Saturday, October 3, 2015

Music Video - Beyoncé - Drunk in Love (Explicit) ft. JAY Z

Music Video - Beyoncé - 7/11

Video - SURROGATE INDIAN MOTHERS - Lifting the veil: why does the Middle-East need a sexual revolution?

ISIL Militants Fleeing Russian Airstrikes in Syria – Lebanese Media

Members of the ISIL terrorist group have reportedly started to evacuate their families from the city of Raqqah after the start of Russia’s military operation in Syria, the Arabic television channel Al-Mayadin revealed.

According to media reports, terrorists evacuate their families to Iraq, fearing the renewed start of Russia’s airstrikes.
During the first two days of the military operation, Russian aircraft reportedly hit over 10 targets, among them an explosives factory, an arms depot and an ISIL coordination center.

A representative of the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that a secured command post, an underground bunker as well as an explosives and ammunition warehouse have been destroyed as a result of a surgical airstrike near the city of Raqqa.

Russia started its military operation in Syria on September 30, after receiving an official request from the president of the country Bashar al-Assad. 
The operation is designed to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group, which occupied large territories of Syria and is responsible for numerous kidnappings, executions as well as the destruction of buildings and historical monuments.

Read more:

Russian Air Force hits 50 ISIS targets in Syria over 3 days, ‘significantly’ damaging militants

The Russian Air Force has conducted more than 60 flights and bombed over 50 Islamic State targets in three days, according to Russia’s top armed forces official. He added the strikes have significantly reduced the terrorists’ combat capabilities.
“The airstrikes were being conducted night and day from the Khmeimim airbase and throughout the whole of Syria. In three days we managed to undermine the terrorists’ material-technical base and significantly reduce their combat potential,”Lieutenant General Andrey Kartapolov, head of the Main Operation Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces, told reporters on Saturday.
He added that according to Russian intelligence the militants are fleeing the area that was in their control.
“There is panic and defection among them. About 600 mercenaries have left their positions and are trying to reach Europe,” he said.
Washington has notified the Russian Defense Ministry that there were only militants in the areas of Russia’s military operation against IS in Syria, he added.  "The Americans informed us during contacts that there was no one except terrorists in this region," he said.
Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations,” Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, reported.
Konashenkov added that yesterday evening Russian aircraft went on six sorties, inflicting strikes on three terrorist installations.
A bunker-busting BETAB-500 air bomb dropped from a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber near Raqqa has eliminated the command post of one of the terror groups, together with an underground storage facility for explosives and munitions,” the spokesman said.
Commenting on the video filmed by a Russian UAV monitoring the assault near Raqqa, Konashenkov noted, “a powerful explosion inside the bunker indicates it was also used for storing a large quantity of munitions.
“As you can see, a direct hit on the installation resulted in the detonation of explosives and multiple fires. It was completel
No anti-aircraft activity has been registered within the Russian task force’s sector of interest in Syria.
“No operable air-defense systems have been spotted in the Russian Air Force zone of action in Syria. Nevertheless, all operational flights are being performed with activated defensive onboard [radioelectronic combat] gear,” the spokesman said.
y demolished,” the spokesman said.
Konashenkov noted the crosshair visible on the drone video footage is not a target, but merely a focus point of the UAV’s camera “maintaining control over an airstrike.”
Another bomber on a sortie from Khmeimim has dropped a KAB-500 air bomb on an Islamic State camp near Maarrat al-Numan. It destroyed fortifications, ammunition, fuel and seven units of equipment, Konashenkov said at a media briefing on Saturday.
KAB-500 bombs are accurate to within five meters.
The Russian Air Force has also eliminated a workshop in Idlib province, where terrorists have been mounting large-caliber machine-guns and other heavy armaments on pickup trucks.
Assault aircraft from at Khmeimim airbase have also inflicted airstrikes against terrorist forces near Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province, destroying vehicle storage depots used for organizing terror attacks.
Regarding the airstrike on a target near Jisr al-Shughur, Igor Konashenkov pointed out, “footage of a huge pillar of smoke indicates a direct hit resulted in the total elimination of the facility.”
Drones stationed at Khmeimim airbase are maintaining “round-the-clock monitoring of the situation in Islamic State’s operation areas,” Konashenkov said.
“All disclosed targets are promptly engaged, regardless of the weather or light conditions,” said the Defense Ministry’s spokesman.

