Sunday, January 21, 2018

Video - Belly Dance - مش صافيناز .رقص شرقي مصري

Saudi accused of rights abuses in Yemen civilian deaths

A UN report on human rights abuses related to foreign intervention in Yemen details the extensive civilian casualties inflicted by the Saudi-led coalition's air attacks.
The United Nations panel examined 10 air attacks in 2017 that killed 157 people, and found that the targets included a migrant boat, a night market, five residential buildings, a motel, a vehicle and government forces, according to a copy of the report shown to Al Jazeera.
"This is a report to the UN Security Council that has not been made public, but I've been allowed to read a copy. It's very hard hitting and very critical of all of the parties in the war in Yemen," Al Jazeera diplomatic editor James Bays said. The panel said it requested information from the Saudi-led coalition for the rationale behind such attacks, but did not receive a response. The attacks were carried out by precision-guided munitions, so it is likely these were the intended targets, the report points out.
"Even if in some cases, the Saudi-led coalition had targeted legitimate military objectives, the panel finds it highly unlikely that the IHL [International Humanitarian Law] principles of proportionality, and precautions in attack were met," the report stated.
The report also cited a "widespread and systematic" pattern of "arbitrary arrests, deprivation of liberty and enforced disappearances". It was particularly scathing about UAE camps, where it says torture has been taking place.
"The report talks about beatings, electrocutions, constrained suspension, and it talks about something called the cage which is confinement in a cage in the sunlight and the denial of medical treatment," James Bays said.
"Working with the gov of Yemen gives the UAE plausible deniability," he added.
'Threat to peace'
Proxy forces funded and armed by the coalition "pose a threat to peace, security and stability of Yemen", the panel said, and "will do more to further the fragility of Yemen than they will do to hold the state together".
The report also said that southern secession in Yemen has become a genuine possibility, due in part to the length of the war, the lack of military progress and divisions that have emerged in the country.
According to Bays, the report wonders if Yemen can remain one country.
"People in the south are displaying the old flag of South Yemen and they are not loyal to President Hadi even though they are under his command," Bays said. The report is also critical of Iran's role in the conflict, focussing specifically on supporting Houthi rebels, who stormed the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 and captured large expanses of the country, with military equipment.
"The report says there have been military equipment and drones that were of Iranian origin and that were introduced into Yemen after the Security Council adopted an arms embargo," Al Jazeera correspondent Bays said.
Since the beginning of Yemen's war, more than 10,000 people have been killed, according to the UN.
In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched a large aerial campaign against the Houthis, aimed at restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. A majority of the more than 5,000 civilian deaths were caused by the Saudi-led coalition, of which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member, the UN has previously said.
The UN's top human rights official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, had called for an independent inquiry into atrocities in Yemen for three years before the international community agreed in 2017. In September, the Netherlands and Canada debuted a draft resolution that would establish an international commission of inquiry to make sure "perpetrators of violations and abuses, including those that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are held accountable".
The resolution was approved after China signalled its support later that month.

Published: 14 Jan 2018

    Video Report - Journalists on trial in Turkey | DW English

    Video - #Norwegians say: 'No thanks, Mr President!' to immigration welcome

    Op-Ed: American universities give Chinese people a lesson in politics of fear

    By Curtis Stone
    The University of Texas at Austin recently rejected a donation to the China Public Center from the Hong Kong-based China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) on the grounds that it is linked to the United Front Work Department and could place limits on academic freedom and the robust exchange of ideas. U.S. media emphasized that the foundation’s leader, Tung Chee-hwa, is vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is listed as “a united front organization.”
    “The university will not accept programmatic funding from CUSEF. Neither will we accept any funds for travel, student exchanges or other initiatives from the organization,” Gregory Fenves, President of the University of Texas at Austin, wrote in a letter to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
    The Global Times recently contacted CUSEF but did not get a response. According to its website, CUSEF was established in Hong Kong in 2008 as a privately funded, non-governmental, non-profit entity. The website also lists the names of several sponsors.
    Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that one of the most important principles emphasized by China is that it will not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. The United States has a habit of interpreting the behavior of other major nations in the way of its own thinking, which can lead to distorted conclusions.
    Li said that there are many cultural exchanges between China and the United States and sources of funding vary, but the purpose is to promote a healthy China-U.S. relationship. CUSEF is not supported by the Chinese government but by private donors, Li added. Unfortunately, U.S. media and politicians interpret China’s goodwill in a distorted and even sinister way.
    Those who have heard this news may be surprised to learn that an effort to promote understanding between China and the United States is being viewed as “political influence.” What comes to mind is how many American foundations and non-governmental organizations are carrying out political activities in China. If China was to respond in the same manner, every single one of them would probably have to take a hike.
    At the end of last year, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing titled “The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism With Chinese Characteristics,” which was described by some media outlets as a counterattack on China’s “ideological invasion.” Imaginations are running so wild in the West that it is now a trend to link artificial intelligence to China’s so-called “infiltration” efforts.
    Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base in the U.S. state of Missouri, just removed surveillance cameras made by Hikvision. Colonel Christopher Beck, the chief of staff at the base, said he never believed the cameras were a security risk, but removed them to “remove any negative perception” surrounding them. Just this month, the U.S. government blocked U.S. business deals involving Alibaba and Huawei on the grounds of national security.
    Ironically, a lot of Chinese now think that Americans are the narrow-minded ones. In their view, the United States has put “politics in command” and is constantly on the lookout for foreign influence. If China was to follow the U.S. standard in guarding against China, then it would be virtually impossible for China to reform and open up.
    All countries must safeguard their national security. But the recent wave of warnings about China in the United States and other countries, such as Australia, has been borderline hysterical.
    First it was Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, then Chinese “infiltration” of American universities. But it is the United States that is by far the world’s largest exporter of intellectual and artistic products and the largest exporter of technology, which means that it is the United States that has the greatest ability to infiltrate other countries.
    To put it simply, the voices that are wary of China’s “infiltration” are a little scared of China. But neither side should let fear of the other influence the bilateral relationship.

    Music Video - Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

    Video Report - Fareed Zakaria GPS, Sunday 21 January 2018

    Video Report - "TRUMP IS TRYING TO DIVIDE US!!!" Bernie Sanders' BRILLIANT Takedown of Trump's Disgusting Tactics

    Hardship and chaos as federal shutdown moves into second day with no deal on funding, Dreamers


