Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Israel-Egypt-Saudi Arabia Axis: Come the Counter-Revolution

Leon T. Hadar
American policymakers have had a dream about the creation of a New Middle East. According to a foreign policy consensus that emerged following the September 11 attacks in 2001 -- that brought together Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives -- radical Islamism and terrorism were rooted, as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it, in "oppression and despair;" and so, the United States role was to advance democratic reform and support basic rights throughout the greater Middle East instead of pursuing policies aimed at maintaining the political status-quo under which military dictators and absolute monarchs ruled the Arab World.
But now, American vision of reforming and democratizing the Middle East lies in tatters. The ousting of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, which was supposed to be the first step in the implementation of the Freedom Agenda of President George W. Bush -- who compared the struggles to forge a "democratic future" to the troubles the United States -- have unleashed a bloody sectarian and ethnic wars in Iraq and in neighboring Syria and Lebanon and led to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ruled by murderous and medieval thugs that make Saddam's brutal Baath regime look like an experiment in Jeffersonian democracy.
And as the war between Hamas and Israel continues to rage, one should recall that it was the Bush Administration's dogmatic commitment to spreading democracy in the Middle East that helped the Palestinian Islamist movement win election for the first time in January 2006. When Palestinian and Israeli officials frantically lobbied in Washington for the postponement of the parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza, noting that polls pointed to a possible victory by Hamas, America's top democracy cheerleader, Condoleezza Rice, was dismissive. "Holding free and fair Palestinian Legislative Council elections on January 25 represents a key step in the process of building a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state," Rice insisted.
If the Middle East agenda promoted by President Bush and his neoconservative advisors was activist and transformative in nature, including through the use of military power, the approach adopted by President Barack Obama and his liberal internationalist aides was more reactive and accommodative in its response to the political earthquakes ignited by the Arab Spring, including the challenges to the pro-America autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia.
Indeed, with both neoconservative and liberal pundits as well as the elite media welcoming the ousting of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak -- in the same way that they and the conservative media had once hailed the fall of Iraq's Saddam Hussein - as a democratic revolutions akin to those that had taken place in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism in 1989, President Obama and his aides seemed to suggest that America needed to take a ride on this wave of change - or be left behind.
The United States needed to address the Arab Spring, "the forces that are driving it, and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security," Obama stressed. "The question before us is what role America will play as this story unfolds," beyond traditional American interests such as counterterrorism and counter-proliferation, he insisted.
Unlike President Bush, President Obama's approach wasn't a product of a hard-core ideological doctrine and a coherent strategy. He has been muddling through most of the time, giving a green light to holding free elections in Tunisia but not in Bahrain, or using American military power to help oust Libya's Muhammar Kaddafi but reusing to do so when it came to the insurgents fighting the Syria's Bashar Assad.
Yet Obama's decision to abandon the long-time American ally Hosni Mubarak and allow the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power through free election in Egypt amounted to a major reversal in American policy in the Middle East and reverberated across the region. It shook up the Israeli and the Saudi leaders who believed that the young and inexperienced president was operating in a foreign policy la la land in by assuming that Turkey's democratic Islamist model would eventually take hold in the New Middle East emerging out of the Arab Spring.
Unlike Western intellectuals and political elites, the Saudis and the Israelis -- very much like most leaders in the Middle East -- have never bought into the notion that the region was about to enter into a new historical epoch under which it would embrace the principles of the Enlightenment Project.
Instead, much of the swift changes that have been sweeping the region since 9/11, through the Iraq War, and until the Arab Spring -- with the direct and indirect help of the United States -- were seen by those who had a stake in maintaining the status-quo as a struggle for power between ethnic, religious, and tribal groups and the regional and global powers that support them.
From that perspective, the Israelis and Saudis perceived the fall of friendly and accommodating ruler of the largest and most powerful Arab state and the ensuing election of the Muslim Brotherhood as a direct threat to their national interests while benefiting the interests of Turkey (Not to mention the absurd notion that replacing a leader committed to supporting the rights of women and religious minorities with a radical Islamist group was a step advancing liberty in the Middle East). Hence it was not surprising that based on pure Realpolitik considerations, the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and the return of the military to power in Egypt were applauded in both Riyadh and Jerusalem.
That the Israelis and the Saudis have also both apprehensive over the Obama Administration's effort to accommodate Iranian interests, and that the Egyptians and the Israelis -- with Saudi blessing and despite a certain American reservations -- cooperated in trying to decimate Hamas' military power in Gaza, may not be signs of a new strategic realignment in the Middle East but more of an emerging partnership that reflects some common interests; and in particular, the need to fill the strategic vacuum created by the inability of the United States to continue maintaining its role as a hegemonic power in the region.
To put it in more simple terms, while the Obama Administration responded to this new reality by trying to accommodate some anti-status-quo players, the Saudis, Egypt and Israel are resisting the current American approach that seems to run contrary to their interests. And as their policies during the war in Gaza demonstrated, they are not expecting the Americans to do the job for them and are even willing to take steps that are not in line with Washington's positions.
In a way, this evolving partnership recalls the one that Jerusalem maintained with Ankara as part of the common struggle against Arab radicalism during the Cold War. Indeed, even when it comes to such a contentious issue as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it's not inconceivable to envision a gradual process of reconciliation involving Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas based on the 2002 Arab League peace initiative.
In fact, an effort to re-assert a more conservative order in the Middle East, along the lines of settlements that took place in Europe after the 1848 revolutions, doesn't preclude the possibility of co-opting Iran into the system in addition to providing for some forms of Palestinian and Kurdish independence.
Americans should welcome the re-assertion of the old order in the region while continuing to encourage gradual political and economic reforms instead of operating as democratic missionaries in the region, now that the fantasy of a New Middle East has been buried in Irbil and Gaza.

