Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!


Secular Pashtun Leaders Call For Decisive Pakistani Action Against Terror
Two prominent secular ethnic Pashtun politicians in Pakistan have called on Islamabad to take decisive action to end extremist sanctuaries in the country's northwestern tribal areas. Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the secular Awami National Party (ANP), said on December 31 that Pakistan has to look for ways to end the "scourge of terrorism" in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and adjoining tribal areas. "The central government has to decide on how to move forward in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas]," Khan said. "We forcefully demand from the federal government to end the scourge of terrorism by whatever means it can. I will raise this issue [with the President Asif Ali Zardari] when I meet him. This is something a state can end. Political parties cannot end it." The ANP has aggressively opposed the Taliban and its extremist allies during its five-year rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In retribution, the Taliban have killed hundreds party members since 2007. Bilour Ahmad Bilour, a senior provincial minister, was the Taliban's latest victim. He was killed along with eight others on December 22 when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest during a political gathering in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the leader of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), said Pashtuns have become the main victims of terrorism in their own land. He said some international extremists were provided sanctuary and given training in FATA after the September 11 attacks against the United States in 2001. And it is those same terrorists, he said, who are now responsible for the bloodshed in the region. Addressing a gathering in Peshawar, Achakzai called on the Pakistani government to push out the "foreign" terrorists from their sanctuaries to restore peace and security across Pakistan. "These so-called foreign guests should be forced to leave FATA," Achakzai said. "The Pakistani military should then leave FATA. The people of FATA need to be masters of FATA. Much like the ANP, the PMAP has also strongly opposed the Taliban, who are active in the Pashtun populated regions of northwestern and southwestern Pakistan. Islamabad says terrorist attacks in the country have killed more than 30,000 civilians and soldiers since 2001.

President Zardari: Int’l cooperation vital for successful anti-polio drive

Radio Pakistan
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari briefing the meeting said anti-polio campaign will continue till complete eradication of this disease.President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterating the commitment of the Government to undertake every possible effort for complete elimination of Polio from the country. This he said during a specially convened meeting at Bilawal House to review the progress made so far in fighting the menace of Polio from the country. President Asif Ali Zardari said that the Government was aware of the challenges to anti-polio campaigns especially in some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA and was employing locally appropriate solutions in accordance with local traditions and norms. He said that those who were opposing the anti-Polio campaigns on ideological basis were in fact misleading the people. The President said that the Government was determined not to permit militants to deprive our children of basic health care. Those who were present during the meeting included among others His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Shaibi‚ Mutawalli-e-Ka'bah‚ Ms‚ Bakhtawar Bhutto Zadari‚ Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari‚ Pakistan's Ambassador for Polio eradication‚ Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan‚ Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah‚ provincial ministers‚ Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali‚ SAPM /PM's Focal Person on Polio Eradication‚ Chairperson President's Polio Oversight Committee Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho‚ Chief Secretaries of the provinces and other senior officials. Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the President thanked the international community for assisting the country in the cause of Polio eradication. Acknowledging valuable contributions of the Gates Foundation especially‚ the President remarked that international cooperation was critical to the success of anti-polio campaign. He said that the global fight against polio will not be won until we eradicate Polio from all countries‚ including Pakistan. The President said that he feels a special responsibility towards eradicating Polio as this campaign was first launched in 1994 by the government of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He said that Shaheed BB was the first Prime Minister to administer polio drops to her child Aseefa Bhutto Zardari who is now Pakistan's Ambassador for Polio Eradication and was carrying forward the mission of her great mother. The President said that Pakistan may have come a long way from mid nineties but it was not a completely polio free. He said that we must make Pakistan completely polio free. We will do it‚ he resolved. Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali briefed the meeting about latest situation vis-à-vis Polio cases in the country and various measures taken by the Government to expand outreach to the children especially those of far flung areas‚ Khyber Pakhtunkhwa‚ FATA and other remote parts of the country. The Chief Secretaries of the provinces also gave a briefing on Polio situation in their respective provinces.Ambassador for Polio eradication Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari in her remarks said that Polio eradication from the country was one of the causes for which her mother Shaheed Benazir Bhutto fought and stood for. ‘My mother fought for a peaceful‚ progressive and prosperous Pakistan.' She said that by assassinating her mother‚ the militants thought they could stop the cause that she fought and stood for. She said that we are determined to prove them wrong. We will continue to fight in her name and for many others who lost their lives for Pakistan. While strongly condemning the attack on Polio teams in some parts of the country‚ Ms. Aseefa said that we must not allow a few to dictate our action. This is our Pakistan‚ she said and added that every Pakistani child has a right to basic health care. It is our responsibility to provide them with the services required to keep them safe and healthy. Urging all to support the cause regardless of party or any other affiliation‚ she said that she had met with the frontline workers in Gadap and Baldia . ‘They have told me of the risk they take and the criticism they face and the threats they encounter. Yet they are not deterred.' She said that the attack on Polio workers was reprehensible. ‘I condemn it in the strongest terms.' She said that ‘they were victimized for protecting the lives of our children. We will not let their sacrifices go in vain.' ‘I promise you these attacks on polio workers have only strengthened our determination'‚ she continued. Ms. Aseefa said that Polio eradication was a national movement and all stakeholders including civil society‚ media‚ religious leaders were contributing in the campaigns. She urged everyone to assist the Polio eradication campaigns regardless of Party or any other affiliations saying that every Pakistani child has a right to basic health care. It is our responsibility to provide them with the services required to keep them safe and healthy. In her remarks Aseefa said that Polio eradication was not just about week or a day-long campaigns. She said that we must ensure that every single child is immunized against polio. This can only be possible if routine immunizations are strengthened. She thanked the international partners‚ stakeholders and all involved in the anti-polio campaign. Thanking Mutawaali-e-Kaaba for his presence she said that I especially thank the people of Saudi Arabia for standing by us in achieving our goal of a Polio free Muslim world. She urged the Chief Minister for his continued support and to keep a close eye on campaigns to the polio control rooms put in place. She said that she was motivated now more than ever and Insha Allah with continued support of Government and citizens of FATA‚ Khyber Pakhtunkhwa‚ Sindh Punjab‚ Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan we will eliminate this crippling disease from our home land. Later‚ President Asif Ali Zardari‚ Mutawalli-e-Ka'bah Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Shaibi and Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari also administered Polio drops to various children. H.E. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Shaibi‚ Mutawalli-e-Ka'bah‚ and the participants also offered dua for the success of the Polio campaign. Ms. Aseefa also had a separate meeting to review in detail the Polio situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

Political Change in Turkey

After years of maintaining control in Turkey, Islamist Ak Party Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces student protests and speaks about stepping down. 2012 has been a difficult year for Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister. Justice and Development (Ak) Party Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has faced prisoner hunger strikes and many demonstrations by students and the general public. In just the last weeks of December, thousands of people held protests. Many of these protesters are university students who are tired of seeing fellow students, professors, journalists, and novelists put into prison for speaking against Erdoğan and his oppressive policies that hinder freedom of speech in Turkey.
Earlier this year, three students who simply held up a banner asking for free university tuition at a sports rally were given eight-year prison sentences. Erdoğan often labels those who oppose him as terrorists or backers of a coup. Even army generals have been put in prison under this tactic. Hundreds of prisoners went on a hunger strike this fall, putting further pressure on Erdoğan and drawing world attention. Today on Turkey's news station TRT1, Erdoğan looked worried and even a little frightened during a live interview. He stated that next year would be his last as Turkish Prime Minister. "The press is reporting only bad things about me lately," he said. "They don't mention all the good I've done such as strengthening the economy of Turkey." Indeed, Turkey's economy has seen growth under the Ak Party and Erdoğan. Yet, they have used tactics such as giving away refrigerators to poor families and iPads to students in a ploy that opposition leaders condemn as buying votes. Erdoğan's successor will likely be another Ak Party man because the Ak Party got most voter support in the latest (2011) elections. The Ak Party has been pushing pro-Islam legislation, such as requiring public schools to teach Islam more frequently to students and allowing mosques to be built on public university grounds—with tax-payers money. These principles go against the secular democratic views of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic which began on Republic Day, October 29, 1923. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposing party (and Atatürk's party), has been extremely critical of Erdoğan this year. On Republic Day, October 29 2012, thousands of people turned out to celebrate Atatürk's ideals of freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly despite the fact that Erdoğan declared all public celebrations of Freedom Day to be illegal. Police used water cannons and pepper spray against the crowd which was led by Kılıçdaroğlu who even suffered some irritation to his own eyes. Local news stations such as Haber Turk covered this event, and Erdoğan told his police force to back down--but not before Associated Press and other premier news sources brought these events to international attention. Recently, clandestine listening devices (bugs) were found in Erdoğan's home office. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called this wiretapping, "a grave situation." The tide seems to be turning in Turkey. Perhaps this will effect the United States of America. Supporters of Erdoğan have called him "best friends with President Obama." Opponents have labeled Erdoğan as Obama's puppet. In any case, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is worried. "I've never seen Erdoğan look so subdued on public television," one young Turkish man stated (his identity is protected for security reasons). "Usually he is yelling, but now you can tell that he is scared. Just look at his eyes. I don't know who will be the new Prime Minister of Turkey, but he will probably be from the Ak Party. Thirty years ago in Turkey, when so many students began protesting, there was a sudden change in Prime Ministers and ruling parties. Erdoğan sees that his time is ending."

Iraqi PM questions role of Turkey in unrest

Nouri al-Maliki says Ankara and Syrian rebels may have hand in stoking strife in his country as Sunni protests continue.
raq’s prime minister has questioned the role of Turkey and Syrian rebels in stoking unrest, as Sunni protesters in the country continued to demand the release of prisoners held by the Shia-led government. Nouri al-Maliki, in a televised interview, said on Sunday evening that the protests had "a sectarian dimensions and extension". "We may have differences with one another but what relation does [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan have in this? Why is his poster lifted? This is an indication of support and we don’t need to accuse anyone," Maliki told al-Sumariya TV. "Why is the flag of the Free Syrian Army raised and what relation does it have with the demands of people? Why are the posters of Islamic state in Iraq lifted in the protests?" Protests blocking a key highway linking Iraq to Syria and Jordan entered a tenth day on Monday and authorities north of Baghdad declared general strikes a day earlier. The protests were sparked by the arrest on December 20 of bodyguards of Iraq's finance minister, a Sunni, and have spurred allegations that the government was using anti-terror legislation to target the Sunni minority. Iraqi authorities on Monday called for an end to what a senior official said were illegal and illegitimate protest rallies in Sunni-majority provinces including Salaheddin, Nineveh and Anbar. A statement posted on the website of Ali al-Alaak, cabinet secretary general, acknowledged that the constitution guaranteed freedom of expression, assembly and dissent, but added that such freedoms must be practised "in a way that does not oppose public order". "These should not be carried out without the knowledge of authorities and their permission," it said. "What is happening now... is breaking the law and the constitution." 'Rogue elements' On Sunday, the bodyguards for Iraq's deputy prime minister wounded two people when they fired warning shots at protesters who pelted his convoy with bottles and stones, witnesses said. The incident took place in the city of Ramadi in the western province of Anbar, to where Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq had travelled to address people in an attempt to defuse sectarian tensions. In a statement following the incident, Mutlaq said some "rogue elements" at the protest had tried to kill him. "Upon the deputy prime minister's arrival, the protesters greeted him with great warmth ... but some rogue elements which seek to divert the protesters from their legitimate demands carried out a cowardly assassination attempt against Doctor Mutlaq," it read.Protesters are demanding an end to what they see as the marginalisation of Iraq's Sunni minority, which dominated the country until the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled the then president Saddam Hussein. Echoing slogans used in popular revolts that brought down leaders in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Yemen, protesters have also called on Maliki to step down. "Is this the way to deal with peaceful protesters? To shoot them? This is really outrageous," said protester Ghazwan al-Fahdawi, displaying empty bullet casings from shots he said had been fired by Mutlaq's guards. In the northern city of Mosul, the provincial council on Sunday called a three-day strike to press Baghdad to release women prisoners and stop targeting Sunni politicians. The Arab League described recent developments as "worrying" and called for dialogue in a statement released on Friday. A year after US troops left, sectarian friction, as well as tension over land and oil between Arabs and ethnic Kurds, threaten renewed unrest and are hampering efforts to repair the damage of years of violence and exploit Iraq's energy riches.

