Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm (Official) ft. Skip Marley

Ravages of Saudis Criminal War: A Million Children in Yemen Trapped to Die

Last Thursday, the head of the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF), Anthony Lake, arrived in Amman, Jordan after a heart-wrenching tour of war-ravaged Yemen. ‘Stop the war,’ said Lake. It was a clear message.

No subtlety was needed. ‘All of us,' he said, 'should feel ‘immense pity, even agony, for all of those children and others who are suffering, and they should feel anger, anger that this, our generation, is scarred by the irresponsibility of governments and others to allow these things to be happening.’

Lake’s message has gone unheeded. As is the voice of all those who have tried to raise discussion of the atrocity done to Yemen. Last night, the charity group Save the Children raised the alarm once more. In a brief report, Save the Children said that more than a million children who suffer from acute malnutrition live in the areas where cholera has swept the country.

‘After two years of armed conflict,’ said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director for Yemen, ‘children are trapped in a brutal cycle of starvation and sickness. And it’s simply unacceptable.’ Kirolos’ teams in the hardest hit areas find ‘a horrific scenario of babies and young children who are not only malnourished but also infected with cholera.’ The combination is deadly. What lies ahead is apocalyptic: mass deaths of children from a combination of hunger and disease.

In June, UNICEF reported that a Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes. These deaths are not tragedies. They are crimes.

The war in Yemen, prosecuted by Saudi Arabia and its allies and backed with weaponry from the West, has destroyed the country’s food, water and health infrastructure. In January 2016, Saudi aircraft bombed a water desalination plant north of al-Mocha. This bombing run, which lasted minutes, left the million residents of the Yemeni city of Taiz without water.

Piped water is no longer an option for most Yemenis. They rely upon water tankers; this water has become more expensive as fuel prices have skyrocketed. Last month, Gabriel Sánchez of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Yemen said that in one district, ‘our teams are seeing an extremely poor sanitation situation and insufficient access to clean drinking water.’ Absence of clean drinking water has helped fuel the cholera epidemic which broke out this March.

Aid groups, from the UN and elsewhere, as well as citizens groups across Yemen have tried to address the crisis, but the scale of this human-made disaster is enormous. Four out of five children in Yemen need some humanitarian aid. No aid agency can solve this crisis if the war continues - particularly if the fragile infrastructure continues to be bombed and if repair of this infrastructure continues to be prevented.

Saudi Arabia has blockaded this country and bombed its main port. This has not only hampered the work of charity groups, but it has also meant much needed supplies for repair have cannot reach Yemen. The country is being isolated into desolation.

On Tuesday, the country director for Yemen of the UN Development Agency (UNDP) Auke Lootsma said that 60 per cent of Yemen’s population does not know where their next meal will come from. Lootsma, who is based in Sanaa (Yemen), spoke to reporters via a videoconference. Save the Children said that a million children are near death by cholera. Lootsma offered double the figure.

‘We expect the cholera outbreak to continue to wreak havoc despite the best efforts of the UN agencies’, he said. Over 90 per cent of Yemen’s food is imported. With a combination of Saudi Arabia’s blockade, depleted foreign exchange reserves and poverty in the country, food is out of the reach of families. Yemen, Lootsma said chillingly, ‘is like a bus racing towards the end of a cliff.’

Terrible stories come from the edge of the cliff, including that desperate Yemeni families have begun to sell their children for food. When the UN’s coordinator for emergency aid, Stephen O’Brien, came to brief the UN Security Council in May, he said, ‘Families are increasingly marrying off their young daughters to have someone else care for them, and often use the dowry to pay for necessities.’ Such survival tactics, on the backs of children, will have a long-term impact on Yemeni society. This war is driving people to great barbarity.

