Saturday, June 6, 2015

Music Video - Ebru Polat - Aradım Seni

#TurkeyElections - AK Party’s transformation in power: from dream to nightmare

Before first coming to power at the end of 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had vowed to fight corruption, poverty and legal prohibitions, a discourse that appealed to a large segment of Turkish society at the time because its rhetoric was in perfect harmony with the expectations of most voters.

But having arrived at the end of its third consecutive term in office since the 2002 general election, the AK Party is deeply involved in the very vices it had once promised to fight and the situation has turned into a nightmare for many. As things stand, the ruling party -- which came to power only a year after it was established -- has now a stance diametrically opposed to ideals for which it once set out to fight for. Ertuğrul Yalçınbayır, the founding secretary general of the AK Party, realized as early as 2007 that the party had left its original course.
According to Yalçınbayır, who cut off ties with the party before elections in 2007, mismanagement in the party and a failure to take decisions after broad consultations led to corruption in the government. Yalçınbayır, who also served as a deputy prime minister in the first AK Party government, told Sunday's Zaman: “The AK Party came to power because it inspired hope in people, but it has turned into a nightmare due to mismanagement and the failure to monitor the mismanagement.”
It was back in 2007 that then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started to hold all the reins in the party. Particularly after winning elections for a third time in 2011 with half the vote, the AK Party, apparently intoxicated with power, became more and more authoritarian and started to use the powers of the state against dissidents, considering itself to represent the state.
As was adroitly expressed by English historian John Acton more than 100 years ago, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The elimination of those who spoke out against mismanagement intimidated those who chose to remain in the party into self-censorship. “When the freedom to express one's views was restricted, corruption began. When the rot is there, it is not possible to fight bans or corruption and you cannot eradicate poverty,” Yalçınbayır, said. Never a truer word spoken!
The general public got acquainted with the authoritarian face of the government mainly with the environmentalist Gezi Park protests of the summer of 2013, which rocked the country. Then-Prime Minister Erdoğan described Twitter as a “nuisance” at the time because it allowed young people to easily communicate with one another to organize protests.
Erdoğan revealed his true colors when he described those who took part in protests as “looters” to demonize them.
The entrance to Gezi Park -- a rare green space in İstanbul, close to Taksim Square where Erdoğan was pushing for the building of an Ottoman-style barracks replica that would house a shopping mall -- was barred.
According to Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, another founding member of the ruling party who cut off ties with it years ago, the AK Party has become a nightmare for Turkish society because it has abandoned the course it once espoused.
While serving as deputy chairman of the ruling party, Fırat resigned from his positions within the party in late 2008. Then, he resigned from the party entirely in July last year, saying that the moral burden of staying within the party had begun to feel too heavy.
Then came an even bigger eye-opener for all. Two sweeping graft probes that went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 revealed that leading members of the government were involved up to their necks in corruption. All that has happened since the two graft probes became public provides ample evidence that Turkey has failed in the fight against corruption, with the government having done its best to sweep claims of widespread corruption under the rug.
“Unfortunately, the rot [in the ruling party] has paved the way for the institutionalization of corruption,” said Yalçınbayır, who is a lawyer by profession.
The Dec. 17 graft probe implicated 53 people, including bureaucrats, prominent businessmen and people from the inner circle of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan. Four former Cabinet ministers -- Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler, EU Affairs Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış and Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar -- left their posts due to allegations of corruption a week after the Dec. 17 probe went public.
All the prosecutors and high level police officers who were involved in the probes were first removed from their jobs and are currently facing prosecution.
Voice recordings leaked over the Internet following the graft probes revealed that Erdoğan and some of his family members were also personally implicated in corruption. A public prosecutor and a police chief who took part in the probes also confirmed this in recent months, saying that the evidence indicates that Erdoğan is also involved in corruption.
But the prosecutors appointed to replace the original ones in the investigations dropped charges against all the suspects last year.
Then, being in power with a clear majority in Parliament, the AK Party hushed up the investigations after Parliament refused at the beginning of this year to refer the four ministers accused of corruption to court for trial. According to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the total of the alleged government corruption represents a sum as large as TL 247 billion ($113 billion).
Noting that the ruling party has become and more authoritarian under Erdoğan, who headed the AK Party government until he was elected president in August last year, Fırat said: “Not only were the [legal] prohibitions introduced following the military coup [of Sept. 12, 1980] not lifted, but more bans were introduced.”

