Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - Zaroori Tha

Video: President Obama Delivers Remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Apple iPhone 6 Will Reportedly Launch Sept. 9

Apple fans might want to mark Sept. 9 on their calendars, because that’s the date the highly anticipated iPhone 6 will reportedly make its grand debut. The news comes by way of Re/code’s John Paczkowski, who has an excellent track record when it comes to covering Apple and, specifically, reporting when Apple will host events.
The date makes sense for Apple, which for the past three years has held launch events for its iPhone in September. Traditionally, Apple makes its iPhone available to shoppers 10 days after its debut event, which would mean that the iPhone 6’s release date would be September 19th, if history is any guide.
The iPhone 6 is expected to be a radical departure from Apple’s previous iPhones. The handset is said to sport a much larger 4.7-inch display, compared to the iPhone 5s’ 4-inch screen, as well as a faster processor for better performance and an improved camera.
Other reports point to Apple also launching an even larger 5.5-inch iPhone that would help the company compete with so called “phablets” like Samsung’s massive 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3, especially in China. Various rumors also indicate that the next iPhone will use what’s referred as a sapphire crystal display, which would make the handset’s screen far more durable than the iPhone 5s’.
In addition to versions of the iPhone 6, Apple is said to be prepping a highly anticipated smartwatch. Though the device’s name isn’t yet known for certain, it is widely reported that it will be called the Apple iWatch.
If Apple’s event is held on Sept. 9, it would mean that the iPhone 6 would debut just six days after Samsung is expected to unveil its new Galaxy Note 4. And if you don’t think that Cupertino planned its event with that in mind, we’ve got some beachfront property in Ohio to sell you.

Kerry holds bilatreal talks as part of US-Africa Summit

Putin Urges Government to Prepare Response to Western Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he has told the government to retaliate against Western sanctions.
“I have already prepared such instructions today,” the president said during a working trip to the Central Russian Voronezh Region. “Of course, it should be done very carefully, so that domestic manufacturers are supported without detriment to consumers,” he added.
Putin said that the use of political instruments to put pressure on the Russian economy is “against all norms and rules.”
“Political instruments for putting pressure on the economy are inadmissible, this is against all norms and rules. In this respect, the Russian government has already come forward with an array of retaliatory measures to the so-called sanctions imposed by certain states,” he said.
The Russian leader said producers in various countries should be in an equal environment and this meets the national security interests and also the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In July, the United States and the European Union announced new economic sanctions against Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow has repeatedly called such measures counterproductive and stressed that Russia was not one of the sides of Ukrainian conflict.

old pashto songs kashwar sultan film jawargar

Video: Kabul National Museum (NATO in Afghanistan) - 13 December 2009

Majority of Afghans want prolonged US and NATO presence in Afghanistan

The incoming commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Gen. John F. Campbell, has said that majority of the Afghans want prolonged US and NATO forces presence in Afghanistan.
Gen. Campbell was discussing his upcoming tour as NATO commander during a media round-table at the Pentagon on August 1st, as he departs for Afghanistan later this month.
Gen. Campbell said he hopes there will be an agreement that allows U.S. and NATO forces to stay in Afghanistan until the country becomes more stable. “Ninety-nine percent of the Afghans want us to stay,” he said.
He commended Pakistan for its recent operation in Waziristan and he said he hopes efforts like those will continue. Pakistan and Afghanistan need to remove the terror “that threatens their people and their way of life,” Campbell said, adding that, “This is what they’re doing to civilians. This is how bad it is. Let’s work together to figure out solutions. What we’ll try to do is continue to work this [military-to-military] relationship.”
The draft bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington was endorsed by majority during the consultative Loya Jirga in November last year. However, President Hamid Karzai refused to sign the agreement and set certain preconditions for the signing of the agreement.
In the meantime, there are optimisms that the the security agreement between Kabul and Washington will be signed by President Hamid Karzai’s successor since the two contenders have vowed to sign the pact once they take office as the next leader of the country.
The signing of the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington will pave the way for the signing of a similar agreement between the Afghan government and NATO alliance.

Lights set to go out in Kandahar after U.S. aid winds down

When the United States stops funding power generation in Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar next year, the lights are set to go out and factories will fall idle, playing into the hands of Taliban insurgents active in the area.
Bringing a stable source of electricity to Kandahar, the cradle of the hardline Islamist movement and once a base for its leader Mullah Omar, was a top U.S. "counter-insurgency priority" as Washington pursued its policy of winning "hearts and minds".
But regular power in the city is still years away, and when the United States finally ends subsidies - currently running at just over $1 million a month - in September 2015, Kandahar could lose around half its severely limited electricity supplies, Afghan power officials and U.S. inspectors say.
The Taliban, meanwhile, control about half the 12 MW of power supplied to Kandahar province from the Kajaki plant in neighboring Helmand province, ensuring a stable supply of electricity in their strongholds, according to the head of state power firm Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) in Kandahar. "
There are some 130 different factories operating in Kandahar whose electricity is maintained and paid for by the Americans," said Fuzl Haq, a businessman in Kandahar.
"If the Americans stop paying for the fuel to run these factories, some 6,000 workers will lose their jobs," Haq added, reflecting concerns of many locals in Afghanistan's second city.
"These are all young people and they may join up with the Taliban or resort to crime in order to earn money."
Alex Bronstein-Moffly, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said power shortages in insurgent heartlands would be a major setback 13 years after the Taliban was toppled in a U.S.-led war.
"If electrical service to Kandahar is compromised it could end up endangering counter-insurgency and economic gains made over the last few years," he said.
U.S. power subsidies were intended to fill in until the power grid reached Kandahar and a new turbine was installed at Kajaki dam, but both projects remain years away from completion, not least because of strong armed resistance from the Taliban in the region.
"It appears that the U.S. still has no realistic plan for helping the Afghan government develop a sustainable source of electricity," wrote John Sopko, a U.S. special inspector general, in a report published on Tuesday.
Winning over locals in the hot, dusty cluster of low-slung houses and markets has been a priority for the United States, which, like other foreign powers, is due to withdraw most of its troops from the war-torn country by the end of the year.
The Afghan government says it cannot afford to maintain Kandahar's power generators or pay for the fuel. Diesel supplies in the city are already being rationed and power outages will be inevitable, says the state-owned power company.
"We have no other way (of operating)," said DABS chief commercial officer Mirwais Alami in Kabul. "If businesses cannot compete with Kabul in Kandahar, they will collapse."
How to pay for Kandahar's power without U.S. or Afghan government funds is a major problem, with powerful tribal and political leaders already refusing to pay their electricity bills, according to DABS officials.
Revenue collection in the south has also been dented by the Taliban, who control areas along power lines.
"Taliban collect revenue from electricity in places under their control," said engineer Sayed Rasoul, the head of DABS in Kandahar.
The U.S. aid agency has just awarded a new $27 million, four-year project to improve electricity revenue collection and management in Kandahar. The cash cannot be used to pay for fuel. It says increasing tariffs was one way to keep Kandahar's two 10 MW generators running.
"USAID has worked with DABS to prepare users to pay for the more expensive power generated with diesel until DABS completes work on a new turbine at Kajaki and on the power transmission line," said Donald "Larry" Sampler, Assistant to the Administrator in the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs (OAPA) in Washington.
But plans to increase tariffs as much as tenfold or more may be unrealistic in one of the world's poorest countries, where only 30 percent of people have access to electricity.


