Saturday, May 16, 2015

Music Video - Nicki Minaj - The Night Is Still Young

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Chinese FM dismisses "squeezing the U.S. outside Asia"

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed the notion that China' s proposals including the Asia Security concept and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are geared to squeeze the United States outside Asia.
"We always believe that Asia should be an open and inclusive Asia," Wang said. "The U.S. is an important country in the Asia-Pacific region, and we welcome the positive and constructive role of the U.S. in Asia- Pacific affairs."
Wang made the remarks when answering a journalist' s question in regard of the view that the recent Chinese proposals including the AIIB are geared to challenge the position and role of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region and squeeze the United States outside Asia, following his talks with visiting U.S. Secretary John Kerry.
China' s proposal of setting up the AIIB, which focuses on filling the gap in infrastructure investment in Asia, received widespread support. A total of 57 countries have submitted applications to be the founding members of AIIB.
"Among them 23 are from regions outside of Asia." Wang said. This demonstrates China' s efforts in putting its belief that Asia should be an open and inclusive Asia into practical actions.
In response to China' s proposal of AIIB, Kerry said the U.S. welcomes the AIIB and encourages the AIIB to allocate a significant percentage of its resources to clean and renewable energy and sustainable environmental projects, which he discussed during the talks with Wang.
Recent time has seen increasing interactions and cooperation between China and the U.S., with frequent high-level visits by officials from the two countries.
Kerry said there are three key meetings that China and the U.S. are working together for preparations, namely the 7th round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June, the summit between Chinese president Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in September, and the Paris Conference on climate change in December.
Despite some differences between U.S. and China, both Wang and Kerry believe that they can seek common ground and narrow their differences through talks.
"It is OK to have differences, as long as we can avoid misunderstanding and more importantly miscalculations." Wang said.

Syrian War Set To Re-Explode


The Syrian war stalemate appears to be over. The regional powers surrounding Syria – especially Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan – have re-ignited their war against the Syrian government. After over 200,000 dead and millions of refugees, the U.S. allies in the region recently recommitted to deepening the war, with incalculable consequences.
The new war pact was made between Obama’s regional darlings, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who agreed to step up deeper military cooperation and establish a joint command in the occupied Syrian region of Idlib.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are now openly backing Islamic extremists under the newly rebranded “Conquest Army.” The on-the-ground leadership of this “new” coalition consists of Jabhat al-Nusra – the “official” al-Qaeda affiliate – and Ahrar al-Sham, whose leader previously stated that his group was the “real al-Qaeda.”
The Huffington Post reports:

“The Turkish-Saudi agreement has led to a new joint command center in the northeastern Syrian province of Idlib. There, a coalition of groups – including Nusra and other Islamist brigades such as Ahrar al-Sham that Washington views as extremist – are progressively eroding Assad’s front. The rebel coalition also includes more moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army that have received U.S. support in the past.”
The article admits that the Free Syrian Army – that Obama previously labeled as “moderates” and gave cash and guns to – has been swallowed up by the extremist groups.
This dynamic has the potential to re-engulf the region in violence; deep Saudi pocketbooks combined with reports of looming Turkish ground forces are a catastrophe in the making.
Interestingly, the Saudi-Turkish alliance barely raised eyebrows in the U.S. media. President Obama didn’t think to comment on the subject, let alone condemn it.
The media was focused on an odd narrative of Obama reportedly being “concerned” about the alliance, but “disengaged” from what two of his close allies were doing in a region that the U.S. has micromanaged for decades.
It seems especially odd for the media to accept that Obama has a “hands off” approach in Syria when at the same time the media is reporting about a new U.S. program training Syrian rebels in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
It’s inconceivable that Obama would coordinate deeply with Turkey to set up a Syrian rebel training camp on Turkish soil, while at the same time be “disengaged” from the Turkish-Saudi war coalition in Syria.
One possible motive behind the fake narrative of “noncooperation” between Obama and his Turkish-Saudi allies is that the U.S. is supposed to be fighting a “war on terrorism.”
So when Turkey and Saudi Arabia announce that they’re closely coordinating with terrorists in Syria – like al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham – Obama needs an alibi to avoid being caught at the crime scene. He’s not an accomplice, simply “disengaged.”
This is likely the reason why Obama has insisted that his new “moderate” rebels being trained in Turkey will fight ISIS, not the Syrian government. But this claim too is ridiculous.
Is Obama really going to throw a couple hundred newly-trained “moderate” Syrian rebels at ISIS while his Turkish-Saudi allies focus all their fire on the Syrian Government? The question answers itself.
The media has made mention of this obvious conundrum, but never bothers to follow up, leaving Obama’s lame narrative unchallenged. For example, the LA Times reports:
“The White House wants the [U.S. trained rebel] proxy force to target Islamic State militants, while many of the Syrian rebels – and the four host nations [where Syrian rebels are being trained] – want to focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad.”
The article simply shrugs its shoulders at the irreconcilable. The article also fails to mention that Obama’s “new” training camps aren’t new at all; he’s been arming and training Syrian rebels since at least 2012, the only difference being that the “new” training camps are supposedly meant to target ISIS, compared to the training camps that were openly used to target the Syrian government.