    With a government shutdown in its second day Sunday, congressional leaders in both parties searched for an exit ramp as moderate Republicans and Democrats appeared to rally behind a short-term funding proposal and the White House signaled possible flexibility on "Dreamers."
    A rare weekend schedule continued on Capitol Hill, with voting possible. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who had not spoken for a day, huddled briefly on the Senate floor and arranged to meet later Sunday.
    But deep uncertainty over whether the shutdown would extend into Monday and beyond created hardship for many of the 2.3 million federal employees who don't yet know whether their offices will be shuttered and whether they will lose pay. McConnell pushed a proposal to temporarily fund the government through Feb. 8. But without the consent of all senators, complicated Senate rules won't allow a roll call until 1 a.m. Monday, adding to the sense of chaos and confusion.
    "This shutdown is going to get a lot worse tomorrow," McConnell warned. "A lot worse. Today would be a good day to end it."
    It was either the "Trump Shutdown" or the "Schumer Shutdown," depending on whether the finger pointing came from Republicans backing the president or from Democrats standing with the New York minority leader.
    Schumer blamed Republicans, who control the House, Senate and White House, especially after President Trump backed out of a possible agreement. "It all stems from the president, whose inability to clinch a deal has created the Trump Shutdown," Schumer said. Schumer said he even agreed to put Trump's request for border wall funds — some $20 billion over several years, sources said — on the table for consideration, a major concession that alarmed other Democrats. The White House disputed that account, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Schumer's recollection "hazy." "His account of Friday's meeting is false," Sanders said. "The president's position is clear: We will not negotiate on the status of unlawful immigrants while Sen. Schumer and the Democrats hold the government for millions of Americans and our troops hostage." However long it lasts, Democrats said Trump's inconstancy had hurt the chances of staving off the shutdown.
    "How can you negotiate with the president under those circumstances where he agrees face-to-face to move forward with a certain path, and then within two hours calls back and pulls the plug?" asked Sen. Richard J. Durbin, (D-Ill.), appearing on ABC's "This Week."
    Trump, forced to give up his planned weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, spoke to the heads of the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs to gauge the impact of the shutdown, according to the White House. He took to Twitter to blame Democrats for the impasse and to urge Senate Republicans to change the rules to allow a bill to pass with a simple majority, not the 60 votes now required. "If stalemate continues," Trump tweeted, Republicans should use the "Nuclear Option" to change Senate rules and try to pass a long-term spending bill with a simple majority. A spokesman for McConnell later said the nuclear option was not under consideration.
    The government spending deadline was midnight Friday, and Democrats and Republicans are stalemated over several issues, but most split over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump has promised to end by March 5. Known as DACA, it protects from deportation about 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. White House aides later signaled there might be some flexibility, although they did not provide details.
    Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is "absolutely interested and wants to get DACA fixed." The president's legislative director, Marc Short, sent the same message in an interview on ABC's "This Week," painting DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, as contributing to the economy and society. "These are people aged 16 to 36 with work permits, which means they do not have any criminal background," Short said. "They're here being productive to our country."
    In some cases, rank-and-file lawmakers began taking action on their own.
    A bipartisan group of senators of met behind closed doors for a third consecutive day to try to hammer out a compromise. Conferring for more than an hour in the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the 20 senators developed the contours of a path forward for resolving the budget, immigration and other issues. By midafternoon, the group's Democrats and Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), separately presented the idea to their Senate leaders.
    One aspect of any deal has been a guarantee from McConnell to consider immigration legislation in February before DACA expires.
    But the GOP whip, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, after speaking with Trump, doubted any promises would be made on immigration. He also defended Trump's hands-off approach of outsourcing the shutdown mess to Congress. "It's not his responsibility," Cornyn said. "He doesn't get to vote on a filibuster. Only the Senate does." The shutdown struck at 12:01 a.m. Saturday when Democrats in the Senate, joined by a handful of Republicans, blocked a House-passed bill to temporarily fund the government for four weeks.
    The federal government has been running on a series of four stopgap funding bills since the 2018 fiscal year began Oct. 1 because Congress cannot agree on budget levels.
    Republicans, who are the majority in the House and Senate, want increased military funding, and Democrats insist on parity for other federal operations.
    The GOP hold on the Senate is slim, just 51 seats, when 60 votes are typically needed to break a filibuster and pass most legislation. So Democrats, who hold 49 seats, used their leverage to demand concessions on budgeting, immigration and other issues. Tops on the Democrats' priority list is legislation to protect the Dreamers. But Republicans want a massive overhaul of immigration law to reduce the flow of legal migrants as well as stem the flow of illegal immigration. Democrats say the White House demands go beyond the outlines of an initial, more limited deal to protect Dreamers in exchange for more border security.
    Lawmakers on both sides also want to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program, provide more disaster assistance to states hit hard by hurricanes and wildfires, and focus on other issues that have bipartisan backing. More immediately, they are trying to insulate themselves from voter blowback. Some are promising to donate their congressional salaries during the shutdown and others have introduced bills to ensure some government services — especially pay and benefits for military troops — are not disrupted.
    "Shutdowns are just a bad idea," said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who was part of the bipartisan working group. If the shutdown continues, he added, "next week is going to be a building chorus of problems."
    Asked who would be blamed, he shrugged, "I don't know — depends on whose pollster you talk to."

    Video Report - Schumer tweaks Trump ego in shutdown blame game - CNN

    #Pakistan - Baseless, negative, insulting, venomous campaign: Jang/Geo Group issues legal notice to Imran Listen

