Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Juicy J feat. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz - Bandz A Make Her Dance (Explicit)

Music: Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (Español) ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona

Music: Cassie - Long Way 2 Go

Music: The Pussycat Dolls - I Don't Need A Man

Music: The Pussycat Dolls - Buttons ft. Snoop Dogg

Music: Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls)

Turkey Tightens Grip Over the Internet

Turkey tightened control over the Internet and expanded the powers of its telecoms authority, augmenting the government's web censorship regime to allow it to more quickly block content without legal delays.
A bill passed by parliament late on Monday handed the TIB telecoms authority the power to shut immediately any website deemed to threaten national security or public order.
The move effectively broadens February legislation that allowed regulators to block websites without a court order according to the more narrow definition of privacy violation. That law fueled public anger and drew rebukes from Washington and Brussels.
The expanded Internet law, which must be approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, comes days after Turkey's government hosted a high-profile conference on web governance in Istanbul. It is also part of the first legislative package since Mr. Erdogan, the former prime minister, won the country's first direct presidential elections on a pledge to create a "New Turkey."
Mr. Erdogan heads Turkey's ruling political party and is certain to sign the legislation into law.
The expanded powers represent a tightening of existing legislation rather than an overhaul of Turkey's censorship regime.
"What this does is speed up government control," said Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. "Now they can block with no delay, meaning it decreases the odds that people will see content they don't want them to."
Turkey earlier this year blocked Twitter, TWTR -2.67% YouTube and dozens of other sites amid a flurry of leaked recordings appearing to implicate Mr. Erdogan and his allies in corruption. Government critics said the February legislation which followed was part of a bid to stifle the investigation.
Mr. Erdogan said the moves were intended to protect privacy and national security and cast the leaks as a plot orchestrated by his ally-turned-foe, U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers wield influence in the police and judiciary.
Mr. Erdogan eventually backed down from the Twitter and YouTube bans after they were overturned by Turkey's top court.
But his response left Internet companies and government officials from Washington to Brussels worried that Turkey could become a template for other countries where leaders want to rein in the Internet without cracking down with as much force as China or Iran.
The restrictions have spotlighted the challenges for some of the world's most visible Internet companies, which are grappling with how far they are willing to go to accommodate Mr. Erdogan's government in return for continued access to the country.
The dilemma is heightened because Turkey is emblematic of the emerging markets where tech companies are looking for a big growth spurt.

Eleven things women in Saudi Arabia can't do

The Saudi Arabia government has been criticised by human rights groups for failing to include a single female athlete in its team for next month's Asian Games, saying it was because women were "not competitive enough".
Out of 45 competing countries, the conservative Muslim nation is the only one that has not included both genders on their team. Human Rights Watch told Reuters it was "another crisis of women's participation".
Saudi Arabia has an abysmal human rights record, particularly with regards to women's rights. The country's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, have come under fire for restricting the movement of women as well as numerous other human rights violations.
In a country where a woman cannot open a bank account without her husband's permission, here are several other things women in Saudi Arabia are unable to do:
Go anywhere without a male chaperone
When leaving the house, Saudi women need to be accompanied by a 'mahram' who is usually a male relative. Such practices are rooted in "conservative traditions and religious views that hold giving freedom of movement to women would make them vulnerable to sins," according to The Guardian.
In one extreme case, a teenager reported that she had been gang-raped, but because she was not with a mahram when it occurred, she was punished by the court. The victim, known as "the Girl of Qatif' was given more lashes than one of her alleged rapists received, the Washington Post reports.
Drive a car
There is no official law that bans women from driving but deeply held religious beliefs prohibit it, with Saudi clerics arguing that female drivers "undermine social values".
In 2011 a group of Saudi women organised the "Women2Drive" campaign which encouraged women to disregard the laws and post images and videos of themselves driving on social media to raise awareness of the issue in an attempt to force change. It was not a major success.
Saudi journalist Talal Alharbi says women should be allowed to drive – but only to take their children to school or a family member to hospital. "Women should accept simple things", he writes for Arab News. "This is a wise thing women could do at this stage. Being stubborn won't support their cause."
Vote in elections
Saudi Arabia is the only other country in the world, apart from the Vatican City where women are not allowed to vote, but men are, the Washington Post reports. However, a royal decree will allow women to vote in local elections in 2015.
Go for a swim
Reuters correspondent Arlene Getz describes her experience of trying to use the gym and pool at an upmarket Riyadh hotel: "As a woman, I wasn't even allowed to look at them ('there are men in swimsuits there,' a hotel staffer told me with horror) — let alone use them."
Try on clothes when shopping
"The mere thought of a disrobed woman behind a dressing-room door is apparently too much for men to handle," says Vanity Fair writer Maureen Dowd in 'A Girl's Guide to Saudi Arabia'.
Other more unusual restrictions include:
Entering a cemetery
Working in a lingerie shop (some stores have recently begun hiring female employees, but the majority are still staffed by men)
Reading an uncensored fashion magazine
Buying a Barbie
However, explains Dowd, everything in Saudi Arabia "operates on a sliding scale, depending on who you are, whom you know, whom you ask, whom you're with, and where you are".
But things are slowly beginning to modernise in a country that has historically had some of the most repressive attitudes towards women. "Women in Saudi Arabia are highly educated and qualified," says Rothna Begum from Human Right Watch. "They don’t want to be left in the dark." ·
Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/middle-east/60339/eleven-things-women-in-saudi-arabia-cant-do#ixzz3CsacCiB3

UN Calls On Bahrain to Release Human Rights Activist

The United Nations and many international organizations call on Bahrain to release human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja who was arrested in Manama on August 30 and charged with assaulting police officers after refusing to hand over her phone, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Al-Khawaja’s arrest has been a matter of concern for thousands of activists, who speak for a democratic change in the state that has been recently widely supported by the West.
The crisis in Bahrain has erupted back in 2011, but the protests across the country in Shia villages continue until today. Demonstrations are often accompanied by clashes between protesters and local police using petrol bombs and rubber bullets.
The Bahraini government and its supporters are getting ready for a parliamentary election in November that is believed to change the situation in the country. But analysts predict that the polls will be boycotted by the country’s opposition parties.
Bahrain’s popular anti-government protests were tackled with the assistance of Saudi Arabia, the United States and Britain that had their own military and business interests in the country.
Currently, Bahrain is a US strategic ally as it is home to America’s 5th Fleet. The UK has been accused of double standards after it picked up business opportunities in Bahrain, but failed to assist the country in implementing the political reforms. The British Foreign Office continues to insist that Bahrain “strikes an appropriate balance between the undoubted progress made in some areas and our continuing concerns in others."
At the moment, international organizations argue that the release of detained Maryam al-Khawaja is a necessary measure that would show that the country is actually making some steps toward democracy, and say that it is time for countries that initially supported democratic reforms in Bahrain to speak up.