Song 2014: How many wars should Gaza survive?

Despite the massive Israeli war against Gaza civilians, people on the besieged Gaza try to express their pain in different ways. A new song has just been released by some Gazan artists to express their feelings as the War continues.
The song titled, “How many wars should Gaza survive?” speaks out on the siege and the silence of International community as well as calling fro freedom for the Palestinian people.

Israel,Jordan and ISIL are allies

Syria’s ambassador to the UN says Israel allows the free flow of weapons and ISIL militants into the occupied Golan Heights and then into the rest of Syria.
Bashar Ja’afari told Press TV on Friday that the ISIL Takfiri terrorists have an undeclared alliance with Israel and are engaged in a secret agreement with the regime.
The Israelis help the Takfiris infiltrate into the separation line on the Golan Heights from Jordan, where their training camps are located, the Syrian diplomat said.
The remarks came after the UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the ISIL terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq.
The Syrian ambassador to the UN also stated that “everybody knows that Jordan is hosting secret training camps.”
Amman has not commented on this yet.
The UN resolution is aimed at cutting off funding and the flow of foreign militants to the ISIL. The 15-member Security Council called for action against the terrorists, who, it said must “disarm and disband with immediate effect.”
ISIL militants now control large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. They also have several oil fields under control.
Iraq, which has the world’s fifth-biggest crude reserves, came under a massive blitz by the ISIL Takfiri militants in early June.
Ja’afari reminded the UN Security Council that Damascus had repeatedly warned of the Takfiri threat for three years.
He went on to say that if the UN had not ignored the terrorist activities in Syria, ISIL militants would not be able to create chaos in Iraq today.
Ja’afari also said the Syrian government plays a major role in the campaign against terrorism.

ISIL Takfiris kill 700 in eastern Syria: Observatory

ISIL Takfiri terrorists have executed 700 people from a tribe in eastern Syria, a monitoring group says./blockquote> The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which opposes the Syrian government, said on Saturday that many of the victims from the al-Sheitaat tribe were beheaded in the Deir al-Zor province.
Clashes between ISIL and the tribe intensified after the militants captured an oilfield in July.
Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman said, "Those who were executed are all al-Sheitaat," which has a population of 70,000 people.
"Some were arrested, judged and killed," Abdelrahman added.
The UK-based monitoring group said that "there are more than 1,800 members of the tribe, who are still missing."
On Friday, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution against the ISIL militants in Syria and Iraq, calling on them to "disarm and disband with immediate effect."
The ISIL terrorists currently control a swathe of eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011.
More than 170,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and, Turkey -- are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

Missouri governor imposes curfew in Ferguson, declares emergency

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emergency and implemented a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew in Ferguson, where the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked a week of protests and sporadic looting.
"I'm committed to making sure the forces of peace and justice prevail," Nixon said at a community meeting. "If we're going to achieve justice, we first must have and maintain peace."
But the meeting at a local church at times was tumultuous.
People repeatedly interrupted Nixon, shouting, "You need to charge the police with murder!" and "We want justice!"
And some residents said law enforcement officers had instigated the violence with their military-like tactics.
State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, in charge of security for the town, praised local citizens who tried to stop the looting of several businesses early Saturday. He said law enforcement would not be heavy-handed in enforcing the curfew.
"We won't enforce it with trucks, we won't enforce it with tear gas," he said.
But at least one resident was skeptical about whether the curfew would work. "It's an intimidation thing. And you're basically suppressing people who still have questions that need answers," said Carissa McGraw, who has joined protests throughout the week. "You have people who -- at this point -- do not care what authorities say right now."
Michael Brown killed a week ago
Ferguson, a town of about 22,000 people near St. Louis, entered the national consciousness on August 9 when a white police officer, identified as Darren Wilson, shot and killed and Michael Brown, 18, on a city street during the middle of the day.
Accounts of what happened vary widely. Police said Brown struggled with the officer and reached for his weapon. Several witnesses said Brown raised his hands and was not attacking the officer.
Since then, Ferguson has become a tinder box, with regular street protests, an influx of heavily armed law enforcement officers and intense media coverage.
A new development in the investigation popped up Saturday when a Brown family lawyer, Anthony Gray, said that Michael Baden will conduct a second autopsy on the the teenager's body. Baden is a high-profile pathologist who testified in the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Drew Peterson trials.
Early Saturday morning, before sunrise, a fragile peace was shattered when looters again targeted neighborhood businesses while law enforcement in riot gear largely looked on without intervening.
Some protesters tried to stop the looting, at times standing in front of one convenience store and preventing others from doing more damage. Police, criticized days earlier for being too aggressive with protesters, now drew the ire of merchants who told CNN they weren't doing enough.
"You still have a job to do now, and now you're not doing your job," Tanya Littleton said of police after thieves broke into her beauty supply shop in the St. Louis suburb and made off with bags of hair extensions worth hundreds of dollars.
At noon Saturday -- the hour that police say Wilson shot Brown a week earlier -- protesters outside the police station silently raised their arms into the air, mimicking Brown's purported actions right before he died.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson joined loud but peaceful crowds that marched in the street carrying signs saying "Mike Brown is our son" and "The whole world is watching.
Looting earlier in the day
The looting began at the Ferguson Market and Liquor store, which has become part of the case. Minutes before Brown was shot, police say, a man fitting his description allegedly stole cigars and roughed up a store clerk as surveillance cameras recorded.
Ferguson police released surveillance video of that robbery on Friday, but then emphasized that Wilson stopped Brown not because of the theft, but because Brown and a friend were "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."
Release of the video on Friday angered some, who say police were using it to distract from Brown's killing and make him look bad.
As protesters took to the streets early Saturday, more than two dozen people blocked off the convenience store with cars. Police with riot gear, tactical rifles and armored vehicles were nearby, commanding them through loudspeakers to free it up. Instead, bottles flew, mayhem erupted, and looters ransacked the store, which the owner had boarded up. It was the first of at least three stores raided.


