Sunday, September 14, 2014

#YesScotland - Independence supporters protest against BBC bias in Glasgow

Thousands of Scottish independence supporters have gathered outside the BBC headquarters in Glasgow to protest against the network's biased coverage against independence of Scotland.
The crowd marched from the city center to the BBC's Pacific Quay offices on Sunday in one of the biggest demonstrations against the state-run broadcaster.
Waving Saltires and Lion Rampant flags, the demonstrators demanded the dismissal of the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, saying that Robinson has blatantly lied to the public in the referendum debate.
The rally comes two days after Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond slammed the BBC for using a “dirty tricks campaign” to disrupt the outcome of this week’s referendum on Scottish independence.
The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) made the remarks after the British Treasury leaked sensitive information about the future of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to the BBC in case of a “Yes” outcome.
The BBC was first to announce that several major banks, including RBS, could relocate their headquarters from Scotland to Britain if Scotland votes to break away from the UK.
Scotland will hold a national referendum on September 18 to determine the country’s future. The independence referendum could result in Scotland’s breakaway from the United Kingdom after more than 300 years of political union.
The Westminster, however, has repeatedly warned against Scotland’s independence, saying it will jeopardize the UK’s stability and damage its international standing.
Scottish authorities, on the other hand, argue that independence from the UK would free Scotland from London’s austerity policies and unnecessary military spending.

Chinese Music - Teresa Teng - The Moon Represents My Heart

The Moon represents my heart(English translation)

Islamic State: ‘US failure to look into Saudi role in 9/11 has helped Isis’

Patrick Cockburn
The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has been aided by the continuing failure of the US Government to investigate the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks and its support of jihadi movements such as al-Qaeda in the years since, says former Senator Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the official inquiry into 9/11.
Senator Graham, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that successive administrations in Washington had turned a blind eye to Saudi support for Sunni extremists. He added: “I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for Isis.”
Senator Graham, a distinguished elder statesmen who was twice Democratic governor of Florida before spending 18 years in the US Senate, believes that ignoring what Saudi Arabia was doing and treating it as a reliable American ally contributed to the US intelligence services’ failure to identify Isis as a rising power until after it captured Mosul on 10 June.
He says that “one reason I think that our intelligence has been less than stellar” is that not enough attention was given to Saudi Arabia’s fostering of al-Qaeda-type jihadi movements, of which Isis is the most notorious and successful. So far the CIA and other intelligence services have faced little criticism in the US for their apparent failure to foresee the explosive expansion of Isis, which now controls an area larger than Great Britain in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
Senator Graham’s criticism of the US policy towards Saudi Arabia is important because it comes amidst growing doubts in the US about the wisdom of President Barack Obama’s plan announced on Wednesday to look to the Gulf monarchs as crucial allies in the US campaign to contain and, if possible, push back Isis after its victories in Iraq and Syria during the summer.
Under the plan, Saudi Arabia is to host a special training facility for “moderate” Syrian opposition which is to fight both Isis and the government of President Bashar al-Assad. A problem is that Saudi Arabia dislikes Isis today, whatever its role in its creation, but it gives priority to regime change in Damascus.
Senator Graham thinks it is wise to engage with Saudi Arabia because, despite Saudi denials, he says it has been “a central figure in financing Isis and extremist groups”. But he is cautious about success from the US point of view because of the Saudi monarchy’s long-term alliance with the Wahhabi clergy and its commitment to spread Wahhabism, the intolerant variant of Islam which denounces Shia as heretics and treats women as chattels under male control. The Senator says that Saudi Arabia not only gives support to Sunni communities worldwide “but the most extreme elements among the Sunni”.
The Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 has long been public knowledge since 15 out of 19 of the hijackers were Saudis, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was a member of the Saudi ruling elite. The 9/11 inquiry found that, for financing, al-Qaeda relied on a core group of private donors and charities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
Despite the Saudi connections of the 9/11 conspirators, Saudi Arabia and its citizens were treated with extraordinary leniency in the wake of the attacks. Some 144 individuals, mostly from the Saudi aristocracy, were permitted to fly back to Saudi Arabia within days of the attacks without being questioned by the FBI. The influential Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan was pictured in cheerful conversation with President Bush on the White House balcony a few days after 9/11.