Iran Didn’t Create ISIS; We Did

By Ben Reynolds
Instead of shifting blame for ISIS’s rise, the West and its allies should look in the mirror.
The Baroness Turner of Camden recently argued in The Diplomat that Iran is the “major driving force” in Iraq’s civil war, and furthermore, that Iran is “central to the broader conflict that has seemingly put the entire Middle East beyond hope of stability.” The Baroness’ article is right about one thing: the Iranian regime brutally suppresses dissidents. But it is not the main party responsible for Iraq’s civil war, or for the broader conflict in the Levant. It may be convenient for dissidents and opponents of the current Iranian regime to blame Iran for the rise of ISIS, but history tells a different story.
The U.S., Western Europe, and their regional allies in fact bear most of the responsibility for the rise of extremist groups like ISIS. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Britain notably supported, was a strategic disaster. Contrary to speculation at the time, Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist regime prevented Al Qaeda from operating out of Iraq. Iraq had also been supported by the West before the 1991 Gulf War as a counterbalance against the revolutionary Islamic Republic during the Iran-Iraq War. The U.S.-led invasion changed all of that.
The Iraq War toppled Saddam, destabilized the country, and led to a wave of sectarian bloodshed. It also made Iraq a safe haven and recruiting ground for Al Qaeda affiliates. Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s forerunner, was founded in April 2004. AQI conducted brutal attacks on Shia civilians and mosques in hopes of sparking a broader sectarian conflict. Iran naturally supported Shia militias, who fought extremists like AQI, both to expand its influence in Iraq and protect its Shia comrades. Iran cultivated ties with the Maliki government as well. Over the long term, Iran tried to seize the opportunity to turn Iraq from a strategic counterweight into a strategic ally. The U.S. didn’t do much to stop it.
When the U.S. helped to establish Iraq’s government, it consistently supported Maliki, even going so far as to assist in Maliki’s persecution of dissidents and civil society activists. The U.S. was probably more instrumental than Iran in cementing Maliki’s power in Iraq. Maliki alienated Sunnis in Iraq by cracking down on his opponents and pursuing discriminatory policies in government and the armed forces. When Maliki’s troops stormed Sunni protest camps in 2013, they were armed with U.S.-made weapons. By the time the U.S. and Western Europe finally decided Maliki was enough of a liability to push out of government, fertile ground already existed for an ISIS-led Sunni insurgency in Western Iraq.
The Syrian story is even more important. In 2011 the Assad regime violently suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests. This civil society movement rapidly transformed into an armed uprising against the Syrian government. Why? In the early stages of the war, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey began funneling arms to opposition forces, seeing an opportunity to destabilize a key ally of Iran and Hezbollah, their geopolitical foes. As the civil war deepened, extremist groups joined the fight against what they saw as an odious secular regime. They also became the beneficiaries of large amounts of arms and funding from America’s regional allies.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey knowingly funded extremist groups including Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra quickly became one of the most effective and influential rebel groups fighting against the Syrian government. ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have been fighting over doctrinal and practical matters for months, but some al-Nusra elements have also merged into ISIS. The extent of Saudi support for ISIS is uncertain and hotly debated, but many analysts agree that there has been a substantial bleed of funding and weapons between rebel groups.
The U.S.’s own involvement in the Syrian conflict is telling. Early in the civil war, the Obama administration expressed its conviction that Bashar al-Assad’s regime had to go. Given U.S. antagonism toward Iran and its allies, this statement did not come as a surprise. The U.S. offered nonlethal aid to the Syrian rebels and eventually covertly armed them, going so far as to operate a training camp for rebels in northern Jordan.
But the U.S. didn’t appear to expand its direct support for the Syrian rebels beyond this point, and for good reason. When the Obama administration asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip “moderate rebels,” the Pentagon testified that it anticipated difficulties finding moderate fighters to train and arm. In plain English, this means that they don’t really exist. With ISIS’s victories in Iraq, the U.S. strategy of fueling the fire in Syria without allowing either side to win is finally revealing its inherent contradictions.
No one is innocent in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars, but Iran is not primarily responsible for the current state of affairs. The U.S. and its allies destabilized Iraq and Syria in turn, creating safe havens for extremists that previously did not exist. U.S. allies provided the material support that allowed ISIS and groups like it to become threats to the entire region, despite lacking any substantial popular base in Syria and Iraq. It is not unreasonable for Iran and Hezbollah to fight against these groups, which murder and enslave Shia and other religious minorities. Their actions conceivably fall under one of the West’s favorite principles of international law: the duty to protect.
Iran has been the most serious foreign force fighting against ISIS from the very beginning of the Syrian civil war. The Syrian Army is constantly beset by manpower and equipment problems. It is difficult to believe that the Syrian government would have held its own without the assistance of the Iranian Qods Force and Iran’s allies in Hezbollah, much less without Iranian weapons. Contrary to the Baroness’ objections, Iran is the most viable regional partner for a temporary, pragmatic alliance against ISIS.
Western politicians and activists like the Baroness of Camden understandably oppose the Iranian regime’s domestic repression. But Iran and its regional allies are not the cause of ISIS’s rapid and brutal rise. Extremist groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have been consistently aided by disastrous Western interventions in the Middle East and the influence of regional actors like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Responsibility for the rise of ISIS isn’t much of a mystery: the West and its allies just have to look in the mirror. http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/iran-didnt-create-isis-we-did/

U.S. - 9/9/14: White House Press Briefing

Obama says he has the authority he needs for strikes

President Obama told congressional leaders Tuesday that he "has the authority he needs" to take action against the jihadist group known as the Islamic State, the White House said.
Obama, who addresses the nation Wednesday night, outlined a plan that includes continued U.S. air strikes, counter-terrorism actions, aid from other nations, and military training and assistance to moderates in Iraq and Syria, according to aides and a White House statement issued after the meeting.
Congressional leaders "expressed their support for efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, the White House said.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, one of four congressional leaders who met with Obama, expressed support for some of the president's options, "such as increasing the effectiveness of the Iraqi Security Forces and training and equipping the Syrian opposition,'' said an aide to the speaker.
Boehner also said "he would support the President if he chose to deploy the military to help train and play an advisory role for the Iraqi Security Forces and assist with lethal targeting" of the Islamic State leadership, said the aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a private meeting.
The president will use the 9 p.m. speech to discuss "the progress that we have made thus far" against insurgents, including ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and formation of a national government in Baghdad, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Obama will focus on the "next phase," Earnest said, including help to the Iraq military and to moderate forces in Syria so they can "take the fight" to Islamic State insurgents. Obama, he said, will discuss assistance from other countries in the battle against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.
Last week in Wales, Obama said a group of nine countries joined to fight the Islamic State.
Obama may raise the long-term potential for airstrikes in Syria, though there is no sign that any such action is imminent. Military surveillance flights have started over Syria, where Earnest said the Islamic State has a "virtual safe haven."
The administration does not plan to send American troops there or to act without support from allies, Earnest said.
Obama told NBC's Meet the Press over the weekend that he will not send ground troops into combat, and this strategy will not be the equivalent of the Iraq War launched in 2003.
This plan "is similar to the kinds of counter-terrorism campaigns that we've been engaging in consistently over the last five, six, seven years," Obama said.
He said, "The next phase is now to start going on some offense."
Leaders who met with Obama Tuesday included Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"The President told the Leaders that he would welcome action by the Congress that would aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat from ISIL," the White House said.
Obama administration officials will brief all members of the House and Senate on Thursday, a day after the president's speech. The president and his aides have not said whether he will seek congressional authorization or extra money to pay for the next moves against the Islamic State.
The president is likely to praise the creation of a government in Iraq, which was announced Monday. Obama has called for a stable government as a precondition for increased U.S. military activity.
The Islamic State has captured large sections of Syria and Iraq. Obama and other Western officials say it plans to use its "caliphate" to launch attacks on U.S. and European interests.
The group has made threats against the West and murdered two U.S. journalists.
The speech is in the drafting phase, Earnest said Tuesday afternoon, and "it's likely to change between now and tomorrow night."
Obama said he wants the American people "to understand the nature of the threat and how we're going to deal with it and to have confidence that we'll be able to deal with it."
Wednesday night is the eve of the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. National Security Adviser Rice meets China's Xi

President Obama -- Ray Rice Is Not a 'Real Man'

Real men don't hit women ... so says President Barack Obama -- who issued a scathing statement against domestic abuse in the wake of the Ray Rice elevator video posted on TMZ Sports.
Moments after Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement saying, "The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society."
"Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors."
"Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football – and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it."
Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2014/09/09/president-obama-ray-rice-is-not-a-real-man/#ixzz3CsH29oWF