Hillary Clinton: Those kicked out of military for being gay should get honorable discharges

By Anne Gearan

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed Saturday that military records be amended to upgrade dishonorable discharges imposed on gay, lesbian and transgender military veterans.
People drummed out of the armed services in years past for being gay should  be able to get their records changed to reflect an honorable discharge, Clinton said.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell is over, but that doesn't change the fact that more than 14,000 men and women were forced out of the military for being gay, some long before Don't Ask, Don't Tell even existed," Clinton said, referring to the 1993 law that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they did not reveal their sexual orientation.
"They were given less than honorable discharges," Hillary Clinton said. "I can't think of a better way to thank those men and women for their service than by upgrading their service records."
Addressing the influential gay rights organization Human Rights Campaign, Clinton thanked gay rights activists for their strong support over her political career and was frank about her own change of heart about gay marriage.
"You helped changed a lot of minds, including mine," Clinton said to applause. "I personally 
am very grateful for that."
Politically active gay and lesbian people are an important constituency for Democrats, in no small measure because of strong financial support for Democratic candidates. Clinton has held several lucrative fundraising parties at the homes of gay supporters this year.
She pledged Saturday to build on the Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing marriage equality, and got in a few digs at Republicans for opposing the expansion of gay rights and legal protections.
"I see the injustices and the dangers you and your families still face, and I am running for president to end them once and for all," she said to cheers and chants of "Hill-a-ry, Hill-a-ry."
She spoke to a crowded ballroom on Saturday morning, hours before Vice President Biden, a potential challenger to Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination, gives the top-billed address to the group's annual political rallying meeting. Clinton did not mention Biden, whose support among gay rights activists is as strong or stronger than her own.
She promised not to forget the gay rights cause if elected, or treat LGBT support as a "political bargaining chip."
"Those of you who know me, know that's not me," Clinton said.
She endorsed proposed legislation to guarantee protection on the job and in housing and other areas for gay, lesbian and transgender people, and pointed to what she said are gaps in legal protection despite the universal right to marry.
"I wish that all the progress that we have made was so deeply ingrained in our laws and our values that you didn't have to keep constantly defending them, but we're not there yet," Clinton said. "There are still public officials doing everything in their power to interfere with your rights," she said.
Clinton did not identify Kim Davis by name, but she denounced the Rowan County, Ky., court clerk and Davis's backers for flouting the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Progress is not secure, Clinton said, "especially when you turn on the TV and you see a Republican candidate for president literally standing in the courthouse door in Kentucky, calling on people to join him in resisting the Supreme Court ruling," Clinton said. "Celebrating a county clerk who is breaking the law by denying other Americans their constitutional rights."
That was apparently a reference to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who stood with Davis when she was released from jail last month. Clinton also criticized Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another GOP candidate, who calls the Supreme Court ruling issued in June "tyranny."
A military record upgrade process is already available on a case-by-case basis to individual gay veterans who submit requests. Clinton was not specific about what she would do differently, but she appeared to be endorsing a more comprehensive or automatic upgrade for those expelled under Don't Ask Don't Tell, the 1993 law her husband, former president Bill Clinton signed, as well as new government action to clear the records of  veterans kicked out before 1993.
Legislation proposed by Democrats in Congress would make that process simpler.
Outserve-SLDN, an activist group that pushed for the 2011 repeal of Don't Ask Don't tell, now helps discharged gay veterans apply for records upgrades. The group says 13,650 people were involuntarily discharged for homosexual conduct or identification under Don't Ask Don't Tell, and that nearly 6,000 have received upgrades to an honorable discharge.
The group estimates that 100,000 veterans were forced out for being gay prior to the 1993 law. The group is now working to secure honorable discharges for veterans from as far back as World War II, said interim executive director Matt Thorn.
"The onus is on the service member to provide documentation they were kicked out because they are gay or lesbian," Thorn said. "It would be great if that got switched a little bit, and the process was made easier."

