Saturday, June 13, 2015

Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop

Shakira - Can't Remember to Forget You ft. Rihanna

Full Video - Hillary Clinton's Official Campaign Launch

Hillary's official campaign launch at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, New York City. She lays out her vision for the country, inspired by the stories she’s heard from everyday Americans.

UNICEF: 3 mn French children live in poverty

More than three million children are living below the poverty line in France, a UNICEF report has claimed.
Tuesday’s shocking report says around 30,000 children in France are homeless with around 9,000 living in makeshift slums with around 140,000 dropping out of school each year.
"The report is a cry of alarm that should push the authorities to take urgent and more efficient action for every child," the head of UNICEF France, Michele Barzach, said.
Barzach added the figures were "a wake-up call" to the French government to take action.
According to the report, handed to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, from 2008 to 2012, 440,000 additional children with their families fell into poverty.
Barzach said France has failed to implement a strategy to tackle children’s issues, calling on the authorities to raise their efforts.
"A global strategy for children still does not exist in France,” she said.
"There is no real public policy or mechanism to articulate childhood and adolescence," the head of UNICEF France added.
The report also shed light on "the unacceptable situation of unaccompanied migrant children and / or living in slums". Their number is estimated to be between 8,000-10,000.
"Deprived of their fundamental rights, suffering discrimination, these unaccompanied minors are among the most vulnerable ones," it said.
Barzach said it leads them to being trapped in bad situation, such as becoming a victim of human trafficking.

Video Report - No water, electricity, medicine: #Yemen humanitarian crisis deepens

Saudi Arabia targets Razih district of Sa’ada with artillery shells, airstrikes

Video Report - Yemen’s Health Ministry accused Saudi Arabia of using internationally banned weapons

A mockery of human rights in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan

RECENT EVENTS in Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia show why authoritarian regimes believe they can get away with the grossest abuses of human rights: because they can and they do.
In Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held a meeting last week to discuss “full and effective implementation” of a resolution, approved by the U.N. Human Rights Council six years ago, backing religious freedom and tolerance. The resolution deplored “all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religious beliefs,” among many other noble sentiments. In a statement at the opening session, the acting U.S. envoy to the OIC, Arsalan Suleman, declared it a “critical time” for fighting intolerance and called on participants to “focus our attention on implementation” of the lofty goals of the resolution. The head of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Joachim Rücker, said that tolerance must include “all religions and beliefs everywhere.”
Three days later, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for Raif Badawi, a blogger who was arrested in 2012 for expressing his views on the Internet. Mr. Badawi, whose blog posts called for open debate about interpretations of Islam, suffered the first 50 lashes in January, but the remainder were postponed after international outcry.
The court’s affirmation on June 7 of Mr. Badawi’s sentence made a mockery of the Jiddah meeting. It showed that, in practice, Saudi Arabia adheres to none of the principles of the resolution. Almost as disturbing is the way that the international community blithely came to Jiddah without so much as a tip of the hat to Mr. Badawi’s plight. Mr. Suleman didn’t let Mr. Badawi’s name pass his lips in his remarks, according to the State Department text. Mr. Rücker, too, failed to mention the jailed blogger. According to a publishedsummary of the Jiddah meeting, Mr. Badawi’s case wasn’t discussed.
Repressive regimes commit such abuses because they calculate there will be no cost. If Saudi Arabia can host an international meeting on human rights, then what’s the worry? Indeed, the Saudi foreign ministry put out word to the media after the court ruling that criticism of the Badawi sentence was misplaced and the kingdom “does not accept any interference in its internal affairs.” Saudi Arabia sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council even though it has one of the worst records of abuse in the world today.
The same calculus is evident in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the European Games kick off Friday. Six thousand athletes are expected to compete in 20 sports, some seeking qualification for next summer’s Olympics in Brazil. With all this pomp and circumstance, does anyone think that Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is concerned about criticism for arbitrarily locking up dozens of journalists and activists? Mr. Aliyev moved in recent days to bar Amnesty International from entering the country and also blocked news coverage by the Guardian. His regime has ordered the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to close its offices in the country. All in a day’s tyranny. Why hesitate if there are no consequences — and people in the stadiums are cheering?

Why has the US let Jabhat al-Nusra off so lightly when the terror group is as nasty as Isis?


Syrian civil war: Jabhat al-Nusra's massacre of Druze villagers shows the group is just as nasty as Isis.

The incident last week suggests that the US have let the al-Qaeda affiliate off lightly.

