Thursday, August 3, 2017


By: Catherine Shakdam
Saudi Arabia claimed this July that intense international diplomacy by its ruler, Salman, had been central to ending the standoff at the Noble Sanctuary.
It was Plato if I’m not mistaken who once stated: “we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
For all our self-proclaimed cultural and technological advancements I would say that our era has very much been defined by such adage.
If I’d dared add to one of our most prominent minds I would say that beyond such tragedy lies another - that which translates in portraying the light as if it was darkness itself. But then as another great man said: “the Truth left me with no friends”- Imam Ali.
Today’s battle, as it was yesterday, and all days before that, is really about the Truth, and how men have worked to wield it as a weapon against the light …
And so, true to form those we call the ruling elite have pitted truths against lies, manipulations against revelations so that in the end they could imprint their own reality and declare it true by the strength of their numbers … King Salman of Saudi Arabia they said is al-Aqsa savior.
What a terrifying thought indeed but to crown the unbearable and the abominable, savior over that which Islam holds holy, when so much of Islam’s sacred ground was lost to THAT house and the ideology THAT kin has fronted - takfirism!
To the risk of upsetting a few of King Salman’s cheerleaders - may I point out that my very faith sits me an apostate under the kingdom’s rules, and as such I have learnt to shoulder Saudi Arabia’s ire, no Saudi king so much as gave a second thought to the fate of al-Aqsa, never mind the cruelty Palestinians have had to face over the decades.
King Salman is no one’s savior! If anything he has towered a butcher over a broken socio-political landscape - that of a nation his forefathers imprinted their name upon, a tyrant over the destitute - Yemen’s famined orphans, a genocidal monarch over Islam’s disappeared heritage - the Baqee cemetery still lies in ruin before the opulence of al-Saud’s architectural prowess.
King Salman is no one’s savior indeed … merely a manifestation of that we call absolutist theocratism. Let’s not give Caesar what he has not earned, especially since really it is Nero’s folly we are staring at without daring calling it that.
Saudi Arabia we must now admit has not only crossed the Rubicon but actually drunk its water …
Saudi Arabia claimed this July that intense international diplomacy by its ruler, Salman, had been central to ending the standoff at the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem. In a statement, the Saudi royal court said Salman held "necessary contacts with world leaders on al-Aqsa", which it proclaimed had "culminated in success" - hours after Israeli police relented to people power on the streets of Jerusalem's Old City and removed security checkpoints around the site.
The court said Salman's government contacted the U.S. administration and "stressed the need for the return of calm at al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings, the respect for the sanctity of the place".
Needless to say that a few people … well actually more than just a few took offense.
#الاقصي_في_قلب_سلمان Credit goes to the courage of the Palestinians who fought tirelessly for Al-Aqsa. Not King Salman. What an insult.
— هيا آل ثاني���� (@hxyaw) July 27, 2017

And why wouldn’t they when everything Saudi Arabia has stood for of late has translated into bloodshed, destruction, and ideological radicalism? From Saudi Arabia’s grandstanding over Qatar’s reasonable call for oversight over the Hajj pilgrimage to cries of disgust over Riyadh’s vengeful humanitarian blockade of Yemen, and al-Awamiyah organized sectarian cleansing, everything the kingdom has said, done, and called for has flown in the face of human decency … and then there is always international law for those who care little for humanity.
Sarcasm aside let us entertain the idea, only if for a second that Saudi Arabia’s monarch did more than vaguely remember where Palestine figures on the map, can we in all good conscious applaud him for Israel’s retreat?
Are we seriously selling Palestine’s resistance - the very space in which Palestine still exist as a free and independent sovereign nation, to the arrogance of a man whose only achievement was to be born in the right lineage?
What has Saudi Arabia ever done but deny Palestinians the courtesy of their own future? How can anyone argue salvation by the hands of a leader whose power is not only anchored in bloodshed but defined by violent repression?
I hereby proclaim my right to frown at the affront.
Al-Aqsa standoff let it be known was won on the back of Palestinians’ determination and overwhelming international support. Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with it. Saudi Arabia I will dare say is merely looking to compound its self-proclaimed custodianship over Islam by extending its greedy hands to Islam’s third holiest sites: al-Aqsa.
King Salman’s move here has more to do with religious hegemony than a sense of religious duty.
Just as the House of Saud rose itself the “keeper” of Islam’s sanctity through its ownership of Mecca and Medinah, it wants now to add al-Aqsa to its coffers, and finally sit itself the Awaited Messiah.
The kingdom’s new claim, however delusional it may sound, betrays a rather sinister agenda - the annexation of Islam by way of religious objectification.

