard as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is not ready to vote for Sharif fearing public backlash. However, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) may vote for Sharif, returning the favour extended by the PML-N for PPP nominee Yousaf Raza Gilani in 2008, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably. “In a bid to attain political reconciliation on major issues and to evolve a joint strategy to tackle issues such as peace dialogue with Taliban, power crisis and relations with India and USA, Nawaz Sharif wants full backing from all political forces of the country. With the same resolve, we are involved in back-channeling to persuade the political leadership to evolve consensus over major issues faced by the country,” a source in the PML-N told Pakistan Today. The source said for the time being, the PML-N had contacted politicians who were soft towards the Sharif family. Those who have been reached for support include President Asif Ali Zardari, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, PML-F chief Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, PkMAP President Mahmood Khan Achakzai and other nationalist leaders. “Even if these parties don’t join the federal government, they would definitely give their vote of confidence to Nawaz Sharif who would thus emerge as a national leader,” the source added. Meanwhile, PTI held a long brainstorming session in Lahore on Saturday and decided to oppose any bid by the PML-N to go scot-free regarding election of the new prime minister. A senior PTI leader said that there was no way the PTI would extend a vote of confidence to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. “Although there has been no formal contact made with the PTI by PML-N, the PTI would not give a vote of confidence to Nawaz Sharif. Yes, we can abstain from the proceedings of vote of confidence just to extend a goodwill gesture and to avoid further bitterness,” the PTI leader added. However, PTI Secretary Information Shireen Mazari said the party had decided to contest election for the slots of prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker and the PML-N would not be given a walkover despite their majority in the National Assembly. “We have decided to pitch PTI President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi for the slot of prime minister, Shehryar Afridi for the post of National Assembly speaker and Munazza Hassan for deputy speaker. Imran Khan would be the parliamentary leader of the party in the National Assembly,” she added. Asked whether any contact had been made by the PML-N for a vote of confidence for Nawaz Sharif, Mazari said she was unaware of any such interaction. A PPP leader said his party may return the favour extended by the PML-N to Gilani in 2008. When contacted, PPP Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said he had no knowledge about any such contact. “You better put this question to Farhatullah Babar, the presidential spokesman,” he said. Babar however did not respond to the question. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued results of 261 general seats of the National Assembly on May 22. According to the ECP, results of two constituencies have been withheld, while re-polling would be held at some polling stations of six National Assembly (NA) constituencies. In NA, PML-N emerged as the largest party with 126 seats, followed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) with 31 and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with 27 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) secured 18 seats while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) bagged 10 seats.
A French soldier patrolling a business neighborhood west of Paris was stabbed in the neck on Saturday by a man who quickly fled the scene and is being sought by police, President Francois Hollande said. The soldier was patrolling in uniform with two other men as part of France's Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance plan when he was approached from behind around 1800 p.m. and stabbed in the neck with a knife or a box-cutter. Hollande, in the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa, commented on the stabbing to say that the man was still on the run and police were exploring all leads. "We still don't know the exact circumstances of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but we are exploring all options," Hollande told journalists. Pierre-Andre Peyvel, police prefect for the Hauts-de-Seine area, said the soldier had lost a considerable amount of blood but would survive, and was being treated in a nearby military hospital. "The wound appears to be quite serious, but it's not life-threatening," he told iTele news television. Peyvel said the man was able to flee into a crowded shopping area in the La Defense business neighborhood before the two other soldiers, who were walking in front of him, were able to react. French daily Le Parisien cited a police source as saying the suspected attacker was a bearded man of North African origin about 30 years old, and was wearing an Arab-style garment under his jacket. However, Peyvel declined to confirm or deny that description and said further details about the attacker's identity would be forthcoming. France is on high alert for attacks by Islamist militants following its military intervention in Mali in January, which prompted threats against French interests from AQIM, the North African wing of al Qaeda. The attack came days after a British soldier was killed on a London street by two men who said they were acting out of revenge for violence against Muslims.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday reiterated that the PML-N government would end the energy crisis and long hours of electricity load shedding in the country. Talking to media personnel after meeting Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) chief Pir Pagara in Karachi, the former and future designate Punjab chief minister said the previous government had done nothing to overcome the energy crisis in the country. He said after coming into power, his party would immediately take all possible steps to produce electricity, adding that Thar coal projects would be activated. Sharif said PML-N’s federal government would facilitate all provinces to maintain law and order, especially in Karachi and Balochistan. He said the federal government would coordinate with the Sindh government to restore peace in Karachi which he said was the financial engine of the country. “PML-N will help local authorities end extortion, target killing, kidnapping and terrorism from Karachi and the rest of the province,” he added. Sharif vowed to establish a Lahore-like Metro Bus System in Karachi. “As we promised to the people of this city, PML-N will immediately work on this mass transit system and I offered my expertise and experience to build the Metro Bus System in Karachi,” Sharif said. He said President Zardari had used his administrative powers in Sindh to interfere in poll results, adding that the real mandate of Sindhi people had been stolen. Sharif said his party did not believe in political victimisation but people who were involved in massive corruption would be brought to justice. He said an alliance with PML-F would be in the interest of the people of Sindh and said he had invited Pir Pagara to Raiwind and Islamabad to attend Nawaz Sharif’s oath taking ceremony. The PML-F chief, on the occasion, urged unification of all factions of Muslim League. He said all factions of Pakistan Muslim League should be gathered under a single forum for the betterment of the country. Pagara said he had supported Nawaz Sharif in the past and vowed to support him in the future as well.