Apple Unveils Watch, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

It's official: Apple has released a 5.5-inch iPhone. Officially called the iPhone 6 Plus, the device is Apple's first entry into the phone-tablet hybrid (a.k.a. "phablet") market. It also released the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino, California that was slightly marred by problems with its livestream.
A few of the other features of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus:
A faster Apple A8 processor, which Apple claims is 25 percent faster than the previous processor.
A better battery life than the iPhone 5s.
"Ion-strengthened" Retina HD resolution displays.
The iPhone 6 is only 6.8 millimeters thick and the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1 millimeters — both thinner than the 7.6-millimeter iPhone 5s.
An improved FaceTime camera capable of HDR photo and video, and burst mode for selfies.
A new NFC payment system called Apple Pay that lets people pay with their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 will start at $199 with a two-year contract, while the iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299. Pre-orders begin on September 12, with phones actually shipping on September 19.
Why did Apple go big? In three years, phablets will outsell both laptops and tablets, according to a report from market research firm IDC. Samsung strengthened its position in the phablet market last week by releasing the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which comes equipped with a curved screen.
The company separately introduced Apple Watch, its much-anticipated foray into the wearables market.
Apple Pay Makes Your iPhone Your Credit Card
Apple introduced a new wireless payment system called Apple Pay on Tuesday that comes with every iPhone 6 and 6 plus. You take a picture of your card, and it's added to your Passbook, then you can make a purchase by putting it up to a special point-of-service system and "sign" with the fingerprint sensor in the home button. It uses near-field communication, or NFC, which has been a part of other wireless payment systems in the past — but none of those services have quite gone mainstream. But Apple is rolling out with major partners: Macy's, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Subway, McDonalds (even drive through), Whole Foods, and of course Apple's own retail stores. Online merchants will also be able to use the system, enabling one-touch buying at places like Target. Whether smaller merchants will find it convenient to add a new machine to their checkout process is another question, and the details of fees and limitations are similarly unknown.

Rasha Janana (pashto & urdu) Remix song

Pakistan: Bilour challenges Imran to open NA-01 Peshawar for scrutiny

Former federal minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour has challenged Chairman PTI Imran Khan and demanded from ECP to open the Imran Khans’s constituency for vote scrutiny. He said that he will leave the politics, if rigging is not proved in NA-01, Peshawar. Addressing the joint session of Parliament, Senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader and former federal minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that the leadership of the protesting parties is using derogatory language, adding that Imran Khan can “never become the prime minister of the country”.
Bilour said that a great amount of money was spent on election campaigns and hurled accusations at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman for allegedly taking money from people to become the prime minister of the country. After failing, he is struggling to become premier through unlawful means, said Bilour.
About Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri, the senior ANP leader said that he was following an international agenda. Bilour said that Qadri wanted to rule without constitution or democracy.
The political rivalry between PTI and ANP deepened after the general elections last year, with the ANP witnessing its first-ever crushing defeat in the district. The ANP’s popularity bubble burst in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last year as PTI swept the provincial Assembly seats to secure a government in the province in coalition with the Jamaat-i-Islami.
Joint sessions of Parliament continue for the second week since protesters crossed red lines to spill onto Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The ANP threw its weight behind the government and criticised the protesting PTI for resorting to what it calls “unconstitutional” means for the removal of the premier.

Pakistan’s Dueling Military Cultures

Pakistan's military has been in the global spotlight for several decades. Within the country, it has shaped both state and society, including arbitrating key decisions -- from foreign policy to economic management. A large number of Pakistanis view it as a "guardian" of the state. Yet, scant scholarship exists on the institution itself and the roles it has played. Instead, hagiographical accounts from Pakistani authors (mostly retired military officers) and media commentary that often overlook the important questions dominate the discussion.
Two new books published in quick succession have expanded the debate and provide new insights into the workings of the Pakistani military. The first is a provocative assessment by Dr. C. Christine Fair entitled Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War and second is Aqil Shah's in-depth study, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan. Both books extend the scope of research by relying on the military's own literature, and by bringing to light lesser-known dimensions of the internal norms and processes that determine its organizational culture and outlook.
It is well-known that the Pakistan Army has long viewed itself as the arbiter of "national interest." The military gave itself a preponderant role in the running of the state and exercises a veto power over the nation's security, foreign, and economic policies. Fair's book examines the "strategic culture" of the institution and how its culture evolved from the conflict with Pakistan's powerful neighbor India, transforming into a larger, more defined viewpoint. The eleven chapters of Fair's book probe into all the facets -- genesis and evolution, ideology, regional and global implications -- of this strategic culture.
A state that views India as "its eternal foe that not only seeks to dominate Pakistan but to destroy it" is the central argument of the various materials that Fair relies upon. However, Fair argues that this fear is primarily an ideological tool that enables the Army to position itself as a defender of Pakistan's "ideological frontiers," as defined by the two-nation theory, and an "Islamic identity" vis-à-vis a "Hindu" India. The Army takes its capability to mount a challenge to India as its raison d'etre, asserts Fair.
Fair also argues that seeking strategic parity with India has been an overriding policy goal within the Pakistani defense literature. She makes a detailed review of Pakistan's relations with the United States and shows how the United States, despite its historical assistance to modernize the Pakistani Army, is viewed as an unreliable ally. China, on the other hand, gets a favorable position and is viewed a counterweight to U.S. hegemony in the region.
Since the nuclearization of the subcontinent, Fair argues, Pakistan has kept its nuclear doctrine flexible, managing to deter India from escalating any conflict while drawing international actors like the United States into various crises. The strategic assessment of the Army, as Fair elaborates, is that Pakistan's position as a nuclear state restrains the United States from completely abandoning the country. Can this ingrained strategic worldview change? Fair is not hopeful. She paints a dire picture and argues the institution is "fundamentally unsatisfied with the status quo, desiring additional territory even when it is not desired for security." In a striking insight, she also challenges the conventional wisdom that democratization will improve things. Fair says the Army's strategic culture permeates Pakistan's "civil society, political culture and bureaucracies."
However, she does note a change in recruitment patterns. In 1972, Army officers came from only a few districts in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces, but by 2005, nearly all of the districts in Pakistan were sending officers. Fair's research shows that many of these officers may not be sharing the Punjabi-dominated Army's core values with the same intensity, and shows the potential for transformation.
Aqil Shah's The Army and Democracy is another detailed review of the genesis and evolution of the Pakistani Army's institutional culture and world view. The book shows that the Army's attitudes echo the fears and dogma of Pakistan's early history. Shah argues that the Army's dominant political role was not inevitable, despite the underdeveloped nature of political institutions. This is a major departure from earlier studies that cited the overdeveloped nature of colonial state.
Shah painstakingly traces the anatomy of coups in Pakistan and the underlying belief systems that resulted in the Army taking charge of the country's affairs. He argues that national security is perceived by the institution to be a "national interest" and this has thwarted the evolution of political institutions in Pakistan.
Yet Shah goes beyond the view that the military is driven by its corporate interests. He elaborates, through a rich array of literature and interviews, that an adherence to institutional norms and "traditions of tutelage" explains the military's appropriation of the chief defender role. The "military mentality" (i.e. its norms) informs its overarching role as the savior of last resort. The use of archive material and military documents makes Shah's study a rich source of global references on the Pakistani military's dominance and how its own pronouncements reinforce its tutelary traditions. He also explores the military's socialization program and curricula, and discovers that apprehensions about Indian designs to harm Pakistan continue to be a major theme in defense instruction.
Shah also argues that the existence of terrorist groups and nuclear weapons on Pakistani soil raise questions about the viability of the military's conventional world view. A close reading of both Shah and Fair suggest that the Pakistani Army may be taking huge risks with long-term implications for regional and international security to achieve short-term parity with India.
Both books, however, understate the public pronouncements of Pakistan's former military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Since 2011, and until his retirement in 2013, Kayani had advanced the notion that Pakistan's real threats were internal. There have been some changes to the 2013 Green Book (a leading internal publication that collates essays by serving officers), that also express this idea, along with the usual India-centric postulates. The troubled and asymmetrical relationship with the United States, ironically, has played some role in this shift; and the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, and the subsequent criticism of the Army, made it, once again, look inwards.
A decade ago, more than 90 percent of Pakistan's military personnel and assets were deployed to counter the Indian threat. But a substantial number of these resources have been diverted to Western borders; and the rise of the Pakistani Taliban has provided a new challenge to the military and its intelligence apparatus. Internal security challenges have also compounded the emerging world view, and the ongoing security operation in North Waziristan -- the third major offensive in the last five years -- indicates that there is a greater emphasis on sorting out Pakistan's internal messes than on fighting a battle for regional domination.
Whether the recent changes are lasting and will result in a revision of the Army's security doctrines or impact its curricula and institutional culture are open questions. There is increasing pressure within Pakistan itself to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for militancy. An important variable here would the trajectory of democratization and how far the political elites are willing to challenge the strategic culture that Fair has elaborately theorized in her book. Pakistan's incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already challenged the India-centric security paradigm and this is one of the reasons why he faces a rocky future. The ongoing trials of former president Pervez Musharraf -- which would have been unthinkable a decade ago -- also indicate a subtle shift is underway.
Both Fair's and Shah's books explain why the civilian space in Pakistan is limited and why Pakistan's military will likely enjoy many more years as the nation's ascendant political force. The country's activist judges and media have expanded the discussion, but it will take a decade or more for this to result in a more rational balance of civil-military power in Pakistan.

