Saturday, November 4, 2017

Video Report - Guns N' Roses - November Rain

Video - How to Politicize the Halloween Terror Attack in New York: The Daily Show

Hu Says: Peace, win-win cooperation only way for China to build a ‘great modern socialist country’

Pressing China can't help solve North Korean nuclear issue

The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Thursday that Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, sent a reply to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's congratulatory message on the success of the 19th CPC National Congress. The Xi-Kim exchanges suggest that party-to-party and state-to-state relationships between China and North Korea have held the bottom line, despite the fallout from Pyongyang's insistence on developing nuclear weapons. This is a positive signal to both countries and to the whole region.

Many have speculated that North Korea was highly likely to conduct new nuclear or missile activities during the Congress. But this did not happen. Pyongyang sent a congratulatory message to Beijing as is the tradition between socialist countries, and Beijing responded with courtesy. 

China and North Korea have traditional friendly ties. Sustaining and developing such a friendly relationship is fully justified. But serious disputes over the Pyongyang nuclear issue are a bare fact, and this tests the Sino-North Korean friendly relationship.

The issue has fallen into a pattern that is full of challenges, and the role China plays in it is particularly tricky. China is a neighbor and the largest trading partner of North Korea, the country that suffers the most in strategic security from the Pyongyang nuclear issue, the main mediator in the crisis, and a supporter and the main implementer of the UN sanctions. Such a sophisticated role determines that China is the most active in promoting a peaceful solution to the crisis.

North Korea feels deeply insecure. As a result, it develops nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles despite all the risks, and expects the international community to eventually give in due to the concerns over the potential escalation of tensions. In response, the US intends to coerce North Korea to yield, and is pushing the sanctions on Pyongyang to the extreme. It has even increased the threats of war against North Korea given the less-than-expected effects of the sanctions.

Washington's and Pyongyang's strategy of "deter" and "coerce" has had no effect in addressing the problem so far, except for pushing the situation into the direction of conflict, which neither expects. 

Generally speaking, the US has strength advantages, and thus is still attempting to simply exert more pressure on North Korea. Many analysts from Washington believe that US President Donald Trump's upcoming Asia tour will further pressure Pyongyang. 

But we hope that during his visit, Trump can learn more about the rationality of the China-proposed "suspension for suspension" and "dual track approach." These two proposals are the most realistic, least risky starting points that could lead to denuclearizing the peninsula. Given the serious divergences between Washington and Seoul on the use of force, and the contradictory statements by US officials, China's proposals consider the maximum interests for all, and are likely to be the only choice to address the crisis.

The complexity of the nuclear crisis means that all sides may have to make some concessions to reach a peaceful solution. China is playing the most difficult role in the process, and is the real hope of peacefully addressing the crisis. Neither side should press China in an extreme way.

China ranks second in world as expat destination for career progression: HSBC report

By Sun Wenyu
China ranks second in the world as an expat destination for career progression, only after the U.S., said the Expat Explorer Survey recently issued by HSBC. The survey invited more than 27,500 expats in over 150 countries and regions this year to share their experiences in different areas ranging from personal finance to living conditions. More than 70% of the foreigners living in China believe that the country has offered a broader vocational prospect for them, up 16% since last year.
Half of the foreigners said they have developed new skills after coming to the country, and 55% of them had their disposable income raised. Higher income is the reason why Indian software engineer surnamed Jayanth decided to work here. “I don’t have to compete much thanks to the rich public resources here,” he said, adding that he will have more opportunities when he returns to his home country because of his working experience in China.
Dominic Morgan, who comes from UK and now works in the media industry in Shanghai, noted that China is set to become the most important country and market in the world and that Chinese enterprises would also become very strong in overseas markets. Though his income is less in China than that in the UK, the cost of living is much lower here, Morgan said, adding that his life experiences have also been enriched.
Thanks to the rapid development, China is gradually narrowing the gap between itself and the developed countries, said Chen Wei, head of Zhangjiang Platform Economy Research Institute. The country is offering more opportunities for foreigners with improved environment and policies, Chen added.
Shanghai, for instance, has always been one of the hottest cities in China for foreign talents. By the first half of this year, a total of 896 high-level foreign talents in the city have been recruited by the Thousand Talents Plan, a recruitment program for global experts. In addition, more than 140,000 foreigners are currently working and studying in Shanghai, and the city has become a permanent residence for 93,000 foreign experts.

Video Report - Former #Catalan leader #Puigdemont ready to cooperate with Belgian court

Video Report - Putin Sums Up Results Of Tehran Trilateral Talks

Video Report - What's the future of 'Sino-Russian' ties? | Will Moscow, Tehran reshape the Middle East?

