Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pakistan - The resistible rise of fanaticism

Ghazi Salahuddin
Something is happening to Pakistan that is not entirely obvious to its rulers. The dark forces of orthodoxy and fanaticism are gobbling up the prospects for a modern, democratic dispensation in this country. And the Faizabad sit-in could be seen as the loss of a cherished dream.
This is so in spite of how this confrontation is brought to a conclusion. I am writing these words in the forenoon of Saturday and the breathlessly expected crackdown to end the blockade has not begun – though the deadline was 10pm on Friday night.
Hence, these are very tense moments. It has been a long night of suspense. We are in the midst of what has become a national crisis. Since I cannot anticipate what it will be like when you read this column, I can only temporise and try to look back at the path that has led us to this incredible and incomprehensible moment. Nothing less than the writ of the state is at stake.
Sorrowfully, this path was paved by whatever the intentions of the ruling establishment were in the process of fighting its war against terror and violent extremism. Any discerning observer should have seen it coming. Perhaps we were distracted by how we defined our national interest and how religion was invested in our politics.
A lesson that we should have learnt a long time ago has been asserted once again by the protest staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and other religious groups. We wait for something to become almost intractable before we begin to confront it. This has happened repeatedly and the price we have paid is horrendous.
An analogy – offered by those who advise caution or, in other words, a policy of appeasement – is that of the Lal Masjid operation during the reign of Gen (r) Musharraf. But where had Lal Masjid come from? How did it become what it was under whose watch?
There is little point, at this stage, in recounting the circumstances in which the protest began under, seemingly, the protection of the administration. It was, since the beginning, a virtual siege of the capital of the country and the pain it caused to the citizens of Islamabad and Rawalpindi was not taken into account.
Initially, the blockade was carefully underplayed. The media also followed this plot until it became untenable and the massive disruption it was causing in the daily lives of an untold number of citizens had to be put on record. Also instructive is how the government bent over backwards to placate the protesters. It was sad and pathetic to see how ministers were pleading sympathy for the protesters’ point of view.
On their part, the protesters were determined to flaunt their power and the passionate support they drew from a considerably large segment of the country’s population. Their inspiration, of course, is Mumtaz Qadri – the executed assassin of Salmaan Taseer. At the heart of all this is the extremely emotive issue of blasphemy. The TLY had launched the protest over a change in a law that had already been reversed. It now wanted the resignation of the federal law minister that the government was unwilling to accept because it would be a clear sign of capitulating to an unjust demand. Otherwise, there were hints of surrender in how high functionaries sought to negotiate a settlement with the leader of the TLY, Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
An important milestone in this saga was the intervention of the Islamabad High Court on Thursday. It directed the TLY to call off its sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange. Incidentally, Thursday was the International Day for Tolerance and one may note the irony of how it was celebrated in its blatant breach in Pakistan. Anyhow, the protesters simply shrugged it off. So, on Friday the court gave the capital administration and the police 24 hours to remove the blockade. It asked the deputy commissioner to seek assistance from the Frontier Constabulary and the Rangers. It just meant that the writ of the state had to be enforced.
In his order, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said: “I observe with great concern that the district administration not only failed to perform its duty as was required, rather from the mannerism it appears that sit-in has been facilitated to put the country in a crisis situation”.
This crisis situation has many dimensions, if you look at it against the backdrop of the developing political situation. There are grave apprehensions about the possible consequences of the defiance of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The accountability process is gaining traction. This week, the focus has been on Ishaq Dar as the federal minister of finance. He announced his resignation on Saturday morning. The cards are being shuffled and there is much speculation about what the new deal will be.
Meanwhile, it is the showdown at the Faizabad Interchange that is keeping the nation on tenterhooks. It has obviously been very dramatic. It is so much more thrilling than that protracted ‘dharna’ in Islamabad in 2014. Preparations made for a possible crackdown, as shown on television, are awesome. This is what they call the chase sequence in the movies.
At this point, the administration is doing all that it can to step back from the brink and is pursuing negotiations with the protesters who stand on a higher ground – at least in a literal sense. We have this spectacle to show how the religious leaders and the militants play their hand. We may also identify the areas in which the law or reason has no jurisdiction.
This, in some ways, is a parable for the surrender of the state in the context of what Pakistan was meant to be. We may also mourn the demise of the National Action Plan because it had prescribed a crackdown on hate speech – something that has intensified in different guises. We are told that victories have been won in battles against terrorism. But there is this war that we are losing – or have already lost.
This movement that the Faizabad protest represents is demonstrably quite powerful. But we must recognise its sources. It has risen from a strategic refusal to accept modern, progressive and liberal values and from our failure to educate the people. Our political leadership, too, has condoned the sustained socially regressive drift of our society. Orthodoxy has almost become our ideology. Imagine the ignominy of a poor girl being stripped in a village without disturbing the thoughts of our leaders.

