Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Video Report - #India struggles to fight against child marriage

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Video - Condoleezza Rice on North Korea summit, Trump and "Political Risk"

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Video - North Korea state TV praises Kim’s summit with Trump

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Video - Trump Hands a PR Victory to Kim Jong-un | The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

American media fail to grasp full picture of Trump-Kim summit

US media has been rife with complaints about the Singapore summit's achievements. They criticized that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has won US' concession without making any new commitment. They also doubted US President Donald Trump's pledge to end joint military drills with Seoul, saying that it satisfies both Pyongyang and Beijing.

After the meeting with Kim, Trump sent eight tweets to defend the summit's results. He said that those who were against his earlier military threats toward North Korea and those who are against the Singapore summit are "the same haters."However, voices that criticize the summit greatly outnumber Trump's supporters, and have whipped up public opinion.

Trump's historic summit with Kim was criticized by the US media, because he talked too big. The Trump administration pledged not to make any compromises and requested North Korea to denuclearize immediately, declaring that Washington wouldn't respond until Pyongyang acts accordingly. Such negotiation tactics are accepted in the corporate world, because the boss decides whether to compromise or not. However, it is much harder for a country's media to accept policy reversals from Trump. 

American media's debate on US gains and losses after the Kim-Trump summit has strayed from the point. Instead, they should focus on whether the summit helps facilitate the complete denuclearization of North Korea, and does so with minimum cost. However, all they care about is whether Trump made concessions and if North Korea and China benefited as a direct result. If the two Asian countries do benefit, the US media will be upset to the greatest extent.

North Korea-US negotiations will be a long-term process. Those critics think the US should recklessly exert maximum pressure and that's where US' advantage lies. The progress of negotiation between North Korea and the US should never be decided by US' domestic politics. It is a global goal to achieve complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula through peaceful negotiation. The process should be as steady as possible, and speed shouldn't be the only pursuit.

North Korea and China do support if South Korea and the US end their military drills, however, should the US be upset only because Pyongyang and Beijing are happy? Negotiation is about  finding biggest common ground instead of imposing conditions on others through tricks and intimidation.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have never been lower. North Korea has suspended its nuclear and missile tests, scrapped its nuclear test site, and repeatedly promised to work for complete denuclearization. Back to the second half of 2017, when there were the most serious tensions and hostilities between the two countries, the US society wouldn't believe today's progress possible. How can the US "lose" when there are so many visible achievements? 

It's impossible for North Korea to completely comply with US' request of denuclearization. However, the Kim-Trump summit eases tension on the peninsula and opens up a new prospect for future negotiation. The peninsula issue needs a good start, but whether the current US media can support Washington in further resolving the issues remains unknown.

#FifaWorldCup18 - 'Don't have sex with foreign men': Russian lawmaker's World Cup advice

Senior Russian lawmaker Tamara Pletnyova, a member of the Communist Party, has advised local women not to have sex with foreign men during the Russia 2018 World Cup.
"Will there be the girls that will meet (with men) and become pregnant? Maybe yes, maybe no, I hope. These children suffer and have suffered, even since Soviet times," Pletnyova, chairwoman of the Family, Women, and Children Affairs Committee, was quoted by radio station Govorit Moskva, as saying.
“We should give birth to our own children. I'm not a nationalist, but nonetheless. I know that the children suffer as well, and then they are abandoned and stay here with the mother," she said in comments published on Monday.
Pletnyova, speaking in the lower house of parliament, was apparently warning of a possible rise in the number of single mothers. She added that, even if Russian women get married to their foreign partners after giving birth, they could end up living abroad with their spouses and have no idea how to return home.
"Then they come to me at the committee and cry that the child was taken away, removed, and so forth. I would like people to get married based on love in our country, regardless of which ethnicity, [to] Russian citizens who would build a good family, live in harmony, have children, and raise them," Pletnyova added.
The FIFA 2018 World Cup kicks off when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday. The month-long tournament will be held in 11 host cities across the country.

