Friday, April 3, 2015

Video - Z A Bhutto - Kitne Maqbool Hain Hamaray Bhutto

Video - Z A BHUTTO !

Video - Bilawal Bhutto , Speech at Garhi Khuda Baksh , 4th April 2014

Pakistan - Bhutto’s legacy lives on

April 4 is the day when self-respected nation refused to bow before the arrogant authority of dictator General Ziaul Haq who hanged their inspiring leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He opted for embracing martyrdom. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made history and Ziaul Haq became despicable history. People’s hero became immortal and his tormentor thrown in the oblivion. People’s leader stood vindicated and evil condemned for all times to come. ZA Bhutto’s legacy has given the courage and fortitude to the people to oppose and resist the usurpers and their reminiscent in all forms and manifestations.

He is cherished by all today who want to see Pakistan a democratic, progressive and welfare state at peace with itself and the world as envisioned by the father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The overwhelming majority of Pakistani people share his vision that indeed is very reassuring for the future of the country to emerge as a moderate and pluralistic state notwithstanding the pangs it is undergoing now. The nation is bound to settle down based on ideals of its founding fathers. The retrogressive forces will inexorably meet the fate of redundancy and irrelevance. Pakistan People’s Party and its ideology resonates with the ideals of modernity and moderation. Its role had been, is and will be critical in determining the course of political history of the country based on the aspirations of the people.

The Pakistan People’s Party is committed to espouse unabatedly the cause of the legacy of its great founding leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. That means full realisation of the empowerment of the people of Pakistan as the final arbiter. The Party had been in constant and arduous struggle since then and has succeeded in putting it on the trajectory of democracy. The modicum of danger to democracy in Pakistan today is qualitatively less. For, PPP’s unequivocal commitment for its continuity is a great source of strength for the democratic edifice. Its role in the tempestuous spells in the recent past in salvaging democracy and ensuring its longevity is of profound importance that earned wider appreciation among the political observers. The existence of other factors— assertive civil society; free media, independent judiciary; consensus among the people against dictatorships have co-relationship with the PPP struggle. Above all, people are not prepared to abdicate their right to elect their representatives whom they would like to confer upon the right to rule to serve them.

Pakistan People’s Party has proved itself as custodian of the heritage of ZA Bhutto by saving democracy from the tsunami of sit-ins and container politics as its unwavering stand made the real big difference and as such democratic dispensation in Pakistan remained unscathed. Other political Parties also put their weight behind according to their size and stalled the advancement of those who were determined to bulldoze the symbols of Democracy— Parliament, Supreme Court President House, Prime Minister House, Pak Secretariat and other institutions. There was no doubt if the PPP had joined the apologists of disruptive politics it would have proved the final straw to break the back of the democracy. PPP could not afford to pay such a heavy price of selling out the blood of its pioneer leaders who nurtured democracy with their blood. Asif Ali Zardari took the strategic decision to shoulder democracy come what may. He mobilised the political forces and succeeded in scuttling the designs of the political forces determined to turn over the apples cart without compunction. The saving of democracy by the PPP’s leadership is the exceptionally handsome tributes to the living legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

Pakistan People’s Party, as the true heir, has the singular distinction of never aligning itself with the Establishment since its inception and had always come to power through vote. It had been struggling throughout for the people of Pakistan to make them the real stakeholders. People are the source of power is the corner stone of the PPP political philosophy. It never abandoned their cause and has assiduously struggled for their empowerment with the determination to strive recklessly for the total realisation of the rights of down trodden. It is in consistent struggle to fight out the system that is heavily weighted against the less privileged and exceedingly pro- privileged class. Its founding leader Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto opted to sacrifice his life but refused to submit before the dictator who wanted to humiliate the most popular leader. Dictator General Ziaul Haq offered him to spare his life if he filed clemency appeal from the death cell. He refused without giving a second thought. He said, ‘I would like to be murdered by the dictator to live in history’. It was a decision that could only be made by a leader of a stature of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He had become immortal and sun would never go down on him and on his legacy. On the other hand, his executioner had been condemned for ever and the history had put him in its dustbin reducing him even not worth of its footnotes. He will continue to suffer the revenge of history on eternal basis. Millions of people visit the shrines of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to pay their highest respect and rich tributes for the meritorious services rendered for the country and for the people of Pakistan. On the other hand, an insignificant number of people who visit the grave of Ziaul Haq despise him for the national woes he is held responsible for.

