Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Music Video - Jaden Smith - Scarface

Video - The Daily Show - President-Elect Trump Takes On the Crooked Media

UN: Attacks on Civilian Areas Have Killed Hundreds of Children in Yemen

The war in Yemen has taken the lives of nearly 1,400 children and forced the closure of almost 2,000 schools, some of which are now being used as shelters for displaced families, a United Nations children's fund representative said Wednesday.
“This is the latest example of how attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure children in Yemen. Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction," Meritxell Relano, UNICEF's Yemen representative said.
According to Relano, more than 2,140 children have been wounded, in addition to those who have been killed, since the Yemeni conflict escalated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia joined Yemen's government to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Relano said the actual numbers "are likely to be much higher."
Following two airstrikes near a school outside Yemen's capital of Sana'a Tuesday that killed one girl and injured four more, Relano called on both sides to protect children and stop attacks on civilian areas.
“Schools should be zones of peace at all times, a sanctuary where children can learn, grow, play and be safe. Children should never risk their lives only to attend school," she said.

Yes, Rex Tillerson, Saudi Arabia Does Violate Human Rights

Today at his confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, declined to call Saudi Arabia a human rights violator — even though global human rights groups and Trump himself have criticized the country’s record.
“When you designate someone or label someone, is that the most effective way to have progress be able to be made in Saudi Arabia or any other country?” Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, said when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida questioned him on the matter at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, The Washington Post reports.
Perhaps there are more effective ways to encourage progress, but it’s unquestionable that Saudi Arabia has a poor record concerning the rights of LGBT people, women, and anyone who does not adhere to the ruling family’s ultraconservative interpretation of Islam.
“Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender identity, but judges use principles of uncodified Islamic law to sanction people suspected of committing homosexual or other ‘immoral’ acts,” Human Rights Watch notes in its 2016 report on the nation. “If such activity occurs online, judges and prosecutors utilize vague provisions of the country’s anti-cyber crime law that criminalize online activity that impinges on ‘public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy.’” 
For instance, in 2014 a Saudi court sentenced a man to three years in prison for having nude photos of himself on his phone and sharing them with other men online. An appeals court upheld the sentence in 2015. Also in 2015, a Saudi school official was jailed and fined for painting rainbows on the school building because of the rainbow’s association with LGBT rights.
Judges’ discretion to enforce Islamic law, known as Sharia law, allows them to impose the death penalty for homosexuality, according to a 2015 State Department report on Saudi Arabia, although there is little information to indicate that the penalty is being used.
In his final debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, Trump denounced the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from the Saudi Arabian government.
"It's a criminal enterprise,” Trump said of the foundation run by Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money.”
“Of course, Trump stretched the truth and missed all nuance in his description of the Clinton Foundation and its actions,” The Advocate reported after the debate in October. The donations were made long ago, and it’s not clear that the government of either nation has imposed the death penalty on gay people. Throwing gay people, or those believed to be gay, off buildings is the work of the terrorist group ISIS, which operates in Iraq and Syria.
Still, Saudi Arabia, where Trump has done business, could do much to improve its treatment of LGBT people — and that of women, who are forbidden to drive and must have a male relative or guardian’s permission to marry, travel, obtain a passport, go to college, or exercise many other basic rights, according to Human Rights Watch. And Islam is the nation’s only recognized religion; other faiths may not hold public services, and citizens who practice a different form of Islam than the one sanctioned by the Saudi government face discrimination. So there is much reason to take issue with Tillerson’s view of the nation.

Saudi Arabia 'arrests two human rights activists'

The authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested two human rights activists so far this year, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say. Essam Koshak and Ahmed al-Musheikhis were summoned for questioning by police in Mecca and Qatif last week. Officials have not disclosed the reasons for the detentions. But HRW said they "fit a pattern of ongoing repression" against peaceful advocates and dissidents, at least 25 of whom have been convicted since 2011.
Many have been handed sentences as long as 10 or 15 years after being found guilty of charges including "breaking allegiance with the ruler", "sowing discord", "inciting public opinion", "setting up an unlicensed organisation", and violating the cybercrime law.
'Relentless persecution'
Mr Koshak was detained after being summoned for interrogation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Mecca on 8 January. The 45-year-old was not allowed to appoint a lawyer and was being questioned about his Twitter account, which he mainly used to tweet about human rights issues, according to Amnesty.
Mr Musheikhis, a founding member of the unregistered Adala Centre for Human Rights, was telephoned by CID officers and told to report to a police station in Qatif, in Eastern Province, on 5 January. He was subsequently transferred to the city of Dammam, where he remains in custody. Amnesty said the 46-year-old was known for his work including helping relatives of those detained in Eastern Province as part of protests by members of the kingdom's Shia Muslim minority against what they say is discrimination against them by the Sunni-led government. Mr Musheikhis' brother, Yussuf, was sentenced to death in January 2016 after being convicted of offences including "armed rebellion against the ruler". Amnesty said Yussuf al-Musheikhis was convicted after a grossly unfair trial at which he claimed he was tortured into "confessing". Amnesty said another activist, Issa al-Nukheifi, had been detained in Mecca since 18 December after being summoned for questioning about his tweets.
"Saudi Arabia's relentless persecution of human rights defenders is a blatant campaign aimed at deterring them from speaking about the human rights situation in the country and working on behalf of victims of violations," said Lynn Maalouf of Amnesty's Beirut office. The Saudi government has in the past insisted that its judiciary is independent, and that all trials are transparent and in line with Islamic law.
HRW also reported on Tuesday that the Saudi authorities had recently banned Jamal Khashoggi, one of the country's most prominent journalists, from publishing any of his writings in the country.

Music - Laura Marling - Wildfire

Yes We Can: People Share Their Most Memorable Moments from the Obama Presidency

Obama, Saying Goodbye, Warns of Threats to National Unity

President Obama, delivering a farewell address in the city that launched his political career, declared on Tuesday his continued confidence in the American experiment. But he warned, in the wake of a toxic presidential election, that economic inequity, racism and closed-mindedness threatened to shred the nation’s democratic fabric.
“We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others,” Mr. Obama said, “when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.”
Speaking to a rapturous crowd that recalled the excitement of his path-breaking campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama said he believed even the deepest ideological divides could be bridged. His words were nevertheless etched with frustration — a blunt coda to a remarkable day that laid bare many of the racial crosscurrents in the country.
On Capitol Hill, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama presented himself as a moderate in his confirmation hearing for attorney general, while his critics denounced him as a racist. In Charleston, S.C., Dylann S. Roof, the white supremacist who shot nine black churchgoers, was sentenced to death.
And here, in the cavernous convention hall where Mr. Obama celebrated his re-election in 2012, the nation’s first black president — still popular, still optimistic — bade America goodbye 10 days before turning over his office to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who ran what his critics labeled a racist campaign.
Mr. Obama pledged again to support his successor. But his speech was a thinly veiled rebuke of several of the positions Mr. Trump staked out during the campaign, from climate change and barring Muslims from entering the country to repealing his landmark health care law.