Saudi Arabia reportedly using Canadian military trucks against its own civilians

Videos and photos posted on social media allegedly show Riyadh using Canadian equipment in a violent crackdown on minority Shia dissidents.
The Canadian government is investigating reports that Saudi Arabia is using armoured vehicles made in Canada against its own civilians – allegations that have prompted renewed scrutiny over Ottawa’s recent decision to sign off on a billion-dollar arms deal with the kingdom.
Videos and photos posted on social media in recent days allegedly show Riyadh using Canadian equipment in a violent crackdown on minority Shia dissidents in eastern Saudi Arabia. Last week at least five people were killed as security forces flushed out suspected militants in the town of Awamiya.
Several sources told the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail that the vehicles being used appeared to be Gurkha RPVs made in Ontario by Terradyne Armoured Vehicles. Canadian officials said they were deeply concerned by the reports. “We are looking at these claims very seriously … and have immediately launched a review,” Justin Trudeau told reporters.
In 2016, Saudi Arabia ranked among the largest importers of Canada-made military goods, purchasing more than C$142m worth of goods – nearly 20% of all Canadian military exports that year. The ministry of global affairs said it was concerned over the escalating violence in eastern Saudi Arabia. In a statement issued last week, it highlighted the causalities among civilians and security forces and urged Riyadh to confront its security challenges in “a manner that abides by international human rights law”.
Days later, the ministry said the government was actively seeking more information about the reports of civilian casualties and claims that Canadian-made vehicles were involved. “If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister will take action,” a spokesperson for department told the Guardian. He did not answer questions around what kinds of actions this could entail.
Terradyne Armoured Vehicles did not respond to a request for comment.
The allegations have prompted renewed calls for Trudeau’s Liberal government to scrap a recent decision to push forward with a 15-year contract to supply Saudi Arabia with weaponised armoured vehicles made by General Dynamics, another Ontario-based company.
Critics say the C$15bn deal, struck in 2014 by the previous conservative government, could see the vehicles – which are equipped with machine guns – used by the Saudis to crush dissent at home. Others have pointed to Canadian rules that restrict arms exports to countries with poor human rights records and prohibit exports if there is a possibility that the buyer could use the arms against its own population. Despite these concerns, Trudeau’s Liberal government signed off on the export permits in 2016. Trudeau has since defended the decision, arguing that Canada would be seen as a “banana republic” if it scrapped the deal. “People have to know that when you sign a deal with Canada, a change in governments won’t immediately scrap the jobs and benefits coming from it,” the prime minister told the Toronto Star last year. The deal would reportedly create around 3,000 jobs in Canada.
Amid escalating concerns over human rights, countries such as Germany and Belgium have in recent years denied export applications for arms headed to Saudi Arabia. In 2015, Sweden cancelled a longstanding defence agreement with the Saudis, citing similar concerns.
This month, a high court in London ruled that the UK could proceed with arms sales to Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia has been, and remains, genuinely committed to compliance with International Humanitarian Law; and there was no ‘real risk’ that there might be ‘serious violations’ of International Humanitarian Law (in its various manifestations) such that UK arm sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended or cancelled,” the court said.
Campaigners called the ruling a “green light” for the UK to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.
In Canada, Amnesty International pointed to the indications that Canadian vehicles are being used against civilians to call on the Liberal government to reverse its support of the billion-dollar arms deal.
“Mounting tensions and conflict in eastern Saudi Arabia, about which the Canadian government has rightly expressed public concern, further indicate how fraught it is for Canada to have authorised the sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia at this time,” secretary-general Alex Neve said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is blocking fuel for UN humanitarian planes in Yemen, say officials

