Saturday, August 31, 2013
The Express Tribune NewsA drone attack in Northern Waziristan killed four people on Saturday, Express News reported. The drone fired 2 missiles at a house in the Mir Ali area.
The best tribute to Malala’s mission would be to promote the passion and the portals for which she stood, suffered and then vowed to struggle through the rest of her new life The Tipperary and Children International Peace awards have brought a new luster to Malala Yousafzai’s name, the girl exemplar to have defied the harrowing terrorist assault to destroy the dream, drive and the avenues for female education in Pakistan. She has in a way shamed our governments and security shoguns, which despite having lost about 50,000 of their compatriots have stuck to mere sermons and statements but avoided any effective action to neutralise even a few thousand terrorists. Even Malala’s parents were forced to seek shelter overseas, demonstrating that no safety on this soil can be guaranteed to any one marked for opposition to the obscurantist terrorist agenda. The world, at large, however, poured praise and accolades over her including an address at the United Nations and a nomination for the Nobel peace laurel. For the activists of female equality, education and empowerment Malala has become a living incarnate of the idealistic feat that Faiz Ahmed Faiz summed up as Ghoom phir ke koocha-e-qautil se ho aaye hain (We have walked through the assassins’ lanes and lairs). The resounding global applause and recognition swayed even the government of Pakistan to confer an award on her. Yet in real terms, the government flubbed miserably the quintessence of tribute to her courage and sacrifice that evidently demanded to crush the forces that thwart the dream of education for millions of our Malalas and remove the obstacles that impede their path and progress. The best tribute to Malala’s mission thus would be to promote the passion and the portals for which she stood, suffered and then vowed to struggle through the rest of her new life. Crusading for the preeminence of the ‘power of pen and the book’ is now her dream and devotion. Her very life that the western medical expertise so miraculously wrested from the mutilation wrought by her assailants has become a living testament to the power of knowledge. Her mission thus can be best attained by extending education and ensuring an equal and unrestricted access to it not only to every male and female child but also to the grown up enthusiasts who somehow missed this opportunity at their earlier age. Building an adequate string of schools and facilities for this evidently would not be possible in our country where an overtly militaristic mindset has persistently squandered and would definitely keep squandering most of our resources in the security and armament sectors. Still, in this age of innovative information technologies a virtual school support system to spread knowledge and education to all and sundry can be structured at a relatively far lesser cost and investment. The virtual, open or air school system, as some planners may contend, certainly cannot be a substitute for the actual brick, concrete or mud and straw built schools and the guidance and grooming afforded through the personal care, affection and involvement of the teachers. Nevertheless, the virtual version can be a supplementary support to the students, not been endowed with the physical infrastructure, and serve as the sole source of learning for those left out of it. The system, in some ways, of course, can be certainly made even more interesting and effective as the lessons can be designed through the collaborative insight and contribution of highly qualified and visionary teachers and experts including the child education psychologists. The modern techniques of learning through games, hobbies, recreation, routine activities, observations and experience can also be easily incorporated. Such wealth of shared wisdom and expertise cannot be evidently afforded at the actual customary school premises. Some rare additional stimuli can come in the lessons demanding equipment, laboratories, displays and the demonstrations that are generally deficient or non-existent in most of our schools. This strategy could even cut through the constraints of veil and the worries of travel odds and exposure to reach the normal schools as children can learn in their own homes relishing the love and warmth of their own kin and folk or in the company of their friends. The system can of course also be tuned to impart a proper feel and ambience of the actual classroom, sports and school environment by plugging in periodic gatherings and workshops for the learners at various appropriate and conveniently accessible sites. The curricular and co-curricular material similarly can also be provided on radio transmissions, streamed on mobile screens and rendered on audio and video discs. The militant Maulana FM in Swat vitiated the minds of the masses through his jihadi jabber making it incumbent on the forces of peace, tolerance and accommodation to use the same waves as a vehicle to groom the new generations for knowledge to nudge curiosity, creativity, skill building, tolerance and cross cultural harmony and happiness. The virtual or open education systems have already become quite well established at the university level even in countries like Pakistan, which spurred by the prescience and realisation by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, interestingly, was the second nation on earth to have pioneered the institution in May 1974. The world’s first Open University was founded in the UK in 1969, by Harold Wilson, the two-time premier and one of the most illustrious Labour leaders who heralded some really far-reaching socioeconomic reforms. Bhutto became the first world leader to emulate and implement the concept. Enrollment in new virtual instructions or the so-called distant learning now has gradually grown not only in Europe and other continents but also in the world-renowned Ivy League institutions like the Yale and Harvard. Open and virtual universities similarly, notwithstanding various snags and snafus, have been quite satisfactorily functioning in Pakistan. Their mode, mechanics and experiences thus can be also be carefully calibrated to evolve their school stage version. Scores of distant learning schools are actually now operating not only in Canada, several African and South American countries but even in India. The resources required for this system if not provided by the public exchequer can be generated from seed money from the Malala Foundation, NGOs, and some further global courtesy and cooperation. Gordon Brown, a former British Premier (2007-10) and a successor to the Harold Wilson’s mantle, for instance, has often elicited a keen interest in the advancement of education in Pakistan. The USAID that has been already sponsoring several programmes to promote education, training and research, perhaps could also be solicited for appropriate help. The programme once initiated can certainly be made to sustain mostly through advertisement revenues like our TV channels. The system, notwithstanding its mode and management must maintain the real spirit, legacy and efflorescence of the Malala mission as an ever flowing fountain of free and unrestricted access to an absorbing, unbiased and quality based education to all, transcending barriers of faith, sect, creed, caste or ethnic dispensations.