Every crisis throws up a new leader of thought and action. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was such a leader who was at the central stage to steer the country out of the crisis of appalling proportion caused by naked aggression of India in 1971. His immediate formidable challenges were lifting the morale of the defeated nation, return of prisoners of war (POW), retrieval of thousands square of miles of territory under Indian occupation and framing of the new constitution.

After the military debacle in 1971, the political, diplomatic and economic mess in the country was grotesquely looked beyond the scope of redemption. The enemies within and without were active to reduce the defeated nation to total submission marred in indignity and living like a dead man walking. But, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had massive political support right across the country mobilised the people to give them the hope of a democratic, stronger, prosperous and stable Pakistan. He introduced a number of reforms in all walks of national life mainly focused to ameliorating the lot of the less privileged sections of the society who were hitherto ignored and were “crushed under the heels of haves”. The mainstreaming of the common people in the national affairs by the most popular leader brought back their confidence and they readily got involved in the nation building process with zeal.

He undertook the whirlwind tour of many capitals of the world especially of the Muslim world. He also dispatched his personal envoys to important countries assuring that Pakistan would formulate and implement its policies within the context of new realities and within the parameters of best practices of diplomacy. His initiative based on sincerity also nudged India to respond to his offer for negotiations to live in peace like good neighbours and to concentrate to eliminate hunger, disease and illiteracy from the faces of the two countries. He successfully negotiated Simla agreement with India in which both countries reaffirmed their resolve to address all outstanding issues through peaceful means. He secured the best agreement under most inhospitable conditions entailing the release of POWs and got back thousands of square miles of territory from the enemy country without quid pro quo. While addressing the Parliament in April 1972, ZA Bhutto said, ‘But we do not, no true Pakistani will ever accept is dictated, imposed peace. Such a settlement, let us make no mistake about this, will mean subjugation and servitude, a living death. I shall never be party to such an ignominious settlement’. These lines clearly reflected his leadership as an embodiment of vision, courage, and far-sightedness that would never yield to hegemony.

After India exploded nuclear device in 1974, he anticipated gave dangers to the security of Pakistan and therefore decided to make Pakistan a nuclear state to save it from the nuclear blackmail that could be the worst of its kind when sprouting from India. His vision and his successful endeavours led Pakistan to become nuclear power fortifying the defence of the country as impregnable. Events in 1999, 2002 and 2008 proved that as the potential aggressor could not afford of picking up confrontation with Pakistan in the face of nuclear deterrence.

Had Pakistan not been a nuclear power it would have not been able to stall the expansionist designs of Eastern neighbour? Please do recall the bellicose of the then Indian Home Minister LK Advani before 1998. He threatened Pakistan with arrogant assertion to forget Kashmir and was also bad-mouthing of AJK occupied by Pakistan. His tone and tenor took horizontal turn in favour of negotiations and normalisation of relations between the two countries when Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests in May 1998. Statesman saves the nation from the future calamities and dictator’s misdeeds unfold miseries of appalling proportion. Pakistan’s history bears it out beyond a shred of doubt.

Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto also gave the consensus constitution to Pakistan reflective of the aspirations of the people. Pakistani nation got such constitution after the lapse of more than twenty five years. Its survival in the face of ruthless dictatorships speaks volumes of the total ownership of the people of the country. It is the primary law of the land in 2015 and will remain so for all times to come. The dictators mutilated it by incorporating unilateral amendments to perpetuate their illegitimate rule but they could not abrogate it. PPP has the singular honour of restoring it in its original form through the 18th amendment. PPP has proved worthy of being custodian of the legacy of its founding leader. Constitution is the greatest and invaluable national asset ZA Bhutto bequeathed to the nation. The unity of the federation of Pakistan today owes greatly to the constitution of 1973 after the fall of Dacca.

ZA Bhutto is held in the highest esteem by all sections of the society across faith, creed, regions, gender, and ethnicity except the retrogressive forces. Happy to note, he is honoured as such across political divide reflecting maturity on the political horizon of Pakistan. Pakistan’s future is bright. I have no doubt about it.

