Sunday, July 15, 2018

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye - Afshan Zebi

#PPP Song - Chale Teer Chale

Video - Bilawal Ki Soorat Main Bhutto Nazar Aya

Video - #Pakistan general elections; Bilawal Bhutto calls for fair polls

Video - #PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto holds press conference in #Malakand


National Coun­ter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief Dr Suleman Ahmad on Saturday informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that there were serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Briefing the ECP about security threats to the political leadership and candidates and the overall security situation across the country, he said suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) might be used by terrorists, informed sources told Dawn.
The briefing took place days after a senior official named six politicians under threat, followed by three back-to-back terrorist attacks in four days — two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Balochistan. What surprised many was the fact that the name of former KP chief minister Akram Durrani (of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl), who survived an attack on his convoy on Friday, had been on the list of leaders under threat. Nacta had also issued a specific terror alert.
Election commission says poll process will continue
The other leaders under threat include Pak­istan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Awami National Party leaders Asfandyar Wali Khan and Ameer Haider Hoti, Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Sherpao and banned outfit Jamaatud Dawa (Jud) chief Hafiz Saeed’s son Talha Saeed. Separately, the Senate’s standing committee on interior affairs had also been told that the senior leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was also under threat.
The briefing session was held in the chambers of Chief Election Commissioner Justice retired Sardar Muhammad Raza and was attended by other members and senior officials of the commission. The national coordinator of Nacta also explained how the authority gathered information on threats and the mechanism to promptly disseminate the information to the federal and provincial governments and law enforcement agencies.
The ECP vowed to hold elections on time and declared that the electoral process will continue despite terror threats. It made it clear that it would neither let the polls be delayed, nor would brook any hindrance in its way.
The ECP underlined the need to tighten security across the country and create a peaceful environment for the elections. He said the provincial governments must act swiftly to provide security to political leaders and candidates. It directed the provincial governments to review the security situation in coordination with relevant institutions to obviate the recurrence of terrorist incidents in future.
It also advised political parties and candidates to cooperate with the administration and timely share information about their activities in the interest of their own security.
A senior ECP official told Dawn that based on past experiences the ECP had already been taking up the issue of security at the highest level. He referred to a meeting held early last month where the ECP’s secretary had given a briefing at a meeting held with caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk in the chair, which was also attended by all four chief ministers, chief secretaries and inspectors general of police.

#PakistanElection2018 - Pakistan's Terror Groups - Banned but not out - Candidates who have been allowed to contest elections