President Asif Ali Zardari is all set to set a new record in the parliamentary history of the country by addressing the joint parliament session for the fifth time, Pakistan Today has learnt. The joint session of both the houses of the Parliament is likely to be called by June, as on May 29 the first formal session of the Lower House of the parliament will be held during which the new prime minister, leader of opposition, speaker and deputy speaker for the National Assembly would be elected. After the first session of the Lower House, a joint session of the parliament would be summoned for the presidential address as per Clause 3 of the Article 56 of the Constitution. It states that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses assembled together and inform the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of the causes of its summon. President Asif Ali Zardari will be the first ever president who would address the parliament for the sixth time in the parliamentary history of the country. Special passes would issued for those desirous to attend the address of the president where as there would be beefed up security in the Red Zone. Rangers and Frontier Constabulary would be there to assist law enforcement agencies and police to prevent any untoward incident whereas aerial surveillance of the area would also be maintained on the event. Keeping in view the current law and order situation, special security cameras would also be installed on various spots whereas choppers would stay in the air for surveillance and security to foil any bid of terror. Sources said that no bicycles, motorbikes or vehicles would be permitted to enter the Red Zone during the presidential address whereas special media passes would be issued to the media persons who would cover the event. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) head Maulana Fazalur Rahman, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, all services chiefs, prominent political and diplomatic figures and ambassadors would also be invited to the joint session of the parliament through special invitations for the event. Earlier President Zardari had addressed the joint session of the parliament five times within the period of four years. Former President Rafique Ahmed Tarar had addressed the joint session of parliament on Feb 28, 1998 in the second term of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Former president and military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf, during his eight-year reign after 2002 general elections addressed the joint session of the parliament on January 17, 2004 once for 45 minutes but was disturbed by the opposition raising slogans ‘Go Musharraf Go’ and after that he did not address any joint session.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leadership at a consultative meeting demanded the formation of a national commission to probe into allegations of rigging in elections within a period of 30 days. The demand for the commission was made at a party meeting in which office-bearers and ticket holders in recent elections participated in big numbers. The meeting, held at the residence of Chaudhrys, also saw some heavy outbursts from members against the party leadership’s decision to partner with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The angry lot in the party dubbed the party decision to align with PPP as the main cause of the party’s humiliating defeat in elections. They also warned the leadership against any further cooperation with the PPP. Instead, they argued the party leadership should cooperate with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with an intention to develop a long-term partnership. Party insiders disclosed that the mood in the meeting got grim and hostile when Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in the beginning told members that he was approached by PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Quereshi and Jehangir Tareen. “But we advised them to go slow and be more careful. We can evolve a joint strategy at the time of local bodies’ elections,” sources quoted Elahi as saying. The crowd gathered on the occasion wanted to immediately get rid of the PPP baggage and instead open up channels of communication with PTI in the better interest of the party. In a major decision reached on the occasion, the PML-Q would make a joint opposition with other parties in the opposition, both in Punjab and Center. It was also decided that the party would press for formation of the national commission immediately and before the new government assumed office. It was argued that it would not be possible to conduct a neutral inquiry with PML-N in the government. Therefore PML-Q demanded that the commission complete its inquiry within 30 days. The meeting was attended by party leaders from all across Pakistan.