The incident happened in the Druze village of Qalb Lawzeh in the Jabal al-Summaq region, a place where al-Nusra fighters have dug up historic graves and destroyed shrines in recent months, according to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It says Nusra first tried to confiscate the house of a Druze government official and shot one villager dead. Another villager then seized a fighter’s weapon and killed him. Nusra then sent reinforcements into the village and they opened fire.
It was just one more massacre in a land that has seen thousands of atrocities by government and rebels over the past four years. But what gives the Qalb Lawzeh killings peculiar significance is that they happened at a moment when Nusra, and the rebel coalition it leads, had inflicted a series of defeats on the Syrian army in the north, leading to speculation that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad might be starting to crumble under multiple pressures. It has recently lost Idlib province in the north, Palmyra in the east, and is on the retreat in the south.
A reason why Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, another hard-line jihadi group, were able to break the military stalemate is the greater support they are getting from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Since succeeding to the throne in January, Saudi King Salman, along with other Sunni leaders, has pursued a more aggressive policy in backing extreme jihadi rebels in Syria.
Alongside this military offensive is an effort by Nusra and its supporters to rebrand itself as a completely different and more moderate entity than Islamic State (Isis). This is not easy to do. Nusra was created by Isis in 2012 and split from it in 2013, since when the two movements have been fierce rivals who share the same fanatical beliefs and hatreds. The US regards both as terrorist organisations and periodically bombs Nusra, though not with the same intensity as it attacks Isis. The Saudis and the others are not looking for the US to end its hostility to Nusra, but they do want Washington to continue to turn a blind eye to support for it from America’s main Sunni allies. 
The rebranding of Nusra is being energetically pursued. A dramatic if somewhat ludicrous episode in this campaign was a 47-minute interview with Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the leader of al-Nusra, broadcast by Al Jazeera television network on 27 May. Golani was to demonstrate to a Syrian and international audience how much more reasonable and less murderous his organisation was compared with Isis when it came to Syria’s minorities and to stress that it would not be launching terrorist operations against western targets.
The interview did not entirely succeed in conveying a comforting sense of restraint and moderation. This is not because Golani came under much pressure from the sympathetic Al Jazeera interviewer. “It was not Frost/Nixon, more like a high-school date,” says the Syria expert Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis, in the online newsletter Syria Comment. The softball approach, he says, “may well have been intentional. Many assume that Qatar, which owns and controls Al Jazeera, is eager to see the group show its gentler side, now that it and other rebels are capturing territory in north-western Syria.”
Golani expressed his new-found moderation by saying that it would be safe for a member of the Allawite sect – to which President Assad and much of Syria’s ruling elite belong – to surrender to Nusra fighters “even if he killed a thousand of us”. But any Allawite considering taking advantage of Golami’s kind offer must meet certain conditions. They must not only stop supporting Assad, but they must convert to Nusra’s brand of extreme Sunni Islam or, in other words, stop being Allawites. Christians will be given a grace period before they have to start pay jizya, a special tax, and Golani takes for granted that Sharia will be implemented. “The basics remain the same,” says Lund, “and they’re extreme enough to be borderline genocidal even when sugar-coated by Al Jazeera.”
What gives this interview such significance is that Golani leads a movement which might, if the Assad regime falls, form part of Syria’s next government. Assad’s military opposition is dominated by Isis in the east, holding half the country, and Nusra, leading a coalition of al-Qaeda type jihadis in the north and centre.
“We have to deal with reality as it is,” said Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria in an interview with Hannah Allam of McClatchy news service earlier this year. “The people we have backed [moderate Syrian rebels] have not been strong enough to hold their ground against the Nusra Front.”
What made Mr Ford’s assertion that Nusra dominated the non-Isis armed opposition so shocking for many was that he was the man who had resigned from the US government, accusing it of not giving enough support to the moderate rebels. Not so long ago he had been maintaining that the moderates were still a real force. But now Mr Ford was quoted as complaining that the rebels, as well as their patrons in Turkey and Qatar, were legitimising Nusra as an integral part of the anti-Assad opposition when, in reality, it was the same as Isis. “Nusra Front is just as dangerous, and yet they keep pretending they’re nice guys, they’re Syrians,” he said. Another problem was that weapons supplied by the US to more moderate groups were ending up in the hands of Nusra.
It is not just that Nusra is sectarian, violent and true to its al-Qaeda roots. Its presence at the heart of the armed opposition gives the rebels greater military strength, but politically it is a tremendous liability.
Mr Ford defends the moderates, saying that their alliance with Nusra is only tactical and the result of their weakness and disunity. But in a further interview with Middle East Monitor, Mr Ford makes an important point, warning that “with this cooperation [between moderates and Nusra], they have made it impossible to get a negotiated political deal, because the people in the regime who do not like Assad, and there are lots who don’t like Assad, look at the opposition and say we cannot negotiate with an opposition that supports Nusra”.
The presence of Nusra prevents any chance of a negotiated settlement, but will not be enough to win an outright military victory. Syria is being torn apart by a genuine civil war in which neither side can afford to let the other win. Members of the regime in Damascus know that getting rid of Assad is not going to do them any good and, if they lose, they may well end up dead, like the Druze villagers of Qalb Lawzeh. 