Hillary Clinton Mocks Ben Carson, Ted Cruz on Gay Rights

  • Hillary Clinton on Saturday mocked Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz over their positions on gay rights during remarks to the Human Rights Campaign, where she also called for new laws to support and protect the rights of transgendered people.
    "Ben Carson says that marriage equality is what caused the fall of the Roman empire," theDemocratic presidential candidate said to laughter during a breakfast at the LGBT rights organization's annual gathering in Washington, D.C.
    Clinton then mentioned Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which drew hisses and boos from the crowd gathered inside the grand ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, and went on to challenge him to join her at a gay pride parade.
    "Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a pride parade. He clearly has no idea what he's missing. Pride parades are so much fun. I was marching in them back when I was first lady. You should join sometime Senator, come on," she said.
    Both Carson and Cruz have said they believe marriage is between a man and a woman. ABC News has reached out to their campaigns for comment to Clinton's remarks.
    "Hillary would have everyone believe she's been in favor of marriage equality since the fall of the Roman Empire," Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said. "When she's not lying, she's spinning!"
    Cruz's campaign did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.
    Clinton, who supports same-sex marriage, also took a forceful stance on transgendered issues during her remarks, and called for the military to allow transgender people to serve openly.
    "We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued, loved, and one of us," she said. "Transgendered people are still banned from serving ... that is an outdated rule. I support the policy review that Defense Secretary [Ash] Carter recently announced in the Pentagon. I hope the United States joins many other countries and lets transgendered people join openly.”
    She later called out the Republican presidential candidates for ignoring the issue all together.
    "See if you are ever in a forum with any of them, if you can get them to say the word transgendered," she said.
    In addition, Clinton called on Congress to pass the Federal Equality Act. And she said she would upgrade dishonorable discharges of service members who were forced out of the military in years past for being gay.
    Clinton, who announced her support of same-sex marriage in March 2013 in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, today thanked the organization for the work it has done to help get it legalized in all 50 states.
    "The people here today deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. You've helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that," she said.
    There were plenty of jokes at the event playing on the fact that Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign share the same initials: HRC.
    During the opening of her remarks, Clinton said, "It is great to be back with the other HRC ... there’s no one else I’d rather share my initials with.”
    And later, when promising to fight for LGBT rights as president, she said this: "That’s a promise, from one HRC to another."

    Video - Jeb Bush critized for saying 'stuff happens'

    #UCCShooting - The Political Ritual After Mass Shootings

    The Republican presidential candidates were quick to offer sympathy but little else to the nation, to the grieving families and to the terrified town where the latest in American gun carnage took 10 lives on Thursday at an Oregon community college.
    “We have to really get to the bottom of it,” Donald Trump, usually the most voluble candidate in offering quick-fix certainty about national challenges, told The Washington Post. “It’s so hard to even talk about these things.”
    Now, as the presidential campaigns intensify, is precisely the time that he and the other candidates must talk about these things — about the horrendous toll the mass shootings haveinflicted on the nation, with no end in sight. Like other Republican politicians, and many Democrats, too, Mr. Trump simplistically narrowed the topic of the gun massacre to “another mental health problem.” This has become the standard political line, particularly among Republicans, for ducking the crucial fact that easy access to powerful arsenals — the Oregon murderer reportedly had 13 firearms, six of which he brought with him — is the great modern enabler for individuals, mentally ill or not, to massacre the innocent in shooting sprees.
    The contrast could not be greater between the bromide-driven slate of Republican candidates promising thoughts and prayers after “this senseless tragedy” and President Obama in his understandable fury and near despair over the political cowering to the gun industry and its lobbyists. Mass shootings have become an unsurprising part of American life, with lame public rituals in which politicians express grief and then retreat quickly into denial about this scourge.
    The gun lobby has such a grip on Congress that it has successfully squelched most federal research on the problem. It wasn’t until last year that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prompted by the White House, issued a report confirming that mass shootings have been rising significantly in recent years.
    In a 13-year study, analysts found that while the average number of annual shooting sprees with multiple casualties was 6.4 a year from 2000 to 2006, that number jumped to 16.4 a year from 2007 to 2013. The study found that many of the gunmen had studied previous high-profile shootings and were attracted to the attention that mass killers received when they staged lethal attacks.
    Modern high-powered weapons, adapted from war and unscrupulously marketed on the home front, have unfortunately provided the means for a shooter to act out his anger and despair in a matter of minutes. The state-sponsored citizens report on the gun massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six workers in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 concluded there is “no legitimate place in the civilian population” for fast-firing rifles and large-capacity magazines that were invented for the military but have flooded the American marketplace.
    These are the problems that political leaders should be discussing after the latest gun tragedy. Democratic presidential candidates have not ducked the issue. Hillary Rodham Clinton has repeatedly called for greater gun safety, telling voters, “We have to take on the gun lobby.” Bernie Sanders, who as a senator from Vermont has been criticized for not being strong enough on the issue, firmly endorsed President Obama’s gun control agenda after the Oregon massacre. He said he is tired of sending condolences to grieving families after these brutal murders.
    Republican candidates should be no less tired of sending condolences. In the presidential debates, they should not be allowed to retreat behind the mental health issue and avoid confronting the grim reality. They should explain what actions they will take, if elected, to avoid being the nation’s serial griever-in-chief.