Friday, August 30, 2013
http://newsjunkiepost.com/The subjects of sex and property have nourished the Indian film industry for years. The female body has always been an object of gaze. Barring few notable exceptions, the stories are about a man in whose world a woman is but an accessory. The hero fights the battle and the heroine nurses the wound; the hero kills the villain and his woman submits her body and soul to him. They become block-busters, those harmless pieces of entertainment. “Let us watch it. So what if it is rubbish?” If this be the motto of our people, then I dare say: we are doomed. This sexist culture is reinforced by the Hollywood movies where the modern man finally finds his refuge, his model, his own image. Hollywood’s ability to detoxify every human experience is what appeals to us. The political is made apolitical and the anti-political, the dissenting, is turned into an object of ridicule. In our haste, we ignore the painful and honest voices. Our age admires the human-machine Arnold: his brick-like body, his machismo. In India during 2011, the total number of reported rapes was 24,206. One can fairly guess that, given the harassment of women who raise their voices, the real number of rapes was significantly higher. A month ago, Digvijay Singh, a senior leader of the Congress Party made a rude remark about a woman politician, and the entire country had a good time laughing at his sexist jibe. It is not uncommon in India for women to get raped even inside police stations; the army too has to its credit a large number of cases where women were raped by its personnel and then murdered. A year and half ago, I visited Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi on the surcharged day when India was playing a cricket match against its arch rival Pakistan. JNU is the bastion of the left, with excellent records in academics and activism. The campus was in a “nationalistic” mood (that is: an anti-Pakistani, anti-enemy mood). During the match, when an Indian batsman would score a boundary, the pro-India group would hoot, and when the Indian batsman would get out, the pro-Pakistan group would shout and hoot. This soon led to an ugly brawl during which the female students were singled out and targeted: in other words subjected to double violence for (a) being members of the “pro-Pakistani” group and (b) being women. She must know how to behave. “She is the enemy’s woman”, hence…. But it is heartening that JNU is making gender studies compulsory for everyone who is enrolled in the University. A month ago, a young woman at JNU was shot with a pistol in a classroom. She thankfully survived, but the young man who shot her died after he consumed pesticide. The media is in a state of mourning today, but yesterday, Amitabh Bachan, an Indian actor of distinction was asked by a journalist: “Why don’t you play a lead role, a role of a protagonist?” Would this journalist ever bother to ask this same question to a woman actor of the same age? No, because she would be an “old woman.” Female writers of hallmark and distinction are asked “Why haven’t you married?” Such nonsense is uttered, and people read it with delight. Sexism as an industry survives in India with much fanfare and approval. Sexism is part of the mass entertainment on which this country survives. Under the current circumstances, with another Indian gang rape being publicized world wide, the media has already started “Live self-defense training programs” that raise some ugly and profound questions about disciplining the body. If the media is so genuinely concerned, it must immediately start live or recorded classes on women’s studies. But such a thing will never happen. It is at best a quixotic dream. The media’s recently found love for fascism is sufficient proof of its concern toward the plight of working-class women. The “country” means: a tiny elite of the super-rich. Aided by the US and European bourgeoisie, a new aesthetic of culture is being circulated. Women are its first victims. Imperialism never respects. It is the sadistic pleasure of destruction that it thrives on. Its connecting motor is hatred of the other: blind and brute hatred. Rape in India is becoming an act of collective spectacle. After each rape, the politicians from the right use it as an occasion to teach women which values are Indian and which ones are not. According to Raj Thakrey, the recent incident would not have happened if the inept and corrupt Chief Minister and his Deputy had not been in office. In other words: “Get me elected, and I will ensure that such incidents do not happen.” For many Muslim fanatics, a rape becomes an occasion to “keep our women within bounds.” The youth too respond: they walk with candles under the glare of media cameras, upload their photos on FaceBook and then compete for “likes.” They gleefully participate, with hearts beating like water pumps, in the great debates organized by serious-looking journalists. And the media sincerely cries over it, weeps, confesses its helplessness. On other occasions it takes up the issue of a trial and condemns the rapists after “shifting through evidence with the seriousness of a Learned Judge.” Women are gang raped by the army and police in “disturbed” areas. But these incidents are never even discussed by our elite English-speaking journalists. They are mostly busy discussing castration and the death penalty. Given the fact that the vast majority have already succumbed to the lure of capital and its culture, it seems that those of us who live on the fringe are being asked to get used to the rapes and then to the banal televised outbursts. - See more at: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/08/24/the-gang-rape-epidemic-in-india/#sthash.2MoQrYP5.dpuf