Report: Turkey Providing Electricity to ISIL-held Syria Town

Turkish authorities have been providing electricity to Tal Abyad, a northern Syrian city controlled by the Takfiri group operating in Iraq and Syria, ISIL, a report said.
Citing a Friday report by the Istanbul-based BirGün daily, English-language Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman referred to “the not-so-secret presence of ISIL militants on the streets of Akçakale, in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.”
Akçakale forms a divided city with the Syrian town of Tal Abyad and has been experiencing “first-hand” the spillover of the unrelenting Takfiri militancy raging in Syria.
“The enemy is no longer at the gate, locals have bemoaned. It is here, in Akçakale. They are, of course, talking about ISIL,” Zaman wrote.
According to the source, the ISIL uses hotels in Akçakale as a gathering point for its recruitment efforts, transporting the recruits through the Turkish town to Tal Abyad.
The report adds the terror group also offers the locals high salaries in return for joining their ranks amid the social and economic woes in the border area.
“If I didn’t have a family, I probably wouldn’t be able to resist their offer. They offer to write off your credit card debt, give you a high salary,” the daily quoted a local as saying.
The report also said that the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad, located in Raqqa Province, continues to receive electricity from Turkey.
The international community has for long been critical of Turkey over its provision of assistance to Takfiri terrorists waging war in Syria.

Music Video - Nicki Minaj - The Night Is Still Young

Video - Today in History for June 13th

Video - Clinton: My mother was a house maid at age 14

Video - Hillary Clinton Delivers First 2016 Presidential Campaign Speech

Video - Hillary Clinton makes official campaign announcement

Video - Hillary Clinton makes connection to Obama, Roosevelt in c...

At first rally, Hillary Clinton gives rationale for 2016 quest

By Dan Merica and Eric Bradner

Hillary Clinton took the stage on New York City's Roosevelt Island Saturday, looking to offer hundreds of supporters her answer to the question that has dogged her presidential campaign through its first two months: Why?
The Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 race used the stirring geography of the narrow island in New York City's East River to make a case for new economic policies designed to benefit the middle class -- and present herself as the candidate to make them happen.
"Prosperity can't be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers," Clinton told the crowd. "Democracy can't be just for billionaires and corporations. Prosperity and democracy are part of your basic bargain, too. You brought our country back. Now it's time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead. And you know what? America can't succeed unless you succeed." RELATED: Read the full transcript of Hillary Clinton's speech
The rally marks Clinton's departure from the low-key and carefully choreographed small roundtable events that she's held in the first states to vote in the presidential nominating contest -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- since announcing her candidacy in April.
Supporters began lining up at 6:30 a.m. for a rally that wouldn't begin until four hours later. Media flocked onto the narrow island, with 550 journalists requesting credentials.

And Clinton's aides welcomed the attention, billing the rally as the real launch of her campaign -- and of the case she'll make to voters for the next year and a half. "This will be a new moment. We have had the spring training, now it is opening day," campaign chairman John Podesta told CNN. "I think, for us, this is an opportunity to lay out really the operating manual for where she wants to take the country." Clinton's speech was not a detailed rollout of the policies that she'll advance over the course of the campaign. Instead, the former secretary of state previewed a list of critical policy issues while unveiling the specifics of how she'd tackle those issues over the course of the summer. Saturday's event was also a chance for Clinton to introduce herself to a large media audience.

The former first lady is nearly universally known, but aides hope she will be able to present herself in a different, softer light. RELATED: Hillary Clinton unleashes attack on Wall Street "She is a well-known figure but when you're asking the American people to support you as president, even if it is for the second time, there is no skipping of steps," said Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign's communications director. "If you want to understand Hillary Clinton, and what has motivated her career of fighting for kids and families, her mother is a big part of the story." In that effort, the entire day will focus on Clinton. Although both Bill and Chelsea Clinton attended -- the first time either will appear at a campaign event -- they will not be the focus and are not expected to speak. Some of Clinton's high-profile supporters flocked to the city for Saturday's rally, too. Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta, told CNN that he decided to attend the event because he wants to "stand with Secretary Clinton."