Turkey perceived as increasingly corrupt

The government's effort to cover up corruption has taken its toll on Turkey. Turkey's perceived corruption level worsened the most of all countries surveyed in a global perception of corruption index for 2014, dropping by five points to 45 on a scale of 100, according to Transparency International (TI).
The country currently ranks 64th out of 175 countries on TI's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. Along with China and Angola, Turkey is perceived as increasingly corrupt, according the TI report, which was released at the beginning of December. The Berlin-based organization warned that Turkey is increasingly becoming associated with graft and that this bodes ill for future investment in the country.

Gov't pushes for Internet bans after graft probes

To block the leaking of voice recordings and further evidence about corruption over the Internet, the government has introduced tighter legislation that allows it to immediately block any such content.
It also attempted to introduce bans on Twitter and YouTube following the graft probes, but the bans were short-lived because the Constitutional Court removed them, saying that they violated the Constitution.
Shortly after the 2013 graft scandal broke out, the government passed amendments to the Internet law that enabled the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) to block access to a certain website within hours, without a court order. Internet providers were also required to keep records of users' activity for two years and make them available to authorities upon request.
In amendments to the law in September of last year, the government expanded those powers, allowing TİB -- which is headed by a former intelligence official -- to block sites if deemed necessary for matters of "national security, the restoration of public order and the prevention of crimes.” TİB was also authorized to obtain Internet traffic data from ISPs without a court order and will provide these data to the relevant authorities if a court order so demands.
Like Yalçınbayır and Fırat, Nurettin Aktaş was a deputy of the AK Party when it first came to power. “The rot in the party began as it drifted away from its founding mission. Those deputies who criticized [the party] for drifting away from its mission were excluded,” Aktaş told Sunday's Zaman.
However, after an appeal by the CHP, the Constitutional Court cancelled TİB's authority to block access to a website and its authority to collect Internet traffic data without a court order. More recently, the government -- which has been much criticized by the opposition for turning Turkey into an intelligence state -- introduced yet another amendment to the Internet law, authorizing the prime minister or a relevant Cabinet minister to ban a website or have specific content removed when public order or national security are at stake.
Despite its pledge to remove the shackles on democracy, the government has not -- in its more than 12 years of single-party rule -- removed the much-criticized 10 percent election threshold, nor has it changed the Higher Education Board (YÖK), which it so harshly criticized before coming to power.
Thanks to the threshold, the AK Party has obtained disproportionally high numbers of seats in Parliament because the threshold system favors parties with the largest share of the vote.
In yet another move, the government passed a law in March last year that banned privately owned preparatory schools. The legislation, which requires the closure of all prep schools before Sept. 1, 2015, has been much criticized for violating the Constitution and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). There were, as of December 2013, 3,858 prep schools in Turkey, attended by over 2.2 million students. Out of the 739,000 high school seniors who take the university entrance exam to continue their education, 550,000 attend prep schools.