Saudi Wahhabi Preacher Fatwa Allows Jihadis to Rape Syrian Women
A Wahhabi religious cleric in Saudi Arabia, Muhammed al-Arifi, who is very influential in Jihadi circles, has recently issued a fatwa (religious edict) that permits all Jihadist militants in Syria to engage in short-lived marriages with Syrian women. These sexual relation lasts for a few hours in order to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination in killing Syrians. He called the marriage as 'intercourse marriage'. It requires that the Syrian female be at least 14 years old, widowed, or divorced. Is this the Western-promoted "freedom and democracy" that Syrians want? It is relevant to add here that Sunnis don’t allow temporary marriages that are called mutaa but they allowed so-called jihadis (in other words notorious terrorists) to do the same with Syrian women. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country as there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

China's 2013 GDP growth to exceed 8 pct: expert

A state think tank expert has forecast China's GDP growth next year will exceed 8 percent and he projected consumer inflation increase to be higher than this year. Lu Zhongyuan, deputy director of the Development Research Center under the State Council, or China's Cabinet, said there is no doubt China's economy will grow by more than 8 percent in 2013 and the government should focus more on promoting sustainable growth and containing imported inflation. China's economy has bottomed out since June of the year, buoyed by the country's economic restructuring, innovation incentive and the market's self-stabilizing forces, Lu said, adding these momentum will continue to drive up growth in the year ahead. The country may face more severe imported inflation next year because of excessive liquidity globally following the loose monetary policies implemented by some major economies, he warned at an economic forum held Saturday in Beijing. China's GDP rose 7.4 percent in the third quarter from one year earlier, slowing for seven consecutive quarters and marking the lowest growth in more than three years. Consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, grew 2 percent in November, picking up from October's 1.7-percent rise. The National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to announce the fourth-quarter GDP growth rate and that for the whole year of 2012 on January 18.

ANP will not support any plan to derail the democratic system

Radio Pakistan
Chief of Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that his Party will not support any plan to derail the democratic system. Speaking at a reference on Shaheed Bashir Ahmed Bilour in Peshawar on Monday‚ he said that change should be brought only through ballot and not bullet. The ANP Chief said that negotiations with Taliban are our priority for peace in the country. He said‚ however‚ offer of negotiations by the Government should not be considered as our weakness. He said the ANP believes in non-violence philosophy of Bacha Khan and as such we want to resolve all issues through peaceful talks. Paying tributes to Shaheed Bashir Ahmed Bilour‚ Asfandyar Wali Khan said that mission of the Shaheed leader will be continued for peace in the area.

Clinton has blood clot in her head

Pashto Sharabi Songs..Happy New Year !!!!


Rahim Shah urdu Song 2012


India: Parents want gang rapists hanged
THE family of the 23-year-old student murdered in a gang rape wants her killers hanged, her brother has said, as two further vicious gang rapes brought more protesters onto Indian streets. ''The fight has just begun. We want all the accused hanged, and we will fight for that, till the end,'' the brother told the Indian Express on Monday. The woman's father said her mother was consumed by grief. ''My wife had hardly eaten in the last two weeks,'' he said. ''She was exhausted … I think she was not ready to face the shock of our daughter's death, despite doctors always telling us that she was serious. She cried intermittently all of Saturday, but it got worse on the flight back home.'' He, too, was struggling to accept the news. Advertisement ''It is too painful. I have not gone inside her room. She was born in this house. Her books, clothes they are all here,'' he said. ''It is hard to believe I will never hear her voice again, she will never read books to me in English again.'' Six men are facing murder charges after allegedly luring the student onto a bus on December 16 and taking it in turns to rape her before throwing her out of the moving vehicle. She died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on Saturday. Further attacks sparked fresh demonstrations in two other cities - on opposite sides of the country. In Jagannathpur in West Bengal, a 45-year-old woman was raped by six men before being beaten to death and her body dumped. When her husband tried to stop the attack he was beaten and fed poison. In Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped by two men attempted suicide on Sunday. She is in a critical condition in hospital. Since the Delhi assault, dozens of other attacks on women, usually barely reported in the Indian press, if at all, have received widespread coverage. Across the country, vigils and demonstrations have been held, some solemn, some violent. Thousands have cancelled New Year's celebrations. The Hindu newspaper said attention on the Delhi rape victim, and on subsequent attacks, had forced India to examine the ''ugly, rotting interior of our society … the culture of patriarchy that produces, sanctions and makes excuses for violence against women''. The ruling Congress party is reportedly considering legislation allowing recidivist rapists to be chemically castrated. The party is working on tougher sexual assault laws, including prison sentences of up to 30 years for those convicted of rape, and fast-track courts to hear sexual assault cases within three months, but castration is being seriously considered at the upper levels of the party. ''The proposals are yet to be finalised. We want strong law against such heinous crimes,'' a Congress source said. The government is also waiting on the recommendations of a commission, headed by a retired judge, investigating the Delhi case and the safety of women in India generally. Reproductive rights remains a controversial subject, especially for the Congress party and the Gandhi family who run it. Indira Gandhi, the mother-in-law of the Congress leader, Sonia Gandhi, was prime minister during the Emergency between 1975 and 1977, when a birth control program, administered by her son Sanjay, forcibly sterilised Indian men in order to meet quotas.

Saudis hold funeral for protester killed in Qatif

Thousands of people in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia have held a funeral for the teenage protester who was shot dead by the Riyadh regime forces during a demonstration in the oil-rich Eastern Province. Ali al-Marar, 18, was killed on December 27 when police opened fire on a group of residents in Qatif, who had taken to the streets in protest against the Al Saud regime. Eastern Province has been rocked by anti-regime protests since February 2011. Saudi protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah in the province. Their primary demands were the release of all political prisoners, social justice and an end to systematic discrimination. However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province. On October 16, Amnesty International called on the Saudi authorities to stop using excessive force against the protesters. “The Saudi authorities must end their repeated moves to stifle people’s attempts to protest against the widespread use of arbitrary detention in the country,” Amnesty said in a statement. “The right of people to peaceful protest must be respected and the security forces must refrain from detaining or using excessive force against people who exercise it.” According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”

The Dark Side of the Free Syrian Army

Daniel WagnerCEO, Country Risk Solutions
The U.S. government's recent embrace of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has come at a critical time in the Syrian conflict. Momentum now seems to have shifted in favor of the FSA, which is being actively armed by financial and military assistance from a plethora of foreign governments. Their message is that they want President Assad out, but they are not themselves prepared to intervene militarily in the conflict, which has emboldened the FSA to do the work on their behalf. Given this, the Western media has adopted a sympathetic orientation to the FSA and is not reporting many of the distasteful details that are coinciding with its rise. Indeed, there is an ugly side to the FSA that much of the Western media and its governmental supporters appear to be willfully neglecting. They are in essence turning a blind eye to many of the human rights violations and actions contrary to their own beliefs that the FSA is committing in order to support the ouster of Assad. The issues surrounding political change in Syria are multifaceted and much more intricate than is being reported in the Western media, yet the conflict is being painted in simplistic black and white terms -- as a battle between a dictator who brutalizes his people and the FSA, which is supposed to represent the aspirations and future freedom of the Syrian people. In fact, of the approximately 23 million citizens in Syria, around eight million are minorities such as Christians, Druze, Alawites and Kurds, who are represented solely by the government. At least a third of the Syrian people support President Assad by default. Many others support him by virtue of alliances with his support base. The primary reason Aleppo was attacked by the FSA is because it was and remains supportive of the government. In response, the FSA has been acting more like a force opposed to the citizens of Syria than a force intended to secure their freedom. For example, it has in the recent past stolen wheat reserves intended for the residents of Aleppo and sold it to private Turkish grain traders, expropriated stocks of pharmaceuticals and forcibly resold them back to its owners, and ransacked schools. These are hardly the actions of a 'liberation force.' In the outskirts of Aleppo, the FSA has implemented a Sharia law enforcement police force that is a replica of the Wahhabi police in Saudi Arabia -- forcing ordinary citizens to abide by the Sharia code. This is being done in a secular country which has never known Sharia Law. This type of action is currently also being implemented in northern Mali, where the West has officially declared its opposition to the al-Qaeda government that took control earlier this year. If what is happening near Aleppo is representative of what may happen if the FSA assumes control of Syria, the country may become an Islamic state. Is that really what the U.S. and other Western countries are intending to tacitly support? Although it has been widely reported that more than 40,000 Syrians have died in the conflict over the past 18 months, it has not been widely reported in the Western media that 25,000 of these have been from the Syrian military -- leaving the impression that all the deaths have been civilians. Lebanese newspapers such as Al-Akhbar and Assafir, and Alex Jones', have broadcast a disturbing video of a 12-year-old child apparently forced by the FSA to cut off the head of a Syrian military officer. If such atrocities were more widely reported in the West, it seems unlikely that the FSA would enjoy such wide spread support. So, whether by intention or design, the Western media is also tacitly supporting FSA atrocities. Also not widely reported in the West is that many of the defectors from the Syrian government -- who were either diplomats or administrative staff -- were allegedly paid by the Qatari government to defect. They simply refused to return to Syria from their posts abroad, and instead took refuge in Qatar. None of them have assumed leadership positions in the FSA, nor indeed have any of them taken up arms against the government. They are living comfortable lives in Qatar and are only fighting their 'war' via Facebook, if at all. The FSA has also been targeting the infrastructure of the country. One of the main power plants in Damascus was knocked out for three days last week, impacting 40 percent of the city's residents. Do 'freedom fighters' typically attack critical infrastructure that impacts ordinary citizens on a mass scale? The FSA long ago stopped targeting solely government and military targets. There is also evidence that the Saudis and Qataris support the al-Qaeda affiliate in the FSA (Jabhat al-Nusra) with money, and that Turkey gives JaN refuge and provides training inside Turkey. Although the U.S. government has officially declared its opposition to JaN, there is no effective way for it to segment its financial assistance to the FSA from JaN, so it is in essence tacitly agreeing to support al-Qaeda in order to remove Assad. For some strange reason, the Western media and many Western governments are choosing to turn a blind eye to some of the more unsavory aspects of the FSA, which are blatantly in direct opposition to their own stated policies and values. Why remains a mystery -- particularly given the stakes at hand and how the 'revolutions' in Egypt and Libya have turned out. The West should not be surprised if an Islamic state results from an FSA victory. If so, they will have been complicit in the outcome. The Syrian people are caught in the middle. Many of them, and the moderate states in the region, will be the losers.

