Sunday, March 12, 2017
By LAURA REGENSDORF
At a time when self-care is hailed as the ticket to staying grounded and energized for whatever fights lay ahead—political, professional, or personal—it’s not exactly surprising that Clinton leads by example. The woman is endurance incarnate. Less expected was her recollection of gender bias on her high-school basketball court (“hard to believe,” she quipped of her phys-ed days). If the modern wellness movement loves a guru, Clinton might have earned herself a new role, with advice on emotional well-being and advocacy for equal opportunity in everything from exercise to education. “Think of the hard-hitting news on the glossy pages of Teen Vogue right across from makeup tips. Because you know what: Girls can and do care about both,” she said in celebration of beauty and brains. Here, four life lessons from Clinton’s speech. Foster a Community of Support “I’ve had my ups and my downs. In the last months, I’ve done my share of sleeping, a little soul-searching and reflecting, long walks in the woods. [laughter] And in those moments, I am thankful for my own village, my community of family and friends who have supported and encouraged me. I have also been buoyed by the love and support that I’ve received from the young women I have mentored over my lifetime. They inspire me every day.”
Practice Gratitude—And Grit
“One of my favorite phrases that I came across in a hard time in my own life was to practice the discipline of gratitude. Now, it is easy to be grateful when things are going our way, but to exercise the mental discipline to be grateful in the face of setbacks, I have found, is one of the great experiences that give you that resilience and the opportunity to see your life, to see your community and the world much more broadly, and to keep going. [It’s] the inner strength, even the stubbornness to keep showing up every day, to refuse to quit or give up in the face of any setback. Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back, particularly when it comes to advancing the rights, opportunities, and full participation of women and girls. It can seem discouraging, whether you’ve been on that road for a long time or you’re just starting out. But think how different the world would be today if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged but because of that had given up.”
In Life, Play the Full Court
“When I was growing up, there were scholarships I couldn’t apply for, schools that I was not welcome at, just because I was a girl. Some of us here may even remember half-court basketball. [laughter] I see I’ve got some contemporaries. But for everyone else, let me tell you, I played basketball—hard to believe—in high school […] and we had to stop at half-court. You couldn’t cross the center line. The prevailing wisdom was that running up and down a full court would be dangerous for girls’ hearts. Now, we have professional women’s teams and so much else. […] Thanks to Title IX, girls not only play on the full court, they have more opportunities than ever to excel in sports and in class, and we know the results: athletes and artists and scientists and entrepreneurs, leaders in every field. But our work is far from over in big ways and small, the unfinished business of the 21st century is the full equality of women. And there are still too few women in the upper reaches of the private sector, academia, science, technology, not to mention politics and government.” Cultivate a Rock-Solid Sense of Self Worth “We all want our daughters and our granddaughters to dream big and be bold, but too often, starting at such a young age, they hear messages. They aren’t good enough, deserving enough, smart enough. I recently read about a research study, which found that by the age of 6, little girls start thinking they’re not as smart as little boys. Think about that: the age of 6. The chorus of naysayers starts early, and that means we must, too. We have to form our own chorus, twice as loud, convincing our friends, our colleagues, ourselves that women are both smart enough and good enough to be considered for anything they choose to pursue.”
د امريکې د بهرنيو چارو وزارت د بشري حقونو په اړه خپل تازه رپورټ کې د پاکستان په اړه ويلي چې امنيتي ځواکونو په قبايلي سيمو، خيبر پښتونخوا پنجاب او بلوچستان کې د روانو بې امنيوو په تړاو ماورای عدالت وژنې کړې دي.
رپورټ کې د پاکستان په اړه اندېښنې ښودلې دي. په رپورټ کې راغلي چې دلته لا هم د خلکو غيبول يوه لويه ستونزه ده. همداراز له بشري حقونو څخه د سرغړونو لړ کې امنيتي ادارې په ماورای عدالت وژنو تورنې شوې دي او ويل شوې چې هدفي قتلونو، حکومت او پوليسو کې درغليو انساني حقونه تروړلي دي.
