Sunday, March 19, 2017

Arabic Music Video - YALLA HABIBI

‘Arming Saudi Arabia & Bahrain risks complicity with war crimes’ – Amnesty to Trump

US President Donald Trump should cancel impending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, since this could put civilians in even greater danger and implicate the US in war crimes, Amnesty International said in a letter sent to the president.
“The deals would arm members of a military coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen and violated international humanitarian law,” the human rights group said in a press release published on Tuesday.
The organization noted that its experts found unexploded US bombs and “identifiable fragments of exploded US bombs” among the destroyed civilian buildings in Yemen.
If the US approves the deals while banning Yemenis from coming to the US, it would be like “throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on [the] way out,” according to Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director. “The US should not continue to arm governments that violate international human rights and humanitarian law and simultaneously shut its doors to those fleeing the violence it escalates,” she said.
“Arming the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the US from Yemen would be even more unconscionable. President Trump must not approve this arms deal,” she said.
On Wednesday, President Trump held a meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi delegation hailed the meeting as a “historical turning point” in US-Saudi relations, “which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues.” Speaking to RT last week, Ahmed Benchemsi, communications and advocacy director at Human Rights Watch’s Middle East & North Africa division, said that the US, UK, and France should stop selling weapons to Riyadh.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is “increasingly unsustainable” and urgent action must be taken by both sides in the conflict, he said, adding that the situation is turning into a “deep humanitarian catastrophe.”
Saudi Arabia’s coalition, which also includes Bahrain, began the military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to bring the ousted government back to power.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the impoverished country, the UN reported in late February, while seven million people are close to starvation.

Why is Donald Trump lunching with a Saudi war criminal while Yemenis are starving?


In addition to countless casualties, Saudi bombing has destroyed civilian infrastructure.

While President Trump sat down for a sumptuous meal at the White House on Tuesday, March 14 with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, millions of Yemenis are going hungry thanks to Trump’s lunch guest.
Prince Salman is only 31 years old, but as the king’s favorite son, he was put in charge of the nation’s two most critical sectors: the economy and the military. As a brash defense minister, the young prince made the disastrous decision to interfere in an internal conflict in neighboring Yemen.  Starting in March 2015, Prince Salman started a bombing campaign against the Yemeni Houthis, a group the Saudi rulers consider aligned with Iran. The bombing has gone on, relentlessly, for the past two years. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said that possible war crimes had been documented with “alarming frequency” since the Saudis became engaged.
In addition to thousands of Yemeni civilians being killed directly by Saudi bombs, the bombing has also been responsible for the massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, from water facilities to sewage treatment plants to hospitals. Particularly devastating has been the bombing of the port of Hodeidah, where most of the humanitarian aid has been entering the country. Two-thirds of the population now requires food assistance and a Yemeni child dying every 10 minutes from hunger and the lack of medical facilities. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called Yemen the “largest food insecurity emergency in the world.”
The Saudis are threatening to make matters significantly worse by launching a major military campaign in the area of Hudaidah that will make the port totally inaccessible.
It’s not just the Saudis and Houthis who are responsible for Yemen’s destruction. As Senator Chris Murphy has said, the United States also has blood on its hands. President Obama sold massive amounts of weapons to the Saudis, and helped the Yemen intervention with logistical support, including refueling Saudi planes in the air. Towards the end of his tenure, President Obama began having second thoughts due to the mounting civilian death toll, including a strike on a Yemeni funeral in October 2016  that killed more than 100 people. That’s why in December 2016, the Obama administration halted a planned sale of $390 million in precision-guided munitions from Raytheon.
President Trump is considering moving forward with this sale. Human rights groups worry that the sale could allow the Saudis to modify thousands of air-to-ground munitions that could be used in strikes against civilians. In a letter to Trump released the same day as the luncheon, Amnesty International urged Trump not to sign off on the sale. “There is substantial risk that Saudi Arabia…could use new U.S. arms to further devastate civilian lives in Yemen,” Amnesty wrote. “This could implicate your administration in war crimes or violations of international humanitarian law. Amnesty International researchers have already found both unexploded U.S. bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded U.S. bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects.”
Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly approved the resumption of the sale, but it needs White House approval before it moves forward. “If approved, this deal would essentially have President Trump throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on his way out,” said Amnesty’s US Executive Director Margaret Huang. “President Trump must not approve this arms deal.”
The Trump administration has signaled a desire to step up the fight against the Houthis in Yemen as part of its plan to get tough on Iran. It cited Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels when putting Iran “on notice” in February. The Saudi leaders are enthusiastic about Trump’s hawkish position on Iran. They also appreciate his support of the oil industry (proven by naming the CEO of Exxon as Secretary of State) and his lack of interest in human rights. And they are delighted that unlike Yemen, Saudi Arabia was not included in Trump’s Muslim travel ban, despite the fact that more Saudis have killed Americans on US soil than any other foreign nationals (remember: 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia).