Arab Spring 2013: Revolutionary wave enters a third year

As we start a new year - the Arab Spring's third - it is time to reflect on its developments, successes and failures over the last 12 months. Its causes - dictatorship, economic stagnation, political repression, human rights abuses, corruption - may be similar regionally, but how it has manifested itself in each country differs greatly. Most of the Arab autocrats are still in power, and those countries that have overthrown them are facing significant upheavals. This has led to debate over whether the Spring - described by Palestinian intellectual Azmi Bishara as the "most important geopolitical event in the region since the 1950s" - has turned to winter. "After the fall of dictators and the promise of freedom and justice that brought," the past year has been "a time of division and doubt in the Middle East and North Africa," wrote The Independent's defence correspondent Kim Sengupta. While there is much to be concerned about, the cynics are overlooking the significance and inherent difficulties of what has been achieved. Strongmen have been ousted; decades-old one-party systems have been abolished; establishments and taboos have been challenged; and political and economic reforms have been promised, with varying degrees of implementation. Whether they like it or not, Arab leaders are being forced to heed the hopes, rights and grievances of their people, and to realise that suppressing them is having the opposite effect intended. A region long thought to be immune to change has become the inspiration and catalyst for protest movements worldwide. Such a mammoth task was never going to be quick or easy. Taking on authoritarianism, as difficult as this has been, pales into comparison with the challenges of the aftermath: the very reinvention and rebuilding of states, infrastructure, institutions and societies. With freedom of expression and dissent long banned, opposition movements have had to spring up out of nowhere, organise and articulate themselves almost immediately, learn to govern and democratise with no prior experience, and cooperate with or challenge other groups with different, and sometimes contradictory, visions for the future. It is only natural, under such circumstances, that the road will be as long as it is bumpy.
This year has seen the removal of a fourth Arab dictator - Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh - following Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Saleh resigned in February and transferred his powers to his Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi, under a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia that was controversial for granting Saleh immunity from prosecution, and allowing Al-Hadi to run unopposed in elections. Al-Hadi has since been steadily ridding Yemen's military and polity of his predecessor's relatives and cronies. However, the country is plagued by serious, long-term problems. These include dire poverty (it is the poorest Arab country), shrinking oil reserves, severe water shortages (its capital is predicted to be the world's first to run out of water), high unemployment, widespread private gun ownership, popular use of the narcotic qat leaf, a strong Al-Qaeda presence, tribal conflict, a secessionist movement in the south, a Shia insurrection in the north, frequent US drone strikes, and a refugee influx from Somalia. None of these are likely to be resolved anytime soon.
Syria has garnered the most Arab Spring-related headlines in 2012. This is primarily because it has experienced the latest full-blown uprising, it is the bloodiest and most sectarian (with death toll estimates of almost 60,000), it has attracted the most foreign involvement, and it has been the most destabilising regionally, directly affecting its neighbours Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. While Syria's revolution has been the most enduring, it is likely that 2013 will see the end of Bashar Assad's reign, whether that comes about militarily or diplomatically. He has been the most tenacious of the Arab dictators under threat, and at the start of the uprising most of its supporters would not have imagined that he would still be in power today. However, his regime is hemorrhaging defections, and his forces are steadily losing ground to increasingly organised, recognised, trained and equipped rebel forces. His ouster is a matter of when, not if, but Syria is also likely to see the most turbulent and drawn-out aftermath - perhaps even an intensification of the civil war if the outcome is decided military - in a country with a particularly diverse social fabric and foreign interests.
Egypt has attracted much attention, particularly in the second half of 2012. Its first democratically elected president was sworn in, then caused national outrage and division by behaving blatantly undemocratically, though public pressure forced Mohamed Mursi to rescind his decree placing himself above the law sooner than he promised. A highly controversial constitution has just been approved by some 64% of voters - albeit with turnout of only around 30% - amid allegations of fraud and irregularities. Mursi's calls for dialogue have so far fallen on the deaf ears of an exasperated - but reenergized and united - opposition. Egypt's political and economic woes are likely to continue well into 2013, and possibly plague the duration of Mursi's presidency - a far cry from the heady days of optimism following Hosni Mubarak's downfall.
The past year saw Libya's continued transition to democracy since Muammar Qaddafi's ouster. Elections were held in July to form the General National Congress, from which a prime minister and cabinet would be chosen. The secular National Forces Alliance prevailed over Islamist parties, bucking a regional trend of Islamist electoral successes. In August, the interim government - the Transitional National Council - handed power to the Congress, as promised. However, Libya has experienced tribal and regional tensions, culminating in lawlessness, open combat, and a movement for autonomy in the country's oil-rich east - the birthplace of the revolution - with accusations of economic and political marginalization. The government is struggling to disband and co-opt the myriad tribal militias into the national army, amid increasing public frustration at the lack of security. One of the biggest headline-grabbers regarding Libya in the last year was the murder of the American ambassador and other staff in an attack on the US embassy.
Gulf states
Despite their wealth, and willingness to use it to keep public frustration at bay, the Gulf states have not been immune to unrest, with the most serious in 2013 taking place in Bahrain, Kuwait and eastern Saudi Arabia. However, "the lid on the pressure cooker" is "still screwed down tight," wrote the Guardian's assistant editor and foreign affairs columnist Simon Tisdall. The Gulf States are helped by their knowledge that their oil and gas wealth ensures Western backing, with a deafening silence from the U.S. and Britain - as well as security agreements and weapons sales. Bahrain's monarchy spent 2012 promising reforms and calling for dialogue, amid occasional outbreaks of violence between protesters and security forces. This will likely continue in 2013, as will Kuwait's unrest, which has increased markedly as the year draws to a close.
On my regular travels to Jordan, those I speak to tell me of popular discontent - even among the king's traditional support base - that is under-reported, both inside and outside the country. People are unhappy with the rising price of essential products such as fuel, and the slow pace of promised political and economic reforms. "Unaccountable government, rampant corruption and the influence of patronage networks added to public resentment at...austerity measures," wrote the Guardian's former Middle East editor Brian Whitaker. The king "has talked constantly about reform since coming to the throne almost 13 years ago...with very little to show for it." Despite the International Monetary Fund predicting economic growth reaching 3% by the end of 2012, and GDP rising by 3.5% in 2013, the past year has seen unprecedented protests. This has "made investors wary," according to the Oxford Business Group, which says that public debt "will have risen substantially" by the end of 2012. Inflation is also forecast to rise in the coming year. The economy is struggling to cope with a growing influx of Syrian refugees (250,000 as of December), as well as 450,000 Iraqis, while receiving nowhere near enough international aid to adequately care for them. The conflict in Syria has also hit tourism in Jordan - a vital revenue source - as well as external trade, with many of its export routes cut when its neighbour closed its borders. Legislative elections due in January may be hampered by public scepticism and a boycott call by opposition movements, which "could lead to further unrest in 2013," says the OBG. "Analysts expect the 17th parliament to be a copy of the controversial 16th chamber, with few new faces," wrote Jordanian journalist Raed Omari.
Ongoing protests in Iraq have increased markedly in December, particularly among Sunnis who accuse the Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of instituting sectarian policies. "Iraq's politicians seem more interested in factional wrangling than in setting the country to rights," wrote the Guardian's former Middle East editor Brian Whitaker. "Maliki's behaviour has become increasingly authoritarian as he seeks to amass power for himself...Not that any of Maliki's opponents would necessarily behave differently."
Tunisia has experienced its share of instability in the past year, with protests against the state of the economy, as well as demonstrations by secularists against a democratically elected government that they deem too Islamist (despite being in coalition with liberals), and Salafis who accuse the government of not being Islamist enough.
Other Arab states
The past year has witnessed ongoing protests in Mauritania, Palestine and Sudan. On the other hand, Algeria and Morocco have managed to largely placate public frustration, at least for the time being - the former by lifting the 19-year-old state of emergency, and the latter with political concessions by the king, a referendum on constitutional reforms, and pledges to respect civil rights and end corruption.
(Sharif Nashashibi, a London-based writer and Arab commentator, is a regular contributor to Al Arabiya. He can be found on Twitter: @sharifnash.)

Shahzeb Khan’s murder: ‘Police insiders are helping suspects in hiding’

The police have admitted that there are informers within the department who are passing along information to the suspects in Shahzeb Khan’s murder and helping them escape arrest.
It has been a week since 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan was gunned down, yet the police have failed to make any significant progress due to immense political pressure. Shahzeb was killed allegedly by Shahrukh Jatoi near Mubarak Masjid in DHA on December 25. The killing resulted from a small argument he had with Nawab Siraj Talpur, when the latter’s servant verbally harassed his sister. Talpur and his friend, Jatoi, allegedly followed Shahzeb, even after the issue was settled, and shot him dead. The two main suspects, Jatoi and Talpur, reportedly escaped to rural Sindh after the murder. A police officer, who requested not to be named, said that there is too much pressure on the law enforcers given the suspects’ influential background. He admitted that certain informers within the police force are helping the suspects escape from their hideouts ahead of a raid. Shahzeb’s father, DSP Aurangzeb, said that the police initially refused to register an FIR. It was only after Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nabil Gabol, who is an uncle of Shahzeb, interfered that the case was filed. “When my son was brought to the hospital, the police wouldn’t even come to the hospital for an inquiry,” he said. The Jatois are using their money and political clout to stop the arrests, claimed DSP Aurangzeb. “The police only conducted raids at the suspects’ houses when they had escaped. They should have picked up their relatives and other family members and inquired about the criminals’ whereabouts. But this is not happening.” According to Sindh Police spokesperson, SSP Imran Shaukat, Karachi AIG Iqbal Mehmood formed a three-member investigation committee, comprising SSP investigations south zone Faizullah Karejo and SSP Asif Ejaz Sheikh, who heads the Clifton division, and headed by district South police chief DIG Shahid Hayat. So far, the committee has not made any arrests. The investigation teams that were sent to rural Sindh also came back without any breakthrough. Unconfirmed arrest of guard On Monday afternoon, there were news reports that one of Jatoi’s guards, Zulqernain, was arrested, but the police failed to confirm this. According to DIG South Hayat, the police had no information that the two suspects left the country. “There is no information from the Karachi airport about their departure but we are also gathering information from other airports.”

The murder of Shahzeb Khan

In all the senseless violence that routinely seems to engulf the port city of Karachi, one murder case has stood out above the rest — the death of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan at the hands of the sons of powerful feudal families from Sindh. Reportedly, Shahzeb was angered when the servant of one of the boys teased his sister and a minor altercation occurred. Even though the issue was apparently resolved, the boys, Shahrukh Jatoi and Nawab Siraj Talpur, targeted Shahzeb later on in the night, shooting him dead when he was making his way to a friend’s place. All this because feudal egos had been challenged by a young man defending the honour of his sister. The suspects in this case are young boys themselves but their attitude and the fact that they think they can get away with even blue murder with impunity tells that the coming generation of feudals is no better than the ones before it. There has been an uproar in the social media with many young voices lending themselves to the protests against this senseless crime. There are calls for peaceful demonstrations and for citizens to wake up and prevent more such cases from happening. As of current news reports, the suspects are on the run and there is intense pressure being mounted upon Shahzeb’s family to drop the charges. This intimidation is present despite the fact that Shahzeb’s father is a DSP in the police. If a man within the ranks of the Sindh police is facing a hard time trying to find justice for his only son, one cannot begin to imagine the trials the common man has to face. The fact that the Shahzeb Khan murder case has happened at about the same time as the uproar created by protesters in neighbouring India over the tragic rape and subsequent death of a young girl on a New Delhi bus has stirred something in the public’s conscience here. The shock and horror at the viciousness of this inhuman act has made people demand that justice finally be served. In no civilised society anywhere in the world does one see the concept of feudalism take such murderous heights. Shahzeb was the light of his family’s life and they need justice and closure. Will the system give it to them?