Pakistan - Mixing politics with religion continues unabated

By Raza Rumi @razarumi

For nearly a fortnight, a motley group of clerics and their supporters have caused a blockade of Islamabad – the capital of a nuclear nation – protesting against an alleged offence to faith.
In October, a minor change in the oath taken by politicians had sparked protests. The change of words from ‘I solemnly swear’ to ‘I believe’ – that has now been reversed by the Parliament – in the ‘finality of the prophet Mohammad(PBUH)’ were deemed as sacrilegious by Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), leading to calls for the resignation of the law minister and even the ouster of the government.
The TLP is a new addition to Pakistan’s countless Islamist groups. Unlike the well-known religious parties and jihadists, TLP adheres to the majority Sunni-barelvi sect. The party made its electoral debut in the recent Lahore by-election and earned a few thousand votes against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate who also happens to be the wife of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The TLP disturbingly calls Mumtaz Qadri a hero and claims to have launched a crusade against blasphemers in the country.
The government’s response to the ongoing sit-in and the resultant disturbance caused to the public has only exposed its ineptitude in handling the crisis.
Mobilisation of religious passions for political ends has been a familiar strategy since Pakistan’s inception. In fact, the demand for Pakistan to some degree also invoked the religious identity.
In analysing TLP’s politics, one need to also factor in a less popular view that groups such as TLP are part of the political engineering by country’s military establishment that wants to cut PML-N to size. Historically, the PML-N has enjoyed the support of large number of Barelvis in elections.
‘This situation [1953 Anti-Ahmadi riots] was brought about by people who wanted to get into power in the Centre. They thought that by creating unrest, the men at the helm of affairs in the Centre would have to go. The old tried method of attacking a religious minority sect called Ahmadis was used to inflame the minds of otherwise peaceful people.’ —Firoz Khan Noon
If there has been one constant in Pakistan’s troubled history; it is the convenient mixing of politics with religion. The early years of Pakistan set this trend and with time it has been impossible to reverse it. The Objectives Resolution passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949 kick started the official announcement of the religious credence of the state.  The Resolution remained a statement of intent but it found its way into the operative part of the constitution under General Ziaul Haq. Today, it is an open minefield – easy to ignite, exploit, and use as a threat.
It would be pertinent to recall the first instance after the creation of Pakistan where the issue of Khatm-e-Nabbuvat figured in street agitation. The 1953 anti-Ahmadi riots in Punjab led to the first ever imposition of Martial Law. The threat to Khatm-e-Nabbuvat (finality of Prophethood) is an appeal that few Muslims can choose to ignore. In 1953, a Bengali Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin was at the helm and he had been trying to create a consensus around constitutional principles that would give East Pakistan (and smaller units) their fair share in governance. At the same time, Nazimuddin used religious clauses to build support. Nazimuddin, however, was pitted against the powerful West Pakistan establishment represented by Governor General Ghulam Mohammad, Iskander Mirza who was the defence secretary (and who engineered the 1958 coup) and Ayub Khan, the head of the Army.
Mumtaz Daultana, who ruled the Punjab province, was opposed to the constitutional principles put forward by Nazimuddin. Once again, religion was cleverly made a reason to cause disturbances. Daultana tacitly backed the Islamists – mainly the Ahrar and Jamaat-e-Islami – in demanding that central government should declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims and remove them from government positions. The protests turned violent when Nazimuddin ordered a crackdown in March 1953 and arrested key religious leaders including Maulana Maudoodi. To quell the agitation, the military was called in. According to historian K B Sayeed, it was Iskander Mirza who ordered Army action. Nazimuddin fired Daultana and replaced him with Malik Firoz Khan Noon. But his attempts to maintain power were short-lived. Within a month of the anti-Ahmadi riots and imposition of martial law, Nazimuddin was dismissed by Governor General Ghulam Mohammad.
Firoz Khan Noon, who later became the Prime Minister, has recorded some insights for posterity. In his memoir ‘From Memory’ (1966) he writes: ‘This situation [Anti-Ahmadi riots] was brought about by people who wanted to get into power in the Centre. They thought that by creating unrest, the men at the helm of affairs in the Centre would have to go. The old tried method of attacking a religious minority sect called Ahmadis was used to inflame the minds of otherwise peaceful people.’
In the same book, Noon identified the cabal of unelected officials – Ghulam Mohammad, Chahudri Mohammad Ali, and Iskander Mirza – as those at the helm of affairs. It is surprising to read about the ‘old tried method’ in 1950s for it sounds just like today.
In fact, this formula was employed time and again. The most dramatic invocation was the1977 movement against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that called for Nizam-e-Mustafa (the system of the Prophet). Ironically, not unlike Nazimuddin, Bhutto was already appeasing the mullahs. The successive governments changed the blasphemy laws beyond repair by the 1990s.
The TLP’s outburst and antics are also a part of what has been happening in the recent tug of war. When Nawaz Sharif appointed the current Army Chief, Gen Bajwa, there were elements within the state that launched propaganda about Gen Bajwa’s alleged Ahmadi family connections. Meanwhile, the issue of blasphemy has been used to crush dissent on social media throughout 2017, discrediting dissenting speech by terming it as ‘blasphemous’. Then, after Nawaz’s ouster, death threats for blasphemy were aired most likely in response to his will to fight it out. But Nawaz’s son-in-law soon made a foul anti-Ahmadi speech and called for expulsion of Ahmadis from the Army (not too difficult to guess the target). And now, TLP is on the roads pressurising Nawaz’s successor in office.
It is mind boggling to count how many blasphemers there must be in the country if all the allegations were to be counted. What the elites don’t realise, however, is that this is no longer 1950s or 1970s. Whatever they do gets reported in the global media. They are bringing shame not just to Pakistan but also to the faith they are supposedly protecting in the land of the pure.

