Sunday, January 26, 2020

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بلاول کا سینٹرل پنجاب میں سرگرمیاں شروع کرنیکا فیصلہ

چیئرمین پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی (پی پی پی ) بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے سینٹرل پنجاب میں
سرگرمیاں شروع کرنے کا فیصلہ کر لیا ہے۔

پی پی پی کی جانب سے جاری اعلامیے میں کہا گیا ہے کہ بلاول بھٹو فروری کے آخری ہفتے سے ساہیوال ڈویژن سے اپنے دورے کا آغاز کریں گے، وہ ساہیوال، اوکاڑہ اور پاکپتن میں ورکرز کنونشن سے بھی خطاب کریں گے۔

اعلامیے کے مطابق چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو اوکاڑہ میں کسان کنونشن سے بھی خطاب کریں گے جبکہ لاہور میں ویمن کنونشن، یوتھ کنونشن اور طلبہ کنونشن سے بھی خطاب کریں گے۔

بلاول بھٹو زرداری اوکاڑہ، پاکپتن اور ساہیوال کی ڈسٹرکٹ بارز سے بھی خطاب کریں گے، اس کے علاوہ وہ گوجرانوالہ، گجرات اور منڈی بہاؤ الدین کے اضلاع میں ورکرز کنونشن سے بھی خطاب کریں گے۔

اعلامیے میں جاری شیڈول کے مطابق پی پی چیئرمین جہلم میں بھی کسان کنونشن سے خطاب کریں گے اور گوجر خان میں وفود سے ملاقاتیں کریں گے۔

Ahmadis in Pakistan allege religious bias


Amid oft-erupting incidents of persecution of minorities in Pakistan, a fresh case of alleged harassment of the Ahmadiya community has surfaced triggering sharp responses from its civil society that wants Prime Minister Imran Khan to first improve things in his own country before talking about the rights of minorities in India.
The Sunni-dominated Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) had decided to prohibit Ahmadiyas from practicing the legal profession unless they file an affidavit swearing allegiance to Prophet Mohammad. The mandatory affidavit declaration also needs lawyers to say that they do not belong to Ahmadi community as they express their Aqidah (faith)” regarding Prophet Muhammad and say “Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani was an apostate, liar and hypocrite.”

“Majoritarian fascism is on the rise in Pakistan. You have no place to complain against India on minority rights,” wrote Neil Ahmad, who declares himself as an Ahmadi Muslim.

Unlike Sunnis of Pakistan, who consider Prophet Mohammad as the last messenger of God, Ahmadis claim to be Muslims in all ways, they consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the sect in 1889, as their messiah and believe he lived after Prophet Mohammad as the “subordinate prophet.” The Ahmadiyas have limited rights in Sunni dominated Pakistan, and even to register themselves as voters they need to either renounce their faith or accept their status as “non-Muslim.”
President of Islamabad Bar Association, Mr Zafar M. Khokar denied that such an affidavit is to harass Ahmadis and prohibit them from practice.
“We had got a resolution signed by about 400-500 bar members seeking such an affidavit. We were duty-bound to put it at the general body meeting where it was discussed and not a single member opposed it. In the end, all voted in favour of this affidavit and since GBM decision is binding on us we have decided to seek such an affidavit with one change that non-Muslims like the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians will not need to furnish such affidavit and only have to make a declaration that they are non-Muslims.
We respect non-Muslims and they can be members of our bar associations and even contest elections. As far as Ahmadis, Lahori group or Qadiani are concerned, our affidavit simply asks them to declare if you believe in Prophet Mohammad,” Mr Khokar told this newspaper. He claimed that no member of IBA has so far raised the issue of harassment or opposed this.
However, the move has generated a lot of anguish among a large section of the Pakistani society including the Ahmadis. “If they (lawyers) choose Islam, they will have to sign the declaration that they are not Ahmadis. The persecution of Ahmadiya community continues in Pakistan,” tweeted Pakistani journalist Bilal Farooqi.
Lawyer Yassif Latif Hamdani, in an article for Pakistan’s Nayadaur TV website, argued that IBA’s move violates the Constitution as it is a deliberate attempt to insult religious beliefs of the Ahmadi community. “Really what moral high ground can we take against India if we allow such blatant bigotry to prevail?” he wrote.

