Saturday, September 27, 2014

Video - Moscow residents rally in support of victims of Ukraine war

Video - Clooney arrives by water taxi to his star studded Venice wedding

Video - Venice becomes Hollywood for Clooney's wedding

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: Western bloc headed by Washington rejects UN principle that all states are equal

The US-led Western block rejects the principle of the equality of sovereign states secured by the UN Charter while advocating democracy in the international arena, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressing the UNGA.
"The US-led Western alliance, while acting as an advocate of democracy, rule of law and human rights in individual countries, is acting in the international arena from the opposite position, rejecting the democratic principle of the sovereign right of states enshrined in the UN Charter and trying to decide for others what is good and what is bad," Lavrov said at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday.
The Russian foreign minister elaborated that there was an “increasingly obvious contradiction between the need for collective action by partners to produce proper responses to common challenges and some countries' drive for dominance and revival of the archaic bloc mentality based on barrack-like discipline and flawed 'us and them' logic".
Lavrov added that Russia was willing to compromise and ready to balance interests only based on mutual respect and if the dialogue is “honest, respectful and equal”.
According to the minister the “policy of ultimatums, the philosophy of superiority and domination” run counter to the needs of the 21st century, including the formation of a “polycentric and democratic world order”.
Lavrov stressed that the creation of new dividing lines is unacceptable in Europe saying that “no one has a monopoly on the truth” and no one can customize global and regional processes to “suit their needs."
Joint efforts can only be built on the principles of mutual respect and mutual consideration of interests, as it is done in the framework of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), G20 or the UN Security Council, said Lavrov.
The results of such efforts can be seen in the positive progress of the Iranian nuclear program and the successful completion of the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.
According to Lavrov, the examples “to follow” are the Minsk agreements dated September 5 and 19 which presented a roadmap on the ways out of the Ukrainian crisis and set a compromise on the date of Ukraine’s EU association agreement coming into force.
He said Russia had consistently called for “harmonizing” integration projects in Europe and Eurasia.
"The agreement on political benchmarks and timelines of such a 'convergence of integrations' would become a real contribution to the work of the OSCE on the topic of 'Helsinki+40'.”
“Another crucial area of this work would be to launch pragmatic discussions free of ideology on politico-military architecture in the Euro-Atlantic, so that not only NATO and CSTO members but all the countries of the region including Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia enjoy equal and indivisible security and not have to make a false choice of: 'either with us or against us'," Lavrov added.
The Western bloc has taken a course of "vertical structuring of humanity” according to its standards, said Lavrov describing the latter as “far from harmless”.
“Proclaiming victory in the Cold War and the onset of ‘history’s end’ the US and the EU committed to expanding their geopolitical space without balancing the legitimate interests of all the peoples of Europe.”

Video Report - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov - No one has monopoly on truth

Music Video - Lana Del Rey - Young and Beautiful

Bill, Hillary Clinton Become Grandparents

Political power couple Bill and Hillary Clinton can add a new title to their resumes: grandparent.
The former U.S. president and former secretary of state celebrated the birth of their first grandchild on Friday night.
Their daughter, Chelsea, announced the news on Twitter and Facebook Saturday, saying she and husband Marc Mezvinsky "are full of love, awe and gratitude" as they celebrate the birth of their daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.
In their own statement Saturday, the senior Clintons said they are "blessed, grateful and so happy" to be grandparents. They said "Chelsea is well and glowing. Marc is bursting with pride. Charlotte's life is off to a good start."
The news comes as Hillary Clinton considers a run for the White House in 2016. She is the leading Democratic contender to succeed President Barack Obama, her campaign rival in the 2008 race for the Democratic nomination.

Video - Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky Welcome Baby Girl

Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky announced the birth of their baby girl, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, on Twitter Friday night.

