Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Music Video - Bebe Rexha - I Got You

Video - Tear gas & Stun grenades: Protesting police officers try to storm govt building in Brazil

Video - 'Stop validating sexual harassment': Protesters outside Fox News demand Bill O'Reilly be fired

Video - Ret. Gen.: Trump needs to explain his military strategy

Video - Trevor Noah Explains Why Alex Jones’ ‘Performance’ Should Terrify You

Sardar Ali Takar--Pashto ghazal--Rahman baba--Charta da yar shoonde

Pashto Music - Speeni Spoogmai wa ya Ashna ba charta we na

Bigger bombs, more airstrikes are going to make the war in Afghanistan worse


Dropping the giant MOAB bomb in Afghanistan was the mother of all mistakes. Beyond having no strategic utility, the gargantuan 22,000-pound bomb known as the “mother of all bombs” may have made the Afghanistan War even more unwinnable.
The use of GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, American military’s largest conventional weapon, on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province may have served to unite often-discordant Afghans against the U.S. and its client Afghan government. Afghan insurgents and insiders both protested the use of bomb.
The Taliban condemned the use of the bomb, saying in a statement, “Using this massive bomb cannot be justified and will leave a material and psychological impact on our people.” Prior to the bombing, the nationalistic Afghan-focused Taliban opposed the Afghan branch of ISIS, which espouses transnational Islamic ambitions. The MOAB strike, rather than snuffing out Afghan resistance, may instead anneal discordant Afghan insurgent groups together against a common enemy.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai deplored the use of the weapon, signaling a rift among Afghan powerbrokers. “This is not the war on terror, but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons,” Karzai tweeted soon after the bomb strike. “It is upon us, Afghans, to stop the USA.”
While Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted the strike was necessary because “many families” had been displaced by “#ISIS brutality,” other Afghans questioned the move.Afghanistan’s Ambassador Pakistan Dr. Omar Zakhilwal tweeted, “If big bombs were the solution we would be the most secure place on earth today.” Karzai echoed the views of Afghans such as journalist Mirwais Afghan, who tweeted MOAB was “yet another stage show by #Trump who made it clear that Muslim lands are but the West’s laboratories.”
The U.S. has been using Afghanistan as the devil’s playground for over fifteen years. The United States began using armed drones in Afghanistan within months of the 2001 invasion, and the military and CIA has since used the unending combat to refine the deadly weapon. In 2016, drones fired more weapons than manned aircraft for the first time in history. The MOAB is yet another deadly weapon the U.S. has unleashed on Afghanistan, but one that can have wider international repercussions.
U.S. national security experts are fretting that the U.S. escalation may alienate the Muslim world further, fueling already rampant anti-Americanism. If the history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan serves as a lesson, MOAB and the intensified U.S. bombings will benefit the insurgents with increased Islamic financial support, as well as more recruits.
In some ways, the Trump administration's military escalation against ISIS is predictable: the result of a short-sighted president surrounding himself with generals wielding very large bombs. President Trump has ceded what he terms “total authorization” to the military, which appears to be rapidly escalating wars in Afghanistan and Syria. However, without strategic guidance and operational oversight, the uncoordinated military actions can have horrific unintended consequences.  
The question is the impact. Was this bombing consequential? Did the death of some ISIS fighters, whose numbers were already shrinking, bring Afghanistan closer to peace? Or will the U.S. bombing escalation enflame the insurgency further?After more than fifteen years of failed counterinsurgency, Afghanistan is an unwinnable war. The U.S.-supported Afghan government is ranked among the world’s most corrupt. Ninth on the Fragile States list, it is incapable of effectively governing or defending its citizens. Afghans remain at the bottom of virtually every human development indices, despite more than $117 billion in wasted U.S. development aid.
Empowered by citizen disgust with corruption, the Taliban-led insurgency has grown in strength at double-digit rates each year since at least 2005. Analysts indicate insurgents control about half of the countryside. The Taliban-led insurgents are pressuring government centers across country, including Kabul, now besieged with attacks. The Special Forces’ dictum has long been that if an insurgency isn’t shrinking, it’s succeeding.
Bigger bombs and more airstrikes are not going to win the war in Afghanistan. They may conversely make it worse.

How active are Indian jihadists in Afghanistan?