A two-star American general was killed in an apparent insider attack Tuesday by a member of the Afghan security forces, U.S. officials said.
A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on foreign troops at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul. The attacker wounded approximately 15 people, of which roughly half were Americans, one official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the information by name ahead of an official announcement.
Among the wounded was a German brigadier general.
Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Defense Ministry, said a "terrorist in an army uniform" opened fire on both local and international troops. Azimi said the shooter had been killed.
The Qargha shooting comes as so-called "insider attacks" — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

▶ Kurdish Music 2014 BARIKAN Hasti Pét

Kurdish Pop Star Helly Luv Got Attention of Islamic State

Kurdish pop star Helly Luv got the attention of the Islamic State (I.S., formerly known as ISIS) with the release of her single, “Risk It All” in February of this year. The militants, who have taken control of parts of Syria and Iraq, have issued death threats against Ms. Luv and her rump-shaking rally cry.
Iraq’s retreat from the Islamic State enabled the Kurds to gain some ground in their battle against Iraq for an independent state, so it is completely reasonable to believe that I.S. wants to silence anyone who might rally the troops against them. What isn’t so easy to believe is that they think Helly Luv actually has that kind of social gravitas.
The video begins with Luv lighting a Molotov cocktail and managing to throw it a whole three feet in front of her – complete with slow motion video effects for added drama. Her throw is as impotent as her lyrics. It’s like someone took a Ke$ha song, added some Syrian refugee children in tattered clothing, and gave AK-47s to the back-up singers.
Synthesized beats, inane lyrics, and Helly Luv’s ass quivering though the streets of Irbil was enough to get the video over 3 million hits on YouTube. Luv said in an interview that her message is that Kurdish people “need to risk everything for our dreams and fight for our country,” but her lyrics are anything but revolutionary.
I don’t wanna wait no more
I wanna risk it all
can’t do it on my own
we takin’ over
everybody, everywhere
Hook (x4):
Yella yella ay
yella yella ay
Verse 2 (x4):
Put ya guns up in the air
guns up in the air
It may well be that the Islamic State got a little pelvic-ly perturbed by the 25-year-old hottie and wanted to make sure she doesn’t cause any more distractions, but I can’t help but wonder if they just heard the song and wanted to save everyone the misery of having to listen to this shit. Let’s hope the only thing that dies young is Helly Luv’s career.


Turkey, a hot spot for radical Islamists, admitted there are over 1,000 Turkish radicals in the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS or ISIL. It is another black eye for the NATO country after an IS fighter claimed that the country funds the terrorist group and the international community said Turkey does not do enough to secure its border with Syria.
First, we have seen some Takfiri groups attacking a mosque belonging to Shia Muslims. With ISIL making new advances, their sympathizers have become more visible in a bid to display their contentment with the developments. It was on July 31 when the Hürriyet Daily News reported about an Istanbul-based charity organization that had to suspend its activities after it was criticized for using an insignia adopted by the ISIL.
There were also allegations that the charity was recruiting terrorists for the insurgency in Syria and Iraq.
In separate news, Turkish media broadcast a few days ago pictures of hundreds of men with long beards in Taliban-style dress gathering for Eid al-Fitr somewhere in Istanbul. The group was allegedly linked with ISIL, and they dedicated their Eid al-Fitr prayers to ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Evidence has connected Turkey to IS since IS's formation in March 2013: One IS fighter said the group owes everything to Turkey because the country showed "affection" and provides medical treatment for the fighters. Turkey backed the rebels against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and CNN featured the country’s secret jihadi route to Syria. IS captured Azaz, a city in Syria near Turkey's border, which allowed easier access for the jihadists. The 16-year-old twins, Salma and Zahra Halane from Manchester, allegedly entered Syria through Turkey to join their older brother. IS expanded to Iraq and asked Turkey businesses to return to Iraq. Turkey’s Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci said the country will be involved when Iraq is rebuilt.
Additionally, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party have a well-developed reputation for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel policies. Erdogan consistently blasts Israel and accuses them of war crimes against Gaza. While there are no official connections between Gaza and IS, there are a few reports that IS cells are forming deep within Palestine. IS also promised Hamas that the group will help fight with them against the “barbaric Jews,” but IS needs to release Arab countries from the United States.

Moscow Urges International Community to Monitor ‘Dangerous Tendency’ in Lebanon

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the international community to carefully monitor the "dangerous tendency" in Lebanon, as well as in Syria and Iraq.
“We urge partners in the international community to carefully and objectively access the extremely dangerous tendency that we clearly observe in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon,” the ministry said, adding that in the past few days the situation in Arsal, northeast of Lebanon’s Beirut, has deteriorated.
Rebels from the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS) on August 2 attacked Arsal, located along the border with Syria, targeting the Lebanese Army’s checkpoints. More than 10 Lebanese servicemen have been killed, with hundreds of Lebanese security troops and civilians taken hostage by terrorists, according to media reports. “It is essential to abandon the double standard practice and refrain from steps leading not to containment but in opposite, to boosting terrorist and extremist threat in the turbulent Middle East region,” the statement reads.
The ministry further added: “Authorities in Damascus, Baghdad and Beirut are facing a common danger of the spreading international terrorism that does not acknowledge interstate borders and seeks to gain control over new territories.” Following the attacks by violent extremist groups in Arsal, the UN Security Council expressed support for the efforts of the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces in their fight against terrorism and in preventing attempts to undermine the stability of Lebanon.
The local government estimates that at least 3,000 families from Arsal have been displaced so far. The Security Council stressed “the need to further efforts to build up the capabilities of the Lebanese security forces to counter terrorism and address other security challenges."