    For all false, baseless, unfounded allegations and a malicious campaign that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has launched against Jang/Geo Group, Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group and Geo TV Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has served a legal notice on Imran Khan, asking him to tender an unconditional apology and pay one billion rupees in damages within 14 days or the Group would initiate legal action against him in a court of law.
    Notices have been served on Khan through Advocate Amir Abdullah Abbasi at his Lahore’s Zaman Park and Islamabad’s Bani Gala residences for defamation under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
    The legal notice has been attached with a gist of all the lies and falsehood that Imran Khan has been spreading around with no fear of any accountability and against all norms of decency, sobriety and a value for the truth and impartiality.
    Jang Group, in its legal notice, has said that the Group has been completely impartial and a responsible media group. It has been among the forerunners of all the media groups in uncovering the truth. Jang Group is the one that disclosed the story of Panama Papers at which PTI built its protest campaign. Despite Imran Khan’s very aggressive stance and malicious campaign, the Group while maintaining norms of journalism stricto sensu has never boycotted any news related to him.
    But Imran Khan has a habit of jumping to conclusions and at numerous occasions he repeated that Jang Group has the tendency to favour the incumbent government. The leader of a major political party just relies on perceptions, the notice says.
    For the last several years, he has been making statements and assertions of facts about Jang Group, which were not only completely false and misleading but also highly defamatory, disparaging and damaging. Such expressions include uncivilised words like ‘blackmailer’ and ‘Firoun’ etc. which cannot be part of public discourse and discussion in any civilised society.
    In the past few years, Imran Khan levelled false accusations against Jang Group like manipulation of the election results, false accusation that the Group illegally acquired media rights for broadcasting Pakistan-Sri Lanka Cricket series. He further alleged the Group is being funded by a foreign country to follow its narrative, and attempted to create doubts about patriotism and loyalty of Jang Group with this country and levelled extremely serious allegations of Jang Group having a nexus with Indian and US governments to foster war on western borders and promote agenda and purposes of these foreign countries.
    The notice mentioned that Imran Khan’s slanders where he labelled Jang Group as blackmailer and Firoun and made false accusations that the Group had been trying to intimidate him.
    The list of accusations never concludes and it goes on and on and included allegations like the Group is protecting the corruption of prime minister by way of misreporting or false reporting of developing events about the JIT investigation and proceedings in Supreme Court. He further alleged the Group has defamed the Supreme Court by uncovering the WhatsApp story. That Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is controlling the media to favour the corrupt like a godfather in the media industry. In response to Imran Khan’s such baseless allegations, the Group exercised complete restraint and showed patience and even offered an impartial investigation into the allegations. However, PTI refused to take this offer.
    The legal notice says that under statutory requirement, notices have been jointly served on behalf of Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited (IMCL), Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt.) Limited (INCL), News Publications (Pvt.) Limited (NPL) and Mr. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Group Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group and Geo TV.
    It is said in the notice that Jang Group is the largest media house of the country, which commands great respect, credibility, recognition and largest viewership in Pakistan and amongst Pakistanis living abroad. Jang Group has an established legacy and unimpeachable credentials in the field of print media dating back to last more than seven decades, in the field of digital/online media more than two decades and in electronic media for more than 15 years. Organisations working under this group have a long standing and hard-earned credibility and reputation for being independent, impartial, objective, pragmatic and an uncompromising source of information, education and entertainment for millions of people in Pakistan and across the globe. Because of the acclaimed reputation and acknowledged stature, Jang Group is not only recognised as the fore-runner and pioneer in the media industry but is also a recipient of several awards. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Group Chief Executive & Editor-in-Chief, who is a highly respected and renowned media personality, has also held posts of the President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and President of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for several years. He was also the founder chairman of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA). In July 2005, he was named by the leading American magazine, Business Week, as one of the 25 stars of Asia.
    Jang Group and its owner not only served in the field of journalism but also earned great respect through large-scale philanthropic works that serve the cause of humanity. The Group and its owner enjoy unblemished reputation and respect and are held in high esteem across society and more particularly amongst the general public, fellow media houses, journalists and among corporate entities of significance within Pakistan and abroad.
    Addressing the PTI chairman, the legal notice has reminded him of the time when he, along with Jang Group, had been actively participating in social welfare activities in the past. “The most relevant case is your association with Jang Group under the banner of MKRF and PUKAAR for large-scale rehabilitation measures for the flood affected people of Pakistan,” the notice read.
    In the legal notice, it is said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and Jang Group, because of their international, social and corporate stature and services to the media, have a large number of business associates, friends, colleagues and well-wishers in Pakistan and abroad, especially in the UK, Canada, USA, UAE and several other counties.
    From the beginning, Jang Group, its different organisations and the owner had made extraordinary efforts to maintain impartiality, transparency and objectivity in discharge of professional work for dissemination of information among readers and viewers. While according prime importance to the glory of Islam, the security and defence of Pakistan and public order, the Group, through print and electronic media, had always maintained neutrality in reporting about political developments, politics and political leadership in the country. Needless to assert that uncovering the truth in informing the public about developing events of significance has been the most distinguishing virtue of Jang Group.
    The legal notice points out that it was Jang Group that for the first time disclosed the details of Panama issue, which provided an impetus and impulse to PTI to agitate and organise a large-scale campaign against corruption of the elite, associated with off-shore corporate entities, which ultimately precipitated into unprecedented and scrupulous questioning and accountability of a sitting prime minister in Pakistan. With that the notice also acknowledged the role of PTI in bringing this issue to limelight, it says “obviously, the role, alacrity and vitality of PTI in bringing this matter to present stage need no acknowledgment”.
    Jang Group is doing a noble duty of seeking and reporting the truth which in some cases is not only disliked by some but also proves to be bitter for others, attracting unwarranted disapproval for such reporting. Hardships and challenges are not new to Jang Group as it has been facing these for over the last seven decades.
    The Group very well appreciates that being a broadcaster and a publisher; it is a recognised norm that their activities in dissemination of information are subject to a certain degree of public scrutiny by opinion-makers and political leaders. It is also well appreciated that others have a right of expression even in stronger tone and terms relating to what is presented and broadcast for public good. Jang Group has always accepted such criticism with full intellectual generosity.
    That on the contrary, it is also emphasised that any such expression of opinion, representations, comments or criticism of Jang Group; must be fair, unbiased, without any bent of mind, free of malice and without being injurious-falsehood emanating from self-righteous conjectures, unilateral beliefs and preposterous conclusions unsupported by any proof. It is further emphasised that any such criticism, expression and/or representation must not injure the reputation of the Group, must not tend to lower it in the estimation of others and must not tend to reduce it to ridicule, unjust criticism, dislike, contempt or hatred.
    Addressing the PTI chairman, the notice says that the truthfulness in dissemination of information by Jang Group must be appreciated even if it is unpleasant and not in consonance with political objectives of a person or a party or a political leader of your stature. Jang Group recognises and acknowledges that as a citizen as well as a leader of a political party and as a national figure, you have the right to make comments and raise questions, queries and concerns about national affairs, impacting the role of the Group. It is evident and a traceable reality that despite your undeserved, aggressive and hostile posture towards Jang Group, the Group has regularly and fairly reported about your activities, statements and events in which you had participated just as it has done in respect of other national personalities or matters of public importance.
    It is sad that without appreciating the truth behind the news stories, analysis of current affairs and broadcast presented by the Group, you habitually jump to conclusions that Jang Group has tendency to favour the incumbent government, whenever such broadcast is not in consonance with the objectives of PTI or your own perception. The fact is evident from some of your recent utterances reported in electronic and print media, the notice says while addressing Khan. On the contrary, the assertions made by Jang Group through this legal notice have a traceable history of past over four years.
    Regretfully, it is noted that from the year 2014 onwards, you (Imran Khan) have been making statements and assertions of facts about Jang Group jointly and/or severally, which were not only completely false and misleading but were also highly defamatory, disparaging and damaging.
    “Your attention is particularly invited to your assertions on different occasions. Some of these include your press conference and private TV channel programmes,” the notice read.
    Jang Group, in its legal notice, served on Imran Khan, has also enclosed the transcripts of specific statements made on electronic media as well as clippings from newspapers made by him about Jang Group. The notice says that the statements were not only false but were highly defamatory and damaging. “A summary which is only illustrative and not exhaustive of the false assertions of facts and allegations made by you in the past through statements on electronic and print media as well as in public meetings on different occasions, is produced just as a reference and record to connect your aggravated acts of wrongdoings towards Jang Group.
    “Imran Khan, you alleged that Jang Group manipulated the election results through media framing. The crux of your statements is that the Group has been partial and inclined towards your rival political party by way of broadcasting a victory speech of their leader to influence election results whereas electoral process had been completed five to six hours before the time of speech on May 11, 2013.
    “You falsely blamed that Jang Group was corruptly allowed to acquire the broadcast rights for the cricket series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. You asserted that Jang Group was being funded by a foreign country to follow its narrative. You have attempted to create doubts about patriotism and loyalty of the Group with this county.
    “You levelled extremely serious allegations against Jang Group that it has a nexus with Indian and US governments to foster the war on western borders and promote agenda and purposes of these foreign countries.