Pakistan protesters vow no let-up until Nawaz Sharif resigns
More than 20,000 anti-government protesters flooded the center of Pakistan's capital on Saturday, vowing to stay in the streets until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns.
The numbers were far below what protest organizers expected, but the power of protesters to paralyse the central business district has presented the biggest challenge yet to the 15-month-old civilian government.
The unrest has raised questions about Pakistan's stability, at a time when the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million is waging an offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants and when the influence of anti-Western and sectarian groups is growing.
Riot police cordoned off two streets in downtown Islamabad with shipping containers and barbed wire for the protests. Protest organisers say they are peaceful but determined.
"We want Pakistan to be a peaceful state through our democratic revolution," populist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri told his followers in a short speech.
His supporters were adamant they would not leave until Qadri told them to. Most of the men carried stout sticks a few feet long. Brigades of men and women in fluorescent jackets had gas masks, swimming goggles and bottles of water.
"We are here to disarm the gas shells," explained one.
Qadri, a cleric and political activist who usually lives in Canada, controls a network of schools and Islamic charities.
He wants the prime minister to resign and a new government of technocrats installed. He promises his supporters he will crack down on corruption, and generate enough funds to pay for homes, jobs, cheap energy and water.
"Once corruption is eradicated, the country can move forward. It is the only thing holding us back," said 15-year-old Umme Habiba, a vivacious student with dimples and long black robes who said she came with her whole family.
Former cricket star Imran Khan, who heads the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, was also holding a smaller protest sit-in on an adjacent street.
The crowds - mostly young men - danced to music blasting from speakers or swapped T-shirts with Khan's face on them.
"Imran Khan is not a corrupt person. He's loyal to people and the country," said Aqsa Ijaz, a 25-year-old student sitting on top of a shipping container with her cousin, a banker.
Khan also wants Sharif to step down, accusing him of rigging last year's elections. Sharif won by a landslide, taking 190 out of 342 seats. Khan also did well in the elections, coming from political obscurity to take 34 seats, the third largest bloc in the legislature. But he says he should have had many more.
"I will not leave here until I have got real freedom for the country," Khan told thousands of supporters in the early hours of Saturday.
Like Qadri, Khan also commands intense personal loyalty from his followers. Pakistanis remember he led them to victory in the 1992 World Cup.
But on Friday a stone-throwing mob of ruling party loyalists attacked a convoy of Khan's supporters in the eastern city of Gujranwala. Khan was not injured, his spokeswoman said.
Some members of Sharif's party have suggested the protests are secretly backed by elements in the military, which has had an uneasy relationship with Sharif. To what extent Khan and Qadri can destabilise the government is likely to depend on the stance taken by the armed forces, which has a long history of mounting coups.
Few people fear a coup, but many officials think the threat of unrest will increase the military's hold over the government.
The military has been frustrated with the government, in particular over the prosecution of former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf for treason.
There has been disagreement, too, between the government and the army on how to handle the Taliban. The government insisted on peace talks but eventually the army launched an offensive.
The government is also struggling to overcome power shortages, high unemployment and spiralling crime.
"This government has failed the poor people," said farmer Razwan Baloch. "Everyone is here because life is so hard."
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Sri Lanka court orders halt to deportation of Pakistani asylum seekers

Pakistan Today
A Sri Lankan court on Friday ordered authorities to stop deporting Pakistani asylum seekers, following a complaint they were being forcibly sent home without having their claims properly assessed.
The United Nations refugee agency says 88 Pakistanis have been deported since August 1. The agency, UNHCR, says it has been denied access to another 75 people who are awaiting deportation.
“The president of the Appeal Court granted interim relief for two weeks to suspend the deportation of all asylum seekers,” said Lakshan Dias, the lawyer of a 38-year-old Pakistani woman whose husband, brother and father are currently in detention. The woman brought the original complaint.
The Sri Lankan government says the Pakistanis are part of an influx of economic immigrants in the past year who have become a burden on the country’s resources and potentially compromised state and regional security.
But Sri Lanka’s Appeal Court said it wanted to look into the cases further and temporarily suspended deportations.
A new hearing is scheduled for August 29. Most of the Pakistanis are from the Ahmadiyya sect.
Last month, a Pakistani mob killed an Ahmadi woman and two of her granddaughters after another sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook.
It was not immediately clear if the Sri Lankan government would abide by the court ruling. Chulananda Perera, controller of the Immigration and Emigration Department, said he could not comment because he had not received the court order.
The court order comes three days after the UNHCR accused Sri Lanka of breaching international law and called on it to halt the deportations and allow the agency to assess claims.
According to UNHCR guidelines, members of religious minorities such as Ahmadiyyas may need protection and require particularly careful examination of their asylum claims.
Authorities deny violating any international laws, saying Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
The number of refugees or asylum seekers rose by 700 percent in the year through June 2014 from the previous year, says the foreign ministry. That included 1,562 asylum seekers and 308 refugees.