The Pakistan Army on Tuesday said it had bombed six rebel hideouts in various parts of North Waziristan, killing 30 suspected militants.
The airstrikes targeted hideouts in the Dattakhel, Marsikhel and Kamsham areas of the North Waziristan where the military is fighting Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants. “Six terrorist hideouts were destroyed through aerial strikes in North Waziristan. Today 30 terrorists have been killed,” a statement issued by the ISPR said. Neither the death toll nor the identity of those killed could be immediately verified.
Earlier, the military announced that Operation Zarb-e-Azb had cleared Miranshah, Mir Ali, Boya and Degan of all militants while engagement with pockets of resistance was underway. It also said that a large number of improvised explosive devices (IED) and an IED factory had been discovered during the clearance operation of Mir Ali.
Pakistani jets and artillery began hitting rebel targets in mid-June to try to regain full control of the district and ground forces moved in on June 30. The assault by Pakistan’s military was launched after a dramatic attack by militants on Karachi airport that killed dozens of people and marked the end of a faltering peace process with the Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed joint responsibility for the Karachi airport attack.
More than 550 militants and 29 soldiers have been killed in the assault so far, according to the military. The fighting has also displaced some 800,000 people into towns that border the tribal areas where they face testing conditions amid a lack of food rations and high rents.
There have been fears that many top militants fled the region before the launch of the operation, including fighters from the feared Haqqani network, which is blamed for numerous bloody attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan: Parachinar: Shiites Sit-In Against Detention Of Shia Notables Continue

The sit-in that the Shia Muslims of Parachinar (Kurrum Agency, FATA) began on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr continued despite passage of 7 days. They are protesting against the unjustifiable detention of Shia notables and ban on entry of a noted Shia scholar into Parachinar.
At 3 different points, male Shiites are sitting while women and children are sitting at Punjabi Bazaar. Commercial activities have come to a standstill. Schools have also been closed.
After performing Eid ul Fitr, Shia Muslims had marched to the office of Political Agent from Eid Gah. The protestors were chanting slogans against the biased political agent Riaz Mehsud demanding his immediate transfer. Security officials opened aerial firing and also targeted protestors by tear gas shelling. Then, protestors went to Shaheed Park and began staging a sit-in there. Shia Muslims also spent day Eid day like Moharram. On second day (Wednesday), the women and children began sit-in on School Road.
The sit-in continued on Thursday and several rounds of talks with the government officials were held but no demand was met. Shia Muslims of Parachinar want the release of all Shiites who had been put behind the bars since Rabi ul Awwal 17. They want Maulana Shaikh Nawaz Irfani back to Parachinar and transfer of political agent Riaz Mehsud. Instead of meeting the genuine demands of protesting Shia Muslims, the state machinery was preparing to crackdown on the protestors and special services group’s commandoes had reached Parachinar.
On the other hand, Majlis Ulema-e-Ahl-e-Bait, some local organizations and jirga members were trying to mediate between the protestors and the government.

Blasphemy in Pakistan: Why is Asia Bibi still in jail?

Four years ago, Asia Bibi was asked to fetch water while working in the fields. Some of her Muslim fellow workers refused to drink it because they considered it to be “unclean” since it was collected by a Christian. A dispute ensued and her co-workers complained that she blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad. Then she was arrested, sentenced to death by hanging, and has been languishing in a jail ever since. Her husband and five children live under death threats and have been forced into hiding. The case has prompted widespread international condemnation, including from heads of state and the Pope.
Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws. Several sections of Pakistan's Criminal Code forbid damaging or defiling a place of worship, outraging religious feelings, defiling the Quran or defaming the prophet Muhammad. The wording of the laws is vague and can be subject to abuse, either by the authorities or by any Pakistani who can accuse a fellow citizen of blasphemy with a personal complaint to the prosecutor. Punishment can be life imprisonment of or even death. Those accused of blasphemy are frequently threatened or attacked, even before any investigation has been carried out. People take to the streets and violence waged by pro-blasphemy groups ensues.
Asia Bibi’s case is such a political hot potato in Pakistan that it appears to have paralyzed the authorities. In Pakistan, some of those who publicly called for Asia’s release were murdered. For example, the Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was assassinated by his very own bodyguard because he defended Asia Bibi and vocally opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Pakistan's Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's cabinet, was also assassinated for speaking out. Each time that a Christian villager is accused of blasphemy, heaps of Christian neighbors flee the area out of fear that they are next in line to be harassed or accused of the same “crime.”
While Asia Bibi’s case has been widely featured in media reports around the world, scores of victims accused of blasphemy vanish into the shadows without the public hearing of them. Despite the international and domestic commotion, Asia Bibi is still in jail. How can that be? Why hasn’t the Pakistani government released her? In 2010, President Asif Ali Zardari dropped plans to issue a presidential pardon after hardline pro-blasphemy groups staged massive demonstrations against the measure.
Hitting a sensitive nerve, the case has shed light on how the Pakistani government has been taken hostage by militant extremists. Pakistani judges are under pressure from mobs waiting outside their courtrooms, ready to spark riots. Lawyers fear assuming the defense of the accused. And rather than doing what’s right, it’s easier for the Pakistani authorities to turn a blind eye.
Releasing Asia Bibi and amending article 295 of the Pakistani penal code, its inflammatory anti-blasphemy law that places Pakistani society at the mercy of religious extremists, would help Pakistan demonstrate that it will not bow down to those who threaten the rule of law through violence and intimidation.

