Monday, October 16, 2017

Pashto Music Video - Da Janana Na Erawom


The speakers at a conference in London urged Pakistani government to refrain from mainstreaming the notorious terrorist/militant outfits. They urged Pakistan government to take responsibility of all its citizens and protect their fundamental rights enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution.

The call was made at the second annual “Pakistan: The Way Forward” conference organised under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), co-hosted by US-based columnist Dr Mohammad Taqi and former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Husain Haqqani.

Several prominent liberal and progressive intellectuals, human rights and social media activists and public figures spoke during the conference on their vision of a liberal and democratic Pakistan. 

The speakers debated at length the policies of the Pakistani government in many areas, including domestic and international, and expressed concerns at the current affairs, calling on the authorities to change the course.
The speakers said that the space for free thinking and honest debate has shrunk and advocates of liberal, secular, progressive ideas and pluralism have come under attack from extremist groups.
Many speakers pointed out that the human rights situation has gone worse in the whole South Asian region, including in India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, where forces of right-wing have taken control of decision making at the cost of vulnerable sections of the society. 

They said that while Pakistan has seen tremendous improvement in many areas over the last several years, it was not right that many groups and communities remained under threat and human rights are denied to them.
The speakers expressed concern at attempts to mainstream extremist and banned organisations and made reference to the electoral gains two candidates made in the NA0-120 by-election in Lahore.
Rashed Rehman, senior editor and human rights advocate, told Geo News that these groups posed a direct and clear threat to the democratic system of Pakistan. 

“It’s a dangerous development that these groups are being brought into politics. These groups don’t believe in democracy at all.”
It was discussed that to establish a true democracy in Pakistan, the federating units must be given maximum powers and the National Finance Commission Award should give more resources to provinces for local development as well as devolution of power.

The conference agreed that Pakistan needs a new national narrative, based on progressive ideas and detaches from religious extremism and militancy. 

Many participants complained that media has been used to issue fatwas on the dissenting voices.
Haqqani told Geo News that those critical of current government policies are as patriotic as anyone else and they only wanted a pluralistic and progressive Pakistan. 

He said that while the views of the liberal thinkers and intellectuals for open for criticism but it was not right that the dissenting voices were termed anti-Pakistan and agents of foreign forces.
Growing intolerance posed threat to Pakistan and played out against Pakistan’s interests at the global level, he remarked further.

A joint declaration by the moot called on the Pakistani government to listen to fresh ideas espoused by broad-minded Pakistanis and end relying on ideas peddled by the right-wing elements.
The declaration said that a “steady diet of conspiracy theories” had harmed Pakistan and it was time to revisit such policies which encouraged reactionary forces. 

It said that only a pluralist Pakistan at peace with itself would have a positive global and local image and for this purpose the decision makers should engage with those who believe in a liberal, secular and progressive vision of Pakistan.

OP-ED Shame on us for all the Captain Safdars

“Throughout history more evil has been wrought on the human race by religious extremism than any other cause. Tragically, the perpetrators of religiously motivated hate remain proud of their unbelievable inhumanity” — Anonymous

