Monday, July 31, 2017

Pakistan - Why do we still have child labour?

By Shagufta Gul
“Child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment of social disease of poverty you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time” — Grace Abbot
A 16 year old domestic worker Akhter Ali was found dead in Lahore in his employer’s house. He and his sister have been working for Fauzia, daughter of PML-N MPA Shah Jahan. It is confirmed after the post-mortem that the boy was beaten to death with the help of a sharp weapon.
A similar case came to the fore in January 2017 when a probe was initiated against a judge and his wife in Islamabad for keeping a juvenile housemaid in wrongful confinement. The father of the victim later forgave the couple for what they did. The recent in the series of such cases is of a well known anchorperson accused of incarcerating and torturing a child domestic worker. The evidence is in the form of many audio recordings viral on social media. We believe that there must be hundreds of other cases which haven’t been reported yet and the employed children must be going through the same treatment.
Why are we still unable to control the challenge of child labour? Is there a lack of interest on part of the state? Is the society not truly educated on a child and juvenile’s rights? Are the feudal and their desire to rule the weak stronger than the efforts made for child protection? Is the awareness about child rights ineffective and insufficient at different levels of education?
Why are we still unable to control and cope up with the challenge of child labour? Is there a lack of interest on part of the state? Is society not truly educated on child and juvenile rights? Are the feudal and their desire to rule the weak stronger than the efforts made for child protection? The first and core reason is the lack of awareness among masses about the rights of a child, prohibition and illegality of child labour and little knowledge of the penalties and punishments for the illegal act.
As mentioned earlier, even the educated lot and the advocates of human rights and child rights are practically involved in violating the existing laws in urban areas as has been witnessed in the aforementioned cases.
There have been many campaigns on a regular basis to educate the people on family planning on print and electronic media, and the anti-planning campaign is equally rigorous. A very effective counter strategy was needed to handle but we usually we get late in such situations.
Thirdly, a boy and a girl child, particularly in rural and some of the urban areas, are seen differently. The boy is considered as the symbol of strength and honour. It is thought the more male offspring, the stronger you are.
Pakistan ranks 107 among 118 countries as per 2016 global hunger Index with 22 percent of population undernourished till the baby boy arrives. It is preferred by the average and below average families to let the boys and girls earn for them, as sending them to school is beyond reach. Sometimes they are handed over to the families away from their own home and parents to work. The wages paid are very nominal in certain cases plus the treatment as we already can be termed as a form of modern slavery.
As a society, child labour and challenges related to it are taken as a routine stuff as majority of the people are practically being facilitated by these little labourers. There are different civil society organisations engaged in child rights protection, but that again lacks coherence and continuity. The dilemma with civil society organisations is that though at times they are working for the same cause but the efforts are diverged rather than converged.
State really needs to think seriously how to protect the future of the nation. Pakistan is a part of international obligations like United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sustainable development Goals (SDG) Conventions on International Labour Organisation (ILO) which stresses upon the elimination and eradication of all and worst forms of child labour. It seems at times that certain elements are scared to share the rights particularly of women and children. Our books at all levels do talk about human rights lets specifically talk about a child’s rights. Legislation can only be empowered by effective implementation, plus rigorous awareness campaigns on a regular basis will help.
Civil society organisations in collaboration with media can help a lot in raising awareness among masses on child rights. We have initiatives like Zamong Kor in Peshawar for the street children. We, as individuals, have to discourage child labour practically to protect the rights of our children.

Pakistan - Imran told me about plans of dissolving parliament: Hashmi

Senior politician Javed Hashmi, formerly associated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said on Monday that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had informed him of his plans to dissolve the parliament during the 2014 Islamabad sit-in.
Speaking to the media in Multan, Hashmi said that his statements are under oath before the nation. 
Hashmi said that Imran earlier said that after departure of Justice Tassaduq Jilani, the upcoming judges would break the parliament.
“Imran told me that judges after Tassaduq Gilani would dissolve the parliament. He (Imran) said parliament would be dissolved after that,” Hashmi said. 
Then Nawaz would resign too, Hashmi quoted Imran as saying. He added that the PTI chief said that elections would take place in September and his party would be able to form government.
“Imran Khan can contradict whatever I am saying after taking oath,” said Hashmi.
Hashmi alleged that PTI leaders Arif Alvi and Shireen Mazari told him that Imran was ready to attack the parliament.
“They (PTI leaders) appeared quite concerned, they asked me to make Imran understand,” said the senior politician.
He further said that he was offered not to resign from PTI and form a forward bloc of the party.
Hashmi added that he denied the offer, saying that he wasn’t there to end Imran’s party.
The former PTI leader also said that he is not wishful of any rank or position, adding that he always prayed to stay on the path of righteousness.