Media freedom in shatters

The freedom of the media has been significantly curtailed in the past couple of years, as dissenting opinions have been expressed more frequently because of the increasing authoritarianism. After the Gezi Park protests, many media members lost their jobs because of government pressure.
A report titled “Media-Government Relations in Turkey,” which was made public in early May, said that members of the media in Turkey have been operating in a climate of self-censorship for years due to pressure from the government and the close relationship between media owners and government officials.
President Erdoğan and the ruling AK Party have been attracting growing criticism for their attempts to silence the critical media in the country. Not a day seems to pass without journalists facing harsh forms of repression; a number of them are either in jail, have lost their jobs or are dealing with legal charges brought against them, either by the government or Erdoğan.
“While media owners that support the government are rewarded with public tenders, opposing ones are punished. These punishments come in the form of taxes, lawsuits and sometimes as sanctions from the Radio and Television Supreme Council [RTÜK],” said the report.
In its media freedom report for the first quarter of 2015, the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) said Turkish media is experiencing its worst period in the Turkish Republic's 92-year history because the ruling party's pressure on the media is greater than that of any previous government. According to the report, in the period from the start of January until the end of March 2015, 13 journalists faced investigations while 30 were laid off arbitrarily.
Most recently, the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (EP) strongly condemned President Erdoğan's recent threat directed at the Cumhuriyet daily's Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar for having published a report on weapons illegally sent to rebel groups in Syria in an operation conducted by Turkey's intelligence agency.
In a press release issued last week, EP Rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri also criticized the ongoing pressure on the media by Erdoğan and the government, calling on the Turkish government and the judicial system to “immediately stop applying unacceptable pressure on journalists.”

Fight against poverty has failed

The government has also been unsuccessful in its fight against poverty. In fact, it has been accused by the opposition of “managing” poverty to keep getting the votes of the poor instead of trying to eliminate it altogether.
Yalçınbayır is of the same opinion: “Poverty has unfortunately been exploited. People whose poverty has been exploited through aid provided by the government do not question the broken promises of the government.”
According to an official report released in April, child poverty still remains an alarming concern, with 32.4 percent of minors in Turkey classified as poor. And, according to data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), the number of individuals under the age of 17 in Turkey stood at 22.8 million at the end of 2014, accounting for 29.4 percent of the total population of 77.7 million. Out of 22.8 million children, 7. 4 million were recorded as living in poverty. Given that there were 16.7 million poor individuals according to TurkStat, the figure implies that almost half of poor people are minors.
The opposition has also been criticizing the government for the very high number of poor people -- almost 17 million -- despite the government discourse that the country has gone through rapid development during its terms in power. A report published in April of last year by Bahçeşehir University's Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM) revealed an even bleaker picture, reporting that two out of every three children in Turkey are at risk of poverty, based on European Union standards.
According to data published early last month, Turkey is ranked bottom of many indices drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), painting a grim picture of the country's social and economic life compared with other OECD-member countries. The gap between Turkey's rich and poor was more clearly explained by Credit Suisse's 2014 Global Wealth Report, which said 10 percent of the Turkish population holds 78 percent of the total wealth.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly said during his election campaign that 1 percent of Turkey's population controls 54.3 percent of the national wealth, 15 percent more than the 39 percent of the national wealth held by the top 1 percent in 2002, when the AK Party came to power.
According to a report released in December last year, out of the 29.3 million people who are able to work in Turkey, 21 million -- 72 percent -- earn less than TL 2,030 ($750) a month, the amount set as the poverty line for one worker in Turkey, a recent report on the Turkish labor force has revealed.
In the report released by the Independent Turkish Health Care Workers' Union in the light of figures from the Labor and Social Security Ministry and TurkStat, there are 21 million people whose monthly income is below TL 2,030, including 3 million unemployed, 3.45 million domestic workers, 5.7 million agricultural workers, 5 million minimum wage earners and 4 million other employees in the private sector.
Other than the 3.1 million people who are officially registered as unemployed, there are yet another 3 million people who are not designated as unemployed in official data because they stopped looking for work long ago.
The minimum wage in Turkey is no more than TL 949, which comes to $356.

Detained Saudi Officer: Riyadh Hiring Somali Pirates for Terrorist Operations in Yemen

