Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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Video - #FoundationDayPPP -Bilawal Bhutto Speech - #PPP 49th Youm E Tasees

Pakistan Peoples Party's 49th Foundation Day

PPP — from Bhutto to Bilawal





Pakistan People’s Party, despite all criticism, positive or negative, must be given credit for bringing politics to the masses from drawing rooms, and keeping it alive during the last five decades and that too against all odds. But, does the 28-year-old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have the capacity to lead this party to election victory in 2018, when it would complete its golden jubilee on November 30.

The PPP, formed by Pakistan's most charismatic leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, would celebrate its 49th Foundation Day, today (Wednesday), in which Bilawal may announce his debut in the electoral politics to contest from his mother's seat in Larkana. He will eventually become the youngest leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and gain some experience of parliamentary politics before the next general elections.
It will be a challenge for Bilawal, the third generation of ZAB, to bring back the party to its basic ideology while facing ground realities.
The transition of PPP from Bhutto to Benazir and from Asif Ali Zardari to Bilawal Bhutto saw the rise and fall of once the country's only national party. The biggest challenge for him is to regain the lost popularity in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which at present is divided between Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
There is gap that the PPP can fill, among the downtrodden, labourers, farmers, minorities, women, provided the party and its leadership is serious. They have not been able to set a good example of governance and to attract these classes even in its stronghold, Sindh.
There had been multiple conspiracies to finish PPP, starting with the elimination of Bhutto to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Besides, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) was formed to curtail its landslide victory in 1988, famous 'Midnight Jackal’, planned to dislodge its first government in 1989, followed by 'Mehran Bank scam’, to rig elections. All these attempts had been made by successive establishments. Yet, the PPP survived before it lost due to its own poor performance.
As the party switched from Bhutto to Zardari it began facing difficulties despite victory in 2008 elections, though short of two-thirds majority. Former president Asif Ali Zardari, irrespective of the kind of perception he carries, should be given due credit for seeing the party complete its full term. He set a few good examples by transferring his presidential powers to the parliament for the future generations.
Young PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto had announced a week-long celebration on the Foundation Day, from November 30 to December 5, across the country.
The party leadership should have invited one of the founding leaders of the party, Dr Mubashir Hasan, in whose house the first convention was held on November 30, 1967, in Lahore, though he quit the party way back.
Bhutto's politics revolved around three basic principles, which he himself once defined prior to the formation of PPP: elimination of imperialism, self-reliance and economic independence. Despite controversies, he had few successes in getting close to these targets.
Bhutto took politics to masses and led from the front when it came to sacrifices by giving his own life. Thousands went to prison, were flogged and some even sent to the gallows, few burnt themselves to save the life of their leaders. These are rare examples in the recent political history in this part of the world.
The PPP has a long history of struggle and no one can deny its role in strengthening democracy while keeping a liberal and secular outlook. At times it perhaps compromises too much even on its principles in a bid to evolve national consensus.
In our charred political history, it is an unusual phenomenon, which kept it alive though it weakened particularly in the post-Benazir assassination period. The high-profile case remained unresolved even in the five years of the PPP government.
No political leader in Pakistan had reached out to the people the way Bhutto did. He went to the downtrodden and succeeded in giving them a voice to speak against injustices.
His execution had completely changed Pakistan's political dynamics and the country never got the kind of leader, equally popular in the four provinces and of an international stature.
Even his worst critics remembered Bhutto as a non-corrupt and clean politician, who gave the country the first unanimous Constitution of 1973, a rare independent foreign policy, united the Islamic bloc and played a historic role in Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and launched the nuclear programme. He opened new avenues of job opportunities and sent thousands of Pakistanis to Middle East for better earning, and set up the first heavy industry Pakistan Steel.
He is criticised for political and media suppression, controversial economic policies and his bad judgment of holding early elections in 1977. The rest relates to the US-led foreign conspiracies to dismantle his government and make him a horrible example, as he was threatened by former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, after he refused to close down the nuclear programme.
But to me his biggest drawback was a compromise he made on feudalism and as a result, leaders like the late JA Rahim, the late Mahmood Ali Kasuri, the late Meraj Mohammad Khan and someone like Dr Mubashir Hasan quit his party. But, some like Baba-e-Socialism, the late Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, remained associated with him despite differences.
Benazir Bhutto kept his father's mission alive till she returned from exile in 1986. She was lucky because she got a team of highly motivated political workers and leaders. She herself had the charisma and quality to lead from the front. She was never allowed smooth sailing to complete her term in the government due to conspiracies and allegations of corruption.
Benazir was a powerful voice against terrorism and extremism and as a result had many enemies, too. She became the first woman prime minister of the Islamic world. She finally became the victim of terrorism on December 27, 2007, at the famous Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi.
I once asked Benazir why she compromised with the establishment twice. Firstly, when she first returned to the country in 1986, and secondly when her victory was reduced in the 1988 elections. She said. "I returned to Pakistan, at a time when thousands of party workers were in jail. Had I challenged the powerful establishment, who only years back had hanged the most popular leader, they would have sent a few more to the gallows. Secondly, I am a woman and knows the sufferings of the family whose loved-ones are in jail. So, I did compromise to give workers some relief."
Begum Nusrat Bhutto was the most unlucky political leader. A witness to all these tragedies, she gallantly faced all this personal sorrow, but died after a prolonged illness. Her last meeting with her husband, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in the death cell, 48 hours before his hanging, was once described by her to this writer, as the most unforgettable moments of her life. The then deputy commissioner Saeed Mehdi, once said in an interview, "Throughout the meeting, Benazir Bhutto kept taking notes while Begum Bhutto kept crying," he said.
Asif Zardari failed in retaining the party's popularity at the grassroots level and left a difficult legacy for his son, Bilawal Bhutto.
Goals for Bilawal are difficult because unlike his mother he has to carry the excess baggage of non-ideological burden and perception of bad governance and corruption.
If Bilawal succeeds in bringing some revolutionary and drastic changes, the PPP would be in a better position to celebrate its 50th year in 2017, months before the next elections, if held as per schedule in May 2018.
https://www.geo.tv/latest/122098-PPP-from-Bhutto-to-Bilawal