“If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities,” Mr. Obama said, “then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclave.”
“If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children — because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s work force,” he added.
In giving a farewell address, Mr. Obama invoked a privilege of presidents going back to George Washington. He staked his claim as the leader who steered the nation through the storms of the Great Recession to a growing economy and job market. He claimed credit for reducing the rate of uninsured Americans to record lows, while keeping a cap on health care costs.
In a pointed reference to Republicans determined to repeal the health care bill that was one of the signature accomplishments of his presidency, Mr. Obama said, “If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system — that covers as many people at less cost — I will publicly support it.”
There were also nostalgic moments, as well. He recalled the 2008 campaign that started him on his improbable journey to the White House. He thanked the army of volunteers and staff members who swept him into the Oval Office, ending with the iconic chant, “Yes, we can.” And reflecting on all they had accomplished, he added, “Yes, we did.” “It has been the honor of my life to serve you,” Mr. Obama said. “I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.”
He drew some of the most thunderous applause of the night when he paid tribute to his wife, Michelle — “my best friend” — and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — “a brother.” As the crowd of 18,000 clapped and stamped their feet, Mr. Obama dabbed his eyes.
Afterward, Mrs. Obama and her elder daughter, Malia, appeared onstage with the president, along with Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill. The Obamas’ younger daughter, Sasha, stayed in Washington because she has an exam in school on Wednesday morning, the White House said.
But Mr. Obama clearly wanted to use his last major turn on the national stage to send a message. Americans, he said, should not take their democracy for granted. Lamenting the perennially low voter turnout rates, Mr. Obama urged people to become involved. “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet,” he said, “try to talk with one in real life.” “America is not a fragile thing,” the president said. “But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.”
The White House had meticulously planned this event, from the location to the tone and cadence of the speech, which clearly reached for the oratorical heights of his best-remembered addresses.
The president was still rewriting his remarks on Tuesday afternoon, one of his aides said, after being up very late Monday night scrawling edits on what was then already the fourth draft.
Mr. Obama’s chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, pored over previous farewell addresses for inspiration. George Washington used the occasion to disclose he would not run for a third term and warned Americans to steer clear of foreign entanglements in Europe, while Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the influence of the “military-industrial complex.”
Mr. Obama’s message recalled his final State of the Union address last year, as well as speeches he gave in Springfield, Ill.; at the commencement ceremonies at Howard University and Rutgers University; and during the Democratic National Convention. Dozens of alumni from the White House and Mr. Obama’s political operation converged on Chicago to cheer their boss. With parties all over town, the atmosphere felt like a wistful version of 2012, or even more so, of 2008, when Mr. Obama’s election drew a quarter-million people to a jubilant victory celebration in nearby Grant Park.
There was, however, an undeniable tinge of sadness to Mr. Obama’s leave-taking — the dread among many in this crowd that his legacy will be undone by Mr. Trump, and the disappointment that, for all his political gifts, he was unable to hand over his office to his chosen successor, Hillary Clinton.
“Beers and tears,” said Ben LaBolt, who served as the national press secretary for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. Many said they had waited hours in the cold to get tickets, like Ja-mese McGee, an elementary school teacher from the Chicago suburb Country Club Hills.
Those hours had a purpose. She wanted to demonstrate to her students that seeing Mr. Obama was worth the wait. “Better than waiting to shop on Black Friday. Better than waiting in line for gym shoes,” she said.
But Ms. McGee was troubled by Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and the damage it could do to Mr. Obama’s legacy. “There’s so much to say about him,” she said. “He maintained class, he maintained dignity. Honestly, I don’t want him to leave, but I’m sure it will be a load off his shoulders.”
Alvin Love, a Baptist minister, walked through the crowd holding the hand of his 6-year-old granddaughter, Bayleigh Love, who wore a red sequined party dress.
He and Mr. Obama go back 30 years, when the president was a young community organizer on the South Side. “It’s mixed emotions for me,” he said. “I’m sad to see it come to an end, but proud and happy to see the work that he’s done.”
Mr. Love said he believed Mr. Obama’s work could be sustained, even with the advent of a Trump presidency. “Any time right is done, it will sooner or later stand up again.”

CNN's response to Trump

"CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than BuzzFeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate."

Video - 'You are fake news!' - Trump blackballs CNN's Acosta

Music - Mehdi Hasan - Raqs Zanjeer Pahan Kar Bhi

Obituary: Shamim Ara - The actress and heartthrob Of Pakistani Film Industry — end of a long-drawn agony


She shared the marquee with two generations of actors, from Santosh Kumar and Sudhir to Waheed Murad and Nadeem.