Ataturk: Turkey's love-affair with its founder

By Helena Cavendish de Moura

He is looking over the shoulder of a mechanic as he works on the motor of an old Turkish Tofas. In a seedy bar near the Black Sea, he watches over a customer, gun in one hand and a stiff drink in the other. His stern blue eyes are gazing over students at a public school, laboring over his dream of a modern Turkey.

It seems nearly impossible to walk a few meters anywhere in Turkey without bumping into the handsome, chiseled face of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who invented Turkey as we know it.
Ataturk's omnipresence, even in the most absurd places and situations, was not lost on British photographerErsoy Emin, who spent several years trying to decipher the iconology of Ataturk. Born to Turkish parents, Emin set out on a photographic-cum-philosophical exercise on what Ataturk's image means for Turks today.
"There is such a range of images of him. He seems to be represented in so many different ways. He meant so much in so many different ways to people. He was a genius military figure to people and a father figure to the nation."
"I was not so interested in the compulsory images of Ataturk you see in banks or in the main square but more of ones that you see tucked away in little cafes, small car garages and little businesses, and people's own images of him," said Emin.
Whether you are with him or against him, Ataturk's position in history is indisputable. He was a military genius who mobilized and modernized an under-supplied military force that humiliated Allied forces during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, a turning point in the First World War that paved the way to Turkey's War of Independence. A political visionary, he westernized Turkey, enforcing secularism and promoting women's rights.
But the legacy of his military tactics is still an open sore to Armenians, many of whom were slaughtered and forced to leave Eastern Anatolia, suffering unspeakable brutality from Turkish forces. Challenging Turkey's past and its role in the Armenian mass killings is considered treasonous. It was what nearly sent Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk to prison.
Still, at home, Ataturk is seen as a national saint. Unlike the images of Che Guevara printed on T-shirts and coffee cups worldwide, the presence of Ataturk's image in the day to day lives of Turks seems to have a comforting element. A man who was known to travel the nation to micromanage every industry, large or small, his presence seems to be largely felt in every house.
"It is almost faith-like, these images. They have not been banalized but definitely they are part of the social fabric."
"You wouldn't dare deface the image of Ataturk even among the supporters of Erdogan." (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current President of Turkey.)
In Turkey, to challenge or even question Ataturk's image is somewhat sacrilegious. That's even more so today, said Emin, who noticed a change in attitudes recently.
"Lately, responses have changed," he said. "I have been back recently and have seen that these images mean something different. People seem to have it as a way of protest almost to what is going on."
"He represents something that is in danger to them, something that has been taken away, which was not there when i first started asking questions back in 2007."

Pashto Music - Irfan Khan - Pekhawar kho Pekhawar de kana

Video Report - India - What you can expect from Modi's Mongolia, South Korea visit

Hindustan Times Foreign Editor Pramit Pal Chaudhuri explains whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia remains a courtesy visit or is actually slated to further bilateral cooperation in diverse areas. On the second leg of his visit, Modi will visit Mongolia and meet Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorjto, thereby becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country. Finally, he will conclude his three-nation tour with a visit to South Korea to boast bilateral ties and invite companies to 'Make in India'.

New Fears Among Afghanistan's Minority Hazara Community

In a prisoner swap this week, a militant group released 19 of 31 Afghan Hazara men kidnapped in February. The kidnapping raised fears in this minority community of being targeted in sectarian attacks.