The UK parliament's decision not to support military action in Syria has thrown Prime Minister Cameron's policy in the region into disarray. The defeated motion was poorly managed and further sours relations with the US. David Cameron certainly did not expect 30 members of parliament (MPs) from his own party, the Conservatives, and nine MPs from its coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, to help defeat his motion for military intervention in Syria - the first time in recent history that the House of Commons has blocked the government from launching military action. It was a huge blow to the UK prime minister, but given the shaky coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the lack of support from the ultra-conservative UK Independence Party (UKIP), and with public opinion largely against an intervention in Syria, it wasn't altogether surprising. "It was, frankly, unbelievably poor parliamentary management on the part of the coalition government, to have gone into this vote without having it absolutely nailed down," Richard Whitman, Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, told DW. Just why Cameron pressed for the motion to be passed through parliament so quickly, Whitman says, and before the UN inspectors had reported back on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, remained a mystery and MPs from his own party, the Conservatives, agree."The West made great play of getting weapons inspectors into Syria. At the very least, we should give them time to report back," John Baron, one of the Conservative MPs who voted against the motion, told DW. While France was quick to step into the breach and assure the US that it is "ready" for intervention in Syria after Thursday's UK 'no' vote, British Prime Minister David Cameron is scrambling to save face by insisting the UK was still seeking a "robust response" in Syria and was still "deeply engaged" on the world stage. Iraq's 'long shadow' But Cameron seems to have failed to gauge the shift in attitude towards military missions among lawmakers in Britain. "I certainly think Iraq has cast a long shadow. The threshold for military action has certainly been raised quite a bit. And I think that No. 10 [the government] miscalculated the extent to which that threshold has been raised," Whitman said. "The tragedy is it's going to complicate British foreign and security policy in the short term," he said. "Because what is Britain's position on Syria now?"According to Whitman, at one point, it was all about lending support to the Syrian rebels, now the UK seems to focus purely on punitive action against Assad - the latter made more difficult by the fact that Assad's air defence systems are much more advanced and have a much wider reach than, say, Libya's. And that's what Baron and other MPs as well as military officials are concerned about - prolonged military engagements with no clear objective or strategy beyond mere punitive action, particularly if there is no legitimization in the form of a UN mandate. "We cannot keep riding roughshod over the UN," Baron told DW. "It lessens our authority when, perhaps in future, we may have to condemn similar actions by countries less friendly to the West." Special relationship Britain's traditional "special relationship" with the US is also likely to be damaged by the negative vote, but Whitman acknowledged US-UK ties have been rough around the edges for some time."The relationship between the US and the UK was undergoing a recalibration anyway, ever since Iraq - the circumstances of Britain withdrawing from Iraq, the US thought it was premature," Whitman told DW. "So, it [the Syria vote] wasn't a watershed." Rather, it's several issues accumulating to sour relations in the long term. Britain's involvement in Afghanistan has also been seen as problematic in the US, Whitman pointed out, and reducing British defence expenditure has not helped either. "But also the strange position the UK finds itself in the EU now, with ambiguity to what its future relationship there may be, all that has accumulatively complicated the UK's relationship with the US." What next for the EU? And indeed, the handling of the Syrian issue could prove a pivotal moment in European foreign policy, as the US and France will likely try to recruit new allies, such as Poland, Whitman said. "It will be interesting to see what kind of political coalition France will be able to pull together within the EU and where the UK stands within that coalition." Another rebel Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, who also voted against the government's Syria motion, thinks that UK foreign policy needs a major rethink. "It is possible that last night finally saw the United Kingdom moving to a foreign and defence policy which is much more appropriate to a country of our size," he said in a statement to DW.