Captain Safdar, the son-in-law of our not-at-all Sharif ex-Prime Minister, epitomises the cancer that continues to spread within our society and shames us all no end. And yet, I am certain, he feels proud of his “courage and staunch beliefs”; to our utter, everlasting disgrace.
Many friends have inquired why I have discontinued my efforts to sell geography to the people. The short answer is that I haven’t; these have merely been put on hold. And the venomous hatred spewed by the Captain (I am hesitant to refer to him as a man, as a human) has simply prolonged the intervening interval. When persons of his ilk speak thus on the floor of the House — they deserve to be taken to task. And I am pleased no end to see that, at least in this instance, mine is not a lone voice.
So very ashamed am I that he is Pakistani; that he is considered part of the human race; that he wore, however briefly, the same uniform that I wore each day with great pride; that he found sufficient support to be elected to Parliament; of what he said, what he personifies and for what he is. And then I am ashamed some more, that he is not the only one of his kind.
If my grasp of things is somewhat lacking, then kindly do enlighten me. But what gave you, the so-called Ullema of today, the right to avenge crimes endured by the Prophet (PBUH); crimes that he chose to let go unpunished? Who appointed you the Guardians of a religion that you have never even tried to understand?
Yet what has proved too much for me is how he not only spoke uninterrupted in the House but how none of our elected representatives dared offer a single rebuttal, a single objection. Indeed, to my utmost horror and utter degradation, there were those who took to thumping their desks to demonstrate their overwhelming approval. How much lower can we fall?
Raoof Hassan’s recent piece for this paper reminded me that Safdar was among those who cheered for Mumtaz Qadri, while the judge who sentenced him to death was forced into exile. Here, too, the good Captain wasn’t alone. Lawyers were seen garlanding Qadri for the murder most cowardly and foul that he committed. And all because Salman Taseer supported a review of the country’s blasphemy laws.
In Europe, the period known as The Inquisition originated in France, somewhere in the twelfth century before reaching its zenith a few hundred years later in Spain. Heresy may be described as “the voicing of an opinion against religious dogma”; particularly within the Roman Catholic context. Dogma, mind you. Yes the Church was dogmatic and if anyone raised their voice against its prescriptions, then they could expect nothing less than severe punishment. Among the definitions of dogma in listed in Webster’s dictionary, the most compelling is this: “a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds”. Meaning that questioning the Church in the absence of the latter was punishable by death.
Of the most commonly preferred means of avenging heresy was setting on fire those charged with this unacceptable offence. Yet this, too, reached new heights in Spain. There it was believed that prolonging the death of a known heretic by way torture served to ‘purify’ the soul of the poor wretch. Thus after such painstaking attention to his suffering was he then eligible to pass through Heaven’s white pearly gates?
Yet, we do not lag far behind. Our terrorists believe the same. By serving their manmade God of Wrath through the jihad that they preach — these perpetrators of mass murder believe that not only they, but anyone ‘lucky’ enough to die at their hands, automatically become Shaheeds, firmly on their way to Heaven. Meaning that those who murder us are, in fact, doing us a favour.
I must confess that, like most of us, my knowledge of Islam is little more than rudimentary. So, I would like to make a public plea of sorts. In the history of Islam with which I am familiar, people flung filth and excreta at the Prophet (PBUH), roundly, publicly, and repeatedly verbally abused him and Allah. Did they not? My question, therefore, is this: how many of these foul people were sentenced to death for blasphemy by the Prophet (PBUH), after the fall of Mecca, when he reigned supreme? Or, indeed, by the Khuafa-e-Rashideen during the periods of their rule?
If my grasp of things is somewhat lacking, then kindly do enlighten me. But what gave you, the so-called Ulema of today, the right to avenge crimes endured by the Prophet (PBUH); crimes that he chose to let go unpunished? Who appointed you the Guardians of a religion that you have never even tried to understand?
Does this act of usurping the right that Allah Almighty has kept exclusively for himself — of deciding who deserves to call themselves Muslim and who doesn’t — not deserve to be called what it is? Namely, “Shirk”? The one single transgression that the Prophet (PBUH) and his Khulafadeemed punishable.
Again, please correct me if I am wrong, but if my recollection of Islamic history does not err, Hazrat Bibi Khadeeja, the Prophet’s (PBUH) first wife, asked for his hand in marriage; right? So if this is the case why do you, the so-called learned Aalims of Islam, fail to turn your wrath towards the uneducated, unenlightened and dogmatic (yes, I use this word deliberately) parents who deny women family members the very same? Is it that you claim to know better? Careful, there, fellows.
Yet alas and alack, I know only too well that I cannot shame either your or the Safdars of Pakistan. Their creation is all yours.
And, finally, the thing that leaves me most ashamed is the fact that even though the good Captain’s words — his incitement to hatred — constitute a grave offence punishable by law, not one single person has the temerity to seek such recourse.
Lawyers, too, are equally reluctant to go down this path. I have found but one who has cautiously agreed to do the needful. And even then, I cannot afford his fees.

