Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Concerns grow over freedom of press in Turkey

Stephen Starr

Last month, Tahir Elci argued on a popular Turkish television show that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organisation, in defiance of the Ankara government.
In the past the well-known human rights lawyer had been arrested and tortured under military rule. He had also publicly denounced the PKK’s violence, but nevertheless faced prosecution for disseminating “terrorist propaganda” in his recent television comments.
Elci was shot dead in Diyarbakir on Saturday when he was caught in crossfire between police and unidentified attackers. Two police officers were killed but many believe the assailants’ bullets were meant for Elci. Just minutes before his death he held a press conference during which he had a placard that read: “Let’s protect humanity’s heritage.”
When news of his death spread, protests mushroomed and the pungent, now-familiar scent of teargas filled the streets of Istanbul and the Kurdish regions of the southeast. At the Diyarbakir hospital morgue, where his body was taken, thousands of mourners and supporters gathered, shutting down city streets and the main entrance to the hospital.


His wife, holding a huge black handbag, looked to the sky, her arms held aloft. Later, local media reported that children had played with evidence amid Elci’s blood at the crime scene.
“As a Kurdish intellectual he was slain by the state. We have seen this state murdering Kurdish intellectuals throughout the history,” his brother said at the funeral on Sunday.
Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, a survivor of an assassination attempt last month, also spoke at the funeral.
Emma Sinclair-Webb, a senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch who first met Elci at a conference in Dublin in 2003, described him as “a huge loss”, saying he had “worked tirelessly for years against the abuse of Kurds” and “he saw injustice very clearly”.
While riot police fought running gun battles with Kurdish militants in eastern Turkey in the aftermath of Elci’s death, on the opposite side of the country two newspaper journalists sat in a prison cell outside Istanbul, charged with conspiring to support an armed terrorist group and of committing espionage.
Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, editor-in-chief and senior editor of the respected left-leaning Cumhuriyet newspaper, were arrested last Thursday after publishing details of an alleged plot by Turkish security forces to ship weapons to Islamist rebel groups in Syria last year.

‘Heavy price’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently denied the claims, saying the trucks in question were carrying aid for the Turkmen community across the border. Later the president said those who published the story would “pay a heavy price”.
In June, Dündar, a recipient of a Reporters Without Borders press freedom prize, was sued by the president for defamation.
While EU leaders praised Turkey’s prime minister at a migration summit in Brussels last Sunday, Dündar and Gül were left facing life in jail, in direct violation of the European Human Rights Convention, if convicted. Ahead of the talks the journalists penned a letter to the EU from prison writing: “We hope that your desire to end the [migration] crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights [and the] freedom of press.”
The deepening political unrest and crackdown on media in Turkey have come at a time when ties with the EU have strengthened following years of stagnation. Some experts fear the AK Party government may be emboldened to conduct more censorship now that Turkey serves as the EU’s most important buffer against the refugees coming from Syria, Iraq andAfghanistan.

Surveillance powers

The EU agreed on Sunday to give Turkey €3 billion to help care for refugees, ease visa restrictions for Turks travelling to Europe and to reopen EU accession chapters. In return, Turkey is to take further measures to stem the number of refugees entering Europe through Greece and Bulgaria.
“The EU has essentially sacrificed everything it is supposed to stand for in concluding the deal with Turkey: failing to stand up for the rights of persecuted journalists and human rights campaigners, offering Turkey an accelerated membership perspective when in fact it has moved further and further away from EU standards of democracy and freedom,” said John O’Brennan, the director of the Centre for European and Eurasian Studies at Maynooth University.
Last year, the Turkish parliament passed laws that cracked down on websites, of which more than 60,000 are blocked, and widened the government’s intelligence agency’s surveillance powers.
Turkey is one of the top jailers of independent journalists in the world and in recent years verbal attacks by political leaders have been followed by harassment and death threats on social media. In October, several independent media organisations were also seized by the authorities.