Isa Walad Hassan al-Omri, one of Ansarullah leaders, told FNA on Saturday that several captured Saudi officers have disclosed Riyadh's relations with the Somali pirates in their confessions.
"The Saudi spy agency has asked the Somali pirates to smuggle arms to the terrorists in Yemen and carry out terrorist operations in the country," Omri said, elaborating on the confessions made by one of the arrested Saudi officers.
"Saudi Arabia has provided the Somali pirate with important military and geographical intelligence to organize terrorist attacks, including a blast at the University of Sana'a," he added.
A similar report said earlier this week that the Saudi monarchy is smuggling large consignments of weapons and munitions into Yemen in a bid to aid the al-Qaeda terrorists in the Arab country.
Yemeni media outlets released a report on Tuesday, saying that Riyadh is sending large quantities of arms and ammunition to al-Qaeda terrorists operating in Yemen to undermine the Ansarullah popular fighters.
The report added that so far 36 trucks, 16 of them loaded with arms and munitions, have been smuggled into Yemen through Wadia border crossing in the Eastern Yemeni province of Hadhramaut.
The terrorists were also provided with medicine and funds, the report added.
Back in April, an informed Yemeni source said that the Saudi regime has sharply increased the flow of weapons to the al-Qaeda terrorists and the loyalists to Yemen's fugitive President Mansour Hadi in the city of Ta'izz.
The source added that the latest developments came after the Ansarullah popular fighters continued to make huge gains in their fight against the Saudi-backed terrorists and militants across the Southern city.
The Ansarullah fighters and army troops have made major advances in their fight against the al-Qaeda terrorists and forces loyal to fugitive President Mansour Hadi across Yemen in recent weeks.
The clashes between the Ansarullah fighters and the Saudi-backed al-Qaeda terrorists as well as the pro-Hadi militias continue in the Southern parts of the country as Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 73 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
The Monarchy's attacks have so far claimed the lives of at least 4,240 civilians, mostly women and children.

Secret 9/11 dossier said to implicate Saudi Arabia in attack

 Pressure is building on the White House to release a secret chapter of an official report said to link Saudi Arabia to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Bob Graham, who was chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, at the time, says an inquiry that he led uncovered evidence that the Saudis were the “principal financier”.
However, a 28-page chapter of the final report, believed to point a damning finger at the Saudi hierarchy, was redacted by the president George W. Bush.
“The effect of withholding [the 28 redacted pages] has been to embolden Saudi Arabia to be a continuing source of financial and human terror resources,” Mr Graham told The Times.
The suppressed chapter holds the potential to reshape US policy in the Middle East, he believes. Now retired, Mr Graham is demanding that the suppressed pages be released — a campaign that has now won backing in the US Senate for the first time.
The former Florida senator and governor argues that by keeping the pages hidden, the White House has signalled that Saudi Arabia has “impunity — protected not only from sanctions, but even from disclosure”. He said that the secrecy had helped elements within Saudi Arabia to continue to propagate their extreme Wahhabi version of Islam, and to pour money and manpower into al-Qa’ia and “the initial phase of ISIS”.
Riyadh has vehemently denied playing any part in the attacks, but the 28 pages have become infamous since they were produced in 2002. The document is held in a secure room beneath the US Capitol, in a file titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters”.
The second President Bush ordered that the chapter be redacted, arguing that it would expose “sources and methods that would make it harder for us to win the war on terror”.
Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina, has read the pages — under watch to make sure he didn’t take notes — and rejects the idea that national security is at stake. “I would say it this way: it’s about relationships, about relationships in the Middle East, and the Bush administration.”
Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky, said of reading the chapter: “I had to stop every couple of pages ... to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to rethink everything.”
Another person who read the redacted pages suggested that the contents would embarrass the Saudi royals and the family of George W Bush.
The pages are thought to deal, in part, with Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two Saudi Arabians who helped to hijack the American Airlines jet that was flown into the Pentagon as part of the attacks. While living in southern California, they were allegedly supported by Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi citizen said to have been in contact with the Saudi embassy in Washington. The Saudi government has denied that he was a spy.
Hazmi and Mihdhar were in contact with Osama Basnan, another Saudi citizen, whose wife is said to have received money — ostensibly for medical treatment — from a Saudi princess.
A separate joint congressional inquiry — known as the 9/11 Commission — failed to find a link between Saudi Arabia and the attacks. Philip Zelikow, its director, toldThe New Yorker magazine last year that the 28 secret pages contained “an agglomeration of preliminary, unvetted reports”, which his staff were unable to stand up.
However, the effort to make the secret chapter public is gaining momentum. Rand Paul, the Republican Kentucky senator who is running for president, added his name to the cause this week and a bill to release the pages is being introduced in the US Senate for the first time. “The survivors, civilian heroes, and families of the victims of the terrorist attacks ... deserve to know the truth,” said Mr Paul, who played a key part in resisting the mass surveillance of phone records this week with his opposition to the Patriot Act.
Meanwhile, Mr Graham has resorted to unconventional measures to publicise his concerns. He penned a spy novel, The Keys to the Kingdom, which tells how a state department staffer “uncovers a shocking international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda”.

