Sunday, April 26, 2015

Music Video - Little Big Town - Girl Crush

RT Documentary - The Armenian tragedy

Video - Violence Erupts During Freddie Gray Protests

Video - President Obama at White House Correspondents' Dinner

Video - It's On Us: A Rally With Vice President Biden


Thirteen months after the then external affairs minister Salman Khurshid promised to deliver helicopters to Afghanistan, New Delhi has transported three Cheetal helicopters to Kabul. The training component of the transfer has been completed and the announcement of the delivery will be made during President Ghani’s visit to India. Cheetal is an upgraded Cheetah (Alouette) helicopter with a newer Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 engine. These choppers are capable of operating in remote and high altitude mountainous region with higher speed (more than 200 km/hr), range (more than 600 km) and payload. The Cheetal can be used for personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic air support and rescue operations. As the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) face increasing insurgent onslaught, the need for airpower is critical gap that New Delhi intends to address in buttressing the capability of the Afghan Air force.
Coming days ahead of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to New Delhi, from April 27 to 29, the delivery of helicopters is a significant development, going somewhat against its policy of seeking influence in Kabul through aid giving and yet avoiding getting directly embroiled in the conflict. At a time of the international drawdown of troops combined with President Ghani’s increasing tilt towards Pakistan and China, these supplies is seen as New Delhi’s continued attempts to maintain its relevance in the new emerging power and security calculus in Kabul. Agreements on mutual legal assistance, motor vehicles movement and between chambers of commerce are also under discussion ahead of President Ghani’s visit.
Following his inauguration as the President of Afghanistan, Mr Ghani, an anthropologist and a former World bank official had declared Pakistan to be his priority. India was seen to have relegated to the outer rings of a ‘five circle’ foreign policy. Ghani visit’s to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China and his March 2015 visit to the United States has further been interpreted by analysts in New Delhi as India’s waning influence in Kabul. Ghani maintains that he is cautiously optimistic about his relations with Pakistan. Following the Taliban attacks on the army school in Peshawar in December 2014, Pakistan is looking at expanding their counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan, with the latter’s support forming a critical part of Islamabad’s strategy to eliminate the threat from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) . The other parameters of Afghan-Pakistan cooperation is the training of Afghan cadets in Pakistan’s Military Academy (PMA) in Abbottabad. In February 2015, the first batch of six Afghan cadets arrived at PMA to undergo an 18-month long course. In addition, seen as a move to allay Pakistani anxiety of increased Indian involvement in the security sector, Ghani had put aside his predecessor’s military aid requests from India.
The timing of the supply of the helicopters, thus, comes at an interesting point of regional power competition for influence in Kabul. The development of a Pakistan-China axis is visible. Recently China has evinced interest in playing a role in facilitating talks with the Afghan Taliban, in addition to stepping up its security assistance to Afghanistan. In exchange it hopes to enlist the assistance of Pakistan to counter the threat of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Uighur separatist group which shares links with the Taliban. Beijing, in addition, has significant economic interests in Afghanistan. An increased Pakistan-China influence, following the Chinese premier’s April 2015 visit to Pakistan, is viewed as offsetting India’s plans of maintaining its influence in Kabul.
Post-2001 New Delhi’s has invested in various infrastructure, capacity building, health, education and economic reconstruction. Having pledged US$2bn, India is the largest regional donor and Afghanistan is the second largest recipient of Indian aid. India’s aid and development assistance has accrued significant ‘good wil’l among the Afghans. While Afghanistan makes domestic and regional alignments in the transformation decade (2015-2024), whether President Ghani’s visit can mark the beginning of a clear road map of India’s engagement strategy to protect its key national interests and help in the long term stabilisation of Afghanistan remains to be seen.
The increased presence of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and its capability to strike was evident during the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat in May 2014. Armed and well prepared for a hostage taking situation, LeT’s intent to execute the plan was thwarted by the help of the Afghan domestic intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS). In May 2015, LeT had planned to carry out the strikes in India, coinciding with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s presence in New Delhi for the inauguration of the Modi government. The kidnapping of the Jesuit priest Alexis Prem Kumar from Herat in June 2014 and his subsequent release after eight months in captivity in Helmand further underlines the complexities of the security landscape in Afghanistan.
The splintering of the Taliban insurgency and its functioning through franchisees; increased presence of criminal networks who have resorted to ransom demands add to the challenges. Increased LeT influence could further complicate implementation of Indian funded aid schemes. For denying the extremists groups the space to strike Indian interests and destabilize Afghanistan, New Delhi’s near to medium-term projects need to increase training and capacity building of the Afghan national security forces (ANSF), particularly its officer corp; the police, and the air force, and institutional support to improve Afghan Ministry of Defence (MoD) in its planning and budgeting process. In the long-term, security sector reform and assistance in building sound civil-military relations are some of the other initiatives New Delhi can assist Kabul with.