    “You labelled and called Jang Group and its owner a blackmailer and Firoun and made a false accusation that he had been trying to intimidate you.
    “This is just the tip of the iceberg about your false and malicious allegations you made as a leader of a political party in the year 2014. These are by no means exhaustive. However, Jang Group acted with perseverance and decided not to initiate a legal action for defamation against you, despite highly objectionable and provocative allegations and showed utmost patience, perseverance and restraint.
    “Such course was adopted by Jang Group believing that someday wisdom would prevail amongst the leadership of PTI and the party would stop its policy of regression and intolerance towards difference of opinion and dissent. Unfortunately, this most valuable democratic virtue is being ignored in pursuit of foisting self-righteousness and suppressing the dissent that is not in consonance with your objectives or those of PTI as a party.
    “That it is evident that for more than four years, you have launched an intermittent malicious personal campaign against Jang Group and you are making continual wild and preposterous allegations ranging from accusation of rigging the election results of 2013 general elections to securing award of televising cricket rights contract in a corrupt manner as a reward for rigging election results of 2013 and being secretly funded by foreign agencies for launching a peace campaign named ‘Aman Ki Asha’. These and other false and wild allegations are completely baseless and mischievous and are vehemently denied by the Group. You are put to the strict proof of it.”
    The legal notice says that most of the above allegations were scrupulously scrutinised by a UK-based court in a defamation action by Jang Group and consequently these allegations were found to be baseless and a channel broadcasting such allegations and defaming the Group was humbled by a court decree.
    That it is regrettably pointed out that despite utmost restraint and patience exercised by Jang Group, you have started a second round of highly defamatory and objectionable campaign against Jang Group with regard to reporting of developments on Panama scandal and investigation proceedings by Joint Investigation Team and allied matters.
    That during a press briefing, you have uttered following highly defamatory and slanderous words to defame the Group.
    “I wanted to talk about another godfather, the godfather of media, Shakil-ur-Rahman. What are they doing today? The coverage, which they have given on all the proceedings… Whether this is the job of a media house to protect corruption of a family? See them… the brothers have issued advertisement worth Rs34 billion. These two brothers tell me to whom you have given more advertisements?
    “Now what the godfather of media Shakil-ur-Rahman is saying, will he show how much advertisements he had received, out of advertisements of Rs34 billion. Is this the job of your media house to protect corruption of a family?
    “Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, godfather of the media and false stories:
    “Whether this is the job of the godfather of media to protect their corruption? Whether it is your job to make false stories? Whether this is your job to say that Nawaz Sharif is playing with his life while 2,000-police force are present and that history is being written as Nawaz Sharif is going to appear before the JIT.
    “Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, godfather of media and boycott of Jang and Geo:
    This is policy of the godfather who has also become a king-maker and making decisions that if you commit ‘dacaties’ in Pakistan then I am with you. I can save you. Whether this is job of the media?
    This is how the head of a media house functions in Pakistan. Your job is to bring the truth forth and when there is corruption in the country, you should expose it. Whether this is your job to protect a corrupt person? Our nation knows that he is telling lies. Every child in Pakistan knows that he is a liar. They are lying for one and a quarter year and here they are saying that Nawaz Sharif, the Mughal-e-Azam, is going while playing with his life. He was summoned before the JIT and you malign the Supreme Court. You publish false stories that you say as to what is the conspiracy and there was WhatsApp call and what is the conspiracy against this corrupt family. This family is committing corruption for the last 30 years.”
    Again, you uttered slanderous and baseless allegation during a press briefing.
    “Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the criminal of the nation:
    “You are a criminal of the nation. You stay out of the country. You drive Rolls Royce there in Emirates Hills. You have property in London where you drive Rolls Royce? How much tax do you pay? You protect your financial interests through your media house. What you are doing is a crime. You are staging a drama that Nawaz Sharif reached before the JIT while playing with his life.”
    That a summary which is only illustrative and not exhaustive of the false assertions of facts and allegations made by you in the last two occasions as stated above in press briefings and as simultaneously reported on electronic and print media, is produced hereunder just as a reference and record to connect your aggravated acts of wrongdoings towards Jang Group.
    You alleged that Jang Group is protecting the corruption of prime minister by way of misreporting or false reporting of developing events about JIT investigation and proceedings in Supreme Court. That Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is controlling the media to favour the corrupt like a godfather in the media industry, meaning thereby that he is a leader of organised crime family (media) to protect corrupt individuals. That Jang Group is misreporting and is misrepresenting in favour of the incumbent government in exchange for receiving money in the form of large-scale advertisements from the government departments. That the group is defaming Supreme Court by way of uncovering WhatsApp story published in The News International.
    That Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is an accomplice of criminals, although no trial of any person has taken place in Panama scandal.
    That Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is protecting the thieves and that he is a perpetrator in the eyes of the nation. That Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is protecting his financial interests by abusing his media houses.
    Jang Group, in its legal notice to Imran Khan said that not only were the accusations false, damaging and defamatory, but your expressions also are such that these amount to direct provocation and incitement to the members of the public particularly your political supporters and workers to act against Jang Group, which seriously endanger the life, property and business of the group and those associated and affiliated with it.
    “It is established that your defamatory campaign is deliberate and devoid of any element of good faith and has malicious motives. Regrettably, you have lost the wisdom and patience to tolerate expressions which are not in consonance with your perception and designed objectives. Evidently, over exuberance and impatience to dislodge the present government by all means, has vitiated the virtues of tolerance in your thoughts and collectively within PTI.
    “That in the past, sincere efforts were made on behalf of Jang Group to convey to you the group’s deepest anxiety, caused by the barrage of false and malicious campaign launched by you for no rhyme or reason. In this context, several email messages were sent to the top leadership of PTI on behalf of Jang Group jointly or severally wherein they had volunteered themselves for an unbiased inquiry for the purposes of investigating the accusations made by you against them through a committee consisting of neutral and impartial and respectable citizens. The group also volunteered to face questions by such committee and explain their position if so required. It was also stated that in case the proposed committee is able to dig out anything blameworthy or culpable, then your party will have one hour of prime time on their TV channel to share any such adverse findings with the viewers. However, your party did not take this offer. Instead of taking this unprecedented offer of self-accountability by Jang Group, you continued with your malicious campaign against them.
    Notwithstanding anything contained in the above paragraphs, cause of action of the present legal notice is emanating from the following defamatory statements and material:
    “Suppose if Shakil-ur-Rahman is succeeded in saving Nawaz Sharif, which will not happen. You should think as to how much this country will be damaged if a criminal is saved, who stole money of people. The criminal was caught while stealing the money and he was caught in Panama. We did not catch him. This is as if you start saving ‘dacati’, who committed dacaity at your house. You will be friend of anybody. You are my friend and if somebody commits dacoity at my house and Shakil-ur-Rahman starts saving the dacoity.
    What is he doing? Instead of standing with the people, which is the job of a media house, he is standing with a criminal.”
    In a public meeting speech, you said:
    “Here is sitting godfather of media namely Shakil-ur-Rahman and head of Geo and Jang. Instead of serving the masses, he is taking money in saving theft of the Sharif family. The whole channel is saving his theft. Shakil-ur-Rahman, if you succeed, and Insha-Allah, you will not, you will go down with him.
    “If God forbid, you save a person who had taken the looted money of a nation whose half of the population is living below the poverty line, you are standing with him, because he has given you the money. He has bought your conscience because you also worship money.
    “Remember Pakistanis, that media houses should stand with people… When a media house works against the people after taking money, then I ask you boycott Geo and Jang. And if you boycott them, then others will also be afraid of working against people.”
    At another public rally, you (Imran) said:
    “Everywhere mafias are sitting to stop change in Pakistan. In the media, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is mafia, who is the godfather of the media, who uses his media to make money and he has no worry that a person had taken the stolen money of Rs300 billion outside the country. He is supporting him only for the sake of money.”
    In a media talk at an airport, Imran said: In the media, I wanted to say especially to Geo and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman that his channel made all efforts to cheat and mislead the people and tried to save the thief. He was in the frontline as whatever happens in the courts, they present it in a wrong way. They even make wrong headlines, InshaAllah I will talk to my lawyers to file a suit as they deliberately distort facts of hearings in the Supreme Court and they deliberately give impression as my case resembles with Nawaz Sharif’s.
    In a private channel talk, Imran said: “But I wanted to give message especially to Geo and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman that I will file a suit against you and you should prepare yourself. Be prepared. When InshaAllah the PTI government is formed, then I will ask you about the billions of rupees which you kept in foreign countries. You live in big palaces and drive cars, but tell us how much tax you have paid in Pakistan. We will ask it from you. My accountability has been done and now it’s time for your accountability, as well as people like you.”
    In another private channel talk, Imran Khan said: “When they will start the movement, then it will be a good thing as when they will come out from the newspapers and from paid media anchors and likes of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and Geo. He himself was claiming that he is a businessman. Shakil-ur-Rahman when they (Nawaz Sharif) will go in public they will know that how many people stood with them. They will face the consequences.”
    Imran Khan, in a media talk, said: “It was my stance and the other thing is that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and Geo will have problems as they were part of the mafia of Nawaz Sharif. He tried to save Nawaz Sharif and made all efforts because as the case was being heard and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman knew that he evaded tax in the country and when the matters came about his tax, then he used his media. He knew that now is his turn, as he also has evaded tax and now he will not be safe.”