Video Report - Access denied: Privacy fears over Google docs as users suffer 'creepy' lockout

Video Report - #Twitter Turns Red: Relive the Russian Revolution with #1917LIVE (November 6-8)

Video Report - President Donald Trump Blames Jared Kushner For Bad Political Advice

Video Report - Trump: "a reality TV star running the country like a reality TV show"

Video Report - Trump's memory fails, investigation looms

America's diplomatic vacuum in the Middle East sends its allies to Russia

By Jamie Tarabay, CNN

When Donald Trump took the oath of office in January there were great expectations among many of America's allies in the Middle East that he would be an improvement on his predecessor, someone they'd felt had gone from showing them tepid support to middling neglect.
President Barack Obama had famously "pivoted to Asia" during his time in office, shifting his focus and American resources to beefing up US presence in the Pacific to counter an ever-rising China. Obama's actions in office, from choosing to side with the Egyptian people over long-time ally President Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring, to the US response to state-sponsored atrocities in the Syrian conflict and the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, have all contributed to a growing unease among many US allies in the Middle East. "For years now, there has been a perception in the Gulf that the US is retreating from the kind of commitment that it had to Gulf security when it liberated Kuwait from the invasion by Iraq," said Jane Kinninmont, a senior research fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.
Obama, she said, "made it pretty clear he didn't much like the Gulf monarchs. Now Trump has come in, and he's embraced them, he's promised arms sales, but there's still a sense of the 'America first' rhetoric, that the US will be in the Gulf as long as it's seen as being in its own interest."
To be sure, there have been some attempts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to resolve the crisis between Qatar and the other Gulf states. Trump's son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner has focused on the Israel-Palestinian conflict among other regional issues. The administration has been slow to appoint ambassadors. A recent New York Times report outlined the scale of the exodus of experienced diplomats from the State Department since Rex Tillerson moved in, and the hiring of new capable foreign service officers has lagged. Tillerson's mandate over a thinning State Department is further confused by what many Democrats and even some Republicans call mixed signals and contradictory tweets coming out of the White House.
Putin's Middle East outreach The Gulf nations, Kinninmont says, realized that when it came to allies, they needed to branch out. Enter, Russia. "They're hedging their bets with Moscow," said Mohamad Bazzi, associate professor of journalism at New York University and former adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. That was exemplified, he says, by the visit in October by Saudi King Salman to Russia, where he rode down a golden escalator and reviewed an honor guard after landing. The importance of the visit cannot be overstated, says Bazzi. "This is the first sitting Saudi monarch to visit Moscow, and it wasn't that long ago, two decades ago when Saudis were pumping money into Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union," Bazzi told CNN. "It didn't get the kind of attention it deserved in the US, and I don't think the Saudis are switching allegiances, it's just smart foreign policy by them and by Putin, who is really positioning himself as the lynchpin of the Middle East." Putin, who was in Turkey last month and has a good working relationship with Iran, appears to have better standing in the region now than President Trump. "The regional players are looking to Putin to either take their side or help them or be involved (in major conflicts in the region), because of this vacuum that's being left by this confused US policy," said Bazzi. Frayed relations with Ankara
While some world leaders are quietly making connections with other leaders and diplomats, other are becoming increasingly disaffected with the US. Turkey's relationship with the US has degenerated in recent years. Earlier this month the US banned Turkish tourists, students, diplomats and journalists from applying for visas to visit what is a NATO ally. Hours after the announcement Turkey imposed a ban of its own. Iranians and Russians remain free to enter Turkish borders without a visa. President Obama had considered Turkish leader Tayyip Recep Erdogan a political reformer when the new president made Turkey the first Muslim country on his list to visit. "I'm trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey," he said at the time, hoping that Washington and Ankara could "build a model partnership." But in the years since, Erdogan has assumed sweeping new powers, and, critics say, steadily increased the trappings of dictatorship. A failed coup in July 2016 sent him on a purging spree, cracking down on dissent, arresting opponents military and otherwise, and firing over 150,000 government employees.
Tellingly, it was Russia's Vladimir Putin who was among the first world leaders to call and offer his support to Erdogan in the days after the botched coup, a fact Erdogan couldn't help but compare to the lack of response from the US and much of Europe. "Both Russia and Iran rushed to support Erdogan, saying they believed in an elected government, and so his attitude to them has become quite a bit more favorable since," said Kinninmont. Erdogan, who is essentially using his geographical position as gatekeeper to Europe to demand billions of dollars to stem the flow of refugees into the continent, managed to move beyond his estrangement with Putin over the Turks' downing of a Russian fighter jet in November 2015, part of the Kremlin's push to keep in power Syria's Assad, a man Erdogan wanted gone. During his meetings in Turkey with Erdogan, the two focused on issues dear to Erdogan's heart: the Kurdish referendum across his border, the separatist Kurdish attacks at home, and the resolution of the Syrian conflict. Putin, who'd initiated negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan for a settlement to the Syrian war, brought together Turkey and Iran -- who had opposing aims in the conflict -- together to uphold a ceasefire. A US State Department official represented the US at the Astana talks, which some diplomats have described as Putin's attempt to undermine other peace talks taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.
