Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Video - A Conversation With Black Women on Race

Video - The Fable of Rosa Parks

Hillary Clinton Calls for Overhaul of Justice System


In the church here where, 60 years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired residents to boycott the local bus network, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called for overhauling the criminal justice system, saying there is something “profoundly wrong” when black men are disproportionately stopped and searched by the police, arrested or killed.

She made her remarks to pews packed with civil rights lawyers who descended on the Alabama capital to commemorate the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man, a moment that became pivotal in the fight for civil rights. Six decades have passed since Ms. Parks’s arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, and yet as Mrs. Clinton addressed the crowd the country was reeling from another shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Chicago, and grappling with civil rights and racial justice issues that have become central to the 2016 presidential campaign.
In the stained-glass sanctuary of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, Mrs. Clinton recalled sitting next to Ms. Parks in 1999 as President Bill Clinton delivered the State of the Union address. “Rosa hadn’t changed much,” she said. “She was the same lovely, dignified, determined person she always was, but America had changed.”
But in an address that began with a verse from the Book of Psalms — “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” — Mrs. Clinton said there was still much work to be done, noting setbacks in access to voting and in the widespread incarceration of young black men.
The event, organized by the National Bar Association, the country’s largest organization of African-American lawyers and judges, emphasized the role lawyers played in the Montgomery bus boycott, which disrupted this city’s public transportation for more than a year and led to a Supreme Court decision that struck down Alabama laws requiring segregated buses.
The two-day event was one of only a handful of times since Mrs. Clinton announced her candidacy in April that she addressed organizations that were unaffiliated with her campaign and had not endorsed her. She was joined by a lineup of lawyers, elected officials and ministers who have been central in civil rights struggles, past and present. The civil rights lawyers Fred. D. Gray and Benjamin L. Crump — the president of the National Bar Association, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown — and the Rev. Bernice King, the youngest child of Dr. King, also spoke at the event, which concluded with a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”
Mr. Gray, who represented Ms. Parks and Dr. King, received a standing ovation when he called Mrs. Clinton “the next president of the United States.” He talked about the first official planning meeting for the Montgomery bus boycott, a meeting that “took place in the basement of this church” in 1955, and said, “The struggle for equal justice continues.”
Since the earliest stages of her presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton has tried to solidify her bond with black voters. She devoted her campaign’s first major policy speech last spring to presenting her plan to reform the criminal justice system and help stem the practice of incarcerating nonviolent offenders, citing how it was hurting black communities.
“It’s time to change our approach and end the era of mass incarceration in America,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And we must do more to address the epidemic of gun violence that is plaguing our country.”
Mrs. Clinton has met with the mothers and families of several black Americans killed by white police officers or by gun violence, including Mr. Brown, Mr. Martin, Tamir Rice and others. “My heart breaks for them,” she said Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton’s efforts have not yet broken through to many of the young activists involved in the Black Lives Matter movement who have protested several of her campaign rallies. “I appreciate their passion, but I am sorry they didn’t listen,” a seemingly frustrated Mrs. Clinton said last month. “Because some of what they have been demanding I am offering and intend to fight for as president.” Anika H. Patterson, a lawyer in Washington who was visiting Alabama for the two-day event, said she hoped Mrs. Clinton could put the current Black Lives Matter movement in the context of the larger civil rights movement. “There’s a real leadership role needed there,” Ms. Patterson said.

'Let us rejoice': Alabama church cheers Hillary Clinton at Rosa Parks celebration

Hillary Clinton staked a claim to the southern black vote Tuesday, receiving a warm welcome at one of the country’s most important black churches just a day after Donald Trump failed to win public approval from another group of black church leaders.
“This is the day that the Lord has made,” Clinton said at the start of her speech in Montgomery, Alabama, and by the second half of the sentence the congregation had joined in: “Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Elsewhere, Clinton has received criticism from new civil rights activists, like the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, who say she isn’t doing enough to address modern concerns. But her deft turn in Alabama showed the depth of Clintonian influence in an area where even other Democratic candidates have faltered. Her leading party challenger, Bernie Sanders, has struggled to win basic name recognition in the south.
Clinton spoke on the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’s bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, which sparked the civil rights movement in America. Hundreds of people packed Dexter Avenue Baptist church – the church Martin Luther King Jr pastored – to hear Clinton speak. She delivered the keynote address at the gathering, which was convened by the National Bar Association, the country’s largest organization of black attorneys.
Mary Hunter, 75, dressed in her finest clothes, drove to the capital from Pike Road, Alabama, and stood in line for four hours to enter the church. She said she remembers hitching rides into Montgomery as a teenager during the bus boycotts, and ten years later she marched into the city with King. She was determined to hear Clinton’s speech, she said, because a woman’s campaign for the presidency of the United States seemed like a civic bookend to Rosa Parks’s action 60 years earlier.
“Women have always played an important role. It’s just now coming to the fore,” she said.
Before Clinton spoke, 85-year-old Fred Gray stepped to the pulpit. He served as the attorney to Parks and King, and helped orchestrate the bus boycotts. He was on a mission, he said, “to find everything segregated and destroy it”.
Clinton then spoke about the evolution of civil rights in more recent years. “There is something profoundly wrong when African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms for doing the same thing as a white man,” she said.
Mary Hunter stood up from her pew. “Amen,” she said.
Clinton said: “We must strengthen the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.” To accomplish that, she said, means “we must end the era of mass incarceration”.
She added: “We must do more to address the epidemic of gun violence that is plaguing our country.”
She offered few specific solutions, though, that might appease activists. Afterward, the president of the National Bar Association, Benjamin Crump, said such differences are a natural shift from one generation to the next. “I welcome Black Lives Matter,” he said. Crump worked on the seminal cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, both prominent instances of violent deaths of young, unarmed black men in recent years. “It’s just an evolution.”
Asked whether Clinton, as a presidential candidate, should call for a legal change requiring local police departments to report deaths during confrontations with police, Crump told the Guardian: “Absolutely. In this day, with all the technology we have, it’s ridiculous for them not to report that. Absolutely.”