    Imran Khan said at a press conference: “The headline of Jang London was that Pakistan is a liar and cheat. This headline was displayed in a newspaper which is Pakistani and is putting this headline in London. There is no need for enemies in the presence of such kind of people. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, if you are listening, then listen to me carefully, ‘we will check all your taxes InshaAllah’, as what have you done with this country to stash your billions of rupees in foreign countries. What he was doing with Pakistan while sitting in Dubai. He himself was claiming that he was a businessman and he did not know journalism.”
    The specific parts of Imran Khan’s tweets that were liable to defamation, which were used by different TV channels with defamatory headlines. “This vicious, gutter media campaign, led by NS&MSR mafia, does not bother me as respect & humiliation comes from Allah Almighty.
    “However, my concern is for my children & the very conservative family of Bushra Begum all of whom have subjected to this malicious (campaign) by NS & MSR.
    “NS & MSR stay rest assured that their vicious campaign has only strengthened (me) to fight them all the way.”
    In a private channel talk, Imran said: “I regret that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Geo and Jang have turned the journalism into a money-making (activity) and blackmailing people to make money.”
    In another talk with a private channel, Imran said: “I wanted to ask the question what achievement they have made and who was with Aftab Sultan, who was DG IB and whether Shakil-ur-Rahman made a big exposure or uncovered the crime.”
    In yet another private channel talk, Imran said: “I assume that Shakil-ur-Rahman was a not only a cheap person but a dirty man who only worships money and his only aim was to get money through ‘Aman Ki Asha’.
    In another private channel talk, Imran said: “He is a partner of Nawaz Sharif. They are partners. How much money has been given to him by Nawaz Sharif? Tell me who was financing the war on terror and saying that it was our own war. I was saying for long that it was an American war and he was saying that it was our war. His whole media was trying to save the corrupt like Nawaz Sharif. He did not feel shame that he stole Rs300 billion of the poor people and took it to the foreign country and was saving him.”
    Imran Khan said in a tweet: “MSR you are an insult to the noble profession of journalism. You sell your soul to the devil as long as he pays you enough!
    “(I) want the investigative journalists at the Jang/Geo to seek answers to the following.”
    In yet another tweet, Imran Khan levelled humiliating allegations against MSR.
    “1. Employees have not been paid salaries for the last three month?
    “2. His companies in Pakistan are in deficit and companies outside the country are making progress?
    “3. How much directly or indirectly, Shakil-ur-Rahman has received foreign funding?
    “4. Value of two house in Emirates Hill of billions of rupees and assets in Dubai and London?
    “5. On what conditions, the 100-kanal plot of billions of rupees located on Canal Bank was obtained?
    “6. In 2015, MSR was to pay Rs1 billion taxes to the government. What is the present value?
    In a private channel talk show, Imran said: “Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman owns properties in Dubai and London, Rolls Royce but he does not pay salaries to employees of Geo.”
    Anchor: One thing happens time and again that there is a group which starts confrontation and then situation becomes normal with that group. Then there is timing when there is campaign and your fight starts with them. Why it happens?
    Imran Khan: “Which group?”
    Anchor: There is only one such group?
    Imran Khan: “Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. I know him for many years, but previously he was different. Actually, the lifestyle which they have adopted demands money. This lifestyle includes their residence in Emirates Hill and Rolls-Royce. I do not know whether they live there on rent or own the property. If they are tenants then the rent will not be less than Rs10 crore per year and if they have purchased, then the value must not be less than Rs2-3 billion. They have two properties in Emirates Hill. They also have in London. His families are purchasing flats and procuring properties there. The Rolls-Royce is also there.”
    “So this is their lifestyle which demands money.
    “So Insha-Allah, I have decided to expose them and the balance which we have managed to get shows that their expenditures are more and income is very less. Still they have not paid money to Geo employees because there is loss here in Geo and Jang. But their lifestyle is becoming better and better with money and palaces being raised. From where is the money coming?
    “This is not the Pakistan government which is getting loans from the IMF. I think this is foreign funding. Insha-Allah, we will expose the money which they are getting from abroad.”
    Anchor: You suspect?
    Imran Khan: “No we will show their funding, which is their foreign funding. Now the second thing which they are doing is that Nawaz Sharif who is criminal of Pakistan and this nation and stole Rs300 billion… his children are outside the country and this story of Rs300 billion has also come before the JIT. Is this the job of journalism and newspapers to provide protection to anybody or expose him if anybody had taken the poor nation’s money outside the country?”
    “Shakil-ur-Rahman uses his media house to make money.”
    Anchor: But story of Panama was also written by Umar Cheema.
    Imran Khan: “He was not his journalist. Panama Papers were revelations made by International Union of Journalists. The group has not probed it rather it was an international disclosure and was released and they were trapped.
    “Now the point is that whether Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman uses his media house to make money and protect criminals. He follows international agenda. He also humiliates Pakistan’s ISI chief which is also quoted in India.
    “Is this is job of the media houses? He is committing a crime with society. My anger against the media house is that his issue is not society, Pakistan or interests of people, rather his issue is money. About that, after coming out of the Supreme Court, he stated that he does not know what is journalism; rather he is a businessman.”
    Anchor: He also says that you were a different person. There were good relations between him and you. There were many campaigns which you both ran together. If this is the only issue or something else? He also says that you have good relations with him.
    Imran Khan: “I have nothing to do with it. What can be my dispute? What can be my issue with him? I gather with people on an ideology. I am also with somebody on an ideology and our friendship ends if somebody deviates from the ideology.
    “Remember, a human being has a Qibla before him when he travels and my Qibla is Pakistan. If he is with Pakistan, then I am also with him.
    “I am with him if he is with Pakistan. He also runs campaigns for Shaukat Khanum and helped us and we were also together when there was flood in Pakistan. Our issue is that Nawaz Sharif, who is a big criminal of Pakistan. Nobody has looted such huge money or taken it outside the country.
    “Is their job is to protect them or safeguard interests of Pakistan.
    “Third point on which he wanted to speak was that look what kind of journalism (he is doing?). The journalists are always those people who play the role of an opposition and keep a check on the government.
    “The journalists are basically investigative journalists and what remarkable work they have done in the past. Look at Bob Woodward, who exposed the Watergate Scandal and enjoys respect not only in America but also in the world. I will ask today that whether the leading media group Geo and Jang of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is doing investigating journalism. Being the opposition it is our task and I will raise my voice when there is a theft or wrongdoing as I have nothing more to do. Is it not the job of the owner of the media house to ask who will answer for these 300 billion rupees. Nawaz Sharif has to give answer about Rs 300 billion which goes outside the country. These are the additional things which I have presented before you, instead of exposing these things he was chasing me. Chasing the Tehreek-e-Insaaf on his (Nawaz Sharif) behalf. What kind of media is this and what kind of journalism is this? He is a blackmailer and blackmails to earn the money. Their companies were in loss here and in Dubai etc., while Geo and Jang were in complete loss his wealth was increasing. In Emirates Hills, he has one house for one wife and second for the other and never talks below Rolls-Royce and has properties in London too. From where does this money come? Being an opposition leader and political leader it is my right to ask a question from him that if he did not have any money and his companies were running in losses and his lifestyle was not reflecting it then I have a right to ask a question who is financing his losses and how is he getting the money. We demand to make the companies disclose three years bank statement to the public just like the bank accounts of Shaukat Khanum’s were made public as we receive funds from the public. They are running the biggest media house of the country and it is their responsibility to the public to reveal all their investments and accounts and if they did not do so then my suspicions will come out as true. They defamed the ISI chief, which country ever defames the country’s intelligence head which they have done. They should reveal how much money they got for this purpose. Who asked them to launch ‘Aman Ki Asha’ and we want to ask from where they received the finances for this campaign. He declared the American war as our own war. His newspapers wrote negatively against me when I say it was not our war. We know how much comes from outside, we also know from where the money comes from for making contract with ‘Voice of America’. The major thing is that he is saving a criminal who destroyed the country’s institutions and put the country into a debt trap and they all have become billionaires. His job was to investigate it but instead they were only chasing my personal life with the purpose of blackmailing to get the money. They got orders to bring any minor things of KPK government forward. It is not a bad thing if they bring anything before the public but these journalists did not want to bring those things which benefited the society but rather to blackmail and get money to fulfil their losses so I demand that they should give all their bank statements.”
    Addressing to Imran Khan, the notice says that as a result of your recent representations, statements and expressions on electronic and print media and other forums and the resultant impressions, innuendoes and insinuations that have followed, grave defamation of Jang Group has been committed by you before an audience of millions of viewers and readers both in Pakistan and abroad. The allegations are completely false and unfounded and evidently motivated. Your expressions have personal and ulterior motives and objectives, have malice in its construct and portray your biased bend of mind towards Jang Group. It has caused serious damage to the reputation and social stature and businesses of the group besides causing severe mental distress, pain and agony. Consequently, your actions have incurred on you, the liability for the aggravated defamation that is actionable under civil as well as criminal law.
    Considering the seriousness and the damage that your expressions, statements and representations have caused and will continue to cause to the good name and businesses of Jang Group, we intend to initiate legal action against you for the damages in a court of law unless you tender an apology and pay damages.
    The legal notice has urged Imran Khan to tender an unconditional apology to Jang Group severely and withdraw all the allegations made by him that were made and published. The notice has also urged the PTI chairman to circulate the said apology with equal prominence and though the damage caused by him cannot be compensated in terms of money however as a token he has to pay a sum of rupees one billion by way of damages. Failing this, Jang Group has definite rights to initiate appropriate proceedings that are entirely at your risk and cost, the group says in its notices addressing to Chairman PTI.
    It further says that Jang Group expects that you should meet their demand within a period of 14 days. If no reply is received from you, our clients would be constrained to knock at the doors of a court of law in accordance with law, the company lawyer stated.