Pakistan - Co-Chairman PPP & Former President Asif Ali Zardari pays glowing tributes to Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

“On the eve of 36th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto I ask the democracy loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy and to take forward the collective march to empower the people and make Pakistan strong and prosperous”.
This has been stated by former President Asif Ali Zardari in a message on the eve of 36th martyrdom anniversary of the Party’s founding chairman today.
To take forward the mission of empowering citizens I urge the people to freely and fearlessly choose their representatives in the forthcoming local bodies’ elections and thus carry forward the process of empowering power at the grass root level, he said.
Paying tributes Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said that Shahhed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave the nation the gifts of, among other things, a unanimous democratic Constitution and peaceful nuclear program that strengthened national defense.
“This twin legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto must be protected at all cost it will be”, he said.
“Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto not only awakened the people but also gave them hope. He made the people of Pakistan realize that they alone were the fountain of all political power and that power does not from the barrel of the gun. It is this realization that has not permitted dictatorship to take roots in the country. Indeed Shahhed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto stands tall as a beacon of light, hope and inspiration for the people”.
No one can rob Shaheed Bhutto of his great achievements in the cause of the people and the country, he said.
The former President said that Shaheed Bhutto left deep footprints in history. He strode on the national scene like a colossus. It is a measure of his greatness that while the killers of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto have been consigned to the dustbin of history, he lives in the hearts and minds of the people, he said.
“On this day I ask the democracy loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy. On this day let us also pledge to continue our forward march to empower the people and make Pakistan strong and prosperous”.

Video - Benazir Bhutto's Speech At Larkana

Video - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Speech

Documentary - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto - Documentary by shoaibmirzaa

Z A Bhutto keeps my hope alive

April 4, 1979 was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged as a dead man. Two army officers, along with a colonel, came with a last-minute offer that Bhutto confess he authorised the military coup — then he shall live. Bhutto replied, “I do not want a life of dishonour and lies”. To that, the men strangled him to death, trying to make him sign. He was taken to gallows, where the Christian hangman refused to hang him until he was forced to.
But peace won: the man re-lived through his legacy.
Bhutto, the first truly charismatic leader, blessed the country with a Constitution after 26 years of its creation.
A few years ago, I was asked to pick a peace hero for an essay for my peace studies class. I picked Bhutto. My teacher, who happened to be a Bangladeshi activist, whispered to me that other than the fact that he disagreed with Bhutto’s stance in the civil war of 1971, he celebrated the man for all that he was.
In enshrining him into the corridors of history, his remarkable iconoclasm, imaginative foreign policy, political education, his respect for the poor, his populist style, courage and all such characteristics combined to produce the marvels that came into play during his tenure. Believing in the ideal of ‘help from within’, he made Pakistan independent of Western dominance. Holding offices in energy, information, commerce and industries and foreign relations at such a young age, Bhutto took over the political landscape of Pakistan.
Negotiations with India over Indus Water Treaty, oil exploration agreement with Soviet Union, allying with China, maintaining relations with Washington, revitalising the relationship with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries had been his few international endeavours. On domestic lines, Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Pakistan Steel Mills, Heavy Mechanical Complex in Taxila, the age of reforms (land, labour, industrial, economic, banking, exchange, education, health, law reforms) he achieved all that through his political acumen. Moreover, Bhutto brought in a federalist system, which was recently reinstated under the Eighteenth Amendment.
All I can do is hope that Pakistan is gifted with another peace hero soon, as the way things are going in the country, it doesn’t look like we are going anywhere. Maybe we can’t have ‘roti kapra makan’ for all, maybe we could have a peaceful, tolerant and progressive Pakistan. Jiye Bhutto!


By Humayun Zaman Mirza

Undoubted it was many years after the untimely death of the Founder of Pakistan and Father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto emerged as the only leader who could be acknowledged as a genuine and popular national leader of the Pakistani masses. The tragedy of this great follower of Quaid-i-Azam was, however, that he rose to power in Pakistan at the most critical juncture of our history, when, as a result of misdeeds of the past rulers of Pakistan and those of the dictatorial regimes, Pakistan was divided into two as a result of international intrigues of the Super Powers and naked armed aggression of India. 

It is an irony of fate that politicians with vested interests, their supporters and hand-picked intellectuals in Pakistan have spared no effort in the character assassination of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto SHaheed. However, the question that arises is as to what were those rare qualities of Mr. Bhutto Shaheed that he lives in the hearts of the millions of Pakistanis despite negative propaganda against him.

Much before the founding of Pakistan Peoples’ Party in 1967, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed and acquired a distinguished status in international politics. However, as foreign Minister, he had risen to heights and emerged on the international scene as a great leader when, within and outside the Security Council, he pleaded the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir with great ability, devotion and enthusiasm. In fact his forceful advocacy of the Kashmir dispute earned him international recognition, on the one hand, and, on the other, he became and hero of the Pakistani Youth and the people of Kashmir. The role played by Mr. Bhutto Shaheed in strengthening Pakistan’s relations with its great neighbor-the People’s Republic of China, would also go down in the history of Pakistan as a unique event to be written in the letters of gold. In fact, he was the arch-intact of friendly relations between the two countries. 

