Monday, July 9, 2018

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Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution by U.S. Stuns World Health Officials

By Andrew Jacobs
A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs. The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.
Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.
“We were astonished, appalled and also saddened,” said Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who has attended meetings of the assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, since the late 1980s. “What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health,” she said.
In the end, the Americans’ efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.
The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in the effort to modify the resolution, explained the decision to contest the resolution’s wording but said H.H.S. was not involved in threatening Ecuador.
“The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children,” an H.H.S. spokesman said in an email. “We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons. These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so.” The spokesman asked to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely.
Although lobbyists from the baby food industry attended the meetings in Geneva, health advocates said they saw no direct evidence that they played a role in Washington’s strong-arm tactics. The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding. Over all, global sales are expected to rise by 4 percent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations.
The intensity of the administration’s opposition to the breast-feeding resolution stunned public health officials and foreign diplomats, who described it as a marked contrast to the Obama administration, which largely supported W.H.O.’s longstanding policy of encouraging breast-feeding.
During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution to the W.H.O., several negotiators said. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organization, providing $845 million, or roughly 15 percent of its budget, last year. The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.
In talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans have been pushing for language that would limit the ability of Canada, Mexico and the United States to put warning labels on junk food and sugary beverages, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.
During the same Geneva meeting where the breast-feeding resolution was debated, the United States succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity.
The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart a W.H.O. effort aimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines. Washington, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, has long resisted calls to modify patent laws as a way of increasing drug availability in the developing world, but health advocates say the Trump administration has ratcheted up its opposition to such efforts. The delegation’s actions in Geneva are in keeping with the tactics of an administration that has been upending alliances and long-established practices across a range of multilateral organizations, from the Paris climate accord to the Iran nuclear deal to Nafta. Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said there was a growing fear that the Trump administration could cause lasting damage to international health institutions like the W.H.O. that have been vital in containing epidemics like Ebola and the rising death toll from diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the developing world.
“It’s making everyone very nervous, because if you can’t agree on health multilateralism, what kind of multilateralism can you agree on?” Ms. Kickbusch asked.
The opening of the World Health Assembly in May. After American officials pressured Ecuador, it was Russia that introduced a resolution in support of breast-feeding.CreditPeter Klaunzer/EPA, via Shutterstock A Russian delegate said the decision to introduce the breast-feeding resolution was a matter of principle. “We’re not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world,” said the delegate, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
He said the United States did not directly pressure Moscow to back away from the measure. Nevertheless, the American delegation sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period. In the end, the United States was largely unsuccessful. The final resolution preserved most of the original wording, though American negotiators did get language removed that called on the W.H.O. to provide technical support to member states seeking to halt “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children.”
The United States also insisted that the words “evidence-based” accompany references to long-established initiatives that promote breast-feeding, which critics described as a ploy that could be used to undermine programs that provide parents with feeding advice and support.
Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease. A 2016 study in The Lancet found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.
Scientists are loath to carry out double-blind studies that would provide one group with breast milk and another with breast milk substitutes. “This kind of ‘evidence-based’ research would be ethically and morally unacceptable,” Ms. Sterken said.
Abbott Laboratories, the Chicago-based company that is one of the biggest players in the $70 billion baby food market, declined to comment. Nestlé, the Switzerland-based food giant with significant operations in the United States, sought to distance itself from the threats against Ecuador and said the company would continue to support the international code on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, which calls on governments to regulate the inappropriate promotion of such products and to encourage breast-feeding.
In addition to the trade threats, Todd C. Chapman, the United States ambassador to Ecuador, suggested in meetings with officials in Quito, the Ecuadorean capital, that the Trump administration might also retaliate by withdrawing the military assistance it has been providing in northern Ecuador, a region wracked by violence spilling across the border from Colombia, according to an Ecuadorean government official who took part in the meeting.
The United States Embassy in Quito declined to make Mr. Chapman available for an interview. “We were shocked because we didn’t understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response,” said the Ecuadorean official, who asked not to be identified because she was afraid of losing her job.