Saudi Arabia’s war aims can never be met in Yemen. That is now clear. It simply cannot bomb the country into submission and it does not have the ground forces to enter Yemen and defeat the various rebel groups that defy it. An attempt to get the Pakistani military to enter the conflict on its side failed in 2015 when the Pakistani parliament took a neutral position on the war. In March of this year, the Pakistanis sent a brigade to defend Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

This shows that Saudi Arabia, by far the best equipped military power in this conflict, now fears the war will move northward into its own territory. Yemeni rebels have fired crude scud missiles into Saudi Arabia and at both Saudi and Emirati ships that enter Yemen’s coastal waters. These attacks—one against an Emirati ship yesterday—show that defeat of Yemen’s resistance to Saudi Arabia is not on the cards.

Meanwhile in the Hadhramawt region of Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) continues to make gains. In February, the International Crisis Group released a report that said that AQAP ‘is stronger than it has ever been.’ AQAP and its allies have become indispensable to the Saudi air war, providing crucial ground troops in Aden and elsewhere.

Fighting units such as Humat al-Qidah and al-Hassam Brigade are well-supplied by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to protect Aden. They are direct beneficiaries of this war. The Crisis Group suggests that AQAP ‘is thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy. Reversing this trend requires ending this conflict that set it in motion.’ The point about state collapse is important. 1.2 million Yemeni civil servants have not been paid since September 2016.

Meanwhile, the West continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, offering these arms sales as a way to sanctify the war. The West with these sales is utterly complicit in the Saudi-led war.

The West’s complicity extends to the manner in which it has allowed Saudi Arabia to yoke this obscene war with its paranoia about Iran. Saudi Arabia argues that the rebel Houthi group in Yemen is a proxy of Iran and that Houthi capture of Yemen cannot be permitted. It is the impetus for this war. What is needed, however, is not a war to destroy Yemen, but the opening of a serious process for Saudi Arabia and Iran to talk about their broad disagreements.

In Istanbul, during an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation around Israel’s actions in Jerusalem, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran shook hands and spoke for a few minutes. Adel al-Jubeir (Saudi Arabia) and Javad Zarif (Iran) later offered warm words about their meeting.

These are little gestures. But they need to be magnified. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran not only fuel the war on Yemen, but also the war on Syria. They will certainly be a major factor in October when US President Trump has to offer his recertification of the nuclear deal with Iran. If the US goes to war against Iran, it will partly be because of Saudi pressure to do so.

How to prevent the atrocity that is taking place in Yemen? The war must end. That is now a consensus position among the humanitarian community. Arms sales by the West must be stopped. Pressure for a grand bargain between Saudi Arabia and Iran must increase. A million to two million Yemeni children’s lives are stake.

Explosives sent to Saudi may be used against Yemen civilians, says Greenpeace

Madrid has handed over to Saudi Arabia more than 300 containers of explosives, according to Greenpeace, who have expressed concern that the explosives will be used to commit war crimes in Yemen.
“We have raised this issue with the Spanish government, and the latter has assured us that the documents accompanying the issuance of licenses for the sale of these weapons clearly emphasise their non-use,” the organisation’s spokesman Alberto Stevens, told Al Jazeera.
Read: Arms sales to Saudi Arabia can continue despite fears of war crimes
“But we have real doubts that the Saudi authorities will not meet this commitment, especially given the record of Riyadh in particular,” he added.
Stevens called on the Spanish authorities “to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the risk that they will be used to commit atrocities and war crimes in Yemen”.
According to the organisation, Spain is the third largest arms exporter to Saudi Arabia after America and Britain.
These weapons include fighter jets, mortars and various other types of ammunition. Stevens referred to a recent report by an NGO which contained documents proving the use of Spanish weapons by both Saudi Arabia and the Houthis in the war in Yemen.


Sindh Police's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Wednesday conducted a search operation in a Karachi seminary allegedly linked with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and detained seven persons for interrogation, CTD Senior Superintendent Police Omar Shahid Hamid said Tuesday.
“Mufti Shakir is responsible for a number of police murders in District Central and West in 2013-14, and is suspected of involvement in the murder of Police Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam,” added the officer.
Mufti Shakir was revealed to be the mastermind behind a group that was "neutralised" by the CTD on August 7 after three suspected militants were killed in an encounter in the Machhar Colony area of the city.
“The killed militants had been planning large-scale attacks in Karachi,” Hamid claimed.
“He [Mufti Shakir] is also suspected to be behind at least one group that is involved in police killings in Karachi,” he said.
Four policemen were gunned down in an attack in the SITE area in June, while July also saw at least two deadly attacks on police in the metropolis.

