Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Music Video - Rihanna - Shut Up And Drive

Video - Putin dives in mini-sub to shipwreck off Crimea

Moscow urges Kiev to stop escalating situation in Donbas

Kiev’s bellicose rhetoric causes serious concern, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in connection with the aggravation of the situation in southeastern Ukraine.
"Recently there’s been further deterioration of the situation in southeastern Ukraine," the ministry said. "Despite the ceasefire regime declared in accordance with the Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian army has increased the intensity of the artillery bombardments of the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics using all types of weapons." "As a result of this civilians continue to die and sustain injuries of varying severity, residential houses and social infrastructure facilities are destroyed," the ministry noted. "Districts of Donetsk, the Donetsk airport and also the towns of Spartak, Gorlovka, Debaltsevo and others suffer heaviest artillery bombardments."
"The bellicose rhetoric coming from Ukraine, which is encouraged by a number of its foreign patrons, causes major concern and clearly attests to the intention to prepare the public opinion for another attempt to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by force," the ministry said. "Under the circumstances, all responsibility for the negative consequences of such provocative actions will be borne by the current Ukrainian authorities."
"We call on the Ukrainian side to stop escalating tensions and honor the agreements on seeking the political settlement of the crisis in dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk, the way it is envisaged in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey - Now Erdogan is cooking up a coup to overthrow himself

Mustafa Akyol

Over the past decade, many of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s adversaries were blamed for cooking up coups in Turkey against “the constitutional order.” Some were imprisoned, for months or even years, after highly controversial investigations and indictments. It has also been a dominant theme of the pro-Erdogan propaganda machine to depict all elements of the Turkish opposition as pawns of a global conspiracy to topple Erdogan with a coup. Few could imagine that Erdogan himself would be blamed for a coup.
Yet it came with an astounding remark Erdogan made in a public speech Aug. 14 — a speech that created shock waves in the nation. To a cheering crowd in his hometown, Rize, he said:
“There is a president with de facto power in the country, not a symbolic one. The president should conduct his duties for the nation directly, but within his authority. Whether one accepts it or not, Turkey’s administrative system has changed. Now, what should be done is to update this de facto situation in the legal framework of the constitution.”
In other words, the European-style parliamentary system enacted by the Turkish Constitution was no longer valid because Erdogan had “de facto power” that overrode the constitution. So a new constitution had to be crafted as soon as possible to reconcile the de facto reality with the nation’s charter. The president was not made for the constitution; rather the constitution must be made for the president.
Almost all opposition figures reacted to this statement by Erdogan, but the most notable comment came from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). “Erdogan confessed to staging a coup during his speech in Rize,” Kilicdaroglu said, adding, “The major feature of a coup maker is that they stage a coup and then try to establish the legal basis for their coups. Now, Erdogan says, ‘I staged this coup. It is now time to construct its legal basis.’… The person saying this is the one who swore on his honor and his life that he would be loyal to the constitution [in his presidential oath].”
Besides other opposition leaders, several of Turkey’s prominent constitutional law scholars also spoke to the press and criticized Erdogan’s remarks. One of them was professor Ergun Ozbudun, the same scholar Erdogan consulted in 2007 in his more liberal-leaning days for a constitutional draft. Ozbudun said Erdogan’s statement was clear evidence that he “violates the current constitution.”
Turkey’s current constitution is like those in many European Union states and Israel: There is a president, who is a nonpartisan head of state, and a prime minister, who is a party leader with real executive power. And Erdogan had no problems with this design until he decided to run for president, which he won in August 2014. Since then, he has been promoting a “presidential system” that would give him full executive powers.
Erdogan bases his claim on the mere fact that he was elected president in a new way. Before him, presidents were elected by the parliament. But due to a constitutional amendment made in 2007, Erdogan was elected directly by the people, marking a first in the country’s history. The implication, he claims, must be that the popularly elected president must be like no other. As the embodiment of the nation, he must have sweeping powers.
Yet this argument does not hold much water. There are at least seven other parliamentary democracies in Europe where presidents are elected directly by the people, but still have more symbolic than executive powers: Austria, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Iceland. Moreover, the mandate of previous Turkish presidents was not based on anything other than the nation, as well, because the parliament itself is elected by none other than the people.
For sure, Erdogan still has the right to promote a “presidential system,” as he and his propaganda machine does, and ask for the Turkish people to vote for it in a referendum. One of the opposition leaders, Selahattin Demirtas, called on Erdogan this week and proposed such a single-topic referendum to ask the people, “Do you want a presidential system or not?” Demirtas probably trusts the polls, which indicate that only 27 percent of all Turkish voters are excited by the presidential system. Erdogan, probably aware of the same polls, has not yet responded to this proposal.
What is unacceptable is the implementation of this system by Erdogan as “de facto reality.” It is, in fact, unbelievable how he could declare that. He might be encouraged by the political uncertainty that has ensued since the general elections of June 7. Since then, no government has been formed, as all coalition talks failed — conspicuously, many believe, partly thanks to the maneuvers of Erdogan himself. Moreover, the “peace process” with the Kurdistan Workers Party has collapsed, and political violence has returned to the Turkish scene.
Perhaps Erdogan and his team feel that the time has come for the nation to honor its savior — a resolute leader with an iron will who will crush all the enemies within. Little do they realize, though, that the nation needs the exact opposite: a gentler leader who can heal scars, build bridges and offer some reconciliation to a bitterly divided society.

