Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pakistani court rules to remove FM for hiding assets

A Pakistani court Thursday disqualified the country's foreign minister from holding office after a petition from a rival politician sought his removal for concealing assets abroad.
The Islamabad High Court announced the much-awaited decision regarding Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif in the capital, Islamabad. Asif said shortly after the order that he would appeal the decision to Pakistan's Supreme Court.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Bilawal rules out electoral cooperation with #PTI

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday ruled out any electoral cooperation with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) to dent the ruling PML-N.
“There is no justification in forging alliance with the legacy of Musharraf in order to defeat (political) heirs of Ziaul Haq,” the PPP chairman said, referring to Imran Khan as Musharraf’s legacy.
Bilawal said his party will resist presentation of sixth budget in parliament by the incumbent PML-N government.
According to him, the PML-N had constitutional right to present five budgets, which it has already done and it should have left the next budget for the new government to be instituted after general elections. Incumbent government plans to present the budget for FY2018-19 this Friday. Financial year in Pakistan starts from July 1. Elections are due in the country by end of July. Most opposition parties are of the view that PML-N should not be presenting budget for the whole financial year.
The opposition fears the outgoing government by announcing what is being tagged as a populous budget can get sympathies of people and cover up failures of its past five years.
Bilawal also echoed the same sentiments, saying, “Presenting the budget for the next year is tantamount to resorting to pre-poll rigging.” He said chief ministers of the three provinces staged a walkout from a meeting of the National Economic Council on Tuesday to oppose ruling party’s budget plans. To a question he said his party was in contact with other parties to nominate the caretaker setup.
However, he refrained from commenting on some of his key aides leaving the party, saying “the culture of turncoats is not a healthy trend for democracy”.
He advised the PML-N to shun the policy of confrontation with the state institutions and said that it would not augur well for the country.
He opposed scrapping of NAB at this juncture. “The PPP will rather improve the NAB laws,” he remarked.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ghazal - Yeh dil yeh pagal dil mera - Ghulam Ali

#Pakistan - Child marriage means children giving births to children

It’s hard to believe that child marriages take place at least in 50 countries all over the world even today. Pakistan is one such country where child marriage is rampant. Although child marriage can be an issue that we have read about before, it takes the images of children, with a sense of sad acceptance in their innocent eyes, to bring home the reality of what it really means to be robbed of childhood.
Unsurprisingly, child marriages are a routine in Pakistan’s rural areas where parents force children, particularly girls, to marry at an early age. Not only does it snatch the childhood pleasures of children but also bring forth serious health complications for young girls who become pregnant at an early age.
According to a report by Rutgers Pakistan, a development group at the forefronts of reducing child marriages, more than 77 percent of the marriages are settled under some kind of customary practices. Despite being against Muslim Family Laws, 34 percent marriages are settled before the age of 16. The situation in Umarkot and Sanghar districts of Sindh province is the worst where 70 percent of girls are married before the age of 15, ruining the precious joys of young girls.
Though it has been warned by the health professionals not to marry the girls at an early age, the tradition continues to prevail, putting the lives at greater risk of dying early. Due to loopholes and lack of official will for implementation has proved laws useless. The authorities and government of Pakistan are failed to give high attention to the issue and taking pragmatic measures to reduce the incidents of child marriages and teenage pregnancies in rural communities.
The consequences of underage marriages are so horrible that a child is made to give birth and then raise another child. Even she has no idea physically, emotionally or psychologically what it means to be a mother, for she is not ready actually.
On the other hand, poverty is considered one of the major causes of early marriages in rural areas where girls get no opportunities to contribute to the family’s income. It is one of the misconceptions of poor parents that the daughter seems like burden for them; so they try to marry them at an early age and get rid of the expenses. This leaves the poor parents with no other option but to solemnise underage marriages as solution to their socioeconomic problems but unknowingly invites serious health complications in their daughters’ lives.
Resultantly, rural communities practicing child marriages certainly need educational and economic opportunities to move away from traditional practices. Furthermore, there are various girls forced to get married and it needs attention of the government.
Thus, it is humbly suggested to the government of Pakistan to take hard actions to quell the underage marriages.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses Press Conference in Islamabad. 25 April 2018