Children are most precious asset of nation, says Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on #ChildrenDay

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that children are most precious asset of our country and urged both the state and the parents to protect, promote, educate and train them into the greatest and most positive potential for nation in future.
In his message on the eve of Universal Children’s Day being observed tomorrow, the PPP Chairman said that PPP has always taken revolutionary steps for the protection children and launched polio and other preventive vaccinations in the country. “Sindh under PPP government is the only province where education upto intermediate is completely free and provincial government bearing registration, enrollment and examination fees,” he added.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said there was strong need to improve health and education facilities for the children all over the country. “Every Pakistani has to play his/her role to provide the best environment for children to grow into responsible citizens,” he added.
He further said not only more legislative initiatives will be taken but the PPP Manifesto for 2018 general elections will also encompass key practical steps for the welfare and betterment of children.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

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Michelle Obama Just Gave The Best Life Advice For The Trump Era

By Lindsay Holmes

A mental health expert breaks down how effective her tips are.

If you’re like most humans, the current political climate has caused you some excess anxiety or tension. Recent research shows that the majority of Americans are stressed about the future of the nationand even relationships with loved ones are feeling the strain.
Michelle Obama is here to offer some guidance on how to deal with it all ― and her advice is pretty spot on.
The former first lady spoke at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut, this week, where she offered some suggestions on how to survive chaotic times, the Hartford Courant reports.
Focus on what you can control,’’ Obama advised the audience. “Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff.”
Pretty sage wisdom, right? But does it actually work?
We examined stress research and chatted with a mental health expert about Obama’s tips. Below is a breakdown on their effectiveness when it comes to dealing with tough times:

1. “Focus on what you can control.”

Current events can feel incredibly overwhelming, according to Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and chair of the American Psychotherapy Association. Looking at everything that is out of your hands can cause anxiety.
Focusing on what you can do helps, Reidenberg told HuffPost. That includes limiting your exposure to the news cycle and participating in activities that bring you joy.
Filtering out the unhappy, angry, chaotic, stressful, dark headlines and maintaining a healthy balance between the challenges and the good things “will allow you to feel in control of your life rather than feeling life is controlling you,” he said.