په پاکستان کې له ډېر وخت راهيسې بلوچ ملت پاله پر امنيتي ادارو تور لګوي چې په زرګونو بلوچ فعالان يې غيب کړي چې ځيني يې لا هم ورک او د ځينو نوروخراب شوي مړي موندل شوي دي. پاکستاني چارواکو د دې رپورټ د موندنو په اړه څه نه دي ويلي خو پخوا وختونو کې يې د لادرکه بلوچانو په اړه دريځ دا دی چې د ورکو کسانو شمېر په زرګونو نه دی.
د مارچ په دريم تاريخ خپاره شوي، د امريکې بهرنيوو چارو وزارت په خپل رپورټ کې زياته کړې چې پاکستان کې قانون او حکومتي واک سم نه عملي کيږي او اکثره هغه زورورو خلکو ته چې په بېلابېلو جرمونو تورن وي، سزا نه ورکول کيږي. په رپورټ کې په فرقه ييزو وژنو او د ځينو خلکو له خوا قانون په خپل لاس کې اخيستو سره تشدد کولو هم اندېښنې ښودل شوې دي.
د امريکې د بهرنيو چارو وزارت ويلي چې پاکستان کې د زندانونو حالت ښه نه دی، ملزمان له تحقیقاتو مخکې تر ډېره وخته پورې قيد کې ساتل کيږي او د ځينو قوانينو له وجې مذهبي ازادۍ ته خنډونه جوړ شوې او مذهبي اقليتونه د تعصب قرباني دي. په رپورټ کې ويل شوي چې خبريالانو ته ستونزې جوړول هم دوام لري او په ځينو مطبوعاتي ادارو بريدونه شوې دي.
په داسې حال کې چې دې وروستيوو کې پاکستان کې د غيرت په نامه وژنې ډېرې شوې، د امريکې د بهرنيوو چارو وزارت په دې رپورټ کې ويل شوې چې جنسي تشدد او د غيرت په نامه وژنې له بشري حقونو څخه لويې سرغړونې دي. همداراز د انسانانو قاچاق، پر ماشومانو تشدد او د ځينو قومونو په اړه تعصب دوام لري. په دې رپورټ کې زياته شوې چې که څه هم د پاکستان امنيتي ځواکونو د وسله والو خلاف عمليات کړې دي خو ترهګري لا هم يو چيلنج يا ننګونه ده چې تر ډېره پورې يې قبايلي سيمې، خيبر پښتونخوا، سند او بلوچستان ځپلې دي.
By Shahzaib Khan
The biggest oppressed minority in Pakistan dreams of week-long extravagant weddings, overpriced designer couture and blissful ignorance.
At this earliest of junctures, I hereby qualify that this piece is in no way meant to be an attempt to belittle the commendable, growing feminist discourse in Pakistan and I admit that the piece is in fact an exercise in arbitrary opinionating. However, that should not stop me or anyone else, from voicing their, at least personally, valued opinion. The piece is also aggressively stereotypical in its approach and possibly inadvertently misogynistic at places. There are obviously laudable and significant exceptions to the following view, both women (some found these days commendably reclaiming public spaces such as dhabas) and men. The identification of a macro trend without caring for the micro intricacies however does not render an opinion instantly invalid. The biggest minority in Pakistan are Pakistani women; and yes, they are an oppressed minority.
Unlike, in 1983 Lahore, where throngs of women charged into burly armed guards of the state to raise their voices, Pakistani women today are not fighting. Content with finding out the predeterminedly unfortunate fate of that burden of a woman on her favourite television soap, the Pakistani woman is taking it easy. This is of course not true for all Pakistani women.
Pakistani women, much as the same as Pakistani society in large have disintegrated into very specific groups of social classes. When a species is about to go extinct it is categorised into different groups depending on its likelihood of extinction. A near-threatened species is one that is likely to be threatened with extinction in the near future but does not face that immediate threat at this time. A critically endangered species, on the other hand, is one which has been categorised as facing a very high risk of extinction. The near-threatened Pakistani woman is excruciatingly upper-middle class and so as to put it objectively is complacent, because she is safe. This woman is less likely to be shot dead on account of not making the chappati round enough, as compared to the critically endangered woman. The critically endangered woman, by the way, is the woman who cooks, cleans and cares for the near-threatened woman. The critically endangered woman is pre-disposed, on account of her lack of finances and her resulting incapacitations, to have a higher than normal likelihood for being shot in the back of the skull on account of a slight misdemeanor and is so preoccupied with striving to exist, that she rather understandably does not have the time to pen an article, share an inspiring tweet, or lead a protest on the road, to claim her rights.
