Monday, August 4, 2014
Xinjiang authorities revealed details of the Shache county terror attack on July 28 in a Saturday meeting chaired by its Party chief, putting the death toll at 96 and calling for a resolute crackdown to eradicate terrorists believed to be linked to overseas masterminds. In one of the largest attacks since the July 5 riot in 2009, extremists in Shache, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region attacked civilians, police stations and government offices on July 28, authorities announced. According to news portal ts.cn, a website administered by the Xinjiang government, police gunned down 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others in the attack on July 28 in Shache, Kashi prefecture. A total of 37 civilians, including 35 ethnic Hans and two Uyghurs, were killed by terrorists in the attack. Thirteen were reportedly injured, the regional government said after a meeting on Saturday presided over by Zhang Chunxian, head of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China. It was not reported whether the police had suffered any casualties. The attack, which was preceded by a large-scale police crackdown in Hotan and followed by the brutal murder of a respected imam in Kashi, signals the fight against terrorism has reached a decisive stage, analysts said. Xinjiang authorities said masked militants armed with knives and axes attacked police stations and government offices in Elixku township early on the morning of July 28 and were fought off by law enforcement. The extremists also set up roadblocks at multiple sites on the Bachu-Shache road, stopping vehicles before slashing passengers indiscriminately and forcing civilians to join them in the terror attack, Xinhua reported. Thirty-one vehicles were smashed and six were burned. Two government officials from a nearby township, who were Uyghur, were murdered after they allegedly criticized extremists for their terror activity. Police have identified Nuramat Sawut from Elixku township as the mastermind behind the attack. Sawut allegedly had close connections with the terrorist organization East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and had been spreading separatism and religious extremism thoughts through audio and video materials since 2013. Xinjiang authorities said Sawut and his group had had multiple gatherings in remote places since the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which they plotted the attack and prepared tools for their violent acts. It was reported that police had confiscated jihad-themed banners along with machetes and axes during the attack. "The scale of the incident is the largest in recent years in terms of the number of terrorists arrested. It shows that the conflicts between anti-terrorism forces and terrorists are becoming more fierce and confrontational as terrorists grew increasingly desperate," Pan Zhiping, director of the Institute of Central Asia at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. His opinion was echoed by Xu Jianying, a research fellow with the Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "We are still closely following the situation to see whether this attack is a turning point [in Xinjiang's anti-terrorism movement]," Xu said. The Shache attack came a day after a police hunt in which some 30,000 residents in southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture joined police forces to locate terrorists, China Central Television reported on Saturday. Nine terrorists were eventually gunned down and one was arrested. It was reported that more than 70 local residents have provided tip-offs to facilitate the operation. Authorities have offered 4.23 million yuan ($685,000) in cash rewards to those who helped hunt the terrorist group, Xinhua reported. The Shache attack was also followed by the murder of Jume Tahir, the 74-year-old imam of Kashi's Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in Xinjiang, two days later. Tahir had openly criticized terror activities and called for Muslims to stay away from extremist paths. Analysts believed that Tahir's murder was used to spread fear among Uyghur people and to isolate them from local government.
US missionary workers who contracted Ebola while fighting the deadly virus in Liberia were treated with an experimental serum that most likely saved their lives, CNN reported Monday citing a source familiar with details of the treatment. US doctor Kent Brantly working with the aid organization Samaritan's Purse first showed the symptoms of the disease on July 22. Three days later, his colleague Nancy Writebol was also diagnosed with the infection. According to CNN, the National Institutes of Health contacted the organization and offered the patients an experimental treatment which has never been tried on humans but showed positive results in experiments with monkeys. The medicine, known as ZMapp was manufactured by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. After the patients granted their consent, the manufacturer sent “three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures” to Liberia. Earlier on Sunday, top U.S. health official Dr. Tom Frieden announced that Brantly, who returned to the United States for treatment, showed signs of improvement. Writebol whose response to the medicine was initially not as remarkable, according to CNN, was given a second dose “which resulted in significant improvement.” Writebol is expected to arrive in the United States next week. CNN said that Mapp Biopharmaceutical was awarded with “additional funding” for “promising results” on July 30. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of the deadliest viruses known to mankind. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) put the number of people who contracted the disease since February at 1,440. The Ebola death toll in West Africa currently stands at 826.