How The Pakistani State Has Discriminated Against Minorities For Decades

God help you if you are a non-Muslim in a country like Pakistan.
In the land, driven by religious obsession, higher values such as democracy, debate, compassion, and respect for diversity, seem pie in the sky — all thanks to a punishing, patriarchal theocracy.
Discrimination against minorities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not new. Abduction of Hindu and Sikh girls and their forcible conversion in Pakistan makes headlines in India nearly every month.
However, what doesn’t make regular headlines in India is how the Islamic Republic's Constitution plays an important part in the discrimination against minorities.
The Constitution of Pakistan declares that Islam is the state religion and gives minorities the right to follow their religion.
But, as the Preamble of Pakistan’s Constitution says, the state will observe the “principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam”.
Here’s how the minorities are discriminated against:
One, the Pew Research Center says that Pakistan is among the 30 countries of the world where the head of state and government should be from a specific religion — in this case, Islam.
According to Article 41 of the original Constitution of Pakistan, which was adopted in 1956, one has to be a Muslim to become the President of the country.
In the Constitution which the country adopted in 1973, the same requirement was made for the post of Prime Minister.
Two, in any liberal democracy, the right to vote is the basic tool to empower citizens. In a way, the right to vote helps citizens to raise their voices on issues they face in daily life and express their opinion. At the same time, those citizens who don’t have this right can easily be avoided by political parties or the state itself because they are not ‘vote-banks’.
Pakistan’s former dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, had introduced this system in the 1980s.
It was opposed by Hindu groups and they started a resistance movement against such an electoral system. Sudham Chand, who led the campaign to spread awareness and fight against the separate electorate system, was eliminated by Islamists in broad daylight.
His murder was a message to those who were demanding basic rights.
In essence, Pakistan’s minorities had the right to vote, but their votes were largely inconsequential. That this continued for decades tells the nature of the Pakistani state and its lack of willingness to curb minority rights.
Three, the Council of Islamic Ideology.
This council is the constitutional body of Pakistan, which was set up by Ayub Khan. Its function is to give legal advice on Islamic issues to provincial and federal governments and the senate. The government generally appoints Maulanas and Islamic scholars as members of this council.
Whenever a Bill is passed by a provincial Assembly and/or Senate, this council comes into the picture. It often plays stonewall for Bills deemed ‘unIslamic’. This is the same council that advised Pakistani husbands to ‘lightly beat’ their wives.
This example is enough to show how regressive and barbaric the organization is.
Such an attempt was made and became successful in November of 2016. Anyone interested in Pakistani affairs knows that Sindh has the highest population of Hindus and they are being forcibly converted there. To stop that conversion, Sindh province Assembly passed a Bill.
The Bill was sent to the Governor so it could become law. But the Council of Islamic Ideology blocked the Bill by labeling it ‘unIslamic’ and ‘unconstitutional’.
This is how fundamentalism is institutionalized in Pakistan. The Pakistani Constitution and system rely on Sharia to a great extent. Another research done by Pew Research Center shows us that 81 percent of Pakistanis believe that Sharia law is the ‘word of God’ and can’t be changed in any condition.
The mentality of society can be reflected in the elected representatives and the laws passed by them.
This is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. What minorities in Pakistan regularly face owing to their religious beliefs cannot be fathomed by those sitting in lands where rights gain primacy over duties. And this is the fact, not fiction!

Zindagi Tamasha - Circus of censorship

Sarwat Ali

Khoosat’s latest film becomes the new target of ultra-religious mob wrath.
Zindagi Tamasha has become controversial despite the fact that the film has not yet been released, and except the censor board, no one has seen it in full. However, its trailer has brewed a storm and calls have been made to ban the film.