POPULAR star-turned-producer and later director, Shamim Ara, died in a hospital in the United Kingdom on Friday after a long-drawn illness. She had suffered a brain hemorrhage in Lahore and was in coma since January 2010.
Since there was no one to look after her, Shamim Ara’s only child Salman Kareem, who is an IT specialist in London, got her shifted to a hospital in the UK which specialised in neuro-related surgery, but her condition deteriorated.
Those who were close to Shamim Ara say that she lost her savings and property when someone she trusted duped her. She went into litigation that dragged on and on.
Things took a turn for the worse when she had her first stroke in 2001. That hindered her film-making. She tried to soldier on but all in vain. Disappointed, she moved to London in 2004 and lived with her son. Missing her home country, she visited Pakistan twice a year but in early 2011, when she was in Lahore, she suffered a brain hemorrhage. A neurosurgeon operated on her in Lahore in October that year, but she remained unconscious.
It was in this state that she was taken to the UK three months after the surgery.
Shamim Ara was born in Aligarh to a woman who was a professional dancer. But her guardian was her maternal grandmother who took major decisions in her early life.
The family migrated to Karachi in the fifties, where she was discovered by film-maker Najam Naqvi, who gave her the name Shamim Ara, and cast her as the heroine of his movie Kunwari Bewa (1956). Unluckily, the film flopped.
But the same year her second movie, Miss 56, featuring the lara lappa girl Meena Shorey as the heroine, proved to be a success and Shamim Ara, even though cast as what they call in the film industry the ‘side heroine’, was appreciated more by movie-goers. However the following year she was unable to build on this success.
The year 1958 saw her playing second fiddle to Noor Jehan in the moderately successful Anarkali. Yet her second film of the year, Wah Re Zamane, where she starred as the leading lady opposite Ejaz, clicked at the box office.
In 1959 she acted in her first Punjabi film Jaidad, but quite obviously the actress, whose prime quality was underplaying roles, was not cut out for loud (often noisy) movies.
The years between 1960 and 1970 were highly rewarding for Shamim Ara. In movies such as Saheli (for which she got the President’s Award), Aag Ka Darya, Naila, Farangi, Aanchal, Haveli, Chingari, Doraha, Salgirah, Lakhon Mein Eik, Dil Mera Dharkan Teri and her maiden production Saiqa, she emerged as a sensitive performer and occupied the topmost rung of the ladder of stardom.
She shared the marquee with two generations of actors, from Santosh Kumar and Sudhir to Waheed Murad and Nadeem. In 1970 Shamim Ara also starred in a Bengali movie, Misher Kumari.
The next decade established her as a producer and director. In the beginning she got other directors to wield the megaphone for her, but in the mid-seventies she directed her first film, Jio Aur Jeene Do (1976). It was an impressive debut both technically and commercially. In all she directed about 20 films, most of which fared well at the box office.
Towards the turn of the century it seemed that she had still a long way to go, but the twin tragedy — health-wise and on the financial front — shattered Shamim Ara. The woman who portrayed tragic characters with finesse did not realise that her own life was to end in greater tragic circumstances.
Shamim Ara is survived by a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

U.S. Report Warns Afghan Forces Not Capable Of Securing Country

Afghanistan needs a "stable security environment to prevent it from again becoming a safe haven for Al-Qaeda or other terrorists," a U.S. report says.
The report was released on January 11 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which gives independent oversight of U.S. reconstruction funds for the country.
It says Afghan security forces have "not yet been capable of securing all of Afghanistan and has lost territory to the insurgency."
Most NATO-led foreign combat forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014, leaving nearly 10,000 U.S. troops behind.
Afghan forces have since struggled to fend off the Taliban, which has gained control of more territory than any time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
SIGAR described corruption as "one of the most serious threats to the U.S.-funded Afghanistan reconstruction effort."
"Powerful drug networks, mainly run by close-knit families and tribes, bankroll the insurgency and launder money," it also said.


Another rights activist, Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan (CPAP) President Samar Abbas has reportedly gone missing from the federal capital Islamabad.

Mr Abbas is an activist based in Karachi who belongs to various forums that have been raising their voice against atrocities committed against minority groups in the country. He recently participated in the Clean Karachi campaign alongside the late Junaid Jamshed.According to CPAP General Secretary Syed Talib Abbas, Samar Abbas travelled to Islamabad from Karachi on business trip, as he also ran an IT firm.
“He was continuously in touch with his family, but on Saturday (Jan 7), his mobile phone was switched off. The family has not heard from him since,” he said.
He said Samar, 40, is married and has two children; a boy and a girl. According to Talib Abbas, Samar’s family will lodge an FIR against his disappearance on today (Wednesday).
It is relevant to add here that Professor Salman Haider and three other rights activists have also gone missing and the parliament also has taken notice of mysterious disappearances.