According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), “the National Institutes of Health has been developing an Ebola vaccine for several years that has had encouraging results in primates.” Fauci is involved in a push for a fast track with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that a human trial for a vaccine to preempt an outbreak of Ebola is conducted.The target date is September for “phase 1 clinical trial” for the purpose of studying the “safety and some efficacy” of a new drug that will be marketed to the general public. Fauci explained that: “Results from the study should be available by January. If the vaccine proves safe and effective, it could be given to health workers in affected African countries sometime in 2015. We are starting to discuss some deals with pharmaceutical companies to help scale it up, so on an emergency basis, it might be available in 2015 for health workers who are putting themselves at extreme risk.” On July 31, 2014, President Obama amended Section 1(b) of Executive Order (EO) 13295 entitled, “Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases”, written by former president George W. Bush. The original EO stated in Section 1: “Based upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the “Secretary”), in consultation with the Surgeon General, and for the purpose of specifying certain communicable diseases for regulations providing for the apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases, the following communicable diseases are hereby specified pursuant to section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act: Cholera; Diphtheria; infectious Tuberculosis; Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named). Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is a disease associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, is transmitted from person to person predominantly by the aerosolized or droplet route, and, if spread in the population, would have severe public health consequences.” Obama’s change to section 1(b) is as follows: ” Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled. This subsection does not apply to influenza.” This alteration to EO 13295 comes just days before “two Americans infected with Ebola in Liberia” will arrive in Atlanta, Georgia and taken to Dobbins Air Force base just outside the Atlanta metro area. An unidentified spokeswoman for the US State Department was quoted in the media as saying: “Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a noncommercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival.” The US State Department is working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to coordinate the arrival of these Ebola victims to the US for treatment. One of the facilities where the two Americans will be treated is Emory University Hospital (EUH) because it “houses a specially built isolation unit equipped to treat patients exposed to deadly infectious diseases such as Ebola.” Bruce Ribner, head of the special unit at EUH said: “The 12-year-old unit, developed in collaboration with the CDC, which is right down the road, previously treated a patient with SARS, which swept through multiple countries in 2003. The unit is separate from other patient areas, and its staff is highly trained.” Ribner explained: “We can deliver a substantially higher level of care, a substantially higher level of support, to optimize the likelihood that those patients will survive this episode.” Since February of this year, the Ebola outbreak has spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia. An estimated 1,323 people have been infected and 729 have died from the virus. Richard Wenzel, infectious disease specialist and emeritus professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) commented: “The risk is low, but it’s not zero in terms of transmission … [however] all of the bodily fluids are highly infectious.” In 2012, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted a study on how Eloba is transmitted. The researchers showed “pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.” Gary Kobinger, scientist from the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) for the Public Health Agency of Canada explained: “What we suspect is happening is large droplets – they can stay in the air, but not long, they don’t go far. But they can be absorbed in the airway and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way.” Overseen by the US Department of Defense (DoD) under the Transformational Medical Technologies program (TMT) of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have spent millions of dollars conducting scientific research into the Ebola virus and its potential to be turned into a bio-weapon and potential vaccine efforts through Massachusetts-based Sarepta Therapeutics and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Canada . Soon after the project began, the funding was abruptly cut. The TMT creates relationships with private sector biotech firms, pharmaceutical corporations and academic institutions, as well as other government agencies to advance biological warfare, research viral and biological weapons and estimate threat levels of all biological agents based on ability to infect and effectiveness of devastation. The DoD suddenly stopped funding Ebola vaccine research through these two corporations due to financial constraints. Larry Zeitlin, president of Mapp Biophamracueticals commented: “With the sporadic nature of Ebola outbreaks, combined with the absolute deadly nature of the virus makes it a hard sell to large pharmaceutical corporations because it isn’t a huge customer base and big pharma is obviously interested in big profits. So these niche products which are important for biodefense are really driven by small companies.” The Ebola virus mysteriously appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1976 and has sporadically reappeared in the area without explanation ever since. It is believed that eating monkeys who are infected with Ebola was the initial mode of transmission. However this is accepted speculation because the scientific community agrees that the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown and therefore knowledge of transmission is only hypothesized. In 2012, a sudden outbreak of the Ebola virus surfaced, killing 14 people. The World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC and Uganda’s Ministry of Health came together to control the unexpected eruption. Dr. Paul Roddy, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a French charity, asserts that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Uganda has been stabilized, however an additional outbreak could erupt in another location. Roddy speculated that natives eating bush-meat were the catalyst for spread. He assumes that monkeys who have eaten infected bats, that were then consumed by Ugandans was the chain of infection. Eight days later, in the DRC, a new strain of the Ebola virus has surfaced according to medical volunteers from MSF. It is not the same strain as was discovered in Uganda. Back in April, locals in Guinea shut down an Ebola virus treatment center established by DWB because they believe that the organization has been infecting local populations with Ebola. Local government allowed DWB to set up camps with 60 international field workers to treat the Ebola break out that has ravaged Guinea. Bart Janssens, director of operations for DWB was warning the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is “totally out of control” and there is a strong need for “international organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and to increase the public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease.” Janssens said: “The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave. And, for me, it is totally out of control. I’m absolutely convinced that this epidemic is far from over and will continue to kill a considerable amount of people, so this will definitely end up the biggest ever.” DWB is pushing for “a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency. Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries.”
The command in Kiev has blatantly abandoned a group of more than 400 soldiers encircled by the self-defense forces, the senior Ukrainian officer who requested sanctuary in Russia with his men has revealed.
Lack of ammunition, food, fuel and clear orders from the command on how to act in the condition of encirclement has made the Ukrainian troops cross the border, Major Vitaly Dubinyak, a battalion commander, told Itar-Tass news agency. “For two weeks, we were fighting back without ammunition and fuel. I didn’t have the opportunity to feed my men for almost two weeks. We even ran out of first strike ration. The personnel were more exhausted by despair than by the actual shelling,” Dubinyak said. “Other than giving us a command to ‘hold on,’ Kiev provided us with no other assistance. And during the last week, they’ve aborted all communication. They’ve simply given up on us,” he added. A total of 438 soldiers, including 164 Ukrainian border guards, were allowed into Russia on Sunday night. The troops have been housed in a tent camp deployed near the checkpoint via which they entered Russian territory.