Pakistan: Blasphemy charges, threats loom for outspoken journalist

By Sumit Galhotra
Forty-nine year-old magazine editor and publisher Shoaib Adil fled his home in the eastern city of Lahore last month and went into hiding with his wife and children. Adil faces threats and possible charges of blasphemy--a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death--in connection with a book he published in 2007, written by a judge belonging to a religious minority group in Pakistan, as well as with his magazine, which covers sensitive issues. For years, Adil has been able to navigate the challenges that come with his critical journalistic work. But now he faces the possibility of being unable to live or work safely in Pakistan.
The interview has been translated from Urdu and edited for length and clarity.
CPJ: Can you tell us about your work?
Shoaib Adil: In Pakistan, Urdu-language journalism differs vastly from English-language journalism. The latter is approached with a greater sense of objectivity but reaches only a narrow segment of the population. Urdu-language journalism, on the other hand, enjoys a much wider reach. What's reported there has a greater impact, but it tends to be very biased. I felt compelled to bring a liberal-minded voice to that space. Amid the growing Talibanization of Pakistan, I launched an Urdu-language magazine called Nia Zamana in May 2000. The magazine began on a voluntary basis by a group of friends. In 2007 we launched a Web version. You'll see that we covered a host of sensitive subjects ranging from blasphemy to religious violence, the abductions and forced conversion of Hindu girls, and the treatment of Christians. We've been critical of the role of the military, and have written in favor of friendlier relations with neighboring India. We were very critical of figures like Hafiz Saeed [a founder of the U.N.-designated terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba] following the 2008 Mumbai attacks when very few would dare to.
CPJ: What has it been like reporting on these issues?
SA: A few weeks after the criticism of Hafiz Saeed, we received threats. Members of Lashkar-e-Taiba showed up in person and asked me, "On whose orders are you taking this line?" In the past, I've been criticized by religious groups that claim I focus on the negative aspects of their work. I have been told that I should know full well the consequences of writing such things. We've been receiving ongoing threats and demands for apologies. Over the course of the years, I have learned to work around such challenges.
CPJ: But you've been under threat more recently as well. Can you explain why?
SA: Alongside my work with the magazine, I also work as a publisher to support myself. In 2007, I published an autobiography titled Adalat-i-Alia Tak ka Safar [My Journey to the High Court] written by former Lahore High Court Judge Muhammad Islam Bhatti, who belongs to the persecuted Ahmadi community. You may have seen the news that just a few days ago, members of the community were targeted and killed in Gujranwala. [Ahmadis are a minority sect rooted in Islam that is designated as non-Muslim under Pakistan's constitution] In the book, Bhatti wrote about his religious upbringing as well as his professional life. But maulvis [clerics and religious activists] have taken issue with a book published seven years ago that is pretty much out of print, and have accused us of blasphemy. I don't think it contains anything blasphemous.
The June issue of Nia Zamana put the spotlight on the murder of Rashid Rehman, a human rights lawyer in Multan, who was gunned down for defending Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer who is facing charges of blasphemy. There is a complete lack of sensibility here. How long will this continue? Shortly after the June issue was published I began receiving calls telling me there would be consequences.
On June 11, police accompanied by about a dozen maulvis arrived at my office and questioned me on the book. The maulvis ransacked my office and tried to attack me. The police then brought me to the station for further questioning that evening. In just a short time, the maulvis were able to gather 50-70 people outside the station demanding that a blasphemy case be registered against me. They stayed late into the night, and kept pressuring the police to register a blasphemy case against me. For my own safety, the police did not release me until the early morning when most of the mob had dispersed. The police advised me to disappear. In the meantime, the police initiated a case against me. They sent a copy of the book to be reviewed by an ulema board [a body of Muslim scholars] on whether the content is blasphemous; it would be sent for a legal review, and based on that, formal charges would be issued against me. But seeing that the police didn't file charges immediately, the maulvis also approached the courts directly.
CPJ: Why has a book that was published seven years ago suddenly caused this uproar?
SA: A couple of points may have led me here as I and my friends surmise. First, powerful circles may be sending me a shut-up call that more of the kind of work done by my magazine won't be tolerated. Religious groups are used as their instruments to further certain objectives. Second is the issue of Ahmadis and their ongoing persecution. Amid growing extremism in Pakistan, there are groups that are trying to find ways to target the [Ahmadi] community. They are engaging in a witch hunt for any materials and anyone in favor of Ahmadis' rights. The book has not even been available in markets these days, but perhaps coming across a copy under such a witch hunt has led them to me.
CPJ: It seems blasphemy is a hot-button issue in Pakistan. In May, popular television broadcaster Geo faced accusations of blasphemy. In 2011, CPJ documented the threats made against journalist and politician Sherry Rehman for her opposition to the blasphemy law. That same year, Gov. Salmaan Taseer was assassinated for his opposition to the blasphemy law. And now your latest threats stem from accusations of blasphemy. Can you elaborate on the impact of the law?
SA: No one wants to talk about blasphemy. No one wants to consider it. It's a landmine. The pressure is so immense that police will go along when blasphemy accusations are leveled against someone. Lawyers won't touch the cases. Lower court judges are intimidated by "mob justice" by religious groups who are able to organize themselves at a moment's notice. They are so powerful, they intimidate judges into silence. Judges are aware that they can be shot dead. Lower courts often sentence those accused to death, and leave it for the higher courts to have final say. Frequently, those accused are murdered. And anyone accused almost certainly will languish in prison for years, even if nothing is proven against them.
CPJ: How has all this impacted you?
SA: I have been feeling shock. I feel that I have escaped from the mouth of death because very few people escape blasphemy accusations. At first I was having trouble coming to grips with what happened. Now I am keeping a very low profile and minimizing my time in public. It's become impossible for me to work here. Almost two months on, my office remains shut. And after sending my wife, son, and daughter to live with relatives, and spending almost a month away, we're together again but still in hiding.
CPJ: What does your situation say about the climate in Pakistan?
SA: Conditions in Pakistan are gloomy. Religious groups say they raise funds for relief, but they also lead efforts for jihad and promote their toxic ideology. Our establishment considers these religious groups instruments for their policies against Afghanistan and India. Foreign journalists can't even cover the ongoing operations in [North] Waziristan.
The mainstream media remains stifled. It is difficult to speak against religious groups. Journalists are aware of the reality that they must practice self-censorship in order to survive. I've written for [publications including] Aaj Kal, which was published by Salman Taseer, Dawn, and Jang. At Jang I was told to soften my criticism of the military and religious groups. But I cannot water down my criticism. It's not how I work.

Pakistani terrorists Haqqanis new home: PARACHINAR

By Kahar Zalmay
For three years, Kurram Agency looked like Gaza. According to local sources, over 6,000 Shias of Kurram Agency lost their lives to Taliban attacks. Hundreds of thousands relocated to safer places like Karachi, Middle East and Gilgit-Baltistan.
This year, locals will once again ‘host’ the good Talibans causing more misery and slaughter.Will you pay attention to this Gaza of Pakistan, or not since it is not fashionable to talk about non-Arabs.
The Haqqanis network, key ally of the Pakistani establishment and renowned for its attacks against the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has found itself a new home in Parachina, Kurram Agency, after being dislodged from its hideouts in North Waziristan in May of this year. Just one month before the much publicized military operation, Zarb-e-Azb.
Strategically placed Parachinar, also the headquarters of Kurram Agency, is just 70 miles away from Kabul. Locals say the Haqqanis were relocated there in the months of April and May. The local administration began imposing curfews for no obvious reason, but once it was made known that the Haqqanis were in the area the curfews started making sense. Kurram Agency is surrounded by Afghanistan from three sides and is the closest in terms of distance to the Afghan capital, Kabul. The rapid increase in attacks in Afghanistan since the launch of military operation in Waziristan in June and the arrival of bodies to Lower Kurram from Afghanistan substantiates the locals’ claims.
Although the Haqqani network is officially part of the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omar, the Haqqanis maintain distinct command and control and lines of operations. Siraj Haqqani, the son of the famous anti-Soviet fighter Jalaluddin Haqqani, is the current leader of the Haqqani network. Siraj is even more extreme than his father and maintains closer ties to al-Qaeda and other foreign extremists in Pakistan.
For many years, the majority of the Shia tribes, Turi and Bangash, have been forbidding the Haqqanis, and other Taliban, from carving out hideouts in Upper Kurram, even though they already have existing sanctuaries within the Aurakzai tribe dominated areas of Central and Lower Kurram. The locals are left feeling helpless as the military moves their Haqqani ally to the Shalozan area, strategically placed in the foothills of Kohe-Sufaid (locally called Spin Ghar). Locals believe this area provides the perfect environment to the Haqqanis for two reasons: Cover from the drone strikes and easy and quick access to Kabul.
For the last five days, some 8,000 Turi and Bangash tribesmen have been staging sit-ins against the government’s policies that have brought the Haqqanis to the area cloaked in the garb of the Mengal tribe settlement in Shilozan Tangi area near the Pak-Afghan border. Mengal’s are Sunni like the Haqqanis and Taliban, making them natural allies.
The protester’s demands also include the release of some 100 elders who were put in prison under the dreaded Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) when they protested against the local administration facilitating the relocation of militant groups. They also want the government to grant permission for Paish Imam (prayer leader) Agha Irfani to return to Parachinar after being expelled by the local administration last month. Irfani has been in the forefront for many years resisting the Haqqnis entry into Upper Kurram. The administration assured the local people that he will be brought back after the month of Ramdan.
One of the protesters told me on twitter, “We cannot openly criticize the military for its role in relocating the Haqqani Network in our area as under FCR, my entire family will be put in prison and there will be no one to resort to for help. Our demand for our Paish Iman return is indirectly against the military’s policies of giving shelter to terrorists in our backyard. We do not want terrorists to roam in our streets”
The Pakistani government has been assuring the Obama Administration that the Haqqnis will not be spared in the North Waziristan operation but the realities on the ground suggest otherwise. They have safely been moved to other parts of the tribal belt and settled areas including some parts of the capital, Islamabad.
Critics claim that the military is in no mood to divorce from its previous policies of using terrorists for expanding its foreign policy interests in Afghanistan and India. For five years they have been dragging their feet to launch an operation in North Waziristan but in the end it appears to be a spurious one. Since the Haqqanis have now been safely moved to Kurram Agency it will take it another five years to go after them – a never ending cycle.
Others believe that the military operations ranging from Swat to Bajaur to North Waziristan are just part of the military’s favorite land-grabbing exercises; consistent with the view these operations are part of another cantonment setup in North Waziristan similar to what has taken place in Swat.
- See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/319280#sthash.iGEXniJG.dpuf