Senator Graham recalls that “there were several incidents [in which US officials] were inexplicably solicitous to Saudis”. US officials who went to Saudi Arabia to investigate links to 9/11 found their Saudi counterparts to be persistently obstructive. Saudi obstructionism continued during the decade after 9/11: in 2007, Stuart Levey, the Under Secretary of the US Treasury in charge of monitoring and impeding the financing of terrorism, told ABC News that when it came to al-Qaeda, “if I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia”.
He added that at that stage not one person identified by the US or the UN as funding terrorism had been prosecuted by the Saudis. Eight years after 9/11, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, wrote in a cable leaked by WikiLeaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.”
As al-Qaeda in Iraq began to reorganise and turn itself into Isis in the years after 2010, politicians and security officials in Baghdad were convinced of the complicity of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies in funding jihadis in Iraq. They generally avoided public criticism of these states as allies of the US, but in March 2014 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki identified Saudi Arabia and Qatar as the two countries “primarily responsible for the sectarian, terrorist and security crisis in Iraq”.
He said that Riyadh and Doha were “buying weapons for the benefit of these terrorist organisations”. Mr Maliki had his own share of blame for persecuting the Sunni community in Iraq so it gave support to armed resistance by Isis, but Iraqi leaders all believed that the monarchs of the Gulf were bankrolling Sunni opposition in Iraq and would never accept a Shia-dominated government.
The most striking example of Washington’s willingness to protect the Kingdom over complicity in 9/11 is the 28 pages of the official inquiry that were censored and have yet to be published.
Senator Graham is not allowed to reveal what is in the chapter that was redacted, but other sources say that they are about connections between Saudi government officials and the 9/11 attacks. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, in their book The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, quote a senior American official, who saw the 28 pages before they were excised, apparently on the initiative of President Bush, as saying: “If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.”
Senator Graham has long campaigned to have the 28 pages of the 9/11 inquiry and other documents released. He says, knowing their content, that there is no national security justification for keeping them a secret 13 years after 9/11. He says that some government agencies, notably the FBI, have a motive in keeping information from the public about “their actions and their competence at the time of 9/11”. In Sarasota, Florida, the FBI initially denied having any documents relating to hijackers who were based there but has now handed over 80,000 pages that might be relevant under the Freedom of Information Act, according to Tom Julin, the Miami-based attorney handling the FoI application.
Asked why the US government has been so eager since 2001 to cover up for the Saudis, Senator Graham says that one explanation is the long-term US strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia, going back to the Second World War. There is also the close personal relationship between the Bush family and the Kingdom. But what he finds more difficult to explain is why the “policy of covering up Saudi involvement [in 9/11] persisted under the Obama administration”.
Though Mr Obama had pledged to the families of the 9/11 victims during the 2008 presidential election campaign to release the 28 censored pages, it has failed to do so six years later.
Senator Graham does not suggest that the Saudis are directly running Isis, but that their support for Sunni extremists in Iraq and Syria opened the door to jihadis including Isis. Similar points were made by Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, and MI6, who said in a lecture at the Royal United Services Institute in London in July that the Saudi government is “deeply attracted towards any militancy which effectively challenges Shiadom”.
He said that rulers of the Kingdom tended to oppose jihadis at home as enemies of the House of Saud, but promote them abroad in the interests of Saudi foreign policy. Anti-Shi’ism has always been at the centre of the Saudi world view, and he quoted Prince Bandar, the ambassador in Washington at the time of 9/11 and later head of Saudi intelligence, as saying to him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunni have simply had enough of them.”
In allying itself with Saudi Arabia, the US automatically plugs itself into an anti-Shia agenda and limits its ability to monitor and take action against Sunni jihadis who are promoted by Riyadh. In Syria this has led to parts of a jihadi-dominated military opposition being relabelled as “moderate”. President Obama intends to support this group, who scarcely exist on the map, to fight both Isis and the Assad government.
Senator Graham maintains that there is a “dark side” to Saudi Arabia exemplified by 9/11 and its aftermath that the American public need to know about and which has hitherto been concealed. The US and other Western governments have yet to explain why their “war on terror” has so demonstrably failed with the rise of Isis, but tolerance of Saudi complicity in 9/11 will surely be part of the answer.
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Video: Iraqi Vice President Allawi offers his support to Prime Minister Abadi