2. “Be a good person every day.”

This has long been go-to advice when it comes to improving mental health. It applies to how you deal with yourself as well as how you behave toward others.
Being good to yourself and to others “will increase your self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence and your sense of pride,” Reidenberg said.

3. “Vote.”

Therapists say their clients are reporting feeling helpless more often since the election. An antidote to that? Taking action. Voting in elections and getting involved on issues that are important to you are tangible ways to ease politically related stress, according to the American Psychological Association.

4. “Read.”

Reading about what’s going on in the world and staying updated can help you feel in touch. It’s a method even some experts use to ease their own stress over politics.
My personal approach is to stay immersed in the news cycle, hoping for some shred of encouragement or at least consolation from hearing my views shared by others,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, previously told HuffPost.
But if following the news is causing you to feel uneasy, other kinds of reading can help with that. A study published in 2009 found that getting lost in a good book can be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, sometimes even better than listening to music or enjoying a cup of tea.

5. “Treat one another kindly.”

Research shows that being kind to another person not only improves that person’s mood; it can boost your happiness levels too. Looking for ways to spread a little kindness? Try one of these

6. “Follow the law.”

This one seems pretty obvious, no? Laws are needed for a well-functioning society. But Reidenberg said it’s worth keeping in mind for your mental health as well. Having a set of rules to follow can help enhance your feelings of control.

7. “Don’t tweet nasty stuff.”

This is perhaps one of the most vital rules to follow today.
“Sharing of negative thoughts and feelings isn’t helpful to anyone,” Reidenberg said. “By speaking poorly of others you aren’t helping anyone, and you are contributing to the angst so many people are feeling right now. And when there is a lot of this coming from every direction, the ugliness can contribute to anxiety and stress.”
Obama also added one final piece of wisdom, which she said is worth heeding no matter who is president.
“The impact of all of us in our everyday lives is greater than anything ... that can come from the White House,” she said.
Consider it noted.

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په فاټا کې د انټرنيټ ازادي او ګواښونه

د امريکا څېړېنيزه اداره فريډم هاوس په خپل کلني راپور کې پاکستان د شپږم کال لپاره هم په هغو هېوادونو کې شامل کړی چې پکې د انټرنيت ازادي نشته. دا څېړنه ډېجيټل رايټس فاونډېشن او فريډم هاوس په ګډه کړې چې پکې د ۲۰۱۶ م او ۲۰۱۷ کال په موده کې د انټرنيټ ازادۍ په برخه کې شويو پرمختګونو جاج اخستل شوی دی. په راپور کې په۶۵ هېوادونو کې د انټرنيټ ازادۍ جاج اخستل شوی دی. د پاکستان په اړه د راغونډو شويو مالوماتو پر اساس هلته د ریاست په کچه د انټرنيټ استعمالونکو له حقونو سرغړونې، انټرنيټ ازادۍ او د سنسر شپ عملي کېدو جاج اخستل شوی دی. که څه هم دا راپور د پاکستان په کچه دی خو د مشال تر رڼا لاندې بحث کې په قبايلي سيمو کې د انټرنيټ د ازادۍ او هلته استعمالونکيو ته ور وړاندي ګواښونو جاج اخستل شوی دی. په اسلام اباد کې د انټرنيټ ازادۍ لپاره د غير حکومتي ادارې (( بولو بهی)) مشر اسامه خلجي او د فاټا ځوانانو جرګې مشر نظام الدين خان د بحث مېلمانه دي.