Speaking to the press, the CTD official said that a team, along with district administration and district police, had conducted a search operation in the Al-Kareem Islamic Academy located in Karachi's SITE area.
Shahid claimed that the seminary had been established by Mufti Shakir, a “dangerous terrorist and TTP commander".
“Mufti Shakir is responsible for a number of police murders in District Central and West in 2013-14, and is suspected of involvement in the murder of Police Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam,” added the officer.
Mufti Shakir was revealed to be the mastermind behind a group that was "neutralised" by the CTD on August 7 after three suspected militants were killed in an encounter in the Machhar Colony area of the city.
“The killed militants had been planning large-scale attacks in Karachi,” Hamid claimed.
“He [Mufti Shakir] is also suspected to be behind at least one group that is involved in police killings in Karachi,” he said.
Four policemen were gunned down in an attack in the SITE area in June, while July also saw at least two deadly attacks on police in the metropolis.

ن لیگ آئینی اداروں میں طوفان برپا کرنا چاہتی ہے: بلاول بھٹو زرداری

چیئرمین پیپلزپارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری کا کہنا ہے کہ ن لیگ آئینی اداروں میں طوفان برپا کرنا چاہتی ہے، جبکہ اعتزاز احسن کہتے ہیں ن لیگ نے سپریم کورٹ میں ہنگامہ آرائی کا منصوبہ بنا رکھا ہے۔
چیئرمین پیپلزپارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ مسلم لیگ نون اور تحریک انصاف ایک ہی سکے کے دو رخ ہیں۔ دونوں جماعتیں اسٹیبلشمنٹ کی پیداوار ہیں۔ پیپلزپارٹی ہی عوام کی واحد نمائندہ اور نظریاتی جماعت ہے۔
بلاول بھٹو نے کہا کہ ن لیگ آئینی اداروں میں طوفان برپا کرنا چاہتی ہے۔ ناکام خارجہ پالیسی کا یہ عالم ہے کہ پاکستان کی تینوں ہمسایہ ممالک کی سرحدوں پر کشیدگی ہے۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ حکمران ہیں کہ بلوچستان کے مسائل سمجھ ہی نہیں سکے، پیپلزپارٹی بلوچستان سمیت خارجی اور اندرونی مسائل کو حل کرنا جانتی ہے۔
ادھر پیپلزپارٹی کے سینئر رہنما اعتزاز احسن نے ن لیگ کے متوقع بڑے منصوبے کو بھی بے نقاب کردیا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ن لیگ بے گناہی ثابت نہیں کر پائی تو سپریم کورٹ میں ہنگامہ کھڑا کرنے کا منصوبہ بنا لیا ہے۔
عتزاز احسن نے انکشاف کیا کہ حسین نواز کی تین بیویاں اور آٹھ بچے ہیں۔

Video Report - پر جنسي ځورونو چپ مه پاتې کېږي

#Pakistan - 8th Anniversary of Gojra incident

Cynthia Sohail
Gojra Situated in Province Punjab of Pakistan where on 1st August, 2009, 9 innocent people including women and Children were burnt alive. The mob leads by extremist who attacked on a village of Christian community in Tehsil Gojra District Toba Tek Singh.
8th Anniversary of Gojra where 9 innocent Christians torched and many looted.
In this attack many people were looted and injured, hundreds of people run from their homes but Women and Children whom failed to run due to lack of time and transportations will burnt them alive. They also torched the expanses household. The cause of this attack was due to an allegation that Christan had desecrated the Holy Quran. More than 40 houses and Church was completely damaged.
The government sent Punjab Rangers and heavy police forces to bring back peace in that area. Rana Sanna Ulla Punjab Law Minister of that time announced that a primary investigation showed there was no desecration of the Holy Quran, it was just rumor which was used by anti-state agencies to create chaos.
Federal Minister for Minorities (Late) Shahbaz Bhatti , Fathers , sisters and pastors condemned this attack and helped the looted people. May all the departed souls in this incident rest in peace.