Video - -President Obama on World AIDS Day 2015

President Obama Meets with the Prime Minister of India in Paris

Video - President Obama Holds a Bilateral Meeting with the President of China in Paris

Video Report - President Obama holds a Multilateral Meeting with Heads of State

Video - President Obama holds a Press Conference in Paris

Video Report - Disrupted oil routes push ISIS towards heroin trade, already 1 $bn a year

Video - Russia: Putin crowns comedian Gennadi Khazanov for his bday

Triumphant Russian Campaign in Syria 'Like Knife in the Heart' for Erdogan

Ankara's decision to shoot down a Russian bomber over Syria was not spontaneous. Some agreement by the Turkish government may have played a key role, Russian political analyst Andranik Migranyan said.

A number of economic and political reasons may have provoked Turkey to shoot down a Russian warplane over Syria. It is also possible that the personality of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan who considers himself a "neo-Ottoman leader" of the Muslim world also played a part. But the key factor was Erdogan’s assurance he would be covered by his powerful sponsors, Russian political analyst professor Andranik Migranyan said.
 On November 24, a Turkish jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back carried out by accomplices of terrorists." In turn, the Russian government is now working on responsive measures to this act of aggression by Turkey.

"Probably, besides economic, political, geopolitical or Erdogan’s personal interests, there was another factor which played a key role. Erdogan is an ambitious politician but he is not crazy," Migranyan told Sputnik Radio.
According to the expert, that key factor is a number of foreign agreements made by Ankara. The decision to attack the Russian aircraft was not spontaneous, he added.

"It seems like the Turkish government prepared public opinion for such an incident in advance. Earlier Turkey reported several times that Russian aircraft violated the Turkish airspace. I can’t rule out that there were talks – at some level – on shooting down one Russian plane or more," Migranyan claimed.

"For Erdogan and for some Gulf nations which sponsor terrorists, the triumphant Russian operation in Syria is like a knife in the heart. And that’s a problem both for Turkey and Washington," the analyst underscored.
Migranyan said it may have been a temptation for Washington to spark a conflict between Moscow and Ankara.
"Now, the US Congress, especially the Republicans, is criticizing Obama for his weak leadership and inability to take decisive steps. They say Russian and Putin take all. It would be so tempting to spoil the Russian operation in Syria and spark a clash between Russia and Turkey. For the first time in the last 100 years, Turkey has challenged Russia. That couldn’t happen without any foreign agreements by Ankara," he concluded.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151128/1030911580/russia-turkey-gulf.html#ixzz3t7CDq7c6

Russian MoD to Reveal New Data on International Fight Against Terrorism

Russia's Defense Ministry has announced it will unveil "new data," previously unknown to the public, pertaining to "The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the fight against international terrorism."

Though details of the media briefing, set for Wednesday at 3:00 PM Moscow time, have not been made public, many believe revelations might include evidence of Turkey's involvement in the illegal sale of oil by Daesh, also known as ISIL/the Islamic State terror group. 
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow has evidence that its Su-24 was shot down by Turkish forces on the Syrian border in order to protect oil deliveries from Daesh to Turkey, and that oil from Daesh-controlled fields is being exported to Turkey on an industrial scale. 
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vehemently denied the allegations, vowing that if evidence does surface, he will resign from the presidency.  

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20151201/1031078491/Russian-MoD-media-briefing-preview.html#ixzz3t7AqZmoG

Russia has ‘more proof’ ISIS oil routed through Turkey, Erdogan says he’ll resign if it’s true