President Obama's Weekly Address - ''America is Leading the World''

Music Video - Jennifer Lopez - Hold It Don't Drop It

Balochistan’s unending problems

Once again there is news of bullet riddled bodies found across Balochistan. From political rivalries to tribal enmities to sectarian genocide, the province has an unending list of problems. The politics of Islamabad is understandably more important for political parties right now. But not attending to Balochistan’s problems has made it snowball into the crisis that it is today, and the more time is wasted in turning to it, the worse it will get. As argued repeatedly in this space, the biggest reason for lawlessness in the province is the presence of numerous security and secret organisations at work simultaneously.
When those mandated with providing security have their powers curbed, it is little surprise that law and order breaks down in the long term. With the military calling the shots, the FC running its own network, and the ISI also always present, there is not much space the police and relevant civilian agencies are left with. It was hoped that the present provincial dispensation would be more sympathetic to the province’s problems than its predecessors, but going by statistics alone, it has also been a letdown, with little hope for the future.
There is a tendency among certain political and media circles to blame most things wrong with the country on outside elements. Balochistan’s fate is no exception. It is always foreign agencies stirring up trouble or bribing disgruntled elements. But they forget that policies coming from the highest offices in the country are responsible for creating a situation that is easily exploited by enemies. Nationalists, too, find it easier to operate when there is predominant deprivation of rights, extra judicial killings, and a general feeling of apathy towards such a large and significant part of the country. Those finding their way across Islamabad’s complicated political labyrinth must realise that Balochistan requires urgent action. If it is not attended to immediately, it will present a far more complex mix of problems. And if the government cannot control what is happening now, it will have a slim chance of getting a handle on the problem when it gets much worse.

China's Choice: India or Pakistan?