Feminists Insist The Internet Is Not A Safe Space In Pakistan, Where Women Still Get Stoned To Death

Ian Miles Cheong

Cyber harassment is one of the most urgent topics for feminists in the United States and Europe.
Displaying ignorance of the dangers of living as a woman in Pakistan, The Guardian has penned a piece celebrating the launch of a cyber harassment hotline in the South Asian country — including a quote from someone who claims she fears online harassment more than offline harassment.
Prominent feminists and “cyberviolence survivors” Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian told a United Nations Women panel hosted by the Broadband Commission Working Group in September 2015 that the harassment they dealt with went beyond threats, and also included the “day to day grind of ‘you’re a liar,’ ‘you suck’, making all these ate videos to attack us on a regular basis, and the mobs that come from those hate videos, et cetera.”
While the United Nations has yet to act on the proposals raised by the commission, the labor of their complaints have finally started to bear fruit. A Lahore-based organization called the Digital Rights Foundation has created the country’s first cyber harassment hotline, which is designed to give women who deal with stalkers, blackmailers and harassers a way for them to feel safe.
Nighat Dad, a female Pakistani lawyer who founded DRF, told The Guardian that the hotline was launched following the death of social media icon Quandeel Baloch, who was targeted in an “honor killing” by her brother for posting sexually suggestive photos online in 2016. Her social commentary on the country’s backwards attitudes towards sexuality angered traditional Pakistani Muslims, including her brother, who strangled her to death.
Despite the brutality of Baloch’s slaying, the traditional Muslim country was divided on whether he did the right thing, igniting a debate over honor killings. According to the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, a thousand such cases are reported each year.
“After Baloch’s murder and the victim-blaming that followed, I became convinced that there was an urgent need to empower women and other vulnerable groups in the online space,” said Dad in the interview, adding that the hotline gave women across the country a way to receive assistance and support in dealing with online predators.
In Pakistan, women who lodge reports with the country’s Federal Investigation Agency for cyberstalking are required to disclose personal information, including their national card number, phone number, and father’s name. Many traditional families do not permit their daughters from traveling unaccompanied without a male older sibling or father, so they can’t even make a trip to the local police station if family members are involved.
However, women living in cosmopolitan cities like Lahore tend to experience cyber harassment of a different sort. A feminist activist, Eman Suleman, told the Guardian that she started a “period protest” by writing messages on sanitary napkins to fight against the stigmatization of menstruation. In response, men inundated her with both threats and lewd messages on social media, forcing her to go offline.
“I’m more scared of online harassment than offline harassment,” she said. “When there are three to four people harassing you in a public space, it’s easier to handle them. When there are thousands of people harassing you online – people you can’t see – you don’t know what they’re like, you don’t know if their threats are empty or real, and it becomes really frightening.”
Strange words coming from someone who lives in a country where husbands are permitted to physically abuse their wives.
According to Acid Survivors Trust International, an estimated 400 women suffer from acid attacks every year in Pakistan, but many of these crimes go unreported due to the perpetrators involved. An estimated 1,000 women die in honor killings each year, many of whom are stoned to death over slights as small as adultery or marrying someone their family does not approve of.
For women who deal with online abuse, the cyber harassment hotline may offer solace and a place for them to find solidarity, but it does little to improve life for women without free access to the Internet.
Harassment — whether online or offline — is unacceptable, but perhaps feminists in the U.S. could use a bit of perspective.