http://www.afghanistantimes.af/Once upon a time, mosques were considered to be places of solace, tranquility, and safety. It was when religion was neither a business nor was it used as an element of facade. But simplicity and dedication gained strength. It was when politics had never infiltrated the mosque. Now no place is safe—mosques, schools, markets, shrines, military barracks and playgrounds. The questions remain: why such sacred places are no longer safe and snug? And why our blood is spilled everywhere and everyday. It’s all because we face the scourge of militancy. Militants have become real life vampires whose sanguinary nature knows no bounds. This nation has suffered irreparable losses in men and material because of militants. These losses are becoming intolerable. But there is none who could place a full stop to their deadly activities. They have become the embodiments of terror while the general public is treated as scapegoats. Living up to their modus operandi and targeting once again a mosque, the militants killed a district chief in northern Kunduz province on Friday morning. 19 others were also killed in the suicide attack. The dead included the Dasht-e-Archi district’s administrative head Sheikh Sadruddin, his bodyguards, a public representative’s brother and some other civilians who had come to offer condolences to the family of a tribal elder who died a day earlier. The attack left 30 others injured. According to the Deputy Police Chief for Kunduz, the suicide bomb blew up at about 3:30am when a number of people were sitting in the condolence ceremony. The militants have become that much cunning, untrustworthy and treacherous that they can use any trick and any ploy to mow down government officials, public representatives, and tribal elders. The fury is elicited even more as these butchers don’t spare public places and education centers too. They don’t spare graveyards as well. They don’t stop spilling the blood of Afghans. They claim they have been fighting against foreigners but it is the Afghan nation that has borne the agonizing pain of fundamentalists’ repulsive actions. And it is the civilian population that has become the victim of a war orchestrated to annihilate terrorism. There is hardly a day where they don’t spill the blood of Afghans. They claim they have been fighting to bring peace and stability in the country and to push the foreign forces out but war itself is anti-peace. They have been at war over the past dozen years, claiming to be bearers of peace. Isn’t it absurd to say something and do something else? It is very contradictory. They claim they are fighting in the name of Islam while their very war is against the peace teachings of this great religion. Islam never allows targeting civilians or those who are not in the battlefield. It also doesn’t permit to target women, children and elderly and also trees and animals. What the Taliban have been doing is totally against Islam. They kill anyone - combatants and non combatants - irrespective of their gender, age and profession. They have become such a ruthless breed that none is safe in this country from their illogical ire and their insanity. They hate everything that belongs to Afghanistan. Even though reconciliation and diplomacy are effective tools, but looking into their mounting deadly attacks violence should be met with violence. The government should show its force to the militants as until now they have interpreted the peace appeals of the government as its weakness.
khaamapress.netdna-cdn.comAfghanistan national women’s football team defeated the national women’s football team of Kyrgyzstan during a regional match, organized ahead of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Gold Cup.
By DAVID E. SANGER
People around the world have held demonstrations to express opposition to a Western military intervention in Syria. In Jordan's capital, Amman, protesters expressed support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and chanted anti-US slogans on Friday. “We are here today in protest against the prospective strike on Syria. The Arab people oppose any military strike by the United States and its NATO allies against Syria,” said a protester during the rally.In Turkey, people gathered outside the US consulate in the southern city of Adana to denounce the possible military action on the Arab country. In the Turkish city of Istanbul, people held similar demonstrations and chanted slogans against the United States. Anti-war demonstrations were held in Venezuela and Greece as well. On Thursday, Londoners took to the streets to say no to a strike on Syria while in the US, anti-war rallies were held in a number of cities including Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. On August 21, the militants operating inside Syria and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition claimed that hundreds had been killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar. A number of Western and Arab countries have also accused Damascus of carrying out the attack. However, the Syrian government has denied their allegations as baseless. Since August 27, speculations have become stronger about the possibility of a military attack on Syria. The UK parliament on Thursday voted against a motion by British Prime Minister David Cameron to authorize military action against Syria. Washington says it is willing to carry out an attack against Syria without the approval of the UN or its allies. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence.
President Obama could well consider a military strike in Syria despite the British Parliament rejecting a motion authorizing the UK’s involvement in the conflict. White House officials told reporters Thursday that the statement from United States’ closest ally, reluctance from the United Nations Security Council, and widespread uncertainty in the US Congress would not be enough to sway Obama from a limited missile strike on Syrian targets. Obama, who has been criticized for not consulting with Congress over Syria, met with lawmakers and other top leaders in a White House conference call Thursday. “We have seen the result of the Parliament vote in the UK tonight. The US will continue to consult with the UK government - one of our closest allies and friends. As we've said, President Obama's decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States,” said a White House statement following the meeting. “He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.” A White House statement released after the 90-minute teleconference said the call included, among others, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as well as relevant committee chairmen and ranking members. "The views of Congress are important to the President's decision-making process, and we will continue to engage with Members as the President reaches a decision on the appropriate US response to the Syrian government's violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons," the White House statement read. Hegel also said on a recent trip to the Philippines that "it is the goal of President (Barack) Obama and our government ... whatever decision is taken, that it be an international collaboration and effort," adding that the US would continue to consult with Britain on the matter. "Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together. And I think you're seeing a number of countries publicly state their position on the use of chemical weapons." When asked whether it was in Assad's power to do anything to prevent the threat of military action against his country, Hagel replied that he did not wish to "speculate on hypothetical situations." US Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that administration officials failed to provide any new evidence but only revealed the government has allegedly intercepted "some discussions and some indications from a high-level [Syrian] official" regarding use of chemical weapons. "The main thing was that they have no doubt that Assad's forces used chemical weapons," Engel said. The administration also plans to release a declassified intelligence report on the recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria Friday, according to Major Garrett of CBS News. The White House will reportedly release the legal justification for military action if Obama orders it, as well. “When the president reaches a determination about the appropriate response…and a legal justification is required to substantiate or to back up that decision, we’ll produce one on our own,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in the hours before the British vote. Thursday’s intelligence presentation did not implicate Assad in the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, White House aides told the New York Times, but administration officials believe they have “enough evidence to carry out a limited strike that would deter the Syrian government from using these weapons again.” Assad and the Syrian government have blamed the chemical attack, documented in gruesome footage throughout the Internet, on opposition forces. The White House has admitted that the US has “no smoking gun” to prove Assad was behind the attack, leaving enough doubt for the British House of Commons to reject military action. While UK MPs debated possible a possible missile strike US Congress was in the midst of a summer recess, although Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said a vote would not be necessary. “There have been consultations. There will be more consultations,” she told Time magazine. “This is not to send troops over, as I understand it…obviously, it would be good to wait, but if time is of the essence that’s the decision the administration has to make. I think there is lots of ways of doing consultations which is adequate.”
