Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bilawal questions why banned organisations are contesting elections

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Monday said the July 25 general elections are being held in an environment of fear.
“We were told that terrorism has been eliminated but terror attacks are still happening. The upcoming elections are being contested in an environment of fear,” the PPP chairman told media in Quetta.
Bilawal was in Quetta to extend condolences to the family of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani. He met Raisani’s son at Sarawan House and offered his condolences.
The PPP chairman said allowing some banned organisations to contest the upcoming polls is tantamount to disrespecting democracy and the parliament. “Do we want that terrorists have a role in politics?” he asked. Urging the political parties to speak up against the permission granted to banned organisations to contest the July 25 election, Bilawal said, “In 2013, terrorists declared some parties good and the others bad and for this to repeat in 2018 is condemnable.”
“Security should be the top priority of the caretaker government,” Bilawal said, adding that the nation will defeat terrorists through the power of vote on July 25.
While addressing a press conference in the provincial capital later in the day, Bilawal said he had ‘ideological differences’ with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif. “If PPP has to make an alliance with a party following the July 25 polls, we will see which party’s ideology is the closest to our party manifesto,” he said.
To a question about Imran Khan, Bilawal said, “I cannot keep up with Imran’s U-turns. He says something new every day.” He said, “Imran is constantly criticising other politicians … but the nation now wants to see actions.”

جنگ کے باوجود ایران ،عراق ،افغانستان میں الیکشن ہوئے،عوام خو ف کے ماحول میں ووٹ دیکر دہشتگردوں کو شکست دیں،بلاول بھٹو

چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ عوام خوف کے ماحول میں ووٹ دیگر دہشتگردوں کو شکست دیں‘جنگ کے باوجود ایران ‘عراق اورافغانستان میں الیکشن ہوسکتے ہیں تو پاکستان میں کیوں نہیں ‘خان صاحب اورمیاں صاحب ہمیشہ غلط بیانی سے کام لیتے ہیں‘ان کیساتھ الیکشن میں اتحاد نہیں ہوسکتا‘نیشنل ایکشن پلان پر پورے ملک میں بہت کم عمل ہوا ،ایسے لگتا ہے وہ کاغذی منصوبہ تھا، کالعدم تنظیموں کوبھی الیکشن لڑنے کی اجازت دیدی گئی ہے ‘ ہمیں بتایاگیاتھاکہ دہشت گردوں کی کمر توڑ دی گئی ہے لیکن سانحہ مستونگ نے اس پر سوالات کھڑے کردیئے ہیں ‘دہشتگردی کی لہر کو روکنا ہوگا،خان صاحب نے پانچ سال میں صرف گالیاں دینے کے علاوہ کچھ نہیں کیا ، ان کی اپنی باتوں میں تضاد ہے‘عمران خان کی لفاظی کو عوام جانتے ہیں ،عوام کو صرف نعروں اور تقاریر سے نہیں ورغلایاجاسکتا‘عمران خان کے یوٹرن کو فالو نہیں کرسکتا، میراعمران خان اور شہباز شریف سے نظریاتی اختلاف ہے ۔ان

خیالات کااظہارانہوں نے پیرکو ساراوان ہاؤس کوئٹہ آمد پر میر سراج رئیسانی کے اہلخانہ سے تعزیت کے موقع پر میڈیاسے بات چیت اور بعد ازاں مقامی ہوٹل میں پریس کانفرنس کرتے ہوئے کیا۔ صحافیوں سے گفتگو میں بلاول بھٹونے کہاکہ ہمیں بتایا گیا تھاکہ دہشت گردی کی کمر توڑ دی گئی ہے لیکن الیکشن مہم کے دوران بڑے سانحات رونما ہوئے جو ہمارے لئے سوالیہ نشان ہے‘ مجھے امید ہے کہ 25جولائی کو عوام بلاخوف وخطر ووٹ کاسٹ کرنے کیلئے نکل کر دہشتگردوں کو شکست دینگے‘2018ءکے انتخابات خوف کے ماحول میں ہورہے ہیں‘ہر کسی کو انتخابی مہم کے حوالے سے مکمل آزادی حاصل ہونی چاہئے۔


Monday, July 16, 2018

Agaya Bilawal Ab Chalega Teer - Election 2018 Official Release

Video - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses a Press Conference in Quetta - 16th July 2018

What is behind the crackdown on freedom of speech in Pakistan?

By Gul Bukhari

The security establishment is trying to push a certain narrative on the Pakistani public ahead of the July 25 elections.