Pakistan Group Says Nine Activists Missing After Backing Rights Movement

 A Pakistani leftist youth organization said on Tuesday that nine of its members went missing in Karachi after demonstrating in support of an ethnic rights movement that has worried the country's security establishment.
An organizer for the Progressive Youth Alliance said seven members were abducted after staging a pro-Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) rally in Karachi on Sunday, and another four were picked up on Tuesday after another demonstration, also in Karachi.
Two of the men picked up on Tuesday have now been released, Anam Khan, organizer of the women's wing of the socialist group, told Reuters.
The PTM emerged after the killing by police of Pashtun youth Naqibullah Mehsud in Karachi in January triggered nationwide condemnation and demonstrations attracting thousands.
The PTM has since staged a number of protests criticizing the powerful military and its actions in majority ethnic Pashtun areas bordering Afghanistan, often attracting swarms of supporters in Pakistan's larger cities.
The PTM's most recent rally on Sunday in the central city of Lahore attracted over 8,000 people despite pressure by security officials to call it off and the mysterious appearance of sewage water onto the protest grounds.
Khan said four of the seven men taken on Sunday had boarded a train leaving Karachi when security officials belonging to the paramilitary Rangers arrived and identified them using videos from the protest.
Rangers officials did not respond to a request for comment and Karachi police said they were not aware of the incident.
On Tuesday the Youth Alliance staged a protest asking for their missing members to be released.
"During our protest some men in plainclothes showed up and told us to shut it down," Khan said. "When we were walking away, four of our comrades ... were put in a car."
Another activist from the organization also said the abductions had taken place. A witness from a rights advocacy group who was present at Tuesday's protest confirmed seeing the four men being abducted.
While not naming PTM, Pakistan's army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa said at an April 12 meeting with dignitaries that "no anti-state agenda in the garb of engineered protests" will be allowed to succeed.
A number of prominent Pakistani columnists have complained on Twitter that their articles on PTM were rejected by local newspapers without explanation.

#PPP - Benazir Bhutto’s son committed to mother’s mission

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the son of Benazir Bhutto, the two-time prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated in 2007.
He plans to run for election to Pakistan's National Assembly in July and tells BBC Hardtalk's Zeinab Badawi he is committed to realising his mother’s vision for a "peaceful, prosperous and democratic Pakistan".

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Video - Jaag Utha Insan song Duniya kisi kay pyar mein.flv

Bushra Maneka ‘returns to maternal home after dispute with Imran Khan’

Bushra Maneka, the third wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, has reportedly returned to her maternal home after having a dispute with the politician.
A local Urdu daily reports that the reason behind the feud between the newly married couple was the presence of Bushra’s son at Bani Gala residence of PTI chief for a time longer than necessary.
In its report, the Daily Ummat states that it was agreed before the marriage that no one from Bushra’s family would stay for a longer period of time at Bani Gala; however, the presence of Maneka’s son from his former husband, Khawar Fareed Maneka irked Imran Khan.
“Reham Khan, the second wife of PTI supremo, also had a skirmish with him after her son stayed at Imran Khan’s residence,” it added.
According to the sensational report, Imran Khan’s sisters who were not happy at his third marriage were also residing in Bani Gala residence and were actively involved in its renovation, adding weight to the suspicions that something was fishy between Imran Khan and his wife.
Another aspect, which gives credence to the rumours of dispute, is that Khan’s pet dogs living at the farm house.
Bushra Maneka reportedly considers the dogs presence an interruption in her religious activities.
Over the latest conflict between Imran Khan and his spiritual mentor-turned-wife, the PTI chief has yet to make any statement.

#Pakistan - Three suicide attacks rock Quetta, killing six police

Gul Yousafzai

Three suicide bombers attacked Pakistani police and paramilitary soldiers in the southwestern city of Quetta on Tuesday, killing six police and wounding 15 members of the security forces, officials said.

