Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Noor Jehan - Sun Wanjli Di Meethri Tan Way - Film: Heer Ranjha

Dildar Sadqay - دلدار صدقے -


Four Deobandi takfiri terrorists linked with the banned Deobandi militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, whose arrest was shown by the police’s Counter-Terrorism Department on Friday, have made startling disclosures during initial investigation.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is subsidiary of proscribed ASWJ (or Sipah-e-Sahaba) of M Ahmed Ludhianvi.
The arrested are Abdul Rauf alias Abu Rizwan and Mohammad Kamran alias Huzaifa, affiliated with the Deobandi LeJ; and Keftan Khan alias Kafayatullah and Mohammad Irshad alias Zakaria linked with the Deobandi TTP.
According to CTD officials, Abdul Rauf alias Abu Rizwan had also remained a close aide and member of a new outfit called Ansarul Sharia Pakistan (ASP). He hailed from Federal B Area, and got both modern and religious education. He completed Dars-e-Nizami (religious scholar course) from a seminary in 2009. He told the investigators that he joined Jamaatud Dawa in 2003, whose workers motivated him for militancy. Later on, he got militancy training.
In 2004, he met Shaharyar alias Dr Abdullah Hashmi, one of the ASP ringleaders. Dr Hashmi was recently killed by law enforcers in an ‘encounter’ as it transpired that this outfit was allegedly involved in the attack on Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hasan.
Abdul Rauf told the investigators that Dr Abdullah Hashmi (now killed) and Abdul Karim Sarosh Siddiqi (at large) motivated him for Afghan jihad when they had left Deobandi militant outfit Jaish-i-Mohammad.
The CTD officials said that he with Dr Hashmi and Sarosh got militancy training in Afghanistan in 2013. Later on, he started collecting funds.
Another arrested LeJ militant, Mohammad Kamran alias Huzaifa, originally came from Murree. They got both modern and religious education in Islamabad.
Later on, he studied in two seminaries in Chiniot and Faisalabad where he completed Dars-i-Nizami in 2015. He was motivated by a member of the banned outfit to join militancy when he was studying in Chiniot. In 2013, he got militancy training in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and motivated youngsters for militancy.
He told the investigators that his brother was an employee of an embassy of an important Western country in Islamabad.
The Deobandi Taliban terrorist, Keftan Khan, originally hailed from Tank and came to Karachi in 1994. He told the investigators that he was motivated by a local commander of the TTP (Taliban) to join militancy when he visited his native place in 2007. Later on, he got militancy training in Mirali with other militants.
He told the CTD investigators that in 2009, TTP militants shifted their focus from ‘Afghan jihad’ to targeting law enforcers in Pakistan.
Keftan also revealed that there were at least four militants who were generating funds and recruiting youngsters for the TTP in different parts of Malir. One of them was a brother of a TTP ‘commander’ dealing in diesel at Ghaghar Phatak.
Another held TTP militant, Mohammad Irshad, belonged to Mishta in South Waziristan and had shifted to Karachi’s Malir in 1999. He got religious education at different seminaries in the metropolis and completed Dars-e-Nizami course. He told the investigators that he was motivated by a class fellow of his in a seminary to join jihad in 2007, when he was studying in a seminary in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
In the same year, he with other seminary fellows started watching ‘Jihadi videos’ at Al-Asif Square and volunteered to participate in jihad.
In 2008, he with others visited Makeen in KP where he got militancy training.
Later, the suspect told the CTD investigators that he asked the head of the training centre in Makeen to send him for Afghan jihad. However, the head of the militancy training centre handed him over to a local commander of the TTP in the Tupper Gai area, where the TTP commander motivated him and others “to fight against LEAs in Pakistan instead of [Afghanistan], which they agreed upon.”


