Monday, February 24, 2020

#Pakistan - #Balochabad and Female Education

By: Nadil Baloch
Films have been produced to represent the social, political, economic, health and educational problems, family and religious conflicts in the world. World had experienced numerous social changes and a number films have been made on these social changes, thereafter, impacts of films on social life of the society. Films are the easiest way of discriminating the message to the large masses due to which film culture is always promoted by the state and society for bringing social equilibrium in the society.
Very few films are available in Balochi film industry but most of them were made for the sack of comedy rather than presenting the social issues of the society. Many short or feature films have been made by Baloch filmmakers but the purposes were to fascinate the masses or only a source of entertainment for the people. They were never serious films which could provide a purposeful message for social reform or social restructuring.
In Balochi Film industry only the films of Dr. Hanif Sharif or some other filmmakers are considered serious, which represent the social issues of the Baloch society due to which most of the viewer considered them worth watching. The reasons not producing good film vary such as lack of institution and economic constrains. Despite these all, Balochi film industry has improved as compare to past because new emerging Balochi filmmakers coming forward and producing films which are far better and the need of present society. 
Balochabad, a film directed by Shakir Shaad and his colleague Arif Badal, is going to be screened in Pakistan as well as in board. It is the only film which is made on the situation of female education in Balochistan. I may not be wrong to say that it is the first Balochi film which is made on female education and women empowerment. After coming of its official trailer, it was supported and appreciated by people and political figures of Balochistan as well people in foreign countries.
It is the only Balochi film produced within the country in which Baloch female actress is playing her actual role. Baloch females were never allowed to perform in films because it is considered a social taboo in the society. Women who performed at films were considered negative. But Shantul Film Production changed this mindset by releasing Balochabad in which female played her actual roles. If we have a glance on female participation in Balochi films, we can find little or no place for females in Balochi films. In history, a women performed in Hammal-o-Mahganj film released in 1976 which was directed by Anwar Iqbal. Before screening, the common masses had resisted and protested against this film and they believed that it was defaming the respect of Baloch society.
After that very rare women had participated in Balochi films. Baloch women who were in foreign countries like Golf countries or Iran could participated but no in Pakistan. The films made in Pakistan were mostly male oriented and females role were played by males by wearing female cloths or dressing. This culture has greatly affected the Balochi Film industry. Both women and directors of the film were always in fear while selecting the women for films due to the social pressures. Indeed, women participation in film is very important. Film has a great effect on the lives of common masses because it has power to manipulate the mind of people. Film direct the minds of the people what to think and what to not.
Balochabad film also has great sociological significance for Baloch society. It promotes the gender equality and women participation in film making where women were always neglected or presented with negative connotation. This film shows the real situation of female education and it would be a tool for the people of the province to get a lesson and promote female education. This film also pave the way of females who want to work in the films but they were not allowed or had fear to work in Balochi film industry.
Films like Balochabad should be promoted because it is perpetuating the women empowerment and participation. Such films are very important in terms of Balochistan where the female literacy rate is 33.5% which is very low and the volumes of social taboos are very high in regards to female participation in film making. The social taboos created many impediments in the ways of female education in the province.
Enhance such film should be appreciated and promoted. People have to participate in screening so that the producers, actors, actresses, directors and others should be encouraged for making such films in future. 

Is Pakistan prepared to deal with the possible economic impact of #coronavirus?