The message behind Putin's most recent visit to Ankara was clear.
"While Americans ignore Turkey, we respect the Turkish position," said Dmitry Savelyev, a Russian parliamentarian who coordinates a joint Russian-Turkish dialogue. He added that Turkey was welcome to join the Eurasian Economic Union, a jab at the dwindling expectations that Turkey would ever become a member of the European Union. "It is stunning that Russia has been able to make itself seen as such a player in the region by basically underwriting a brutal dictator who most regional governments and publics oppose," said Kinninmont. "But it would be inaccurate to suggest that the region is turning towards Russia. The region is still very much more interested in the US. It's more a signal that all the regional powers are trying to diversify their alliances and not be 100% dependent on the US in the way they were for the last 20 or 30 years."
America's retreat from the Middle East
The American exodus began largely under President George W. Bush after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan deteriorated prospects for positive US intervention in the region, but went into full swing under Obama. There were problems there the US shouldn't be expected to intervene in, Obama argued in an interview with The Atlantic last year. He added that the Saudis needed to "share" the Middle East with Iran. "The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians -- which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen -- requires us to say to our friends as well as to the Iranians that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace," Obama said at the time. "An approach that said to our friends 'You are right, Iran is the source of all problems and we will support you in dealing with Iran' would essentially mean that as these sectarian conflicts continue to rage and our Gulf partners, our traditional friends, do not have the ability to put out the flames on their own, or decisively win on their own, and would mean that we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores. And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East."
"They [the Gulf countries] never really quite got over that," said Bazzi, of Obama's decision to pursue the Iran nuclear deal and dial back US involvement in the Middle East. "I think most of the Gulf got fixated on the idea that Obama chose Iran over them." Countering Iranian intervention To the Gulf countries, Iran's fingers were in every simmering pot across the region. The Gulf funded and equipped rebels to fight Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime forces which were propped up by Iranian arms and troops, it formed a coalition that pulverized much of Yemen in the war against Iran-supported rebels who'd ousted the Saudi-allied government in the capital Sana'a, and Iranian weapons, funds and fighters deluged the ranks of Iraqi security forces responsible for much of the sectarian conflict in once Sunni-led Iraq. After that, Bazzi says, the Gulf countries began to do things to show their unhappiness with Washington, like skip major summits Obama was holding, or send subordinates instead.
"He got snubbed. They would do these symbolic things, he wasn't invited to one of the last Gulf summits [of his presidency]. The king didn't even go meet him at the airport," Bazzi noted of President Obama's April 2016 visit to Riyadh for a separate summit with Gulf leaders. "Compare that to the reception Trump got. It was one indication of how upset they were with Obama." President Trump was met with incredible fanfare from the Saudi kingdom when he arrived in the country in May this year for his first foreign trip as president. There was a red carpet and a personal welcome by King Salman, a military flyover and a brass band. "To Trump it was spectacular because it was how he thought he would be treated. One has to give the Saudis credit for that, for reading him correctly," Bazzi said. "It worked."
The positive vibes though, were temporary, argues Gerald Feierstein, former US ambassador to Yemen and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs.
"We're now nine months into the new administration and yet I think that despite the very strong rhetoric that we see coming out of the new administration ... they haven't actually done very much to make people feel as though there's any real policy behind the rhetoric," he said. "If you look at Syria, where the Trump administration has made a decision not even to do as much as Obama did in support of the Syrian opposition but to basically yield and to accept that Iran has won Syria, those things I think are being looked at in the Gulf, and I would say that the Gulf states pragmatically are making a decision that they need to broaden their policy and that they need to work on building solid relationships with governments that in the past they didn't really have much to do with."
Putin may be struggling economically at home, but he stands to gain much in reciprocity for his outreach. There are energy contracts with the Gulf nations, and the supply of missiles to Turkey, among other deals. And there are the optics too.
"The Russians do want to be seen internationally as a soft power," says Kinninmont. "They want their public at home to think that Russia is a respected and important player overseas, and not simply the loser of the Cold War."