د پښتونخوا ماشومان غزایي کمي لري

Pakistan - FATA’s wounds

By Afrasiab Khattak

The news about unannounced military operation in the Masood area of South Waziristan came in bits and pieces in second week of November as the government was secretive about it. But the news could not be kept secret as 1100 plus families of Shabi Khel sub tribe of Masood from Shaktoi, Small and Bobarh villages of Ladha subdivision were asked on an extremely short notice on November 3 to vacate the area. Thousands of women, children and men had to walk for two days in mountains towards Bakakhel in Bannu district. They were herded into the IDP camp which had been originally established in 2014 for IDPs from North Waziristan during Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The area of Shabi Khel Masood in Ladha subdivision is at some distance from the Durand Line. So why this sudden and dramatic eviction of thousands of people from this area? But more mind boggling was the treatment meted out to the IDPs. After two days of excruciating journey the male population was separated from their women and children and for a while they could not meet each other in Bakakhel. The Masoods brought to Bakakhel were simple IDPs but they were treated like prisoners of war. Media and civil society representatives weren’t allowed to visit the camp. Initially FATA Secretariat and the Governor’s House remained mum but later they grudgingly accepted the arrival of “some 200 plus Masood families” in Bakakhel Camp. Unfortunately FATA remains a black hole even after dozens of big and small military operations in the last 15 years and there have been no investigation into the complaints of serious human rights violations during these operations. There is no civilian oversight of military operations in FATA.
Contradictory and confusing news have been emerging from FATA during the current year. On the one hand a bill for amending the Constitution was introduced in the Parliament to pave ground for reforms in FATA in May but on the other hand numerous reports from the area about terror attacks and military action also appeared in media. Operation Khyber 4 was a high profile affair as aerial bombardment and the use of heavy artillery was part of the military action. The peaks of Rajgal mountain in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency were reported to have been cleared from terrorists connected with the so called Islamic State. Actually the IS operating in eastern Afghanistan is mostly manned by former TTP fighters who actually belong to FATA and still have widespread connotations with the networks on Pakistani side of the border. Pakistani mentors of Afghan Taliban are at pains to explain the distinction between TTP and Afghan Taliban. But fact of the matter is that they are two sides of the same coin. TTP fighters have always pledged allegiance to every new Amir of the Afghan Taliban and without support from their Afghan comrades they would never have been able to maintain their bases on the Afghan side of the border. It’s simply reciprocal. Afghan Taliban also operate from Pakistani side.
Reports about attacks and clashes have also been emerging from Bajour, Moomand and Waziristan. Clamping prolonged curfews on the aforementioned political agencies has become a routine affair. In North Waziristan the Sunday curfew has continued for years. Many of the old IDPs are still waiting for their return to and rehabilitation in their own areas while the fresh fighting is displacing many more people. Unfortunately they are simple statistics for the officialdom. The most “ creative “ thing that the civil and military authorities could think about the large scale displacement in the area was to change the term IDP to TDP ( temporarily displaced persons) so that the effected people wouldn’t be able to claim certain rights under international humanitarian laws. Wasn’t it absurd that the authorities organized a grand cricket match in Miran Shah to showcase the “normalcy” in the area? Does the appearance of the footprint of the so called IS herald normalcy? Instead of stupid publicity gimmicks FATA needs serious change in the misguided policies. Currently FATA is hostage to Pakistan’s Afghan Policy. As long as the country’s security establishment supports Taliban’s war against Afghan state it will continue to use FATA as a launching pad. Put in simple words that means that the decades old war will continue to rage in FATA. This is a situation which can’t be changed without revisiting Pakistan’s bankrupt Afghan policy designed and executed by the security tsars of the country.
Part of the foreign aid coming to Pakistan in billions of dollars over the last many years was supposed to go to the reconstruction of the war ravaged area and uplift of common man’s life in FATA. But incidence of poverty is highest in FATA compared to any other region of the country. According to the figures released by Planning Commission of Pakistan in 2016, 40 percent Pakistanis live in poverty but in FATA this figure is 73.7 percent, close to double of the national average. Now this figure is surely rising as according to experts the frequent blockade of Torkham and Spin Boldak and drastic decrease in the trade with Afghanistan is going to hit about seven hundred thousands households in the border area. No one has evaluated the impact of dropping of trade with Afghanistan on Pakistani economy in general and on Pashtun economy in particular. Contraction of regular trade with Afghanistan practically means that after this the only major economic activity in the region will be drug trade and gun running which obviously boosts terrorism. Isn’t it a recipe for disaster particularly when it is seen in the context of growing regional tensions? But who cares as long as the policy is to use the strategic space for not so Great Games and give a damn to the fate of millions of Pashtuns living there. Even then the myopia of the Punjabi civil and military bureaucracy ruling Pakistan is flabbergasting. Every time that the hell has been raised in Pakhtunkhwa by adventurist policies, it has always reached Punjab and the rest of Pakistan. And it’s not going to be any different this time round.

Pakistan - Who controls Wana?