Last week, a journalist was suspended after he asked Pakistan's military spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, an uncomfortable question.
"Now that Nawaz Sharif has been sidelined, and former President Asif Zardari is about to be, maybe you should take care of the scourge called Imran Khan, too, as he will not spare anyone either?" Express News reporter Ahmed Mansoor asked at a press conference.
His comment implied what many in Pakistan have been wondering about: the perceived meddling of the security establishment in politics to pave the way for its favourite candidate, Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI), to win the upcoming general election. And it seems Mansoor's question was not well-received.
His suspension comes at the backdrop of a months-long crackdown on the freedom of expression in Pakistan in advance of the July 25 vote. For those who follow Pakistan's domestic affairs closely, it is clear that this effort to silence independent voices in the media is part of an attempt to unlawfully engineer the country's political landscape.

Controlling the public narrative

Today, it is quite difficult to steer the public discourse in Pakistan in one direction. Gone are the days when there was only one state-owned television channel that tightly controlled what people were allowed to hear or believe.
Pakistan now has dozens of independent news channels, and thanks to high mobile and internet penetration, the public lives and breathes politics. News shows are the most popular form of entertainment, and a vibrant social mediaallows the public to follow and comment on minute-to-minute developments. Conversations on militancy, foreign policy and court cases of politicians are staples at work, the dinner table and social gatherings.
As a result of all this, the general public has acquired a certain level of independence of thought and is no longer buying official narratives.
And despite the presence of security-establishment-friendly journalists and anchors, who push a certain discourse and observe the red lines, there are still some others who continue to do factual reporting.
That is why, in an effort to the reign in the "runaway" narrative before the elections, a brutal crackdown on media houses and journalists was unleashed.
In April, Geo TV, the most critical of the lot and the market leader, was taken off the air and its journalists were threatened. It came back only after its management reportedly agreed to all demands of the military. However, its broadcast is still being blocked in several areas of Pakistan.
In May, the circulation of Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most-respected English-language daily newspaper, was blocked across the country. This came right after it published an interview with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which he questioned the lack of progress in the trial of the alleged mastermind of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed - a sensitive matter for Pakistan's security establishment.
Then, in June, at another press conference, Ghafoor declared that the military is monitoring "social media and who's doing what" and warned of "social media cells". He also showed a presentation slide with the social media avatars of prominent Pakistani journalists which some perceived as a veiled threat.
These are just a few examples of the ongoing campaign by the security establishment to intimidate critical media professionals in an attempt to turn public opinion against Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party and in favour of Imran Khan's PTI.
All this has to be viewed in the context of the country's recent political history.

Political games

Last year, Sharif was forced to step down as prime minister after the country's supreme court unanimously disqualified him on grounds that he lied during a corruption investigation.
But some Pakistanis saw the story differently: It was Sharif's attempt to try former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf for treason, implement an independent foreign policy and force the military to curb support for Islamist and militant groups that got him ousted.
Now, there are new attempts to block Sharif's return to power and bring in a weak, puppet-like coalition parliament instead. The establishment needs a compliant and cooperative parliament to undo the 18th constitutional amendment, which was enacted in 2010.
This amendment has been a thorn in the security establishment's side for two key reasons. First, it makes the direct military intervention in civilian affairs and its endorsement by the judiciary a near impossibility. Second, it devolves power and resources to the provinces, capping funds available to the federal centre.
Successive transfers of power from one popularly elected government to the next in the long term would sound the death knell for the military's outsized role in Pakistan's politics and policymaking. 
But to reverse the 18th amendment, without throwing the country into political turmoil and mass riots, the military needs a change in government and to make this a reality it needs to sell a narrative.
Sharif has been portrayed as a dishonest politician involved in election-rigging andcorruption. After an inquiry into alleged vote-rigging at the 2013 elections failed to produce any results, the former prime minister was then targeted with a corruption court case for failing to disclose the source of funds used to pay for two luxury apartments in the UK.
This narrative has also failed so far, as polls continue to show that the PML-N is leadingin the polls ahead of the PTI. When Sharif returned with his daughter, Maryam, on July 13 to serve his jail sentence, he was greeted by a large crowd of supporters at the airport in Lahore. Thousands joined the rally despite the roadblocks, riot police and the shutting down of mobile networks.
What we are witnessing in Pakistan at the moment is the first mass resistance to the military's political engineering attempts since East Pakistan seceded to become Bangladesh after the Pakistani army's bloody attacks on the Bengali population in 1971.
The poll results on July 25, however, will show how much of this revolt will translate itself into a push-back to bring Sharif's party to power again.