Pakistan: PAT workers capture armed man during Qadri’s speech

Workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) claimed to have capture a man carrying a gun during the address of Dr. Tahir ul Qadri in Islamabad.
Dr. Qadri termed the captured man a 'Gullu Butt' and directed his workers not to beat him up.
He said that the man be brought on to the stage.
Later, Dr. Qadri hugged the man, saying he forgives him. -
The gunmen told Dr. Qadri that he was heading to his home when captured by the PAT's men.

Peshawar, death toll rises to 19 due to heavy rain

Death toll rises to 19 and more than 80 injured in rain-related incidents and hailstorms in various parts of Peshawar as roofs and walls of buildings collapsed due to heavy rain, whereas teams are working on to restore the communication system.
Earlier, Meteorological office in Peshawar, said that rain lasted for only one hour and 30 minutes but caused so much damage as 42mm of precipitation was recorded in the city.
Most areas of the city are without power since yesterday. Electricity polls, wires, telephone lines, gas supply is disconnected since the rain struck, while dozens injured were shifted to hospital. More than 80 got injured in rain incidents whereas emergency is declared in Peshawar Hospitals.


Don’t abandon Afghanistan yet

By Nasir Shansab
The killing of Maj. Gen. Harold J. Green by an Afghan soldier is a tragic reminder that all is not well in Afghanistan.
Since the fall of the Taliban in November 2001, Afghanistan never had a chance to become a functioning state. The power of the warlords was never challenged. Institutions remained weak and ineffective. Elections were phony. The government was infested with corruption and nepotism.
The agriculture—the country’s most important economic sector, where 80% of Afghans ekes out a subsistence living—has been neglected. It is bizarre for a country with an agricultural economy to have to import milk, cheese, eggs, and poultry. The country has no legal economy to speak off. The government can barely raise enough funds to pay 10% of its expenditures. The rest is paid by the U.S. and its allies.
If foreign cash stops coming, Kabul and Kandahar, Afghanistan’s two largest cities, would plunge into darkness. Kandahar gets its electricity from a USAID-financed, diesel-operated power plant. USAID also pays for running it. Most of Kabul’s electricity is purchased from Tajikistan with the cost being covered by the U.S. and its allies. When subsidies end, the Afghan government will be unable to pay these expenses, The Kandahar plant would have to be shut down and Tajikistan would stop exporting electricity to Kabul.
At this moment, Afghanistan is a nightmare in the making. The talk of turning that country into a state with established institutions and a functioning economy has long been abandoned. Today, the discussion is, albeit behind closed doors, about how well the U.S. can retreat and what it can do to delay a potential breakdown. Yet, the public is still assured that after 2014, when most foreign combat troops will have left, Afghanistan would be well on its way to attain stability. And should fighting continue, the Afghan security forces would be ready to defend their country.
Afghanistan is still the failed state when U.S. forces invaded it in 2001. Without strong institutions and a functioning economy, it is mired in insecurity and wretched poverty.
Afghanistan’s descent into civil war seems inevitable if the U.S. and its allies abandon the country. Leaving Afghanistan in its present condition is inviting disaster. Hopelessness and the black hole of misery will again become fertile grounds for criminals and international terrorists to establish themselves in and operate from that country. America’s enormous cost in blood and treasure would be wasted if the U.S. left Afghanistan on its own.
President Karzai’s lawless conduct opened government institutions to corruption, causing partly the present dire situation. Despite the problems that the two presidential candidates have with one another, it is hoped that the emerging new leadership will prove itself to be more effectual and less prone to corruption. That would give the U.S. a better basis to complete its assignment less wastefully and more efficiently.
The responsible thing would be to acknowledge that Afghanistan is neither economically nor militarily ready to fend for itself. Before the U.S. can safely leave Afghanistan, it must help that country to build its own indigenous economic and military abilities. All that will cost money. But if it’s done right, the cost will be a trickle of what was spent in the past 12 years.
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Melanie C - Better Alone (European Music Video)

Music: The B-52's - Love Shack

President Obama's Weekly Address: Everyone Should Be Able to Afford Higher Education

Pashto Song: Rahim Shah & Ghazala Javed - ZRA BYALALEY PA TA DEY

Education: the major problem in Pakistan

Education is the most essential ingredient for the development of a nation. It is a global fact that nations who have reached the heights of the development and prosperity have done it by using education and information as a tool to do it. Education is simply an investment to achieve both human and economic development. But unfortunately it is one of the biggest problems in Pakistan. The education system of Pakistan is rotten to the core. The literacy rate in Pakistan is recorded as about 55% in 2012-2013.
At present, the education sector is facing crisis just like other major sectors of the country. Following are the major problems in education system of Pakistan:
The educational system of the country is based on different mediums which divides the students in two segments. Mostly private schools are English medium while the Government schools are Urdu medium. Regional differences are also a major cause for a poor educational system in Pakistan.
Gender discrimination is very common in Pakistan. People are very conservative and they don’t want their girls to go to school and get education. Due to this, the ratio of boys and girls in primary schools is 10:4.
In Human Development Report Pakistan is placed at 136th position for having just 49.9% educated population. In addition to that, Pakistan is ranked at 113th out of 120 registered UN members according to the research conducted by UNESCO et al. Some of the very basic flaws of the education system in Pakistan contribute to the economic, ethnic and sociopolitical crisis within the country.
Moreover, the quality of education in most of the public schools and colleges is well below par; the teachers in government schools are not well trained. People who do not get job in any other sector, they try their luck in educational system. They are not professionally trained teachers so they are unable to train a nation. Quality of teaching needs special attention in rural areas where the teachers lack in all departments.
Poverty is another factor that prohibits the parents to send their children to private school where the quality of education is high. Poor people get their children admitted to Government schools. The teachers in Government schools are not professionally trained. They even don’t take lectures and waste the precious time of the students.
The allocation of funds for education sector by the Government of Pakistan are very low; only 2% of the total GDP. Government should increase this rate to improve the quality of educational system.
Education is very important for the development of every country. It is the only cure for the disability of a country because today’s students are tomorrow’s nation builder. Government of Pakistan should take steps to remove the above mentioned problems so as to improve the quality of educational system of the country.