By Mu Chunshan
Among China’s relations with Asian neighbors, its ties with the countries in South Asia are generally considered to be the weakest. Now, with Sino-Japan tensions over the East China Sea and conflict with many Southeast Asian countries over the South China Sea, the role of South Asian countries has become more prominent. South Asia is now a focus in China’s regional strategy, as shown by President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the area.
When it comes to South Asia, people think of India and Pakistan first. China has an “all weather friendship” with Pakistan but an ambivalent, often testy relationship with India. But the future is sometimes different from both the past and the present. Moving forward, which country is more important for China? Even without a clear answer, just puzzling through this question can help make many issues clear.
In fact, we only to need to answer two questions to know whether India or Pakistan is more important for China. First, which one is a major power? Second, which one can better help China realize its interests?
Which is the major power, India or Pakistan? The answer is relatively simple — India. When it comes to international influence, India is part of BRICS and the G20 and is a leader of the developing world through the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. India is well poised to become a major power in the world arena.
The answer is even more obvious from the economic perspective. According to the World Bank, India’s GDP in 2013 was roughly $1.9 trillion. By contrast, Pakistan’s GDP was only $236 billion, only about 12 percent of India’s. In 2013, India was the 10th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP.
India’s economy is just beginning to boom; its growth rate in 2013 was 4.5 percent. Experts believe that India today is like China in the mid-1980s, poised for rapid economic growth. Despite many difficulties, there is no reason for India’s economic growth to come to a halt. By contrast, Pakistan has not enjoyed the same type of economic growth in the past decade. Of course, at 1.2 billion, India’s population is far greater than Pakistan’s, but even when looking at per capita GDP India outranks Pakistan. The gap between two countries will probably widen in the future, placing Pakistan at even more of a disadvantage when compared with India.
Of course, it’s worth asking the obvious question: as India becomes a major power in the international stage, will it necessarily be friendly toward China? Indeed, not all major countries look kindly on China — just look at Japan. However, Sino-Indian international cooperation far outweighs the disputes between two counties. This is the point where they can carry out friendly cooperation. China’s top leaders understand this clearly.
Though the Sino-Indian border problem has to be addressed, it is fundamentally different from the Sino-Japan conflict over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The problem has not become a precondition and impediment for bilateral development; it is instead viewed as one of many issues that are part of a normal bilateral relationship between two countries. Looked at another way, existing issues in the Sino-Indian relationship have not impeded China’s important strategic initiative of “marching West.” Meanwhile, the China-Japan disputes have seriously impacted China’s strategy for oceanic development.
Since these two countries kicked off negotiations on border issue in 1981, China and India have established coordination and communication mechanisms on a variety of fronts, including official meetings at the deputy-minister level, task-force meetings, meetings of diplomatic and military experts, special delegate meetings, and the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs. It’s safe to say that these mechanisms rule out the possibility of war over the border issue, even though so-called sensitive incidents are often hyped by the media in both countries. By contrast, there are no such mature communication mechanisms for China and Japan in their dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
Given that India is a major power and that the Sino-India border issue has not scuttled bilateral relations, China has good reason to develop diplomatic ties with India. As top Chinese leaders are devoting much effort to establishing a presence in the South Asia, this trend will continue and intensify in the future. Beijing also hopes that India can become a partner to support China’s interests when it comes to international issues. For China, the potential rewards of such a strategy are huge.
For a country often seen as “isolated,” as China is, it’s extremely important to have a friend that shares the same stance on international issues. To play such a role, this partner should be economically strong with some clout in international politics. Besides Russia, India is the natural choice to play this role in China’s foreign policy. Hence, the answer to my second question becomes evident – a Sino-Indian partnership can help China achieve its national interests more quickly and easily.
Chinese leaders are aware of this. After taking office, China’s Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to India as part of his first trip abroad. Li also proposed establishing the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, a sign of how valuable India is to China. Undoubtedly, India was the most important destination during President Xi’s visit to the South Asia. It is quite rare for both top Chinese leaders to visit the same country so soon after taking office; this was China’s way of endorsing Sino-Indian friendship.
China and India already have similar positions on a number of issues, including their stances toward Syria, Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, and the need to protect the interests of developing countries. Together with Russia, these three countries have formed a kind of “quasi-alliance” relationship. These three countries already work together in the BRICS organization; now India is getting ready to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). These are the foundations for China and India to work together as major world powers.
Unlike India, Pakistan cannot become a top-level strategic partner of China in international affairs due to its limited capabilities in the world arena. Pakistan is not a major country in a global sense, although it plays an important role in regional affairs. Despite this, for a long time, China has tried to contain India diplomatically by intensifying bilateral relations with Pakistan. This formed the foundation for China to form a “strategic alliance” with Pakistan in the 1970s. As China seeks more cooperation with India, this rationale for the China-Pakistan friendship becomes less important.
At the same time, Pakistan is becoming more important to China due to the frequent occurrence of terrorist attacks in west China. Pakistan plays a bigger role in fighting terrorism than India, and Chinese leaders believe that terrorism will become a major obstacle for China in developing its western regions. In response, China has established an alliance with the SCO to fight terrorist forces in northwest China; it also works with Pakistan to do so in southwest China, giving new meaning to the “strategic alliance” between China and Pakistan.
However, Pakistan’s rise in importance brings both opportunities and risks for a stable Sino-Pakistani relationship. The strategically adjusted Sino-Indian relationship and new developments in anti-terrorist cooperation will pose constraints for the development of China-Pakistan relations.
The U.S.-Pakistan relationship deteriorated significantly due to different approaches to the fight against terrorism. China will have to be careful to avoid repeating the failure in U.S.-Pakistan relations when it comes to fighting terrorism. Based on my own interactions with Pakistani officials, though they expressed their support for fighting terrorism, they would not talk much about specific cooperation and results in this regard. Judging from Pakistan’s military capabilities and ideology, they face some objective and subjective constraints in fighting terrorism. That in turn could pose a constraint for future China-Pakistan cooperation. For example, the media will eagerly publicize China’s privately aired resentments in this regard to the international community.
Of course, there are also some constraints for developing Sino-Indian relations. Beyond the border issue, India’s cooperation with other Asian countries such as Japan and Vietnam could have a negative impact on Sino-India relations.
However, the criteria to judge if the Sino-Indian relation is healthy is to see if India has the intention to contain China in these outward activities. If Indian outreach to Japan and Vietnam is just part of normal national exchange, China should be tolerant. For example, Russia’s sales of weapons to Vietnam will not affect the strategic landscape between China and Russia.
Any relationship between major powers includes both cooperation and competition, and Sino-India relation is not an exception. The competition between China and India, however, is mostly about safeguarding territorial sovereignty. The conflict between China and Japan, as a comparison, goes deeper and involves the two countries’ differing outlooks on the international order. Therefore, the Sino-Japan competition is more problematic as each seeks to contain the development and international exchanges of the other country.
As China has become the world’s second largest economy (and will soon become number one), India has lost its edge to compete with China economically. The Indian people are quite realistic about this. Therefore, the economic competition between China and India will become less fierce in the future as India focuses on its own growth rather than comparing itself to China. In fact, the China-India partnership can benefit as China increases its investments and helps propel economic growth in India.
Politically, China is already accepted as an internationally important country, one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and a major voice within the existing international order. India does not seek to challenge to China’s position. On the contrary, India seeks to work with China in certain international platforms (such as G20, BRICS, and now the SCO) so as to attain greater international influence. China already plays an important role in these organizations and can help India do the same. In this sense, both countries have stronger incentives to cooperate politically.
India is a major power with clear development prospects while Pakistan is a regionally important country facing an uncertain economic future. China has to take this into consideration with developing relations with India. However, this is not to say that Beijing should abandon Pakistan. It’s also in China’s interests to maintain friendly relations with Pakistan, both to in promote diplomatic relations in South Asia and to fight terrorism.