Like all great personalities, Mr. Bhutto was also a controversial figure. However, the biggest factor responsible for making Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed as a con-traversal personality in the national politics and history of Pakistan was the establishment of the Pakistan’s Peoples’ Party itself. Although the establishment of any political party cannot be considered as an unusual event in Pakistan Politics but the establishment of Pakistan People’s Party was more than an earth-quake for the traditional politicians, civil and military bureaucracy and lender aristocracy. The manifesto of the newly established Pakistan People’s Party was an harbinger of a real revolution, which struck at the roots on the vested interests. 

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the first genuine leader in the history of Pakistan who emphasized on the sovereign will of the people and made it clear that in is the people who are the fountain-head of power. He created a consciousness among the people and made them realize that it is they for whom Quaid-i-Azam had created Pakistan, and it is they who are the masters and real heirs of the legacy of Quaid-i-Azam’s Pakistan. It is thus evident that such was this consciousness that gave a severe blow to the vested interests. However, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, during his short period of power in Pakistan, introduced and implemented far reaching and revolutionary reforms in all walks of life which benefitted the people and were detrimental to the vested interests and the supporters of dictatorial system. 

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto introduced reforms, especially in the fields of agriculture and industry which changed the lot of the common man. He introduced reforms in the health and education sectors, which brought a qualitative and quantitative change in the social structure. He increased military strength and started projects to increase military productions, and above all to counter and fail the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemy-India; he launched with full force the program of nuclear power, which ultimately took his life. 

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto rendered glorious and invaluable services for the cause of the solidarity and unity of the world of Islam. It is for these distinguished services that he is even now greatly respected among the people and governments of the Islamic world. It was he who, in Feburary 1994, brought together the heads of State and Government of the Muslim countries in Lahore, the heart of Pakistan and held the Islamic Summit Conference. This Islamic Summit was a milestone in the realization of the century’s old dream of the solidarity and unity of Muslim World. The Post-Philosopher of Islam, Allama Iqbal, who concaved the idea and demand of Pakistan, was a great advocate of Muslim unity. It was a tribute to Iqbal that leaders of the Muslim World assembled in Lahore where he lies buried. 

Although Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has left his lasting imprint in the history of Pakistan but he has to his credit a great achievement that he gave this country a unanimously adopted constitution of 1973. However, dictator Zia-ul-Haq made many amendments in this Constitution to perpetuate his tuition of 1973 is the symbol of the solidarity, territorial integrity, national unity and ideological guarantee of the god gifted-State of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This is the very reason that despite political difference, all leaders and sections of society and the patriotic people of Pakistan are unanimous in their demand that the constitution of 1973 should be restored in its original form. 

To conclude, I would like to say that the greatest tribute which we can pay and should be acknowledged by every one is that Mr. Bhutto kissed the gallows but did not surrender before the will of a Dictator. He has earned the eternal love of the people of Pakistan and lives in their hearts.


Thousands of Yemeni protesters took to the streets of Sana'a on Friday, and condemned the Saudi-led aggression against their country.
Chanting anti-Saudi slogans, the protesters slammed the Saudi monarchy's war crimes, and called for a swift end to the regime's military aggression against their country.
The protesters also accused the kingdom of having blood on its hands over the massacre of hundreds of innocent people, mostly women and children.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for nine days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. According to a report recently released by the United Nations, two weeks of Saudi-led aggression against Yemen has killed at least 519 people, hundreds of women and children among them. Another 1,700 people have also been wounded over the past two weeks.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait -- and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued on March 26.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late on March 25.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.

#RaefBadawi - Jailed Saudi blogger recalls whipping in prison letter

Jailed Saudi blogger Raef Badawi in his first letter from prison has written of how he "miraculously survived 50 lashes", part of his sentence for "insulting Islam", a German news weekly said Friday.
Badawi, 31, recalled that he was "surrounded by a cheering crowd who cried incessantly 'Allahu Akbar' (God is greatest)" during the whipping, according to a pre-released article from Der Spiegel's edition published Saturday.
Badawi received the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes he was sentenced to outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on January 9. Subsequent rounds of punishment were postponed on medical grounds.
"All this cruel suffering happened to me because I expressed my opinion," Badawi is quoted as writing in what Der Spiegel said was his first letter from prison since he was jailed in 2012.
"He's in a poor condition," his wife Ensaf Haidar was quoted as saying. "He suffers from high blood pressure but above all he is mentally very stressed."
Saudi Arabia in early March dismissed criticism of its flogging of Badawi and "strongly denounced the media campaign around the case".
Badawi co-founded the Saudi Liberal Network Internet discussion group.
He was arrested in June 2012 under cybercrime provisions, and a judge ordered the website shut after it criticised Saudi Arabia's notorious religious police.
His case has sparked worldwide outrage and criticism from the United Nations, United States, the European Union, Canada and others.