After the loss of 148 innocent lives at Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) in 2014, the leadership assured us that it was finally clear on the identity of the country’s public enemy no1. A series of military operations with fancy titles got underway in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and these gradually expanded to settled areas well.
Only in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, we lost more than 500 military men as around 5,000 were left with injuries. The most recent operation — Raddul Fassad — is still underway in Khyber Agency. The cost of these operations to the national exchequer has been in billions of rupees. But the true cost needs to factor in the hardship caused to the people of affected areas as well as the sufferings of those hit in various terrorist attacks.
On countless occasions, the country’s leadership has claimed success for these military operations, saying that thousands of square miles of territory along the Pak-Afghan region have been cleared. Despite all these assurances, we have been told this week that pamphlets are circulating in the administrative headquarters of the South Waziristan Agency (SWA) with a note that stands for the worldview we have battled for all these years. These pamphlets have been endorsed by a committee headed by a person associated with late Taliban leaders Molvi Muhammad Nazir and Nek Muhammad. The note directs residents to avoid cultural and social activities and restricts movement of women outside their homes without male members of their family. Violators have been warned of repercussions.
The circulation of these pamphlets gives the impression that as our soldiers were busy clearing territory in remote regions, the leadership remained oblivious to the presence of the foremost public enemy only a few miles from their administrative base. This puts a question mark on claims that no distinctions will be made among militants. Have these individuals not been disarmed because of the ‘pro-government’ image of their predecessors?
The SWA administration says that there isn’t much to worry as the pamphlets were distributed by a handful of individuals with ‘criminal mindsets’. It says action will be taken, but under what law? There is widespread agreement among the political leadership of the country — not to mention voices from within the region — that the FCR has to go away and the country’s constitution has to be extended to tribal areas. The FCR is a draconian code introduced by a colonial power to control the region and deny its people their liberty and free will. It does not belong in 2017 or in a country that aspires to uphold republic values enshrined in its constitution.
The ongoing deadlock over FATA’s merger with Khyber Pukhtunkhwa needs to end. The political leadership must resolve differences among themselves and proceed with the extension of the constitution and the governing framework delineated in it to tribal areas. Mainstreaming FATA — rather than mainstreaming militants — has to be among the most pressing of our concerns. 

PPP hopes for PML-N support on ‘anti-Nawaz’ legislation

The Pakistan People's Party is hopeful that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will support its bill to restrict elevation of a disqualified person as the party head – a move designed to remove ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as party chief.
Senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said the PPP was in talks with the PML-N to supportthe Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 – passed recently by the Senate.
“Our parliamentary party in the National Assembly is in contact with the PML-N to seek their support . Without their backing, we are obviously not in a position [numerically] to get the bill passed,” he told The Nation. Ahsan, who is the opposition leader in the Senate, said the “PML-N should support” the bill as it was in the interest of the nation. The PPP stalwart said elevating a disqualified person as the party chief was illogical. “We are against person-specific legislation and the PML-N has done exactly that to elect Nawaz Sharif as the PML-N president,” he said. Hours earlier, PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar was quoted by a television channel as saying that PPP may consider to quit the National Assembly, if the PML-N created hurdles in the way of Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017.
Qamar said the PPP had so far not considered resignations but if the government did not allow tabling the bill, they could resign. Last month, the Senate passed with majority “The Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017” to remove Nawaz Sharif as the PML-N head. Sharif was disqualified as the premier in July by the Supreme Court but later returned as the PML-N chief after his party bulldozed a law allowing all citizens to become member of a party or head it. The PML-N has a majority in the National Assembly and will easily reject the amendment proposed by the PPP . The opposition has majority in the Senate but the PML-N had rushed the Bill through the Upper House taking advantage of some opposition members’ absence.
Senator Farhatullah Babar, another PPP leader, told The Nation that the opposition parties also planned to benefit from the habitual absenteeism of the treasury benches in the National Assembly. “We really want this law to be passed. This is not a pressure tactics at all. We want to correct a mistake. The government passed the Bill in the Senate when the opposition members were absent, we will do the same. There is a quorum issue in the National Assembly daily,” he said. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his successor Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who himself is a regular absentee, failed to ensure their party lawmakers to attend the National Assembly proceedings during the last four years. For the last many months, the government has been facing embarrassments as habitual absentees have caused quorum issues on a number of occasions.
Sharif had even conveyed it to the lawmakers that those skipping the proceedings regularly might not be awarded party tickets in the general elections, due next year.
Even this warning failed.
Senator Babar said the PML-N had passed a person-specific law but the PPP was seeking to amend this for the sake of democracy. “Our point is rational. A disqualified person should not lead a party,” he added.
The lawmaker said the PPP had not considered resigning from the National Assembly so far. “We are aiming to pass the bill but until the law is there, Nawaz Sharif can lead the PML-N. He can only be removed if the law is amended,” Babar said.