#India - #SoumyaSwaminathan - Soumya Swaminathan, who said no to 'hijab', glad her stand has been noted

Pulls out of Iran event as she doesn’t want to wear a ‘hijab’ as she saw it as a violation of my human rights.

Soumya Swaminathan is overwhelmed by the response she has received following her decision to pull out of the Asian team chess championship to be held in Iran from July 26 because she doesn’t want to wear a hijab.

“When I posted on my Facebook page that I was withdrawing from the Indian team for the Asian event because I did not wish to be forced to wear a hijab or burkha, as I see it as a violation of my human rights, I never imagined that I would be trending on Twitter,” Soumya, a former World junior champion, told The Hindu over phone from Pune on Wednesday. “I am happy to get so much support for my decision and that people in India have become aware of the issue.”
She said the decision wasn’t difficult at all. “I had written to the organisers in Iran asking them whether any exception could be made about wearing the hijab, but they replied in the negative, very politely,” she said. “When I played in Iran seven years ago, I had felt very uncomfortable playing with a hijab. I had decided then that I would never compete in a tournament in which such dress codes were in place.”
She is not the first chess player to have taken such a stance.
Some top players, including reigning champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine, had boycotted the Women’s World championship held in Tehran last year. The United States champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes had even started a petition to relocate the tournament, citing religious and sexual discrimination.
“I had signed the petition,” said Soumya. “I believe that sports bodies should ensure that major events are held in countries where freedom for the participants is not denied.”

How the US Is Indirectly Arming the Taliban

Perspective: Growing persecution of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan

Ata Us Salam

I appeal to the United Nations and other International powers to take immediate action on it otherwise these fanatics will harm a large number of the Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan.

Since a Sunni political party Tahrik Labbak-ya-Rasool-Allah (TLYRA) has started to gain popularity in Pakistan during the last few years, it seems that the Sialkot is becoming the worst hit area of extremist activities of radical Sunnis. This fundamentalist party of Sunnis has gained so much power that its workers disrupt the whole country whenever and wherever they want. This party claims itself as the main guard of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat belief in Pakistan.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, the meaning of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the final Prophet of God and there could not be any Prophet after him. Any person who does not believe in it will be considered as a non-Muslim. Any such person will not be allowed to use Islamic traditions and would be subject to law in case of using them. Many members of the Ahmadiyya community have faced imprisonments just by saying As’Salam’o’Alaikum (peace be on you). This word and many other traditions are taken from the Bible and were used by the earlier prophets but now rogue Sunnis and Shias have claimed them their own and prohibited Ahmadis from using them by introducing the discriminatory legislation in the constitution of Pakistan. I do not think that any non-Islamic country has introduced such cruel laws for their minorities which prohibits them from their fundamental human rights.

Some months ago, ruling party of Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) tried to introduce a bill called Election bill 2017 which had omitted the clause of belief in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat before taking oath as a public servant by the elected politician. When leaders of Tahrik Labbak-ya-Rasool-Allah learned about the amendment in the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat law they started protests in the whole Pakistan and staged a sit-in in the city of Rawalpindi. Initially the PML (N) government tried to resolve this issue with dialogue, then tried to use force to disperse the highly hostile mob but eventually police failed to control them. Finally the government had to make an agreement with the mob leaders which resulted in the resignation of the federal law minister of Pakistan, Mr Zahid Hamid. After his resignation, members of TLYRA started to relinquish control of Pakistani roads which they had occupied during their protests.