Bangladeshi bloggers pay the price of upholding secularism

Washiqur Rahman, the latest Bangladeshi blogger who has been hacked to death, was not very famous. But Islamists generally consider secular bloggers a big threat due to their growing influence in Bangladeshi society.
Washiqur Rahman was attacked with machetes near his home in the capital Dhaka on Monday, March 30. The 27-year-old blogger was taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where the doctors pronounced him dead.
"Blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu was brutally hacked to death this morning… just 460 meters (500 yards) from his home in Dhaka's Begunbari area," deputy police commissioner Wahidul Islam said.
"They hacked him in his head and neck with big knives and once he fell on the ground, they then hacked his body," he added.
Rahman was an atheist blogger who wrote under the pen name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, meaning Ugly Duckling, on Facebook. There he posted his thoughts on religious fundamentalism, fellow writer, Asif Mohiuddin, told news agency AFP via Facebook from Berlin.
Rahman is the fifth writer to be attacked in Bangladesh since 2004. Last month, another Bangladeshi atheist writer, blogger and government critic Avijit Roy was killed in the capital. In early 2013, Rajib Hyder, another liberal blogger, was killed in the same way.
Rahman, however, was not as famous a blogger as US national Roy, therefore it comes as a surprise for many that Babu had been targeted.
As Imran Sarker, head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told DW: "Washiqur Rahman was not really a very influential blogger. Most of us bloggers did not know him, and he has not done anything spectacular or important, to my knowledge. He was targeted because open-minded and progressive bloggers are being targeted in general. They are killing those who are easy to access, when they get the opportunity... The main attempt is to create fear among bloggers."
Of the three youth who attacked Rahman – all in their twenties – two have been apprehended while the third managed to escape.
Both the suspects who have been arrested are students of Islamic schools, one of them coming from the Hathazari madrassah in the southeastern district of Chittagong. He came to Dhaka only the day before the attack and had spent the night in a mosque, he told the police. He claimed to have stabbed Rahman "because he humiliated my prophet."
Rahman might also have been targeted because his Facebook page carried the sign #Iamavijit in support of the slain blogger Roy.
A threat to fundamentalists
Rahman's death highlights the fact that bloggers are being consciously targeted by certain groups.
"Bloggers are very influential in the Bangladesh society," Sarker told DW. "Sixty percent of the population in Bangladesh are below the age of 35. Among those involved in online activism, the majority are young people. This is also important in the political field, because a major part of the voters are young," he added.
Rahman's murder can also be seen in the context of the struggle between secular and fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh, said Sarker.
"There is a political aspect to that struggle between those who are promoting political Islam to turn Bangladesh into a fundamentalist, religious state and the secular political forces. The more radical branches of the Islamic organizations are gaining strength by the day," underlined the expert.
Islamists consider these young bloggers to be the major hindrance in the struggle to create a fundamentalist Bangladesh as opposed to the secular republic that emerged from the 1971's "War of Independence," according to various observers.
"That is why (the bloggers) have become the main target, and the political parties who are supposed to prevent such attacks and provide security to them seem unable to do so. The main problem is that even mainstream political parties prefer to compromise with these radical groups to remain in power," said Sarker.
Targeted from all sides
Dr. Tazreena Sajjad, Bangladesh expert and Professorial Lecturer at American University, is of the view that this use of extreme targeted violence against individuals with certain expressed religious and philosophical orientations is relatively new in Bangladesh. However, she adds, it is critical to keep in mind this is happening within a hyperpolarized political context where violence is used on a regular basis.
"In recent years, violence has frequently been instrumentalized to intimidate, harass and abuse people with different political affiliations and from different sections of the society who are just trying to go about their lives," Sajjad told DW. "It also exposes the level of political volatility at play, the weakening law and order situation in the country, and a virulent strain of political and pseudo-religiosity that is trying to move from the obscure margins to the mainstream."
Secular writers and bloggers are not only under attack from extremists; Bangladesh's liberal government of Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina too is not very friendly towards them.
In 2013, when four online writers were arrested on charges of "hurting religious sentiment through their writings against Islam," the Islamists took to the streets to demand the death penalty for the bloggers. Instead of defending the bloggers, PM Hasina said her government would take action against anyone defaming Islam. In a meeting with some Islamic scholars who sought action against the bloggers, Hasina said that her government was indeed serious about taking action against people involved in anti-Islam blogging. However, the PM rejected the demands of new blasphemy laws from the opposition.
A number of Bangladeshi and international rights organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, have been critical of the bloggers' intimidation both by Islamists and the government. "The persecution of atheist bloggers is the result of a political desire to restrict freedom of expression and reinforce censorship in the name of combating blasphemy … This is unacceptable and contrary to all the fundamental freedoms we defend," according to a Reporters Without Borders statement.