#Pakistan - #PPP to celebrate its Golden Jubilee in Islamabad with great pomp and show

President Peoples Youth Organization Sindh Javed Nayab Laghari has said that Pakistan Peoples Party rendered matchless sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the country. 

He expressed his views while addressing in a reception arranged by PYO Korangi. He further said that PPP is going to complete its 50 years and they will celebrate its Golden Jubilee Celebrations in Islamabad on 5th December 2017.

Pakistan - Imran Niazi is protecting criminals of Dera Ismail Khan

President Pakistan Peoples Party Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Humayun Khan has said that Imran Niazi is a hurdle in justice to the innocent girl of Dera Ismail Khan.
Humayun Khan reacting to the video speech of Imran Niazi said that PTI leader has the right to deal with his party’s issues but he does not have the right to protect criminals who were responsible of shameful incident of Dera Islail Khan in which a young girl was appallingly insulted. Imran Niazi neither sympathized with the victim and her family nor ordered an inquiry into this dreadful incident. Humayun Khan said that Imran Niazi has been exposed.
Pakistan Peoples Party is with the victim and her family whereas Imran Niazi does not care what happens to the people of KP because he has mineral resources of KP as his target, Humayun Khan concluded.

Friday, November 17, 2017

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Music - Zinda (Soch band) Full Song From #Verna 2017 LollywoodFilm

‘#Verna’ finally hits big screens in Pakistan without cuts Listen

The wait is over as fans can watch Mahira Khan starrer, Verna, on the big screen as it finally graced cinemas across the country on Friday.

The excitement spread across the country on the release of superstar Mahira Khan’s Verna as her euphoric fans were waiting out at the cinema halls before it hit the screens in Pakistan.
Shoaib Mansoor’s Verna will surely take society forward and people seem to love as it has been cleared by the Central Board Film Censors (CBFC) after a temporary ban, the film appeared as controversy magnet and was revisited and reviewed by the board before releasing without slashing any scene.
Though the film is all about crimes against women, and it seems to be a pro-democracy, yet it was temporarily banned on the basis of 'mature content' and presenting politicians of the country in a 'negative light'.
The movie crew is thankful that despite of all the hurdles, the movie is being premiered in all cinemas without any censored scenes.
Central Board of Film Censors Chairman Mubashir Hasan confirmed that the CBFC has passed Verna "without any cuts or mutes".
Movie-goers seemed satisfied, with smiles plastered over their faces as they walked out of the first Verna screening in Karachi.
The star cast includes Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid and Zarar Khan.
Zarar khan, in an exclusive interview revealed that the cast and crew of Verna have heaved a sigh of relief after it is released without any cuts nationwide. "I am excited to see how fans will react to my first debut movie."
When asked how the entire of experience of working with Verna was, he said " Mahira is extremely sweet to work with and we had a great on-set chemistry which made work easy. " Shoaib Mansoor is an amazing director too. He lets you be flexible and encourages you to be comfortable in your own skin. I was nervous initially but his assurance and belief in me brought out the best in me."
Of course, this isn't the first time that Shoaib Mansoor has come up with a social issue theme for his movie and cinema-lovers are excited about what he has to offer this time in Verna. We are positively hoping for a movie that will leave long-lasting positive imprint on the minds of its audience as that influencing change is the job of art and it is exactly what Verna has aimed for.