Pakistani society has transcended an already deplorable debate on women’s rights to stir up another debate. The question we find ourselves asking today, much to the dismay of all conceptions of humanity, is not whether a Pakistani woman should, have equal employment opportunities, equal representation in Parliament or be duly recognised for her contribution in domestic capacities but whether Pakistani women have the right to live or not?
It is beneath me, as it should be beneath any human being, to even consider such a question. The problem is that apparently it’s not. It’s not beneath Pakistani men and most ironically Pakistani women to entertain a debate where the right of women to live is construed through the paradigm of ill-defined social acceptability. Pakistani women are found formulating ever new arguments to give credence to their right to live. And that is where the near-threatened women and their striking failure comes into play. The movement for the rights of Pakistani women has been confined to albeit commendably brave tweets and Facebook posts that act as voices of protest every time a woman is shot dead, stabbed or burnt. The foremost blame for this decadency and degradation in the feminist discourse in Pakistan rests with the women of Pakistan, especially the near-threatened. The critically endangered woman is already, as aforementioned, teetering on the edge of existence, she cannot reasonably be expected to come onto the roads when the same costs her next meal. The contribution of the Pakistani man to the current state of women rights in Pakistan is second to none but at the same time they can’t realistically be expected to pioneer its rectification, the majority of the same at least, however justified such an expectation may be. Pakistani society draws a clear distinction between men and women and as such one is not pre-disposed to care for the other. This is by no means a reason to disavow the Pakistani man of the responsibility of fighting to change a situation that he has helped create. But, expecting the average Pakistani man or for that matter the critically endangered woman to lead the movement for the rights of the average Pakistani woman is unrealistic, idealistic and frankly, lazy, however unfortunate this may be. Often, when a case for legal action is lodged against a party, the petitioner has to establish his or her bona fide as an aggrieved party for the action to be maintainable. Such is the recognition afforded to the idea, that only when you are aggrieved, will you seek change. Pakistani men are not aggrieved.
Pakistani women, the near-threatened, the privileged and the educated, therefore, have a pro-active and pre-disposed responsibility to ask questions, the right questions. They are the ones primarily aggrieved, able and thus mandated with forming the discourse on women’s rights in Pakistan. But if this discourse today is centered around the question of the right of Pakistani women to be allowed to live, the women of Pakistan have been failed, completely and utterly, admittedly by the men first, but ultimately and more importantly by the women of Pakistan themselves.
If the youngest Nobel laureate manages to achieve the grades for an AAA offer, she will be studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, which her inspiration, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, had also studied.
She had earlier revealed that she was thinking of studying politics at Stanford University, California, but it turns out that the young activist has changed her plans. Malala will now take A-levels in history, maths, religious studies and geography and complete her studies in Great Britain.
“I’m studying right now. I’m in year 13. I have my A-Level exams coming and I have received a conditional offer which is three A’s so I need to get the three A’s. That is my focus right now,” she said while addressing the Association of School and College Lecturers on Saturday. “I have applied to study PPE so for the next three years I will be studying that. But other than that I want to stay focussed on my Malala Fund work,” Malala added.
She was invited for an interview in Oxford last December which she said was “the hardest interview of my life” while also adding, “I just get scared when I think of the interview.
Malala came into the international spotlight after Taliban attacked her in Swat for campaigning for girls’ education. She received a bullet injury to her head but successfully recovered after undergoing a surgery in Britain.
At seventeen, Malalai became the youngest Nobel laureate ever. At a young age, she also cofounded the Malala Fund to secure girls the right to a minimum of 12 years of quality schooling.
She has lived with her family in Birmingham since 2012 after they moved to the UK, fearing more attacks by the Taliban.