#Pakistan - Society will have to pay the price of discouraging critical thinking - Curbs on thinking

Huma Yusuf

IT is no secret that our university campuses have become spaces of intimidation rather than debate, censorship rather than critical thinking. Panel discussions are cancelled, speakers are forced off campuses, student events are disrupted by mobs, professors who encourage engagement are fired.
The threats to critical thinking and debate come from many sources: so-called ‘state functionaries’, student wings of religious political parties, firebrand students wielding blasphemy charges, politicised academics, complicit university administrators, and even right-wing media commentators who name and shame educational institutions, forcing them to go on the defensive and resort to self-censorship in lieu of jeopardising students’ safety from mobs.
The range of issues deemed too sensitive to debate grows every day. Beyond academic debate on matters of national security and foreign policy, discussions on culture, history, law, constitutionality and even science are increasingly perceived as too sensitive. Opportunities for debate are cancelled both by authoritarians for fear of what might be said, but also by the academically inclined for fear of the violent reaction that genuine debate may provoke.
How is the next generation meant to learn how to think?
And this is the fate of those who dare to speak, to engage, to question. The ranks of those who no longer bother, who opt for silence and safety over debate and danger is growing. A new report from Media Matters for Democracy, a Pakistan-based, not-for-profit initiative, on the practice of self-censorship among Pakistani journalists found that 79 per cent of respondents had self-censored their personal expression online and in the company of strangers (aside from the routine self-censorship required in a professional context). One can imagine that these statistics among university students would be similar.
The demise of debate — and the critical thinking it necessitates — on university campuses is especially problematic because Pakistan’s youth don’t have access to other spaces where they can engage their minds. According to the excellent Pakistan National Human Development Report on youth released last week, 85pc of young Pakistanis do not have access to the internet, and a shocking 94pc do not have access to a library. How is the next generation meant to learn how to think?
The various groups cracking down on academic debate think that by enforcing silence they enhance their power and, eventually, wrangle the public’s consent and compliance. Terrifyingly, they are right. If you suck ideas and opposing viewpoints out of circulation, at first, they live on behind closed doors, then they start to seem irrelevant, and ultimately, they cease to exist. And what takes their place — in our case, conspiracy theories, paranoia, fanaticism, sectarian and ethnic hostility — is taken for truth, and not recognised as the pressure tactic that was its first incarnation.
In the short run, widespread censorship does result in a plaint population. The silencing that the Zia generation endured explains the attractiveness of hare-brained conspiracy theories today. Pliant populations are also easier to govern. People who are intimidated into silence in one arena of their life will be placid in others too. Students who watch every word they utter on campus are unlikely to become entitled citizens demanding service delivery, human rights and state accountability.
But this conception has one major flaw — it is underpinned by an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. Censorship and the stifling of debate require an elite who decides what can and cannot be said, and a public that complies. There is an uncomfortable power dynamic here — a division of the polity into those who can use critical thinking skills to manipulate debate and knowledge and those who are not entitled to anything beyond obeisance.
How short-sighted, then, are those who seek to silence? Today’s students are that elite of tomorrow. By stifling critical thinking on campus, we are ensuring a future in which Pakistan has corps commanders, parliamentarians, judges, senior bureaucrats, CEOs, police chiefs and doctors who are incapable of sophisticated reasoning.
These are the people who will have to plan the country’s economic trajectory and allocate increasingly scarce resources. They will have to negotiate trade and defence deals on behalf of our country. They will have to engage in diplomacy on the world stage. They will have to win business. They will have to keep Pakistan safe. And they will have to train the generation that comes after them.
To do any of these things, you need to think critically, engage with and process facts, identify alternative possibilities, and reason or negotiate with people on the other side of the table. If all you know is the power of brute force — if your comfort zone is that of censorship, authoritarianism, silence and complicity — then you are not fit to do any of the things needed to help a country and a society prosper. As such, today’s silence is being bought at the expense of Pakistan’s future. Is it really worth that much?