Pakistan: Baloch Rally against enforced disappearances on Eid day

Voice for Baloch Missing Persons(VBMP) rallied against enforced disappearances’ and safe release of disappeared Baloch on Eid day in Quetta. The relatives of missing persons in a large number with political activists, students and members of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons joined the rally. The protesters including women, children and old aged parents of missing persons chanted slogans against enforced disappearances’ of their loved ones. They marched through different roads of the city and later staged a demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club.
According to Mama Qadeer Baloch, vice president of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) the motive of the rally was to gain attention of the world community towards tragic deteriorating state affairs in the Balochistan. It is worth mentioning that families of abducted Baloch have been protesting on Eid days every year for past five years to express their concerns over abduction and custodial killings allegedly by state security forces and intelligence agencies. To register their protest on this religious festival against disappearance of Baloch from different walks of life they celebrate Eid by carrying out rallies and sitting at strike camp with anguish for last five years while millions of Muslims celebrate Eid in other parts of the world. Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an human rights organization that is struggling for the safe release of Baloch missing persons, numbers missing persons more than 15,000, while more than 1600 decomposed and bullet-riddled dead bodies of them have been recovered in different areas of Balochistn. However, the recovered number of bodies from Tutak mass graves is aside from the above mentioned figure. VBMP is of the view of having complete data of missing person.
Previously, VBMP leadership provided the data of missing persons to UN working group that visited Quetta in 2012. The same organization also held historic long march from Quetta to Islamabad to highlight the predicament of this humanitarian crisis, even the five years long protest camp of VBMP for missing Baloch could not make state to soften their policies regarding issue of abducted Baloch. They have been appealing the United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations for taking notice of enforced disappearances and abduct, kill and dump to play their part in recovery of thousands of missing Baloch. However, the international human rights organization have not played any satisfactory role.
Though, the abduct, kill and dump policy was launched in dictator General Pervez Musharraf’s military regime in Balochistan, however, it is still continued unabated despite claims of democracy in Pakistan. The provincial government of Dr Malik Baloch seems stranded pertaining the issue of recovery of dead bodies and abductions. Dr Malik and its ruling party have not been able to change the mindset of state policymakers regarding the Baloch genocide, yet Dr Malik claims to have got stopped the extrajudicial murder of Baloch political activist and other from various fields of life.
The abduction of Baloch, recovery of their decomposed dead bodies and mass graves in Khuzdar must have been great concerns and menaces to civil society, national and international human rights organizations, United Nations and Islamabad; regrettably, these human rights violations have never been taken seriously. It is high time the responsible authorities, Islamabad, champions of human rights defense to take serious measures for the safe release of Baloch political activists, teachers, and doctors and lawyers so that ways may be made for talks with Baloch nationalist.

Pakistan’s opposition leader terms Article 245 mini-martial law

Pakistan’s opposition leader in National Assembly, Khursheed Shah threatened to protest if Article 245 is not withdrawn in Islamabad on Tuesday, Dunya News reported. Shah said that the government has accepted its failure by imposing Article 245.
Showing strong reaction to the enforcement of Article 245 of the Constitution, Shah termed it as mini-martial law which can lead to violation of basic human rights. The government must state the threats to the capital city, Shah demanded.
The National Assembly Session was presided by speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, the opposition leader Khursheed Shah argued against the imposition of Article 245 by saying that the use of article 245 shows the government’s weakness. He questioned whether the Army has been deployed in Islamabad to halt the Long March. Has the government failed to provide security in the Federal Capital, Shah asked?
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has sacrificed lives of two leaders in the name of democracy, said Khursheed. He further informed that Asif Ali Zardari accepted his mistake of impositing of Article 245 in Lahore and we must learn from our past mistakes.

Two soldiers, seven Uzbek terrorists killed in N Waziristan, says Pak Army

Seven Uzbek terrorists and two army soldiers were killed in clash during the clearance of the Miramshah to Datta Khel road, a military spokesperson said on Monday.
While the clearance was in progress, army troops carried out a snap operation on Uzbek terrorist hideouts in Datta Khel Bazar. A spokesman for ISPR stated that Naib Subedar Mashkoor and Lance Naik Zaheer were also killed in the ambush.
According to the spokesman, towns including Miranshah, Mirali, Boya and Degan, extending to Datta Khel have been cleared. However, the operation is currently in progress as there are pockets of resistance between Miranshah-Mirali, villages of Momin Gul Ziarat, Darpakhel, Tappi, Spalga and the south of Tochi river.
Furthermore, he said that a large number of IEDs and suicide jackets were recovered in the surrounding areas of Mirali in Shahbaz Khel, along with 75 Rockets, chemicals and propaganda literature. In Umer Ki Kalli, an additional IED factory was also discovered.
The military launched an operation in the restive tribal agency on June 15 in the aftermath of a deadly attack on the Karachi airport that left over 30 people dead. The military has said that foreign and local militants, including Tehreek-i-Taliban, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Haqqani network members will be targeted in the offensive.