It seems that the admiration is mutual. As Trump and Prince Salman sat for a photo op after lunch, Trump smiled, pointed to the Saudi delegation, and said, “They are nice people.” No, Mr. Trump, they aren’t. They behead people for peaceful dissent at home. They export the extreme Wahhabist ideology that fuels terrorist groups. And they are committing war crimes in Yemen. The United States should not be selling them any weapons or helping in their reckless military adventure that has left so many Yemenis dead, displaced and starving.

'Has Mr Erdogan lost his mind?' - Boundary crossed: Erdogan has gone too far with ‘Nazi’ comments, Germany says

'Has Mr Erdogan lost his mind?', Julia Kloeckner, vice-president of Merkel's CDU party, says angrily.

Germany angrily warned Turkey on Sunday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had gone too far after he accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of using "Nazi measures" in an escalating diplomatic feud.
Turkey and the European Union are locked in an explosive crisis that threatens to jeopardise Ankara's bid to join the bloc, as tensions rise ahead of a 16 April referendum on expanding Erdogan's powers.
The row erupted after authorities in Germany and other EU states refused to allow some Turkish ministers to campaign for a “yes” vote on their soil, provoking a volcanic response from the Turkish strongman who said the spirit of Nazi Germany was rampant in Europe.
"When we call them Nazis they (Europe) get uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel," Erdogan said in a televised speech on Sunday.

"But you are right now employing Nazi measures," Erdogan said referring to Merkel, pointedly using the informal "you" in Turkish.
"Against who? My Turkish brother citizens in Germany and brother ministers" who planned to hold campaign rallies for a “yes” vote in the referendum, he said.
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded Erdogan's comments "shocking".
"We are tolerant but we're not stupid," he told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper. "That's why I have let my Turkish counterpart know very clearly that a boundary has been crossed here."
Julia Kloeckner, the vice-president of Merkel's CDU party, also reacted angrily to the comments.
"Has Mr Erdogan lost his mind?" she said, telling journalists she was urging the EU to freeze "financial aid amounting to billions of euros" to Turkey.
Home to 1.4 million Turkish voters, Germany hosts the world's largest Turkish diaspora but the partnership between NATO allies Ankara and Berlin has been ripped to shreds by the current crisis.
Turkey reacted furiously to a Frankfurt rally on Saturday urging a “no” vote where protesters brandished insignia of outlawed Kurdish rebels, accusing Germany of double standards.
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
More than 30,000 Kurds joined a Newroz rally in Frankfurt- chanting slogans such as “terrorist Erdogan”! 
"Yesterday, Germany put its name under another scandal," presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told CNN-Turk. He said the German ambassador had been summoned, although this was not confirmed by Berlin.
The Turkish foreign ministry accused the German authorities "of the worst example of double standards" for allowing the pro-Kurdish protest while preventing Turkish ministers from campaigning there.
Many protesters carried symbols of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terror organisation not just by Turkey but also the EU and the United States.
Ankara also reacted with indignation after Germany's intelligence chief said he was unconvinced by Turkish assertions that US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen was behind the failed July coup aimed at overthrowing Erdogan.
Kalin said Europe was seeking to "whitewash" Gulen's group, while Defence Minister Fikri Isik said the comments raised questions about whether Berlin itself was involved in the putsch.
In an interview with Der Spiegel published Saturday, German foreign intelligence chief Bruno Kahl said Ankara had repeatedly tried to persuade Berlin that Gulen was behind the coup "but they have not succeeded".
There is also a possibility that Turkish ministers could plan another rally in Germany ahead of the 16 April referendum on changing the constitution, Kalin said, a move that could further heighten tensions with Berlin.
Kalin said that "Turkophobia" was on the rise in Europe, as Ankara points out the West's mistakes.
The disputes have left Turkey's ambition to join the EU - a cornerstone of its policy for half a century - hanging in the balance ahead of the referendum.
Erdogan threw further oil on the fire on Saturday by saying he believed parliament would, after the referendum, agree a bill to restore capital punishment which he would then sign.
It was Erdogan's clearest warning yet that he could reverse the 2004 abolition of capital punishment, a pre-condition for joining the EU.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned on Sunday that any return of the death penalty in Turkey would be a "red line".
And Gabriel told Der Spiegel: "We are further away than ever from Turkey's accession to the EU."
The crisis is hitting Turkey's relations with key EU members and Turkish-Dutch ties hit an all-time low in the run-up to the 15 March election in the Netherlands.
Erdogan last week even called on Turks living in Europe to have more children to tilt the demographic balance. 