The Karachiites are braving prolonged power outages amid scorching heat, but the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) is planning to add to their woes by increasing power tariff. The KESC, sources said, has proposed to NEPRA Rs 1.78 per unit hike in quarterly electricity rates on account of fuel adjustment charges. NEPRA would be weighing the KESC proposal in its June 3 hearing to be held at 10:30am at a hotel. Sources claimed that given the fact that the KESC gets a monthly subsidy of Rs 6 billion from the federal government under the head of price differential it was unjustified for the utility to further burden the consumers in the name of fuel adjustment charges. "They (KESC) just received around Rs 40 billion of subsidy for 6 months on March 31," said they. Sources said if approved by NEPRA, which is more likely to happen, the company’s current Rs 9 per unit tariff would climb to Rs 10.78 for domestic consumers using up to 300 units. The overall impact, they said, varied for commercial and industrial consumers. The price hike came amid increased load shedding that has paralysed life in the financial capital of the country. Sources said the city was facing a shortage of 300 to 350MW of electricity. Against the 2,200MW demand, the KESC was producing 1800-1900MW, which is inclusive of 650MW the utility receives 'for free" from WAPDA. Sources said the scarcity was artificial. They claimed the KESC had deliberately kept closed 5 of its 6 power generating units at Bin Qasim Power Plant. "If they start running the 5 units each of them has the capacity to generate 160MW of electricity," they said, adding, "In this case the KESC would lose 650MW it is receiving from Wapda for almost free." "The KESC even does not pay the Rs 3 per unit charges to WAPDA whose dues (against KESC) have accumulated to Rs 54 billion," they claimed. The company, sources said, also owes Rs 44 billion to the SSGC on account of gas supplies. The KESC's power producing plants are run on both furnace oil and gas, but the profit-conscious utility tends to avoid the usage of oil. "This is unjustified! For increasing power tariff they first have to ensure the supply which is nowhere. We are burning in this hot summer with our fans not working for the want of power," exclaimed Akbar Ahmed, who works at a private firm. "I don't know what of people they are. They say the shortage is artificial. It is hard to believe who is to be believed and who is not," said Ahmed.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Javed Hashmi refused on Saturday to be named as a candidate for prime minister of Pakistan. Hashmi was selected as a candidate for premiership by the PTI leadership. However, he refused to be a contestant while PTI officials are reportedly trying to convince him to accept the decision. Hashmi has been elected in the National Assembly from Islamabad on NA-48 and from Multan on NA-149 in the 2013 elections. Meanwhile, PTI also announced their picks for speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that Shahryar Afridi has been nominated for speaker while Munazza Hassan for deputy speaker. Qureshi added that Imran Khan will be the parliamentary leader while PTI President Javed Hashmi has been nominated to contest for premiership. Qureshi also said Ghulam Sarwar Khan has been nominated to represent the business advisory committee.
Police on Saturday arrested Maulana Hifzur Rehman, eldest son of Allama Abdur Rasheed Bilal, head of a religious seminary at Khan Garh in connection with the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani. The son of former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani was abducted from Multan a day before the general election. According to media reports, Maulana Abdur Rasheed Bilal claimed his son was innocent, adding he had around Rs 500,000 cash with him at the time of his arrest. Moreover, Bilal maintained that the amount did not belong to his son and he was keeping it for someone as trust money. Bilal demanded the government to release his son along with recovery of the said money.
Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi has said that Pakistani businessmen should focus on the African region as it is destined to become a global growth centre for having enormous trade and tourism potential. Sethi was speaking at the second Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Africa Show on Saturday. LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar and Dean of African Ambassadors, High Commissioner of Kenya Mishi Masika Mwatsahu, LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, and Zafar Mahmood, convener LCCI Standing Committee on Pakistan Africa Business Promotion also spoke on the occasion. Sethi said that Pakistan should not lose any opportunity to tap the African market wherein the neighbouring India had already made great penetration. “It is not only the gold, diamonds and oil reserves that are a great attraction but a number of other untapped sectors including education and tourism provide a solid reason to Pakistani businessmen to increase their interaction with their African counterparts,” he said. He said that Pakistani diplomats working in the outer world need to reset their priorities as foreign diplomats in Pakistan are committed to securing trade and presence of large number of African ambassadors and high commissioners in the event arranged by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an ample proof of their commitment to their respective countries. The caretaker chief minister showed displeasure over the absence of Foreign Office representative in the mega Africa Show saying that they should have participated in the event. The chief minister said that Nelson Mandela is an amazing leader because of his dedication and inspiration. He encouraged the actions of others and motivated others towards acceptance of people that are different, Sethi added. Speaking on the occasion, the Dean of Ambassadors Mishi Masika Mwatsahu congratulated the people and the govt of Pakistan for holding elections that many international observers have described as free and fair. This is a significant achievement for Pakistan’s democracy, she added. She said that Africa Day is a day of significant importance to the people of Africa because it commemorates the day of the African Union. It is the day in 1963 that the 30 out of the 32 independent African states signed founding charter in Addis Ababa Ethiopia that established the defunct Organisation of African Unity the precursor of the African Union. The Ambassador said that last year while celebrating Africa Day, the formation of the Africa Pakistan Friendship and Business Association was announced as a means to further consolidate the friendship and business relations between the Chamber and Africa. She said that the work is in progress and near conclusion. She said that desires and hopes of the people of Africa are to be free, happy and prosperous. As the inhabitants of the cradle of mankind, the people of Africa also desire to have genuine friends throughout the world. She also paid tribute to LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar and Convener LCCI Standing Committee Zafar Mahmood for arranging Africa Show. Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Iftikhar said that Africa is a potential market for Pakistani rice while African businessmen could supply us leather, fertilizers, cotton, textile products and agricultural products which Pakistan does not produce. He said that exchange of students, doctors, teachers and scholars should take place on regular basis. The LCCI president said that visa policies should be relaxed for each other to overcome unnecessary bottlenecks. Earlier, Chief Minister Sethi inaugurated the exhibition, took a round of the exhibition hall and spent some time at the stalls established by the embassies of Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius and Sudan. Meanwhile the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry also hosted a dinner in honour of the ambassadors at Governor’s House.
Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Ansar Javed on Saturday took notice of concealing invoices, under invoicing and under assessment of containers carrying imported goods. FBR sources said that DG Audit, Customs Muhammad Ikram Khan pointed out to FBR chief the gross irregularities being committed at NLC Dry Port Thokhar Niaz Baig. The DG Audit informed the FBR that packing lists and invoices are not found placed on more than 60 percent of the total containers carrying imported goods only at one NLC dry port under control of collectorate of Appraisement. He further disclosed the modus operandi of scam that importers with the connivance of customs officers conceal the invoice value and physical description of imported goods which increases the discretion of customs staff and likelihood of under invoicing and under assessment is very high which resulting huge monetary loss to national kitty. The DG disclosed that according to Customs Rule 2001, all imported cargo when entered into customs area for clearance must accompany with a copy of packing list and invoice must also be placed on the inner side of the door of container. He said that according to para 389 read with para 391 of Customs Rules, liability of placing such documents vests with the owner of goods and carrier. He said that the owner of goods and the carrier will explicitly stipulate the requirement of placing documents in the manner prescribed as an obligatory condition, to the person packing or shipping the cargo. Muhammad Ikram Khan also conveyed other serious observations carrying weight about other gross malpractices at NLC dry port for immediate action to set the things in right direction on merit and transparent examination and inspection of containers. Large scale irregularities were also committed at NLC during the car amenity scheme in which only a special group of 6 Inspectors, Appraisers and Examiners out of a total of 20 cleared hundred of vehicles at less custom duty than prescribed while remaining customs officers were sidelined without any plausible reason.
A world away from the glitzy skyscrapers and pulsing nightclubs of downtown Dubai, Bangladeshi labourer Mohamed Ashraf stares at the metal gates of his labour camp, terrified about his future after management broke a strike at the company where he has worked for six years. Backed by security forces, bosses at Arabtec - a massive construction firm with interests across the oil-rich Gulf states - ended a strike on Monday, but the fallout continues as more workers are receiving deportation orders. "Between 20-25 people just got the [deportation] letter now," Ashraf, a scaffolding installer at Arabtec, told Al Jazeera after receiving a phone call from a co-worker. "When we got the news of the [first] deportations [on Monday] everyone came down shouting. When the police came, we just went back to our rooms. People were trying to be part of the group without coming to the front," he said. Unions and strikes are illegal in Dubai and across the Gulf and rather than demonstrating or holding placards, a few thousand workers simply stayed in their accommodations last weekend and didn't show up for work. The strike ended after management refused to accept demands for increased wages from people earning about $200 a month to complete mega-projects in 40 degree Celsius heat. Worker demands varied from a monthly pay raise of between $100-$135, while others wanted free food that they say was promised to them. Arabtec, Dubai's largest construction firm, has tens of thousands of employees and contracts to work on the city's airport, the Abu Dhabi branch of the Louvre museum, and other high-profile projects. It's unclear how many workers downed their tools or how many received deportation orders, although it seems dozens if not hundreds will be forced to leave the country they have helped to build. A call to Arabtec's media office rang unanswered Thursday, and an emailed request for comment was not returned. "Arabtec has been working closely with the UAE Ministry of Labour, the Dubai Police and the concerned security authorities to resolve as soon as possible a partial workers stoppage by a limited number of Arabtec labour employees," the company said in a filing on Tuesday. Projects will be delivered on time in spite of the strike, the company said. The Labour Ministry had said that Arabtec was paying the workers according to contracts. Police pressure Dubai is an autonomous city and part of the United Arab Emirates, a federation run by an unelected emir where the press is censored and public demonstrations are illegal. The camp where Ashraf lives with some 2,500 Arabtec employees is located in Sonapur or the "land of God", a series of dusty streets and barracks-style labour camps guarded by private security and home to about 200,000 workers. "We live with five men to a room and 40 or 50 men share a bathroom," Syed Khaled, a concerete mixer for Arabtec, told Al Jazeera. "The company is very cruel and going on strike is a good idea." Khaled said he earns about $102 per month, less than what he would make in his native Bangladesh. The difference, he said, is that the work in Dubai is steady, whereas at home he might be employed one month and then have no job for the next two. 'Slave' states Other workers, including some who supported the strike, said the money they are earning in Dubai is far better than anything they could hope for back home."The strike ended because of pressure from higher management and police," he said. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said workers such as Khaled are "effectively living in 21st-century slave states". "It's appalling," she told Al Jazeera of the situation in Dubai and across the Gulf. "The governments and employers must sit down and respect the rights of workers to bargain collectively. Most companies are forcing their workers to live in squalor. An unconscionable number of workers die due to unsafe conditions. These governments are using and abusing migrant workers." Known for its Ferraris, "seven-star" hotels and other ostentatious displays of wealth, less than 20 percent of the UAE's roughly 7.9 million residents are citizens. To attain citizenship, a person must usually demonstrate a blood connection on the father's side to the Emirates' original inhabitants. Migrant workers choose to come to Dubai on their own free will, and most locals believe labourers are offered a better life in the UAE than what's available in their home countries. Some labourers seem to support that view. "We are happy to be here; this is not our country. We could have left anytime," Mahmoud Jamal, a labourer from Bangladesh, told Al Jazeera. "We are willing to work. We just want to stay here." Jamal, a strike supporter, said he's now worried he won't be able to renew his residency visa as a result of the labour dispute. Under the kefala system, a worker's legal status in the country is tied to his employer. Foreigners cannot change jobs without permission from their company. Supporters say these rules allow citizens to retain their rights while creating economic stability, while critics say they are a form of modern servitude. A call to Dubai's Ministry of Labour office was put on hold for 30 minutes without a response on Thursday. An email requesting comment was also not answered. Better than home countries A minority in what they consider their own country, the idea of independent trade unions for foreigners is unfathomable to most UAE citizens. Strikes and protests by workers are considered a security risk in a city that prides itself on being open to investment, tourism and different cultures. Supporters of Dubai's economic model say a lack of collective bargaining rights is good for workers, as it leads to more growth and job creation. Part of the reason why countries such as France are in the economic doldrums, they say, is because the labour market is overly regulated and employees spend more time protesting than actually working. For many residents and most citizens, the Dubai model of cheap, imported labour and no union recognition has been a boon. If hundreds of Arabtec employees are deported, there will be thousands of new recruits clamouring to take their place, leading some to argue the Dubai model is a success as workers understand their own self-interest and can vote with their feet. Annual per capital income in the UAE is $48,158, according to the Heritage Foundation think-tank. In the span of 20 years, the city has transformed itself into an international hub for tourism, real estate investment and financial services. But the wage gap between Emirati citizens and Western technocrats on the one hand, and the working class on the other, is massive. Many labourers arrive in Dubai saddled with debt, usually a result of visa fees and other charges imposed by local labour agents in their home countries. These practices are illegal in Dubai, but tracking perpetrators in Bangladesh or India is almost impossible for police forces in the UAE. The UAE can't be held accountable for corrupt labour practices in migrant-sending countries, according to some analysts. Local concerns Most labourers seem to reserve their scorn for local bosses, unscrupulous visa agents in their home countries, and labour camp officials. "We are sweating, working hard in the hot sun and we aren't getting benefits," Arshad Hamid, a scaffolding installer who has been with Arabtec for six years, told Al Jazeera. "The office boys are getting benefits and their salaries are higher." Other workers complained that foremen receive regular wage increases, but they do not. Stuart Poole-Robb, the CEO of KCS, a London-based consultancy, once worked in the UAE helping with security for a petroleum facility. He said conditions in the labour camps could pose a risk to the UAE's broader stability. "I am stunned salaries are still at the level they are," Poole-Robb told Al Jazeera. "By treating people like this they [the Emirates] are opening themselves up to serious problems." Agents working for Iran, a country the Gulf states fear, were stirring up trouble in the labour camps around the petroleum facility, he alleged, and bad working conditions made some workers receptive to their overtures. "The camps could end up acting like a Trojan horse," he said. "These workers deserve a living wage like anyone else." Dubai's backers say some companies do abuse workers, but these are isolated incidents that could happen in any society rather than structural problems. 'It won't improve' Reports including Human Rights Watch's "Building towers, cheating workers" and a documentary from the BBC programme Panorama exposing abuses at Arabtec have irritated some Emiratis, who believe the country is unfairly targeted by Western organisations. In response to the bad public relations stemming from the treatment of workers, the UAE has instituted some changes, including the creation of a telephone hotline through which employees can report abuse. Rights groups, however, say there has been virtually no improvement for workers in the past decade. Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler and the UAE's vice president, initiated a campaign to thank blue-collar workers for their service to the country. But Mohamed Ashraf isn't feeling particularly appreciated. As he ponders his next move, the long-time labourer doesn't have much optimism. "If we formed a union and we had a leader he would take our problems to management and they would just deport the leader," he said. "I don't think the situation will improve." * Names have been changed to protect the identities of workers.