"I think that people have really been waiting for this aspect of the campaign to begin," Reed said. "There is an enormous amount of pent up energy to get on with the campaign and go on our and making the case to folks why she should be the 45th president."
But well-known New York Democratic figures weren't treating Clinton as their party's presumptive nominee.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't attend the rally in his own backyard, saying he's waiting for Clinton to present a "larger vision" for tackling income inequality.
Republicans, looking to seize on the media attention around Clinton's event, bused supporters north from Washington on Saturday morning, with many leaving at 5:45 a.m. They handed out information about Clinton, including red sunglasses that say "Stop Clinton" and "Shady."
GOP presidential contenders, meanwhile, offered pre-buttals before Clinton even took the stage.
"Hillary Clinton's re-launch of her campaign doesn't change that her views are out-of-touch with mainstream America," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement.
"We don't need Washington telling us what to do; we need to build the economy from the ground up with government getting out of the way," he said. "Clinton would be a third term of Obama's failed policies. Instead, we need new, fresh solutions."
The campaign rally was largely organized by Greg Hale, a long-time Clinton aide, who grew up in DeQueen, Arkansas, and met the Clintons when he was young. He started doing advance work for Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and is the Clintons' go-to person for staging events like Saturday's.
The day's hour-and-15-minute pre-program was filled with symbolic acts and speaker.
A drumline from Brooklyn, where the campaign is headquartered, performed, and Andrea Gonzales, a "Dreamer" from Houston, Texas, also addressed the audience.
As attendees streamed into the rally, music from Clinton's recently-announced Spotify playlist blared from large speakers. The playlist, which is intended to serve as the soundtrack for Clinton's campaign, includes hits like Katy Perry's "Roar" and Pharrell William's "Happy."
Hillary Clinton also joined Pericope, a live-streaming phone app, on Saturday. One of her newest campaign hires, famed Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, hosted Clinton's Periscope stream of the event.

Video - Hillary Clinton Rally NYC Hillary Clinton Campaign Launch Rally NYC Roosevelt Island

Washington Dysfunction, With a Twist: Democrats Desert Their President

He made it personal. He appealed to their loyalty. He asked them to give him what every modern president has had. He argued the facts, disputed the politics, quarreled over the history and at times lashed out at those who still refused to stand with him.
Yet in the end, after years of frustration with Republicans blocking his ideas in Congress, President Obama on Friday found the most sweeping legislative initiative left on his agenda thwarted not by the opposition but by his own party. If not for his fellow Democrats, Mr. Obama would have a landmark trade bill heading to his desk for signature.
The sting of defeat may be temporary. The White House adamantly insisted on Friday that it made important progress by passing part of the trade package and still has a chance to turn around the vote on the other part. If that proves true, Mr. Obama may yet secure the negotiating authority he needs to seal a legacy-building 12-nation Pacific trade agreement and the day’s setback may ultimately be overshadowed.
But for the moment, at least, the defeat laid bare a fundamental schism within the party over economics and, according to some analysts and officials, exposed a stark divide between Democratic lawmakers and a Democratic president late in his tenure. Once eager to support Mr. Obama, Democrats now are less willing to buck their own labor-dominated base or their own convictions to advance their president’s program.
“It’s a big hit,” said Patrick Griffin, who as President Bill Clinton’s legislative director navigated the politics of trade in the 1990s. “I don’t know if it’s defining, but it’s a big hit.”
“It’s a nasty little issue that cuts in the party badly,” he added. But he said it also speaks to years of frustration among Democrats who feel that when it comes to Mr. Obama, “you call me only when you want something.”
Others said the defeat had more to do with policy and politics. After decades of watching presidents secure trade agreements from South Korea to Mexico, even in the face of opposition from their base, Democrats have broadly come to the conclusion that such agreements exacerbate income inequality.
“Enough is enough,” Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, said during the debate.
Phil Schiliro, who managed congressional relations for Mr. Obama in his first term, said after the votes that Democrats believe the people they represent have suffered from past trade pacts. “I don’t think it’s a lack of loyalty to the president; I don’t think it’s a lack of wanting to be with the president,” he said. “If your friends genuinely have a different view, that’s the hardest thing to square.”
The fracture is reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s troubles with his own party over immigration at the same point in his administration. Much like Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush aligned himself with the opposition party that controlled Congress only to find himself at odds with fellow Republicans who rejected the idea of a pathway to legal status for millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally.
But aides to Mr. Obama argued the outcome will be different. In this case, the House passed the trade promotion authority with the support of 28 Democrats, but rejected decisively a program of job assistance for those displaced by trade. Even though they normally support such trade assistance, Democrats voted against it in hopes of torpedoing the overall trade package.
The White House and Republican leaders hope to reverse the vote on trade assistance, although aides to Mr. Obama acknowledged the path was not clear. They can try to convince Democrats that they do not want trade assistance to expire at the expense of their constituents or they can dangle incentives to win more Republican votes, or some combination. If they succeed, no further vote will be needed to approve negotiating authority since that part passed.
“We’ve got a very strong case to make to Democrats about how middle-class families all across the country would benefit significantly from the proposed expansion of trade adjustment assistance, and we’re going to make the case that they should support it,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
Mr. Earnest insisted that the day’s events were a victory for the president, even if an incomplete one. But that portrayal did not ring true even to some of Mr. Obama’s supporters on Capitol Hill. Representative Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat who backed Mr. Obama on Friday, said the results “hobbled a Democratic president and told the world that we prefer that China set the rules and values that govern trade in the Pacific.”
Mr. Obama’s struggle reflected his longstanding distance from Capitol Hill, irritating members of both parties. He devoted more time and effort in lobbying lawmakers on this issue than any since House Republicans took control after the 2010 election, but even then he delegated most of the arm-twisting to his unpopular trade representative, Michael Froman.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, took up much of the oxygen on the debate, criticizing trade deals on television as the White House tried to seduce those on the fence, and while the Senate ultimately voted for trade authority, the president could not overcome the resistance in the House.
As Friday’s votes seemed increasingly in doubt, Mr. Obama reached out directly to lawmakers, directly rebutted Ms. Warren, and seemed genuinely and publicly invested in the outcome in a way he rarely appeared to be on gun control, climate, taxes and even immigration measures that have come before and failed in Congress.
At the same time, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader who generally uses her muscle to impose her will on her caucus, remained oddly in a mystery zone, pulled by liberals in one direction and conflicted by her loyalty to the president in the other. The White House found her cryptic throughout.
During conversations with Democrats on Thursday, Mr. Obama heard that many lawmakers, including Ms. Pelosi, would be at the annual congressional baseball game that evening, so he did something he rarely does: He spontaneously summoned his motorcade and raced over to the game. Still, while he found Ms. Pelosi, he did not engage in a long conversation over trade with her. When she came to the floor on Friday morning, Ms. Pelosi looked uncharacteristically shaken and spoke briefly and vaguely about the hopes of trade, before lowering the boom.
“I was hopeful from the start of this discussion that we could find a path to yes,” she said, adding, “Each week, each of us goes home to our district and in the case of many of us, we put our hand on a very hot stove. We hear the concern of so many families that have financial instability and uncertainty.” Ms. Pelosi made it clear she would not support the legislation, putting in the final twist of the knife.
As they seek to regroup this weekend, the president and his fellow Democrats will now experience the same thing Republicans have for the last few years — a narrative of their party divided and in disarray.