“In order to save the people, the commanders of units have made a decision to cross the border with Russia. All the equipment and weaponry had to be left on the Ukrainian side. The main thing was to save the people,” the commander stressed.
‘This civil war must be stopped’
Dubinyak said that he was surprised by “almost brotherly” treatment his men had received from Russian colleagues. “Those, who give order to us are lying that we are in war with Russia. None of the Russian’s even gave a wry look. They understand that we are hostages in this troubled situation,” he said.“A medical check-up was organized for us here. The wounded received assistance. We were fed. We showered for the first time in a month. We were given clothes, with conditions required for recreation created for us,” the commanded added. According to Dubinyak, his men went through “a meat grinder” and they won’t return to battle again. He urged the decision makers in Kiev to “fight on their own and send their own children to die.”
The commander also admitted that the fighting in south-eastern Ukraine has turned into a full-scale civil war. “I don’t know how I’ll look into the eyes of the mothers of those of my boys, who died. But I know for sure that this civil war must be stopped. I’ve seen enough tears of the locals and enough suffering of my men. I’m sick of it. The main thing is that we’re alive. We’ll deal with the rest after we get home,” Dubinyak concluded.
http://www.rferl.org/Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has rejoined an audit of election ballots, a day after negotiations with United Nations and Afghan election officials in Kabul. Nur Mohammad Nur, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said representatives from Abdullah's team were present during the vote recount on August 4. Abdullah's team had refused to attend the recount on August 3 due to disagreements over how votes would be adjudged fraudulent or valid. However, the UN announced an agreement had been reached with Abdullah later on August 3. The audit of all 8 million votes in the June 14 presidential runoff was halted last month amid technical disagreements between the quarreling candidates. Abdullah says massive fraud tilted the results of a preliminary vote count in favor of his rival, Ashraf Ghani.
By Zahid Ali Baloch
Pakistan must take strong action to ensure security for all religious and ethnic minorities; otherwise a generation of Hindus will be lost.The marginalization and mistreatment of the Hindu community in the Pakistan’s Sindh region is believed to have started during the era of Pakistan’s sixth president, the military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Violence was rare in the beginning; however it now seems like an everyday tool used by the extremist groups. Dr. Hari Lal, a community leader whose home was attacked told local media “We feel like there is a plan to get us out of here. That is because we are well-to-do, there is envy and people want us gone.” Islamic militancy flourishes with impunity against all religious minorities in Pakistan. Pakistan’s ruling government has failed to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, especially the Hindus in Sindh. As result, extremists are burning their religious temples, forcing them to covert to Sunni Islam, whisking them away and dumping their dead bodies. I have the privilege of knowing Kapil Kumar, a graduate in chemical engineering and a resident of Sindh. He is one of my great Hindu friends and a Fulbright Fellow. After the recent attack on his religious temple close to his home, I was extremely concerned about his safety. Once I got to know that he was doing fine, I could relax. I was talking to him and was also curious to ask him how does he feel being a religious minority in Pakistan. But before I asked him, I actually asked it to myself what I had felt being a religious minority in Pakistan. Honestly speaking, being the oldest settler in the southwest of Balochistan and belonging to the Baloch ethnicity, I never feared of persecution. Yet I have always feared that Islamic militancy would be used as a tool to counter the Baloch freedom movement. That has absolutely become a true presumption. Anyway, I assumed that I had a different mentality then Kapil Kumar. When I finally asked him how he felt, he replied, “People call it [Pakistan] land of the pure, but I feel shame to live in such a land of the pure where I am mistreated on account of religious orientation. ” Kapil added “We do not feel secure because it is easier for the extremist to attack us in Pakistan because our name reveals our religious identity, but I cannot change my name now.” I was extremely impressed by what he described to me. It is true that the followers of the different sects of Islam almost have similar names if they do not have similar views, but the names of Hindus are entirely different and are the symbol of their religious identity. Kapil Kumar was convinced that militant attacks against religious minorities will continue – and with impunity from the government. He said “I wish I could flee Pakistan because I am not optimistic about my life’s security. Sometimes, I receive threatening calls stating that if I do not convert, I would be abducted and taught a great lesson.” Pakistan’s government and human rights groups should take strong action to ensure security for all religious and ethnic minorities; otherwise a generation of Hindus will be lost in Pakistan.