Video - Facebook’s new idiotic “privacy” fiction

Paths to War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama

Just hours before announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists last week, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East — the frenzied weeks leading up to the American invasion of Iraq a decade ago.
“I was not here in the run-up to Iraq in 2003,” he told a group of visitors who met with him in the White House before his televised speech to the nation, according to several people who were in the meeting. “It would have been fascinating to see the momentum and how it builds.”
In his own way, Mr. Obama said, he had seen something similar, a virtual fever rising in Washington, pressuring him to send the armed forces after the Sunni radicals who had swept through Iraq and beheaded American journalists. He had told his staff, he said, not to evaluate their own policy based on external momentum. He would not rush to war. He would be deliberate.
President Obama used a prime-time address on Wednesday evening to explain to Americans his strategy for confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.Obama, in Speech on ISIS, Promises Sustained Effort to Rout MilitantsSEPT. 10, 2014, “But I’m aware I pay a political price for that,” he said.
His introspection that afternoon reflected Mr. Obama’s journey from the candidate who wanted to wind down America’s overseas wars to the commander in chief who just resumed and expanded one. For Mr. Obama, that spring of 2003, when President George W. Bush sent troops to topple Saddam Hussein, has framed his own presidency. He has spent nearly six years trying to avoid repeating it.
In forming a plan to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria using airpower and local forces, but not regular American ground troops, he searched for ways to avoid the mistakes of the past. He felt “haunted,” he told his visitors, by the failure of a Special Forces raid to rescue the American hostages James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff — “we just missed them,” he said — but their subsequent murders were not the real reason he opted for war, although he noted that gruesome videos released by ISIS had helped galvanize public support for action.
He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. “This will be a problem for the next president,” Mr. Obama said ruefully, “and probably the one after that.” But he alternated between resolve as he vowed to retaliate against President Bashar al-Assad if Syrian forces shot at American planes, and prickliness as he mocked critics of his more reticent approach to the exercise of American power.
“Oh, it’s a shame when you have a wan, diffident, professorial president with no foreign policy other than ‘don’t do stupid things,’ ” guests recalled him saying, sarcastically imitating his adversaries. “I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn’t make for good theater.”
Mr. Obama went on to reveal his thoughts on challenges he faces in combating the threat from ISIS. He expressed his frustration with the French for paying ransoms to terrorists, asserted that Americans are kidnapped at lower rates because the United States does not, resisted the idea of Kurdistan’s breaking away from Iraq and even speculated on what he would have advised ISIS to do to keep America out of the war in the region.
This account of Mr. Obama’s thinking as he arrived at a pivotal point in his presidency is based on interviews with 10 people who spoke with him in the days leading up to his speech Wednesday night. In quoting his private remarks, the people were recalling what he said from their best memories.
The president invited a group of foreign policy experts and former government officials to dinner on Monday, and a separate group of columnists and magazine writers for a discussion on Wednesday afternoon. Although three New York Times columnists and an editorial writer were among those invited to the second session, this account is drawn from people unaffiliated with The Times, some of whom insisted on anonymity because they were not supposed to share details of the conversations.
The president they described was calm and confident, well versed on the complexities of the ISIS challenge and in no evident rush to end the discussions. A briefing book sat in front of him during the second of the sessions, but he never opened it. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State John Kerry joined him for the dinner, and Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, and Susan Rice, the national security adviser, sat in on the meeting with the journalists, but none of them said very much.
Mr. Obama was relaxed enough, as he discussed the array of foreign policy crises facing him, that at one point he ridiculed President Vladimir V. Putin’s rationale for intervening in Ukraine to protect Russian speakers by saying the United States should intervene in Mexico to protect enclaves of Americans. When a writer jokingly asked if he was announcing plans to invade Mexico, he laughed and said no, Canada, because it has more oil.
The guests came away with different impressions; some said they thought he still seemed ambivalent about the course he was taking in Iraq and Syria, while others said he appeared at peace.
“It’s fair to say when the president imagined where he’d be in this sixth year, I doubt he expected to be here,” said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Bush administration official who was among the guests at the dinner Monday. “But he’s been forced to react to events here.”
Jane Harman, a former Democratic congresswoman from California who now heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said she thought Mr. Obama had evolved. “He was all in,” she said. “I don’t know what the definition of reluctant is, but I certainly think he’s totally focused, this man at this time.”
If his thinking has evolved, Mr. Obama admitted no errors along the way. While some critics, and even his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, have faulted him for not arming moderate Syrian rebels years ago, Mr. Obama does not accept the premise that doing so would have forestalled the rise of ISIS.
“I have thought that through and tried to apply 20-20 hindsight,” he told some of his guests, as one recalled. “I’m perfectly willing to admit they were right, but even if they were right, I still can’t see how that would have changed the situation.”
He defended his decision to wait to approve airstrikes until last month in Iraq and last week in Syria, saying he wanted first to force Iraq to replace its government with a more inclusive coalition that could draw disaffected Sunnis away from supporting ISIS and take on the task of combating it.
But while Mr. Obama sees bolstering the new Iraqi government as his path to ultimate success on that side of the border, he struck his guests as less certain about the endgame on the Syrian side, where he has called for Mr. Assad to step down and must now rely on the same moderate Syrian rebels he refused to arm in the past.
Mr. Obama acknowledged it would be a long campaign, one complicated by a dearth of intelligence about possible targets on the Syrian side of the border and one that may not be immediately satisfying. “This isn’t going to be fireworks over Baghdad,” he said.
Asked by one of the columnists what he would do if his strategy did not work and he had to escalate further, Mr. Obama rejected the premise. “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point,” he said.
He made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account.
Mr. Obama dwelled on the killings of the two American journalists, Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, telling guests that he had authorized the Pentagon to develop a rescue attempt this summer on the same day the matter was brought to him. It was conducted within days and executed flawlessly, he said. He noted that the United States does not pay ransom to terrorists, but remarked with irritation that President François Hollande of France says his country does not, when in fact it does.
Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.
But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.
If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.
It was clear to the guests how aware Mr. Obama was of the critics who have charged him with demonstrating a lack of leadership. He brought up the criticism more than once with an edge of resentment in his voice.
“He’s definitely feeling it,” said one guest. At one point, Mr. Obama noted acidly that President Ronald Reagan sent Marines to Lebanon only to have hundreds of them killed in a terrorist attack because of terrible planning, and then withdrew the remaining ones, leaving behind a civil war that lasted years. But Reagan, he noted, is hailed as a titan striding the earth.
“He’s not a softy,” Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter and attended the dinner Monday, said of Mr. Obama. “I think part of the problem with some of his critics is they think he’s a softy. He’s not a softy. But he’s a person who tries to think through these events so you can draw some long-term conclusions.”
Mr. Haass said attention to nuance was a double-edged attribute. “This is someone who, more than most in the political world, is comfortable in the gray rather than the black and white,” he said. “So many other people in the political world do operate in the black and white and are more quote-unquote decisive, and that’s a mixed blessing. He clearly falls on the side of those who are slow or reluctant to decide because deciding often forces you into a more one-sided position than you’re comfortable with.”

