Monday, February 1, 2016

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Video - Iowa Caucuses: Why the Democrat race is so close

Video - Martin O'Malley suspends presidential campaign

Deadlocked in Iowa: Clinton, Sanders virtually tied

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a dead heat at the Iowa Caucus, with both candidates in a virtual tie as the votes are counted.
With 91 percent of Iowa precincts reporting, former Secretary of State Clinton held 49.8 percent of the vote. Vermont Senator Sanders earned 49.5 percent.
For Clinton supporters, the tight race with Sanders will be a disappointment. Her campaign spent nearly a year building a massive get-out-the-vote operation in Iowa.
In remarks to her supporters, Clinton welcomed a "contest of ideas" with Sanders.
"It is rare we have the opportunity we do now, to have a contest of ideas," she said. "To think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for. I am a progressive who get things done for people."
The self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont, Senator Sanders, has drawn a big, youthful crowd across the state.
"We will struggle tonight if the voter turnout is low. That's a fact," Sanders told volunteers and supporters ahead of the caucuses, according to the Associated Press.
Six in 10 Democratic caucus-goers said they wanted a candidate who would continue Obama administration policies. Young voters overwhelmingly backed Sanders.


Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will win the Iowa Caucus, upsetting frontrunner Donald Trump. The Monday showdown featured a three-way contest between Cruz, Trump and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

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Election 2016: What Are The Iowa Caucuses?

Video Report - #iowacaucus - Hillary Clinton: 'Nothing new' on emails

#iowacaucus - A 102-year-old woman wrote Hillary Clinton about the milestones she’s seen—and one she’s waiting for.

Like a lot of her fellow Hawkeyes, Ruline Steininger is really looking forward to the Iowa caucus. But there’s at least one thing that sets her apart.
She’s 102 years old.
Ruline had the chance to meet Hillary when she came to hear her speak in Des Moines. She gave her a quick pep talk—and told Hillary she’s one of the most qualified candidates she’s ever seen in her life.
Coming from Ruline, that’s really saying something. If you live in Iowa, don’t miss your chance to be part of history. Join Ruline and people across the state who are caucusing on February 1.

Clinton on Iowa caucus day: A "bit scarred up," but still standing

Hillary Clinton said Monday she is "pumped up and enthusiastic" about her campaign heading into the Iowa caucuses, adding that the results of the first test of the 2016 presidential nominating contests will come down to "who turns out."
This past weekend, Clinton said her campaign knocked on 125,000 doors across Iowa. She touted her battle-tested experience to make her case.
"I'm a little bit scarred up, but I'm still standing and I think that kind of experience will really do me well in this campaign. And I believe that I'm the Democrat who can make sure we keep the White House in the right hands going forward," Clinton said on "CBS This Morning."
The latest Bloomberg Politics/The Des Moines Register Iowa poll showed Clinton leading Sanders by three points, which is within the survey's margin of error. Clinton has 45 percent of the vote among likely caucus goers in Iowa, while Sanders has 42 percent.
Clinton has been under scrutiny for her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. In the most recent emails released by the State Department, 22 messages were censored and deemed top secret. Sanders' latest campaign ad suggested Clinton's email controversy rendered her unelectable.
"The Sanders campaign has gotten more negative and more personal, which I regret because I thought we were running a really good campaign based on the issues, what we would do and how we would do it," Clinton said in response to the ad.
The ad also suggested she was in Wall Street's pocket.
"Look, anybody who knows me knows I'm not in the pocket of anyone, and anyone who thinks they could influence me certainly doesn't know me," Clinton said. "But what I do think is interesting is, I've laid out the most comprehensive, toughest, effective plan to make sure Wall Street never wrecks Main Street again -- don't take my word for it -- that's what Paul Krugman and Barney Frank and others have said."
Clinton said she doesn't want to overpromise, but she's going to continue talking about issues that matter to voters and deliver.
"I've been telling people the weather forecasts say that the blizzard won't get here until after the caucuses, so don't be deterred," Clinton said. "We really do want everybody to come out and to be part of this because this comes only once. The people of Iowa get the unique opportunity before anybody in the world to decide who they think should be the next president and commander-in-chief. And I'm urging everybody who wants to go and caucus for me and stand up for me to please do so, so that I can stand up and fight for them through the campaign and into the White House."
Next up in the candidates' campaign trail is New Hampshire, with the primaries on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Clinton said she plans to head immediately over the Granite State Monday night after votes are tallied in Iowa.
"I'm going to campaign hard in New Hampshire. I know that usually New Hampshire votes for a neighbor, and [Sanders is] their neighbor, so I get that. But I think I have the better plans, I think I have the better understanding of what it will take to beat the Republicans," Clinton said, alluding to the fact that Sanders is from Vermont.