Afghan officials claim the US' "mother of all bombs" killed 13 Indian militants in Nangarhar. In a DW interview, expert Michael Kugelman says Indian nationals are joining both "Islamic State" and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
On April 13, the United States dropped its biggest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan on an "Islamic State" (IS) target. The so-called '"mother of all bombs" (MOAB) killed at least 96 IS fighters, according to Afghan officials. Surprisingly, 13 of them were from India.
IS in Afghanistan is known to have recruited hundreds of local fighters as well as militants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Central and Southeast Asia, but an active involvement of Indian jihadists in IS' Afghanistan operations is not well documented.
In an interview with DW, Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, says there's good reason to believe there could be Indian extremists in Afghanistan.
DW: Not much is known about the activities of Indian militants in Afghanistan. What can you tell us about it?
Michael Kugelman: I think the broader question is why Afghanistan is becoming so attractive to extremists on the whole. Over the last few years there has been an influx of extremists from around the broader region - the militant network in Afghanistan is much more diverse and international than merely the Taliban and al Qaeda. Clearly what appeals to extremists about Afghanistan is its growing swath of lawless and hard-to-navigate territory, which provides ideal conditions for sanctuaries. These are conditions that appeal to extremists of all types, whether we're talking about Indian militants, jihadists from Central Asia, or Arab fighters from the Middle East.
This is one of the few cases, if not the first, in which Indian extremists have been killed in Afghanistan. Are Indian militants active across Afghanistan?
There's reason to believe that al Qaeda, and particularly AQIS - al Qaeda's South Asian regional affiliate - could feature some Indian nationals. Let's not forget that the supreme leader of AQIS is widely believed to be an Indian. Al Qaeda, despite claims to the contrary, remains a serious threat in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.
Also, based on recent history, there's good reason to believe there could be Indian extremists in Afghanistan. Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) has had a presence in Afghanistan, and for quite some time LeT partnered closely with Indian Mujahideen, an al Qaeda-aligned Indian terror group, which has since been decimated.
The bottom line is that given the types of terror groups that have operated in Afghanistan, both past and present, there's reason to believe that there could be some Indians among them.
Are Indian PM Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalistic policies pushing some Indian Muslims toward extremist groups in Afghanistan?
It's true that Indian Muslims have faced new and growing challenges of discrimination and marginalization in India, though it's doubtful this has had a radicalizing effect and led some to join IS. I think it's highly unlikely that radicalized young Indian Muslims are gravitating to IS en masse, though one can't discount the possibility that if current conditions remain in place, you may eventually have this dynamic play out, albeit on a modest scale. For all the challenges and problems they face, Indian Muslims, on the whole, are treated better than religious minorities are in many other countries.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense also confirmed that Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Philippine nationals were among those killed in the MOAB attack. Is Afghanistan becoming a favorite destination for jihadists willing to join IS ranks?
For quite some time in previous years, when we thought of top destinations for global terrorists, Pakistan was at the top of the list. But aggressive counterterrorism operations by the Pakistani army in the tribal areas - long South Asia's ground zero for militant safe havens - have shifted the calculus. First, counterterrorism operations have pushed many Pakistan-based terrorists across the border into Afghanistan. Second, these operations have prompted other terrorists from the region and beyond to view Afghanistan as a more attractive destination because the law and order situation is so much worse there.
In effect, Islamist extremists far and wide are starting to see Afghanistan as a more coveted address than Pakistan because the real estate is simply more attractive and safe havens are so much easier to establish.
How do you analyze the future of IS in Afghanistan?
I think that IS' star is falling in Afghanistan. Several years ago it was developing a strong profile, at a time when IS was going on the offensive around the world by staging attacks in so many places and enjoying a strong grip on its Middle East-based "caliphate." But over the last year, as IS has lost much of its territory in the Middle East, the US has worked closely with Afghanistan to degrade the organization's infrastructure and capacities in Afghanistan, mainly through airstrikes. Also, IS has not endeared itself to anyone with its particularly brutal tactics in eastern Afghanistan, making the Taliban look like a modest force in the eyes of local communities.
I am not saying IS is on life support in Afghanistan, but it's certainly struggling in a big way. The Taliban have always been the top militant threat in Afghanistan, and as IS continues to get beaten down there, the strength of the Taliban will be amplified even more.
Michael Kugelman is a senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
The interview was conducted by Masood Saifullah.