Sarmad Khoosat, one of our most creative directors, has been running from pillar-to-post to make sense of his film’s treatment. He has even written to the prime minister, to explain the reality of the situation. Obviously, there was no satisfactory response which only added to his fears; that his effort and time will have been wasted, as the film would not be screened publically, according to schedule.
This is yet another example of shrinking space and the narrowing of avenues where and through which ideas can be expressed, aired and then become subjects of debate. There is a vast difference between a debate and a controversy; a debate is an invitation to join in stretching the canvas upon which ideas can be explored; while controversy is the first step towards inciting violence. It is a death knell to the freedoms that we cherish so much in contemporary times.
Really, this is the issue. Decisions are being made in areas where they are not supposed to be made. The forum which determines the acceptability of a film for public display, is the censor board. Due to the devolution of powers to provinces, there is one small and ineffective board at the centre, while each province has its own.
As the central board and two provincial boards had cleared the film for public viewing, far-right parties such as the Tehrik-i-Labbaik Pakistan, took the matter to the streets and alleged that the film contained blasphemous material. The threat of mob violence and country-wide protests was given. Voices are raised for the film to be banned and not screened; in fear of a violent backlash. The only threat that matters in Pakistan, is of mob violence and resultantly the prevalence of mob justice. Unfortunately, this is becoming the new-normal that no-one can deny; institutions are made ineffective, as they are not allowed to function, under threat of mob rule. Decisions taken by relevant forums too, are under the ominous shadow of street power at times.
Khoosat is a highly creative person, who deserves credit for standing up for his work and what he wants to achieve, let us all stand by his side. Such censorial steps will deter other filmmakers who may not be made from material as resilient as Khoosat.
It is making the current system ineffective, powerless and emasculating the civil structure, so that it either fails to make decisions, or does so under duress. For a number of decades, our society has been characterised by fear ruling us, rather than reason or logic.
After bright spots of hope, the same pall of darkness spreads, with greater intensity and desire to kill all freedoms, especially the freedom to hold and express one’s opinion fearlessly. Such hope is perceived as a dangerous sign, which is reason enough to snuff it out – by demonising it – either in the name of religion, patriotism or corruption.
It appears now that the matter is being referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). May I ask; what is the film about – religion or human beings? The proper study of mankind is man; all art is about human beings because it revolves round us. Has the CII taken over or is seen as a substitution for the Censor Board? Is the next step the knocking at the doors of the Organisation of Islamic operation, for the fear of it being detrimental to the common image of the Ummah? This may as well be invoked
Initially, technical objections were raised; that the censor board was not in full attendance when the film was approved, hence it was not certified by all members. However, this is how it is supposed to be, as it is the quorum that is supposed to rule and not all members. It was only that rules and regulations were being followed and no violation or bulldozing of the general opinion took place.
There is a negative and general tendency, where if the final outcome is not favourable, than rules and laws pertaining to the matter are changed, or there is an inclination to find faults with the current rules and laws. There is greater urge to have it approved or disapproved by a higher tier, even if it does not fall within its purview. This general tendency is apparent in bureaucracy, judiciary and government hierarchies – which has actually resulted in a heavy centralization of authority. Everything ends up being decided at the top, and lower tiers are made to abdicate their powers.
Films are hardly made in this country and there has been a great effort at reviving the film industry, the few films that are made, are seen as signs of that revival. But such hypersensitive measures which do not allow authorised bodies to function, can never be conducive in creating an environment where art can exist, let alone thrive. It will take a sinister turn and end up being an underground activity. What is needed most is an environment which nourishes various art forms, alongside an essential factor – a space where one can breathe freely.
Khoosat is a highly creative person, who deserves credit for standing up for his work and what he wants to achieve, let us all stand by his side. Such censorial steps will deter other filmmakers who may not be made from material as resilient as Khoosat, and move abroad to more favourable climes to express themselves – for we have seen so many do exactly that.

Why Pakistan Isn’t Taking Sides After Outbreak of US-Iran Conflict

By Michael Lipin, Niala Mohammad, Mubashir Ali

 Pakistan’s bid to mediate a de-escalation of conflict between the U.S. and Iran is driven largely by its concerns about potential domestic fallout from hostilities between its two longtime partners, analysts say.
Islamabad’s peace effort, launched this month after the U.S. and Iran traded rare military blows in their decades-old tense relationship, also is rooted in its longstanding neutrality toward regional conflicts involving Iran or Iranian proxies, they say.
“We are not going to repeat our mistakes of getting involved in others’ wars. Pakistan will become a country which will make peace among states,” said Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at a public event Jan. 9, a day after Iran carried out a missile strike on an Iraqi base housing U.S. troops.
FILE - Pakistani Shiite Muslims protest the killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, outside the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Jan. 7, 2020.
The Iranian attack, which left dozens of U.S. forces with concussion-related injuries but killed no one, was Tehran’s retaliation for what the U.S. called a self-defense strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport Jan. 3.
“I have told U.S. President Donald Trump that Pakistan is ready to mediate between Iran and the U.S. to resolve differences between them,” Khan said in his public remarks, adding that he also wanted to resolve longstanding tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a military ally of Washington.
Since then, Khan has dispatched Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Tehran, Riyadh and Washington to urge them to exercise restraint and warn them that further hostilities could destabilize the region.
US-Pakistan relations
Pakistan has generally enjoyed a close relationship with the United States for decades, according to the Office of the Historian at the U.S. State Department.
Islamabad has benefited from U.S. economic aid and has been a major purchaser of U.S. military equipment. But the Trump administration suspended security assistance to Pakistan in 2018 to press Pakistani authorities to take more action against what it called “externally-focused militant groups and U.N.-designated terrorist organizations operating from its territory.”
When it comes to Iran, Pakistan has long expressed a mutual feeling of brotherliness toward its neighboring Muslim majority state. But those relations have been strained in recent decades by Pakistan’s close ties with predominantly Sunni Muslim regional states such as Saudi Arabia, its cooperation with the U.S. and its support for Afghanistan’s Sunni militant Taliban group — all rivals of predominantly Shiite Iran.
Islamabad has sought to mediate between the U.S. and Iran rather than take sides as it fears an escalation of their conflict could draw in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and worsen Sunni-Shiite sectarian divisions in Pakistani society, according to political scientist Rasul Bakhsh Rais of Lahore’s LUMS University.
“One segment of Pakistani society supports (Sunni-majority) Saudi Arabia, while another feels closer to (Shiite-majority) Iran,” Rais said in a VOA Urdu interview.
Radicalized supporters
Saudi Arabia and Iran have radicalized their Islamist supporters in Pakistan for years by quietly funding thousands of Sunni and Shiite seminaries in Pakistan, respectively. Some Sunni and Shiite graduates of those seminaries have carried out violent attacks on members of the other sect, fueling Pakistan’s long-running sectarian tensions.
Pakistan also opposes letting U.S. forces use its territory for military action against Iran because of concerns about a potential domestic backlash from militants who would be angered by such cooperation, former Pakistani Interior Minister Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Moinuddin Haider told VOA Urdu in another interview.
In recent weeks, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi repeatedly has said his nation will not allow its territory to be used in hostilities between the U.S. and Iran.
Policy of neutrality
In the years after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Islamabad allowed U.S. forces to use an airbase in Baluchistan province to conduct drone strikes against Taliban-allied militants along the Pakistani-Afghan border, Wilson Center analyst Michael Kugelman told VOA. He said the Pakistani government ordered an end to such cooperation in 2011 as U.S.-Pakistani tensions intensified, especially following a NATO airstrike that inadvertently killed about two dozen Pakistani soldiers in the region.
Taliban-allied militants retaliated for the Pakistani-assisted U.S. drone strikes by carrying out suicide bombings across Pakistan. Former Pakistani Interior Minister Haider said Islamabad worries that if it helps the U.S. to attack a neighboring country such as Iran, a similar violent backlash would result.
Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Najmuddin Sheikh told VOA Urdu that Islamabad’s push for peace between Iran, the U.S. and U.S. ally Saudi Arabia also reflects a pattern of Pakistani neutrality toward conflicts involving Muslim-majority nations.
Pakistan’s then-president Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq publicly expressed a neutral position regarding the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88. More recently, then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif first declared neutrality in Yemen’s ongoing conflict between a Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi militants in 2015. Sharif’s successor, Prime Minister Khan, has continued that approach.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Pashto Music - قسمت || غنی خان || سردار علی ټکر - ملا جان وائ ازل کښے تا لیکلے هر یو کار دے