    Self-serving politics threaten not only to strain Pakistan’s relations with the United States, but heighten tensions in the geostrategic region of Balochistan, a vital node in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative that has been earmarked as home for China’s second foreign military base.
    Pakistan’s short-sighted political battles are being fought at a time of worsening relations with the US over alleged Pakistani support of militants and concern that the US may withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran. This potentially creates a dilemma for China, which is heavily invested in Pakistan with more than US$50 billion committed to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a collection of infrastructure projects. Beijing may freeze further CPEC-related investment until the country’s domestic politics stabilise. So far, China is believed to have invested US$29 billion of its committed US$56 billion.
    “Political events in Pakistan have sent China in a watchful mood … I am concerned if we continue to throw surprises to the outside world, then anyone can be forced to rethink their economic investments,” Pakistan’s chief CPEC negotiator, Ahsan Iqbal, told Pakistani daily The News.
    Iqbal spoke after the Pakistani military seemingly backed a successful effort to force the resignation of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the chief minister of Balochistan, the troubled region that is core to CPEC and contains its crown jewel, the deep-sea port of Gwadar. The removal of Zehri, a member of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), was part of an effort to prevent the PML-N from returning to power in elections scheduled for July.
    Zehri’s resignation signalled an end of efforts to drive a wedge between various nationalist Baloch insurgent groups and weaken Islamic militants that have wreaked havoc in Balochistan with attacks on Chinese, Pakistani and Shiite targets. Informal contacts between the Baloch provincial government, the federal government when Sharif was still in office, and Brahmdagh Bugti, a Baloch nationalist living in exile in Switzerland who heads the Baloch Republican Party, had already fizzled when Zehri came to office in late 2015. Nonetheless, he refrained from slamming the door shut. One reason contacts failed was Bugti’s demand that Pakistan fend its military and paramilitary operations against nationalist forces in Balochistan – a resource-rich, population-poor region the size of France that straddles the border with the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan – as a precondition for formal talks. Some militant nationalists refused to endorse his position, but quietly watched whether he would make headway.
    The timing of the effort to topple Zehri and foreclose renewed contacts with Baloch nationalist factions could not be more sensitive. It comes against the backdrop of a long history of military support for militant religious groups to counter the nationalists in Balochistan. It also coincides with the military’s use of militants elsewhere to weaken the PMN-L while at the same time refute US allegations that it backs extremists in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.
    US President Donald Trump’s administration said this month that it was cutting almost all security aid to Pakistan, believed to total more than US$1 billion, until it deals with militant networks operating on its soil. Pakistan, in response and in advance of a visit by a UN Security Council team to evaluate compliance with its resolutions, has sought to crack down on the fundraising and political activities of Muhammad Hafez Saeed, an internationally designated terrorist accused of having masterminded the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. The crackdown constitutes a double-edged sword. Pakistan and its military needs to be seen to be acting against internationally designated terrorist groups, yet Saeed has been treated over the years with kid gloves. His organisation was allowed to continue operations under multiple guises, and although he was put under house arrest several times, he was never put behind bars. It isn’t clear whether the crackdown by the PMN-L-led federal government of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has the backing of the military. Saeed has recently attempted to move into mainstream politics with the support of the military. The military is motivated not only to keep control over defence, security and foreign policy, “but also give these former militant groups that have served the state a route into the mainstream where their energies can be utilised”, a senior military official said. Saeed headed the militant terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), one of South Asia’s most violent groups.
    Associates of Saeed said their participation in this summer’s election was in part designed to prevent the PMN-L from returning to office. “There is little else more patriotic than ensuring the ouster of the Sharifs. Pakistan needs a government that serves Pakistani, not Indian interests,” said Nadeem Awan, a spokesman for Jamat u-Dawa, widely seen as a LeT front headed by Saeed.
    Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf said last month he was discussing an alliance with Milli Muslim League (MML), the political party Saeed is trying to register. Speaking on Pakistani television, Musharraf pronounced himself “the greatest supporter of LeT”. Also last month, the military displayed its political influence and inclinations by mediating an end to a weeks-long blockade of a main artery leading into Islamabad. The blockade was a protest against a perceived softening of the government’s adherence to Islam in a proposed piece of legislation.
    All in all, the Pakistani military appears to be embroiled in battles on multiple fronts in a Herculean effort to satisfy target audiences with contradictory demands. Countering the PML-N by supporting religious forces complicates refuting US allegations of support for militants. It also risks escalating violence in Balochistan and enhancing opportunity for external players like the US and Saudi Arabia to use the province as a launching pad for efforts to destabilise Iran, should they opt to travel down that road.
    China, despite its concern about Pakistan’s political stability, sees the military’s use of proxies against India as beneficial, yet it also needs stability in Balochistan to secure its massive investment. Pakistan could well be the ultimate loser in institutional battles that appear focused more on vested interests than on resolving issues that have long held the country back, such as extremism, intolerance and a lack of fundamental human rights.
    In pursuit of their own interests, neither the US nor China appear willing to help their Pakistani allies look beyond their narrow and most immediate concerns towards the development of policies that would launch the country on a path of security, stability and economic prosperity. ■