#Pakistan’s Secret War Machine

A new nonviolent mass movement has swept through Pakistan in recent months, demanding an end to Pakistan military’s oppression and extrajudicial killings of minority ethnic Pashtuns. This grassroots movement has rattled Pakistan’s deep state, primarily the notorious spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
For decades, Pakistan’s spy service has operated as a formidable U.S. adversary, albeit dressed as a friend, especially in Afghanistan. It has endlessly frustrated the Afghan war efforts since 2001 by playing Santa Claus to all manner of anti-Afghan militant groups, mainly the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. This support has morphed the Afghan conflict into a bloody contest of competing interests and influence, where ISI’s toxic influence is supreme. ISI’s role in managing several anti-India proxy networks is also unmistakable.
ISI is no ordinary intelligence agency. It operates under Pakistan’s military command and is highly secretive, politically influential, patient, alarmingly active and ruthless to anyone they see as opposition. Unlike what some reports suggest, ISI is not a rogue agency but rather a disciplined, non-factional, cohesive and bureaucratic enterprise, where reports of defections are rare. The institution is also well-off. with its active and retired personnel frequently profiting from numerous Pakistani military-owned charitable foundations and corporations. The agency’s nearly twenty-five thousand personnel is mostly ethnically homogeneous, hailing predominantly from the army ranks.
More troublingly, the organization operates under a philosophy that it needs enemies to remain relevant—and in control. This paranoia has allowed the service to manufacture pet militant groups and imaginary threats to drive its motives. To do so, the service allegedly maintains a roster of nearly one hundred thousand militant fighters at its discretion.
Inside Pakistan, ISI sits at the core of the Pakistani state. It has regularly challenged the country’s civilian rule and has hampered Pakistan’s democratic progress through systematic coercive campaigns against dissenting voices, including politicians, activists, academics and the media. It has forged alliances with extremist religious groups and fringe political parties meant to control the Pakistani people by keeping them subservient to the state. As such, ISI has used old tactics wedded to the new, including intimidation, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and assassinations. The service also frequently engages in sabotage activities, psychological operations and influence campaigns. More worryingly, ISI’s infatuation with jihadi groups has adversely affected the agency and has turned segments of the agency increasingly extremist.
In Afghanistan, ISI’s Afghan operations are undertaken by at least three units. The first is Directorate S, the principal covert action arm that directs and oversees the Afghan policy, including militant and terrorist outfits and their operations. The second unit is the Special Service Group (SSG), also known as the Pakistani SS, and are the army’s special forces element that was established in the 1950s as a hedge against the communists. Today, some SSG units effectively operate as ISI’s paramilitary wing and have fought alongside the Taliban until 2001. In other instances, SSG advisors have allegedly been embedded with Taliban fighters to provide tactical military advice, including on special operations, surveillance, and reconnaissance. In fact, encountering ISI operatives fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan has become a common occurrence that no longer surprise Afghan and American forces. The third ISI unit is the Afghan Logistics Cell, a transport network inside Pakistan facilitated by members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps that provide logistical support to the Taliban and their families. This includes space, weapons, vehicles, protection, money, identity cards and safe passage.
Such ISI support networks have been designed to break Afghanistan into pieces and then remold it into a pliant state. The objective is to complicate Afghanistan’s security landscape and drive its political climate into an uncharted constitutional territory to create a vacuum, which inevitably places the Taliban in the driving seat. These support actions have visibly made the group more effective. However, the Pakistani mantra is that they maintain contacts with the Taliban but exercise no control over them. Yet the ground realities suggest otherwise. The Taliban has recently become deadlier and adaptive. The old Taliban has, in effect, transformed into a new Taliban—decentralized and sated with recruits, including mid-level commanders, who come fresh out of the Pakistani madrassas eager to kill. This new decentralization has enabled the group’s young frontline commanders to exercise greater autonomy in the field, allowing ISI to leverage them for their needs. ISI reportedly manage their leadership succession, bypassing the Taliban’s chain of command.