Bilawal Bhutto congratulates people of Karachi for their overwhelming victory in NA-258 by-election

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has congratulated the people of Karachi for their overwhelming victory in the by-election from NA-258 adding that PPP candidate Hakim Baloch winning the seat must show the path to all the former PPP leaders to return to their mother Party and carry forward the mission for a democratic Pakistan as envisioned by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
“Victory of Hakim Baloch as the PPP candidate just one day ahead of the Party’s entry into 50th year after its foundation from Karachi is an open message to the people of Pakistan that PPP is the only Party which binds all Pakistanis in strong unity and national fraternity,” PPP Chairman said.
He said that golden jubilee year of the PPP being started from November 30 was great moment for a strong and democratic Pakistan, which stands as a model Muslim nation in the world in 21st century.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that week-long celebrations on the Foundation Day in Lahore provide a historic chance to the Jiyalas from all over the country to reiterate their commitment and conviction to PPP and its programme. “Victory of PPP candidate Hakim Baloch is just a start and PPP candidates will win from all over the country in 2018 general elections,” he added and congratulated to the PPP candidate and all the workers of Malir and Karachi.
https://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/bilawal-bhutto-congratulates-people-of-karachi-for-their-overwhelming-victory-in-na-258-by-election/

#FoundationDayPPP - Foundation Day celebrations kick off today




Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will start week-long celebrations of its 49th Foundation Day in Lahore on Wednesday, ARY News reported.
The party’s main function will be held at Lahore’s Bilawal House where Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will address the party workers on the occasion.
The PPP chairman reached Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport via Emirates Flight EK-622 from Dubai in the wee hours of Wednesday. Strict security measures were taken at the airport on his arrival.
Senior PPP officials including Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah and President of PPP-Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira received the party chairman at the airport.
During the week of the celebrations different functions will also be organized in other cities of the country in which sacrifices for the democracy, rendered by the PPP leaders and workers, will be highlighted.
The party leaders have said that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will celebrate and spend the party’s Foundation Day with his activists and workers

http://arynews.tv/en/ppps-foundation-day-celebrations-kick-off-today/

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#PPPFOUNDATIONDAY - Kitnay Maqbool Hain Bhutto Hamaray

Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha,Ajj Bhi Bhutto Zinda Hai

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#PPPFOUNDATIONDAY: ASIF ALI ZARDARI’S MESSAGE ON PPP FOUNDING DAY #NEWPPP