Pakistan: Collision Course

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) members of National Assembly have submitted their resignation letters to the party Chairman, Imran Khan, who plans to handover them to the Speaker of National Assembly on August 13. The party is busy preparing for the “Azadi March” towards Islamabad on Independence Day, and has denied any possibility of reaching a compromise with the PML-N government. Following the announcement regarding PTI MNAs resignation, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) clarified that the National Assembly will still stand, and by-elections will be held on vacant seats within a period of 90 days. Information Minister Pervez Rasheed took the same line. However, there is more to the move than the ultimate objective of bringing the House down.
If nothing else, it sends a very clear message to the ruling party as well as PTI’s supporters: Imran means business. If the idea is to stand out in rejection of the ‘corrupt system’, what better way than to resign and take to the streets in protest? Imran wants the opposite of what Nawaz wants. Of course, they both want to be Prime Minister, but since one already is, and the other isn’t and doesn’t wish to wait, there can either be a compromise or all out confrontation. Nawaz obviously prefers the former while Imran is counting on the latter to propel him to the very top or at the very least, bring the top man down. Imran has plenty of things going for him. The military is unhappy with the federal government. The courts are no longer being viewed as neutral arbitrators. Certain sections of the media appear more excited about the ‘revolution’ than those who promise to bring it. There is of course Tahir-ul-Qadri and friends and their promise of bringing a ‘Green Revolution’. PAT and allies have announced to observe Martyr’s Day in Lahore on August 10 to pay tribute to the victims of the Model Town tragedy. Mr Qadri also claims to have certain audio recordings which he believes prove Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s involvement in the incident. Not that the government needs anyone else to make its life difficult, it has proved to be quite self-reliant on that account.
But, things aren’t going so well for PTI Chairman in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), where his party is leading a coalition government. Firstly, it’s coalition partners, Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJI), have taken a clear position against the dissolution of the KP Assembly, as suggested previously by Imran Khan. In case the PTI members resign from their 55 seats, their coalition partners will have to launch a no-confidence motion against KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to keep the provincial assembly intact, putting them in direct confrontation with each other much to benefit of the PML-N. Secondly, several PTI MPAs do not appear all that enthusiastic about the prospect of having to quit power merely after 14 months. What will Imran do now?

Pakistan: Army holds the key….the rest light and shadow

Ayaz Amir
No change has ever occurred in Pakistan except through the power of the sword – the open or hidden intervention of the army. Why should it be different this time?
Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri are playing no one’s game. The script in front of them is their own. But the arena or theatre in which they are playing their parts is controlled not by them. Over it fall the long shadows cast by the army’s bayonets. Whether we like it or not, such is the nature of the Pakistani state, such the contours of Pakistani politics.
Like the crowds which occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo, the battalions led by the Kaptaan and the Sheikh can create the conditions for a political change. But the key in the lock, as in Cairo or even Bangkok, if it is turned at all will be turned not by the long marchers or the sit-in crowds but the real battalions under the command of General Headquarters. The cue has to come from there as it did at the time of Nawaz Sharif’s so-called long march when the final screw which brought about the restoration of My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry was turned by Gen Kayani.
Then the army and Nawaz Sharif were marching to the same tune. The slogan was rule of law; the reality was the desire to cut President Zardari down to size. As the then president was forced to eat humble pie that objective was achieved, although Gen Kayani could scarcely have foreseen that in the restoration of Justice Ch the army was creating another problem for itself. The law of unintended consequences usually becomes clearer only after the event.
It is Nawaz Sharif’s misfortune and the mother of all his troubles that he and the army are not marching to the same tune anymore. Gone are the days when he was an army favourite, buoyed up by hidden tutors to act as a counterweight to the PPP. Today the army seems barely able to tolerate him and his extended family with their monopoly of political power.
There is another problem. Even if the army is in no mood for overt intervention, each time Pervaiz Rashid with his mournful looks – he must do something about them, he’s begun to look like an Auntie – and Saad Rafique with his Groucho Marx moustache makes a television appearance it is a fair bet that the most democracy-loving army officer is inclined to weigh the merits of a military coup.
Saad and Pervaiz…it’s their faces and the way they speak. If ISPR is ever to run a pro-coup campaign all it has to do is run their TV clips repeatedly…and the usual photos of Hamza Shahbaz looking thoughtful with his fist under his chin, like Allama Iqbal. Nothing more need be said; that would do the trick.
The army is not doing anything overtly. It is allowing Mian Sahib to twist in the wind and will not pull his chestnuts out of the fire, Article 245 notwithstanding. In this season of contrary winds the PML-N is getting nothing right. Handing over the capital’s security to the army has done it no good and will not come to its rescue when the marches get close to the capital’s defences. But it has earned all-round flak for this move.
Bhutto managed to keep the army on his right side right up to the 1977 elections. Only then did the scales shift, after which Gen Zia and his leading generals started getting ideas in their heads. It is Nawaz Sharif’s singular achievement that he has managed to turn the army against himself in just a year, that too over such relative trifles as Gen Musharraf’s trial. Any rustic could have told him to let sleeping dogs lie. But he had to go and kick it…and now matters have spun out of his control. And government authority is not what it might have been, not after the bloodletting in Model Town.
My friend Rana Sanaullah says that he is an ‘adna kaarkun’ of the party and loss of ministership means nothing to him. He need have no fears on this count. In the Model Town inquiry he has been treated exactly like an ‘adna kaarkun’, the chief minister washing his hands off the whole affair and pinning the blame on his former law minister. As an ‘adna kaarkun’ he will surely take this in his stride.
So it is against this backdrop, this perception of PML-N weakness stemming from its frayed relationship with the army, that Imran Khan and the Allama are revving up for their long marches on Islamabad. The army is not coming to the government’s rescue. The government will have to deal with the marches on its own. So the question really is: can a demoralised Punjab police force, sick and tired of long sentry duties, come up to the government’s expectations and act as its storm-troopers? The related question of course is whether the long march leaderships will be able to drum up and mobilise the requisite mass support?
And watching this drama keenly, through narrow eyes, will be the army command, playing it by the book, savouring the spectacle of civilian discomfiture. It was at the 11th hour that Gen Kayani made his telephone call which resulted in what an over-eager nation, rushing to judgement, hailed as the triumph of the constitution and the rule of law – azad adlia hogi toh sub theek ho jai ga, nokrian bhi mil jaen gee, maeeshat bhi theek ho jai gi. What’s that old Talat Mehmood song? Raat ne kya kya khwab dikhaye…
The PML-N’s fate depends not on the constitution or its mandate. Not a leaf will stir on its behalf, not a single worker turn out in its defence. Its fate depends wholly and solely on the Punjab police and the Islamabad police. Measures are already afoot to block the marches – the usual containers and naakas, etc. Will the two police forces be able to hold their nerves? The last time in front of the Islamabad airport they were made to run for their lives by stone-hurling youngsters. It was a funny spectacle, fit for a Hollywood thriller. Will it be any different this time, especially when the interior minister’s long sulk is still not over? Who will coordinate the police effort? Saad Rafique, Pervaiz Rashid – the mind boggles.
If there is even a hint of disorder, the first signs of chaos on the roads in and around Islamabad…that will be the time for the strategic phone call or even something more. Since we have our own history books for a guide, in one form or another it will then be curtains for this drama. It doesn’t take much mathematical genius to figure this out.
But if the Kaptaan and Ya Sheikh think that any of this is going to be for their benefit they need to brush up on their Pakistani history. The army always acts for itself, not for any presumed allies or surrogates. Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s 1977 experience should be instructive in this regard. As for mid-term elections, that’s another lullaby to put the nation to sleep. Those who come follow their own agenda.
But how delicately the situation is poised: either curtains for this drama, that too very soon, or four more years of this dispensation. If Nawaz Sharif survives this summer of discontent he will have made it – provided of course the Khawajas and the Kashmiri pundits are kept on a short leash.