Balochistan: Religiosity and radicalization escalate simultaneously

By Aziz Ullah Kakar
Borderlands of many post-colonial states most frequently pay the price for protecting the centre. They are prima facie kept intentionally for such purposes when required. Nonetheless factual raison d’être for this objective is based more paradoxically on constructing discursively the existence of state as a natural phenomenon. In nitty-gritty while fathoming historically this is not the case instead we are compelled to be propped up by constructivism. The same transpires with us in Pakistan where its existence is directly linked with natural happenings implying with enduring scrambles over the centuries ultimately emerged in the guise of Pakistan in 1947 and some specific provinces are on the vanguard for its existence not all en masse. However the former claim does not encompass historical and logical basis.
As aforementioned, Balochistan’s areas contiguously linking with Afghanistan have gone through the same encounter since 1980s particularly and over several decades in general. Each time inhabitants of this chunk of land have fought periodically for Pakistan in the name of Jihad. Social structure changed, agriculture deteriorated excessively, and radicalization burgeoned exponentially due to their both active and passive support rendered to the country and its mercenaries. In the same realm states never miss an opportunity to exploit masses for existence at any cost. Different jargons are propounded enthusiastically, be they religion, nationalism, and patriotism. Interestingly in concerted areas religion was used candidly juxtaposing Pakistan, Islam, and their defense naturally obligatory. But with the passage of time this explanation exposed to people and ulterior reasons were other and they realized what and how they are exploited.
Markedly, if certain sacrifices would be copious for a specific period of time, this would please us, rather still we are scapegoats for this to sustain. Whether we talk in terms of religiosity or radicalization they are soaring day by day unfavorably among the people. The nature of the conflict over border especially in Balochistan has changed entirely however the dynamics are similar what we experienced in 1980s and 1990s. Resultantly, though natives may know and they actually are much familiar with murky consequences of the drama, but again various orations entice their gustoes and make natural radical outlooks for sacrifices.
Recently in Baloch part of the province, one of the militant organizations threatened women to relinquish modern education. They were of the view that such practices are identical to un-Islamic traditions and only spread denudation within society. Critically evaluating this tragedy such happenings are exclusively aimed at making society backward and subservient to radicalized notions. Definitely if education expands abundantly what actually does not differ sufficiently, society will increase its trend towards medieval norms. The emergence of these threats has dismal impacts among the dynamic people of Balochistan in all parts of the province. On the other hand Madrasshas are increasingly promoting radical messages amongst people provoking religiously motivated ideas. Financial and other types of contribution to militant organizations occur basically owing to addresses clerics make by proselytizing opinion accordingly. This hegemonic power of Mullahs compels public to accommodate militant elements.
All those regions which are porous to Afghanistan have been continuously fighting for the safety of Pakistan at the expense of their property, social norms, and traditions. Alternatively in swap they have got nothing more than desperation and misnomers among intellectuals. Despite myriad sacrifices for Pakistan they have made, in return they only deserve to be called traditional, tribal, and backwards. However in actual terms many times fighting with Pakistan’s adversaries so called educated elite did not do much what the same traditional delivered. Even now celebrations for 14 August are embellished more eagerly in contrast with other province by some privileged strata of society identifying more with state tags rather than other identities. This divulges their patriotic behavior what is usually denied in national discourses. Misfortunately in return agriculture due to load shedding, education because of no educational institutions, and politics because of radical elements have destroyed social fabric completely as quid-pro-quo for patriotic fervor.
As I mentioned before about Baluchistan which has probably not historically succumbed to radical ideologies with the exception since few decades in religious narrative what is being promulgated now with brute-cum-fear. The people in the province are supposed to refuse accommodation to all sorts of subversive activities taken on the name of religion. Contemporarily previous elections in 2013 showed people’s direction more vividly by electing nationalist parties vis-à-vis other religious outfits. It primarily shows clearly that masses in Balochistan do not buttress militancy and radicalization rather these projects are imposed over them through distinct strategies.
Conversely, the state must recognize eloquently what public demands in Balochistan. It is necessarily incumbent on state not to impose whatever it considers essential for its security and inconsistent with citizens’ minds and traditions. And most indispensable for people is to forego support to militant organizations and abandon them actively and passively even though hegemonic forces try to do. They must not be accommodated in society so that configuration of dove and hawk remain clear. Both religiosity and radicalization are increasing at the same time with parallel ratio and it is the responsibility of masses to disown clerical manipulations.

