Sunday, December 15, 2013

Yearender: Syrian crisis calls for international wisdom

The Syrian crisis, which witnessed few ups and many downs this year, is in dire need of international wisdom to help end the conflict and ward off its spillover effects. The crisis started more than 33 months ago and reached a tipping point in August following accusations that the Syrian government launched a deadly chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, violating international regulations and inciting worldwide outrage. Syria denied the charges and accused opposition forces of fabricating the issue to frame the government and force foreign intervention. The chemical attack, which claimed hundreds of lives, prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to consider military action against the Syrian government. In September, UN inspectors concluded chemical weapons were used in an attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus, but did not say explicitly who was responsibility for the attack. To the surprise of the world, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allowed international inspectors to destroy Syria's chemical weapons in compliance with an agreement brokered between the United States and Russia. The move averted the threat of U.S.-led military strikes, giving diplomacy a chance to work. The United Nations said in late November a "Geneva II" conference, meant to broker an end to the Syrian crisis, was scheduled to begin on Jan. 22 in Geneva, offering a chance for the Syrian government and the opposition to meet at the negotiation table for the first time. The world's major powers are eager to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict as early as possible, partly out of fears of the increasing threat posed by jihadists. The number of jihadists joining the conflict has been steadily rising, according to reports, and it is feared they could establish a base for al-Qaida, which would threaten security in neighboring countries and Europe. Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri said recently he views Syria as a promising staging ground. Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said up to 2,000 European jihadists were fighting against the Assad regime. She and French counterpart Manuel Valls warned those jihadists could return to their original countries and become more radicalized. "The danger of al-Qaida, which President Obama had said dwindled dramatically, has risen once again and is posing a menacing danger to the entire world, making it incumbent on all concerned parties to work to solve the Syrian crisis as soon as possible," political analyst Ali Refai said. "Even if the Syrian crisis has been born out of national demands, it has now been totally hijacked by radical extremists, whose presence in Syria is a global threat," Refai said. Western officials have hinted they might need to start talking to the Syrian regime again, suggesting the jihadists' threat is much bigger than that of the current Syrian government. Even the Syrian opposition groups have shown willingness to engage in dialogue with the government due to the growing threat from al-Qaida-affiliated jihadist groups, such as the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. They have sent signals they want a rapid solution which could curb the jihadists' increasing power. Concern has grown in Europe and many other nations about the growing risk the jihadists might pose for their countries once they return from Syria. The Syrian government has made it clear it is ready to engage in the peace talks, but voiced determination to go on with its fight against terrorism. Syrian armed forces have recently scored many new victories on several fronts against the rebels, recapturing a series of strategic towns and positions, and the army is still well in control of the Damascus, the government's stronghold. The army's significant progress against the rebels has almost extinguished the opposition groups' hopes of military success, forcing them to accept the fact that dialogue is the only way to end the conflict. "It seems that the world has come to a conclusion that violence will not end on the battlefield... The better place to end the Syrians' suffering is definitely Geneva," said Samar al-Hafez, a senior Syrian journalist and political analyst. She said most Syrians had become convinced the crisis needs vigorous diplomatic efforts and a lot of international wisdom. Esam Khalil, a Syrian lawmaker, told Xinhua the "Syrian crisis has reshaped the political landscape of the entire world," adding "the next step is the phase of international consensus." Khalil, along with military expert Turki Hasan, said the international community must make concerted efforts to halt the support the radical rebels are getting, and choke off their smuggling routes in a bid to give the political solution a chance in Geneva.

Obama family leaves for Hawaii trip on Friday
President Obama and his family will again spend the end-of-the-year holidays in his native Hawaii, starting late this week.
The First Family leaves for Honolulu on Friday evening, according to the White House schedule. The White House has not announced a return date, but the president is expected to stay in Hawaii until after New Year's Day. Last year's holiday trip was interrupted by a fight with congressional Republicans over the "fiscal cliff," but no such dispute is on the horizon this month.
"This will be the First Family's sixth Christmas in Hawaii since he was elected president, and keeping with tradition they are expected to spend it in Kailua.
"Every year the Obamas have rented a few houses on Kailuana Place – creating quite the buzz in the beach side community. "'It's exciting. It's really an honor to have him here, and when he's around -- actually the place is super safe because we have all this security around,' said Lanette Hayashi, who lives in the neighborhood where the Obama."

