Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Music Video - Katy Perry - Bon Appétit ft. Migos

Video Report - German interior ministry says its thwarted Berlin suicide attack

Video Report - Illegal Immigrants and Dems Attack Texas Republican after He Calls ICE on Them

Video Report - Pro-Immigration Protest Disrupts TX House

Video Report - Interview with Secretary General of China Development Research Foundation

Video Report - US successfully tests missile interceptor

Video Report - Syria: Syrian army makes major gains on IS territory in Homs region

Video Report - Syrian Army advancing in Deir ez-Zor as fight against ISIS continues

Video Report - Braving bombs, bullets & tear gas – but still not ‘real’ journalists for Macron

Video Report - 'Deceitful propaganda' - Emmanuel Macron on RT and Sputnik

Music Video - Afshan Zaibe - Koe Rohi

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye


Activity of 41 sectarian, terrorist, anti-state organisations is accessible to every user on the social network. They exist in plain sight, just one search and one click away from any of Pakistan’s 25 million Facebook users. An investigation carried out by Dawn across the month of April 2017 has revealed that 41 of Pakistan’s 64 banned outfits are present on Facebook in the form of hundreds of pages, groups and individual user profiles.

Their network, both interconnected and public, is a mix of sectarian or terror outfits, global terror organisations operating in Pakistan, and separatists in Balochistan and Sindh.
For the purpose of this investigation, the names of all banned outfits – including acronyms and small variations in spelling – were searched on Facebook to find pages, groups, and user profiles that publicly ‘liked’ a banned outfit.
The biggest outfits on the social network, in order of size, are Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) with 200 pages and groups, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) with 160, Sipah-i-Sahaba (SSP) with 148, Balochistan Students Organisation Azad (BSO-A) with 54.
Other banned outfits which exist on Facebook at a smaller scale include Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, 313 Brigade, multiple Shia outfits and a host of Baloch separatist organisations.



As many as 100 Pakistani nationals deported from Saudi Arabia returned home yesterday. Saudi Wahhabi monarchy rendered them jobless and then deported them.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said that 100 Pakistanis who were deported from Saudi Arabia owing to various reasons arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore.
The FIA officials, after fulfilling the legal formalities, allowed all of them to go to home.
Saudi Arabia continues to deport Pakistani workers and thousands of Pakistanis have so far been deported but Wahhabis-allied Deobandis don’t raise voice in favour of Pakistanis.


Pakistan's Forced Islamic Conversions - Minorities struggle to save identity

By Emanuel Sarfraz
Two soul stirring news reports have come out in one day about the revelation that forced conversions continue in Pakistan without any check. Member of Kalash community of Chitral, Gul Nazar, speaking in Islamabad the other day gave a desperate SOS call that their culture was being changed and they were being forced to convert to Islam.
Nazar said the media was just showing their dances and not the real challenges faced by the Kalash tribe. Only about 4,000 Kalash people are left. Majority of Kalash people no longer follow their own religion. Some religious groups are active there. She said religious ways of her community are being blocked and names of their places are being replaced with Muslim names such as Qaziabad and Ahmedabad.
The other related story was about the prosecutor who was blamed for asking the under-trial Christian accused of the Youhanabad lynching case to embrace Islam for getting released on bail. He was found guilty of the charge in an inquiry started against him under Punjab Employees Efficiency and Discipline Act. No law of Pakistan could spare them if found guilty but the prosecutor was perhaps trying to give them a chance to change their faith for something that he had in his mind.
Both the stories were disturbing and must have sent shock waves through many people. Till date not a single person has been punished for forcing minorities people to convert. The number of forcefully converted people runs into thousands.
Last year I reported case of a minor girl, Sana Shahid from Sialkot, who was forced to convert by an influential person of the area and was married to his son. The parents of the Christian girl approached the police with documents that their daughter was only 14 years old and could not be forced to convert or marry as she was not an adult. But to no heed. I talked with senior police officers of Sialkot. They all said that justice would be provided, but no arrest was made. The influential people who had converted the girl then got pre-arrest bail from court, which was granted without hearing the other aggrieved party. The girl’s parents are still trying to get justice after the passage of around nine months.
Many cases of forced conversion, usually of women from minority communities, have been reported in KPK, Punjab and Sindh. According to human rights activists many cases are not even reported by the parents of these girls as it all carries a lot of ‘social stigma’ and usually they have other girls and children to take care of. Recently there was a case in Lahore but the father refused to accept publicly that such an incident had even happened. “We got a good proposal for Shazia and it was all done in hurry. She has gone to England with her husband,” said the father.
The stories are endless but the state has not taken any initiative to end this injustice. For Kalash people there have been activists like Maureen Lines who died this April. Her work for saving the culture of Kalash people will never be forgotten. It is hoped her work will be carried on by her followers. I believe it is high time the world take notice of her efforts and declare the Kalash sites under protection of UNESCO. There should be a law that no people from outside the territory can buy Kalash land. The Pakistan government should take practical steps to preserve the Kalash culture and religion. It should legislate to ensure there are no forced conversions and those who are engaged in such activities are punished. Such a step was taken in Sindh but the law could not be made as the religious parties opposed it. The bill against forced conversion was passed by the Sindh Assembly in November but the government later decided to review it. The Sindh governor refused to sign the bill and returned it. The matter has still not been resolved.
Many Pakistanis continue to languish in Immigration Detention Centres of different countries. From Europe to the countries of Pacific Rim these Pakistanis are mostly asylum seekers who want to seek refuge in these countries or are seeking repatriation to some other country. The number of these Pakistanis is in thousands. Though many of them could be in search of greener pastures, but many many complaints are about forced conversion. It is time the government looked into the matter seriously to improve Pakistan’s image in the world and to provide justice to minorities.