The Taliban’s devolution of authority has also seemingly fractured the movement’s unity and cohesion and has resulted in multiple power centers within the movement. The group is increasingly taken over by the Haqqani Network, which controls at least 15 percent of the Taliban’s manpower and influences many smaller Taliban fronts. Meanwhile, the Taliban's leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, and his principal deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, are allegedly on bad terms, which has also disturbed the movement’s unity. The new Taliban’s funding now streams not only from the Pakistani intelligence but also from drug trafficking, racketeering, extortion and kidnapping for ransom, where the Haqqanis play a seminal role. Meanwhile, some Taliban groups have taken on to undertaking basic state-like functions, including levying taxes on local businesses, overseeing kangaroo courts, resolving local disputes, and operating organized schooling. The Taliban uses such state-like measures to create legitimacy for themselves among the local people. Unsurprisingly, this has formed a tacit social pact between helpless local Afghans and the Taliban—a bargain in which the group guarantee no harm to the local people in exchange for their compliance. However, this frail Taliban-civilian relationship exists because of the Taliban’s intimidation and killing campaign, rather than peoples’ compatibility with the group.
More vitally, the Taliban have adopted a robust resource-efficient operational strategy meant not only to fragment Afghan forces but also to capture more territory. This strategy has enabled the group to determine where and when to fight, in which they skillfully avoid the strongest elements of Afghan forces and instead target where they are weakest. The group frequently employs similar tactics in their operations such as ambushes, traps, surprise and simultaneous coordinated attacks and, increasingly, the use of snipers. At the same time, the group has advised their fighters not to give away information upon capture for up to forty-eight hours to allow Taliban leaders the time to render any reports useless. Pakistani intelligence has been in many respects in sync with this Taliban strategy. In contrast, Afghan forces are often blind on the battlefield.
Simply put, Pakistan’s ISI has turned terrorism into a school of thought, directed from the country’s governed spaces that remain undefeated. What can the United States do to unravel the Gordian knot of the Pakistani intelligence and its support to terrorist groups? Three things.
First, the United States should begin to treat the Pakistani spy agency similar to how it manages Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This would involve the U.S. Treasury Department adding Pakistan’s ISI and its affiliate, the Special Service Group—akin to Iran’s Quds Force—to the U.S.’ antiterrorism sanctions list. By doing so, the United States would impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, on active and retired Pakistani intelligence personnel with ties to terrorist networks. Meanwhile, Washington and Kabul should encourage defections within the Taliban ranks, meant to loosen ISI’s grip on the group. Washington can extend defected and corrigible Taliban members some sanctions relief, including relaxing travel restrictions, to help build confidence.
Second, bolster the Afghan intelligence apparatus to become relevant and in sync with the Taliban’s shifting strategy. This would require boosting Afghan intelligence capabilities to include a 360-degree collection effort to better understand the internal leadership dynamics and changing tactics of the Taliban and other groups. Similarly, the Afghan Defense Ministry should increase the number of its S2 intelligence and information officers in Afghan forces to handle tactical intelligence and security clearances at the unit level. These officers should also be trained to trace militants, track Taliban surveillance routes, manage interrogations and weed out infiltrators. Meanwhile, the Afghan government should deploy counterintelligence assets to its prisons to limit the communication of Taliban detainees with their leaders outside.
Third, the Trump administration should cease the cyclical pattern of its tempestuous relationship with Pakistan. Unfortunately, America’s Pakistan policy has followed a much too predictable pattern for over sixty years that incentivizes the Pakistani military for cooperation that in fact does not truly exist. This recurrent pattern of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is often tactical and reactive. In the first half of the cycle, for example, the relationship spins around convening strategic dialogues and state visits by Pakistani leaders followed by U.S. military assistance and other concessions. But in the cycle’s other half, the warm period abruptly comes to an end until an unexpected event prompts the next standard cycle in the bilateral relationship. Instead, the United States should adopt fewer carrots and more sticks policy and ensure that the stick is tough enough to change Pakistani state behavior meaningfully.
In short, Pakistani intelligence has mainstreamed terrorism and political violence in the region. In Afghanistan, ISI appears increasingly confident in its assertiveness and is seeking a maximalist outcome. It is operating from a position of strength, but no position is so strong that it is permanent. ISI still requires access to funds and defense supplies for its reach, internal stability, as well as legitimacy. The United States can deny or strictly condition that access to them. Meanwhile, Washington should voice its support to the peaceful Pashtun movement, an investment that could potentially pay off and serve the United States in the fight against extremism.