Russia has received additional intelligence confirming that oil from deposits controlled by Islamic State is moved through Turkey on an industrial scale, said Vladimir Putin. President Recep Erdogan said he will resign if this is confirmed.
Moscow has grounds to suspect that Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 on November 24 to secure illegal oil deliveries from Syria to Turkey, Putin said on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris on Monday. 
At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale,” he said.
We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers,” Putin said.
Speaking in Paris on Monday, President Recep Erdogan said that he will leave office if there is proof of Turkey’s cooperation with IS.
 “We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider [it],” he said, as quoted by TASS.
The countries from which Turkey buys oil are “well known,” said Erdogan.
He called on Russia to comment on the US’ recent black-listing of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the World Chess Federation President, accusing him of “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria.” Erdogan alleged Ilyumzhinov had been dealing with Islamic State oil.
Terrorists have been abusing the visa-free regime between Russia and Turkey to move freely, the Russian leader said adding that Ankara failed to address the issue after Russia raised it.
We have been asking [Ankara] for a long time to pay attention” to the threat posed by some terrorists active in separate regions of Russia, including the northern Caucuses, that have been “emerging on Turkish territory,” Putin said.
Moscow has asked Ankara to “stop this practice,” he added, but pointed out that “we have traced some located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them,” he added.
Answering a question as to whether Moscow wants to form a broad based anti-terrorist coalition, Putin said Russia has always supported this initiative, “but this cannot be done while someone continues to use several terrorist organizations to reach their immediate goals.”
Putin admitted that he was personally saddened by the deterioration of relations with Turkey. He explained that “problems do exist and they emerged a long time ago and we have been trying to resolve them in dialogue with our Turkish partners.
Putin said he has heard Ankara’s claims that it was not Erdogan who made the decision to down the Russian jet. However, he stressed that for Russia “it doesn’t really matter” which official made the decision. 
As a result of this criminal campaign our two soldiers died – a crew commander and a marine, who was part of the rescue team of the [Su-24] crew,” he said, adding that Turkey’s actions had been “a huge mistake.”
Russo-Turkish relations have deteriorated in the wake of the downing of Russia’s Su-24 by Turkish jets over Syria on November 24. Russia imposed a package of economic sanctions against Turkey last Thursday, which included banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods, as well as cancelling the visa-free regime for Turkish citizens travelling to Russia starting next year.
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Erdogan said that Ankara will act “patiently, not emotionally” before imposing any counter-measures.
Meanwhile, ahead of the summit, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that Ankara will not apologize “for doing our duty.
Putin and Erdogan were hoped to meet at the environmental summit taking place in Paris, but Putin said that no meeting was held on Monday.

Pakistan committed war crimes, atrocities

Hitting out at Pakistan for its denial of committing war crimes and atrocities during the 1971 Liberation War, BNP today said it is a fact that Pakistani forces had carried genocide and atrocities.
BNP spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon also said Pakistan will not be able to hide the truth, no matter what it is saying now.
As reporters sought his comment over the issue at a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, Ripon said, “I want to say very briefly that Pakistani forces had committed genocide and unleashed atrocities. It won’t be possible to hush up the facts.”
Pakistan yesterday summoned Bangladesh’s acting high commissioner in Islamabad.
Later in a statement, the Pakistan foreign ministry said, “Pakistan also rejected insinuation of complicity in committing crimes or war atrocities. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
At the press briefing, Ripon alleged that human rights are now being violated in the country in many ways, badly denting the country’s image.
He said even the European Parliament and the United Nations have expressed deep concern over the deteriorating human rights condition in Bangladesh.
“We’ve seen in the newspapers that the government in response to EU’s statement over human rights violation said it’s ‘very disturbed’. It’s not a matter of getting disturbed. The government should address the problems and uphold human rights instead of coming up with sharp reactions to the concerns of our international friends,” he observed.
Ripon, also a BNP international affairs secretary, condemned the foreign ministry’s statement over the EU’s concern over human right situation in Bangladesh.
He alleged that BNP leader Ramzan Ali in Meherpur was subjected to extrajudicial killing by law enforcers yesterday in the name of ‘so-called’ arms recovery drive.
The BNP spokesman demeaned a judicial investigation into all the incidents of extrajudicial killings, including that of Ramjan Ali. “We denounce the Ramzan’s killing.”


پاکستانیو رسنیو کې سانسر او پر لیکوالانو بندیز

څېړونکې ډاکټر عایشه صدیقه وايي، د پخواني پوځي واکمن ضياءالحق په دور کې به سپينې پاڼې چاپېدې او اوس پاڼې ډکې وي خو آواز ترې ايستل شوی وي

په پاکستان کې په دا وروستيو کې په داسې حال کې د يوې ورځپاڼې لخواپر دوو ليکوالانو د ليکنو خپرېدو بنديز ولګول شو چې حکومت د بيان د آزادۍ او د جمهوريت د پياوړتيا ادعاوې کوي. بلخوا بيا يو شمېر ليکوالان وايي چې ليکنې يې سنسر کيږي. که څه هم ليکوالانو ته د دوی پر ليکنو د بنديز لامل نه دی ښودل شوی خو هغوی پر پوځ او استخباراتي ادارو تور پورې کوي چې له مقابل لورې يې بيا ترديد شوی دی. دا چې په پاکستان کې رسنۍ څومره آزاده دي او ولي پر ليکنو بنديز لګول کيږي؟

ډاکټر محمد تقي له تېرو شپږو کلونو راهيسې د پاکستان په انګريزې ژبې ورځپاڼې ډېلي ټايمز کې ليکل کول خو نوموړي ته څه کم يوه اونۍ وړاندې د ورځپاڼې د مدير لخوا برېښناليک ولېږل شو چې د ځينو وجوهاتو له کبله نور د نوموړي ليکنې نشي چاپولای.