France bans super-skinny models in fight against anorexia

France will ban excessively France will ban excessively thin fashion models and expose modelling agents and the fashion houses that hire them to possible fines and even jail, under a new law passed on Friday.

France, with its fashion and luxury industries worth tens of billions of euros, joins Italy, Spain and Israel which all adopted laws against too-thin models on catwalks or in advertising campaigns in early 2013.
The measure is part of a wider crackdown on anorexia backed by President Francois Hollande’s government. Lawmakers also approved a separate measure making it illegal to condone anorexia, a move targeting Internet sites that encourage dangerous weight loss.
“The activity of model is banned for any person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than levels proposed by health authorities and decreed by the ministers of health and labour,” the bill said.
The lawmaker behind the bill previously said models would have to present a medical certificate showing a BMI of at least 18, about 55 kg (121 lb) for a height of 1.75 metres (5.7 feet), before being hired for a job and for a few weeks afterwards.
The law, voted through the lower house of parliament early on Friday by Hollande’s Socialist majority despite opposition by conservative parliamentarians, envisages imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000) for any agency contravening it.
The second measure means that any website inciting a reader to “seek excessive thinness by encouraging eating restrictions for a prolonged period of time, resulting in risk of mortality or damage to health” will face up to a year in prison and fines up to 100,000 euros.
Some 30,000-40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, most of them teenagers, health experts estimate.
In 2007, Isabelle Caro, an anorexic 28-year-old former French fashion model, died after posing for a photographic campaign to raise awareness about the illness. 

France, with its fashion and luxury industries worth tens of billions of euros, joins Italy, Spain and Israel which all adopted laws against too-thin models on catwalks or in advertising campaigns in early 2013.
The measure is part of a wider crackdown on anorexia backed by President Francois Hollande’s government. Lawmakers also approved a separate measure making it illegal to condone anorexia, a move targeting Internet sites that encourage dangerous weight loss.
“The activity of model is banned for any person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than levels proposed by health authorities and decreed by the ministers of health and labour,” the bill said.
The lawmaker behind the bill previously said models would have to present a medical certificate showing a BMI of at least 18, about 55 kg (121 lb) for a height of 1.75 metres (5.7 feet), before being hired for a job and for a few weeks afterwards.
The law, voted through the lower house of parliament early on Friday by Hollande’s Socialist majority despite opposition by conservative parliamentarians, envisages imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000) for any agency contravening it.
The second measure means that any website inciting a reader to “seek excessive thinness by encouraging eating restrictions for a prolonged period of time, resulting in risk of mortality or damage to health” will face up to a year in prison and fines up to 100,000 euros.
Some 30,000-40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, most of them teenagers, health experts estimate.
In 2007, Isabelle Caro, an anorexic 28-year-old former French fashion model, died after posing for a photographic campaign to raise awareness about the illness.

A Foreign Policy Gamble by Obama at a Moment of Truth


On the day he took office, President Obama reached out to America’s enemies, offering in his first inaugural address to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” More than six years later, he has arrived at a moment of truth in testing that proposition with one of the nation’s most intransigent adversaries.
The framework nuclear agreement he reached with Iran on Thursday did not provide the definitive answer to whether Mr. Obama’s audacious gamble will pay off. The fist Iran has shaken at the so-called Great Satan since 1979 has not completely relaxed. But the fingers are loosening, and the agreement, while still incomplete, held out the prospect that it might yet become a handshake.