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Outlawed organizations targeting minorities in Pakistan US report says

The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released its latest report on the situation of religious freedom in countries across the globe. USCIRF has urged the United State government to designate Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern. (CPC) under IRFA. The report says that the banned groups are increasingly targeting the religious minorities in Pakistan.
“In 2017, religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims, continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large. The government of Pakistan failed to protect these groups adequately, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations. Various media outlets promoted intolerance against religious minorities. Abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws resulted in the suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Ahmadis,” the report stated.
The matter of forced conversions was also highlighted by the Commission, as it found that the non-Muslims were forced to convert. “Forced conversions of non-Muslims continued despite the passage of the Hindu Marriage Act, which grants greater rights in family law for Hindu citizens”, the report said.
The commission said that the hardliner groups are entering the political arena. This phenomenon is becoming a threat to the religious minorities. “The entry of fundamentalist, and often extremist, religious parties into the political arena in advance of July 2018 national elections further threatens religious minorities’ already precarious status in the country”, USCIRF stated.
In May, last year a USCIRF delegation called on the Pakistani authorities, the religious and civil representatives in Pakistan. Bearing these findings in mind, the USCIRF has recommended designating Pakistan as a country of particular concern.
“Based on these violations, in 2018 USCIRF again finds that Pakistan should be designated as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), as it has found since 2002. Despite USCIRF’s longstanding recommendation, the State Department has never so designated Pakistan. In December 2017, the State Department named Pakistan as the first, and only, country on its “Special Watch List,” a new category created by December 2016 amendments to IRFA”, the report says.
USCIRF report harbors some recommendations to the United States government. The US government was urged to bind Pakistan government to help the imprisoned blasphemy victims. “Negotiate a binding agreement with the government of Pakistan, under section 405(c) of IRFA, to achieve specific and meaningful reforms, with benchmarks including major legal reforms and releasing blasphemy prisoners, and accompany such an agreement with U.S.-provided resources for related capacity building through the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);” the report said.
“Encourage the government of Pakistan to launch a public information campaign about the historic role of religious minorities in the country, their contributions to society, and their equal rights and protections, and use the tools of U.S. public diplomacy, such as educational and cultural exchanges and U.S.-funded media, to highlight similar themes;” USCIRF recommended.