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani Thursday said those demanding to call out army in Karachi are not presenting a full picture and Article 245 of the Constitution is being misinterpreted. “If the army does come to Karachi, it will render the High Court unable to exercise its powers,” Senator Rabbani said while speaking from the floor of the Senate. Speaking on the same issue, Senator Maula Bux Chandio warned that an (army) operation will leave everyone screaming at the end of the day. “I am against an operation in Karachi. I am saying this with my eyes set on Col. Mashadi that an operation will leave both you and us screaming,” Chandio said.
http://ahmadiyyatimes.blogspot.com/Four years ago, Asia Bibi was asked to fetch water while working in the fields. Some of her Muslim fellow workers refused to drink it because they considered it to be “unclean” since it was collected by a Christian. A dispute ensued and her co-workers complained that she blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad. Then she was arrested, sentenced to death by hanging, and has been languishing in a jail ever since. Her husband and five children live under death threats and have been forced into hiding. The case has prompted widespread international condemnation, including from heads of state and the Pope.
http://www.bollywoodlife.com/Who is Pakistani actor Veena Malik dating these days? No, she’s not gone back to her Supermodel co-star Ashmit Patel. Neither is she with any cricketer. We spotted her with businessman Shaikh Umar Farukh Zahoor, who is her current boyfriend.
A doctor who was jailed for 33 years for helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden had his prison sentence overturned by a local judge Thursday. Shakeel Afridi was arrested for treason last year over his role in a CIA-backed fake polio vaccination campaign which he used to collect DNA samples from bin Laden and his family in order to prove the al Qaeda leader's whereabouts to U.S. authorities. Afridi was later charged and sentenced for alleged links to the banned militant group, Lashkar-e-Islam. The doctor filed an appeal, which was heard by judicial official Sahibzada Mohammad Anees in Peshawar, Thursday. Anees declared Afridi's sentence was incorrectly imposed because the officer acting as a magistrate in the original trial did not have the authority to hand down a 33-year prison sentence. Anees referred the case for re-examination. Special public prosecutor Iqbal Durrani read out the verdict to journalists outside the courthouse. Durrani said he opposed the appeal decision, claiming Afridi had set up a hospital in the Bara subdivision of the Khyber tribal region providing healthcare to Lashkar-e-Islam militants. "He was also funding the banned militant organisation against the state," Durrani said. Afridi's lawyer, Samiullah Afridi, denied these charges, asking how his client could help the same organization which held him hostage until he paid a large ransom, requiring him to sell his house. The lawyer also said his client had been denied legal representation in the original trial. Afridi's sentence last year angered the United States, which withheld $33 million in aid for Pakistan in retaliation. Afridi remains in custody, Reuters reported.
The Express TribunePakistan lost to South Korea 2-1 in the Asia Cup Semi-final on Friday, Express News reported. Pakistan managed to score just one goal from four penalty corners, evicting the team from the Asia Cup race. Team green cannot qualify for the World Cup following its defeat in the Asia Cup semi-final. Pakistan has played six World Cups so far.