Pakistan's Load Shedding: A less than ‘electric’ Eid

In an attempt to appease the general public and to distract from the faltering supply of electricity, the government cut off electricity supply to industries in order to meet domestic demand over Eid. The ‘populist’ measure hit Pakistan’s already struggling economy severely, with estimated loss of exports reaching $ 700 million plus. The problems caused by the shutdown of electricity to the industrial sector were compounded by the government’s decision to grant four mid-week holidays on the occasion of Eid. These holidays effectively connected two consecutive weekends, which meant that most of the country remained shut for a period of 10 days.
These decisions demonstrate great ineptitude on the part of the government, which in an attempt to garner popular support has further compromised the economy, which faces enough challenges already with more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) still floundering and constant load shedding ensuring a slowdown. Given these realities, these decisions are akin to shooting oneself in the foot, or rather amputating the foot itself, and it is unlikely that the short-term benefits to the ruling PML-N will outweigh the long-term problems faced by the majority of the population. Daily-wagers comprise a large percentage of Pakistan’s workforce and as a result of the 10-day shutdown, most of them lost about a third of their monthly earnings — a prospect particularly daunting in these straitened times.
The government’s actions are symptomatic of negative attitudes prevalent in our society, which place comfort and vacationing ahead of hard work for future prosperity. After all, the government’s decision to grant such holidays was the result of it seeing this as a possibility to please many people, who readily took the opportunity to take extended holidays even though, strictly speaking, the Friday and Saturday following the four Eid holidays were not off-days. Thus it would be unfair to put the blame entirely on the government for the complete shutdown of the country over these 10 days, since it clearly found an approving echo amongst most people. Granted, many people in the country no longer work in the cities, towns and villages from which they hail and take the opportunity over occasions like Eid to return home for as long as possible. But even keeping this in mind, the work ethic (or lack of it) we as a society exhibit is inexcusable. If there is to be any change and we are to avoid such mistakes in future, we must change our own attitudes when we are ourselves part of the problem that afflicts this country.

Healthcare in Pakistan: No one cares because they're not taught to

By Arif Mahmood
No civilization would ever have been possible without a framework of stability, to provide the wherein for the flux of change. Foremost among the stabilising factors, more enduring than customs, manners and traditions are the legal systems that regulate our life in the world and our daily affairs with each other. — Hannah Arendt.
Grey slacks, blue button-down oxford shirts: this was the daily attire at St Marks School of Texas, where rules — of which there were many — were pervasively enforced. At my all-boys' prep school, life could not have been anymore regimented.
Uniforms established equality, while a core curriculum rounded out carefully manicured courses of study and training. It wasn't until many years later, as an adult, that I fully appreciated the formative powers of such structure, regulation, and order.
From the carefully constructed storyline of my cloistered childhood, descent into Islamabad constituted pure culture shock delivered by sensory overload.
Stepping out of the airport, chaotic traffic, colourful buses, and a barrage of beggars competed for my attention from all sides. The meaning and profundity of the experience flew over my head, but it definitely struck a nerve. I had come here to study medicine at a school established by American-trained physicians, but it immediately was clear that the most important lessons in medical practice would be those taught by the people of Pakistan.
A foreigner or driving in Pakistan: If I can drive in Pakistan...
An excited relative shepherded me through the dense swamp of people to a car, where a driver who had been patiently awaiting us tucked away my baggage and authoritatively drove us to our destination.
"Arif, you see, a driver is a buffer. You see, the road here is sort of like a jungle. If there's an altercation; it's the driver’s responsibility to resolve it," my uncle explained to me.
Indeed, the rule of the road seemed to be anarchy: cars ploughed through red lights, lane markers were egregiously disregarded, and disorder was rampant.
And the disorder didn't end at the medians and sidewalks: structure, regulation, order were often nowhere to be found.
The scene stirred in me an awareness of the disparities around me, and I applied the lessons in order and discipline of my schooling towards a goal of contributing towards the propagation of equality and justice through health care in the city around me.
Every Friday, I would venture into the open-air bazaar to seek out the anxious beggars who were otherwise entirely overlooked in the bustling market, offering attention, care, and charity of my means. It was here that I learned how compassion and empathy play vital roles in the process of healing.
One ageing woman I met there had been suffering from osteoarthritis for at least 10 years, unaware of the existence of analgesics; imagine the change in her quality of life when medical intervention came. Following diagnosis by X-ray, prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs and a simple aerobic exercise schedule; she was ecstatic.
There were many like her – for whom dramatic relief was a greeting and a brief consultation away. My most memorable experience, however, was of a pariah whose compulsive outbursts of obscenities left him shunned by the public; hoping to help, I established a rapport.
Suspecting a Tourette's diagnosis (neurological disorder), I arranged for a psychiatric evaluation to confirm. His diagnosis changed his self-concept.
With heartbreaking gratitude, he would continuously tell me that no one had ever really acknowledged him before. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed when he called me his saviour.
During a dermatology rotation, I was greeted by an extremely coy and impoverished 12-year-old girl. After an in-depth history and physical examination, it was determined that she had primary syphilis.
Coming from a family of 10 living in a single room, she regularly witnessed her parents fornicating. She became intrigued one day and engaged in sexual activity while her parents were at work.
We were unable to involve her parents, knowing they would react harshly. I remember she was terrified of seeing a doctor initially, but she also trusted me. We treated her with Penicillin G and counselled her about safe sexual practices.
Delving deep into the chasm of these individuals' personal lives and health made me realise how fortunate I was to grow up in a country where you can actually see legal rights and equality in action. No one really cared for any of these people because they were never taught to.
As a society where legal violations were disregarded and dealt with monetarily, it's no surprise Pakistan has lost track of its most valuable asset: its people.
Medical school taught me the importance of maintaining a high regard for humanity and equality. The value of human life, regardless of geographical location, socio-economic status, or education should always remain high and level. Our biggest asset is our people, but that is yet to be learnt.