Pakistan - The Saudi temptation

THERE has, as yet, not been any denial of Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s mumbled comments during a TV interview last week about retired Gen Raheel Sharif being appointed the chief of a Saudi-led military alliance. Considering that clear articulation has never been his strong point, one may take the minister’s mutterings as confirmation.
But the minister has left many questions unanswered, adding to the confusion over the government’s position on the issue and whether the appointment of the former chief of army staff indicates a shift in our policy of staying away from the power tussle in the Middle East. It is apparent that the former general’s selection to head a multinational force would hardly be possible without the approval of the prime minister.
It seems that the government is maintaining deliberate ambiguity on this matter as happened when it was first reported that Pakistan had joined the so-called Islamic military coalition. Then there are valid questions too about Raheel Sharif’s own decision to accept the controversial job that may adversely impact the fine legacy that he left as the best-remembered army chief.
He is certainly not a freewheeling retired general who would accept such a politically sensitive position at his own discretion without the consent of the government. There is no precedence in Pakistan of a retired army chief seeking a job and that too outside the country.
Surely the Saudi offer was on the table long before Gen Sharif’s retirement. Is there any strategic reason behind the government’s decision to loan a recently retired army chief, or is it Saudi pressure that we could not afford to resist? Whatever the justification, such a decision can have serious foreign and domestic fallout.
There is no clarity on how the forces of different Muslim countries, with divergent interests, can work together. It has been more than a year since the young Saudi deputy crown prince, who has been responsible for the kingdom’s disastrous military adventure in Yemen, announced the formation of a military alliance of 34 Muslim-majority nations. This unilateral Saudi declaration took not only Pakistan, but also several other nations on the list, by surprise. Although the coalition was formed to jointly fight terrorism, its very composition branded it as a ‘Sunni coalition’.
There has been widespread scepticism of whether it is really meant to be a coalition against terrorism or just a Saudi pawn in the power tussle in the Middle East. The lukewarm response from many member countries makes it extremely doubtful that such a military alliance can really take off. The exclusion of some Muslim countries including Iran and Iraq makes it all the more divisive.
There are few countries that are willing to commit troops to the alliance. So what is there for the former army chief to lead? Moreover, to fight terrorism, there is a need for closer cooperation among the intelligence and security agencies of these Muslim countries rather than a joint military force.
Interestingly, the idea of a military alliance was floated after Pakistan and some other countries refused to send their troops to fight along the Saudi forces in Yemen. A joint session of parliament had rejected the Saudi request, provoking indignation in the kingdom. It was certainly not in the country’s interest to be a party in the sectarian divide and the regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudi military adventure has only exacerbated the civil war in Yemen and blocked any move to reach a political solution to the conflict.
Over the past one year, there have been some significant changes in the Middle East’s power dynamics with the heavy losses inflicted on the militant Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Interestingly, many countries that are listed in the Saudi-led coalition are part of the US-sponsored anti-IS alliance including Iran. In fact, Iran has played a key role in pushing out the global terrorist group from its stronghold in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Russia is also asserting its military and diplomatic power in the Middle East forming a separate trilateral alliance that includes Iran and Turkey to counter IS in Syria. The new nexus has the tacit support of Washington and other Western countries in enforcing a ceasefire among various warring sides in Syria. Saudi Arabia, which has been supporting Sunni militant groups, now seems to be out of the equation in the Syrian crisis.
Interestingly, Egypt, that has been receiving massive Saudi financial aid, has also been supporting Bashar al-Assad’s government against the Saudi-backed opposition. So with all these divergent interests and shifting alliances, the idea of a new Saudi-led coalition does not seem to make much sense. Most observers agree that the formation of a new alliance reflects Saudi Arabia’s growing concern about its own security and internal stability as it no longer sees the US as a reliable ally.
Washington’s nuclear deal with Iran and its reluctance to commit ground troops to overthrow the Assad government in Syria has exacerbated the kingdom’s anxiety. Although the US had welcomed the proposed alliance there are serious doubts about Saudi Arabia’s seriousness in fighting violent extremism.
This widespread scepticism is largely due to the allegation that some Saudi charities continue to provide financial support to radical Sunni sectarian groups in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries in order to impose their own intolerant and retrogressive concept of Sharia laws. In the past year, there have not been any discussions and consultations among the member countries on what the alliance might do. There is also no clarity on how the forces of different Muslim countries, with divergent interests, can work together. In such a situation, Pakistan’s participation in the controversial alliance, with its former army chief heading the joint military force, has serious political repercussions.
The government must take into confidence parliament and the nation on the issue. It must not allow the former chief to rent himself out to a controversial alliance with a divisive agenda. It is in our national security interest that we keep out of the power struggle in the Middle East.