Pashto Music - Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar - Ghani khan - وايا وايا ملاجانه ژوند تپوس دے که جواب

Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar - Ghani khan - خمار

Pashto Music - SARDAR ALI TAKKAR - د عشق نور

Pashto Music - SARDAR ALI TAKKAR - په ځان او په جهان کی ما دوه څیزه دي وخکلي

EDITORIAL: #Pakistan - Shocks to textile sector

Pakistan’s continuous struggle for increase in exports is often marred by inconsistent government policies, mostly about taxes. Export-oriented sectors have faced increase in power tariff by 35 per cent, impacting industries’ competitiveness and investor confidence. Industry is demanding the withdrawal of a Power Division’s notification issued on January 13, 2020 directing the power distribution companies to include additional charges like financial cost surcharge, Neelum-Jhelum Surcharge, taxes, fixed charges, quarterly tariff adjustment and fuel price adjustment, in addition to 7.5 cents to power bills to the industries entitled for zero-rated tariff.
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) censured the Power Division’s notification, saying the government had taken U-turns on its commitment to provide electricity to export industry at a fixed rate of 7.5 cents per unit to compete in the global market with India, Bangladesh and others. There is confusion on the notification of the Power Division, as its officials say that all committed concessions are in place as only the subsidy to exports sector was allowed to the extent of ‘base tariff’ and other factors and surcharges would have to be borne by the industry.
The Power Division, led by Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan, issued a notification on February 8, 2019 that under an Economic Coordination Committee decision, zero-rated industry would be charged 7.5 cents per unit only and all other elements such as financial cost surcharge, Neelum-Jhelum Surcharge, taxes, fixed charges, quarterly tariff adjustment and fuel price adjustment would not be charged to them but would be part of the subsidy claim to be picked up by the government. The decision was dubbed as a game-changer by the industry and stakeholders. The textile industry set a target of $26 billion exports by 2023. The recent power shock, however, shook exporter confidence.
Apart from APTMA, Pakistan Business Council has also shown its anger on the power shock. “Policy U-turns, especially with retrospective effect do not bode well for export competitiveness, import substitution, investment or employment”, the PBC said, adding all these factors were critical for Pakistan’s economy. “How are Pakistan’s exports when subjected to 13 cents/KWh expected to compete with those from India and Bangladesh at 7-9 cents/KWh and China between 7.5-10 cents/KWh”. The government needs to evaluate its budgetary constraints before granting concessions to industries. Now, both sides should sit together to talk out the issue. If there is misunderstanding on the notification that can be handled, but if the notification swells mills’ power bills that issue should be addressed.