2013: New Year's Eve celebrations around the world

Finally, a "fiscal cliff" breakthrough
Most of the world is counting down to a midnight New Year's celebration while Congress continues to watch the clock and count down to another deadline, despite the efforts of lawmakers to avert the "fiscal cliff." Those efforts are inching closer to the midnight deadline, but leaders from both parties indicate that a deal is within reach.President Obama took to the stage with middle-class taxpayers standing behind him this afternoon to announce that Congress is making "progress" and that "it appears an in sight." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described the status of the talks even more positively saying he and his main negotiating partner, Vice President Joe Biden, are "very, very close to an agreement." While he didn't provide details, McConnell said on the Senate floor, "We've reached an agreement on all of the tax issues." McConnell: Senate "very, very close" to a "fiscal cliff" agreement Multiple congressional sources tell CBS News that the two sides have agreed on a permanent income threshold for the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. For weeks, Democrats have pushed for letting the cuts expire for those making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000 while Republicans have wanted to renew the cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest. Additionally, agreement has been reached on the estate tax, which was set to increase from 35 percent to 55 percent in 2013. Instead, the compromise sets the new rate at 40 percent with the first $5 million exempt from being taxed. Other likely components of the deal include an increase in capital gains and dividend tax rates, which would increase from 15 to 20 percent. There would also be an extension of the Earned Income Child Tax Credit, a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax and a one-year extension of tax credits for renewable energy development. And doctors would be shielded from a massive reimbursement gab for treating Medicare patients. The entire tax deal would raise about $600 billion, aides said. Also agreed to is a major sticking point for Democrats: an extension of unemployment benefits for two million Americans whose benefits expired over the weekend. Vice President Joe Biden and McConnell have been the key negotiators over the past 24 hours and the movement on taxes represents a huge step forward on this last day of talks before the cliff.What has not been agreed upon is what to do with automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester. The $110 billion of cuts to defense and non-defense government programs are set to go into place in the new year. The president said he had hoped any deal would be more comprehensive and address the sequester and the deficit in "a balanced way." Even though deficit reduction was the Republicans' top priority, the president used the possible exclusion of the sequester to take a swipe at Congress. "[W]ith this Congress that was obviously too much to hope for." He said. Some congressional Republicans and aides didn't take very well the president's condescending remarks. "So....I'm confused....does POTUS want a deal or not? Because all those jabs at Congress certainly sounded like a smack in the face to me," Erica Elliot, communications director for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, wrote via Twitter. Emphasizing the importance of deficit reduction to his fellow Republicans, McConnell urged his colleagues not to hold up a deal because the sequester might not be addressed today. He called the tax portion of the "fiscal cliff" the most important component as taxes are set to rise on every wage-earning American tomorrow. "Let's take what's been agreed to and get moving," he said."Action on the sequester is something we can continue to work on," McConnell added. The agreement on taxes comes hours after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., updated the holiday-starved, grumpy and weary "cliff" watchers and announced the obvious: time is running out and that "there are a number of issues on which the two sides are still far apart." Reid said discussions continue but any sort of agreement will "need cooperation from both sides." As negotiations continue, the tenor and focus of the talks have shifted from the top member in the House and the president to the Senate leaders. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who for weeks negotiated directly with President Obama, froze himself out of the arena just before Christmas with his ill-fated attempt at a "Plan B" that landed with a thud among a few dozen of his own members. Then, after Mr. Obama flew back from his Hawaiian vacation, presumably unhappy about leaving paradise for the cold and deserted nation's capital, and summoned congressional leaders to the White House and dumped the onus of reaching a deal on the laps of Reid and McConnell. Alas, Sunday, McConnell found himself throwing his hands up in exasperation after Reid slow-walked a promised counter-proposal and he picked up the phone to the White House to find, as he put it, "a dancing partner" in Vice President Joe Biden. As negotiations are taking place between McConnell and Biden, the House of Representatives is in "hang loose" mode - as Reid put it over the weekend. While time is running out, it is becoming less likely that Congress could pass anything before midnight tonight. While the legislative body can move quickly to pass legislation, it does take time to write and print the bill, vote on it and send it to the House. Reid has told senators not to make plans tomorrow or through January 3.

India: New Year celebrations sobered down, protests against gangrape continue

Celebrations across the country to welcome New Year were toned down as India continued to mourn and protest against violence on women, a day after Delhi gangrape victim was cremated under heavy security on Sunday. Many hotels and organisations cancelled New Year's eve celebrations in New Delhi, Mumbai and other several cities as they felt the tragic death of 23-year-old woman had left people sad.
The usual buzz surrounding New Year was missing in Delhi today after the city witnessed the gruesome gangrape of a 23-year-old girl, who died two days ago, with lesser turnouts in hotspots like India Gate and Connaught Place. Several clubs, including the Press Club of India and Delhi Gymkhana, and five-star hotels cancelled their New Year revelries following the death of the girl. Protests were held at Jantar Mantar where a makeshift memorial was also built. The mood at Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, was a modest affair unlike other years when there is a lot of pomp and celebrations.
It was a no-vehicle zone this evening at CP for controlling the crowd. Police personnel were in huge numbers there, keeping a close watch on the revellers. During the day, a large number of students took out a march in Connaught Place protesting against the gangrape of the young girl. The Central Park in the CP was closed. Though not like last year, people thronged popular markets and fun spots on New Year eve today in the capital where police kept a tight vigil to ensure that the festivities went ahead without any untoward incident. City police has made elaborate security and traffic arrangements to ensure that the celebrations go off peacefully. "It may be a new year for entire world but for Delhiites it is a sad day. If a person is not safe in Bus then were in Delhi is he or she safe. Earlier being a resident of Delhi we were afraid of terrorist attacks now we are afraid of rapists too," Karan Sharma said. Expressing deep concern over thedeath of the Delhi gang-rape victim, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik today decided not to take part in any New Year celebrations "The inhuman incident at Delhi has pained the entire country. Assault on women has severely hurt sentiments of the people. Therefore, Patnaik will not celebrate the New Year's Day," a spokesman of the chief minister's office (CMO) said. UNI reported, the new year function to be held at the Madhya Pradesh Raj Bhavan on January 1 was cancelled. Governor Ram Naresh Yadav took the decision in the context of the Delhi gangrape, an official statement said. There is a tradition to organise a new year function at the Bhavan every year during which the Governor interacts with distinguished citizens and others and exchanges new year greetings. Protests continue Students and women on Monday continued their protests in New Delhi against violence on women, a day after the city's gangrape victim was cremated under heavy security. A large number of people, but mainly the young, gathered near the Jantar Mantar observatory in the heart of Delhi, pressing the government to enact strict legislation against rape and other crimes. At least two people are on hunger strike at the spot. "I'm on hunger strike for the past three days. I will continue my fast until fast-track courts come up to hear cases of sexual harassment," said Babusingh Ram, one of them. Two protesters, who have been on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar demanding for death penalty for the Delhi gangrape accused, have started developing health complications. The doctor who checked on them said that one of them had a normal blood pressure, but a high pulse rate. He said, "The other protester, who has been fasting for the past eight days, have started developing oral ulcers. I have requested him to eat, but he persists on continuing his strike." The All India Students Association (AISA), affiliated to the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist, said at least 1,000 members will stage a demonstration in Connaught Place on Monday. Delhi Police have announced a ban on motor traffic in and around Connaught Place from 7pm on Monday on the occasion of New Year's Eve. Three Delhi Metro Stations - Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road and Patel Chowk - will close at 7.30pm on Monday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a condolence meeting at Jantar Mantar to pay tribute to the victim, who succumbed to her injuries at a Singapore hospital on Saturday. Senior BJP leaders including LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj will also attend the ceremony.The girl died after battling for life for 13 days after being brutally gangraped by six men in a moving bus. Following a day of protests on Sunday across India over the brutal rape and killing, several cities held silent candle light vigils to remember the young woman. The gang rape provoked protests and rare nationwide debate about violence against women in India. In New Delhi, where the attack took place, a petition calling for the death penalty for rape gathered 100,000 signatures. "In this petition we have put demands addressed to the government and the chairperson of National Women's Commission that the penalty for rape should only be the death sentence and nothing else," said Bharvik Aggarwal, chair of the Indraprastha Sanjivini Trust. New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, police figures show. Reported rape cases rose by nearly 17% between 2007 and 2011, according to government data. "Being a woman, I feel it is not just about these six people who have been arrested. It is about everything that goes wrong against women. It is about child abuse, it is about domestic violence, it is about rape, it is about molestation, even teasing. And a very simple thing that we can do, both men and women, is that we need to raise our voices," said Anjali, a protester in Bangalore. "If we see anything wrong happening, we need to raise our voice. If it is happening with us, we need to raise our voice. If it is in our surroundings that something wrong is happening, we need to raise our voice," she added. "Actually we are not just protesting against the rape case that took place in Delhi. Many more rape cases are occurring daily all over the country. We have to stop this. So some changes must be made in the judiciary system and the administrative setup must be changed or strengthened," said Atul Pathak, who attended a candlelight vigil in Guwahati, Assam. Six suspects were charged with murder after her death and face the death penalty if convicted. Police have slapped murder charges, which has death penalty in rarest of rare cases, against the six accused and will file the chargesheet against them on January 3.

India rape sets off debate over women's rights

India's army and navy canceled New Year's celebrations on Monday out of respect for a New Delhi student whose gang-rape and murder has set off an impassioned debate about what the nation needs to do to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Protesters and politicians have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way the country treats its women. "To change a society as conservative, traditional and patriarchal as ours, we will have a long haul," said Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research. "It will take some time, but certainly there is a beginning." The country remained in mourning Monday, two days after the 23-year-old physiotherapy student died from her internal wounds in the Singapore hospital where she had been sent for emergency treatment. Six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the Dec. 16 attack on a New Delhi bus. They face the death penalty if convicted, police said. The army and navy canceled their New Year's celebrations, as did Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party. Hotels and clubs across the capital also said they would forego their usual parties. "She has become the daughter of the entire nation," said Sushma Swaraj, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Hundreds of mourners continued their daily protests near Parliament demanding swift government action.
"So much needs to be done to end the oppression of women," said Murarinath Kushwaha, a man whose two friends were on a hunger strike to draw attention to the issue. Some commentators compared the rape victim, whose name has not been released by police, to Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose self-immolation set off the Arab Spring. There was hope her tragedy could mark a turning point for gender rights in a country where women often refuse to leave their homes at night out of fear and where sex-selective abortions and even female infanticide have wildly skewed the gender ratio. "It cannot be business as usual anymore," the Hindustan Times newspaper wrote in an editorial. Politicians from across the spectrum called for a special session of Parliament to pass new laws to increase punishments for rapists — including possible chemical castration — and to set up fast-track courts to deal with rape cases within 90 days. The government has proposed creating a public database of convicted rapists to shame them, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set up two committees to look into what lapses led to the rape and to propose changes in the law. The Delhi government on Monday inaugurated a new helpline — 181 — for women, though it wasn't working because of glitches.
Responding to complaints that police refuse to file cases of abuse or harassment brought by women, the city force has appointed an officer to meet with women's groups monthly and crack down on the problem, New Delhi Lt. Gov. Tejendra Khanna said. "We have mandated that any time any lady visits a police station with a complaint, it has to be recorded on the spot," he said. Kumari said the Delhi police commissioner sent her a message Monday asking her group to restart police sensitivity training that it had suspended due to lack of funds. There have also been proposals to install a quota to ensure one-third of Delhi's police are women. There also have been signs of a change in the public debate about crimes against women. Other rapes suddenly have become front-page news in Indian newspapers, and politicians are being heavily criticized for any remarks considered misogynistic or unsympathetic to women. A state legislator from Rajasthan was ridiculed Monday across TV news channels after suggesting that one way to stop rapes would be to change girls' school uniforms to pants instead of skirts. "How can he tell us to change our clothes?" said Gureet Kaur, a student protester in the Rajasthani town of Alwar. "Why can't girls live freely?" Some activists have accused politicians of being so cossetted in their security bubbles that they have no idea of the daily travails people are suffering. Kumari said the country was failing in its basic responsibility to protect its citizens. But she was heartened to see so many young men at the protests along with women. "I have never heard so many people who felt so deep down hurt," she said. "It will definitely have some impact." In Geneva, the U.N. human rights chief called Monday for fundamental change in India. "Let us hope that 2013 will be the year the tide is turned on violence against women in India and all women can walk free without fear," said Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. "The public is demanding a transformation in systems that discriminate against women to a culture that respects the dignity of women in law and practice," she said in a statement. Pillay, a South African of Indian origin, urged Indians not to give in to calls for capital punishment for rapists. "However terrible the crime, the death penalty is not the answer," she said.