Abuse in Pakistan: 'I’m more scared of harassment online than offline'

Sabrina Toppa
The country’s first cyber harassment helpline is providing legal and psychological support to women facing threats on social media platforms.
In January 2016, Suman was on her way to take her university exams when she was approached by a motorbike. The man grabbed her, took her to an isolated location and poured acid on her face. Despite her shrieks for help, the area was deserted and no one came to her aid. Suman’s face burned, stinging and swelling to the point where her lips and eyes were no longer visible.
The assailant – Suman’s brother-in-law – had a long history of harassing her. In the years before the attack, he had initiated unwanted sexual advances and implored her to marry him. In 2014, her brother-in-law had even pinned her down, taking compromising photos that he stored on a USB drive.
Despite threats of physical violence, Suman was undaunted by her brother-in-law’s intimidation, filing a legal case against him. He used the illicit photos as leverage, threatening to circulate them via mobile phone to his friends if she did not drop the battle, and carrying through on his threat when she continued to push her case.
Suman’s story reveals a dark side of South Asia’s telecom boom. Today, there are more than 136 million mobile phone users and 34 million internet users in Pakistan, making online spaces new crucibles for women’s safety. In Pakistan, there are few avenues for women like Suman to seek support. Alarmingly high rates of violence against women persist: since 2004, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has recorded more than 6,000 cases of sexual violence and over 2,200 domestic violence cases against women. Worryingly, the offline violence is increasingly connected to online forms of abuse, harassment and blackmail. Last winter, the Lahore-based Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) recognised the scale of the problem and unveiled Pakistan’s first cyber harassment helpline, a nationwide initiative to provide legal and psychological support to women facing threats online. The majority of cases involve blackmail, revenge porn and cyber stalking and harassment.
Since its launch, the helpline has received more than 700 calls [pdf] from women seeking help. On average, the helpline fields more than 80 calls a month, more than 60% of which are from women. It’s proven difficult to get some women to call of their own accord. “A lot of the calls have been from male members of the family calling on behalf of women, which means we have to build more trust,” says Shmyla Khan, the head of the helpline at DRF.
“This helpline has been a dream of mine for years,” says Nighat Dad, the founder of DRF, who notes that last year’s death of the Pakistani social media icon Qandeel Baloch paved the way to creating the confidential helpline. “After Baloch’s murder and the victim-blaming that followed, I became convinced that there was an urgent need to empower women and other vulnerable groups in the online space,” Dad says. “I envisioned creating a helpline that reached out to women all over Pakistan – including where the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has no offices – to provide them with assistance and support to reclaim online spaces.”
Baloch’s murder was one of the first times that people discussed online threats and abuse in Pakistan, says Khan. “It’s still quite revolutionary to name this violence,” she says, noting that not everyone recognises the legitimacy of threats in a digital space. “For some people, violence needs to be tangible.” In Pakistan – where women are already burdened by legal and social challenges that make it difficult to contend with violence – reporting online harassment is daunting. For example, registering a cybercrime with the FIA – the law enforcement agency that monitors and investigates cybercrime nationwide, along with corruption, trafficking and terrorism – requires disclosing one’s national identity card number, phone number and father’s name. Even a trip to the local police station often involves revealing one’s name. Some families will not permit their daughters to leave the house unaccompanied – a restriction that is particularly harrowing when abuse comes from a relative.
However, Pakistan’s Cybercrime Act [pdf] criminalises the sharing of pictures without consent and levies heavy penalties if illicit photos are for blackmailing purposes. “If someone transmits or posts photos that are sexually explicit, they are punishable by up to seven years in jail and may be ordered to pay a five million Pakistani rupee (around £37,200) fine at the discretion of a judge,” says Syed Shahid Hassan from the Lahore branch of the FIA’s cybercrime unit.
On social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, abuse and blackmail continue to proliferate. “As soon as you have your data online, or a considerable cyber presence, you’re unsafe,” says Rameesha Fatima, a student in Lahore.
Moreover, while women feel the brunt of such aggression, they are not the only group singled out as targets. “While the friend requests and incessant texts may be harmless, there have been various incidents where people use online platforms to bully their victims over religious, social or other biases,” says Fatima.
“Everyone who is using the cyber platform is vulnerable. Cyber stalkers lash out at victims when they don’t reciprocate their affection. Most cyber predators seek attention from their victims and when they don’t get it they take it out by looking for ways to harm them.”
Another Lahore-based student, Eman Suleman, knows the problems associated with cyberbullying first-hand. At university, she started a “period protest”, scribbling messages on sanitary napkins to expose the stigmatisation around menstruation. Images of the protest soon went viral, catapulting Suleman’s social media accounts to the top of online harassers’ list. Her inbox was inundated with messages from legions of Pakistani men describing in lurid detail what they would do to her as punishment, forcing her to temporarily go offline.
“I’m more scared of online harassment than offline harassment,” Suleman says. “When there are three to four people harassing you in a public space, it’s easier to handle them. When there are thousands of people harassing you online – people you can’t see – you don’t know what they’re like, you don’t know if their threats are empty or real, and it becomes really frightening.”
For women in Pakistan, online harassment is unlikely to dissipate without challenges to patriarchal norms. This month, Suman was undergoing reconstructive surgery at a Lahore hospital, when she found out her attacker had been sentenced to prison. “I can’t explain in words how happy I was at that time, she says. “After the surgery, I couldn’t speak – I just wanted to shout with happiness.
“The online world has given women the space to voice their opinion freely, including the freedom to seek help and find solidarity. However, my perpetrator used this space to violate my rights and abuse women.”
Suman believes the courts still offer hope for acid attack survivors. “More enforcement of laws for both offline and online harassment can save the lives of women who are suffering,” she says. “We have to struggle for justice.”