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on Sunday said he was summoning the Turkish ambassador for an explanation after a report that dual nationals critical of Erdogan had been threatened.View image on Twitter

Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire – Analysis

By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir
In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.
Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.
In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”
His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923.  Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.
Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.
With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.
To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.
First, clearing the way: Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.
Second, the need for a culprit: Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.
The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.
Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism: To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.
Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.
Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.
Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in  NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.
Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”
Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”
Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.
In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.
There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.

Music Video - Koi Mil Gaya (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai )

What’s It Like to Be a Woman in Bollywood?

Shreya Narayan shares her experience as a Bollywood actress and what she see would like to see change.
Is the “casting couch” a reality in the Hindi film industry? That’s a question actress Shreya Narayan, the great-grand-niece of India’s first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, says she is often asked. The term refers to an aspiring actress trading sexual favors to producers or directors in return for entry into a film.
It does happen, says Narayan, but the Mumbai-based film industry, nicknamed Bollywood and one of the largest centers of film production in the world, is a safe place for women to work. Bollywood, though, is as patriarchal as any other workplace in India, adds the actor, who is also a writer, and has recently finished writing her debut novel.
In this informal, intimate video, the 31-year-old actress, who has worked in several top films, including Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, Rockstar, and Tanu Weds Manu, shares her experience as a Bollywood actress and what she see would like to see change in the industry.

بیا کډې باریږي، د کوزه مومندو موصل کور اولس حیران او پرېشان

د مومندو قبایلي سیمې انتظامیې د یکشنبې په ورځ د کوزه مومندو مېچنۍ موصل کورونو خلکو ته امر کړی چې هم نن سیمه تخلیه کړي او خپلې کډې دې وباسي، ځکه چې د دوی له کلي نه د ترهګرۍ د پېښو د پلان جوړېدو وېره لیدل کېږي.
خو د سیمې یو ملک عادل خان ترکزی وايي د دوی اکثره ځوانان د ملک په نورو برخو کې په خوارۍ، مزدورۍ بوخت دي او دلته یې کورنۍ پاتې دي، نو دا به ډېره ګرانه وي چې په دومره لږ وخت کې دې ټوله سیمه تخلیه کړل شي.
« په کشمير، پنډۍ او نورو ځایونو کې مو ځوانان په مزدورۍ بوخت دي، دلته یې په کورونو کې مېرمنې اوس کډې باروي، څوک چې طالب پېژني هم نه. »
ملک ترکزی زیاتوي چې د دوی د سیمې خلک وخت په وخت د طالبانو خلاف خپل غږ پورته کړی او له همدې وجې یې ډیری څوانان طالبانو وژلي هم دي، خو حکومت پر ځای ددې چې د قبایلي اولس د قربانیو احترام وکړي، به لوی لاس یې بې کوره کوي.
د ملک هاشم خان په نوم یو بل ځايی مشر چې پخپله یې هم کډه باره کړې، د مشال همکار ته یې وویل:
« کورونه خالي کوو لګیایو، څوک لاړل او څوک روان دي. د ګاډو په انتظار یو، نه پوهېږو چې چیرته به ځو، موږ خو د کرایو ورکولو وس هم نه لرو.»
د سیمې خلک وايي د کلو خالي کول او د کورونو ورانول د ستونزې حل نه دی. دوی وايي حکومت دې ورانکاري او د هغوی ملاتړ کونکي ونیسي، ټول خلک دې نه په عذابوي.
خو بل پلو د حکومت دریځ دا دی چې د کوز مومند د میچنۍ د موصل کورونو نه د د امنۍ د پېښو خطره لیدل کېده نو ځکه یې خلکو ته امر کړی چې کلی دې پرېږدي.
پاکستان تر دې وړاندې په خیبر، شمالي وزیرستان او باجوړ کې هم خلک په ورته ډول له خپلو سیمو بې کوره کړي چې ځینې یې د کلونو په تېریدو هم خپلو مېنو ته ستانه شوي نه دي.