Mandela filled vacuum of real political leadership in 20th century

South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela was given a tearful state funeral in his childhood village of Qunu on Sunday, followed by a traditional burial attended by family and friends. A 21-gun salute and full military honour guard escorted Mandela's coffin to a marquee where 4,500 mourners said their final goodbyes. And, as Stephen Ellis, author of the book “Season of Rains: Africa in the World” and former editor of the African Affairs magazine, said in an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia, Mandela became the leader for the generations to come.
-Mr Ellis, hello and thank you very much for joining the program. Now I'd like you to elaborate on Nelson Mandela's legacy. Why is it so important for the world years after his retirement from politics?
-Well, I think he made himself the world's most admired politician in the late 20th century and he didn't just mean something to the people of South Africa but to anybody who follows political affairs or even is just interested in current events anywhere in the world.
-Why were so many people including high ranking politicians willing to pay their final respects to South Africa's first black president and who do you think out of all of those invited or all of those who were guests both during the funeral and burial ceremony and during mourning ceremony throughout the week owe Nelson Mandela in this or that way more than others?
-There were many people who met him, very sincerely admired him so it is normal that also politicians would want to come and pay their last respects to him in his funeral. But he became as it were political gold dust. So people, active of aspiring politicians wanted to be seen with him because they felt that he transferred some of their glamour to them. And some of the newspapers here in the Netherlands for example and maybe elsewhere have been making the point that we seem to lack somewhat as clear political leadership in the world at present and he filled the vacuum for people who maybe were wanting to look up to somebody. So of the people who were present it's hard for me to say who were the people who he was really closest or for whom he had the greatest admiration but I think it's worth noting when he became president of South Africa in 1994 although he was very much embraced by the US president of the time – Bill Clinton, he insisted on hi right to visit and to praise and to be friendly with people like Fidel Castro of Cuba, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Yasir Arafat who we regard as fellow revolutionaries. He had no patience with western leaders who told him that he shouldn't be talking to people like that.
-And what is your take on the behavior of some of the guests?
You certainly heard that scandal about the UK PM and Barack Obama taking photos sort of selfy-style pictures during the mourning ceremony. And they even had to excuse themselves before the international media which was outraged by that behavior.
-Well, that is actually news to me because I was ill last week so I was in hospital and I've just come home from hospital. It means that I've missed a lot of the international coverage and I wasn't aware of what you've just told me. But of course taking pictures of yourself or having pictures of yourself taken under these circumstances at a time of great sadness and dignity is not a very smart thing to do. So if that is what they did they had to apologize for it. I think it's pretty stupid and reprehensible behavior.
- Mandela was a controversial figure for a much of his life denounced as a Marxist terrorist by critics and nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism having received more than 200 honors including Nobel Peace Prize, US Presidential Medal of Freedom, even the Soviet Order of Lenin. His deep respect within South Africa often refer to as Madiba or Tata – Father. If there were like five words to describe Nelson Mandela – what would the five words be in your understanding? How would you describe Nelson Mandela, your personal take on this figure?
-I don't think I could do it in five words. He was immensely important and I think he was the only person who was capable of presiding over the transition from Apartheid to post-Apartheid government and bringing really all population groups with him. And I must say that certainly since his retirement and up to his death he was deeply respected even by former members of the National Party government. And he was genuinely respected by people from the far right because they can see the depth of his achievement.
-Mr Ellis, as an author of the book called Season of Rains: Africa in the World, how has Nelson Mandela changed Africa? How did he make it unique maybe more unique in a way or closer to other nations, closer to the West? How would you describe his role in introducing Africa to the world?
-I think as one of his opponents once said the former PM of Rhodesia Ian Smith:'Nelson Mandela is the first statesman that Africa has produced'. And I think that is probably right, he certainly is the greatest statesman Africa produced and somebody who will bear comparison with any of the great political figures of the 20th or so far the 21st century. So that in itself is an achievement. I think he showed the whole world what is possible even in the country with violent history like that of South Africa, that peaceful coexistence is possible and that is something that people have learnt from Africa and from the experience of South Africa. So in that sense indeed it's a universal story but one that happens to come from Africa which is a continent, which is very often being regarded as somehow lugging behind the rest of the world. I think finally I did notice a very interesting point made by former British PM Tony Blair, who said:' Nelson Mandela made racism seem not really immoral but stupid'. In other words before that time it would be impossible for people in the right wing to believe that racial politics was something realistic and even pragmatic and after Nelson Mandela it just seemed very backward and very old-fashioned to hold such a view.
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Britain’s policy on Syria has just been sunk, and nobody noticed

The final bankruptcy of American and British policy in Syria came 10 days ago as Islamic Front, a Saudi-backed Sunni jihadi group, overran the headquarters of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) at Bab al-Hawa on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. The FSA, along with the Syrian National Coalition, groups that the United States and Britain have been pretending for years are at the heart of Syrian military and political opposition, has been discredited. The remaining FSA fighters are in flight, have changed sides, or are devoting all their efforts to surviving the onslaught from jihadi or al-Qa’ida-linked brigades.
The US and Britain stopped the delivery of non-lethal aid to the supply depot at Bab al-Hawa as the implications of the disaster sank in. The West’s favourite rebel commander, General Salim Idris, was on the run between Turkey and his former chief supporter and paymaster, Qatar. Turkey closed the border, the other side of which is now controlled by the Islamic Front. The so-called moderate wing of the Syrian insurgency has very limited influence, but its representatives are still being urged by Washington and London to attend the peace conference in Geneva on 22 January to negotiate Bashar al-Assad’s departure from power.
Confusion over what is happening is so great that Western leaders may not pay as much of a political price at home as they should for the failure of their Syrian policy. But it is worth recalling that the Syrian National Coalition and the FSA are the same people for whom the US and UK almost went to war in August, and saw as candidates to replace Assad in power in Damascus. The recent debacle shows how right public opinion in both countries was to reject military intervention.
Who are the winners in the new situation?
One is Assad because the opposition to him – which started as a popular uprising against a cruel, corrupt and oppressive dictatorship in 2011 – has become a fragmented movement dominated by al-Qa’ida umbrella organisation the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); the other al-Qa’ida franchisee, the al-Nusra Front; and the Islamic Front, consisting of six or seven large rebel military formations numbering an estimated 50,000 fighters, whose uniting factor is Saudi money and an extreme Sunni ideology similar to Saudi Arabia’s version of Islam.
The Saudis see this alliance as capable of fighting pro-Assad forces as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but Riyadh’s objections to the latter appears to be based on its independence of Saudi control rather than revulsion at its record of slaughtering Shia, Alawi, Christians, Armenians, Kurds, Turkomans or any dissenting Sunni. The allegation of Saudi control is becoming easier to substantiate. Until a year ago, the Saudis stayed somewhat in the background when it came to funding the Syrian rebels, in which the leading role was played by Qatar in association with Turkey. But the failure of the rebels to win and US anger that the Qataris and Turks had allowed much of the aid to go to jihadis led to an important change this summer, when Saudi Arabia took over from Qatar as chief supporter of the rebels. An interesting example of just how hands-on this Saudi direction has become is illustrated by a fascinating interview given by a top defector from the FSA to Isil, Saddam al-Jamal. Commander of the Liwa Allah Akbar battalion, he was until recently the top FSA commander in eastern Syria, much of which is under rebel control. He recalls that “we used to meet with the apostates of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and with the infidels of Western nations such as America and France in order to receive arms and ammo or cash”. He says Western intelligence operatives had of late been worried about the growing influence of al-Qa’ida affiliates and repeatedly asked him why he was growing a beard. Jamal gives an account of a recent three-day meeting between the FSA commanders from northern and eastern Syria with Western, Saudi, Qatari, Emirati and Jordanian intelligence operatives. This appears to have been soon after the Saudis took over the Syria file from the Qataris. He says the FSA commanders, including General Idris, had a meeting with Prince Salman bin Sultan, the Saudi deputy defence minister who was the leading figure at the meeting. Jamal says that Prince Salman “asked those who had plans to attack Assad positions to present their needs for arms, ammo and money”.
The picture that Mr Jamal paints is of an FSA that was a complete pawn to foreign intelligence agencies, which is one reason why he defected. The Saudis subsequently decided that the FSA would not serve their purposes, and were frustrated by America backing away from war in Syria and confrontation with Iran. They set about using their limitless funds to attract into alliances rebel brigades such as the Islamic Front which would be Sunni fundamentalist, committed to the overthrow of Assad, against political negotiations, but distinct from al-Qa’ida. In reality, it looks highly unlikely that Saudi money will be enough to bring down or even significantly weaken Assad though it may be enough to keep a war going for years.
The old, supposedly moderate, opposition has been marginalised. Its plan since 2011 has been to force a full-scale Western military intervention as in Libya in 2011 and, when this did not happen, they lacked an alternative strategy.
The US, Britain and France do not have many options left except to try to control the jihadi Frankenstein’s monster that they helped create in Syria and which is already helping destabilise Iraq and Lebanon. Turkey may soon regret having given free passage to so many jihadi on their way to Syria. Ankara could close its 500-mile border with Syria or filter those who cross it. But Turkish policy in Syria and Iraq has been so dysfunctional in the past three years that it may be too late to correct the consequences of wrongly convincing itself that Assad would fall.
The Geneva II peace conference on Syria looks as if it will be born dead. In so far as the FSA and its civilian counterparts ever repres-ented anyone in Syria they do so no longer. The armed opposition is dominated by Saudi-sponsored Islamist brigades on the one hand and by al-Qa’ida affiliates on the other. All US, British and French miscalculations have produced in Syria is a re-run of Afghanistan in the 1980s, creating a situation the ruinous consequences of which have yet to appear. As jihadis in Syria realise they are not going to win, they may well look for targets closer to home.