While India has worked towards shoring up the Afghan government’s capacity, the delivery of aid through support to Afghan budget would remain crucial to help the state extend its writ and provide basic services. India’s aid and assistance could make a greater impact if it shifts away from high visibility projects aimed at one time asset creation. An enduring Indian influence would remain linked to New Delhi’s ability to design and help implement development programmes to address poverty, illiteracy and systemic administrative dysfunction, as much as the timely completion of continuing projects such as the Salma Dam and construction of the Afghan Parliament building. The Small Development Projects (SDPs) which are implemented in southern and eastern Afghanistan in sync with local needs and ownership need further expansion. Likewise, greater investment in Afghan public health sector and educational initiatives like computer literacy, skill building and employment generation opportunities would help build the social and economic capital. India has actively provided assistance to women groups either through self-employment schemes, health and capacity building not only in Kabul but also in the western province of Herat. This needs to be expanded to areas in the South and East. My discussions with women groups in Kandahar brought out the need for small-scale income generation activities, and the need for improved health facilities.
In the political sector and governance, New Delhi needs to play an enabling role in institution building processes. In addition to broad based engagement with the political elite, New Delhi needs to work on the political sector reform involving greater decentralisation and strengthening the electoral processes. The past presidential and parliamentary elections in Afghanistan have brought to fore the problems of a highly centralised presidential system. While India has supported an Afghan-led reintegration and reconciliation process, adherence to the red lines laid down at the London Conference including respect for the Afghan constitution, human and women rights would be crucial. Afghanistan’s attempts at reconciliation needs to be supported by larger political and constitutional reforms which would necessitate provisions for dialogue and special representation of minorities, women and marginalised groups.
In aiding economic stabilisation, in the near and medium term, India could help in establishing small and medium enterprises (SME), alternate livelihood programmes (in poppy growing areas) and revive the Afghan indigenous economic base. In Baba Saheb Ghar in the Arghandab Valley, traditionally known for its pomegranates, locals seek help in establishing storage, processing and transit facilities. In discussions with political leaders in Kandahar on 5 October 2011, a day after the Agreement of Strategic Partnership Agreement (ASP) between New Delhi and Kabul was signed, they expressed an immediate need for setting up cement factories, irrigation and power projects in the province in addition to building roads and improving health and educational facilities. Natural resource exploration, power generation and industrial development would provide opportunities for employment for the youth. Moreover, it would help Afghanistan to transition from being an externally aid dependent ‘rentier state’ to a self sustaining economy.
Afghanistan, due to its small manufacturing regime, is swamped by foreign goods mainly from Pakistan, China and Iran. This inhibits the growth of an indigenous economic base. India could contribute to the small-scale industries sector (carpets, ornaments and handicrafts). Follow up studies on these projects, assessing their usefulness and links with the development strategy of the Afghan government, would be extremely critical. As Afghanistan faces a contraction of its economy due to dwindling international financial assistance, it will be imperative to help Afghanistan generate revenue and realize its potential as a land bridge connecting South with Central and West Asia. Increased trade, transit and regional connectivity would provide revenue and employment opportunities and in the long term help build ‘constituencies of peace.’ Implementation of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) pipeline and expansion of the Afghanistan Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA) to India would provide economic benefits to all countries in the region and create a ‘web of interdependencies’.
India needs to further build on its traditional, historical, social and cultural linkages with Afghanistan. As part of counter radicalisation campaign, messages of moderate Islam from the Deoband would be an effective counter to the radical Wahhabi messages. There is also a need to further expand cultural, sports and educational exchanges between the two countries. Setting up of Pushtun and Dari centres in India and Hindi centres in Afghanistan would help in greater cultural and linguistic exchanges. Cricket is an important sport that needs promotion. In addition to building a cricket stadium in Kandahar, India can assist in providing a home ground for the Afghan national cricket team in India, a wish President Ghani is reported to be carrying with him.
Most of the international media puts out pessimistic stories from Afghanistan. It influences not only international public opinion but also feeds into the insurgent propaganda. It is imperative to have a strategic communications strategy highlighting the positive stories of success of the Afghan people (rather than violence, destruction and pessimism) through the radio, television and local print media. During my visits to Jalalabad, there have been requests for capacity building, collaboration, training and programmes on historical, cultural, educational and sports. New Delhi can help shift the narrative of pessimism to opportunity by increasing capacity building and cooperation with the Afghan media and engaging civil society, women and youth groups.
More importantly, New Delhi will have to assist in reviving the indigenous economic base and connecting Afghanistan – the Heart of Asia- with rest of Asia. The economic interdependency and benefits would create a mutually beneficial mode of engagement in the region. President Ghani’s visit can mark the beginning of a clear road map of India’s engagement strategy to help in the long term stabilisation of Afghanistan and the region.