Modi Wants Pakistan Talks Without 'Terrorism' Shadow

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that he wants to hold bilateral talks with neighboring Pakistan “without a shadow of terrorism,” a day after Pakistan's prime minister expressed frustration over stalled talks over Kashmir.
Last month, India announced it was withdrawing from the planned peace talks about the disputed Himalayan region between the two nuclear-armed neighbors because of plans by Pakistan to consult Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting.
“I want to hold bilateral talks to improve friendship and cooperation in all seriousness and in an atmosphere of peace, without a shadow of terrorism,” Modi, speaking in Hindi, told the United Nations General Assembly in his first address to the world body.
“But this is also the duty of Pakistan to come forward and create an appropriate atmosphere and with all seriousness come forward for a bilateral dialog,” he said.
India says Pakistan supports separatist militants that cross the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan-controlled regions, from the Pakistan side to attack Indian forces.
Modi appeared to chastise Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had used his own General Assembly address on Friday to blame India for the collapse of the latest talks over Kashmir.
“By raising this issue in this forum,” Modi said, “I don't know how serious our efforts will be, and some people are doubtful about it.”
Modi is due to have private meetings with the prime ministers of Nepal and Bangladesh and the president of Sri Lanka on Saturday in New York, but no meetings are planned with Sharif or other Pakistani officials, according to the Indian delegation.

Pakistan : PIA flight comes under fire near Peshawar airport

The Express Tribune
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft was fired upon during landing at Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar on Saturday evening, Express News reported. According to details, some unknown miscreants opened fire at PIA flight PK-376 arriving from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, near Mashokhel area of Badhber, Peshawar. However, no casualty was reported as a result of firing. It was the third such attack in Peshawar in last few months. On September a Russian cargo plane came under fire in the Sheikh Muhammadi area of Badhaber, while in June this year, a PIA flight PK-756 was fired upon in a similar fashion in the same area. One woman was killed and two persons were injured in the attack.

Afghanistan : Farewell Karzai

Farewell Karzai - Or shall we say good riddance to the man who has held so much power in Afghanistan over the last thirteen years, yet done nothing to secure its future prosperity? The outgoing Afghan President on Tuesday blamed the United States for war, the country that helped bring him to power. And Pakistan for the continued Taliban insurgency, the country that helped end the Cold War in Afghanistan. He said, “No peace will arrive unless the US or Pakistan want it.” Mr. Karzai, you give us too much credit. If peace was in our reach, would we not have managed to achieve it first ourselves? While India gets the best deals based on economic logic, Pakistan has inherited from Afghanistan the Taliban legacy, mistrust, wagging fingers and 2 million refugees.
Pakistan has made major mistakes with its policy towards Afghanistan, but cannot be blamed for all its ills. As units in an international system, ultimately countries have to be strong enough to stand for themselves. Blaming the other does nothing for development and progress and continues to keep enmity and dependency alive. Karzai's show of bravado against the US and Pakistan was only because his time is over. The man has had a rocky career and said what he could to appear heroic. This is the face he had put on his failures. President Ghani would be wise to be more diplomatic in his treatment of the neighbour and the creditor because the Taliban are here to stay whether the US leave or not. On Thursday, Taliban forces captured and beheaded 12 family members of local and national police and burned down 60 homes in Ghazni.
Had our two governments been more consistent in an anti-terrorist, anti-Taliban policy, had there been more security planning and less manipulative power grabbing, had the Taliban ideology not infiltrated the military as well as society, we might both have been more stable. If only. No body has a clean shirt on, not Pakistan, not Afghanistan, not the US. In Pakistan, we are familiar with the megalomaniac politician who just wants to be King no matter what, and will say anything to skirt blame. That Karzai would bungle the future of Afghanistan and be short sighted is not a surprise and neither are his farewell statements. Pakistan and the US haven’t given any notice to his statements, and rightly so. US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry described Karzai in 2009 as, “unfamiliar with the basics of nation-building and overly self-conscious that his time in the spotlight of glowing reviews from the international community has passed.” Karzai has faced numerable corruption charges, election rigging scandals and even charges of physical intimidation of his own ministers. He has always been known to be erratic. And sadly, and maybe stereotypically, so has his country.