Saudi Arabia admits defeat in anti-Syria plot: Analyst

Saudi Arabia has conceded defeat in its attempt to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, an analyst tells Press TV. “Saudi Arabia – or Fraudi Arabi, as some people call it - they have fallen on their sword. They were given a period of time to try to get rid of this government in Syria. They were given the support,” Randy Short said in an interview on Sunday. He said Saudi Arabia “is in the dark house because they cannot handle their own domestic situation,” adding, “They have got a mess in Bahrain and all the other places that they fund people doing these things. And it has just made a mess.” The analyst stated that the failure of Saudi “maniacal Wahhabis” in politics has forced the United States and Britain – both close allies of Riyadh, to “distance themselves from the extreme elements of Saudi foreign policy.” However, Short said, Saudi Arabia, US and UK will remain “in bed together.... They may not want to have AIDS but they are still sleeping with the infected person.” Short added that the US, UK and their “proxies have done everything they can to destroy the legitimate government of Syria.” Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country. The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years. The UN has predicted that more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country.

Bahrain: The high price of telling hard truths

Soon after the popular uprising began in Bahrain in 2011, 13 opposition leaders were arrested. Their ‘crime’ was expressing their opinions peacefully: calling for democracy, an end to corruption, opposing the monarchy.
After an unfair trial the men were sentenced to between five years and life in prison. Some say they were tortured, and all are prisoners of conscience. Farida Ghulam, wife of imprisoned opposition leader Ebrahim Sharif, told Amnesty International their story.
Please tell us a little about yourself, Ebrahim and his connection with the other prisoners
Ebrahim is a prominent political figure – he’s been the Secretary General of Bahrain’s secular National Democratic Action Society (NDAS) – the Wa’ad party – since 2007. I’ve been married to him for 28 years. I’ve been a women’s rights activist since I was 17 and have been president of Bahrain’s first women’s rights organization. I’m currently the head of the NDAS’ Women’s Bureau and work as an evaluation specialist in Bahrain’s Ministry of Education.
Ebrahim (pictured on the “stamp” image right, with ‘Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja
) is an outspoken person who became a threat to the government. If you are in the opposition and telling hard truths that people are afraid to speak about – like stolen lands and secret budgets – you become a target. He and the others come from different schools of thought, but are all part of the opposition. After 14 February 2011 [when Bahrain’s popular uprising began], people gathered at the Pearl Roundabout [in the capital, Manama], where Ebrahim and the others were giving speeches every night. The government wanted to put them all in one basket and accused them of trying to topple the regime.
What happened when they were detained?
Ebrahim was arrested on 17 March 2011 [all 13 men were arrested between that day and 9 April 2011]. Around 30-40 guards came at 2am and kept ringing the bell. One pointed his gun at Ebrahim’s head. Ebrahim was very calm – saying he didn’t have to use the gun, and that he would go with them voluntarily. They took him, and when I asked where I could contact him they laughed at me. It was a very tough moment. That night, Ebrahim and others were stripped naked and put in solitary confinement. A teamof torturers beat them for around an hour, three times a day. They threw cold water on Ebrahim’s mattress and turned the air conditioning up high so he couldn’t sleep. After two months the torture stopped because of international attention. The men now suffer from pain, illnesses and the aftermath of torture, and most have not been given any medical treatment. What happened during and after their trials? They went through trials for 21 months with no means of defending themselves. Some were sentenced to life [Hassan Mshaima’, ‘Abdelwahab Hussain, ‘Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Dr ‘Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad, Abdel-Jalil al-Miqdad and Sa’eed Mirza al-Nuri], others to 15 years [Mohammad Hassan Jawwad, Mohammad ‘Ali Ridha Isma’il, Abdullah al-Mahroos and ‘Abdul-Hadi ‘Abdullah Hassan al-Mukhodher]. My husband and another man [Salah ‘Abdullah Hubail Al-Khawaja] got five years. It was astonishing and strange when a civilian appeal court said in April 2012 that what happened in the military court was wrong, that they should be free. But the public prosecutor said nothing would change. It was devastating, especially for those who were sentenced to life. But because this is a political situation and the government is taking revenge against masses of people, it makes your problem seem a little bit smaller. You have to be strong for your family and other people.
How has their imprisonment affected you and the other families?
I have become more outspoken – all the families take any opportunity to speak on the men’s behalf. I’ve had many hate letters and messages on Twitter – people sending me a picture of a hang rope, saying that I am a traitor. I was dismissed from my job for three months and interrogated. But it’s worth it, because this is a just case. The regime here is trying to control every outlet for the opposition, including on national TV, and most magazines. But now everyone uses Twitter very successfully to convey their messages. If your account is big, the Ministries of the Interior or Justice sometimes reply, using degrading language, saying that we are lying. But we are simply telling the truth.
What does it mean to the 13 men to be featured in Write for Rights 2013?
I have to thank Amnesty for all its efforts – it really affects the men’s spirit by reminding them that they are not forgotten. All these people writing for their cause – it’s a big thing! International activism has a tremendous effect on Bahraini activists, knowing that somebody is telling their story. In our country there has been a total plan to block the opposition, spread lies and distort the story. It’s very important for us– it gives us more confidence and strength to continue. It makes us happy that there are people who appreciate basic rights, stand by their principles and use their time and effort to help us. It’s a beautiful solidarity feeling.
What are your hopes for Bahrain’s future?
We have a road map for a better future called the Manama Document. We want a society with equality for all, where all Bahrainis can get a job if they are competent, instead of having discrimination against Shi'a and opposition party members. We continue to hope that international pressure will make the Bahraini government admit that the uprising resulted from long unresolved political issues that continue to be ignored and silenced, instead of trying to control everything. You can’t lie all the time.