#IamSabeen - Activist's murder spotlights army's abuses in Pakistan's Balochistan

Pakistani military's alleged rights abuses in western Balochistan province have come under scrutiny after the killing of activist Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi. Mahmud held a talk on the issue right before she was shot dead.
The murder of Sabeen Mahmud on Friday has turned the spotlight on Pakistan's conflict-ridden Balochistan province and the Islamic country's powerful army's human rights violations in the region.
Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is rich in oil, gas, and minerals, yet it remains Pakistan's poorest province. Rebel groups have waged a separatist insurgency in the province for decades, complaining that the central government in Islamabad and the richer Punjab province unfairly exploit their resources. In 2005, Islamabad reacted to the insurgency by launching a military operation in the province.
Mahmud, the 40-year-old civil liberties activist and social worker was director of The Second Floor (T2F), a community space for open dialogue. On Friday, T2F organized a talk called "Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2," featuring two prominent Baloch rights activists - Mama Abdul Qadeer and Farzana Baluch - who have been campaigning for the missing Baloch people. Rights groups say these people have been illegally detained by the military's intelligence agencies.
Local rights groups have the details of 8,000 people who they say have been disappeared over the past ten years and have not been seen since. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 23 bullet-riddled bodies of these missing persons were discovered in different parts of Balochistan in January 2012. From August 2011 to January 2012, 56 Baloch people are known to have been murdered and dumped on roadsides, according to AHRC.
Pakistani security agencies claim these people were arrested on terrorism charges. However, the whereabouts of these people are kept secret from the public; they have not been presented to local courts for a proper trial.
Observers say that Balochistan, despite major development projects initiated by Islamabad, including the recently-signed $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, remains a no-go area for the media. The local media rarely reports about the rampant rights abuses in the province, whereas Baloch activists are constantly harassed and kidnapped by security agencies, say analysts.
Qadeer and Baluch had originally been scheduled to speak at a seminar titled 'Unsilencing Baluchistan' at the Lahore University of Management Sciences some weeks ago. The event was canceled, reportedly after pressure from Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistani army's spy agency. That's when Mahmud decided to invite the two Baloch nationalists to a seminar at T2F, defying the pressure from the authorities.
But it seems that Mahmud's death has broken the silence surrounding Balochistan, as more Pakistanis are talking about the province.
Pakistan's Nobel laureate for Peace, Malala Yousafzai, also condemned Sabeen's murder.
Malala Condemns Tragic Killing Of Pakistani Human Rights Activist 