#PakistanElection2018 - Pakistani Elections Spotlight The Country’s Contradictory Policies – Analysis


A virulently anti-Shiite, Saudi-backed candidate for parliament in Pakistan’s July 25 election symbolizes the country’s effort to reconcile contradictory policy objectives in an all but impossible attempt to keep domestic forces and foreign allies happy.
Ramzan Mengal’s candidacy highlights Pakistan’s convoluted relationship to Islamic militants at a time that the country risks being blacklisted by an international anti-money laundering and terrorism finance watchdog.
It also spotlights Pakistan’s tightrope act in balancing relations with Middle Eastern arch rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran while trying to ensure security for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), at US$50 billion plus the crown jewel of China’s infrastructure-driven Belt and Road initiative and its single largest investment.
Finally, it puts on display risks involved in China’s backing of Pakistan’s selective support of militants as well as the Pakistani military’s strategy of trying to counter militancy by allowing some militants to enter the country’s mainstream politics.
An Islamic scholar, Mr. Mengal heads the Balochistan chapter of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ), a banned successor to Sipah-e-Sahaba, an earlier outlawed group responsible for the death of a large number of Shiites in the past three decades.
Pakistan last month removed Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, the head of Ahl-e-Sunnat from the Pakistani terrorism list, at the very moment that it was agreeing with the Financial Action Task Fore (FATF) on a plan to strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering and terrorism finance regime that would keep it off the groups blacklist.
Military support for the participation of militants in elections was “a combination of keeping control over important national matters like security, defense and foreign policy, but also giving these former militant groups that have served the state a route into the mainstream where their energies can be utilized,” a senior military official said.
Critics charge that integration is likely to fail. “Incorporating radical Islamist movements into formal political systems may have some benefits in theory… But the structural limitations in some Muslim countries with prominent radical groups make it unlikely that these groups will adopt such reforms, at least not anytime soon… While Islamabad wants to combat jihadist insurgents in Pakistan, it also wants to maintain influence over groups that are engaged in India and Afghanistan,” said Kamran Bokhari, a well-known scholar of violent extremism.
Citing the example of a militant Egyptian group that formed a political party to participate in elections, Mr. Bokhari argued that “though such groups remain opposed to democracy in theory, they are willing to participate in electoral politics to enhance their influence over the state. Extremist groups thus become incorporated into existing institutions and try to push radical changes from within the system.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mr. Mengal was uninhibited about his relationship with Pakistan’s security forces. “No restrictions at all. I have police security during the election campaign. When I take out a rally in my area, I telephone the police and am given guards for it.,” he said. Mr. Mengal said of the 100 ASWJ operatives arrested in the last two years only five or six remained behind bars.
A frequent suspect in the killings of Hazara Shiites in Balochistan, Mr. Mengal led crowds in chanting “Kafir, kafir, Shia kafir (Infidels, infidels, Shiites are infidels),” but is now more cautious not to violate Pakistani laws on hate speech.
Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights reported in May that 509 Hazaras had been killed since 2013.
Many of those killings are laid at the doorstep of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a violent group that split from Sipah/ASWJ but, according to a founding member of Sipah still has close ties to the mother organization. ASWJ denies that it is still linked to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
Suicide bombers killed 129 people this month in an attack on a rally of the newly founded Balochistan Awami Party, widely seen as a military-backed group seeking to counter Baloch nationalists. The Islamic State as well as the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mr Mengal was the alleged conduit in the past two years for large amounts of Saudi money that poured into militant madrassas or religious seminaries that dot Balochistan, the Pakistani province of Balochistan.
The funds, despite the fact that it was not clear whether they were government or private monies, and if they were private whether the donations had been tacitly authorized, were widely seen as creating building blocks for a possible Saudi effort to destabilize Iran by fomenting ethnic unrest among the Baloch on the Iranian side of the Pakistani border.
A potential Saudi effort, possibly backed by the United States, would complicate an already difficult security situation in Balochistan, home to the port of Gwadar, which is a key node in China’s massive investment in Pakistan and has witnessed attacks on Chinese targets.
It would risk putting Saudi and Chinese interests at odds and upset Pakistan’s applecart, built on efforts to pacify Balochistan while not allowing its longstanding, close ties to the kingdom to strain relations with its Iranian neighbour.
The Pakistani military’s strategy of easing militants into the country’s mainstream politics is also not without risks for China that in contrast to its South Asian ally has adopted an iron fist in dealing with dissent of its own, particularly in the troubled north-western province of Xinjiang where China has implemented extreme measures to counter Uyghur nationalism and militant Islam.
If successful, it would create an alternative approach to counterterrorism. If not, it would reflect poorly on China’s selective shielding from United Nations designation as a global terrorist of a prominent Pakistani militant, Masood Azhar, a fighter in Afghanistan and an Islamic scholar who is believed to have been responsible for a 2016 attack on India’s Pathankot Air Force Station.