There has been a sustained effort to muzzle dissent and criticism of state policies since social media provided easily amplifiable voices to human rights defenders, voices of conscience and independent voices. Looking at the state on social media, it also took to social media some years ago to bully, and threaten dissenters with proxy and some not-so-proxy accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
The standard modus operandi by these accounts has been to label people as Indian or RAW (India’s military intelligence agency) agents, CIA or Mossad agents; to label them as traitors etc. But these attacks failed to silence, for the most part. A common theme for these abusive accounts, without fail, is that their profiles include phrases such as ‘love Islam’, ‘love Pakistan’, ‘proud Pakistani’, ‘love Pak army’, ‘love Raheel Sharif’ etc. More often than not, the background pictures are those of the army chief, of the Quaid, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Ka’ba Khana, or verses of the Quran.
Hence, dissenting voices continued, many with real accounts, and many from behind anonymous Facebook pages such as Mochi, whose admins and members were eventually abducted in early January this year, and allegedly tortured as stated by one such abductee, Waqas Goraya, at the UN, and reported by BBC on Thursday. Luckily, the local and international backlash was strong enough to have all four abducted bloggers returned to their families mysteriously. However, even whilst they remained missing for three long weeks, a concerted social media campaign alleging blasphemy against them was started – with the aim of releasing dead men walking. Those protesting the abductions were labeled as blasphemers as well, in an attempt at crushing the protests. As a reaction, the protests grew more in volume and in substance, now pointing fingers directly at the state for weaponising blasphemy for its own ends. So here this was the next fail.
The accounts and pages were the usual suspects, mentioned earlier. Together with this a couple of television channels and the Lal Masjid establishment became active in the blasphemy campaign, with Lal Masid’s well known lawyer even attempting to have a case of blasphemy registered against the bloggers.
All sane minds and sane sections of the media came together to expose the absurdity of the allegations, given that had there been any evidence of blasphemy, the four would have been charged and brought to court. The civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, did not allow the police report to be registered however, because of the flimsiness of the application. The government, too, knew what was going on. However, the nexus of the Lal Masjid, the television anchors and channels alleging blasphemy, and the social media accounts fuelling the campaign was obvious to everyone who has watched these spaces even with a cursory interest.
In the midst of all this din and madness, a Justice of the Islamabad High Court, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, made headlines with a dramatic ruling. Whilst hearing a blasphemy case against the erstwhile abducted bloggers on Tuesday, he directed the Interior Minister of the country to block pages that are deemed blasphemous even if it meant blocking all social media. The honourable judge is reported to have cried with tears at the hurt caused by blasphemy and reiterated his willingness to sacrifice himself and his family for the love of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) thus: “I submit and sacrifice myself and all what I have including my parents, my life and job to the person of Allah’s messenger (pbuh). If the blasphemous pages cannot be blocked, then Pakistan Telecommunications Authority should cease to exist,” as reported by the Samaa TV website.
Put the question of personal beliefs and emotions dictating judgments aside. Let’s not even consider the questions of fundamental rights to access to information, or right to assembly and practicalities and fallouts of such a possibility aside for the moment.
The honourable judge has had a judicial reference ongoing for alleged petty corruption with government funds, according to team Zara Hat Ke (a popular prime-time television show), who mainstreamed the story. The famous Lal Masjid lawyer filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against Zara Hat Ke and its three show hosts for highlighting the alleged corruption. They argued that this signified a conspiracy against Islam as it was against a judge hearing a vital case against blasphemy on Saturday.
Back to Waqas Goraya’s statement in the United Nations naming the state as his abductors and torturers, within 30 hours and right on cue once again, retired generals started to circulate a badly made torrid Youtube video against the bloggers, narrating a story of the subversion of the Pakistani state through maligning Islam at the behest of an international conspiracy against Islam. That piece of propaganda was another fail.
Like ‘traitor’ was a fail, like abductions were a fail, like social media attacks on the general public were a fail, like the establishment TV channels are a fail, we are set to see many more fails. Question is, when will our ideological warriors understand they have ever done little else than fail against at truly heroic, patriotic, thinking nation.
The government’s pettiness in this matter is such that the US Government and Facebook have both ignored the government’s repeated calls for information. The superior judiciary also seems entirely indifferent to this, which makes one wonder why the government is so insistent on ensuring that those responsible are caught. It has only brought more undue attention to the original post.