Pakistan - OP-ED - What lies ahead for Ahmadis

Yasser Latif Hamdani
Pakistan was not created in the name of Islam. This is a myth that has been forced down our throats by people who have had a free run of things in this country for close to 70 years.
In my article last week, I argued that my religion or religious beliefs, or lack thereof, are not the business of the state, and I quoted Jinnah’s promise made explicitly to all people of Pakistan on 11 August 1947 to this effect.
In response, a number of readers wrote in to say that Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam and that the Two-Nation Theory itself was based on identity politics. As I said earlier Pakistan was not created in the name of Islam. This is a myth that has been forced down our throats by people with incredibly small IQs who have had a free run of things in this country for close to 70 years. The first generation — immediately after Jinnah’s demise — made the humongous mistake of passing the Objectives’ Resolution but that itself was more inspired by preambles of states like Ireland for example and not by any desire to establish a theocratic state in Pakistan.
All said and done, Pakistan was created for a very simple reason — so simple in fact that it often misses ideologues and nationalists on both Indian and Pakistani sides. In the 19th century the British introduced census in the subcontinent and as part of this census they counted Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and so on and so forth instead of counting just inhabitants (there was no real Indian identity at the time). With time these culturally informed religious identities began competing for jobs, shares in the economic pie, politics etc. Pakistan’s founding father Jinnah it must be remembered tried the longest to come to a fair compromise between Hindus and Muslims on the basis of joint electorate (not separate electorate as Pakistan Studies’ text books claim) but that compromise was rejected. Meanwhile simultaneously the idea of partition of India took root and was not mooted by Iqbal or the Muslims mind you.
The Two Nation Theory — so conveniently laid at the door of Jinnah and the Muslim League — was the brainchild of Bhair Parmnand and the Hindu Nationalists of Punjab. Read Dr Neeti Nair’s book Changing Homelands. The idea of partition was mooted by Lala Lajpat Rai of Congress Party on 14 December 1923. It was the Hindu right wing of the Congress Party ultimately that mooted the idea of both the two nation theory and partition.
Before the Parliament passes a resolution further stripping Ahmadis of their rights as citizens, it ought to pass a resolution seeking removal of Mr Jinnah’s portrait from the National Assembly and the Senate as well as from our currency. Pakistan, as it is, does not deserve Mr Jinnah
Muslim League adopted the idea as a defence mechanism almost 20 years later. By arguing that Muslims were a nation in 1940, Jinnah did not say Hindus and Muslims could not live together. On the contrary what Jinnah said was that Hindus and Muslims could and should live together as two equal nations working together in the governance of their common motherland. It was the Muslim answer to caste Hindu domination at an all India centre which is what Congress Party — despite its inclusive protestations- promised. Jinnah pushed his demands to the extreme but then backtracked on all of them when he accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 — which none of its critics have ever bothered to actually read — did not give Hindus and Muslims parity. Quite the contrary it accepted the arithmetic of Hindu majority. What it did do was give minority Muslims effective safeguards against future Hindu tyranny. Congress sabotaged the Cabinet Mission Plan and chose to partition the country instead. India’s greatest jurist H M Seervai wrote as much three decades ago.
So this idea that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam is an entirely false idea based on a lie. Yes some populists might have used Islamic slogans but so did opponents of the Muslim League. Maulana Ataullah Shah Bokhari, a man championed as a freedom fighter by India to the extent that even Nehru sent moving eulogy on his demise, famously declared that voting for Muslim League or for Mr. Jinnah is like eating pork. Mazhar Ali Azhar of Majlis-e-Ahrar called Jinnah Kafir-e-Azam and Pakistan Kafir-i-stan. Their abuse against Pakistan and Jinnah is a matter of record. They did so because the Congress tasked them to divide up the Muslim vote. In Punjab Ahrar started the anti-Ahmadi movement and in Lucknow Ahrar started the anti-Shia campaign. In 1970s the Ahrar and other religious parties prevailed over Pakistan’s parliament to declare Ahmadis Non-Muslim.
Now you have Captain Safdar — you know what his achievement in life is- spewing venom against Dr Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s greatest physicist and scientist. And Captain Safdar had gall to suggest that Ahmadis should not be allowed in military service. Perhaps he does not know that the only general to die for Pakistan in battle was an Ahmadi. Captain Clueless spoke of Fikr-e-Maududi. He should know that when Maududi was denouncing Kashmir war of 1948, it was Furqan Force of Ahmadis fighting on the frontlines there.