Pakistan - Don’t kidnap me. I'm not a liberal

Salman Haider

I was corrupted by liberal values such as free speech and basic human dignity but I have realised that my desire to not be abducted is much stronger than my desire to speak my mind. I have finally seen the light and I now realise that there is no state in Pakistan but the ‘one true state’. I have even sold all my real estate as to not anger the state.
I would like to issue a full public apology for espousing liberal values. I fully realise that these apologies only work when they are issued by political leaders but it is still worth a shot. Maybe I should grow out my beard first before issuing this apology to give my words more meaning but then again Imran Khan is still alive so maybe it is not the beard that matters.
It was a mistake to walk out of Plato’s cave – the sun is a lie and I wish to run to the dark underworld. I fully believe the shadows I see are the complete reality and there is no reality beyond the one you show us.
Forget about civil liberties, I do not even want to protect Lahore’s Liberty Roundabout anymore. Please go ahead and build your Orange Line over any heritage site you want. Build a metro bus that runs through Badshahi Mosque. Who needs culture, history and breathable air when you can sit in a metal container to go serve the capitalist system each day?
I suddenly see the value in the government’s economic plan. I do not want to talk about all the farmers you are exploiting and all the land you are grabbing to make Pakistan a better product for your international friends. The only people affected by those are Pakistanis and we are the most dispensable people on earth. Success comes at a cost and as long as I am not paying the price I will start looking the other way.
Millions sacrificed themselves for the creation of this great nation – what are a few more thousand sacrifices to make this nation even greater? You can even say our new state policy is to make Pakistan great again, and I am now fully on board with this plan. I have even bought a big load of duct tape to shut my mouth every time I have an opinion.
Opinions are overrated anyway. They are not worth being kidnapped over. I do not know when my other stupid liberal friends will realise that. It is ironic that these people speak out for the basic human rights of oppressed communities and now they are the ones being denied those fundamental human rights. There is the flaw in the liberal plan – if they go missing, nobody will speak out for them because they were the ones fighting this lost cause.
I, for one, am a winner and I know a losing cause when I see one so I am jumping ship. I am not going down with this liberal Titanic. I will no longer read Habib Jalib against the text and truly believe that “Cheen apna yaar hai, us pe jaan nisaar hai”. I will even start loving all our leaders and write my own poetry – “Noon league apna yaar hai, us may Chaudhry Nisar hai”.
If you still do not believe in my loyalties I can even make cartoons on MS Paint to show you how much I love this nation. I will go on all Indian Facebook pages and abuse them for being Indian. I will not even appreciate how good a batsman Virat Kohli is anymore. Shahid Afridi has better technique than Virat Kohli.
Equality is a lie; the world is unequal. Liberalism is a lie; human rights have all left. All you have is yourself. Welcome to this Hobbesian nightmare. In this dog-eat-dog-world, even the actual dogs are not safe. The holocaust of the dogs in Karachi’s DHA is just a rehearsal and now we are in the real Ender’s Game. You can either have an opinion or a life – at least you have the freedom to decide.
If I am to be kidnapped, remember me with these completely original uninspired words:
First they came for the dogs, and I did not speak out because I was not a dog (my ex -girlfriend disagrees)
Then they came for the minorities, and I did not speak out because I was privileged,
Then they came for the liberals, and I spoke out against liberals because I was a traitor,
Then they came for the human beings, and I got rid of my spine and became a prawn
Don’t kidnap me, I am a prawn