Former President Zardari telephones Asfandyar Wali and Chaudhry Shujaat

Former President Asif Ali Zardari today telephoned separately ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the phone calls were made a short while ago on Monday afternoon by the former President from London.
In his separate telephonic conversations with the heads of two political parties the former President discussed the current political situation obtaining in the country.
The Spokesperson said that the former President who is keeping himself abreast with the latest developments in the country has viewed with concern some recent developments. Mr. Zardari believes that it is necessary to engage other political forces for defending the Constitution and democracy.
He said that the PPP is keeping an eye on the situation and is committed to the protection and furtherance of democracy and the Constitutionalism.

Pakistan's True Heroes: Helping Children, Despite Death Threats: A Vaccinator Explains

When my translator and I arrive in a crowded, dusty neighborhood in Karachi, Fatima Noor is waiting in a full black burqa. But she pretends not to see us.
She turns down the alley and disappears. We follow her into a neighborhood, where the buildings are so close together that Noor's burqa brushes the walls.
Finally she slips into the entryway of a building, and with a sigh of relief, she pulls back her headscarf.
Noor is a 42-year-old mother of three. She's also one of Pakistan's roughly 100,000 Lady Health Workers, who help provide basic health services to children in slums and remote rural areas of Pakistan.
On this day, she and two other workers are immunizing kids for measles. The trio is explaining to a group of young mothers how their children will need to get measles booster shots in a year and a half.
Being a front-line health worker usually isn't controversial. But in Pakistan, it can get you killed.
The Taliban went on an offensive against polio immunization in 2012 after it became clear that the CIA used a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden.
Since then, more than 60 polio workers have been gunned down.
"Whenever I go out for a polio campaign, my heart is scared, and my mind is not working," Noor says through our translator.
During polio drives, she goes door to door giving children drops that protect them from permanent paralysis.
But the attacks have completely changed the drives, Noor says. She no longer wants to be seen carrying the small, blue ice chest that holds the vaccine.
"We ask one of the kids to go in the street and check if the situation is all right or not," Noor says. "And I'll get my son to carry the vaccine cooler. He hides it inside a shopping bag. And I'll be covered in a burqa."
Noor has worked as a Lady Health Worker for 20 years and earns roughly $70 a month. During nationwide polio immunization drives, many of the other vaccinators are hired by the day. They earn just $2.50 a day, which is so low that even in Pakistan, they're often referred to as "volunteers."
Her team has never been attacked, she says. But whenever they hear something that sounds like gunfire, they all run and hide. And when the vaccinators go into an apartment building, they post one person to wait outside and watch for trouble.
"When we come out of a building, we have to be careful," Noor says. "Sometimes we stop for a while to see if anyone was watching us."
Sometimes they also travel with a police escort.
In most neighborhoods, she says, parents accept the vaccine. But in some places — usually poor slums — parents can be hostile. Some refuse to have their children vaccinated, saying the campaign is a Western plot against Muslims or a government scheme to sterilize their children.
"People are saying that it's a form of family planning," she says. "We tell them that if the government wanted to, they could add birth control into anything, into the water, into the food."
Eventually, many parents accept that the rumors don't make sense.
What's harder to overcome in Pakistan is the fear created by the militant attacks on polio workers. Whenever another vaccinator gets shot, Noor's husband urges her to stop going on campaigns and to stay home.
But Noor says she can't. To her, protecting Pakistani kids from polio paralysis is crucial to the country — especially since there's no treatment for the disease.
"These are our children, and it's obvious we will not let them be disabled," she says.

China: Who does terrorism in Xinjiang really target?

Jume Tahir, 74, of the Id Kah Mosque in the city of Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was murdered by three terrorists at 6:58 a.m. on July 30 after he finished hosting morning prayer rituals.
Two days earlier, 37 civilians were killed and another 13 were injured in a terrorist attack in Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture. The heavy casualties of this attack make it the most deadly terrorist incident in the region since the 7/5 Incident in 2009. In response to the attack, police have killed 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others.
Why do the authorities fail to suppress these spates of terrorist attacks, which tend only to intensify? Why is terrorism still so difficult to counter even though anti-terrorism measures have been enacted?
The Chinese central government has always paid a great deal of attention to the economic and cultural development of Xinjiang. They have maintained such efforts into the present day, as the central authorities gather resources from throughout the nation to support Xinjiang's growth, protect local cultures, improve people's living conditions, and create other favorable policies and services.
In contact between Han and other ethnic groups – primarily the Uygur ethnic group – in Xinjiang, the government underscores "preserving unity among different ethnic groups," which often results in compromise and concession on the part of ethnic Han Chinese.
This care and goodwill has failed to be greeted with reciprocal gestures from extremists in Xinjiang, who spread hateful opinions in order to deceive people from different ethnic groups into believing that the benefits they receive from the central authorities are a repayment of "the country's debt to them." Those few people who are successfully misled, in addition to considering "compensation" justifiable, demand that Uygurs be deemed superior to all other ethnic groups in the nation.
Issues such as these originate from one key question: who, in fact, is the owner of this land?
It is well-known that the area of present-day Xinjiang was referred to as Xiyu (Western Region) in ancient times, since which time people from various ethnic groups have been living here. Chinese central authorities began governing this area during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD), both farming the land and protecting it. The emperors of the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1370) expanded Chinese territory to extend further into central Asia, and the final Chinese imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), formally established Xinjiang as a Chinese province.
History therefore shows that Xinjiang has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times. Some people with ulterior motives have, however, attempted to distort this history by terming certain ethnic groups "natives" and others "foreigners" – or even "colonists" – based on mere assumptions. This is no more than an attempt to mislead the public into supporting the separation of Xinjiang from Chinese territory. Unfortunately, some inlanders who are not aware of the relevant history have gone along with the separatists' orchestration, evident in their lack of self-confidence in dealing with disputes that involve ethnic groups.
Appeasement has fostered violent terrorists' arrogance, reducing their respect for the law, even though they are already committing killings and lootings. These violent terrorists fundamentally wish to dominate Xinjiang while exorcizing other ethnic groups in the name of protecting their homeland and "expelling invaders." They carry the banner of Islam only because they seek recognition from their ethnic group. The terrorists do not hesitate to incite ethnic hatred and advocate murder in order to achieve their goal.
The murder of Jume Tahir has brought the extremists' and terrorists' true intentions to light. "Preserving Islam and restoring Islamic rituals" are falsehoods they use to hide their attempts to separate Xinjiang from the homeland along lines of culture, religion, customs, costumes, and diet, among other things.
If we have learned anything from Chinese history, it is that anyone who attempts to achieve his or her own goals at the cost of social stability and financial and personal damage to others will ultimately meet with failure.
People from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang should recognize the true intentions of the Three Evils – "terrorism, separatism and religious extremism" – which promote the slaughter of both innocent civilians and religious leaders. They attack government offices, including those of law enforcement officials. In their crimes against the state and their crimes against humanity, they trample upon the lives and safety of everyone, including those of their own people.