Friday, October 10, 2014

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U.N. says thousands likely to be massacred if jihadists take Kobani

Thousands of people most likely will be massacred if Kobani falls to Islamic State fighters, a U.N. envoy said on Friday, as militants fought deeper into the besieged Syrian Kurdish town in full view of Turkish tanks that have done nothing to intervene.
U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said Kobani could suffer the same fate as the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslims were murdered by Serbs in 1995, Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two, while U.N. peacekeepers failed to protect them.
"If this falls, the 700, plus perhaps the 12,000 people, apart from the fighters, will be most likely massacred," de Mistura said. The United Nations believes 700 mainly elderly civilians are trapped in the town itself and 12,000 have left the center but not made it across the border into Turkey.
"Do you remember Srebrenica? We do. We never forgot and probably we never forgave ourselves," said de Mistura, the U.N. peace envoy for Syria. "When there is an imminent threat to civilians, we cannot, we should not, be silent."
The plight of mainly Kurdish Kobani has unleashed the worst street violence in years in Turkey, which has 15 million Kurds of its own. Turkish Kurds have risen up since Tuesday against President Tayyip Erdogan's government, which they accuse of allowing their kin to be slaughtered.
At least 33 people have been killed in three days of riots across the mainly Kurdish southeast, including two police officers shot dead in an apparent attempt to assassinate a police chief. The police chief was wounded.
Intense fighting between Islamic State fighters and outgunned Kurdish forces in the streets of Kobani could be heard from across the border. Warplanes roared overhead and the western edge of town was hit by an air strike, apparently by U.S.-led coalition jets.
But even as the United States has increased its bombing of Islamic State targets in the area, it has acknowledged that its air support is unlikely to be enough to save the city from falling.
"Our focus in Syria is in degrading the capacity of (Islamic State) at its core to project power, to command itself, to sustain itself, to resource itself," U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said. "The tragic reality is that in the course of doing that there are going to be places like Kobani where we may or may not be able to be effective."
Blinken said Islamic State controlled about 40 percent of Kobani. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, gave a similar estimate and said fighters had seized a central administrative area, known as the "security quarter".
Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kurdish forces defending the town, told Reuters that Islamic State fighters were still shelling the center, which proved it had not yet fallen.
"There are fierce clashes and they are bombing the center of Kobani from afar," he said, estimating the militants controlled 20 percent of the town. He called for more U.S.-led air strikes.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department said Turkey has agreed to support the training and equipping of moderate opposition groups in Syria and that a U.S. military planning team would visit Ankara next week to further discuss the matter. The United States has been pressing Turkey to join the fight against Islamic State.
The Middle East has been transformed in recent months by Islamic State, a Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, crucifying and beheading prisoners and ordering non-Muslims and Shi'ites to convert or die.
The United States has been building a military coalition to fight the group, an effort that requires intervening in both Iraq and Syria, countries with complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every state in the region has allies and enemies.
International attention has focused on Turkey, a NATO member with the biggest army in the region, which has absorbed 1.2 million Syrian refugees, including 200,000 from Kobani in the last few weeks. Erdogan has so far refused to join the military coalition against Islamic State or use force to protect Kobani.
"We would like to appeal to the Turkish authorities ... to allow the flow of volunteers, at least, and their own equipment in order to be able to enter the city and contribute to a self-defense action," the U.N. envoy de Mistura said in Geneva.
The Kurdish uprising in Turkey provoked a furious response from the Turkish government, which accuses Kurdish political leaders of using the situation in Kobani to destroy public order in Turkey and wreck its own delicate peace process.
Turkish Kurds fought a decades-long insurgency in which 40,000 people were killed. A truce last year has been one of the main achievements of Erdogan's decade in power, but Abdullah Ocalan, jailed co-founder of the Kurdish militant PKK, has said the peace process is doomed if Turkey permits Kobani to fall.
In a televised speech on Friday, Erdogan accused Kurdish leaders of "making calls for violence in a rotten way".
“I have put my hand, my body and my life into this peace process," he said. "And I will continue to fight until my last breath to restore the brotherhood of 77 million at any cost.”
The three days of riots in southern Turkey were the worst street violence in many years. The attempted assassination of a police chief in eastern Bingol province was the first incident of its kind since 2001. The armed wing of the PKK denied involvement in the attack.
The southeastern border province of Gaziantep saw some of the worst violence overnight, with four people killed and 20 wounded as armed clashes broke out between protesters calling for solidarity with Kobani and groups opposing them.
Footage showed crowds with guns, swords and sticks roaming streets of Gaziantep. Two local branches of the Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), Turkey's main Kurdish party, there were torched, Dogan News Agency reported.
Many of Turkey's Kurds say the refusal to defend Kobani is proof the government sees them as a bigger enemy than Islamic State. At the frontier, dozens of Kurdish men watched Kobani's fighting from a hill where farmers once tended pistachio trees.
“I believed in the peace process, because I didn’t want any more children to die. But the Kurds were fooled. The peace process was insincere. The government either wants to wipe out Kurds or to enslave them," said Ahmet Encu, 46, who came 500 km (300 miles) to watch Kobani, where four relatives are fighting.
Turkey says it would join an international coalition to fight against Islamic State only if the alliance also confronts Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. Erdogan wants a no-fly zone to prevent Assad's planes from flying over the area near its border and a protected buffer zone there for refugees.
The United States has said it is studying the idea but has made clear it is not an option for now.
The Pentagon said the top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, will convene a meeting of more than 20 foreign defense chiefs next week outside Washington to discuss the multinational campaign against Islamic State.