Hillary Clinton on San Bernardino mass shooting: 'I refuse to accept this as normal'

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called for gun control measures in the aftermath of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday.
"I refuse to accept this as normal," she wrote in a tweet after a shooting at the Inland Regional Center produced as many as 20 victims, according to the San Bernadino Fire Department. "We must take action to stop gun violence now."
Almost immediately after the shooting, which reportedly occurred at the Inland Regional Center, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) also called the shooting "horrifying" and slammed the National Rifle Association for lobbying against gun-control legislation. 
While all of the Republican presidential candidates have opposed proposed gun control measures, both Clinton and O'Malley have repeatedly called for gun control measures following previous mass shootings that have occurred during the 2016 primary.
In a statement to CNN in October after a shooting at a community college in Oregon, Clinton expressed exasperation with the frequency of mass shootings across the US.
"It is just beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again. And as I have said, we have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe," Clinton told CNN reporter Dan Merica.
"You know I know there is a way to have sensible gun control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and save lives."
The frequency of mass shootings has risen steadily over the past several yearsAs the Washington Post notes, there have been 351 mass shootings this year alone.

Video - ‘Turkey has a war trade with ISIS,’ making millions with oil – VA state Senator Richard Black

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German Spies Say Saudis Shifting to More 'Impulsive' Interventionist Action

Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency warned that Saudi Arabia is becoming "impulsive" in its foreign policy.

In a memo published Wednesday, the agency said Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is second in line to the throne, and his father, King Salman, are trying to establish themselves as leaders of the Arab world, the Associated Press reported.
"The thus far cautious diplomatic stance of the elder leaders in the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive interventionist policy," the BND said.
Since King Salman succeeded to power in January, Saudi Arabia has intervened in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen. The moves, according to the BND, are meant to prove that "Saudi Arabia is prepared to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks to avoid falling behind in regional politics."

Saudi Arabia has long viewed Iran as aggressive and expansionary, and has considered Tehran's use of non-state proxies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi'ite militias as destabilizing the region, Reuters reported. But under Salman, it has moved more assertively to counter its regional foe.
Prince Mohammad has been granted more authority since his father came into power. The BND said there is a risk that the prince could get carried away while trying to secure his spot in the royal family succession, which saw him placed ahead of dozens of cousins.
Mohammad could irritate other royal family members and the Saudi people with reforms, while undermining relations with friendly, allied states in the region, the BND said, according to Reuters.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry exposes three routes of illegal oil transportation to Turkey

The western route reaches Turkish ports on the Mediterranean coast, the northern route - the Batman oil refinery in Turkey, the eastern one - a large transshipment base in the town of Cizre.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has exposed three key routes of oil transportation from Syria and Iraq to Turkey, Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate chief Sergey Rudskoy said Wednesday.
"Three key routes of oil transportation to the territory of Turkey from ISIL gangs-controlled regions of Syria and Iraq have been exposed," Rudskoy said.
ISIL is the former name of the Islamic State terrorist group, which is banned in Russia.
The western route, the general said, reaches Turkish ports on the Mediterranean coast, the northern route - the Batman oil refinery in Turkey, the eastern one - a large transshipment base in the town of Cizre.
The Defense Ministry’s information was supported by numerous photo and video materials demonstrating that oil tanks were moving from Syria to Turkey.
Western route
"Along the Western route, hydrocarbons produced at the oil fields near the city of Rakka, are transported by motor transport, mainly at night, to Syria’s northwest. Then they go via the border inhabited localities Azaz (Syria) and Reyhanli (Turkey) to the Turkish ports of Dortyol and Iskenderun," Rudskoy said, showing a satellite photograph made near Azaz on November 13.
"Part of oil is reloaded to ships and sent to be processed beyond Turkey, and part is sold on the domestic market. One oil tanker is loaded on the average in these ports daily," the General Staff official said. He showed space photographs of the ports of Dortyol and Iskenderun, dated November 25, where many gasoline tankers awaiting shipment can be seen.
Northern route
The Northern route, Rudskoy said, leads to Turkey from the area of oilfields on the right bank of the Euphrates. The area of the locality of Deir-ez-Zor is one of the large oil production and processing centers controlled by the Islamic State terrorist organization.
"There is a great amount of oil refineries here, one of which you see on the screen," Rudskoy said showing relevant shots. "Many gasoline tankers awaiting shipment have constantly been registered in this area. You are shown photographs of motorcades at a small distance from each other."
Eastern route
The third route of oil transportation to Turkey leads from oil deposits in Syria’s northeast and Iraq’s northwest, via the border inhabited localities of Kara-Chokh and Cham-Khanik in Syria and Tavan and Zakho in Iraq.
"The photographs show many gasoline tankers and trucks near these inhabited localities. On November 28, a total of 50 gasoline tankers were exposed near Kara-Chokh at an oil pumping station," Rudskoy showed at a photo.
He said photographing conducted November 14 near Tavan and Zakho made it possible to discover over 1,100 gasoline tankers and trucks.
All shots shown at the briefing have been posted on the official website of the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russia’s operation in Syria
Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.
On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.
In mid-November, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants.
Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries.

