Thursday, June 4, 2015

Turkish Music Video - EBRU YAŞAR FT. TAN - CUMARTESİ

#TurkeyElections - The last exit before dictatorship


The expectation is that this Sunday there will be a very high turnout of Turks casting their votes in parliamentary elections, which may either usher Turkey’s governance system toward an elected dictatorship or save the fragile democracy badly hurt by the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 13-year-old majoritarian understanding.

For some reason every single national vote in Turkey – be it mayoral, parliamentary, presidential, or a referendum on a constitutional amendments package – has been very important. Of course, such votes in this country of over 77 million ought to be important. But this election, over and above all the previous ones, will be of existential importance; in a sense, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his political Islam clan have been correct when they claim that Turkey is at the threshold of a second “war of liberation.”

Turkey’s War of Liberation was a heroic one. How the nation waged the war with very limited resources, with an under-armed and undermanned force but with a national mobilization spirit is a legend. What kind of second “war of liberation” might the country be waging now? Is it, as claimed by Erdoğan and his political clan, a war to achieve recourse to the pre-republic imperial era? Or is it one to prevent the retardation to neo-imperial hallucinations and save the republican heritage?

The recent controversy on the reporting of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) lorries, veiled by a “state secret” cover clamped down by the government, is a vivid example of the state of today’s Turkey. Journalists do not do their profession to please the government of any country. People can spend days discussing whether the ethics of the profession, nationalist feelings or political allegiances should come before journalism. But any sober mind must agree that if a journalist writes about a major scandal and documents his claims with photographs they a president should not then openly vow in front of cameras to cut that journalist down to size.

Such a journalist must be awarded the highest journalistic prize of that country for his excellence in reporting something awful but so strongly veiled by the government. How on earth can the mentality in government target that journalist and how can a prosecutor of that country demand two enforced life sentences against that journalist?

There are plenty of anomalies in this “advanced democracy” of the “New Turkey” of Erdoğan’s governance.

The domestication of media bosses through hefty tax fines, the venomous statements against all parts of society critical of the government, the consolidation of polarization, and the thickening climate of fear have all become characteristics of the “advanced democracy” of Erdoğan’s “Turkish-style presidency.” What kind of presidential system Erdoğan is aspiring to? One with absolute power but with no checks and balances. But when critics say the president aspires to become an elected dictator, Erdoğan gets angry.

Is there anything wrong in Erdoğan being angry at someone or some issue? Not at all. The problem is that when he gets angry at someone - on any issue - that person or institution is barred from all public contact or public tenders (that is if an officious prosecutor hasn’t already asked for a life sentence against them). Is it sane, for God’s sake, for a journalist to face over 100 years in jail just because what he wrote was not appreciated by the top executive of the country? Is it sane for a broadcasting group head to sit in jail for months because the synopsis of a soap opera that is no longer on air allegedly contained incitement to crime? Can judges be dismissed and prosecuted just because they made decisions that the political authority did not like? Remember the Ergenekon and the Sledgehammer cases: Lives devastated and acquittals that came years later. Does Turkey deserve such obsessive governance, which if further consolidated on Sunday might take the dimension of an elected dictatorship?

Going to the voting booths on Sunday, Turkish voters must remember all these things, as well as the aspiration to become part of the European club of democracies. They must spend few moments deciding what kind of Turkey they want to see.

Turkey deserves a functioning democracy aligned with the club of democracies in Europe. Sunday’s vote, in a way, is the last exit for Turks before dictatorship.