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“I wish to congratulate the Party workers in celebrating the founding day. I also join the workers in their demand that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lead the democratic struggle from the platform of Parliament as well to further the realization of democratic aspirations of the people”: President PPPP
Islamabad November 29, 2016: The Founding Day of PPP this year is being celebrated under the leadership of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a manner to make it not only an occasion of festivities but also of stock taking, reorganization and soul searching in a frank and free exchange with the Party workers.
“I wish to congratulate the Party workers in celebrating the founding day. I also join the workers in their demand that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lead the democratic struggle from the platform of Parliament as well to further the realization of democratic aspirations of the people”.
This has been stated by the President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said in a message on the 49th founding day of the Party today on November 30.
It is worthwhile to recall the foundational principles on this occasion. The twin principles namely “Democracy is our politics’ and ‘All power to the people’ are ingrained in the consciousness of the people and must never be allowed to be erased, he said.
Mr. Zardari said that in the pursuit of this mission our two Chairpersons and countless workers have laid down their lives.
However, because of the incompetence of rulers, political space has continuously been ceded to unrepresented and un-elected elements, he said. The principle of ‘all power to the people’ is fast eroding. This erosion of political space of elected representatives and transfer of power to unrepresentative elements is an aberration that must be corrected through performance, delivery and integrity, he said.
On this occasion we also pay homage to the leaders and workers of the Party who have made enormous sacrifices in the course of our historic struggle.
It is a matter of historical record as well as abiding national shame that while these political workers were fighting and suffering for democratic ideals there were also those in the state institutions who colluded with the dictators, took oath of allegiance and provided them cover, he said. This makes the sacrifices of our workers even more glorious. The Party salutes all these valiant workers for their dedication, commitment and sacrifices made for the cause.
Spokesperson senator Farhatullah Babar said Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be participating in the week long celebration sin Bialwal House Lahore and also meeting the workers drawn from all provinces to further the process of completing the organizational structures at the divisional and district levels throughout the country.
https://ppppunjab.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/pppfoundationday-asif-ali-zardaris-message-on-ppp-founding-day-newppp/

The Pakistan People’s Party



As Pakistan People’s Party enters 50th year of its establishment, it would require great deal of in-depth study, debate and discussion to evaluate its impact on Pakistan’s post Independence history, its politics and socio-economic development, its achievements and what future holds for it.

I hope its anniversary celebrations in Lahore – where it was found by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1967 – would result in reaching concrete evaluation and stock taking so that its young Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, could have proper documentation to revisit PPP’s past to charter his course for the future.

Everything has to be considered in the light of the great legacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his infinite contribution to Pakistan’s political development by the establishment of perhaps the most outstanding political party in post 1935 history of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent.

My above comment would not be palatable for many who continue to live with a caveman mentality despite being in the 21st century. It would also cause wrinkles on the foreheads of those who have been brought up within the moorings of a regimented mindset in which Pakistan’s history has been totally distorted and murdered, its ideologically secular raison d’etre hijacked and Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of a liberal, progressive social welfare state to guarantee greatest good of the largest number replaced by a garrison state deriving its power not from the people but from the barrel of the gun, retrogressive religious forces and foreign sponsors.

My assertion that the creation of PPP was ZAB’s most outstanding contribution is neither a sweeping statement nor an exaggeration. If one looks at Indo-Pakistan sub-continent’s history, never ever before it any political party suffered as much as it did at the hands of ruthless dictators. Its leaders, its workers and supporters in hundreds and thousands, generation after generation, had to bear untold persecution, prosecution, hangings, whipping, long jail sentences to sustain its undiluted ideological commitment to secular democracy, empowerment of the people towards creating an egalitarian order to guarantee equal rights to all – irrespective of caste, creed, colour or gender.

It would not be possible for me to catalogue in this short anniversary article all of the PPP’s achievements and the seminal changes Bhutto Sahib brought in Pakistan’s archaic politics of status quo. The objective here is simply to remind all those who have gathered in Lahore – old and new – to Bhutto Sahib’s unparalleled ideological contribution of far reaching consequences that so far no dictator has been able to erase. The slogan singed in the blood of his selfless and shirtless supporters and his beloved daughter Benazir Bhutto – “Bhutto Zinda Hai” has come to be immortal.

Bhutto Sahib was no ordinary mortal. His vision was destined to remain as harbinger of change – a vision that meant so many different things to so many with divergent bearings and vocations. It was fruitious then and it continues to hold on to its efficacy even to this day – perhaps shall continue forever and ever. And this was amply manifested in the diversity of support he received – from all and sundry – from the poor, landless, shelter less, shirtless, shoeless masses and the feudal and the moneyed, intellectuals and all those who wanted to be bulwark in defence of Quaid’s secular and egalitarian Pakistan.

Bhutto Sahib harnessed in his politics unity in diversity with the sole objective of the common weal of the people. To him politics, democracy, empowerment of the masses was a means not an end. I became his ardent fan when I was a student, his articulation of Pakistan in various international forums and then at the United Nations in 1965 made us his devoted followers. Often, I wondered why he joined the military dictator that Ayub Khan was when his bearing was good enough to take him far through pastures of national politics on his own.

When I got to know him closely I did raise the question that disturbed me most. His response was: when one wants to achieve higher objectives, one has to know the subject – both its academics and practical sides. He was highly educated, yet he had to learn practical politics and in the vicious environment that Pakistan had been rendered into by the machinations of the power troika comprising of generals, bureaucrats and judges in cahoots with the feudal vested interest and the clerics. To plan to destroy it – one had to be inside the vicious system. And that is what he leant from the inside as a minister in Ayub’s government.