Saudi activist sentenced to 300 lashes, 4 yrs in jail after calling for constitutional monarchy

A Saudi Arabian political activist was sentenced to four years in prison, 300 lashes, and a travel ban after calling for a constitutional monarchy. He is the fourth member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) to be jailed this year.
ACPRA’s Omar al-Saed, 24, was jailed after the organization called for democracy and made statements criticizing the country’s ruling family over its human rights record, Reuters reported.
Al-Saed berated the motivations behind his imprisonment via the ACPRA website in a statement released by the group on Friday: “I am the proud prisoner Omar Mohammed al-Saed. I read out to you the motives and causes of my imprisonment: my hatred of injustice, the fabrication of pain and misery, taking advantage of passive attitudes, treating them as if they were fools, and denying them their livelihoods for brutal personal ambition,” he said.
Al-Saed was not allowed legal representation at the secret hearing in which he received his sentence, according to an ACPRA statement. The judge denied that the session had been kept secret, but al-Saed rebutted that for a session to be public, it must be announced prior to its taking place so that proper representatives are able to attend and people can bear witness to its proceedings.
“This unjust sentence is an honor and pride to Omar al-Saed and a disgrace and shame to Judge Issa al-Matrudi,” the activist’s brother, Abdullah al-Saed, tweeted after learning of the sentence late on Thursday.
“It's just another troubling instance of Saudi authorities' absolute refusal to countenance any activism or criticism of Saudi policies or human rights abuses,” Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch told Reuters on Sunday.
A spokesman for the country’s Justice Ministry would not confirm the accuracy of the report to the agency.
Media in the country is strictly self-censored. Political dissent or criticism of the dominant Wahhabi (Sunni) royal family is not tolerated, and protests are outlawed.
At the end of November, two Saudi men were arrested for offering ‘free hugs’ to passersby, on the grounds that they were “indulging in exotic practices” and offending public order. Amnesty International has spoken out against the regime’s oppressive practices, releasing a report titled “Saudi Arabia: Unfulfilled Promises” in October. The report slammed the country for failing to implement any of the main recommendations they accepted under a previous review by the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which took place in 2009.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the top five executioners in the world. The death penalty is still applied to a wide range of non-lethal crimes such as adultery, armed robbery, apostasy, drug smuggling, kidnapping, rape, “witchcraft,” and “sorcery.” Since 2009, appeals by the growing human rights movement in the country have been met with harsh measures such as arbitrary arrests, detention without charge or trial, unfair trials, and travel bans, Amnesty stated.

Mandela buried in ancestral homeland

After a funeral service attended by 4,500 guests and watched by millions worldwide, Nelson Mandela's body was laid to rest in his boyhood home in Qunu.

Sameera Nasiry - Yaar Jaani New Afghan Song

Karzai stresses India’s role in Afghan uplift
President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said India was among the countries supporting Afghan youth in the education sector, acknowledging New Delhi’s crucial role in enhancing his country’s capacity.
Currently on a four-day state visit to India, Karzai is accompanied by a high-level delegation that also participated in the conference “India and development partnerships in Asia and Africa: Towards a new paradigm”.
A statement from the Presidential Palace in Kabul said Karzai made the remarks in his key note address at the two-day conference organised by Symbiosis International University and the Ministry of External Affairs. Welcomed by two Afghan students holding their country’s flag, Karzai called India one of the most important countries in supporting and developing Afghanistan, particularly its education sector.
Extension of electricity lines from the northern zone to Kabul, construction of the parliament building, a power dam, Indira Gandhi Child Hospital in Kabul and providing thousands of scholarships to Afghan students illustrated New Delhi’s support for Kabul, Karzai added.
“We have witnessed India’s active support in facilitating Afghan students. The students returning from India are better serving their motherland,” the president said.
Karzai delivered the address on the second day on the topic 'Afghanistan-India partnership for development.' He also interacted with international students of the university at a special session on the future of education.

Afghanistan: HRW Concerned With Increasing Child Abuse

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has expressed heightened interests in combating child abuse, exclusion from education and lack of access to health services. Child abuse has reportedly increased by 28 percent since the last year.
In a recent report, AIHRC details discussions that were held with 4,160 kids from 27 provinces. From those interviews, the following data was collected:
1- Over 300,000 kids and teenagers are addicted to drugs
2- On average, over one hundred cases of child molestation occurred in Kabul.
3- 51 percent of the respondents worked in a way.
4- 25 percent of the respondents worked on the borders of the country.
5- 76 percent of the respondents don't have access to healthy water.
6- Close to 2,000 kids all over the country are disabled.
7- Millions of kids are excluded from education.
8- 46 percent of the girls marry before the age of 18 and 15 percent before turning 15.
9- 12 percent of the respondents have reported being discriminated due to being female.
"No parent likes their kid doing harsh works, but due to large family sizes or drug addiction of some of the fathers, kids have to work. This is while these children need to play and have fun, but they have to work from morning to evening," said Seema Samar, AIHRC Director.
"The Commission is seriously concerned with those who get away with child molestation," Child Rights Coordinator Najeebullah Babrakzai said. "Bacha Bazi or boy-molestation is an alarming issue that we have researched and we consider this notion of Bacha Bazi to be the reason for child molestation."
This AIHRC said corruption was one of the main forces that perpetuated child abuse by protecting abusers. This Commission called on the government to take initiative and curtail the trend.