Did Germany Send RPGs to Saudi Arabia in Order to Win the World Cup?

The genius behind much of the corruption that has enabled the criminal racket known as FIFA to become so extraordinarily powerful in global sports lies in the often obscure nature of the bribes paid to its executives. Favors are traded, deals are made, but rarely are they sufficiently explicit to be labeled as outright corruption. Now, a new report in the German press adds a potentially sordid new dimension to that horse-trading: Germany allegedly provided RPGs to Saudi Arabia in order to secure its support for the country’s 2006 World Cup bid.
According to an explosive, if vague, account in the Die Zeit newspaper, German companies made a series of investments in Asia that helped win the support of FIFA executives from the region. These investments allegedly included moves by pharmaceutical giant Bayer and carmaker Volkswagen in Thailand and South Korea. Daimler, the carmaker, reportedly pumped money into Hyundai in order to boost the bid. A son of Hyundai’s founder sat on the FIFA executive board at the time, Die Zeit reports.
Moreover, Die Zeit alleges that the government of Gerhard Schroder lifted a short-term arms embargo in order to provide RPGs to Saudi Arabia in another bid to win votes.
Germany won the tournament by an extraordinarily tight vote — 12 to 11 — and that ballot has long been dogged by allegations of corruption. One voting member recused himself from that vote, sparing former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter from casting the tie-breaking vote, which has been widely said would have gone to South Africa. The FIFA executive who recused himself, the now deceased Charles Dempsey, later described “intolerable pressure” and attempts to bribe him during the bid process for the 2006 tournament.
Wolfgang Niersbach, the head of the German Football Association, on Fridaydenied the allegations of corruption: “We have absolutely nothing to reproach ourselves for. Let me remind you that we did absolutely the best job.”
Indeed, in the crooked organization Blatter was running, trading weapons and investments for soccer tournaments seems like an extreme — but depressingly plausible — example of the way business was done.

Minorities under attack in Pakistan - A Muslim youth desecrate Hindu temple

A temple in Pakistan was desecrated by a Muslim youth on late Wednesday evening. 

President of Pakistan Hindu Seva Trust, Sanjesh Dhanja informed TOI over phone from Karachi on Thursday that a commerce postgraduate youth Lutaf Allaha broke the idols placed inside the Hinglaj Mata Circuit House Temple in Hyderabad city of Pakistan, about 2 hours' drive from Karachi on late Wednesday evening. 

Reportedly the incident is believed to be of hate crime against Hindu minority community of Pakistan backed by fundamentalist groups. 

Dhanja informed that police had arrested Lutaf Allaha who had been sent on three day police remand. 

The accused broke the idols of Shiva and Parvati placed in the temple, he said. 

While hailing the quick police action in nabbing the person for his blasphemous act , he said "We are happy that police immediately swung into action and nabbed the culprit". 

He said despite quick police action , there was much resentment among the Hindu community of Pakistan that had decided to stage demonstration against the desecration of Hindu temple. 

"Tomorrow we will hold demonstration at Hyderabad and would demand security of Hindu temples" he said . 