'Fascists, get out!' Spanish students eject protesting Ukraine nationalists

Students at the Complutense University of Madrid kicked out several radical Ukrainians who stormed into a lecture, trying to provoke a fight. Posters reading, 'Ukraine besieged by fascism will not happen,' appeared in campus halls after the incident. The university faculty of political sciences and sociology is currently hosting an exhibition titled, "Humanitarian crisis in southeastern Ukraine and its consequences for Europe," which features photographs from Odessa, and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The display is part of a series of lectures and roundtables on the situation in Ukraine. While students were gathering for one of the discussions, on the subject of the May 2 Odessa massacre, that left nearly 50 anti-government activists dead, several radicals carrying Ukrainian flags and banners of some of the country's nationalist parties stormed into the hall, not letting professors begin the lecture. According to Spanish newspaper La Republica, the protest was carried out by a group of supporters of the neo-Nazi Svoboda (Freedom) party. Chanting the name of Stepan Bandera, leader of Ukrainian nationalist movement during World War 2, the protesters threatened and assaulted several students who had gathered to remember the victims of the events in Odessa.
"At first professors asked them to leave the room, but they wouldn't do so, saying they would not let the lecture begin. Students were outraged by that and started shouting 'Fascists, get out of here!' Almost half the faculty got involved," one of the exhibition's organizers, Sergey Markhel, told RIA Novosti news agency.
After the fight’s instigators were kicked off of the campus, students put up posters against fascism in Ukraine. Leaving the university premises, still waving Ukrainian flags, the offenders were seen by a van with the registration of the Diplomatic Corps of the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, La Republica reported. The event was attended by a representative of the Ukrainian Embassy, the embassy confirmed to RIA Novosti. The Ukrainian Ambassador to Spain has later met with the university rector, expressing his "deep concern" and asking him to cancel Ukraine-related conferences, which he claimed were being "used by Russian propaganda agents to give false information," El Pais reported.
The conference on the Ukrainian crisis is scheduled to run at the Complutense University until October 23.

President Obama Congratulates Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on Winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

Every child has the right to an education.
That is the simple but powerful message that Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old girl from Pakistan, is bringing to millions across the world. It is the message that the Pakistani Taliban tried to stop her from sharing. It is a message that no bullet can silence.
Today, for her unwavering courage to champion education for all children anywhere, Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize. She shares that honor with Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights activist who is working tirelessly to bring an end to child slavery in India and across the globe.
Reflecting on his meeting with Malala last year, the President released the following statement to congratulate her and Kailash on their remarkable accomplishments in the pursuit of peace:
On behalf of Michelle, myself and all Americans, I want to congratulate Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Today’s announcement is a victory for all who strive to uphold the dignity of every human being. In recognizing Malala and Kailash, the Nobel Committee reminds us of the urgency of their work to protect the rights and freedoms of all our young people and to ensure they have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential, regardless of their background, or gender, or station in life. At just 17 years old, Malala Yousafzai has inspired people around the world with her passion and determination to make sure girls everywhere can get an education. When the Taliban tried to silence her, Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve. Michelle and I were proud to welcome this remarkable young woman to the Oval Office last year. We were awe-struck by her courage and filled with hope knowing this is only the beginning of her extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place. Kailash Satyarthi has dedicated his life to ending child labor and wiping the stain of slavery from our world. The true measure of Kailash’s efforts is not a single prize he has been awarded, but the tens of thousands of people who today live with freedom and dignity thanks to his efforts. Through his advocacy, Kailash reminds us of our shared responsibility to end the exploitation of others, especially the most vulnerable among us. Malala and Kailash have faced down threats and intimidation, risking their own lives to save others and build a better world for future generations. They come from different countries, religious backgrounds, and generations -- a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian -- but they share an unyielding commitment to justice and an unshakeable belief in the basic dignity of every girl and boy. Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek -- one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally. Today, we honor Malala and Kailash’s achievements, and reaffirm that the United States will always stand with those who defend our universal human rights.

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India Nobel winner at forefront of child slavery fight

Kailash Satyarthi, named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, has freed tens of thousands of Indian children forced into slavery by businessmen, land-owners and others.
Born on January 11, 1954, Satyarthi has been at the forefront of the drive against child labour in India where the practice is rife.
Satyarthi, who was trained as an electrical engineer, founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan or Save the Childhood Movement in 1980.
He lives modestly and keeps a low profile except for his causes.
The activist, born in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, said he was “delighted” by the Nobel award, according to the Press Trust of India, and described it as “recognition” for the fight for child rights.
He began his work by staging raids on Indian manufacturing, rug-making and other plants where children and their parents often work as bonded labour.
Under bonded labour, families often borrow money and have to work till the funds can be repaid. But often the money is too much to be paid back from meagre earnings and people are sold and resold.
Building on his initial activism, Satyarthi organised the Global March Against Child Labor in the 1990s — dedicated to freeing the millions of children abused worldwide in a form of modern slavery.
He and co-winner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan were honoured by the Norwegian Nobel Committee “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.
“To employ children is illegal and unethical,” Satyarthi said on the Global March Against Child Labour website.
“If not now, then when? If not you, then who? If we are able to answer these fundamental questions, then perhaps we can wipe away the blot of human slavery,” Satyarthi said, summing up his philosophy.
The activist is also founder of RugMark, a widely known international scheme that tags all carpets made in factories that are child-labour free.
He described the plight of children forced into the worst kinds of abusive work in a 2010 interview with the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights.
“If they cry for their parents, they are beaten severely, sometimes hanged upside down from trees and even branded or burned with cigarettes,” he said.
He also spearheads the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude or SAACS, among other groups, and helps oversee a transition centre in Rajasthan where newly freed labourers learn fresh skills.
Satyarthi has said his social conscience was awoken when he was six and noticed a boy his age on the steps outside the school with his father, cleaning shoes.
Seeing many such children working instead of being educated, he felt an urge as he grew older to solve the problem — launching him on his career of activism.
“I think of it all as a test. This is a moral examination that one has to pass. … to stand up against such social evils,” he said in the Kennedy Centre interview.
Online Splash
The Twitter following of India’s Kailash Satyarthi began jumping exponentially and his website appeared to crash as he was catapulted into the global spotlight after winning the Nobel Peace Prize Friday.
Satyarthi, a low-profile child’s rights activist, was a social media minnow before winning the prestigious prize, with fewer than 200 followers on Twitter.
But within 90 minutes of the announcement, he had gained more than 4,500 followers — and the list was growing at blazing speed.
A Google search under his name prior to his Nobel victory yielded fewer than half a dozen pages of search results in English, indicating how little was known about the activist. But the pages were also multiplying exponentially after his win.
His personal website,, which sports the blurb “Kailash Satyarthi… the seeker of truth”, was failing to open — apparently under the strain of heavy demand.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee recognised Satyarthi’s contribution in heading various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.
“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” the committee said.
“In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”
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Malala's family speak of 'jubilation' at Nobel peace prize