Video Report - Turkey - Erdogan party in trouble before Turkey vote

Video Report - Yemenis demand punishment for Saudi Arabia

#Backlash raises plight of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

Author Interview: Jessie Wingard
A new social media campaign has been launched to raise the plight of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. It's hoped the movement will "open people's eyes," says the movement's leader Nathan Newman.
 In an interview with DW, the campaign's leader, Nathan Newman, talks about the importance of the social media #backlash campaign and need to raise awareness of the atrocities occurring in Saudi Arabia.
The campaign, which launched on June 1, aims to shed light on the punishment inflicted on people who speak out in favor of freedom of expression - such as Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

DW: What is the #Backlash campaign?
Nathan Newman: #Backlash is a 15-week social media protest which has Raif Badawi as a figurehead and symbol for the oppression the Saudi population is being put under right now.
The campaign is being run over 15 weeks. What is the significance of that?
We're looking to pick up mass momentum, essentially, and there have been a lot of great campaigns so far and a lot of support from international groups. We've found that it's created a lot of media and it's time to consolidate [all of that] and pressure folks who won't campaign. So our efforts are more long-term than maybe those of other campaigns, and we hope that by the time the 15th week comes along we'll have picked up a lot more momentum.
Nathan Newman #Backlash social media Kampagne
Newman hopes the #Backlash campaign will help raise awareness of the atrocities in Saudi Arabia
What is the inspiration behind the #Backlash campaign?
I come from a social media background and I think social media has made a lot of changes in society. The Internet has helped democratize information and its spread and social media has sort of accelerated it. I've seen movements and causes like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and a few others that maybe aren't as wholesome pop up over the last two or three years. And, it feels like there is a climate right now where people want to get involved in a cause and they want something which is a statement. So for us the mechanics behind the campaign were all geared around making a statement as boldly as we possibly could and to reach as many people as we possibly could.
The #Backlash campaign starts today, June 1. What do you hope it will achieve?
We have found that there is too much ignorance about the problems in Saudi Arabia and in particular how censored that country is - and how a lot of other countries turn a blind eye to the atrocities there.
We hope to achieve mass media attention. There is a lot of education we can do in terms of [explaining] the climate in Saudi Arabia right now. Everything that surrounds the Raif Badawi case is quite shocking, and we have found that it's been quite hard to get widespread media attention. What we've been getting to date has been great but we feel that it's important to take that even further, to put pressure on the Saudi regime and on the situation that is unfolding there right now.
It's amazing to see just how quickly this has taken off. Just seven days ago we had 350 interactions, which was obviously next to nothing. As of 1830 UTC today we've had 529,300 impressions across all of our (social media) accounts. Our approach and the content marketing behind what we've done so far - to go from something like 350 impressions to half a million will maybe open people's eyes a little bit more as well.
How can people do that? How can people get involved in the online protest?
It's quite simple really: All they have to do is take off their shirts, grab a lipstick and draw a lash on their back - preferably with a red lipstick so it stands there nice and bright. You can then take a picture of that lash and post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #backlash and they can also tag us with@backlashgroup so we can see it.
It's as simple as that - if you see any other lashes, we welcome it if you share them to help spread the campaign as far and wide as possible. So far the support has been fantastic - it's been truly international, with people contributing content from countries we haven't even started to see the campaign in yet. It's been overwhelming.
There is no limit to the number of times people can participate, and we are thinking people might start nominating each other. It's one of those things, people don't want to be told what to do, but as soon as something starts to pick up you have them jumping on to what is happening and things sort of take on a little consciousness of their own.
Why are you doing the campaign now?
The anniversary of Badawi's [imprisonment] is coming up on June 17 and Ramadan is also coming up and we know that traditionally people are pardoned around that time. There is also a climate surrounding FIFA and the controversy there and it seems like it's the right time at the moment for this sort of campaign.
Nathan Newman heads the #Backlash social media campaign to raise awareness of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced in May 2014 to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a major fine for insulting Islam online.