#PakistanElection2018 - #Pakistan - OP-ED Elections and religious minorities

By Yasser Latif Hamdani
As the elections fast approach and the country is under virtual martial law designed to favour one particular party, nobody is even discussing the continuing marginalisation of religious minorities in our political system.

One of the common refrains one gets from apologists of the religious apartheid when one speaks of the denial of basic and fundamental human rights to Ahmadis in Pakistan is that if they, the Ahmadis, accept their status as non-Muslims, they would be given all their rights as Pakistanis. As if we are giving Non-Muslim minorities any of their citizenship rights. Admittedly, the position of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and others is slightly better than Ahmadis who are not even considered human beings by our religious fascists, but even so, the position of Non-Muslim minorities is not even that of second-class citizens.
As the elections fast approach and the country is under virtual martial law designed to favour one particular party, nobody is even discussing the continuing marginalisation of religious minorities in our political system. Since the separation of Bangladesh, Pakistan’s religious minorities have numbered less than five percent of the population. Under the 1973 Constitution, this obviously raised questions about their representation. Initially this was resolved through an in-house election of MNAs and MPAs for Non-Muslims. Then General Zia-ul-Haq introduced separate electorates. This meant that Non-Muslims divided up into Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and other minorities could elect up to 10 members through direct election but could no longer vote for general constituencies or Muslim constituencies.
If we justify constitutional discrimination and unconscionable bars against minorities as an Islamic Republic, then we should at least give them this right of voting both jointly and separately so they can have some voice
This was overturned by General Musharraf’s regime, which reintroduced the joint electorate. Reserved seats for Muslims would now be distributed amongst political parties in proportion to their numbers on general constituencies. The truth is that both these systems have failed to provide effective representation and political influence to the tiny Non-Muslim population in Pakistan. While the separate electorate system provided them with elected representatives, it alienated them from Muslim legislators in the country. Separate electorate in any event can only work if the minorities amount to around 25 percent of the population. Anything below 10 percent means nothing but alienation and irrelevance. Similarly, the joint electorate has given them some influence on Muslim legislators but the representatives they get in the assembly are all essentially yes men of political parties that appoint them. For example, even the JUI-F has had a Christian on one of these reserved seats, despite the fact their agenda is entirely anti-minority in every way.
There are two ways this could be rectified. One would be a primary election for representative Non-Muslims who could then be fielded as list candidates by various political parties. This would require each party to actively engage with the minority communities and ascertain their views. However this would be a complicated process and will not always be fair. The other easier way would be to grant Non-Muslim citizens the dual right to vote, allowing them to both participate in joint electorate and also elect their own representatives by separate electorate. Some would deem this a violation of the ‘one person, one vote’ principle. However let us not forget that the Pakistan of today is not the Pakistan envisaged by the founding father on August 11, 1947.
Instead of erasing religious differences, successive regimes have only exacerbated them over time. Under the 1973 Constitution, the offices of the President and Prime Minister are reserved for Muslims alone. Given that this discrimination at the highest level seems to be non-negotiable for the increasingly intolerant and paranoid Muslim majority in this country, does justice not demand that the Non-Muslims should at least be given the dual vote as restitution for it?  After all if you are going to so blatantly discriminate against citizens of Pakistan, what is so wrong with ensuring that they at least have a voice in matters directly pertaining to them and their locales?
This would not even be affirmative action but simply quid pro quo for the fact that a Pakistani citizen who is not a Muslim can never aspire to the highest office in the land. It would be a totally different story if Pakistan was a secular state and blind to the religious affiliation of its citizens, but we have failed to achieve such a state. If we justify constitutional discrimination and unconscionable bars against minorities as an Islamic Republic, then we should at least give them this right of voting both jointly and separately so they can have some voice. In any event, 10 seats are far too few in terms of proportion. Non-Muslims should have at least 17 reserved seats.
The Christian Democratic Party, which represents a sizeable number amongst Pakistani Christians, has been demanding the right to vote on these reserved seats. Its president, Ben Hur Gill even petitioned the Supreme Court during the 18th and 21st Amendment case, but only Justice Jawad S Khawaja was willing to listen. Now the CDP has decided to boycott the elections altogether. Next they are determined to call for mass migration out of Pakistan. The oppression that Non-Muslims face in Pakistan is not very different from the persecution minority groups have always faced throughout history.
Even in the Islamic tradition, this makes Hijrat mandatory. In face of persecution and violence of this magnitude, especially when all parties have made theological debates an election issue, would it not make sense for as many Non-Muslims to try and leave? It will be a great tragedy for Pakistan of course, but this country has long lost its way. It has become a majoritarian state with no recourse or way out for those minorities who are unfortunate enough to be born here. A couple of years ago when Ben Hur Gill first suggested that he would be forced to call for mass migration one day, I told him to give us another chance. Now I find myself in agreement with him. This does indeed seem like the only possible course of action left for religious minorities in Pakistan. Perhaps they should leave while they still can, because the Muslim majority in this country will ultimately turn to genocide against them before ultimately killing each other. Ghulam Abbas, the great Urdu short story writer, predicted this much in his classic Hotel Mohenjodaro in the 1960s. Soon there will only be ruins left in what was once a young country with great potential.
Even in the Islamic tradition, this makes Hijrat mandatory. In face of persecution and violence of this magnitude, especially when all parties have made theological debates an election issue, would it not make sense for as many Non-Muslims to try and leave? It will be a great tragedy for Pakistan of course, but this country has long lost its way. It has become a majoritarian state with no recourse or way out for those minorities who are unfortunate enough to be born here. A couple of years ago when Ben Hur Gill first suggested that he would be forced to call for mass migration one day, I told him to give us another chance. Now I find myself in agreement with him. This does indeed seem like the only possible course of action left for religious minorities in Pakistan. Perhaps they should leave while they still can, because the Muslim majority in this country will ultimately turn to genocide against them before ultimately killing each other. Ghulam Abbas, the great Urdu short story writer, predicted this much in his classic Hotel Mohenjodaro in the 1960s. Soon there will only be ruins left in what was once a young country with great potential.