Pakistan is clearly ill-prepared to deal with the possible impact of the epidemic crisis in China that may take time to subside. It can lead to supply chain disruptions, amplify the inflation and suppress consumer and business confidence, rattling the fragile economy and dragging the low GDP growth rate further down.
There is an uneasy calm in business circles. Private companies are exploring alternatives to source their raw material and merchandise, despite the price differential as reports of growing global anxieties over the epidemic trickle through media. All efforts are directed to minimising the chances of panic in the retail market, securing the market share and keeping manufacturing units operational.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered to assist China in the fight against the virus but back home his government has yet to absorb the gravity of the risk to the struggling economy. There is a halfhearted effort to assess the impact but the requisite strategy is not even in the works.
The Planning Commission has yet to initiate an exercise to quantify the possible impact on trade, manufacturing, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and GDP growth. The focus in the finance ministry is on the expected savings in the oil import bill with the price dip and using it to improve the fiscal balance. If that deprives the people and businesses of the price benefits, so be it.
Imran Khan has offered help to China in the fight against coronavirus but back home his government has yet to absorb the gravity of the risk to the struggling economy
The market watchers believe that if the government fails to put its house in order and pool resources to prepare diligently to manage the unfolding situation then there is danger of panic in the consumer market by mid-March as inventories have started depleting and products arriving from other sources will be priced 10 per cent higher, at the least. How will this act with the galloping inflation? Your guess is as good as mine.
“If the crisis subsides quickly there is a possibility that inventories built to cover the New Year holidays in China provide the buffer and the market in Pakistan broadly stays immune to the business stress. However, if the issue prolongs there is no chance for Pakistan to dodge the negative fallout completely. It’s not just the trade and the manufacturing sectors that will be affected, its toll will be felt by the entire economy”, commented a leading businessman with strong Chinese links, anonymously.
“The government seems too self-consumed to monitor, assess and strategise to deal with the possible fallout. Instead of taking preemptive measures they tend to wait till the problem assume crisis proportions and then react in haste, missing out on better more sustainable options. People and businesses, in the end, pay the price for the administrative failures,” he added hinting at the commodity and power sector issues.
Anjum Nisar, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the private sector is already making alternate arrangements though it costs them more. “China is too big a player. When the world rises with the Chinese tide how can it be impervious if the tide recedes? Pakistan sources about 30pc ($16.5 billion) imports from China and exports close to $1.5bn worth of merchandise there. The manufacturing and shipment adjustments in China will certainly affect us. The private sector can’t afford to wait for the government. Our members are in contact with their Chinese partners but evaluating other import options simultaneously”, he said over the phone from Lahore.
Dawn’s investigation reaffirmed that no structured exercise to identify the most vulnerable sectors/segments or quantify the possible impact on trade, manufacturing and growth has officially been undertaken so far. Most officers in the Ministry of Planning, industry, Federal Board of Revenue and customs were caught unaware when Dawn approached them.
When quizzed, sources in customs agreed to share the data of the arrival of containerised cargo. This year in January 33,395 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) of cargo from China was unloaded at ports compared to 33,515 TEU in 2019. In the first three weeks of February 17,565 TEU arrived compared to 20,970 TEU in 2019. They attributed the fall, however, to a more protective import policy and expected the impact of the Chinese crisis to hit cargo traffic in March. “These ships must already be seaborne when the crisis struck China”, a source said referring to cargo ships that arrived over the past month and a half.
Customs received instructions to alert the health staff at the ports to not clear cargo arriving from affected areas without fumigation and closely monitor and adhere strictly to safety standards in January. Later, an advisory note of Port Health Establishment specified second-hand clothing/used shoes and other worn articles as cargos that can’t be cleared without fumigation. They also received travel advisory to not permit entry to any person on board the ships without clearance of health authorities.
Through a note in the first week of February, the additional requirement of fumigation in cargo ships was withdrawn but the complete ban on the import of animals and birds still holds. The copies of these advisories are with Dawn.
A senior officer in the Ministry of Commerce told Dawn that it is not their mandate to carry out a macroeconomic assessment as they are tasked only to implement the trade policy. The officers in the planning ministry said they monitor growth and its drivers and have not been tracking the issue. They assumed that the impact would be limited to trade.
However, top guns in the government accepted that the evolving situation in China could pose serious challenges for Pakistan. They contested the perception though that the government is not alive to the issue. In a response to Dawn queries the office of the advisor to the prime minister Razzak Dawood mailed a reply. The comment states: “Pakistan has significant reliance on China as it sources the bulk of its raw material, intermediate and capital goods from there”.
The note informed that a meeting to assess the situation was held last Thursday to take stock of the situation. It had participation from all relevant departments including Trading Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and the Commercial Counselor in Beijing (via a video link). The note says, “they deliberated on the possible effects on domestic production and exports by taking into account recent global and bilateral trade trends, possible bottlenecks in supply chains, availability of stocks and supply of raw materials and intermediate goods. “The Commercial Counselor, Beijing, apprised that on slight delays in shipments, however, except for Hubei Province, normal trading activities are expected to resume in the next 10 days. Secretary TDAP informed that the intermediate goods’ stock was sufficient for six to eight weeks. Besides this, a monitoring and evaluation mechanism is being put in place”.
Some multinationals, including fast-moving consumer goods companies, are understood to be reassessing their supply chains to reduce their production footprints in China. When approached, the embassies of the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan (countries with a strong corporate presence in Pakistan) declined a formal comment. Either they have not been approached by their companies or did not wish to share their concerns for diplomatic reasons at this stage.