#Pakistan - Persecution of Hazara minority must be stopped


Being a minority in a conservative or extremist society is the worst thing a community can experience. The Hazara community residing in the Pakistani city of Quetta, capital of Balochistan, is experiencing the worst surge of killings by Sunni outfits in five years. Life for them is all about praying that bullets will not kill them or their loved ones.
The Shiite Muslim Hazara community, which traces its origin to Afghanistan, has been the target of ethnic cleansing by terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. They have been protesting for ages, but the authorities have never addressed the issue.
According to the latest report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, around 509 members of the Hazara community have been killed over the past five years.
The Shiite-Sunni rift was brought to Pakistan in the 1980s by the military dictator General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in a bid to legitimize martial law. Pakistan has since then been facing ethnic and sectarian wars between Shiites and Sunnis. Saudi Arabia and Iran have also fueled the violence in Pakistan by funding the religious clerics and seminaries of both sects.
Members of the Hazara community are easy to recognize, and extremist Sunni outfits, mostly backed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, take advantage of this.
The people of this community are forced to live in separate colonies with high concrete walls surrounding them and multiple check posts at the entry gates, which make them like jails. They are advised by the law enforcement agencies not to roam freely in the city of Quetta and they usually stay at home after 8pm, as it is not safe to leave their residential areas after dark.
Their inability to move in different parts of the city has resulted in a lack of job opportunities and hurt them financially. Killings of Hazara people during the month of April have sparked widespread outrage in the community, and a female activist and lawyer, Jalila Haider, went on a hunger strike to protest against these acts of genocide.
On the other hand, the banned extremist group Lashkar-e-Jahngvi, which usually claims responsibility for the killings of Hazara people on the basis of their faith (declaring Shiites to be non-Muslims), is still distributing pamphlets against the Hazara community and vows to banish them completely from the country, as for them Shiites are non-believers and a great threat to their Sunni faith.
Meanwhile, the state is busy fighting against insurgency and unrest in Balochistan, and it seems that protecting the Hazara community is not a priority.
Shiites are not the only minority facing extremism and threats; Ahmadis, Christians, and Hindus are all subject to exploitation, and life for them in Pakistan mean just to live another day.
Ahmadis are a Muslim sect who follow Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as their prophet. They are deemed blasphemers and have to hide their identity most of the time in order to survive.
Hindu women in Thar, a desert area of Sindh province, are subject to forced marriages by landlords and other influential local people and forced conversion are also practiced against them.
The persecution of Christians mostly takes the form of accusations of blasphemy, and in most cases, the allegation is leveled against them to settle matters of personal enmity or for a small monetary gain.
While the world is discovering new methods and social contracts to make life easier for humanity, fanatics in Pakistan are busy day and night discovering new ways of making life difficult for their fellow human beings, and after doing this they still wonder why the world thinks of their nation as a terrorist state.
It is the height of hypocrisy that while settling abroad in Western countries, such people demand equal rights and freedom of expression. They criticize US President Donald Trump for being unjust to Muslims and Pakistanis but proudly usurp the rights of minorities in their own country. In fact, it is not only minorities, but any dissident voices that  do not buy a particular religious interpretation or agrees with a certain set of beliefs is accused of contempt or blasphemy.
The mindset of not listening to criticism and the belief that we are superior to all others because of our belief is actually the main cause of atrocities and injustice prevailing in society in the name of protecting religion or a certain sect. Sadly, it is not understood that truth needs no protection and no guardians to ensure it prevails. Reality can neither be changed nor destroyed by propaganda or the use of force.
Haider began her hunger strike despite the repeated promises by the interior minister of Balochistan, Mir Sarfraz Bugti, to address the issue and to take every possible step against the killings of Hazara people. Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javad Bajwa arrived in Quetta and on Wednesday, after meeting with members of the Hazara community, was able to persuade them to call off their protests, including Haider’s hunger strike. Soon after Bajwa’s visit, a suspect allegedly involved in the targeted killings of members of the community was arrested, and the Supreme Court of Pakistan took notice of the issue.
Whether Bajwa’s prompt response will stop the persecution of the Hazara community remains to be seen. It is not the duty of the chief of army staff to devise strategy and policies for structural changes in society. If the elected governments cannot even form policies to discourage the extremist mindset just because they fear the right-wing vote bank, then they cannot complain about democracy being undermined.
It is very easy to understand that in any society, there are different communities of people whose beliefs, ideologies and concepts of life are different from one another. This is the reason that modern states do not try to create a social fabric based on a religious narrative. In fact, in modern social structures, states do not have anything to do with the beliefs of the people living in their society. A social structure is always created to accommodate every single citizen so a society can be formed that is diverse in nature, is peaceful, and where every single human can live freely according to his own personal ideology.
There is a dire need for the state of Pakistan to stop the marginalization of minorities by playing a role in discouraging extremist mindsets and denouncing support toward religious clerics and extremists. It should try to promote a culture of debate on interfaith harmony and other sensitive issues related to religion and faith. It is time to eliminate banned outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or else members of the Hazara community and other minorities will continue to suffer at the hands of these fanatics.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari invites PTI’s Imran Khan to hold public meeting at Hakeem Saeed ground in Karachi on May 12 and asks PPP Karachi Division to find another location to hold Jalsa