له ډاکټر تقي مې وپوښتل چې د نوموړي پر ليکنو چا اعتراض کړی و او ده داسې څه ليکل چې بنديز پر ولګېدی؟ نوموړی وايي،
((نوم يې نه دی اخيستی چې چا اعتراض کړی دیی. زما ليکنې خو زياتره وخت د افغانستان، پاکستان، په ځانګړې توګه په پاکستان کې د پښتنو او بلوڅانو په اړه وي. بيا په پاکستان کې د هغو خلکو په اړه وي چې د طالبانو له اړخه تر فشار لاندې راغلي دي لکه شيعه ګان او احمديان. نو اوس دوې خبرې کېدای شي چې يا خو به طالبان دا وايي چې زما ليکنې دې بندي شي او يا هم د پاکستان پوځ او استخباراتي ادارې. زما نيوکې خو زياتره وخت پر جرنېلانو وي نو ما ته په دې کې هيڅ شک نشته چې زما ليکنې د پاکستاني پوځ لخوا بندي شوي دي.))

تر ډاکټر تقي وړاندې هم يادې ورځپاڼې پر دوو نورو ليکوالانو محمد علي تالپور او فرحت تاج بنديز لګولی و. تالپور وايي چې په ۲۰۱۰م کال کې يې ليکنې پېل کړې خو په ۲۰۱۳م کال کې بنديز پر ولګېدی. او بيا د روان کال د جون راهيسې يې ليکل پېل کړل چې تېره اونۍ بنديز پر ولګېدی. دا چې نوموړي ته مدير د ده د ليکنو بندېدو لامل څه ښودلی و؟ دی وايي....
((دوی ماته ویل که د بلوچستان په اړه ونه ليکې نو مناسبه به وي. ما ورته ويل چې د بلوچستان پرته زه پر بل څه ليکل نشم کولای. نو بيا ما په ډېلي ټايمز ورځپاڼه کې ليکل پرېښودل. د بلوچستان په اړه که څوک اعتراض لري نو هغه د پاکستان پوځ يا حکومت دی.))
په پاکستان کې که څه هم په لسګونه ورځپاڼې او ټي وي چېنلونه دي خو په اړه یې ادعا کيږي چې د اسټېبلیشمېنټ یا پوځ تر اغېز لاندې دي. د دې هېوادد جيو ټي وي مشر خبريال حامد مير څخه مې و پوښتل چې پاکستانۍ رسنۍ تر کومه حده آزاده دي؟ نوموړی وايي.... 

((دا يو څرګند راز دی. که چيرې تاسو د هر هغه فعاله خبريال سره خبرې وکړئ چې هغه د خپل زړه حال درکړي، نو درته وبه وايي چې پاکستاني رسنۍ آزاده نه دي. پاکستاني رسنۍ د رياستي او غېر رياستي ادارو تر فشار لاندې دي. ځينې پاکستاني استخباراتي ادارې خو بيا ځينې چېنلونه او خبريالان په نيابتي ډول استعمالوي. له همدې کبله د جمهوريت ملاتړي خبريالان او ټي وي چېنلونه له کړاوجن حالت سره مخامخ دي.))

په پاکستان کې ځينې ليکوالان د پوځ پر تګلارو هم نيوکه کوي او په دې اړه يې ليکنې چاپيږي چې يوه يې ډاکټر عايشه صديقه هم ده. نوموړې وايي په ډېر احتياط ليکنې کوي خو بيا هم رسنۍ بشپړه آزاده نه دي او ليکنې سانسر کيږي.

((د پاکستان په ځواکمن اسټبلشمنټ کې پوځ لوی رول لري چې هغه څرګند دی. يو وخت و چې په کراچي کې به د متحده قومي موومنټ له کبله چوپتيا وه، خو هغه يوازې تر کراچي محدوده وه. په پاکستان کې چې د سنسر کېدو نوې څپه راغلې ده، دا کټ مټ په ۱۹۸۰ مه لسيزه کې د هېواد د پخواني پوځي واکمن ضياوالحق د دور غوندې ده. هغه وخت به سپينې پاڼې چاپېدې او اوس پاڼې ډکې وي خو آواز ورڅخه ايستل شوی وي.))
 په دې اړه مې د پاکستاني پوځ د عامه تعلقاتو له ادارې (آی اېس پي آر) سره د اړيکې نيولو هڅه وکړه خو ټليفون يې ځواب نه ويلي. وروسته مې په پاکستان کې د ځينو ليکوالانو پر ليکنو د بنديز او په رسنيو کې د سانسر کېدو په اړه د دې هېواد د اطلاعاتو د مرکزي وزير سېنېټر پروېز رشيد څخه وپوښتل نو نوموړي وويل چې يو شمېر ليکوالان د نيوکو ډکې ليکنې کوي خو چا يې مخه نه ده نيولې.
(( که چيرې يو ورځپاڼه يا د هغه مالک په خپله خوښه يو ګام پورته کوي نو د هغه لامل هر څوک په خپل فکر سره تشريح کوي. خو ما ته د خبريالانو هېڅ يوه تنظيم شکايت نه دی کړی چې د خبريالانو پر ليکنو بنديز لګول کيږي.))
په پاکستان کې دا وخت تر ۱۰۰ زيات ټي وي چېنلونه او تر ۸۰۰ زياتې ورځپاڼې فعاله دي. خو دا هېواد د خبريالانو لپاره په نړۍ کې يو تر ټولو خطرناکه ګڼل کيږي.