    Video - President Obama's Weekly Address: Congress Should Do its Job and Pass a Serious Budget

    Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar دَ وخت ضَرب ـ عبدالهادي مُلا

    په کندز کې د شوو بشري سرغړونو پوښتنه دې وشي

    یادو فعالینو چې د شنبې په ورځ په کابل کې سره راغونډ شوي وه ویل چې لا هم په کندز کې د بشر ضد کړنې روانې دي او حکومت دې ژر تر ژره جنګ ته خاتمه ورکړي. افغان حکومت او د بشري حقونو کمیسیون هم راپور: یوسف خان څدران، ویدیو او ایدت: تمیم اخګر

    Pakistan and the Taliban: Past as Prologue?

    Pakistan - India - The old chorus and a false note

    India’s response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s latest comments at the United Nations General Assembly marks a shift in the government’s strategy in dealing with the periodic references to Kashmir that Pakistan has made it a practice to make at UN fora. To begin with, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that he intends to stick to his ‘red lines’ on Kashmir. So any talks between the two countries will not be on terms set by Pakistan, which seeks to make Kashmir the central point of such exercises. That Mr. Modi and Mr. Sharif stayed in New York at the same hotel and attended the same conference along with world leaders, and yet did not make the time for a bilateral meeting — they settled for a simple hand-waving gesture while at the peacekeeping summit — indicates that there has been no diplomatic headway since National Security Adviser-level talks between the two countries were cancelled in August. Later, in its sharp response to Mr. Sharif’s speech at the General Assembly, India demonstrated a major shift in its approach on Kashmir at the UN. In a point-by-point reply to Mr. Sharif’s reference to Kashmir as a land “under foreign occupation”, India brought up the condition of Kashmiris in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), saying it was up to Pakistan to vacate Kashmir and not the other way round. Consequently, India dismissed Mr. Sharif’s four-point formula that included points on demilitarising Kashmir and the Siachen glacier. It was delivered not directly to India but to the UN, in yet another attempt to internationalise the issue rather than offering a sincere solution.
    However, India’s decision to reply to the Pakistani line on Kashmir with counter-allegations on the PoK seems to be a false step. Despite all its attempts over the years, Pakistan has been unsuccessful in getting the United Nations or the P-5 Security Council members to consider any reference on Kashmir; the subject was last discussed by the UNSC in 1971. All of its references and pleas to UN committees to take up the dispute have been disregarded, and every P-5 nation has counselled both countries to resolve the issue bilaterally. At a time when India’s position on this question is actually being upheld, it is puzzling why New Delhi wished to take this new line at the UN; it would only invite the multilateral spotlight back on to the Kashmir issue. As an active aspirant to a permanent seat in the Security Council, India’s stature would be enhanced internationally if it instead sets in motion a bilateral process to resolve issues with its neighbour, with a view to ending the decades-old dispute. That will need the bricks-and-mortar of sustained discussions on the basis of common interests. Such a process cannot possibly be replaced by a simple wave between the two Prime Ministers across a crowded floor at a UN meeting.

    Malala questions “silence” of Pakistani leaders on terrorism

    Questioning the “silence” of Pakistani leaders on terrorism, 18-year-old Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Saturday said she harbours the hope of becoming the Prime Minister of her country.
    Ms. Malala, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with New Delhi-based child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi last year, also expressed her desire to visit India.
    Ms. Malala, who survived an extremist attack on her in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley for promoting education, said she will continue her activism and termed former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto as a major inspiration.
    “Many people denied that a woman can be a leader. She [Bhutto] has shown that a woman can be a leader,” she told India Today TV channel in an interview.
    Asked if like Bhutto she would like to become the prime minister of Pakistan, she said, “Hopefully, if people vote.
    But my dream is to help children to get education.”
    However, she also added that “there are more ways to bring change in society”.
    “Why are they [Pakistani leadership] silent if terrorism is happening in Swat valley? Why are they silent if girls are denied education or women are flogged on the streets?” she asked.
    The good thing about India, she said, was that people don’t care about her religion or from where she belongs adding that she’s big fan of Bollywood and praised Salman Khan starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ for delivering message of “peace” between India and Pakistan.
    “I am very surprised and happy that people in India love me a lot...People stand with me knowing that I am doing a good work. This is what is good about India and I would love to visit India. I would love to see Delhi, Mumbai and other places,” she said.
    Ms. Malala, whose life is the subject of an upcoming film, further said that she cannot tolerate women being denied the right to have an identity and girls being denied education.
    Recounting the fateful day of attack in October 2012, she said, “When I was targeted, I was a little afraid. But I realised on that day no power in the world can stop my fight for education. This fight for education will continue.”
    Ms. Malala said she is saddened that some of her friends have “stopped going to school and got married” while expressing hope that “some of them will still continue their education.”
    “Yes, I talk to my friends, especially on Skype and phone and they keep me updated about what is happening there [Swat],” she said.
    Empowering the future generation against terrorism would require investments in education, she said. “The weapons that we need are our books and pens and our voice that is the most important thing.”