U.S. sees Middle East help fighting IS, Britain cautious after beheading

Washington said countries in the Middle East had offered to join air strikes against Islamic State militants and Australia said it would send troops, but Britain held back even after the group beheaded a British hostage and threatened to kill another.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East to try to secure backing for U.S. efforts to build a coalition to fight the Islamic State militants who have grabbed territory in Syria and Iraq.
The United States resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the 2011 withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, fearful the militants would break the country up and use it as a base for attacks on the West.
The addition of Arab fighter jets would greatly strengthen the credibility of what is a risky and complicated campaign.
"We have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires," Kerry said.
"And we also have a growing number of people who are prepared to do all the other things," he said in remarks broadcast on Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation".
Australia became the first country to detail troop numbers and aircraft to fight the militants in Iraq. It said it would send a 600 strong force and eight fighter jets to the region but did not intend to operate in Syria.
Russia, at odds with the West over Ukraine, has said any air strikes in Syria would be an act of aggression without the consent of President Bashar al-Assad or an international mandate.
Britain has often been the first country to join U.S. military action overseas and is under pressure to get much tougher with IS after video footage of the killing of Briton David Haines by IS militants was released on Saturday.
In footage consistent with the filmed executions of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in the past month, they also threatened to kill another British hostage.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of the government's emergency response committee in London, Prime Minister David Cameron called the killing of Haines, a 44 year-old Scottish aid worker, callous and brutal and hailed him as a "British hero".
"We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes," he said, calling IS "the embodiment of evil" and saying his government was prepared "to take whatever steps are necessary" against the militants.
But he did not announce any air strikes, mindful of war-weary public opinion, parliament's rejection last year of air strikes on Syria, and sensitivities surrounding Scotland's independence referendum on Thursday.
U.S. allies are skeptical of how far Washington will commit to a conflict in which nearly every country in the region has a stake, set against the backdrop of Islam's 1,300-year-old rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Many fear there is not enough emphasis on ensuring the Iraqi government is strong and united enough to overcome sectarian divisions and run the country effectively after any intervention.
Britain and the U.S. have ruled out sending ground troops back into Iraq and Kerry did not say which countries had offered.
"We're not looking to put troops on the ground," he said. "There are some who have offered to do so, but we are not looking for that at this moment anyway."
On the CNN program "State of the Union," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked if this coalition would need ground troops beyond opposition forces in Syria and Kurdish and government forces in Iraq.
"Ultimately to destroy ISIL we do need to have a force, an anvil against which they will be pushed - ideally Sunni forces," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
On Thursday, Kerry won the backing for a "coordinated military campaign" from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including rich rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
"This is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they are prepared to do," Kerry said in the interview, taped on Saturday in Egypt.
"I've been extremely encouraged to hear from all of the people that I've been meeting with about their readiness and willingness and to participate," Kerry added.
France has offered to take part in air strikes in Iraq and is expected to give more details this week on what it is willing to do, although its financial resources and forces are already stretched with more than 5,000 soldiers in West Africa.
Michael McCaul, a Republican who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, told the same CBS program that Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan told him "he is ready to put his troops into Syria to fight ISIS".
The U.S. could also try to persuade Egypt to put troops in Syria," McCaul said.
A conference in Paris on Monday brings Iraqi authorities together with about 30 countries and organizations to coordinate their response to the Islamic State.
“It will also be the first time to really gage what Russia thinks and is ready to do,” a French diplomat said.
The diplomat said Syria was a different case.
“The situation is not the same either legally or militarily. We do not want to strengthen Assad so we have to be sure that strikes there don’t do that,” the diplomat said.
“We are ready to help Iraq’s government which has asked for our help, but not Assad’s dictatorship."

#Scottish independence - Our Time

#YesScotland - final decision on how to vote #YESSCOTLAND on 18th September,2014

#YesScotland - We'll still be able to trade freely with the rest of the UK

Jason Derulo - "Wiggle" feat. Snoop Dogg

Bilawal Bhutto strongly condemns the brutal gang-rape in Faisalabad
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairperson, Pakistan Peoples Party has strongly condemned the brutal gang-rape of a girl in Faisalabad and demanded the arrest and prosecution of the real culprits. In a press statement issued here, PPP Chairperson said justice and protection should be provided to the victim and also sympathized with her.

Drone strike kills 7 militants on Pak-Afghan border

At least seven suspected militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition security forces on Pak-Afghan border.
The airstrike was reportedly carried out on Saturday at Pak-Afghan border on zero line with Paktika province along South Waziristan Agency. Two top commanders of the Badr Mansoor group were also among those killed following the airstrike.
According to informed sources, the a militants compound was targeted by US drone near Komal village of Paktika province. Sources further added that the key militant commanders were identified as as Aqalzadin and Ikramullah.
In the meantime, residents of Watapur district in Kunar province said Saturday a senior Taliban commander identified as Mullah Basir was killed following a drone strike.
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.

Afghanistan: Human Rights Commission Troubled Over Violation of Human Rights

Regional Director of the Independent Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Saturday said the government has been incapable of preserving the rights of citizens escalating insecurity in the lives of the public.
Shamsullah Ahmadzai, head of the regional HRC office, said the condition of human rights in the country is very alarming. In just the past five years, the lives of 11,200 innocent civilians were taken by the government and anti-government forces.
“More than 11,200 guiltless civilians of this country were killed and lost because their human rights were infringed upon by government, government supporters and armed opposing groups,” Ahmadzai said. “In addition to that, 13,000 other citizens, including women, the youth and elderly have been affected by the violation of their rights injuring and/or disabling their physical and mental health.”
Civil society activists say that the politicization of human rights in the country has resulted in the abuse of the public’s right.
“Those against the values of human rights, especially civil and political rights are taking political advantage of the human rights,” civil society activist Malek Setez said. “Politicization of human rights will harm the value of each human being.”
In the Islamic view of constitutional and natural rights, the Head of the Sciences Academy of Afghanistan said that human rights holds a special place in Islam.
“Allah says that if someone kills a soul who has not killed anyone or was not involved in any corruption in the world means that humanity as a whole has been killed,” Muneer Marwat, head of the sciences academy, said. “That is the value and definition of a human life according to the holy Quran.”
Despite the constitution defending the rights of the public, in the current system these civil liberties, on many instances, have been violated and looked past on a daily basis.