Pakistan: Terror And Impunity – Analysis

By Ajit Kumar Singh
Backed by ‘all-weather friend’ China, Pakistan again escaped the ignominy of being put into the ‘club’ of High-Risk Jurisdictions, commonly referred to as the ‘blacklist’, by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran are the two present members of the ‘club’.  
Despite Islamabad’s continued attempts to deceive FATF by taking superficial action and come out of the Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, the ‘grey list’, however, FATF decided to keep Pakistan in this listing, along with 17 other countries. Pakistan has been on the ‘grey list’ since June 2018.  
FATF President Xiangmin Liu of China chaired the FATF Plenary held on February 19-21, 2020, at Paris, France. In a release dated February 21, 2020, FATF noted that “all deadlines in the action plan have expired” and the FATF “again expresses concerns given Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF [terrorist financing] risks emanating from the jurisdiction”.
The FATF warned, “To date, Pakistan has largely addressed 14 of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan. The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020. Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress especially in prosecuting and penalising TF not be made by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their FIs [Foreign Investors] to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.”
Interestingly, in a release dated October 18, 2019, FATF had raised a similar warning,
All deadlines in the action plan have now expired. While noting recent improvements, the FATF again expresses serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its TF risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risks, and more broadly, Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction. To date, Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan. The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020. Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their FIs to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.
In June 2018, Pakistan had made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Asia Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/ Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies. It had submitted a 27-point action plan.  
Given the international community’s indifference towards Islamabad’s tacit support to terrorism and China’s brazen support to Islamabad in all its acts of ‘sponsoring terror’, for instance Beijing’s support at UN proceeding to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Maulana Masood Azhar, it is highly unlikely that Islamabad will be put under the ‘black list’ in the near future, if ever.  
Pakistan was on FATF’s ‘grey list’ between 2012 and 2015 as well. Nevertheless, United States’ aid to Pakistan recorded increase between 2013 and 2015: USD 813 million (2013), USD one Billion (2014), USD 1.1 Billion (2015). Islamabad even received an International Monetary Fund (IMF) ‘bail-out’ in 2013. More recently, in a release on May 12, 2019, IMF stated that “the Pakistani authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff level agreement on economic policies that could be supported by a 39-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for about US $6 billion.” The release, however, went on to add that “this agreement is subject to IMF management approval and to approval by the Executive Board, subject to the timely implementation of prior actions and confirmation of international partners’ financial commitments”. Among other “commitments”, Pakistan was expected to continue “anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism efforts.” Interestingly, on July 3, 2019, the Executive Board of the IMF approved the arrangement.  
It is pertinent to recall here that Pakistan has now been on FATF’s ‘grey list’ since June 2018.  
It is not, therefore, surprising that Pakistan is no particularly deterred by the threat of continued grey or possible black listing, and the threat of dubious ‘sanctions’. Islamabad’s agenda of using terror as a “strategic asset”, and choosing between ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’, remains unaltered.  
Pakistan has acted vigorously against domestic terrorists, even as it continues to instrumentalize terrorism against its neighbours. According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Pakistan recorded a total of 370 fatalities (142 civilians, 142 Security Force, SF, personnel, and 86 terrorists) in 2019 as against 694 such fatalities (359 civilians, 160 SF personnel, and 161 terrorists) registered in 2018. The trend of declining fatalities established since 2014 has thus been maintained through 2019. At peak in 2009, Pakistan recorded 11,317 fatalities, including 2,154 civilians, 1,012 SF personnel, 7,884 terrorists, and 267 in the ‘unspecified’ category. Other parameters of domestic violence have also witnessed significant decline.  
Pakistan’s use of terror as US and its allies, as well as other major powers, to concede to its demand of giving Islamabad a central role in the Afghanistan peace process. The Four-Party Joint Statement on the Afghan Peace Process released on July 12, 2019, stated,
On 11th July 2019, the representatives of China, Russia, and the United States held their 3rd consultation on the Afghan peace process in Beijing. China, Russia, and the United States welcomed Pakistan joining the consultation and believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan.
This was the first time Pakistan joined the US, Russia and China’s trilateral consultations on the Afghanistan peace process, though it has been pivotal to the Afghan talks at various stages in the past, even as it has continued with its support to terrorist formations such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. This has been repeatedly emphasised by Afghanistan and, most recently, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reiterated, on February 16, 2020, “We haven’t seen any notable developments and concrete anti-terrorism step taken by Pakistan.
Islamabad’s continued support to terrorism in India’s Jammu and Kashmir and the resultant turmoil in the region has helped it keep the Kashmir issue constantly at the fore front both of its domestic discourse, and at international fora. Unsurprisingly, US President Donald Trump, on quite a few occasions in recent past, has made gratuitous offers to mediate between the India and Pakistan to ‘resolve’ the Kashmir issue, proposals that have been summarily rejected by New Delhi.   
Pakistan hosts five broad types of Islamist terrorist groups – globally oriented terrorists, Afghanistan-oriented, India- and Kashmir-oriented, sectarian and domestic terrorists. Its leaders believe that they have learnt to deal with the consequent risks and can continue with this policy without facing any extraordinary reverses in the foreseeable future.  
Nevertheless, using terror as a “strategic asset” has its own inherent dangers. According to the SATP database, the SF: terrorist kill ratio in 2019 stood at 1.65:1 in favour of the terrorists. This is the second instance since 2000 that an adverse ratio has been recorded, with the previous instance way back in 2001, when it stood at 1.19:1. In 2020, the ratio has worsened to 1.5:1. During the first 54 days of 2020, Pakistan has recorded a total of 91 fatalities (36 civilians, 33 SF personnel, and 22 militants) in 21 incidents of killing, as against 54 fatalities (13 civilians, 23 SF personnel, and 18 militants) recorded in 19 incidents of killing during the corresponding period of 2019. Some of the major incidents of terrorism in 2020 include:
February 19, 2020: At least 16 Army personnel were killed in an attack by Balochistan Liberation Tigers (BLT) at an army post in the Singsila area of Dera Bugti District of Balochistan. BLT militants also seized all weapons and ammunition kept at the post and subsequently set the post on fire.February 17, 2020: At least 10 persons were killed and another 35 sustained injuries in a suicide blast near the Quetta Press Club in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. Three Police personnel were among those killed in the blast. The suicide bomber wanted to target rally of a religious group, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, but blew himself up when Police stopped him, according to Quetta Police Chief Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema.January 10, 2020: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Taliban-run mosque-cum seminary, Darul Uloom Al Sharia, in the Ghosabad area of Satellite Town in Quetta, killing at least 15 persons and injuring another 20. Those killed included the head cleric of the mosque and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
The domestic ‘overflow’ of terrorism, despite its relative decline from the peaks of 2008-14, has also inflicted tremendous political and economic costs on the country. However, as long as Islamabad is ready to bleed its own people for the sake of an imagined ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and to create unrest in India, there is little reason to believe that it will abandon its use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Unless, of course, the international community can find the consensual will to inflict crippling sanctions on Islamabad – a solution that has remained elusive despite decades of Pakistani terrorist

