Saturday, June 21, 2014
LEFT-wing politicians within the campaign for a Yes vote are preparing a bid to ditch the Queen after independence, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. Opponents of the monarchy believe a vote for independence will give them a historic opportunity to turn Scotland into a republic, despite the SNP’s promise that the Queen will be retained as head of state. Last night, prominent figures on the left spoke out against the SNP’s stance, which was formalised in the Scottish Government’s proposed interim constitution published last week. The interim document confirmed that the Queen would be head of state in an independent Scotland. The commitment to keeping the Queen is today condemned by Colin Fox, the Yes Scotland advisory board member and national spokesman for the Scottish Socialist Party. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Fox argues: “I am sure the Scottish Socialist Party is not the only one to see the flaw in this plan. Constitutional sovereignty only rests in the people when they also have the right to elect their own head of state. ‘Hereditary privileges’ and ‘the divine right of kings’ have no place in democratic constitutions worthy of the name. “The view that ‘the people are sovereign’ cannot be upheld if we maintain a constitution that describes us as ‘subjects of Her Majesty’. Such an approach cannot be reconciled to democratic principles of equality, citizenship and the sovereignty of the people.” The aim of an independent Scotland removing the monarch as head of state was last night backed by other leading figures in the Yes campaign, including prominent members of the Scottish Greens and the left-leaning Common Weal project. The commitment to the monarchy was made in the Scottish Independence Bill proposals published by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week. The bill sets out the interim constitutional platform, which would serve as the basis for the government of Scotland from independence day on March 24, 2016, until a permanent constitution is agreed. The bill will be introduced to Holyrood after September’s referendum, if there is a Yes vote. It will be accompanied by a revised version of the Scotland Act, which would enable Scotland to act as an independent country until a permanent constitution is produced. Alex Salmond’s government has said Scotland’s permanent, written constitution will be agreed by the people in a constitutional convention, which will be established immediately after independence. Anti-monarchists believe the convention will provide them with the opportunity to frame a constitution for Scotland which does not have role for the Queen. Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP and independence campaigner, was more relaxed about the interim constitution than Fox, but he said he would be pursuing radical constitutional change in the long term. “I recognise that we are not suddenly going to convert the SNP to republicanism. After a Yes vote parliament will probably pass the interim constitutional law, which retains the Queen as head of state,” Harvie said. “After that, however, the constitutional convention will look at the alternatives and I will be making the case for an elected head of state. “We can live with that [the interim constitution] at the moment, but it is not my ideal preference. The most important thing is to secure a Yes vote.” Robin McAlpine of the Common Weal project run by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, the left leaning organisation set up in memory of the trade unionist, was also of the view that a Scottish republic could be established in the long term. “This is a transitional period and what I think that the SNP are down-playing is that they have said the people of Scotland can write the constitution, so we are actually going to have a national debate about who is going to be our head of state,” McAlpine said. “I would have thought that two years after a Yes vote, the chances of getting the idea of a constitutional monarchy through the Scottish people is slim. I will be campaigning for a Scottish republic, but I am not exactly worried about keeping her for the interim, it is hard to see how anything else would be possible.” McAlpine added: “This is an interim constitution and it is maybe going to last two years. Even I probably wouldn’t have summarily turfed the Queen out in an interim constitution. There is time to get that done.” McAlpine said he was relatively comfortable with the clause in the interim constitution, which said that Queen would be retained. But was less so with the clause, which followed, saying she would be followed on the throne by her “heirs and successors”. Last night, the No campaign described the differing positions on the monarchy in the Yes movement as a “shambles”. A Better Together spokesman said: “This infighting within the Nationalist camp, less than 90 days before the referendum, shows that even they have no idea what a separate Scotland would look like. “The nationalists should spend less time arguing over their fantasy constitution and come clean about how much starting up a separate state would cost people in Scotland.” A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The position of the Queen as head of state will form an intrinsic part of the constitutional platform in place for independence in 2016.… That is consistent with the people of Scotland being sovereign because, as the bill published last week says, in an independent Scotland, all state power and authority comes from and is subject to, the will of the people.”
Del Ponte: Terrorist acts of extremist groups and foreign mercenaries in Syria cause massive suffering
Member of the UN international investigation committee on Syria Carla Del Ponte said that terrorist acts committed by extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and foreign mercenary cause massive and unbearable suffering to the Syrian people, committing acts of murder, torture, and besieging cities.
Bahraini security forces have used teargas against protesters demanding the release of the body of a young man killed by the Al Khalifa regime.