Video - #PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses Public Gathering at Pindigheb in Attock

#Pakistan - #PPP - July 25 election being contested in environment of fear: Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said the July 25 general election are being held in an “environment of fear”.
“The upcoming polls are being contested in an environment of fear,” the PPP chairman said while addressing the media in Quetta.
“The nation will defeat terrorists through the power of their vote on July 25,” he continued.
“We were told that terrorism has been eliminated but terror attacks are occurring before polls,” the Bhutto family scion upheld.
“I cannot comment on politics right now as I am here to extend condolences,” he further said.
“Security should be the top priority of the caretaker government,” Bilawal added.
He further said that elections were also held in Iraq and Afghanistan despite terrorist attacks.
Bilawal was in Quetta to extend condolences to the family of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Nawab Siraj Raisani.
The PPP chairman met Raisani’s son, Jamal Raisani, at Sarawan House and extended condolences.
At least 149 were killed after a suicide bomber struck Raisani’s election meeting in Darenghar area of Mastung on July 14.

#Pakistan - #PPP asks ECP to take action against Khattak, Imran for hurling abuses

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Maula Bux Chandio on Monday slammed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership for using abusive language against opponents, and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take action against it.
In a statement, Chandio said PTI chief Imran Khan and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak have polluted politics with their indecent language.
“Had Khattak done anything in the past five years he would have talked about that, and not hurl abuses,” he said, in an apparent reference to a video showing Khattak hurling abuses against PPP.
Also criticising ECP, the PPP leader said the election body by not taking action against abusive language during rallies has become partial.
PPP had also earlier blamed PTI for using derogatory language against political opponents. In March, PPP leader Khursheed Shah alleged that both PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz engage in defamatory politics.