Music Video - Bon Jovi - I'll Be There For You

Hillary Clinton calls for sweeping expansion of voter access

By Anne Gearan and Niraj Chokshi

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called for sweeping changes in national voter access laws aimed at making it easier for young people and minorities to take part in elections, putting her on a collision course with Republicans who say such reforms are a political ploy that would lead to widespread abuses.
In a speech at a historically black college here, Clinton called for federal legislation that would automatically register Americans to vote at age 18 and would mandate at least 20 days of early voting ahead of election days in all states.
Making her most fiercely partisan political speech since her first, failed run for president in 2008, Clinton attacked Republicans for what she characterized as a calculated attempt to turn back the clock on voting rights — and called out several potential 2016 opponents by name for backing voter restrictions as governors.
“Today Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” Clinton said during a speech at Texas Southern University. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?”

The pointed attacks and sweeping policy proposals signal that Clinton intends to make voter access a major plank in her campaign platform — a move aimed at firing up the Democratic base and portraying her GOP opponents as suppressing votes. Her campaign’s top lawyer, Marc Elias, has co-filed lawsuits over voting access in Ohio and Wisconsin — both key presidential battleground states with Republican governors who may join the 2016 race.
The Republican National Committee accused Clinton of being “misleading and divisive,” and noted that her home state of New York does not provide early voting. “Her exploitation of this issue only underscores why voters find her dishonest and untrustworthy,” RNC spokesman Orlando Watson said in a statement.
During her speech, Clinton said Republican state legislatures are intentionally restricting voting by curtailing early access to the polls and other measures in an effort to suppress Democratic turnout. Among the potential opponents she singled out for criticism were New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Florida governor Jeb Bush; and former Texas governor Rick Perry, who announced his own second run for the White House Thursday
“Today there are people who offer themselves to be leaders whose actions have undercut this fundamental American principle” of a free vote, Clinton said.
Nationwide mandatory voter registration would generally help Democrats, whose support frequently comes from younger, poorer and minority groups that may also be less likely to sign up to vote at 18 on their own. That change and a mandatory minimum period for early voting would have to be approved by Congress — now controlled by Republicans — so it is unlikely to happen in time to benefit Clinton in the 2016 election if she is the Democratic nominee.
“None of them will come easily,” she acknowledged in her speech.

About 71 percent of eligible adults nationwide are registered to vote, according to Census figures, and a lower percentage actually show up at the polls. Registration and turnout tend to be higher among older and relatively affluent white voters, who are also more likely to vote Republican.
Under universal voter registration, every citizen would be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthday, unless they actively opt out.
The requirement for in-person early voting that Clinton seeks would also mandate that polling places have weekend and evening hours.
Although early voting has become fairly common in the last decade, many Republicans say it increases the opportunity for fraudulent voting. Republicans have raised similar objections to same-day registration and other efforts — many of them led by Democrats — to make voting easier or more convenient. Clinton dismissed such complaints as unfounded.
Election analysts generally agree that voter fraud is rare, although there have been a handful of well-publicized examples of fraudulent names being added to the rolls.
Clinton’s address comes as Democrats are pursuing legal challenges to voting rule changes approved by Republican legislatures in several states.
“This is, I think, a moment when we should be expanding the franchise,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in an interview Wednesday. “What we see in state after state is this effort by conservatives to restrict the right to vote.”
In recent weeks, Elias has co-filed lawsuits over voting access in Ohio and Wisconsin — both key presidential battleground states with Republican governors who may join the 2016 race.
“This lawsuit concerns the most fundamental of rights guaranteed citizens in our representative democracy — the right to vote,” the lawyers wrote in a federal complaint filed Friday in Wisconsin.
Since the 2010 Republican wave, 21 states have implemented new laws restricting voting access, some cutting back on early voting hours and others limiting the number of documents considered valid identification to vote, according to a new analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan think tank at the New York University School of Law. For 14 of those states, the 2016 contest will be the first presidential election with the new restrictions in place.
Some limits also flowed from the 2013 Supreme Court decision that invalidated some parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The day that decision came down, Perry praised it as a “clear victory for federalism and the states” and vowed to proceed with the implementation of a strict photo ID requirement, previously blocked under the law. That requirement is currently being challenged in court, with a resolution expected as soon as this summer.
About three dozen states and D.C. offer early voting of some kind, allowing voters to cast ballots before Election Day without an excuse. The average early voting period is roughly 22 days, the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures reported earlier this year.
Oregon’s breakthrough “new motor voter” law passed earlier this year is the closest any state has come to the kind of automatic registration endorsed by Clinton. She praised Oregon as a leader in modernizing antiquated voting procedures, including paper registration.
Under the new law, all Oregonians applying for a new or updated driver’s license are automatically added to the voter rolls, unless they opt-out. The state has estimated that the law will add about 300,000 voters to the rolls.
Younger voters are the least likely to be registered to vote and have tilted toward Democrats in recent years. In 2012, the Census Bureau reported 57 percent of citizens under age 30 were registered to vote, compared with 78 percent of those ages 55 and older. Voters under age 30 supported Barack Obama by a 29 percentage point margin over Mitt Romney, according to network exit polls (66 to 37 percent).
In 2008 and 2012 African American turnout rates surged to match or exceed turnout among whites for the first time, but a central question in 2016 is whether blacks will turn out at similar levels when President Obama is not on the ballot.
Hispanics and Asians – groups Obama won by wide margins as well– vote at far lower rates than the whites and African Americans, representing a large untapped pool of Democratic support. Automatic registration among these groups may encourage more voting participation.
Exit polls in 2012 found that Obama racked up a 7-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters, compared with a 1-point edge among those casting ballots on Election Day.
Democrats’ advantage among early voters was less clear according to voter registration data tracked by the U.S. Elections Project. In five of seven states where data are available, Democrats made up about the same percentage of early voters as they did on Election Day.