The Saudi-backed police forces attacked the demonstrators in the northeastern village of Ma'ameer on Saturday.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Redwan Rizk, political commentator from Beirut, about Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah’s first trip to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, since the 2011 uprising in Egypt. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview. Press TV: What do you think about the implications of the strong alliance that we are seeing between Saudi Arabia and the new government in Egypt? Rizk: First, it’s very strange because historically Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not in a good term at all. On the contrary, they had a history of conflict and confrontation on many many fronts, especially if we remember the Abdol Naser’s time in Yemen over also many Arab issues at that time and the following time in the 70s and the 80s Egypt [and Saudi Arabia] were not in a good term at all. On the contrary, they were just opponents and they were fighting over just their decisions or the control of the Arab world and these confrontations led to a very sensitive crisis between both countries. But now we are seeing a new era is being written by the Sisi and King Abdullah and this is due to the presence of the Arab world and Islamic World because we can see it. It’s obviously that they agree on many, they have some sort of agreement over many many files in the region especially they think that, especially the Saudi’s monarchy thinks that they are eligible and they have all the right to control or to lead the Islamic world. First, because they are the richest country, they have this kind of enthusiasm and the dreams about becoming the Vatican of the Islamic world and third, they have the ideology and this is the main important… So, that’s why they believe that throwing out, ousting Morsi out of the presidential palace and that limited the power or putting an end to the Muslim Brotherhood dreams in controlling Egypt and spreading around in the Arab world, that brought both countries together into the same camp, the same alliance. So, the Saudis need the largest Arab country to support their dreams and their maps in controlling the Arab world and become the first Islamic country to lead the Islamic world. And they believe that they need this Egypt very much, they need the power of Egypt. They need the hundred million people behind Mr. Sisi in order to support their plans into the Arab world and Islamic world because they are very sensitive and they feel that so competitive with the Turks because the Turks support Muslim Brotherhood so much. After all, they still spread the words since three decades of the danger of Islamic Republic of Iran and they believe that Iran is a competitor, just spreading the influence of the revolution of Iran and the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia believe or they still feel this is a threat for them. So, it’s not strange to see both countries putting an end to a history of conflicts between both of them and they are getting together especially Mr. Sisi now, after the Egyptian economy is in a deep trouble suffering, and the generosity of the donations came from the [Persian] Gulf area from especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait in order to help Sisi controlling the economy. In return Sisi will stand or support the Saudi’s policy and become instead of becoming a leader in the Arab world, now Sisi started a very wrong move by becoming a follower to this brutal regime of monarchies in Saudi Arabia. I think this is a very wrong move made by Sisi because no matter what he will do, his economy will not recover just by aids. He needed some more of, kind of, reforming his government, putting an end to corruption suffering Egypt for many many years and this move will not put Egypt back in the lead in the Arab world. On the contrary, now Egypt is becoming just a follower in the Saudis, in implementing the Saudi’s policy in the Arab world and the Islamic world.
Benazir Bhutto's 61st Birthday: ‘Happy Birthday, Bibi. You persist to exist. For us, you never died’
‘No matter what, I would always be back!’
Hemmed in by roses beneath the soil lie the very heroes of the soil. Within the hearts of masses they exist immortally... Puzzled by the unimaginable reality of her being taken away, my heart is jolted each time I commence to think if she no more exists. Emotions are suddenly burst into tears - thoughts are shattered, as with a violent blow, when I am recalled that the glimmer of hope, the gleam of ecstasy is no more among us. Nature could not be that savage, my heart wails. Life is not that meaningless, the soul cries. However, William Penn’s words, ‘Death cannot kill what never dies’ holds true for the persona of the enigmatic Benazir who chose not her life, rather a bullet - for the people’s sake. Nevertheless, the anecdote of her valor is chronicled in the chapters of history extolling the valiance of my leader who gazed into the eyes of dictators and terrorists to rend them from the origins of her soil that has the essence of young blood of its soldiers and innocent citizens in it. Manifestation of her gallantry is such matchless that she continues to remain the strongest to hold millions of the people spellbound. Her true mettle, which at many times brought the nation out of obscurity and still continues to lead through her vision, is what signifies her existence till the day. Despite being physically departed to the other world, she could not leave forever. For she had pledged to return - return for her people and return to achieve what her father envisaged. “With me coming and going, I always worried they were fearful I wouldn’t return, like their father didn’t return one day. I told them no matter what, I would always be back.” For her own children, world was turned upside down when the streets of Pindi were reddened with her blood and for her people, every hope was shattered. Nevertheless, when roars the real lion, her son Bilawal, from Garhi Khuda Buksh chanting ‘Zindah hai Bibi zindah hai’ - pledging to uphold the legacy of her martyred mother - life is yet again breathed into the dead souls whose world ceased to exist after the fatal evening of December 27. She reemerges in her older daughter Bakhtawar who comes into prominence upholding the hopes of thousands of the destitute through her non-profit organization. My Benazir yet again leaves an everlasting impact on