Although BizAsia recently reported that a heroine for Karan Johar’s forthcoming production, ‘Shuddhi’, has not been finalised, reports are suggesting that Kareena Kapoor has already marked time in her schedule for the movie. The film is rumoured to be bringing her back on screen with Hrithik Roshan and the project will be directed by Karan Malhotra who directed last year’s ‘Agneepath’. A trade source, according to TOI, has confirmed that Kapoor has indeed taken out 180 days for the movie. The source also said that the project is likely to begin towards the end of this year.
Kim Kardashian can be seen finding out the sex of her baby in the new episode of 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians', but disappointingly, her beau Kanye West is absent during the ultrasound. The 32-year-old reality star was accompanied by members of her family, including her mother and manager Kris Jenner and her two sisters Kourtney and Khloe, the Mirror reported. In the clip, Kim has her hair tied in a bun while wearing full makeup. As the Kardashian clan look at the monitor, Dr. Crane takes them through the whole anatomy of Kim's baby, starting with an arm, and then the femur. Kris looks much more excited that Kim, shrieking: "Look at that! Look at the little ankle! Oh Kim look!"
For the first time in his career, Charlie Sheen will use his real name, Carlos Estevez, in the credits of the movie " Machete Kills", a decision that contrasts a past statement that he does not feel "Latino". Celebrity-news Web site TMZ.com published a shot from the film, to premiere September in the US, which shows Sheen carrying an assault rifle while a super on the screen says "and introducing Carlos Estevez". Charlie's dad, Martin Sheen, the son of a Spanish immigrant to the US, was born Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez. He called himself Martin Sheen to get work as an actor, but never legally changed his name. Martin Sheen starred in the 2011 movie "The Way", directed by his son Emilio Estevez, the story of a Californian ophthamologist who goes to France when he learns that his son died in a storm in the Pyrenees. After discovering that the young man was going to make a pilgrimage on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela, he decides to take his place, carrying his ashes. It was in July last year that Charlie Sheen said he didn't feel Latino. "I'm not ashamed of it, I'm not escaping from it, but I was born in New York and grew up in Malibu - that's not very Latino," Sheen said in an interview that aired on Univision.
Pakistan's bowlers who failed to make an impact in the first ODI against Ireland would have to fire all cylinders while its batsmen would require supporting their bowlers in the second ODI against spirited Ireland on Sunday. The first ODI of the two-match series was another telling advertisement of what Ireland are capable of on a cricket field. The end result may have been a tie but Pakistan were biting their nails for the most part as Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling nearly pulled off a spectacular victory. With the second match becoming a virtual final, Ireland have a great chance to win the series and attract international attention. For Pakistan, it is a matter of pride; a loss here could dent their morale ahead of the Champions Trophy in England. Traditionally, Pakistan's bowling has been their strength but Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Saeed Ajmal were expensive in the first ODI. The batting was far more solid, with Mohammad Hafeez vindicating a move to No.3 in the batting order. He scored his fifth ODI hundred - his first in 14 months. Asad Shafiq was equally impressive with an almost run-a-ball 84. Pakistan will need to raise their game quickly to defuse the Ireland threat. Ireland are the best team among the Associate nations and once again impressed against an international side. The bowlers kept a stranglehold on Pakistan in the first 10 overs and the batsmen negotiated Ajmal with ease. Ireland's thirst to perform on the world stage is clear from O'Brien saying the result felt "like a loss." Saeed Ajmal failed to defend 15 runs in the final 6 balls of the innings and conceded 71 runs in 10 overs as Ireland tied the first ODI after being behind for most part of the chase. Ajmal, though, is Pakistan's trump-card and has the experience to bounce back strongly. Though he could not push Ireland across the line, Kevin O'Brien was at his belligerent best as he raced along at a strike rate close to 180. The right hander blasted 43 runs off 21 balls from Ajmal alone and his presence in the middle order poses a clear danger to Pakistan. Ireland are expected to field an unchanged team. As of Pakistan there is likely to be one change with Wahab Riaz being tipped to replace Ehsan Adil, who only bowled three overs in the first ODI. Though the weather is likely to remain cloudy, a full 50-over game is expected on Sunday. Paul Stirling holds the record for the highest score by an Ireland batsman. The second highest belongs to Kevin O'Brien. Mohammad Hafeez, who scored his fifth ODI century, last played at No.3 in February 2005 Hafeez needs one more wicket to complete 100 wickets in ODIs "Full credit to Ireland. They needed almost ten runs an over for the last 12 overs but they batted well and we know we will have to improve our performance," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. "We definitely feel we can win the series. We respect Pakistan, they are a great team but we have nothing to fear having come so close here," Kevin O'Brien expressed his belief that his team can win the series.