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has invited PTI’s Imran Khan to hold public meeting at Hakeem Saeed ground in Karachi on May 12 and asked PPP Karachi Division to find another location to hold Jalsa.

In a series of tweets and a statement, the PPP Chairman said that his Party’s 14 innocent and unarmed workers were martyred on May 12, 2007 during the struggle for restoration of judiciary. “To pay tribute to our martyrs, PPP planned to hold a Jalsa at Hakeem Saeed ground in district East, as most lives were lost in District East,” he added.
He said that PPP had applied for and received all necessary legal permissions. PTI always said they would hold a Jalsa at Mazar-e-Quaid on 12th May – not that they have anything to commemorate.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pointed out that while our preparations were on-going, PTI arbitrarily changed their Jalsa venue and set up a camp at our ground – which was a provocative step.
He said that stones were thrown at PPP workers from PTI’s camp. Our trucks were set on fire. PTI leader’s guards fired weapons. More than 20 PPP workers sustained considerable injuries.
PPP Chairman said that to attack us in such a way on this tragic day, is a sad commentary on the fascist tendencies of PTI and called for a complete enquiry to hold all those responsible accountable.
“PTI has shown such an appalling attitude. However in the interest of peace in Karachi, which we have fought so hard for, I not only ask my Party to find another location, but also invite PTI’s Imran Khan to hold his Jalsa at Hakeem Saeed ground,” he said adding that Karachi is our city – we can hold a Jalsa anywhere.


Attack on Pakistan’s interior minister: the lynching of society


Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal survived an assassination attempt on Sunday in his home town of Narowal. He suffered a bullet wound on his arm and narrowly escaped death.
The man in his early 20s who allegedly shot Iqbal was taken into police custody immediately, where he reportedly confessed that he attempted to murder Iqbal because of alleged blasphemy by the PML-N government.
The present government is being accused by the religious outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan of trying to change the law related to the finality of prophethood in the guise of an election reform bill. Last November the extremist cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi led a sit-in at Faizabad, an entry point of the capital Islamabad, and virtually paralyzed the whole country. Eventually, the state surrendered to his demands and the law minister at the time, Zahid Hamid, was fired on the demand of Rizvi.
Every sane individual knows who was supporting the sit-in at Faizabad since the beginning; the use of proxies to get the desired result has actually brought us Pakistanis to a position where the whole world makes a mockery of us.
First Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was toppled by using the same proxy of religious clerics and by launching the famous Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) movement ultimately resulting in Bhutto’s ouster and hanging, but the cost we paid as a state and society for that adventure was too high.
Religious clerics brought in a culture of jihad and hatred against other sects and minorities in the country, resulting in the deadly bloodshed in the 1990s in the name of religion. It is Nawaz Sharif’s turn now and the religious card is being played again. The way things are going it seems that Sharif and his party will not even be able to run an election campaign amid more attacks from religious fanatics and banned outfits. Unfortunately, the cost of this adventure will be paid by generations to come in the form of more religious fundamentalism and violence.
Militants like Hafiz Saeed, Mullah Fazlullah and Omar Khalid Khorasani and many mullahs were patronized and perceived as strategic assets to counter enemies, but they actually became Frankenstein monsters and started killing their creators. Now history is being repeated again.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik movement is playing the blasphemy card, and new strategic assets like Khadim Rizvi are being launched to counter political dissidents and progressive voices. Sadly, the establishment that controls and dictates the religious and defense narratives of the state is not willing to learn from past mistakes. It is also not willing to understand the simple point that the world is being ruled by logic and knowledge, not by weapons and religious beliefs.
In order to control and manipulate the state narratives, the mighty establishment has actually weakened the state itself by going against the basic ideologies of the founding father of the nation. The alliance of the establishment and mullahs has actually given birth to millions of potential extremists who are virtually ticking time bombs, it only being a matter of time before they explode and take everything down with them. We have seen it in the past – almost 70,000 people died in a decade as the result of this extreme mindset, and if we are still not ready to quit the habit of nurturing religious fanatics, then we will surely see many more dead bodies.