Video Report - President Obama Congratulates Giants on World Series Win

Video Report - U.S. - Massive cyberattack on federal government

‘Where’s the $500 mn?’ Red Cross promises houses for 130,000 Haitians, ’builds only 6’

An investigation has found that the American Red Cross wasted $500 million in its bid to help Haiti, underperformed in its programs, and then tried to cover it up. Despite the NGO’s celebrated success, insider accounts point to failures.
When a devastating earthquake struck the Western hemisphere’s poorest country in 2010, the American Red Cross was one of the organizations at the forefront of the humanitarian effort to rebuild it a year later, launching a multi-million-dollar effort.
The main program – LAMIKA (a Creole acronym for ‘A Better Life in My Neighborhood’) – was to build hundreds of permanent homes to house some 130,000 people living in abject poverty after the quake.
Now, in 2015, the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Campeche is as dilapidated as ever, with hardly any new buildings, trash strewn around, animals walking the streets, and people enduring sub-standard conditions in self-made shacks.
“Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water,” an introduction to a report says.
An investigation by NPR and ProPublica gained access to “confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders” familiar with how the NGO broke its promises, misspent millions of dollars, and then issued self-congratulatory progress statements.
The ensuing report reveals very different results to the ones outlined in CEO Gail McGovern’s project plan for Haiti, which promised “brand new communities” that would make “donors proud” and “help the people in Haiti.” She claimed her experience had made her more “flexible during emergencies.”
A Haitian woman living in a tent camp for people affected by the January 2010 earthquake covers her face as she reacts after her tent home was destroyed by Tropical Storm Isaac outside of Port-au-Prince August 26, 2012. (Reuters/Swoan Parker)
A Haitian woman living in a tent camp for people affected by the January 2010 earthquake covers her face as she reacts after her tent home was destroyed by Tropical Storm Isaac outside of Port-au-Prince August 26, 2012. (Reuters/Swoan Parker)