Stuck In the 7th Century - The disturbing trend of Taliban justice in Afghanistan

A Taliban "court" recently ordered a young man accused of theft to have his hand and foot chopped off. The victim spoke with DW about his ordeal as an increasing number of Afghans turn to the Islamist group for justice.

On Monday, the Taliban cut off an accused thief's hand and foot in the western Afghan province of Herat. It is the latest case of the militant group's harsh application of punishment for suspected criminals.  
In another case earlier this month, the militants stoned a woman to death accused of adultery in northern Badakhshan province.
The victim in Herat, 15-year-old Afghan Ghulam Farooq, was captured by Taliban members after he and three of his friends were allegedly involved in a motorcycle theft in Obe district. Farooq, however, insists he was innocent and wrongfully faced the group's cruel sentence for a crime he never committed.
"My friends suggested stopping people on motorcycles and stealing from them, but I tried to stop them. They did not listen to me," Farooq told DW from a hospital bed.
"My friends stopped three people who were traveling on motorcycles, tied their hands and eyes and took the bikes with them," he added, claiming he did not accompany his friends during the theft.
Farooq said that he untied the victims and offered help. But the men instead turned to the Taliban for help, something an increasing number of people do in rural areas of Afghanistan where the government does not have a strong presence and cannot ensure the rule of law.
In these areas, the Taliban run a parallel justice system that more and more Afghans are turning to.
Setting an extreme example  
In Farooq's case, Taliban members were unable to capture his friends as they had already fled the area. Taliban members detained him as the only suspect in the case. Farooq spent over 70 days in Taliban captivity, holding on to the hope that his family would be able to forge a deal with the militants for his freedom.
"We tried everything during this period. We sent tribal elders to the Taliban and asked for his freedom but they never released him," the young man's older brother told DW.
The Taliban militants finally held a hearing and found Farooq guilty. The so-called court ordered that his hand and foot be cut off in public and before his brother's eyes. The Taliban carry out sentences in public to make an example out of their victims. The rulings are based on an interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.
"After the hearing I was given an injection. Later a man came and took my hand and foot from me," Farooq said from a hospital bed in Herat province where he is currently recovering. His condition is not life-threatening, his doctor said.
Vigilante justice
The latest incident is just another example of Afghans going to the Taliban for help instead of the government in areas under the militant group's control. One reason, experts say, is the high level of corruption in the Afghan judiciary system. Government courts also take much longer to deliver a sentence due to a high number of pending cases.
Although the international community has spent millions of dollars to strengthen the judicial system in Afghanistan over the past decade, analysts say the system remains inefficient and corrupt.
The Taliban's growing control over remote areas in Afghanistan makes it nearly impossible for the government in Kabul to run courts in districts like Obe where the Taliban have a strong presence. Local residents therefore have no other option but to ask the Taliban for help in many cases.
Asking a Taliban court for help, however, comes with a price. Their rulings are mostly final with no chance for appeal and sentences are carried out on the spot and in public. Suspects of adultery, stealing or spying can lose body parts, or even their lives, if convicted by a Taliban court.
However, other cases could have less drastic outcomes. Mohammad Dawood, a resident of Chanjer village in Helmand province had a different experience with the Taliban's parallel judiciary system, when he was dragged by one of his relatives to a Taliban court over a land dispute.
"There were a number of Taliban members who listened to both of us," Dawood told DW. "We were given a fair chance to tell them our side of the story. After that they made their ruling."
"We did not appeal the ruling as both of us had willingly agreed to appear in their court," he said, adding that the Taliban were fast and fair in their rulings, and that people did not have to bribe judges.
"In the mainstream judicial system, people face many problems - they have to spend a lot of money and wait years for a verdict," 48-year-old Dawood said.
While a Taliban court may have ended Dawood's long dispute over land, for Farooq and many others, they have brought life-long suffering. And both experts and activists are calling on the Afghan government to ensure rule of law across Afghanistan and protect the rights of its citizens.