Pakistan: I need people not breakfast, Imran tells leaders

Angered by the poor turnout for the march designed to dislodge the PML-N government, Imran Khan started yelling at the party leaders no sooner than he reached Gujranwala on Friday and refused to move out of the city if not provided with extra manpower.
He even refused the breakfast. “I don’t need breakfast. I need people. Where are they? Tell me how many vehicles and bikes are there to accompany us from Gujranwala,” the PTI chief asked as he stopped in Gujranwala for the breakfast hosted by one of the party leaders, Ali Ashraf Mughal, at his business place.
Once he decided to resume the journey on the assurance that a huge crowd was out there yearning to see and join him, it turned out to be yet another disappointment as majority of them were from the PML-N who started chanting slogans against him.
Imran only came to know about this when somebody chanted: “Kon bachaai ga Pakistan (who will save Pakistan).” The response was: “Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif.” As the journey started, a clash erupted between the workers of PTI and PML-N. It was a chilling reminder for Imran Khan who in the past led a rally against power outages from Lahore to Gujranwala. Noticing the presence of a small number of people, he refused to address them in Gujranwala, a stronghold of the PML-N.
Similarly, Imran who was delivering speeches from Lahore onwards decided not to address the people in Gujranwala on Friday. The PTI Gujranwala chapter could contribute only 50 motorcyclists who were given Rs3,200 each for petrol and food for accompanying the march.
The Friday’s clash in the city unnerved the PTI chief as the caravan was greeted by angry crowds at three places: a couple of times in Gujranwala and later when it passed through Gakkhar Mandi. The caravan was moving at a snail pace to gather sufficient number of participants for the march but in vain.
As they reached Gujranwala, Imran was found leading a caravan of 5,430 people riding on 719 vehicles. Pajeros outnumbered buses. Some 70 Pajeros and 41 buses were accompanying him. Only 263 motorcyclists were in the caravan in contrast to Imran’s claim that 100,000 bikers would join him.
The PTI sources, however, claimed that lakhs of people accompanied Imran Khan on his way to Islamabad from Lahore. The government circles claimed that not more that 10,000 people had joined Imran Khan when the Azadi March took off from Lahore.
After failing to gather a large crowd in Gujranwala and the clashes that followed, Imran cancelled the speeches he was scheduled to make on his way to Islamabad. He shifted from the container to a bulletproof Pajero and sped to Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s caravan was larger in comparison. According to insiders, Imran had refused to accompany Dr Qadri despite the latter’s insistence. Dr. Qadri rang Imran a day before the march expressing his desire to join him from the Zaman Park (Lahore) but the latter refused.
Insiders say that Imran’s cronies misled him into believing that his march would be reminiscent of the one led by Nawaz Sharif in 2009 for restoring the judges. He was told that there would be a snowball effect as more and more people would join him from every city. The situation, however, turned out to be just the opposite as the caravan kept thinning out.

Pakistan: Rs13m scam at University of Peshawar being hushed up

The Rs13 million scam at the Institute of Chemical Sciences, University of Peshawar, was tactfully hushed up by holding one senior clerk responsible for the entire mess, who managed to get bail before arrest (BBA), while the high-ups of the institute were given a clean chit.
The financial embezzlement had been made about one year ago, when Prof Dr Imdadullah was the director of the institute. The matter hit the headlines in various newspapers about a month ago, prompting the university administration to conduct an inquiry into the matter and fix responsibilities.
Sources said the funds had been withdrawn from the account of the institute for the purchase of chemicals and other equipment in violation of the set procedure. All the cheques were properly signed by the former director Imdadullah. Also, no purchase was made and the fund – Rs13 million – was embezzled, said the sources.
“Actually two inquiries were ordered into the matter, i.e. one fact-finding and the other procedural inquiry. The fact-finding inquiry has submitted its report and given recommendations, while the procedural inquiry is still investigating the matter,” said an official at the university administration.
He said the matter had also been reported to the Anti-Corruption Establishment and National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which would conduct separate inquiries. The university administration also lodged an FIR against a clerk of the institute, Arif Ismail, who confessed to misappropriating the funds and deceiving the former director.
The fact-finding committee headed by Prof Dr Gulzar held the clerk responsible for the entire scam. The committee also charged the former director with negligence and suggested halting his pension, the slightest punishment that can be made in such cases.
According to the committee report, the director did not know the procedure of fund withdrawal and the clerk deceived him, which is why they recommended the minimum punishment for him.
The committee also recommended stern action against the clerk and recovery of all the funds. The committee also suggested to put his name on the exit control list. The anti-corruption and NAB authorities are yet to probe the matter and take action, sources told The News.
The sources said the university administration dealt with the matter very tactfully and saved the skin of the former director. They said the clerk should be punished for misappropriation of the funds, but the matter was not that simple that only one clerk was involved in embezzling such a large amount.
“Currently, the clerk has confessed to have withdrawn the entire amount alone. But he can take back his statement at any stage. All this seems to be properly planned,” an official of the institute told The News on the condition of anonymity.
The sources said that every chairman or director was authorised to withdraw only Rs25,000 for the purchase or other needs from the account of his department, institute or centre. “If the fund exceeds Rs25,000, the vice-chancellor will give approval and even the vice-chancellor can approve fund up to Rs75,000 only.”
Even after the approval by the vice-chancellor, the funds can be withdrawn after thoroughly checking all the receipts, which should be signed by all members of purchase committee of each department, the sources added. Any amount exceeding Rs75,000 for purchase or other work would be advertised in newspapers and quotations would be sought from at least three companies, they said.
“In the case of the Institute of Chemical Sciences, funds amounting to Rs1,300,000 have been withdrawn on the signature of the former director without following any procedure and the committee finds him innocent, it is ridiculous,” said an official.
Prof Imdadullah, who retired from the university recently, is currently serving at the National Testing Service (NTS) in Islamabad. He could not be reached on his phone for comments despite numerous attempts.