For a president whose ambitions to remake the world have been repeatedly frustrated, the possibility of a reconciliation after 36 years of hostility between Washington and Tehran now seems tantalizingly within reach, a way to be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize that even he believed was awarded prematurely. Yet the deal remains unfinished and unsigned, and critics worry that he is giving up too much while grasping for the illusion of peace.
“Right now, he has no foreign policy legacy,” said Cliff Kupchan, an Iran specialist who has been tracking the talks as chairman of the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm. “He’s got a list of foreign policy failures. A deal with Iran and the ensuing transformation of politics in the Middle East would provide one of the more robust foreign policy legacies of any recent presidencies. It’s kind of all in for Obama. He has nothing else. So for him, it’s all or nothing.”
As Mr. Obama stepped into the Rose Garden to announce what he called a historic understanding, he seemed both relieved that it had come together and combative with those in Congress who would tear it apart. While its provisions must be translated into writing by June 30, he presented it as a breakthrough that would, if made final, make the world a safer place, the kind of legacy any president would like to leave. “This has been a long time coming,” he said.
Mr. Obama cited the same John F. Kennedy quote he referenced earlier in the week when visiting a new institute dedicated to the former president’s brother, Senator Edward M. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The sense of celebration was captured by aides standing nearby in the Colonnade who exchanged fist bumps at the end of the president’s remarks.
But Mr. Obama will have a hard time convincing a skeptical Congress, where Republicans and many Democrats are deeply concerned that he has grown so desperate to reach a deal that he is trading away American and Israeli security. As he tries to reach finality with Iran, he will have to fend off legislative efforts, joined even by some of his friends, to force a tougher posture.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, who has been traveling in the Middle East in recent days, repeated his insistence that Congress review any deal before sanctions are eased. “My concerns about Iran’s efforts to foment unrest, brutal violence and terror have only grown,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region.”
Mr. Obama tried to reverse that argument on Thursday, framing the choice as either accepting his deal or risking war, a binary formulation his critics reject. “Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?” Mr. Obama asked. If Congress kills the deal, he said, “then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.”
An agreement with Iran remains the most promising goal left in a foreign policy agenda that has unraveled since Mr. Obama took office. Rather than building a new partnership with Russia, he faces a new cold war. Rather than ending the war in Iraq, he has sent American forces back to fight the Islamic State, though primarily from the air. Rather than defeating Al Qaeda, he finds himself chasing its offshoots. Rather than forging peace in the Middle East, he said recently that is beyond his reach.
Mr. Obama still aspires to reorient American foreign policy more toward Asia, and a pending Pacific trade pact could have a lasting impact if he can seal the deal and push it through Congress. He has nudged the world, particularly China, toward more action on climate change. He will count the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba after a half-century of estrangement as a major achievement.
But with so many disappointments, Iran has become something of a holy grail of foreign policy to Mr. Obama, one that could hold the key to a broader reordering of a region that has bedeviled American presidents for generations. Aides say he has spent more time on Iran than any other foreign policy issue except Afghanistan and terrorism.
Since the 1979 Iranian revolution that swept out the Washington-supported shah and brought to power an anti-American Islamic leadership, the country has been the most sustained destabilizing force in the Middle East — a sponsor of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, a supporter of Shiite militias that killed American soldiers in Iraq, a patron of Syria’s government in its bloody civil war, and now a backer of the rebels who pushed out the president of Yemen.
A nuclear agreement will not change all of that, or perhaps any of that, a point Mr. Obama’s critics have made repeatedly. But Mr. Obama hopes it can be the start of a new era. An Iran that would “rejoin the community of nations,” as he put it Thursday, may have incentive to stop fomenting so much trouble. Failure as Mr. Obama sees it means more war, more instability. He has been willing to gamble America’s relationship with Israel and his own presidency on that premise.
“Obama always saw the Iranian nuclear threat as a major security challenge that would lead to war if not controlled, and further proliferation if not prevented,” said Gary Samore, a former top arms control adviser to Mr. Obama who is now president of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran.
“If we get a nuclear deal, it won’t solve the problem, because the current government in Iran will still be committed to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” he added. “But it would give the next president a much stronger basis to manage and delay the threat.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said a nuclear accord with Iran was all that remained of Mr. Obama’s dream of transformation. But Mr. Obama, he said, has misjudged Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani.
“A reading of the supreme leader or of Hassan Rouhani in their own words ought to tell you that there is a near-zero chance that an accord will diminish the revolutionary, religious hostility that these two men, the revolutionary elite, have for the United States,” he said.
If Mr. Obama does turn out to be right, Mr. Gerecht added, history will reward him. “If he is wrong, however, and this diplomatic process accelerates the nuclearization of the region, throws jet fuel on the war between the Sunnis and the Shia, and puts America into a much worse strategic position in the Middle East,” he said, “then history is likely to be harsh to Mr. Obama.”
R. Nicholas Burns, who was President George W. Bush’s lead negotiator on Iran, said Mr. Obama had embraced and enhanced a strategy his predecessor began. “We’ll have to judge him by the final result, but so far, this has been a successful effort,” he said. “A good deal could prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. A bad deal could end up empowering Iran, a defeat for him and the country.”
“In terms of legacy,” Mr. Burns added, “this is one of the two or three things that will determine it, for good or bad.”