Pakistan : Bilawal Bhutto greets women cricket team on winning Asian Games Gold Medal
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairperson, Pakistan Peoples Party has congratulated the Pakistani women cricket team on winning Asian Games Women’s Twenty20 Cricket gold medal after beating determined Bangladesh.
In a press statement issued here, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said growing participation of women in sports and their best performance in national and international events was a very encouraging sign for the country.
He congratulated every single player of Pakistani women cricket team including the Captain Sana Mir, Manager Ayesha Asher and PCB women’s wing chairperson Bushra Aitzaz on retaining gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games.

Pakistan: Killed for alleged blasphemy

Taking the law into one’s own hands has taken on a double meaning here in Pakistan. The latest example of vigilante brutality in the land of the ‘pure’ is that of a police officer shooting, multiple times, a Christian pastor named Zafar Bhatti and an elderly man named Asghar Ali who were both being kept at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi because of blasphemy verdicts. Asghar Ali is a British national with a history of mental illness. He was given the death sentence earlier this year for claiming to be a prophet. Human rights groups and civil society were shocked that the courts had handed down such a harsh punishment for a man with chronic schizophrenia, a condition that could have very easily caused his outbursts. Bhatti was on trial for blasphemy after being accused by a mullah of sending derogatory text messages. On Wednesday morning, on their way out of the cell they both shared, the prisoners were machine gunned down by one of the guards on duty. The pastor was killed on the spot and Mr Ali has sustained grave injuries; his condition is still critical. As a society we have reached the height of barbarity. This horrendous incident has given us flashbacks of the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer who was killed by one of his own bodyguards in 2011 for standing up for Aasia Bibi, a blasphemy accused. In that tragedy as well, it was a member of law enforcement or security services who took matters into their own hands and committed ghastly murder. The policeman in Adiala jail was responsible for the lives of these prisoners no matter what the allegations against them. Instead, he aimed his hatred at them and riddled them with bullets. Is this our ‘love’ for Islam: cold-blooded murder to defend some sort of warped honour of the Almighty? To be accused of blasphemy in Pakistan is as good as being handed out a death warrant, as this latest episode once again shows. Our minorities are routinely targeted and accused of blasphemy, mostly to settle personal vendettas or to diminish their numbers. Pastor Bhatti was a Christian, one of the most downtrodden minorities in Pakistan. He is now dead. Even being kept in a holding cell is not enough to guarantee safety from lynch mobs and vigilantes. Truly, God save us from ourselves.

Pakistan: Targeted assassinations

Karachi was rocked by another terrorist attack targeting a senior police official on Thursday, when a vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was used to target the convoy of Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Farooq Awan, head of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Three people were killed and eight were injured, while SSP Awan managed to escape with minor injuries. The blast occurred near Gizri, which was also where Inspector Shafiq Tanoli was attacked and killed in April. Police say that a 50 kilogram device was placed in the vehicle, and CCTV footage shows the car being left in the area by a man just a few minutes before the explosion occurred at 9.04 pm. Police believe the device was detonated via remote control. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) associated Jundullah group claimed responsibility. In the same way that former SSP Chaudhry Aslam was targeted earlier this year, the attackers chose a point along SSP Awan’s route home. This is not the first time he has been targeted by terrorists. An official described him as “a marked man” because of the blows he has dealt to terrorists in Karachi. SSP Awan was involved in the arrests of several high-profile militants, including Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted in the 2002 killing of Daniel Pearl, and he is an expert in kidnapping-for-ransom investigations, directly affecting one of the Taliban’s leading sources of income in Karachi. This will probably not be the last attempt on his life either. Inspector Tanoli was targeted by terrorists seven times prior to his assassination while SSP Aslam was targeted in a mammoth blast that destroyed half his home in 2011, before being killed in 2014. Coupled with the attack on a senior official of the Frontier Corps in Peshawar two days ago, this and previous incidents suggest a pattern of terrorists targeting critical individuals in the law enforcement and paramilitary agencies who are spearheading investigations against terrorists in urban areas.
As has been argued in this space before, the blowback from operation Zarb-e-Azb that many people thought had been defused appears to be beginning. Attacks are coming thick and fast after the lull since the operation began. At least two attacks targeted critical airbase facilities, while one targeted the navy dockyards in Karachi. The latter was believed to have had inside help, but terrorists have found it far easier to infiltrate the police than it is to infiltrate the military. As the assassination of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer showed, it is also possible for them to turn police officers with radical inclinations to their cause. The police were never known for their efficiency in the first place, but distracted by multiple law enforcement problems at a time, including providing security for sit-ins and protests, operational resources and readiness are under severe strain. These are just some of the problems police in Karachi and other parts of the country face. Others include a lack of funding and proper equipment, and not the least, political interference that keeps criminals on the streets because of their connections to officials. The link between terrorism and organised crime has been exposed on more than one occasion, and with the Taliban this connection goes deeper because much of their funding comes from extortion, kidnapping, drug running and smuggling. According to a 2012 UN report, the Taliban has an estimated annual budget of over $ 400 million, half of which comes from smuggling.
Terrorists view the police and paramilitary groups as the weak link in the security chain, and have made efforts to target effective officers and individuals because of their rarity in these organisations. Their focus on urban areas suggests that rather than attacking the military directly, their aim will be to target major cities making it impossible for the army to fight them because it is not built for urban policing. In the cities the police and paramilitary units that support them will be in the frontlines against terrorists, leading to the disturbing conclusion that by targeting critical individuals within the police structure, they can bring the edifice of urban anti-terrorism operations to a grinding halt.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to remove ‘objectionable’ material from textbooks