If one looks at the assortment of PPP’s following then and now- it manifests Bhutto Sahib’s left leanings. He was not a communist but a social democrat. This was the reason that he became endeared to the poor and his left orientation caught the imagination of young people like us who saw in him a beacon of light to take nation out of the dark tunnel. Indeed, PPP under Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – shall have to revive left-of-the centre image that was an overall Bhutto Sahib’s legacy.

Besides PPP, Bhutto Sahib’s other monumental contribution is the Constitution of 1973. It is the only force keeping the federation together. One must give credit to former President Asif Zardari for further binding the federal grip by the 18th amendment that actually empowered the provinces with genuine autonomy promised to them by both Bhutto Sahib and his dearest daughter-Benazir Bhutto.

No doubt PPP and its leadership are faced with onerous challenges. It must be realised that despite every oppression in the book of torture inflicted on it, it is the blood of the Bhuttos and their selfless supporters that has enabled it to withstand all the storms with unmatchable resilience. However, time has come to evolve a strategy to counter powers that be that have been in a continuous conspiracy trying to decimating PPP especially in Punjab.

PPP leaders must remember that they have no reason to be apologetic about anything. Whenever PPP has been in power –despite being hampered and targeted by the powers that be– it has done something monumental for the country. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto is right when he says that it was President Zardari who initiated the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and finalised the blue print for One Belt One Road during his nine visits to Beijing. He defied Iran’s adversary and signed the gas pipe line deal when it was straitjacketed by sanctions. He sought normalisation of relations with Putin’s Russia. And could there be bigger achievement than the fact that he ensured transfer of power through vote after first time completion of tenure of any elected government?

Since acknowledgement of the achievements of PPP and good deeds of Bhuttos is something that does not exist in the dictionary of political adversaries or powers that be, PPP must reiterate the fact that Pakistan today is sixth nuclear power and first Muslim country to have the atomic bomb because of Bhutto Sahib.

Not only that, his daughter’s contribution is equally immense in making Pakistan’s defence impregnable. It was Benazir Bhutto who staked her life for providing Pakistan sophisticated missile technology. Today we gloat happily because of her that we have the capability to carry variety of missiles to their targets.

Last but not the least—without expecting any acknowledgement from its sole beneficiary—PPP’s determined role not to allow extra-constitutional derailment of democracy when it has been under constant threat of the invisible umpire to raise his finger—shall always be written in letters of gold.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/11/29/comment/the-pakistan-peoples-party/

Monday, November 28, 2016

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Discussion:Life and legacy of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro -The voice of the Third World

By Vijay Prashad.






Fidel Castro was the mirror of Africa, Asia and Latin America’s aspirations/blockquote>