It is not the government or Sharif’s party that is losing, it is actually the state that is weakening. The fanatics, armed with sticks and stones and burning public property, attacking anyone who does not accept their narrative of religion and patriotism, are portraying an image of a failed state and society to the world.
It is not the government or Sharif’s party that is losing, it is actually the state that is weakening. The fanatics, armed with sticks and stones and burning public property, attacking anyone who does not accept their narrative of religion and patriotism, are portraying an image of a failed state and society to the world.
Using religion to gain authority or to counter the enemy has actually buried the concept of a “social state” and resulted in a state that is only hallucinating with countering conspiracies and threats that are actually not there in reality. After all, a society busy with self-destruction does not need any external threat or enemy to diminish it.
Ahsan Iqbal is a vocal political leader who strongly advocates civilian authority and often criticizes the role of the judiciary and military in undermining Pakistan’s civilian governments. Meanwhile Nawaz Sharif recently launched his election campaign accusing the mighty military establishment of political engineering, declaring them “aliens,” and openly told his supporters in a public gathering that his contest is not against any political opponent but against these “aliens.”
Some fear that the weekend attack on Sharif’s close aide Iqbal was the result of the direct fight between Sharif and the establishment and was a message for Sharif and his party members not to cross the red line. Some also believe that this attack also means that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will not be allowed to run its election campaign, paving the way for the electoral result desired by the establishment.
Alternatively, the general elections scheduled for July could be delayed by targeting a few more politicians citing law and order situations. In either scenario, it is the establishment that will benefit.
It may seem a temporary victory for the establishment, but this victory will have come at a very high price. The social fabric and structure of the Pakistani state is being destroyed in this fight. The trend of mob justice is being set and very soon establishment figures will understand that this trend will not even spare them.
The whole world is watching a nuclear state being held hostage to fanatics whose only motive in life is to kill others in the name of religion. After all, if the interior minister of the country is not safe from the wrath of fanatics, who can be?
The almighty establishment, in an effort to undermine the sitting government and Nawaz Sharif’s party, has actually undermined the state of Pakistan. Sharif’s electoral constituency has certainly been damaged and many PML-N candidates will not participate in elections on the party ticket, fearing attacks from fanatics on charges of blasphemy.
But getting this desired result has also resulted in losing the writ of the state. It will bring further chaos and extremism into Pakistani society, and extremists like Khadim Rizvi will continue to exploit millions of minds to gain their interests.
Unfortunately, this ugly blasphemy card has not only weakened Sharif’s party but has also undermined the state itself. It can be termed a lynching of a state by the deep state.
The fact that for the very first time masses of people in Pakistan are showing resistance against political engineering and refusing to bow down in front of establishment figures and fanatics is a good sign, but at the same time it could lead the country into a civil war at any time, as the bullet fired at a political leader actually was a bullet fired at the electorates.

#Pakistan - No excuse to delay general polls 2018, says Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the narrative adopted by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was not in the interest of democracy.
He was addressing a public gathering in Mandi Bahauddin.
“There is no excuse for delaying general polls 2018. To delay elections can only be a wish of Imran Khan [Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief]”, asserted the junior Bhutto.
The junior Bhutto ruled out alliance with Imran Khan-led PTI before elections. While condemning attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Bhutto urged all political parties to practice progressive politics instead of spreading hatred among country’s youth.  

Video Report - President Karachi Division Saeed Ghani holds press conference at Media Cell Bilawal House Karachi