The investigation pointed to a series of systematic blunders and untruths surrounding the Haiti effort, however.
The Red Cross’s internal proposal put the number of houses to be built at 700 by January 2013. In reality, only six houses were actually constructed.
“We asked the Red Cross to show us around its projects in Haiti so we could see the results of its work. It declined,” the report reads.
Part of the reason behind the failure is that the Red Cross “didn’t have the know-how” and “they had no development experience,” former employees said.
In some cases, the NGO would give millions to other groups. Poor supervision and lack of proper oversight allowed these subcontractors to rack up inordinate bills for management and overhead costs.
Another issue that could have hindered the Red Cross’s work in Haiti is trouble with the country’s“dysfunctional” land title system.
Reuters/Allison Shelley
Reuters/Allison Shelley

Other groups, which the report does not name, had similar problems but, according to the data,“ultimately built 9,000 homes compared to the Red Cross’s six.”
Another possible reason for the dismal results, pointed out by current and former employees, was “an overreliance” on expats who could not speak French or Creole. The Red Cross’s statement, however, said that over 90 percent of people hired were Haitians. That didn’t seem to be reflected in the top positions, however, according to the authors of the report.
According to the report, the NGO displayed an arrogant attitude to national staff – some of the very few people who could speak French and the local Creole. In some cases, the Red Cross actively discouraged their participation. This led to poor communication with the local population and, ultimately, to the failure of the outreach project.
“Going to meetings with the community when you don’t speak the language is not productive,” one Haitian who worked on the project in Campeche said, adding that meetings would be skipped altogether at times.
An earthquake survivor washes his hands in a bucket, donated by Haiti's Red Cross to control infections, near a damaged helicopter in a provisional camp in downtown Port-au-Prince October 30, 2010. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)
An earthquake survivor washes his hands in a bucket, donated by Haiti's Red Cross to control infections, near a damaged helicopter in a provisional camp in downtown Port-au-Prince October 30, 2010. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Some $140,000 was spent on housing, food, and R&R for a foreign project manager, who also enjoyed four paid leaves a year. That comes to more than $100,000 more than would have been spent on a local equivalent.
“A lot of money was spent on those people who were not Haitian, who had nothing to do with Haiti. The money was just going back to the United States,” one Haitian who coordinated expat housing for the Red Cross confessed.
At the same time, Red Cross officials focused more on programs which would generate good publicity than those providing the most homes, according to testimony from Lee Malany, the project manager of the shelter program.
He recalled a Washington meeting where top officials had no idea what to do with the millions they’d been given for housing projects.
The organization would not provide details on how it spent the almost $500 million that it received, nor give specific details of how its projects were carried out. However, various promotional statements estimated that the initiative had repaired some 4,000 homes, erected temporary shelters for thousands of families, and donated $44 million for food aid and hospital construction.
“The Red Cross’s public reports offer only broad categories about where $488 million in donations has gone,” according to the authors of the report.
A woman washes her clothes in a pond close to Cite Soleil, in Port-au-Prince, March 21, 2015. (Reuters/Andres Martinez Casares)
A woman washes her clothes in a pond close to Cite Soleil, in Port-au-Prince, March 21, 2015. (Reuters/Andres Martinez Casares)

Five years since the quake, a report by McGovern says: “Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross.”
The organization claimed that it had helped 4.5 million Haitians, but according to reporters “there is reason to doubt” that.
Asked if there was any truth to the Red Cross’s claims, Haiti’s Prime Minister didn’t seem to know how the numbers could add up: “No, no… it’s not possible,” Jean-Max Bellerive said, stressing that the country’s entire population is only about 10 million.
“What the Red Cross told us is that they are coming here to change Campeche. Totally change it,” the report cites Jean Flaubert, the head of a community group set up by the Red Cross, as saying. “Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about. I think the Red Cross is working for themselves.”
The Red Cross had already been embroiled in several scandals following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, but that did not matter to the many people, organizations and US celebrities who continued to support it.
The Haiti earthquake was touted as “a spectacular fundraising opportunity” within the organization, according to one former official involved with the program.
A great number of high-profile people and organizations donated to the cause, including Michelle Obama, many Hollywood A-listers, and the NFL.
It later turned out that the organization continued to collect funds for emergency relief projects even after it had hit its targets. The extra money was found to have been put toward eradicating the American Red Cross’s own debt, which exceeded $100 million.