British Ahmadi doctor jailed in Pakistan for 'posing as Muslim'

A 72-year-old British doctor is in prison in Pakistan for “posing as a Muslim”, charges that reveal an escalating ideological fight that often spills over into violence.
Masood Ahmad is a quiet, reserved widower who returned to Pakistan to open a pharmacy in 1982 after decades of working in London to pay his children's school fees, his family said. He is also an Ahmadi. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims, and Ahmadis can be jailed for three years for posing as a Muslim or outraging Muslims' feelings.
Some clerics promise that killing Ahmadis earns a place in heaven. Leaflets list their home addresses.
Three years ago, 86 Ahmadis were killed in two simultaneous attacks on Friday prayers in Lahore. There have been no mass attacks since then, but targeted killings are rising: last year 20 Ahmadis were killed, up from 11 in 2009. And legal prosecutions are on the rise, say Ahmadis, some of which they say are linked to property grabs.
Ahmad was arrested in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore last month when two men posing as patients questioned him about his faith and used mobile phones to secretly record him reading a verse from the Holy Quran.
“He (the patient) said you are like a father to me, please help me with some questions,” said the doctor's older brother, Nasir Ahmad. “When (my brother) answered, they began beating him and dragged him outside by his neck.”
One of his accusers, religious teacher Muhammad Ihsan, told Reuters that Ahmad had preached to them illegally. Last year 20 cases against Ahmadis were registered, up from 10 cases in 2009. A bank clerk was arrested for wearing a ring with a Quranic verse and an entire family was charged for writing a Muslim greeting on a wedding invitation. Clerics have twice sought the arrest of an entire town of Ahmadis, 60,000 people, for holding religious celebrations.Residents were serving food, giving out sweets and displaying bunting, the complaints said.
“We would not have a problem with them if they did not use the name of Islam and the symbols of Islam,” said Tahir Ashrafi, head of the powerful Ulema Council of clerics. “We are against the killing of any innocent... Such attacks are not acceptable or allowed, but if they break the law, we have a right to go to the police,” he said.
“His children watched him die”
There are about half a million Ahmadis in Pakistan, their leaders say. Many only feel safe in Rabwa, a town they bought when Pakistan was created in 1947. On its main streets, banks of security cameras monitor fruit vendors and dozing dogs. Near the playing fields, blocks of flats house families that fled other parts of Pakistan after loved ones were murdered. Rafiatta, who asked her last name not be used, moved to Rabwa after gunmen killed her husband in 2010 in front of their young children. “He was just a hard-working man who loved his family,” she said. The family fled after two Ahmadi neighbours were also killed and men tried to kidnap Raffiata's young son. The Ahmadi are also targets outside Pakistan. In Indonesia,a gruesome YouTube video recorded a mass lynching in 2011 as police looked on. Ahmadi publications are banned in Bangladesh, where a festival site was torched earlier this year. In Britain, Ahmadi buildings have been vandalised and leaflets have appeared forbidding them to enter shops and urging Muslims to kill them, British media have reported. But Pakistan is the epicentre of persecution.
Jailed with no bail
Last April, a 25-year-old hospital clerk and his father were at home in Lahore reading an Ahmadi newspaper when a crowd broke down their door, the clerk said. They beat the two and looted their home. Then a gunman forced the pair into a car without license plates, the clerk said. He asked not to be named for fear of retribution. Their kidnappers went free but the two were eventually charged with impersonating Muslims in special anti-terrorist courts designed to combat the Taliban. The clerk was released after a month, but his father, who has not yet been convicted, has been in prison for nine months.The family has since fled their home and the man now occupying it is refusing to pay them for it.
“Nobody has the courage to give him bail or dismiss the case,” the clerk said.
And that's what Masood Ahmad's family fears. He has had three bail hearings. One was picketed by scores chanting anti-Ahmadi slogans and his frightened lawyer skipped the next two. British authorities are giving him consular assistance. His son, one of seven children in Britain and Australia, said the family suspected someone was trying to steal his father's dispensary. “I feel so angry because I can't do anything from here,”said 39-year-old Abbas Ahmad, a cab driver in Glasgow. “It's awful to know that people were plotting against someone you love.”