The room went silent at the UN’s 2001 World Conference Against Racism whenFidel Castro entered. He took the podium and firmly denunciated not only racism, but also the deep scars inflicted by capitalism. “The inhuman exploitation on the peoples of three continents,” he said in reference to Africa, Asia and Latin America, “marked forever the destiny and lives of over 4.5 billion people living in the Third World today.” It was this history, he said, that left “the current victims of that atrocity” in poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and sickness. Castro’s words mirrored reality. He would not end there. It was hope, not despondency, that captured his personality. “I believe in the mobilisation and the struggle of the peoples!” he said. “I believe in the idea of justice! I believe in truth! I believe in man!” It was hard to contain the applause. Castro, in his customary green fatigues, took in the adulation. There was nothing insincere about it: the leaders in the room admired the guerrilla. He said things that many of them believed, but had come to set aside. These were the ideas of their youth and of their anti-colonial traditions. But they had set them to mute. Never would we hear such honesty from these leaders of the Third World. But their applause suggested something important. Castro spoke for their suppressed values. His words rang true, even as their articulation would be sneered at by the Global North and their representatives in the Global South. The most severe mockery would be reserved for Castro’s hopefulness, his talk of mass mobilisation and struggle. Words like ‘justice’ and ‘truth’ had been emptied of their content. They would now mean the opposite. Commitments to mass mobilisation and struggle evoked excitement in some, condescension in others. It was the part of Castro’s resilient message that set him apart. Confronting imperialism
Castro, who represented a beleaguered revolution in a small island, stood for otherwise suppressed historical forces. Against all odds, the guerrillas of the Sierra Maestra defeated the mafia leadership in Havana and defended itself from the Yankees of Washington, D.C. At the inauguration of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961, Cuba’s president Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado spoke in a language that irked the more staid leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Jawaharlal Nehru and Josip Broz Tito. Underdevelopment, he said, can be “overcome only through a struggle against and by total victory against imperialism”. Determined that imperialism needed to be confronted, Cuba hosted the Tricontinental meeting fifty years ago. It was here that Castro said that his government would “coordinate support for revolutionary wars of liberation throughout the colonised world”. Che Guevara was already in the Congo, working with African revolutionaries. Cuban material support — in terms of military and medical training — came to Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Angola. It was the Cuban assistance to the militants in these struggles that helped defeat Portugal and summon Portugal’s own Carnation Revolution against its fascist state in 1974. It was the Cuban intervention in Angola that helped defeat the South African military at the 1988 Battle of Cuito Cunavale, which broke the back of the South African apartheid regime and contributed to its demise in 1994. Cuba did its work and then withdrew. It did not seek to occupy — to get business deals or to create military bases. It came to help and then, having helped, it left.
In 1983, Castro arrived in New Delhi to hand over the presidency of NAM to India. He was received like a folk hero, the triumphant leader of a Third World then in great distress. The debt crisis had ended whatever hope had been kindled from the anti-colonial movements. Finance ministers lined up at the International Monetary Fund and at the various commercial lenders to raise funds for depleted treasuries. The will to fight for another world had been squashed. Fidel Castro had other ideas. He was not ready to bend his knee. What about a debt strike, he asked? What if every one of the NAM states refused to service their debts and what if they demanded that their debts be renegotiated? Castro received a standing ovation. But no one decided to follow him. There was no debt strike. Instead, country upon country faced a policy slate (neo-liberalism) that cannibalised their resources.
Castro continued to beat the drum, warning against the direction taken by the planet. He spoke about the failure of the world’s leaders to craft a global response to the perils that faced us all: a financial system that had become a casino, a social project that created perilous levels of inequality, a consumption pattern that would devour the earth’s resources, wars that are the child of greed and hunger. New ideas had crept in to corrupt thought. “The market has become today an object of idolatry,” he said in 1999, “a sacred word pronounced at all hours.” The richest 10 per cent of the world’s population today controls 89 per cent of the world’s wealth. This kind of thinking, Castro said, has “impaired the human mind”. Nothing held Castro back. When journalist Ignacio Ramonet accused him of being a dreamer, Castro responded, “There’s no such thing as dreamers, and you can take that from a dreamer who’s had the privilege of seeing realities that he was never capable of dreaming.” Solutions to such grotesque inequalities were needed. They cannot be found in apps and in microcredit. Much grander thoughts are required. Castro persisted with that ambition. It was his boldness that allowed so many people to breathe.
In 1953, a lieutenant and his squad captured Castro and some of his comrades. Castro hid his identity for fear of execution at the spot. The soldiers wanted to kill the guerrillas. The lieutenant walked about calming them down. “You cannot kill ideas.” He repeated, “you cannot kill ideas.” Later Castro wondered what made the lieutenant save his life and repeat that statement. “Our ideas did not die,” Castro said. “No one could kill them.” Without the long period of struggle and experimentation, without the years “we had to educate, sow ideas, build awareness, instil feelings of solidarity and a generous internationalist spirit, our people would not have had the strength to resist.” You cannot kill ideas. Castro, for the Third World, was not merely another leader. He was the mirror of its aspirations. That mirror is now shattered. Vijay Prashad is Professor of International Studies at Trinity College and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books.

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Pakistan's Census -Another Excuse

Speak to any development practitioner or governance expert, and they’re invariably likely to emphasise the need of reliable data for sound decision-making. However, our less-than-competent state can do well enough with population data collected over 17 years ago! And the present government’s continued equivocation on the issue suggests that it has little interest in changing the situation.The refusal to carry out the census has been justified by one excuse after another. 

The army’s inclusion into the exercise has been made a precondition, which is fine, but not being able to agree on the numbers being supplied for the exercise is no reason for this inordinate delay. First, it was Zarb-e-Azb, and now its cross-border violations from the Indian side.At this rate, there is never likely to be a perfect time for supplying troops for the census. Pakistan is embroiled in conflict on all fronts, and this situation is not likely to change in the near future. And is the government really telling us that all of our troops our currently not available? Pakistan’s army was never short of manpower, sparing some troops for this should not be as difficult a task as it is made out to be.

And while we are quick to dismiss our other law enforcement agencies such as the provincial police forces, using them in areas which are not as much of a security risk as others should also be perfectly acceptable. Areas in Balochistan and Karachi which already have a strong military presence should make use of the troops already present.Pakistan’s developmental priorities will continue to be skewed until the state actually has a real estimate of how many people it is to cater to. Nineteen years is a long time with a country that already had an overpopulation problem, long before this uncalculated exponential increase. Carrying out the census should be made one of the highest priorities.

http://nation.com.pk/editorials/28-Nov-2016/another-excuse

‘Zardari’s return not linked to army chief’s retirement’

Former president Asif Ali Zardari’s return from self-imposed exile – expected next month – has nothing to do with Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s retirement, party leaders have said.