US Prelate Urges Pakistan PM To Foster Religious Freedom

An American archbishop has called on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to encourage a culture of religious freedom in the Muslim-majority country. 
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia wrote to Khan on Jan. 21 to urge him to secure the full rights of all Pakistani citizens of every religion.
He highlighted the abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, economic disadvantages for religious minorities and attacks on minority places of worship.
“Of particular worry — as I’m sure you’re aware — is that Pakistani Christians are vulnerable to the misuse of blasphemy laws and are at risk of false accusations and wrongful criminal prosecution,” Archbishop Chaput wrote.
“Neighbors can settle ordinary disputes by leveling a charge of blasphemy against a Christian citizen who is then arrested and jailed. Even worse, the charge of blasphemy can sometimes lead to a mob attack on the one accused, and violence against that person’s family and property.”“Those falsely accused of blasphemy have been murdered with little serious effort by the government to bring such killers to justice. A reform of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and its investigation and prosecution procedures, is thus urgently needed.”
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws impose strict punishment on those who desecrate the Quran or insult the Prophet Muhammad. Many Pakistanis accused of blasphemy are murdered, while those who call for reform of the laws are often victims of violence.
The letter, published in First Things, encouraged Khan to “work urgently to assure true religious liberty for all citizens of Pakistan, especially for members of minority faiths.”Archbishop Chaput added: “I believe in the honest intentions of many in the Pakistani government to assure full religious freedom for their nation. But Pakistan still does not fully protect the religious liberty of all of its citizens.”He cited reports that Pakistan’s religious minorities face “chronic hostility, harassment and persecution” and that the government “seems to do little to ensure their personal safety and their full participation in public life.”
This situation is both unjust and aggravates misunderstandings and resentment of Islam among American Christians, he said.
Archbishop Chaput said that the government had failed to keep promises to provide quotas for public and education sector jobs for Christians and other religious minorities.
“Christian and other non-Muslim houses of worship, as well as homes and businesses, have many times been attacked and destroyed. This is repugnant in any civilized society. But police too often fail to protect non-Muslim sacred spaces. And little effort is made to prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators of this religious hatred,” the archbishop wrote.
“I do believe in the goodwill of many citizens of Pakistan and many members of your government. I also know that Pakistan faces many economic and social challenges, and you have the difficult task of managing them. I respect the demands of your office, and I gladly pray for both justice and success in your public service.”

Chinese belt and road workers could spread coronavirus, Pakistanis fear

Kaswar Klasra

  • Pakistan has put hospitals and clinics on alert after a report that the Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted between people
  • The move comes amid fears that the thousands of workers who regularly travel between the countries could spread the disease.

Pakistan has alerted hospitals and clinics across the country to the threat posed by the Wuhan coronavirus, amid fears that the thousands of Chinese and Pakistani nationals who travel between the two countries every month could help spread the disease. A letter issued by Pakistan’s health ministry on Wednesday said that following a report by the China National Health Commission that the virus could be transmitted between people, it was directing the Disease Surveillance Division and Central Health Establishment to “monitor, direct and exercise the highest level of vigilance”.The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has already killed 17 people in China and infected more than 541 and reports of it spreading to other Asian countries have also begun to emerge.
Doctor Allah Bakhsh Malik, the Federal Secretary Ministry of the National Health Services Regulations and Coordination department, said Pakistan was prepared to deal with the virus if needed.“Hospitals and other departments have been put on standby to deal with the coronavirus. So far, not a single case has been detected in Pakistan,” he said.Thousands of Chinese nationals who are working on projects in various cities as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) regularly travel between the two countries, raising fears they could spread the disease. The CPEC project is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road project.
Documents seen by the South China Morning Post suggest that before 2013 there were 20,000 Chinese expatriates living in Pakistan, but that figure had risen to 60,000 by 2018 in large part due to the economic corridor project. More than 400 Chinese companies are currently involved in projects in Pakistan.
On top of this, up to 500,000 Pakistani students visit China every year, with 22,000 of them studying on scholarships. Officials say Pakistani authorities have stepped up screenings at air and sea ports, checking people for symptoms of the disease. New Islamabad International Airport, Lahore International Airport, Gwadar International Airport and Jinnah International Airport have all announced they will screen passengers arriving from China. “Passengers will be screened and examined for symptoms of the coronavirus,” said a Civil Aviation Authority official. Reports of the virus have led to unease among some Pakistanis working on CPEC.
“If the reports about the coronavirus are to be believed, people like me [who are working with Chinese nationals] in Pakistan will be more at risk of getting this disease. I’m worried,” said Iqbal Hussain, 38, a civil engineer working on the Multan-Sukkar section of the Karachi-Peshawar Motorway, a CPEC project.Some Pakistanis working at Chinese restaurants and franchises of Chinese companies also said they were worried.“Our Chinese national supervisors frequently travel between Pakistan, China and the Middle East and many of our Chinese colleagues have travelled to China on vacation,” said an electrical engineer working in Huawei’s Islamabad office. “God forbid they encounter the coronavirus and transmit it to Pakistan.”
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The Imran Khan government has all but surrendered to Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan by telling producer Sarmad Khoosat to delay release of ‘Zindagi Tamasha’.