Hillary Clinton's final pitch to Iowans: thanks to you, I'm a better candidate


On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, eight years after the crushing disappointment of her defeat by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton made her final pitch to a gymnasium packed with roughly 2,600 people.
The crowd was not just one of the largest of her campaign. It also rivaled in its enthusiasm scenes that have become synonymous with rallies held by her opponent, Bernie Sanders.
On Sunday night, Clinton delivered a resounding speech. Accompanied by her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea, the former secretary of state fashioned herself as a pragmatic progressive with a history of accomplishment to match her soaring rhetoric.
“I hope you will caucus for me. I hope you will fight for me,” she implored. “I will fight for you.”
The same night in Des Moines, around 1,700 people attended Sanders’ Sunday night rally. A crowd as large as 5,000 saw him joined by indie band Vampire Weekend at the University of Iowa on Saturday.
Hours before Clinton’s final rally, hundreds formed a line that wrapped around an entire neighborhood. They eventually packed a high school gymnasium, bustling with excitement echoed through frequent chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” and “I believe she will win.”
The positive mood has traveled with Clinton in her final stretch across Iowa, the state that on Monday begins the first nominating contest of the 2016 race. Although Clinton remains locked in a competitive battle with Sanders, she holds a slight advantage: 45% to 42% in Saturday’s final Des Moines Register poll.
In combating Sanders and his grassroots movement, Clinton has focused her message on the need to build upon and expand the legacies of the last two Democratic presidents: her husband and Barack Obama. Introducing her, Bill Clinton struck similar themes.
“She’s a world-class change-maker,” he said, adding that a president must be capable of finding common ground without sacrificing core principles.
“Of all of the people I have ever worked with in my public life, Hillary is the best at that.”
Much of Clinton’s closing argument in Iowa and New Hampshire has centered around the idea that the policies put forward by Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, might sound appealing but are ultimately impractical.
She has challenged the Vermont senator over his support for single-payer healthcare, which Clinton said poses an existential threat to Obama’s healthcare law, which remains popular among Democrats.
“Senator Sanders wants to start over – to plunge us into a contentious national debate,” Clinton said, before noting how hard fought a victory healthcare had already been.
“Stick with the Affordable Care Act, stick with making it better,” she said.
Clinton also took a veiled shot at Sanders by vowing not to raise taxes on the middle class, following an acknowledgement by the senator’s campaign that his healthcare plan would require a tax hike on most Americans – in return, they say, for larger savings on insurance costs.
“I will not raise middle class taxes – absolutely off the table. I will follow the money to the top,” Clinton said.
There were, nonetheless, moments in which Clinton echoed Sanders’ economic populism.
“We also have to keep our eye on Wall Street. We can’t ever let it wreck Main Street again,” she said.
The crowd cheered frequently, but reserved its most thunderous reception for when Clinton ticked through priorities that included defending Planned Parenthood and marriage equality, protecting voting rights and pushing for criminal justice reform and gun control.
“I’m a better candidate,” she told them, “and, thanks to you, I’ll be a better president.”