By Taha Siddiqui,Dean Nelson
Family of Malala Yousafzai tell the Telegraph they "cannot express their happiness" after the 17-year-old schoolgirl was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The family of Malala Yousafzai said they "cannot express their happiness" after the 17-year-old schoolgirl was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Malala’s first cousin Mehmood ul Hassan, who is the administrator of Khushal Public School where Malala studied before she was shot, said: "The whole family is very happy. We cannot express the level of our happiness in words.
"I just spoke to Ziauddin (Malala’s father), and her mother. I also spoke to Malala, and they are all very excited and happy about this. Malala told me that Allah has blessed her with this award and she hopes this peace prize will help her cause [of educating girls], which is what she is focused on," he said.
"I am already in touch with school staff and we will organise a little ceremony here to celebrate this achievement," he told the Telegraph.
He said Pakistan's Swat Valley, where Malala was shot in the head by militants in October 2012, was “jubilant” about the honour. Malala is the youngest ever Nobel winner. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago for insisting that girls also have the right to an education.
She won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Mr Satyarthi, 60, has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since 1980, when he gave up his career as an electrical engineer. Malala's classmates in the Swat Valley said the Nobel Prize would encourage other schoolgirls in the area. "The news that Malala Yousafzai has been awarded Nobel Peace Prize is extremely encouraging for the people of Swat district," Majida Bibi, her classmate told the Telegraph.
Muhammad Rafiq, a Swat-based teacher, said: "Many people distributed sweets to celebrate the occasion as Malala has brought fame to the country at the international level." She has been an inspirational force for the female students of Swat, he added. One of Malala’s teachers, Shumaila Khan, said she was very proud of her former pupil. “I have never seen a brave girl like her. She challenged the Taliban at a time when all men didn’t have the courage to oppose them," she said.
Her schoolmate Rukhsar Shah said: "I want to salute here on this occasion. She is the pride of the whole nation."

In Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Malala Yousafzai’s peace prize seen as slap at Taliban

By Haq Nawaz Khan
No one expected the news from Oslo this time.
Last year, supporters of Malala Yousafzai in her native Swat Valley defied possible backlash from Taliban-backed militants and organized events to await word on the Nobel Peace Prize, which went to an organization seeking a ban on chemical weapons.
On Friday — just after the second anniversary of the gunshots by Taliban militants that changed her life — word raced through Mingora: The 17-year-old Yousafzai was a co-winner of the prize for her global advocacy of education for women and girls.
“I am speechless on awarding Malala with the Nobel,” said Ahmad Shah, 45, an educator and close aide of her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who ran a public school. “I am happy that now our Swat will be known by Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, and that is more than everything.”
But there is still the shadow of the Pakistani Taliban and its backers in the Swat Valley, a region of stunning beauty and bloody ideological struggles in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
Years of offensives by the Pakistani military have significantly loosened the once-tight grip of the Taliban, but militants have shown some signs of resilience with attacks on political figures and other opponents.
Such retaliation was carried out in October 2012 when masked gunmen shot Yousafzai in the head in apparent reprisal for her calls to keep girls’ schools open. Two other girls were wounded in the attack in Mingora.
“Before militancy, Swat was known for its beauty and education,” said Shah, who runs a private school in Mingora. “And, thank God, this award will help the revival of education in Swat. This is a huge victory for not only Swat, but Pakistan.”
Shah recalled the comment by a girl student when asked what she wanted to become in the future. Her reply: “I want to become Malala Yousafzai to work for education and peace,” said Shah.
“This is great news for Swat,” added Ayub Hilal, a 35-year-old merchant.
“I have been through the militancy and never fled Swat even during the military operation in May 2009,” he said. “But I see this award as a sign of smile on our faces.”
Not all agree. In the past, some in Mingora have criticized Yousafzai’s worldwide fame, denouncing events such as a 2013 address at the United Nations as ma­nipu­la­tion by the West. Threats have prevented Yousafzai from returning home since her recovery. One girls’ college in Mingora was named after Yousafzai shortly after the attack, but the students protested that they could be vulnerable to violence. The name was removed.
“Some people are silent, as they don’t like her and her father, but others are quiet due to the possible threat from the militants,” said Aftab Ali, a 41-year-old businessman.
In the rest of Pakistan, the reaction to the prize appeared relatively muted. In an eastern part of the country — far from Yousafzai’s home region — many people said they did not even recognize her name.
But the country’s president, prime minister and powerful military congratulated her as Pakistan’s second Nobel winner. Abdus Salam, a researcher in theoretical physics, won the Nobel physics prize in 1979.
“Except for terrorists, all Pakistanis want their children in school,” wrote Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, the chief military spokesman, on his Twitter account.