George H.W. Bush Called Trump A ‘Blowhard’ And Said, ‘I Don’t Like Him’

By Hilary Hanson
The author of a new book on the Bush presidents revealed some of their true thoughts on Trump.
An upcoming book shows that former President George H.W. Bush did not mince words when asked about President Donald Trump, back before Trump had won the election.
“I don’t like him,” Bush told historian Mark Updegrove in May 2016, according to The New York Times. “I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.” Bush added that Trump appeared to be driven by “a certain ego.”
Updegrove’s book, “The Last Republicans,” deals with the relationship between the senior Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush. The title was inspired by a quote from the younger Bush, who told him during the 2016 election, “I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president.”
“And it wasn’t just about Hillary Clinton becoming president, as the Republican Party was having a difficult time finding itself,” Updegrove told CNN. “It was because Donald Trump represented everything that the Bushes abhorred.”
The elder Bush also said that he voted for Clinton in 2016, while his son said he voted for “none of the above” as president and Republican candidates on the rest of the ballot.
Their newly revealed criticisms of Trump come just weeks after George W. Bush appeared to criticize the president at a New York policy seminar, though he didn’t mention Trump by name.
“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said. “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”

The White House responded to news of the criticisms Saturday morning, saying in a statement, “If one Presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had.”

NEW: WH responds to Bush41 calling POTUS a "blowhard". Calls Iraq "greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history". via/ @NoahGrayCNN
Though liberals have historically been sharp critics of the younger Bush — for reasons including the decision to invade Iraq, a slow and widely panned response to Hurricane Katrina, and his administration’s wholesale embrace of torture — his star has risen in the Trump era. In the wake of Trump’s frequent inflammatory comments and constant ad hominem attacks on Twitter, many people seem to long for a president who maintained a relatively more dignified demeanor.
An October survey showed that 51 percent of Democrats hold at least a somewhat favorable view of Bush. On Friday, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann — who has previously called Bush a fascist and a liar — said he owed Bush an apology and would prefer a third Bush term to Trump as president. Last year, the public went wild with glee over a photo showing Bush and Michelle Obama enjoying a brief embrace.
All the newfound nostalgia seems to ignore just how terrible many people ― especially Democrats ― thought Bush’s presidency was at the time. For many, his lasting legacies are a disastrous Iraq war and the spread of chaos in the Middle East, as well as the financial crisis beginning during his second term. Some have argued those very conditions helped fuel the rise of the far right in the United States and abroad, paving the way for Trump to get elected.

Punjabi Music Video - Noor Jehan - DILDAR SADKE

Pakistan: Family Afraid After Christian Accused of Blasphemy Dies Before He Can Clear His Name

A 70-year-old Christian man in Pakistan, who had been falsely accused of "blasphemy" and was out on a bail, suddenly died. His family now finds itself even more vulnerable to attacks as they will find it more difficult to prove his innocence.

Mukhtar Masih died Thursday at Bagh Christian Hospital in Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where he was taken after he complained of a pain in the abdomen, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association, which also reported that he died of gastro-intestinal bleeding as per the autopsy report.

"We were extremely confident that Mukhtar would be exonerated and that his reputation would once again become unsullied, said Mehwish Bhatti, lead officer for the BPCA in Pakistan. "His distraught family have expressed great disappointment that Mukhtar Masih died with charges of blasphemy over his head. We are challenging our local MP's (members of parliament) to call for a posthumous exoneration for a man who did not commit any crime. Mukhtar's only offence was the hurt he apparently caused to Muslims for adhering to the Christian faith."


The supporters of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen and Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) staged a sit-in outside Chief Minister’s House in Lahore yesterday to protest against the kidnapping of Nasir Shirazi, MWM’s deputy chief, at the behest of Punjab government bigwigs.

“We shall stage next sit-in at D Chowk in Islamabad and then also surround the rulers even in London, let alone Lahore or Islamabad,” said Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafari, chief of the MWM, addressing the protesters.
Ansar Mehdi, President of the ISO, also spoke and marked solidarity with the ex-CP of his organization Nasir Shirazi.
They condemned the Punjab government for their biased policies and victimization of political opponents.
They vowed to continue to voice their protest against the bad governance and biased policies of the Punjab government.