Pakistan - Children of a lesser state

Mohsin Raza Malik

The case of Tayyaba, a minor house-maid who was allegedly tortured by the family members of a judicial officer in Islamabad, is getting complicated and rather mysterious with the passage of time. She instantly disappeared as soon as the Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo motu notice of this case last week. Afterward, a number of individuals came forward and claimed that they were the parents of this hapless girl. Now the Islamabad police has recovered her from a suburban part of the city. At present, there is considerable confusion as to her actual name and parentage. A DNA test would probably help determine the parentage of this minor girl. However, she hardly needs any name or identity. Indeed, there is nothing in a name. By whatever name we call her, it will by no means lessen the miseries of this nameless girl. A girl who is being claimed by many, but owned by none. Moreover, we can conveniently recognise her by her numerous generic names- “Nikki”, “Chhoti”, “Guddi” etc.
The Tayyaba case has badly exposed the darkest side of both our state and society. We can just imagine the plight of this minor enslaved girl who was abandoned by her real parents, mistreated and tortured by her masters, shunned by the society, and finally disowned by the state. Her story simply shows how apathy and heartlessness have penetrated our body politic. How dexterously we have revived the institution of slavery in our society, how callously a large segment of our society has been reduced to a subhuman status. We proudly call ourselves Muslims, but have long divorced the fundamental human values essentially emphasised by the Islam. We have readily given rise to a highly-stratified, hierarchical and rather compartmentalised society. A society divided into Brahmans and pariahs.
Pakistan, as a state, has observably failed in significantly minimising the sufferings and woes of these ‘children of a lesser God’. The government looks quite disinterested in saving Tayyaba and millions of other children living under similar, or perhaps even worse circumstances.
According to the well-known Social Contract theory, a state is bound to protect its subjects, including the children, against all potential dangers. Ensuring the protection and welfare of minors are the primary obligations of a state. Therefore, every state should actively endeavour to introduce an extensive child protection regime by enacting some effective laws and establishing certain efficient agencies to enforce these laws. This is also done by the developed countries in the world where poverty and illiteracy are not really the grave issues as such. Indeed, the state cannot leave children at the mercy of society, or even their parents in some cases.
One of the most agonising aspects of the Tayyaba episode is the fact that the very moral values of the most educated and so-called civilised segment of our society have collapsed. A minor girl was illegally employed and later tortured by the family of a judicial officer in the capital city. Indeed, the judicial officers are supposed to enforce and supervise the child protection laws in the country. At the same time, her story has also shown how the complementary and supplementary components of our criminal justice system have become instrumental in exploiting the weaker and vulnerable segments of the society. They readily come forward to rescue the wrongdoers instead of the victim in distress. The police and lawyers usually join hands to save the accused, and criminal courts encourage the instant execution of Razi Nama (instrument of compromise) between the perpetrators and victims. In reality, the legal distinction between the compoundable and non-compoundable crimes in the country has disappeared. Now almost every crime is compoundable, thanks to the ‘conciliatory instincts’ of our criminal courts.
Presently a large number of minors like Tayyaba are serving as house-maids across the country. As a matter of fact, they have become an essential part of almost every household in posh urban localities. They perform multiple tasks ranging from cleaning and washing to child-rearing. Compared to adult and qualified nannies, they are much cheaper and easily available in each part of the country. These ‘young nannies’ are absolutely denied all the safeguards and benefits under the labour laws, including the minimum wages and works hours. Their status and role are no better than a slave. They can just be ‘purchased’ by advancing a little money to their parents. A large number of feminist NGO’s are operating in Pakistan. Their interests and operations unusually revolves around the issues like gender-equality, domestic violence, honour-killing etc. They never seriously took up the issue of these hapless girls.
Pakistan has been ranked third in the world for having the largest children’s workforce by the International Labour Organization (ILO). According to another report published by it in 2012, around 12.5 million children are involved in child labour. Poverty and illiteracy lie at the very root of the issue of child labour in Pakistan. Mostly, socio-economic imperatives compel children to work. Their parents can’t properly raise or educate them. So they force their children into child labour. Thus their children are a substantial means for their income instead of a liability. The more children, the more income. This tendency among the people is also an important reason behind the current population boom in the country.
The constitution of Pakistan strictly prohibits the child labour, bounded labour, slavery and similar other undesirable practices. Similarly, there are also a number of laws which address the issue of child labour in Pakistan, e.g. The Factories Act 1934, The West Pakistan Shops and Establishments Ordinance 1969, The Employment of the Children Act 1991 and The Bounded Labour Abolition Act 1992. Regrettably, the government has enacted many laws against the child labour practice but it has yet not established the appropriate agencies to monitor and enforce these laws in the country. Consequently, the situation regarding the child labour in Pakistan is deteriorating day by day.
In Punjab, the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau has been established under The Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children Act 2004. This is the right step towards ensuring the protection and welfare of children in the province. However, owing to some human and financial resources constraints, it has yet not succeeding in significantly overcoming the children specific problems in the largest province of Pakistan. This bureau is operating just like an NGO. It has no significant presence in smaller cities and rural areas, which house the larger segment of the population. Therefore, this bureau needs to be made more efficient, active and vigilant after enhancing its capacity to perform this sensitive task.
As the apex court has formally taken up the Tayyaba case, therefore now it should properly conclude this case by punishing those who are involved in persecuting and exploiting this minor girl. At the same time, the apex court should also ask the government to ensure the compliance of child protection and labour laws in the country by mobilising the relevant agencies. Similarly, the government should also proactively endeavour to introduce an effective and efficient child protection regime in Pakistan. Indeed, the state should not shy away from its basic obligation to protect neglected and persecuted children.