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided in principle to remove ‘objectionable material’ from the textbooks of local primary schools to please the key partner of the ruling coalition, Jamaat-i-Islami.
A senior official of the education department told Dawn on Friday that JI leaders had voiced reservations about the printing of pictures of minor girls without dupatta, Christmas cake and a Cross emblem on an ambulance instead of Crescent, the mention of good morning instead of Assalamu Aliakum, and presence of some other ‘objectionable’ content in textbooks for primary schools.
“JI leaders have complained about minor things in textbooks, whose removal has been decided in principle,” the official said requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
He said JI had demanded replacement of the expression ‘good morning’ with Assalamu Aliakum and the government was quick to accept it.
When contacted, JI provincial spokesman Israrullah said his party had serious reservations about certain contents of textbooks but ‘objectionable’ content had been removed after elementary and secondary education minister Atif Khan met party leaders on Wednesday.
“Officials of the department concerned and textbook board have formally agreed to remove objectionable contents from textbooks and will induct material to be proposed by Jamaat,” he said.
The meeting held in Peshawar on Wednesday was attended by education minister Atif Khan, additional secretary education Qaisar Alam, chairman of the textbook board Jamal Nasir and other senior officers.
Jamaat-i-Islami was represented by local government minister Inayatullah Khan, head of the JI education committee Mirajuddin and other members of the party.
“Jamaat is now satisfied with the government’s assurances and hopes minutes of the meeting with the minister will be implemented in letter and spirit,” Israrullah said, adding that the revised syllabus would conform to Islamic teachings and the ideology of Pakistan.
JI had recently protested the presence of objectionable material in textbooks and even threatened to quit the PTI-led government over it.
JI provincial chief Professor Mohammad Ibrahim had stated early this month that his party had not been taken into confidence before preparation of syllabus for primary schools.
He had complained that the provincial government has removed lessons on the life of Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be upon Him), His wives and four caliphs of Muslims from textbooks and inducted contents about Ranjit Singh, Raja Dahir, and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
JI claimed that it had signed an agreement with its senior coalition partner in which it was decided that the controversial contents of textbooks by the previous government would be removed and that the new syllabus would be designed with the JI consultation.
Israrullah said the meeting of JI was held in Peshawar on Thursday night which discussed the recent agreement with the government regarding preparation of new syllabus for schools. Professor Ibrahim chaired the meeting.
The spokesman said the material related with teaching of Islam, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and important Muslim personalities, including Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinah, would again be included in textbooks.
He said the India-occupied Kashmir was not shown as part of Pakistan in the map printed in textbooks, while lessons about Quaid-i-Azam were also removed from textbooks designed for children.
He said induction of lesson about Khan Abdul Ghaffar was not a big issue. The government official said the objection over Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was turned down and JI leaders were convinced that like Abdul Ghaffar Khan, every politician was controversial.
He said the map incorporated in the Survey of Pakistan had been reproduced in the textbooks.