Ben Carson fades and Hillary Clinton rises in latest presidential poll


Support for Ben Carson’s bid to be the Republican presidential nominee has faded, according to a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.
The poll, which was conducted after the terror attacks on Paris, from 23-30 November, showed Carson tied in third place with Texas senator Ted Cruz, both attracting 16% of Republican voters. A poll by the same company last month had Carson in second place on 23%.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, solidified his frontrunner status with 27% of voters, while Florida senator Marco Rubio attracted 17%. However, Trump remains the more divisive candidate: when respondents were asked if there were any candidates they definitely would not vote for, 26% of respondents selected Trump but only 5% ruled out Rubio.
Hillary Clinton also widened her lead in the Democrat race by a further 12 percentage points. A total of 60% of respondents who identified as Democrat or Democratic leaning said that if the primary were to be held today, they would vote for Clinton, while 30% said the same about Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Last month in a poll by the same university, Clinton had 53% of support and Sanders was at 35%.
The 72-question telephone survey, conducted among registered voters by one of the more accurate political pollsters, also asked about specific voting concerns and uncovers a revealing shift in priorities. Republican voters showed more interest in foreign policy and terrorism compared to a month ago. Given that Carson has struggled to grasp foreign policy, changing voter concerns might well explain the candidate’s fall in support.
When asked to name the issue they considered most important in determining their vote for the Republican nomination, 26% said the economy and jobs (35% said the same last month), 24% said terrorism (previously 11%) and 17% said foreign policy (also previously 11%).
The poll showed a clear difference between the stated priorities of Republican and Democratic voters. Less than 1% of Republicans said climate change was a key concern, compared to 8% of Democrats. The No 1 concern among Democrats was also the economy and jobs – but by a clearer margin, well ahead of foreign policy and terrorism. Neither Democrats nor Republicans expressed a strong concern about gun policy or abortion when choosing a candidate – both topics were chosen by less than 5% of respondents.
Democrat and Republican voting concerns
 Democrat and Republican voting concerns. Photograph: Quinnipiac University national poll
Responses about current voter concerns provide more accurate numbers than responses about voting intention at the general election in 11 months’ time. An Ipsos analysis of 300 polls showed that there is an eight-point margin of error on average when polls are conducted a year before an election.
Even less reliable are responses about hypothetical scenarios about the presidential election which the interviewers described to respondents. Those numbers suggest that a race fought between Clinton and Rubio would be closer than one fought between Clinton and Trump. Below are the responses based on the various scenarios they suggested to respondents:
In a race that is ...
  • Clinton v Carson: 46% to 43%
  • Clinton v Trump: 47% to 41%
  • Clinton v Rubio: 45% to 44%
  • Clinton v Cruz: 47% to 42%
  • Sanders v Carson: 47% to 41%
  • Sanders v Trump: 49% to 41%
  • Sanders v Rubio: 44% to 43%
  • Sanders v Cruz: 49% to 39%
The Quinnipiac University survey of 1,453 registered voters nationwide has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The poll included 672 Republican or Republican-leaning voters and 573 Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters.