Then you have our newly-anointed foreign minister Khawaja Asif bad mouthing the Ahmadis. What fall from grace — this post was once held by Zafrullah Khan, another Ahmadi. The reason why Pakistan has a case today in Kashmir is because of Zafrullah Khan. It was the same Zafrullah Khan who was appointed as Pakistan’s sole counsel before the Punjab Boundary Commission and the same Zafrullah Khan about whom Jinnah wrote to Ispahani asking him to release Zafrullah on October 22, 1947: “Naturally we are short of very capable men, and especially now and then our eyes turn towards him for various problems we have to solve.” When Zafrullah returned to Pakistan, Jinnah inducted him as Pakistan’s first foreign minister. This was the same Jinnah who on 23 May 1944 told a questioner that Ahmadis were Muslims because they profess to be Muslims and that he had no right to declare them otherwise. He had also warned the Muslims of Kashmir and India not to raise such sectarian and theological disputes which would help no one but cause destruction.
Given this history — given that the politician from Lal Haveli in Rawalpindi has shamelessly invoked Ataullah Shah Bokhari and Majlis-e-Ahrar in the Assembly, given that the Captain Clueless of PML-N is interested in Fikr-e-Maududi rather than in the ideas of Jinnah, given that the National Assembly is sounding more and more like an inquisitorial tribunal for conduct of genocide of Pakistan’s Ahmadis, at the very least what you can do is take Jinnah’s portrait off. The  constitution of 1973 framed by many who were part of the abuse and hate against Jinnah is incompatible with Jinnah’s Pakistan. So before you pass a resolution further stripping Ahmadis of their rights as citizens, pass a resolution removing Jinnah’s portrait from the National Assembly and the Senate as well as our currency. Pakistan does not deserve Jinnah. And Jinnah certainly does not deserve to be associated with a country of fascist bigots and religious fanatics.

Pakistan - Hafiz Saeed: A Stunt?

The government of Punjab has withdrawn a request seeking an extension to the house arrest of banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four of his associates under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which may lead to Hafiz Saeed’s release.
Hafiz Saeed’s name is one that is blotched in the international media and has been Pakistan’s most damaging secret. Hafiz Saeed has been accused by India and United States to be the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a claim he denies, and Saeed’s party, Lashkar-e-Taiba —which he co-founded, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN, the EU and several countries. This new development of Pakistan’s government casts a serious dent on Pakistan’s image of a country striking hard on terrorists.
A major portion of the blame lies with the Interior Ministry. After an unsatisfactory performance by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who was far too soft on terrorism, it was hoped that new Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal would be more competent. Sadly, this is not proving to be the case as the Interior Minister’s reluctance to appear before the Court seems to be one of the factors for the removal of the plea for extension.
Onus of the blame is on the army as well. It was army officials who had taken the initiative to arrest Hafiz Saeed, it had even called press conferences announcing the decision. The army’s inaction now, as well as its apathy to Milli-Muslim League (MML) having major influence in the NA-120 elections, is damaging to say the least. It is ammo into the hands of hostile foreign lobbyists and a huge setback to anti-terrorism efforts.
This is one of a series of inconsistent policies towards terrorism in Pakistan; the most detrimental is the inclusion of extremist parties and dubious characters in the by-election of NA 120. Presenting a trustworthy and reliable image of Pakistan is extremely vital at this stage, with many foreign exploits taking place, such as peace talks with Afghanistan and economic dealing with China.
The withdrawal of the extension for house arrest is worse considering a heated political climate and only further consolidates Pakistan’s image in the international sphere as unreliable when it comes to combating extremism.
There seemed hope that the army and government had woken up finally after they declared decisive action against terrorists at the aftermath of pressure by the new U.S administration. However, with these inconsistent policies, that rhetoric will look no more than a political stunt.