Three members of Pakistan’s cricket team, who are in Ireland for a series of one-day internationals, were mobbed by excited crowds as they arrived at Castaheany Educate Together National School in Ongar, west Dublin, yesterday – and that was just the parents. Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan indulged their fans by playing a little cricket, after their thrilling draw with Ireland on Thursday, and posed with the children for photographs. The star attraction was fast bowler Irfan. At 7ft 1 inches he is the tallest man ever to play first-class cricket. He has gone from a cricketing curiosity to an established international recently. Irfan does not speak English, but the language of cricket needs no words for the children of Pakistani origin in the school. Castaheany Educate Together school has 450 pupils drawn from 55 nationalities. The school provides rich pickings for Cricket Ireland’s development programme and the sixth class participates in the Leprechaun Cup for local schools. The school has a large Pakistani population as evidenced by the large turnout from local families. Mohammad Khan and his wife Samia had received Irish citizenship last Monday having lived in Ireland for six years. Their son Mausab (11) attends the school. Yesterday they turned up hoping to get as close to the cricketers as possible. “If they were in Pakistan, there would be thousands of people out to see them and nobody would get a chance to meet them,” said Mr Khan. “We feel so lucky.” A decade ago the sight of Pakistani international cricketers in an Irish school probably would have met with indifference from the schoolchildren. Since then, however, large-scale immigration and the dramatically increased profile of the sport, which started with that memorable St Patrick’s Day World Cup triumph over Pakistan in 2007, has changed all that.
Misbah ul-Haq has told his Pakistan team they must improve in all three departments ahead of Sunday's series decider with Ireland. Kevin O'Brien hit a dramatic four off the last ball of the first one-day international on Thursday to deny Pakistan victory and earn Ireland a dramatic tie -- the 28th in ODI history. "Full credit to Ireland. They needed almost 10 an over for the last 12 overs but they batted well and we know we will have to improve our performance," said Misbah. In contrast, Ireland got so close to their victory target of 276 in 47 overs that the tie felt like a loss, according to O'Brien, whose unbeaten 84 was his highest score for Ireland since his century masterminded the shock of the 2011 World Cup, when the Irish defeated England in Bangalore. "To come so close and not get over the line is tough to take but when we have time to reflect I suppose it will be easier to take," said O'Brien. "Irish cricket is ever improving, we just need to get a bit more consistency. Everyone knows we are a good team, we just need to put five, six, seven good performances in a row. "We definitely feel we can win the series. We respect Pakistan, they are a great team but we have nothing to fear having come so close here, we know a different bounce of the ball and we come out with a victory and that's what we will be targeting on Sunday." In contrast, Pakistan were trying to take the positives from a game they were always winning until the last ball of the game. They hit 144 off the last 16 overs, after the fourth and final rain delay of the match, to reach 266 for five with Mohammad Hafeez scoring 122 not out, and would have been confident of defending Ireland's revised target of 276. In cold conditions, Paul Stirling got Ireland off to the perfect start with a 102-ball century but Mohammad Irfan got his wicket just five balls later and Hafeez finished with two for 34, the best bowling of the match. Crucially, Irfan dropped O'Brien on 19 and that was the miss that ensured an exciting finish. "Missed catches are part of the game," Asad Shafiq said. "We were hoping for a tough encounter. Playing a match like this is very good preparation for the Champions Trophy. Ireland played very well. "We were hoping to take wickets with the new ball but it didn't go our way. Their opening pair batted well. The ball did not seam or turn as expected. It was a very good wicket to bat on." Shafiq took advantage and shared a second wicket stand of 188 with Hafeez, his contribution a one-day career best 84. "To get the highest score always feels good," he added. "But I'm disappointed I didn't get a century. It was on my mind."