By Shah Meer
According to Shia Hazara, there is too much discrimination against them to have a future in Pakistan.The recent spate of violence targeting the minority Hazara, Shia by sect, has left the community of about 500,000 people fearing for their safety in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan. According to locals over 1,000 Hazara have been gunned down in and around Quetta from the last 10 years. In the most recent incidents, in June at least 24 people were killed when gunmen stormed a hotel and opened fire indiscriminately in an outskirt area of Quetta. On the other hand widespread fear of harassment, discrimination and killings has prompted some Hazara community members living in Quetta to consider leaving the country, even through illegal means. With detail reports available approximately 30,000 Hazara have fled in the last five years. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an extremist group with links to al-Qaeda is allegedly behind the threats and assault as well as several other targeted attacks on Shias – particularly Hazara Shias – in Balochistan. It is worth mentioning here that extremist Sunni Muslims and a particular mind set in Pakistan continue to treat Shia Muslims as non-Muslims declaring them as kafir ( A derogatory, blasphemous term for those who don’t believe in Allah and his last prophet Muhammad). Under this discriminatory system, a large number of Shia Muslims particularly those belonging to Hazara community in Pakistan’s Southwestern province of Balochistan are forbidden from traveling, studying and working. According to Shia Hazara, there is too much discrimination against them to have a future in Pakistan. Meanwhile security institutions in Balochistan moved following operation Zarb-a-Azb in the North Waziristan and security was tightened at Hazara Town and Marriabad. During the Muslim festival Eid the security of mosques and other Islamic institutions and public buildings where the members of Hazara community are settled was strictly monitored following attacks on Zairin in Taftan hotels and Karachi International Airport. The Hazara want the government to act against those targeting them on the basis of sect and ethnicity and insist urgent steps are taken to end the persecution. According to Hazara leaders they are being targeted on account of “both ethnic and sectarian grounds” by extremist groups – mainly the sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba. Moreover, the Hazara are also concerned about further persecution if the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's offensive campaign against militant strongholds in North Waziristan has resulted in the purging of elaborate terrorist cells, but it also reveals the cost the government has paid in making deals with militants and delaying a necessary purge.Pakistan's offensive campaign against militant strongholds in the tribal region of North Waziristan has resulted in the long-awaited purging of elaborate terrorist cells. The government says it wants to eradicate breeding grounds for extremism in what has been billed a "decisive battle" against religious militancy. Hundreds of terrorists were killed, arms and ammunition were seized and torture cells were unearthed, while facilities dedicated to producing explosives and propaganda were captured. The offensive has reaped dividends for Pakistan's military in an area that has long been known as the hub of international terrorism. Until recently, the international community was repeatedly calling for Pakistan to take action, clear the area of radical outfits and bring it back into its administrative control. The government has been forced to defend the delay in taking action. Siddiq-ul-Farooq, chief coordinator of the ruling PML-N Party, said: "We are following a very objective and result-oriented policy. We tried to engage the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) leaders in a dialogue process, and they also supported it. However, that attempt failed. Now, we can distinguish between those who want dialogue and those who want war. We are fighting against those who are against peace." The operation was triggered by the army in response to a brazen attack on the Karachi airport on June 8. However, weeks earlier, a top militant leader in North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, was already asking residents to leave their homes and move to safer locations, claiming he had "credible information" the government was planning to launch a full-scale operation in the area. Sources claim the government allowed hundreds of militants to leave ahead of the offensive. Gul Bahadar had a peace agreement with the Pakistan government, yet, he targeted its security personnel, harboured foreign militants and built elaborate terrorist infrastructure in the area. Ejaz Haider, from Capital TV’s National Security Affairs, said: "Now that we look back, we realise that that deal didn't really work to the state's advantage. But the fact is that at the time the deal was made, the thought was that it would allow some kind of stability in the area." There are reports of civilian casualties in North Waziristan. However, the government has strongly denied these claims and the media cannot confirm or deny them since they cannot move around the conflict zone independently. Pakistan's experience in North Waziristan reveals the cost the government has paid in making deals with militants and delaying what has become a necessary purge.
If it were only a matter of praying to Allah for the masses to end their woes and achieve their emancipation, how easy it would be!The present right-wing regime of the PML-N came to power with a disputed, heavy mandate. This crisis-stricken state was grudgingly accepted by the battered imperialists, giving it the false legitimacy it craved for. The ongoing lull, fatigue and despair within society and the lack of movement and leadership to counteract the onslaught of reaction meant the masses accepted it as a fait accompli. The defeat of the PPP was due to its utter failure to deliver and provide the basic essentials to the people. Among the excruciating pain that this regime inflicted upon the masses was the electricity load shedding or power outages that intensified further the misery of the ordinary people. Nawaz Sharif and the other leaders of the PML-N made extravagant promises for ending this scourge in anything from three months to three years. These promises, however, sounded hollow even during the elections, but after coming to power they were very quickly