In recent past Pakistan government had announced to form a 2000 strong force to protect the religious places of minority communities in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Shia Genocide - Study: 1,900 Shia Muslims killed in Pakistan since 2012

A new study shows violence against Shia Muslims has been rising in Pakistan and more than 1,900 Shia Muslims have been killed in recent years, Press TV reports.
The study, conducted by the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank, reveals unprecedented targeted killings of Shia Muslims in Pakistan in 2012 and 2015.
It says some 1,900 Shia Muslims have been killed in bomb blasts and targeted killings in Pakistan in the past three years.
“There has been an upsurge in attacks against Shia Muslims in Peshawar, Rawalpindi and southern Punjab,” it says.
“The Shia Muslims have been …. besieged for a very long time as violence has grown in some parts of Pakistan, particularly in Quetta, Karachi and north of the country,” Salman Zaidi from the Jinnah Institute told Press TV.
“Pakistan is a scene of war and violence for a very long time and it is no surprise anymore that there are militant groups now operating here,” and in some occasions “foreign hands” help the militants to launch targeted killings, he said.
Pakistan is facing security challenges after it joined an alliance with the US in the so-called war on terror. Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives and millions have displaced in bombings and militant attacks sweeping across the country since 2001.

Pakistani Christian Yaqoob Bashir Charged With Blasphemy in Sindh

According to media reports, it has been learnt that a Pakistani Christian man Yaqoob Bashir has been accused of burning pages of a booklet with Quranic verses in the Lukoo Shade Mehmoodabad area of Mirpur Khas.
A local muslim cleric, Talib Hussain has claimed that Yaboob Bashir also known as Kaka, took a book with Quranic verses from him after repeatedly claiming that he is a muslim and later burnt by him and recovered from garbage in the Basic Health Unit Mehmoodabad. After the incident was reported, the police including SP Ghani Siddique were called and a case under article 295 was registered. Bashir was then shifted to an undisclosed location.
When the news of the inicident spread, extremists protested on the streets in the area and came out on the streets in the shape of a mob.
Reports about the mental illness of Bashir have also come in and it has been stated that he was under treatment at a mental health facility in Hyderabad. DSP Satellite town Muhammad Nizami has said that cleric Tahir has claimed that Yaboob Bashir has accepted his act and an investigation under law are being carried out against him.
Kausar Bibi, Yaqboob Bashir’s mother has said that her son is innocent and is not aware of the sensitivity of religious issues. She also said that the incident occurred because of an ash from his cigarette.
Media reports about at least 25 to 30 families fleeing the area have also come in. People fear a mob attack and that their homes might be burnt in wake of the blasphemy incident.
- See more at:

Pakistan - Imran Khan’s parrots

And their honest police force
For two days PTI sycophants lavished praises over the KP government for arresting revenue minister Ali Amin Gandapur. Their comments were identical. Didn’t we say the police in KP was independent of government pressure? Would any other political party arrest its own minister for wrongdoing? Wasn’t Gandapur nabbed the moment it was proved that he had broken the law? Why blame the PTI alone, aren’t there bad eggs in every political party?
The PTI parrots are used to repeating faithfully whatever the leadership says. The rare breed with a black band around their neck would repeat anything however irrational once it was certified as official truth. When Imran Khan said drone attacks are the root cause of terrorism, every parrot chanted the mantra day in and day out. Now that Khan is silent on the subject, the birds too have forgotten the tune. If it suited Imran Khan to announce at 1 pm that it was a dark night, every parrot would repeat that it was night and that only the PPP and PML-N agents were calling it day out of sheer malice for the great Khan. Some would even look towards the sky and claim they could see clearly the Big Bear and the pole star.
Imran Khan has now decided to support Gandapur. After concluding somewhat late that sending a minister to jail would be a political blunder, Khan has declared that Gandapur has been politically victimised and that he had in fact taken away the ballot papers for safekeeping. Khan has however yet to construct a convincing story regarding who was behind the political victimisation. To his dismay the case against Gandapur was not initiated by the PPP or the PML-N. The JUI-F did not have anything to do with the case either. The incriminating Incident Report was filed by the District Police Officer after hearing the AC City, local SHO and the villagers who blocked the minister’s way.
Imran Khan takes credit for turning the KP Police into the most honest force in the entire country. Hasn’t he repeated umpteen times that unlike the police in Punjab and Sindh, the KP police acts independently of the political administration? How could the centerpiece of Imran Khan’s political achievement suddenly turn out to be no different from its counterparts in other provinces by indulging in political victimisation and that too of one of PTI’s provincial ministers?
Once Imran Khan nails down the real culprits who were behind the conspiracy to malign the innocent Gandapur, the parrots too would start repeating the new tune totally forgetting what they had been singing so far. Parrots after all are parrots.