All Sides in Yemen Conflict Show ‘Ruthless and Wanton Disregard’ for Civilians: Amnesty


Airstrikes and attacks committed by all sides in the Yemen conflict could amount to war crimes, according to a new report from Amnesty International.  
Saudi Arabia–led coalition airstrikes and attacks on groups supporting and opposing Houthi rebels in southern Yemen have left a “bloody trail of civilian death and destruction,” killing scores of people, including dozens of children, international human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday.

Since Saudi Arabia–led airstrikes began on March 26, more than 1,950 people have died and 4,271 have been injured, according to the United Nations. More than 80 people died in recent fighting in Taiz, southern Yemen, officials said on Monday.
“Civilians in southern Yemen have found themselves trapped in a deadly crossfire between Houthi loyalists and anti-Houthi groups on the ground, while facing the persistent threat of coalition airstrikes from the sky,” said Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at London-based Amnesty International. “All the parties to this conflict have displayed a ruthless and wanton disregard for the safety of civilians.”
Airstrikes have occurred in densely populated residential neighborhoods, and pro- and anti-Houthi fighters have battled each other in civilian areas. In June and July, eight Saudi-led airstrikes killed 141 civilians and injured 101 more, mainly women and children, Amnesty says. Targets of the airstrikes included a school that displaced people were using for shelter, a mosque, civilian homes and a market. In most cases, those locations were not near military targets, said Amnesty.
“Coalition forces have blatantly failed to take necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties, an obligation under international humanitarian law,” said Rovera. “Indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes.”
Residents who spoke with Amnesty recounted horrifying scenes at the site of airstrikes. One resident described the aftermath of a July 24 attack on a residential compound in Mokha, southwestern Yemen, as something from “judgment day.”
Battles between groups aligned with the Houthi rebels, who have been in control of the capital, Sanaa, since September, and those fighting against them have included the use of mortars, rocket launchers and artillery fire. The use of such weapons shows “utter disregard for the safety of civilians,” said Amnesty. A particularly horrendous attack carried out by Houthi and their allies in Aden, southern Yemen, killed 45 people, the majority of whom were civilians.  
“They fight and we are caught in the middle, but we don’t have anywhere else to go,” one resident told Amnesty.
The United Nations continues to call on both sides to cease fighting in Yemen and warned earlier this month of an enormous funding gap for the country. In southern Yemen, 80 percent of people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Thousands are also at risk from contracting diseases like dengue fever and having to undergo amputations without proper medical care, humanitarian medical organization Doctors Without Borders said last week.  
Amnesty is calling on the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged war crimes.

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Video Report - India: Toilets for all | DW News

Almost half of the population of India have no access to a toilet. The Sulabh charity organization is collecting donations to provide facilities in rural areas. The aim is to boost both hygiene standards and safety for women.

Hillary Clinton Fires Back Over Email Controversy

President Obama seeks to start commercial flights to Cuba by end of year

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U.S. - President Obama’s Department of Injustice


LAST month, President Obama used his clemency power to reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up on drug-related charges. But for the last six years, his administration has worked repeatedly behind the scenes to ensure that tens of thousands of poor people — disproportionately minorities — languish in federal prison on sentences declared by the courts, and even the president himself, to be illegal and unjustifiable.
The case of Ezell Gilbert is emblematic of this injustice. In March 1997, he was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, Mr. Gilbert was automatically sentenced to a quarter-century in prison, though even the judge who sentenced him admitted that this was too harsh.
At his sentencing, Mr. Gilbert noted a legal error that improperly increased his sentence by approximately a decade based on a misclassification of one of his prior offenses. In 1999, without a lawyer, he filed a petition seeking his release. A court ruled against him.
Nearly 10 years later, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in another prisoner’s case, confirming that Mr. Gilbert had been right. A public defender helped him file a new petition for immediate release in light of this new decision.
Mr. Obama’s Justice Department, however, convinced a Florida federal judge that even if Mr. Gilbert’s sentence was illegal, he had to remain in prison because prisoners should not be able to petition more than once for release. The “finality” of criminal cases was too important, the department argued, to allow prisoners more than one petition, even if a previous one was wrongly denied.
A federal appellate court disagreed, and in June 2010, three judges set Mr. Gilbert free. The judges rejected the administration’s argument as a departure from basic fairness and explained that it simply could not be the law in America that a person had to serve a prison sentence that everyone admitted was illegal. Mr. Gilbert returned home and stayed out of trouble.
Here’s where it gets interesting. There are many people like Mr. Gilbert in America’s federal prisons — people whose sentences are now obviously illegal. Instead of rushing to ensure that all those thousands of men and women illegally imprisoned at taxpayer expense were set free, the Justice Department said that it did not want a rule that allowed other prisoners like Mr. Gilbert to retroactively challenge their now illegal sentences. If the “floodgates” were opened, too many others — mostly poor, mostly black — would have to be released. The Obama administration’s fear of the political ramifications of thousands of poor minority prisoners being released at once around the country, what Justice William J. Brennan Jr. once called “a fear of too much justice,” is the real justification.
In May 2011, the same court, led by a different group of judges, sided with the original judge, saying that the “finality” of sentences was too important a principle to allow prisoners to be released on a second rather than first petition, even if the prison sentence was illegal. A contrary rule would force the courts to hear the complaints of too many other prisoners. Mr. Gilbert was rearrested and sent back to prison to serve out his illegal sentence.
Judge James Hill, then an 87-year-old senior judge on the appellate court in Atlanta, wrote a passionate dissent. Judge Hill, a conservative who served in World War II and was appointed by Richard M. Nixon, called the decision “shocking” and declared that a “judicial system that values finality over justice is morally bankrupt.” Judge Hill wrote that the result was “urged by a department of the United States that calls itself, without a trace of irony, the Department of Justice.”
Judge Hill concluded: “The government hints that there are many others in Gilbert’s position — sitting in prison serving sentences that were illegally imposed. We used to call such systems ‘gulags.’ Now, apparently, we call them the United States.”
Two years later, the Justice Department used a similar tactic to overturn an entirely different federal appellate court decision that could have freed thousands of prisoners convicted of nonviolent crack cocaine offenses — again, mostly impoverished and mostly black — on the grounds that their sentences were discriminatory and unjustifiable. The administration again did its work without fanfare in esoteric legal briefs, even as the president publicly called the crack-cocaine sentencing system “unfair.”
In 2013, several years after sending him back to prison, Mr. Obama granted Mr. Gilbert clemency, and the president has recently won praise for doing the same for several dozen other prisoners of the war on drugs. Mr. Obama even visited a federal prison last month, staring into the cells — emptied for his visit — of some of the men whom his own administration has needlessly kept there.
But Mr. Obama must take steps to further undo the damage that he has done. He should use his clemency power to release all those currently held in a federal prison on an illegal sentence. And he should appoint a permanent special counsel whose job would be to review new laws and federal court cases on a continuing basis to identify and release other prisoners whose sentences retroactively become clearly unlawful. That the Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons have never created such a position is an outrage. If we fail to demand change now, this moment for justice may be lost.