exposed, with their utter incompetence, lack of vision and direction with their chaotic and pathetic attempts to address this issue. Sharif’s first measure was to reward the power cartels that have been holding the country to ransom, by handing over Rs 500 billion of circular debt to erase this torment but without any conditions and assurances from the IPP bosses. This provided a certain respite to the masses for a brief period but the pain and misery of these punishing power outages have returned with a vengeance to an agonising norm and, coupled with IMF forced price hikes, life has become even more harrowing. Now the chickens have come home to roost. The resultant rage in the womb of society is generating a heat that is destabilising the polity with increasing unrest and the stirrings of internal contradictions in the state. The regime and ruling party’s conflicts are now in the open with ministers daggers-drawn and Sharif having to personally intervene to resolve the impossible task of patching up the unravelling factional clashes within his cabinet and party leaders. This has deeply shaken the regime and there is a roaring turbulence in the government despite Sharif’s deceptive posturing of calm. His cemetery smiles often betray the false confidence he tries to flaunt. Perhaps the time has come for confessions and the wagging of twitchy fingers within the hierarchy of the PML-N. In a press conference on July 14, 2014, the federal and state ministers confessed their failure and pleaded forgiveness for not even being able to provide electricity during Ramadan. A Daily Times report (July 15, 2014) said the following: “Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif on Monday apologised to the nation over prolonged power load shedding. Addressing a press conference along with state minister for power Abid Sher Ali and Secretary Nargis Sethi, the minister said that there is a shortfall of 7,000 MW of electricity, while the demand has increased to 19,000 MW, which has resulted in massive load shedding. He said that the crisis further intensified in the past three days, as two grid stations of 1,500 MW in Lahore tripped. He appealed to the masses to pray for rain so that the load shedding could be reduced. He said the system could not bear load of more than 15,000 MW of electricity. If the load exceeds 15,000 MW grid stations start tripping. He said it would take three to four years to rectify the entire system. He said that the circular debt is hovering around Rs 280 to Rs 285 billion. “The power minister cautioned that the power shortfall would witness a further rise if the ongoing spell of heat did not subside. He appealed to the people to conserve electricity so that all areas could be provided with it. He said the government could not give a time frame for ending load shedding, as we do not want to make any more false promises, which would cause us to be embarrassed in front of the nation.” The report further narrates his pathetic stance, “Allah will rescue (help) us during the next two to three days and the situation will be improved.” He says it all, does he not? How pathetic! As stated above, if all that is required is to pray to Allah for the masses to end their woes and get their emancipation, why has life not improved? What is the need for scientific research, governments, parties, leaders and democracies so much revered and touted as sacred scriptures by these stooges of capital who are supposedly the leaders of the nation and torchbearers of development and prosperity in society? Poverty, misery, disease, deprivation, crime and other social and economic vices inflicting society are created by this system and not by God. It is these exploitative capitalists and feudals who are fleecing humanity, responsible for these devastations and the agonising life that the vast majority of the people are forced to live. It has become a common practice of our rulers and their pedlars in the media, the clergy and intelligentsia to blame these tragedies as if they were acts of a divine force and to exonerate themselves from these heinous crimes of socioeconomic destruction they are mercilessly carrying out to inflate their profits in a rush to fill their coffers. Invariably, in natural calamities like floods and earthquakes, it is always the poor and the toiling masses that suffer. The mullahs call these disasters the “wrath of God” due to the sins committed by these innocent but deprived and oppressed people. The notion spread by these prostituting intellectuals and priestly vultures of capital is that these bosses sitting in their palatial mansions in the metropolitan centres and in the countryside are the most pious and commit no sins. In reality, it is in these palaces where the most heinous and criminal political and financial policies are manufactured. The working classes of this and other lands have, most of the time, prayed and prayed for generations, yet their lives have gone from bad to worse. And now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they are being asked by the federal minister for power to pray for rain and electricity? How abhorrent and reactionary! The stark reality is that this ruling class, in almost seven decades of taking charge, has failed to build a modern infrastructure, the vital part of which is the generation and supply of electricity through modern grids and efficient transmission lines, crucial for human existence today. They have failed to complete any of the tasks of the national democratic revolution, from the creation of a unified nation state to the abolition of feudal remnants and the imperialist stranglehold. Their abject historical and economic failures are tearing apart society and paving the way for the kind of barbarism that threatens to destroy civilisation. Without the overthrow of this reactionary ruling class and its system, society will remain mired in darkness and no light will shine. Let there be light!
shiapost.comAllama Arif Wahidi, secretary general of Pak Shia Ulema Council, has said that the PMLN government failed to stop Shia genocide. Condemning the targeted murders of innocent Shia youths on the day of Eid, he said, takfiri terrorists were free and continued killings. “Government must tell us and the nation why no action has so far been taken to eliminate the menace of terrorism by awarding capital punishment to the takfiri terrorists,” he urged. Shia Ulema Council’s leader also contacted the relatives of 2 martyr Shiites of Quetta and conveyed to them the condolence message of Allama Sajid Naqvi, chief of the SUC.