Pakistan’s Saudi misadventure

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid 

Following last week’s embarrassment at the ‘Islamic’ summit in Riyadh, where neither Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif nor former Army Chief Gen (R) Raheel Sharif – who militarily spearheads the Saudi-led military coalition – was invited to speak, there are reports that Islamabad might be reconsidering participation in said ‘Islamic’ alliance.
The fact that US President was heading an ‘Islamic’ summit barely six months after winning an election campaign based – in significant part – on anti-Muslim populism should’ve been embarrassment enough for the Muslim world to begin with. What apparently has fueled rumours that Pakistan might be reconsidering participation in the alliance is the fact that both Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz upped the ante on anti-Iran rhetoric.
This either is a cop out, or reflects Islamabad’s utter lack of basic understanding of international relations and policies of the states it has historically allied itself with. What exactly was it about Trump or King Salman’s speech that came as a surprise for anyone in Nawaz Sharif’s entourage, which had spent hours helping the Prime Minister memorise a speech that he ended up binning?
Do those at the helm of Pakistan’s foreign policy not even have sufficient knowhow to ‘decode’ what the theme of a summit lead by Trump and hosted by King Salman would be themed around before accepting the invitation to join in?
Did the fact that the coalition was first announced in December 2015 – ninth months into Saudi military intervention in Yemen and a month before the execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr – also not give Islamabad an idea who this alliance would be aligned against? One would’ve been prompted to even hint that this belated suggestion of a potential back-peddling, if not complete retraction, is a reaction to the snub at the summit where Trump and King Salman collectively humiliated Pakistan by first not allowing the premier to speak and then by even refusing to include him in any publicised meetings or photo-ops.
But as far as Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia are concerned, disagreement, let alone defiance, has never been on Islamabad’s menu.
So what exactly happened that has, apparently, caused a rethink?
“What we need to understand is that the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the alliance are yet to be finalised. The defence ministers of the participating countries will meet and discuss the modalities of the coalition. We must wait until we have all the information to comment on its outcome. We shouldn’t indulge in speculations,” Foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakria said at the weekly briefing following the Riyadh summit.
Is the foreign office trying saying that an NOC was issued to Gen (R) Raheel Sharif to spearhead this coalition even before the exact details were finalised with Riyadh?
Or worse, was saying No to the NOC not even an option for the government?
Another government official has also maintained that Pakistan will join this alliance “only to fight terrorism.”
That should clear the confusion then. Because it’s not like the term ‘terrorism’ is loaded, or aligned with state policies.
A Kashmiri freedom fighter who picks up the gun is a terrorist for India. A separatist militant in Balochistan is a terrorist for Pakistan. A mujahid can be a terrorist or strategic asset depending on whether s/he is waging war against the military establishment or against it. So maybe it’s a good idea to modalities of terrorism as well, before we agree to defend Saudi Arabia against terrorists.
A country that has unequivocally upheld that ‘atheists are terrorists’, clearly doesn’t even need an individual to take up arms for them to be lumped into the bin of terrorism. It also underscores that terrorism for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is primarily based on ideological affiliations. And there are no prizes was guessing the one ideology that Wahabbism is antagonistic to even more than nonbelief.
If the Saudi-led coalition is really about ‘Muslim unity’ and ‘fight against terrorism’, how about Islamabad adds support for the Kashmiri struggle against what it dubs ‘Indian state terrorism’ in the ‘modalities’ of the alliance with Riyadh? There have already been 223 UN resolutions against Israeli occupation of Palestine in the last decade alone, surely the ‘Muslim Ummah’ would also care about ‘Muslim brothers’ in Kashmir?
The only hindrance here is the fact Saudi Arabia has defence agreements with India, supplies 19% of its oil needs and has bilateral trade worth $39 billion.
This diplomatic pickle that Islamabad currently finds itself in is the culmination of decades of Islamist foreign policy where religious affiliation has been peddled as a conclusive determinant not only for bilateral ties between Muslim states, but also to alienate other states – India and Israel being prime examples.
The moment Pakistan abandons its Islamist approach towards relations with neighbouring Afghanistan and Iran – in addition to other Muslim states – and takes up the Kashmir cause without any religious blinkers, it would not only witness a complete revamp of its relations with the world, and in turn the image around the globe, it would also sort out the many contradictions that are forcing Islamabad to pursue duplicitous foreign and security policies.
Till then joining any alliance that claims to be ‘Islamic’ and discriminatory at the same time is masochistic. For any such coalition would define itself with respect to who isn’t Islamic. And we all know what happens when that domino effect kicks in.