President Obama's Weekly Address: Stand Up for American Workers and Pass TAA


Pakistan - 20 Terrorists Killed In North Waziristan: ISPR

At least 20 terrorists were killed when security forces carried out aerial strikes in North Waziristan Agency, ISPR said in a statement.
The strikes were carried out in the Datta Khel area of the agency near the Pak-Afghan border on Saturday.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched by the Pakistan Army in June 2014 to eliminate terrorism from North Waziristan

Are Christians Of Pakistan Living in The Pakistan Jinnah Created?

By Nazish Yasir

Numerous cases of the desecration of the Holy Quran have surfaced in recent time. The blame always lands on the Christian of Pakistan. The background of Christians residing in Pakistan is diverse. On top of that they contribute tirelessly to the major health care sector as nurses and to the education sector as teachers.
Under the reign of president Zia ul Haq, Islamisation started in Pakistan this meant the enforcement of Islamic penal code and high restrictions to the rights of non-Muslims. They could not even give evidence in court. This marginalized the Christian minority in Pakistan. It secluded Christians from every walk of life.
Separate electorates, separate representation and a very meager share of the basic human rights the national of a country is supposed to have, Amendments to law were made to suit the Muslims of the country and are still twisted to be against the Christians living in the country. Living examples of this are the hoards of blasphemy cases which surface everyday. There is no escape for a Christian of any other recognized minority in Pakistan.
Recently came the lifting of the ban on death penalty and innocent Christians like Aftab Bahadur Masih were hanged. The fear that resides in us now is that no one knows how many Christians will be hanged? How many will face death penalty as there are hundreds who are in jail and there is no way they can come out.
Even in the small thing in life for instance education and employment, Christians are barred at some point. Opportunities are less and even if a Christian manages to rise to a status he or she becomes a target in the eyes of many.
The question that arises over here is that are we living in the Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah created? Is everyone an equal citizen of this country? Constitutional changes are desperately needed and until this does not happen, there is no hope.
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US Warns Pakistan Over Save the Children Expulsion

The United States on Friday warned Pakistan it was only hurting itself after Save the Children was expelled for "working against the country," with Islamabad threatening to throw out more foreign aid groups.

Pakistan has toughened its policies towards international aid groups in recent years, accusing them of being covers for spying operations, and has repeatedly warned them to restrict their activities, vowing stern action for any "suspicious" activity.
Police and government officials sealed the Islamabad offices of Save the Children on Thursday, but gave no specific details of what the group was alleged to have done.