Runa Laila - Mera Babu Chail Chabila Original

Pashto Music - By Saima Naz - Tapey -

Hopeless and broke: Looking for a future outside Afghanistan

Uncertain of their country's future, Afghans are migrating in droves – but leaving can be a risky proposition.

The Quiet Demise of the Army’s Plan to Understand Afghanistan and Iraq

One dreary winter day in 2010, I joined a Georgia National Guard unit on a routine patrol in Zormat, a ragged mountain town in eastern Afghanistan, not far from the Pakistani border. With us were two American civilians in military uniforms who worked for a United States Army social-science program called the Human Terrain System. The Army had begun developing the program as an experiment in 2006; it expanded quickly as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan foundered and American policy makers cast about for novel approaches. The idea was to send teams of social scientists, including anthropologists, to gather ethnographic, sociocultural and economic information and advise front-line soldiers on a range of delicate topics, from the mechanics of forging tribal alliances to how to persuade villagers to how to respond to local offers of hospitality.
In the snow-covered Zormat bazaar, one of the civilian social scientists struck up a conversation with a shopkeeper. They talked about the state of the war, Afghan government corruption and America’s longstanding support for the warlords whom many Afghans view as war criminals. Since the invasion in 2001, the United States military had been making choices about which Afghan leaders to support, which companies to reward with contracts, whom to trust and whom to kill. These choices, the shopkeeper said, were the key to why so much had gone wrong. “You are making mistakes,” he told his American interlocutor. “You have been making mistakes for eight years. I tell you one thing, different people tell you something different. There’s no right person with you to advise you. So all the people working with you are wrong.”
The Army created the Human Terrain System — at the height of the counterinsurgency craze that dominated American strategic thinking in Iraq and Afghanistan late in the last decade, with much fanfare — to solve this problem. Cultural training and deep, nuanced understanding of Afghan politics and history were in short supply in the Army; without them, good intelligence was hard to come by, and effective policy making was nearly impossible. Human Terrain Teams, as Human Terrain System units were known, were supposed to include people with social-science backgrounds, language skills and an understanding of Afghan or Iraqi culture, as well as veterans and reservists who would help bind the civilians to their assigned military units.
On that winter day in Zormat, however, just how far the Human Terrain System had fallen short of expectations was clear. Neither of the social scientists on the patrol that morning had spent time in Afghanistan before being deployed there. While one was reasonably qualified, the other was a pleasant 43-year-old woman who grew up in Indiana and Tennessee, and whose highest academic credential was an advanced degree in organizational management she received online. She had confided to me that she didn’t feel comfortable carrying a gun she was still learning how to use. Before arriving in Afghanistan, she had traveled outside the United States only once, to Jamaica — “and this ain’t Jamaica,” she told me.
She was out of her depth, but at least she tried to be professional. Two days earlier, another member of the Human Terrain Team casually told a sergeant that he could have sex with me if he gave the team member some supplies he wanted. The Human Terrain Team member claimed to be joking, but the sergeant and I were mortified.
The shortcomings I saw in Zormat were hardly the extent of the Human Terrain System’s problems. The project suffered from an array of staffing and management issues, coupled with internal disagreements over whether it was meant to gather intelligence, hand out protein bars and peppermints, advise commanders on tribal conflicts or all three — a lack of clear purpose that eventually proved crippling. It outraged anthropologists, who argued that gathering information about indigenous people while embedded in a military unit in active combat posed an intractable ethical conflict. Once the subject of dozens of glowing news stories, the program had fallen so far off reporters’ radar by last fall that the Army was able to quietly pull the plug without a whisper in the mainstream media. (The news was revealed in June by Roberto J. Gonzáles, a San Jose State University anthropologist and longtime critic of the Human Terrain System, on the website of the left-leaning magazine CounterPunch.)