EDITORIAL:Daily TimesThe police in Pakistan does everything except what it is meant to do: enforce the rule of law and prevent crime. In fact, having excelled as spoilers of the citizen’s peace, the force is used to carry out illegal jobs of the politicians and those who matter in the power circles. In a study carried out by the Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD) in three districts of Punjab, Faisalabad, Multan and Rahimyar Khan, a not unusual but persistent picture of the police culture has emerged. Bribes, torture, extra-judicial killings, manhandling at the time of arrest, resistance to lodge a First Information Report (FIR), misbehaviour with women, altering investigation processes without informing the complainant are excessively rampant. Combined, this is what makes up the popular misnomer: ‘Thana culture’, something the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had vowed to dispense with. However, the rise of police encounters in recent years in Punjab certainly builds the case for a broken promise. The underlying theme of the report by DCHD is the third degree torture applied by the police that even makes innocent people confess to crimes they had never committed. Suspects are tortured to either protect the actual criminal or to get away with avoiding arduous investigative processes by cutting them short at the initial stage. People usually avoid going to the police, fearing that it will make things worse for them. Theoretically, in the case of a crime, the police is considered the first step towards the ends of justice. The prevalence of murders for personal revenge, acid-throwing incidents, abusive traditional punishments by panchayats (traditional courts), and the recent phenomenon of setting up of Taliban courts in Karachi are the results of a parallel justice system operating in society. The criminals have become fearless, making their own rules and dividing turf conveniently among different groups in, for example, Karachi, where they are busy killing people for extortion money and other reasons. According to one report presented in the Supreme Court, nearly 400 police officers are running crime rings in Karachi. The question arises that if the police is not doing what it is supposed to do, what then is it doing? Used for personal and political purposes by the higher ups, no attention is paid to its capacity building and neither is there any effective system within the police to convict officers complicit in crime or involved in abusing the law. This is where the rub lies. The only way to remove this anomaly is to ensure mechanisms to hold the police accountable for its misdeeds.
President Asif Ali Zardari said in unequivocal terms on Thursday that there was no justification for calling the army out in Karachi in the presence of elected governments at the Centre and in the provinces. The president expressed these views during a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at the Bilawal House here. The law and order situation in Karachi in particular and in Sindh in general came under discussion. Zardari said the Sindh government should make an example of criminals and no slackness would be tolerated in protection of life and property of the masses.Sources said the president grilled the chief minister over the Karachi situation and the failure to provide timely relief to flood victims in the interior Sindh. Shah briefed the president on the steps taken to improve the law and order situation in Karachi and provision of relief to flood victims; however, the president said it was not enough. Zardari asked the chief minister to give a free hand to the police and other law enforcers to eliminate the criminals from all parts of Karachi without succumbing to political affiliations. The president also directed practical steps for provision of relief to flood victims.
'US, NATO, hands off Syria' – hundreds of New Yorkers during massive protest against US strike on Syria
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Tiffany Hsu and Alana Semuels Fast-food protests that started in New York spread to Los Angeles and other cities across the nation Thursday as workers called for higher wages and the chance to unionize. Dozens of fast-food workers and supporters marched outside a South Los Angeles Burger King at 6 a.m., chanting their demand for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Holding signs with slogans such as “Burgers and Lies,” “Yo Quiero $15,” and “Lovin' a Living Wage,” they began moving into formation before sunrise, headlights speeding by on the 110 Freeway behind the restaurant in the Brodway-Manchester neighborhood. As the sun slowly rose and honks from passing passing cars increased, the employees and protest organizers from the Service Employees International Union, many decked out in “Fight For 15” T-shirts, snaked around the corner at Broadway and Century Boulevard. The fast-food protests began in New York last November. There have been three protests in New York since then, and they have spread to Chicago and other cities. Thursday's protest is to mark the first for fast-food workers in Los Angeles and other cities. "This is our fourth strike in New York, and now we have 50 cities striking with us," said Tyeisha Batts, 27, one of the protesters, who has worked in fast food for six years. "I'm ready for a change." The Los Angeles area has 181,595 fast-food workers, earning a median hourly wage of $9, according to protest organizers from SEIU. They say – pointing to an MIT living wage calculator – that an adult living in the area with one child needs to earn $23.53 an hour full time to afford basic necessities. One worker who planned to protest told KTLA-TV early Thursday morning that it’s unfair that some of his colleagues have been in the industry for more than 20 years “and they still earn 8 bucks an hour.” “They have a family to feed and everything….They have two, three jobs and things just shouldn’t be like that,” he said. The protests come as more workers in blue- and white-collar jobs begin to agitate for better working conditions. But the fast-food protests are unique because they are not targeting one employer or company, but a whole industry. Workers were expected to protest outside a number of fast-food outlets, including Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King and Subway. The fast-food industry used to employ mostly younger people just trying to make some extra money as they went through school. Now, workers are older and depend on the work to feed families. Analysis by the Economic Policies Institute shows that the average age of minimum-wage workers is now 35, and that 88% are 20 and older. "This morning, I'm out here taking a stand for all the fast-food workers around the world," Derrick Langley said. "If you're not going to stand up for yourselves, we will." But industry groups such as the International Franchise Assn. said protesters' goals are “unrealistic.” Individual franchisees, not the bigwigs at corporate headquarters, determine wage levels for workers, according to the group. And many such operators are contending with thin margins made worse by a lagging economy, high commodity costs and soaring energy costs, according to the group. "Mandating increased wages would lead to higher prices for consumers, lower foot traffic and sales for franchise owners, and ultimately, lost jobs and opportunities for employees to become managers or franchise owners,” Steve Caldeira, the association’s chief executive, said in a statement.