University Of Balochistan: A Den Of Corruption

University of Balochistan (UOB) is the largest and oldest university of the province. All the colleges of the provinces are accredited by this university and therefore it has pivotal role in the education of Balochistan. Current administration of UOB has been repeatedly blamed by different quarters for turning UOB into a den of corruption.
On Saturday, different student organizations carried out protest marches inside UOB to protest against UOB administration. These students organization include BSO, BSO-Pajjar, PSF-Azad, IJT, JTI-F, ISF, BSF, Baloch students Action committee and so on. All the marches culminated in the form of a gathering outside the administration block where student leaders delivered speeches against the rampant corruption in UOB.
Recruitment of competent teachers is must to impart quality education in any University. As a result, UOB administration conducted the tests for recruitment of teachers through National Testing Service (NTS). 60% marks were minimum requirement to be short listed for the interview process. However, UOB administration has now reduced the minimum requirement to 50%.
According to chairman of Students action committee, Zubair Shah, this has been done to recruit the favorite candidates of the administration who have failed to score 60% marks. Issue of reducing the required percentage has been under debate for last few weeks but UOB administration has failed to issue a single clarification statement.
Quoting an example of Education department, Mr. Shah said that a candidate whose application was rejected during the scrutiny process was also called for test and interview. He blamed the university administration for influencing the recruitment procedure just to ensure that person of their choice gets the job. Mr. Shah demanded the recruitment tests for education must be conducted again to ensure transparency.
According to the university administration, a fraud of Rs. 60 million rupees was uncovered in the examinations of BA and BSC. UOB administration sacked three small scale employees of class-4. This raises many questions such as that only three small scale employees were involved in this corruption? Student leaders didn’t agree with the findings of the UOB Administration. Students Action Committee alleges that Controller and deputy controller examinations department were involved in this corruption and they were given safe exit due to pressure from Balochistan government. UOB administration needs to clear itself from this blame by conducting a transparent enquiry into this matter.
UOB is the only institute of the province where under-privileged students of Balochistan can acquire higher education. Fees of this institute have always been kept low for this purpose. According to the rules of UOB, there would be 10% increase in fees of university. However,current administration has increased fees by 40%-50% this year alone. Increase in fee has been termed as an attempt to deprive under-privileged students of education by the student organizations in UOB.
“Corruption is everywhere in UOB and there is not a single department which is free from it,” said Shoukat Baloch unit secretary of BSO. He further added that “Current administration is receiving bribes on the construction contracts and as a result the quality of construction will be poor.”
Representatives of BSO and BSO-Pajjar described the plight of UOB in detail. They revealed that admission process for this year is yet to be completed and four months have already been passed. Dr. Malik Balochistan, Chief Minister (CM) of Balochistan had earlier announced that all applicants in UOB would be given admission. However current administration has not given admission to everyone. There is no hostel for female students studying in M.Phil and the rooms of teacher hostel are available on rent on daily basis, revealed the leaders of BSO.
“By university administration we mean the Vice Chancellor (VC) and Registrar of UOB,” a protesting student told The Balochistan Point when asked to elaborate the term administration. “No one has forgotten how the daughter of a provincial minister was promoted two grades overnights which was an example of gross injustice,” added the student.
A student leader, who requested to not be named, told The Balochistan Point that few ministers in Balochistan government are involved in backing the incumbent administration of UOB. According to this student leader, Dr. Malik Baloch the CM is also responsible for the terrible state of affairs in UOB because everything is happening under his watch.
Despite repeated efforts, University administration was unable to comment on the number of allegations levelled against them. Silence of university administration is making the matter even more complicated.
All protesting student organizations on Saturday announced to start a campaign to force the resignation of the current VC. Student organizations believe that’s the only way the oldest university of Balochistan can be saved.

Pakistan - #SabeenMahmud - ''Sound of silence''

There is very little to say. No words to express what is happening to our nation and to those who struggle to try and make it a better place. The brutal killing of Sabeen Mahmud on Friday night in Karachi delivers a clear message; a terrible message – one that can only add to the fear that runs through our society and reminds us that dissent can mean death. This has been the case too often. Others before Sabeen have been targeted. Sabeen Mahmud, 40, a social media activist and the director of the vibrant The Second Floor, or T2F, café and meeting place in Karachi, was gunned down in a targeted attack as she left the venue she had opened up in 2007, along with her mother to return to her home in Defence. She was shot dead before she could reach it. Her mother was critically injured. The police agree that no attempt at mugging was involved in what happened. This killing was definitely for other purposes. 