Pakistan - #Peshawar - Unpaid hospital bills: APS victims stranded

Soon after the Peshawar attack, the government had announced to take care of all hospital bills and payments for the children of the Army Public School. The government had paid for the initial bill for the treatments; however, no instructions were given for follow-up appointments.
That is what Ansar Ali Shah, an APS attack survivor, found out at his first follow-up appointment when he travelled to Karachi’s Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). He was part of the group of APS children who were brought to AKUH in February 2015 for better treatment.
“We asked the man sitting on the desk and he said he had no information from the government of Sindh or the K-P government”, said Amanullah, Ansar’s uncle, a Karachi resident, who accompanied him for his check-up.
The hospital administration asked him to pay out of his own pocket stating that they had run out of the funds the government gave them. Ansar missed his first follow-up appointment due to this issue.
AKUH Patient Building Services’ manager Adnan Warsi said nothing had been communicated to them regarding the follow-ups.
“The K-P government communicated with the Sindh government and the latter provided us with a specific letter for the funding for the treatment of the APS victims. After a month the K-P government was handed over the bill by the hospital, which was paid by the provincial government. After that no letter has been sent to us regarding this. The payments by the government were stopped on April 7,” Warsi stated.
However, according to Chief Minister’s Media Coordinator Abdul Rasheed Channa, the Sindh government had no role to play in the finances. He suggested that the parents need to contact the school administration or the organization responsible for the communication between the parents and the government before their visit to the doctors in Karachi for follow-up treatments.
Ansar’s story
Ansar, currently in grade 10, was in grade 9 when he found himself in the middle of the havoc that took place on December 16, 2014.
That day, he was in the dressing room near the stage attached to the bleeding auditorium of the Army Public School.
His eyes still burn because of the attack. He says he was in the same room where a teacher got hit with a bomb while he lay on the ground feigning death. He suspects that his eyes still burn because of the fumes from the bomb.
Looking at the X-ray of his hand, Ansar sees a mini-plate instead of the meta-carpal bone in the middle of his hand under the palm.
Initially, Shuhada Ghazi Forum took front stage by being the main bridge between parents of victims and the government.
The spokesperson for the forum, Tariq Jaan, when contacted regarding the issue, said that a faction of the forum had separated and are handling the injured themselves.
However the forum’s president, Abid Raza Bangash corrected the spokesperson’s statement saying that he is trying to get the forum together again. “We are trying to reconcile with Ghazi parents and reunite with the people who have a problem,” he said over the telephone while speaking to The Express Tribune.
“At least Rs1.5 million was given to the parents whose children had major injuries. I think that is a sufficient amount for follow-up treatments so even the people who are not well-off can pay using the money given by the government,” Bangash said.
“And if somebody still really needs money for treatment then we will definitely pressurize the government to pay for the treatment again,” he added.

US drone strike in North Waziristan kills five Uzbek 'militants'

A US drone strike late on Saturday left five suspected militants dead and two others injured in North Waziristan Agency, sources told DawnNews.
It further said that two missiles were fired that hit two houses in Warokey Mandi area of Shawal Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency, a tribal region where the military has since June been battling militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, official sources claimed that those suspected militants killed in the US drone strike were Uzbek nationals.
The area is generally off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.
“The US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound, killing four rebels,” a senior security official said on condition of anonymity.
North Waziristan is among Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border which are rife with insurgents and have been strongholds of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, among others.
Military in June last year had launched an all-out operation named 'Zarb-i-Azb' against Taliban militants in the region.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Chinese counterpart in Beijing

Video Report - U.S. troops conduct raid in Syria, kill Islamic State figure - U.S. says

When Barack Obama sang ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ with B.B. King

By Chris Cillizza

"The blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend," President Obama said Friday in the aftermath of the death of legendary musician B.B. King.
Obama actually joined King on stage at the White House back in February 2012 to sing a few bars of "Sweet Home Chicago". King as well as Ry Cooder, Mick Jagger and many others were at the executive mansion for a celebration of the blues, one in a series of concerts held at the White House to honor American music.
As WaPo music critic Chris Richards wrote at the time: "Previous performances in the series have saluted the music of the civil rights era, Motown and Broadway, as well as jazz, country (twice), classical and Latin music. Now, to mark Black History Month, the Obamas honored the blues, arguably the most influential of any American musical genre."