Washington expressed concern at the move and said several non-governmental organizations "have reported increasing difficulty doing business in Pakistan."

"This has had a significant negative impact on international partner efforts to support government of Pakistan priorities," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

The statement came hours after Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan's interior minister, said parliament was debating whether to expose what he said were the "many" foreign NGOs bent on undermining Pakistan.

"Many NGOs are working against Pakistan and we are deliberating on exposing them in the parliament," Nisar told reporters.

"Non-government organizations working against the country's national interest will not be allowed to continue their work in Pakistan."

Aid groups have complained in recent years that increasing government restrictions on their activities has hampered their efforts to help vulnerable people in a country which still has huge numbers who live in poverty.

They say their work in so-called "sensitive" areas such as southwestern Baluchistan -- the country's poorest, least developed province -- have been particularly affected.

Without naming any organizations, Khan said some NGOs had been operating without proper regulation and had worked in Baluchistan when they had permission only to work in Islamabad.

In 2012, the government expelled the expat staff of Save the Children, which has worked in Pakistan for over 35 years and employs 1,200 Pakistanis.

That move came after Pakistani intelligence services accused the charity of links to doctor Shakeel Afridi, who the CIA allegedly used to carry out a fake vaccination programme as they searched for Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Save the Children has always vehemently denied any link to either Afridi or the CIA.

"Pakistan's international development partners respect the government of Pakistan's need for full transparency from INGOs (international NGOs) involving their activities within the country," Kirby said in a statement.

"We also agree INGOs must operate within a relevant legal and regulatory framework.

"For that reason, we urge the Government of Pakistan to standardize and streamline a transparent process that will allow INGOs, including Save the Children, to work legally in Pakistan."

Pakistan’s 2015-16 budget : Celebrating a crumbling economy

By Lal Khan 

With 78% of the population living below the poverty line, 66% facing food insecurity, almost 100 million without access to safe water and just under 94 million without access to adequate sanitation, for most sensible people, Pakistan’s 2015-16 budget should present a huge problem for leaders of the country.
Nonetheless, the ruling classes are only able to multiply misery for generations to come. Moreover, this enforced misery of the many takes place alongside the shameless flaunting of wealth by the upper strata of the military and civilian elite. This accumulation through crime and corruption has allowed much of the wealthy class to construct palatial houses in their pristine, separate neighbourhoods or fund lavish shopping sprees in their temples of consumption across the world. Whilst the majority of the country lives in despair, not sure of where the next meal is to come from, a tiny minority live in gaudy bubbles, separated from the rest of the country.
Amongst the serious bourgeois, however, there are worries of an impending catastrophe. The rotten capitalist system has created its own problems, with the disastrous economic situation and the rising anger that this has engendered.
The naked economic offensive unleashed by the pro-market Pakistan Muslim League (N) regime is starkly evident, even with a glance at the official figures from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Moreover, these statistics are produced by a faltering state, which has failed to even carry out a national census since the early 1990s and so must be read with a pinch of salt. It is telling, therefore, that even these statistics are still indicative of the exploitative class nature of the regime. This is a country where, on the one hand, both the tax to GDP ratio and the percentage of income tax payers is one of the lowest in the world but, on the other hand, indirect taxation on the masses has increasingly been covertly increased whilst the government falls over itself to offer massive tax incentives to imperialist and corporate vultures. Additionally, whilst the state has seen a withdrawal of SRO’s worth Rs. 103 billion, the ruling class still managed to extract Rs. 665 billion from the national exchequer in the last fiscal year; an increase of Rs. 187.9 over 2013/14.
In a frantic attempt to cover up these mounting deficits, the state is relying on reckless borrowing. The Pakistan Economic Survey reports that public debt has soared to Rs. 16.94 trillion; an increase of Rs. 940 billion in just the first nine months of the current financial year. As of March 2015, the total debt liabilities of the country stood at Rs. 19.3 trillion, whilst the debt liability of each person has increased from Rs. 37,170 in 2008 to Rs. 101,338 in 2015. Additionally, the external debt servicing has reached close to $7 billion in the fiscal year 2014, which amounts to almost 50% of the current reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan. In the fiscal year of 2015, the country paid $6.82 billion in debt servicing, with $5.91 billion as a principal amount and $915 million in interest payments. What this means is that, worryingly, 47% of whatever the government generates in revenue goes to paying off debt; an increase of 3% compared to the previous year.
The mounting debt burden, when considered alongside the ever-increasing defence expenditure, has a huge impact on the quality of life of ordinary people in Pakistan; there is very little left for social spending. Pakistan spends just 2% of its GDP on education and 2.6% on health, which is the lowest in South Asia. Should it really come as a surprise, therefore, that Pakistan accounts for one out of every ten children of primary school age who are not in school?
For the serious bourgeois, yet further unfortunate news comes from the fact that the unemployment rate has risen to 8.3% in the 2015 fiscal year, the highest it has been for 13 years. Unemployment has risen for each of the Nawaz administration’s two years in office, an increase of 1.5 million since it came to power in 2013.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, a major reason behind the growing unemployment is insufficient economic growth. Whilst the level of unemployment is expected to rise by another 400,000 to 8.6% in the next fiscal year, this estimation could well be lower than the actual rate of unemployment if the government misses its growth target of 5.5%. Given the fact that, in the current fiscal year, the government has struggled to produce even a 0.24% increase in the growth rate and another 700,000 people were added to the pool of unemployed, it seems that it could well be the case that the original estimation will be less than what actually transpires.
According to various independent bourgeois and NGO economic experts, Pakistan needs an annual growth rate of at least 7% to create enough jobs to absorb new entrants in to the labour market. However, even Ahsan Iqbal, the federal minister for planning and development, has argued that the finance ministry’s projection of the creation of 2.5 million jobs during the next financial year is unrealistic.
Even from the point of view of capitalist macroeconomics, the prospects of higher and sustainable growth are bleak. All the parties in the incumbent political circus view the recipe for economic growth and employment generation to be based upon Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). How ignorant these masters of our destiny are! Is this nothing more than a blatant confession of the failure to build a modern industrial nation state? For more than a decade the mode of this FDI has been radically altered from a labour-intensive, to a capital-intensive approach. Rather than creating jobs, these imperialists and national corporate capitalists are destroying them in a mindless race for more profits.
Since the financial crash of 2008, the world capitalist economy has failed to recover and investment rates have nose-dived across the world. The falling rate of profit has long constricted investment in manufacturing and is now providing difficulties for investment in services. It is in this context that the regime is carrying out its privatisation plans, dealing a disastrous blow to the exchequer due to the fact that this process essentially amounts to the loot of national assets. The government generated a pathetic Rs. 170 billion from privatisation in the previous fiscal year; a level below even its own lowly target of Rs. 198 billion.
Both the state and the system are lurching towards disintegration and decay. In the context of international capitalism, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. With rapidly rising poverty and deprivation, life for the masses is becoming intolerably hellish and agonising. At the same time, the parade of wealth by the reactionary upstarts and crooks is instilling hatred and seething revolt amongst the oppressed.
They have no choice but to overthrow this system for survival.