Former Pakistan PM risks wrath of the army as he plans to install his wife in his old seat

By Memphis Barker
The ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan has raised fears of instability in the country by planning to install his politically inexperienced wife in the parliamentary seat he was recently disqualified from.
Nawaz Sharif is set to nominate Kulsoom Nawaz, his spouse of 47 years, as the ruling party’s candidate to fill the vacant NA-120 seat in Lahore, according to local media reports.
The provocative move comes as Mr Sharif plans to take to the streets to protest his ousting by the Supreme Court at the end of last month.
Mr Sharif’s attempt to retain control of the country via his wife is unlikely to please Pakistan’s military, which has long objected to his desire to improve relations with India.
“They,” wrote columnist Cyril Almeida, using a common code-word for the army, “came all this way, shook up the system, only to see Nawaz quickly find a way to stay in control?... It doesn’t look sustainable”
"Kulsoom's nomination is desperate," a spokesman for the opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, told The Telegraph. "It will be foiled by voters in the constituency," which Mr Sharif won with a hefty majority of 40,000 votes in 2013.
Kulsoom Nawaz has not previously held political office. Although she led a campaign against the imprisonment of Mr Sharif in 1999, following a military coup, as first lady she has largely kept silent. Officials in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) say that Mr Sharif is also considering his daughter as a candidate.
Previously seen as Mr Sharif’s political heir, Maryam, 43, has gained exposure handling communications in the prime minister’s office, and through bolshy use of her personal Twitter account, which has 3.4m followers.
However, she faces a forthcoming trial over allegations she assisted her father in laundering money to purchase four flats in Park Lane. Both she and her father deny the allegations.
Mr Sharif’s reported plan would rip up a previous agreement designed to keep peace in the PML-N, whereby his brother would have shuffled into the vacant seat, and from there swiftly into the role of Prime Minister. Shahbaz Sharif, a notorious workaholic who sleeps four hours-a-night, represented a popular choice within the party after transforming infrastructure in Punjab province during several stints as chief minister. “Choosing his wife over his brother will deepen the crisis of credibility for Nawaz Sharif,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a columnist. “How many metros has Mrs Nawaz Sharif built?”
On Wednesday Mr Sharif is set to drive in a ‘cavalcade’ from Islamabad, the capital, to his home town of Lahore, where the 67-year-old will address a large rally of supporters.
The ex-PM is expected to develop his claim that a “conspiracy”, led by the army, was behind his disqualification following a trial linked to revelations in the Panama Papers.
On Monday night, a bomb exploded along Mr Sharif’s planned route, injuring 24 people and prompting the former premier’s team to announce he would not leave the confines of his bullet-proof vehicle on the journey south.