Perhaps the motives behind the murder will become clear; perhaps they never will. But we know what the impact is. Another person that spoke out for human rights and became a voice for those who have none has been silenced – forever. It may be significant that Sabeen Mahmud was killed shortly after a discussion titled ‘Unsilencing Balochistan’ was held at T2F. The event was attended by prominent human right activists and journalists. A similar seminar planned at the Lahore University of Management Sciences just days ago was cancelled under pressure.

The situation we have created in our country is an untenable one. When intolerance or fanaticism of any kind quashes the voices of people who speak out for others, an even more dangerous state of affairs is created. The danger of eruption is greater when dissent cannot be expressed through legitimate means. Sabeen Mahmud had attempted to do this. Her life ended far too early because she chose this path. The question for us is where we go from here. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who is in United Kingdom on a visit asked concerned authorities to investigate the incident and submit him a report. He has extended condolences to the bereaved family of Sabeen Mahmud. The ISPR chief has also condemned the murder and pledged to help expose those behind it. It is important that the truth behind Sabeen’s murder is uncovered and justice delivered, even though this will not bring back a vibrant young person who should have been among us today.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Not so universal: 41% of out of school children cannot afford education

Although enrolment campaigns are being rolled out one after the other, there are still 180,685 children between the ages of five and 16 who are out of school in the provincial capital.
According to the latest data compiled by Alif Ailaan for their annual report, most children cannot attend school due to poverty.
The report, which will be launched in the coming weeks, stresses on poverty being a barrier between children and education. It stated 41% of out of school children are from low-income backgrounds whereas only 11% of those who are not enrolled in any school are from affluent backgrounds and are not kept away from schools due to financial constraints. The remaining 48% are not in the system due to a variety of reasons.
An amount of Rs3.42 billion was allocated for elementary and secondary education in the budget of 2014-15, but a major portion of the amount went to paying salaries; the rest was spent on fixing school infrastructure.
From primary to high school
The Alif Ailaan report states that the net enrolment rate at the primary level is 61% and this rate drops down to 25% by the time students reach middle school and further shrinks to 12% by high school. Even if children manage to get into school, only 48% girls and 65% boys get to study after completing grade five, adds the report.
However, the issue is two-sided; schools have not been equipped to handle a large number of students.
About 12% of primary schools have only one teacher for the entire school. The report says that on average in a primary level school, 48 students are taught by a single teacher.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Alif Ailaan Regional Coordinator Umer Orakzai said in Peshawar, schools mainly cater to primary level education as 77% of government schools in the district are primary schools.
Peshawar District Education Officer Sharif Gul admitted there are still loopholes in the education system but, he added, “The current government is taking steps for improvement”.
When asked about insufficient space in schools to accommodate a growing number of students, Gul denied that such a problem exists. He said the government has instructed each school to take in more students.
He reiterated the findings of the report and said poverty is the main reason why children are kept away from schools as they are made to do menial jobs to support their families rather than educating themselves.

Pakistan - #SabeenMahmud - ''Sound Of Silence''