Policemen and locals gather near a destroyed police truck, after three suicide bomb attacks in southwestern city of Quetta, Pakistan April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed
One bomber detonated his explosives near a police truck, provincial police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said. Seven police officers were wounded in that attack.
“It is a suicide attack, and we have a confirmation that six of our police officials are dead,” Ansari told Reuters.
Half an hour earlier, two suicide bombers tried to attack a paramilitary checkpoint on the city’s outskirts, but troops deployed there engaged them, a paramilitary officer said.
He said the troops had opened fire at the attackers, who detonated their explosives, wounding eight soldiers. Both the suicide bombers died, he said on condition of anonymity because the army was due to issue an official statement.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Quetta is the capital city of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, which has been plagued by violence.
Islamist militants linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State have been operating in the province, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan. It also has an indigenous ethnic Baloch insurgency fighting the central government.
Islamic State has created a branch in Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly by recruiting among break away factions of other established militant groups. Its followers have claimed some of Pakistan’s most deadly recent attacks.
Six members of Pakistan’s tiny Christian minority community, four of them from the same family, and two people from the Shi’ite Muslim minority were gunned down in Quetta this month.
In December two suicide bombers stormed a packed church in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding up to 56.
Pakistan a nuclear armed nation of 208 million people has for some time seen a decrease in militant violence, but the Islamists, who want to install their own harsh brand of Islamic law, remain potent.

Bilawal Bhutto strongly condemns terrorist suicide attack on a security post in the outskirts of Quetta

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned terrorist suicide attack on a security post in the outskirts of Quetta, in which five security personnel embraced martyrdom on Tuesday.

In a statement, the PPP Chairman saluted the law enforcing agencies for valiantly fighting against terrorists and offering huge sacrifices.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed solidarity with the families of martyrs and prayed for them and for early recovery of those injured in the attack.

#Pakistan - Bilawal blames PML-N for Karachi power woes

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto has blamed PML-N government for prolonged loadshedding in Karachi, saying the Center is not providing enough electricity for the metropolis.
Bilawal stated that the reason behind long hours of loadshedding in Karachi is the wrong decision of privatization of K-Electric (formerly Karachi Electric Supply Corporation), and the insufficient supply of electricity to the city by the federal government. However, it is Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to be blamed for the privatization of K-Electric, he said.
On a different matter, when asked about the possibility of upcoming caretaker prime minister, Bilawal said that PPP is the pioneer of introducing a democratic tradition of appointing caretaker PM in consultation with opposition, saying that talks are underway to finalise the candidate for the slot.
On the other hand, Pakistan has a weak democratic system, Bilawal said, adding that ‘it happened for the first time in history when PPP peacefully transferred powers to the next elected government in 2013', although a great majority is in favour of democracy. When you do not honour voters then no politicians will be honoured in the country, opined Bilawal.
However, he expressed hope in the judiciary of the country stating that he he has expectations from Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar. Under democracy, each institution works in its prescribed limits: the judges do not speak, rather their verdicts and judgments do, just as the Supreme Court announced historical judgment on Panama scandal, he added. Bilawal also said that the judiciary should consider taking suo motu over lack of justice to poor people.
Speaking about Sindh, Bilawal said that PPP’s government in the province also launched a Union-Council based Poverty Reduction Program and this unique program has so far pulled out 600, 000 families from stark poverty. The program also lends financial aid to women on interest-free basis so that they could plan for their better future and live a stable and self-reliant life, Bilawal added.
Talking about the services his party has rendered to the people of Pakistan in the past, Bilawal stated that his grandfather Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during his tenure introduced land reforms, snatched big lands from feuds, and distributed them among the poor peasants because PPP is the party of peasants, workers, students, and more importantly the masses.

Monday, April 23, 2018

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OP-ED Cuba after the Castros