By Gerry Holt & Justin Parkinson It is more than 10 years since the invasion of Iraq began. During the long build-up to the conflict, amid debates over weapons of mass destruction and government intelligence, public opinion was divided. Those against war made their feelings known. A mass demonstration took place in London in February 2003. Two million people marched through the streets, according to organisers. But, with the indicators growing stronger that some sort of military action is likely in Syria in the next few days, how loud is anti-war sentiment this time round? 'Sold a pup' With less than a day to go before MPs and peers were due to debate the government's proposals, a demonstration took place opposite the entrance to Downing Street. Several hundred people, ranging from teenagers to the elderly, held placards bearing slogans such as "Hands off Syria" and "Cut war, not welfare". Ann-Kristine Westwood, a grandmother from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, told the BBC: "I can't see what we've achieved in 10 years in Iraq or Afghanistan. And I'm convinced we are being sold another pup. "We can't afford schools, houses, teachers, nurses, but we buy as many bombs as we want. The people in this country can't afford another war." She added: "The mothers in Syria are going to be terrified. We are now the terrorists." As a man with a loudspeaker denounced the government, another man, in his late 20s, who declined to reveal his name, said: "We want to bring home to the politicians the fact that the vast majority of people in this country are against war. "I think this may be a way to change some politicians' minds before the vote." He added: "I've been interested in the Iraq war and the military intervention in Libya for a long time, but it's only now that it's reached this height of ridiculousness. This is the first time I've really felt compelled to come out and protest. "I'm absolutely astonished how quickly this has happened and how much the government has rushed into this." More marches But most of the protesters were what might be called "veterans", those old enough to have been involved in the Iraq march. What of the less committed? Ian Chamberlain, a spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition (SWC), said anti-war sentiment was building. Some 5,000 people were expected to march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square via Downing Street once more this Saturday, he said. "I think we speak on behalf of a lot of people at the moment, as we did in 2003 and on Iraq, when two million went out on to the streets of London [to march] against intervention there," Mr Chamberlain said. "We've seen in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya how intervention by the West has not been humanitarian." But how many people does SWC speak "on behalf of"? The Sun newspaper commissioned a YouGov poll of almost 2,000 adults and found that they were opposed to the use of British missiles against military sites in Syria by two to one. YouGov's president Peter Kellner, said: "The public are very wary of any form of military engagement. They certainly don't want any British arms to go into Syria - even lightly defensive arms, let alone tanks and artillery. "But we asked specifically about this idea of missile attacks on military targets in response to chemical warfare and by two to one the poll found people don't want that." Mr Kellner added: "If one goes back 10 years ago to a similar situation to what we have now - the build-up to a special debate in Parliament about Britain going to war in Iraq - the week before the parliamentary vote only one third of the public wanted Britain to go to war without specific authorisation from the United Nations. "But on the day of the parliamentary votes, when there hadn't been authorisation, it went from 33% to 50% and three weeks later, when Baghdad fell, it was 66% support. "So public opinion is currently against British military involvement but I'm not certain it will stay against. It will depend on what happens in the next 24, 48, 72 hours." 'Tired of war' People do not know what will happen. A "boots-on-the-ground" intervention in Syria is deemed unlikely, but perhaps targeted missile strikes could take place. Some think this will be enough to deter President Assad's government from using chemical weapons in future. Others fear the reaction could lead to a wider, ongoing, bloody conflict. The disagreements transcend political party lines. But will it be like 2003 again? Will thousands of children skip school once more in co-ordinated protests? Will the centres of cities come to a halt? After Iraq and Afghanistan, UK Independence leader Nigel Farage, has said the "great British public are tired of being at war". Can tiredness be turned into passion? Mr Chamberlain said: "By mobilising people on the streets we're going to make it very clear what public opinion is [on Syria] and put our MPs under pressure to make the right decisions." One of the protesters, Frank Friedmann, spoke of widespread anger, but added that, in the face of the government's decision, there was a "feeling of futility" about protest. He added: "But I've come down here from Leicester to play my part." The next few days will show how many people feel compelled to join him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Thursday on the need for the UN Security Council to study a report by UN experts on the alleged chemical attack outside Damascus, the Kremlin said.