Video - Malala salutes Mashal Khan’s family

Pakistan - #MashalKhan - Will the state act?

All it needed was a pre-mediated murder most brutal. All it needed was a pre-mediated murder most brutal that was retrospectively “justified” with false allegations of blasphemy.
All it needed was this for the Pakistani political landscape, including prominent religious scholars, to come together. All it needed was this for our lawmakers to call for the existing blasphemy legislation to be amended, with a view to criminalising such fictitious and malicious claims. All it needed was this, many decades after these persecutory man-made laws came into being.
All it needed was the inhumane lynching of Mashal Khan for the political apparatus to move towards reclaiming its writ.
This may seem like too little too late. But this is Pakistan we are talking about. Where the religious right has slowly and steadily been tightening the noose around the country’s neck. Where certain elements of the so-called ‘moderate’ establishment have all the while been waiting in the hangman’s wings, too afraid to liberate the country by severing the rope once and for all. Thus given these constrained circumstances — this shift, however small it may be, must be welcomed.
For here is where we all must be honest with ourselves. Civil society protest alone will not change the world. We have been here far too many times before to believe otherwise. We have been here far too many times under democratic rule to believe otherwise. From the twin attack on Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, to the diabolical burning alive of a Christian couple near Kasur. We have all been here before. We have attended the candlelit vigils. We have stood under the banners poignantly declaring: one nation, one people. We have done all this and we, rightly, will continue to do so. Yet without support from the state — such sincere and heartfelt shows of unity have no long-term bite.
The primary function of civil society agitation is to keep the media focused, ensuring that whichever atrocity of the day (for these, sadly, occur all too frequently) captures as many headlines for as long as possible. This especially holds true when it comes to international media coverage. For the bitter truth is that the Pakistani state’s fixation on its image abroad is the one thing that can usually be counted upon to galvanise it into action. Yet for far too long has the state outsourced all responsibility to civil society to protest against such gross injustices. And so it is we wait with bated breath. In the hope that we have reached a tipping point from which there is no return. In the hope that the state once and for all recognises the burden of liability rests upon its shoulders. And that the state fulfils its responsibility of clearing up the bloody chaos of its own making.

Pakistan braces for Supreme Court decision that could remove PM

By Saad Sayeed and Syed Raza Hassan
A looming Supreme Court decision that could disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations had the country on edge Wednesday, as a drawn-out investigation related to the "Panama Papers" leaks neared a conclusion.
Sharif has denied any wrongdoing, but the Supreme Court agreed to investigate his family's offshore wealth late last year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.
The Supreme Court could take a range a of steps.
It could clear the prime minister, or order a further judicial commission of inquiry or even declare him ineligible to hold office, as it did in 2012 with then-Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani over a contempt of court case.
Pakistani stocks fell 1.5 percent in early trade after the news overnight that a decision would be announced on Thursday. The benchmark KSE 100 later rebounded and closed up 1.6 percent.
Both the government and opposition expressed confidence on Wednesday.
"There is no chance that decision will come against our leadership. Our government and entire leadership are performing their duties as per routine," Talal Chaudhry a prominent leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz told Geo Television. Naeem ul Haque, a spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said he expected a verdict against Sharif, but he made clear the opposition would not launch a new street movement if they were disappointed.
"Imran Khan has clearly stated that we will accept the decision of the Supreme Court, but we believe that enough evidence has been presented to remove the prime minister and that a verdict should be reached that is based on the evidence," he said.
In 2014, Khan led a months-long protest that paralysed the government quarter in the capital, Islamabad, after rejecting Sharif's decisive election win a year earlier. The case stems from documents leaked from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm appeared to show that Sharif's daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy properties in London.
Sharif told parliament last year that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics and that no money was siphoned off-shore. Khan, however, has argued that the prime minister's lawyers have changed stories on the source of the offshore money several times and that it is up to Sharif to prove the offshore companies were not used for money laundering. Corruption is endemic in Pakistan, which ranks a dismal 116th out of 176 in Transparency International's annual index of the world's most graft-ridden countries.