Dropping terror charges against Hafiz Saeed exposes #Pakistan's real face

Pakistan's move to withdraw terrorism charges against Hafiz Saeed has drawn widespread criticism from exiled Kashmiri leaders who say that this is nothing more than a reflection of Pakistan's terror-supporting policies.

A co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Saeed was detained under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in January this year.

Sajjad Raza, the International Coordinator of Dogra Sadar, who is based in London,said, "Terrorism is Pakistan's state policy. Basically, Hafiz Saeed is ISI's man, and in Pakistan, there is no rule of law, Pakistan is rather ruled by the ISI".

He added that the "civilian governments are always kept under the command of army in Pakistan".

The mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Saeed and the JuD are banned by the United Nations, while the United States has put a 10 million dollar bounty on his arrest.

With the withdrawal of terror charges, Saeed can urge the court to issue an order for his release as he is no longer under incarceration because of the ATA. His release is crucial for Pakistan and its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as they use Saeed to spew venom against India and the United States.

Saeed recently launched the Milli Muslim League (MML), a political party, with an agenda to highlight the Kashmir issue with greater force.

Calling Hafiz Saeed's arrest a planned strategy by Islamabad, Nasir Aziz, a spokesperson of the United Kashmir People's National Party, said, "The Pakistani establishment still considers banned organisations and terrorist groups as its assets.

Aziz believes the Taliban and other terrorists can be used against their enemies. On the one hand, Pakistan claims that it is an ally of the United States and NATO in the war on terror, but her claims are contrary to its actions."

Nasir added, "Pakistan arrested Hafiz Saeed to fool the world community as during his house arrest, he (Hafiz) announced a new political party Milli Muslim League. In-fact it is a Military Muslim League".

Jamil Maqsood, Central Secretary, Foreign Affairs of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP), said, "The ban was never effectively imposed on Hafiz Saeed, it was just to mislead the world community. Dropping terror charges against the LeT chief has shownthe real policy and face of the Pakistani state. They have given out a message to the world that they don't care about concerns of regional security and development".

He added, "Pakistan must face an international embargo to refrain from using terror as a foreign policy tool and religion to divide and intimidate people in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. It will prove that Pakistan is planning to send terrorists acrossthe LoC to create more chaos and instability in the region".

Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri writer and human rights activist, said, "The dropping of terrorism charges against Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan compels me to conclude that the majority of the attacks by LeT and other terrorist groups are carried out with the connivance, if not complete support, of the security agencies, otherwise responsible for preserving peace within the state".

He added, "The explanation for this Pakistani ambivalence is their selective counter terrorism efforts and their characteristic focus on contention withIndia. This new development is a direct outcome of the fact that Pakistan still sees terrorist groups and terrorists differently. The Army along with the ISI still distinguishes between 'bad' terrorists, those who target Pakistani Security Forces, and 'good' terrorists, those who advance its strategic objectives vis-a-vis Afghanistan and India".

"This decision makes it unambiguously clear that the killer of hundreds of people in Mumbai and the Kashmir Valley is not considered a terrorist in Pakistan, but an asset. It makes it clear to the world how Pakistan treats Global Terrorists; Unfortunately, It continues to use Terrorism as State policy", concludes Junaid. 