Bilawal Bhutto visits Fatima Jinnah School on World Literacy Day

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in connection with the World Literacy Day, made a surprise visit to SMB Fatima Jinnah Government school this morning. He spent the morning interacting with students, teachers and staff. Also accomopanying the Chairman were popstar Shazad Roy a noted social worker, Minister education Nisar Khurro, Syed Owais Muzzaffar, MPA Husnain Mirza, MPA Shamim Mumtaz. Students were excited and over joyed to meet with Chairman PPP in person.
In a recent push in the education sector, the Government of Sindh is taking many new initiatives including the scholarship of 400,000 girl students for which disbursements of funds will be done through electronic means or cell phones.
The more elaborate NTS testing for teachers has also been introduced along with review and rectification of various education policies. The Chairman PPP has emphasized on merit & transparency, giving strict instructions that the future of our children must never be compromised. The Chairman has instructed that one model school like SMB Fatima Jinnah govt school to be established in each district on a fast track basis.
The Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto has also taken initiative to engage all reputed NGOs and private organizations specializing in education to come forward to share their expertise with the government to further improve the education system in Sindh.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that I want to see every child in Pakistan shine and wish to see a progressive, prosperous & productive population for a better Pakistan.

Analysis: Challenges around aid access in Afghanistan

By John James
Few issues get more attention nowadays in Afghanistan’s aid circles than insecurity-engendered restrictions on humanitarian access.
“In almost every district where security has been handed over from ISAF [NATO-led International Security Assistance Force] to Afghan security forces we’ve seen an increase in attacks,” Omar Hamid, head of Asia Analysis at IHS Country Risk, told IRIN. “The writ of the government to provide security to aid agencies is reduced and there’s a risk that the situation will only get worse as the political instability increases.”
Disputed elections and the imminent pull-out of ISAF forces is compounding an already difficult situation for aid workers.
“In terms of fragmentation [of the country], it’s getting increasingly similar to the 1980s and 90s,” said Arne Strand, from Norway’s CMI development research institute, the author of a recent Chatham House briefing paper on innovative aid delivery.
“More serious NGOs will probably remain: they have the knowledge and dedication of staff. But monitoring capacity will need a boost in the current environment. These direct links are vital, and a kind of control on your own staff - you need to have those kinds of control mechanisms.”
The evidence in this year’s Humanitarian Needs Overview is that areas with the greatest need often have the fewest humanitarian actors. With the overall aid package to Afghanistan anticipated to drop, this year’s tightly-focused humanitarian appeal for US$406 million (currently 56 percent funded) attempts to shift work towards the areas of greatest need.
The eastern province of Nuristan on the border with Pakistan is a case in point. State control is limited and there are few aid workers despite needs judged “high level” in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and health, by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The infrastructure is poor with four separate valleys lacking direct road connections between them. Those roads that are usable can be blocked by snow for long periods in winter. International aid sometimes has to be delivered by donkey. Humanitarian convoys have been attacked, and the government’s disaster management authority, ANDMA, is “reportedly non-existent” on the ground, according to the OCHA overview.
The only international NGO with a stable presence in the area is the International Medical Corps (IMC), while the Afghan Red Crescent is the main local actor.
To face the future security challenges, analysts suggest a range of measures, from negotiating with a broader set of stakeholders, to using cash-transfer schemes, remote management, third-party monitoring, and having a greater tolerance for risk, allied with risk mitigation measures.
Talking to anti-government forces
With the withdrawal of international forces, more of the fighting is now between Afghans themselves. Security analysts predict that this will mean more intense combat, more casualties, and less access for humanitarians. Potential power vacuums after withdrawal may also increase criminality.
The mid-year Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict report from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan showed a 24 percent rise in civilian casualties on the same period last year.
“This year has been one of the worst since the conflict started: It’s definitely not getting better, and that’s obviously a concern,” said Alexander Buchmann, head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Afghanistan. “Access is not improving for patients needing to get to health centres or for aid actors to get to those needing help. What is clear is that things are not getting better and at best things have stabilized at a very high intensity of violence.”
Where local power holders are anti-government actors, humanitarians find themselves in a difficult position - do they negotiate and risk the ire of the state? Discussions and even agreements with such groups can inadvertently mean giving them legitimacy.
“We need to be thinking ahead and talking to the other side,” one international aid worker, who asked not to be named, told IRIN in the eastern town of Jalalabad.
While large humanitarian organizations may have the potential to reach out to key leaders, that is not something that is possible for all, especially with shifting leadership structures. “It’s not realistic for [a] small organization to go to Quetta [in Pakistan, an important base for the Taliban leadership],” said a protection specialist in Kabul. “Anyway, lower level commanders are not necessarily in contact with the overall leadership. Showing a letter from [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar might not even go down too well with these guys.”
Anti-government forces are not necessarily opposed to humanitarian interventions, especially in particular sectors like health.
“We talk to all parties to the conflict and try to guarantee safe access for patients,” said MSF’s Buchmann. “There’s a general acceptance of the idea, but it varies on the ground in the application.” MSF has long-standing projects in places like Helmand, but Buchmann says the key challenge is getting out of provincial centres to address needs in distant districts.
Many provinces contain a shifting scene of local warlords, commanders and tribal alliances. Nuristan itself has 7-8 separate armed groups with different agendas. This is where the knowledge of local NGOs can be particularly useful. Muslim NGOs are also seen as a possible way to gain greater acceptance for humanitarian work.
But aid workers stress that it is not just about educating people on humanitarian principles; you need to also show that you can deliver. “Services buy access”, one aid worker told IRIN in Jalalabad.
Working with communities
Communities and their leaders have long been a favoured route for gaining access.
“People ask us how we manage to work in areas that are not nominally under government control,” said Nigel Jenkins, former country head at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which has run programmes in the country since 1988. “The simple answer is through community acceptance. In this country, people very much work on trust, on memory, on history and it takes a long time to build up a relationship with a community.”
IMC’s Country Director in Afghanistan, Giorgio Trombatore, recommends hiring community-based staff with outstanding reputations and avoiding unnecessary branding. “The local community or shura must be involved or consulted at every stage of the humanitarian work being done in the area, bridging the role between NGO/humanitarian organizations and non-state actors to prevent any potential misunderstandings or misbeliefs about what is being done,” he said. “All the amendments or potential changes in the given set programmes must be thoroughly discussed and conveyed within the community.”
The flip side of building strong community relations though is that this may lead humanitarians to work where they have relations rather than where the needs are greatest. It is clear that building community understanding and support takes time.
The European Commission's aid body ECHO is involved in a number of projects to boost access, something that can be difficult for NGOs to dedicate resources to under normal short-term project funding.
“Access is something that is difficult to measure - not like counting shelters constructed or hygiene kits distributed,” said Danielle Moylan, protection and advocacy manager at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “It’s an extremely long-term project, but rolling out projects is proof that access works.”
“This year has been one of the worst since the conflict started: It’s definitely not getting better, and that’s obviously a concern” NRC have been working in Kandahar for 18 months - setting up, just as many agencies were leaving. This week they start a new push to work on rural projects in Faryab Province.
“Recruiting people from villages in Faryab where we want to work, is a big element of gaining acceptance. We also empower all our 500-plus national staff so everyone knows what we stand for. That has an incredible benefit for community liaison,” said Moylan.
Some groups, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, have long worked with armed groups and also wider community leaders to spread the word about international humanitarian law and protection issues. These are long-term efforts, which, when successful, build acceptance of aid work.
New methods
Technological developments do potentially open up some new avenues for aid workers to manage a lack of aid access.
As US troops pull-out, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is reportedly looking for bids on a five-year monitoring contract, potentially worth up to $170 million, to keep an eye on aid projects after the drawdown using a range of tools including smartphones and GPS technology.
Mobile phones are increasingly widespread in Afghanistan, with network coverage increasing as well. In 2010 USAID estimated 61 percent of the population had access to a mobile phone. Communication, photographs and even GPS are all possible on relatively cheap devices.
The World Food Programme’s Beneficiary Feedback Desk, allows beneficiaries to call into a hotline to report issues with aid delivery.
Nevertheless aid workers or their partners could also face the risk of appearing to be spies as they carry out their monitoring work. And technology rarely provides a complete solution. Network coverage is still patchy, and mobile phones are largely in the hands of men, and also under shifting ownership.
“You need to have a combination of solutions - mobile phones won’t solve everything but it can provide a record,” Strand told IRIN. “It’s a kind of add-on to the documentation, and also a way to set-up complaint mechanisms. But you still need physical visits. You need to sit and drink tea.”
The idea of remote management of projects is seen negatively by many in the humanitarian community. According to a January 2014 report by the Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organisation (APPRO), “most [international NGOs] recognize that remote management cannot be a permanent substitute for ongoing onsite management because the quality of the work would very likely suffer.” Corruption is seen as a significant risk when working without an on-the-ground presence.
An older technology, radio, is seen by many as the most useful channel for communication with communities, and NRC have a long-running project supporting a popular radio drama that explains humanitarian work.
Approach to risk
Greater risks around humanitarian access mean risk assessments become far more important, according to the Chatham House briefing.
This is something underlined by the head of OCHA in Afghanistan, Aidan O’Leary, who writes that “Humanitarian agencies need to build a culture of ‘how to stay’ as opposed to ‘when to leave’, allowing actors to take acceptable risks when these are warranted and using creative approaches to reduce risk.”
The setting up of the Common Humanitarian Fund this year has helped encourage humanitarian actors to move into key areas where access can be difficult – funding frontline healthcare, evacuating civilians, and providing basic health and nutrition services in contested areas. A humanitarian risk management unit was also established this year to better identify risks and put in place mitigating measures.
The humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, says he believes progress is being made on access, pointing to the absence of attacks on health centres during the presidential election, despite the controversial use of several as voting centres.
“It’s a tangible aspect of what I think is better recognition. We still don’t have anything like free and open access from either side. But there’s a feeling that we’re moving forward on this issue, and that legitimate humanitarian actors are being recognised,” he said.
For long-term actors in Afghanistan, the concern is that the easiest response to access problems will be to abandon difficult zones for the relative safety of urban programming and informal slums.
There is no magic bullet that fits all agencies. Instead, humanitarian actors need to each develop their own access strategies in line with their operations and dynamics, says ECHO’s Luc Verna. Support from NRC helps actors to share strategies and learn from others.
“Access is also about having flexibility without putting staff at risk; acting where possible, withdrawing when you need to,” said Verna. “It’s about not putting staff at risk simply to go where no one else is.”