General Sharif will hand over command of the army to Lt-General Qamar Javed Bajwa on November 29 after completing three years at the top.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Lt-Gen Bajwa over the weekend.
He also elevated Gen Zubair Hayat as the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Zardari had flown abroad in June 2015, after his controversial speech in which he had criticised the country’s military leadership without clearly mentioning any names.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) however, claimed that Zardari was abroad for treatment purposes.
Senior PPP leader Nadeem Chan, who was appointed party’s general secretary for central Punjab, said Zardari’s return was not linked to Gen Raheel Sharif’s retirement.
“We take General Raheel Sharif as a good soldier. We have nothing against him. We respect him. Zardari’s return has nothing to do with his retirement. He is coming on his own sweet will,” he said.
Chan said Zardari would most likely attend the December 27 gathering on the death anniversary of late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“You will see both the father and the son together hopefully. There is no leadership struggle in the party,” he added.
Chan said Bilawal would continue the lead role in the party even after Zardari’s return.
“Now Bilawal is the party chief and he will continue in that role. Zardari will be more like a guide and we will consult him over national affairs. Bilawal will be the chief executive from now on for the PPP,” he maintained.
According to reports, Zardari would be returning to Pakistan between December 10 and 15.
He is likely to declare next game-plan of the PPP regarding the PML-N government. The city of return is also yet to be decided as the party leaders believe it could be Lahore, Karachi or Larkana.
Reportedly, the PPP co-chairman will himself announce the final date of return. Party leaders say a truck was being prepared on which the party’s co-chairman would travel.  The former president had earlier said he was not living in exile and he would come back to Pakistan in few weeks.
As Zardari prepares to return, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif feels the PPP might be in a mood to take on the government.
The prime minister had recently said the PPP was returning to the politics of the 1990s when his Pakistan Muslim League and the PPP took turned to rule the country and remained engaged in a fierce battle.
Nawaz had said the Charter of Democracy signed between the PML-N and the PPP in June 2006 was “not working”. The premier had said the revival of the politics of the 1990s would not benefit any pro-democracy party.
On the other hand, Asif Ali Zardari has been categorical in his support for democracy. 
In a recent interview, he said that democracy would develop in the parliament, and not in courts.
The former president said that what if a commission set up by the Supreme Court could not produce any fruitful result over the Panama Leaks case, then “what [would be] the advantage of establishing such a commission.”
Zardari reiterated he was not exiled, and was abroad on his own free will, and would soon return to Pakistan.
PPP lawmaker Senator Farhatullah Babar said that there was no infighting over party leadership upon Zardari’s return.
“Bilawal is the PPP chairman and Zardari is the co-chairman. Both have their jobs to do and have been doing this for a while now. There is no confusion in the PPP about their roles,” he added.
Senator Babar said Bilawal had been taking important decisions in the recent weeks indicating his control over the party.
“Bilawal is the chairman for a reason and Zardari is not interested to clip his powers. Everybody in the PPP respects Zardari and accepts Bilawal as the chief,” he remarked.
Fuelling the heat, PPP Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira has warned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to accept the four points laid by Bilawal, “if he wants to save his government.”
Kaira claimed that in case the prime minister did not surrender to their demands, then his party would lead such a campaign that the government would not be able to stand it.
Bilawal had asked the federal government to meet his four demands - passage of the draft Panama bill, immediate appointment of a permanent foreign minister, reconstitution of the parliamentary committee on national security, and implementation of the resolution on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passed in a multi-party conference - till December 27.
http://nation.com.pk/newspaper-picks/28-Nov-2016/zardari-s-return-not-linked-to-army-chief-s-retirement

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Music - Noor Jehan - Live Concert In Lahore In 1971

Pakistan - PTI backs PPP’s four demands, says Qureshi

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that his party supports the Pakistan Peoples Party’s four-point demands its chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari put to the federal government during the ‘Salam-i-Shuhada’ rally in October.
Bilawal had called upon the federal government to revive the national security committee of parliament; accept the bill presented by the PPP on the Panama Papers controversy in the National Assembly; implement the resolutions passed at the recent multiparty conference on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and appoint a full-time foreign minister immediately.
The PPP chairman had said that if these demands were not met he would announce a long march on Islamabad on December 27, the ninth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, from Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, Larkana. “We are waiting for Dec 27. If they [the PPP] launched a protest movement I will request Imran Khan to reconsider things,” said Qureshi while talking to the media in Nawabshah and Matiari districts on Sunday
However, he took the PPP’s assertion of taking to the streets from Dec 27 with a pinch of salt. The PTI leader also found similarity between the PPP and his party over the Panama leaks issue. But despite the confluence in views of the two parties’ stance on the leaks, Qureshi viewed the PPP as an adversary in Sindh, emphasising that the people are looking towards a new party to lead them.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1246524/pti-backs-ppps-four-demands-says-qureshi/