The Dilemma and Disparities of Democracy & Pakistan

By: Anwar Zaib
Philosophical foundation of democracy rests on the notions of popular sovereignty, participatory governance and the rule with consents. The power to form the change a government lies with the citizens who elect their representatives for setting up a government. Such a government is accountable to the people through their representative who have the ultimate power to change it. Democracy also calls for equality of opportunities and protection of law for all citizens irrespective of caste, creed region and religion. It also allows freedom of expression and a right to set up political and other organization within the framework of law and respect of decants.
The constitution of a democratic state is based on the general consensus of the people and it is said to represent their shared aspiration for the future. A democratic power remains in power as long as it enjoys the confidence and trust of the parliament and the electorate. In other words power is the trust of the people with the government which has to be exercised within a defined democratic and constitutional framework. The principles of government‘s ultimate responsibility to the people is the characteristics of a democratic polity however these principles given a concrete shape in a particular socio-economic and political environment of a country. 
The failure to establish viable democratic institution and frequent constitutional breakdown in Pakistan have led many to argue that democracy has failed, and that it does not suit the genius of the people of Pakistan. Many author held the selfish corrupt and incapable leadership of Pakistan responsible for the weakness of democracy.
Pakistan faced critical problem in political life after independence. Due to the disparities and inequality the country was supposed to go into serve conflict and crises, enforcement of the Indian act of 1935 for such a long period of time. It  was the first factor that caused uncertainty in the country where in the region of FATA the “FCR” of the British is still valid with all coercive means which gives message of failure and fiasco to the world that an independent state is compe3lled to obey the implemented role and still is dominated by the imperialist thought.
The era during 1947–1958 was the period of institutional destruction of country where the institutions were not developed in a contemporary way. The ill equipped and the biased behavior of the state towards its unit gave birth to the conflicts that are still unresolved. Economic disparities and regional disparities developed a sense of anxiety in each ethnic group against the other and the real reason of such feeling was the absence of socio-economic justice and this socio-economic injustice further developed deprivation.

Balochistan: Protest against abduction of Baloch Human rights activists, women and children

The Baloch Human Rights Organisation (BHRO) took out a rally in Karachi on Thursday against the abduction a Baloch Human Rights activist, students and women and children from Karachi and Quetta.
According to the details, the BHRO rally started from Arts Council Karachi and ended at the Karachi Press Club after a protest demonstration.  The participants were carrying pictures of abducted persons, banners and chanted slogans against enforced-disappearances in Balochistan.
Some of Progressive Pakistani Human Rights activists also joined the BHRO protest in Karachi. The Pakistani participants included Asad Bhutt vice-chairman of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Sindh, civil society activist Jibran Nasir, Democratic Student Federation’s Naghma Sheikh, National Student Federation’s Fatima Zaidi and Wahab Baloch of the Baloch Rights Council. Also, a large number of Baloch residents of Karachi mostly women and children joined the protest rally to express their anger against enforced-disappearances in Balochistan.
Speaking on the occasion the organisers of the protest said that Pakistani security forces continue abductions and disappearances with increasing intensity. They said previously, Pakistani forces only abducted men and youth but now even Baloch women and children are not safe in Balochistan. They said the excessive use of forces would not help resolve the issue of enforced disappearances. In fact, the heavy-handedness of forces will further complicate the issue.
They said the information secretary of the BHRO Nawaz Atta Baloch and eight other students aged between 8 – 25 were abducted on October 28, 2017. Their whereabouts remain unknown and their families are extremely concerned about their wellbeing and safety.  “If there are any charges against the abducted persons, they should be brought to the surface and presented to courts,” the BHRO speakers said adding that enforced-disappearances cannot be justified.
The BHRO activist criticised the government of Sindh for its silence on the abduction of organisation’s information secretary and other eight students. They urged the Chief Minister of Sindh to take notice of the abduction Baloch students from Karachi’s Gulistan Jauhar.
The protesters also expressed their concerns over the abduction of Baloch women and children from Quetta on 30 October 2017. “If the state institutions are serious about solving the problem of Balochistan and Human rights Violations, they should release all the abducted Baloch and end military operations across Balochistan,” the protesters said.
The activists of BHRO appealed to the international Human Rights Organisations to raise their voices for the safe recovery of the enforced-disappeared persons including innocent women and children.