By the time the Human Terrain System was shut down in September, the program had cost American taxpayers more than $700 million and was bereft of purpose; with the war in Iraq purportedly over and deployments to Afghanistan dwindling quickly, it had run out of soldiers to advise. The program isn’t entirely gone; a five-person remnant, including three anthropologists, continues at Fort Leavenworth. Known as the Global Cultural Knowledge Network, it’s a “reachback” center: a United States-based organization that conducts research to help deployed troops with sociocultural questions. Its purpose is, in part, to act as a placeholder. “Should we ever need to ramp up and expand capability, we have this nucleus,” said Gary Phillips, a senior intelligence adviser in the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. But Phillips said his command should never again deploy social scientists to the battlefield, because it lacks the administrative and support infrastructure to manage them. “I think we learned a heck of a lot,” he told me.
Military leaders might have learned these lessons more quickly had they read their own history. In the 1976 book “The Best-Laid Schemes: A Tale of Social Science Research and Bureaucracy,” Seymour J. Deitchman, who held key positions in the Defense Department during the Vietnam War, describes how the United States government and defense establishment came to realize that the culture and beliefs of the people Americans were fighting among and against in places like Vietnam remained utterly mysterious — and that this lack of understanding was hurting efforts to convince locals to support America’s cause. “The philosophical underpinnings of the political and economic theories on which we based our actions were complex and more specific to our culture than to that of the Vietnamese — or, for that matter, the culture of other countries with which we had become involved,” Deitchman writes.
The book chronicles a proliferation of government-funded efforts to learn about the world that unfolded during the Vietnam War. One sent American researchers to interview North Vietnamese prisoners and defectors about what had motivated them to support the Viet Cong. Another embedded a social scientist in a South Vietnamese village to learn how the Viet Cong, Vietnamese officials, the Vietnamese Army and the people interacted. Project Camelot, probably the best-known military social-science debacle of the period, proposed sending social scientists to Latin America and elsewhere at the Army’s expense to explore the potential for “internal war” — a thinly veiled attempt to get ahead of leftist rebellions breaking out in developing countries around the globe. In Thailand, researchers on American government contracts gathered information about local people suspected of pro-Communist leanings in an effort to safeguard the American-backed regime.
As a counterinsurgency expert in the Defense Department, Deitchman was involved in many of these efforts. He and his colleagues were trying to make the United States military smarter about its enemies, but most of their attempts backfired. Congress shut Camelot down after enraged Latin-American leftists complained. A rising tide of antiwar sentiment on college campuses opened a rift between anthropologists and the government that has endured to this day. Deitchman called the social-science experiments of the 1960s “painful” and concluded that, for the government, the practical and political risks of conducting such research, especially in wartime, far outweighed the gains. The government “should support less, not more, research into the workings of society,” Deitchman wrote. “In the area of learning about societies, their values and their behavior, I now believe that government can be most effective when it follows, rather than leads.”
While I share Deitchman’s misgivings, I don’t agree that the military can afford to get out of the cultural-knowledge business altogether. The Army lost years and many lives in Iraq and Afghanistan because it had to relearn the lessons of Vietnam, among them the need for better cultural intelligence. And the need for cultural understanding isn’t going away. The rise of drones and sociocultural modeling, which uses data to simulate and sometimes predict human responses to conflict and crisis, have given some in the defense establishment the idea that we can do all our fighting safely, from a distance. But we’ve had this idea before, in the decades following Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should have reminded us of its falsity.
Some military leaders understand this, but solutions that seem easy and bloodless have a broad and powerful appeal. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former Army Training and Doctrine Command commander, said recently that the Army’s experiment with the Human Terrain System was a sign of progress. “Now the question is whether can we sustain it,” Dempsey said. “Or is the institution likely to forget that the understanding of culture, religion and economics of a local society is important? I hope not, and with all the chiefs we seem to be committed to making sure that we don’t forget those lessons, but often the institution will. It is like a rubber band: You stretch it, and then you let it go, and it will go back to its normal form or shape. I’m afraid some of that might occur, if we are not careful.”

Pakistan: PTI’s populism in disarray?