Pakistan government accused of 'mainstreaming' misogyny after legally endorsing honour killing advocates

Lawyers have condemned a Pakistan government decision to support notoriously violent tribal councils, arguing that the country is “mainstreaming” misogyny.
The councils, called jirgas, have been known to order civilians to carry out honour killings and "revenge rapes" as a means of "traditional justice". 
Earlier this year the government decided to endorse the rulings of jirgas in an effort to control them. MPs voted to integrate jirgas into the formal justice system as long as each jirga is appointed a “neutral arbitrator”. Aiming to prevent misogyny, the arbitrator will need to approve the verdicts of jirgas before they are passed. 
Just 23 of 342 members of the lower house in the Pakistan government turned out to vote on the measure.
Demonstration: Honour killings in Pakistan have sparked protests by human rights activists (AFP/Getty)
A law that allows police to arrest members of jirgas for suspected "anti-women" activities was passed in 2011. But activists say the councils, which blend tribal and Islamic customs, are still advocating sexual assault.
In August this year a 15-year-old girl and her boyfriend who attempted to elope were electrocuted and murdered by their fatherson the order of a jirga. A settlement had initially been reached between the two families over the marriage plans but the jirga rejected the agreement and ordered the deaths “as a lesson to others”.
Lawyers have blasted the idea of the government “mainstreaming” jirgas, with one telling the Economist whoever drafted the new law “should be shot”. 
In July this year, 24 men were arrested after the alleged revenge gang-rape of a teenage girl, ordered by a jirga. The tribal councils carry a code which considers women to be "property". 
But support for jirgas is increasing as more and more civilians are turning to them for a form of “speedy justice”.
For most Pakistanis, a formal legal system is out of reach. Lawsuits on average take more than a decade to resolve and lawyers charge large sums for their services.
A former bureaucrat who runs a popular jirga in the city of Rawalpindo told the Economist: “Only jirgas in illiterate backwaters produce the sort of decisions that end up making shocking headlines”.
Support for jirgas has also come from the UK. A report commissioned by the UK Department for International Development in 2016 advocated studying “merits” of jirgas. The department has since funded gender-sensitivity training for tribal elders in Peshawar, a conservative northern city. 
Nearly 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan in 2015 by relatives who believed they had dishonoured their families, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan..

Suspected US missiles kill 5 militants in NW Pakistan

Pakistani intelligence officials say suspected U.S. missiles have struck a home in the Kurram tribal region, killing five militants.
Two intelligence officials said missiles fired from a suspected US drone hit a compound in the Mukbal area near the Afghan border Monday evening. They added that it was being used by militants from Haqqani network and that one of their top commanders, Sangeen Wali, was killed.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Pakistani intelligence officials say suspected U.S. missiles have struck a home in the Kurram tribal region, killing five militants.
Two intelligence officials said missiles fired from a suspected US drone hit a compound in the Mukbal area near the Afghan border Monday evening. They added that it was being used by militants from Haqqani network and that one of their top commanders, Sangeen Wali, was killed.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Pakistan considers the drone strike a violation of its sovereignty, while the U.S. accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens for militants, which Pakistan denies.

Bilawal Bhutto expresses grief and sorrow over loss of human lives in Mogadishu bomb blast in Somali capital

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deeply felt grief and sorrow over the loss of more than two hundreds human lives in Mogadishu bomb blast in Somali capital.
“On behalf of the people of Pakistan and the PPP our prayers and sympathies go out for our Somali brethren who suffered severe terrorist attacks and are fighting against the menace,” the PPP Chairman stated.

PML-N govt always leaves country in difficulties, says Zardari

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government always leaves the country in difficulties.
Speaking to party members at Bilawal House Lahore, the former president allegedthat it is a policy of the Nawaz-league to “provide worst economic situation to the incoming government.”
He, however, said that the election atmosphere has already been formed and directed members to prepare for polls.
“The time has come for us to head out; we will be visiting all provinces,” the PPP co-chairman announced.
Zardari said his party will face both PML-N and Tehreek-e-Insaf in the next elections. “Neither of the two parties have either an ideology or a manifesto, but the PPP will step in with its people-friendly manifesto and defeat its opponents.”
He said the present situation is different from that of 2013 and the PPP will fully contest the elections in Punjab.
The former president advised his party members not to be disappointed for the circumstances have changed.
“Now I will myself visit every city and constituency,” he announced.