    12 MSF staff, 7 patients killed after US airstrike hits hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan

    A hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz has been hit and partially destroyed in an overnight “aerial attack” that killed at least 19 people, including nine Medecins Sans Frontieres staff and three child patients. NATO has admitted a US airstrike may have caused accidental “collateral damage.”
    The head of the US-led forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, has offered condolences to the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani after the bombing of the hospital in Kunduz, the Afghan president’s office has reported, as cited by Reuters.
    US forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz at 2:15am on Saturday, said NATO coalition spokesman Colonel Brian Tribus.
    “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” he said. “This incident is under investigation.”
    MSF said “all indications” suggest US-led forces carried out the bombing.
    "All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces," it said in a statement. "MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning."
    “We are deeply shocked by the attack, the killing of our staff and patients and the heavy toll it has inflicted on healthcare in Kunduz,” Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)  said in a statement.
    Nine MSF staff have been confirmed dead, while more than 30 are unaccounted for, according to the organization’s official statement. 
    The medical charity also stated that seven patients, including three children had been killed, while a total of 37 people have been injuried.
    At the time that the“aerial attack”occurred there were over 80 personnel, both local and international, inside the building, treating over 105 patients.
    “We do not yet have the final casualty figures, but our medical team are providing first aid and treating the injured patients and MSF personnel and accounting for the deceased,” MSF said.
    An official from the organization stated the medical charity was frantically trying to phone NATO as Washington bombed the medical hospital for almost an hour, Reuters reported.
    The official, who asked not to be identified, said the first bomb landed at 2:10am and MSF staff called NATO officials in Kabul at 2:19am and military officials in Washington a few minutes later. The bombing continued until 3:13am.
    Dr Masood Nasim, who was leading the MSF medical team at trauma hospital in Kunduz, said on Thursday that his facility has been at the front line since the hostilities began on September 28.
    “Early on Monday morning, I came to MSF’s hospital here in Kunduz after hearing the sound of shells falling. By midday our hospital was on the frontline, with fighting right outside the gate. You could hear the sound of shelling, rockets and airplanes. Some bullets have come into the hospital, some even through the roof of the intensive care unit,” Nasim said.
    Adil Akbar, a doctor at the hospital who was on duty at the time, told AP that the operating theater, emergency room and other parts of the hospital complex had been struck in the bombing.
    "I managed to escape after attack but I know that most of the staff and even some of the patients are missing," he said.
    Fighting has been continuing around Kunduz for the past six days after Taliban overran the city on Monday. The US military supported Afghan forces with airstrikes in order to drive the militants back on Thursday.
    On Friday, local residents said that some Taliban fighters remained holed up in civilian homes in Kunduz and had been fighting Afghan forces. At least sixty people were killed and around 400 wounded in the fighting since Monday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, Wahidullah Mayar, wrote on his Twitter account. The government says 200 Taliban fighters were killed.
    The three-day Taliban takeover of Kunduz, a city of some 300,000, was an embarrassing blow to the government of President Ashraf Ghani.
    During the three days under Taliban captivity, extremists, according Amnesty International, engaged in atrocities, extra-judicial killings, torture, and the harassment of civilians.
    Accounts of “multiple credible reports of killings, rapes, and other horrors meted out against the city’s residents must prompt the Afghan authorities to do more now to protect civilians, in particular in areas where more fighting appears imminent,” said Horia Mosadiq, an Afghan researcher at Amnesty International.