Afghan President Ghani to talk refugees with Merkel

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is making his second visit to Berlin since taking office in 2014. His talks with Angela Merkel will focus on the current refugee crisis.
Ashraf Ghani, UN-Paris
This year, Germany and Afghanistan are celebrating a century of friendship. It is safe to say that Oscar Niedermayer, the German army officer who led an expedition to Afghanistan in 1915, would never have guessed that the centenary would occur during a massive wave of Afghan migration to Germany. The Niedermayer-Hentig Expedition was a push to get Afghanistan on the side of the German Empire in World War I.
A century on, many Afghans still refer to the relationship forged then between the two nations when they leave to try their luck in Germany. More than 140,000 Afghans have already fled to Europe this year; the majority of them have ended up in Germany. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Germany registered more than 31,000 asylum applications from Afghans. That makes them the second-largest group of refugees after Syrians.
But Germany rejects more than half of the asylum applications from Afghans. The government has already stated that it cannot possibly accept all applicants and that refugees who fail to gain asylum will be deported. The German embassy in Kabul has launched an information campaign to counteract rumors circulating among Afghans that it is easy to get asylum in Germany. The refugee crisis will be a key topic at the meeting between President Ashraf Ghani and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Last week, news magazine Der Spiegel cited an internal report from the German embassy in Kabul that said the "expansion of the Taliban" is greater today than it was at the start of NATO's military intervention in the country in 2001. The report states that the situation will soon lead to an increase in justifiable asylum applications. At the same time, the Afghan government is blocking the repatriation of rejected asylum applicants.
"We're doing all we can to ensure that Afghans do not feel it necessary to leave the country," Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman for Ghani, told DW. "We are trying to help those who have made the decision to leave Afghanistan and who have had their asylum applications rejected, but there are limits." Germany's Foreign Ministry is now threatening to cut development aid to Afghanistan should these "limits" not be resolved.
Demonstrating for Afghans
Thousands of Germans have protested the policy of sending Afghans back to a war zone
No faith in the future
Another topic on the agenda for Merkel and Ghani is the worsening security situation in Afghanistan. In addition to the threat posed by the Taliban , which managed to take control of the city of Kunduz for several days only a few weeks ago, there is now a new threat. Groups loyal to the "Islamic State" (IS) are extending their reach, particularly in the eastern part of the country. In November, thousands of people took to the streets of Kabul in the wake of beheadings and killings of members of the Shiite minority. They accused Ghani of failing to safeguard the population.
"Afghanistan is in a war on terror," political expert Asef Baktash said in Kabul. "But it is lacking the necessary military equipment, especially when it comes to the air force. We also need tanks, artillery and rockets to fight the extremists." The Afghan army has proved unable to guarantee national security, despite claims to the contrary at the time of the NATO withdrawal.
Many have simply lost faith in the future. "It will take a miracle to stop IS in Afghanistan," a Kabul resident named Ibrahim said. "Every bit of democratic progress we've made will be lost. The Afghan government and all of our allies need to work together if we're going to stop this threat."
Maybe 100 years of friendship is just the occasion Angela Merkel and Ashraf Ghani need to take up the challenge.

More than 60 well-known jurists urge Pakistan to “repeal” the blasphemy law

More than 60 jurists from across the globe demand annulment of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.According to details, in excess of 60 distinguished jurists from all around the world met in Geneva. During this meeting they demanded and urged the Pakistani government to repeal the blasphemy law.In a note sent to Fides, it was stated that this is what the “International Commission of Jurists” which is an organization comprising of above 60 well-known jurists from all over the world, have been urging for an immediate renunciation of the blasphemy law in Pakistan. They termed the law as “cruel” while remarking and strongly criticizing the notorious law.Under this law, anybody accused of blasphemy faces life imprisonment or death penalty; and in most cases the issue is settled via an extra judicial judgment often timed administered by a raging mob. Religious minorities living in Pakistan, including Hindus, Ahmadis, and Christians in particular fall a trap to the snare of this law.

During the meeting, the jurists called upon the government of Pakistan, to “modify it because so it is in line with international standards on freedom of expression; freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” They further raised fingers at the bitter fact that the misuse of the blasphemy law, is a common practice mostly to decide private disputes, regarding business or property in Pakistan.

In keeping with the data available, via the “Justice and Peace” National Commission; since 1987, 200 Christians, 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadis and 21 Hindu have been charged with misdemeanours related to “blasphemy.”

But the facts revealed that keeping in mind the minute religious minorities living among the majority Muslim population “the number of Christians and members of other religious minorities accused is massively disproportionate to the number of Muslims accused, although the number of Muslims accused is overall higher.”

The report further portrayed the dismal picture that out of 25 cases of appeals at the High Court for blasphemy, the International Court of Justice found that in most cases (60%), the applicants were acquitted after judges ruled that the charges brought against them were “fabricated or used for personal or political reasons.”