    #Pakistan - OP-ED Extrajudicial killings in the name of counterterrorism are unacceptable

    By Raza Rumi
    In the terror-fighting Pakistan, anyone can be branded as an alleged terrorist or a facilitator.

    As a successor of the colonial police force, police departments in South Asia are notorious for their high-handed, brutal methods, especially for what is known as faked “encounter killings.” The Police Order of 1861 drafted by the British in India remains in force. In India, it has not even received the cosmetic name change that Pakistani authorities have undertaken. While every political party in Pakistan has promised to end the’thana culture’, no substantive change has occurred. In fact, the so-called war against terrorism has made things worse, providing yet another excuse to the police to stage extrajudicial killings with further impunity.
    The latest case is the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Karachi police. Mehsud, a resident of South Waziristan, was an internally displaced person and arrived in Karachi in 2008 to escape insecurity in his native land. He was picked up in early January by the Counter Terrorism Department and his body was found a few days later. The Police had cited Mehsud’s alleged links with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which are easy to forge given the victim’s ethnicity and background. For long, we have equated Pakhtuns with terrorists in popular narratives. Civil society has been protesting across the country and the encounter specialist SSP Rao Anwar has been reportedly removed from his post until the investigation is complete.
    War against militancy will not be successful if the state continues to make a mockery of its larger responsibility of ensuring the rule of law. Whether it is profiling of Pakhtuns, viewing IDPs as suspects and giving a free hand to Rangers and Police, more and more Pakistanis will be alienated
    Human Rights Watch in its 2017 report “This Crooked System” Police Abuse and Reform in Pakistanhighlighted the continued use of extrajudicial killings in the country. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 2,108 men and seven women were killed in police encounters across Pakistan during 2015. 696 suspects were killed in Karachi alone. Punjab was even worse where 1,191 men and 3 women were killed in police encounters. “An encounter killing occurs when the police justify the killing of a criminal suspect either as an act of self-defense or as a means of preventing suspects from fleeing arrest or escaping from custody…many are faked outright, and are not merely the use of excessive force but an extrajudicial execution”, adds HRW.
    The use of extra judicial methods finds some measure of popular support. Shehbaz Sharif, the long time Chief Minister of the Punjab province is known for his proclivity to give Police a free hand for such abuses. Over recent years, Karachi’s law enforcement has adopted this method to’clean-up’ regularly supported by influential voices within the media and political circles. HRW report cited a police officer: ‘Yes, junior officers do stage encounters and kill suspects…They do not consider it a gross violation of human rights and instead see it as an effective way of delivering justice.’And HRW’s investigation showed that’junior’officers more often than not were supported by their seniors to stage such ‘encounters.’
    The plain truth is that Pakistan’s ruling elites find in the police a convenient mechanism to advance their political and class-agenda through this brutal colonial instrument. This is why most of the so-called reform efforts have failed. Musharraf’s mega reform drive in early 2000s was reversed when he had to win politicos for his legitimacy. Even the recent reform efforts in provinces do not restructure but tinker at the margins. A fundamental tenet of any such effort has to be police accountability, especially to the citizens. Until that is assured, police excesses will not end. In fact they are likely to increase given the imperative of ‘counter terrorism’ efforts.
    The global discourse on War on Terror, eagerly internalized by Pakistan’s security institutions, including the paramilitary and police further justifies such brutal killings. Amnesty International’s 2012 report, The Hands of Cruelty had alerted as to how Pakistan’s security apparatus gained wider powers and more impunity. Ethnic profiling intersects with the state policy. In Karachi and elsewhere, the Pakhtun has been branded as an easy suspect. Since 2014, Pakistan military’s drive against TTP and its affiliates have killed thousands of ‘terrorists’. That is cited as a success. Worse, the Parliament in early 2015 set up the military courts with the intention to deliver quick justice. The record of these courts has been no better than the ordinary ‘civilian’ courts but in the process, due process and the constitutional guarantees of a fair trial have been subverted.
    In the terror-fighting Pakistan, anyone can be branded as an alleged terrorist or a facilitator. The best example was Dr Asim, a political associate of former President Asif Ali Zardari who was accused of massive corruption as well as enabling the Al Qaeda militants by giving them medical treatment at his hospital. Once Zardari’s relations with the establishment improved, Dr Asim was released and all terrorism charges were forgotten.
    War against militancy will not be successful if the state continues to make a mockery of its larger responsibility of ensuring rule of law. Whether it is profiling of Pakhtuns, viewing IDPs as suspects and giving a free hand to Rangers and Police, more and more Pakistanis will be alienated.
    The recent release and whitewashing of Sufi Mohammad, who finds Pakistan’s Constitution and democratic ideals as ‘unIslamic’, is yet another reason to be worried. TTP’s Ehsanullah Ehsan, a self-confessed murderer is already in state custody. Just because he confirms the role of India in terrorism within Pakistan, he may be pardoned.
    An overhaul of the criminal justice system is long due and no one seems interested, including the guardians of law and the geographical and ideological frontiers. A security policy without checks on the excesses of Police and Rangers is designed to fail.