By Lal Khan

While the masses have been toiling and trying their utmost to come to terms with heat, dust, humidity, unrelenting power outages, price hikes, poverty etc., the elite has been busy hurling accusations and counter allegations against each other in a theatre of the absurd. This has become almost a summer ritual which takes place every year.
The recent rows which have led to the unseating of the PTI MP’s, and the registrations of the cases against Altaf Hussain, barely matters for the masses. After all, how long can such shenanigans keep the masses bemused with their theatrics and gimmickry. The man for all seasons of moneyed politics, Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman, with his wit and expertise of political manoeuvres, and the verbal somersaults of Altaf Hussain, intoxicated with the power politics of mesmerising and hypnotising Nine Zero.
All this shows that Pakistan’s corrupt and reactionary ruling classes dominate all parties in this political set up. From the Republicans and the National Democratic Alliance to the Convention Muslim League, Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and the many faces of Pakistan Muslim League, including PML (J), PML (Z), PML (F), PML (N) and PML (Q). They have all played to the whims and needs of the Pakistani bourgeoisie and the military brass. The PPP’s leadership, ever since the 1980’s, have abandoned the working classes and have been striving to cash in its their traditional mass support to become a segment of the capitalist political framework. Whether through direct military dictatorships, or a shameful facade of democratic rule, a nexus of pliant civilian politicians and elites has been cultivated. From religious obscurantism to secular liberalism, top bureaucrats, judges and generals, this group has been crystallised to extract financial gains and perks through state power and unleash super exploitation on the masses.
The PTI is no different. Over the last few years we have witnessed politicians from the same putrid pool somersaulting back and forth and landing in the cesspool cesspit of PTI. Imran Khan and PTI do not have anything to offer to the masses. Khan’s answers to complex economic, political, social and strategic problems seem to come straight from the military honchos or opinions fabricated by the corporate media. In reality this really is simply a continuum continuation of the same drudgery, exploitation and misery under this obsolete and parasitic capitalist system.
The verdict of the judicial commission, on the May 2013 elections, proves the fact that the institutions of the state, in the last analysis, exist to defend the status quo. It seems Khan is oblivious to the correct conclusions to draw from this. Unlike his wily cousins in the PML (N) who, with their extensive expertise of ‘deals’ with the state, have managed to sneak into the echelons of power by manipulating and bribing the institutions and individuals that mattered. No doubt the decisive factor in these results, for the autocratic establishment, was the role of the tried and tested, ever-complying Nawaz Sharif.
Khan is pandering to the urban, educated middle-classes and has been trying to mould himself and the PTI in the shoes image of Bhutto and the PPP of 1970.  However, the PTI neither has the PPP’s 1970 socialist manifesto nor the revolutionary struggle of the working masses, which existed at the time, fighting against the military dictatorship of General Ayub and Pakistani capitalism to base themselves on. Had there been a genuine revolutionary Leninist party which existed during the 1968-69 movement we would not have been discussing Khan today. Unlike the PPP of 1970, Khan refuses to solely represent the working classes. The PTI talks about the assets of politicians, stored in foreign banks, looted from the people, but glaringly they omits to mention the money stashed in Swiss banks by the generals, judges, bureaucrats and businessmen. He fails to understand why the parallel economy is three times the size of the official economy and why hardly anybody is paying any taxes apart from the poor masses in the form of sales tax. Ending “thana” culture by depoliticising the police and abolishing “patwaris” is not going to put ‘rotis’ (bread) on the plate for the poor masses let alone provide access to affordable justice, education and health for them. Despite their boastful proclamations of transforming the Khyber-Pushtoonkhawa, nothing has changed. If anything it has gone from bad to worse for the masses in general.
Now the fissures in the elite of the PTI are opening up. The pie is too small to share out and the contenders are too many. Imran Khan suspended the membership of the retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad on Wednesday for violating party discipline. As head of the PTI’s election tribunal, Justice Ahmad had found some key leaders involved in the selling of posts in the party polls. Since March, he had been demanding the removal of some top PTI office-bearers, including General Secretary Jahangir Tareen, but Mr Khan blatantly refused to carry these out. Justice Wajih’s response to his suspension was revealing. He said, “The problem is that ‘if you love me then also love my dog’. I have never done it and shall never do it.” On Tuesday the PTI chairman vented his frustration at the crisis by warning all party members against exposing party issues to the press and said the membership of anyone who violated the order would be cancelled.
However in the first place it was Justice Ahmed’s own misconception that, being an ‘honest’ judge, he could conduct free and fair elections in a party that runs on the financial and logistical support of these billionaire politicians whose business interests are more dear to them that any ideology or principles. They joined Khan’s bandwagon in the mistaken belief of a quick shortcut to power. They wanted to exploit whatever avenues were possible with which to preserve and expand their own personal wealth. However for the party that had made so many promises and raised the hopes in of the middle classes such dissent, crisis and wrangling were inevitable.
We live in a country with a pulverised society and distorted socio economic patterns of development, based on the combined and uneven development of capitalism and the outdated feudal relations which mars and disfigures the culture. It This tragically ends up exaggerating and inflating the role of an individual. But with the crisis intensifying, leading to more dissatisfaction and disillusionment individuals, even those with the greatest of authority, cannot retain this unity without ideological or class cohesion. Bonapartist tactics and fear have their own limits. The disillusionment of the masses for the ‘alternative’ is spreading rapidly. This also builds pressure upon those who had staked their money and influence for on a party that they thought could be catapulted into power. 2018 is too long a period in a fragile and uncertain society like Pakistan. Slogans of patriotism, honesty and justice cannot heal the pain of the poverty, deprivation and suffering the masses are going through. However these slogans are nothing new and the toiling classes have had enough of them. Their lives have only worsened with the passage of time. Democracy, religion and sovereignty etc. cannot provide food, shelter, health, education and justice. They can only be attained through money. The money is with the exploiters. In whichever party these leeches will formulate policies where rich become richer and the poor even poorer. That is the law under which capitalists can sustain their rates of profit. The PTI’s programme and leaders are part of this very system. How could they ever bring a change to end the plight of the oppressed of the land?

A Pakistani Christian girl who refused to convert to Islam sold into sex slavery

According to an international rights group “Rescue Christians,” a Pakistani Christian girl faced brutal form of sexual assault when she refused to convert to Islam.
According to details, the group claims that a Christian girl was being forced by Muslim men to convert to Islam after they abducted her. Group claims that the girl plainly refused to convert and the abductors sold her into sex slavery as a result of which she had to face most inhuman form of sexual abuses.
The group called Rescue Christians, has not revealed name and other details of the girl but has revealed the shocking details.
According to the report by the group:
“A Christian girl in Pakistan was captured by Muslims and told to convert to Islam. She affirmed that she would never deny Christ. The Muslims sold her into sex slavery and the Muslims who bought her did something truly sinister to her: they tied her to a tree and took turns raping her.
This went on for weeks. It was truly horrifying what happened to this girl. Our organization, Rescue Christians, paid for her medical bills and are still helping her go through the psychological scars that she has had to endure.”
The group Rescue Christians is dynamically devoted to rescuing Christians from littered Middle East territory along with other anti-Christian countries across the globe.
- See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/a-pakistani-christian-girl-who-refused-to-convert-to-islam-sold-into-sex-slavery-where-she-faced-most-brutal-form-of-sexual-abuse/#sthash.DdsyaRWn.dpuf