By Bethan McKernan 

    ‘Bleak’ situation in war-torn country is being exacerbated by lack of aid access caused by Riyadh-led coalition, UNDP country director says .
    Saudi Arabia and its allies fighting in Yemen are obstructing deliveries of fuel for UN planes which are bringing some of the only aid into the starving country, a  UN Development Programme (UNDP) official has said.
    Jet fuel deliveries to the rebel-held capital of Sanaa had been blocked by Riyadh, Auke Lootsma, UNDP’s country director, told reporters via a video link from the city on Tuesday. 
    There are supposed to be two UN humanitarian flights a day into Sanaa, but planes currently in the city are stranded thanks to a lack of fuel for making the return trips to Jordan and Djibouti. 

    The fuel comes from the port city of Aden, which is under the control of the internationally recognised Saudi-backed Yemeni government. 
    “We have difficulties obtaining permission from the coalition and from the government of Yemen to transport this jet fuel to Sanaa to facilitate these flights,” Mr Lootsma said.
    Asked why the jet fuel deliveries were blocked, Mr Lootsma said: “It's a good question. I don't have an answer.”
    The UN’s aid efforts were also being hampered by bureaucratic delays and visa refusals on the rebel side, he added. 
    After more than two years of a war which has killed at least 10,000 people, Yemen is struggling to cope with both famine and the worst cholera outbreak in modern history.
    Saudi bombing and a blockade on Yemeni ports and airspace have been widely criticised for creating the humanitarian crisis, and adding to the misery by holding up desperately needed food, medicine and other supplies from entering the country. 
    The situation is “bleak” with “no end in sight”, Mr Lootsma said, adding that several cases of meningitis have now been registered, adding to civilians’ woes. 
    Around 70 per cent of the 27-million strong population is now reliant on some form of humanitarian aid. A total of 14.5 million people don’t have regular access to clean water and 7.3 million live on the brink of famine.
    Less than half of the country’s medical centres are still functional.
    The situation is like a bus “racing towards the edge of a cliff,” the UNDP country director added. 
    Instead of hitting the brakes and turning around, “the one controlling the direction of the bus keeps going and pushes the accelerator, all but certain to crash”.
    The UN estimates $2.1bn (£1.6bn) is needed to stop Yemen turning into a completely failed state, but donor governments only pledged half that amount at an aid conference in Geneva in April.
    Western governments have also faced criticism for their role in the conflict: arms sold to Saudi Arabia are destined for use in the Yemeni war, rights groups say.


    Saudi police forces have killed a civilian during their latest raid on the besieged Shia-majority town of Awamiyah.
    The man died on Wednesday as the Saudis opened fire on a bus transporting people who were trying to flee the town located in the restive Eastern Province.
    Flared-up clashes between the kingdom’s forces and activists over the past few days have forced many of the town’s inhabitants to seek refuge in the neighboring towns of Damman and Qatif.
    Awamiyah has witnessed renewed deadly clashes between the military and residents since May, when Saudi forces began razing the town’s old quarter, known as al-Mosawara.
    Saudi authorities claim that Mosawara’s narrow streets have become a hideout for militants suspected of being behind attacks on security forces in Eastern Province.
    The UN, however, said Saudi Arabia was erasing cultural heritage and violating human rights through Mosawara’s demolition.
    Since February 2011, Saudi Arabia has stepped up security measures in the Shia-dominated Eastern Province, which has been rocked by anti-regime demonstrations, with protesters demanding free speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.
    The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the Saudi regime. Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism law so as to repress pro-democracy movements.