Ahmadi muslim professor murdered in Pakistan, third killing since last month

A professor from the persecuted Ahmadi community was found stabbed to death in her house in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, the third member of the religious minority to be killed in the past three weeks.
The body of Tahira Abdullah was found lying in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds in the residential colony of the University of Punjab on Tuesday. It is feared this was a targeted killing based on the victim’s faith.
Abdullah, 61, had been working on a contract after retiring from the varsity’s molecular genetics department. She was teaching cell biology, DNA replication and repair, biochemistry and plant biotechnology at the postgraduate level.
She had been living alone in the house granted to her by the university and her husband had died a few years ago.
Abdullah was “found murdered” when police and a university official reached her home, University of Punjab spokesperson Khurram Shahzad told PTI. “Her daughter informed the varsity administration that her mother was not picking up her phone since the previous night,” he added.
Saleemuddin, the spokesperson for the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, said Abdullah was an Ahmadi and it was very likely she was killed because of her faith.
On March 30, well-known advocate Malik Saleem Latif, the cousin of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam and president of Jamaat Ahmadiyya in Nankana Sahib district, was shot dead by unidentified attackers.
A veterinary doctor from the community was killed in Lahore on April 7. The banned militant group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the earlier killings.
A constitutional amendment in 1974 declared Ahmadis “non-Muslims”. Several militant groups consider them heretics and members of the community have often been targeted by terrorists.

Protests await Pakistani leaders in Washington

Pakistani-Americans are planning to hold a protest in Washington on Thursday to protest what they call a “systemic crackdown on freedom of expression in Pakistan”.
The demonstration is being held outside The Foreign Policy Institute as Pakistan’s political elite gather for an event to discuss Pakistan-US relations.
The protest comes as Pakistan intensifies crackdown on bloggers and activists. Several bloggers and activists went missing from various Pakistani cities between January 4 and 7, sparking nationwide protests.
Earlier this month, activist and academic Professor Riaz Ahmed was arrested during a protest against the illegal detention of fellow academic Dr. Hasan Zafar Arif. In a charge sheet against Professor Riaz, Pakistan’s paramilitary force claimed that the “professor was involved in advocating for the release of ‘blasphemous’ bloggers reportedly picked up by law enforcement agencies recently.”
A statement by AdvoPak, the group organizing the protest said:
Through this protest, we appeal to the leaders to promote freedom of expression and to ensure the protection of journalists and activists. We urge them to be more watchful of hatemongers and to hold those individuals and groups accountable that indulge in smear campaigns and use of blasphemy allegations against activists and journalists.
Such allegations are a direct threat to lives of activists and lack of inaction on government’s behalf can also instigate violence and promote “vigilante justice.” We believe that the right to freedom of expression is fundamental to the promotion of democracy and social justice in Pakistan and everywhere.
The lineup of speakers will include Pakistan’s former President & Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf as well as Vice Chairman of PTI & Member National Assembly of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Pakistan’s Hypocrisy on Freedom of Religion and Belief