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Malala's Education Petition For Syria Gathers 70,000 Signatures

More than 70,000 signatures had been gathered by January 28 on a petition launched by Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai that urges a Syria donors’ conference to give millions of dollars to educational purposes.
The online petition is addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama.
It calls for world leaders to commit to $1.4 billion at the London conference on February 4 in order to “make sure all Syrian children affected by the conflict get an education.”
Britain, Germany, and Norway are co-hosting the conference along with the United Nations and Kuwait.
They will discuss how to help 13.5 million people who are vulnerable or have been displaced inside Syria, as well as 4.2 million people who have fled to neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office says participating countries will be asked to double the amount of money they are contributing to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.
In 2015, UN agencies asked for $8.4 billion from governments around the world but received only $3.3 billion.

Pakistani Christian family seeking refuge, life on Risk

The sources informed that two Christian brothers Nasir Yousaf and Nisar Yousaf resident of Westridge Bazar Rawalpindi falsely accused of blasphemy in December 2015 by their Muslim tenant who tried to occupy the residential property of Yousaf brothers. The family is under immense pressure; their lives have become imperiled due to the wrath of inflamed fanatics.

The case is finished in the Westridge Police Station after high level investigation by District Police Officer (DPO), Senior Police Officer (SP) and District Superintendent of Police (DSP), the Case FIR was not lodged against Yousaf brothers.

Although Police dismissed Blasphemy case but the family is still under the high pressure of Muslims extremists, as they received continue life threat calls by unknown Muslims. Yousaf brothers are hiding along with their wives and small kids who are only between the ages of 6 months to 07 years. The family is sacred for the life safety and future of their children. Since the time they have changed several places to hide themselves and their children from the angry Muslims. The fanatics, through their networks following the movement of the family and threatening to kill their innocent children as they have already attacked the family twice, are forced to migrate to different places.

The family is in dire financial condition and unable to make ends meet. The concerned police is well known about the severe situation and twin attacks on the family and even the identity of the perpetrators, but not taking a serious legal action help to this oppressed family, as, in their opinion, the family is free from the legal case accusations. The family have knocked doors of several Christian Organizations including NGO,s and Churches but could not get proper security of life and receiving continue threats by the perpetrators.


The following information has been received from Shahazad Raza s/o Yousaf, aged 35, approached Christian’s True Spirit (CTS) in Lahore on January 20, 2015 and reported that a fake blasphemy case fabricated against his elder brothers Nasir Yousaf and Nisar Yousaf in December 2015, Yousaf family is hiding as facing severe life threats, need immediate protection.

He informed that the family is well established and influenced in the locality at Westridge Bazar Rawalpindi. The property belongs to their forefathers who lived here from decades and Yousaf brothers residing at the same place.

Shahzad Yousaf informed CTS that they are nineteen members of the family including four brothers, their wives, children and their mother.

He further stated that Yousaf family owned a big property in locality and a few houses given on rent to different locals. Mohammad Jalal Bhatti, a local Muslim was one of the tenants. He had eight sons named Mohammad Azeem Bhatti, Mohammad Nadeem Bhatti, Mohammad Shabeer Bhatti, Mohammad Sadheer Bhatti, Mohammad Shakeel Bhatti, Mohammad Kashif Bhatti and Mohammad Bilal Bhatti and their sons.

A big male denominating family; started creating problems for local Christians, Yousaf brothers always condemned their unacceptable advances towards society and after a certain period of time Yousaf family asked Mohammad Jalal and his son Mohammad Azeem Bhatti to vacant the place as they wanted a peaceful environment in the locality. Mohammad started making lame excuses to leave the place but soon in October 2015 he reveled that he got the ownership of the said house and refused to pay the decided amount of rent.

Yousaf family got curious, and filed a suit for the “Permanent Injunction” in the Civil Courts Rawalpindi, the same decided in the favor of Yousaf brothers in November 2015 as they were the true owners of the said land.