A. Nayyar: Pakistani Christian Legend whose voice melts our hearts even today

Arthur Nayyar, popularly known as A. Nayyar is a living legend. He was born on 17th, September 1950. Nayyar belongs to a Pakistani Christian family and started his career as a singer in the Pakistani music industry in 1974 when he sang a duet with Rubina Badar. He has sung songs of all genres but found a new generation of fans with popular numbers.
In his early years, Nayyar and family lived in Arifwala where his father served as a government employee. It was the time when there was no TV or radio and all that was available to Nayyar to keep his interest in music alive was a cinema near his home.
After moving to Lahore, Nayyar joined St. Francis School where he completed his matriculation. Even in school Nayyar was part of many singing competitions and kept on rehearsing before every performance. Then he joined Forman Christian College to pursue further education. His teachers and friends were fond of his music and they arranged music programs on a regular basis.
With no proper music training, Nayyar learnt the basics of music from Samuel Mumtaz, a local Pastor who had the proper know-how of music. Nayyar also listened to maestros like Kishor Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jahan, and Lata Mangeshkar to polish his skills in the unavailability of a music teacher.
After repeated attempts of gaining recognition, in 1973 he got a break in PTV through a program ‘Naey Fankaar’ produced by Rafique Warraich. The program aimed at introducing new talent. Then Nayyar got an opportunity to perform in ‘Hum Sukhan’ produced by Athar Waqar Azeem. As the show also featured popular singers of the era, Nayyar gained recognition as the program was televised many times.
The year 1974 came with a big break in the film industry for Nayyar and he debuted with a song in the movie ‘Bahisht’. After collaborating with maestros of that time, his career took off and there was no turning back until the 90’s. The press called him ‘one man show’ and termed him as the only male singer in the industry.
Nayyar’s career saw a downfall as the culture of the Pakistani film industry changed and as he had a passion of not compromising on lyrics, he faced a set back. Nayyar also sang Punjabi songs with legendary Madam Noor Jahan for almost a decade.
According to EMI, Nayyar has sung about 4200 films, television and radio songs. He has served the country with sincerity and devotion. Arthur Nayyar received seven Nigar, eight Graduate, four Bolan, and a National and Presidential award.

- See more at:

Balochistan - How A Road Destroyed Economy Of Awaran

By Shabir Rakhshani
Turbat road was the main route that connected Turbat with Awaran and both these districts with Karachi. Turbat road was not only the main route for transportation of passengers and goods but it was also primary source of livelihood for people living in settlements located along the road.
This road connected Turbat, Mand, Buleda, Hoshab, Josak, dander and bedrang towns with Karachi via Awaran. Turbat road was not an Asphalt road but despite that transporters of Turbat and adjoining areas used it for travelling to Karachi and Quetta. Stretching 278 Kilometers from Awaran to Turbat, when this road was damaged in monsoon rains Building and Roads (B&R) departments of both Awaran and Turbat districts carried out the repair work.
Non-air conditioned buses and Goods carrying vehicles transported passenger and items of daily usage from Karachi to Turbat. People living in Lasbela to Awaran depended upon “Turbat road” for their livelihood. Along this road several restaurants, tea stalls, puncture shops and vehicle repair shops were found which provided all the necessary goods and services to passengers and transporters travelling on this road. This road was the only source of livelihood for all the people that worked in shops and restaurants that were situated on this road. In addition to that, people living adjacent to this road used to get different items of daily usage on affordable rates and Iranian oil reaching through this road had changed fortunes of many local traders.
Existing condition of Turbat Road
During the regime of President Pervez Musharraf new road projects were approved for Makran region.  Two main roads projects were coastal highway and improvement work onAwaran-Lasbela road. Coastal Highway connects Karachi with Gwadar and work on the project started in 2001 and completed in just two years. After completion of this road people of Turbat were completely disconnected from Awaran as they now used the coastal highway instead of Turbat Road to travel to Karachi.
Lasbela to Awaran road was built but the Turbat Road was not upgraded to an asphalt road. This provided the transporters with the excuse of avoid traveling from this road on the pretext of its poor condition. All the shops, restaurants and stalls situated on Turbat road lost their customers and all people working in them lost their source of livelihood. With the passage of time all the commercial centers located on Turbat road turned into ruins and the landscape of the region entirely changed.
Moula Baksh, a resident of Gishkor town of Awaran, used to run a restaurant on Turbat road. He recounts that his restaurant did very well from 1985 to 2003. “I used to earn Rupees 25,000 to 30,000 a day and I employed 15 people,” Mr. Baksh told The Balochistan Point. After construction of coastal highway Moula Baksh had to close down his restaurant and he along with 15 other people lost their only source of livelihood.
Abdul Samad, a farmer based in Gishkor town told The Balochistan Point that “When Turbat Road was functional farmers of Awaran could get oil on cheap prices and could also transport their agriculture goods with ease.” He added, “Coastal Highway has ruined agriculture in Awaran and now oil is available at four times higher rates.”
Mir Abdul Rasheed, a notable of Awaran alleges that coastal highway project was deliberately used to destroy the economy of Awaran. He maintains that 635 kilometer long coastal highway only benefits human settlement in Pasni and Ormara, whereas Turbat road benefitted hundreds of thousands of people. “If Turbat Road had been upgraded during Musharraf’s regime then today fate of Awaran would have been totally different,” Lamented Mr. Rasheed while talking to The Balochistan Point.
Awaran of 2015 is totally different from the Awaran of 2003. In past horns of traffic flowing 24 hours a day didn’t let people sleep and now, according to residents, there are hardly 10 to 15 vehicles using the Turbat road. Deserted roads present a frightening picture for any stranger to the town of Awaran. Construction of coastal highway rendered Turbat road non-functional and snatched the primary source of livelihood from the people of Awaran. According to sources, this provided a conducive environment for people of Awaran to pickup weapons and take part in the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan. As a result, Awaran is currently the one of thr most disturbed districts from insurgency in Balochistan.
On 23rd September 2013, a devastating earthquake flattened Awaran and resulted in deaths of 500 people and over 200,000 people were rendered homeless. This earthquake further exacerbated the economic plight of Awaran that had its roots in construction of Coastal highway.
People of Awaran, while talking to The Balochistan Point, demanded from government that Asphalt roads connecting Awaran with Turbat and Karachi should be constructed on priority basis.

Pakistan - Lessons from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa local polls

NOTHING that happened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the local government elections, including violence, mismanagement and electoral malpractices, was unexpected. While every effort should be made to address the complaints made by the various parties, the authorities concerned must try to ensure that local elections in the other provinces are not controversial.
The KP elections confirmed the increased importance of local government in the country’s politics. Even in the days before 2002 when local bodies did not enjoy the financial resources and political clout they acquired under the Musharraf regime, influential political families kept one foot firmly in local politics. The tradition was evident in the latest local elections; practically every political heavyweight had a young surrogate in the field. And local bodies will always serve as a stepping stone for upward mobility.
The Musharraf regime made local government institutions enormously rich and powerful to the extent that all provincial governments dismantled that structure at the first opportunity. Under the new laws the provincial governments have drastically curtailed the local bodies’ powers and acquired extraordinary powers to control them. Since local government institutions deal with citizens’ basic needs, social welfare infrastructure, security and environmental protection, it will not be possible for the provincial governments to keep them in bondage for long though they will take time before achieving their rightful status as the third tier of constitutional authority.

There is complete consensus that Saturday’s poll was grossly mismanaged.