Pakistan's hypocrite Elite - ''Hijab politicking''

Pakistan has been getting in on the act when it comes to the hijab.
We have the Punjab Higher Education minister to thank for the initial 'gaffe'. Firstly, he announced his intention of wanting to make the hijab mandatory for women attending government colleges. No mention of parliamentary debate. Yet not content with this, he went for the double-whammy: 5 extra marks would be transferred from those students whose attendance records fell below 60 percent.
Not to be outdone, the PTI waded in with one of its lawmakers calling for the same, barring the five extra marksbut including private colleges. Yet credit where credit is due. The PTI side at least had the good grace to table a resolutionbefore the Punjab Assembly. Instead ofjust waving an invisible wand and wishing it was so. It is a shame, however, that the PTI move was overshadowed by the question of "did she or didn't she" forget to add a resounding "no" to the final draft. Or whethershe had committed a faux par of Oscar-worthy proportions and unwittingly submitted the wrong paper.
For all the unintentional humour to be derived from the entire debacle, the issue remains at heart a very serious one: the policing of women's bodies. It is not enough to brush this off as the folly of two political partieswho, at various points in the past,have had to publicly distance themselves from accusations of courting militant groups.
The so-called liberal secular elite would do well to remember this. For it is less than a year ago that Internet sensation, model and yes, feminist icon,QandeelBalcoh was murdered. Reportedly,she was murdered by a brother who could no longer take the taunting over her "vulgar" behaviour.
Even some of Pakistan's most well known liberals inadvertently fuelled this accepted narrative. For instance, Qandeel's murder was qualified with the sentiment that while Qandeelwas "no role" model, she deserved a better life and death. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. The qualifier dictating that even though we didn't approve of her conduct doesn't mean her murder was justified is, to put it bluntly, more troubling than open calls to have the hijab introduced across colleges. At least the former is an open call for the policing of women's bodies. And as such, it is so much easier to challenge, even if on a superficial level. Whereas the latter represents a clear whitewashing of the facts.A young woman was killed. We either condemn it or we condone it. How hard can that be?
Governments must not tell women what to wear. It is not their job.

Video - PPP Leader Sharjeel Memon Addressing Press Conference In Islamabad 19 March 2017

Sexual harassment in Pakistan : ''An uncovered issue''