#Pakistan -‘Generals, judges, journalists must also be held accountable’

Senator Farhatullah Babar on Saturday highlighted the flaws in the accountability system and said that the fight against corruption could not be won unless and until it was across the board, with no sacred cows.
"Why the judges, generals and journalists cannot be held accountable through the same accountability mechanisms that investigate politicians and bureaucrats?" he asked while speaking at a dialogue organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in Lahore on accountability laws and policies in Pakistan. "Who will guard the guards and pass judgement on those judging others for corruption?" 
He said that fundamental issues - like exempting sacred cows from accountability, turning a blind eye to institutional corruption and misusing accountability for political re-engineering - had never been addressed, due to which anti-corruption laws and institutions were no more than a sham and a scam. He said that the argument that some institutions had their own accountability mechanisms was a sham. "It has no credibility and is widely perceived as an escape from accountability."
The senator said that the single most effective remedy against corruption was transparency and the tearing apart of the shroud of secrecy.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/27-Nov-16/generals-judges-journalists-must-also-be-held-accountable

Pakistan - Forced Conversion





The Sindh Assembly has been exceeding expectations by passing controversial bills that work towards ensuring the rights of minorities. After the passing of the Hindu Marriage bill in February this year, it has now adopted a bill against forceful religious conversions. The bill endorses a five-year punishment for perpetrators, whereas facilitators of forceful religious conversions will be handed a three-year sentence.
It is commendable that the assembly is setting examples for the rest of the county to follow. It is only hoped that these bills will be implemented in practicality, beyond just the scope of legislation, and will end the discrimination and oppression that minorities face on a daily basis.
U
nder the newly passed bill, forcibly converting a minor is also a punishable offence.
Adults will be given 21 days to consider their decision to convert, an important clause to consider as many are forced into conversion due to external pressure, duress or threats that could come in the form of physical emotional or psychological coercion. The South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, released a report in collaboration with the Aurat Foundation in July 2015 stating that at least 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan every year, many of which happen in Sindh, that has an overwhelming majority of Hindus concentrated in the province.
The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs earlier in June set the foundation for this bill and termed forced conversions “illegal” and against the principles of Islam. Senator Gian Chand earlier admitted that police do not take action in cases of forced conversion “fearing the reaction of the Muslim community.
” This is the mentality that law enforcement agencies have to work against. The issue of conversion itself is a highly controversial one, where the general belief is that converting a non-Muslim into a believer is the highest honour possible. To implement this bill means to change the very fabric of society and a lot more can be done before Sindh can boast of protecting its minorities.

http://nation.com.pk/editorials/26-Nov-2016/forced-conversion

PAKISTAN EXPRESSES GRIEF OVER DEMISE OF FIDEL CASTRO

Pakistan has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
In a statement on Saturday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the government and the people of Pakistan condole to the government and the people of Cuba on this irreparable loss.
The Advisor said that late President steered his nation through numerous daunting challenges with statesmanship, honour and dignity.
He said Pak-Cuba relations touched new heights under his dynamic leadership.
Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the US, died at the age of 90. Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and current president of Cuba, announced his death on state television in Havana early on Saturday.
The leader of the 1959 revolution, which overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, defied the US efforts to topple him for five decades, before ill health led him to make way for his brother Raul, 84, in 2006.
In his final years, Fidel lived in relative seclusion, but occasionally wrote opinion pieces or appeared to meet visiting dignitaries.

FORMER PRESIDENT ASIF ALI ZARDARI CONDOLES THE DEATH OF CUBAN LEADER

Former President of Pakistan and President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari has expressed his profound grief and sorrow over the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who died on Saturday after a prolonged illness.
Former President in his condolence message said that with the death of Fidel Castro not only people of Cuba but progressives and revolutionaries around the world lost a leader who was a source of inspiration for them. Pakistan and Cuba established very strong and friendly relations during the government of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. PPP is with the people of Cuba in this mourning time, Asif Ali Zardari said.

https://ppppunjab.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/former-president-asif-ali-zardari-condoles-the-death-of-cuban-leader/