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Here’s What You Need To Know About the Iran Deal

We finally have a framework for a nuclear deal. Here's what that means.
After 18 months of drawn-out negotiations, the U.S. and its partners on Thursday arrived at an agreement on a framework for curbing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
If that sounds tentative, that’s because it is. The two sides have until June 30 to hash out the details of a final agreement. As President Barack Obama warned following the announcement of the latest progress, “there will be no deal” if Iran backtracks.
But the agreement sets the stage for a comprehensive deal that the U.S. and its allies believe could prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons in the near future, while providing relief to Iran’s limp economy. Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing talks:

Awaiting more details on deal but early reports indicate this is Obama admin spinning diplomatic failure.
What does the U.S. and its partners want?
The U.S. side consists of U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France and Russia as well as Germany (dubbed the P5+1). They are pressing for restrictions that will extend the amount of time it will take Iran to build a nuclear weapon — the so-called “breakout time” — from the current 2-3 months to a year. To do that, the P5+1 are pushing to reduce the number of centrifuges Tehran can use to enrich uranium into fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as cut its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its partners are demanding monitors to continuously inspect Iran’s nuclear program.
What does Iran want?
Iran is keen to see the removal of sanctions to ease pressure on its struggling economy and gain access to the international market. But it insists that it has the right to nuclear capabilities for energy and medical purposes and is unwilling to scrap its nuclear resources altogether.

On behalf of the nation & SL @khamenei_ir, I'd like to thank FM @JZarif & AEOI Head Salehi & other team members for their tireless efforts.
So what does the framework agreement say?
According to the framework agreement, Iran agreed to cut by two-thirds its supply of centrifuges, from roughly 19,000 to about 6,000, and retain only its earliest generation centrifuges. It said it would keep continuing enrichment far below levels necessary for a nuclear weapon and also agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 97%.
But exactly how it plans to scrap its extra centrifuges and enriched uranium is the kind of question negotiators will be answering over the next three months. Finally, Tehran pledged to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to all of its nuclear facilities and to its nuclear supply chain. “If Iran cheats, the world will know,” Obama said.
The U.S., the United Nations and the European Union will lift nuclear-related sanctions once Iran is deemed to have complied with its side of the bargain; American sanctions related to terrorism, human rights abuses and non-nuclear weapons will remain in place. Meanwhile, the U.S. will be poised to “snap-back” nuclear sanctions if Iran backpedals.
What do opponents of a deal say?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a staunch critic of the negotiations, came out swinging after the framework agreement was reached. “The proposed agreement would constitute a real danger to the region and the world, and it would threaten the existence of Israel,” said Netanyahu, who was re-elected last month. An official close to his office went even further, saying the framework agreement “kowtows to Iranian dictates.”
Opponents say in part that a one-year breakout time is insufficient, giving the U.S. and its allies too little time to react if Iran does race to build a nuclear weapon. They also raise concerns that no matter what access Iran gives IAEA inspectors, they could still attempt to build a weapon without inspectors or U.S. intelligence finding out. “We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal,” said Israeli politician Yair Lapid, a leading Netanyahu opponent who still says the deal is troubling to all Israelis.
In the U.S., Republicans, with some support from Democrats, have lined up a bill that will effectively require Congressional approval for a nuclear deal by giving legislators the power to reject lifting sanctions on Iran. The White House opposes the perceived interference from Congress and has said it would veto such a bill. “If Congress kills this deal, not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy, international unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen,” Obama said.
Other lawmakers appear willing to hear out the administration when the negotiators reconvene on April 13, albeit with a heavy dose of skepticism:
What do the Iranians Say?
In Iran, people took to the streets to celebrate news of the framework agreement. In a sign that the deal has the support of supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Friday prayer leaders throughout the country praised the negotiations, calling the talks a success. President Hassan Rouhani, who has spearheaded the talks since he took office in 2013, was scheduled to speak Friday afternoon.
What happens now?
Now the hard work begins, as both sides determine the details and logistics of a deal. The White House will have to contend with a skeptical Congress that wants more of a say in the details of a final deal, as well as with potential schisms with its negotiating partners, which include rival Russia. Meanwhile, the talks will continue even as Iran engages in proxy and increasingly overt wars with U.S. Sunni allies in the region. There’s always the chance that the June 30 deadline will be extended, but as TIME’s Massimo Calabresi notes, “keeping Congress onside, the sanctions coalition together and the Iranians at the table may be impossible after the next deadline.”