Pakistan - Imran Khan has to declare a lot

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Saeed Ghani in a rejoinder to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan’s remarks against former President Asif Ali Zardari has said that an appeal is being heard in Supreme Court against Imran Khan in which he has failed to produce money trail and soon will be declared disqualified for public office.
Saeed Ghani said Asif Ali Zardari was kept in prison for over 11 years and not a single allegation was proved against him. He was acquitted honorably by the courts. He said that Imran Khan had bartered Pakistan’s interest for money in the past when he accepted Kerry Packer’s offer to play in Kerry Packer cricket series in Australia.
Mr. Ghani said that Imran Khan will have to produce not only the money trail but also his blood trail so that everything comes out in the open as black and white. He will have to declare the asset which is for a Ghairatmand person is the biggest asset of his life
Saeed Ghani said that Imran Khan is an arrogant individual and people still remember the incident at Niaz Stadium Hyderabad when he had kicked a small kid who wanted his autograph. Imran Khan should also recall that his father Ikramullah Khan Niazi was terminated from Government service on corruption charges. Imran Khan wants a new Pakistan for hypocrites but PPP will never allow him to do so, Saeed Ghani concluded.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pakistan Railway drivers’ strike

By Lal Khan

Under capitalism there is no room for any reforms or progress. For the salvation of the oppressed masses its overthrow is inevitable.
As the political and judicial conflicts between the different sections of the moneyed classes and the state are unravel dangerously out of control, the corporate media has tried to distract attention and engage the working masses in these frivolous. However, the stirrings of the workers struggles often erupt albeit sporadically tearing apart the iron wall of
concealment, sweeping away the non-issues in politics tantalising society.
One of the latest movements was the Railway drivers’ strike that brought the whole railroad network to a standstill for more than 48 hours. At the midnight of Saturday July 22, the Railway drivers struck in an industrial action with trains remaining stranded throughout night as a result of the strike. This courageous struggle paralysed the entire railroad system stopping the operations of Tezgam, Karakoram Express, Fareed Express, Khyber Mail, Allama Iqbal, Millat Express and Pakistan Express at Rohri, Mehrabpur, Khairpur and other stations. Shalimar Express, Karachi Express, night coach and other trains were stopped at the Lahore central station.
Hundreds of drivers of Pakistan Railways went on strike for the fulfillment of their demands including increase in pay scales, mileage allowance, and reinstatement of suspended colleagues. The Loco Running Staff Association (LRSA) resolved that the drivers would not withdraw from the struggle unless their demands were accepted.
The manipulative bosses and bureaucrats of the Pakistan Railways were furious. Six drivers from Rawalpindi and eight from Karachi had been arrested on the very first day. These driver were charged with the nefarious ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Act by the state authorities. The Railway administration even went to the extent of saying that halting the train operations was an act of ‘terrorism’. Initial negotiations between the strike leaders and the railway officials failed. The Railways ministry brought in retired and unskilled contractual drivers as strikebreakers. Strike leaders invited for negotiations were arrested instead.
Another militant struggle of the Railway workers was the 1928 South Indian railway strike. It was a general strike by the South Indian Railway Workers Union against plans of the South Indian Railway Company to lay off over 3,100 workers to reduce costs and boost profits of the company. The strike lasted from June 29 to August 2, 1928, and severely affected the transportation of people and goods across the region bringing South India to a standstill. More than 5000 striking workers in Mayavaram lay on the tracks blocking trains and halting railroad network.
After the creation of Pakistan, the most significant struggle of the railwaymen was the Railway strike of 1st February 1967. This ‘wheel jam’ strike paralysed Pakistan Western Railway. The transportation of all commodities except food grains, petroleum and oil and some essential supplies were suspended by the striking workers After the creation of Pakistan, the most significant struggle of the railwaymen was the Railway strike of 1st February 1967. This ‘wheel jam’ strike paralysed Pakistan Western Railway. The transportation of all commodities except food grains, petroleum and oil and some essential supplies were suspended by the striking workers; and long queues of passengers were seen at all railway stations getting refunded for tickets which could not be availed.
The railway workers included cabin men, point men, firemen, cleaners and from every department of the railways. The workers of the Mughalpura (Lahore) Workshop started the strike on Monday afternoon Jan 30 1967. Loco Shop workers joined next. The rest of the class four employees joined in the next day. Khyber Mail reached Lahore from Peshawar just before 9 a.m. but could not move onward to Karachi. Tezgam coming from Karachi stopped at Changa Manga; Tezgam from Rawalpindi was stranded at Lala Musa and an Express train from Sargodha was stopped at Badami Bagh, Lahore.
Awami Express could not reach Lahore Central station and was stopped at Lahore Cantonment. Thousands of workers had gathered at Lahore station, raising slogans. In Karachi, the only main passenger train that left was the Lahore bound Karachi Express. This 13-day strike of 1967 was prelude to the revolutionary upheaval one year later in November 1968. This was the most radical mass movement that brought the real possibility of a socialist revolution in Pakistan so close.
In the last few weeks there have been strikes by the oil tankers, doctors, teachers, nurses and the railway drivers. It is clear that just underneath the surface of society, the working class and the oppressed masses are seething with a revolt against this exploitative and brutal system. The Railways drivers strike was called-off due to its isolation. The reluctance of workers from other railway departments, public and private industrial and services sectors to join the strike, vicious repression of the state reflecting the character of the present period resulted in this retreat. But that’s not the end of the railway workers struggles. Rather it indicates the looming storms ahead.
The sporadic strikes at present can become a spark kindling a greater mass revolt shocking ‘talented’ analysts. The ruling classes are carrying out the most vicious anti workers policies of privatisations, downsizing, restructuring and contractual labour. The workers patience is at the brink of an explosion. There is hardly any voice of the workers in the media. But once the movement erupts, the objective situation will change drastically. Under capitalism there is no room for any reforms or progress. For the salvation of the oppressed masses its overthrow is inevitable.