Pakistan - ANP Nowshera announces Islamabad sit-in

Calling for re-polling in PK-13, Nowshera-II, Awami National Party Nowshera chapter has announced it will hold a sit-in in Islamabad.
“We will protest until our demands are accepted,” said ANP leader Shahid Khattak while leaving for the federal capital on Saturday. Shahid rejected LG results in the aforementioned constituency and called for “fair, impartial and transparent” re-polls.
Levelling accusations against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak – who is also a political arch-rival – Shahid said the CM manipulated fake votes in his brother’s favour at a polling station in Manki Sharif. “Pervez assigned electoral duties to his own men so his brother’s victory could be ensured,” he said. He said neutral polling officials should conduct the re-polls under the watchful eye of law-enforcement agencies. “In the first phase we will protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan. Then we will move to the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister House,” he said.

US drone strike kills eight suspected militants in North Waziristan

At least eight suspected militants were killed when an unmanned predator drone fired four missiles targeting a compound in Shawal tehsil. area of North Waziristan agency, on Saturday. 
Local sources verified that a compound and a vehicle parked in it were targeted and immediately caught fire after the strike.
Quoting informers, officials in the civil administration said that first two compounds, under occupation of militants were hit by two missiles simultaneously. Two other missiles were subsequently fired at two double-cabin pick ups, when the militants made an attempt to escape.  The missile strikes caused destruction to both the compounds and vehicles.
According to AFP local intelligence authorities said that the militants belonged to the Haqqani network, a feared militant group which targets foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan.
According to reports this was the second drone strike in North Waziristan over a month.

Pakistan - Malala acquittals

THE convictions took the country by surprise: an anti-terrorism court operating in secrecy inside a military-controlled internment centre in Swat had handed life sentences to 10 individuals involved in the attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. News of the convictions in April was the first public indication that a trial was even being held to begin with. Now, there is widespread outrage and disbelief at the news that eight of the 10 men allegedly convicted for the attack that shook the country — and moved the world — were never actually convicted and instead were exonerated for lack of evidence. Surprise that gave way to satisfaction that has now turned into outrage — perhaps the truly troubling aspect of this episode is how little information has been released to the public.
Who were the 10 accused? What was the evidence against them? What did the defence argue? Where are the exonerated men now? What of the two men convicted? There are no answers and, worse yet, there is still no indication from either the government or military that answers will be provided, whether now or at all.
If ever there has been an unacceptable state of affairs, it is the circumstances surrounding the trial of Malala Yousafzai’s alleged attackers. Eight men have been exonerated by an ATC operating in the bowels of a detention centre that is secretive and opaque in a trial that resulted in the conviction of two other men. That alone raises questions about just how flimsy the prosecution’s evidence may have been or possibly about how poorly organised or overconfident the prosecution was. Surely, this is a dramatic, shocking revelation that cannot be ignored by the relevant powers-that-be. If failure is possible in a case as high-profile as the one involving Ms Yousafzai’s alleged attackers, what does that say about the quality of the evidence and investigative and prosecutorial competence in hundreds of other, less high-profile cases? But the silence continues — adding to the growing impression that neither the government nor the military authorities take their constitutional and legal responsibilities seriously when it comes to the criminal justice system. The system increasingly appears to be about focusing on public relations victories rather than actual justice. Were it not for a British newspaper that broke the news of the exonerations on Friday, would the authorities here have ever revealed the truth themselves? Troublingly, the answer appears to be ‘probably not’.