the entire world through her little one Aseefa, who leads the fight against polio saving the future of Pakistan from being crippled. Her children’s utterances as well as accomplishments explicit the existence of the vision of my Bibi Shaheed - vision that Bhutto articulated, Benazir passionately owned and is now being incessantly driven to realization by her children. Never intimidated by death, she never perceived it as an end to Bhuttoism. Neither did her people let her imaginations for an ideal Pakistan fade away. Even after December, directing all not to give up, her vivid motto continued to save Quaid’s Pakistan. The pang of loss got converted into the spirit of enthusiasm and momentum, as the masses assembled to defeat the mindset behind the monstrosity that has been costing every sane voice. The disciples of Benazir marched on to mold her dreams into actualities. What all committed to carry forward is the paramount she left behind – the Bhutto legacy. This legacy is the cause she died fighting for and the evil mindset is still frightened of. I find no doubt in stating that People’s Benazir exists. Not only through her own children, but in each of us who resists to the right wing forces of our system. For someone like me who never even met her, she is no less than a messiah. She is the spirit that keeps the fire burning in me. She has taught the millions how to live and how to die. “Life and death is in the hands of Allah, so live and die, not for yourself but, for others.” This is what I have learnt from a leader who was never terrified of the hardships. A leader who lived for the masses and died fighting for them. After her father, she has been the best leader Pakistan ever had – because she was not made one, but was born so. Her sacrifices for a Benazir Pakistan can never go in vain. And soon there will be the day when the sun would rise flickering with anticipation. Happy Birthday, Bibi. You persist to exist. For us, you never died.
Benazir Bhutto’ critical decisions as Prime Minister were when she said firm NO to establishment’s proposals that seemed to her dangerous in the long term for the state and society. In 1990 she said NO in to an offer from assorted mujahiden conveyed through their patrons in the establishment to take the jehad to Kashmir. She not only said NO but even asked the army and ISI to ensure that the Afghan mujahidden were not allowed to cross LoC.
June 21st is one of the longest days of the year. But its significance is much more than just that. It is also the day when Pakistan’s great leader was born 61 years ago. Benazir Bhutto was a brave and dauntless leader. With her charisma, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and compassion she was an ideal woman in many ways. Tested through fire, she never abandoned her ideals and belief in the freedom of humanity from tyranny. In a male-dominated and Islamic society, she became the first woman elected ruler of a Muslim country in modern history. She stood bravely against both the tyranny of terrorism as well as the tyranny of dictatorship. She was an embodiment of courage and endurance who did not allow her personal tragedies to stand in the way of her larger commitment towards her people. In the end, she was martyred for her courage and pursuit of freedom for her people. From getting the best of education, being a great leader to a conscientious mother, she has done it all. She fought for democracy until death and she worked selflessly for the Federation of Pakistan. She gave the supreme sacrifice for the people of her country and their democratic rights, and gave up her life so that the torch of freedom could burn in the night of dictatorship. She spread knowledge by building colleges and universities, especially of professional studies and vocational training. She opened the way for the middle classes to develop and prosper in the fields of medicine, engineering, law and other specialist studies. She had also fought for women’s health, social, discrimination issues and was against violence towards women. She planned to set up women police stations, banks and also courts. She was in the forefront to form the council of women world leaders. As a politician, daughter, sister, wife and mother, she fulfilled her responsibilities to the best of imaginable capabilities. She was a Benazir in every manner, thus being an icon to many women the world over, especially Muslim women. Traditionally, Muslim women are stuck to household chores and would not venture outside. But Benazir’s zest for life and her charisma was so good that she became a role model to many. She was a woman of honour who gave honour and raised the honour of her country and the people; she gave them an identity. She was a heartthrob to millions and continues to rule their hearts and minds even today. Her entire life is a role model, not only for the people of Pakistan but also the world. She may not be physically with us today but her ideals and vision continues to enlighten our path. Her intelligence and charm has left an everlasting print in everybody’s mind. She will live forever in the chronicles of history. She is a fine example for young people to emulate as they build independent lives and take our society forward in this, still young, century. She is a shining example inspiring generations of Pakistanis, Asians and Muslims to reach the heights of greatness; she taught us to dedicate our lives selflessly to our country, to our people and to the pristine values of justice, equality and freedom in this struggling country of ours. During one of her speeches in London, she said, “I appeal to the youth of Pakistan to come forward and unite for the restoration of democracy and constitutional rule. I have great faith in the youth of Pakistan. I know the youth will redeem my faith in them. You, the youth, are our successor generation. To you we pass the torch of leadership, our democratic vision baptised in the sacred blood of our martyrs. Dear students, dear youth, fight for what you believe in. Fight for democracy. Fight for our exploited and impoverished people. Remember, it is better to live like a lion for one day than live like a jackal for a thousand years. I wish you all success and happiness, my dear daughters and sons of Pakistan.” Today, her courageous outlook has set an example for future generations. We do not have many parallels in history to her life. Mere words are insufficient to pay tribute to a leader who lived and died solely for her nation and its people.