Mohammad Jalal was not willing to leave place therefore Yousaf brothers filed an application in the Sessions Court Rawalpindi on December 15, 2015, requested a court bailiff to vacant the occupied property by Mohammad Jalal and his sons. The Court ordered as per the Law, a court bailiff deputed to solve the matter, the bailiff reached the point accompanying local police including women police constables from Westridge Police Station. The belongings of

Mohammad Jalal Bhatti and his family were put down outside the house to get the place free in the presence of the bailiff and the police. Mohammad Jalal and his sons put a tent in the street to live in; continually threatening Yousaf family to leave the place otherwise they will kill the whole family. Mohammad Azeem showed his anger breaking the mirror of Shahazad Raza Yousaf’s Car and warned him for dire consequences. Shahazad Raza reported the matter in the Westridge Police Station and asked for protection of the family but police did not take the matter seriously as it was a general dispute among the locals. The same evening Moh Azeem approached Westridge police station to file a blasphemy case against Yousaf brothers and alleged Nasir Yousaf and Nisar Yousaf for blasphemy. He said in the statement that Nasir and Nisar committed blasphemous act while throwing out his households including Quran in the presence of the court bailiff, local police and a few locals. He mentioned Sharoon Javed (a local Christian boy) as an eye witness you the incident.

Police strictly ordered locals to keep quiet about the issue, being unwilling to high light the matter for the peace and security of Yousaf Family and other local Christians. Meanwhile the high police officials including District Superintendent Police (DSP), Senior Police Officer investigation (SP) and Station House Officer (SHO) started investigation of the case. Police called upon few local influenced and made an inquiry committee consisting on 14 members under supervision SP, investigation date was fixed on December 18, 2015. The SHO called upon parties for investigation including court bailiff, Local police constables and lady police. The same day on Dec 18, earlier that the police inquiry occurred, Mohammad Azeem Bhatti hardpressed Sharoon Javed s/o Javed Raja to get involve Shahazad Raza Yousaf and his cousin Sheraz Peter s/o Peter Masih in a fake case. Sharoon accused Shahazad Raza and Sheraz of trespassing of his house and beat him severely while threatened him for life as he was the eye witness in the blasphemy case against them.

In the reaction of Sharoon application a case FIR no. 426/15 offence under section 452 and 506 of Pakistan Penal Code, registered, in the Westridge Police Station Rawalpindi and police arrested Shahazad Raza s/o Yousaf and Sheraz Peter and kept them in the police lockup in the said Police station.

The same evening during the police investigation in the blasphemy case the court Bailiff, Police and the committee, recorded statements as no blasphemous act done by Nasir Yousaf and Nisar Yousaf on the day when they threw the luggage outside the house to vacant the place.

After a fair inquiry on the application dismissed application of Mohammad Azeem and the case FIR was not lodged. Meanwhile police inquired the matter of case FIR no. 426/15 which was registered due to maliciousness and the same was also proved as a fake case registered against Yousaf brothers.

The concerned police produced Shahazad Raza Yousaf and Sheraz Peter in the court of Mr. Saleem Iqbal, Magistrate Sec 30, District and Session Judge Rawalpindi as well as inquiry report of the case, and the judge dismissed the case FIR No. 426/15 and released Shahazad Raza Yousaf and Sheraz Peter.

Yousaf Family attacked twice by perpetrators; Yousaf family is on serious life threats and escaped from the place from the beginning of New Year 2016.

On January 01, 2016 Mohammad Nadeem Bhatti s/o Mohammad Jalal and his son Amir Bhatti armed with deadly weapons, accompanying of 5 unknown forcibly entered in to Yousaf’s house and attacked Nasir Yousaf, Nisar Yousaf, their mother Kathreen Yousaf and other females in the family, beat them severely and threatened for life, the locals gathered at the spot and saved the family from the aggressive Muslims. Nasir Yousaf s/o Yousaf Masih reported the matter in the Westridge Police Station and requested for the family protection, but police again nonserious to take legal action against the Muslims in this regard.

The Yousaf brothers become afraid of the life of their families; they were frightened from the 5 strangers who attacked family in support of Mohammad Nadeem Bhatti and his son. The unknown were having long beard and the Yousaf family supposed them linked with Talibans.

Therefore they flee immediately to safety, since the time they have changed several places to hide themselves and their children as Muslim fanatics, through their networks following the movement of the family.