Pakistan’s Deobandis’ insane arrogance over a Bengali rapist-mass murderer’s hanging
by Taj
Judging by the reaction of Pakistan’s Deobandi politicians and journalists over Abdul Quader Molla’s hanging, one should not be blamed if one thought that in Bangladesh an innocent man of God has been lynched by a mob.
On 13 December 2013, Abdul Quader Molla, a top leader of Jamaat-e-Islami was hanged for raping Bengali women and mass killing Bengali men and children. The unspeakable horror Abdul Quader Molla wreaked on his innocent victims was that they wanted to live as free human beings in their own homeland. But Abdul Quader Molla wanted them to continue to be slaves of the corrupt generals of then West Pakistan. We will not go into the details of what Jamaat-e-Islami did to the people of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, because it is all available on the Internet. What we would like to note is the sheer insane and arrogant reaction by the Deobandis and Takfiri-Deobandis in Pakistan to the hanging of a super terrorist who was also a third-rate human being.
Led by Pakistan’s pro-Taliban Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan, the Takfiri-Deobandis not only condemned the hanging, but also justified the rape of thousands of Bengali women and mass killing of Bengali men, women and children. Chaudhry Nisar Khan spoke for his government when he termed the hanging unfortunate and a tragic step. “There was no doubt that Molla was hanged because of his loyalty and solidarity with Pakistan in 1971. . . . Every Pakistani is saddened and grieved over his death. . . . It would have been better if the Bangladeshi government had shown farsightedness‚ large heartedness and magnanimity instead of opening old wounds. (Read:
Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and pro-Deobandi cleric, Munawar Hassan, decried his Bangladeshi comrade’s execution as deplorable. In a stement published in Pakistani newspapers, Munawar Hasan said: “Molla embraced martyrdom with a smile on his face. His unflinching spirit is commendable. His execution at the hands of a “slanted” war tribunal is nothing but a mockery of justice”. Going forward, JI Ameer also picked apart the government of Pakistan for being ‘criminally silent’ over Molla’s unjust hanging. He added that Molla indeed became a victim of patriotism. (Read:
Similar statements were issued by leaders of banned Deobandi outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP, currently operating as ASWJ) and other Deobandi clerics, politicians and media persons of Pakistan. 11
Just for record, here is a brief snapshot of crimes of the rapist-murderer who is being eulogized by Deobandi clerics and politicians in Pakistan:
“They banged her two-year-old brother against the floor until he died, her two sisters were slaughtered, another was raped, and her pregnant mother was shot dead. She lay hidden beneath a cot, transfixed, numb with fear, watching these ghastly scenes being enacted before her eyes. She struggled in vain to not shout but gave in to the horrific incident and let her pain come out loud. Then, it was her turn, to be brutally raped. In the evening of Mar 26, 1971, Jamaat-e Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla and several other Biharis forced into the residence of Hajrat Ali Laskar in Mirpur. Ali was shot at, his pregnant wife and her two daughters aged 7 and 9 years were slaughtered.” (Read:
The Jang Media Group’s daily The News titled its report on the hanging as “BD JI leader buried amid violence”. The “violence” in Bengadesh it reported was this: “In Dhaka, Jamaat-e-Islami activists torched at least four cars and a motorcycle near the country’s main railway station, said Shahzadi Sultana, a fire main railway station, said Shahzadi Sultana, a fire official. Several homemade bombs were detonated during the attack, Somoy TV reported.” (Read:
In Dhaka, a city of 20 million people, “at least four car and a motorcycle” is violence for a pro-Taliban publication like The News! But The News was not alone in sensationalizing the non-event of the pro-Jamaat-e-Islami ‘violence’. Urdu daily Jang, a sister publication of The News, did the same. It reported that protest rallies were staged all over Pakistan, as if a Pakistani had been killed! Jang informed its readers that the entire country of Bangladesh was rocked by protests resulting in a number of killings. The ‘high’ number of protesters killed, by Jang’s own admission, is six! (Read: Similarly, the far-right Nawa-e-Waqt came up with front-page coverage of the death of the Jamaat-e-Islami rapist-mass murderer. Like The News and Jang, it cited that all over Pakistan, people protested the killing and offered funeral prayers for the man (Read: In its editorial Nawa-e-Waqt wrote, “This is not what happens in civilized societies” (Read: What about the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of Bengali men and women? Certainly that was a hallmark of a civilized army and its Deobandi-Salafi supporters. But it were the Deobandis columnists who truly cried foul in support of the rapist-mass murderer. For instance, Ajmal Niazi, a right-wing columnist and conspiracy theorist, claimed an Indian conspiracy behind the hanging. Holding Hasina Wajid responsible for the hanging and calling her a stupid woman, he dubbed the hanging “a shameless affair”. He went on raving and demanding, “Pakistan must not sit silent over the hanging and act. Otherwise it will cowardice on our part” (Read: Another columnist, Nawaz Raza, said, “The death of Abdul Quader saddened Pakistani politicians. In the National Assembly and the Senate, legislators were a picture of gloom and sadness over the cruel act of the Bangladesh government’s hanging of the man who fought for the existence of Pakistan” (Read:
But it was two infamous Takfiri-Deobandi journalists who shed tons of crocodile’s tears. Oraya Maqbool Jan, the most infamous Takfiri-Deobandi journalist, wrote a column on Abdul Qader Mulla’s hanging which can be considered a landmark in the history of journalistic absurdity. It is a must-read column which is comprised of voodoo history, alchemy, and necromancy. Only a separate editorial, indeed a research paper, can deal with. But we would cite just one claim he makes, “On account of Pakistan’s having been hijacked by certain elements, not many eyes in the country have shed tears on the hanging. Those eyes which are not shedding tears on the death of those who sided with the Pakistan army, will not shed tears for those who have supported the Pakistan army in Baluchistan and Swat” (Read:
Another Deobandi columnist, Khalid Masood Khan, used extremely flowery Urdu to mourn the hanging of Abdul Quader calling it “a heart-rending death of the man who was hanged by a kangaroo court for being a support of the Pakistan army and the Two Nation Theory” (Read:
Scores of examples can be given showing how Pakistan’s Deobandis have reacted to the hanging of a mass murderer. The point is: No Takfiri-Deobandi has said a word about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Bengalis killed for their ‘crime’ which was their just and legitimate demand to live as free people. Pakistan’s National Assembly led by Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, an ally of Sipa-e-Sahaba (ASWJ) and the Taliban (TTP), offered prayers for the rapist-mass murderer. It is the same Takfiri-Deobandi mindset which has allowed the massacres of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis and Christians in Pakistan. This mindset has no respect for human rights and people’s right to self-determination. The only evil the Takfiri-Deobandis see is the opponent who happens to have a different view than theirs.
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Imran keeps silent on shooting prices in KPK, as PTI picks Lahore for protest against inflation

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chose Lahore for its protest meeting against inflation on December 22, but its chairman does not utter a single word when it comes to price hike in Peshawar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In a press conference on Saturday, Imran Khan held Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) responsible for increasing inflation in the country, but he did not take responsibility for surging prices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to independent observers and analysts, the question is simple whether PTI government has reduced prices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The price situation in KPK is not all that rosy as prices of 23 essential items including flour, sugar, pulses, meat, milk, rice, bread (roti), cooking oil and tea have shot up in the last six months. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, price of 20 kg flour bag has risen by Rs. 180, tea per kg by Rs. 170 while prices of pulses Rs. 25 per kg, milk Rs.20 per liter and roti by Rs. 4. These items are in daily use of people and increase in their prices miserably affects their lives. One can hope that PTI invites other parties to hold a similar protest in Peshawar against rising prices. It is logical that if prices have increased in Punjab then these have also risen in other provinces.Despite making tall claims, the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has failed to deliver on its promises made to the people during the election campaign. PTI could not control incidents of bomb attacks and law and order problem is a big question mark on its performance. PTI is threatening to launch a campaign against price hike, but there is a complete silence from PTI when it comes to price hike, law and order situation and lack of infrastructure in the KPK province.