 Making a film about social hypocrisy can turn life into a circus in Pakistan simply because the protagonist sports a beard, and a religious party saw it as an insult to Islam. The Imran Khan government has all but surrendered to the Islamic far-Right group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan by announcing that it has advised the producer of the film Zindagi Tamasha to delay its release. The film won the prestigious Kim Ji-Seok Award at the Busan International Film Festival last year, the first Pakistani film to do so.

Director-producer Sarmad Khoosat has been receiving threat calls ever since the promo of the film was released on YouTube. The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) immediately launched a social media campaign against both the film and Sarmad, labelling them as disrespectful of Islamic traditions and values.
Zindagi Tamasha had already been unanimously reviewed and approved for release on 24 January by all three censor boards of Pakistan, but the decision was suddenly reversed Tuesday. This came in the wake of TLP threatening to launch a country-wide protest, in addition to releasing Sarmad’s phone number and national ID card.
Is this new in Pakistan? No, the country has, time and again, shown its double face went it comes to religious extremism.
A manufactured campaign
An important fact is that the TLP’s campaign against Khoosat and the film was a classic campaign of manufactured outrage. Only film celebrities and progressives responded to it. Unlike the usual Islamist storms whipped up in Pakistan, the vast majority of Pakistanis did not jump on the outrage bandwagon and remained aloof. Those who spoke out, have expressed their exasperation at ‘Mullahs’ being foisted upon their freedoms.
Instead of providing protection to the producer and allowing the release of Zindagi Tamasha on time, the Imran Khan government has chosen to appease and preserve the extremist assets that it may need later. This tragic episode also shows that Pakistan, while showing the ability to crush terrorism when it wants to, still values and nurtures extremism that is the bedrock of terrorism.

A true Zindagi Tamasha

According to Khoosat, and many others I spoke to who have seen the film in private screenings, Zindagi Tamasha does not contain even a hint of disrespect for Islam. The protagonist is a religious ‘good enough Muslim’ man who is also fond of reciting naats (hymns in praise of Prophet Muhammad)A real estate agent by day, with a wife and daughters, he is a hard-working, kind and gentle soul.
Khoosat was shocked that a film unique in depicting the softer and more humane side of a conservative and religious member of society, should be accused of being disrespectful. The film is also a commentary on the hypocrisy of society.
To add insult to his injury, the federal information minister announced that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has decided to consult the obscurantist government body Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on the film. The Tribune reported that the TLP representatives would also sit in on the screenings. Needless to say, they have no legal right to sit in or dictate decisions to a government body.
This has generated disgust and anger among the public, with some calling the capitulation itself a ‘zindagi tamasha (circus of life)’.

: One representative of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and one representative of information ministry will participate in the second preview 
Keep accommodating them and keep drafting the nemesis of independent thought

See Najia Z. Nazir's other Tweets

A double game

Remember how the Imran Khan government came down hard on the TLP when the party challenged its writ over the release from prison of blasphemy accused Asia Bibi, just over a year ago?
At the time, the TLP had called for the resignation of Prime Minister Khan, killing of judges and mutiny within the army to overthrow General Qamar Javed Bajwa. For this and their violent protests, 86 TLP members, including leader Khadim Rizvi’s brother and nephew, were handed 55-year prison sentences last week.
But when it comes to people’s freedom to choose what they want to watch, Imran Khan’s government goes right back to appeasing and allowing extremists to be a nuisance.
According to acclaimed novelist Mohammed Hanif, “On the one hand, we are told that we are past the war on terror, and we have sacrificed tens of thousands of lives in this war, and on the other, the state is allowing the Ulema to tell us what we can watch. Why have the censor boards then, why not just leave it all to the Ulema? Unhin ko dikha kar ijaazat le liya karenge (We will show it to the Ulema only and take permission).
It is clear that this particular group can be controlled at will, and unleashed when required. In late 2017, the TLP was allowed to hold the Shahid Khaqan Abbasi government hostage through violent protests and blockade of the arterial road between the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for three weeks. And when the interior minister at the time called the Rangers for help, the army chief refused flatly.

 General Bajwa instead suggested that the “government should determine the responsibility and punish those involved in the legislation regarding Khatm-e-Nabuwat oath”. After an agreement was brokered between the TLP and the government to end the protest, an ISI general was filmed purportedly distributing reward money to TLP activists and saying, “Are we not with you?”

Pakistan not meeting FATF obligations would be devastating for its economy, says US diplomat Alice Wells

  • Not meeting the obligations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would have a devastating impact on Pakistan''s economic reform program, a top US diplomat said

  • 'Obviously, if Pakistan were not to meet FATF obligations or were to fail and be blacklisted, that would be devastating for Pakistan''s economic reform program and for its ability to attract investors,' Wells told reporters

  • She was responding to a question if the funding by the International Monetary Fund could get affected if Pakistan does not meet the FATF regulations or the rules.