خیبرپختونخوا میں گھوسٹ سکولوں کو دوبارہ فنڈز جاری ہونے کا انکشاف

اظہار اللہ
ایک انکوائری رپورٹ کے مطابق برطانوی ادارے ڈیپارٹمنٹ فار انٹرنیشنل ڈولپمنٹ (ڈیفیڈ) کے پراجیکٹ کے تحت کچھ ایسے سکولوں کو فنڈز دیے گئے ہیں جن کا کوئی وجود نہیں ہے، یا ایسے طلبہ کو سکیم کے تحت وظیفہ دیا گیا ہے جو جعلی انرولمنٹ کے تحت رجسٹرڈ تھے۔
بر طانوی ادارے ڈیپارٹمنٹ فار انٹرنیشنل ڈولپمنٹ (ڈیفیڈ) کی جانب سے خیبر پختونخوا میں تعلیم کے فروغ کے لیے تعلیمی واؤچر سکیم پراجیکٹ کے فنڈز ایسے سکولوں کو دوبارہ جاری ہونے کا انکشاف ہوا ہے، جنہیں حکومتی ادارے پہلے سے ہی ’گھوسٹ سکول‘ قرار دے چکے ہیں۔
یہ معاملہ 2019 میں اس وقت سامنے آیا جب اس پراجیکٹ کو چلانے والے ادارے ایلیمنٹری ایجوکیشن فاؤنڈیشن نے ایک انکوائری رپورٹ صوبائی حکومت کو پیش کی، جس میں کیا گہا کہ اس پراجیکٹ کے تحت کچھ ایسے سکولوں کو فنڈز دیے گئے ہیں جن کا کوئی وجود نہیں ہے، یا ایسے طلبہ کو سکیم کے تحت وظیفہ دیا گیا ہے جو جعلی انرولمنٹ کے تحت رجسٹرڈ تھے۔
اس سکیم کے تحت خیبر پختونخوا کے مختلف اضلاع میں سکول کے ایسے بچوں کو پرائمری سطح پر ماہانہ 500 روپے، مڈل سکول کے بچوں کو 600 روپے جبکہ ہائی سکول کے بچوں کو 800 روپے دیے جاتے ہیں، جن کے گھر سے ایک کلومیٹر کے فاصلے پر کوئی سرکاری سکول نہ ہو۔
انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کے پاس موجود دستاویزات، جس میں گھوسٹ قرار دیے جانے والے سکولوں کو فنڈز جاری کرنے کا انکشاف کیا گیا ہے، کے مطابق ایسے 76 نجی گھوسٹ سکولز ہیں جہاں جعلی طلبہ کو رجسٹر کیا گیا ہے اور ان پر 2015 سے لے کر 2019 تک سات کروڑ 30 لاکھ کی خرد برد کا الزام ہے، کو جنوری2020  تک دوبارہ چھ کروڑ20  لاکھ روپے واؤچرز کی مد میں ادا کیے گئے ہیں۔
دستاویزات کے مطابق پچھلے سال جب یہ معاملہ سامنے آیا تو صوبائی حکومت نے اس کی انکوائری کا آغاز کیا اور وزیراعلیٰ خیبرپختونخوا کی صوبائی انسپیکشن ٹیم نے خود جاکر ایسے سکولوں کو چیک کیا، جنہیں فنڈز ادا کیے گئے تھے اور ان پر مبینہ خرد برد کا الزام تھا۔
صوبائی انسپیکشن ٹیم کی رپورٹ میں گھوسٹ یا ایسے سکول جہاں رجسٹرڈ طلبہ کم اورفنڈز زیادہ دیے گئے تھے، کی نشاندہی کی گئی تھی۔ اسی طرح صوبائی حکومت کی جانب سے آڈٹ رپورٹ میں بھی ایسے سکولوں کی نشاندہی کی گئی۔
تاہم ان رپورٹس میں موجود گھوسٹ سکولوں یا جعلی انرولمنٹ والے سکولوں کے ناموں کا جب حالیہ سکولوں کے ناموں سے موازنہ کیا گیا تو ان میں وہ سکولز بھی موجود تھے جن پر خردبرد کا الزام تھا اور صوبائی اداروں 