Pakistan- Misplaced priorities: $23 million Kerry-Lugar funds going to waste

Alleged misplaced priorities of Pakistani policymakers are leading to the wastage of $23 million in funds provided by the US under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act. Differences over the allocation of resources for research to promote pro-poor economic growth are likely to deny the country any long-term sustainable benefits.
An audit report of the four-year Pakistan Strategy Support Programme, carried out by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the US, and background discussions with policymakers involved in designing the programme revealed how the foreign funds are being wasted.
The audit findings, in this case at least, contradict the belief that the US was forcing its will on Pakistan when it comes to using resources allocated under the five-year $7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman civilian assistance package. In 2011, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $22.7 million contract to the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). USAID has already committed $16.2 million and disbursed $12.4 million till the end of April. The programme was aimed at improving agriculture production, water management and irrigation, macroeconomics, markets, trade and poverty reduction with the core goal of contributing to pro-poor economic growth and enhanced food security in the country. The project was initiated at request of the then Planning Commission (PC) deputy chairman, Dr Nadeemul Haque, the OIG report said.
However, Dr Haque, who is currently in Abuja, Nigeria, says that he never sought funds for the agriculture sector. “I had requested funds for supporting the Framework of Economic Growth (FEG),” Dr Haque said, adding that while IFPRI and USAID had asked him to sign the agreement for agriculture purposes, the funds were supposed to be given to support the FEG.” “IFPRI and USAID deceived me as they did not provide funds to support the FEG,” he told The Express Tribune. Dr Haque said he had no role in this and the money was used according to the wish of the Americans. He added that he was against any further research in the agriculture sector.
What Dr Haque said is not supported by the project agreement, however. The former PC deputy chairman, as head of the project’s National Advisory Committee (NAC), did not approve the formulation of provincial subcommittees in the panel, the OIG report said.
Due to differences over the use of resources, funds were provided for agriculture without the involvement of the provinces, which had the ownership of the sector under the 18th constitutional amendment.
The OIG audit did find that the programme was making progress. Through two competitive rounds of applications, USAID awarded 37 research grants to Pakistani researchers – amounting to $808,091 – which helped improve their skills. The programme also financed 33 studies with $3.3 million, which will help formulate educated policies in the agriculture sector, according to the OIG report. As many as 32 workshops, conferences and seminars were held for discussions on policy research.
But insiders say the original idea was to set up a state of the art agriculture research institute. The idea was overturned by former NAC deputy chairman Haque, who supported giving grants to the youth for research.
The programme is still suffering, this time in the hands of Dr Haque’s successor, PC Deputy Chairman and Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal.
Auditors found out that Iqbal was not giving due time to the NAC meetings. He was not providing the programme the required time as well. As of April 2014, he has not approved the NAC’s work plan. According to the OIG report, although the programme was making progress, implementation weaknesses may threaten its sustainability.

Pakistan: The courts and politics

The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued an order that no “unconstitutional” march or sit-in could be held by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri on the eve of Independence Day. That wording left room for Imran Khan and Qadri to argue that they would proceed with their respective marches while adhering to the constitution and remaining peaceful. The order also seemed to have a salutary effect on the government, persuading it to adopt a ‘softly, softly’ approach to the marchers. Unfortunately, the LHC forgot the well known jurisprudential principle that courts should not issue orders that cannot be implemented. The marches took off on August 14 regardless. Now some people are trying to hold Imran and Qadri in contempt of court, after the horse has bolted. The LHC also held that asking for the resignation of the Prime Minister (PM) was unconstitutional. With due respect, that does not hold water. Asking for resignations is the very stuff of democratic politics. Whether those asked to go comply or not is a separate matter. What is not constitutional however, is holding the country, government and the democratic system hostage through street power to force him to resign when the PM enjoys a clear majority in parliament. This development once again highlights the perils of the courts adjudicating political issues. This is the consequence of seeing the courts as the final arbiters of everything, a trend that set in after the judiciary was restored in 2009 as a result of Nawaz Sharif’s long march for the purpose. It was given further traction by the hyper activism of the Supreme Court under former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Unfortunately, the hangover of that mistaken belief in the power of the courts to fix everything under the sun still persists. In defence of the LHC’s order, what could at best be said was that it acted as a restraining influence on the government and the marchers.
The two marches set off peacefully, albeit at a snail’s pace, from Lahore on August 14. The relief that brought did not last. An unfortunate clash between PML-N and PTI workers in Gujranwala queered the pitch again. In the wake of the clash, Imran Khan abandoned his slow moving container and decided to dash ahead to Islamabad in a bulletproof car. Some analysts were inclined to ascribe this change of travelling mode to the alarm in PTI circles that Qadri and his contingent had dashed ahead and would arrive in Islamabad ahead of Imran Khan’s cavalcade. By now it is hardly a secret that the PTI is concerned its agenda may be overtaken or trumped by Qadri’s in Islamabad. What are these respective agendas? Going by their repeated statements, Imran Khan is insisting on the resignation of the PM, the setting up of a non-political interim government, and fresh elections, thereby ostensibly rejecting all the olive branches proffered by Nawaz Sharif in recent days. Qadri, on the other hand, has just issued a radical sounding 10-point agenda that he calls the foundations of his ‘revolution’. Theoretically, Imran Khan can still be seen as having stakes in the parliamentary democratic system despite his scathing criticisms of the present setup. Qadri, on the other hand, cannot be accused of any such consideration. He wants to upset the apple cart and bring in a government leaning towards theocracy and headed by himself, presumably through the back door as he does not have any presence in parliament. It is therefore in the interests of Qadri to escalate the confrontation to a point where the establishment intervenes in the name of saving the country and paves the way for Qadri’s hoped for success.
The intriguing question now is what the stance of the establishment is to the current crisis. The military has, according to reports and as expected, conveyed to the government that it will not physically intervene in the confrontation brewing in Islamabad. That understandable hands off approach to a purely political situation notwithstanding, Pakistan’s history of military intervention, overt and covert, has persuaded some conspiracy theorists that behind the scenes the establishment is preparing a new version of the ‘Kakar solution’. This refers to the manner in which General Kakar, the then COAS, intervened in the conflict between then PM Nawaz Sharif and then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993 to send both packing. Were such a scenario to be played out, it would be terribly disappointing to those who saw the 2013 elections as a watershed moment for Pakistan in terms of a peaceful transition from one elected government to the next, thereby raising hope that democracy, fragile and uncertain as it may be, was on its way to consolidation in the country. If any extra-constitutional outcome follows the marches and sit-ins in Islamabad, it would be a grave setback to the forward march of democracy and a case of back to square one: establishment-driven imposed solutions on a country by now weary of such anti-democratic manipulation.