Pakistan's Northwest Region Continues its Struggle against Terror Financing

Madeeha Anwar
Pakistan’s restive northwest province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued directives to its administrative and security departments to make serious efforts to cut off the money supply of banned terror groups. The provincial departments have been instructed to devise a strategy to crack down and to closely monitor the proscribed groups and individuals involved in raising funds illegally for welfare or religious purposes, Pakistani media reported. Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan Despite its continued efforts against terrorism, terror financing remains a challenge for Pakistan due to political resistance, sympathizers and money trails that are hard to track, analysts say. “Pakistan will have to come up with a strategy to freeze assets of terror groups, make it difficult for terrorists to gather funds, but to also spot those who’ve adopted new identities and have re-established their networks,” A. Z. Hilali, head of political science department at the Peshawar University told VOA. Suspect groups identified .

The official document circulated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government emphasized banned groups are not allowed to gather money “under any circumstances” and security forces and the administration should ensure people and groups raising money for mosques, charity or madrassas (religious seminaries) are lawfully doing so. In 2015, Pakistan banned around 200 terror groups after establishing their involvement in sectarian and terrorism related activities against the state.
Pakistan had also frozen around $3 million worth of assets of 5,000 suspected terrorists last year. "We will make every possible effort to implement National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terror financing in our province,” Shaukat Yousafzai, spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government told VOA.
"We're the biggest victim of terrorism and we do not want them [terrorists] to succeed. We’ll also work to start awareness programs so that banned groups can be prohibited from gathering funds from the masses,” Yousafzai said.
A report issued by the Financial Monitoring Unit of Pakistan in March estimated the annual operational budget of terrorist organizations is $48,000 to $240,000.
The terror groups in Pakistan generate hefty amounts through charity and welfare work, receive huge foreign donations and use the "hawala system," an alternative finance system, used for money laundering, experts say.
National plan
Pakistan’s National Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating extremism mentions the state should “choke financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations.”
Hilali says there is a need to introduce legislation to prohibit collection of funds from the general public. “Terrorists collect large sums of money especially during the holy month of Ramadan under the guise of Zakat [mandatory Islamic charity].”
“The madrassas [religious seminaries] also play an important role and we are aware that a few of them remained involved in collecting funds on behalf of banned terror outfits in the past,” Hilali added.
Security analysts also stress that the government should regulate and register all the religious seminaries across the country and should practice caution before making donations to religious organizations and seminaries. In 2016, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government received scathing criticism when it allocated a grant of $3 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania, a religious seminary that is interpreted by some critics as the “University of Jihad.” The Haqqani network, considered a terrorist group by Afghanistan and the United States, continues to fight Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of providing support to the Haqqani network. The U.S. State Department released its annual Country Report on Terrorism 2016 earlier this month. It criticized Pakistan and said it remained unsuccessful in stopping the activities of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Video - Pakistan - Bilawal calls for 'across the board accountability'

Text of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speech at the inauguration ceremony of NICVD Larkana