PPP, ANP seek clarification on Nato blockade

Opposition senators from the PPP and Awami National Party questioned on Thursday the government’s ‘silence’ over the blockade of Nato supply routes by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its allies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and asked the government to clarify its position on the issue.
“Why has the federal government abdicated its constitutional role and allowed political parties to block Nato supplies,” PPP parliamentary leader Raza Rabbani said while initiating a debate on the government’s foreign policy.
“Can this be taken as a tacit approval of the federal government?” he asked.
Mr Rabbani put 52 questions before the house and asked the government to clarify its stance on issues such as talks with the Taliban, Afghan policy, drone attacks, ties with India, and Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. He asked the government to brief the house about the gist of visits the prime minister recently paid to the US and Afghanistan and the US officials’ trip to Pakistan. Haji Adeel of ANP claimed that by blocking roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people of that province were being deprived of their sources of income because protesters were also stopping containers and trucks that were carrying goods under the Afghan Transit Trade.
He said the federal government was watching this as a spectator.
He regretted that no one stopped Nato supplies when weapons were being transported to Afghanistan through these routes but the same were being blocked now when foreign troops were about to leave the region. The ANP leader said Afghanistan is a sovereign country and his party would strongly resist interference in its affairs. He asked the government to grant citizenship to those Afghans who were born in Pakistan. During the question hour, the Senate was informed that by Nov 27 a total of 1,082 cases of missing persons had been registered. In a written reply, Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman informed the house that the number of missing persons in the Commission of Inquiry of Enforced Disappearances stood at 813 and the number of cases pending before the Supreme Court was 304. He said 14 cases were pending before the Lahore High Court, 174 before the Sindh High Court, 101 before the Peshawar High Court and 22 before the Balochistan High Court. Forty cases were registered in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Senate Chairman Nayyar Bokhari deferred the question when members from Balochistan expressed dissatisfaction over the reply, saying that the number of cases belonging to their province was not correct. Meanwhile, responding to a call-attention notice moved by Moula Bux Chandio of PPP, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said there was no proposal under consideration to close 450 small railway stations. He, however, said Railways was not in a position to open those stations that had already been closed, particularly the ones between Hyderabad and Badin. Mr Rafiq said that in line with the Supreme Court’s decision, they were writing letters to all chief ministers to seek possession of Railways’ land. He said the issue was being taken to the Council of Common Interests.
“If the issue is not resolved, we reserve the right to go to the court,” he added.

Bangladesh's Molla’s hanging & Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar's statement

Abdul Quader Molla of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) became the first person accused of atrocities during the country’s independence war to be hanged. Whereas a number of senior leaders of the JI in that country are behind bars awaiting trials on similar charges, it fell to the lot of Molla to be the first to have his trial completed and be sentenced to death. A last minute hoped for reprieve when the Supreme Court took notice proved infructuous when the court refused to reverse the death sentence. There has been concern internationally that the tribunals trying the accused for their role in massacres carried out by the JI’s militias, Al Badr and Al Shams against intellectuals and ordinary citizens in what was then East Pakistan do not meet the highest international standards of fair trial.
There also does not appear to be in place a proper appeals process to ensure justice is not only done, but is seen to be done. The surprising fact is that these trials and the hanging of Molla come 42 years after the events that finally led to the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country following an army crackdown, an indigenous insurgency led by the Mukti Bahini and a relatively short war with India that saw the Pakistan garrison in the eastern wing cut off and finally forced to surrender on December 16, 1971. The shame and ignominy attached to the whole Bangladesh episode was so embarrassing that the political and military establishment that followed the Yahya military junta responsible for the crackdown and atrocities in East Pakistan thought discretion the better part of valour. Even Mr Bhutto’s Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission report was suppressed. This was in line with the mood that gripped the remaining Pakistan’s elite: brush the whole tragic episode under the carpet and pretend it never happened. As a result, not only did we fail to learn any lessons from the tragedy, we have continued to repeat the same mistakes again and again and been responsible for subsequent generations being kept ignorant of this bloody chapter in our history, so much so that millions of young people today in Pakistan may not even know that Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan or the reasons why it separated. Not only this, we have never formally apologized for the atrocities visited on our Bengali brothers and sisters.
It should not surprise us therefore that whereas the government and the foreign office have acted with restraint so as not to appear to be interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign country with which we enjoy good relations bilaterally and as a member of SAARC, the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali has once more tooted a tune at variance with that restraint. Sounding like an ultranationalist JI spokesman, the feisty minister’s statement painted Molla as a hero of Pakistan, whereas Molla and his ilk helped ensure because of their bloodletting that East Pakistan would definitely break away, sooner or later. How does that make him a hero? This is like saying General Yahya, responsible squarely for the breakup of the country, should be considered a hero of Pakistan. Or, if the argument is stretched further, like our JI declaring an enemy terrorist like Hakeemullah Mehsud a shaheed (martyr). The JI, however, is not in power. Chaudhry Nisar’s party, the PML-N, is. How can the prime minister allow one of his ministers to shoot off at the mouth from time to time without even a nod at the government’s policy stance? Pakistan still has much to answer for vis-à-vis Bangladesh. Had we shown even a modicum of the large heartedness Chaudhry Nisar would have liked Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina Wajid to show in Molla’s case, we would have formally apologised to our brethren and sisters in Bangladesh soon after the tragedy, or at the very least at some point in the last 42 years. Sadly, we did not, and have now convinced ourselves it is so much water under the bridge and there is no need now to even contemplate such a possibility.
We should not attempt to wax indignant in matters concerning our erstwhile eastern wing, given the above sad facts. While our moral standing in these matters is weak, to say the least, there are nevertheless issues with Molla’s hanging that do not sit easily with rational minds. First, the length of time that has transpired since the crimes for which he was convicted, the advanced age of the accused, reservations about the trial and appeals process all militated against the death penalty in a world increasingly moving away from the ultimate and irreversible punishment. Under the circumstances, perhaps deprivation of liberty for life of the accused may have proved more appropriate, avoided the taint of either revenge (versus reconciliation a la the late lamented Mandela) or political partisan motivation. This last suspicion is rooted in the domestic divide in Bangladesh in the approach to upcoming elections, which have pitted the ruling Awami League against the main opposition Bangladesh National Party and its close ally, the JI. The violent reaction to the hanging strengthens this argument. Avoiding hanging would also have avoided offering the ultra-nationalists like Chaudhry Nisar and our JI the opportunity to make political capital out of this turn of events and causing diplomatic embarrassment in our relations with Bangladesh.