Pakistan - Remembering Reshma, the nightingale of desert

By Hamza Rao

In every field, there are only few personalities that stand up and achieve recognition with regards to their extraordinary work and qualify for the criteria that history or our collective memories set for the people to be remembered and to rule the hearts of masses for decades or even centuries. In Pakistani music industry – especially in the follk genre – Reshma is one of them. It’s been four years since curtain fell for legendary singer Reshma but her voice still echoes within our hearts and stirs the soul. She was born around 1947 in Bikaner in Rajasthan in a nomadic Banjara community and her family moved to Karachi after the Partition. Her family had no clue about her talent until she turned 12 and recorded the famous dhamaal Laal Meri on radio and never looked back since then. When she sang Punjabi folk songs in her husky and passionate voice, the plaintive lamentations of Sassi reflected the centuries old sweetness and folk history of the deserts of subcontinent. She deepened our sense of belonging to this diverse society of subcontinent by invoking folk message of love and peace. The Bikaner-born singer enjoyed popularity on both sides of the border. She once said that Indians have given her so much love that it can be returned only by singing for them. Being the true daughter of the subcontinent, Reshma always reiterated the need for cultural activities between the two habitual rival neighbours. Famous as Malika-e-Registan (The Desert Queen), her well-known tracks include Dama dam mast kalandar, Haye o rabba nahion lagda dil mera, Sun charkhe di mithi mithi cook mahiya meinu yaad aunda and Wey main chori chori. Despite being the global star, Reashma was always spotted wearing traditional Rajasthani salwar kameez in her concerts. She wore the garb of fame lightly on her heavy frame. She was innocent and humble and would often make her audience laugh with her self-deprecating jokes that exhibited her skills to keep the people engaged. Before singing, she often created an air of familiarity and closeness with her Rajasthani expression, “Mhara to gaon Bikaner hai!” (Our home town is Bikaner). At the residence of BJP leader Vijay Goel, who was also a fan of her melodious voice, she had once revealed that her ancestors were traders who took camels from Bikaner to buy horses from what is now Pakistan. Reshma once reminisced the moment she spent with former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Gandhi also agreed to get a road constructed from a border village of India to Pakistan on Reshma’s request. Unfortunately, for some reasons, only half of it was built. On her last visit to India, she had paid homage at the shrines of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia in New Delhi and Haji Ali Baba in Mumbai. She often visited composer Naushad in Mumbai whom she considered her “most venerable guru” and actor Pran who was “chacha” to her.

Ignorance In Pakistan - Girl, 16, paraded naked in Pakistan after 'honour' row

Villagers in a remote area of north-west Pakistan are in shock after armed men forced a 16-year-old girl to walk half-naked through the village, claiming it was to redeem their family honour.
Local residents say the woman was targeted because of her brother's long-forgotten secret affair with a woman from the assailants' family.
The incident, which came to light on Thursday when the media got wind of it, took place last week near the remote town of Chaudhwan, some 80km (50 miles) west of Dera Ismail Khan city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Police have arrested eight men and are searching for a ninth.
Witnesses say the girl was attacked in broad daylight when she went to fetch water from a pond.
"I and my [female] cousins were returning after filling our pitchers when these men caught up with us," she told local journalists.
"They shoved me around, and I fell down. Then they cut my clothes with scissors. One of my cousins tried to cover me with her dupatta [a long scarf], but they snatched it away."
She tried to escape and ran into a nearby house, but they followed her.
"I ducked beside a cot and tried to hold on to it but they dragged me out. A neighbour tried to intervene but they threatened him with their guns."
Locals and the police say her ordeal continued for nearly an hour, after which the men let her go.
"My uncle's house was close by, so I ran there and got into some clothes," she said.
The girl outlined the attack to local media in the presence of her mother and cousins. Her mother, a widow, said she ran out to look for her daughter the moment she heard what had happened.
"In the street, I saw some of the armed men standing near a wall, and I asked them what they had done to my daughter. Instead of answering, they asked me where my son was. They were mocking me."
A little further down the street, she said she found a sleeve torn from her daughter's shirt.
A local source who asked not to be named told the BBC the assailants' family had secretly held a grudge against the girl's family over an incident that happened three years ago.
"[The girl's] brother was accused back then of gifting a mobile phone to one of the daughters of a local villager... which the pair used for their secret liaison."
The revelation caused offence to this girl's family, and the community called for a council of elders to resolve the issue before it led to bloodshed.
The council ordered the young man to pay a fine of 300,000 rupees (roughly $3,000; £2,300) which he did - and the matter was closed.
"But it now appears that [the girl's] family did not forget the insult and wanted to get even," the BBC's source said.
As is often the case in so-called "honour" disputes in South Asia, the punishment for that insult has been borne by an innocent girl.