Pakistan - Sindh Governor Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui passes away

Sindh Governor Justice (retd) Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui passed away on Wednesday.
He was being treated for a heart condition at a private hospital in Karachi.
He was appointed as the 31st governor of Sindh in November 2016.
Earlier, he was admitted to the hospital for breathing difficulties and a chest infection three days after being sworn in as the governor on November 11.
According to reports, the governor was discharged because of family pressure and was accompanied by a 24-hour monitoring team including chest specialist, neurologist and physiotherapist.


Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held meetings with different delegations of party workers from Sargodha Division. He also interviewed aspirants from Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali and Bakhar districts for different party positions of Sargodha Division.

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing workers on the occasion said PPP philosophy is the philosophy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and party workers struggled hard for that philosophy and rendered exemplary sacrifices. He said that we have to make Pakistan a country where no one is victimized or maltreated for having different point of views as envisioned by PPP founder Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed-e-Jamhooriat Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He vowed to resist all those elements in society who have been trying to impose their distorted philosophy by force. He asked Party workers to forge unity so that they can win the elections to complete mission of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Secretary Information Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, President PPP Central Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira, General Secretary Central Punjab Nadeem Afzal Chan, Secretary Information Central Punjab Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, PPP Secretary Finance Haider Zaman Qureshi, former MNA Nawab Sher Waser and Tariq Bajwa were also present in the meetings.


Pakistan Peoples Party held protest demonstrations in front of the Lahore Press Club and in front of the National Press Club Islamabad against the forced abduction of Professor Salman Haider and others on Monday.
In Islamabad Pakistan Peoples Party leaders Farhatullah Babar, Taj Haider, Rubina Khalid, Akhunzada Chattan, Professor Tahir Malik, while, in Lahore Jahan Ara Watoo, Barrister Amir Hasan, Faisal Mir and Shahida Jabeen address the participants.
The speakers expressed their concerns over the growing cases of ‘mysterious disappearances’ of intellectuals, critics and political activists are evident of the failure of National Action Plan and growing lawlessness prevailing across the Punjab.
The protestors demanded that the recently abducted Islamabad-based professor Salman Haider and others should immediately be recovered and those behind their kidnapping should be dealt according to the law. And if someone is allegedly involved in any criminal activities, he/she should be presented in a court, but unlawful forced disappearance unacceptable” they demanded.
The speakers criticized the government for its failure to implement the National Action Plan, and demanded the resignation of interior minister Chaudahary Nisar.
They said that banned outfits were openly holding their rallies, public gatherings and meeting with high officials in the federal capital, while peaceful citizens are ‘mysteriously disappearing’.
“The interior minister must take the responsibility of disappearance of sane voices otherwise leave the job for a competent person,” JahanAra Wattoo demanded.
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The interior minister must take the responsibility of disappearance of sane voices otherwise leave the job for competent person.
While lashes out at the PML-N government, she says “Rulers have dictatorship mindset to silence liberal voices”
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Demonstrated against PMLN 4 nt recovering d writers.They have dictatorship mindset 2 silence liberal voices 
The protestors demanded that Salman Haider and others should immediately be recovered and the perpetrators of their abduction should be held accountable.

The participants were carrying banners and placards bearing inscriptions “Stop! Enforced disappearance of political activists, bloggers, and writers.”, “Abduction, disappearance unacceptable: PPP stands with freedom of speech” and “Prof. Salman Haider aur degar social activists ko fi-alfor baziyab kerwao”. They also chanted slogans against the federal and Punjab governments.