Pakistan: General Elections Subverted By Army-Judiciary Nexus – Analysis

By Dr Subhash Kapila
Pakistan General Elections July 2018 could have been a defining moment in Pakistan’s political history of a back-to-back democratic transfer of power through the ballot box. But all portents available a month prior to General Elections 2018 suggest that this would be a farcical exercise as Pakistan Army-Judiciary nexus has contrived a political vacuum facilitating Imran Khan to emerge as their preferred winner.
With just about three weeks remaining for the July 2018 General Elections to take place the Pakistan Army has set in motion the unrestrained levers of power at its disposal to ensure the political field in the General Elections is left open for PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s assured victory. This is in addition to the political disqualification of Former PM Nawaz and also ruling that all decisions taken by him while in power stood nullified.
Pakistan Army’s notorious intelligence agency the ISI has been pressed into proactive mode to coerce, intimidate and threaten PML-N politicians to desert the party and join PTI led by Imran Khan. The ISI also has gone around Pakistani media houses and threatened dire consequences against criticism of the Pakistani establishment. Therefore the question that comes to the forefront is whether Pakistan General Elections could throw up an honest political result as against the scripted outcome of the Army-Judiciary nexus preference for PTI Chairman Imran Khan?
Former PM Nawaz Sharif who won major election victories in the last two General Elections in Pakistan stands disqualified for life on specious grounds inflicted by Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice, Once again a Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court has colluded with the Pakistan military hierarchy to impede the emergence of purist PM Nawaz in Pakistan as against Pakistan Army’s persistent credo that Pakistan needs “Guided Democracy”.
Pakistan Chief Justices have traditionally endorsed Pakistan Army rule in the past with the exception of Chief Justice Iftekhar Chaudhary who defied General Musharraf when he was in power.
It is intriguing as to what motives impel Pakistan Chief Justice Nasir Saqib in his political crusade against Former PM Nawaz Sharif coincidental with the end-aim of Pakistan Army Generals? One read somewhere that Chief Justice Saqib in his years as a lawyer was on a retainer to pursue Nawaz Sharif’s legal cases in the past. What has now changed which forces Chief Justice Saqib to be on a virtual crucifixion of the Sharif family and their party Whatever it may be, the fact is that Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib has irretrievably harmed the emergence of purist democracy in Pakistan.
Political corruption in Pakistan is a national phenomenon and singling out Former PM Nawaz Sharif on by the Army-Judiciary nexus on corruption charges implying that Imran Khan and Zardari are the paragons of virtues is insulting the intelligence of the average Pakistan voter. PTI Chairman Imran Khan in an interview to a Pakistani TV channel conceded that there was enough corruption within his PTI Party.
What needs to be recalled at this stage is as to why the Pakistan Army which initiated and brought Former PM Nawaz Sharif into politics in the Nineties felt compelled to unseat PM Nawaz Sharif three times and never let him complete his tenures as PM? The answers to this brings home many lessons to the fore both for Pakistan’s political leaders and the Pakistan Army which in its arrogance perceives that is has an eternal blank cheque to meddle in Pakistan’s political dynamics in a manner which definitely impedes the evolution of comprehensive democracy and democratic norms.
The major lesson for political leaders arising from the above applies more to Pakistan Army’s favourite candidate PTI Chairman Imran Khan. If on July 25 2018 the Pakistan Army succeeds in installing Imran Khan as the latest Prime Minister of Pakistan then how does Imran Khan reconcile the aspirations of those sections of the Pakistani masses who today seem mesmerised by Imran Khan’s agenda of ‘Change Pakistan’?
‘Change Pakistan ‘would involve a total restructuring of Pakistan’s governance and its political dynamics. Will the Pakistan Army permit Imran Khan’s agenda of ‘Change Pakistan’ into effect? If not, then the only alternative for Imran Khan would be to remain an impotent poster boy of the Pakistan Army and subordinate all his so-called visionary promises for the betterment of Pakistan to the agenda of the Pakistan Army.
Intriguingly, what baffles political analysis is the reality check of Pakistan’s political dynamics is the fact that virtually the entire Pakistan Army General hail from Punjab and so does Former PM Nawaz Sharif who enjoys mass political support in Pakistan Heartland of Pakistan—Punjab. Are the Punjabi Generals not aware of this reality? Or alternatively that the Punjabi Generals of Pakistan Army are aware of this reality but are dancing to the tunes of external patrons which favour Pakistan Army or its political protégé in power to suit their national security interests?
Lastly, a major political imponderable over the political scene in Pakistan is the medical condition of Kulsoom Nawaz who is the wife of Nawaz Sharif. She has been for months in London in critical medical care and virtually on life-support systems. Allah forbid, if in the run-up to General Election 2018 Kulsoom Nawaz passes away then a massive wave of sympathy could rise in Pakistan Punjab adding to the existing sympathy wave of Former PM Nawaz Sharif being victimised by the Army-Judiciary nexus. This could unravel the scripted blueprint of the Army-Judiciary nexus.
Since Pakistan Army has reflexively over the last 70 years has subverted Pakistan’s General Elections and also imposed military rule for extended periods at intervals, the question that goes begging is what forces can put an end to this miserable cycle of subversion of Pakistan’s nascent democracy?
External patrons who matter in Pakistan’s governance like the United States and China would be disinclined to intervene to restore full democracy in Pakistan as it would not serve their national interests in the region.
That only leaves the Pakistani masses to indulge in a massive protest and disobedience political movement to break the shackles of Pakistan Army’s grip on Pakistan’s political dynamics. It has happened in the past with the Million Man March from Lahore to Islamabad to shake the Pakistan Army. And, who was the Pakistani political leader who generated and led this massive demonstration of political strength? It was PML-N leader Former PM Nawaz Sharif. Could there be a repeat in the wake of July 25 2018 General Elections? I feel it is highly likely.
In conclusion, political transformation of Pakistan can only be brought about by the Pakistani masses to send the Pakistan Army to the barracks and re-invent Pakistan into a moderate, progressive and democratic Islamic Republic. The Pakistani masses by girding up their loins will not only resurrect the real Pakistan but also in the bargain ensue that sustainable peace ensues in South Asia.