By Michael John De Dora

“We believe that states have the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people.”
So said Mr. Qazi Saleem Ahmed Khan of Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, on the floor of the UN Human Rights Council just a few weeks ago. Mr. Khan would later lament what Pakistan sees as an “increase in religiously motivated crimes.”
It was heartening to hear such remarks from Pakistan. However, as I would later note in a statement also delivered on the floor, Mr. Khan conveniently forgot to mention his own country’s record of promoting or tolerating intolerance and stamping out any form of dissent. In fact, at the time Mr. Khan was speaking on the floor the Council, his government was engaging in a full-scale assault on the fundamental freedoms of its people — in what could very well be considered religiously motivated crimes.
It is well known that Pakistan is no bastion of human rights. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) includes Pakistan in its list of Countries of Particular Concern and for a decade now has urged the U.S. State Department to do the same (it has refused). This is because the government engages in widespread, systemic discrimination against Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus, Shias, and atheists. More people are serving life sentences or on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan than in any other country in the world. This includes Asia Bibi, whose plight led politicians Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer to call for her freedom. As a result of their open dissent, both were assassinated.
In recent weeks, Pakistan has shifted its crackdown on those holding minority or dissenting views into overdrive — with a particular focus on secularists and freethinkers. At least three activists and bloggers have been arrested, causing many more to flee. The government has pressured Facebook to remove blasphemous content, claiming without proof that the company has removed 85 percent of the disputed material. The Interior Minister even convened a meeting of ambassadors representing 27 countries in order to devise a global plan to suppress blasphemous content. And a high court ordered authorities to bring back bloggers who escaped the country following accusations of blasphemy.
Such crackdowns are clear violations of international human rights norms, and clearly display just how tenuous the government believes its grasp on power to be. Why else would a government feel compelled to punish people for the content of their thoughts?
But, as the cases of Bhatti and Taseer suggest, the government has also been unable or unwilling to protect its citizens from vigilante violence. Just last week, a leader of the Ahmadiyya community was shot to death“because of his religious beliefs.” It is no coincidence that Pakistan is the only state in the world to have officially declared that Ahmadis are non-Muslims.
Yet Pakistan also contradicts itself. For instance, `Ms. Fareena Arshad statedduring the Council session that:
“Pakistan is committed to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief for all … [Pakistan’s constitution] … guarantees equal rights and status to all its citizens, irrespective of religion. … Every citizen of Pakistan is free to exercise the right to profess, practice, or propagate his or her religious views even against the prevailing or dominant view of his or her own religious denomination or sect.”
Clearly this is not the case. Where can concerned activists turn in the face of such hypocrisy? Ironically enough, they can turn to a space carved out by Pakistan.
Each year between 1999 and 2010, the UN infamously approved a non-binding OIC-sponsored resolution condemning the so-called “defamation of religions.” Due to declining support — thanks in part to efforts by the U.S. and U.K. — the OIC decided to pull the resolution and propose a new text.
Enter Resolution 16/18, on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” It has been approved by consensus each March since 2011.
The text includes vague language that is ripe for abuse, and unfortunately but expectedly does not mention the rights of the nonreligious.
However, some of its language is quite definitive and inclusive: “Strongly deploring all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief”; “Recognizing the valuable contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity”; and “Call[ing] upon all States: (a) To take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries in the conduct of their public duties do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief; (b) To foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to the society.”
There is hardly a clearer illustration of Pakistan’s hypocrisy on freedom of religion or belief than the fact that they blatantly flout their obligations to fully respect and implement the principles of a UN resolution that they themselves helped devise.
Towards the end of the Council session, another representative from Pakistan, Mr. Aamar Aftab Qureshi, urged states to “Totally reject the politics of hate wherever it is pursued.” He continued: “it must be shunned and replaced with messages of peaceful coexistence and intercultural harmony.”
Perhaps Pakistan should start with itself. It can show that it too rejects the politics of hate — by releasing all those imprisoned for their beliefs or peaceful expressions, and moving to repeal its egregious blasphemy laws.

PPP to hold nationwide protest against loadshedding

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to hold nationwide protest against the worst loadshedding happening in the country.
The party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has approved of the protests and the schedule will be announced by the main leadership today (Tuesday). PPP’s protest call came after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced to hold rallies against the persisting problem in the country on Thursday.
Bilawal Bhutto has said that power cuts have become intolerable for the public as the government’s claims and promises of ending loadshedding have come out to be a scam. The main spokesperson of PPP Chaudhry Manzoor and Punjab PPP General Secretary Nadeem Afzal Chan will present the protest schedule in a press conference.