The Express Tribune
The Express Tribune
“ARY News’ licence was suspended just as the suspension of Geo TV’s licences was lifted,” he said. Aitzaz advised ARY to sue Pemra for Rs500 million. “ARY should file a case against Pemra… it would definitely win.” The PPP senator also called on cable operators to boycott Pemra’s decision. “How can Pemra suspend ARY’s licence when the matter is sub judice?” said PPP’s Rehman Malik while speaking to ARY News. “The prime minister should look into the matter,” he added. Speaking to the news channel, PAT chief Dr Qadri said ARY News was punished because of its support for his party.
“ARY News exposed the culprits behind the Lahore incident. They [the govt] are trying to scare channels from covering my return,” he said. “I condemn this act and request cable operators not to take any orders [from Pemra].” “You shouldn’t accept orders which go against the public’s interest.”
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo while commenting on the resignation of Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister, said that he had been made the sacrificial lamb to save the skin of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He said this in a statement issued from here today. He said that about thirteen had been killed in the Model Town abhorrent incident where Punjab Police used brutal force against the unarmed PAT workers. He said that in Parliamentary democracy it was the collective responsibility of the government led by Chief Minister that was responsible for the shocking incident. Rana Sinaullha alone cannot be held responsible for the tragedy, he added.
THE Pakistan People’s Party Punjab has chalked out an elaborate programme to celebrate the birthday of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on June 21 (today), with setting up blood camps throughout the province where the PPP workers will donate blood for the brave soldiers who are fighting against terrorists in North Waziristan. Several decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by President PPP Punjab Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo and attended by other party leaders representing PYO, Labour Wing, Woman Wing and Secretary General Lahore PPP and Social Media. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has already given instructions to the party rank and file to celebrate the birthday with simplicity and as such there will be no cutting of cakes to give the occasion a solemn overtone due to the fact that the country is in a state of war. The birthday in Lahore will commence with the opening of blood camp by Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP, at Aiwan-e-Iqbal at 10am on June 21, 2014. Samina Khalid Ghurki, President Lahore PPP, and Party Secretary General Tanvir Ashraf Kaira and other office-bearers will also be present there. Similar functions will be held in various offices of the PPP at all the district headquarters for which instructions had already been passed on by the party President. Blood camps will also be established in Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Mandi Bahuddin, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Sialkot Okara and Sahiwal where the local leadership will be present throughout the day. The blood donated will be screened for Hepatitis B and C and HIVs before handing over to the Army authorities.
“For me, the cause of women is God’s most noble cause, the cause of justice, equality, and life.”