#Pakistan - The menace of malnutrition

Dr Salman Shah
    History serves as a testament to the fact that the greatest contributor tothe wealth, prosperity and development of a nation isn’t its naturalresources but the stock of its brain power.
    Nurturing brainpower requires an all-encompassing and comprehensive effort that starts in a mother’s womb and ends in a retirement home. It is a value chain that has to be cultivated from the conception of a child, to its birth and first 1,000 days, to its primary education to its secondary and tertiary education. This is followed by a meritocracy in the world of business and government, and the recognition and rewards that a country bestows on exceptional talent.
    Demographically, Pakistan is among the youngest countries in the world, with almost 90 million people under the age of 15 – larger than the entire population of Germany. This group of young people is our best hope for the future. Unfortunately, we are oblivious to the role that they can play in our development. We aren’t investing in them to ensure that they are equipped for the future. We aren’t even providing them the basic minimum levels of nutrition.
    According to the WHO, poor nutrition is the single most important threat to the world’s health. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the number of undernourished people in the world stood at 841 million in developing countries in the early 2000s. These statistics suggest that fighting hunger is an important and essential issue, and there is an immediate need for international cooperation on addressing malnutrition.
    Investing in nutrition and health should be a ‘basic human right’ and ought to be the priority of the development plans of any country. People who receive better nutrition not only live healthier lives but are also more productive. Despite this common knowledge, the amount of development aid spent on combating malnutrition globally is equal to only one percent or between $0.25 billion and $0.3 billion annually. Every country suffers from one of the three major malnutrition problems: under nutrition, overweight/obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.
    Investing in nutrition should also be a matter of smart economics because malnutrition affects various aspects of a child’s life, such as education, physical and mental growth and stunting. Giving priority to nutrition has shown significant economic gains. According to the Alliance to End Hunger, an international NGO, every dollar spent in scaling up nutrition interventions targeted towards the first 1,000 days, yields a return of $16 on the initial investment.
    In addition, every addition in adult height due to proper nutrition has been associated with a 4.5 percent increase in wage rates. From a purely economic perspective, investing in nutrition is a good idea.
    A recent study has revealed that investing $1.2 billion annually on micronutrient supplements, food fortification, and the biofortification of staple crops for five years can reap annual benefits worth $15.3 billion – a benefit-to-cost ratio of almost 13 to 1 – and would result in better health, fewer deaths and increased future earnings.
    The consequences of malnutrition – including lost labourers, healthcare expenses and lower productivity – cost Pakistan $7.6 billion (or three percent of GDP) every year, according to a new report launched by the Pakistan Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Secretariat at the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform.
    The consequences of stunting on education are also dramatic. Various studies show that child stunting is likely to impact brain development and impair motor skills. According to Unicef, stunting in early life is linked to 0.7 grade losses in schooling, a seven-month delay in starting school, and a reduction in lifetime earnings that falls between 22 percent and 45 percent. Stunted children become less educated adults. This makes malnutrition a long-term and intergenerational problem.
    Malnutrition also slows down economic growth and perpetuates poverty. Mortality and morbidity associated with malnutrition represents a direct loss in human capital and productivity for the economy. At a microeconomic level, it is estimated that a one percent loss in adult height as a result of childhood stunting equals to a 1.4 percent loss in the productivity of the individual. In total, the economic cost of malnutrition is estimated to range from two percent to three percent of GDP
    A recent study conducted on students across the world to highlight the proportion of bright people in a specific country revealed that the highest percentage of gifted students was in Singapore, with a total ratio of 9.1 percent. Taiwan scored 5.85 percent, Japan and South Korea scored over four percent, Switzerland scored 4.25 percent and the US scored 1.67 percent. Meanwhile, Brazil scored the lowest at 0.01 percent.
    When these percentages were applied to the total population of these respective countries, the results showed that the US has the largest stock of brain power, which stood at 5.5 million people. Pakistan, with a population of 210 million, could have a stock of bright people that exceeds the US if it achieves Singapore’s ratio. However, some countries have a high ratio of gifted students because of their excellent schooling system and the efforts made by their governments in the child health sector.
    Although Pakistanis are gifted and highly intelligent, the shameful efforts made by the system are preventing them from reaching their full potential. It is heartbreaking that our human development systems are worse than the Brics nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – a group of countries with a large population that are destined to become the next economic powers in the world.
    Pakistan is among countries that have a population of almost 90 million of children below the age of 15, which is larger than the entire population of Germany. With regard to the steps being taken in Pakistan against malnutrition, Punjab has established two organisations – the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) and the Global Alliance For Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Pakistan – to improve the nutrient component of food through fortification.
    The Sindh government passed the Compulsory Iodisation of Salt Act in 2013, prohibiting the manufacture, processing or import of edible salt with an iodine content less than 30 parts per million (ppm). Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have yet to pass any relevant legislation in this regard.
    Prior to 2011, Pakistan lacked a national nutrition policy because the National Nutrition Strategic Plan of 2002 was never implemented. No political party had nutrition on their list of agendas till the 2013 elections.
    Recently, the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform launched the Pakistan Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy (PMNS) in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP). The aim of this nutrition policy is to address the alarming nutrition crisis being faced by the country. A meagre budget of Rs10 billion has been assigned for the year 2018-2019. The nutrition strategy was developed through a consultative process, which includes support from national and sub-national level stakeholders, and the policy is aligned with the Pakistan Vision 2025. This initiative intends to provide high-quality and equitable nutrition services in order to reduce malnutrition. But it falls short of resources to achieve the desired results.
    It is critical that a national strategic effort spearheaded by the federal and provincial governments, working together with the civil society, is developed with effective implementation mechanisms to overcome the menace of malnutrition.
    Pakistan is one of the emerging economies of the world with a notable economic growth potential that is threatened by the burden of pervasive malnutrition. Unless immediate action is taken, the crisis of malnutrition will continue to negatively affect Pakistan’s economic performance. It also has the potential to condemn future generations to a catastrophic future of deprivation and poverty.