    Aitchison college - Elite Pakistan school turns prison for principal barred from doing his job

    Jon Boone
    Aitchison college head Agha Ghazanfar writing ‘prisoner’s diary’ about bizarre limbo of being confined to campus after challenging dismissal by governors.
     The principal of Pakistan’s most famous school has been virtually confined to his on-campus bungalow for a month following a bitter falling out with the board of governors, who he says object to reforms that allegedly cost the grandchildren of some of the most powerful men in the country coveted places.
    Agha Ghazanfar, a distinguished academic and former senior bureaucrat, is banned by a high court order from running Aitchison college or even walking on the extensive lawns of its vast campus in Lahore.
    He has said he is filling his time writing a “prisoner’s diary” about the bizarre limbo he is caught up in after taking legal action against the college’s decision in July to sack him just seven months after he took over.
    Although the Lahore high court initially overturned Ghanzanfar’s dismissal, it later ruled that he could not do his job while legal action grinds on – but could use his official residence.
    Established by the British in 1886 to teach princelings, Aitchison remains a bastion of the country’s elite, with many senior figures educated in its grand buildings.
    Speaking to the Guardian from his home in the school grounds, Ghazanfar described the school as “like a microcosm of the country as a whole”, claiming that is “rife with corruption, mismanagement and nepotism”.
    He said: “Before I came I was told the biggest challenge will be withstanding the pressure of politicians, rich businessman, people who command huge amounts of resources because the tradition was that seats could be purchased.”
    Ghazanfar arrived in December after his long-standing predecessor stepped down amid controversy about entrance exam results being allegedly fudged to favour the low-scoring children of powerful alumni.
    At the time the then governor of Punjab province, the former Glasgow MP Mohammad Sarwar, had caused consternation among many alumni by pushing for a strict merit-only entry system that ignored traditional considerations of “kinship”.
    Ghazanfar pressed ahead with cleaning up the admissions process after a tipoff from one of the state intelligence agencies that members of staff were selling exam papers for 2m rupees (£12,000) each.

    Ghazanfar swapped an exam at 6am on the morning of the test with one of his own devising.
    The teachers scheduled to mark the papers were also switched and the scoring was strictly supervised in a room monitored by security cameras. Parents were also invited to come and examine the papers after detailed examination marks were published on the school website.
    While the measures ensured clean results, the grandchildren of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, billionaire banking tycoon Mian Mansha and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the recently unseated speaker of the national assembly, missed out on a place.
    Ghazanfar claims that in the aftermath he came under direct pressure from board members who at the time were attempting to renegotiate his contract.
    While he was away on holiday in the UK in July, the board, which is dominated by alumni, announced his contract had been terminated. No official reason was given publicly, though a 200-page report produced by the board and leaked to the media alleged that he had taken major decisions about admissions, staffing and the college’s finance without consulting other senior members of staff, including the headteachers of Aitchison’s junior and prep schools.
    Sadiq, whose son Ali Ayaz Sadiq is a board member, told Pakistani TV that Ghazanfar was guilty of corruption and misconduct. Ali Ayaz Sadiq denied he had used his position on the board to intervene for the sake of his son.
    “I can very categorically say I would not want my six year old to think he can get something he doesn’t deserve right at the start of his life,” he said.
    Board members contacted by the Guardian refused to divulge why they sacked Ghazanfar.
    Khawaja Tariq Rahim, a former governor of Punjab and a legal adviser to the board, said the school had opted to terminate Ghazanfar’s contract “without stigma” in order to stop details of the dispute becoming public. “The college did not want to wash dirty linen in public, which is good for him and good for the college,” he said.
    Many of Lahore’s affluent parents say Aitchison is a school in decline, with academic results that have fallen far behind other less famous private schools.
    But the school – still known locally as “Chiefs’ College” – continues to attract enormous numbers of applicants, nearly all of whom enter at junior school level, requiring six-year-olds to be subjected to competitive exams and interviews.
    “The policy of judging a six-year-old by how he performs on one particular day is very unfair,” Ali Ayaz Sadiq said. “But although I disagree I support it because that is what the board has decided.”

    Pakistan an unreliable U.S. ally

    The United States has given more than $30 billion in economic and military aid to Pakistan since 2002. Pakistan has been a recipient of American aid for more than half a century, and aid was increased substantially after 9/11 to seek Pakistan's cooperation in the war on terror.