- See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/more-than-60-well-known-jurists-urge-pakistan-to-repeal-the-blasphemy-law/#sthash.3o4iiCTx.dpuf

Pakistan's National Action Plan is a plan lacking action

The Jhelum incident has raised new questions over the efficacy of National Action Plan, the credibility of which is being eroded rapidly. A mob of self-proclaimed guardians of religion targeted a factory and an Ahmadi worship place and set it ablaze in Jhelum. Ritualistic official response ensued after the damage was done. Reports were sought, the incident was condemned, officials frequented the place and some perpetrators were arrested.
As usual mosques were used to mobilise the mob and a helpless contingent of policemen succumbed to an enraged mob.
The incident is a grim reminder of the fact that the National Action Plan has lost its steam and it could not deter extremist elements from unleashing their might. Only two weeks ago, the army’s media cell publicly disclosed the resentment of senior military officials on a tardy implementation of the plan.
The statement triggered a vortex of premonitions and generated a heated debate in the parliament. Some seasoned parliamentarians issued retaliatory statements reminding the security establishment of its actual role.
Nevertheless, it does not obviate the need for a firm action by the civilian government to implement the National Action Plan in its true spirit. It is an undeniable fact that the NAP was unanimously agreed and owned by the federal as well as provincial governments. It was the Interior Ministry that drafted and announced the plan. The political leadership, both in the government and the opposition, publicly endorsed and pledged their support to the plan aimed to eradicate terrorism from the country.
What prompted the military command to publicly demand a non-cosmetic execution of the plan merits a serious introspection by the government. Taking shield behind the ISPR statement as an offense against the civilian rule will not conceal the government’s remiss to act against extremist elements.
While a full scale operation is going on in three provinces to asphyxiate wayward extremism and violence, Punjab has been spared from the clean-up drive as if streams of milk and honey flow through the province. This dichotomy is too conspicuous to ignore.
A spineless government was not able to act against Maulvi Abdul Aziz who openly defied the writ of the state and the government in its federal capital. According to newspaper reports, a security person was heard paying tributes to Aziz outside the mosque where he publicly derided the National Action Plan by delivering a sermon and staging a rally in violation of the law. Aziz’s valour coincided with the government’s rebuttal to the ISPR statement. He remained in hibernation for quite some time and abruptly surfaced the very next day when parliamentarians vented their spleen on the ISPR’s jibe at the government. The firebrand interior minister has yet to educate people on the wisdom behind this bizarre capitulation before the fiery cleric.
Another coincidence was government’s own admission in the Senate on the very same day about a rudderless National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). A government minister conceded during the Senate session that the authority has been functioning without having formally appointed staff even after six years of its existence. He emblazoned his admission by adding that the authority does not even have any service rules. Sloppiness of such intensity explains the prevalent resentment in the military establishment ranks which has demonstrated a visible departure from its past policies and approach to some extent even if several provocative questions are still unanswered.
The government’s tardiness is evident from the fact that so far it could not devise a credible mechanism to choke terror financing conduits. It manically stalked a handful of non-governmental organisations and took some cosmetic actions to create a smokescreen. The main arteries of extremism continue to function smoothly with an uninterrupted supply of resources. Every now and then, a statistical report of lodging phoney cases, detentions and police encounters is presented. No one knows how many of the accused and detainees were actually convicted or were subjected to any nemesis for their deeds.
Little progress has been witnessed in purging the textbooks of toxic content that continues to seep millions of impressionable minds. No such initiative has even been contemplated to review the textbooks. Malicious material and speech continue to plague minds in the country. There were a few sporadic instances of confiscating inciting literature but without any consistency and serious followup.
On several occasions, inflammatory banners were brandished in the main avenues of the capital. A federal minister Pervaiz Rasheed, received life threats but the administration failed to take any action. Ultimately, the minister had to capitulate and issue an apology and explanation.
Proscribed outfits enjoy complete impunity and some of them even frequently appear in media talk shows to impress the simpletons with their noble acts of charity. Sectarian killers continued to slaughter innocent people without any tangible action by the government. Their safe houses and abettors might have gone in hibernation but their tentacles remain intact and undeterred.
Recently, the Interior Ministry presented a report before the National Assembly highlighting its action against madrassas stoking sectarianism. The report revealed that out of 102 madrassas sealed by the law enforcing agencies, only two were located in Punjab. The province is known as a sanctuary of sleeper cells of proselyting elements. After the breakdown of terrorists’ network in tribal areas, they have found new havens in settled areas.
Lack of alacrity by the Punjab government is evident from the fact that the provincial government could find only two objectionable locations in the whole province, which is infamously called as nursery of obscurantist elements. While a full scale operation is going on in three provinces to asphyxiate wayward extremism and violence, Punjab has been spared from the clean-up drive as if streams of milk and honey flow through the province. This dichotomy is too conspicuous to ignore.
The civil-military tug of war is almost an integral part of politics in Pakistan. This narrow aperture of opportunity at the disposal of civilian governments ought to be exploited diligently. Only a performing democracy with a clear vision and commitment can dilate this space in favour of civilian forces. Corruption, inefficiency and indecisiveness are inimical to the future of civilian remit. Civilian governments can assert their supremacy only by banking on the support of a satisfied citizenry that in turn requires a strong bond with masses.
The Jhelum incident has exposed the vulnerability of security structure available to the civilian government. When the police failed to restore normalcy, army was summoned to restore peace. If civilian administration cannot control an ordinary mob, one can guess its capacity to react if well-trained extremists resort to use of their muscle.