کے رپورٹس کے مطابق ان سکولوں سے ریکوری کرنی تھی۔

صوبائی حکومت کی اس وقت کی ایلیمنٹری ایجوکیشن فاؤنڈیشن کی فائنڈنگ رپورٹس میں ایسے 116  سکولوں کی نشاندہی کی گئی تھی جن پر خردبرد کا الزام تھا۔
ان سکولوں میں مانسہرہ میں51، پشاور میں 32، کوہاٹ میں نو اور سوات میں 24 سکولز شامل تھے جن سے تقریباً 11 کروڑ کی ریکوری کی سفارش کی گئی تھی۔ اس سارے معاملے کے بعد صوبائی حکومت نے پورے صوبے میں ان سکولوں کو خود جاکر چیک کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا تاکہ طلبہ کو چیک کیا جاسکے۔
انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو دستیاب ضلعی تعلیمی محکموں کی رپورٹ کی فائنڈنگ کے مطابق 2019 تک 71 ہزار سے زائد واؤچرز طلبہ کے نام جاری کیے گئے، جن میں سے ضلعی محکموں نے51  ہزار طلبہ کی تصدیق کی جبکہ باقی 20 ہزار واؤچرز جعلی طلبہ کے ناموں پر جاری کیے گئے۔
برطانوی غیر سرکاری ادارے ڈیفیڈ نے اس پراجیکٹ کے لیے خیبرپختونخوا حکومت کو چھ ارب روپے سے زائد کی رقم دی ہے۔ اس پراجیکٹ کا اجرا 2014  میں کیا گیا تھا۔ پہلے اسے پشاور کے پانچ یونین سکولوں میں شروع کیا گیا اور بعد میں اس کا دائرہ کار بڑھا کر پشاور، مانسہرہ، کوہاٹ، ڈی آئی خان اور سوات کو بھی  شامل کرلیا گیا لیکن اب اس کو پورے صوبے تک بڑھا دیا گیا ہے۔
ایلیمنٹری ایجوکیشن فاؤنڈیشن جو حکومت کا ایک خود مختار ادارہ ہے اور اس پراجیکٹ کو دیکھ رہا ہے، کے سربراہ جاوید اقبال نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ اس سکینڈل کے سامنے آنے کے بعد فاؤنڈیشن نے خود سکولوں اور طلبہ کو چیک کیا اور ایک ہزار سے زائد سکولوں میں سے 628 کی تصیدیق کی ہے۔
انہوں نے بتایا کہ ہم نے صرف ان سکولوں کو پراجیکٹ میں شامل کیا ہے جو پرائیوٹ سکولز ریگولیٹری اتھارٹی کے ساتھ رجسٹرڈ تھے جبکہ باقی سکولز اتھارٹی کے ساتھ رجسٹرڈ نہیں تھے۔
جب جاوید اقبال سے پوچھا گیا کہ پہلے سے گھوسٹ قرار دیے جانے والے سکولوں کو دوبارہ کیوں فنڈز دیے گئے ہیں، تو انہوں نے جواب دیا کہ گھوسٹ سکولوں کے نام کا استعمال تو ختم ہوگیا کیونکہ ابھی ہم نے600  سے زائد سکولوں کی تصدیق کی ہے لیکن جن سکولوں نے جعلی طلبہ کے نام واؤچرز جاری کیے ہیں، ان کے جنوری2018  سے مارچ 2019 تک کے فنڈز ہم نے روکے تھے لیکن اب ہم نے ان کو فنڈز اس لیے جاری کیے تاکہ جو بچے رجسٹرڈ ہیں ان کا تعلیمی سلسلہ متاثر نہ ہو۔
ان سے جب پوچھا گیا کہ اگر ایک سکول مالک نے غلط تعداد بتائی ہے اور جعلی طلبہ کے نام واؤچرز جاری کیے ہیں تو ان کے خلاف تو انکوائری کرنی چاہیے بجائے اس کے کہ ان کو مزید فنڈز دیے جائیں؟ جس پر جاوید اقبال نے بتایا کہ ہم ان سے ریکوری کریں گے اور ان کا معاہدہ بھی مارچ 2020 میں منسوخ کر رہے ہیں۔
انہوں نے مزید بتایا کہ ہم نے مجبوراً ان سکولوں کو فنڈز جاری کرنے شروع کیے، وجہ یہ تھی کہ بچوں کے والدین خود سوزی کرنے پر مجبور ہوگئے تھے کیونکہ وہ سکولوں کی فیس ادا نہیں کرسکتے تھے۔
بچوں کا بھی جعلی ناموں سے اندراج
پراجیکٹ کے حوالے سے آگاہ ذرائع نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ سکولوں میں ’جعلی انرولمنٹ‘ چھپانے کے لیے بچوں کے اصلی کی بجائے جعلی نام درج کیے گئے تھے تاکہ انسپکشن ٹیم کو اصلی نام کی بجائے سکول کا نام بتا سکیں اور جاری کیے گئے جعلی واؤچر کو تصدیق شدہ تسلیم کرنے کا راستہ ہموار کیا جائے۔