President Obama's Weekly Address: Creating Opportunity for All

President Obama and the Gulf Arabs

Saudi Arabia is so angry at the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers that it is threatening to develop its own nuclear capability — one more indication of the deep differences between the United States and the Persian Gulf Arab states over the deal, which the major powers and Iran aim to complete by June 30. President Obama had hoped to bridge that gap with a show of American-Arab unity at this week’s summit meeting at Camp David. The summit meeting fell well short of his ambitions, an unfortunate outcome for both sides.
As summit meetings usually do, this one concluded with an upbeat joint statement, reaffirming a “strong partnership” between the United States and the gulf states, Sunni-dominated nations that consider Shiite Iran their main adversary. This could not, however, conceal sharp and persistent differences over a deal that is intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.
American officials assured the gulf leaders that “the objective is to deny Iran the ability to obtain a nuclear weapon,” but The Associated Press quoted Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, warning, “It would be too early to prejudge what we accept, what we don’t accept.”
The most overt evidence of the unsettled ties between the United States and its longstanding Arab allies was a decision by King Salman of Saudi Arabia to stay home, after the White House announced he would be at the meeting. Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, also a no-show, chose to attend a horse show in Britain. A more ominous sign of tension was the threat by Saudi Arabia — and to a lesser extent, other Arab states — to match whatever nuclear enrichment capability Iran is allowed to keep under the agreement. “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said recently in Seoul, South Korea.
It is hard to see how threatening and snubbing a president who is offering crucial assistance to the Saudi-led war in Yemen and who still has two years left in office advances Arab interests. Even so, Mr. Obama could have done a better job of calming Arab insecurities long before he invited the gulf leaders to Camp David.
The Sunni Arabs have two main worries. One is that the nuclear agreement with Iran would leave Iran with a limited capability to produce nuclear fuel for energy and medical purposes, instead of ending it outright. They also worry that Iran’s re-entry into the international community after decades of isolation would mean that Washington’s loyalties would henceforth be divided and that America could no longer be counted on to defend them.
Mr. Obama tried to address that in the joint statement, which declared, “The United States policy to use all elements of power to secure our core interests in the Gulf region, and to deter and confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War, is unequivocal.” But he stopped short, and wisely so, of offering a formal pact similar to the NATO treaty that some Arab leaders had wanted but that could drag the United States into Middle East conflicts.
There is little doubt that the regional landscape, politically and diplomatically, is shifting. Senior American and Iranian officials, who had no contact after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, now hold regular negotiations. International business is poised to take advantage of Iran’s investment potential once sanctions are lifted, pumping billions of dollars into Iran’s ravaged economy.
Nevertheless, it is perverse for Arab leaders who once considered Iran’s nuclear program their gravest threat to complain about a deal intended to diminish that threat. A more rational fear is that when sanctions are lifted, Iran, which is causing trouble in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East, will have more resources with which to expand its influence.
Administration officials have a reasonable comeback: They say Iran is far more likely to use the money freed up by the lifting of sanctions to meet accumulated domestic needs. They argue that many of Iran’s recent political gains owed more to the weakness of disintegrating states like Yemen than to Iran’s inherent strength. And they seem pretty clear-eyed about the fact that while a nuclear deal may open room for cooperation with Iran on other issues, Iran’s long history of bad behavior argues strongly for caution in all dealings with Tehran.
A verifiable nuclear deal that limits Iran’s abilities has the best chance of keeping Iran from a nuclear weapon. The solution definitely does not lie in threats by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to build up their own nuclear capabilities, which could set off a new arms race and inflame the region even more.

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Pakistan - APS Peshawar victims didn't get justice even after 5 months: Parents

Parents of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar’s victims said on Saturday that their children did not get justice even after 5 months of the incident. The parents were addressing a press conference in Peshawar Press Club, they said that the lawmakers and government is paying attention to smaller issues but the demand ofjudicial inquiry of the brutal incident of terrorism at APS has not yet been addressed.
The parents of the APS victims criticized Imran Khan and said that Imran Khan promised that he will fight for justice for their children but he did not fulfill his commitment. They said that the people, whose negligence helped the terrorists, are gettingrewarded. The parents threatened that they will give sit-in against both the provincial and federal government in front ofParliament House on 16 June if their demands will not be heard.