بلاول کی سراج رئیسانی کے گھر آمد

پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹوزرداری کوئٹہ پہنچ گئےجہاں وہ 13 جولائی کو خود کش حملے میں جام شہادت نوش کرنے والے بلوچستان عوامی پارٹی کے رہنما سراج رئیسانی کی رہائش گاہ ساراوان ہاؤس پہنچ گئے۔
بلاول نے اس موقع پر ساراوان ہاؤس میں سراج رئیسانی کےاہل خانہ سے تعزیت کی اور فاتحہ خوانی بھی کی۔
بلاول بھٹو نے سی ایم ایچ اور سول اسپتال جاکر سانحہ مستونگ میں زخمی ہو نے افراد کی عیادت بھی کی۔
علاوہ ازیں چیئرمین پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی نے لورالائی میں انتخابی جلسے سے ہولوگرام کے ذریعے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ ہم برسر اقتدار آکر بلوچستان کی محرومیوں کو ختم کریں گے،تعلیم، صحت اور ترقی لائیں گے۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے مزید کہا کہ مسلم لیگ کی حکومت نے 5سال میں پیاس اور بے روزگاری میں اضافہ کیا، سی پیک پنجاب میں تو نظر آرہا ہے مگر بلوچستان میں کہیں بھی سی پیک نظر نہیں آرہا ہے۔
ان کا مزید کہنا ہے کہ ہمیں پتہ ہے کہ بلوچستان میں تعلیم یافتہ نوجوان مستقبل کے حوالے سے پریشان ہے، ہم اقتدار میں آکر بلوچستان کی محرومیں کا خاتمہ کریں گے۔
بلاول نے یہ بھی کہا کہ پیپلزپارٹی حکومت میں آکر بلوچستان میں پانی کی فراہمی کیلئے بھرپور اقدامات کرے گی، بینظیر انکم سپورٹ پروگرام کا دائرہ مزید وسیع کیا جائے گا

Video - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talks to media outside Sarwan House Quetta.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye - Afshan Zebi

#PPP Song - Chale Teer Chale

Video - Bilawal Ki Soorat Main Bhutto Nazar Aya

Video - #Pakistan general elections; Bilawal Bhutto calls for fair polls

Video - #PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto holds press conference in #Malakand


National Coun­ter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief Dr Suleman Ahmad on Saturday informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that there were serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Briefing the ECP about security threats to the political leadership and candidates and the overall security situation across the country, he said suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) might be used by terrorists, informed sources told Dawn.
The briefing took place days after a senior official named six politicians under threat, followed by three back-to-back terrorist attacks in four days — two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Balochistan. What surprised many was the fact that the name of former KP chief minister Akram Durrani (of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl), who survived an attack on his convoy on Friday, had been on the list of leaders under threat. Nacta had also issued a specific terror alert.
Election commission says poll process will continue
The other leaders under threat include Pak­istan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Awami National Party leaders Asfandyar Wali Khan and Ameer Haider Hoti, Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Sherpao and banned outfit Jamaatud Dawa (Jud) chief Hafiz Saeed’s son Talha Saeed. Separately, the Senate’s standing committee on interior affairs had also been told that the senior leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was also under threat.
The briefing session was held in the chambers of Chief Election Commissioner Justice retired Sardar Muhammad Raza and was attended by other members and senior officials of the commission. The national coordinator of Nacta also explained how the authority gathered information on threats and the mechanism to promptly disseminate the information to the federal and provincial governments and law enforcement agencies.
The ECP vowed to hold elections on time and declared that the electoral process will continue despite terror threats. It made it clear that it would neither let the polls be delayed, nor would brook any hindrance in its way.
The ECP underlined the need to tighten security across the country and create a peaceful environment for the elections. He said the provincial governments must act swiftly to provide security to political leaders and candidates. It directed the provincial governments to review the security situation in coordination with relevant institutions to obviate the recurrence of terrorist incidents in future.
It also advised political parties and candidates to cooperate with the administration and timely share information about their activities in the interest of their own security.
A senior ECP official told Dawn that based on past experiences the ECP had already been taking up the issue of security at the highest level. He referred to a meeting held early last month where the ECP’s secretary had given a briefing at a meeting held with caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk in the chair, which was also attended by all four chief ministers, chief secretaries and inspectors general of police.


#PakistanElection2018 - Pakistan's Terror Groups - Banned but not out - Candidates who have been allowed to contest elections