By Hasan Khan
Rehabilitating those who lived under the militants' reign of terror will be costly, doctors and authorities say.Pakistanis continue to learn about life under militant rule as internally displaced persons (IDPs) share their stories of humiliation and suffering. "We were living in hell," Barakat Sher, an elderly displaced North Waziristan resident, told Central Asia Online. No good militants existed, he said. "All were equally cruel, beating and torturing ordinary people." Effect on women Life for women was especially difficult because it was emotionally draining and actually led to health problems. Women, especially those who were married or had children, lived in perpetual fear, Mir Ali town resident Ghawar Dawar said. "Every time a bomb went off, they feared that their husband or child would not come back home," he said. Many women are depressed or suffer from a psychological illness brought on by the militancy, he said, adding that he knows two such women. "Seeing dead, mutilated and tortured bodies daily has a grave impact on their minds," Dr. Said Alam Mehsud said, adding that the government faces a major challenge in rehabilitating these communities. "This [rehabilitation] needs huge funding and resources, as complete overhauling is needed here to bring life to normal," he added. Life for women in highly conservative tribal society was already difficult and the militants made it much worse, Boya resident Zameera Abay said. "The only time I left my home was to attend funerals," an elderly woman told Central Asia Online. "We visited the homes of those killed by militants or in bombings daily." Pregnancy-related diseases have also been widely reported. The health centres in Miranshah and Mir Ali were poorly equipped and received a large number of women, a health worker said. Stress and acute depression leading to low blood pressure are very common, and for pregnant women, those factors contribute to pre-mature births and to the maternal death rate, he added. Pre-mature births and mental illness are common afflictions in populations suffering oppression and constant fear, Dr. Said Alam Mehsud said. "Depression causes different diseases in women … for pregnant women, they include stillbirths and pre-mature births," he said. Shamed by militants Stories of humiliation are also common among those found in the IDP camps. "They do not need provocation to humiliate or torture you," Meeran Mehmood, a middle-school pupil from Miranshah, said. "I still feel embarrassed when I remember how our elderly teacher was slapped and beaten when he tried to conceal the identity of a boy whom the militants were trying to find." Youths were the main target of the militants, he said. "Whenever we came across a group [of militants], they would start abusing and taunting us," he said. Children and boys were an easy target, and militants used them in many cases to take revenge on families who opposed them. "Having a young son or a boy is like having an unlicenced weapon at home," Ali Akbar, an elderly IDP, said. Parents of young sons lived in constant fear that militants would take away or misguide their sons, and though nobody dared to challenge the militants, stories of them taking away the young boys and torturing them at their camps to coerce families into obeying the militants are rampant, Akbar added.
August 14, 2014 will the remembered in the history of Pakistan as the day of the fall of 'Sharif Empire' at the hands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). An electrified Imran Khan reiterated this clichéd claim while speaking at a party workers convention here on Sunday. "Pakistan will be delivered from the jaws of Sharif family's monarchical tyranny as PTI's 'Azadi March' will bring them down on August 14, The Independence Day. Our marchers will not pull up stakes from Islamabad until they have changed the system", a roaring Khan told his 'gung ho' workers. Khan said that Pakistan was not a democracy but a monarchy in the guise of the latter. "This is a 'Kingdom of Sharif Dynasty', where a powerful family was sitting pretty on the throne. The democracy, the incumbent rulers so proudly brag about, is nothing but a mockery of it", said Khan vowing to 'dethrone' Sharif. Telling PTI workers about the difference of democracy and monarchy, Khan said merit was the quintessence of the former, while the latter was devoid of it. "A head of the state is accountable to the people, who elect him to power, but a monarch is not. That's exactly how Mian Nawaz Sharif was running the show. Can Sharifs justify spending taxpayers' Rs400 million a month for keeping their Raiwind estate so heavily guarded? Absolutely not", said the PTI leader. Secondly, democracy was about merit, which had so wantonly been violated by the Sharif family that it was nowhere to found in Pakistan anyomre, Khan added.
"Let me ask you one thing? Does Maryam Nawaz Sharif deserve to be sitting on a government fund worth Rs100 billion. Is she worthy of the job bestowed on her by her king father? Why Hamza Sharif behaves like a de facto chief minister of Punjab and moves about like a prince? There goes the merit", said Imran Khan. Khan also threatened the government with dire consequences if it tried to put him under any form of 'house arrest'. "In case they shut me in PTI will shut the whole Pakistan down", Khan said. He also warned the police against resorting to armed violence against the marchers. "If any uniformed servile salve of Sharif family shot and killed even a single protestor, I will myself make sure the murderer is convicted, sentenced, and executed. The whole chain of command behind any such brutality will find no place to hide anywhere. Mark my words", Khan pledged solemnly. He postulated that a peaceful protest demonstration was any political party's unalienable democratic right.' PTI's captain also tasked his workers with bringing out at least 100,000 motorbikes to take part in their march to Islamabad.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Monday held telephonic conversation with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to exchange views on upcoming ‘Azadi March’ on August 14. Meanwhile, Imran Khan told Chauhdry Nisar that he considers him as a friend but he will not discuss Azadi March. Imran said Azadi March will be held in any case from Lahore to Islamabad. The march scheduled for Independence Day (Aug 14) will head towards the federal capital from Lahore to protest what the PTI claims was rigging in the May 2013 general elections.
Most of the American military aid to Islamabad for counterinsurgency has gone into buying equipment to fight India, said a former Unites States diplomat, describing Pakistan as a country which is “always on the edge in many ways of being a failed state”. Testifying before a US Congressional Committee, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann said the US State Department on Terrorism ranks Pakistan as having the highest level of terrorist incidents of any country in the world. “Almost all of those incidents are not related to any aspect of Afghanistan. Many of them take place in areas that have nothing to do with the FATA area,” he said. Neumann said that Pakistan is an economy which faces a crisis because of demographic pressures, adding that Pakistan spends less on education than virtually every country in the world. “It’s a country where we don’t seem to tie our strategy in Afghanistan. It virtually went unmentioned in the quadrennial defence review. There’s no mention of it in the West Point speech. And we’re cutting aid very seriously,” he said, adding that most of the military aid for counterinsurgency was used by Pakistan to buy equipment to fight India. He added that on the economic side, in spite of efforts by the US Congress over the last 10 years, the US never had a single report from USAID to explain what the benefits or impact of the economic aid to Pakistan has been. “It’s not quite clear what the (aid) programme did,” Neumann said Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program Director of Research Michael O’Hanlan said that an Afghanistan in chaos could provide a sanctuary for groups, specifically Lashkar-e-Taiba, that might threaten the US directly or might want to start an Indo-Pakistan conflict.