On January 25, 2015 Kathreen Yousaf widow of Yousaf Masih aged 65, again attacked by Muslims as she visited her place to get some needy stuff of children from the house in Westridge Bazar. Yousaf brothers supposed that opponents will not harm an old lady, but they started throwing stones on her and attacked her while armed with wooden rods. They beat Kathreen severely, as wanted to kill her at the spot, someone immediately informed police and a few neighbors resisted the aggressive Muslims; meanwhile police reached the spot and rescued her. Kathreen suffered through sever pain due to beating and asked her sons to not go to their place again as she is frightened for the security of her sons.

Through sources Yousaf family knew that Mohammad Jalal and his sons have occupied their property/residential places again and no one have courage to ask them for this wrongful act. Children are disturbed and feel uneasy while shifting place, they are afraid and stopped going schools. Yousaf brothers cannot do work properly because they are mentally upset, the employers have warned them to fire from the Jobs and deduct their gratuities. The family has requested CTS for permanent protection and safety of their families. - See more at:

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers treated barbarically in Thailand

According to sources, Pakistani Christians of Holland and Belgium protested against the barbaric treatment of Pakistani Christians in Thailand Detention cells.
Many Christians, who fled from Pakistan because of rising persecution and poverty, have been detained in Thailand. The Christians, seeking refuge in Thailand are now subjected to extreme conditions in the foreign land. Many are detained and living in miserable conditions in detention cells. As many as fifty people are forced to sleep in rooms enough for fifteen people. Sanitary and hygienic conditions are largely overlooked which has led to the diseased conditions of many and death of two in the past one month.
Pakistani Christians residing in Holland and Belgium, led by Watson Salim Gill and others staged a protest against this barbaric treatment. The community has pledged to do all in their power to relieve their brothers and sisters suffering in Thailand.
In this regard, Kaleem Saleem and Ejaz Matthew from Holland and Latif Bhatti from Belgium have filed a petition to the Thailand embassy and requested the Thailand government to stop the cruel treatment of Pakistani Christians seeking refuge in Thailand.
Without much help from UNHCR and UN, Christians stuck in Thailand need as much help and prayers as they can get. Though a small step, the protest is highly welcomed and proves to be beacon of hope for the suffering.

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Pakistan Nawaz Sharif's Arab Masters - Saudi royal in Pakistan to hunt endangered Houbara bustard

The bird, about the size of a chicken, is prized for its meat that serves as an aphrodisiac.

A prince of Saudi Arabia’s royal family has arrived in Pakistan’s Balochistan province for hunting the Houbara bustard, days after the country’s Supreme Court lifted a ban on hunting of the endangered bird.
Prince Fahad bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who is also the governor of Tabuk province in Saudi Arabia, arrived in his special flight at the Dalbandin airport, the Express Tribune reported on Monday.

Annual affair

The Prince visits Dalbandin and other areas of the Chaghi district every year for hunting of the endangered species in the months of December and January, the daily reported.
The visit by the Prince is apparently the first after the Supreme Court recently lifted the ban on hunting of Houbara bustard on January 22.

Its meat is an aphrodisiac

Houbara bustard is an endangered migratory bird, whose meat is prized by elite Arab sheikhs for its aphrodisiac value. The ban on the Houbara bustard, about the size of a chicken, was imposed by former Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja on August 20 last year, who also ordered the cancellation of all existing permits issued by government to Arab rulers.

The federal and provincial governments in October had challenged the ban, pleading that sustainable hunting should be allowed. A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali lifted the ban in a verdict on the review petitions.

Houbara bustard is listed in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention, and is declared as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Globally, 50,000 to 1 lakh exist

The IUCN estimates the global population of Houbara bustards at between 50,000 and 100,000 and includes it on its red list of threatened species.

Each year, several thousand Houbara bustards traverse a 2,000-km migratory route from Central Asia to the southern deserts of Pakistan and Iran, and return with the onset of summer.