#Pakistani #Christian Asia Bibi asks France for asylum

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after a 2010 conviction of blasphemy, said Monday that she was seeking political asylum from the French government.
"My great desire is to live in France," Bibi said in an interview with RTL radio, her first trip to France since fleeing with her family to Canada in 2018.
Her visit comes a few weeks after the publication of her book "Enfin Libre!" (Finally Free) in French last month, with an English version due in September.
"France is the country from where I received my new life... Anne-Isabelle is an angel for me," she said, referring to the French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who waged a long campaign for her release and later co-wrote Bibi's book.
On Tuesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is to bestow an honorary citizenship certificate granted to Bibi by the city in 2014, when she was still behind bars.
She said she did not have any meeting scheduled with President Emmanuel Macron, but "obviously I would like the president to hear my request." In her book, Bibi recounts the nightmare conditions she was subjected to in prison until her release in 2018, amid an international outcry over her treatment.
The acquittal sparked fierce rioting in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where Christians are often the target of persecution.
She later fled with her family to Canada, where she has been living in an undisclosed location under police protection.
"Obviously I am enormously grateful to Canada," Bibi said, adding that she now wanted to work "hand in hand" with Tollet to urge Pakistan authorities to free others imprisoned over the country's anti-blasphemy laws.
- 'Exile forever' -
The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when Muslim field labourers who were working alongside her refused to share water because she was Christian.An argument broke out and a Muslim woman later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed.But despite her dramatic acquittal by Pakistan's chief justice, activists warned that freedom for Bibi would likely mean a life under threat by hardliners who have long called for her death.Last May, she was spirited away to Canada, where Tollet was the only reporter to have met with Bibi since her arrival.
In her book, Bibi tells of the humiliating and horrendous conditions in prison, and the daily torments suffered by the country's Christian minority.
She also recounts the difficulty of adjusting to her new life, and the pain of having to leave without seeing her father or other members of her family.
"Pakistan is my country. I love my country but I am in exile forever," she wrote.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Music Video - Wiz Khalifa - Work Hard Play Hard

Video Report - CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS 2/23/20

Video - Bernie Sanders on the experiences that helped shape his political beliefs

Opinion: Bernie Sanders Isn’t the Left’s Trump

And this is no time for ego or self-indulgence.
Look, I know the primaries aren’t over, and it’s still possible that Democratic centrists will get their act together. But Bernie Sanders is now the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination. There are many things to say about that, but the most important is that he is NOT a left-leaning version of Trump. Even if you disagree with his ideas, he’s not a wannabe authoritarian ruler.
America under a Sanders presidency would still be America, both because Sanders is an infinitely better human being than Trump and because the Democratic Party wouldn’t enable abuse of power the way Republicans have.
And if you’re worried about his economic agenda, what’s your concern, exactly? That he’ll raise taxes on the rich part way back to what they were under Dwight Eisenhower? That he’ll run budget deficits? Trump is doing that already — and the economic effects have been positive.
I’m more concerned about (a) the electability of someone who says he’s a socialist even though he isn’t and (b) if he does win, whether he’ll squander political capital on unwinnable fights like abolishing private health insurance. But if he’s the nominee, it’s the job of Dems to make him electable if at all possible.
To be honest, a Sanders administration would probably leave center-left policy wonks like me out in the cold, at least initially. And if a President Sanders or his advisers say things I think are foolish, I won’t pretend otherwise in an attempt to ingratiate myself. (Sorry, I’m still not a convert to Modern Monetary Theory.) But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line.

Bernie Sanders absolutely could win it all this November

"Please welcome the 46th President of the United States of America, Bernie Sanders."
You could be hearing those exact words come 2021. Those who say Sanders has no chance of winning are denying the reality of the current state of American politics. That being said, Sanders may not even end up as the Democratic nominee and, to be clear, I'm not writing this in support of his candidacy. Rather, my point is that Sanders could plausibly win both the Democratic nomination and the White House in 2020, especially given the lessons of Donald Trump's unexpected win.
I'm loathed to compare Sanders with Trump in any way given that Trump is a man who traffics in bigotry, racism and continually defends Republican men accused of abusing women, such as former Fox News head Roger Ailes after 25 women accused him of sexual harassment.But the Sanders 2020 campaign, fueled by a populist message, does share some commonality with Trump's improbable 2016 run.First, both Sanders today and Trump during his 2016 campaign drew massive, passionate crowds at their rallies. For example, in August 2015, then-candidate Trump drew 30,000 at a campaign event in Alabama. This was at a time when numerous political experts gave Trump almost no chance of winning. In January 2016, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, Trump attracted approximately 8,000 supporters at his rally near the border of neighboring Massachusetts.Today, Sanders is seeing comparable numbers and energy surrounding his campaign. Last Sunday, Sanders was scheduled to hold a rally at a 5,000-seat venue in Denver, but because of a tsunami of demand, the campaign moved it to a larger venue where he drew more than 11,000. Two weeks ago, the night before the New Hampshire primary, Sanders packed more than 7,500 into an arena, with USA Today noting that this "event easily marked the largest in the Democratic contest in New Hampshire."
A second similarity is that many political pundits warned that if either secured the nomination they would not only lose horribly but drag their respective political parties down with them.
For example, Karl Rove, who served as a top adviser to former President George W. Bush, warned in January 2016 that, "If Mr. Trump is its standard-bearer, the GOP will lose the White House and the Senate, and its majority in the House will fall dramatically." Now-dogged Trump defender and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted in May 2016 that "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it." In fact, some Democrats were "giddy" at the prospect of running against him, predicting he would get crushed the same way the GOP's very conservative 1964 presidential nominee Barry Goldwater lost to President Lyndon Johnson in that election. In reality, in 2016 with Trump as the nominee, the Republicans held onto control of both the Senate (losing only two seats) and the House. Today, some Democrats are expressing identical concerns: If the very progressive Sanders is the nominee, it will result in Democrats losing more moderate states and could enable the GOP to regain the control of the House it lost in 2018. Some have recently equated Sanders with the very progressive 1972 Democratic nominee George McGovern, who went on to lose horribly to Richard Nixon by 23 percentage points. Republicans are even expressing "glee" that Sanders might be the nominee, believing they can use his "democratic socialism" as a bogeyman to scare voters. First, can Republicans paint Sanders' "democratic socialism" as something to fear? Well, fear is crucial in motivating voters, and GOP politicians are the masters of using it. In recent years, they have warned of threats posed by everything from Muslims to gay marriage and Hispanic immigrants.
It will be up to Sanders and the Democratic Party, if Sanders wins the nomination, to explain that he's not a socialist in the traditional sense. Rather, as he explained in a 2019 speech on the topic, his focus is completing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" by, among other things, ensuring all Americans have health care as a right and helping to close the income equality gap by raising the minimum wage.
But comparisons to McGovern's electoral fate fall flat. In head-to-head matchups in 1972, Nixon never polled less than 53% while McGovern never got over 38% -- trailing Nixon at times by over 30 points. In contrast, last week's Washington Post/ABC poll shows Sanders topping Trump 51% to 45%. Obviously, this poll doesn't mean the election will turn out that way, but it does make it clear Sanders currently attracts more support than McGovern ever did and that Nixon was far more popular in 1972 than Trump is today.
We are only three contests into the Democratic process to pick a nominee, and no one knows for certain who that will be. And regardless of who it is, Trump could still win re-election. But one thing is certain: History does tell us Bernie Sanders has a viable chance of sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office come January 20, 2021.