One has won, when the power of one’s words forces their opponent to pick up a gun; an admission of defeat, an act of cowardice, and the lowest, most barbaric way of settling an argument. Sabeen Mahmud was victorious even before her questions started to irk the powerful; she was a renowned human rights activist, the proprietor of The Second Floor (T2F) – a spiritual successor to the coffee houses of old, and an oasis of literary and liberal modernity in a desert of intolerance. Her murder is an atrocity that must be accounted for; and so the obvious question arises: who would murder a human rights activist in this country? The list of course, is endless.
Sabeen Mahmud was gunned down as she was leaving T2F, which had organised a talk called, ‘Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2: In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.’ A similar seminar was scheduled to be held at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) a few weeks ago, before it was abruptly cancelled “on the orders of the government”. Mama Qadeer and other Baloch activists have had numerous altercations with the government seeking to control the information that comes out of Balochistan. The province remains in an information black hole, with any stories escaping from it few and far between, and it remains one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. This has been exacerbated by an onset of military operations, which have imposed their own rules of a media blackout – making the independent verifying of facts impossible. It has become obvious over the years that anyone who tries to highlight Balochi issues is a target; regardless of age, gender, political orientation and motivation.
The most macabre significance of this crime is that Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch and Mir Talpur – the people who are the ones raising their voices and engaging in activism – were not the ones who were targeted. Sabeen Mahmud, an activist and free thinker who merely provided a platform to them, was assassinated for standing with them. This is a warning for those who engage with and encourage debate; a brazen attack on the ideals of free speech. As the government and intelligence agencies condemn the shooting, it remains to be seen exactly how far they will go, within and without, to get to the bottom of this case.

Pakistan - Blood and Balochistan


In grotesque times come grotesque thoughts. Why this elliptical wretchedness when Mama Qadeer is right there, shuffling around in plain sight?
It’s not like they don’t have the expertise: if there were no missing persons, there’d be no Mama Qadeer.
It is a monstrous thought. To think it is to pollute the mind, to somehow become closer to the men who sanction such acts, dispatching men on motorcycles to pull up alongside cars and pull the trigger.

Balochistan is a murky place where murky things happen for murky reasons. Sealed off from the rest of the country, few thought to ponder another massacre in Balochistan.

Because he’s alive and another is dead, you can hazard a guess. There is no hard rule; it is about management. And phases.
Once upon a time, Saba Dashtiyari was the problem. Then, Saba Dashtiyari was killed. Now, you struggle to recall his name. That was 2011. When kill-and-dump emerged and the net was widened.
What had begun as killing the killers had morphed into killing the supporters too. That’s why Dashtiyari was dead. Now, killing the supporters has extended to killing the supporters of the supporters. That’s why another is dead. And a new phase has opened.
The link will be made to a recently cancelled talk. A warning had been issued and it had not been heeded. But new phases, wider targets, are not triggered by a talk here or protest there.
Monstrousness considers itself above that. Theirs is a mission to serve and protect and their actions must have meaning and purpose. It is not hard to see what may have catalysed this new phase, this new monstrousness.
April 11. Turbat. From this newspaper: “Gunmen killed 20 construction workers and injured three others in a pre-dawn attack on a labourers’ camp near Turbat, in Balochistan’s Kech district.”
Inured to bad news from Balochistan, few paid attention. Yes, it was more dead. Yes, it seemed nasty. Yes, civilians from other provinces had been killed for being civilians from other provinces.
But Balochistan is a murky place where murky things happen for murky reasons. Sealed off from the rest of the country, physically and psychologically, few thought to ponder another massacre in Balochistan.
Some did though. April 15. Quetta. From this newspaper: “‘The army chief warned foreign states, intelligence agencies against trying to destabilise Pakistan by supporting terrorists in Balochistan. We’ll defeat them comprehensively,’ military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa quoted the army chief as saying.”
From Twitter that day, same man quoting same person: “Will unearth Terrorists, abettors, sympathisers, financiers.
None will find place in country to hide. Will go to any length 4 writ of state.”
Turbat was not missed by some. Not by those with a mission to serve and protect and whose actions must have purpose and meaning.
Zoom out from Turbat and you have the other new problem: China. There was Xi being feted and his dream of a road to the sea being sold fervently. But economic hubs and trade corridors don’t happen in places where no one can go without inviting a bullet.
You can’t go to Balochistan without inviting a bullet. For Xi’s dream to come true folk have to be able to go to Balochistan without inviting a bullet. Security and the economy are entwined there.
It’s an old approach though: kill the dissent first, then pour some economic balm and hope that dissent doesn’t reappear too quickly. The Xi dream is the boys’ dream too.
The Xi dream means the security part will need to be done on a grander scale to match the economy bit. Those with a mission to serve and protect and whose actions must have purpose and meaning have all of that and more of that than ever.
There are two other things, one harder to explain than the other. The first is the failed policy: Balochistan has not been beaten into submission.
Once upon a time, years ago, it seemed obvious that in quelling the fifth insurgency, the conditions for a sixth insurgency were being sowed.
If that was obvious enough, also obvious: it was a price the boys were willing to pay. Fix today and deal with whatever comes tomorrow, tomorrow.
But as the Baloch arm was twisted further and the boot pressed harder on the Baloch neck all that seemed to happen was the arm came closer to being torn off and the neck being snapped. Balochistan has not been beaten into submission.
So, why continue? Before, it seemed nothing would change until 2014. With foreign troops billeted in the neighbour’s south, the political option was never going to given a chance.
It’s 2015 now and time for an update: the political option is never going to be given a chance in Balochistan. For some reason, the boys have decided that Balochistan is too important and too valuable to be entrusted to the civilians.
For that reason Balochistan will remain an open wound, never to heal.
The other bit is easier to explain. Who cares about a little place in Karachi where a handful of people gathered to talk about woolly ideas and that had the tiniest of footprints?
Your average madressah could pull a bigger crowd any day of the week than what was routinely served up there.
There is a difference though: social media. Social media does two things: it amplifies stuff locally and connects to the outside world. Neither amplification nor connectivity is deemed desirable. Not when it’s about pesky, undesirable ideas being purveyed.
Maybe that’s why Mama Qadeer is alive and another dead.