Why no one talks about sexual harassment in Pakistan’s media industry?
Journalism is often seen as a dangerous profession globally, but women, numerically fewer, are disproportionately harassed both within the workplace and in public spaces. What is even more unfortunate, the issue of sexual harassment is rarely confronted and because evidence is hard to come by, perpetrators continue to enjoy a culture of impunity.
Tanzila Mazhar, 35, a news anchor in Pakistan’s state-run television channel, had recently launched a complaint of sexual harassment against the predatory behaviour of her boss and his contempt for human dignity, especially for his female colleagues. She claims she had to pay a heavy price for naming and shaming her boss.
She lost her job (she resigned in protest after the inquiry commission could not find enough evidence and reinstated her boss) and has been told it will be hard to find work in any other channel either.
Studies upon studies have inextricably linked power with sexual harassment. “The harasser usually enjoys authority, and can affect your work,” said Mazhar.
A multi media journalist for BBC Urdu and currently taking a career break, Saba Eitizaz, who has worked both in print and electronic media said sexual harassment in Pakistan “was almost institutionalized” there.
The issue is not unique to Pakistan alone. A 2013 International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) study found that globally nearly two-thirds of women journalists have experienced some form of harassment or abuse in relation to their work and a majority did not report due to job security, fear of retaliation etc.
While those may also be some of the reasons prevalent in Pakistan, according to Anila Ansari, a broadcast journalist, in Pakistan “women are told their place is in the home so if they go out they are violating the divine commandment,” she explained.
Last August, Ansari started an anti-ogling campaign on FM radio, Power 99. She used one of the most powerful communication tools to access 35 million minds (in Vehari, Islamabad and Abbottabad) and change their attitude towards women.
“If a report from a female reporter gets on-air first compared to a male colleague’s, the latter never fails to remind her it is because of her gender.”
“The response has been tremendous. Women have said they got a platform to vent their annoyance; male callers said they now understand the difference between ‘looking’ and ‘ogling’,” said Ansari.
To have the temerity to step into an almost all male-domain, Eitizaz said “you are expected to somehow tolerate misogyny, act tough, almost man-like to be able to survive in the field,” said Eitizaz.
“When a friend complained to her supervisor about inappropriate advances made towards her by a male colleague, he shrugged saying: ‘You’ll have to learn to face people like him, else how will you survive’,” recalled Aqsa Junejo, a freelance journalist.
For her part, Eitizaz has had to deal with a smear campaign and incitement to faith-related hatred. She has even been threatened with an acid attack. “I felt violated, enraged and so helpless. I even began to have misgivings that maybe I was making too much of it,” she added.
Most women feel that their work is gauged often by their looks and not the content alone. “If a report from a female reporter gets on-air first compared to a male colleague’s, the latter never fails to remind her it is because she has an edge because of her gender,” said Junejo.
Today, harassment has also spilled into the digital world. While both male and female journalists are trolled, Nighat Dad of the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) said female journalists were particularly susceptible to gendered abuse online. “Women journalists are more likely to receive sexualised threats,” she said.
But most online journalists feel a sense of powerlessness in front of their abusers.
DRF suggested media houses to come up with “institutional mechanisms” to address online harassment. At an individual level, it recommended journalists to file formal complaints with the Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA). “Additionally, given the audience that journalists have, female journalists should openly talk about online harassment that they face,” she said.
But all is not bleak if you ask Maliha Hussain, executive director at Mehergarh, a non-government organisation that formed the Alliance against Sexual Harassment (AASHA). There are now laws in place in Pakistan that protect women against harassment like the Amended Section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace, Act 2010, with victims (both men and women) being able to seek recourse through in-house inquiry committees or the independent provincial ombudsman’s office if not satisfied with the former.
“Hundreds have taken perpetrators to court while I know of a few thousand cases where women have asked for inquiry committee to mediate,” said Hussain who is leading the work on countrywide implementation of these laws. “The State Bank of Pakistan and Pakistan Banks Association is facilitating and monitoring compliance in all the banks in the country; government organisations like NADRA are doing an excellent job of effectively implementing and using the law; the Pakistan Business Council with over 100 biggest companies in the country as members, has 100 per cent compliance with this law.”
But the irony is that while media are quick to name, shame the misdemeanors taking place all around them, they fail to look within. This calls for some serious introspection.
And while Eitizaz conceded that despite “stringent” workplace harassment policies, “casual sexism” or “sexually suggestive comments” existed even at the BBC. She said in Pakistani media houses, there are no “clear cut rules and policies and everything is quite blurry”.
It was time, emphasised media analyst and journalists’ rights activist, Adnan Rehmat, for some “concrete” action taken by the media houses on the issue. “Being the guardian of public interest they cannot carry out the role meaningfully if the relatively low number of women in media sector are left unprotected by the absence of official anti-harassment policies.”
According to the IMWF, men make up nearly three-quarters of journalism’s top managers and nearly two-thirds of its reporters globally. In Pakistan, said Rehmat, citing All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation, both print and electronic media employed around 150,000 people. But of the 18,000 journalists there, only 750 (or about 5 per cent) are women.
And therefore, having a critical mass of women in decision-making positions would be a step in the right direction.
Sadly, however, said Eitizaz, by the time women break the glass ceiling and reach the top, they become “jaded”. “The top leadership tier needs to be trained about the issue as well,” she added.
Rehmat also recommended a “written policy” about protective mechanism for each media house, “borrowing” from the federal Protection against Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2010 and the National Commission on the Status of Women. “The Pakistan Broadcasters Association as well as the All Pakistan Newspaper Society should also come up with policy decisions regarding the issue. But, these have to be based not on what men think is best for women but on what women actually need, as articulated by them,” he emphasised.
Despite laws and policies, most victims complained that it was often their female colleagues who were the least empathetic.
Eitizaz and Mazhar experienced this isolation. “Women need to be more supportive of each other and unify on this issue,” commented Eitizaz.
“If more women spoke out, it would help others,” said Eitizaz.
But women do discuss this often among themselves, naming names in private and in whispers. “Women know those men are too powerful to be held accountable,” said Mazhar.