Candidates of banned organisations and people on the Fourth Schedule List who have been allowed to contest elections.
The removal of Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi from the Fourth Schedule list, ECP’s green signal to Hafiz Saeed’s son and son-in-law and Maulana Azam Tariq and Haq Nawaz Jhangvi’s sons to contest in the July 25 elections are points of concern for those who believe Pakistan is going to face tough time ahead after the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) placed the country on the Grey List.
Religious parties have fielded a record number of candidates for the National Assembly as well as the provincial assemblies’ elections. These include Hafiz Saeed’s son and son in law, Hafiz Talha (NA-91) and Khalid Waleed (PP-167) respectively, from the platform of Allah O Akbar Tehreek, backed by banned Jamaat-ud Dawa’s political wing Milli Muslim League.
Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba have been designated as terrorist organisations under the UN Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373. However, the Milli Muslim League (MML) does not fall under the resolution because the US Treasury and not the UN have labelled it as a terrorist group.
“We have observed terrorism suspects participating in elections in the past as well,” says senior journalist Mubasher Bukhari. “Former head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, Maulana Azam Tariq, was permitted by the court to take part in the 2002 elections from Jhang, even though he was behind the bars. Chaudhry Abid Raza Gujjar became PML-N MNA from Gujrat in 2013 while he was convicted by the Anti-Terrorist Court under section 302 and his name was in the Fourth Schedule list”.
He adds that the arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is one of the foremost demands of FATF. “Yet, he was released from house arrest last year. This could mean trouble for the country.”
“The criticism is unwarranted and dishonest as every citizen of Pakistan has the right to contest elections,” says Ahmad Nadeem Awan, spokesperson Jamaat-ud Dawa. “The law of the land is supreme and sacred for us. We don’t care about international community’s biased resolutions against us.”
“Agreed, every citizen has the right to take part in elections. But the JuD curses the constitution and democracy,” says analyst Wajahat Masood. “The inclusion of members of these banned parties will mar the democratic process in the country.”
Awan says the courts have dismissed accusations against Hafiz Saeed six times and set him free from house arrest as a “respected citizen” last year.
Although Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi is not a declared global terrorist, he was on the Fourth Schedule list with suspected ties with terrorism. ASWJ was banned in 2012 by the PPP government. This election he is contesting as an independent candidate from NA-115 Jhang 2.
A member of ASWJ, Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi who is the founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba, is participating in the elections as an independent candidate. He is being challenged by Maulana Muavia, the son of Mualana Azam Tariq, former leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba in PP-126.
Both Ludhianvi and Masroor Jhangvi were disqualified by the Lahore High Court in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Ludhianvi was declared to be untruthful under the article 62 and 63 of the constitution and Masroor Jhangvi was on the Fourth Schedule list. The ECP has allowed them to contest the polls.
The fourth schedule is a section of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (ATA). Under the section 11EE (Proscription of Person) of ATA, the federal government may list someone who is suspected of terrorism or has rapport with any terrorist organisation and keep him under surveillance.
“The government has omitted Fourth Schedule section from the nomination form (i) which was obligatory in nomination forms of 2008 and 2013 general elections which is why Jhangvi and Abid Raza were disqualified even after being elected,” former secretary Supreme Court Bar Aftab Bajwa says. “Article 5 of the Constitution delineates that suspected or convicted terrorists cannot be loyal to the state. Articles 62 and 63 are clear on this issue as well. Therefore, when anyone is enlisted in the Fourth Schedule list and his movement gets circumscribed cannot be a public representative. Election Commission should also be held answerable for accepting nomination papers of such candidates”.
Former secretary ECP Kunwar Dilshaad says that the commission doesn’t have the independent authority to disallow a candidate from contesting elections. “It can only do so after consulting the interior ministry. The ministry sometimes shares names of suspects or convicted criminals before the commencement of the electoral procedure. Declining the registration of Milli Muslim League is an example.”