The pull of visibility at the local level apart, local government elections awaken ambition in a much larger number of bosoms than in the case of polls for the provincial/federal assemblies. A relatively small following can secure one a place in a local body. Thus the results of local elections in Pakistan will be somewhat different from provincial/federal elections till political parties succeed in subsuming local level groupings. Only then will local elections become as correct a barometer of public opinion as elections to higher tiers.
This has been confirmed to some extent by signs of the Awami National Party’s recovery. It should now be possible for the party’s cadres to grow out of the despair the organisation’s 2013 rout had created. However, any significant improvement in the ANP’s fortunes will depend on its leadership’s capacity to heal internal fissures and regain its reputation for integrity.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf perhaps did not fully understand the difference between local and higher elections in the current situation and was visibly keen to demonstrate that it had become stronger over the last two years of its rule. Evidence is already available to show that some of the party’s young workers tried to get away with the use of muscle power. The conduct of a provincial minister was enough to lend credence to the rival parties’ allegations of malpractices.
Unfortunately, the clamour against large-scale interference in the polling has been joined not only by almost all the opposition parties but also by PTI’s coalition partner, Jamaat-i-Islami. The PTI must address these complaints in a fair manner. It should be extra-jealous of its reputation, particularly in view of the public support it has gathered by its campaign for fair elections. How serious Imran Khan is about holding the local elections afresh is not clear but the gesture is worthy of appreciation and it could furnish a basis for a settlement acceptable to all parties, even without a re-election.
While the killing of about a dozen persons in election-related violence can only be regretted the scale of violence has mercifully been less than one had feared in view of the presence of militants who had caused havoc in 2013. Did the extremists hold their hand because the parties on their hit list were unlikely to win? If that were the case the implication will be that the militants do not wish to interfere in elections if the parties holding no-objection certificates from them have the upper hand. The democrats cannot be complacent.
There is complete consensus that Saturday’s poll was grossly mismanaged. The KP government is manifestly in the wrong when it blames the Election Commission for the security lapses. However, the ECP apparently failed to adequately train the polling staff. One does not know what arrangements had been made to enable the ECP officials to take timely action whenever and wherever disorder was reported, but no efficient mechanism for a quick response seems to have been put in place.
The large number of ballots a voter was required to stamp increased the time per vote cast and caused delays and bottlenecks. The ECP says it had suggested a staggered poll but the KP government denies this. This is a matter of fact that can easily be established. The problem will have to be resolved in a manner that local elections in Punjab and Sindh are not marred.
Despite the fact that women were prevented from voting at several places, the KP elections have brought the campaigners for women’s rights a victory they richly deserved. The scale of women’s defiance of the powerful patriarchs encourages the hope that before long it will be impossible to deny women’s right to franchise anywhere.
The process will surely be expedited by the ECP’s landmark decision to order fresh election in KP-95, where women had been barred from voting in the recent by-election. It is a victory for both the voiceless women of Lower Dir and the intrepid activists who stood up for them across the country. The anti-women forces are unlikely to accept defeat and therefore the need for the democratic activists to remain vigilant cannot be over-emphasised.

Pakistan - President’s speech disappointed people

Opposition leader Khursheed Shah on Thursday said that President Mamnoon Hussain’s address would have disappointed the people as it was written by the government in which only the performance of the government was praised whereas nothing was said regarding the benefit of ordinary people.
While talking to journalists after the joint session of the Parliament, he said that Pakistan possesses 10000 megawatt capacity but the government has not informed the president about it. He also stated that the president talked about cricket whereas it would have been better if the matches were conducted elsewhere besides Lahore.
Talking about economy, Khursheed expressed that despite the decline in interest rates people have not been benefited whereas no step has been taken to control the continuously growing population. The opposition leader praised the Sindh government for deciding not to create any obstacle in implementing law and order in the province.
He reiterated that there is no second opinion on Operation Zarb-e-Azab and economic corridor. He also asked the government to call All Parties Conference (APC) on the matter of foreign policy in which the military leadership should also be summoned.

Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar - سپیا که سمن ګله