Malala is the new symbol of hope

By John D. Sutter
The 17-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls' education who, on Friday, became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize told "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart last year what she would do if she were confronted again by a member of the Taliban.
"I'll tell him how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well," she said. "I'll tell him, 'That's what I want to tell you; now do what you want.' "
This from a girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban.
For exercising her right to go to school.
Malala Yousafzai was only 14 years old at the time -- and just 11 when she started blogging anonymously for the BBC about the struggles of life in Pakistan's Swat Valley.
Stewart's response was priceless as well: "I know your father is backstage and he's very proud of you, but would he be mad if I adopted you?"It's not just him. The world has adopted Malala.
She reminds us of the transformative power of education, especially for the 31 million primary-school-age girls, according to UNICEF, who aren't in school worldwide.
And, as important, she is a beacon of hope -- a reminder that the human spirit holds in it immense possibility, warmth, humility and forgiveness.
U.S. President Barack Obama used to fill that role, back when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Now, as bombs fall over Syria and Iraq, in an attempt to destroy a terrorist group that has beheaded Americans, it's hard to continue to see him that way these days.
Malala is the world's new symbol of hope.
Her crusade for education rights only seems to be getting stronger as the years pass. And in the world of ISIS and Boko Haram, the Nigerian group that kidnaps young girls and attacks their schools, she's needed now more than ever.
That she shares the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's rights activist, makes this moment all the more significant.
"The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism," the committee said in a statement. The Nobel Committee praised Satyarthi as carrying on Gandhi's tradition of nonviolent resistance. And it called Malala's struggle "heroic."
It's not hard to see why.
"Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too," Malala said at the United Nations in July 2013.
"They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed.
"And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born." It's telling that, according to ABC News, Malala was planning to be in school Friday.
That's true determination.
It's the kind that hopefully will give more girls around the world the right to do the same.

Bilawal Bhutto heaps praise on Malala for Nobel Peace Prize

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday heaped praise on Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel laureate, for winning Nobel PEace Prize, declaring the education campaigner as ‘heroine of Pakistan’.
Felicitating the child education campaigner for winning the prestigious award, the PPP Co-Chairman declared Malala as country’s daughter and peace’s ambassador.
BilawalBhuttoZardari @BBhuttoZardari
Pakistan ki baiti,aman ki safeer,Malala yousafzai, humien tum par naaz hai!Our national heroine won Nobel Peace Prize! Pakistan Zindabad!

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai a formidable force for girls' rights

Schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai's courageous fightback from being shot by the Taliban has transformed her both into a symbol for human rights and a campaigner in global demand.
Few teenagers can lay claim to a Nobel prize, or say they spent their 17th birthday lobbying Nigeria's president to do more to free hundreds of girls kidnapped by Islamist militants.
But Malala is no ordinary teen.
She had already been in the public eye for years when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus on October 9, 2012, asked "Who is Malala?", and shot her in the head.
Her father Ziauddin, a school principal and himself a seasoned campaigner for education, helped propel the precociously talented girl from the Swat valley in northwest Pakistan into the limelight.
At his encouragement, Malala started writing a blog for the BBC's Urdu service under a pseudonym in 2009, aged just 11, about life under the Taliban in Swat, where they were banning girls' education.
In 2007 the Islamist militants had taken over the area, which Malala affectionately called "My Swat", and imposed a brutal, bloody rule.
Opponents were murdered, people were publicly flogged for supposed breaches of sharia law, women were banned from going to market, and girls were stopped from going to school.
Her blog, written anonymously with the clarity and frankness of a child, opened a window for Pakistan onto the miseries being perpetrated within its borders.
But it was only after the shooting in 2012, and Malala's subsequent near-miraculous recovery in a British hospital, that she became a truly global figure.
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, a UN special education envoy, visited her in hospital shortly afterwards and took up her cause with a petition which he presented to the Pakistani government.
She has since become something of an international star - a formidable, and instantly recognisable force for rights. She received a standing ovation in July 2013 for an address to the United Nations General Assembly in which she vowed she would never be silenced.
The teen went on later that year to win the European Union's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize. The 17-year-old has also published an autobiography and been invited to tea with Queen Elizabeth, achieving a level of fame more like that of a movie star than an education campaigner.
In an interview in 2013 with CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a sold-out public event in New York, Malala said she wanted to become prime minister of Pakistan to "save" her country.
Her autobiography, I am Malala, reveals a more girlish side to the teenager - she is a fan of Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber and the Twilight series of vampire romance novels.
But her activism has continued. On her 17th birthday earlier this year she was in Abuja, pushing president Goodluck Jonathan to meet with the parents of hundreds of girls who had been kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Although she missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, she was nominated a second time this year and won along with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's rights activist.
Last month, Pakistan's military said they had arrested 10 suspected Taliban militants accused of being involved in the murder attempt against her.
But bringing the men to trial will likely be a long process. In Pakistan's sclerotic legal system, cases grind through the courts for years making little progress.
The Pakistani Taliban's new hardline Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction, meanwhile, denied the military's claims, saying that of the three men responsible for trying to kill Malala, one is dead and the other two are currently at large.
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Malala Will Use Nobel Prize to Further Her Cause