Candidates of banned organisations and people on the Fourth Schedule List who have been allowed to contest elections.
The removal of Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi from the Fourth Schedule list, ECP’s green signal to Hafiz Saeed’s son and son-in-law and Maulana Azam Tariq and Haq Nawaz Jhangvi’s sons to contest in the July 25 elections are points of concern for those who believe Pakistan is going to face tough time ahead after the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) placed the country on the Grey List.
Religious parties have fielded a record number of candidates for the National Assembly as well as the provincial assemblies’ elections. These include Hafiz Saeed’s son and son in law, Hafiz Talha (NA-91) and Khalid Waleed (PP-167) respectively, from the platform of Allah O Akbar Tehreek, backed by banned Jamaat-ud Dawa’s political wing Milli Muslim League.
Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba have been designated as terrorist organisations under the UN Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373. However, the Milli Muslim League (MML) does not fall under the resolution because the US Treasury and not the UN have labelled it as a terrorist group.
“We have observed terrorism suspects participating in elections in the past as well,” says senior journalist Mubasher Bukhari. “Former head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, Maulana Azam Tariq, was permitted by the court to take part in the 2002 elections from Jhang, even though he was behind the bars. Chaudhry Abid Raza Gujjar became PML-N MNA from Gujrat in 2013 while he was convicted by the Anti-Terrorist Court under section 302 and his name was in the Fourth Schedule list”.
He adds that the arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is one of the foremost demands of FATF. “Yet, he was released from house arrest last year. This could mean trouble for the country.”
“The criticism is unwarranted and dishonest as every citizen of Pakistan has the right to contest elections,” says Ahmad Nadeem Awan, spokesperson Jamaat-ud Dawa. “The law of the land is supreme and sacred for us. We don’t care about international community’s biased resolutions against us.”
“Agreed, every citizen has the right to take part in elections. But the JuD curses the constitution and democracy,” says analyst Wajahat Masood. “The inclusion of members of these banned parties will mar the democratic process in the country.”
Awan says the courts have dismissed accusations against Hafiz Saeed six times and set him free from house arrest as a “respected citizen” last year.
Although Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi is not a declared global terrorist, he was on the Fourth Schedule list with suspected ties with terrorism. ASWJ was banned in 2012 by the PPP government. This election he is contesting as an independent candidate from NA-115 Jhang 2.
A member of ASWJ, Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi who is the founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba, is participating in the elections as an independent candidate. He is being challenged by Maulana Muavia, the son of Mualana Azam Tariq, former leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba in PP-126.
Both Ludhianvi and Masroor Jhangvi were disqualified by the Lahore High Court in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Ludhianvi was declared to be untruthful under the article 62 and 63 of the constitution and Masroor Jhangvi was on the Fourth Schedule list. The ECP has allowed them to contest the polls.
The fourth schedule is a section of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (ATA). Under the section 11EE (Proscription of Person) of ATA, the federal government may list someone who is suspected of terrorism or has rapport with any terrorist organisation and keep him under surveillance.
“The government has omitted Fourth Schedule section from the nomination form (i) which was obligatory in nomination forms of 2008 and 2013 general elections which is why Jhangvi and Abid Raza were disqualified even after being elected,” former secretary Supreme Court Bar Aftab Bajwa says. “Article 5 of the Constitution delineates that suspected or convicted terrorists cannot be loyal to the state. Articles 62 and 63 are clear on this issue as well. Therefore, when anyone is enlisted in the Fourth Schedule list and his movement gets circumscribed cannot be a public representative. Election Commission should also be held answerable for accepting nomination papers of such candidates”.
Former secretary ECP Kunwar Dilshaad says that the commission doesn’t have the independent authority to disallow a candidate from contesting elections. “It can only do so after consulting the interior ministry. The ministry sometimes shares names of suspects or convicted criminals before the commencement of the electoral procedure. Declining the registration of Milli Muslim League is an example.”