UN Threatens To Cut Afghan Aid If Staff Harassed

The United Nations has threatened to cut assistance to Afghanistan if its staff are harassed.
A tweet by the official UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on September 13 said: "Intimidation and verbal attacks directed at #UN are unacceptable."
The warning comes a day after demonstrators gathered outside the UN's Kabul headquarters and accused it of aiding vote-rigging. The rally featured chants of "Death to the UN."
The UN has been monitoring a vote-rigging investigation since both presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, claimed victory and accused the other of fraud in early July.
Talks between both sides on forming a unity government have broken down.
Afghan election officials have said the final election results would be released over the next week.

Pakistan: Punjabi Taliban Shakes Hands With Ruling PMLN; Threatens Attacks In Afghanistan
The Punjabi Taliban terrorists group on Saturday announced that it was giving up its armed struggle in Pakistan and shaking hands with ruling government of Pakistan Muslim League, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Ismatullah Muawiya has also threatened to continue their terrorists activists in Afghanistan using the land of Pakistan. The faction had been active in Punjab, the political power base of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), The Dawn News reported on
The announcement indicates further fragmentation in the umbrella Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which suffered a setback when a new bloc recently declared its split from the group’s official leadership. The TTP Jamatul Ahrar (freedom fighters group) said it would no longer recognise TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah as its Emir, and named Omar Khalid Khorasani as its commander.
The Punjabi Taliban chief also announced that the organisation would start relief activities in the flood hit areas of Punjab with the support of Punjab government of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
According to an analyst, Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf is well known Saudi man in Pakistan, who is working foreign agenda in order to weaken the country. He has also received $1.5 billion from Suaudi Arabia as a gift.
Ruling PML-N government has also open links with pro-Taliban banned takfiri Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorist group, the group known as Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ).
The chief terrorist of ASWJ, Ahmed Ludhuyanvi is close friend of Chief Minister of Punjab Shahabaz Sharif and Ex-Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.
During the elections PML-N and ASWJ also make seat adjustments in order to support each other candidates across the country.

Pakistan - Karachi naval dockyard - Inside Job

The recent attack on the Karachi naval dockyard exposes how our military has been infiltrated by extremist ideology of the Al Qaeda brand. While Zarb-e-Azb seems like a golden victory horse with unimaginable numbers of “militants” killed if one is to believe ISPR announcements, we have this fiasco, with navy officials turning on the navy itself in the name of Islam. This would be the first attack claimed by the terror network’s new wing, whose creation was announced by chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri last week.
Operations like Zarb-e-azb will in all probability fail, because one can’t really fight fire with fire. The Taliban can survive air strikes and bombings, but they cannot survive without support from people. Sadly, there are a substantial number of people in Pakistan, from all classes and professions, who believe in the Taliban philosophy. With the revelation that the dockyards attack was an inside job, it should be clear to us that our society, and not just parts of the military, has been Talibanised. The Taliban enforce this thinking with weapons. It’s just that not everyone picks up weapons, yet have the same theological holdings. There is no debate between our ulema and the Taliban. Those who had difference of opinion, like Ghamidi and Khalid Zaheer, had to leave the country for fear of their life. It remains to be seen what will happen to Qadri once his position at the centre of Pakistani politics weakens.
If highly trained Naval personnel can join ranks with the Taliban, then there is a bigger problem that the nation has to deal with. What made the high level Navy officers susceptible to such infiltration? Is it lack of active warfare engagement, or a lack of teaching of more secular values like nationalism? Is it just the Navy or do we have more surprises in store for us? Initial screening for commission in Pakistan Army, Navy and the Air Force was being done by the police during 1950s. Today the same system must be in use, and with how threadbare our law enforcement agencies are, they are desperate for recruits. The process of promotion and training is also highly politicised, and allows criminals into their ranks. We need better screening and better intelligence. The army and navy need a serious debriefing and re-education. It is already under scrutiny for its awkward role in the Azadi/Inqalabi drama, and now its seems, inefficient at its real job.

Pakistan - Case closed: Girl drops gang rape charges against #PMLN's parliamentarian’s sons

By Shamsul Islam
A case against three sons of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Mian Farooq and five others who allegedly gang raped a girl, Naz*, has been dropped. Naz stated on Saturday that she is “not interested in the prosecution of the accused.” According to SP Madina Town Nasir Sial, Naz submitted an affidavit before the investigation officer dropping the charges against Mian Muazzam Farooq, Mian Saad Farooq, Mian Qasim Farooq and five others.
The girl said she is unwilling to give a blood sample for a DNA test and stated in the affidavit that there is no need to carry out DNA tests on the accused. The police have therefore dropped the case. MNA Mian Muhammad Farooq said Naz had ‘concocted the rape incident’ and accused her of blackmail. On Saturday he said, “My sons are innocent and this has been proven as the complainant herself backtracked on her allegations.”
Sources, however, said Naz was forced to withdraw her complaint as she belongs to a poor family.
When registering the case on Friday, Naz said she could identify three of the accused, but could not name their five alleged accomplices. SHO Madina Town police station Farukh Waheed told The Express Tribune that medical examinations revealed the girl had been gang raped. “A DNA test will establish whether or not the alleged persons have committed the crime,” he added.
City Police Officer (CPO) Faisalabad Sohail Tajik formed a committee under the supervision of SP Madina Town Nasir Sial to probe the incident. Naz alleged that Mian Muazzam Farooq and his two brothers Mian Saad Farooq and Mian Qasim Farooq took her from Abdullah Chowk at gunpoint and drove her to a house in Raza Garden, Canal Road, where five armed persons were present.
She said the men locked her in a room and forced her to drink alcohol before raping her at gunpoint. She claimed a video was made of the incident. A case was registered under PPC 376. *Name of the victim has been changed to protect her identity