Though they finished their road protests, they started to target the senior members of the PML (N) government. Their first target was the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, who was hit with a shoe when he was addressing a seminary. Their next target was the former Federal minister of Pakistan for Foreign affairs, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who had black ink thrown in his face by a member of the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat group when he was addressing a public gathering in the city of Sialkot. Then an extremist member of this group injured the Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan, Ahsan Iqbal, with a bullet on 6th May 2018. That terrorist could have killed Mr Ahsan Iqbal if he had not quickly been captured by the commandos of the police force. This incident happened in a nearby town of Sialkot city. Someone might think why radical sentiments are getting so high in the Sialkot area? The answer is that the law minister of Pakistan, Zahid Hamid, who had introduced that controversial amendment in the oath of public servants, belongs to Sialkot. One can understand from these incidents the attachment of radical Sunnis with this issue. They are ready to kill every person who would try to change this legislation in Pakistan. 

Less than 3 weeks after this incident, a mob of Sunni fundamentalists demolished the Bait-ul-Mubarak Mosque of the Ahmadiyya community and the house of Hassam-ud-din where the founder of the Ahmadiyya community Prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (PBUH) used to pray and stay during his visits to Sialkot. This highly charged mob was raising the slogans of Labbak-Ya-Rasool Allah. After demolishing these holy places of the Ahmadiyya community, the leader of this mob, Hamid Raza, praised the co-operation of the District Police Officer, Deputy Commissioner and Tahsil Municipal Officer of the city. An important point to note is that the elected chairman of that area also took part in demolishing the Ahmadiyya holy sites. Only 2 or 3 days after this heinous act, another mosque of the Ahmadiyya community was targeted in the city of Sialkot. All of this persecution is happening with the support of government officials of Sialkot city and on the very next day after these acts, the Chief Minister of Punjab province, Mr Shahbaz Sharif, issues a letter of appreciation and a cheque of Pak Rupee 100,000 to the Assistant Commissioner of Sialkot on his brilliant performance. Not even a single person of this mob was arrested despite the fact that many video clips are available on Social Media of those rogues who were demolishing the mosque and the historical house of Ahmadiyya community in Sialkot city.

Shahbaz Sharif is the current president of PML (N) after the disqualification of his elder brother Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and PML (N) requires a peaceful atmosphere for them to run the election campaign for the coming elections. It feels they have secretly contacted the fundamentalists of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat to persecute the Ahmadiyya community with full freedom instead of targeting the politicians of PML (N). Apparently the Assistant Commissioner of Sialkot has used his influence in diverting hateful sentiments towards the Ahmadiyya community possibly by using the money or his authority. Less than a week after targeting Ahmadiyya sites an Ahmadi was injured with 2 bullets fired by two unknown terrorists in the town of Shahdara. On the other side, hate preachers of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat are issuing Fatwas that the persecution of Ahmadis is legitimate.

I appeal to the United Nations and other International powers to take immediate action on it otherwise these fanatics will harm a large number of the Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan by taking advantage of widespread hateful sentiments after the Election Bill 2017 and the presence of a weak caretaker government. This bill was of no benefit to Ahmadis because they do not take part in elections as a non-Muslim but the government of PML (N) just introduced it to get international support for their alleged corrupt politicians.

It is a historic fact that whenever persecution of the Ahmadiyya community gets momentum in Pakistan, fundamentalists of the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat start their hate campaign in Britain as well so that the UK government could not support Ahmadis. I think it is the moral responsibility of the British government to immediately raise a voice for the Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan because some politicians of this country are planning to exploit the emotions of the majority population after amendment in the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat law to get votes which could result in more persecution of the Ahmadiyya community by the hands of fanatic Sunnis.

OP-ED De-radicalisation of youth in #Pakistan

Pakistan needs a comprehensive and well-coordinated strategy aimed at the youth, with the main objective focused on tackling their vulnerabilities and keeping a check on the kind of ideologies they are exposed to everyday.