    #Pakistan - The life of a bus hostess is full of insecurity - Mahwish’s murder

    By Saima Mirza
    THE cold-blooded murder of 19-year-old bus hostess Mahwish Arshad in Faisalabad is a grim reminder of the violence women in general, and working women in particular, are subjected to in Pakistan. According to reports, Mahwish had already left one transport company to get away from her alleged killer, a security guard at the same company, over his incessant and forceful proposals of marriage. He followed her to her next job, where he continued to harass her. After her death, videos began circulating on social media; a mobile phone recording, just hours before her murder, of a heated argument between the two on a bus, in which he threatened her, and CCTV footage of him grabbing and then fatally shooting her at a deserted bus terminal.
    This murder has sparked much debate about the social insecurity of Pakistani women, particularly working women and students living in hostels. A significant issue is why her company’s management did not take any prior action against an employee who had been harassing her for a long time. It also reveals the extent of women’s mistrust of our justice system; Mahwish might have reported the harassment to the police had she thought it would help.
    In 2016, I interviewed several bus hostesses like Mahwish to ascertain their conditions. It was sometimes difficult to gain access to them through their employers; one bus service flatly refused to let me interview their hostesses. What they revealed of their work conditions was shocking.
    The life of a bus hostess is full of insecurity.
    These hostesses mostly come from distant and underdeveloped parts of the country, and reside in their employer’s hostels situated at bus terminals throughout the country. Their duty timings are not fixed, and include day and night shifts. Their income is dependent on the number of trips they make in a given month, earning on average Rs700-800 per trip.
    Their contract allowed them four holidays per month, but in reality, they rarely take time off to go on leave and visit their homes. Since buses operate throughout the year including on holidays, they have to wait their turn to go home for months on end, and absenteeism or lateness of their fellow hostesses is another reason they do not get to avail holidays. The fact that they earn double the usual amount by working on holidays is also incentive to not take time off.
    Hostesses are also responsible for the company’s property on the bus; they are fined if anything has been damaged. A missing earphone, or showing up late for a shift, can result in a loss of Rs200 per trip. If some passengers go missing during bus stays, hostesses can be deprived of the entire earnings of a single trip.
    The hostesses’ opinions of the behaviour of their passengers were mixed. One hostess, then 23 years old, said that they were trained to be polite and patient with passengers, even if the latter behaved arrogantly. “Sometimes, passengers harass us by using vulgar language, or call us repeatedly to ask for water or soft drinks.”
    The code of conduct for their duty is quite tough. Some transport companies have devised strict checks and balances to measure the efficiency of their staff by pasting complaint numbers inside their vehicles and asking passengers to fill out feedback forms. An official of one bus service, however, insisted that they protect their staff and ensure they are respected; if a passenger continues to misbehave after being warned, he said, they are handed over to the authorities.
    Of the women I interviewed, not one claimed that she would be happy to continue in this profession if given a better option. None of the hostesses were educated beyond matriculation, some even less than that. They said that, had they been able to pursue their education further, they would have preferred another profession in which they could earn the same amount of income but feel safer. Tellingly, these young women were all hesitant to disclose their real names.
    Though hostesses have been working on inter-city bus services for years, is their occupation considered respectable in our society? And if one of them, like Mahwish, meets a tragic fate without having cameras trained on her final moments, would the authorities act to bring her attacker to account? How long will women like her continue to be killed in this way? Do they deserve to fear for their lives by virtue of being poor and helpless if they seek to uplift themselves and their families by working?
    It is the collective responsibility of all segments of society — including the political class, religious groups and civil society organisations — to educate and propagate women’s empowerment for the sake of healthy nation-building. Alongside prioritised implementation of women protection laws, however, it is also necessary to deal with the ideology of misogyny that allows men to feel entitled to kill women with apparent impunity.