Pakistan - Karachi - Everyone is a culprit

The morning of May 13 marked another horrifying incident in the city of Karachi, with an attack staged on a bus transporting scores of citizens, for the reason that their religious beliefs didn’t match those of the attackers. The attack adds to the already existing plight of people of certain communities in the country, who have been victims of targeted assaults in various parts of the country. Instead of looking for the hand of foreign agencies, political factions or international conspiracies to help place blame, there is a need for deep introspection and proactive counter-measures as the safety of our people depends upon it.
The attack was followed by a cry for the sacking of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, on grounds of incompetence. Social media was abuzz with many claiming that the attack was an attempt by foreign agencies to destabilise the region given the recent announcements on economic corridor that will link China and Pakistan. Others claimed that this was an attempt by a political party to challenge the establishment in Karachi. There were also claims, emanating from a pamphlet apparently left at the scene, that the Islamic State (IS) was responsible for the attacks. Local news further claimed that a Taliban splinter group which vows allegiance to the IS, Jundullah, had accepted responsibility for the massacre. Jundullah has carried out attacks in Pakistan before and was responsible for the Peshawar church bombing, as well as the Shikarpur massacre earlier this year.
Within these constant searches for the perpetrators of such crimes lie an inherent irony: it was us.
This was not just an attack on a bus or mere civilians; it was the classification of people of a certain community as lesser humans, Pakistanis and citizens. Behind the inspiration to carry out such attacks lies an embedded ideology, which has been propagated by the state. The state takes upon itself the responsibility of distinguishing between who is to be a Muslim and who is not. The state has no divine right in making such a distinction, yet it continues to fuel the rhetoric of sectarian conflicts by distinguishing between citizens on the basis of faith.
The state, being an Islamic Republic, fails to conform to the Islamic principles of coexistence. Instead, it offers a narrative of having pride in being better than the ‘disbelievers’, leaving the interpretation of disbelief open. The state ideology shift, which occurred mostly during and after the Zia regime, encourages divides within society on the basis of faith. This divide also expands to service provision, including the provision of security. The ideology is inherently misrepresentative of the state, as its own founding father belonged to the sect massacred in Karachi.
The state also turns a blind eye towards sectarian militants who openly incite violence. It has been responsible for not only failing to extend the ongoing operation against terrorism to these outfits, but it has also refused to end the continued hate speech that is spread through pamphlets, seminars and even places of worship. Stringent checks on the activities of sectarian militant groups are necessary to curb the mentality of ideological superiority. Various sectarian groups, formed on the basis of self-acclaimed ideological superiority, also continue to hold political posts and offices. The complex relationship of the state with these sectarian groups is better understood in the context of their role in Kashmir and various parts of the country where they have a pro-state agenda and narrative. However, complicit support to militant sectarian groups is directly responsible for the exponential increase in sectarian militancy in recent years.
The right to security is universal, and given the constant security threats that people of certain sects face, it is imminent that affirmative action be taken to protect their lives and property. The National Action Plan and the war against militants need to be extended to include the targeting of sectarian militant groups. The acts of hate speech which incite violence need to be halted through checks on the workings of sectarian outfits, which openly preach such beliefs through posters and banners in the heart of Punjab and throughout the country.
The martyrs of yesterday’s attacks must cease to be mere additions to the rising toll of religious extremism and sectarian conflict. The current situation in Iraq, Syria and Yemen should pose as the perfect motivation to bolster efforts against a sectarian conflict which could soon engulf the country worse than it continues to do so right now. Law-enforcement agencies alone cannot be held responsible for the attacks that occurred. The ideology and motivation of such crimes must also be examined, understood and bottled against.