    Despite U.S. generosity, Pakistan has been an unreliable ally in fighting terrorism. The United States has threatened to withhold $300 million in military assistance if Pakistan does not make serious efforts to go after terrorists targeting U.S. and Afghan troops in Afghanistan. If the United States does indeed withhold aid, Pakistan will be punished for the first time for its duplicitous role in the war on terror.

    Pakistan was one of only three countries — the other two are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that recognized the Taliban government. The Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in 1996 and was ousted after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. Under its leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban had provided protection to Osama bin Laden, founder and leader of al-Qaida and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

    Notwithstanding Pakistan's promise to be a U.S. partner in the war against terrorists, albeit for a price, it has been a safe haven for terrorists. Then-National Security Director John Negroponte said in January 2007 that Pakistan was "a major source of Islamic terrorism." Bin Laden was killed by the U.S. Navy Seals in 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was hiding, apparently under the protection of Pakistan's military or intelligence services. Mullah Omar reportedly died in 2013 in a Karachi, Pakistan, hospital.

    Pakistan's military and especially intelligence services have been sympathetic to the Taliban. U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Haqqani network, a Taliban ally in Pakistan, "a veritable arm" of Pakistani military intelligence in 2011.

    Pakistan sometimes has helped in controlling terrorists, especially in the tribal area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Pakistan's military launched a major attack against the terrorists in North Waziristan in 2014. There is little doubt, however, that Pakistan has provided sanctuary for terrorists from the Taliban, the Haqqani network and al-Qaida.

    The United States has only 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. Their main function is to train Afghan forces to combat terrorism. Almost all U.S. troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2016. President Obama hopes to leave a legacy of ending war in Afghanistan. If recent history is any guide, that outcome is unlikely.

    U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq at the end of 2011, fulfilling an Obama campaign promise of ending the Iraq war. U.S. leaders assumed Iraqi forces were trained by the U.S. troops to withstand any terrorist onslaught. Unfortunately, the Iraqi military has not been able to stop the advance of Islamic State.

    Afghanistan faces a precarious future without U.S. help. Afghan security is threatened not only by the Taliban, but by the arrival of ISIS and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. If the United States withdraws its military almost completely by the end of next year, the Afghan government probably will fall within a year or two.

    If Pakistan gets serious about ending terrorism, it certainly will help, especially because of the close relations of its military and intelligence services with the Taliban. That is unlikely to happen, however, because of the unreliability of Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror.