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By Chandan Khanna

The Asia Internet Coalition, a grouping of international firms that include Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, has responded to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government’s social media rules, saying it belies the “Government of Pakistan’s claims that it is open for business and investment.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, AIC Managing Director Jeff Paine shared his organization’s “initial views” on the Citizens Protection Rules (Against Online Harm) that was approved by the federal cabinet last week. “Unless revoked, these rules will severely cripple the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy,” it says, adding that while AIC members recognize Pakistan’s strong potential, the framing of these rules without any consultation from stakeholders “belies the Government of Pakistan’s claims that it is open for business and investment.”
Additionally, the AIC warned, if the rules were not amended or revoked, it “would make it extremely difficult for AIC Members to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.” It said that no other country has announced such sweeping rules, which risks turning Pakistan into a “global outlier, needlessly isolating and depriving Pakistani users and businesses from the growth potential of the internet economy.”
According to the AIC, the rules as written are “vague and arbitrary in nature, which is a result of the absence of public consultation.” It notes the rules demand “social media companies deviate from established human rights practices concerning user privacy and freedom of expression.”
Acknowledging that governments around the world are currently striving to figure out how to deal with problematic and illegal content online, the AIC said that it’s members “have been working in consultation with governments on this challenge for years, using both computer science tools and human reviewers to identify and stop a range of online abuse.” It urged the Government of Pakistan to initiate a public consultation process so a new set of rules could be developed after taking all stakeholders’ concerns into consideration.
Referring to the U.K.’s Online Harms White Paper, which has been used by some in Pakistan’s government to defend its rules, the AIC noted that it was released after months of consultations. “The U.K. government released on Feb. 12, 2020 its response to the consultation on the White Paper, which clarified a number of points, starting with an emphasis on the respect of fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression, the importance of transparency, and clarity and certainty for business,” it said, adding that even still the U.K.’s efforts were focused on specific areas of child abuse and hate speech, rather than a very wide interpretation of online harms.
“We also understand that some within the Government of Pakistan have drawn parallels between the Rules and Vietnam’s Law on Cybersecurity,” it says. “It’s important to note, however, that while Vietnam’s Parliament approved the Law on Cybersecurity in June 2018, it has not yet been implemented. What’s more, a broad range of governments, industry and civil society groups have expressed grave concerns with the law and Vietnam’s proposed implementing regulations.”
The AIC letter says that its members are not against regulating social media, but the rules laid down by the PTI government “fail to address crucial issues such as internationally recognized rights to individual expression and privacy.” It also questions the legal backing for these rules. “Neither the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, nor the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA) envision the broad powers granted through these Rules. On the contrary, PECA grants safe harbor protection to intermediaries or social media platforms,” it adds.
The letter concluded by urging the Government of Pakistan to consider the potential consequences of the rules in order to prevent unexpected negative impacts on Pakistan’s economy.

Silence speaking volumes?