    Yazidi genocide by ISIS ‘on-going’, captives in danger in Raqqa – UN

    On the third anniversary of the start of Islamic State attacks against the Yazidis in Iraq, the UN commission on Syria has warned that captive Yazidi women are in particular danger as the noose around Raqqa tightens and has urged the coalition to rescue them.
    “The genocide is ongoing and remains largely unaddressed,” said a statement from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, the body established six years ago to investigate human rights abuses in the conflict which has claimed over 300,000 lives.
    “Thousands of Yazidi men and boys remain missing and the terrorist group continues to subject some 3,000 women and girls in Syria to horrific violence including brutal daily rapes and beatings. Some women and girls are being held in Raqqa city. As the Syrian Democratic Forces and international coalition offensive on Raqqa intensifies, reports have emerged of ISIL fighters trying to sell enslaved Yazidi women and girls before attempting to flee Syria,” the statement says further.
    On August 3, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) took control of the city of Sinjar in northern Iraq, a major population center for the Yazidis who number fewer than one million. After slaughtering thousands of predominantly fighting-age men, the Islamists – who view the Yazidis, who follow their own religion as “devil-worshippers” – enslaved between 4,000-10,000 mostly women and children.
    “Yazidi boys were separated from their families, forced to convert to Islam and recruited as child soldiers. Many men and elderly women were also coerced into converting to Islam and used as forced labourers. Sites of religious and cultural significance to Yazidis were deliberately destroyed,”read a statement from four leading human rights groups dedicated to the Yazidis. It was released to commemorate the anniversary.
    While the plight of the Kurdish-speaking minority received media coverage, little was done to specifically help the Yazidis. Over the last three years, some have escaped, others have died, with many found in mass graves. However, no specific rescue plan has been formulated to aid the Yazidis who had suffered severe discrimination even before the latest brutalities.
    “The Commission recommends to all parties fighting ISIL to consider plans aimed at rescuing Yazidi captives and use all means available to ensure they are set free during on-going military operations,” stated the UN.
    With Islamic State territory shrinking and a battle raging for their proclaimed capital of Raqqa, focus is shifting to punishing the perpetrators of the systematic atrocities.
    “The international community must also recognize ISIL is committing the crime of genocide against the Yazidis and undertake steps to refer the situation to justice, including to the International Criminal Court or an ad hoc tribunal,” said the UN commission.
    “The UN Security Council should immediately establish an international investigative commission to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of ISIS' atrocities in Iraq,” said the human rights groups.

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    Pashto Music - گل پانڑہ..زما نادان ملنگہ

    Pashto Music --- دگل پانه سندره

    د ګل پاڼې غزل خوښېږي

    د بنو پولیس سرتېرو په اسلام اباد کې احتجاج

    Suicide bomber kills NATO soldier in Afghanistan, 6 personnel wounded: official

    A Taliban suicide bomber attacked a convoy of foreign forces in Afghanistan late Thursday, killing one NATO soldier and wounding six other personnel, the coalition said. 

    "The patrol was conducting a partnered mission with the Afghan National Army when a personnel-borne IED (improvised explosive device) detonated," in Qarabagh district in Kabul province," NATO said in a statement. 

    The Taliban quickly claimed the attack on social media.

    #PPP Song - AYA AYA BILAWAL...

    Pakistan - Insecurity among women daub on politics: Bilawal

    Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday said that insecurity of respect and honour among women in certain political parties was a daub on politics.
    Expressing serious concerns over the allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai Wazir, Bilawal pledged that the PPP would not allow any harm to the rights and respect of womenfolk.
    In a statement, the PPP chief said that the party of Benazir Bhutto would continue to raise voice for the protection of women. He said that the accusations of Ayesha Gulalai Wazir against her former leadership should be investigated in-depth.
    Meanwhile, on Tuesday, PPP senator Dr Karim Khawaja in a statement said Imran Khan had no political training and he did not respect his party workers.
    “It is very unfortunate that after two former wives now his party legislator is also questioning his integrity and calling him a characterless person. PPP respects its workers especially women workers because this party had a leader like Benazir Bhutto,” he said.
    Earlier on Tuesday, opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah and Syed Naveed Qamar called on Bilawal here and discussed the political situation.
    Faryal Talpur, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Munawwar Ali Talpur Raja Pervez Ashraf, Senator Aitezaz Ahsan, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar attended the meeting. Syed Murad Ali Shah also briefed Bilawal about the development projects in Sindh, said a PPP statement.

    Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto Zardari decides to intensify political activities

    Pakistan - Bilawal demands inquiry into Gulalai’s disclosures about PTI chief

    Voicing concerns over former PTI leader Aaisha Gulalai’s disclosures about the PTI chief, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday urged investigation into her revelations.