Video - John Kerry speech on Ukraine, ISIL & climate change

Video - Lady Michelle Obama Welcomes Military Families to Celebrate the Holidays at the White House


At least 14 killed, 14 injured in mass shooting at California facility

As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at a Southern California social services center, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than a dozen others, authorities said.
FBI agents and other law enforcement authorities converged on the center and were searching room-to-room for the shooter or shooters, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. The suspects might have fled in dark SUV, he said.
"They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission," Burguan said, noting the shooters carried long guns, not handguns. Police shed no light on a motive.
"Is this a terrorist incident? We do not know," said David Bowdich, the assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles field office.
Witnesses said several people locked themselves in their offices, desperately waiting to be rescued by police, after gunfire erupted at the Inland Regional Center, which serves people with developmental disabilities.
The attack took place in a conference area where the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health was holding a banquet, said Maybeth Field, president and CEO of the social services center. She said the building houses at least 25 employees as well as a library and conference center.
A person who was inside the building also told The Los Angeles Times that the shooting may have happened during a holiday party, but declined to be identified or comment further.
No weapons were recovered at the center, though authorities were investigating unidentified items in the building and have brought in bomb squads, Burguan said at a news conference.
He noted the number of people killed and wounded were preliminary estimates that could change. He said the wounded have significant injuries that might be related to gunshots.
San Bernardino police spokesman Sgt. Vicki Cervantes told The Associated Press there were reports from witnesses of between one and three shooters.
As the manhunt went on, stores, office buildings and at least one school were locked down in the city of 214,000 people about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, and roads were blocked off.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his homeland security adviser.
Triage units were set up outside the center, and people were seen being wheeled away on stretchers. Others walked quickly from a building with their hands up. They were searched by police before being reunited with loved ones.
Terry Petit said his daughter works at the center, and he got a text from her saying she was hiding in the building after hearing gunshots. Petit choked back tears as he read the texts for reporters outside the center. He said she wrote: "People shot. In the office waiting for cops. Pray for us. I am locked in an office."
Marcos Aguilera's wife was in the building when the gunfire erupted. He said a shooter entered the building next to his wife's office and opened fire.
"They locked themselves in her office. They seen bodies on the floor," Aguilera told KABC-TV, adding that his wife was able to get out of the building unharmed.
Loma Linda University Medical Center received four patients in its trauma center and expected three more, spokeswoman Briana Pastorino said. She did not know their conditions. 

Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar دَ احساس تاو دَ ارمان دشتے ـ محترم حکیم محمد رفیق عاصي

NATO Troop Extension Comes at Perilous Time for Afghanistan

که نوې جګړه پیلېږي، ټول پښتانه افغان باید ورته یوموټي یو. محمود خان اڅکزی

په کوټه کې نن د چارشنبې په ورځ د خان شهيد عبدالصمدخان اڅکزي دوڅلوېښتم تلين ولمانځل شو. په دې لړ کې د کوټې په صادق شهيد لوبغالي کې د پښتونخوا ملي عوامي ګوند لخوا د يوه لویه ولسي غونډه شوې، چې پکې د ګوند مشر محمود خان اڅکزي او د دغه ګوند صوبايي او مرکزي مشرانو ویناوې وکړې. محمودخان اڅکزي په خپله وینا کې وویل؛ له تېرو څلورو لسیزو راهیسې د پښتنو افغانانو وينې تويېږي، خو هېچا يې نه غم کړی او نه يې هم چا حساب کړی دی. نوموړي د افغانستان له طالبانو او د پاکستان له پښتنو سیاستوالو خواست وکړ، چې که چېري په سیمه کې نوې جګړه پېلېږي، نو باید ټول سره يو مټی شي. زموږ همکار خدای نور ناصر يې وډيو جوړه کړې ده.