The Pakistan Taliban is Still Deadly

“Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my pressure be heavy upon thee.” (Job 33:7)
Recently, the Pakistani Army boasted they had the Pakistan Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on the run and in disarray.
It was claimed that the yearlong offensive had ousted the Taliban insurgents from their most prized tribal sanctuary. The movement’s various factions were riddled with violent rivalries, and attacks on Pakistani towns and cities had largely ceased because of this. But now all these claims are doubted after four Taliban gunmen mounted a deadly attack on Baccha Khan University in the northwestern town of Charsadda, killing 20 people.
The Taliban argued that they had targeted the university campus because it prepared students to join the government and army. No doubt military campaigns against TTP have deteriorated its fighting capabilities as its leadership is on the run. About 70 percent of the infrastructure in the tribal areas, which were once the strongholds of Taliban insurgents, has been dismantled.
But TTP is not dead and their alliances with other militant groups are still alive and kicking. The Pakistani military leadership has claimed periodically that the TTP rump is now hiding in Afghanistan’s eastern and northeastern regions and have been calling for an Afghan campaign against them.
It’s a matter of fact that TTP is still the largest militant group in Pakistan and its recruitment is done with the help of tribal loyalties and local affiliations.
Certainly, the Pakistani Taliban is no longer the tightly unified force that it once was. The movement was commanded from the heartland of Waziristan in the tribal belt by swaggering, publicity-hungry commanders who could call on a seemingly limitless stream of suicide bombers to hit targets across Pakistan, including even the army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.
The current nominal leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, was a polarizing figure within the militant movement even from the start. Since the military began clearing his sub-commanders and allies out of the North Waziristan tribal area, he appears to have even less authority over the Taliban’s factional leaders, many of them headstrong characters who alternate between cooperation and violent feuding. Due to these military campaigns, TTP does not possess the capability of running a parallel government like it once did in Swat and South Waziristan. But it can still target the civilians (“soft targets”) to prove itself deadly and active.
The real operational strengths of the Pakistan Taliban are its affiliates and support networks, which still exist inside Pakistan. Taliban supporters and sympathizers provide base and facilitate the movements of fighters without which no attack can be planned and executed.
Till now Pakistani authorities have failed to take action against sympathisers of TTP. As a result, the Pakistani public is starting to question the success of the ongoing military operation. Moreover, it can be argued that in some senses, the government’s military operations have strengthened the region’s fractious jihadist organizations by forcing them to put aside their differences and work together.
For example, the government’s commencement of the Zarb-e-Azb operation in the North Waziristan district, and supplementary operations in other districts of tribal areas, served to soften the TTP’s differences over the leadership and to bind these groups together against a common enemy (a Pakistani state).
The government’s various operations have only been able to restrict the space for Taliban insurgents to operate in rather than deny it completely. Additionally, no senior militant leaders have yet been killed or arrested, making it is easier for these groups to bounce back and reorganize themselves once government pressure is removed.
Moreover, Afghan Taliban and Haqqani networks are also all friends of TTP. The Pakistan army’s protection of the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban as ‘strategic assets’ has helped the TTP to retain its sanctuary and its attack capabilities. The areas dominated by the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban have provided TTP with strategic depth.
Whenever the Pakistani military stepped up its offensive in the tribal areas, the TTP found it convenient to move into the Afghan Taliban-controlled areas. There is substantial evidence that the Haqqani Network has also helped the TTP to survive the military onslaught which, in any case, has been selective and hence ineffective.
What Pakistan today faces in the TTP is a hybrid group, a mixture of virulent insurgency and terrorism. Considering the current situation, it’s high time that the Pakistan military take some other effective steps as well in addition to its ground campaigns against TTP so that the aim of neutralizing TTP throughout the nation can be achieved.
Pakistani authorities have to identify and break up local terrorist networks which supports TTP, counter radical ideology through deradicalization programs for youths, and most importantly, take adequate measures to address lawlessness and extreme poverty in the northwestern mountainous region, a fertile recruiting ground for jihadists.