Bismillah ir Rehman ir Rahim
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Assalam Alaikum
It gives me great pleasure to be here today. As I was travelling to Larkano for the inauguration of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) here, I realized that there was little else that I would rather do. I am so pleased that Larkano was chosen as a home for this state of the art facility, given how close it is to my heart individually, and how important it is to the Pakistan Peoples Party. Larkano has given more sacrifices and shed more blood than should have been required. The people of this inimitable land seem to be born infused with the spirit of giving. That we are able to give back to this land that has given us so much, is a matter of great pride for me.
My grandfather Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, first began giving back to this land when he opened the Chandka medical college and hospital in 1973. At a time when such medical facilities existed only in large cities, this visionary breakthrough served the people of the greater Larkano region and adjoining areas of Punjab and Balochistan. We have taken forth his mission by increasing the capacity of the hospital through expansion and upgradation.
The Pakistan Peoples Party prides itself on always recognizing healthcare as one of its major priorities. In her message to young people, to whom the mantle of leadership would pass, my leader, my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, tasked them to focus on education and on health. And taking her words as our guiding light, we have concentrated our efforts on these 2 sectors – I am happy to say that our hard work is showing great results. It was Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who saw the need for lady health workers, as a means for healthcare to reach every doorstep. This phenomenal programme allowed us to spread the web of healthcare more extensively than we thought possible. And the Sindh government took forth the programme by regularizing all the lady health workers.
We believe strongly that while infrastructure development needs to be a focus for the government, our true purpose must be human development. To this end, we have invested our efforts towards improving healthcare through various endeavors including but not limited to upgradation of hospitals and trauma centers; establishment of cardiac centers, expansion of women and children’s hospitals; provision of ambulances and other facilities; introducing safer transfusion methods and unequivocally supporting projects like the SIUT and NICVD. And it is so rewarding when we see our hard work paying off, like it is today.
NICVD has done great work by providing state of the art services to people of Larkano. Earlier, there was no such service between Karachi and Lahore, and people had to suffer as they travelled to Karachi along with their families – often spending money they could not afford. I have learnt that the facilities now being provided in Larkano are free for all patients.
I am told that currently this facility is providing primary angioplasty, pediatric cardiology and echo services and upon completion of the new building, a range of services will be provided, including cardiac surgery.
I must congratulate the team since 100 primary angioplasty procedures have already been done post the soft opening on 13th of May 2017. It goes a long way to show the grit and determination of this team, and of the person heading it, that positive results are already visible for all. I am confident that this number will now increase substantially, as the people of Larkano continue to benefit from NICVD.
It has come to my knowledge that a similar service is also being started in Tando Mohammad Khan, Sukkur, Sehwan, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Mirpurkhas. I must appreciate the Government of Sindh for taking the initiative of providing quality affordable healthcare to the people of these areas. I challenge the CM of Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan to show us a programme like this where state of the art cardiac facilities, including primary angioplasty, are provided free of cost, and at the doorstep, to everyone living in the province.
It is a source of great pride to know that NICVD has transformed itself in last two and half years, and today it stands as the world’s largest centre for heart attack angioplasty. This is no small feat, and has required utmost dedication and hard work. We must never forget that a healthy nation is a happy nation, and it is heartening to see the NICVD team working to ensure that.
The fact that NICVD provides several life saving treatment modalities, including much needed pediatric cardiac surgery free of cost is testament to the Sindh government’s whole-hearted commitment to serve the people indiscriminately. It is gratifying that the Sindh government is working tirelessly to fulfill the vision of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We have seen the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto trauma centre in Karachi, the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences, Ambulance service in Thatta and Sujawal, as but a few examples of the government’s efforts bearing fruit.
It is my dream also to serve the people of Pakistan, irrespective of caste, creed, color and financial standing. It is my dream that every individual in this country has access to state of the art medical care so that not one life is lost because they could not afford healthcare. It is my dream, nay, my belief, that together we can cultivate an egalitarian society, based on the principles of parity and equitable justice; tolerance and acceptance; service and sacrifice.
I once again want to say BRAVO to the government of Sindh, especially the Chief Minister, for this magnificent effort. I am confident that it will provide much needed relief to the people, and I hope that a similar effort is also launched in other specialties of medicine.
I must take this opportunity to talk about something that is surely weighing on the minds of the people of Pakistan today – the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The judgment by the Supreme Court requires adherence by us all. However, we must also strive to address the ailment and not the symptom. The Pakistan Peoples Party believes that accountability must be impartial and exhaustive, and seeks to do so by introducing legislation for across the board accountability. It is time for us all to put Pakistan first, and ourselves later. If that means sacrificing for the greater good, then be it. Sadly, Prime Minister Sharif did not share this sentiment. However, I must categorically say that his removal poses no threat to either the Parliament, or to the democracy for which we have made innumerable sacrifices.
I thank you for the opportunity to address you, and wish you good luck in this very worthy endeavor.”