Video - Pakistan Israel Secret Relation - Visited Israel in Musharraf era: Khurshid Kasuri

Opinion: Why Pakistan should recognize Israel


Sometimes it becomes inexorable and practical to change the paradigms, let the past stay in the past and forget about historical incidents in order to open doors that lead to peace, prosperity and harmony.
History documents that Pakistan and Israel are never directly involved in hostility or disputes with each other. However, in showing solidarity with Arab countries and in support of Palestine, Pakistan has categorically refused to recognize Israel as an independent state since its inception. Our history books and widespread stereotypes have played a major role in filling our hearts and minds with hatred against Israel.

Considering the cost-benefit analysis and without abandoning support for the Palestinians here are some of the reasons to accord recognition to Israel: 

1. To promote regional peace, foster inter-ethnic and interfaith harmony with understanding.

2. The strategic location of Pakistan and geographical location of Israel can definitely complement one another well.

3. To lessen the pressure of difficult neighbors. Such an increase in the list of allies can do wonders.

4. To better Pakistan’s image as a friendly and moderate Islamic state.

5. To boost the economy by building trade relations, importing foodstuffs, cotton, etc., since Israel offers a huge market, and benefiting with the Israeli export of military and agricultural technology.

6. To put an end to hypocrisy, because after devastating wars with India and with the Kashmir issue still unsettled even after scores of years, India was not only accepted as a state but voted a “most favored nation.” On the other side, Pakistan buys ammunition from Israel, lets Israeli products dominate its market and yet is hesitant to accept Israel as free state. (Robert Fisk highlights the arm deals in between Pakistan and Israel in his book The Great War for Civilization.) 7. Pakistan-Israel ties could be an advantageous move as Israel has great influence with the United States and India.

8. Opening academic and cultural exchange opportunities for students.

9. Allowing Muslim and Christian Pakistanis to visit their holy places in Israel.

10. Jews, Muslims and Christians share some commonalities in their faith, which can definitely promote interfaith harmony.

11. By establishing ties Pakistan can influence Israel with regard to resolving the Kashmir issue and can possibly play a part in normalizing relations between Palestine and Israel.

12. Lastly, policies are not decoration pieces. They are meant to change with the growing needs and for the protection of national interests and national security.

Pakistan has not accorded Israel recognition since its inception due to the Palestine issue, and fears that India-Israel connections are working against its security, ultimately affecting the sub-continental balance of power. However, there is dire need to wash out all the stereotypes which have existed in our belief system since our inception.

Firstly, we need to realize that it is not about Jews vs Muslims. It is more Israel vs Palestine, mainly over land disputes. There are nearly 400,000 Palestinian Christians among the sufferers in disputed lands.

Secondly, we can no longer blame the US, India and Israel for anything and everything that happens in our country.

Thirdly, Arab countries enjoy good relations with Israel. Even Turkey – one of our supporters – has good diplomatic relations with Israel. Furthermore, Pakistan extended its full support to some of the Arab countries against Israel, but Pakistan was hardly backed by Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and many other Muslim leaders when Pakistan was in need of support.

Rationally, is there any reason not to have diplomatic relations with Israel? The need of the hour is to realize that Israel didn’t vanish from the map because Pakistan decided not to recognize it. On the other hand, Pakistan is getting nothing out of this rigid stance.

Our own country is riddled with humongous problems and disputes that need to be addressed before we point fingers at Israel’s intrusion into Palestinian land.

Pakistan must not only reassess the realities on the ground, but needs to readjust its diplomatic stance. Logical reasoning, a rational attitude and political maturity need to replace the emotional stance, aggressive slogans and baseless rhetoric. Making such changes democratically will be an uphill task, because foreign policy cannot be formed without consideration for public opinion. Education and balanced media can play major role in deeper understanding of such sensitive issues, issues that should be discussed in parliament, not in roadside restaurants and streets corners.

#WazeerEAzamBenazir - 27 years ago today, Pakistan elected 1st woman PM in Muslim world

The social media scene in Pakistan is abuzz with tributes to the slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the day she was elected as first woman prime minister in the Muslim world 27 years ago today.
The hashtag #WazeerEAzamBenazir is trending as of publishing of this post with most people posting rich tributes for the former PM.

Whither Pakistan?

Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Not long ago—Pakistan was branded as epicentre of global terrorism. Quite a large number of terrorists arrested outside Pakistan in different countries—were either of Pakistani origin foreign nationals or their links some how could be traced to Pakistan. Either they had flown into Pakistan to “get indoctrinated into Taliban ideology” or receive specialised training in terrorism.
Thanks to Army Chief General Raheel Sharif this perception of Pakistan being an exporter of terrorism is slowly getting diluted especially after the initiation of “Operation Zarbe Azb” -an all out war on terrorists in Pakistan since June 15, 2014.
After having lost over 50,000 civilians and sacrificing lives of nearly 10,000 security personnel of all rank and file—perception about Pakistan has slightly improved. Having been through bloody travails of a never ending violence imposed on us following military dictator General Ziaul Haq’s pyrrhic decision to be American Knight Templar against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and subsequently General Musharra’s mindless kow-towing to the dictates of American General Colin Powell to be with Washington specifically on the terms of “ either you are with us or with them—in President George Bush’s post 9-11 crusade, Pakistan had been sinking in the quagmire of uncertainties and instability.
Despite our successes since June last year, it is still far from over. General Raheel shall have to take the cognizance of elements like Maulana Aziz of the Red Mosque once again blowing hot with his religious venom as well as likes of Hafiz Saeeds who continue to masquerade as divinities with devil’s agenda hidden up their sleeves.
In the back ground of the successes—big or small- achieved by Pakistan in war against terror not adequately recognised by our so-called friends in the west for whose sins we have been paying for, it is heartening to see Pakistani leaders like Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif offering the expertise acquired through blood, toil and tears to those countries that are now gradually finding themselves confronting terrorism of their own making.
It was music to the ears to hear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offering Pakistan’s anti-terrorist expertise to French President Francois Hollande when he called on him in Maltese capital to offer his condolences on the recent Paris terrorist attacks. He extended to France Pakistan’s cooperation in counter-terrorism and the field of intelligence sharing. After all we have now come to be some sort of experts on terrorism having come of age fighting terrorists of all sorts for so long.
Change in command in the Army hierarchy in November 2013 brought in a new thinking and a fresh approach for an effective counter narrative. Though late yet a little later would have been too late. Army Chief Chief General Raheel Sharif launched the over due Operation Zarbe Azb in June 2014 in keeping with the countrywide consensus to root out terrorism of all sorts as well to eliminate violent sectarianism.
However, despite our unaccountable sufferings, one is deeply hurt to hear oft-repeated demand of us to do more from those who are responsible for our traumatic plight as well. And it seems that despite our painstaking efforts to dispel the perception that we are the villain of the piece, we have still to go a long way in getting rid of the albatross of being accused as harbourers of terrorists.
This perception will not go unless we put our own house in order. Orchestrating of civil-military on one page mantra, divergent statements by the ministers, contradictions on almost every issue between words and actions—whether it has to do with the presence of IS/Daesh in Pakistan or to play cricket with India or not—are a manifestation of a state of mind worst confounded.
In the dismal atmosphere it was is to know that Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had a very cordial meeting in Paris. The one-hour long meeting was more than an exchange of views. Although not much is known what transpired between them away from their officials--the body language of the two appeared healthy.
No doubt government marketed National Action Plan as a panacea to all our terrorist ills following massacre at Army Public School in Peshawar. Its stake holders seem to be at loggerheads on its performance. Here one would not like to comment on the indictment of the civilians by the Corps Commanders recent meeting—a cause for generating so many controversies and unending rumours. However, not withstanding the fact that the praetorian outburst was a natural reaction in a grave situation, it was surely a transgression of the constitutional parameters.
Pakistan is in a state worst confounded. No one knows whether who is going and who is coming. It is neither here nor there. Foreign visits abroad, so-called red-carpet welcomes, awards and honours are just icing over the cake loaded with a powdered-keg inside. The need of the hour is to convene the Committee of the Whole House of the Parliament-if need be in camera, to discuss threadbare where we stand and in which direction we are drifting. Let collective wisdom prevail as the final arbiter.