This is what Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto professed, believed in and struggled to achieve. A woman of substance – she was applauded, praised and acclaimed the world over for her heroic determinations to empower women. Her vision encompassed a nation where women are empowered with words, with laws, with awareness, with economic opportunities and with role models. Bearing the honor of being the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Islamic world her realm of prosperity and victory enfolded a nation where women are free from the shackles of gender constraints; where women have the power to dream and to live with dignity. In her own words, that truly enliven the hopes of many dying hearts; Bhutto defined women empowerment as “the right to be independent; to be educated; to have choices in life. Empowerment is the right to have the opportunity to select a productive career; to own property; to participate in business; to flourish in the market place. We must shape a world free from exploitation and maltreatment of women. A world in which women have opportunities to rise to the highest level in politics, business, diplomacy, and other spheres of life.” This is the country Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto dared to dream, a country who would rejoice at the birth of a girl child, a country where no rape victims would commit suicide, a country where women would go freely to study and work. AND above all a country that would roar louder than ever at slightest injustice to women. Being an exemplary daughter herself, she became the shield of abused daughters of the entire nation by giving them hope that encouraged them to report abuse, speak for their rights and denounce cruelty. Being an exceptional mother, her voice reverberated united with all the mothers to curb the turmoil and dangerous instability they face in the name of honour killing. Sensitive to the needs of women of Pakistan, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto fought tenaciously against prejudice and indiscrimination. Adopting an aggressive stance, the tenure of her government sowed countless potent seeds to bear fruits of women empowerment and those that continued to influence the coming generations: The setting up of the women’s bank – the first of its kind, run only by women for women. The appointment of women judges to the superior judiciary for the first time in our history. The establishment of women’s police stations where women in distress could visit with confidence. The lift ban on women taking part in sports. The hosting of Women’s Olympics. Creation of human rights and women development ministry in the centre and provinces to specifically focus towards women empowerment. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto pressed the global leaders to tackle health issues including increased nutrition and immunizations to ensure health of women. She advocated the protection of women from domestic violence and war. And she connected the need for education of girls and women to their ability to work, and a woman’s ability to work as essential to achieving economic independence. During her two terms as Prime Minister, she criticized female infanticide and misogynist interpretations of Islam. She dreamed of a cosmopolitan, cultured, progressive and friendly country that would work towards the uplifting of women. She lived to let others live. She strove to give hope and she envisioned the unseen. As a role model for all the women of Pakistan and across the world, her courage outshined and lit the path to shape the future of women of Pakistan. June 21st 2014 marks the 61st birthday of Shaheed Rani and let her words illustrate her undying cause: “If you believe in something, go for it, but know that when you go for it there’s a price to be paid. Be ready to pay that price and you can contribute to the welfare of society, and society will acknowledge you and respect you for it. And don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”
On the occasion of the 61st birth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Friday extended heartfelt felicitations to the workers of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, while PPP Patron-In-Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called on all political forces to suspend politics as usual and show unity in support of the armed forces who are fighting against the terrorists under the operation Zarb-e-Azb. Zardari wished the democracy-loving people of Pakistan, especially the women and the marginalised sections of society for whom, he said, Benazir Bhutto had devoted her life. “The 61st birth anniversary of our great leader is being commemorated at a time when the nation has finally decided to root out militancy from its midst, a battle that Shaheed Bibi had vowed to wage and lead from the front and during the course of which she also laid down her life,” Zardari said. He said the recent declaration of the resolve to fight to the finish the militants is indeed an echo of Benazir’s clarion call to the people on the day she was killed. “This birth anniversary of our great leader is therefore doubly auspicious as it also marks a new resolve to defeat the ideology that is posing existential threat to the country.” He said this birth anniversary of his party’s leader is also an occasion to reiterate the pledge to defeat the militant mindset and uphold the ideals of democracy, pluralism and rule of law for which Benazir Bhutto stood for and struggled throughout her life. “Let us reiterate our resolve once again that we will not let the militants dictate their political agenda through force and that Pakistan will be a moderate and pluralistic country where the ultimate choice is made by ballot and not bullet,” Zardari said. Meanwhile, Bilawal said, “There should be no space for partisan politics at this time. All political forces should be united in supporting our armed forces and working to help IDPs.” Bilawal said the best way to pay tribute to Benazir Bhutto on her 61st birthday in current national scenario is to donate blood for the soldiers fighting on the frontlines against terrorism and to take full care of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs). He said, “Our great leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto laid down her life in the fight against terrorism and to show such gesture on behalf of the party leaders, workers, supporters and general masses would be the most appropriate in the current situation.” He said PPP organisations will arrange blood donation camps across the nook and corner of the country tomorrow and invited people from all walks of the life to come and donate their blood to play their role in fight against terrorists who want to wipe out this nation from its roots. Bilawal announced formation of PPP Workers Volunteer Force to facilitate the IDPs and called for suspension of politicking for the time-being to focus on the war on terror and helping our brethren who have turned IDPs by terrorists.
Pakistan People's Party will celebrate the 61st birth anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the capital on June 21 (today). According to a press release which issued here, the main function will be held at People's Secretariat here, where PPP district leaders along with party workers will cut a cake. Cake-cutting ceremonies will also be held in other parts of the city including Rawalpindi. It was decided in a meeting presided over by PPP Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo that blood camps would be set up in every city to pay tribute to the great leader. The blood would be donated to soldiers fighting against terrorists in Wazirastan. PPP Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo will inaugurate a blood bank at Aiwan e Iqbal and PPP Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki, Punjab general secretary Tanvir Ashraf Kaira and leaders and workers of all party wings would participate in the ceremony.