Yousaf Ajab Baloch
These acid attacks on women in Balochistan are quite surprising because such acts differ from the history, traditions and rituals of Baloch society where women are greatly respected and such violence hardly ever happensThe growing extremism and alarming steps being taken by radicalised outfits are a great menace to all people in Balochistan where, once again, Baloch women are confronting acid attacks. The recent three attacks on 12 women within 10 days in Pishin, Quetta and Mastung have proved that extremists in Balochistan not only target kill the Hazaras and Zikri Baloch and forcibly shut down schools, they also burn women with acid to impose their brand of fundamentalism on Baloch society. People in Balochistan were terrified when, on July 21, four women were sprayed with acid in the outskirts of Quetta, followed by a similar attack on two girls in Mastung on July 22. The third brutal attack took place on July 29 in the Tang area of Pishin district when four assailants entered a house and sprayed six women with corrosive acid. The assailants managed to flee the crime scene and, till now, no one has been arrested. The government of Balochistan has taken the easy route: pinning the blame for these attacks on crimes of revenge and passion. In all these incidents, the perpetrators drove motorcycles and used syringes to throw the acid. Fortunately, these 12 victims have not received serious burns but no doubt they have been hurt psychologically and it is now near impossible for them to lead normal lives in the future. Prior to the Quetta, Mastung and Pishin attacks, on April 13, 2010, two sisters were attacked in Dalbandin city of Balochistan where a religious, underground organisation claimed responsibility. Three young sisters were attacked on April 29, 2010, in Kalat city, some 150 km from the capital of Balochistan. Before the Kalat acid attack, a religious group had already warned women to wear head coverings while the responsible organisation had threatened students in private schools, English language centres and vocational institutions to give up studying and not to come out of their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. The enforced shutdown of schools in Panjgur and Makran areas and incidents of acid attacks can never be separated because these acts are moves to radicalise Baloch society. There is intimidation by Tanzeem-ul-Islam al Furqan, a religious militant organisation that has closed down all private schools and English language centres in Panjgur district. The said organisation also attacked and burnt one of the school’s vans carrying female students and teachers on May 14 in Panjgur. These acid attacks on women in Balochistan are quite surprising because such acts differ from the history, traditions and rituals of Baloch society where women are greatly respected and such violence hardly ever happens. Gender equality and respect for women have been part of Baloch history and culture. We can find no real record of assaults on women in Baloch and Pashtun society because of tribal or family feuds. Baloch nationalists and intellectuals allege that the patronisation of extremists is meant to weaken Baloch nationalism and the rights movement where, along with the male Baloch, the women are now also playing a leading role. Acid attacks and threats to girls to abandon education are aimed at keeping Baloch women away from the Baloch movement. The roots of growing extremism are linked to the Afghan jihad that left a number of effects on Balochistan, due to which the province is still suffering. First of all, millions of Afghan refugees rushed to Balochistan. These Afghan ‘brothers and sisters’ from across the border introduced Balochistan to the terrible Kalashnikov and drug culture. Secondly, when the Afghan war ended, the number of fighters who were trained and sent from Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan returned with religious and sectarian passion, and they were accommodated in madrassas (seminaries) where their activism was slowly strengthened against the Shia Hazaras in Balochistan. Now the same elements are allegedly being utilised against Baloch society. Having observed the ground realities, no doubt the allegations made by Baloch nationalist are enough to make one believe that allowing extremism to grow is one of Islamabad’s policies to appease Islamist extremists while suppressing the genuine demands of the Baloch people. This bloody approach will wreak devastation in already conflict-hit Balochistan. Using religious fundamentalists as proxies in Balochistan will create a new set of problems because acid attacks on women, closure of girls’ schools and the massacre of Zikris in Makran cannot destroy incipient nationalism. Therefore, Islamabad needs to review its policy regarding Balochistan.