Matt McAllester
During a TIME photo shoot it became immediately clear to TIME's Matt McAllester that Malala Yousafzai is no ordinary teenage girl.
Malala was late. She had finished school for the day and was in a car on the way to a photographer’s studio in the center of the English city of Birmingham, and the clock was ticking. The driver wasn’t answering his phone. The several people in the studio—technicians, make-up artists and photographer Mark Seliger—were hushed and increasingly anxious.
Eventually the car pulled up and out stepped Ziauddin Yousafzai, his son Kushal and Kushal’s older sister, a teenage girl famous not for singing or acting or being a social media star but for campaigning to enable girls in her native country and around the world to go to school and college and get the education their brothers often enjoyed. And who had, about six months earlier, been shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she sat in her school bus. The Taliban were threatened by this fearless, teenage girl.
“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly,” Malala had said before the assassination attempt. “Even if they come to kill me I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
In truth, before I met her, I had wondered whether Malala was entirely for real, whether such a young person could really be setting her own path in this way, or whether she was somewhat doing the bidding of her father, a charismatic school principal who also campaigned for the rights of girls to go to school. Was she much more than a symbol? She is still only 17, after all.
I accompanied Malala and her family into the building and up the elevator. And instantly I realized that Malala was different from other teenagers. She was about to sit for a TIME magazine cover shoot, for a photographer who has taken portraits of pretty much every famous person in the world. I expected her to be just a little bit excited. She had not sat for a portrait like this since she had been shot. But if she was excited she didn’t show it. It wasn’t that she was playing it cool; she was fine with it. But by that stage in her life she had been courted by thousands of media outlets and had received letters and visits and messages from some of the most important and celebrated people in the world. I quickly got the impression that she wisely saw all of that attention, including this photo shoot, as a tool to be used in the service of her cause and nothing else. She seemed preternaturally calm and focused.
As the makeup and wardrobe assistants prepared her—I had worried that she would scorn makeup and clothes that weren’t her own; she giggled a little and was fine with it—I asked her father about her cool. “She has always been like that,” he said, matter-of-factly and with a tinge of wonder. I also realized how wrong I had been to wonder whether Ziauddin was anything but a loving father. He was as protective as any father; one of his ways of showing his love was to let his daughter be herself and follow her passion, which he happened to share. More than any teenager I’ve ever met, Malala was simply her own person. Her father demonstrably respected and loved her for it.
Seliger began taking her picture, making her laugh and relax by telling her a funny story about how he had teased President Obama a little when taking his portrait, and I watched a computer screen as the images came through. She was so small that when she sat on a regular chair, an assistant had to put a green plastic crate and two planks of wood under her feet to raise her up.
Malala’s father talked to me about the injuries his daughter had suffered (she kept her hair brushed over the area on the side of her head where the gunman’s bullet had passed, miraculously not piercing her skull), how her school was going and how he did not see the family returning to Pakistan because of the danger they faced. They may have been rightly concerned for their safety, but neither Ziauddin or his daughter showed any inclination to let the Taliban, or any people who would rather girls did not receive the same educational opportunities as boys, win. Malala was not going to thank her blessings, justifiably feel that she had done what she could and settle into a quiet life in Birmingham. And so it has been. She has juggled school and celebrity and has tirelessly continued her campaign.
She will likely be touched that she’s won the Nobel Peace Prize, but I suspect she’ll see it in the same way she sees all of the accolades that come her way—as just another opportunity to encourage the mothers and fathers of the world to send their daughters to school.

نوبل انعام امن سے محبت کرنے والی سوچ کو ملا ہے، اسفندیار ولی خان

پختو نخوا کی ایک بیٹی نے دنیا بھر میں نام پیدا کیا ہے جو ہمارے لئے کسی اعزاز سے کم نہیں ، میاں افتخار حسین پشاور ( پ ر ) عوامی نیشنل پارٹی کے مرکزی صدر اسفندیار ولی خان اور مرکزی جنرل سیکرٹری میاں افتخار حسین نے ملالہ یوسف زئی کو امن کا نوبل انعام ملنے پر انتہائی خوشی کا اظہار کیا ہے اور انہیں مبارکباد پیش کی ہے ، اے این پی سیکرٹریٹ سے جاری اپنے ایک تہنیتی بیان میں پارٹی رہنماؤ ں نے کہا ملالہ یوسف زئی نے قوم کا سر فخر سے بلند کر دیا ہے ، اور امن کا نوبل انعام ملنا ملک ،خصوصاً صوبہ پختو نخوا اور پختون قوم کیلئے نیک شگون ہے ، انہوں نے کہا کہ نوبل انعام در حقیقت دہشت گردی کے خلاف اور امن سے محبت کرنے والی ایک سوچ کو ملا ہے اور یہی ہماری اصل کامیابی ہے، جبکہ پختو نخوا کی ایک بیٹی نے دنیا بھر میں نام پیدا کیا ہے جو ہمارے لئے کسی اعزاز سے کم نہیں ، انہوں نے کہا کہ ملالہ نے لڑکیوں کی تعلیم کے دشمنوں کا ڈٹ کرمقابلہ کیا ہے اور سوات میں قیام امن کی خاطر بیش بہا قربانی دی ہے اور اپنی گراں قدر خدمات کے صلے میں ان کا نام تاریخ میں سنہرے حروف سے لکھا جائے گا ، اسفندیار ولی خان نے کہا کہ ملالہ یوسف زئی کو ان خدمات کے اعتراف میں حکومت پاکستان ستارہ جرات بھی دے چکی ہے ، انہوں نے ملالہ یوسفزئی کو شاندار الفاظ میں خراج تحسین پیش کرتے ہوئے امید ظاہر کی وہ مستقبل میں بھی لڑکیوں کی تعلیم کے فروغ اور قیام امن کیلئے اپنی کوششیں جاری رکھیں گی۔

Video Report - Malala Yousafzai & Kailash Satyarthi win 2014 Nobel Peace Prize - Announcement