Pakistan - Remembering legendary ‘Ghazal King’ Mehdi Hassan

The third death anniversary of ‘King of Ghazal’ Mehdi Hassan was observed on Saturday (June 13).
Mehdi Hassan was born on 18 July 1927 in a village called Luna, Rajasthan in Jhunjhunu district in India into a family of traditional musicians. In 1957‚ Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan‚ primarily as a thumri singer‚ which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity.
He had a passion for Urdu poetry, and therefore, he began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. He cites radio officers Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer.
He was honored with numerous awards including Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.
He remained a leading singer of film industry along with Ahmed Rushdi.
One of his Ghazals he will be most remembered for is Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s, ‘Gullon Mein Rang Bhare.’ A host of other numbers like ‘Ik Husn Ki Devi Se Mujhe Piyar Hua Tha’, and ‘Jab Koi Piyaar Se Bulaye Ga, Tum Ko Ek Shakhs Yaad Aye Ga’ are also equally memorable. He sang for over 300 films during his musical career.
Mehdi Hassan died on 13 June 2012 after a protracted illness, in a private hospital in Karachi.

Pakistan - Monitoring INGOs

On Thursday the Interior Ministry ordered the shutdown of the International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO), Save the Children, and ordered the expulsion of all the expatriate staff. And while the move seems odd –why would an organisation helping needy children draw the ire of the government – the Interior Minister, Chaudry Nisar, had a reason; the same reason that is used to silence all walks of activities in Pakistan: “protection of state interests”. The move heralds the beginning of a tighter regime regarding INGOs, which will be extensively monitored and vetted from now on. The government’s initiative does carry a measure of rationality and the Interior Minister’s statements do seem reasonably balanced, yet it is the implementation of this initiative which raises concerns regarding the government’s attempts to stifle discourse and discourage dissent – the two necessary conditions of a working democracy.

“We don’t want to put a ban on any NGO but we want to compel them to work under their charter”; the statement by the Interior Minister sums up the government’s policy. If viewed objectively – which translates to ‘removed from the realities of the Pakistani state’ – the requirement seems justified. NGOs operate under special laws, frequently employ foreigners, often draw funding from foreign sources and have access to areas and records which the common man does not; combined with a limitless charter, it is easy to see how they can be used to carry out covert operations, such as the alleged use of NGOs to carry out fake vaccinations programme to scout for Osama Bin Laden. Asking NGOs to stick to the purpose of their formation seems a reasonable way of dealing with such concerns; although it might cause some daily operational inconvenience for the organisations –what activity falls under the charter, which falls out of it and what to do with the ones in the grey areas?