    In a statement, the PPP chief termed insecurity of women’s honour as a stigma on politics.

    He assured that the PPP would not compromise on respect of women.

    Bilawal said that his party would raise voice for the protection of women’s respect and honour.

    Earlier, prominent female lawmaker of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Aaisha Gulalai quit Imran Khan’s party, saying there's 'no respect for women' in the PTI.

    Elected MNA on reserved seat for women, Gulalai has been one of the most active female members of PTI.

    She is the second noted figure to have quit the party after Karachi-based Naz Baloch parted ways, saying that it has become the ‘male chauvinist’ party.

    Giving the reasons she said, “PTI is no more the party they claim to be and workers are not given importance.”

    UN calls for Pakistan to repeal or amend blasphemy laws

    United Nations (UN) has taken note of human rights violations and controversial blasphemy laws after a think tank registered with Irish government had lodged a plea with the international body.

    The United Nations has made the following observations:

    The State party should:

    (a) Repeal all blasphemy laws or amend them in compliance with the strict requirements of the Covenant, including as set forth in general comment No. 34, para. 48;

    (b) Ensure that all those who incite or engage in violence against others based on allegations of blasphemy as well as those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy are brought to justice and duly punished;

    (c) Take all measures necessary to ensure adequate protection of all judges, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses involved in blasphemy cases;

    (d) Ensure that all cases of hate speech and hate crimes are thoroughly and promptly investigated and perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished;

    (e) Review school textbooks and curricula with a view to removing all religiously biased content and incorporate human rights education therein, and continue to regulate madrassas;

    (f) Fully implement the judgement of the Supreme Court on 19 June 2014.

    United Nations stated that it is concerned at the blasphemy laws, including Sections 295 and 298 of the Criminal Code of Pakistan.

    UN on PEMRA

    “It is also concerned at reports of the way in which that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) exercises its powers over the content of media outlets, including suspending over 20 programs in the past four years; and the lack of clarity on procedural safeguards and oversight mechanisms to ensure that PEMRA exercises its powers consistent with the principle of freedom of expression.”

    The international body further stated: “The State party should decriminalize defamation, and ensure that imprisonment is never a punishment for defamation and that criminal laws are not improperly enforced journalists and dissenting voices.”

    UN concerned over military courts

    According to the observations, UN committee is concerned that the criteria for the cases over which cases are forwarded to military courts is not clear.

    “It is also concerned that about 90 percent of convictions are based on confessions; that the criteria used for the selection of cases to be tried by these courts are not clear; that defendants are not given the right to appoint legal counsel of their own choosing in practice or an effective right to appeal in the civilian courts,” the report states.

    The committee has called for conformity of proceedings of military courts with Article 14 and Article 15 of the Covenant to ensure a fair trial.

    "The state party should review the legislation relating to the military courts with a view to abrogating their jurisdiction over civilians as well as their authority to impose the death penalty," the body writes.

    UN on terrorism

    According to the committee, Pakistan needs to align definition of terrorism in Article 6 of the anti-terror act in light of the international standards.

    The UN is concerned with the broad definition of terrorism in Pakistani laws.

    ‘The Committee remains concerned at the very broad definition of terrorism provided for in the Anti-Terrorism Act.”

    The ‘missing persons’

    “The State party should criminalize enforced disappearance and put an end to the practice of enforced disappearance and secret detention.

    It should also review the Actions (in aid of Civil Powers) Regulations 2011 with a view to repealing them or bringing them in conformity with international standards,” the UN committee noted.

    The committee calls for measures and steps by the state for safety of the witnesses and families of the victims and ensure fair trials.
    “It should further strengthen the authority and the capacity, financial and personnel, of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance to function effectively.