Pakistan: Manifestation of failed state

Pakistan has been placed at number 10 out of 19 countries in the list of 'The Failed State Index: Most vulnerable countries, 2014', compiled by the 'Fund for Peace', a Washington based international NGO, which was founded in 1957 and works to prevent violent conflict and promotes sustainable security. While South Sudan has been ranked number one as a failed state and Afghanistan number seven, Iraq stood at number thirteen. Each country is ranked according to twelve economic, social political and military indicators.
Pakistan's appearing in the list of failed states collated by a credible American NGO of 50 years' standing is plausible.
A failed state has been defined, as "one in which government does not have effective control of its territory, is not perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its populations, does not provide domestic security or basic public service to its citizens and lacks a monopoly on the use of force." All these adverse factors are fairly incorporated in the polity of Pakistan by its short sighted political leadership and power hungry military since inception of the country.
Killing of forty-three and seriously injuring other twenty bus passengers, all belonging to minority Ismaili community (a sub-sect of Shia) at a close range on May 13, 2015 in Karachi by six terrorists belonging to Jundullah faction of the Tehriik-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) has once again raised the creditability of Pakistan as a State. TTP carried out this attack exactly after a day of Nawaz Shraif's return from Kabul, where his visit was primarily focused on Taliban issue. Islamic State (IS) also took responsibility of killings, which is not credible.
This militant attack on a minority community has once again exposed Pakistan's hollow claim in achieving success in reining in militant outfits since launching of military operation 'Zarb-e-Azb' in June 2014, in Waziristan Agency, bordering Afghanistan. Earlier in January 2015, a Shia mosque inShikarpur, Sindh, was attacked by TTP, killing 61 persons and injuring scores of worshipers.
The gravity of law and order and sectarian intolerance situation in Karachi and Baluchistan can be gauged from the fact that after the said incident Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharifcancelled his three-day official visit to Sri Lanka and instead landed at Karachi immediately after killing of Ismailis to review the deteriorating situation in the financial capital of Pakistan. General Raheel also telephoned His Highness Aga Khan, the spiritual head of Ismaili sect and expressed condolences on the incident. Aga Khan described the killings as a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community.
Ahmed Rashid, a senior and reputed Pakistani journalist believed that Pakistan is fighting three civil wars viz: one with Taliban, another with Baluch separatists and third one with multiple ethnic, criminal and Islamic gangs in Karachi. He further asserted that there was no accountability of government and Islamic extremists were carrying out act of terror with impunity.
The basics of a successful State, including sound democracy, human rights, women empowerment, national level welfare schemes related to necessities such as health and water, being considered anti-Islamic by Pakistan, in general, as well as Saudi supported radicals and cleric . Pakistan's irony is that neither civilian government nor army has guts to counter such false notion of radicals affecting country's progress.
Mohd. Ali Jinnah, known as founder of Pakistan in his speech to Pakistan's constitutional assembly on August 11, 1947 had emphasised the need for a secular Pakistan, where all citizens were equal irrespective of 'religion or caste or creed'. However, when Jinnah died in September 1948 shortly after the creation of Pakistan, due to lack of a second tier leadership, the country could not reach consensus on what kind of State it should become.
However, on March 23, 1956, which also happened to be 'Pakistan Day'. Pakistan's first constitution was adopted, proclaiming Pakistan as an Islamic state. With declaring Pakistan as an Islamic state, the rise of right-wing political parties and fundamentalists started in Pakistan.