In the run up to what is being billed as the ‘big show’ on August 14, contradictory voices are being heard from the ranks of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) that is orchestrating the long march to Islamabad. Reports say PTI chief Imran Khan has asked for the resignations of all his party’s members from the Assemblies. However, the party’s information secretary Shireen Mazari says no such decision has been taken yet and the issue would be discussed in a party leadership meeting on August 14. Whether any such decision has been taken or not, the idea makes no sense. If the PTI elected members resign from the National Assembly, that will not bring down the incumbent government since its simple majority in the house will not be dented. By-elections will then follow within 60 days according to the law. If the PTI elected members participate in these by-elections, they will suffer a huge financial burden in fighting two elections within a little over a year. If they abstain (and participation would negate the whole purpose of resigning), this would mean leaving the field clear for other parties, of whom the ruling PML-N might well turn out to be the main beneficiary, another outcome that would negate the whole PTI campaign against the government. And if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) PTI members of the provincial Assembly were to resign, that would bring down the party’s government, a result that would be a loss to the party only, with no gain against the PML-N governments in the Centre or Punjab. If Imran Khan thinks that his party members’ resignation en masse would create some sort of constitutional crisis that would cause the government to tumble and magically open the door to his ascent to power, cold water has been poured on that by the ECP. The ECP declared on Sunday that there is no provision in the law for mid-term elections in the wake of the resignation of some members of the opposition. It has reiterated that by-elections would be held on such seats within the mandatory period of 60 days. In addition, any move to resign en masse at this point would lose the PTI a certain number of seats in the upcoming Senate elections. Taken as a whole therefore, any notion of en masse resignations makes little if any sense. The question arises therefore whether the PTI chief is serious in demanding the resignation of his party’s elected members (a move sure to prove unpopular with them) or is merely posturing in the mistaken belief that this would put some kind of political pressure on the government. Meanwhile federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed is convinced Imran Khan’s demand to revisit the vote in four constituencies is merely a smokescreen for his desire to topple the government. Even if the honourable minister’s view is accepted, he should know that mere agitation and sit-ins are unlikely to unseat the government, short of an insurrection, and the PTI is hardly an insurrectionary party. However, it is interesting to note that many parties are positioning themselves in relation to the looming events of August 14. MQM’s Altaf Hussain advises Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down and appoint another prime minister from his party’s ranks in order to “save Pakistan” from political confrontation and chaos, while his deputy Farooq Sattar has suddenly ‘discovered’ some unspecified “demands” the government must concede through talks/negotiations or run the risk of seeing the MQM coming out on the streets. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, whose party is a coalition ally of the PTI in KP, sees no reason to dissolve the provincial Assembly or the PTI-JI coalition government in KP. The PPP, for reasons of its own no doubt, now wants to make the transition from a “friendly” opposition (of which it stands accused by critics such as the PTI) to a ‘real’ one. Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah, while bemoaning the fact that the government did not find it necessary to convene an in-camera joint session of parliament before invoking Article 245 to deploy the army in Islamabad, now wants the issue discussed nevertheless in a joint session post facto. All these developments point to one irreducible fact: the government has failed to reach out to and carry with it the diverse political forces in the country, an oversight it should still try to correct to avoid unnecessary friction in the polity on real or imagined issues.
By Asim Qadeer RanaIndefinite duty hours, improper and unaffordable accommodation, and lack of medical and transportation facilities result in creating psychological problems and affects the performance of the police force amid existing security challenges posed by terrorism and the rising crime rate.According to a survey, special ‘VIP’ duties for indefinite time duration, no appreciation of work and cancellation of leaves have greatly contributed in increasing depression and anxiety among the police officials. The policemen said that they are provided with no proper facilities and financial assistance to perform their duties well and live a respectable life in society. They said that they have to bear all the expenses of their transport, boarding, lodging, patrolling, and even maintenance the expenditures of their official vehicles etc from their meagre resources. Even the required ammunition is not provided to them to curb the evil activities of the criminals who are equipped with the latest weapons and other equipment. The policemen said that they are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the country but it is ridiculous that have to take lift to reach at their duties due to lack of transport facility from the department and their low income which hurts their ego and also distorts their image among the masses. The police are responsible to maintain the law and order in the country and ensure justice and protection for the public but they are suffering through the worse conditions. Allegedly, due to the unruly and unprofessional pressure exerted by an incumbent police chief on his subordinates in the Islamabad police, one of his immediate staff members recently suffered from brain haemorrhage and is hospitalised in a critical condition. Ironically, the top cop’s pressure is restricted to the low-rank police officials only, while the senior career officers enjoy all the limelight at the cost of their juniors. Cases have been reported in the Islamabad police whereby the senior police officials made scapegoat of their juniors, in attempt to hide their follies, failures, and blunders.Moreover, the senior police officials are also alleged to be involved in serious crimes like extortion and kidnappings. An SP of the Islamabad police has been accused of patronising kidnappings for ransom and has been probed by the Interior Ministry. Even the senior police officials are transferred and suspended on trivial charges, which have created a sense of insecurity among the police officials. All of these conditions provoke resentment and reactive attitude among the policemen. The survey findings also indicated that all of these conditions develop psychological problems among the policemen, including senior officials and a sense of deprivation among the police officials. This situation of the police department is prevailing throughout the country while the capital police is facing the worst conditions and they have to fulfil their living needs in the expensive city without any special allowances. The situations needs immediate attention of the authorities concerned if they are interested in providing safety and security to the public and maintain law and order in the city.
Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah says the invocation of Article 245 is required in Peshawar or Bannu rather than Islamabad which is a city of not more than 1.5 million souls. Talking to reporters at the PPP office in Lalamusa on Sunday, he said it seemed that the government had employed the ‘tactic’ to tackle the PTI’s march. He said PPP would never become part of any march aiming at derailment of democracy. Mr Shah said: “It is a basic right of every citizen and political party to lodge a peaceful protest by remaining within the constitutional domain. My party is neither interested in the Tsunami march nor in the so-called revolutionary march despite the fact that PPP have some serious reservations over the results of the 2013 general election.” He criticised the Nawaz government for the Gaza issue as the prime minister seemed to be interested in securing his government during his recent visit to the Saudi kingdom. “PPP has been the sole opposition party in the country that always strives for strengthening of democracy as this fact has been proven on many occasions in the political history of Pakistan. Even now the party will stand for democracy but the government should also realise its own responsibilities and old mistakes must not be repeated,” he said.