Pakistan has the advantage of having a predominantly young population, with almost 52% of the populace under the age of 25, and almost 29% between the ages of 15 and 29. This could be a source for great progress for our country, yet it could also become a potentially devastating problem for the future as well, if left unchecked.
Pakistan has made great strides in its battle against terrorism and militancy in the past decade. A series of military operations across the country have dramatically reduced the number of terror related incidents, however, in order to find a long term solution, we also need to address the societal and political norms in our country.
A large population of youths, without adequate opportunities for employment, social interaction and cultural activities are extremely susceptible to extremist thought. Contrary to what most people believe, extremism is a phenomenon that can manifest in any strata of society at any given location. Radical ideologies aren’t only found in Madrassas or religious seminaries, but in urban based public and private educational institutions as well, as evidenced by the Mashal Khan lynching case in Mardan or Noreen Laghari’s foiled terror attack in Lahore.
Radical ideologies aren’t only found in Madrassas or religious seminaries, but in urban-based public and private educational institutions as well, as evidenced by the Mashal Khan lynching case in Mardan or Noreen Laghari’s foiled terror attack in Lahore
What we need in our country is a comprehensive and well coordinated strategy aimed at the youth, with the main objective focused on tackling their vulnerabilities and keeping a check on the kind of ideologies they are exposed to everyday. The targets of this plan will not only be the people who have already been radicalised, but also those that might be susceptible to such extreme thought.
Even though the government has already set up programs aimed at de-radicalisation, disengagement, and rehabilitation (DDR), like Mishal, Sparley, Rastoon, Pythom, Heila, and Sabaoon, more needs to be done. These programs need to be implemented all over the country, and can be supplemented with peace education programs, which largely focus on tolerance of diversity, coexistence, conflict resolution techniques and gender equality etc.
A major hurdle in introducing such programs around Pakistan is a lack of will by the people in power. There is also an absence of any representation for the youth on our policy-making bodies, and with the 2018 elections just around the corner, this is an opportune moment for all political parties to highlight the significance of this marginalised, but powerful, group. They should prioritise the de-radicalisation of our youth, and focus all their power on empowering them in order to ensure a brighter future for our country.
Another reason for the youth to become so inclined towards radical ideologies is the lack of adequate economic opportunities in our country. According to Pakistan’s National Human Development Report, published by the UNDP, 41.6% of Pakistan’s labour force comprises of people between the ages of 15 and 29. In order to provide an adequate number of jobs for the youth sector in the future, Pakistan will need to create 4.5 million new jobs in the next five years, which amounts to almost a million jobs annually. With employment elasticity at 0.5, the country will require an annual GDP growth rate of 7% to achieve this objective, even though the current GDP growth rate stands at 5.2%.
As the parliament of Pakistan completes its five-year term, it is time for reflection. Is our country headed in the right direction? Do our current policies reflect the path we want to take for the future? It certainly doesn’t look like it. This is because our future is based entirely on our youth. If they are kept being ignored, then they will have no choice but to turn to extremist thought, fanaticism and frustration. All these can lead to disastrous results, echoes of which can already be felt in the youth-led Pakhtun movement, which started with the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud. We cannot, and must not ignore the sentiments of the young in this country and take a strong stance in the fight against extremism. With the security situation improving, and the youth taking an active role in the development of the country, there is nothing that can stop Pakistan’s charge into the future.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Getting access to international markets is the PPP mission: Asif Ali Zardari

Former President of Pakistan and President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari said that PPP is party of every strata of the society. Industrialists and businessmen are also playing their role in serving the country.
He said this while attending an Iftar dinner hosted by renowned businessman and former chairman of APTMA Gohar Ijaz in Lahore. The former President also said that PPP government has always promoted textile industry and has always strived for having access to international markets for the Pakistani goods.
Former President Zardari said that in meetings with international leaders, he always emphasized on providing Pakistan with access to international markets. Asif Ali Zardari said that PPP is at the battleground that is the elections, and once successful it will surely encourage and promote industrialists and businessmen. He said that the mission of the Party is an economically secure Pakistan for which Party gave the outline of CPEC which is the economic surety for Pakistan.