Pakistan - National question and the state

By Afrasiab Khattak

Europe is recognised to be the birth place of the modern national state. The processes of ethnic consolidation and socio political development triggered by industrial revolution and followed by democratic transformation between 15th and 19th centuries were supposed to have shaped the phenomenon. In some cases there were relatively more united national entities such as Dutch and Portuguese nations that gave birth to states catering for the needs of these entities. In other cases such as France and Italy, the birth of modern democratic state led to the consolidation of national identities. In Germany and Italy campaigns by nationalists are supposed to have played a role in the emergence of national state. Marxism regards the capitalist interests of national bourgeoisie for enjoying hegemony over national markets to have played a determining role in shaping national identities leading to the formation of the national states. The Westphalian treaty of 1498 played an important role in providing a conducive external framework to national state by formally recognizing sanctity of the sovereignty and national borders of all European states including monarchies, empires and republics. By 19th century the nation state had become such an impressive model that most of the newly emerging post colonial states in Asia, Africa and Latin America started fashioning themselves after this model although many of them weren’t even close to being a nation state by any stretch of imagination. Actually this line of thinking became a basis for the subsequent suppression and exploitation of smaller nations and nationalities.

Be that as it may the recent wave of dramatic secessionist movements by smaller ethnic entities from the so called national states in Europe has exposed the limits of this model. Catalonia in Spain, Basque in Italy and Scots in UK are well known ( although not the only) examples. Spain, Italy and UK are established democracies with a long history of representative governments. But that is mainly in terms of vertical representation. There are serious problems in horizontal democracy, in recognizing and including smaller ethno-cultural entities that are different from the predominantly nationality. These are unitary state systems that have failed to correctly tackle the question of autonomy and devolution of power. As a member of the Parliamentary Committee On Constitutional Amendment in 2009/2010 and sustainability as a member of the Implementation Commission in 2010/2011 I had very interesting experience in this regard. After the passage and the initial implementation of the 18th Constitutional Amendment members of the Implementation Commission led by Senator Raza Rabani were invited by UK government in July 2011 for a visit to exchange experience on devolution of power from central government to provinces/regions. Our delegation met authorities in London who were dealing with the issue at the level of central government. After that we also payed visits to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. We found no clarity on the question of national character of UK. We were told in London that formally UK is a national state but informally it can also be considered a multinational state. We also learnt that the process of devolution of power was asymmetrical. The type of autonomy granted to Scotland was different from the one granted to Northern Ireland. It was interesting to know that UK cannot adopt federalism because it doesn’t have a written constitution. Even more interesting was the response to our question about a future written constitution for UK. We were told, “ no we can’t do that. We have been ruled by conventions which are so contradictory that if reduced to writing they wouldn’t marry together “. These are the dilemmas of the old states in Europe leading to the recent challenges.
But national question as a serious challenge to the state system has also surfaced in many parts of Asia and Africa where the dominant ethnic and national groups have refused to recognize ethnic and cultural diversity and give it the required political and constitutional space in the state system. Many so called republics are in actual fact prisons for oppressed nations. The Kurd question in West Asia is a case in point. Kurd nation is divided in four adjacent countries namely Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. All these four states have adopted extremely oppressive policies towards Kurds. They have even tried to deconstruct Kurdish identity and absorb it by force into Arab, Turkish and Iranian identities. Kurds have long history full of sacrifices for gaining their legitimate rights. The result of the recent Kurdish referendum in Iraq has proved that imperial arrogance of the dominant national groups can just delay autonomy/freedom by force but it can’t deny it forever. States can save their unity only by consistently recognizing and internalizing both vertical and horizontal democracy.
In Indian sub continent the national liberation movement was fragmented by communal divisions before the departure of British raj that created complications. But the question of autonomy and devolution of power was at the core of partition of India. It is therefore surprising that both India and Pakistan even after the traumatic experience of partition on this question failed to properly tackle the issue of handling ethno-cultural diversity and devolution of power. Pakistan had to face disintegration in 1971 after its failure in shaping and implementing a federal democratic constitutional system. India as a state has remained united so far but it is also facing serious challenges on the question of regional autonomy. Although Indian Union recognizes sub nationalisms but Indian federation has failed to devolve powers to the states to become a genuine equitable federation. Situation in Jammu and Kashmir has aggravated because the BJP government has not only failed to respond to the aspiration of Kashmiri people but it is even threatening to snatch whatever little autonomy the Kashmiris have. Situation in the north eastern states remains dismal. Pakistan opted for a federal constitution in 1973 and the 18th Amendment (2010) has been important step on the path of devolution of power to provinces. But the federation here remains imbalanced because of the two things. First is the brute majority of one federating unit Punjab over the rest of the three federating units put together and the second is absolute dominance of Punjab in civil and military bureaucracy. Far from being neutral constitutional entity the federal set up permanently remains an extension of the Punjabi ruling elites.
Unless the multinational countries, both new or old, consistently adopt and implement principles of federalism they will face the challenges of centrifugal forces culminating into disintegration.