Islamicide: How the Mullah Mafia Is Destroying Pakistan

Maajid Nawaz 

A boy cuts off his own right hand because it offended God. Pedophilia is holy. To question is to risk execution. Welcome to a nation in thrall to suicidal fanaticism.
Somewhere in the world there is a Muslim-majority country in which a 15-year-old boy accidentally raised his hand to answer the wrong question at a religious sermon. The boy said yes, when he meant to say no.
His religious instructor, his mullah, had been asking, “Who among you loves their prophet?” All present raised their hands. The mullah then followed with another question: “Who among you doesn’t believe in the teachings of the Holy Prophet? Raise your hands!”
The boy thought he was answering the first question again. He stuck his right hand up in pride. Yes. Yes, I love my prophet, he thought. But to the poor boy’s horror, the mullah had asked the question in the negative. Upon realizing his mistake, which I remind you was raising his hand too quickly, the boy was told before 100 worshippers that he had committed blasphemy. He was mortified.
The boy promptly departed that day and walked home. All along the way he must have been thinking about his mistake. Had his hand exposed him as an apostate by bearing false witness against his soul? How could he ever regain his lost status as a believer?
In his utter depression, perhaps the boy recalled the passage of the Quran thatdescribes the Day of Reckoning in which believers’ own limbs will testify against them, betraying their misdeeds.
He may even have recalled a traditional saying ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad, “Even if my own daughter Fatima stole, by God I would cut off her hand.”
In this spirit, hadn’t a member of ISIS just executed his own mother for apostasy? Whatever was on his mind, this boy, who wanted so much to be considered a true, fearful believer, decided that he must take action to fix his terrible mistake. What happened next has alternately shocked, embarrassed, infuriated, and depressed me. It has come to symbolize the collective suicide—let’s call it Islamicide—of this boy’s country.
The boy went into his father’s workshop, placed his right hand inside the grass cutting machine, and chopped it clean off.
That’s right. He cut off is own hand in the name of the prophet. “When I raised my right hand unwittingly, I realized I had committed blasphemy and needed to atone for this,” he told the BBC. “I came back home… but found the place dark, so I took my uncle’s phone to point some light at my hand. I placed it under the machine and chopped it off in a single swirl.”
Bleeding profusely, the boy then walked all the way back to the mosque, and found his mullah. As atonement for heresy, he then presented his severed hand to the mullah. “The hand that commits blasphemy should be chopped off,” the boy later said.
The boy was promptly hailed by his mullah as an aashiq—a true lover of the prophet—and his extreme act of expiation was celebrated throughout his village and surrounding villages. Neighbors are appearing at his home, kissing his left hand, and placing some cash in his pocket.
“I heard that a boy sacrificed his own hand for the love of our prophet. I came here to meet him,” one said.
All he wanted to do was please his mullah.
Meanwhile, across this boy’s fervent and restive country, in his capital city, a bill had been proposed that would outlaw pedophilia, euphemistically called “child marriage.” But there’s an entire mullah mafia in the big city with attitudes much like that of the small-minded village cleric who celebrated his student’s self-mutilation. And that mullah mafia thanks heaven for little girls.
Marvi Memon of the ruling Muslim League party was attempting to introduce harsher punishment for those who “marry” minors, while also raising the legal age of marriage to 18.
Relatively uncontroversial in 2016, you would think. But such is the fear of being accused of committing blasphemy in this country, such is the power of the accuser, that all one has to do is threaten. And that is exactly what happened.
The country’s Council of Islamic Ideology declared that to outlaw pedophilia would be an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, for hadn’t he married a 9-year-old girl called Aisha?
Unanimously rejecting the proposed Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014 on “purely religious grounds,” the mullahs pronounced any representatives who supported this reform to be blasphemers.
Chairman of the Council Mohammad Khan Sheerani said,“Parliament cannot create legislation that is against the teachings of the Holy Quran or Sunnah.”
In May 2014, the Council repeated its earlier ruling that girls as young as 9 years old were eligible for marriage if “the signs of puberty are visible.” The legislators—from the ruling party I remind you—were forced to withdraw their bill immediately.
The mullah mafia had won once again. A great “victory for Islam.” Pedophilia was “Islamic.” And to question it was blasphemy. Which is punishable by death, in case you were ever in doubt.
That boy lived just outside Lahore. That capital city was Islamabad. Welcome to Pakistan 2016. A country committing Islamicide.
How I mourn you Pakistan. You were once the pride and hope of South Asia. Muhammad Ali Jinnah fought to found you, to build a country in which “Muslims will cease to be Muslims, and Hindus will cease to be Hindus, not in the religious sense, but as citizens of the state,” and yet today your Sunni terrorists would murder Jinnah as a “heretical” Shia.
Like all rotten gangsters seeking power through intimidation, with every new victory Pakistan’s mullah mafia extends its clutches further. Their definition of blasphemy gets broader and broader, starting with a direct insult; yet now encompassing “heretical” sects such as Shia and Ahmedis; and, wider still, being deployed to protect pedophilia.
Everyone is petrified. The mullah mafia seem invincible. To offend them is obviously to offend God. And to offend God, the Most Merciful, apparently deserves death. But of course, this has got “nothing to do with Islam.”
Perhaps it was all over when the progressive leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the late Benazir Bhutto’s father, gave in to this mullah mafia and introduced legally sanctioned sectarianism to Pakistan’s laws in 1974, declaring the Ahmedi sect to be infidels. Perhaps it was the end when Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq came to power in 1977, using Islam to crush his opponents, and introducing strict medieval era penal codes such as public flogging.
Perhaps it was finished when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a jihadist terrorist in 2007.
Or maybe I should have lost hope in 2011 after the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was gunned down by his own bodyguard amid accusations of “blasphemy.”
Or likewise when Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was killed that same year, for the very same reason.
Maybe those of us desperately clinging to the memory of a secular Pakistan that was, that could have been, should just call it quits now.
But then I think of this boy. And I think of the child “brides,” and the acid victims, and all the brave voices—military and civilian—who have given their lives to fight this madness; and I think of the assassinated Governor Salman Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer, and former Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani’s son, Ali Haider, both still missing after terrorists kidnapped them hoping to ransom them. And it wrenches at my gut.
When I see the protestors lighting candles at Liberty Chowk after every major terrorist attack, when I hear of brave new Pakistani voices boldly proclaiming their counter-extremist message from within, when I behold the slightly paralyzed left side of Malala’s face looking back at me in her photograph, I am forced to remind myself, amid all the depression: Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Lives.

Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto slams PMLN for wreckage on heritage

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party has expressed solidarity with the people of Lahore who are being uprooted from their ancestral abodes, businesses and shops to pave the way for controversial Orange Metro Line already opposed by the experts of United Nations Human Rights Council.
In a press statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PML-N was bent upon to crush the protests of the people of Lahore who homes, shops and businesses are being ruthlessly demolished and heritage of the historic city is being raised to ground for providing luxuries to the rulers of Punjab. “PPP leaders and workers have already joined with the victims of Orange Line to launch protest against the inhuman activities of the demolition squads of Nawaz Sharif and his family,” he said and directed the Party workers and Jiayalas to stand by the affectees and save their ancestral homes, businesses and shops.
PPP Chairman urged the Party workers to support the just struggle of the Orange Metro Line victims to protect the heritage of Lahore and livelihood of thousands of the citizens, which are being wiped out by Sharif bulldozers and excavators.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the Nawaz government for eating up the profit of international oil price reduction instead of trickling own the relief to the consumers in the country. He said that PoL prices should not be more than Rs45 per liter looking at the decrease in international prices.
PPP Chairman rejected the newly-announced PoL prices by the PML-N government and asked his Party to raise the issues of Orange Metro Line and PoL prices in their respective legislatures for safeguarding the victims and also providing adequate relief to the people as per same ratio in the international market.
He said PPP won’t allow Sharif brothers to fleece the public and rights of consumers shall be protected at every cost because the Party was formed to safeguard the rights of common and downtrodden people and its struggle for their cause shall continue without any break.