Pakistan: Wattoo slams arrest of PTI, PAT workers

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has rejected the new wave of large-scale arrests of PTI and PAT workers in a bid to prevent the largest participation in Islamabad sit-ins on Saturday evening.
Talking to a party delegation on Saturday, Wattoo maintained that this “senseless” move was not only repugnant to the fundamental right of peaceful procession of citizens but was also at variance with the Supreme Court instructions to the effect that peaceful procession was a fundamental right of political parties. Wattoo pointed out that both of the protesting parties have been holding their processions in a peaceful manner within the ambit of the constitution and that arrests of their workers would tantamount to preventing them from exercising their fundamental right guaranteed also by the Supreme Court.
Wattoo called upon the government to desist from indulging in illegal and unconstitutional arrests because misuse of power had already led to the deleterious consequences as was evident in the Model Town incident of June 17.
It can be ironically said that the rulers had learned no lesson from their repeatedmistakes and that they were still following the beaten tracks, he added.

The Balochistan impasse

Lal Khan
Just as in Kashmir and Afghanistan, these killing fields have been outsourced to jihadis, resulting in making the lives of the Hazaras, Shias, Baloch and Pashtuns a living hell.
In this nauseating and disingenuous confrontation of the elites, real issues are shoved into oblivion. Balochistan appears in the corporate media in accordance with the whims and needs of the deep state and ruling classes. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, Balochistan has been in a state of turmoil, revolts and insurgencies. Militant struggles and military operations rage on. In reality, Balochistan has become a festering wound on the body politic of the whole region, including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
The discovery of mass graves in Tutak, more than 800 bodies of abducted activists dumped in Balochistan and Karachi, and the 18,000 missing persons, predominantly young people, are a stain on the system, state and the incumbent, so-called progressive government brought into power by Nawaz Sharif with the petitioning of over 600 NGOs. Under Abdul Malik Baloch’s watch the crisis has only been aggravated and its performance has proved to be even worse than the previous regime of clownish Aslam Raisani. Just as in Kashmir and Afghanistan, these killing fields have been outsourced to jihadis, resulting in making the lives of the Hazaras, Shias, Baloch and Pashtuns a living hell. In addition, proxy wars between various world and regional imperialist powers like the Iranian clergy and the Saudi monarchy are compounding miseries on a daily basis.
It would be wrong to limit our analysis to proxy wars and communalisation of Baloch society. The Baloch youth in particular have a rich tradition of generations of revolutionary struggle against national and class oppression. The first stirrings of polarisation between the youth and the narrow nationalist leadership are beginning to emerge, particularly on the question of internationalism and class struggle. Imperialist corporate vultures from the US and China to Russia and India are looking for proxies mainly amongst the leaders and sections of the state to become partners in the imperialist plunder of Balochistan.
Gwadar port, Mirani dam, the Makran coastal highway and other projects aimed at extracting the estimated $ 1.5 trillion in mineral wealth from Balochistan have intensified the great game between these imperialist monsters. The masses are being subjected to brutalities and excruciating social and economic woes. Baloch grievances in the past have centred on the gas fields (of which the biggest are around Sui, in Bugti tribal territory) that provide around a third of Pakistan’s energy. The Chinese corporation running the Saindak mine, in 2010, processed around 15,000 tonnes of ore a day. Scientific estimates for the Reko Diq field near the borders of Afghanistan and Iran show up to 16 million tonnes of pure copper and 21 million ounces of gold that, if developed, would make Pakistan one of the world’s largest producers of copper (though still far behind Chile) and a serious gold producer.
Ironically, Reko Diq could lead to explosive disputes between the Chinese contractors and among the tribes themselves, as has been the case with both Sui gas and Gwadar port. The principality that Baloch nationalists regard as the historic Baloch national state was that of Kalat, founded in 1638 around an oasis like that of Quetta, fed by two natural springs (now dry because of tube-wells and the radical sinking of the water table). The British arrived in the region in the 1830s and from 1839 to 1847 fought a fierce war with the Baloch tribes. In 1876, the British frontier official, Sir Robert Sandeman, signed a treaty with the Khan bringing Kalat and its dependent territories under British suzerainty. During partition in 1947, the myriad princely states of British India were voluntarily or involuntarily annexed to India or Pakistan, among them Kalat. While the new rulers of Pakistan claimed Kalat as a part of their new state, Baloch nationalists claimed that the relationship with the British Empire was closer to that of the British protectorate of Nepal that, after 1947, became an independent state.
The current insurgency is the fifth during the last seven decades between the Baloch masses and the state, the pro-establishment sardars, politicians, fundamentalist forces and those hungry for Balochistan’s resources. All these revolts have been concentrated in one tribal group or another, or parts of that group. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Mengals took the lead and, in the 1970s, it was the Marris. This allowed the Pakistani state to play on deep traditional rivalries between the tribes and, eventually, through a mixture of force and concessions to the sardars of the rebel tribes, bring these revolts to an end.
The Pakistani state’s approach is summed up in the remarkable fact that, as of 2009, out of 65 members of the Baloch Provincial Assembly, 62 were in the provincial government as ministers or advisers with ministerial ranks. Every member of the government received Rs 50 million as a personal share of Balochistan’s development budget. This was an effective co-option of the tribal leadership, as it ensured all but three of the 80 odd tribal sardars or claimants in Balochistan were neutralised and arrayed with the government, as opposed to the armed struggle. Rather than the old British strategy, this was closer to the Roman approach of making smaller local tribal chieftains into local officials and bigger chiefs into Roman senators. By making them responsible for tax collection, these local leaders were also given a share in state revenues. The Romans, however, had the advantage of representing not just overwhelming military force and an efficient state bureaucracy but also a great state-building idea, summed up in the values of Romanitas (Roman-ness). However, Pakistani regimes have always been inefficient, corrupt and in economic decay.
A senior army general summed up the state’s analysis and strategy to a British journalist in 2009: “Everything here is shades of grey. Here you have to be street smart. Or to put it another way, you need to be a little bit of a rascal to understand this part of the world. You always have to be prepared to negotiate with your enemies. Who knows, they may change sides and become your allies tomorrow. That is something the Americans still have not understood in Afghanistan...That is why you can meet in Quetta many nationalist politicians who have declared themselves as rebels against Pakistan, but whom we deliberately have not touched.”
Balochistan is plagued by extreme deprivation, poverty and joblessness. Social indicators are at rock bottom despite the province having the most natural resources. Human existence is traumatic. Constitutional amendments and reform packages are contemptuously rejected by the Baloch masses. These have never been sufficient nor can they be implemented in this catastrophic capitalist crisis. Balochistan is not homogeneous. It has Baloch, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Punjabis, and Mohajirs who have traditionally lived in harmony, but imperialism has sowed communal, ethnic and sectarian divisions that they use to divide and rule in order to perpetuate their plunder. There is no salvation on a communal, national, or ethnic basis. Under capitalism no solution is possible whatsoever. The struggle for national liberation must be linked to the class struggle within Balochistan and on a regional and international basis for genuine liberation.