Editorial: Hajira Case Exposes Double Standards of Balochistan Government

Hajira is a 13 year old girl from Kharan and who is suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Treatment of this illness is only possible in Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). Hajira belongs from an underprivileged family and her patients can’t afford to finance her treatment in AKUH.
Civil Society Balochistan, a coalition of citizens of Balochistan, picked up the case of Hajiraand also collected some donations for her. A delegation of Civil Society Balochistan called on Chief Minister (CM) Balochistan, Dr. Malik Baloch. Delegation requested from CM to issue a directive to health department to finance the treatment of Hajira.
After listening to request of the Delegation, CM outrightly rejected their plea, citing lack of funds. He even went on to say that one of his close relative died of cancer and its God’s will and he can do nothing to help Hajira.
This was an ordinary day at the office for CM Balochistan. He might reject pleas of delegations like this on daily basis. However this particular case has once again exposed the double standards of Balochistan Government and especially that of Dr. Malik Baloch who falsely claims to be a representative of middle class.
Treatment of Hajira required upto 4 million rupees and CM claims that he does not have that much amount left in his discretionary funds. Whether he is lying or telling the truth, it’s difficult to ascertain. However, there are several ways though which government can arrange a mere Rs. 4 million for treatment of Hajira. More than one government officials have told Balochistan Point that CM can release funds of Rs. 4 millions in few minutes if he is interested in helping Hajira.
Balochistan Point also came to know that when Dr. Malik Baloch was not the CM, He had made similar please to then government. In fact, based on his pleas millions of rupees were released for treatment of at least two seriously ill patients. However, when he is in the government, he has apparently forgotten the plight of families of patients.
Moreover, this also raises the issue of priority of utilization of almost Rs. 200 billion that Balochistan government receives from federal divisible pool. Balochistan government has tens of millions of rupees for Sports festivals and Galas and advisements of government in newspapers but not for treatment of a underprivileged cancer patient. This hints towards fund utilization approach of government which is surely pro-elite class and anti-people in nature.
In August this year, a bulky delegation of 34 Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) visited USA. Balochistan government paid an estimated amount of Rs. 100 million for that trip. Even now a delegation of MPAs of Balochistan Assembly is on tour of United Kingdom. Again Tens of millions of rupees from provincial exchequer are being wasted on it. But, there are no funds for treatment of Hajira. Hypothetically speaking, if 2 MPAs in the current trip had not been part of the visit then it would have saved enough to finance treatment of Hajira.
Earlier this year, Balochistan Point raised the case of 22 year old Student Ameerullah Kakar. Balochistan government financed the treatment of Ameerullah Kakar once it was highlighted by media. That was a very commendable step by the Balochistan government and deserves appreciation. The difference between case of Ameerullah and Hajira is that in case of former there was interest and involvement of opposition leader and Chief Secretary which is missing in case of latter.
Civil Society Balochistan is looking for alternative sources to fund the treatment of Hajira. They might be able to get some donors but that will be a very difficult and time consuming process. The easiest way to save the life of Hajira was to seek the help of Balochistan government which has been shut down by the abrupt refusal of CM Balochistan to help her.
One can’t say that Dr. Malik will stay in office of CM after December 4th due to the infamous Murree Accord. Dr. Malik in his 30 month tenure has let people down by every means. He was supped to be the representative of middle class but he ended up as a beneficiary of the elite class. Middle Class keeps on suffering under the watch of Dr. Malik and case of Hajira is a huge example of that.

Pakistan - Virtual collapse in foreign investment

There is hardly a day when the Finance Minister or the Prime Minister do not claim credit for improving the investment climate in the country and the positive perception of foreign investors about the economy. The situation on the ground, however, appears to be different. According to the latest data released by the State Bank, foreign direct investment (FDI) declined by dollar 112 million or 24 percent to only dollar 351 million in July-October, 2016 as compared to dollar 462 million in the same period last year. FDI inflows stood at dollar 652.3 million while outflows amounted to dollar 301.4 million during this period. Portfolio investment, with outflows of dollar 144 million as against the inflows of dollar 167.7 million in the comparable period last year, witnessed a very sharp decline of dollar 312 million or 186 percent during the first four months of the current fiscal. 

Notwithstanding the optimism at the highest level of the government, reputed analysts of the country continue to show concern about the dismal state of foreign investment. Talking to this newspaper, former Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Hafeez Pasha, said that FDI had virtually collapsed and there is regular monthly outflow of portfolio investment. Compared to other regional countries, our export performance is very poor and current account deficit reflects a fragile situation of the economy. Pakistan would face grave difficulties if exports continued to decline despite a fall in imports. Ashfaque Hasan, former Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, toldBusiness Recorder that existing foreign investors prefer to remit their entire profit instead of retaining it in Pakistan and this does not augur well for the economy. Government does not seem to be serious about the declining trend in exports. "There is no alarm anywhere in the government and the country's exports have been declining since January, 2014," he added. Industrial activity has decelerated in spite of the lowest interest rates. The government has created relative disadvantage for exporters by blocking their funds. SBP has also documented that "low foreign direct investment continues to remain a major concern, as inflows declined further in first quarter of the current fiscal year". Sources in the Ministry of Finance were also not sanguine about the evolving situation. They were of the view that the decline in FDI in the first four months of the current fiscal reflects economy's fragility with serious risks for balance of payments position in case oil prices in the international market increase. 