بلاول بھٹو نےلاڑکانہ میں امراض قلب کے اسپتال کا افتتاح کردیا

چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے اندرون سندھ کے پہلے نیشنل انسٹی ٹیوٹ
آف کارڈیو ویسکیولر ڈیزیز کا افتتاح کیا ،35کروڑ روپے سے بننے والے اس سینٹر میں ابتدائی طور پر 12 کمرے تعمیر کئے گئے ہیں۔
لاڑکانہ میں امراض قلب کے اسپتال کے افتتاح کے موقع پر بلاول بھٹو نے کہا کہ پیپلزپارٹی سب کا بلاتفرق احتساب ہونا چاہیے،یہ وقت ذاتی مفاد کو پس پشت ڈال کر قومی مفاد کو ترجیح دینے کا ہے۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ نواز شریف کی نااہلی سے جمہوریت یا پارلیمنٹ کو کوئی نقصان نہیں پہنچے گا،ہم احتساب کے عمل پر یقین رکھتے ہیں۔
سینٹر کے لئے انجیو گرافی ،انجیو پلاسٹی کے لئے کیتھ لیبارٹری ،وینٹی لیٹرز اور متعلقہ مشینری ،این آئی سی وی ڈی 2 ماہ پہلے فراہم کی گئی ہیں۔
اسپتال میں 3 ماہرین امراض قلب سمیت 25افراد پر مشتمل عملہ بھی متعین کردیا گیا ہے، اس سینٹرمیں اب تک 175مریضوں کی انجیو گرافی اور انجیوپلاسٹی مفت کی جاچکی ہے ،یہاں اندرون ملک سمیت سندھ اور بلوچستان کے مریضوں کا مفت علاج 
کیا جائے گا۔

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Music - Afshan Zebi - Lokan do do yaar banaye

#PanamaVerdict #Pakistan - Goodbye, Nawaz

Cyril Almeida
THE ducks were in a row. They’ve been dragged, kicked, shot and used to beat Nawaz over the head. It has not been pretty. Hell, it couldn’t have been uglier.
So, now what?
Attack the court, blame the boys, curse fate and the stars, it doesn’t really matter. Nawaz is gone and he isn’t coming back. There’s no precedent for unwinding a Supreme Court judgement during a democratic spell and there won’t be.
Nawaz is gone.
The judgement itself is confounding, appalling in argument and scope. It is, quite nakedly, a decision in search of a reason. Why did it happen? Eventually we’ll figure it out. This isn’t a place known for keeping its secrets long.
How did it happen? The Sharifs’ bumbling defence made it possible, giving the court the weapons it needed to bring the hammer down.
But the verdict is a bullseye and the verdict will stick because it is one thing above all else: popular. Popular with the people.
And there lies the vulnerability of Nawaz.
A judgement knocking out a prime minister who was popular enough to be the favourite for re-election is more popular with the people than the prime minster who has been ousted. How that has come to be is worth examining because there are lessons in it for the practice of politics here. A judgement knocking out a PM who was popular enough to be the favourite for re-election is more popular with the people than the PM who has been ousted.
Hating politicians is as old as politics. In Pakistan, there’s an added edge: the urban, middle-class, educated cohort that sneers at all things politics and wears its dislike of politicians with pride.
If it weren’t for the scum, the self-serving, corrupt politicians, hoodwinking the poor and the helpless, Pakistan would be a decent place to live in with good jobs and fair opportunity – the logic is as self-evident as the conviction real. No politician can really hope to fight that. It is the natural support base of the anti-democrats and the best a politician can hope for is his fate to never be in their hands. But as the beast was fed, as the anger of that cohort was stoked and manipulated in the wake of Panama, Nawaz made the mistake of ignoring it. A segment of the population that was never going to love Nawaz or any politician of his ilk, its billowing rage ought to have had alarms ringing in the PML-N.
But Nawaz didn’t pay attention and soon enough he was reduced to a public caricature: corrupt, dynastic and out of touch. From there, he was one big, fat, easy target.
Maybe the court would have done him in anyway. Maybe the boys’ disdain had made a third exit inevitable.
But it’s a heck of a lot easier to plunge the knife in when a particular swath of the population is whipped up into a frenzy — the urban, middle-class, educated, TV-watching, social-media-consuming cohort.
From a politician’s perspective, it can seem terribly unfair. Nawaz, after all, had protected his base impressively enough to have installed himself as the favourite for consecutive terms.
Why should he, or any other politician, have to pander to another group outside his base that at best will tolerate him and at worst will regard him with unbridled hate?
But they already know the answer: the urban, middle-class, educated cohort is a potential ally of other institutions. The rage of those people can become the institutional platform for terrible things to happen to you, the politician.
Keeping that cohort onside may be the difference between continuity and decapitation. So could Nawaz have done anything differently? The hindsight game is easy, but there were some possibilities.
A shake-up of his team, a reshuffle of the cabinet, a nod to the governance priorities of the angry cohort — things to slow down the caricature of the corrupt, dynastic, out-of-touch leader ballooning out of control. Because Nawaz didn’t do any of that or anything at all, we have to ask: are his politics anachronistic? Is he frozen in time? On those parallel tracks that politicians here must try and survive, the record suggests he is. Megawatts and roads appeal to the N-League base, but leave the other cohort cold.
The metrobus could have bridged the gap, but it was successfully mired in corruption allegations and lost much of its sheen. The familiar faces that he surrounded himself with made the base comfortable, but angered the other cohort because they symbolise the past.
Maryam could have been the bridge to the other side, but the succession was approached like a coronation. To win the other cohort’s grudging respect, she needed to look like she was working her way to the top — instead a palace-bred princess appeared. And then there was the disregard for institutions, democratic and in the executive, and the centralisation of power. It didn’t bother the N-League’s base, but for the angry cohort it symbolised corruption at the heart of the Sharif empire.
Why must everyone be their slave, why can’t they just let people work honourably and with dignity? The more Nawaz was Nawaz, the more he thought he was doing right by his base, the angrier it made the group whose anger he did not understand and could not afford.
Busy practising an anachronistic politics, the caricature of a corrupt, dynastic, out-of-touch ruler grew and grew until it was too late.
Now, the country has a judgement that is more popular than a prime minister who may have been popular enough to win re-election. Nawaz is gone, but the others should pay heed: practice a modern politics or suffer the same fate as the mightiest who has fallen.