'Rape is a rampant issue'; taboo drama #Verna battles the censors in Pakistan

By Alia Waheed
Rejected for its ‘edgy content’, Shoaib Mansoor’s timely revenge thriller has finally made it into cinemas after a public backlash. Is the country’s film industry ready for change?
In recent years, Pakistan has seen a huge resurgence of its film industry, which has emerged from the shadow of Bollywood to find its own identity, one at the forefront of the battle between a growing conservatism in the country and an emboldened youth hungry for change. There’s a notable trend towards female-led narratives, which are not only setting new standards in storytelling, but also challenging taboos around the treatment of women in society.
The battle to get the voices and experiences of women on screen achieved a much-needed victory this week when the Pakistani censor board backed down over a decision to ban a new film about the injustices faced by rape victims in the country – a development that shows that Pakistan might be ready for change both on screen and off.
Verna, which stars popular actor Mahira Khan, was originally denied a certificate by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) because of its “mature themes” and “edgy content”. This caused an outcry among women’s rights campaigners, who accused board members of censoring women’s voices and putting their heads in the sand at a time when, says Gulalai Ismail from the campaigning NGO Aware Girls, “rape is a rampant issue in Pakistan” and “movies like Verna are crucial in moving society forward.”
Soon the ban had inspired a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #UnbanVerna, which emerged as Pakistan’s own #MeToo movement. High-profile supporters of the film included xXx: Return of Xander Cage star Deepika Padukone, who is facing a similar backlash over her latest Bollywood film, Padmavati, based on a 16th-century poem about a mythical Indian queen.
Just hours before Verna was due for release, the censor board cleared it for viewing. The publicity around the ban meant that most cinemas were sold out before the decision had been made – something unheard of for a home production, many of which are usually dwarfed by the latest Marvel adaptation or Bollywood blockbuster.
The film is a stylised thriller drawing on elements of film noir and Japanese cinema, with a plot that falls somewhere between the 1998 Jodie Foster drama The Accused and the revenge horror Audition. Khan plays Sara, a teacher who is abducted while out on an anniversary trip with her husband, then held captive and raped for three days. After failing to get any redress from the justice system, Sara takes matters into her own hands.
However, despite its genre flourishes, the film also holds a mirror up to society’s shortcomings in its attitude to rape, and the failure of the justice system to protect victims: in one telling scene, a female doctor makes Sara wait for her forensic examination until after lunch, then tells her between mouthfuls that the chances of her getting justice are negligible.
“It is ultimately a revenge film about a girl seeking justice,” says Khan. “The character is not how society would envisage a rape victim to be. She is strong, very urban, educated and feisty. This is a woman who doesn’t feel sorry for herself. It was a very challenging role to play as we didn’t want the audience to feel sorry for her, but to root for her, while at the same time acknowledging that what she went through was horrific.
“We wanted to show how the honour of a woman is connected to everyone except herself. Her honour belongs to the man of the house, her parents, her country, everyone apart from her, yet she is responsible for it. In our culture, when a woman is raped, we say she was robbed of her honour. If a woman is raped, she has not been robbed of her honour, it is the rapist who has for doing such a crime. The film reflects the gender and power dynamics this hypocrisy creates.”
The lifting of the ban has been a major breakthrough for an industry that has suffered decades of decline, caught in a vicious circle of under-investment and censorship perpetuated by the sudden swerve towards religious conservatism under General Zia in the 1970s. In the last 15 years, however, the film scene has undergone something of a resurgence, with a new generation of directors keen to establish a cinematic identity distinct from that of Bollywood.

Heading this cultural revival has been Verna director Shoaib Mansoor, whose first two films, Bol, about a religious family with a transgender daughter, and Khuda Ke Liye, which deals with the repercussions of 9/11 on the Pakistani diaspora, were well received on the international festival circuit. While Khan welcomes the decision to allow her latest film to be shown, she says she hopes the CBFC will start to take a more liberal stance on future films in order to encourage the industry to thrive.

“The medium of art is to express different aspects of the human experience, so why try to stifle [it]?” she says. “The industry is finally coming into its own, so it’s important for this film to be seen, because if it can change even the mindset of one person, this can be enough to start a change in society.”

The surge of support for Verna is particularly pertinent in the light of the #MeToo campaign, which has seen a growing confidence among women to speak out on these issues. “#MeToo was very important,” Khan says. “It shows that it takes just one brave person to speak out and that gives strength to another person and another person, and creates a domino effect and creates a movement.
“It is a similar message in the film. It’s not just about sex or rape, it is about one person having power over another and how people misuse that power – and the only way to break the dynamics of power is when you are brave enough to speak up about it.”