Pakistan: Imran Leaves Long March to Sleep in Bani Gala
Imran gone to Bani Gala Palace, CM KPK to Frontier House, and rest of PTI leader to Serena Hotel and Marriat Hotel. Another u-turn from Imran Khan. He had promised with his followers of PTI that he won’t be leaving the long march until his demands would met. He said that he would sleep on road with the workers. But after reaching Islamabad, the playboy-cum-politician bolted from the march to his palatial mansion of Bani Gala, leaving his workers suffer in stormy rain.
Imran Khan left the long march by saying that he will come back at 3pm to rejoin the long march. Nobody even in PTI was expecting that. They thought that their leader will stay with them throughout. They are asking from each other as where should we go? Not everybody has palace in Bani Gala.
All the demands of Imran Khan are unconstitutional and bizarre. Why Nawaz Sharif should resign? Even the opposition leader Khurshid Shah has said that they don’t support the resignation of the Imran Khan. Other parties including ANP, MQM, JUI-F, PML-F, NP, and various other parties in parliament are not with Imran.
All the independent sources are saying that Imran has failed to gather 1 million people. People have rejected the Imran’s claims and his agitation which is without any cause. After disturbing Lahore, and all the cities on G.T. Road, now Imran is pricking the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
That is what Pindi and Islamabad get voting in for Imran. Or was it rigged too?

Pakistan: Quetta attacks

As the military operation in North Waziristan continues, it appears the much-dreaded blowback has made a beginning. Militants targeted two military facilities in Quetta late on Thursday — the PAF’s Samungli base as well as the Khalid base — in what appeared to be a coordinated operation.
Luckily, security forces acted in time and a major disaster was averted; at least 10 assailants were killed and the destruction witnessed during similar past episodes was not repeated. On Friday, the Ghalib Mehsud faction of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the assault while the Balochistan home minister told the media that most of the assailants appeared to be Uzbek.
Both of these developments — the TTP’s involvement and the use of Uzbek fighters — are cause for concern. They would signify that Islamist militants are making their presence felt in Balochistan and that the security forces have failed to prevent the flight of terrorists from North Waziristan.
As it is, Balochistan faces militancy of different hues, including the Baloch separatist insurgency and the activities of sectarian terrorist outfits. It would only worsen matters if the TTP and Uzbek militants decided to focus on the province which has largely remained free of Taliban-related terrorism, although the TTP does wield some influence in Balochistan.
The banned group has a presence in the province’s Pakhtun areas while Uzbek militants have reportedly been operating in Quetta’s outskirts and Mastung. The militants also have the support of local sectarian groups.
The Quetta attacks show that while TTP fighters may now be scattered and much of their infrastructure in North Waziristan may be reduced to rubble, they are far from a spent force. Their operational capability to cause widespread havoc remains very much intact.
If we add the Uzbek dimension, matters get even more complex as militants from this background have participated in some of the country’s most high-profile terrorist attacks — including the storming of the Karachi airport in June — and have a well-earned reputation for ferocity.
The situation demands two major responses from the state: firstly, the military must ensure that the operation in the tribal belt is thorough and that militants are not able to escape, regroup and then re-launch themselves.
Secondly, the intelligence agencies need to remain alert about more possible blowback attacks in the cities. The state — preoccupied as it is with political manoeuvring these days — must not forget about the threat terrorism continues to pose to Pakistan.

Bilawal Bhutto expresses sorrow over Peshawar rain incidents
Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of several precious human lives including children and women due to severe hailstorms in Peshawar today.
At least 12 people have lost their lives and more than 60 others injured in rain-related incidents and hailstorms in various parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital city Peshawar as roofs and walls of building collapsed due to heavy rain.
PPP Patron-in-Chief added that political activities are the democratic rights of political parties and masses but it is also the responsibility of government to look after the citizens who are facing hardships and sufferings during torrential rains in Peshawar.
While expressing his heartfelt sympathies with members of the bereaved families, Bilawal Bhutto prayed that Almighty rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant courage to their family members to bear the loss with patience and fortitude. He also demanded of the government to make special arrangements for the timely treatment of all those injured in the incidents.
The Patron-in-Chief also directed the Party leaders and workers to remain on the ground to help the affected families.