Pakistan - #MashalKhan - Blood on our hands

Hafsa Khawaja

“How I wished during those sleepless hours that I belonged to a different nation, or better still, to none at all.” –W.G. Sebald
A glance at his profile reveals bits and pieces from which you can patch together his person: poetry, musings, an avidness for photography, friendships, quotes from books, posts on global affairs and local issues, a love for knowledge, an interest in Sufism, support for women’s rights and a heart for humanity.
This was Mashal Khan, a kind and gentle soul whose crime was to think freely, to have the audacity to think differently, and to envision a better society and a better people.
He was brutally murdered in Mardan.
Is it even a shock that such a horrific incident took place in a country which has institutionalised bigotry and hate? Where politicians, representatives, leaders, judges, journalists, anchors and clerics peddle hate, bigotry and violence every single day?
Before the matter of blasphemous posts was concocted, Mashal was accused of being an Ahmadi which he had denied. Is such an incident unexpected in a land whose laws enshrine exclusion, discrimination and persecution towards the Ahmadi community?
When the state sanctions hate, it is a license for the public to have a free hand to apply it wherever and whenever they wish. The gruesome incident also forces questions about blasphemy in Pakistan, including the reform and the repeal of the Blasphemy Law. It is undeniable that the matter warrants honest and candid debate, but it is also a point to ponder whether or not the people would stop baying for blood if the Blasphemy Law goes. In Mashal’s case, neither a formal complaint nor an arrest had taken place. There has been no appeal to law, mob vigilantism was the law of the day.
The baying for blood may not disappear with the Blasphemy Law, but let us be clear that state patronage of certain ideologies and ideas opens the floodgates for abhorrent public sentiments and abominable tendencies and menaces to come to the fore and actively play out. Trump’s ascent to the White House and the boost it has been for white-supremacists and racists stands stark in sight. One need not even look so far for proof of this, a glimpse at our eastern neighbour suffices. Modi’s rise has emboldened Hindu right-wing organisations and India has subsequently seen a sharp growth in incidents of violence, fear, threat and intimidation against those who provoke their ire.
In Pakistan, state patronage of certain ideologies and ideas, a certain narrative of Islam and the narrative of blasphemy, is an encouragement for the public to engage, express and execute their depraved schemes, bigotry, intolerance, and to take the law into their hands.
Mashal’s murder, however, must not push us into the utopian expectation and idealistic hope that the Pakistani government and state would step up to reflect on their responsibility, their complicity and decisively act to steer the country away from the destruction it is steeply descending into by each passing day.
Such an expectation and hope cannot be fostered while the state and government pander and patronise for their own agendas and interests the very elements and organisations whose extremism, intolerance and violence are fatally injuring Pakistan. Such a hope cannot be kept while religion is employed as a potent weapon for political expediency, for cheap political mileage and for silencing dissent; while lawmakers declare those who wish to see Pakistan should either mend their ways or leave the country; while the Prime Minister’s son-in-law engages in hate speech against the Ahmadi community; while political parties scurry to shake hands bloodied with the lives of thousands of Pakistanis, in the name of electoral alliances; when disappeared bloggers and arrested professors are struck with blasphemy allegations; when the Interior Minister threatens to shut down social media due to blasphemous content; when judges become moral crusaders and drum up perceived dangers to Islam to curtail freedoms.
That this witch-hunt and venom would extend and seep into online spaces was only inevitable. It is too much to expect for things to change when not a leaf stirred when Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were gunned down in broad daylight, when the Christian couple of a pregnant Shama and her husband Shehzad were lynched and thrown into the furnace of a brick kiln, or when an angry mob set fire to a house in Gujranwala killing three Ahmadis including eight-month-old Hira, and five-year-old Kainat.
The involvement of ordinary people in such acts does much to underscore the extent, gravity and ideological and cultural facets of the prevalent challenge of extremism and intolerance confronting Pakistan. We are complicit, through our outright espousal of extremism, through our apathy towards its victims; through the stutter and stammer of our tongue with “ifs” and “buts” when condemning these acts, through the repugnant “justifications”, “explanations” and “questions” we offer for these acts; and through our refusal and silences to protest against them. In one way or another, we are complicit.
When an institution of education, knowledge and learning becomes the site of a cold-blooded, brutal murder, it should be enough to recognise that the Pakistani state is a rotten state, with a diseased society, both of which can never bear a truly living and thinking individual like Mashal.
The state is complicit, and so are we.
We may not have been present at the site of the murder, but we enabled it.
One can suppose that the splatters of blood are lighter on our hands, but know that they are there nonetheless.
Every day, this country dies a ghastly death at the hands of the mob it has the misfortune of calling its people, its nation.
It seems even God has forsaken Pakistan for we alone are responsible for the hell and havoc at home.