    Pakistan - Descent into chaos

    Zahid Hussain
    The gloves are off and it is a free for all. Politics is a dirty game in this country, but it has seldom been so ugly. In this no-holds-barred war of glib talk, the entire endeavour is to prove the rival more corrupt. While parliament is rendered dysfunctional, the apex court has become the battleground. The court, too, is subjected to criticism if the ruling is not in one party’s favour.
    It may appear that the fate of many political leaders now hinges on court rulings in the petitions filed against them by opponents. Meanwhile, the democratic process is descending into chaos. The order sending an elected prime minister home for a misdemeanour is not the cause of a political order devoid of any moral bearing, rather it is reflective of one.
    While the opposition celebrates Sharif’s inglorious exit, the ruling party is playing the ‘victim of an inexplicable conspiracy’ card. Sharif’s supporters are also waiting to see the fall from grace of Imran Khan and other senior members of the PTI implicated in cases of financial wrongdoing. Every side is trying to rock the boat that they themselves are in.
    All rationality is lost in the haze of the politics of revenge.
    All rationality is lost in the haze of the politics of revenge. There is much talk about democracy, public mandate and accountability, but one doubts that anyone is being taken seriously. The banality of these platitudes has been starkly exposed in the political soap opera that is being currently played out.
    Indeed, the application of Article 62 of the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act, 1976, by the Supreme Court to remove the former prime minister has led to questions of how many public office holders and members of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies can come up to the standards enunciated in Articles 62 and 63 if strictly applied. Surely, there will be very few.
    So, the opposition political leaders who are rejoicing in Sharif’s unceremonious ouster must see whether their own accounts are in order before they too come under the axe. The cases against Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen are already pending in the Supreme Court and the verdict is likely to come out soon. That may also open the floodgates of petitions that could overwhelm the top court. Given the extremely volatile situation stemming from the daily theatrics outside the court it could put the judiciary under pressure.
    It was amusing to see lawmakers rushing to file their tax returns in the wake of the Panama case against the Sharif family. According to some reports, there has been a massive hike in taxes paid by lawmakers, from a 15 to 3,852 per cent rise in individual cases during this period. Indeed, it is a positive development. But the majority of the legislators still do not seem too bothered about what they believe is a temporary phase. They may be right given the lacklustre approach of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and other state institutions responsible for law enforcement.
    The annual tax directories for parliamentarians shed some light on the level of tax compliance by the lawmakers. Surely, the lifestyle of most of them is in stark contrast to what their tax declarations indicate.
    Few lawmakers are in the high tax bracket, notwithstanding their superior living standards. The money paid by most of them is peanuts despite the fact that many are believed to be among the richest people in the country. According to reports, some senators pay an income tax in the range of Rs17,000 to Rs50,000.
    Such low tax compliance raises questions about the commitment of our political leaders to enforcing the tax laws they are supposed to oversee. Pakistan has a chronically low rate of income tax collection as tax evasion has become the norm and is hardly looked upon as a crime.
    Thus it is not surprising that it is estimated that less than 1pc of the population files its taxes. Income tax evasion is particularly high among the wealthiest, leaving the country with one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in South Asia. One certainly cannot blame the people for that when our rulers and lawmakers themselves do not set an example to follow. Indeed, the problem is not limited to lawmakers but extends to the entire ruling elite. Senior civil and military officials too are seen as part of it. A major reason is that law enforcement is much weaker when it comes to the rich and powerful.
    Surely, it is not just about low tax compliance, but also about politicians living beyond their known means. That applies to both the government and the opposition leaders.
    There are many who conceal their wealth in a clear violation of ECP rules. Yet they, unlike the prime minister, might escape being penalised under ROPA and Article 62. Certainly, there must be stricter accountability rules applied to the holder of the top public office. But it must not be seen as a selective exercise. The process of accountability must not be perceived as a one-time action targeting a particular person or a party. It should be viewed as a normal process of law enforcement across the board and not just limited to politicians.
    Corruption is deeply rooted in our society and one cannot blame only the politicians for it. The security establishment that has ruled the country for so much of its existence is responsible for most of its ills. Eyebrows are rightly raised if the generals remain untouched.
    It is, indeed, an extremely depressing state of affairs when the apex court is seen as a venue for settling political scores. What is needed is the reform of the entire law-enforcement system to make it more autonomous and ensure that it remains outside the influence of the government. This is one lesson we must learn from the Panama scandal. The Supreme Court must not be approached for settling every issue. The main responsibility lies with the political leadership. Democracy cannot be sustained without the rule of law and without making parliament more effective as an institution.