Afghans: Next force transition starts in 2 months

Associated Press
The next phase of transferring security from NATO to Afghan control will begin in two months and aim to cover nearly 90 percent of the country's population, the Kabul government announced Monday. The transition, which began in early 2011, is slated to give Afghan forces full responsibility for security by the end of 2014, when most NATO troops will have withdrawn. Misgivings persist about the readiness of Afghan forces, although their numbers have grown rapidly over the past year to more than 330,000. They now shoulder most combat operations, while NATO forces, including some 66,000 U.S., troops are preparing to pull out. The U.S. intends to keep a residual force in Afghanistan past 2014 but the size has yet to be determined. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who heads a transition commission, told a news conference that Afghan security forces now are responsible for protecting 75 percent of the population. "The general assessment is that security is better or the same," Ahmadzai said. The third transition phase began in May and ended Monday. He said that by the end of the fourth phase, the duration of which is open-ended, 87 percent of the people will be protected by Afghan forces. Targeted for the upcoming transition are 12 provinces, mostly in the north and central regions, as well as a district in the southern province of Helmand, the most violent in the country. Gen. John R. Allen, commander of foreign forces in the country, called the announcement "another historic step as (Afghanistan) gets closer to taking full responsibility for security of the entire country." NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh said in a statement that it was a "significant step toward our shared goal of seeing Afghans fully in charge of their own security by the end of 2014."

Pakistan- Indeed a Strange Country

Humaira Mahmood
Pakistan is a country where armed forces are worshiped. To question the institution is a taboo, making loyalty to the country suspected and even getting labeled as Mossad or RAW agent. Recently ISPR refuted the report of Amnesty International, “Hands of Cruelty” which has accused Pakistan Armed Forces and Taliban of violating human rights in FATA. ISPR called the report “a pack of lies” and conspiracy against army, putting an end to the speculations in its own way. This is not the first time for Pakistan security forces to face such allegations. After army operation in Swat, human rights activists raised serious concerns over human abuses in the region by victorious Pakistan Army but their voices were kept low and faint. However, there was uproar when a video leaked on YouTube showing alleged Pakistan soldiers beating men with whips and boots during interrogation. Later, a number of videos surfaced with content similar in spirit. The videos showed men beaten during interrogations, firing squad execution of suspected terrorists and sexual assault on detainees, all appeared to be done by Pakistan soldiers, however the videos were suppressed in the mainstream media. Over and over, ISPR has denied allegations, claiming them as baseless and conspiracies. At times, statements like “we are looking into the matter” were given but none of the looking and examining was ever made public. The Armed Forces involvement in human rights violation is a hush-hush issue in Pakistan. People are chided for discussing the issue that can put the national security at risk especially when Pakistan is going through a turbulent phase. Some hysterical voices even justify the behavior of army, seeking solace for the sufferings at the hands of opponents in the war. This is where the line is drawn. Blind revenge is not a substitute for justice. The wild and barbaric opponents are known for unbridled brutality that knows no boundaries. On the other hand, Pakistan military is a formal organization bounded by rules and regulations. It is as accountable for its actions as any other institution of Pakistan. We have been enough of a paranoid country that feels threatened at the idea of questioning the military. Denial of the issue and silence after promises of inquiries can not sweep the matter under the carpet. The mentality of being “the only true patriots of Pakistan” fails to present a transparent position at the front of the war. The social media has already shown the potential to break news, stifled in dominant media. Such videos on social media are injurious to the respect, military enjoys in Pakistan. The videos are not limited to viewing only. They go viral on internet, shared and debated passionately, blurring the picture already tainted by concealment. It is need of the time to address this issue and public the findings of inquiries-if any made- to bridge the disconnect for the war that has engulfed thousands of lives in the country.

Peshawar attack: Afghan refugee issue

RECENTLY foreign elements have been found involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan, besides attack on Mehran air base in Karachi and now attack on Peshawar airport. With such high-profile examples and involvement of Afghan refugees in street crimes and kidnapping cases in Karachi, it is time the government cracked down on all such refugee settlements and deported every single foreign refugee on our soil. Pakistan has a plethora of its own security issues and the presence of such people in our country further poses a threat to national security. Refugees need to go and they need to be sent to their countries as early as possible.

Bilawal to conquer hearts in Punjab

The Express Tribune
President Asif Ali Zardari predicted on Sunday that Bilawal Bhutto would win over the hearts of people in Punjab just as he had done in Sindh on his December 27 political debut. “After his first address, we saw that he ruled the hearts of people in Sindh. He will now do the same in Punjab,” the president told a delegation of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders in south Punjab. “I have told Bilawal to embrace the political vision of his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He will now carry forth the legacy of the Bhuttos. I was merely a custodian of the responsibility handed over to me by Benazir Bhutto,” said President Zardari. He was talking to PPP MPA Amir Dogar, the party’s General Secretary South Punjab chapter Khawaja Rizwan Aalam and other senior PPP leaders of south Punjab.Though Bilawal Bhutto’s entry marks the start of a new culture in politics, he said, the traditional vision of PPP will be maintained. “The party’s age-old dedication to the rights of workers, labourers, farmers and peasants will remain unchanged.” “Today our politicians are seeking to revive the culture of revenge which marked the politics of the 1990s. The PPP will battle against the politics of revenge and will undo this trend.” While in Punjab, President Zardari met United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was on a visit there. The president expressed satisfaction over bilateral ties with the UAE and invited UAE investors to benefit from liberal trade packages which the present government was offering to foreign entrepreneurs. While noting that up to 1.2 million Pakistanis were working in the UAE, the president expressed confidence that the workforce was positively contributing towards the socioeconomic development of either country, and was also serving to strengthen diplomatic ties.

2013 Midnight Fireworks Around The World.

Pakistan must 'root out' terrorists fighting in 'name of Islam'
It is time that Pakistan should make efforts to root out the menace of terrorism and militant groups like the Taliban that are fighting in the name of Islam, an editorial in a daily newspaper has said. According to the editorial in the Daily Times, plumbing new depths of barbarity, the militant Pakistani Taliban lined up 21 of the 23 Levies personnel they had kidnapped earlier in the week on a cricket pitch on Saturday and gunned them down in cold blood. The massacre is indicative of the deepening security crisis Pakistan is currently facing, it said. The paper also pointed out that the recurring security breaches are clear indications that the terrorists are ahead of the security agencies in terms of sophistication, technology, equipment and intelligence. According to the editorial, although these terrorists purportedly fight in the name of Islam, there is nothing Islamic about their ideology or methods. They peddle poisonous falsehoods and their narrow worldview to gain political power, the rest is obfuscatory sophistry, the editorial added. According to the report, the solution cannot ever be purely military. It pointed out that the country must root out the terrorist mindset that plagues the society through education that teaches critical thinking, poverty alleviation, and job creation. The country's courts and law enforcement agencies must have a no-holds-barred policy towards terrorists, catch them, convict them, and set desperately needed precedents that the terrorists can and will be brought to justice, the editorial added.

Bangladesh cancels Pakistan tour

Plans for one-day international and Twenty20 match next month shelved due to ongoing security concerns.
Bangladesh said Monday it had shelved on safety grounds a planned cricket tour of Pakistan, which would have been the first by an international team since a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's bus. The two teams had been scheduled to play a Twenty20 and a one-day international on January 12 and 13 respectively, both in Lahore. But Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan told reporters the proposed tour had been put off indefinitely amid fears over players' safety, in the wake of protests and a Facebook campaign opposing the visit. "Bangladesh will not visit Pakistan for now. We've made the decision after considering the overall security situation in Pakistan and the concern that our people have expressed over the safety of their players," Hassan said. "We made a commitment to visit Pakistan and it's almost mandatory for us to tour the country. But we believe safety of players and officials are of highest importance. It's a national issue."
Lahore legacy
Pakistan have had to play their "home" matches in venues ranging from Dubai to London ever since gunmen shot dead eight people and wounded seven Sri Lankan players in an audacious attack near the stadium in Lahore in March 2009. The Bangladesh board had indicated two weeks ago that it was ready to send a team, albeit only after a final security review. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf had said on December 22 that Bangladesh had confirmed the tour was definitely on. Hassan said Bangladesh had informed the Pakistan board of its change of heart and added that the team would visit Pakistan if security improves. "We have noticed the security situation in Pakistan has not improved significantly, rather deteriorated," he said. "We've sent a letter to Pakistan three days ago explaining our position. We've decided to wait and see." Bangladesh had earlier agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012 but the visit was blocked by the Dhaka high court. Hassan said that he feared Pakistan might now bar its own cricketers from playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in response to the decision. The BPL is the Bangladeshi answer to the Indian Premier League - the hugely popular Twenty20 tournament which has fused cricket with showbusiness. In the first edition back in February, 20 Pakistani players featured in the tournament, with all-rounder Shahid Afridi fetching $700,000 in an auction of stars -- the highest amount paid. More than 50 Pakistani players have already been bought at an auction for the second edition of the tournament, beginning on January 17. Officials said the BPL would go ahead even if Pakistan did not allow its cricketers to play.

Jaish-e-Islam Owns Mastung Blast; Issues Fresh Warnings to Govt and Video-Shop Owners

The Baloch Hal
The Jaish-e-Islam, a hitherto unknown extremist group, has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bomb blast on Shia pilgrims in Balochistan’s Mastung district and has also issued fresh warnings to the government and video-shop owners of future attacks. Ghazi Haq Nawaz, a spokesman of the Jaish-e-Islam, told reporters in Quetta via telephone that “our Mujahideen” have carried out the attack in Mastung against the killing of religious scholars belonging to the Ahle-Sunna. The organization, he claimed, had previously warned the government that it would not tolerate the use of Balochistan’s land for kufr (rejection of Islam) —referring to the Shia belief and practices. The government’s wish to establish peace in Balochistan and end the killing of Shias will not materialize until the government ensures the protection of the honor of Prophet Muhammad, he said. “We warn the district administration of Mastung that if they are Sunnis then they should stay away from [protecting] the Shias. Otherwise, we will also target the members of the district administration,” he warned. The Jaish-e-Islam spokesman also asked video-shop owners in Quetta to publicly burn the C.Ds available in their stores which are blasphemous of Islam, the Prophet of Islam and his companions. “We appeal to the video-shop owners to voluntarily burn in front of the media all such anti-Islam C.Ds., including the one called The Message. If anti-Islam C.Ds are recovered from their stores despite our warning, we will target the video shops too.”