Afghan leader pushes election rivals to end deepening crisis

By Mirwais Harooni and Kay Johnson
Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday pressured rival candidates to succeed him to end delays to a promised power-sharing deal after a disputed election and prevent a crisis from escalating further.
The crisis surrounding the presidential election has dragged on since the June 14 run-off vote, with both top candidates declaring victory and alleging fraud.
The tension threatens to destabilize Afghanistan and provide opportunities for the Taliban insurgency just as most U.S. and allied troops prepare to leave by the end of the year.
In rare public remarks on the crisis, Karzai urged the crowd at a ceremony to help him pressure the candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, to agree on details of a unity government which they had promised in a deal with U.S. officials.
"Call on them now and call on them loudly," Karzai said at a ceremony honoring a revered anti-Taliban commander.
"Tell them that we will not let them leave (the venue) unless they reach an agreement and rescue the country," Karzai added, in one of his strongest public statements on the row.
The crowd responded with shouts, and Karzai called out: "Louder!"
Ghani and Abdullah, both in the front row, did not respond. Abdullah later could be seen speaking animatedly with Karzai.
Ineligible to serve a third term, Karzai has been in private meetings with both candidates to try to end the crisis. In late July, both candidates pledged in an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to respect the final results and form a unity government.
Under the agreement, the losing candidate would become a chief executive with significant authority. However, the exact powers of the new position have been a sticking point in talks between the two camps.
Abdullah on Monday said negotiations were still deadlocked. He again alleged massive fraud and said he would never accept confirmation of the preliminary result showing Ghani won the run-off election.
An audit of all ballots finished last week, and the U.N.-monitored process is now determining how many ballots will be disqualified. Final results are expected in coming days but the exact date is unclear.
There are concerns the election crisis could inflame ethnic tensions that fueled Afghanistan's previous civil wars.
Abdullah is seen as drawing most of his support from the country's Tajiks and Hazaras centered in the north while Ghani is a member of the Pashtuns based in the south and east. Karzai is Pashtun, as is the Taliban leadership.
Abdullah, a former foreign minister under Karzai, on Monday called for calm ahead of Tuesday's commemoration of the 2001 assassination of legendary Tajik resistance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. Abdullah was a longtime Massoud deputy.
Massoud's assassination by al Qaeda came just few days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Those attacks led to the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban's radical Islamist regime for hosting Osama bin Laden and the rest of al Qaeda's leaders.

Afghanistan: Chaos in the Loya Jirga Tent During Massoud Day

Chaos erupted in the Loya Jirga tent on Tuesday during the 13th anniversary of the martyrdom of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the national hero and Northern Alliance commander.
Disorder in the tent accelerated after Hazrat Sebghatullah Mujadidi, Jihadi leader and former head of the Senate, took stage. Mujadidi, who has endorsed presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, left the stage, without delivering a speech as disorder prevailed.
Just seconds after presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah took stage, reminding the public to honor Massoud's martyrdom and not mix it with election politics. This is while Abdullah had stressed on the issue at a press conference in Kabul on Monday also.
"As I said yesterday, we must not dishonor today by mixing it with politics," Abdullah stressed in attempts to calm the audience.
The commemoration event was attended by President Hamid Karzai, the two presidential candidates and other prominent political figures like Mujadidi, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf and Younus Qanooni.
In his speech about Massoud, Karzai emphasized that the electoral deadlock should be resolved as soon as possible, urging the presidential candidates to conclude their agreements.
"Our time is over. It is time for the new government, as soon as possible, preferably, today even."
As negotiations between the presidential candidates reach no conclusive ends, it remains unclear how the politics in the country would unwind in the next few days.
Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated by two Al Qaeda men posing as journalists two days before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The suicide bombers had spent 15 days in northern Afghanistan before they were able to meet Massoud at Khvajeh Baha od Din district of northern Takhar province.

