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.

#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.

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.
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.


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 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.

‘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.


Castro’s death stirs ideology clash in China

Revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro passed away Friday at the age of 90. Since he had already handed over leadership of the island in 2011, his death did not have any political ramifications globally; nevertheless, the news was a big event in the public opinion sphere.

Castro was the last statesman to have gone through the revolutionary era of the 20th century. Many state leaders sent condolences to Cuba while politicians worldwide issued statements, media outlets published comment and individuals gave their opinion on social media platforms.

Evaluations of Castro's legacy are complex and poles apart. The US had considered Cuba as a foe for a long time and applied sanctions and embargos on the country for over half a century. President Obama said in a statement that "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him." But President-elect Donald Trumpcalled the late Cuban leader a "brutal dictator." In the developing world, most state leaders heralded Castro as a "great man" or "hero."

Divergent viewpoints can be found on China's social media websites, with some attacking and disparaging posts against Castro among the most radical in global public opinion. They cited a Chinese newspaper article lashing out at Castro at a time when Cuba was cozying up to the former Soviet Union to support their views. There is even a fake article on the number of women the former Cuban leader had allegedly slept with.

A few people holding such views have a poor sense of history and low levels of knowledge. Of course, some are driven by ideology: Castro cannot be a good man since he held an anti-American stance for long. 

The Castro-led revolution was part of the tide of revolution of the 20th century. Castro persisted for a long time right under the nose of the US. Washington's suppression against Havana is highly controversial and to this day has not achieved its original aims. 

Castro was an idealist, and his political ethos is widely supported in Latin America. Cuba faces huge exterior pressure to realize its ideals, yet Castro is admired by many who understand his thinking. Despite facing a huge threat from the US, Castro had not led his country to radical militarization, and devoted the country's limited resources to education, health care and other sectors to improve people's livelihoods.

In today's China, those who blindly idolize the West are the most ideological. In their eyes, history and reality are black and white. They are against every Chinese policy and mainstream idea. 

These negative voices should be put under control, although it may be more realistic and reliable if society becomes more adaptable to these noises.

Most Chinese respect Castro and regard Cuba as a good friend. The sentiment embodies the diplomatic rationality of the society. The radical voices  do not mean anything, other than representing the diversity of this era.

‘Those dancing on Fidel’s grave may soon be disappointed’

While the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro caused grief and sorrow worldwide, many could not hide their joy. Political analysts told RT who has been “dancing on the lion’s grave” and why.
“Cuba was nothing more than a casino, a bordello before the Cuban Revolution led by the man who died yesterday,”former British MP and host of RT's 'Sputnik', George Galloway, said. “And the people who fled Cuba for Miami, the Scarface generation, were the people disinherited by the Cuban revolution, when casinos were turned into schools and colleges, when bordellos were no more. And they are celebrating for the same reason [that] hundreds of millions of people around the world are mourning. The passing of someone, who … was the star, who made Cuba the coolest place on the planet.” 
“There’s no country on the Earth, where more people have been to, or would like to go to than Cuba. And the iconography of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and the Cuban revolution is really something that’s pretty hard to beat.”
“So I’m afraid that the dancers in Miami, who might imagine that they are going back to casinos and bordellos are going to be disappointed,” Galloway added.
Cuba is like a “bad sheep that got away from the herd,” but become the “hope of the world,” Galloway said.
“It ploughed its own path, it decided [that] though the United States was a mighty super power, and only 70 miles away, that it would be a free country, it would not accept the dictate of the United States. That it would make its own friends in the world, and it would forge its own path in the world.”
“And the reality is Cuba is an amazing success story, not just, as I said earlier, the coolest place on the planet, where everybody, particularly young people, want to go, but the leader in the biomedical field, the children that are born in Cuba have more chance of living beyond their first year than they do in Washington DC. Life expectancy in Cuba is longer than in Washington DC. They have a health service and education service entirely free, and from the cradle to the grave ... on a par with Scandinavian countries. In fact ... [Cuba's] biggest export is not tobacco or rum, but doctors. And every time there’s an emergency, or a disaster, or a tragedy it’s the Cubans who are first bringing aid and sustenance to the people.”
The director of Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Rob Miller, told RT it is “sad” but “understandable” why people were celebrating in the streets of Miami, and that the sentiment will soon change.
“In Miami we have one million Cubans who exiled themselves from eleven million Cubans who remained on the island. And primarily their motivation is one of reclaiming their wealth, their privilege, their plantations, their factories, their very large houses, they all enjoyed before the Revolution [in] 1959.
“I think you’ll see a period of this … celebration, but I think there will be a realization that life has to move in [the] direction of a normal, sensible relationship with the 11 million Cubans who inhabit the island just 70 miles away across the Florida straits,” he added.
“This has been a vicious, nasty period of aggression of the world’s biggest superpower against this small Caribbean nation. And they have thrown everything at the Cubans, everything to try [to] enforce regime change. That includes the world’s media. And even today you’re seeing the world’s media still follow the same anachronistic Cold War line towards Cuba.”
“But yet on the streets of Havana, streets of San Paulo, Quito, across Africa, across Latin America, and even here in London you see people mourning the death of Fidel Castro, mourning that passing of that man, who represented so much, a beacon, if you like, of difference, of different world, of a different way of doing things. And I think at this time of austerity here, in Europe and across the globe people are looking for different ways forward … to participate in politics, to make changes for the benefits of everybody, not just the elite, not just that growing minority who’re eating up the world’s resources for their own self-gain.”
It is understandable that refugees from Cuba have no love for the government, but Cuba is “no longer a threat to the US,” British historian Martin McCauley told RT.
“I think that many of them are refugees from Cuba. They would say they suffered discrimination and perhaps even imprisonment in Cuba before they escaped. So, there is no love lost between them and the Cuban communist regime ... so, there are those in Florida among the Cubans there who strongly opposed the closer relationship with Cuba. They don’t want the Communist party legitimized,” he told RT.
“But Cuba is no longer a threat to the US. Communism is no longer a threat to the US. So, therefore, perhaps Trump will take a more relaxed and pragmatic attitude to Cuba and send his condolences to the people of Cuba on the death of Fidel Castro, because he changed fundamentally the relations between Cuba and the US from 1959 onward,” he added.