Taliban Leader Feared Pakistan Before He Was Killed

In the hours before he was killed in an American drone strike, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, then the Taliban leader, knew something was wrong.
He was on his way home from a secret visit to Iran in May 2016, driving across a remote stretch of southwestern Pakistan, when he called his brother and relatives to prepare them for his death.
“He knew something was happening,” a former Taliban commander, who is close to Mullah Mansour’s inner circle, said in an interview. “That’s why he was telling his family members what to do and to stay united.”
It is rare for a Taliban commander to sit for an interview, but this one spoke on the condition that his name or location not be made public, because he had recently defected from the insurgents’ ranks and his life was under threat.
His account offered previously unreported insights into the final hours of Mullah Mansour’s life, and why and how he was killed, revealing a dangerously widening rift with his Pakistani sponsors. The account was complemented and supported in interviews with two senior Afghan officials who have conducted their own investigations into the Taliban leader’s death — Haji Agha Lalai, presidential adviser and deputy governor of Kandahar; and Gen. Abdul Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar Province.
More than a year after the event, Afghans on both sides of the war and a growing number of Western security analysts say that Pakistan most likely engineered Mullah Mansour’s death to remove a Taliban leader it no longer trusted.
“Pakistan was making very strong demands,” the former commander said. “Mansour was saying you cannot force me on everything. I am running the insurgency, doing the fighting and taking casualties and you cannot force us.”
After Mullah Mansour’s death, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, an Islamic cleric with no military experience, was selected as leader of the Taliban. Yet Afghanistan has seen little reprieve with his death, as hard-liners within the movement took over and redoubled their offensive to take power. There is little chance of anyone speaking out, the former commander said. “Ninety percent of the Taliban blame the Pakistanis,” he said. “But they cannot say anything. They are scared.” Mullah Mansour had been intent on expanding his sources of support as he prepared an ambitious offensive across eight provinces in Afghanistan last year, they said.
He relied on Pakistan’s Intelligence Service and donors from Arab gulf states, as well as Afghan drug lords, for the main financing of the Taliban, but he was also seeking weapons and other support from Iran, and even Russia. He met officials from both countries on his last visit to Iran.
Mullah Mansour’s outreach to Iran was also aimed at getting the Taliban out from under Pakistan’s thumb, according to his former associate and Afghan officials, so he could maneuver to run the war, but also negotiate peace, on his own terms. That was where his differences with Pakistan had grown sharpest.
Mullah Mansour had resisted orders from Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, to destroy infrastructure — schools, bridges and roads — to increase the cost of the war for the Afghan government. He opposed the promotion of Pakistan’s hard-line protégé Sirajuddin Haqqani to be his deputy, and he had dodged Pakistan’s demands to push its agenda in negotiations. Critically, he wanted to devolve more power to regional Taliban commanders, allowing them to raise their own funds and make their own decisions, in order to own the Afghan nationalist cause and loosen Pakistan’s control over the insurgency.
Others with close knowledge of the Taliban, including the former Taliban finance minister and peace mediator Agha Jan Motasim, said that Mullah Mansour was ready to negotiate and had sent top representatives to successive meetings in Pakistan.
While on his way to Iran, Mullah Mansour had stopped in the Girdi Jungle refugee camp, a hub of Taliban activity in Pakistan, where he called on Taliban commanders and elders to gather for a meeting.
“Ten days before he was killed he sent messages to villages and to commanders asking them to share their views on peace talks,” said General Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar Province, a fierce opponent of the Taliban, who knows the movement well.
He says that Mullah Mansour was looking for new protectors as his disagreements with Pakistan were growing.