Since the Cuban revolution of 1959, the Castro brothers Fidel and Raúl were presidents of the socialist republic. Raúl had taken over as the president from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006. Last Wednesday however, the Cuban National Assembly and its 605 members elected Miguel Díaz-Canel as the country’s new president. In the swearing-in speech, Díaz pledged to uphold the values of the country’s socialist revolution. He added, “there would be no capitalist restoration, but there will the modernisation of our social and economic model… Socialism or Death! We will triumph”. Meanwhile, Raúl Castro is expected to remain a powerful influence in the Cuban state even after he steps down.
Díaz was born in April 1960, a year after Fidel Castro became the revolutionary government’s prime minister. Díaz began his political career in his early 20s as a member of the Young Communist League in Santa Clara. He started his professional career as a teacher at the city’s engineering university. Díaz became the secretary of Cuba’s Young Communist League at the age of 33, and rose to the post of Cuba’s vice president in 2013. Raúl Castro had praised Díaz for his ‘ideological firmness’.
Inspite of the pressures and economic crises it faces, Cuba still maintains a planned (socialist) economy. Most industries are owned and operated by the government, and most of the labour force is employed by the state. After the fall of the Soviet Union a severe crisis hit Cuba. It’s GDP declined by 33 percent between 1990 and 1993, partially due to the loss of Soviet subsidies and a crash of sugar prices in the early 1990s. The Communist Party encouraged the formation of worker co-operatives and self-employment. After Raúl Castro took over the presidency in 2006, attempts were made to open up more sections of the economy to the private sector. The social democratic faction of the Communist party were advising Raúl Castro to establish a Cuban version of the Sino-Vietnamese model, which maintains a one-party state while opening the economy to private enterprise and the markets for foreign monopolies. But soon the spectre of rich capitalists and the curse of huge inequality forced the regime to reverse most of these counter-reforms.
In the year 2000, public sector employment amounted to 76 percent and private sector employment — mainly composed of the self-employed — was 23 percent as compared to the 1981 ratio of 91 percent to 8 percent. However, investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The government sets most prices and rations goods to citizens. Housing and transportation costs are low. Cubans receive government subsidised education, healthcare and food subsidies.
The Cuban revolution proved that a planned economy in a small state can benefit the oppressed masses, and provide health and education
The country achieved a more even distribution of income since the Cuban Revolution, despite an economic embargo imposed by the US imperialists. Despite the shrinkage of Soviet grants and economic crises, Cuba retains high levels of healthcare and education. Today, Cuba has the highest per capita ratio of doctors in the world, second only to Italy.
Before the revolution Cuba had a one-crop economy (sugar cane) whose domestic market was constricted. Its population was characterised by chronic unemployment and deep poverty. United States monopolies plundered Cuba. They dominated the country’s entire financial system, all electric power production and the majority of industry. US monopolies owned 25 percent of the best land in Cuba. Sugar and livestock-raising landowners owned more than 80 percent of the country’s farmland.
In the 1950s, most Cuban children were not in school. A vast majority of households had no electricity. Only 15 percent of rural homes had running water. Nearly half the population was illiterate. More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1958 was either underemployed or unemployed. The planned economy introduced after the revolution brought enormous improvements in the living conditions of ordinary Cubans.
The present economic crisis again threatens the planned economy that made these collective gains possible. Diaz faces daunting challenges. Although he still believes in the continuation of the planned economy, it would be hard for him to sustain it in the present milieu. This situation is explained by Marxist theory, which rejects the possibility of socialism occurring in one country, particularly when that country is economically underdeveloped and exists in a capitalist world currently unthreatened by immediate socialist revolutions. The bureaucratic character of the regime and isolation of the Cuban revolution are also obstructions in building a socialist society. The current low productivity rates are due to a bureaucratic system that systematically creates disorganisation and chaos and does not provide workers with political incentives — allowing them to have a say and control over what they do — to motivate them.
Today the Cuban revolution is at the crossroads. Although it has succeeded over the last 59 years in maintaining its non-capitalist course, even if that took place at the price of developing a certain deprivation. The Cuban regime also established international relations with leftist governments emerging from the struggles against imperialism and its neo-liberal globalisation, in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Cuban aid has been of great importance for the advances made by the ‘Bolivarian revolution’ in Venezuela. However, with these left wing governments in crisis, their resources to support the Cuban economy have diminished.
This creates more problems for President Díaz-Canel. Absence of a framework of workers’ democratic control and the re-establishment of even partial market relations pervades social discontent and cynicism among the population and weakens the legitimacy of the Cuban system. Donald Trump’s reinforcement of the embargoes and his belligerence is also a crude attempt to force Cubans into capitulation to capitalism.
Despite all these setbacks, the Cuban revolution — inspite of its bureaucratic domination and isolation — has proved to the peoples of the world that a planned economy in a small island nation can enormously benefit the oppressed masses and provide health and education with a quality even better than some advanced countries. The Cuban revolution deserves to safeguard the best of its socialist economic system as an alternative paradigm to the present merciless and exploitative globalisation. It must break with the worst of itself. A renewed struggle of the Cuban workers and youth for Marxist internationalism for spreading revolutions combined with the creation of a democratic control of the economy, society and the state is crucial for the revolution’s survival.