Pakistan: Punjab Proxies Gone Wild – Analysis

By Ajai Sahni
The Home Minister of Punjab Province, Colonel Shuja Khanzada (Retd.) and 22 others, including Deputy Superintendent of Police Shaukat Shah, were killed, and another 23 were injured, in a suicide attack on August 15, 2015. According to reports, the attacks took place when between 50-100 people were attending a jirga at Khanzada’s political office in the Shadi Khan Village of Attock District. Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mushtaq Sukhera subsequently disclosed, “There were two suicide bombers, one stood outside the boundary wall and the second one went inside and stood in front of the Minister. The blast by the bomber standing outside ripped the wall which caused the roof to fall flat on the Minister and people gathered there.” Sukhera added that Police were investigating whether the attacker inside the building detonated a bomb.
The last high profile political killing in Punjab was the killing of Salmaan Taseer, the then Governor of the Punjab Province, who was killed in Islamabad, the national capital, on January 4, 2011, by one of his own body guards, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri. Qadri was reportedly incensed by the Governor’s efforts to seek a marginal dilution of the controversial blasphemy law [a punitive law against any critic or defamer of the Islamic religion, Prophet Mohammad or the holy Quran] as a result of which conviction under the law would not result in a mandatory death sentence; as also his advocacy for Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death on November 7, 2010, for alleged blasphemy.
Significantly, after assuming the post of Home Minister of the Province on October 13, 2014, Khanzada had reportedly been involved in major operations against domestically oriented terrorists in Punjab, though there was little evidence of any relative improvement of the security environment as a result. According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), Punjab recorded at least 186 terrorism-linked fatalities , including 129 civilians, 45 terrorists and 12 Security Force (SF) personnel in the 308 days under Home Minister Khanzada, as compared to 109 fatalities, including 69 civilians, 22 terrorists and 18 SF personnel in the corresponding period prior to his assuming office. Indeed, after registering a continuous decline in terrorism-related fatalities since 2011, Punjab had witnessed a sudden spurt in 2014, when at least 180 fatalities were registered, including 132 civilians, 20 SF personnel and 28 terrorists. In the current year, Punjab has already recorded 107 fatalities, including 62 civilians, 38 terrorists and seven SF personnel (data till August 16, 2015).
Khanzada’s Ministry recorded its biggest ‘success’ on July 29, 2015, with the killing of Malik Ishaq ‘chief’ of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a terror group which, along with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remained one of the most lethal domestic extremist formations operating inside Pakistan, though, unlike TTP, LeJ operated essentially as a sectarian outfit, uniquely targeting the non-Sunni Muslim minorities in the country. Ishaq, his two sons Usman and Haq Nawaz, and 11 others, were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with the Police in the Shahwala area of Muzaffargarh District in Punjab. According to reports, Ishaq and his sons, who had been arrested by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on July 25, 2015, were taken by the Police to the area to help them recover weapons and explosives. Police claimed that the exchange of fire took place when Ishaq’s supporters allegedly attacked the Police to free Ishaq. Though Ishaq was freed, he was allegedly killed in the subsequent exchange of fire along with the others. It is, however, widely believed that the entire operation was a staged killing.
Meanwhile, a preliminary report submitted to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif by IGP Mushtaq Sukhera asserted that Home Minister Khanzada was killed in retaliation to the Malik Ishaq killing. The Ishaq led LeJ, as SAIR had noted earlier, was one of several terrorist formations that had enjoyed the support of the Pakistani establishment over an extended period of time. He was arrested in 1997 and was implicated in dozens of cases, but succeeded in obtaining bail in July 2011, after nearly 14 years in jail. While in jail, he was believed to have masterminded the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, which killed eight Pakistanis, though only seven players and an assistant coach of the targeted team suffered minor injuries. He was repeatedly placed under house arrest thereafter, and arrested, again, in 2013, over a series of sectarian attacks. The worst of these was the January 10, 2013, Quetta (Balochistan) bombing, targeting a snooker hall patronized by the Shia Hazara community, in which 92 persons were killed; and another bombing in Quetta on February 16, 2013, which killed 89. LeJ claimed the attacks. Nevertheless, Ishaq again secured bail on March 20, 2014, and was released. His killing in an apparently staged encounter suggests that he had ‘crossed the limits’ placed on his group by its handlers.
Two terrorist formations have claimed responsibility for the Khanzada killing: TTP-affiliated Lashkar-e-Islam (LI), which principally operates in tribal areas of Pakistan where the Pakistan military has been carrying out massive operation since June 2014, declared that Khanzada’s assassination was retaliation for military operations against them. Its ‘spokesperson’ Saluddin Ayubi added, “Such types of attacks will continue in the future.” Further, Ehsanullah Ehsan, ‘spokesman’ for the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a breakaway faction of TTP, claiming responsibility for the attack Tweeted, “The Attock attack is revenge for the martyrdom of Malik Ishaq shaheed (martyr) and other mujahideen brothers.”
Punjab has remained substantially insulated from the high intensities terrorism experienced in Pakistan’s other provinces, despite the fact that it is the principal recruiting ground and staging area for a number of state-backed terrorist groups, most prominently including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) combine, which has long and openly received state largesse to support its networks in the Province. The degree of freedom and Government support various terrorist formations continue to enjoy in Punjab remains alarming. For instance, the province continues to host massive JuD rallies led by its chief and mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, one of the globally most-wanted terrorists. In the latest of such a series, JuD held a rally in Lahore on August 14, 2015, which was also telephonically addressed by Asiya Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), a separatist organization in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
According to SATP data compiled till March 2014, there has been a considerable and increasing presence of at least 57 extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. Significantly, on January 14, 2015, Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, during a briefing on the status of the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism and extremism, disclosed that the number of proscribed organisations actively engaged in terrorism and extremism in the Province had reached 95.
Indeed, out of 195 convicts hanged across Pakistan since December 17, 2014, when the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted, 135 were from Punjab alone, though only 15 of these were terrorists. In the latest of such hangings, on July 29, 2015, eight death row prisoners were executed in Punjab. While the spectacle of ‘strong action’ against terrorism is maintained, preferred groups continue to evade penal action, even as their leaders, such as 26/11 ‘masterminds’ Zia-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Saeed roam free. Indeed, state apologetics for various ‘good terrorist’ formations continues, and Khanzada was part of this process of rationalization. Most recently, when at least 15 persons were killed and another 70 were injured in two bomb blasts separately targeting two churches in the Youhanabad Town of Lahore, Khanzada claimed that the terrorists responsible “received Indian directives and funding”. Crucially, however, the Minister identified the Shahryar Mehsood Group, which operates for al-Qaeda, and TTP, as responsible for the church bombings, and the affiliations and connections of these groupings are widely known, and do not include any friendly relations with the Indian state or its agencies, to whose destruction they have repeatedly sworn.
Till the time Islamabad continues to differentiate between terror outfits, targeting those only who are domestically oriented while providing all tacit support to those which serves its ‘strategic interest’, terrorism will thrive on Pakistani soil and terrorists will succeed in eliminating those who will challenge their supremacy.
The Khanzada killing, like the Peshawar Army School massacre, which was also blamed by the Pakistani far right establishment on India, among an interminable succession of other terrorist atrocities, is essentially part of the continuing cycle of blowback and retaliation that has fed domestic terrorism in Pakistan. Ironically, its most prominent victims have been at least part of this cycle, if not as active supporters, certainly in their willingness to look the other way while ‘good terrorists’ did the state’s bidding in the past.