Pakistan's Terror Alert - Beware JuD’s electoral ambitions

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), in a press conference, has announced its entry into mainstream Pakistani politics. That’s right. Ten years on from the Mumbai attacks this group, in its latest reincarnation, will be contesting the 2018 elections under the banner of the Milli Muslim League (MML). Let us hope that the Election Commission of Pakistan puts paid to this misadventure and quick smart.
Failure to do so will spell bad news for all: Afghanistan, its occupying power America and especially for Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed, the man who has at one time or another led the JuD and its armed wing Lashkhar-e-Taiba has long had a $10-million bounty slapped on his head by the US. Which may or may not suggest that he will remain under house arrest here in Pakistan until the general elections are over and done with. This may go beyond the state simply wanting to keep him ‘safe’.
This week’s press conference was significant for other reasons. Namely, the group’s apparent breaking away from its traditional civilian patrons. MML President Saifullah Khalid couldn’t have been clearer about from whom his party was seeking to wrest power. Inevitably, there was the usual anti-western rhetoric. But amid the cheap shots was the pointed tough talking against those corrupt politicians whose sole priority was the “politics of minting money”. And then came the sharpest blow of all: the MML is against dynasty politics. This is because, in the party’s own words, those leaders who wish to bring in their sons or daughters after they relinquish power are vulnerable to external pressures.
It appears that the MML may be readying to contest on the anti-corruption platform while vowing to transform Pakistan into a true Islamic welfare state. It may well find a not so fragile vote bank, especially given its intention to join hands with like-minded parties. And it is the ruling set-up that has inadvertently thus empowered this group.
The possibility of such an outfit going mainstream and legit is alarming. Not least because there is the small matter of whether or not it was, in its past reinventions, created by Pakistan’s security establishment. At a time when we should be fostering peace with our neighbours this proves a dangerous gamble. For Hafiz Saeed is disdained both in India and Afghanistan. Thus the implications of him being one day free to take up the political mantle is wrought with catastrophe.
While there is some value in keeping certain groups in the mainstream to better keep an eye on their machinations — we would warn that allowing militias to turn into legitimate political actors gives a wrong signal to the world — especially the neighbours — and will have grave implications for the future of politics in the country.
We should not be fooled by the MML seemingly taking on board Donald Trump’s calls for Pakistan to put to bed once and for all its ‘paradoxical’ policy of (selectively) taking on militants operating within its borders. And none of us should be taken by surprise at the rapid reaction force on this front.

Video Report - Bilawal Bhutto announced jalsa on August 12 in Chiniot

Pakistan - Non implementation of NAB root cause of terrorism: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that terrorism was further rooting in the country owing to non-implementation of the National Action Plan In his message delivered on the occasion of first anniversary of Quetta massacre, he said those who had played with the lives of innocent lawyers had not been apprehended so far. 

“It is our promise with the bereaved families of Quetta martyrs that the PPP will equally share their grief. The PPP stands with all the martyrs of the country. We are your real custodians. The attack on lawyers by terrorists is in fact an attack on the country and its constitution,” Bilawal said. “Terrorism in real is an attack on Quaid-e-Azam and the nation, and we as a nation have to work together to stop it in all forms.”

ایمنسٹی انٹرنیشنل کا گلالئی اور عائشہ احد کی تفصیل اقوام متحدہ بھیجنے کا فیصلہ

 لندن /اسلام آباد (نیوز ایجنسیاں) انسانی حقوق کی عالمی تنظیم ایمنسٹی انٹرنیشنل نے عائشہ گلالئی اور عائشہ احد کے ساتھ ہونیوالی زیادتی پر حکومت پاکستان سے فوری نوٹس لینے اور تحقیقات کرنے کا مطالبہ کردیا ٗ پاکستان میں خواتین کو ہراساں ، تشد د ، قتل ، ونی ، کاروکاری جیسے واقعات میں تیزی سے اضافہ ہورہا ہے جو کہ تشویشناک صورت ِ حال اختیار کرگیا ہے جبکہ تحریک انصاف کی جانب سے عائشہ گلالئی کو ہراساں کرنے جبکہ وزیر اعلیٰ پنجاب کے صاحبزادہ حمزہ شریف کی سابقہ بی بی عائشہ احد کو انصاف نہ ملنا جمہوریت کے منہ پر زوردار طمانچہ ہے ، حکومت ِ پاکستان عائشہ گلالئی اور عائشہ احد کو فوری طور پر انصاف دے کر انسانی حقوق کے فارمولے پر عملدرآمد کریں ، ایمنسٹی انٹرنیشنل نے دونوں متاثرہ خواتین کی مکمل تفصیل اقوام ِ متحدہ کو ارسال کرنے کا فیصلہ کرلیاہے۔