    #PPP files complaint with Election Commission of #Pakistan

    Pakistan Peoples Party has demanded action against those responsible for obstructing Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from campaigning for his party in elections 2018.
    PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari has filed a complaint with Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday.
    The application reads “Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had to address a public meeting in the evening of 7th July at Uch Sharif district Bahawalpur. Before addressing the public meeting Chairman Bilawal had to visit the shrine of Hazrat Jalaluddin Surkh Bukhari. When the Chairman PPP was proceeding to the shrine, the police had blocked the road and did not allow Chairman PPP to visit the shrine. The DSP Safdar on the duty informed that the Inspector General Police Punjab and District Police Officer had instructed not to allow the leadership of PPP to visit the shrine. The order of IG Punjab, DPO Bahawalpur executed by DSP Safdar are against the Law and Constitution, freedom of movement is ensured by constitution as fundamental right.”
    Pakistan Peoples Party seeks the indulgence of the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that the action of police is violation of the Law and the Constitution.

    Former MNA Zamurrad Khan, PPP Islamabad President Iftikhar Shahzada and member Central Election Monitoring Cell PPP Nazir Dhoki accompanied Nayyar Hussain Bukhari to the office of Election Commission of Pakistan to file the complaint.

    #MultanMeinTeerChalayga - #PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses Public Gathering at Shujabad in Multan

    #MultanMeinTeerChalayga - #PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhuttto addresses Public Gathering at Bahawalpur Bypass in Multan