Malala wins Nobel Peace prize 2014

By Harriet Alexander, and Jessica Winch
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has won the Nobel Peace Prize
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was awarded jointly to Malala and Kailash Satyarthi from India, "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".
"The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim - an Indian and a Pakistani - to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism," the judges said in a statement.
The awarding of the prize to the two campaigners was celebrated widely on social media.
Last year the award was given to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stocks.
Mr Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the Nobel committee said.
Malala, now aged 17, was living in Pakistan's Swat Valley when she was shot in the head by militants in October 2012 as punishment for her high profile campaign to encourage girls to go to school.
But a year later she was living in Britain, having staged a remarkable recovery thanks to surgeons in Birmingham, and has become an international role model for young people.
Malala's father now works for the High Commission in Birmingham, as an education councillor.
Within Pakistan, however, not all people support the teenager.
Some have cast doubt on her story, accusing her of making it up – despite photos of her head wound – or criticising her for her campaigning zeal. But Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK told The Telegraph last year that her detractors were "living in the Dark Ages." "Where Malala comes from, is a complicated place. It's not backwards – that is the wrong word, as it's very beautiful – but it is lacking in worldliness," said Wajid Shamsul Hasan.
"And a small minority of people don't support education for women. They claim to be Muslims, but that is a contradiction in terms because Mohammed encouraged everyone to be educated – men and women.
"Those who say otherwise are barbarians. They are not Muslims, nor followers of any religion. Islam gives property rights to women, for instance. "And that is the kind of strong Muslim woman that Malala represents. That is why we are all so proud of her."
Pakistan's president, Nawaz Sharif, said last year that she was "the pride of the nation".
She has addressed the UN General Assembly, been received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and met Barack Obama at the White House - a meeting at which she reportedly spoke to the American president about her concern over continued drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions.
The UN designated July 12 - her birthday - as "Malala Day", a day of global campaigning for a child's right to receive an education.

Pakistan: Escalating cease-fire violations

Exchange of fire across the Line of Control as well as the Working Boundary has risen to a worrisome level during the recent days. Four civilians, two of them children, were killed and three others injured on the Eid day by Indian Border Security Force's fire in a village near the Working Boundary. According to ISPR, India also opened fired in five other sectors. Fortunately, no casualty was reported from those areas, but 'unprovoked' Indian firing in Charwa sector on Monday destroyed at least ten houses. As many as 20,000 panicked people are reported to have left their homes to seek safety elsewhere. Retaliatory mortar fire from Pakistan Rangers is said to have claimed five villagers' lives and injured another 30 on the other side. There have been close to a dozen incidents of exchange of fire during this year with both sides blaming one another for provoking trouble.
The cease-fire agreement Pakistan and India signed in 2003 has become virtually ineffective. A major factor contributing to the worsening of the situation is the Narendra Modi government's attitude. True to his reputation of being a hard-liner on relations with Pakistan, Modi cancelled a foreign secretaries meeting, scheduled for August 25 that was to discuss resumption of the peace dialogue. The excuse used was Pakistan High Commissioner's meetings with Kashmiri leaders from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, even though such interaction in the past formed part of the Composite Dialogue peace process. He has also been actively pursuing his declared objective of getting rid of Indian constitution's article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. For the attainment of that objective Modi needs to win the votes of the state's non-Muslim population in the upcoming state assembly elections. In his calculus, the escalation in violence across the LoC could help.
Whatever the cause, the intensifying hostilities can be reduced only through dialogue and discussion. New Delhi continues to reject Pakistan's proposal to have an impartial inquiry conducted by the UN Military Observer Group insisting it is a bilateral issue. There is the mechanism of flag meetings between the director generals of military operations. Following two incidents of LoC violations last year that claimed as many lives, it took a while for the DGMOs to meet and sort out things. Later in December, both Pakistan and India expressed the resolve to uphold the 2003 cease-fire agreement and take necessary steps in that direction. Yet the resolve did not last long despite several friendly overtures Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been making towards New Delhi for normalisation of relations. Belligerent rhetoric that has been emanating from New Delhi during the recent days will not help matters, only resumption of a meaningful dialogue will.

Pakistan: PTI concerned about rigging reflective of their fear of defeat
Senior politician Javed Hashmi said Thursday that PTI's concern over possible rigging in the upcoming by-election in NA-149 were reflective of PTI leaders' fear of defeat as they had realised that the contest was one-sided in his favour.
Addressing a press conference here, he said neither he nor Shah Mahmood ever made allegations of rigging in 2013 general elections. He claimed that Shah Mahmood had told PTI's Parliamentary party that 2013 elections were not rigged on a massive scale.
He said in Pakistan rigging allegations were a common phenomenon.
He condemned Indian aggression at the LoC and said the government should take up Kashmir issue with the UN and seek its resolution as per the world body's resolutions in this regard. Hashmi said PTI public meeting on October 10 would not benefit its candidate.
He said he had always opposed protest through sit-in during PTI's core committee meetings, as the same was a futile exercise.