  • Not meeting the obligations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would have a devastating impact on Pakistan''s economic reform program, a top US diplomat said.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia made the comments on Friday, a day after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the country should be taken off the FATF''s ''grey list'' as it has made considerable progress on the requirements of the international terror financing watchdog.“Obviously, if Pakistan were not to meet FATF obligations or were to fail and be blacklisted, that would be devastating for Pakistan''s economic reform program and for its ability to attract investors,” Wells told reporters.
“We've been pleased to see progress by Pakistan towards fulfilling FATF obligations,” said Wells, who has just returned from her trip to the region, including a visit to Islamabad.
She was responding to a question if the funding by the International Monetary Fund could get affected if Pakistan does not meet the FATF regulations or the rules.“There is a meeting underway currently in Beijing where Pakistan is presenting its actions to the task force. So I defer to that task force to make its evaluation,” she said.
“But the more evidence of Pakistan''s seriousness in both documenting its economy and in shrinking the space for militants to be able to take advantage of Pakistan''s either banking system or territory, the more confidence that the international community and business community will have in working with Pakistan,” Wells said.
A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar is in Beijing to brief the financial task force about the steps taken by Islamabad to implement the recommendations made by the FATF.The FATF in October last decided to keep Pakistan on its ''Grey'' list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others.If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.Observing that FATF is a technical process, Wells said that there has been an action plan that was presented to Pakistan.“It’s a question of fulfilling the requirements that have been spelt out and that are asked of all countries in the international system. So it’s not a political process, but we certainly support and stand ready to assist Pakistan as it implements these obligations,” she added.The US, she said, welcomes efforts by Pakistan to meet its counterterrorism financing obligations under FATF.
“We strongly encourage Pakistan to work with FATF and the international community to fully satisfy its action plan commitments,” she said.
Completion of the FATF action plan is critical to Pakistan''s economic reform efforts, including its IMF program, as well as for demonstrating sustained and irreversible action against all militant groups based in Pakistan without distinction, she added.
“We've seen obvious progress in our relations with Pakistan, from the high-level engagement such as the President''s (Donald Trump) warm and constructive meeting with Prime Minister (Imran) Khan at Davos to the restoration of the International Military Education and Training programs,” she said.
Wells during her trip to Islamabad had extensive conversations on how the two countries can bolster their economic partnership where the US is Pakistan''s largest export market, largest trade partner, and historically one of its most significant investors.
There are obvious synergies in energy and agriculture, and opening Pakistan''s markets to American investments creates jobs and wealth without sacrificing standards or fuelling corruption. “We' 're looking forward to welcoming 10 Pakistani buyer delegations to the US and five regional trade shows in 2020, which will build deeper relationships between US and Pakistani firms. Prime Minister Khan's economic reform efforts contributed to the World Bank identifying it as one of the top 10 reformers globally in 2019,” she said.
Responding to a question on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), she said Pakistan needs to adhere to the “buyer beware.”
“That Pakistan is a buyer, these are not – this is not granted assistance from China, it’s loans, often not with concessional financing. And Pakistan should beware of the terms, to make sure that they''re getting the most for their money, that brings the greatest economic prosperity,” she noted.
“This is Pakistan''s sovereign right to decide what investment it seeks and on what terms. And a friend of Pakistan, we certainly urge that they take on investment projects that create wealth, generate employment, and are sustainable, and think we have great options for the Pakistani market,” she said in response to a question.

Friday, January 24, 2020

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#Pakistan #PPP #Bilawal Bhutto Zardari presides party meeting at Naudero House

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday visited Wassan House Khairpur to condole with Nawab Khan Wassan, Adviser to the CM Sindh, over the sad demise of his mother. Earlier, the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari presided over a meeting of the Coordination Committee Larkana at Naudero House and ordered his party representatives to pay attention to addressing the issues of the common people. He also directed them to focus on the voters' registration. 

The members of the Coordination Committee Larkana had complained that the party leaders in the city were not responsive to their complaints, while the government officers including the deputy commissioners, commissioners, SSPs even Mukhtiarkars were not cooperating with them.
Bilawal asked MNA Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, the convener of the Larkana Coordination Committee, to clear his position with regards to the complaints. Junejo told the party chairman that he has no power to resolve people’s issues. The PPP Sindh President Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, MPA Burhan Chandio, MNA Naseban Channo, Youth Sindh President Javed Nayab Leghari, Mehran Khan Nareejo, and others were also present on the occasion.