    شکرانے کے نفل ادا کرنے والوں کا انجام؟ - #Pakistan

    شکرانے کے نفل ادا کرنے والوں کا انجام؟

    09 جولائی ، 2018
    تاریخ کو مسخ کر کے نئی تاریخ بنائی جا رہی ہے۔ احتساب عدالت کی طرف سے شریف خاندان کیخلاف سنائے گئے فیصلے پر عمران خان شکرانے کے نوافل ادا کر رہے ہیں اور شیخ رشید احمد صاحب فرماتے ہیں کہ پاکستان کی تاریخ میں پہلی دفعہ کسی طاقتور کا احتساب ہوا ہے۔ دوسری طرف نواز شریف اور اُن کی صاحبزادی کا کہنا ہے کہ ایون فیلڈ ریفرنس کیس میں اُنہیں دی جانیوالی سزا کی اصل وجہ یہ ہے کہ اُنہوں نے پچھلے ستر سال سے جمہوریت کیخلاف جاری سازشوں کا راستہ روکنے کیلئے نادیدہ قوتوں کے خلاف کلمہ حق بلند کیا۔ یقین کیجئے کہ دونوں اطراف کے دعوے سُن کر مجھے ہلکے ہلکے جھٹکے لگے۔ دونوں نے تاریخ کو مسخ کیا۔ اس کی وجہ لاعلمی نہیں بلکہ سیاسی مفاد ہے۔ الیکشن قریب تر ہیں اور عوام سے سچ بول کر ووٹ حاصل کرنے کے بجائے جھوٹ بول کر ووٹ بٹورنے کی کوشش ہو رہی ہے۔ یہ کہنا بالکل غلط ہے کہ پہلی دفعہ کسی طاقتور کا احتساب ہوا ہے۔ جنکے پاس طاقت ہے اُنکا احتساب تو آج تک ہوا ہی نہیں احتساب تو صرف سیاستدانوں کا ہوتا ہے جنہیں اقتدار دے دیا جاتا ہے اختیار نہیں دیا جاتا اور اگر وہ تھوڑا بہت اختیار حاصل کر لیں تو اُسے ایک دوسرے کے خلاف استعمال کرنا شروع کر دیتے ہیں۔ 
    آیئے میں آپ کو پاکستان کی تابناک سیاسی تاریخ کے کچھ واقعات یاد دلانے کی جسارت کرتا ہوں تاکہ
    آپ جناب شیخ کے دعوے کو تاریخ کے آئینے میں پرکھ سکیں۔ قیام پاکستان کے فوراً بعد سندھ کے گورنر غلام حسین ہدایت اللہ اور وزیر اعلیٰ ایوب کھوڑو کے درمیان اختلافات پیدا ہو گئے۔ گورنر صاحب نے قائد اعظمؒ کو بتایا کہ وزیراعلیٰ کرپشن میں ملوث ہیں۔ وزیراعلیٰ کا موقف تھا کہ وہ کراچی کو وفاق کا حصہ بنانے کے مخالف ہیں اسلئے وزیر اعظم لیاقت علی خان اور گورنر اُن کیخلاف ہو گئے۔ قائد اعظمؒ کی منظوری سے 26اپریل 1948ء کو گورنر نے وزیراعلیٰ کھوڑو کو اُن کے عہدے سے برطرف کر دیا اور اُن پر کرپشن کے مقدمات قائم کر دیئے گئے۔ جسٹس عبدالرشید اور جسٹس شہاب الدین پر مشتمل ایک خصوصی عدالت بنائی گئی جس نے ایوب کھوڑو کو تین سال کیلئے نااہل قرار دیدیا۔ کچھ عرصہ کے بعد 14جنوری 1949ء کو وزیر اعظم لیاقت علی خان پروڈا کا قانون لائے اور انہوں نے پنجاب کے وزیر اعلیٰ افتخار ممدوٹ سمیت کئی سیاستدانوں پر اس قانون کی تلوار چلائی۔ اس دوران ایوب کھوڑو کو سندھ ہائی کورٹ نے بحال کر دیا اور دوبارہ وزیر اعلیٰ بننے کے بعد اُنہوں نے بھی پروڈا کا خوب استعمال کیا۔ کھوڑو نے وہی غلطی کی جو گورنر غلام حسین ہدایت اللہ اور وزیر اعظم لیاقت علی خان نے کی اور اس طرح پاکستان کی سیاست میں احتساب کے نام پر سیاسی انتقام لینے کا ایک ایسا سلسلہ شروع ہوا جو آج تک جاری ہے۔ چھ جولائی 2018ء کو شریف خاندان کیخلاف احتساب عدالت کے جج محمد بشیر کا فیصلہ آنے کے بعد اس خاکسار نے نواز شریف کی لندن میں پریس کانفرنس سنی تو مجھے وہ زمانہ یاد آ گیا جب 1997ء میں نواز شریف نے دوتہائی اکثریت حاصل کرنے کے بعد احتساب بیورو بنایا اور اپنے ایک منظور نظر سیف الرحمان کو اس بیورو کا سربراہ بنا دیا۔ سیف الرحمان نے اس وقت کی اپوزیشن لیڈر محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور آصف زرداری کے خلاف بہت سے مقدمات قائم کئے تو جواب میں پیپلز پارٹی نے بھی نواز شریف پر الزامات لگائے جن میں سے ایک یہ بھی تھا کہ شریف خاندان نے اپنی ناجائز دولت سے لندن میں پراپرٹی خرید رکھی ہے۔ 13جولائی 1997ء کو میں نے روزنامہ پاکستان میں ’’عدالت جانا ضروری ہے‘‘ کے عنوان سے ایک کالم لکھا جس میں یہ عرض کیا کہ محترمہ بینظیر بھٹو نے وزیر اعظم نواز شریف پر بیرون ملک جائیداد اور آف شور کمپنیوں کے حوالے سے جو الزامات عائد کئے ہیں اگر وہ غلط ہیں تو انہیں محترمہ کے خلاف عدالت میں جانا چاہئے۔ میرے اس کالم پر نواز شریف کے قریبی ساتھی سینیٹر پرویز رشید نے ایک خط لکھا اور دعویٰ کیا کہ محترمہ بینظیر بھٹو کا میرے قائد پر الزام جعلسازی ہے۔ پرویز رشید کا جواب نصیر اللہ بابر مرحوم نے دیا۔ پھر پرویز رشید کا جواب الجواب آیا جو 15جولائی 1997ء کو شائع ہوا اور میں نے یہ لکھ کر دونوں سے اپنی جان چھڑائی کہ ایک دن کسی نہ کسی عدالت میں ان الزامات کا فیصلہ ضرور ہو گا۔ اس دوران سیف الرحمان نے محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور آصف زرداری کو احتساب عدالت کے جج ملک قیوم سے سزا دلوانے کے انتظامات مکمل کر لئے۔ وزیر اعظم کی ہدایت پر ملک قیوم کے تمام ٹیلی فون انٹیلی جنس بیورو کی طرف سے ٹیپ کئے جا رہے تھے کیونکہ خدشہ تھا کہ وہ زرداری صاحب کے بہکاوے میں نہ آ جائیں۔ یہی وجہ تھی کہ ملک قیوم کی ناصرف سیف الرحمان بلکہ شہباز شریف، وزیر قانون خالد انور اور چیف جسٹس لاہور ہائیکورٹ راشد عزیز کیساتھ بھی گفتگو ریکارڈ ہوتی رہی۔ اپریل 1999ء میں ملک قیوم نے محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور زرداری کو قید، نااہلی اور جرمانے کی سزا سنائی تو محترمہ بیرون ملک اور زرداری جیل میں تھے۔ اکتوبر 1999ء میں جنرل پرویز مشرف اقتدار میں آئے تو انٹیلی جنس بیورو کے ایک افسر نے حکومت کو تحریری طور پر بتایا کہ کس طرح سیف الرحمان نے جسٹس ملک قیوم پر دبائو ڈال کر پیپلز پارٹی کی قیادت کے خلاف فیصلہ کیا۔ یہ معاملہ سپریم کورٹ میں گیا تو وہاں بھی سیف الرحمان اور جسٹس ملک قیوم کی ٹیلی فون پر گفتگو سنی گئی۔ یہ ٹیلی فونک گفتگو کسی نامعلوم ذریعے سے نہیں آئی تھی بلکہ آئی بی نے اس کی ذمہ داری لی لہٰذا سپریم کورٹ نے محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور زرداری کے خلاف احتساب عدالت کا فیصلہ معطل کر کے ملک قیوم کو ایک متعصب جج قرار دیدیا۔ سپریم کورٹ کا فیصلہ آیا تو محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے کہا کہ تاریخ نے میرے خلاف کینگرو کورٹ کا فیصلہ مسترد کر دیا۔ یہ کینگرو کورٹ کسی اور نے نہیں نواز شریف نے بنائی تھی۔ جب نواز شریف سعودی عرب میں مقیم تھے تو ہمارے دوست جناب سہیل وڑائچ نے اُن سے کئی انٹرویوز کے بعد اُن کی ایک سوانح عمری 2007ء میں شائع کی۔ نواز شریف کی کہانی اُن کی اپنی زبانی ’’غدار کون؟‘‘ کے نام سے شائع ہوئی اور اس کتاب میں صفحہ 194پر نواز شریف نے سہیل وڑائچ کے سامنے اعتراف کیا کہ محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور آصف زرداری کا جس طریقے سے احتساب ہوا وہ ٹھیک نہیں تھا۔ نواز شریف نے کہا ’’ہمیں اس حوالے سے اکسایا گیا تھا۔ فوج اور آئی ایس آئی کا ہم پر دبائو تھا۔‘‘ 
    عجیب بات ہے کہ 1990ء میں آئی ایس آئی نے آپ کو بڑے پیار سے ’’الیکشن فنڈ‘‘ دیا اور آپ نے یہ نذرانہ محبت وصول کرلیا۔ 1999ء میں آئی ایس آئی نے سیاسی مخالفین کو سزا دینے کیلئے دبائو ڈالا تو آپ نے دبائو بھی قبول کر لیا۔ جب دبائو ڈالنے والوں کے احتساب کا وقت آیا اور پرویز مشرف کیخلاف آئین سے غداری کا مقدمہ شروع ہوا تو آپ نے ایک خاموش ڈیل کے ذریعہ مشرف کو پاکستان سے بھگا دیا اور ذمہ داری سپریم کورٹ پر ڈال دی۔ مشرف نے بیرون ملک جا کر ٹھمکے لگانے شروع کئے تو میں نے گستاخی کرتے ہوئے اُنکے ٹھمکوں کی ایک ویڈیو ٹویٹ کر دی۔ ستمبر 2016ء میں مریم نواز نے میری اس ٹویٹ کی مذمت کرتے ہوئے لکھا کہ یہ مشرف کا ذاتی معاملہ ہے کیونکہ وہ جنرل راحیل شریف کو ناراض نہیں کرنا چاہتی تھیں۔ آج وہ کہتی ہیں کہ مشرف بھاگ گیا ہمیں گرفتار کیا جا رہا ہے۔ مشرف بھاگا نہیں بھگایا گیا تھا۔ آپ نے بھگایا تھا۔ آپ کیساتھ ناانصافی کیخلاف ہم ضرور آواز بلند کرینگے لیکن آپ اپنی غلطیوں کا اعتراف کب کرینگے؟ نواز شریف کو سزا پر شکرانے کے نوافل ادا کرنیوالوں کا امتحان بھی شروع ہے۔ ان لوگوں نے عوام سے غلط بیانی بند نہ کی تو انکا انجام بھی دوسروں سے مختلف نہ ہو گا۔