Balochistan - Poor Province – Extravagant Foreign Trip for 34 Member Delegation

By Adnan Aamir
34 member delegation of Balochistan assembly will visit USA on a trip that will cost Rs. 35 approximately to the provincial exchequer, learnt Balochistan Point.
Delegation will be led by deputy speaker of Balochistan assembly, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo. Other participants include opposition leader Molana Abdul Wasay, deputy opposition leader Zamruk Achakzai, Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti, Minister for information and parliamentary affairs Abdul Rahim Zairatwal among others.
Reportedly, delegation will depart for USA on 19th August to take part in programs in connection with yearly independence festivities of Pakistan to be held in USA on 23rd August.
Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr. Malik Baloch has nominated names of five parliamentary leaders and rest of the names have been nominated by Chief Secretary, a source within Balochistan assembly told Balochistan Point.
Delegation also consists of the names of Secretary Balochistan assembly and his four staff members. Rahila Durrani is the only female member of the 34 person delegation, learnt the Balochistan Point through its source.
Deputy Secretary of Balochistan Assembly, Mr. Shams-ud-Din has written a letter to protocol office of foreign office to get visas for all 34 members of delegation on urgent basis.
Balochistan Point came to know through another source that approximately 1 million rupees will be spent on per member of delegation. This means that this delegation will cost almost Rs. 35 million to the provincial exchequer.
Dr. Malik Baloch is on record claiming to reduce administrative expenses and sending a delegation of 34 people is a clear negation of his stance,” Nawab Ghous Baksh Barozai, former Caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan, told Balochistan Point.
Nawab Barozai further added, “I don’t see any sense in sending a crowded delegation of 34 people to USA. If our participation is necessary then we should rationalize our participation by remaining within our financial limits.”
Dr. Malik announced, at the beginning of his tenure, to cut down unnecessary government spending but he has been widely criticized for not keeping his word throughout last two years.

Pakistan - Terrorism In The Punjab

The need for an operation in the Punjab has never been greater. The Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada was killed along with dozens of others in a suicide blast at his political office in Shadi Khan, near Attock. Police have claimed that the blast appeared to be a large bomb.

The preliminary report which is presented to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, by law enforcement agencies and Punjab IG Mushtaq Sukhera, suggests that Khanzada was attacked in retaliation for the killing of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) chief Malik Ishaq. He had always been a strong advocate for curbing sectarian violence through eliminating terrorists and an operation was being carried out against the LeJ in Attock. Khanzada had been receiving death threats and it seems he was on the right track in his investigations.
If the government needed to a clear reason to go after the LeJ, it doesn’t get clearer than this. This is an attack against the State. There is no excuse to let the violent group off the hook because it is now leaderless. Shuja Khanzada was killed in retaliation of Malik Ishaq’s killing and was known for his zero-tolerance anti-terrorist stance. The government and intelligence agencies know the LeJ structure well, and they must dismantle it. These groups have been allowed to operate with impunity. The state only wakes up when it is too late, when people are already buried under rubble. How long before other tolerated groups like the Jamat ud Daawa and the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat engage in similar attacks?