However, contrary to Jinnah's concept to accommodate all religions, Pakistani Sunnis, found the Pakistan's state being as an Islamic state as an effective tool to subjugate minority Muslims and non-Muslims of the country. Gen Zia's rule (1978-88) encouraged Sunni radicals to propagate their sect vigorously at the cost of other Muslim minorities.
Gen Zia's regime was responsible of fundamentalism; emergence of ISI backed militant Sunni outfits like Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Dawa, radicalism of Pakistan army, unleashing of atrocities on minority Muslims and non Muslims.
While Saudi Arabia got pleased with Zia's being fundamentalist, the USA got opportunity to exploit Gen. Zia for achieving its regional goals in Afghanistan war (1979-89) and pin-down the erstwhile Soviet Union in a battlefield there.
Process of subjugating and killings of minority Muslims and non Muslims started under Zia's regime is still in existence and especially killings of Shia is part of 'Jihadi' legacy left by Gen. Zia's Islamisation of the country.
After the end of Afghan war, Gen Zia and ISI supported Taliban turned into militants and since then their attacks in Pakistan have became a routine affairs. So far, over 40,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks, the country's economy suffered immensely due to this menace and from early 2003 until recently over 4,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and over 13,000 injured during their fight against Taliban.
Significantly, Pakistan army is predominantly responsible for the crumbling of the country as a State. It never allowed the democratic institutions to get strengthened and regularly meddled in the State's affairs making country's democratic values fragile and feeble.
Pakistan army always remained moderate with fundamentalists and grabbed the power through military coups in the year 1958, 1977 and 1999. In addition to it, several coups attempts were also made including in 1949, 1980 and 1995. Pakistan's army ruled the country for over 32 years, starting from self-proclaimed Field Marshall Ayub Khan to first so called Chief Executive then President, General Pervez Musharaf. Notably four military dictators of each military regime left behind a legacy of self destruction for Pakistan.
Notably, whenever Pakistan military seized the power, it created an impression that country needed military rule and remained in power till public anger against military rulers reached to the maximum point. Pakistan army always remained contemptuous of politicians and political parties. It never allowed the democracy to take roots in. Pakistan army always hijacked country's foreign policy towardsIndia and Afghanistan and gave a free hand to ISI to create instability through militancy in India and Afghanistan, price to which, Pakistan as a country is still paying.
Pakistan army's hegemonic attitude not only weakened democratic institutions but also provincial law enforcing agencies, which became virtually incompetent and incapable to control any serious law and order problem without the assistance of army. This is very much visible in Karachi and Baluchistan.
Pakistan is also facing some serious socio economic problems since inception of the country. Some of these have aggravated critically in the recent past. The successive military and civilian governments completely failed to check menace of terrorism, deteriorating law and order situation, corruption, feudalism, disparities amongst provinces due to Punjabi domination and unprecedented gulf between rich and poor and piddling social securities in the field of health, education and water.
At the economic front, Pakistan's condition is pathetic and economic indicators are not encouraging. Pakistan's national currency is consistently devaluing, high rate of inflation, acute shortage of electricity exists due to which factories of textile, cement, sugar are closing, declining exports, lack of resources, population explosion, dropping stock markets, poor managed tax system, and insufficient foreign investments in the country.
Thus, the present day political, economic and social scenario in Pakistan is evincive of the fact that Pakistan can be safely put into the list of a 'Failed State' as the ruling government(s) failed to fulfil the basic responsibilities of a sovereign state.
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How Pakistan Hurts Its People By Blaming India