Video - Asifa Bhutto Zardari Speech in Lyari via Hologram 23rd April 2018

Hope transfer of power from civilian govt to another is peaceful: Bilawal

 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Sunday that he hopes the upcoming transfer of power from one civilian government to another will be peaceful. 
Talking to the media, Bilawal said the country has weak democracy, adding that the way democracy progressed in the last 10 years has not happened before.
In response to a question, the PPP chief said he has a lot of expectations from the chief justice and hopes he will give him justice according to the law.
“I cannot stop someone and only advise,” he said, adding that judges do not speak themselves but through their judgments.
He then reiterated his criticism of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s slogan of ‘respect the vote’, wondering where the slogan was when Nawaz removed his mother, slain premier Benazir Bhutto, from office in the 1990s.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemns target killing of Hazara people in Quetta

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned the target killing of Hazara people in Quetta, where two men were shot dead by the terrorists today.
In his statement, PPP Chairman said that terrorists were hunting Hazara people like birds, but the government was turning dumb and deaf over continued brutalities.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed solidarity with the victim families of martyrs and demanded that prompt justice should be provided to terror-affected families and complete protection to the people of Quetta.

Where was ‘respect for vote’ when Nawaz took dictation from Zia, asks Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday lashed out at former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for its 'respect the vote' slogan.
"Where was ‘respect for vote’ when Nawaz took dictation from General Zia-ul-Haq," Bilawal questioned while speaking to media in Multan.
"Nawaz has followed 'orders' all his life, now he is talking about respecting the vote," the PPP chairman said, adding that the PML-N has always "taken dictation" from others. 
Where was [his slogan] when he removed the slain premier Benazir Bhutto from office in the 1990s, when he was conspiring against Benazir, Junejo and Chaudhries, asked Bilawal. 
The PPP chief said he hopes the upcoming transfer of power from one civilian government to another will be peaceful.
The country has weak democracy, he said, adding that the way democracy progressed in the last 10 years has not happened before.
In response to a question, he said he has a lot of expectations from the chief justice.
“I cannot stop someone and only advise,” he said, adding that judges do not speak themselves but through their judgments.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Obama writes piece for TIME magazine praising Parkland students

Ingrid Angulo

Former U.S. President Barack Obama insists that the Parkland students pushing to reform U.S. gun laws have the power to make change happen.
In a piece published by TIME, Obama praised Parkland student activists Cameraobn Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez and Alex Wind for their drive to strengthen gun control laws following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. He says the students are helping to change the minds of Americans in ways that previous forms of activism could not.
"But by bearing witness to carnage, by asking tough questions and demanding real answers, the Parkland students are shaking us out of our complacency," he wrote.
Following the February shooting, the students have had "some success persuading statehouses and some of the biggest gun retailers to change," he wrote. Public opinion has also been steadily shifting.
Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods responded to the shooting. Walmart opted to stop selling assault-style rifles in 2015, but raised its age restriction for firearm and ammunition purchases and stopped selling toys resembling assault-style rifles after the shooting in Parkland. Dick's Sporting Goods decided to stop selling the weapons immediately after the massacre and opted to destroy the merchandise it had on the shelves instead of returning it to gun manufacturers.
A 2018 Harvard poll shows that 70 percent of young Americans likely to vote in the upcoming midterms support stricter gun control laws. This statistic represents a 15-point increase from polling conducted months after the Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 20 children between the ages of six and seven.
Obama says that "progress will be slow and frustrating," but he places a lot of faith in the students' work.
Referencing the evidence of changes in voters' views on gun laws, large-scale boycotts of assault rifles, protests like the March for Our Lives and fear from the NRA, he writes that the younger generation has "the power to insist that America can be better" and "the possibilities of meaningful change will steadily grow."

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#PashtunLongMarch2Lahore - ‘How much did you sell 4,000 Pakistanis for?’

 Manzoor Pashteen seeks truth and reconciliation commission on the country's war against terrorism and its fall out in tribal regions. 