Pakistan - Terror in the heart of Lahore

By Mashaal Gauhar
Though army counter-terrorism operations Zarb-e-Azb and more recently Radd-ul-Fassad have significantly weakened the TTP, the recent attack in Lahore shows that the group is still capable of causing serious harm through the proliferation of offshoots and With over 26 people dead and 30 injured, Lahore’s recent suicide attack is the latest in a long list of militant assaults on the capital of Punjab. In February, a suicide blast near Punjab Assembly left 13 people dead and 70 others wounded. Last year’s terrorist attack in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park killed 72 people and left hundreds injured.
What is new about this attack is that investigators have concluded that it was carried out by the Taliban Special Group (TSG), a newly formed wing of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) comprising highly trained suicide attackers.
With a mission to destabilise the state and implement their own brand of shariah law, TTP attacks have a discernible pattern of focusing on security forces, educational institutions, minorities and sacred places of worship. This latest assault is believed to have targeted the police. Of the 26 killed in the attack, nine were policemen.
Though army counter-terrorism operations Zarb-e-Azb and more recently Radd-ul-Fassad have significantly weakened the TTP, the recent attack in Lahore shows that the group is still capable of causing serious harm through the proliferation of offshoots and splinter groups.
The TTP’s systematic use of suicidal warfare has proven particularly problematic. Inexpensive and requiring low levels of technology, human bombs are the preferred weapon of choice for groups like the TTP. “It is an alternative technology — the systematic mechanisation of human beings — that confers upon militant groups many of the same capabilities of the sophisticated weapon systems of advanced states,” explains Jeffrey William Lewis and academic author of The Business of Martyrdom, A History of Suicide Bombing.
Strong military action is critical but cannot be the only solution. The formation of the new TSG wing indicates that insurgent groups can find ready adherents among the socially and economically marginalised segments of the society. This disturbing new development underscores the need to ensure that strong military action is supported by a long-term strategy centred on economic and social uplift to effectively eliminate the TTP and its affiliated groups.
Resources must be directed towards striking at the recruitment capabilities of these groups including a crackdown on militant propaganda, dismantling centres for radicalisation and closing down sources of terrorist financing. Additionally, the government must strengthen its institutions such as the police force and criminal justice system. It is hoped that the National Action Plan proposed by the government to root out terrorism can make progress towards achieving these goals.
Lahore’s magical past is beautifully rendered in the Sanskrit epic The Ramayana, which details how Prince Lava, son of Lord Rama and his beloved wife Sita, founded the city of Lahore. Indeed, the word ‘Lahore’ is derived from his name Suicidal warfare exacts a profound psychological toll on society. The damage on Pakistan’s society is all too evident: intolerance and violent prejudice in the name of religion abounds. Pakistan’s media must take a stand against hardline voices claiming to speak on behalf of Islam. The taking of an innocent life is among the gravest of sins and can never be justified. Any attempt to do so represents a violation of the very essence of the religion.
Government, media and civil society must ensure that militant organisations purportedly acting in the name of Islam are exposed for the ruthless mercenaries that they are. The tolerance and diversity that once flourished must be reclaimed as part of Pakistan’s identity. A city where Hindu, Sikh and Muslim empires flourished for centuries, Lahore’s rich heritage cultural heritage is a symbol of this diversity. Representing the second most populous city in the country after Karachi, Lahore is recognised as one of the oldest living cities in the world. Its primordial past can be seen and felt across the city from the pre-enlightenment statue of ‘Fasting Buddha’ in Lahore’s National Museum to the ancient Old City.
Lahore’s magical past is beautifully rendered in the Sanskrit epic The Ramayana which details how Prince Lava, son of Lord Rama and his beloved wife Sita, founded the city of Lahore. Hence the word ‘Lahore’ is derived from his name. Today, the temple at Lahore Fort stands as an enduring tribute to Prince Lava. Home to Pakistan’s great mystics like Madho Lal Hussain and Bulleh Shah, Lahore traditions of poetry and art continues to flourish. Though battered by this recent assault, Lahore’s spirit remains unassailable