Yet, in the midst of reasonability, the government reveals the unreasonable; the Minister mentioned NGO’s who were “reporting stories from Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan which were based on lies” and others who were “defaming Pakistan through superficially conducted studies”. He went on to warn that “capital punishment is in accordance with the law while criticism against judiciary will not be tolerated in this regard”. Now this is a completely separate issue from stopping NGOs to conduct covert operations; this is an attempt to muzzle the organisations that criticise the government and its policies. It seems that under the guise of a legitimate cause the government will shut down any organisation that reveals the injustices committed by the state. How long before the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is shutdown for criticising state policies, how long before Amnesty International is asked to leave? The government must restrict its actions to true offenders, and allow genuine organisations to continue working while letting criticism flow. At the end of the day, these organisations help thousands that are beyond the government’s reach.

PPP Chairman & Co Chairman chair meetings of PPP MPs and Office Bearers of Thatta, Sajawal

Separates meetings of district Thatta and Sujawal representatives and PPP office bearers were held at Bilawal House, with Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman & Former President Asif Ali Zardari in Chair.
Meeting was attended among others by CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, MNA Faryal Talpur, Sherry Rehman, Sharjeel Memon, Jameel Soomro, MNA Shamsun Nisa, Provincial Minister Muhammad Ali Malkani, MPA Syed Owais Muzaffar, Rukhsana Shah, Rehana Leghari, Arbab Wazir memon, Ghulam Qadir Palejo, Abdul Wahid Soomro, Babu Ghulam Hussain, and Humera Alwani.
Public representatives and party official apprised the party leadership about current development schemes and organizational matters. They also submitted proposals for next local bodies election.
Addressing the participants Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari stressed that the party leaders and workers should keep vigilant eye on delimitation of local bodies constituencies and file appeals against any wrong demarcation.
He further said injustices were committed against the PPP in Thatta during 2013 general elections. But now it has to be stopped, he added.
Asif Ali Zardari further pointed out that mega projects like Karachi Thatta dual carriage, Thatta Sujawal bridge and Mullakatyar Pull projects will bring prosperity to the area.
He said de ’silting KB feeder has been conducted after 57 years which made irrigation water available to the tail-enders.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari , directed the elected representatives, party office bearers and workers to give ownership to the running development schemes, monitors the work and complaint incase of any wrong doing. PPP Chairman also directed formation of a committee comprised of senior and old leaders and workers which may meet quarterly.

Pakistan - Senate proceedings: Democracy suits the country, says Rabbani

Rejecting the rhetoric of a former spymaster over democracy and military role, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said on Friday that the military “is a truly professional force and understands that democracy is in favour of this state”.
“Those who are talking about packing up of democratic setup will not be tolerated,” he remarked after Senator Usman Kakar informed the house that former DG Inter-Services Intelligence Lt-Gen Hameed Gul in an interview called for military rule in the country.
“Army should take the country’s command for a short period and act professionally, and if it does not take over, there would be a civil war in Pakistan,” Gul said. “Freedom of expression is not a licence. Such a wish is against the spirit of true democracy,” Rabbani said.
During the course of proceedings, Senator Usman Kakar drew attention towards Hameed Gul’s statement in which he asked for the “Constitution to be suspended”. Kakar called for filing of a case against the former DG ISI under Article 6 as Gul was asking for abrogating the Constitution.
In response to his point of order, senators Farahatullah Babar and Saeed Ghani also urged fellow lawmakers and the media not to give importance to such an irresponsible statement which is nothing “but a way of earning cheap fame”.
They urged the government to take strong notice of this statement and go for a legal action against Gul, if there is any ground.
Budget debate
During the proceedings, senators hardly showed any interest in the budget debate. A few of them, however, took part in the discussion and gave some proposals.
Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari said that indirect taxes on the masses are illegal, urging the government to expand the tax net. “Everyone should be bound to pay tax, which is the only way for nation’s prosperity.”
“New budget is a joy for me,” said Senator Shahi Syed of Awami National Party, adding, “But the thing which let me down is the ministers’ poor response to debate it.”
Senator Attaur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam endorsed Shahi Syed’s statement and urged the lawmakers to come up with better proposals to make this year’s budget more realistic. Senator Shibli Fraz of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also lamented the lack of interest showed by his fellow colleagues to debate the budget.
“Lessening customs duty on various imported products will hurt the local industry,” he said and urged the government to review this proposal. Later, the debate on budget was adjourned till Monday.