Pakistan: Polio emergency

WHEN the world embarked on its fight against polio decades ago, amongst the most iconic images coming from Pakistan was that of the then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, administering the drops to her child.
Since then, millions upon millions have been poured into the initiative and in much of the world, the dreaded virus has been eradicated altogether. In Pakistan, though, things have gone far from as planned.
This now remains one of the world’s three polio-endemic countries — the others being Afghanistan and Nigeria — and, much more frighteningly, the only one where the crippling disease seems to be on the resurgence.
For years now, Pakistan has received aid in cash and kind from all sorts of donors, and has been materially helped by international polio eradication initiatives, because it was recognised that a polio-free world cannot be envisaged unless all countries are taken along; this state’s abysmal rate of success — even though matters reached such a pass that the WHO was forced to issue a travel advisory for unvaccinated travellers in May — would suggest that it has all been money and effort down the drain.
Since the fight is too important to be abandoned, though, helping hands continue to reach out. On Friday, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved a Rs33bn emergency plan to battle the virus.
The plan is made possible through loans running into millions of dollars from sources including the Islamic Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, with the tab for interest on these loans being picked up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Under an agreement with the lending agencies, the loans will be converted into grants if Pakistan succeeds in eradicating polio. It can thus be argued that for an already indebted country such as this, there is an economic reason to urgently ramp up its efforts. That said, however, Pakistan needs to wake up to the fact that its interests stand compromised in all sorts of ways by the increasing incidence of polio.
Over 20 cases have been detected this month alone, and the count for this year so far is soaring near the 150 mark. Punjab and Balochistan, which had earlier been thought to be polio-free, have also seen the myth shattered. The new emergency plan simply has to be made to work; the lackadaisical approach of the authorities must not lead us into quarantine.

Imran Khan never consulted his parliamentarians before announcing resignations from assemblies, claims MNA Nasir Khattak of PTI

PTI MNA Nasir Khan Khattak claims Imran Khan never consulted decision of resignations from assemblies with his parliamentarians or with Core Committee.
Islamabad: PTI MNA Nasir Khan Khattak who is first cousin CM KPK Pewrvaiz Khattak has claimed that Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan has never consulted the decision of tendering resignations from assemblies with Core committee or any member of National Assembly and announced the decision abruptly on stage in front of Parliament during one of his speechs.
Responding the show cause notice given to Nasir Khan Khattak for his refusal of submitting resignation from National Assembly strongly criticized Imran Khan and asked him (Imran Khan) that when and where was the decision taken and who were consulted inside and outside the party?
Nasir Khan Khattak defeated Rehmat Salam Khattak of PML-N in NA-15 (Karak) elections with a margin of 21000 votes. Read his rejoinder to Imran Khan.

Pakistan: Civil society organizations (CSO) condemn killings of Sikhs; Urge govt. to realize responsibility
Peshawar and Mardan, and pressed the government to take tangible steps to protect religious minorities.
According to a press statement issued on Sept 11, representatives from various groups—including Khwendo Kor (KK), SAP-PK, Aurat Foundation, Bacha Khan Trust and Shirkat Gah—voiced their concerns that such attacks have compromised the rights of religious minorities. The CSOs said despite consistent efforts by Sikhs in the province to draw attention to the killings, the police have not been able to find the culprits.
The statement came a day after the police released sketches of suspects in the recent murder of 30-year-old Harjeet Singh. However, to date, not much can be cited in terms of convictions in any of the cases of Sikh target killings.
The handout added Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has become unsafe for members of religious minorities to live in and the provincial government needs to pay attention to this problem. Law enforcement agencies have failed to take action against these incidents of targeted killing, it read.
Moreover, the CSOs criticized the general public for remaining apathetic to the murder of Sikh traders. “The Sikh community has already been hit hard by violence in other parts of the region which had led to their displacement from native areas,” they maintained.
Calling for tolerance towards minorities, the CSOs urged the government to realize its responsibility to protect the Sikh community.