    #JusticeForZainab - A child’s many rights Pakistan

    There is no singular way to deal with child sexual abuse. We have to fight it at various levels and all of it must be simultaneous.

    There is nothing special about Kasur. The streets are as wide and narrow as those across other small towns in Pakistan. The open naalas that run in front of each house in small neighbourhoods, such as Road Kot, Zainab’s neighbourhood, smell as much or as little as those in other towns. The men and women of Kasur appear as kind and evil as those across the country. And the statistics of child sexual abuse in Kasur are no higher than those across the rest of Punjab.
    In fact, in a report issued by Sahil, an Islamabad-based organisation that works against child sexual abuse, Kasur does not even feature in the top-5 most vulnerable cities of Punjab, much less than of Pakistan. It is actually Muzaffargarh that has the highest reported number of child sexual abuse cases.
    What does make Kasur stand out is that the city’s child sexual abuse cases, in 2015 and now again in 2018, have been highlighted by the media. The media highlighting may be a coincidence, it may be political power play, but the fact remains that child sexual abuse is widespread across the country: in madrassas, schools, factories that employ child labour, fields where children work, streets, and our homes.
    Actually, child rape is not a crime of lust, it’s a crime of power. “The nature of the crime may be sexual but the motivation is to degrade and overpower. In our society, there are two major power imbalances: gender and age,” says Dr Bedar.
    Since Zainab, the media has highlighted cases all the way from Mardan to Karachi, but even before Zainab, the numbers were screaming at us, if we wanted to give them attention.
    Child sexual abuse, which includes rape, sodomy and gang rape, among other crimes, tugs at our minds in two directions. On the one hand, the crime is considered ‘more’ heinous than crimes such as theft and murder because sexual crimes are personal violations. And according to Dr Asha Bedar, a Karachi-based clinical psychologist, in Pakistan child sexual abuse is considered even more serious because an extra layer is added on top of this personal violation — a layer of honour and morality — that is considered stripped when there is sexual abuse.
    But on the other hand, civilians and policymakers remain almost apathetic to the issue, apart from an occasional burst of temporary national outrage which is responded to by most nominal policy changes.
    For instance, in Zainab’s wake, the Punjab and Sindh governments have created much noise about all that they will change to empower children and create awareness. Both governments have targeted schools. The Punjab government has vowed to create “awareness among people to prevent Kasur-like tragedy,” by producing material they aimed at children, parents, and teachers. The idea is that the “material related to prevention of child abuse will be made part of the school curriculum so that no one could dare exploit innocent kids.”
    The assumption therein is that it is the job of the vulnerable and their caretakers to protect themselves against sexual abuse. No long-term policy change has been debated to discourage the perpetrators.
    In Sindh, the PPP government is also working to introduce an awareness programme on child sexual abuse as part of the school curriculum. During the press conference held earlier this week, Bilawal Bhutto, the chairman of PPP, says this new part of the syllabus will be available immediately for children above grade 8, but then confusingly adds that “We have been working on this curriculum since 2009.” Has it taken them eight years to find the words to talk about child sexual abuse?
    Barkat Ali, regional director of Sahil in Sindh, has seen no such change since 2009. “If there was a change or addition in the government school syllabus, we would’ve noticed it. A while ago, the government collaborated with the Indus Resource Centre and carried out some trainings with teachers about child sexual abuse but that’s about it,” says Ali. “Other than that, I don’t see the government working against child sexual abuse in any way.”
    In his opinion, the biggest challenge to eliminating child sexual abuse in Sindh is the weak legal system. “In the rare cases that reach court, the abusers are not given the full punishment,” says Ali. This frail legal system encourages abusers to brazenly commit more crimes. The fragility of the legal system is compounded by out-of-court settlements and compromises that are made under the patriarchal gaze of the local wadera, and the blood money that is paid to bury child sexual abuse cases.
    National statistics on child sexual abuse show that the crimes are highest in Punjab, followed by Sindh, Balochistan and then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For instance, according to Sahil’s Cruel Numbers report for 2016, out of the 4,139 cases reported in Pakistan, 65 per cent were from Punjab, 24 per cent from Sindh, 4 per cent from Balochistan and 3 per cent from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
    This does not, however, mean that the crime is more prevalent in Punjab. It could also mean that crimes in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a much lower chance of being reported.
    In Jaffarabad, Balochistan, Ghulam Rabbani, regional coordinator for Sahil, scours 11 newspapers a day to look for news about child sexual abuse. By now he has learnt that even journalists don’t talk about child sexual abuse in the language that the crime deserves. “The news report will say ‘child went missing’ and that’s the only clue I have,” says Rabbani. He will then begin investigating the case and more often than not he learns that it was a case of child sexual abuse that was reported under ‘missing child’.
    “The crime is as rampant here as it is across the country and people are as unaware, the only difference is that it’s reported even less and that the provincial government does almost nothing to curb it,” says Rabbani.
    So, the question remains that if we are so moved by a crime, and we are sure of its prevalence, why isn’t more being done to curb it?
    Firstly, child sexual abuse is accompanied by a list of misconceptions. Take Zainab’s case. Some say it happened “because the child’s parents left her alone,” others have blamed her for “being too cute and attractive,” and then there’s those who believe that “since now more men eat haram ki kamai, more of them become darindas, and such crimes become more commonplace”.
    Actually, child rape is not a crime of lust, it’s a crime of power. “The nature of the crime may be sexual but the motivation is to degrade and overpower. In our society, there are two major power imbalances: gender and age,” says Dr Bedar. Hence, male adults are given more space to assert and maintain their power.
    Until there is an unlearning of patriarchal attitudes and a stripping of misconceptions, change will remain a mythical unicorn.
    The second reason for our collective inaction against child sexual abuse is that no one is willing or able to talk about the human body, much less sex. If a child is not taught how to explain that someone touched his or per private parts, how will they ever convey that they were abused? By not teaching our children basic language, we take away the very tools that empower them.
    At a committee meeting regarding Zainab’s rape murder in Kasur, chaired by Saba Sadiq, an MPA, and a representative of the National Commission for Human Rights Pakistan, the word ‘rape’ or ‘rapist’ were never mentioned. The room was determined to find ‘Zainab’s kaatil,’ not ‘Zainab’s rapist,’ thereby brushing under the carpet part of the crime that made them uncomfortable. In order to break taboos, difficult and complicated conversations need to be held, not just in our homes but at street corners, on televisions and especially by our members of government.
    Thirdly, as pointed out by Manizeh Bano, the executive director of Sahil, the political will of the government has to be steadfast. This is required on two levels. Firstly, the process of reporting a sexual crime has to be easy and fruitful. “The state must provide free legal aid, child-friendly courts and full punishments,” says Bano.
    On the second level, she says, the government has to take on the main responsibility of spreading awareness about child sexual abuse. “Non-governmental organisations can help the state, we can design materials for them, but the actual widespread work needs resources and reach that only the government has.”
    There is no singular way to deal with child sexual abuse. We have to fight it at various levels and all of it must be simultaneous. We have to fight taboos, strengthen the criminal justice system, improve our knowledge, education and attitude towards sex crimes, and spread awareness. Otherwise, it’s a losing battle.