Balochistan: ''Buses of Mass Destruction''

Editorial: The Baloch Hal
There is one pessimistic lesson we should learn from Sunday’s car bomb blast on Shia pilgrims in Mastung: no travel route is safe for the Shias in Balochistan and sectarian militants have become so powerful that they can hunt down unarmed citizens wherever they want and then easily vanish in thin air without the fear of ever being caught. The sectarian conflict has become extremely barbaric and the Shia Muslims are left in the mercy of Sunni militants. On Sunday, at least 19 people were brutally killed and nearly 25 were badly injured when a car carrying a bomb struck in one of the three buses that was carrying Shia pilgrims in Mastung district. Attacks after attacks on buses that transport Shia pilgrims to holy sights in Iran have made traveling on buses a nightmare. Sunni militants routinely stop buses carrying Shias, ask for the identity cards of the passengers and then shoot them indiscriminately simply, and of course sadly, because the belong to the Shia sect of Islam. The government’s attempt to safeguard these buses with the help of security guards has also fizzed out as the attackers in Mastung also managed to injure two of the security guards who were escorting the three buses on Sunday. Bus drivers naively believe they can skip attacks if they several buses travel together. This is a good strategy but did not prove to be very helpful on Sunday. When several buses carry too many passengers at the same time, they also face the risk of mass casualties in case of an attack on even one bus. In Mastung, we experienced the same outcome where one bus was totally burnt because of the blast and some of the passengers were burnt to such an extent that their faces could not be identified. At the end of the day, the threats keeps looming and it does not matter whether the buses travel alone or in small convoys. Is there anything else that the government should do besides issuing mere statements of condemnation after every incident? The Shia community, which mainly comprises of the ethnic Hazaras in Balochistan, has faced one tragedy after the other. Hundreds of innocent Shias have lost their lives in the hands of religious extremists but the issue has still failed to top the government’s priority chart. The national media is obsessed with lesser important issues, such as cricket matches, at a time when the media should encourage an earnest national debate why the government is still not taking up the issue on priority basis. Sections of the secret services have been blamed for supporting these religious fanatics while others blame foreign (read Saudi Arabian) funding the main cause of escalating religiosity in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan. The million dollar question, however, remains unanswered: What benefits does the Establishment achieve by promoting religious extremists and keeping utterly silent over the killing of civilians? If there is a larger ‘national interest’ attached to the Establishment’s alleged support to these groups, the secret should be made public and the whole country should know what national interest is being preserved at the cost of the Shias. After all, we believe no ‘national interest’ or ‘national asset’ should hold more value than the lives of our fellow citizens. The government has not made the elimination of the extremist groups a priority because it has still not come under sufficient pressure from any quarter. The mainstream Pakistani political parties, such as the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League, have not come out in the streets to protest the killing of Shias. None of the political parties has made the fight against sectarianism a fundamental element of its election manifesto. We may not often want to offend our Shia countrymen but the silence of these political parties clearly, though indirectly, tells them that there is tacit approval of the Shia killings in our society at large. How can a society, otherwise, remain so indifferent and senseless after regularly witnessing mass murder of fellow citizens in broad daylight? Neither secular political parties nor the national media have been able to instill the feeling of anger and rebellion among the ordinary citizen to stand up and own the battle against what many now call the “Shia-genocide”. Sunday’s carnage has brought the year 2012 to an end with a depressing note: 2013 is not going to get any better until we initiate and own a battle against the Shia killings and establish a tolerant, secular and pluralistic society.