Shinzo Abe, accompanied by a large business delegation, is visiting Myanmar - the first by a Japanese prime minister in more than three decades. The visit is being seen by security analysts as part of Japan's attempt to reassert its position as a top economic partner of Myanmar after decades of poor relations with the previous military regime. Abe toured Myanmar's mausoleum, which commemorates the national hero, General Aung San, and was due to meet Aung San's daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's democracy icon, and the current leader, Thein Sein, in the capital Naypyitaw. On Saturday, Abe promised to provide "all possible assistance" to help boost Myanmar's economy, lauding a major industrial zone near Yangon as a symbol of development for the impoverished nation. "Japan is happy to support nation-building in Myanmar," he said after visiting the Thilawa Special Economic Zone - a 2,400-hectare project which will include a port and industrial park - led by trading companies Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp and Sumitomo Corp. Investment projects: At least 35 Japanese investment projects are under way in Myanmar, the biggest being plans to develop the Thilawa project. Abe was scheduled to sign agreements to provide Japanese grant money for human resources development and to extend the first Japanese government loan to Myanmar since it cancelled $3.58bn in debt in January. The last Japanese premier to visit Myanmar was Takeo Fukuda in 1977 during the Socialist regime of the late ruler, General Ne Win Japan, Myanmar's largest aid donor, helped clear part of its unpaid debt in an effort to boost Myanmar's democratic reforms and open ways to resume fresh loans for infrastructure building and major development assistance that will support Japanese business interests. Chequered past: Japan had close ties with Myanmar before the junta took power in 1988, prompting the country to suspend grants for major projects. Although it scaled back most business activity and cut government aid when the US and other Western nations imposed sanctions in 2003 after the military regime put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, Japan did not impose sanctions on Myanmar.
African leaders have gathered to witness celebrations in Addis Ababa for the 50th jubilee of the continental bloc, with its many problems set aside for a day to mark the progress that has been made. Mass dancing troupes performed musical dramas on Saturday to about 10,000 guests in a big hall in the Ethiopian capital, home to the African Union. Today's 54-member AU is the successor of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established amid the heady days as independence from colonial rule swept the continent in 1963. African leaders were expected to be joined by Francois Hollande, the French president; Wang Yang, China's vice-premier; and John Kerry, US secretary of state. Mali is expected to be discussed: it is preparing to receive a UN peacekeeping force to support French soldiers fighting formerly al-Qaeda-linked rebels in the desert north since January. The agenda will also likely include Madagascar - in political deadlock since a 2009 coup - and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where UN-backed government soldiers are struggling to defeat rebels. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, AU Commission chief, said the "celebration of all Africa" was "historic", and that it was a time to both look back at the past and consider how the continent can tackle the many challenges ahead. "The future is in our hands, its bright ... the opportunities are great for the continent to be prosperous," Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement late on Friday.
A nearly weeklong spate of rioting has spread outside Stockholm, but authorities say police reinforcements sent to the Swedish capital have reduced the violence there. As many as 25 cars had been burned and a police officer was slightly injured on the sixth straight night of violence in mainly immigrant areas of Stockholm. Kjell Lindgren, Stockholm police spokesman, said on Saturday that 19 people have been detained in connection with the rioting, but there had been no hurling of rocks against officers as in previous days. Two cars were torched in Stockholm but the city appeared to have had its calmest night since the trouble began. However, in Orebro, a town in central Sweden, about 25 masked youths set fire to three cars, a school and tried to torch a police station, police said. An old empty building was set alight in the town of Sodertalje, less than an hour's drive from the capital. Pupils at a primary school in the Stockholm suburb of Kista - an information-technology hub that is home to the likes of telecoms equipment maker Ericsson and the Swedish office of Microsoft - arrived on Friday to find that the inside of the small red wooden building had been burned out. "In the short run, the acute thing is to ensure that these neighbourhoods get back to normal everyday life," Erik Ullenhag, Sweden's integration minister, told the Reuters news agency. "In the long run we need to create positive spirals in these neighbourhoods." The police said they had called in back-up from the cities of Malmo and Gothenburg. Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden's prime minister, held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the crisis. Police shooting: The bout of destruction was sparked by the fatal police shooting earlier this month of a 69-year man, reported by local media to be a Portuguese immigrant and suspected of wielding a large knife, in the Stockholm suburb of Husby. The scale of riots pales beside the disturbances seen in London and Paris in recent years and there have been almost no injuries. Much of the capital has gone about business as normal. But the violence - with more than 100 cars set ablaze this week - has shocked a nation that has long taken pride in its generous social safety net. Youth unemployment is especially high in neighbourhoods such as the ones where the riots have taken place, home to asylum seekers from Iraq to Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Latin America and war-torn countries. About 15 percent of Sweden's population is foreign-born. Kicki Haak, head of the small Montessori school that was set alight in Kista on Thursday night, said she did not know if it would be able to reopen. The 94 students will move into improvised classrooms in nearby office buildings on Monday. There are signs that residents in the affected areas are getting fed up with the violence. Many community leaders, dressed in fluorescent jackets, have taken to the streets to try to calm things down. Risto Kajanto, brother-in-law of the man who was shot dead, told the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet he condemned the violence. "I want to say to all those who are burning cars that it is totally wrong to react that way," he said. One recent government study showed up to a third of young people aged 16 to 29 in some of the most deprived areas of Sweden's big cities neither study nor have a job. The gap between rich and poor in Sweden is growing faster than in any other major nation, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, although absolute poverty remains uncommon.