Pakistan - #PMLN Regime - ''New promises''

Playing another trick, the government has conveyed to the people to be ready to brave two more years of the energy crisis. The latest date for the end of load shedding has been announced as 2017 by Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif. Since the start of the 2013 election campaign, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been giving the lollypop of dates about the resolution of the energy crisis. First it was three months, then it was extended to six months, later one year and now it has been deferred till the end of their regime. Even if the government lives up to its word regarding the latest date, it will be a great achievement of the PML-N that has made itself a laughing stock due to its leadership’s changing statements about the timeframe for ending the energy crisis. Khawaja Asif’s renewed confidence to end load shedding by the end of 2017 emanated from the recent signing of agreements with China. He has said that Pakistan and China had signed contracts for 8,320 MW projects worth $ 20 billion investment, which would be completed between 2018 and 2020. By accepting China’s offer to play a role in Pakistan’s economic development, the government has put a lot at stake. The setting up of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) requires serious efforts on the part of the PML-N government. Amid so many other crises, it cannot afford to disappoint Chinese investors who are taking a great risk in making investment in Pakistan.

The government should not fool the people through employing jugglery of words. Rather it should be practical in its approach. Along with the announcement of projects, the government should also reveal the mechanism that would be applied for the achievement of their ambitious goals. There should be planning in sequence. Along with the announcement of new projects, the government needs to overhaul the existing outdated national grid, which cannot sustain the increasing load of electricity. The energy crisis has already created havoc in the lives of the people with electricity outages of 10 to 12 hours a day in many parts of the country. It is high time that the government should make some concerted efforts to end this crisis. The government needs to treat the cause, not symptoms. It should focus on upgrading the power infrastructure and make efforts for better recovery of power utility dues. The electricity suppliers should cut off power supply to all those government ministries, departments and institutions that do not pay their energy bills. Without treating all consumers, government or private, in the same manner, the crisis will not be resolved. Without tackling the energy crisis in a holistic and effective manner, Pakistan’s future looks literally gloomy.

Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto expresses grief over devastation by stormy rain in KPK
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed his deepest grief over the shocking devastation by stormy rain in Peshawar, Noshera and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which have resulting in the loss of several innocent lives and injuring many others besides huge destruction of property.
In a press statement Biawal Bhutto Zardari expressed sympathies with the victims of this natural disaster and urged the government to take all possible efforts to save the people from more losses and provide adequate facilities to them in this hour of need.

Vido - #LyariSirfBhuttoKa: Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari’s speech in Lyari Kakri Ground Jalsa

Asif Ali Zardari Speech In Lyari Kakri Ground... by ak472522