Report: Banned Islamist Groups in Pakistan Freely Operate on Social Media

Dozens of banned militant, sectarian, terrorist and anti-state groups in Pakistan reportedly operate freely on social media, particularly on Facebook, spreading hate speech without being confronted by authorities.
In an investigative article published Tuesday, the English-language DAWN newspaper reports 41 of the 64 extremist organizations banned by the government are accessible to social network users in the form of hundreds of pages, groups and individual profiles.
While Pakistan's counter-extremism efforts have long remained under fire for being selective, critics say the reported unchecked extremist activity strengthens widespread opposition fears a recently unleashed government crackdown on social media in the name of "national security" is meant only to stifle political dissent and demands for accountability of state institutions.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has not immediately commented on the newspaper report and has previously rejected allegations its social media crackdown is targeting political opponents.
‘Hate roams free’
The Federal Investigation Agency that is coordinating the anti-social media campaign has mostly detained and probed social media activists linked to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and other opposition parties.
Khan has been staging street protests and holding public rallies to pressure Sharif to step down for alleged corruption. His opposition party, analysts note, has effectively used social media to highlight governance issues and mobilize public support in Pakistan.
Critics say that pressuring political opponents and "selectively" moving against extremist forces will fuel religious fanaticism.
“The increasing curbs on freedom of expression in the so-called name of national security will not permit the construction of an intellectual edifice which is needed to for countering terrorism,” observed opposition Senator Farhatullah Babar.
The DAWN story also prompted a flood of criticism of the government on social media for suppressing free speech instead of moving against those promoting violent extremism in the country.
“Hate roams free while the state chases poets, artists and journalists,” read one Twitter comment.


Heatwave grips many areas of Pakistan amid long power cuts

Pakistan has been hit by a heatwave amid lengthy power cuts in many parts of the country.
The state-run Meteorological Department says daily highs on Monday reached 53 degrees Celsius — about 127 Fahrenheit — in the southwestern town of Turbat, breaking a nearly 10-year-old record.
Its forecast on Tuesday says the hot and dry weather will continue throughout the week across the country, including in the southern Sindh province where 1,233 people died from the heat in 2015. The heat has added to the hardships of many Pakistanis who are facing lengthy power cuts since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours.
The power cuts have sparked street protests in many areas of energy-starved Pakistan.