KP opposition parties announce strike to protest LG poll rigging


Joint opposition parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)—Awami National Party (ANP), JUI-F and PPP— on Saturday announced rallies and shutter-down strikes across the province beginning June 10 against alleged rigging in the recently-held local government polls.
The announcement came after a consultative meeting between the three opposition parties in Peshawar, which was presided by ANP’s Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
Following the meeting, Mian Iftikhar told media personnel that local government elections in KP were not acceptable to opposition parties since “massive rigging had taken place.”
He reiterated his party chief’s sentiment, asking the PTI-led provincial government to resign immediately on ethical grounds. “If the government does not resign we will continue our protest indefinitely,” he said.
The ANP leader said the three-party alliance will also contact other political parties in the province and invite them to join the protest, adding that the movement will continue till the provincial government tenders its resignation.
Meanwhile, a group of workers from opposition parties in KP protested in Islamabad against alleged rigging during local body elections held in the province earlier in the week. Workers gathered outside an election commission office in Islamabad to record their protest and later turned towards PTI chief Imran Khan’s residence in Bani Gala, where a heavy contingent of police has been deployed to ward of any untoward incident.
A couple of days ago KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, categorically rejecting allegations of massive rigging by the ruling PTI in the recently concluded local government polls in KP, had offered to form a judicial commission or an investigating team to probe allegations.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar along with leaders of coalition parties — Jamaat-i-Islami and Awami Jamhuri Ittehad— Khattak had vowed to investigate all allegations in a transparent manner.

Pakistan - Former President Asif Ali Zardari rejects budget 2015 as anti poor, anti farmer

Former President Asif Ali Zardari has rejected the federal budget 2015 as “anti poor, anti farmer and anti government servants” that fails to take even a small step in the direction of fair and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.

In a statement today the former President said that the third budget of the PML-N government is typically an accountants’ statement that reserves incentives for the rich but placates the poor with mere platitudes and prayers.
It is devoid of vision to introduce tax reforms and documenting the economy that lies at the root of our economic and financial ills, he said.
“The budget has failed to give a vision to address the structural weaknesses stemming from concentration of wealth and inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunities”.
The government servants particularly the low paid ones will be more than disappointed, the farmers frustrated and the working class dismayed at the insensitivity of the government towards their plight, he said.
The government should have set aside, but failed to do, a part of the windfall gains of falling international oil prices for alleviating poverty and ameliorating the lot of peasants and workers.
He said that the failure in achieving economic targets last year only strengthen the widely held belief that that the present budget will also be tall on promises and short on delivery and performance.
Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the former President also expressed deep concern that the government seemed to have reneged on its promise to implement the consensus decision of May 28 All Parties Conference to build the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on priority basis.
The low PSDP allocation for the western route that passes through the lesser developed areas of KPK, Balochstan and close to tribal areas and a further slashing of the final allocation for it in the CPEC project has placed a serious question mark, the former President said and asked the government to come out clean on it.
The PPP has and will continue to support the mega economic project. At the same time it also believes that the government must implement the decisions of APC in letter and spirit and jealously guard against making the CPEC controversial, he said.
It is anti poor budget. While the government is seeking credit for not slashing the budget for Benazir Income Support Program it has quietly shut down Waseela Rozgar and Waseela Haq programs of the BISP depriving the poor a chance to develop skills and start their own
small business to come out of the generational poverty cycle, the former President said.
It is an anti farmer budget. The farmers are agitating because of floods and nonseasonal rains but more so because of government’s apathy and failure to give good support price and lower tariffs for tube wells. Even as the budget was presented the farmers were protesting in the Punjab against their plight, he said.
Surprisingly the budget makers have neglected the need for building a University in the tribal areas even as more funds are allocated for additional facilities in some already established seats of higher learning in other parts of the country.
Not long ago the government had promised to give a Marshall Plan to tribal areas. It is ironic that despite tall promise FATA has been denied even a state of the art seat of higher learning, he said.
The budget presentation was also an occasion for the government to announce extension of the jurisdiction of superior courts to FATA. The former President lamented that failure to do so show that the government was paying mere lip service to mainstreaming the tribal areas.