Pakistan has estimated one million heroin users
Between two trucks on an abandoned, garbage-strewn railway, teenagers openly shoot up drugs as children pass by on their way to school -- a daily scene in Karachi, where heroin is undermining Pakistan´s efforts to combat the spread of HIV.
"You can find any drug you want in Karachi," said Shahzad Ali, his left hand swollen by repeated injections, one of tens of thousands in the city of 20 million lured to cheap Afghan heroin. Like others, he stumbles around on the old railway line in the district of Musa Colony, where young people shoot up near mounds of smouldering garbage into which scavengers dig for anything that might be consumed or resold.
Pakistan has an estimated one million heroin users, half of whom use needles. There are fears that the country´s addiction is set to deepen, with neighbouring Afghanistan´s opium production hitting a record of 5,500 tonnes this year -- even before the withdrawal of NATO forces in 2014.
A former male prostitute and heroin addict, NGO worker Mohammad Imran knows all too well the ravages of the drug. "Because I belonged to this environment not so long ago, I can feel their feelings, their problems and everything else very clearly," he said. He witnessed first-hand the rise of heroin in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, where a shot can be bought for as little as a few European cents -- a fraction of the cost in the West. He distributes new needles to addicts from his mobile clinic. "I can understand exactly what someone needs and I can provide them a good service at the right moment. "Despite using for twenty years as a sex worker, Imran escaped HIV infection and AIDS.
Tarak Abbas was not so lucky. Diagnosed two years ago, his cheeks hollowed by years of drug abuse, he is now trapped, homeless on the streets of Karachi. "Whenever young kids come to me I tell them: ´Look at me, no one cares about me now´," he said. "The people who used to think I was a good man, they don´t even want to sit with me now, just because of AIDS. "He blames heroin for his problems. "There are many diseases you can catch and you are cut off from your loved ones. Your life is destroyed and you will lose respect. "Tarek is not alone. In Pakistan -- known as "The Land of the Pure" -- almost 30 percent of those who inject heroin are HIV positive, one of the highest rates in the world and up from 11 percent in 2005. NGOs are attempting to stem a HIV crisis by distributing clean needles in the slums of Karachi."At first people said we were promoting drugs, but they have since realised that heroin addicts always find a way to get a fix," said Dr. Maria Atif.
"It´s booming. You know it is increasing every day because there are a number of social factors that are propelling people toward this menace. And despite all the efforts claimed by government, it is easily available here."´
Pakistan has become a consumer´Afghanistan produces 90 per cent of the world´s heroin, with almost half of its production channelled through Pakistan on its way to Europe or Asia, hidden in containers shipped from Karachi, a sprawling port on the Arabian Sea. But the drug doesn´t just pass cleanly through Pakistan. It picks up addicts along the way. "Pakistan is a transit hub, but has also become a consumer," said Cesar Guedes, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Pakistan."Part of this drug stays in the country not because it is a profitable market... but because traffickers pay in cash and in kind, creating a local market.
"Karachi has in recent years seen a new crossover between the Afghan heroin destined for Europe and Asia and imported South American cocaine, fuelling speculation of collaborations between Latin American cartels and Pakistani drug lords or the Taliban, who are partly funded by the traffic.
"There are no boundaries, there is no nation, there is no religion, it is about money. They have joined hands to get more money," said Akbar Khan Hoti, chief of the drug unit at the Ministry of Interior. Local customs at the port of Karachi have only one sniffer dog, according to internal sources, and lack the ability to scrutinise the contents of the 3,000 containers that are scanned daily. With one gram costing the equivalent of one month´s minimum wage, cocaine -- unlike heroin -- is inaccessible to the poor majority of Pakistan. It is becoming more trendy among those who can afford it, however. Since the beginning of the year, "more than a ton of cocaine" has been seized at the port, said Hoti. "Cocaine is definitely fashionable, especially among young people seeking to escape," said Hussain, a young executive who returned to live in Pakistan after studying overseas. "There is nothing else to do.

Karachi-like situation being created in Peshawar

Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan observed on Friday that judiciary would not allow anyone to create Karachi-like situation in Peshawar come what may.
“The anti-state elements and criminals are also active in Peshawar to create Karachi-like situation as doctors and businessmen are being kidnapped in daylight and people’ houses are being bombed to harass and compel them to pay extortion money,” the PHC chief justice said during hearing of bail petition of a retired police officer who was charged with demanding extortion from a local businessman.
Taking notice of the surge in extortion demands by unknown persons from respectable citizens, a single bench headed by the chief justice issued notice to Inspector General of Police (IGP), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, asking him to constitute a team of senior investigators to unmask and punish those involved in this heinous crime. He said that it was the responsibility of the law-enforcing agencies to protect citizens and their property.
“The heads of the law-enforcing agencies and police force would have no justification to work on their posts if they fail to curb extortion, target killings and kidnappings for ransom,” he said. The bench also asked the provincial and federal governments to take the issue seriously and bring the cases of the people involved in these crimes before the courts for trial.
Shahidullah, counsel for the accused retired police officer, Ashiqur Rehman, submitted that his client was arrested on the charges of demanding Rs5 million through phone calls from Mujeebur Rehman, the owner of private car bargain centre. He submitted that his client was falsely charged in the case as there was a money dispute between the two. On the other hand, Mujeebur Rehman’s lawyer submitted that he had received 150 phone calls from various SIMs demanding the extortion money. He said there was also a videotape on record about the identification of the accused in the case. However, the court granted bail to the accused person with the observation that the evidence against him was not sufficient to keep him behind bars.