Pakistan's Beleaguered Ahmadis Decry 'Deplorable' Attempt To Isolate Them

By Frud Bezhan
To be considered Muslim, members of Pakistan's minority Ahmadi sect must deny the beliefs of their religion.
They must swear that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet, and denounce the Ahmadi sect's 19th century founder as a false prophet and his followers as non-Muslim.
The Ahmadis, or Ahmadiyya, consider themselves Muslim, but that is a view rejected by mainstream Islamic sects.
And since they refuse to declare themselves non-Muslims, the Ahmadis have been stuck in legal limbo, leaving them without fundamental human rights such as access to education and the right to vote.
Numbering almost 5 million, the community has been persecuted for decades, banned from publicly practicing their faith and the target of rising sectarian violence.
Authorities in the predominantly Muslim country of 208 million have done little to stem the attacks, with the government still refusing to grant the community equal status.
'Paranoia, Intolerance, And Bigotry'
In what Ahmadis say is the latest attempt to segregate its members, the Islamabad branch of Pakistan's Bar Association on January 15 made it mandatory for its 5,500 members to declare their religious affiliation. If they identify themselves as Muslim, members must sign an affidavit by January 31 declaring that they are not Ahmadis.
To be listed as a Muslim, the affidavit said the signatory must believe that Muhammad was "the last of the prophets"; that the founder of the Ahmadi sect was an "apostate, liar, and hypocrite"; and must not have ever referred to him/herself as "an Ahmadi."
The Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) said members who failed to comply would have their membership suspended and be publicly named.
The move has been condemned on social media and criticized by bar members and rights activists, who have alleged that it is an attempt to suspend Ahmadi lawyers from the association.
Amir Mahmood, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, told RFE/RL that the IBA's "deplorable" decision risked further pushing the sect towards "isolation."
"This shows the level of religious extremism in society and how religious differences are getting deeper," Mahmood said. "It is a deliberate attempt to isolate the Ahmadis in Pakistan."
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, a senator and member of the bar, said the move had "buried" the South Asian country's vision for a secular state "in heaps of paranoia, intolerance, and bigotry."
"I am deeply saddened to be put under the spotlight to prove my faith," said Khokar, who added that he would refuse to submit the declaration.
Khokar said that "some in the fraternity" were contemplating challenging the move in the Supreme Court.
IBA President Malik Zafar Khokhar said the purpose of the declarations was to simply "identify" the Ahmadi members of the association.
'Rights Are Being Violated'
"Ahmadis are being discriminated against and their basic human rights are being violated in every sphere of life," Mahmood said, citing freedom of religion, right of assembly, and voting rights.
Under Pakistani law, the Ahmadis cannot refer to themselves as Muslims or engage in any Muslim practices, including using Islamic greetings, calling their places of worship mosques, or participating in the hajj, or holy pilgrimage. Ahmadis risk imprisonment for up to three years and a fine if they break those laws.
Ahmadis are allowed to vote only for parliamentary seats reserved for non-Muslims and, since they refuse to declare themselves non-Muslims, most do not vote.
The world's roughly 12 million Ahmadis are followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the man who founded the movement in British India in 1889 and who Ahmadis believe was a messiah and prophet. For the mainstream Islamic sects, that contradicts a cornerstone of their belief that Muhammad was the final prophet.
Those beliefs have seen the Ahmadis come under pressure in a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. In Pakistan, members of the community have been systematically persecuted by both mainstream Muslim sects and the government.
In the 1970s, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto passed an amendment to the Pakistani Constitution declaring anyone who does not believe Muhammad was the last prophet as non-Muslim. Under the rule of military dictator Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, the practice of the Ahmadi faith was declared a "blasphemous" criminal offense.
Ahmadis face a stark choice in Pakistan.
They can follow their faith and risk persecution and death or they can convert or leave the country. Thousands of Ahmadis from the subcontinent have left, with large communities in Britain, the United States, and Canada.
Growing Sectarian Violence
Religious discrimination and violence have increased in Pakistan, a mainly Sunni Muslim country, with attacks against Shi'a, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs in recent years.
Ahmadis have become the target of the rising sectarian violence, with their burial grounds, mosques, and homes coming under attack. The community says the authorities have done little to stem the assaults.
In May 2018, a mob consisting of several hundred people led by hard-line Muslim clerics destroyed a 100-year-old mosque belonging to the Ahmadi community in the eastern city of Sialkot.
In August that year, a mob carried out a similar attack on an Ahmadi mosque in the eastern city of Faisalabad. Nearly 30 were wounded, and the mosque was largely destroyed.
In September 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan revoked the appointment of Atif Mian, an Ahmadi and a Princeton-educated economist, to a key advisory role following protests by a hard-line Islamist party and opposition from within Khan's own party.
It is not only Ahmadis, but also those seen sympathizing with them, who have faced threats and violence.
Pakistan's justice minister was forced to resign in 2017 after followers of a radical cleric accused him of blasphemy for changes to the electoral law that were seen as a concession to Ahmadis. Protesters forced the virtual lockdown of Islamabad for weeks.