It’s Not Just the U.S. with a Gerrymandering Problem — Look at Pakistan


The upcoming U.S. midterms have brought renewed scrutiny to the practice of gerrymandering in the United States. But the practice of drawing legislative districts to entrench political elites and disenfranchise others has advanced to an extreme degree in other countries as well — like Pakistan.
In the provincial assembly of Balochistan, in the southwest corner of Pakistan, only 544 voters elected the last chief minister. Yet in two neighborhoods, 80,000 voters might not be able to elect even one representative to the same assembly.
There are two factors to explain this huge disparity in the provincial elections in this region. The first is ethnic. Those 80,000 voters are Hazaras, Pakistan’s most persecuted ethnic minority community.
The second reason is gerrymandering, the mechanism by which the ruling elite maintain and consolidate their position.
When the provincial assembly of Balochistan first started in 1972, the provincial capital of Quetta was allocated four general seats. Hazaras managed to consistently elect at least one representative in all subsequent elections, with the exception of that first one. That fairly reflects their share of the population strength: about 20-25 percent of Quetta’s residents. After the 1998 census, Quetta’s seats were extended to six, but the Hazara still managed at least one representative.
That changed last year, after the latest census. Incumbent political parties manipulated the boundaries of electoral constituencies to such an extent that the Hazara might lose all representation in the assembly. As baffling as it may sound, the last chief minister of Balochistan, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, won his position with only 544 votes because he represented a rural area where many people boycott elections because of the security situation. By contrast, the Shia Hazaras — 80,000 registered voters concentrated in two neighborhoods only 10 kilometers apart — may not get any seats at all in the provincial assembly (though they continue to be represented at the municipal level).
Gerrymandering is a political tactic practiced by incumbent governments to manipulate electoral constituencies to win more seats than their rival political groups. This controversial political practice, which manipulates legal loopholes, is common worldwide. Its use in Pakistan comes at a particularly important moment, with national elections coming up at the end of July.
Pakistan stands at a crossroads. This key U.S. ally can take its nascent democracy one step further if it successfully transfers legislative and executive powers from one civilian government to another for only the second time. Or it can lose what little it has achieved during the last 10 years of civilian rule. The Pakistani military stands ready behind the scenes to intervene, but a more subtle challenge for Pakistani democracy is how it accommodates ethnic and religious diversity. The gerrymandering in Balochistan is a litmus test of the health of Pakistan’s pluralism.
Pakistan’s Most Persecuted Minority
In Sunni-majority Pakistan, the Shia Hazara community is an ethnic, linguistic, and sectarian minority — and one of the country’s most persecuted communities. According to a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, more than 500 Hazara community members were killed between 2008 and 2013. Extremist militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which see Shia Hazaras as infidels, have claimed most of these attacks. The National Commission of Human Rights, the Pakistani government’s human-rights monitoring body, confirms that 509 Shia Hazaras were killed over the last five years.
Pakistani Hazaras came to Quetta 130 years ago in an attempt to escape massacres in the late 1880s and 1890s at the hands of Kabul’s Amir Abdur Rahman regime. Having lost their lands in Afghanistan, the Hazaras served British forces as laborers and soldiers until the independent states of Pakistan and India emerged in 1947.
Hazaras did relatively well in health, education, services, and small businesses until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Pakistani jihadists had gone to Afghanistan in the thousands to help the Taliban during the 1990s. After the American invasion of Afghanistan post 9/11, these jihadists returned to Pakistan and unleashed havoc on the tiny Hazara community. Half a million strong, the Hazara community today lives primarily in the two ghettos of Hazara Town and Marriabad in the multicultural provincial capital of Quetta. Suicide bombers have killed hundreds of Hazaras. The community has been caught up in the sharpening Sunni-Shia divide in the region as well as the internecine struggles within Pakistan itself.
Consolidating Power, De-consolidating Democracy
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province in landmass, lies in the country’s southwest, bordering Iran, India, and Afghanistan. The principal ethnic groups are the Balochs and the Pashtuns. After the 2017 census, the coalition government gerrymandered the electoral constituencies for the benefit of its member parties, including the Pashtun nationalist party. The Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) challenged these new constituencies at the Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and forced a redrawing of the boundaries. The Balochistan High Court reversed this verdict, but the HDP has taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Citing insufficient time, since Pakistan is within two months of the general elections, the highest court upheld the HDP’s complaint. For now, the Hazara community has won its legal battle. But for Pakistan’s democracy to be inclusive and fair, it will have to be better prepared for questions around the representation of all minorities. Democracy has critically evolved from the rule of the majority to a more refined civil process that strives to involve all minorities in public decision-making. Today, democracy is as much about inclusivity as about majority rule. For everyone in society to reap the fruits of democracy, they need to protect and encourage the active participation and representation of minority groups in the democratic process. Pakistani democracy is yet to be consolidated, so it particularly needs equity across its ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversities. It cannot afford to backpedal by silencing a vocal democratic entity that also happens to represent its most persecuted group. Public scholar Ayesha Siddiqa has coined the term “hybrid democracy” to describe how the Pakistani military gets what it wants without actually dirtying its hands through military coups. Neither of the last two civilian governments has managed to complete its tenure under the leadership of a single prime minister. Both Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were judicially disqualified under controversial circumstances. In Pakistan, the judiciary has a history of twisting the arms of the elected civilian governments at the behest of the military authorities. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s ouster and subsequent death sentence under General Zia-ul Haq is an obvious example. Political analyst Moeed Yusuf argues that Pakistan deviates from the trajectory of democracy consolidation. As a result, uncertainty and unpredictability surround the country as it heads toward its second successive democratic transition. For Pakistani democracy to mature, it needs to empower public power centers as an alternative to military institutions. With the current political system plagued with patriarchy and patronage, the weaker sections of society in particular don’t see an opportunity to participate.
Gerrymandering is one way the powerful have continued to disenfranchise the weaker. Pakistan has already paid a heavy price for the infamous gerrymandering in 1958 when Pakistan’s first dictator, Ayub Khan, collapsed four provinces in the West Pakistan into a single unit, which ultimately led to the secession of Bangladesh in 1971. If nothing in this political equation changes, the upcoming election is bound to produce more of the same: a hybrid democracy where the military continues to call the shots behind the scenes.