Fake news and information on social media is definitely a problem, but maybe a bigger issue is the presence of extremist, sectarian and hate-promoting material available online, which the government is seemingly doing nothing about.
The Interior Ministry is just one step behind the Islamabad High Court (IHC); after declaring that blasphemy is the worst form of terrorism, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has gone one step further and ordered that all blasphemous pages on social media should be blocked with immediate effect, and the names of their owners should be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL). If this does not happen, Justice Siddiqui has threatened to summon the Prime Minister to explain the government’s potential non-compliance.
The IHC’s orders are being implemented, the Islamabad Police has already registered cases against ‘unidentified persons’ for owning pages such as Bhensa, Mochi and Roshni. The strangest aspect of this entire episode is that a judge of the high court has pronounced individuals guilty, without any investigation, or evidence against them. Placing names on the ECL without proof goes against all acceptable judicial norms. Has the central tenant of the justice system, “innocent until proven guilty” been forgotten? Once the people responsible behind the pages are placed on the ECL – a list available to the general public, the IHC is essentially marking these individuals for death. Blasphemy is a controversial issue in Pakistan and needs to be resolved via public debate. There also needs to be a realisation that criticising the blasphemy law, is not blasphemy itself, and the Internet is not a forum like a printed newspaper, or a public rally, that people can be rounded up and arrested on it if they offend someone’s feelings.
There are some concerns that the handling of the case is centred on personal inclinations entirely, without considering the supremacy of the law. The Supreme Court should take note, before the IHC becomes even more far removed from both reality and the national narrative on terrorism.
According to details, an important meeting of the PPP was held in Lahore, which was chaired by Bilawal Bhutto himself.
On the occasion, Bilawal said the party would soon announce the date for the public meeting in Multan, and also the schedule for other upcoming rallies.
PPP Central Punjab Chapter President Qamar Zaman Kaira said on the occasion that Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif were not exposed to terrorist attacks; instead it was the PPP "that is at risk when it comes to the issue".
He demanded that security be given to the PPP leaders.
On the occasion, the PPP chairman also interviewed certain candidates from Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Okara, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib for their appointment at certain party posts.
Bilawal also directed the party members to accelerate the political activities in Punjab.
After the meeting, Kaira, while talking to the media, condemned the scuffle that broke out between parliamentarians on Thursday. He said that offensive remarks against women could not be tolerated in any case.
The PPP leadership said that having reservations over military courts did not mean that it favoured terrorism.
Meanwhile, Bilawal appreciated the Sindh government for increasing women's quota in government jobs from 5 percent to 15 percent, ordered through a notification on the International Women's Day.
In a statement, the PPP chairman said that such an increase in women's quota had set another precedence in the party's quest for empowering women and giving them more and more opportunities to play their due role in nation building.
"In every sphere of life, the role of women will be made more effective, thereby giving them a society where they are treated as equal partners in progress," he added.
He said this while addressing delegations of party leaders and workers from Kohat, Chitral, Hangu and Karak. He said that the war against terrorism was a war of the nation and "we will defeat these terrorists and fulfil the mission of Benazir Bhutto." He said that Benazir Bhutto was the only leader who raised her voice against extremism on international forums, as she was aware that extremism turns into terrorism. "Now it is our duty to forge unity against the ideology that nurtures terrorism," he said.
The PPP chairman asked party workers to become his ambassadors and get in contact with people just the way they got united and worked hard to win three by-elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Now they have to win the next general elections in KP, he said.
Bilawal said that the PPP government had expedited work on the Lowari Tunnel so that travel difficulties of the people could be mitigated. He demanded the early completion of the Lowari Tunnel.
The PPP chairman also held consultations with party leaders and workers regarding reorganisation of the party. Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Humayun Khan, Faisal Karim Kundi, Akhunzada Chattan, Najamuddin Khan, Rahim Dad Khan, Noor Alam Khan, Zahir Shah, Senator Rubina Khalid, Jamil Soomro and other leaders were also present on the occasion.
Syed Muzammil Shah also called on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Zardari House in Islamabad. He offered fateha for Benazir Bhutto and martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the country while resisting terrorism.