‘Positive or negative, Castro’s impact can’t be underestimated’ - Lionel to RT

‘Viva Fidel!’, Cubans Begin Mourning For Castro


Nelson Acosta and Simon Gardner



Flag-waving Cuban students broke into a mass chant of “I amFidel” to salute Fidel Castro as nine days of mourning began for the combative Cold War icon, who dominated the Communist island’s political life for generations.
Alcohol sales were suspended, flags flew at half-staff and shows and concerts were canceled after his younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, told the country on Friday that Fidel had died at 10:29 p.m., without giving a cause of death.
Giant rallies are planned in Havana’s Revolution Square and in the eastern city of Santiago to honor Castro, who died aged 90, six decades after the brothers set out from Mexico to overthrow U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Newspapers on the island of 11 million people were printed in black ink to mournFidel, instead of the usual red of the official Communist Party daily Granma, and the blue of Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), the paper of the Communist youth.
“For me, it’s my mother first, my children, my father, then Fidel,” father-of-five Rafael Urbay, 60, said as he manned a government photo and printing store in downtown Havana, remembering his early years spent on a remote island off the mainland with no drinking water.
“We weren’t just poor. We were wretched,” he said. “Then came Fidel and the revolution. He gave me my humanity. I owe him everything.”
There was no heightened military or police presence to mark the passing of the epochal revolutionary leader, and at Havana University, Castro’s alma mater, hundreds of students gathered to wave huge Cuban flags and shout “Viva Fideland Viva Raul.”
Fidel isn’t dead because the people are Fidel,” shouted a local student leader dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt. “I am Fidel,” he continued, a refrain quickly adopted by the crowd.
Fidel put Cuba on the map, and made Cuba a paradigm for the people of the world, especially the poor and the marginalized,” said another university student, Raul Alejandro Palmeros.
Castro studied law at the university in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when it was a hotbed of leftist politics, setting him on the path that led to his toppling of Batista in 1959.
Under Castro, bitter diplomatic conflict with the United States followed, and Cuba quickly became a firm ally of the Soviet Union, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Yet despite years of ideological strife and increasing hardship under a U.S. economic embargo,Castro’s Cuba became renowned for high education standards and world-class doctors.
“What Fidel did with education and free health stands out on the world stage. It was unique,” said Rene Perez, 78, a retired accountant and Communist Party member. “It’s his main legacy.”
Apart from the chanting students, Havana life went on largely as normal, only quieter and more subdued following the news of Castro’s death. Street vendors sold food and handcrafts from stalls to passers-by, while 1950s Chevrolets full of dents and held together by makeshift repairs cruised by, crammed with passengers.
Nevertheless, it was a day for reflection.
“Usually we’re full, but today only tourists have come and maybe a few Cubans. Usually it’s the other way around. It seems Cubans feel funny about enjoying themselves so soon after Fidel died,” said Raul Tamayo, a doorman at La Roca, a popular restaurant in Havana’s central Vedado district.
Castro’s remains were cremated, and his ashes will be taken around Cuba until a state funeral on Dec. 4. Western diplomatic officials said foreign dignitaries will arrive by Tuesday for a memorial service to be held in Revolution Square that evening.
There will be no top level games of baseball - Castro’s passion after politics - for the nine-day period of mourning, the sport’s national federation declared.
Cuban state television, student associations and the women’s federation had organized smaller rallies to mourn Fidel Castro and pledge their support to the revolution.
Standing well over 6 feet (1.8m) tall, the bearded Castro was for years a cigar-chomping bulwark of ideological resistance to the United States, decked out in green military fatigues and cap.
But the man long known as Cuba’s “Maximo Lider” (Maximum Leader) largely disappeared from the public eye after a 2006 intestinal illness that almost killed him.
Formally handing over power to Raul in 2008, he remained a major presence on the island, and regularly warned the Cuban population about the perils of giving in to the United States.
“Everyone here is sad. Everyone is a Fidelista,” said Anaida Gonzales, a retired nursing professor in central Camaguey province. “People are just going about their business, but sad. Me, I’m very sad for my Comandante, it really took me by surprise.”

Putin says Fidel Castro's name is a symbol of epoch in newest global history

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has offered condolences following the death of the Leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, saying his name would become a symbol of the epoch in the newest global history, the Kremlin’s press service said on Saturday."Free and independent Cuba, which he and his allies built, became an influential member of the international community and became an inspiring example for many countries and nations," the telegram reads. "Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made a huge input in establishment and development of the Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic partnership in all spheres."

"He was a strong and wise person, who always faced future with confidence," the telegram reads. "He demonstrated high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot, who is adamant in the right course, to which he sacrificed all his life."

"At this mournful time, please say for me the words of sympathy and support to all members of your family," Putin said "I wish you courage, strength in facing this tragic loss."
The historic leader of the Cuban revolution, the founder and leader of the first socialist country in the Western hemisphere - Cuba - Fidel Castro died on Friday late afternoon at the age of 90.


More:
http://tass.com/politics/914838