Pakistan's 'shame': Rape cases in 2012

While the New Delhi gang rape case has resulted in outrage that has spilled into the streets across the border, the plight of women who have faced rape and sexual assault in Pakistan has been largely confined to formulaic articles in the press, slow-moving cases in the courts, and frequent dropped charges due to bribes, threats of further violence and family pressure on the victim to avoid further ‘shame’. In 2012, The Express Tribune covered over 150 reports on cases of rape and their follow-ups across the country, but the actual number of incidents is likely much higher as the stigma of rape, treatment meted out by police officials and low prosecution rates makes this crime largely unreported. While statistics are few and far between, according to a November report by the Awaz Foundation Centre for Development, as many as 2,713 cases of violence against women have been reported in 15 districts of southern Punjab since January 2012, giving some measure of the scale of the issue. As such, the reports below can only be considered a small snapshot of the violence being wrought on the women of Pakistan.
2012: Rape cases in Pakistan reported by The Express Tribune
December 2012
Case registered against man for ‘raping’ daughter-in-law Tariq*, a resident of Choa Saidan Shah District Chakwal, was accused of raping his 24-year-old daughter-in-law and mother of two kids.
FIR registration: Judge directs woman to approach SHO Salim’s son Haider* raped the victim and then detained her for several days.
Political worker accused of raping Hindu girl A 14-year-old Hindu girl, N, was raped allegedly by a local leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Karak murder case: Alleged murderer arrested on court premises Ibrahim is one of the accused in the murder of alleged rape victim Uzma Ayub’s brother.
Bilawal sends flowers to rape victim, vows action Bilawal Bhutto Zardari sent a bouquet to six-year-old rape victim of Umerkot district.
Twenty months later, rape survivor Kainat fights on Sindh High Court issued warrants to arrest two of the four suspects, who were all acquitted of rape charges in May 2010.
Heinous crime: ‘Child rapist, murderer’ arrested Accused first raped and then strangled the girl. He left her body behind a local school and fled.
Strange but true: Police register rape case against eight-year-old Mankera police in Bhakkar arrested him for allegedly raping two women.
Under attack: Journalists threatened for reporting rape case Reporter received threatening calls for reporting the rape of a six-year-old girl in Meghwadh colony.
Justice delayed: LHC asks judge to probe rape case The accused took her daughter to a house in Model Town, raped her and threw the girl in critical condition in front of her relatives’ house.
Accountability: Two rapists jailed for life, fined Muhammad Afzal and Muhammad Waqas accused of kidnapping and raping man’s daughter.
Abduction: Child left with internal injuries 9-year-old son, a grade four student, was kidnapped by three men.
Suo motu: LHC seeks report on gang rape Gang rape of a woman and her daughter in Chakwal, led by the woman’s ex-husband and her daughter’s father.
Abuse: Five-year-old girl allegedly raped The girl went missing while she was playing on the street outside her house.
Raped for seeking justice Cruelty seems to know no bounds in our country with even fewer regards given to basic human rights.
November 2012
Five peasant girls gang-raped for ‘demanding wages’ Five peasant girls were gang raped by their employers, because the girls asked them for their wages.
Police rape — a grave failure The gang-rape case of a 13-year-old female child victim in Ratta Amral, Rawalpindi, spoke of the baseness of human nature.
Kainat was denied justice but wins battle for compensation Four men kept the 13-year old Kainat in their custody for four days and subjected her to sexual assault.
Tribal (in)justice: 9-year-old girl given in Vani to settle dispute Village council ordered a father to hand over his nine-year-old daughter as compensation in a rape case.
Men remanded on charges of rape The men have also been accused of trying to sell 11-year-old S and her 13-year-old friend into prostitution.
9-year-old girl awarded as ‘compensation’ in rape case The worker, Arshad, who goes by one name, was accused of involvement in the abduction and rape of landowner Ali Sher’s daughter.
Crime: Suspected child murderer arrested The victim’s two children were injured in the incident, of which one of them died at a hospital.
Police recover woman forced into prostitution Victim said she was raped for three months by ‘clients’ as well as Iqbal. She said another pimp also raped her.
Harrowing Journey: Kidnapped girl produced in court ‘A’ said that her kidnapper repeatedly raped her and then brought her to Sohrab Machi in Ratodero, where she was sold for Rs50,000.
Violence Against Women: 2,713 cases reported in 2012 so far 304 cases of rape registered since January 2012.
Violence against women: Three women beaten and humiliated Shah Jamal police said Rohina, not her real name, was allegedly gang-raped by four men. She told police that the men also shaved her head.
October 2012
Age dispute: Boy arrested for child rape Father of the girl said that the boy was 15, but the police and the boy’s family claimed he was 10 years old.
Child homicide: Ten months on, Anti-Terrorism Court II yet to hear case The girl in the morgue had been allegedly raped, strangled to death and her eyes gouged out.
Alleged rape victim sent home from Darul Aman Victim said she was picked up near a market by three police personnel, who raped and tortured her for three days at the Mansehra City Police Station.
Sexual exploitation: ‘Nurse lured to big city, forced into prostitution’ Victim warned not to tell anyone of the incident as they had made a video of it and would upload it on YouTube if she didn’t remain quiet.
Unidentified armed bandits: Residents panic as gang rape, looting increases Incident of around 20 men entering three houses and raping women in Mullazai village has also been associated with the group.
September 2012
Cleric’s daughter stripped, paraded naked in village The daughter of a cleric was allegedly paraded nude in a village by young men seeking revenge for her brother’s ‘indiscretions’.
Crime against children: Six-year-old girl critical after sexual assault Suspects raped her and later abandoned her outside her home in an unconscious condition.
Crime: Man held for attempted rape Suspect was arrested in a position with his trousers down and the girl crying in his arms.
Conflicting claims: Rape victim retracts statement While negating the claim she had made before the media and the judicial magistrate, she said she was not raped but was tortured physically.
Threatened: Gang rape victim fears for her life While 20-year-old Bisma* wants to see them punished by the courts, she fears that the threats to her and her family will derail the process.
Kidnap, sexual assault: Girl to continue testimony against suspects on Monday The girl said she had been drugged and kidnapped from Karachi two years ago by Jano Mai.
Violence: Man arrested for sexually assaulting minor girl Maheen* Bibi, 5, went to her paternal uncle’s house, where her first cousin Tanveer*,14, forcibly took her to a room and assaulted her.
Lured to capital for a job, woman gang raped An assistant director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and an industrialist were among the three men arrested.
Rape, murder of niece: Rapist says actions were motivated by a fictional character Khan said that he was reading a fictional story from an Urdu digest wherein a character used to kill his girl victims after raping them.
Incest case: Young woman ‘raped’, tortured by father On the complaint of a neighbour, the police raided Sameer’s flat and found Sajida, still in chains.
Crime: Teenager rapes, murders minor niece Perpetrator said he first hid the girl in a cupboard but for fears of being caught, he dumped her body in a nearby stream.
Brutal murders: Two boys found dead, rape suspected Father accused eight men, with whom he had had a property dispute, of kidnap, rape and murder.
Gang rape: Case registered 12 days after victim dropped off at police station The men took her to a house in the outskirts of the city and raped her for four days before dropping her off at the police station.
Hindu gang rape survivor warns of suicide The married woman was allegedly gang-raped by influential men of the Allah Rakhio Mahar village.
Murder: Nine-year-old girl raped, killed Autopsy revealed that the girl was sexually assaulted multiple times and then killed. 16 Crime and punishment: Three arrested in two sexual assault cases One of the suspects was a minibus driver who had found the child alone in Hafizabad and offered her a ride. 17 Heinous crime: Minor allegedly raped by school students A seven-year-old boy was allegedly raped by two students of class 9 and 10. 18 In Pakistan, crimes against women increased by 7% this year 57 districts reported 982 cases in May 2012.
August 2012
1 Seeking justice: FIR lodged against four accused of rape Her family told the media that if justice is denied, S and her family will commit suicide in protest. 2 Heinous crime: Minor girl raped Maryam Bibi*, had gone to a nearby shop and was returning home when Muhammad Irfan* forcibly took her to a nearby field and raped her. 3 Rape case: Kainat asks for promised compensation The Sindh High Court has asked the Sindh government to consider paying the full compensation amount to rape survivor Kainat Soomro on humanitarian grounds. 4 Teenager, five-year-old abducted, raped Girl was kept in a room and subjected to rape for five consecutive days. 5 Minor raped: Shopkeeper forces himself on girl Victim had gone to buy milk from Rajput’s shop who pushed her into an adjacent room and raped her. 6 Rape case: Court issues non bailable arrest warrants for three police officers Rape victim had allegedly been taken away by some policemen from her home for a DNA test. 7 Criminal minds: Girl gang-raped, left to die S had gone out to buy sweets in the Rasuh Mori area in Kotri. 8 Assault on a minor: Father lodges FIR against four men The girl was reportedly abducted by armed men and taken to an undisclosed location. 9 ‘Rape during police detention’: Two SHOs suspended, inquiry committee formed Sophia* claimed she had been gang-raped by nine police officials of Mansehra and Kaghan for five days. 10 Child abuse: Police arrest rape suspect Shaukhat sexually assaulted the girl in the guestroom of his house, following which she had to be rushed to the hospital in a critical condition. 11 Illegal detention: Teenaged girl allegedly gang-raped by Mansehra police A teenager, who eloped with the boy of her dreams, ended up a rape victim after he abandoned her. 12 Crime: Two men detained in child rape case Suspect’s family was threatening father of victim with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the FIR. 13 Heinous crime: Pregnant rape victim asked to deliver baby The court has bound rape victim to give birth to the illegitimate child, whose chances of survival are slim.
July 2012
1 Sexual assault: Four men remanded to police for three days Victim sexually assaulted for three days before the suspects abandoned her in a field near her home. 2 Gender-based crime: Assault case against 6, including 3 cops Victim said she was attacked by the rape suspects and their lawyer. 3 ‘Panchayat raj’ and a woman stoned Maryam Bibi was cutting grass in the fields of a local landlord who forced her to submit to his sexual advances. When she refused, the landlord levelled allegations against the woman. 4 Finally home: After 3-year ordeal, girl gets freedom The accused allegedly raped her and she gave birth to a boy, who is now two years old. 5 Domestic violence against women surges by 25%: Report 10.88% decrease in incidents of rapes and gang rapes of women in 2011. 6 Sexual assault: Three held on rape charges Bibi, a mother of four, said that the three men entered her house at night while she was asleep with her children and fled after raping her. 7 Law and order: Rape victim attacked in front of court Sexual assault victim and her brother were beaten up allegedly by one of the two men accused of raping her. 8 Heinous crime: Woman abducted, gang raped Three men took the victim to some unknown place and raped her repeatedly for two days. 9 Abduction: Woman ‘raped by three villagers’ The woman said that seven men from the village had jumped her when she reached the village well. 10 Caught, escaped, killed: Fugitive in child rape and murder case shot, killed A child rape and murder suspect was shot and killed in an encounter. 11 Acid attack: Mother, son sent to jail Danish had tried to rape the victim, while she was visiting their house. When she screamed for help, he and Nasreen threw acid at her.
June 2012
1 Ratta Amral rape case: Punjab IGP, prosecutor summoned Supreme Court summoned IG Punjab, prosecutor for second time in rape case of 13-year-old. A resident of Ratta Amral had alleged that three men forcibly took his daughter to their house and raped her in March. 2 Activists demand end to out-of-court rape case settlements A domestic worker was abducted and reportedly raped by a lawyer in DHA and police pressurized the victim to take back the case. Activists demanded lawyer’s license to be revoked. 3 Narowal village: Christian family pleads for justice after child rape, stillbirths A 13-year-old Christian girl was drugged and raped by her employee and his friends on March 29. The accused tortured the family into withdrawing case. Police started siding with the accused and declared one accused innocent. 4 Ratta Amral case: Scolded for laxity, Punjab police chief and prosecutor told to submit report today Supreme Court expresses dismay over attitude of police officials in the case, “who collude with the aggressors instead of the helping the victims”. 5 Combating subversion: SC asks LHC to hear gang rape case appeal An illegal jirga held in Ratta Amral reached an out-of-court settlement of a rape case. Punjab prosecutor general files appeal against the acquittal of the accused men, which is forwarded to LHC by SC. 6 Five girls gang-raped by border military police Five teenage girls reached Fort Monro hill station from Lahore for vacations. They were held captive and gang-raped by border military police. 7 Barbarism: 13-year-old raped, forced to swallow acid A balloon-seller’s daughter got abducted by a shopkeeper in Bahawalpur when she went to buy some eatables. He took her to a school building to rape her. 8 Fort munro incident: President orders action against ‘rapists’ Interior Minister also took notice of five teenage girls being raped by border military police, sought report from Punjab chief secretary and IG Punjab. 9 Fort Munro gang rape: Three border police officials surrender Two accused remained at large, one claimed the victims were “call girls”. Victims said they could recognize all the accused. 10 45-year-old woman raped to settle loan Farid Gul from Peshawar offered relative to sleep with his 45-year-old wife to settle a loan. 11 Karak rape case: Investigation team submits polygraph test results Uzma Ayub was allegedly raped by 13 people, including three police officials in 2010. The Peshawar High Court had ordered that 17 people, including the victim, be tested after DNA tests failed to identify the culprits. 12 ‘Rape’: Father approaches court for ‘fair probe’ Mian Ali Imran’s daughter was promised a job by a woman and was raped on April 19 when she went for the job interview. Imran said police took bribe from the suspect to declare the rape as “consensual sex” in the report. 13 Fort Monroe station: Three border policemen remanded in rape case Preliminary investigations revealed victims had hidden their true identity. Husband of one victim said police investigators had beaten two girls to make them change their statements. 14 Fort Munro victims’ alleged perpetrators undergo medical, DNA tests Five teenage girls reached Fort Monro hill station from Lahore for vacations. They were held captive and gang-raped by border military police. 15 Child rape: DSP, SHO suspended for negligence A class two student in Faisalabad was abducted by three teenage boys at gunpoint. They took her to a house and raped her, filming and taking pictures of her. 16 Rape allegations: Factory area SHO suspended Lahore Cantt SP was directed to register FIR against SHO and four other constables for alleged rape. There were no details of the rape. 17 Six-year-old ‘sexually assaulted’, murdered A 6-year-old girl found strangled to death in Jaranwala after she had gone missing a day earlier. Police registered case of murder and said rape section will be added to FIR if autopsy confirms rape. 18 Uzma Ayub hearing: PHC dismisses Karak rape case, tells trial court to take over Uzma Ayub said she did not want to contest the case any longer. Court said four inquiries were done but it could not reach any conclusion. 19 Heinous crime: Two deaf-mute sisters gang-raped Two sisters taken to Naseem’s house who allegedly runs a brothel. Then they were taken to an unknown place on a rickshaw, where they were sedated and raped for two days. They were thrown semi-conscious, semi-naked on the roads later. 20 Sexual assault: Four accused of raping a neighbour Saleem accuses two neighbours and two unidentified people in Bahawalpur for kidnapping and sexually assaulting him on gunpoint. 21 ‘Police inaction’ in rape case condemned A 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted for over eight months by her colleague. The colleague had promised to marry her but turned her away after learning about her pregnancy. 22 Crimes against our children rise Six-year-old girl in Karachi was abducted by three men, who kept her in a windowless room, repeatedly assaulted her. They later strangled her, gouged out her eyes and dumped her body. 23 Fort Munro gang rape: DNA report finds one official guilty One border military force official found guilty of raping Salma* – one of the five girls who were gang-raped in Fort Monro. 24 WAR seminar: Research points to systemic imbalances in prosecuting rapists War Against Rape researchers lament that country’s law books were devoid of specific punishments for object rape, incest, digital rape necrophilia, marital rape and other forms of sexual violence. 25 Kidnap-murder: Rickshaw driver confesses to killing six-year-old girl Rickshaw driver Nadeem strangled a barber’s daughter in Faisalabad after raping her and then dumped the body in a field.
May 2012