In the past year Pakistani authorities have cracked down hard on the myriad insurgent groups that have plagued the country for a decade, and retaliation by them has come with a heavy price. With the success of Zarb-e-Azb, revenge attacks have now been proven to be the next form of attack launched by the enemy.
The problem is that there has been no real action taken against terrorism in the Punjab. The militants here are the highest in number, but deals with the politically powerful had kept them somewhat under control. One of the PML-N’s own is now dead along with 13 others. Khanzada was one of the few known to be uncorrupt and honest. Previous governments have shied away from tackling violent groups such as the LeJ. If the PMLN and the army have now chosen to take them on, may they have the strength to take the battle to its logical end. The blood of those who have laid down their lives for the cause, demands that it be so.

Pakistan’s new normal

By Khaled Ahmed 

After killing Prime Ministers and governors, terrorists in Pakistan have killed another minister. Punjab Interior Minister Shuja Khanzada was killed in a suicide bombing in Attock after he claimed the entire command structure of an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist outfit had been killed in a “police encounter”.

Can Pakistan have “normal” law and order? This month, Pakistan has gone through another crisis, once again involving parliament and the judiciary. A17-judge full bench of the Supreme Court ruled that parliament was right to establish military courts through the controversial 21st amendment. The lawyers were understandably opposed to the military courts, which carried the odour of the many martial laws of the past. Most purists, stung by the short-circuiting of the normal rule of law, wrote to persuade the bench to disallow the military courts by shooting down the 21st amendment.
The idea of military courts was popular. Without articulating the ugly fact that Pakistan was no longer a normal state, people blamed the dysfunction of the executive and lower judiciary and welcomed the brave position taken by the new army chief General Raheel Sharif of going after terrorists of all stripes, including the “non-state actors” spawned earlier by the state. The Pakistani state had lost sovereignty in its tribal areas long ago, but it has now also lost it in large parts of Karachi, the mega-city from where Pakistan collected most of its revenue.

Balochistan had also been lost to Baloch nationalists and sectarian killers hitched to al-Qaeda’s bandwagon of global terror. Cities in south Punjab and the historic city of Peshawar, as well as cities on the road to Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were at the mercy of terrorists disguised as champions of Islam.

The army attacked the Taliban and drove foreign terrorists out of its border areas. Then the climactic thing happened, which closed the case as far as military courts were concerned: Malik Ishaq, the al-Qaeda-connected

leader of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who had boasted of killing over a hundred Shias, was shot“extra-judicially”.

Suddenly, the entire nation was in favour of the 21st amendment, unanimously passed by parliament. The Supreme Court duly handed down an 11-for and six-against verdict. The court had beaten a retreat from its earlier posture of defiance, imitative of the past practice of the Indian Supreme Court protesting “basic structure”. It had discovered something in the Constitution that even Parliament couldn’t tamper with while passing amendments.

The Indian court had referred to the Constitution’s “grundnorm” or “basic structure” to foil the attempts of the government of Indira Gandhi to amend it. Indian lawyer A.G. Noorani, writing in Pakistani newspaper Dawn in 2010, explained what had happened in India: “In India the worth and necessity of the doctrine propounded by its Supreme Court in 1973 were proved only two years later; much sooner than anyone expected, driving even critics to accept it. On June 12, 1975, Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha was declared invalid by the Allahabad High Court. A fortnight later, she imposed ‘the internal Emergency’ on false grounds. It was a euphemism for dictatorship.”

Noorani subsequently wrote: “On February 27, 1967, a special bench of 11 judges of the Supreme Court of India ruled, by a narrow majority in the famous Golaknath case, that ‘Parliament has no power to amend Part III of the Constitution so as to take away or a bridge fundamental rights’”.
In Pakistan, some judges leaned on ideology to claim it as “grundnorm” as stated in the Objectives Resolution of 1949, prior to the adoption of the constitution. But the Supreme Court was determined to dissociate itself from the Iftikhar Chaudhry court of the past that had actually fired a prime minister who enjoyed a majority in parliament.

In the August 5 verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar wisely found a way to remove the “grundnorm” of the Objectives Resolution by pointing out that the court had no jurisdiction. He stated in his note: “The doctrine states that sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan is a sacred trust. What is critical to note is that the [Objectives] Resolution explicitly states and delineates who is to exercise that authority.

The language is: ‘Where in the state shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people’.” The Pakistani Supreme Court has now retreated from its imitative “grundnorm”-based activism that insisted on “due process” in a state that was no longer sovereign in many parts of its territory. The lawyers understandably reject the military courts, but they are in a minority in a nation that overwhelmingly supports action against terrorists that the state once supported.

The big correction has not come in the judiciary but in the conduct of the state. What is never brought to light is the fact that Pakistan is ideologically subordinated to its tormentors. The difference between India and Pakistan has become glaring over time. While states maintain the myth of external sovereignty at the UN, they can’t do the same with internal sovereignty. If it doesn’t have internal sovereignty, the state doesn’t exist. 

Here the similarity between Pakistan and “dying” states like Somalia and Afghanistan is highlighted. Terror has scuttled the institutions that normally maintain the state’s “monopoly on violence”. Lawyers in Pakistan may point to bad prosecution on the part of the state but the truth is that terrorists are not convicted and, if convicted, are not executed, because of intimidation. Since some of these terrorists are wanted outside Pakistan, this non-action looks like collusion.

The state can’t provide security to honest civilian judges while military judges and their families living in the cantonments are out of reach for the terrorists.