The Washington TimesWestern countries are behaving in the Islamic world like a “monkey with a grenade,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted on Tuesday as the United States and its allies mull military action against Syria. “The West behaves towards the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade,” Mr. Rogozin posted to his 150,000 followers as Russia begins to evacuate its citizens from Syria, AFP reported. Envoys from the United States and its allies have told rebels fighting President Bashar Assad that Western powers might attack Syria within days, Times Live reported. Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/28/russia-says-west-acting-muslim-world-monkey-grenad/#ixzz2dN8wPxJA Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
http://tolonews.com/The Afghan Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) on Thursday said that a foreign company would soon begin an assessment the Afghan leg of the Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Turkmenistan railway project. The MoPW refused to reveal the name of the company, which just recently won the bid to survey to project, until the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had vetted and approved the firm for contracting. The company's documents were sent to the ADP office in the Philippines this week. "The Asian Development Bank has always helped Afghanistan in carrying out several infrastructural projects," said Nurgul Mangal, the Deputy Technical Minister of the MoPW. "The Bank has committed to fund a part of the project, and the assessment of will begin soon after the firm is approved." Mr. Mangal said that his Ministry tentatively approved the foreign company to evaluate the technical and financial modalities of the Afghan section of the transnational railway construction following a competitive bidding process. The 550 KM railway line is intended to be completed in a span five years. The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $960 million, much of which will be provided by the ADB. In addition to the Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Turkmenistan railway project, recently, President Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to establish a railway line between their two nations to better facilitate travel, trade and commerce.
A Pakistani judicial official on Thursday overturned the 33-year jail sentence passed on Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped CIA agents hunting for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was killed in 2011. U.S. officials have hailed Afridi as a hero for helping pinpoint bin Laden's location before the secret May 2011 raid by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after more than a decade of searching. Judicial official Sahibzada Mohammad Anees ordered a new trial on the grounds that another official had exceeded his authority when handing down last year's sentence. Afridi remains in custody. "The assistant political agent ... did not have the authority to award 33 years' imprisonment to Dr. Shakil Afridi," said the written judgment. "The assistant political agent played the role of a magistrate for which he was not authorized." A political agent and his assistant are representatives of the Pakistani government in the tribal areas, which are not covered by the country's judicial system. Afridi's sentence further damaged ties between Pakistan and the United States when they had already strained over the bin Laden raid. Angry U.S. senators symbolically withheld $33 million in aid from Pakistan in retaliation. Relations since then have slowly improved but there remains plenty of residual distrust on both sides. Lawyer Samiullah Afridi said Afridi plans to submit an application for an early hearing. Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden. Pakistani officials initially said Afridi would be tried for treason for helping the United States, but court documents showed he was jailed for being a member of a militant group, Lashkar-e-Islam. Afridi denied the charges and a spokesman for the group said they had no ties with him. "Shakil was himself kidnapped by militants," Afridi's lawyer told Reuters. "He had to pay a lot of money for his release. There is no question that a person like him would treat militants or give them funds." Afridi's new trial will be conducted under the auspices of the political agent of Khyber Agency, Anees said in his statement. Anees is a commissioner with responsibility for law in Pakistan's tribal areas.
http://www.rferl.org/Officials from Russia and Pakistan are wrapping up a two-day "strategic dialogue" in Moscow on August 29. Media reports from Pakistan say Foreign Secretary Jalil Jilani is leading his country's delegation in the talks, with topics ranging from economic, political, and defense cooperation to regional and international security issues. Commentators say the talks mark a high point in bilateral ties after years of frosty relations. Russia has been supportive of Pakistan becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and helped Pakistan obtain observer status in the organization. For its part, Islamabad backed Russia's bid to gain observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Defense ties between the two nations are also closer. Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kiyani visited Moscow last year and the Russian Air Force chief visited Pakistan earlier this month.
The Express TribunePakistan Peoples Party (PPP) supported calls for a targeted operation in Karachi on Thursday, Express News reported. PPP leader Naveed Qamar was representing his party during the National Assembly today, where he said that an operation should be conducted without any discrimination. He further said that a targeted operation is the only solution to the prevailing violence in the city and the judiciary should also support this suggestion. Earlier today, the federal interior minister proposed a targeted operation to counter the ongoing violence and killings in Karachi. Background Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi on Wednesday. The notice came after MQM demanded that the army be deployed in Karachi. MQM chief Altaf Hussain had demanded army deployment to protect the life and property of the Kutchi community in Lyari. He had clarified that the Constitution allows them to make such a demand. Nawaz decided that a special cabinet meeting will be held on September 2 or 3 in Karachi to discuss the situation in the city and determine what parties are in favour of this demand. Earlier, major political parties in Sindh rejected MQM’s demand to deploy army in Karachi to maintain law and order. Imtiaz Shaikh of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) had said that his party would not extend any support if the forces are moved in Karachi for law and order. “Police officials should be appointed on merit and given full authority, otherwise no change will take place,” he said. “It should be examined as to why the situation in Karachi reached a point where the MQM had to make this demand”, said PTI Deputy Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi. However, he did not subscribe to the demand. Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Mohammad Hussain Mehnati had said that calling the soldiers was not a solution to every problem. The provincial government should end its reconciliation policy and take action against the criminals, he said.