Pakistan: Sikhs panic after attacks, plan to flee Peshawar

Iftikhar Firdous
First they had to flee their homes in frontier tribal areas of Pakistan because of growing militancy. And now, Pashto-speaking Sikhs who have been living in Peshawar for over a decade are thinking of migrating even further in the face of militant hostility.
There has been a surge of attacks against Sikhs in Peshawar. Harjeet Singh ran a textile shop along with his father in Nauthia, a bustling market in Peshawar, the main city in north west Pakistan. On September 6, he was killed by militants who arrived at his shop on a motorcycle. The incident spread a wave of panic among the Sikhs. Like other marginalized groups, they are easy targets for extremists.
As for party leaders, they claim that the political climate in the country is too hot for them to focus any attention on the problem.
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), which is also the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is busy protesting against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad and the entire government machinery has come to a standstill. "We are trying our best to resolve the problems of the Sikhs but political tensions are so high," senator Amarjit Malhotra, who is part of the panel inquiring into the attacks on Sikhs, said.
A month earlier, three Sikh businessmen were targeted similarly at their Peshawar shops. Of them, two survived the attack.
Gagan Singh, another trader, was found murdered in his shop in the district of Mardan, some 40km from the provincial capital of Peshawar. Investigating officers say the attacks were not random, but communal.
But none of them has a clue about the exact identity of the attackers. "Not one militant group has claimed responsibility," Japinder Singh, a local Sikh, said.
"We haven't received any threats either and that is even more troubling because we don't know who is behind the attacks," he added.
Around 600 Sikh families had migrated to Peshawar from Orakzai Agency and Khyber Agency, two of seven quasi districts of the Federally Administered Tribal areas (Fata). Sikhs have been living in Fata for centuries and are part of the social fabric, they speak Pashto and their elders were even part of the 'Jirga' (the decision-making body in the tribal area).
However, as the events of 9/11 unfolded, the tribal areas became home to several militants organizations. The Sikhs were threatened and made to pay a tax imposed on non-Muslims by Mangal Bagh, a wanted militant commander in the area.
In the face of hostilities, the entire Sikh community migrated out of the region. Some have managed to go back after the massive military operation, but a majority stayed back. For one, the security situation in Fata remains volatile and secondly, the Sikhs have invested in businesses in Peshawar.
All the Sikhs who have been killed so far in Peshawar and other districts are those that had migrated from Fata. Jasmeet Singh, a community leader, said that Sikhs are now thinking of leaving the city.
"We can't up and leave because we have businesses in the area but we are thinking of moving to India or Afghanistan if the situation worsens," he said. Another Sikh leader, Baba Amarjit Singh, said that some Sikhs had already left for India.
In May this year, Sikhs from Sindh province had forcibly entered the premises of the parliament in Islamabad to protest attacks on gurudwaras there. There were also reports of Granth Sahab being desecrated in the region.

Pakistan-India monsoon floods: Averting future disasters

Andrew North
After yet another devastating flood, experts say that what Pakistan and India need to do is build more dams and reservoirs.
It makes these annual disasters all the more tragic that for most of the year both countries have little rain.
Yet after leaving more than 450 dead and a swathe of destruction on both sides of the border, much of the water dumped on the Kashmir and Punjab regions in the past 10 days will now be wasted.
Critics say both the Indian and Pakistani governments have repeatedly failed to act on lessons from the past on how to manage their yearly monsoon drenching, even as flood catastrophes become more frequent.
While the two governments are now being battered by complaints over the relief effort, more important in the long-term, water specialists say, is building a better system to capture each new deluge.
Much of the water that has inundated Pakistan's Punjab in this latest disaster came via rivers which originate in the Indian Himalayas, where there has been even more rain.
'Water jihad' accusations
The surge was so big the Pakistani authorities resorted to dynamiting river dykes to divert the flow from urban areas, but thereby flooding farming areas and displacing tens of thousands of people.
Some in Pakistan have attacked India for not controlling this surge, the more extreme even accusing it of a "water jihad" against its long-time rival.
But Ahmer Bilal Soofi, a Pakistani lawyer who specialises in water issues, says his country is as much to blame for the way it has managed the rivers inside its borders, in particular by failing to build more dams to control and store water. Mr Soofi's words carry weight because he advises Pakistani officials on the Indus Water Commission, a cross-border body set up after the two states signed a water-sharing treaty in 1960.
The two sides last met just days before this latest flooding crisis, ironically to discuss Pakistani objections to plans for a new Indian dam project.
But it is perhaps one sign of hope in their turbulent relationship that the treaty has held and they keep meeting.
Better drainage needed
However, experts say India has been just as complacent with water on its own territory.
There too, the authorities are charged with letting the big monsoon storms go to waste, and as Indians know only too well, there is a chronic shortfall in electricity production, which more hydropower schemes could help solve.
Better drainage is also needed and more control of building in flood-prone areas, especially in towns and cities. But "urban India is mindless about drainage" fumes Sunita Narain, a Delhi-based environmentalist. "Storm water drains are either clogged, full of garbage and sewage, or just do not exist."
But the signs are that these extreme weather events are becoming more common and more unpredictable - which many scientists believe is because of climate change.
The rains that just engulfed India and Pakistan came much later than usual, when most thought the annual monsoon was over.
Similarly, an estimated 5,000 people died in India after being caught by flash floods in June, well before the heavy rains usually start. In 2010, the river Indus burst its banks over much of central Pakistan killing more than 2,000 people. Several hundred have died in floods every year since.
After the 2010 disaster, Pakistan set up a judicial investigation which came up with a host of recommendations to avoid a repeat.
"But nothing has happened since," says a Pakistani water expert who participated in the 2010 investigation, but asked not to be named. "After each disaster," he says, "we just go back to sleep again."