The data and observations of those who are well conversant about the latest position of FDI show that the situation evolving during the current fiscal on this front is highly disappointing. This is all the more regrettable when the rate of domestic savings is among the lowest in the world and our policymakers had pinned all their hopes on FDI for the rehabilitation and recovery of the economy. The mass movement of portfolio investment is an indicator that foreign investors are not even confident about the short-term prospects of the economy. Some other aspects of FDI are also worrying. Dollar 272 million or 78 percent of the total amount during July-October, 2015 was received from China and it may be added that inflows from China under the CPEC would be mostly loans and technically cannot be considered FDI. The indifference shown by the investors from other countries speaks a lot about their negative perception about the prospect of Pakistan's economy despite seminars and conferences conducted routinely by the government of Pakistan to attract them. Unfortunately, however, the decline in FDI would also adversely affect the current account deficit which could assume serious proportions in the coming months when the country's exports are falling constantly. The fall in international oil prices may be short-lived due to rising tensions in the Middle East. Pakistan would be deprived of latest technology and other innovative ways of doing business in case the present trend in FDI continues. 

We feel that the government needs to ponder seriously over the falling trend of FDI and think earnestly why global investors are reluctant to capitalise on Pakistan's "improving" economy, especially when they seem to be quite eager to invest in the regional markets. There could be many reasons for this state of affairs but some of the obvious ones are continuing electricity crisis, failure to reform the energy and tax sectors leading to high utility rates, an overvalued rupee and endemic corruption in the system. In this context, the government could consult the existing foreign investors and learn more from their experiences of doing business in the country. Redressal of foreign investors' grievances is particularly essential because the situation with regard to FDI could turn from bad to worse after the termination of the EFF with the Fund. 

Pakistan - #Peshawar has highest HIV incidence in KP

A total of 1,816 people have registered themselves with the HIV treatment centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Among them, 1,349 are men, 391 women and 76 children.
The statistics were shared by organisers with participants of a seminar held at the Peshawar Press Club to mark the Dec 1 World AIDS Day.
The health department had organised the event to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS, where people from different walks of life, including government officials, representatives of partner organisations and civil society activists were in attendance.
According to the statistics, most of the HIV cases registered with the province’s treatment centres i.e. 298 are from Peshawar followed by 140 from Bannu, 101 from Lower Dir, 94 from Charsadda, 84 from Swat, 61 from Upper Dir, 60 from Swabi, 58 from Lakki Marwat, 50 from Nowshera, 47 from Hangu, 56 from Mardan, 41 from Kohat, 31 from Buner, 22 from Malakand, 15 from Mansehra, 15 from Abbottabad, 14 from Karak, nine from Chitral, seven from DI Khan, five each from Shangla and Tank districts, four from Batagram, and one from Kohistan district.

Over 1,810 cases registered in the province so far

The speakers, including Dr Jamal Akbar, Dr Abdul Latif, Dr Attaullah Khan, Dr Mohammad Dost, Dr Jamil and Dr Idress, said treatment and preventive measures could help reduce the growing HIV/AIDS incidence in the province.
They urged the media to play due role for increasing public awareness of the disease and ways to prevent it.
The speakers said there were several HIV risk factors such as having unprotected anal or vaginal sex, low literacy rate, especially among women, indiscriminate transfusion of unscreened blood, use of un-sterilised medical instruments, re-use of used syringes and needles, sharing of contaminated needles and syringes, quackery, community dental clinics, street barbers, commercial sex, sex of men with men, labour migration, rising number of drug addicts, use of low quality condoms.
They warned if immediate and vigorous action was not taken, HIV could spread in the country fast.
On the occasion, Dr Jamal Akbar said diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was made on the symptoms, signs and blood tests.
He said if someone had a possible HIV exposure lately, the re-testing should be done after six weeks to confirm test results.
The physician said the test for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections was strongly advised for all people exposed to any of the risk factors so that they could learn about themselves and access necessary prevention and treatment services without delay.
“Taking preventive measures is everybody’s responsibility to control HIV/AIDS at the early stage,” he said, adding that the government was taking all possible ways to create public awareness of the disease.
Dr Jamal said individuals could reduce the risk of HIV infection by limiting exposure to risk factors.
He said the recommendations included male circumcision, partner reduction, use of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV-positive partner, correct and constant use of condoms, and interventions targeting populations most at risk.
Another expert, Dr Attaullah, said the Pakistan was in a concentrated phase of the epidemic, which meant HIV was concentrated among certain population groups.
He said the HIV prevalence was 27.2 per cent among injecting drug users, 7.2 per cent among transgender, 1.6 per cent among male sex workers and 0.6 per cent among female sex worker.
The expert said the HIV incidence was below 0.1 per cent among general population.
He however said according to the latest estimates, the country had 97,400 HIV/AIDS cases and that 14,092 of them had registered themselves with the government centres for treatment.