Video Report : Future of U.S. Troop Presence in Afghanistan in Doubt After Election Dispute

Watch more news videos | Latest world news

Iran arrests Afghan and Pakistani Islamic State volunteers

The Iranian officials said Monday that a group of Afghan and Pakistani nationals were arrested while they were enroute to Syria or Iraq in a bid to join the Islamic State fighters.
Iran’s Interior Minister Abul Reza Rahmani Fazli said the group was looking to cross Iran but were stopped and arrested by security forces. He did not disclose further information regarding the exact number of Afghan and Pakistani nationals arrested by Iranian security forces. This comes as recent reports suggested that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has started distribution of pamphlets in bordering regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in a bid to increase it’s influence in South Asian region.
According to reports, the booklets titled Fata (victory) have also been distributed in Peshawar city as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city.
ISIS called on the local population for supporting the group’s struggle for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
The distribution of pamphlets comes as a number of hardline groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan have already announced support for the group headed by Afghan Taliban.
Insurgents belonging to a faction of the Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar have said they cosider to join the Ilamic State militants and continue to their insurgency attacks against the Afghan government, event after the NATO forces leave Afghanistan by the end of this year. Hezb-e-Islami fighters have confirmed their links with the Islamic State and insist that they would keep fighting until Sharia Law was established not just in Afghanistan, but throughout the world.

Pashto Music : - Gul Panra - Zre Ba Cha La Warki Sok - Baran De Baran

Pakistan's Brutal blasphemy Law: Lahore High Court To Hear Asia Bibi’s Appeal Case Today

Asia Bibi’s appeal against death sentence hearing scheduled for today.
According to details, Lahore High Court will be hearing the appeal case of Asia Noreen Bibi today. Asia Bibi, a Christian woman was accused of blasphemy and subsequently was pronounced a death sentence over blasphemy charges in November 2010. Consequently, appeal was made against the death sentence which was postponed several times. - See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/lahore-high-court-to-hear-asia-bibis-appeal-case-today/#sthash.G7UkpIiF.dpuf

Balochistan: Dire straits at government schools pushing Quetta towards illiteracy

By Syed Ali Shah
A survey conducted by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (ISPS) says there is only one teacher for every 123 students in Quetta’s Muhammad Khail Punjpai tehsil. This comes as a stark contrast when compared with the Apwa Girls School located in the heart of the provincial capital that has one teacher for every three students.
“This disproportion is a major problem for us,” Ghulam Ali Baloch, Education Secretary Balochistan, told Dawn.
The findings of the ISPS survey is indicative of the mismanagement and corruption coupled with extreme political interference that appear to be the underlying factors behind the poor literacy rate in Balochistan which although resource-rich remains the least developed province in the country.
But while previously the provincial capital had not painted a picture so bleak, the latest ISPS survey shows that the dire straits at government-run schools in Quetta are pushing it towards illiteracy.
Irrespective of official claims, 202, 441 out of the total of 432, 624 children in Quetta are not enrolled in schools. “The enrolment ratio of children is 53 per cent whereas the ratio of out-of-school children is 47 per cent,” Nazar Bareech, who was in the team that conducted the ISPS survey, told Dawn.
There are 553 government-run schools in Quetta — 339 for boys and 214 for girls — that cater to some three million students. Moreover, there are 5,299 teachers, with 54 per cent for secondary schools, 18 per cent for middle schools and 28 per cent for primary schools.
“There are more than 30 female teachers for approximately 100 female students in the girls’ high schools located in Quetta,” Niamatullah Khan, Additional Director of Education, told Dawn.
Lack of funds, facilities
The ISPS survey reveals that 19.2 per cent schools are shelterless; there are no toilet facilities in 55 per cent of the schools; 56.1 per cent schools are without power supply whereas 36 per cent have no access to drinking water.
“There is only one room for 465 students in the Kuchlak area of Quetta district — the school premises comprises one room and while all enrolled children must be accommodated it is hardly possible to do so. So a majority of them are given lessons in open air,” Bareech tells Dawn, depicting a dark picture of the state of education in the provincial capital.
As per government’s policy, there has to be one teacher for at least 35 to 40 students. On the contrary, there is only one teacher for 106 students at the Government Boys’ Primary School in Ghabarg, a small village in Quetta district.
“All teachers want to serve in the city as opposed to the rural areas,” Ghulam Ali Baloch said.
The provincial government has allocated 24 per cent funds from its 2014 provincial budget for the education sector. This appears to be an improvement from 2013 when the Education Department failed to provide reading and writing materials to government-run schools across the province. “
Not a single blackboard was provided to any school,” Mujeeb Gharsheen, central leader of Government Teachers Association Balochistan, told Dawn.
Law and order situation
For over a decade, the law and order situation in the province has been worsening and has forced a large number of teachers to flee from rural areas to other parts of the province, especially Quetta. “A number of teachers have used political influence and have managed to get posted in the heart of Quetta rather than in and around its outskirts,” Niamatullah Khan said.
This has led to a situation where teachers are surplus in schools located in the upmarket areas of Quetta but are reluctant to teach in localities on its outskirts or in the villages in the district. Creating disparity between the urban and rural sections, this has only resulted in the compounding of problems of students.
A number of teachers with adequate qualifications either get themselves posted in Quetta city or owing to lack of incentives quit the profession altogether. But while the situation is dire enough in rural areas of Quetta district, the picture is more grim as we move further and inside rural Balochistan. From primary to middle to high schools, the institutions fail to tackle the educational needs of the children residing in the province.
Sources in the education department have told Dawn that Balochistan currently has over 3,000 ghost schools with over 5,000 ghost teachers, further emphasising how corruption and political influence is at play in the province.
“We have not been able to ensure the presence of teachers employed in schools across Balochistan,” Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech, Advisor to Chief Minister on Education, said. Unlike previous governments that have governed Balochistan, the nationalists-led coalition government has allocated substantial funds for the education and health sectors. And Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has repeatedly stated that his government’s topmost priority is to ensure the enrollment of the 2.3 million out-of-school children into schools.
But while the chief minister has shown concern over fewer children in schools, poor governance has remained a stumbling block in the implementation of the government’s decisions with regard to development of the province in the education sector.