By Najam Sethi

Last month, the chairman of the FBR, Shabbar Zaidi, called it a day. Apparently the pressure of having to deliver unrealistic IMF targets agreed by the government laid him low. Yesterday, the Attorney General, Anwar Mansoor Khan, quit. The pressure of having to endorse indefensible government actions alienated the bar and bench, his constituency, and eroded his credibility. The knives are now out for the Finance Minister, Hafeez Sheikh, and the State Bank Governor, Raza Baqir. An ex-Commerce Minister and reputed IMF/World Bank consultant, Dr Zubair Khan, has petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the duo from drowning Pakistan in a sea of debt by their deeply hurtful economic policies at the behest of foreign agencies. The irony is that the IMF team has returned to Washington without sanctioning the next tranche of financial assistance, implying that it isn’t satisfied with the government’s substance and pace of “reform” as agreed.
If economic management is woefully lacking, the state of political mismanagement also shows. The Miltablishment weathercock, Sheikh Rashid, is alarmed by the stunning silence of the opposition parties, in particular the PMLN. He would much rather have a raucous and threatening opposition, he says, so that one can gauge its intentions and react to it than such a studied meekness that smacks of some sort of a dangerous and ominous conspiracy to unseat the government. He has in mind the undignified haste with which the opposition stamped approval of the army chief’s extension in comparison with the bumbling and stumbling manner in which the government approached the subject. The silence of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz is particularly out of form, suggesting that some sort of “deal” with the Miltablishment is in the works. Such a deal, he fears, would inevitably be at the cost of his dear prime minister.
If truth be told, it is curious that the courts have suddenly become amenable to the pleas of opposition leaders. Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur are being looked after in hospital, thank you; Rana Sanaullah, Fawad Hasan Fawad and Miftah Ismail are free; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal will probably be bailed out shortly; Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are in London, the former’s conviction in a corruption case is suspended while the latter is on bail. For a government that sustains its anti-corruption agenda on hounding the opposition, this must be worrying. More significantly, a government that never tires of reminding everyone that it is on the same page as the Miltablishment on all issues  – and hence has nothing to fear from it – must wonder whether its “stability” is more illusion than reality. Whether it is the ubiquitous but invisible hand of the Miltablishment or widespread public disgruntlement with the government’s lack of “performance” that is creating sympathy for the opposition and affording it some relief in the courts, one thing is for sure: the government’s economic and political narrative is bankrupt.
Amidst this developing crisis of confidence and runaway suspicions, Maulana Fazal ur Rahman has put the cat amongst the pigeons. He is threatening another long match next month to unseat the government, setting off alarm bells for Sheikh Rashid and Imran Khan. The good Sheikh has warned the Maulana that he will be bunged into prison if he ventures into Islamabad. The beleaguered prime minister wants Article 6 Treason charges to be brought against him for conspiring against the government last month. Pundits will, therefore, be drawing straws to predict what happens next.
The first signal to look out for is the pending case of Maryam Nawaz for permission to leave the country and be with her father during his illness. The judges have kept it pending, week after week. If she is granted permission, two perceptions will be created: something is definitely in the air; and, if the government challenges it in the Supreme Court, the prime minister intends to resist it, albeit unsuccessfully, confirming Sheikh Rashid’s fears.
The second signal will come if the opposition unites under one banner to march on Islamabad and the government pulls out all the stops to halt it in its tracks. With the public in a state of visible outrage at spiraling prices and joblessness and provincial governments tottering under the burden of disaffection amongst the ranks of the police and bureaucracy, Imran Khan will be hard put to block this surge of popular militancy. The Miltablishment is already smarting for spawning the disastrous PTI government. Certainly, it will have to think twice before it commits itself to overtly defending such an unpopular regime.
The final signal will come when the PTI’s “allies” in Punjab and Islamabad start forming forward blocks and jumping ship. Of course, the signals may be mixed and ambiguous. But, come what may, there is only one potential winner or loser in this scenario. That is Shahbaz Sharif. Either his pro-Miltablishment “narrative” will be dead as a dodo and Nawaz Sharif’s will be revived, or he will be bang in the game like never before.

#Pakistan #PPP - Govt will go in six months: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said his party will never come to power through any power-sharing formula, and it would never make any deal with the establishment for the purpose.

“If we came to power, we will review and amend any power-sharing formula with the establishment,” he said while talking to the media at Bilawal House on Saturday.
The PPP leader noted that his party had ensured civilian and parliamentary supremacy through the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He claimed that the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would be sent packing in six months, as its contract had reached expiry.He said the powerlessness of the incumbent government was visible from the fact that it was a selected government. He said those working on contract had to do precisely what they were told under the contract. He said the foreign powers also use the selected governments for their vested interests, adding that after campaigning for Narendra Modi elections, now a campaign was being run for re-election of US President Donald Trump.He said it was height of hypocrisy that those who had been demanding Pakistan ‘Do more’ were now publishing interviews of Taliban commander Sirajul Haq Haqqani. He said the state institutions never considered masses as important and never acknowledged the power and sovereignty of people.
To a question, Bilawal said before Imran Khan, Mian Nawaz Sharif was also a selected prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) had never given due importance to the parliament like Imran Khan.
He said the role of opposition leader was vitally important for functioning of democracy, and expressed his hope that Shahbaz Sharif would return to the country soon.
He said it never mattered that his party members were in minority in the parliament, adding that they were determined to fight like the 300 of the Sparta. He recalled that Benazir Bhutto with only 17 members’ minority had resisted and frustrated Nawaz Sharif’s bid to become Amirul Momineen despite having heavy mandate.
Bilawal Bhutto said leaders of Punjab had fled the country at a time when their people badly needed them. He noted that dog-bite in Sindh makes headlines in the media and discussed in prime time, but such incidents in Punjab’s Lahore and Faisalabad district are not given any importance. He said the HIV spread in Sindh was dangerous but that of Punjab was not.
He said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was better than Shahbaz Sharif and the incumbent Punjab chief minister. He challenged that Murad Ali Shah should be compared with the chief ministers of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He said price-hike and inflation had not registered any decrease. He said that let the summer come, and there would be no electricity but people would receive heavy bills.
He told a questioner that all crises of Musharraf era including the shortage of wheat, sugar and Lal Masjid had returned to the country under the PTI regime.