Unemployment – An acute problem of Pakistan

By: Farah Jamil
‘I have a degree but not job because I don’t have reference better known as ‘safarish’ – is the most common line said by every single individual of our country as a considerable proportion of our youth is currently unemployed. Almost every youngster in Pakistan endorses the fact that the country is plagued by sheer unemployment.
In today’s time, trying to attain and maintain a proper status in the corporate jungle is not an easy task at all. Our youth is immensely inclined towards the government jobs and the main reason behind it is the lack of accountability.
Many Employers give preference to the experienced candidates rather than the freshers – this is another reason that leads to unemployment.
To analyze the current state of unemployment, we managed to speak to few youngsters and experienced professionals also – took their opinion regarding the youth unemployment in Pakistan.
Speaking to Samaa, a fresh graduate of Mass communication Saad Khan– currently struggling to get hired in media organization – shared his views, “Being a graduate of Mass communication from a public sector university,  I have to struggle a lot even to seek an ‘unpaid internship’. First reason which is quite visible is those universities are producing peoples, who have no skills to stand on professional platforms, resulting as – their in born talent has also being rusted.”
While describing the main reasons of unemployment in our country, Khan said, ‘Pakistan is full on natural and productive resources but we have no planning of how to utilize it?’
‘Population growth also leads to raise in unemployment, government sector institutes like PIA are being privatized and forthcoming generations have no idea and guidelines of career counseling’, he added.
Digital marketing lead/ digital strategist Syed Waqas Saghir ,after spending 8 years in the relevant field ,described the key reasons of unemployment in Pakistan. Here is what he said, “I truly believe the major reason behind Unemployment in Pakistan is no career counseling where most of them start studying having no clear vision of what to study and which field should be perfect for him/ her, besides that, action plan and personal development plan is the crucial part where universities should  focus on instead of only focusing on courses.”
Saghir talked about the growth of human resource departments of different organizations and said, “Pakistan’s Recruitment industry is very unprofessional to some extent where they don’t hire the right person for the right job.”
He went on to say, “Employers in Pakistan should use the strategy of MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to analyze the candidate during hiring process”.
“MBTI is the most popular and respected personality type tools in the world. It is an easy to understand framework which helps to build relationships and teams”, he suggested.
I must say that the present state of unemployment is purely caused by “safarish” and it is the main reason behind unemployment as the deserving candidates do not get jobs while the non-deserving ones sit there. The parchi-system in every single organization should come to an end at its earliest.
The government should also take some serious steps to overcome this problem. It is necessary for the prosperity and progress of every nation.

Pakistan - My 15 years of struggle, gone to waste: Mukhtar Mai

On July 16, a young man named Umar Wawda allegedly kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old girl in Multan. The case was brought before a local panchaiyat [village council] to preside over. Two days later, the council elders ordered the complainant to rape the 16-year-old sister of the accused in return. The first information report of both incidents was registered on July 20. Police have till now arrested 20 people. The accused are still at large.

“Here we are again talking about another Mukhtar Mai”