It’s Not Just the U.S. with a Gerrymandering Problem — Look at Pakistan


The upcoming U.S. midterms have brought renewed scrutiny to the practice of gerrymandering in the United States. But the practice of drawing legislative districts to entrench political elites and disenfranchise others has advanced to an extreme degree in other countries as well — like Pakistan.
In the provincial assembly of Balochistan, in the southwest corner of Pakistan, only 544 voters elected the last chief minister. Yet in two neighborhoods, 80,000 voters might not be able to elect even one representative to the same assembly.
There are two factors to explain this huge disparity in the provincial elections in this region. The first is ethnic. Those 80,000 voters are Hazaras, Pakistan’s most persecuted ethnic minority community.
The second reason is gerrymandering, the mechanism by which the ruling elite maintain and consolidate their position.
When the provincial assembly of Balochistan first started in 1972, the provincial capital of Quetta was allocated four general seats. Hazaras managed to consistently elect at least one representative in all subsequent elections, with the exception of that first one. That fairly reflects their share of the population strength: about 20-25 percent of Quetta’s residents. After the 1998 census, Quetta’s seats were extended to six, but the Hazara still managed at least one representative.
That changed last year, after the latest census. Incumbent political parties manipulated the boundaries of electoral constituencies to such an extent that the Hazara might lose all representation in the assembly. As baffling as it may sound, the last chief minister of Balochistan, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, won his position with only 544 votes because he represented a rural area where many people boycott elections because of the security situation. By contrast, the Shia Hazaras — 80,000 registered voters concentrated in two neighborhoods only 10 kilometers apart — may not get any seats at all in the provincial assembly (though they continue to be represented at the municipal level).
Gerrymandering is a political tactic practiced by incumbent governments to manipulate electoral constituencies to win more seats than their rival political groups. This controversial political practice, which manipulates legal loopholes, is common worldwide. Its use in Pakistan comes at a particularly important moment, with national elections coming up at the end of July.
Pakistan stands at a crossroads. This key U.S. ally can take its nascent democracy one step further if it successfully transfers legislative and executive powers from one civilian government to another for only the second time. Or it can lose what little it has achieved during the last 10 years of civilian rule. The Pakistani military stands ready behind the scenes to intervene, but a more subtle challenge for Pakistani democracy is how it accommodates ethnic and religious diversity. The gerrymandering in Balochistan is a litmus test of the health of Pakistan’s pluralism.
Pakistan’s Most Persecuted Minority
In Sunni-majority Pakistan, the Shia Hazara community is an ethnic, linguistic, and sectarian minority — and one of the country’s most persecuted communities. According to a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, more than 500 Hazara community members were killed between 2008 and 2013. Extremist militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which see Shia Hazaras as infidels, have claimed most of these attacks. The National Commission of Human Rights, the Pakistani government’s human-rights monitoring body, confirms that 509 Shia Hazaras were killed over the last five years.
Pakistani Hazaras came to Quetta 130 years ago in an attempt to escape massacres in the late 1880s and 1890s at the hands of Kabul’s Amir Abdur Rahman regime. Having lost their lands in Afghanistan, the Hazaras served British forces as laborers and soldiers until the independent states of Pakistan and India emerged in 1947.
Hazaras did relatively well in health, education, services, and small businesses until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Pakistani jihadists had gone to Afghanistan in the thousands to help the Taliban during the 1990s. After the American invasion of Afghanistan post 9/11, these jihadists returned to Pakistan and unleashed havoc on the tiny Hazara community. Half a million strong, the Hazara community today lives primarily in the two ghettos of Hazara Town and Marriabad in the multicultural provincial capital of Quetta. Suicide bombers have killed hundreds of Hazaras. The community has been caught up in the sharpening Sunni-Shia divide in the region as well as the internecine struggles within Pakistan itself.
Consolidating Power, De-consolidating Democracy
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province in landmass, lies in the country’s southwest, bordering Iran, India, and Afghanistan. The principal ethnic groups are the Balochs and the Pashtuns. After the 2017 census, the coalition government gerrymandered the electoral constituencies for the benefit of its member parties, including the Pashtun nationalist party. The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) challenged these new constituencies at the Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and forced a redrawing of the boundaries. The Balochistan High Court reversed this verdict, but the HDP has taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Citing insufficient time, since Pakistan is within two months of the general elections, the highest court upheld the HDP’s complaint. For now, the Hazara community has won its legal battle. But for Pakistan’s democracy to be inclusive and fair, it will have to be better prepared for questions around the representation of all minorities. Democracy has critically evolved from the rule of the majority to a more refined civil process that strives to involve all minorities in public decision-making. Today, democracy is as much about inclusivity as about majority rule. For everyone in society to reap the fruits of democracy, they need to protect and encourage the active participation and representation of minority groups in the democratic process. Pakistani democracy is yet to be consolidated, so it particularly needs equity across its ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversities. It cannot afford to backpedal by silencing a vocal democratic entity that also happens to represent its most persecuted group. Public scholar Ayesha Siddiqa has coined the term “hybrid democracy” to describe how the Pakistani military gets what it wants without actually dirtying its hands through military coups. Neither of the last two civilian governments has managed to complete its tenure under the leadership of a single prime minister. Both Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were judicially disqualified under controversial circumstances. In Pakistan, the judiciary has a history of twisting the arms of the elected civilian governments at the behest of the military authorities. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s ouster and subsequent death sentence under General Zia-ul Haq is an obvious example. Political analyst Moeed Yusuf argues that Pakistan deviates from the trajectory of democracy consolidation. As a result, uncertainty and unpredictability surround the country as it heads toward its second successive democratic transition. For Pakistani democracy to mature, it needs to empower public power centers as an alternative to military institutions. With the current political system plagued with patriarchy and patronage, the weaker sections of society in particular don’t see an opportunity to participate.
Gerrymandering is one way the powerful have continued to disenfranchise the weaker. Pakistan has already paid a heavy price for the infamous gerrymandering in 1958 when Pakistan’s first dictator, Ayub Khan, collapsed four provinces in the West Pakistan into a single unit, which ultimately led to the secession of Bangladesh in 1971. If nothing in this political equation changes, the upcoming election is bound to produce more of the same: a hybrid democracy where the military continues to call the shots behind the scenes.