“Tell us how much money did you get in return for the Pakistani citizens you sold to Americans. We will raise funds on our own and pay you so that our loved ones can be brought back. We don’t even demand that you release them. Present them before courts and punish them under the law if they are found involved in any crime,” 25-year-old Manzoor Pashteen, the founding leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, said on Sunday.
He was addressing a public gathering at Lahore’s Mochi Bagh that was packed to capacity. The gathering went ahead as planned despite attempts like detention of PTM leaders arrested on Saturday and harassment of workers convoys on their way to Lahore from other cities.
Earlier in his speech, Pashteen said that a high official had come to him and other PTM leaders for negotiations three weeks ago and asked them to withdraw the demand for recovery of those forcibly disappeared. “When we asked him why can’t the missing people be released, he dodged the question. A judge later told the nation that most of them had been sold to Americans.”
Pashteen began his speech by stating that because of the mainstream media’s blackout of the movement, it was the Pashtun community’s desire [to hold the jalsa] to tell their stories of injustices to the residents of Lahore.
“Our movement started with Rao Anwar’s arrest in the wake of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s killing. Anwar and his accomplices wanted the nation to believe that Naqeebullah was a terrorist and he was a hero. But the people’s power proved that it is the other way around,” he said, adding that the entire country saw the result of the PTM’s protest against Anwar.
Speaking about extrajudicial killing, he said under the Constitution of Pakistan, it was mandatory for security officials to produce a detainee before the courts within 24 hours detention, adding that the Constitution was clear that whoever abroagated it was guilty of treason. “You are traitors since you have violated the Constitution,” he said, addressing the authorities concerned.
Further, He told stories of Pashtuns from tribal areas who he said had been victims of atrocities meted out by security personnel. He narrated the story of two children from North Waziristan whose father had wanted them to become doctors. He identified the children as Wajah and Wajeeha and said that their house came under attack by military’s shelling. The two children died as a result. The next day, he said, the newspapers reported that terorrists were killed in military’s bombardment. The crowd chanted slogans of ‘shame’ in response.

“Anyone who wants to verify our claims about violence against the innocent Pashtun citizens can go to the villages and ask if it is a lie.”You are welcome to investigate our claims. We wil tell you names of the villages and the dates when these atrocities took place.”He also told stories of youngsters from FATA who were allegedly arrested by security forces despite having no links with militants. “Should we side with the oppressor or with the oppressed”, he asked, adding that it was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who taught us to side with the oppressed.
“When the Pashtun citizens speak of peace, they are shot,” he said, adding that traditional jirga were disbanded and their elders were killed. He said ‘fake’ mashairs were installed in their place.
Referring to the flooding of the jalsa venue earlier in the day with sewage water, Pashteen said, “The dirt you spread was cleaned by our youngsters. This is the difference between you and us. We have been cleaning the filth you have been spreading.”
Explaining the movement’s criticism of the military, he said, “we are only against those higher-ups in the military whose flawed decisions have brought us where we are today. The military dictators who violated the constitution are real traitors and they should be tried for their criminal acts.”
Pashteen announced that the PTM would hold a public meeting in Karachi on May 12. Before that, it would hold a gathering in Swat on April 29.
Before concluding his speech, he extended solidarity with students and an academic of Punjab Univeristy who had been threatened with dire consequences for their support for the movement. He thanked the leadership of the Awami Workers Party, Pashtun community and the residnets of Lahore for attending the rally.
After his speech, Pashteen was surrounded by young activists and supporters who wanted selfies with him. Once done with the selfies, he went to a side and offered Maghrib prayers on the stage. Earlier, he stopped in the middle of his speech in respect for the azaan.
Another PTM leader Ali Wazir, who lost several of his family members in military operations and could not attend their funerals because he was incarcerated under colonial-era FCR, said the youngsters born and raised in the shadows of war were leading the movement. He said the PTM stood with the peasant households in Okara who were being victimised by the authorities for demanding rights to the land their families had been tilling for generations.
Lawyer Hina Jillani also spoke at the jalsa. She said that safe return of those forcibly disapeared would not be enough. “We want to know who picks up our sons and daughters and makes them disappeared.”
Advocate Fazal, whose son died in the Army Public School (APS) attack in December 2014, lamented that no judicial commission had been formed to investigate the massacre. He said the APS was a consequence of flawed polcies of seucrity establishment. “I was in touch with my son during the attack. He was alive 20 minutes into the attack and could have been saved if there had been timely action.”