On Wednesday, Jundullah, a Pakistan-based affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the killing of more than forty members of the Ismaili Shia community in Karachi. The underground Sunni extremist group has threatened to carry out more such attacks on Shias and other non-Muslim religious minorities. Since Pakistan has offered rich soil to Islamic extremists, both local and international, for at least three decades, it was not unexpected to see a new nexus between the militant groups in Pakistan and the Islamic State.
Despite Jundullah's acceptance of its involvement in the Karachi massacre, the country's foreign secretary,Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, immediately raised fingers on India and blamed its intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for its alleged involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan. The foreign secretary's statement was consistent with the stance of the Pakistani army that also recentlynamed the Indian spymasters for the first time in the public for "whipping up terrorism in Pakistan".
Blaming India for bad governance inside Pakistan is as old as the country's creation in 1947. With the passage of time, this practice (of blaming India) has worked so well in the country's politics that the civilian, military and religious leaders all use it to hide their failures and externalize the blame. However, this is approach is tremendously hurting the ordinary people in Pakistan. As extremist violence increases in mainland Pakistan and innocent citizens lose their lives in suicide attacks, bomb blasts, mass shootings and attacks on religious and educational institutions are resulting in the death of hundreds and thousands of people. Despite this, the military, civilian leadership and the clergy have a perturbing nexus to blame the Indians instead of taking action against the domestic terrorist groups that not only blatantly carry out these acts of terror but also immediately call newspaper offices to brazenly accept responsibility for masterminding these attacks. They are confident that nobody is going to come after them.
By not taking action against the homegrown terrorists, dismantling their huge infrastructure and putting the blame on foreign entities, the Pakistani authorities are indeed becoming complicit in the loss of precious human lives. Citizens who are killed in these terrorist attacks will unfortunately not get justice only because someone somewhere in the country's power circles benefits from such instability and blame game. In Pakistan's case, the army, which receives a substantial chunk of the national budget, survives and thrives by perpetuating the Indian threat. The army uses religious leaders and right-wing journalists to promote anti-Indianism. This hatred is systematically inculcated in the minds of the young Pakistanis through hateful textbooks, jingoistic television talks-shows and anti-India literature distributed by Jihadist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Pakistan has done itself an extraordinary disservice by intentionally selling India as an enemy to its people. So much has changed in our world because of the Internet and social media but sadly the breakthrough has not occurred for the people of India and Pakistan to connect with each other. Actual first-hand interactions are such a powerful agent of shattering the status quo that those, who benefit from keeping the people of the two countries away from each other, will never let the gates of public interaction open.
In 2005 when I visited India as an exchange student through a very rare opportunity at the age of twenty-three, I went there with a heavy baggage of prior indoctrination against India and its people. I was certainly not to be blamed for my skepticism and preconceived notions about my host country. After all, I was, like millions of other young Pakistani students, only a product of the official textbooks that preached hatred toward India and the non-Muslims, particularly the Hindus.
Think about a young man meeting the first Hindu in his life at the age of twenty-three. That was me. And then imagine his dilemma if he had been brainwashed, again through the official textbooks, that it was not okay to be friends with the Hindus, shake hands or eat meals with them, worse if it is cooked by the non-Muslims? Of course, India was not as glamorous as Bollywood but neither the country nor its people were as abominable as the Pakistani textbooks and conservative Urdu language newspapers had (mis)informed us. Reluctant but gradual and consistent interactions with the Indian students helped me unlearn many lessons from the Pakistani communal education system and learn new lessons to appreciate and embrace diversity and pluralism.
But how many Pakistani students are lucky to go to India or vice versa? Very very few. Unfortunately, the scholarship that enabled me to go to India had to be disbanded after a few years because students from both sides of the border were never issued visas because of incessant political tensions and diplomatic mistrust. Students from the two countries normally get to meet and know each other in the international universities instead of being able to attend the universities in the region. When one of my classmates from India met me in Harvard, she exclaimed that it was the first time in her life that she had ever met someone from Pakistan. She was stunned that we spoke the same language and enjoyed the identical food. She and I coauthored an op-ed calling for more interactions among the people of the two countries. I believe there needs to be more noise on the part of us, the internationally educated youth of the two countries who have also had the extraordinary opportunity of making friendships and learning from each other inside international classrooms and amid intense yet respectful discussions on politics, religion and other controversial topics.
Pakistan and India should learn from the US-China model. Although Washington and Beijing are fierce competitors in almost all walks of life, the United States has opened the doors of its top universities and colleges for the Chinese students. An American education does not make the Chinese students less patriotic but it certainly helps in broadening these students' understanding of the life in the United States and cultivating true friendships. When these returning students assume top government positions, they certainly will not encourage their government to bomb a country where they made lifelong friendships and obtained valuable degrees.
Kishore Mahbubani,one of Asia's top thinkers, rightly described this partnershipbetween the U.S. and China.
"What is one thing that will surprise the future generations of historians when China will overtake the United States as the world's number one power?" It is American generosity to open the doors of its prestigious educational institutions for the students from all over the world, including China, America's main competitor."
Similarly, if hundreds or thousands of Indian and Pakistani students attend each other's universities every year, we will witness an unbelievable change in the perceptions, attitude, public opinion and even government policies of the two countries within a few years. This has to happen so that the younger generation of the Pakistanis will take over the policy world in Islamabad and refuses to subscribe to the world vision and the mindset that is espoused by the generation of the current foreign secretary.
In 2009, I was invited to speak in a track-II Pakistan-India conference in Singapore. The two-day conference brought together retired top army generals, federal ministers, diplomats, politicians and journalists from both the countries. As the youngest among all the delegates, I was astonished to see former Indian and Pakistani generals and diplomats sitting in the hotel bar, drinking whisky, sharing sexist Urdu/Hindi jokes and then laughing merrily and loudly as if they were high school buddies. They recited romantic poetry from Mirza Ghalib, the legendary Urdu poet from the eighteenth century, and lavishly admired each other's Adabi Zoq or poetic flavor. There was no animosity among these powerful men. They gave each other high fives.
For a moment, I wondered if these guys would ever wage a war against each other. I also found it hard to believe that these generals and diplomats actually hated each other as much as they encouraged the ordinary people in their countries to do so. This is precisely what happens when men in power prevent the people from interacting and shut down all avenues of cultural and academic exchange. This duplicity should stop because more than a billion Indians and Pakistanis deserve better. Our children even deserve better than us.