Pak-India : Old Dogs, Old Tricks

The two neighbours have returned to their old habits; cross-border skirmishes. An event that would be a national emergency in other parts of the world is a casual occurrence which has ebbed and flowed since the ceasefire was signed in 2003. The most recent spate of shelling has left 19 dead on both sides and dozens injured; and unsurprisingly both sides blame the other for provocation.
This has become far too common. The issue becomes clouded in notions of nationalistic pride when the blame game begins, and the violence is ignored, celebrated even. The question here should not be which side initiated the firing, but why both sides are adamant on returning fire tenfold; the shelling escalates, both defence ministers’ bare fangs. What is to be gained from piling on the pressure? Why are both sides not holding back and painting the other the aggressor, as it happens in usual conflicts? Both sides cannot sustain open conflict, and with both sides nuclear; even more apprehensive about starting it. Is it possible that this sabre rattling is aimed less at the enemy and more at audiences back home? Prime Minister Modi rode a wave of rhetoric into office that promises a tough stance on Pakistan. During the build-up to the election the references to unanswered Pakistani ceasefire violations were abundant as well as the skirmishes themselves. An eye for an eye strengthens Modi’s vote bank. With an election coming up in Jammu and Kashmir, perhaps instances which substantiate the BJP’s claims are not such a bad thing for them at all.
For the embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the audience is different; it’s not the masses but the ever-present men in khaki. The premier’s frayed relations with the military sprang, amongst other issues, from a disagreement over how to handle the Kashmir issue, with Nawaz’s congenial advances towards a stoic Modi being criticised at home. The chest thumping at the borders lets the players know who’s in charge. It also brings the Kashmir issue to the global limelight; something that the government long sought. The strong speech at the UN, which calls for a Kashmiri plebiscite, may be an attempt to placate the boys back home.
Amidst these uncertainties, the only thing that remains certain is the loss of more civilian lives. In a country where humans are abundant, a good sound bite is more precious than a farmer. In the end, even if both sides achieve their short term goals, it comes at the cost of souring bilateral relations for years to come.

Pakistan - Sindh CM displeased over police failure to prevent illegal liquor business
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, taking serious notice of deaths due to consumption of contaminated liquor at Karachi and Hyderabad, has ordered suspension of concerned police and Excise officers.
Presiding over a meeting on Thursday, the chief minister expressed displeasure over the performance of district and Excise police for their failure in preventing, marketing of homemade liquor within their areas.
He ordered suspension of six SHOs – four from Karachi and two from Hyderabad – two DSPs from Karachi and two Excise directors – one each from Karachi and Hyderabad – with immediate effects for their negligence.
He also constituted two separate inquiry committees each for Hyderabad and Karachi incidents. He appointed DIG Police Hyderabad Sanaullah Abbasi as head of inquiry committee for Hyderabad and DIG East Muneer Shaikh for Karachi cmmittee to probe into the matter, fix responsibility and submit findings within three days.
The Chief Minister said that no one would be allowed to play with the health, lives and property of the poor people. He said that findings of inquiry committees whosoever is found responsible would be taken to task. He also advised the general public, elected representatives and opinion leaders of society to keep vigil on such illegal activities, peddling of drugs, and intimate the administration of the area or at least to the Complaint Cell at CM House so that prompt and strict action could be taken against those responsible and precious lives of the people could be saved.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government decided to launch a crackdown on makers of toxic liquor across the province.
Chief Secretary Sajjad Saleem Hotiana chaired a meeting of senior officials of the provincial government following a tragedy in Karachi in which dozens of people died after consuming toxic liquor during Eid holidays.
The meeting decided to launch a crackdown on the makers and suppliers of toxic liquor in Karachi, Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh. The government also decided to lodge murder cases against these elements while investigations would also be held against license holders of methyl chemical suppliers.
The chief secretary also suspended excise officials of areas from where deaths have been reported.

Post-sit-ins Pakistan

Syed Kamran Hashmi
I am not sure if Imran as the chief executive will have time to appear seven days a week on television either through a personal interview, a press conference or a public meeting
Let us suppose for a moment that the protestors succeed. That the twin sit-ins of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) seize ‘new’ Pakistan from the claws of the old and corrupt status quo. That they galvanise enough people where Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif has to step down, realising the only other option left for him is to go behind bars. That a ‘neutral’ commission noses out enough evidence to hold the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) responsible for massive rigging in the last election. That a commission composed of competent people with impeccable pasts introduces the long needed reforms in the electoral process. That the new elections are held under the new rules. That international organisations declare them to be largely fair and free. And that Imran Khan, wearing his long awaited sherwani, takes oath as the PM of Pakistan.
It is too much to ask, is it not? But that is not the point. We are only trying to imagine one possible situation in which Imran Khan emerges as the next PM of Pakistan. In the beginning, I am sure he will take steps to implement his manifesto: there will be a buzz about tax collection, radical ideas about agricultural reforms will be tossed about and some infrastructure projects will be initiated. Some improvement in the perception of corruption will be observed and I agree that overseas Pakistanis will pour money into the economy as well.
Six months to a year in the government with Sheikh Rasheed, Shah Mehmood and Jahangir Tareen as cabinet members, along with Asad Umer in the finance department, we are not talking about a fast paced restructuring of government organisations, are we? If you are anticipating a revolution from this team, then you must recall General Musharraf’s tenure from 2002 to 2007, or look at the efficiency of the PTI-led coalition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the last one year. More or less, this is what you will get in the Centre too.
So, as the honeymoon period fades away, intra-party bickering will start. In addition, the PML-N supporters in the bureaucracy will also provide their patrons with details about corruption stories within the government. New scandals will break, some ministers could get caught red-handed and stories about a single minister overshadowing the whole cabinet will raise their heads as well. Sure, there are chances that Imran Khan will force them to resign, but the investigation and propaganda will favour the opposite side. Why? Because of the media. As of now, the majority of private channels do not support the PTI or PML-N. It may look that way but, to be honest, it is a business that cares exclusively about sensationalism. They want to excite the people and keep them entertained. And how can we get them to watch the never ending but riveting talk shows? By bashing the federal government and talking about their scandals, failures, weaknesses and troubles with the establishment.
I know what is on your mind. You are thinking that Imran will defend these allegations like he always has. However, remember this is Imran Khan as an opposition leader. I am not sure if Imran as the chief executive will have time to appear seven days a week on television either through a personal interview, a press conference or a public meeting. He will have bigger fish to fry then. His party in power will be the status quo, fully invested in the system that has everything at stake. It has to be wise, sensible, responsible and generous in accepting criticism in the media. The party in the opposition, like himself at the moment, does not have to follow any of these rules. It can be as furious and irresponsible in its statements as it can be.
Being the status quo then, trying to hang on to power, it will not be able to provide that obnoxious, untrue and rude rejoinder. In that environment, would Nawaz Sharif not be able to gather a few thousand people here in Islamabad to start a movement? Or do we think that Nawaz Sharif will not have enough support or charisma — even less than Maulana Tahirul Qadri — to keep the protestors out for a few months?
My next question is whether we think that he would be as kind to Imran Khan as he was to Asif Ali Zardari. Remember, there was a pact between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the PML-N that they would respect each other’s mandate if they came into power. What lies between Imran and Sharif? A huge gap of anger and animosity. The language that has been used by the PTI has not been responded to but, once in the opposition, all bets are off. Or do we suppose that he will not be as tough on Imran Khan as the former cricketer is on him? Or will Nawaz Sharif concede to the PTI’s mandate on moral grounds?
None of these choices are true. Notwithstanding his softer opposition to the PPP-led coalition, for the trial of General Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif is ready to risk everything until today: his mandate, his chance to rule for another five years and even going to jail. This is what awaits Imran Khan too. The chairman of the PTI will become another General Musharraf for Nawaz Sharif.
In the end, how hard is to destabilise the government in Pakistan? Easy. Imran reckoned it would take him a few hours or a few days, not even weeks. He miscalculated that. But we can agree, if the leader has some public appeal, which both Imran and Nawaz Sharif have, and if the leader knows how to mobilise the public that Imran has learnt after this experience and Sharif has known for a long time, then it should not take more than a few months. We all know that it only took six months to strip General Musharraf of his powers although he clung to the presidency for another year before he resigned. Is Pakistan ready for another battle, the one that has not yet started?