    INTERVIEW: ‘Pakistan will have to do more’ –Ahmed Rashid


    Only for the briefest moment since 9/11 has Pakistan not been distrusted and asked to “do more” by the principal war-on-terror partners. This was around the time of the Murree talks. The Chinese had invested a lot of time and energy in the process. They naturally want the area as free of conflict as possible for the grand Silk Route revival project. The Americans were happy enough to attend and appreciate. There was NATO representation as well. And, of course, both Islamabad and Kabul took something home from the meeting.
    This had taken some time in the making, though. Things turned around roughly when the Pakistani military put its foot down and initiated Zarb-e-Azb. Afghanistan’s new government, too, was far more forthcoming than the Karzai administration. President Ghani staked his shaky government on a thaw with Pakistan. He even proposed – there were also reports of an agreement signed – of cooperation and intel-sharing between ISI and NDS.
    The reasoning was pretty straight forward. Both agencies would stop supporting the other’s insurgents. Kabul would help net TTP fighters while Islamabad would bring Afghan Taliban to negotiations.
    The Americans had reason to be pleased. For years everybody had accused Pakistan of aiding and abetting the Good Taliban. But the Waziristan Operation had turned things around just when Washington was reducing its footprint substantially. With bombs and bullets showering over North Waziristan, the militants’ command and control structure was destroyed. The “do more” clause was finally dropped.
    Then came the Mullah Omar monkey wrench. Somebody, for some reason, fed the story to the press, obviously to bulldoze the peace talks. Pakistani security analysts are convinced it was the NDS, which has run TTP for a while now, providing logistics and protection along the border. Ghani was never in a position to vouch for them, they say. Even the Abdullah Abdullah faction of the coalition government was against partnering so closely with Pakistan.
    The Americans had reason to be pleased. For years everybody had accused Pakistan of aiding and abetting the Good Taliban. But the Waziristan Operation had turned things around just when Washington was reducing its footprint substantially
    Pakistan was embarrassed, to say the least. Just days before the shock local media reported Omar’s endorsement of the talks. Now, suddenly, there were complications with the succession, especially since field commanders wanted to build on the momentum of the Spring Offensive – the most potent on record. Islamabad’s sincerity was questioned once again. Washington quickly reverted to “do more”. Ghani backed off. And fighting worsened in Afghanistan. To help understand the emerging situation, DNA talked exclusively to renowned writer, journalist and historian, Ahmed Rashid.
    Supply chain
    “There’s no question that a Taliban supply chain runs through Pakistan”, he said. “We will have to restrict their logistical leverage on our side of the border, which they also use for recruiting”.
    And yes, Pakistan has been duplicitous. If the matter of Mullah Omar’s death had been handled correctly, the Murree momentum would not have been lost, according to him.
    “There is a need on our side to be more transparent”, he added.
    “When Mansour was chosen, three to four thousand Taliban gathered at the Quetta shurato deliberate. We cannot allow such developments and then continue to deny their existence”.
    Still, Pakistan has done much that should be appreciated if you ask him. There has definitely been a big shift in Islamabad’s position. “We now fully support the peace process. The initial success of the Murree talks proved that we can play a constructive role in ending the fighting”.
    But important time has been lost. Already events have overtaken Pakistan’s position. The Afghans no longer want to talk, they just want Pakistan to ‘act’ against Afghan Taliban on this side of the Durand Line. Mullah Mansour will not be able to play the peace card no matter how much he, or his alleged handlers, would like to. The Spring Offensive had been gathering force throughout the year. And with the fall of Kunduz, however briefly, all peace bets were off, and Kabul once again pointed fingers at Islamabad.
    “Kunduz does considerably complicate matters”, Rashid said, “but it was completely the Afghan government’s fault”.
    They army was not prepared for the onslaught even though the enemy was advancing for months. It was caught completely off guard. The government felt a lot of heat; Ghani was even asked to step down.
    “But as is mostly the case in Afghanistan, Pakistan was the typical scapegoat”, he said.
    New complexity
    Significantly, the Afghans blamed Pakistan for the fall of Kunduz even though the provincial capital is far removed from the notorious Pak-Afghan border regions. It is also at the other end of the country than the Taliban’s southern strong point of Kandahar and its surroundings.
    And hasn’t Rashid talked and written about grave dangers to government writ in provinces along the Durand Line? Are they, like Kunduz, also in danger of falling?
    Pakistan also tries, just as the prime minister did at the UNGA, to highlight how it is one of the biggest victims of international terrorism, yet there are few takers
    “They were, but there’s a new complexity now”, he explained. Apparently, a large number of Afghans have taken up the ISIS banner along the border.
    “There has been pretty intense Taliban-ISIS fighting in these areas. The Taliban have lost a lot of people, so the equation in some of these provinces is changing”.
    Realistically speaking, then, there’s very little Pakistan can do to help Afghanistan. The foreign office offers peace talks another chance every time the Afghans accuse Pakistan for one of their own problems. But since Kabul no longer wants talks, there is little common ground – unless Pakistan agrees to act against any Afghan Taliban on its soil.
    Pakistan also tries, just as the prime minister did at the UNGA, to highlight how it is one of the biggest victims of international terrorism, yet there are few takers.
    “The PM’s speech could not alter the fact that we are extremely isolated internationally and regionally, except for Chinese help and investments”, Rashid added.
    “The state of the world has become precarious, people at large do not have much interest in issues like Kashmir. That is unfortunate, but true”.
    Ahmed Rashid’s take on the latest in AfPak, then, is that the key out of the present impasse lies with Pakistan, just like it did at Murree. This time, though, Pakistan will have to do more than get parties to talk. It will have to further disrupt whatever support system the Afghan Taliban have in Pakistan.

    Former President Asif Ali Zardari condoles death of Justice Javed Iqbal

     Former President Asif Ali Zardari has condoled the death of Justice Javed Iqbal and also paid rich tributes to the services rendered by late Justice Javed Iqbal for the legal fraternity of Pakistan.
    Justice Javed Iqbal son of Shair-e-Mashriq Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal died in Lahore after a prolonged illness on Saturday morning. He served as former Chief Justice of Lahore High Court and a judge at the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
    Former President in a condolence message said that he was shocked and grieved by the news of death of Justice Javed Iqbal who served with great distinction and dedication and was a prominent name of legal fraternity.
    May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace and grant patience to the members of bereaved family to bear the loss with equanimity, Asif Ali Zardari prayed.