Bilawal concerned over silence of international community on Kashmiris’ carnage

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed the Indian terrorism in held Kashmir as attack on humanity expressing distress over the silence of international community on Kashmiris’ carnage by Indian armed forces.
“Barbarism has been let loose on Kashmiri people with the beginning of holy month of Ramadan. Kashmiris are targeted by state terrorism for seeking their inalienable right to self-determination,” he said in a press statement.
The PPP chairman demanded that international community should take notice of Indian terrorism and stop it.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pledged that Pakistani people and the PPP are with our Kashmiri brethren and salute martyrs of Kashmir condemning their slaughter at the hands of Indian forces.

Study in Pakistan Finds 40% Women Harassed Online


The first of its kind, a report by the Digital Rights Foundation has recorded the experiences of online harassment, bullying and fear faced by women in Pakistan.

Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch known for her bold online presence who was killed by her brother, the five young girls who were murdered by their family when a video of them dancing and laughing went viral, the 16-year-old girl who was stabbed by her brother because she was using a mobile phone and hundreds of such incidents that are reported every year are a testament to Pakistan’s growing problem of online harassment. But when it came to quantifying the problem, the data simply did not exist. The lack of official statistics on online victimisation is an issue not only in Pakistan, but also in India and Bangladesh.
That’s what inspired the Digital Rights Foundation to create a dataset that can help shed light on the issues surrounding online harassment and tech-related violence faced by women in Pakistan. The survey, designed and conducted by Hamara Internet, trained and questioned 1,800 women on the use of digital spaces in a safe way. These women were students living in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit areas of Pakistan. The study paints a picture of women’s experiences and usage patterns on the internet and their digital literacy, as well as awareness about cyber crime laws related to online harassment among women.
The internet in Pakistan: A world of misogyny
In Pakistan, women are a marginalised community online. Around 75-80% Facebook users in the country are men. The report laments the fact that women are not generally seen as owners of online spaces and when they do try to break the norms and assert their rights over the said spaces, they are quickly met with an abusive response, as happened in the case of Baloch. As concluded by the report, 40% of Pakistani women surveyed had been stalked and harassed via messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber. Twenty-five percent of the women said they had witnessed other women being bullied and harassed by men online. When asked whether they had been victims of online stalking, almost half the sample that was surveyed said they have faced this form of harassment.
Digital illiteracy among women
Respondents were asked whether they were aware of the laws that existed regarding cyber harassment in Pakistan and 81% of them said they were not.
Facebook and WhatsApp are the most commonly used social media apps in the country by women, but when they were asked if they understood its term and conditions, 11% accepted they didn’t understand them at all. The report brought to light the problem that only a fourth of the total sample that was surveyed felt that they knew and understood social media terms and conditions. The respondents largely did not know what they’re signing up for.
Data breach and misuse
The report points out that in Pakistan, the distinction between private and public life can be blurred. Women are often forced to give up their social media passwords by their own family. They are made to share their passwords with men under on the pretext of ‘trust’. Facebook pages in Pakistan like the ‘Gangdageer Khan’ Facebook page resort to extorting women into giving money, providing phone balance, other women’s pictures and more in exchange for having their data removed. The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) busted the ring that was behind the Facebook page but a lot of information still remains online.
The report found that 23% of the women surveyed had been victims of online pages that leaked sensitive information about women.
Reporting to law enforcement agencies
While the report brings to light the prevalence of online harassment in a patriarchal society like Pakistan, it also raises the issue that reporting online harassment to the FIA or other law enforcement authorities is not a favourable option because of reasons such as family pressure, ‘honour’ or loss of respect. According to the FIA, in 2015, only 5% of cases of harassment were reported and followed by legal action of any kind. Such complaints are often dealt with victim shaming, ‘honour’ killing or loss of family support. The report even found that 21% of the women interviewed stopped using the internet as a reaction to harassment.
The group conducting the research study thought that “the results are worrying as they highlight how easily women take a step back and give up the space they have carved for themselves while the perpetrators walk without a scratch.”  Seventy percent of the women who told the Hamara Internet group that they have faced harassment did not approach the FIA. The FIA has often been credited with lack of action and neglect.
The research argues that “online violence and stalking of women should be seen as an extension of violence against women in other spaces in the society.”
The report, with its findings, challenges the blatant sexism and harassment on display in the digital world. The study makes it clear that safe spaces are needed online and a safer digital experience – though a tall order at this time – is the need of the hour. It also suggests recommendations to the internet service providers, law enforcement agencies and the government.