Pakistan: Absent civilian input on Fata

PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif may have made a historic visit to North Waziristan Agency yesterday, but optics and words of encouragement for the troops aside, what is the civilian government’s input on Fata?
A day earlier, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif perhaps unwittingly played up the contrast between the military’s eagerness to be seen to be doing something for the social and economic uplift of Fata and the civilian government’s near-total apathy.
Gen Sharif’s announcement that the army will, in token numbers, recruit soldiers from Fata and induct Fata schoolchildren and young adults into army-run schools and technical training institutes will not fundamentally alter the region’s socio-economic and security landscape. But that is not the point since the army cannot on its own transform the socio-economic and security realities of Fata nor does it have the resources to do so.
What Gen Sharif’s announcement did underline, however, was that at least the army leadership is thinking about matters in terms of the aftermath of the military operations, while all the prime minister’s visit did was to underscore that the civilians are not even attempting to think about Fata and what it will take to bring peace, stability and, eventually, prosperity and national inclusivity to the war-torn region.
Clearly, launching Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan was not the preferred choice, possibly not even the decision, of the prime minister. Also, with nearly 200,000 troops estimated to be deployed in Fata and military operations ongoing in several areas as security remains elusive, the space for the civilians to help steer the Fata policy is not large. And all of that before even taking into consideration the troubled state of overall civil-military relations.
Yet, an honest appraisal of the situation in Fata will have to confront the reality that the country’s civilian leadership, be it the previous elected government or the present one, does not really understand the complexities of the tribal areas nor is it particularly keen on developing ideas about what to do with the region — even if it had the space in the civil-military domain to do so.
Surely though, Fata will never be stabilised and put on a firm, irreversible path to peace if military strategy — and the military itself — drives all policy. Set aside for a minute even the concerns about whether the security establishment has truly abandoned its good militant/bad militant policy and operational distinction.
No army — not even the best intentioned and resourced — is trained to revive and invigorate in socio-economic terms a region ravaged by war. That is a role for the civilian leadership. The army leadership may often shove aside civilians, but simply surrendering, washing their hands of policy issues and sulking isn’t the way to recover the rightful space the civilians should have. The prime minister and his party need to do better, much better.

Pakistan: Zardari sees foreign hand behind crisis

Former president Asif Ali Zardari sees foreign hand behind what is happening in the country on political, security and other fronts.
“Whatever is happening in Pakistan has international links,” Mr Zardari, who is co-chairperson of the PPP, was quoted as telling the party cadre from Faisalabad division here on Thursday.
“Today the pressure is being exerted on the Line of Control. We have two lines of control now – one along Afghanistan and the other along India,” he said and advised the national leadership to “be cautious and make every move carefully in the larger interest of the nation and the country”.
He asserted that those chanting Go Nawaz Go would start shouting `Go Imran Go’ after PTI’s politics is exposed.
About his delayed entry in the Punjab politics, Mr Zardari said that although he visited Lahore several times after the 2013 elections he avoided testing Punjab’s political nerves because in his opinion the weather was not suitable for politics.
Rejecting a perception of being a friendly opposition to the PML-N government, he said: “We are in majority in Senate and will fight Nawaz Sharif on right issues, but won’t indulge in negative politics.”
He said the PPP was strong enough to dictate terms when the next general election is held – after three years or earlier. “We’ll set the election timing...and we will come to power according to our timing.”
He again endorsed PTI’s allegations about rigging by returning officers in last year’s polls and said that wherever ROs were weak PPP candidates performed quite well.
Recalling the tough times the PPP government faced at the hands of former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, he said the court would issue stay orders on every project and the government had to serve the people under tough circumstances.
Indirectly expressing doubts about some judges of higher courts, he said the judges appointed by Iftikhar Chaudhry would retire one day, thanks to the system evolved by democracy (parliament through 18th and 19th constitutional amendments).
About ensuring access of party workers to the leadership, Mr Zardari said he wanted to remain in touch with people of Punjab at union council levels through latest communication gadgets.
He said he wished to build a “corporate Pakistan” and that would be possible only in a good democratic atmosphere.