Acid attacks: Police delays suspect’s production ‘to complete interrogation’ Shazia Bibi* from Muradpur Basti accused Hussain, and his two accomplices of kidnapping her and trying to rape her. She said the three men threw acid on her and fled. 2 Crime: Teenager arrested in child rape case Medical examination confirms that a teenage boy raped a four-year-old relative when her parents were away from home. 3 Siding with bad guys: Punjab police officials found guilty of negligence Inquiry report said police officials were guilty of delaying the registration of FIR in the Ratta Amral gang-rape case. 4 Man, daughter attempt self-immolation Abdul Rasheed from Javed Colony said a relative Shahid and Nadeem had kidnapped his 15-year-old daughter on February 18. Girl said she was raped for 15 days. 5 Vigilante justice: Man beaten up, paraded ‘for visiting woman’ A woman’s relatives in Faisalabad accuse a man of trying to break into her house. Police registered rape case against the man on complaint filed by the woman’s uncle. 6 Sexual assault: Family asked to back up charge with medical report Eight-year-old girl was raped by teacher at her seminary during the lunch break on March 12. The suspect had also raped four other students whose parents had earlier been reluctant to take the matter to the police. 7 Heinous Crime: Stepfather assaults daughter Seven-year-old, M, was allegedly sexually assaulted by her stepfather, AS and his friends at her home when her mother was out. 8 Ratta Amral rape case: Suspended DSP challenges police order in LHC DSP was earlier suspended for misuse of authority and delaying the registration of the rape case by almost one month. 9 Sexual assault: Woman sent to Nishter Hospital A woman in Multan was kidnapped and raped on May 6 by unidentified men. She said she was cut by razor blades on resisting the assault. 10 Police finally register rape case Girl’s family said a hotel owner wanted illicit relations with the girl but she refused. He picked her from her home, took her away and raped her. 11 Busted: Man arrested for raping daughter-in-law R was raped by her father-in-law when she was alone at home. She informed her husband, whom she had married nine months ago, of the incident but he “tortured” her and kept her in detention. 12 Three cops arrested for delaying case registration Rawalpindi police had registered a criminal case against three for one-month delay in the registration of Ratta Amral rape case. 13 Swindled: Woman raped by spiritual healer Zarrina Bibi, 22, resident of Chowk Taranda Mohammad Panah, said that she had visited the man to get a charm. 14 No escape: Beaten, humiliated, charged with rape Residents of Chak 662 beat a man after a woman accused him of entering her sister-in-law’s room and raping her while the men of the family were away at work. 15 Forensic evidence: LHC dismisses bail plea of rape accused Rao Hanif raped his niece for five months at her house and left her pregnant. 16 Samples sent for DNA test A 10-year-old girl was abducted on her way home from her school in Mohallah Nokar of Lahore and raped on May 15. 17 Gang rape: Burki police yet to arrest suspects On May 18 Fariha* and Fauzia* of Phularwan village, Lahore were pulled into crop fields by three men, identified as Naseem Akram, Jameel Akbar and Kaka. Fariha was gang raped by the men. 18 Sixth grade student allegedly raped, police seeking suspect A 13-year-old girl in Islamabad claimed she was returning from school while a young boy with a knife threatened to kill her. He took her to a secluded place near a stream and raped her. 19 Sexual slavery: SHO directed to hear woman’s complaint A woman was lured to the City Railway Station by Jahangir, Khandad, Sabir and Chanda Bibi on the pretext that they had arranged a job for her. They took her to Victoria Restaurant where they kept her hostage for a year and a half in a room, repeatedly raped by various men who would pay her captors. 20 At gun point: Woman raped by brother in-law A woman was allegedly raped by her brother-in-law on gun-point in Taranda Saway Khan when her husband was out of town. 21 Grieving family accuse police of protecting landlord behind murder Shumaila Parveen, 16, was stabbed to death at her home on May 18, allegedly by a landlord and his servant. They had allegedly tried to rape her before killing her. 22 Follow up: Cases filed against 35 for rape and torture A man had married a widow from his neighbourhood and moved to Jhang. The woman’s family registered an abducting case against the man and accused him of “wooing” their daughter into marrying him. They later abducted he and his wife and beat him in public.
April 2012
1 Medical exam confirms rape of child A four-year-old girl was raped and thrown in a field where she was found lying unconscious by a relative. 2 Gang rape case: Of 6 suspects police manage to arrest just one Two girls, both students of class 9, were abducted from Jhangi Syeda and raped by six men. 3 Where is one safe?: LGH clerk suspended over kidnap and rape charges Muhammad Rizwan, a hospital clerk, abducted a 29-year-old patient with help from two accomplices and took her to a quarter on Ghazi Road in Millat Park, where she was raped. 4 Rape victim downs over 40 pills The two ninth graders were allegedly abducted from a street while returning from school by six men. They were taken to a nearby real estate office and were raped for hours. 5 Major Crimes: Gang rape, kidnapping reported Neelum* was attacked by Sher Alam, Rashid and an unidentified. The attackers sexually assaulted her. 6 Gang rape case: One girl was raped, the other was ‘only’ harassed, say police The rape of two schoolgirls in Islamabad took place at the hands of one boy, the main accused, while the others waited outside the room. 7 Refusal To Prostitute: Woman ‘escapes rape attempt by brothers-in-law’ Kausar Bibi* said her mother-in-law and brothers-in-law had been pressing her to take up sex work since her husband left for work in Karachi. Her brothers-in-law tried to sexually assault her ‘for being disobedient’. 8 Gang rape allegations: Five accused of sexual assault, kidnap Saleema Bibi* had accused an Ahmedpur resident and his four accomplices of kidnapping her daughter Saima* and detaining and sexually assaulting her for 13 days. 9 Heinous crime: 10 yr old girl raped, tortured to death A 10-year-old girl, Kaniza Rukia, was found critically injured, and later succumbed to her wounds. Her doctor said her body bore numerous torture marks, and she might have been sexually assaulted. 10 ‘Family feud’: Girl, 15, raped by relative A relative, along with some other people, came to Faryal’s* house when she was alone. They gave her a pack of juice and she fainted after drinking it. She was tied up and raped for two weeks. 11 Sexual assault: Medical examination confirms rape A 15-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted allegedly by a relative and his two accomplices. 12 Rape: Doctor arrested after bail dismissed Dr Imtiaz Ahmed raped the dispenser at his clinic in Nawankot. 13 Woman stripped, paraded: Police take notice after road-block Shazia* was stripped and paraded through the streets by one suspect and his accomplices over resistance to landlord Ghulam Ahmed’s* bid to rape her. 14 No arrests: Woman raped, burnt with cigarettes Naveed* along with a friend, entered Mavra’s* house, gagged her and tied her. She repeatedly burnt her with cigarette butts and raped and beat her. 15 Karak Rape Case: Court orders lie detector tests for victim, accused DNA tests failed to ascertain the parentage of Uzma Ayub’s baby girl. 16 Treating a headache: Woman raped by ‘healer’ Hameeda Bibi,* resident of Mohallah Ghafoorabad, was raped at Peer Bawa Hayat Shah’s abode. Shah had locked the room and first chanted some stuff to ‘cure the headache’ but then harassed her with a gun and he and one Mudassir had raped her. 17 PHC grants bail to accused killers of Uzma Ayub’s brother Rape victim Uzma Ayub’s brother Alamzeb Khattak was shot dead on December 9, 2011, while escorting Uzma for a hearing for her rape case at Karak courts. 18 Dismissed: Three accused of rape released Two rape victims said an arrested man and two women were not to be blamed for the rape and a misunderstanding had resulted in registration of the case. 19 Busted: Teenager arrested for rape Irfan Dayo, 16, sexually assaulted four-year-old Shazia in Nazar Mohalla. Shazia was while she was playing outside her house. 20 Cases settled: Three released from rape and murder cases Allah Rakhi said her daughter had gone to Arshad’s shop to buy some goods on October 12, 2011, but did not return. She went looking for her daughter and some children told her that she was being held in the shop where she was allegedly raped. 21 Child abuse: Boy assaulted by neighbor Mohammad Hussain said that his eight-year-old son was abducted by a neighbour and raped at gunpoint. 22 Uzma Ayub case: Family to move apex court in murder case Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) had passed verdict to bail out four men who were accused of murdering Uzma’s brother Alamzeb Khattak.
March 2012
1 Acquaintance rape: Probe initiated into kidnap-assault-detention charges Shazia Bibi* said she had escaped the house where Arshad and his two accomplices detained her. She said she had been allegedly sexually assaulted and tortured for three days. 2 Search Operation: Police on the hunt for alleged rapist Five men tried to rape Naheed Channa, 35, but when they couldn’t they attacked her with a knife. 3 When will justice be served? So far, the police have not been able to catch a single culprit, or even ascertain if the rape-murders were carried out by the same perpetrators. 4 Rape survivor tells incensed court police favouring accused for law minister ties Rape survivor S* informed the court that police had detained Mushtaq, the sole witness of the rape, and tortured him for three days. 5 Sexual assault: Child raped ‘by neighbour’ A 10-year-old deaf-and-dumb girl was alone at her home when her neighbour broke in and sexually assaulted her. 6 Eve of Women’s Day: Policeman, aide rape 14-year-old girl A 14-year-old girl was raped at gunpoint by a police constable and another man, while her grandparents were tied and gagged in another room of their house. 7 Karak rape case: Six accused approach court seeking bail Thirteen men had allegedly abducted Uzma Ayub and kept her in detention for 13 months. 8 Attempted rape: Six-year-old girl found unconscious A 12-year-old boy, Ameer Mallah, allegedly tried to rape his six-year-old cousin. 9 Supreme Court: Faisalabad CPO reprimanded for failing to arrest suspect Saima Mukhtar* said Asghar Ali called her to his office for a job interview but he and four other people had raped her. 10 Uzma Ayub case: Witness in rape case to undergo DNA test Uzma Ayub’s brother said DNA test of main eyewitness Jamal was a plot to trap him. 11 Gilgit Gang Rape: Three men remanded in police custody Three men were accused of gang-raping two sisters who had reportedly run away from their home. 12 Minor girl sexually assaulted in Haripur 13 Injury and insult: Worker accused of rape over minimum wage demand Shabana*, five, had gone to buy groceries from a store in the neighbourhood, where she was assaulted by the shopkeeper’s son. 14 Karak rape case: Six suspects test negative Alleged rape victim Uzma Ayub had accused 13 people, including three police officials and an army official, of raping her after she was abducted and kept in custody for 13 months. 15 Supreme Court continues with police lament The court was hearing three cases jointly – one a petition for the recovery of a maid abducted from Lahore, the second concerning a murder during an incident of illegal dispossession, and the third concerning the arrest of the alleged ring leader in a gang rape case who is said to be a friend of Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. 16 Sexual assault: Blind woman raped 35-year-old Khanim Bibi* was kidnapped on her way home in Ahmedpur village and raped allegedly by Muhammad Ameer. 17 Bartering women: Apex court declares ‘jirgas’ unconstitutional The apex court expressed concern over lack of convictions in cases of acid crimes and a recent rape incident in Shiekhupura. 18 Rule of law: 3 policemen arrested for biased investigation The victim had told the court that despite several requests the police did not registered an FIR. 19 Heinous Crime: 4 arrested for raping disabled woman A 22-year-old physically disabled woman said she was kidnapped from her house by four men who took her to a vacant house. She was raped by Sarfaraz, while his accomplices Latif Gujjar, Aslam Rath and Riaz Arain watched the house. 20 Woman climbs pole to protest alleged rape 22-year-old Neha claimed she was raped by spiritual healer Ashraf on January 15. She had gone to the peer after having an argument with her husband. 21 Rape case: SC displeased with police report in Sonia Naz case The CJ was astonished that former Superintendent of Police (SP) Faisalabad Ahmed Raza Tahir, against whom substantial evidence was provided, was posted as Regional Police Officer (RPO) Lahore.
February 2012
1 Smooth ascend: On average, three children assaulted every day A report by NGO Sahil said a total of 4,846 attackers abused 2,303 children in 2011. The total number of sexual abuse cases in 2011, stood at a staggering 2,303. 2 Assault, homicide: Neighbour arrested for child’s rape, murder A 12-year-old boy sexually assaulted and killed. In another incident, mutilated body of a woman found in a field who was apparently sexually assaulted and murdered. 3 Vulnerable: Rape and harassment lead to attempted suicides A 25-year-old woman was alone at home, when two men from the same locality broke into the house and raped her. When news of her rape spread and people taunted her, she consumed poison. 4 Gang rape victim: Strengthening resolve to seek justice in Karak Rape victim Uzma Ayub vowed to fight for justice till she breathes her last. 5 Karak rape case: Uzma Ayub’s new-born baby girl hospitalised Rape victim Uzma Ayub gave birth to a baby girl Zeba on January 20 who became a key evidence in the rape case. 6 Karak rape case: Victim’s last hope hangs by a thread Uzma Ayub’s baby, a key evidence in the rape case, was hospitalised in a critical condition. 7 Karak Rape Case: Journalists offer their side of the story Uzma Ayub’s daughter Zeba went missing from the hospital soon after she was born, but was later found. 8 Alarming figures: 12 women killed, two raped in Hazara division this year Two married women were gang-raped in Haripur, while two women, including a teenage girl, attempted suicide. 9 Gang rape: Six men sentenced to death in seven-year-old case Suspects kidnapped Razia* and sexually assaulted for to avenge the alleged kidnapping of a suspect’s daughter by a friend of Razia’s father. 10 Child kidnapped, badly hurt in rape attempt A five-year-old child was hospitalised with a severe head injury and several cuts he suffered in an assault allegedly by two men who were attempting to rape him. 11 Abuse of power: Teenaged school girl accuses a police official of rape The sub-inspector of the Rescue 15 police has been accused of assaulting a 15-year-old schoolgirl after harassing and blackmailing her. 12 Nick of time: Man held for attempting to rape 11-year-old girl An 11-year-old girl’s shrieking and crying for help saved her from attempted rape at the hands of a family acquaintance, a 22-year-old single man living in the same street as her. 13 Karak rape case: PHC dissatisfied with judicial inquiry The Peshawar High Court (PHC) expressed dissatisfaction with the inquiry report on how Uzma Ayub’s baby was handed over to an NGO. 14 Sexual slavery: ‘Cancel bail of rape, abduction perpetrators’ A woman moved a bail-cancellation plea for five people who she says kidnapped her, raped her repeatedly for two years, broke her knees and rendered her unable to walk. 15 Journalistic ethics: How the media traumatises rape victims Uzma Ayub has been hounded by journalists from her house to her hospital bed, narrating her experiences of abduction and gang-rape to reporters and millions of viewers across the globe – again and again. 16 ‘Moro scandal’: Woman constable alleges DSP attempted to rape her DSP Alan Khan Abbasi said Police head constable Hamida Bhan was “corrupt” and ran a brothel in the police station. 17 Karak rape case: DNA samples of six accused taken Suspects who were named by Uzma Ayub, the rape victim, were brought to the Khyber Medical Centre where their blood samples were taken. 18 Karak Rape Case: Court rejects bail pleas of accused The four persons were arrested when Zafran, Uzma’s other brother, registered a complaint with the police, accusing the officials and Ibrahim Shah, the ASI’s brother, of killing Alamzeb on court premises. 19 Raped and murdered: Body of five-year-old found in empty plot The girl, ‘S’, was kidnapped outside her house in Muslimabad when she went to buy candy from a nearby store. 20 Child sexual abuse: For some children, home is the most dangerous place Victims, age no bound, are left physically, psychologically and socially scarred. They suffer from deep depression, anxiety, and often lose their trust and confidence in everyone. 21 Sexual assault: Rapist sentenced to five years Muhammad Khurram visited the house when the homeowner was away and added sedatives to their milk. He then raped the 16-year-old daughter after the family lost consciousness.
January 2012
1 Heinous crime: Man arrested for kidnapping child, assault Two man sexually assaulted an 11-year-old child after kidnapping her from near her house. 2 Fighting intimidation: Raped and robbed, victim appeals for justice Nazia*, 25, was asleep with her two minor children when two persons entered her room after scaling the boundary wall. They held her at gunpoint, looted Rs1,80,000 cash and raped her. 3 Two girls abducted, gang raped Saima*, 18, was gang raped after being abducted at gun point. Four people kidnapped Farah* when she was carrying cattle feed from her house. 4 Karak rape case: Victim gives birth to baby girl An inquiry committee was formed to investigate the rape case after victim Uzma Ayub said she was pregnant. 5 Karak rape case: Stolen baby reunited with mother Uzma Ayub accused NGO of taking her baby away without her permission, shortly after she was born at Hayatabad Medical Complex 6 Karak rape case: Accused sent on five-day judicial remand Nasibullah, who was serving in Air Defence in the Pakistan Army, had escaped from the area after the FIR nominated him. 7 Kidnapping & murder: 7-year-old abducted, ‘raped’, murdered by neighbours Asiya, 7, was allegedly abducted by her neighbor Salman along with his accomplice Abid Husainand was killed due to non-payment of ransom. 8 Cover up?: Court orders registration of case against seven policemen Rukhsana Bibi alleged that policemen entered her house and tried to rape her daughter, Samina*. When the girl resisted, the two sub-inspectors slit her throat.