#Pakistan - Punjab government has destroyed education system

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar dismissed on Sunday the vice-chancellor (VC) of Lahore College for Women University.
The decision came after the court took suo motu notice of reports that LCWU VC Dr Uzma Quraishi was appointed to the post without merit. 
Appearing before the court after being summoned, the VC clarified that Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had no role in her appointment after the chief justice remarked that they are aware of Iqbal's role in the matter.
The chief justice wondered how seniors were sidelined in the appointment process, adding that, "the state of education has been destroyed". "This is the Punjab government," he remarked further. 
Quraishi pleaded the bench not to dismiss her as it would affect her reputation but the court observed that she can plead her case afresh in front of a search committee. 
Appearing before the court, Punjab Higher Education Minister Raza Ali Gillani informed the bench that Quraishi's appointment was not undertaken in his tenure but added that the inquiry of the matter was forwarded to him for which a committee has been established. 
Moreover, the apex court on Sunday ordered the removal of temporary VCs of Fatma Jinnah Medical College University, Rawalpindi Medical University and Faisalabad Medical University, and ordered permanent appointments in their place. 
The court also ordered that the senior most faculty member should be made the interim VC for the time being. 
The Punjab advocate general informed the bench that a search committee has been formed which comprises Razzaq Dawood, Zafar Iqbal Quraishi and Umar Saif.
Chief Justice Nisar approved the body's members and remarked that the committee will recommend names for appointment of VCs at public sector universities. 
On Saturday, a two-member bench of the apex court, while hearing a suo motu case on illegal appointments of vice-chancellors, had ordered the Punjab government to immediately appoint a new VC at Punjab University.
The court had earlier in the day ordered the suspension of University of Punjab VC Dr Zakaria Zakar.
Appearing before the court today, Zakar pleaded the court to reconsider, stating that he has been teaching for 28 years and has two years of service left. 
The court, however, observed that he can apply for the post afresh when the matter is taken up by the varsity's search committee.

Christians claim they are being forced out of Pakistani city by Isil violence

  • Christians say they are being driven from one of Pakistan’s major cities after a string of deadly terrorist attacks claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
    The jihadist militant group has said it carried out two gun attacks that have killed six Christians in Quetta this month so far, and also bombed a church in the city shortly before Christmas.
    The recent attacks in the south western city come on top of increasing persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, where Christians and others have faced mob violence and accusations of blasphemy.
  • Christians told the Sunday Telegraph that many in the community were fleeing Quetta fearing for their lives and being chased from homes where they had lived for generations.
    Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil) attacked and oppressed Christians after the militant group captured swathes of territory in the Middle East to establish its so-called caliphate. 
    Isil has established a franchise in Pakistan, largely by recruiting established Sunni Islamist militants, but the country’s religious minorities have also long been targets for other extremist groups.
    The terror group said its militants in Pakistan killed two Christians in a motorbike drive-by shooting as they left church last week, and shot dead four members of a family a day after Easter.
    Two suicide bombers killed 10 and wounded scores when they stormed Quetta’s Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in December.
    The recent attacks and a campaign of threatening letters have prompted many of Quetta’s 50,000-strong Christian population to consider fleeing to the port of Karachi.
  • One Christian, who declined to be named, told The Telegraph: “We have been living for centuries in Quetta but due to targeted killings of the Christian community, I have lost nine of my family members and friends.
    “Many of our relatives shifted to Karachi and we will also leave Quetta due to the deteriorating security situation. 
    “We will rebuild our lives and establish our business in some other peaceful city, which is really a difficult task. Leaving home town is quite tough but we have no other option”.
    Pastor Simon Bashir, who was leading a service in Bethel Memorial Methodist Church at the time of the attack, said the incidents had left his congregation “afraid and concerned about their security”.
    Christians make up less than two per cent of Pakistan’s population of 207 million, and many hold only poorly paid manual and labouring jobs.
    As well as being the targets of extremist militants, they also face spurious blasphemy charges.
    The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last week attacked the government for doing too little to protect minorities and for not pushing back against religious bigotry.
    Saroop Ijaz, the Pakistan researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “The recent attacks on places of worship of minorities and target killings in Quetta highlight the increasing insecurity faced by religious minorities in the country.
    “The legal and institutional discrimination against non-Muslims provides a toxic, enabling environment for such acts of violence to be perpetrated against them. The impunity is heightened by the complete failure of the Pakistan government to hold perpetrators of past attacks on churches accountable”.