European Union delegattion called on PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto

یورپین یونین کے اراکین پارلیمنٹ کے ایک وفد نے جس کی قیادت یورپین یونین کے فارن افیئرکمیٹی کے چیئرمین ڈیوڈ میک السٹر نے کی، پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری سے زرداری ہاﺅس اسلام آباد میں ملاقات کی۔ اس وفد میں یورپین یونین کی فارن افیئر کمیٹی کے اراکین بھی شامل تھے۔ چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو کے ساتھ سینیٹر شیری رحمن، سینیٹر فرحت اللہ بابر، نیر حسین بخاری، مصطفی کھوکھر، فوزیہ حبیب اور جمیل سومرو بھی موجود تھے۔


A teacher has described the moment he was turned on by a mob of students as they lynched a liberal student in a deadly attack that has triggered shock, outrage and fear across Pakistan.
Hundreds of men attacked journalism student Mashal Khan last Thursday, stripping, beating and shooting him before throwing him from the second floor of his hostel at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan.
Khan had been known for his liberal views, especially on Facebook, sparking blasphemy allegations against him.
Twenty-two people have been arrested so far over the killing, which came as the government ramped up its anti-blasphemy rhetoric in recent weeks.
On Tuesday one of Khan’s teachers, Ziaullah Hamdard, told the private Geo TV channel that he had been called to the scene at the university’s journalism department where students were shouting slogans against Khan and another student, Abdullah. One university employee threatened to kill Khan and cut him into pieces, Hamdard said. Then the mob began kicking in the door to a washroom where Abdullah had taken refuge.
“All this happened in seconds, they broke the door, some of them had batons, they were furious—suddenly they entered inside… They were not listening to any one,” Hamdard said.
Police had arrived and managed to yank a wounded Abdullah to safety, he told Geo. At the sight of blood and the crowd, he added, “I lost my courage.” He rushed to the staff hostel, but around 20 students were already there, and they accused him of hiding Khan.
“They said, ‘You are a non-believer, you have hidden a blasphemer’… They were crazy, they were not listening to me. Two of them kicked me and snatched my mobile and locked me in my room.”
Hamdard was rescued by another teacher, he said, and spirited away by police—but by then Khan, who had been hiding in his own room at a nearby student hostel, was dead. “Mashal was a Diya [lamp]. They have turned off a lamp,” Hamdard told Geo.
He apologized to Khan’s parents for failing to protect their son, and said his guilt had driven him to resign.
The brutality of the attack, partly recorded on a mobile phone, provoked widespread condemnation, with protests in several cities over the weekend—although it took two days for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to speak out.
The lynching came in the wake of a government push to root out blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan with even unproven allegations leading to dozens of mob lynchings and murders since 1990.

Last month Sharif swore blasphemers on social media would be prosecuted. The Interior Ministry also threatened to block social media websites with blasphemous content.

Pakistanization of Turkey - DESPOTS UNDER DEMOCRACY

Bulent Kilic
The Turkish referendum on Sunday has returned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to 12 additional years of rule with powers to amend Turkey’s Constitution; and the victory has been unexpectedly narrow. He is a tough angry man, and anger is associated with the Turkish tribe he comes from. Non-westernized Anatolia, the eastern part of Turkey, has taken its revenge on the western, Westernized part of the country; and people, particularly journalists who have suffered under him, predict despotism rather than democracy in Turkey in the coming days.

Just when people thought he had painted himself into a corner with toughness, Erdogan has ended up playing his cards right. U.S. President Donald Trump has sent him a message of congratulations for having become a dictator because he supported Trump’s decision to bomb Damascus “for having used a chemical agent against his own people.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also praised him for being a great president. He had earlier closed down a chain of good Turkish schools in Pakistan run by Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen in return for which Turkey had bought some homemade Pakistani trainer planes. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are thankful he has opposed Iran’s penetration of Syria and Iraq, sending in Turkish troops to balance Iranian contingents.
The narrow margin in the referendum means there is going to be a lot of strife in Turkey in the coming days. Erdogan’s success in power has been owed to economic progress and if he doesn’t lose it with his excesses he will have to be tolerated for the next decade. Referendums defeat the spirit of democracy by violating the principle of indirection under “populism.” The European Union was stopped in its progress toward a constitution by referendums, and now the union itself is under threat. In the U.S., the victory of Trump by a narrow margin has led to anti-Trump demonstrations. The U.K., too, was pushed into an uncertain future outside the EU through a narrowly-won Brexit referendum. Prime Minister Theresa May has today called for early elections to secure a stronger mandate for Brexit negotiations. And in India, a hardline “Hindutva” leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already demonstrating how despotism is practiced under democracy.