Pakistan: Nawaz decides to penalize the Model Town inquiry judge

PM Nawaz Sharif has decided to penalize Justice Ali Baqir Najfi for his incriminating report against the Punjab government on the Model Town massacre. According to sources, PMLN govt has prepared a reference that will be lodged against Justice Najfi. PMLN has taken cue from a banned terrorist outfit’s propaganda against Justice Najfi.
It may be recalled that Justice Najfi had conducted a highly professional and impartial inquiry into the Model Town massacre in which at least 14 activists, women and men, of Dr Tahir ul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were massacred by Punjab police and PMLN loyalists on the instructions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The judicial inquiry held CM Shahbaz and other members of his government directly responsible for the massacre.
In recent past, Justice Najfi has been sent threatening messages by the banned Deobandi terror outfit ASWJ, an ally of ruling PML-N.
We warn PM Nawaz Sharif, CM Shahbaz and the ruling PMLN-ASWJ mafia to refrain from attacking and silencing a few independent, impartial and honest judges left in the otherwise PMLN-loyalist, chamak-zada judiciary.
We hope that Asma Jahangir, Ayaz Amir, Aamir Hussaini, Nazir Naji, Zohra Yousuf and other independent media persons and rights activists will take notice of this development and advise PMLN to refrain from any misadventure against Justice Najfi and other independent, honest judges.
In the past the PMLN’s political allies, the Deobandi terrorists of ASWJ/LEJ have carried out assignation attempts on senior independent judges in other parts of the

Pakistan: Dark tide rising

While Imran Khan holds the country hostage with his pointless sit-in at Islamabad, the army is ostensibly trying to find and fight the terrorists who have killed 50,000 Pakistanis in less than seven years. NATO is busy trying to prick Russia by supporting a discredited, militant government in Kiev to fight its own people, while arguably it should focus on the mess that US intervention has created in Iraq. The Arab world is in turmoil as Libya remains torn apart by competing militias struggling to fill the power vacuum left after the murder of Muammar Qaddafi: the destabilising effects of this are being felt throughout north and central Africa, as far away as the Central African Republic, where Muslim and Christian extremists commit daily atrocities. The wave of militancy has spread to Mali, Chad and even Uganda, while Somalia remains a hotbed of extremism and chaos on the Horn of Africa. In Syria a brutal civil war has killed tens of thousands while Afghanistan may be on the verge of civil war after a contentious presidential election. With the decline in the stature of nation states brought about by western disregard for international law and the chaos left behind by shortsighted and selfish global interventions by the west, into the vacuum has stepped extremist Islamist militancy that is making its malign presence felt in many parts of the world. Let us not exonerate ourselves either for launching the Taliban. From Lebanon and Syria to North Waziristan, a covert network of militancy is rapidly growing, aided by success on the battlefield and ineffectual leadership and division among the political forces that should represent sanity and progress. Sadly, it is the latter’s internal contradictions and hypocrisies that have disenchanted their citizens who, with no rational voice to stand up for them, are turning towards extremist, revanchist militants to provide them with leadership. First it was the Taliban, a movement that could adequately be described as a blot on the face of humanity, now it is the Islamic State (IS), a group so brutal that it needs no introduction. Al Qaeda, once the repository of all extremist evil, is now seen as jaded and ineffectual in jihadist circles. Has the world gone so mad that we will soon long for the days of Osama bin Laden as a voice of ‘moral leadership’ and ‘moderation’? In the face of IS beheading Shias and Yazidis, crucifying Christians and unleashing terror on any who oppose it, nothing is beyond imagination any longer.
We should of course thank the west for not only committing the sin of aggression, but then committing the even greater sin of leaving before the job was done, as they did in Iraq and now plan to do in Afghanistan. The bumbling response of the White House to IS’s victories in Iraq is just one sign that strategic momentum lies with the militants and that they are building a narrative to solidify their legitimacy, even while the rest of the world remains caught up in bickering and age old enmities. Reports of IS’s supposed arrival in Pakistan have engendered a mild panic, and undoubtedly, with people willing to believe the worst, that was the plan. The truth is that IS, the Taliban, even the new Jamaatul Ahrar, share ideological and material goals, and their coordination is no surprise. Where the Taliban have been difficult to destroy because of their organisational incoherence, IS reportedly has a well-defined structure that gives it command and control efficiency, one reason for its quick successes. Success has the added benefit of conferring legitimacy and momentum, and where just a few weeks ago claims of a new ‘caliphate’ were scorned, today the group’s survival and growth is being seen as a sign of its heavenly mandate. Reports that IS graffiti has appeared in Kashmir, and that four Indian Muslim men were caught trying to enter Bangladesh to join the radical outfit are disconcerting because they show they depth of discontent that so many people feel in the modern world, dominated by materialist hubris. Presenting a viable alternative is not only a challenge, it is a necessity, because the dark tide of radicalism spreading throughout the Middle East and South Asia threatens to swallow us all.

Pakistan: PML-N blamed for ‘inappropriate’ handling of ongoing political crisis

The PML-N government on Monday received mild criticism in the joint session of parliament from the opposition benches over the ongoing political situation, when they accused it of handling the situation poorly.
The hostile environment of the previous session was completely missing after government’s key minister Nisar Ali Khan opted to show restrain over what he believed was a personal attack on him by PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan. However, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, in a well-articulated way, pointed out the weaknesses of the PML-N government in tackling the political situation that he noted was come to a dangerous pass. The soft-spoken Babar even suggested a civil-military dialogue to resolve the issues and opined that both politicians and establishment have matured after learning from the past.
“This civil-military dialogue should be meaningful and constructive to find out an amicable solution to the situation,” Babar said. He pointed out that the government committed two fundamental mistakes while dealing with the situation triggered by PTI and PAT protests, saying a delayed decision by the government invited the crisis. He also lambasted the conduct of the ministers in the present situation, saying it was time to show decency.
He recalled the role of Nawaz Sharif in the memogate scandal and said he went to the court against then PPP government, which was condemnable. He, however, in the same breath appreciated Nawaz Sharif for inviting “third power” even at that time. Babar suggested that parliament, through a resolution, should demonstrate resolutely that the onslaught of protesting parties was unconstitutional and also demanded that the government should also withdraw Article 245 notification.
MQM’s Senator Babar Ghuari demanded the government brief the House about the hurdles in dialogue with protesting parties and said that if the government had tackled the Model Town tragedy properly, the situation would not have gone from bad to worse. JUI-F’s Fazlur Rahman endorsed the appeal of Altaf Hussain that the protesting parties should end their sit-ins and send their workers to the flood-affected areas.

Pakistan: Poor flood planning

Far from the sound and fury in Islamabad that is agitating many a politician’s mind, the hapless millions watch as vast swathes of land are inundated by the rivers Chenab and Jhelum in flood.
The speed at which the current tragedy has unfolded is astounding; up until just before the weekend, the relevant authorities — while concerned about the levels of rain that the northern parts of the country were receiving — continued to believe that this year, Pakistan would not suffer flooding on a large scale.
And true, the eastern rivers Ravi and Sutlej have not yet shown any signs of being unable to cope with the volume of water.
But in central Punjab, the area through which the Jhelum and Chenab wind their way, havoc has been wreaked: many thousands are marooned, dozens upon dozens of settlements and villages inundated, and cattle, livelihoods and lives have been washed away.
With the memory of the catastrophic floods of recent years still fresh, many are wondering why the present calamity was not better predicted, flood warnings were not issued with more urgency, and mitigation measures not undertaken speedily.
District administrations are now swinging ponderously into action and in some areas the army has had to step in to assist.
But surely, prior experience should have meant that Pakistan would now have a system in place to effectively deal with floods.
A few villagers confessed to the media that they did receive warning of rising water levels and that they were asked to evacuate.
But, as they pointed out, would anyone abandon residences and belongings believing that they would be protected or helped by the government and administration?
Surely the rulers can do better than focusing all their attention on the political manoeuvrings taking place in the capital city.
The task immediately at hand is to rescue those who are stranded or marooned, and ensure that adequate food, shelter and medicine are made available. Beyond that, though, there is still time to take measures to mitigate more damage further downstream in Sindh where the waters are headed.
As is usual, prior to the monsoons some routine measures had been taken, such as the desultory silting of a few — but by no means all —canals in the extensive irrigation network. But that has not proved very effective, and may not stave off further damage now.
The relevant sections of the administration and bureaucracy, both at the federal and provincial levels, need to urgently review the situation on the ground and plug in the gaps on a war footing.
Without that, there is risk of downstream areas being trapped in the same situation as the one prevailing in central Punjab.
Further, Pakistan needs to critically review its understanding of what the monsoon weather pattern is evolving into, and revise its preparedness in that context.