نواز شریف آپ یاد کریں آپ نے کس کو خوش کرنےکیلئے ملاقات منسوخ کی ،خورشید شاہ

سابق وزیراعظم نوازشریف کے آصف علی زرداری سے متعلق بیان پر پیپلزپارٹی کی قیادت کا بھی سخت ردعمل سامنے آگیا ،خورشید شاہ کاکہناہےکہ نواز شریف آپ یاد کریں آپ نے کس کو خوش کرنےکیلئے ملاقات منسوخ کی ، یہ مکافات عمل ہے،جمہوریت بچانے کیلئے نواز شریف کو ایک بار بچا لیا اب نہیں بچائینگے ، اعتزاز احسن کا کہناہےکہ میاں صاحب کے ساتھ اب مل بیٹھنا مشکل ہوگیاہے ، رحمان ملک کاکہناتھاکہ میاں صاحب کالا کوٹ کسے خوش کرنےکیلئے پہنا؟ لطیف کھوسہ کاکہناہےکہ شریف خاندان کو سزا ہوئی تو مسلم لیگ (ن) کے حصے بخرے ہو جائیں گے، آج کے سیاسی حالات میں نواز شریف کے ساتھ پیپلز پارٹی کوئی مفاہمت نہیں کرے گی ۔
تفصیلات کےمطابق قومی اسمبلی میں اپوزیشن لیڈر خورشید شاہ نے کہا ہے کہ نوازشریف وہ دن یاد کریں جب زرداری سے ملاقات سے انکار کیا تھا، یہ مکافات عمل ہے، نوازشریف اپنی مشکلات کا ملبہ جمہوریت پر نہ ڈالیں، جمہوریت بچانے کیلئے میاں صاحب کو ایک بار بچا لیا لیکن اب نہیں بچائیں گے ۔خورشید شاہ نے ردعمل میں کہا کہ نوازشریف وہ دن یاد رکھیں جب انہوں نے زرداری کے ساتھ ملاقات سے انکارکیا تھا، نوازشریف نے بھی اس وقت کسی کو خوش کرنے کیلئے یہ ملاقات نہیں کی تھی ، میاں صاحب یہ بتائیں کہ اس وقت کس کو خوش کرنے کیلئے انہوں نے ایسا کیا تھا۔
سابق وزیر داخلہ سینیٹر رحمان ملک نے نواز شریف کے بیان پر رد عمل دیتے ہوئے کہا کہ میاں صاحب کو مشکل وقت میں آصف علی زرداری یاد آجاتے ہیں، میاں صاحب بتائیں کہ وہ کس کے کہنے پر کالا کوٹ پہن کر سپریم کورٹ گئے اور کس کو خوش کرنا چاہتے تھے ؟آصف علی زرداری ایک منجھے سیاستدان ہیں وہ کسی کو خوش کرنے کیلئے کام نہیں کرتے ،انہوں نے کہا ہے کہ میاں صاحب یہ بتائیں رات کی تاریکی ہماری حکومت کیخلاف وہ کس سے ملتے رہے، پیپلز پارٹی گالیاں نہیں دیتی، میاں صاحب پوری عمر گالیاں دیتے رہے، انہوں نے کہا کہ نواز شریف چوہدری افتخار سے ملکر پیپلز پارٹی کیخلاف سازشیں کس کے کہنے پر کرتے رہے ہیں۔ سینیٹر اعتزاز احسن نے کہا ہے کہ نوازشریف بتائیں آصف زرداری کس کو خوش کر رہے ہیں؟ نوازشریف کے ساتھ مل بیٹھنا مشکل ہوگیا ہے ، وہ خود مشکل میں ہیں ،جمہور یت کو کوئی خطرہ نہیں ہے ۔
سندھ اسمبلی کے احاطے میں میڈیا سے بات چیت کرتے ہوئےپاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کے مرکزی رہنما اور سابق گورنر پنجاب سردار لطیف کھوسہ نے کہا ہے کہ اگر شریف خاندان کو سزا ہوئی تو مسلم لیگ (ن) کے حصے بخرے ہو جائیں گے ، وزیر اعظم شاہد خاقان عباسی اسمبلی تحلیل کرکے قبل از وقت عام انتخابات کا اعلان کر سکتے ہیں ، آج کے سیاسی حالات میں نواز شریف کے ساتھ پیپلز پارٹی کوئی مفاہمت نہیں کرے گی۔

Bilawal greets Sikhs over 548th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has extended greetings to the Sikh community in Pakistan and the world over on 548th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.
In a message, the PPP Chairman welcomed the Sikh pilgrims from all over the world to Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that all the citizens of Pakistan are equal citizens and there was no discrimination between them, which is also ensured by the unanimously adopted Constitution given by PPP founder Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
He said that the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev was based on principles of peace and love among humanity.