I am not surprised. It is a norm for panchaiyats and jirgas to penalize a woman for a man’s crime. They call it 'justice.' Men in Pakistan, guilty men, go unpunished. Women, innocent women, get punished.
People in Pakistan, and elsewhere, often ask me why do jirgas still exist in the country? I tell them that they exist to remind Pakistanis that their legal system has failed.
It is not easy for a poor man or a woman to get a police complaint registered. Then, even if you do get one registered, you will be confronted with a long-winded process of going to courts year after year. A poor person cannot afford to go through this both financially and mentally. In the end he approaches a jirga for the speedy resolution of his dispute.
Unfortunately, these men who sit on these councils are never fair to women. It does not matter to them that the only crime committed by a woman is that she is unfortunately related to a criminal.
Now, if even a single man had been punished for what happened to me in 2002, we might not be here today. But here we are again, talking about another Mukhtar Mai.
In the last few years, I have met many rape survivors. And when I meet them I do not ask them any questions. Why should they relive that horrible and devastating moment? So, instead, I sit with them, sometimes quietly. Then, I tell them I went through what they did but I am still alive today. I am, maybe, stronger and they will be too.
When I heard about this incident in Multan, my blood pressure shot up. I couldn't stop thinking about it. My 15 years of struggle and effort to highlight this injustice has gone to waste. Nothing I said or did was of any use.
The media will continue to raise the issues. The activists will continue to raise their voices. But unless the courts set a precedent and punish these men and their facilitators, not much will change.
Those in power, those in courts, those in police stations do not know what it is like for a woman to try to live a life after she has been assaulted. From then on, she is neither alive, nor dead. She is neither accepted by society, nor by her family.

One of the girls is 12 and the other is 16. If this isn't barbarism, then I don’t know what is.

Friday, July 28, 2017

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Police investigators probing the targeted killing of law enforcers on Thursday claimed to have detected an emerging militant group’s communication based on a different but dangerous narrative. It suggested that the group would target only the officials of state institutions and regretted the deaths of “civilians” in collateral damage vowing to “pay compensation to the families of such victims”. But, people are aware of the fact that terrorists are ferocious people and their crocodile’s tears would not win them public sympathy although
“This is a different and dangerous narrative of the new militant [groups] and needs to be countered aggressively,” said Additional IG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, heading the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police in Sindh.

Militants ‘regret’ targeting civilians
Dr Abbasi believed that the attacks on the police vans in New Town, SITE and Korangi as well as the attack on traffic constables in Gulshan were linked due to their common pattern.
A new group, Ansarul Sharia Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for most of these incidents.
“Ansarul Sharia Pakistan is a reality and we believe that it is involved in recent wave of terror in the metropolis,” said the CTD chief.
The CTD assessment suggested that this group seemed to be far more professional, combat trained and media savvy, indicating a higher level of education.
He said that mobile patrols and traffic police were being targeted as they represented the softest targets for the militant group that has declared it would only target law enforcers and armed forces.
The CTD chief said the increase in frequency of attacks in the past month indicated that this group might have ‘additional resources’, allowing it to step up attacks.
“Perhaps the number of weapons that the group has also increased, as ballistic test indicates that there are at least two 9mm pistols and one TT pistol at their disposal.
“The fact that one of the assailants also took away MP-5 [rifle] from traffic constables seems to indicate that the group may be stockpiling weapons for a large-scale attack,” apprehended the CTD chief.
Following the recent attacks on policemen, it was decided that besides the deployment of Rapid Response Force, the Rangers and police would conduct joint patrolling and raids.
“There are apprehensions that the security threat posed by this group may continue until this outfit is eliminated.”
It was decided that profiling of policemen would be done and only young officers would be deployed in the field while aged personnel would be assigned desk jobs, said the CTD head.
He said it was also decided that police patrol and deployment would be made in an unpredictable manner, taking into consideration the pattern of attacks on police in recent months. The police van attacked in New Town had been stationed there for the past six months, he explained. “Now there will be an element of surprise in the patrolling of police,” he said.
Dr Abbasi said that the recent incidents of terrorism were not Karachi-specific, as policemen were also attacked in Lahore where 10 personnel were killed in the recent blast.
Besides, he added, it was also not area-specific in the city as the militants targeted police personnel wherever they found them as ‘soft targets’.
The CTD chief said that in the traffic police attack case, they followed the SOPs as they were wearing bulletproof jackets owing to which the life of one traffic policeman was saved.
“It is unfortunate that there were many onlookers due to rush hour but nobody tried to help the police,” said Dr Abbasi. He said any car could have hit the armed motorcyclists. With the people’s help, the attackers could have been arrested and their group might have been busted, he added.

Journalist who broke Panama Papers story terms SC decision ‘historic’

Bastian Obermayer, the German Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who broke the Panama Papers story, termed the decision by the Supreme Court of Pakistan as ‘historic’ on Friday.
Ever since the Sharif family’s name surfaced in the Panama Papers scandal last year, the entire world has followed the Pakistani premier’s disqualification case with interest.
After the apex court on Friday disqualified Sharif from holding the prime minister’s office, German journalist Bastian Obermayer who had broken the Panama Papers news last year, termed the decision as a historic one.
Historic: After Iceland the second prime minister - Navaz Sharif - has to leave office because of . Verdict  @ICIJorg

As news broke of the Supreme Court’s verdict, supporters of rival political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf took to the streets and distributed sweets and danced to the beat of drums.