Pakistan - Qadri protesters 'paid'

Protesters in Pakistan have told the BBC they were paid to join rallies for "three or four days" but are now being denied permission to return home.
Thousands, led by former cricketer Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri, occupied parts of Islamabad, in an effort to topple the government. Much of Mr Khan's support thinned out as the weeks wore on.
But some of Mr Qadri's supporters, who wished to leave, have told the BBC Urdu they were threatened by party leaders.
Mr Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) party's deputy information secretary, Omar Riaz Abbasi, denied the party had paid or threatened protesters.
"All the people in the 'revolution' march have come here of their own free will. No one forced them, or paid them money," he said.
Mr Qadri's supporters have appeared more resilient, with many setting up tent villages occupying central roads in Pakistan's capital. But the BBC heard from students who said they had been paid to attend but also prevented from leaving, in an effort to recruit demonstrators and maintain the momentum of the protest.
"A local leader of Mr Qadri's party told my parents he was taking me away for Mr Qadri's 'revolution' march, and that I would come back in about three days' time," Naveed, 16, a 10th grade student from Bahawalpur region of Punjab, told the BBC.
His real name has been withheld for security reasons.
He said his parents were paid 6,000 rupees ($60), which they accepted happily. He added that he came to Lahore with a contingent of 300 other school students from his area, all of whom were "hired" in the same way.
He also said that some of the boys who sustained injuries during recent clashes with the police and received first aid at the hospital had also been refused permission to return to their homes.
"The party leaders told us they had their people posted on all bus stands and if they saw any of us trying to catch a bus, they would send us to the 'next world' and tell our families we were killed by the police," he said.
Meanwhile, a resident of Gujranwala city near Lahore, Mohammad Aslam, told BBC that PAT activists "hired" around 100 women, most of them domestic workers, from the city's suburbs.
"Early last month there were announcements made from loudspeakers mounted on vehicles in these areas, offering 10,000 rupees ($100) per head to women who would join PAT's march," he said.
"They said they would pay an additional 5,000 or more to women who would bring along infants or children under 10 years of age."
The PAT's spokesman rejected all these allegations, adding that Mr Qadri had recently allowed about 800 protesters to go home because they had school exams coming up or other reasons to leave.

Pakistan: Revolution on a whim

Malik Muhammad Ashraf
The sit-ins staged by the participants of Azadi and Revolution marches in the red zone for the last more than 25 days have done incalculable harm to the economy, made the entire country hostage to the stubbornness of the two leaders and disrupted the lives of the citizens of Islamabad besides tarnishing the image of the country in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Both the revolutionary leaders have been relentlessly giving their audiences the impression that there could be a possible intervention by the third umpire sooner than later. The metaphor of the third umpire repeatedly used by them and the aplomb with which they tried to rub in this notion rightly or wrongly led some people to believe that they probably were acting on behalf of the traditional praetorian powers to destabilise the government. The revelations of some politicians also contributed to the reinforcement of this impression. However, the run of the events and the circumstantial evidence that has emerged tend to present a completely different picture.
It is really regrettable that a conscious effort has been made by Imran Khan, Qadri and those who have been playing supporting roles to them to malign the establishment unnecessarily to achieve their political objectives at the cost of the national prestige through their unconstitutional adventurism. It is now crystal clear that their marches are a sequel to a conspiracy whose cob-webs were woven in the first week of June when Imran Khan, Qadri and the Chaudhry brothers met in London and a dubious character named Dr Ijaz Hussain played a key role in writing the much maligned script of the drama.
I have previously as well dismissed the possibility of the involvement of the present army leadership in any conspiracy against the government. I think now that it is almost evident that a deliberate effort has been made to malign the army, a thorough probe into the matter is warranted to unmask the real story.
Imran and Qadri now stand fully exposed and isolated. All the political forces, judiciary, lawyers, media and civil society as well as the army support democracy and constitutional rule in the country. Imran and Qadri are fighting for an already lost cause due to the somersaults that they have taken and the lies that they have unabashedly told their audience and the nation.
Imran built his campaign on the premise of unsubstantiated charges of rigging in elections and has spared no institution of the state and individuals associated with the exercise of being part of the conspiracy to deprive him of the mandate of the people. Almost all the institutions including the ECP and individuals blamed by him have already given lie to his claims.
But Khan does not feel embarrassed and continues with his impulsive steak to hurl whimsical allegations against the government and whomsoever he perceives as his enemy or dreams about of having played any role in obstructing his meteoric rise to power. He has been persistently blaming a media group of having played a role in the rigging and came up with a contrived revelation that the government had distributed Rs2.5 billion among journalists and lawyers through the Intelligence Bureau to thwart his campaign and malign him.
The finance ministry has vehemently rejected the notion saying that the money has been approved by the government for IB’s counter-terrorism activities and for purchasing relevant equipment on the basis of a summary submitted by the agency. The funds are auditable and not a secret grant. It is quite evident from this rebuttal that Khan has yet again acted in an irresponsible manner without checking all the relevant facts. Since that was not enough he came up with another bizarre explanation about the cancellation of the visit of the Chinese president to Pakistan and the investments that China is likely to make in Pakistan under the Pak-China Economic Corridor.
Khan tried to get back at the government by claiming that the visit was a lie and was not at all scheduled to take place during August. This claim has been strongly refuted by the spokesman of the Foreign Office saying that the governments of China and Pakistan had mutually agreed to postpone the visit of the Chinese president to Pakistan which was scheduled to take place during this month due to the obtaining political situation in the country.
The captain also had the audacity to say that the much trumpeted $34 billion investment by China was in fact a loan that China was extending to Pakistan at a seven percent interest rate. That probably is the biggest lie of all. It is undoubtedly a direct Chinese investment in Pakistan as per the understanding reached between the two countries during Nawaz’s visit to China in July 2013, a development confirmed by international agencies and observers and probably the cause of resentment of some powers against Pakistan.
It is almost mind-boggling to note that Imran does not even understand the sensitivities involved in handling bilateral relations with a friend like China. By spewing lies he is in fact challenging the credibility of the governments of China and Pakistan. Such antics have surely reduced his stature from a political leader to that of a political jester.
These marches were ill-timed and ill-conceived. Our armed forces are fighting a war of existence against terrorists and in the words of the COAS General Raheel Sharif “the elimination of terrorism was a national undertaking and only with sustained focus of the entire nation the objective of [a] terror free Pakistan could be accomplished”. One can hardly take issue with what he has said. The country is also in the grip of severe floods and the victims need unruffled attention of the entire nation.
The government has shown remarkable sangfroid and spirit of accommodation despite their provocative acts by continuing its efforts to resolve the impasse through dialogue. It has already conceded to a number of their demands; now they also need to show some flexibility in ending the stalemate.
The protest leaders must understand that the government cannot allow their dharnas to continue indefinitely and will ultimately have to establish the writ of the state by all means at its command. Revolutions do not happen through captive and hired participants. They must avail this face-saving opportunity before it is too late.

Long term solution: Bilawal Bhutto chairs meeting on Thar drought

The Express Tribune
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has called for comprehensive planning to mitigate the suffering of the people of Thar on sustainable basis, especially during drought.
Presiding over a meeting at Bilawal House to discuss the drought in Thar and the possible floods in parts of Sindh, he said relief is no substitute to development hence a plan should be devised to create economic opportunities for the people.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who had returned from a visit to Thar yesterday, briefed the meeting about the measures being taken by Sindh government, including the free distribution of Rs600 million worth of wheat among the people. Senator Taj Haider in a report on Thar development said that 20 centers will be established in different places to collect milk daily and make online payments to the cattle-owners. Secretary Irrigation Babar Effendi the southward moving flood was expected to reach Sindh province by September 14.