Pakistan's Ahmadi community could be further imperiled by a new court order

Meena Menon 

The most remarkable thing about the Ahmadis’ “place of worship” is the silence. There is no azan; nothing identifying these spaces as houses of worship on the outside. People go in quietly for their prayers and rush to leave once they finish.
By law, the Ahmadis – followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed – cannot call themselves ‘Muslims’ in Pakistan. The second amendment of the Constitution in 1974 had already taken away the right of this small sect to be called Muslim. Later in 1984, under the dictator Zia ul Haq, Ordinance XX was passed – which prevents Ahmadis from publicly practicing their religion. Among other strictures, they cannot call out the azan or refer to their prayer house as masjid – punishable with three years in jail and a fine. And so, “places of worship”.
The Constitution promises the Ahmadis equal citizenship, but they have to declare themselves as non-Muslim to vote. Those who do not wish to do that, cannot vote. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who headed the sect (he founded it in Qadian in Gurdaspur in Punjab in 1889), has been vilified as a British stooge and an agent of imperialist powers and Israel. The Ahmadis are also called Qadianis as a result, and there have been outbreaks of communal violence in 1953 and 1974 in Pakistan, aimed at declaring them non-Muslim. According to their detractors, the Ahmadis did not profess to believe that Muhammed was the last Prophet.
The Ahmadi community is perhaps the most endangered minority in Pakistan and is at the vortex of mindless violence – they are often killed or attacked on the slightest pretext, their mosques bombed and cases filed against them for violating the law. Many of them conceal their identity, are in hiding, or go abroad to escape harassment and this fact has been used by the courts to target them for misrepresenting facts.
Now, a new court order on 4 July 2018 by Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court seeks to add the tag of ‘Ahmadi’ to their names so they can be easily identified. The judgement says, “Qadianis should not be allowed to conceal their identity by having similar names to those of Muslims, therefore, they should be either stopped from using name of ordinary Muslims or in the alternative Qadiani, Ghulam-e-Mirza or Mirzai must form a part of their names and be mentioned accordingly [sic].”
The court passed the order on a bunch of petitions, including one filed by the Tehreek i Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLP) through its member Markazi Majlis-e-Shura. Last November, this obscure organisation led by Khadim Rizvi (also the leader of TLP) spearheaded an agitation at Faizabad, with other groups like Sunni Tehreek, which paralysed the capital and Rawalpindi for three weeks. They were protesting a seemingly minor slip- up in the new Elections Act, which they felt had diluted the provisions related to the belief in the finality of Muhammed as the last prophet. The law minister Zahid Hamid had to resign to appease the fractious mob.
These petitions were filed after that incident to make sure no one doubted the absolute finality of Prophet Muhammed as the last prophet, and to restrict more freedoms for the Ahmadis who supposedly didn’t believe in it and who — it was feared — could sneak into positions of power by hiding their true identity. One of the demands of the petitioners in this case, was a prayer for a separate database of Ahmadis in the civil service so they may not be posted in offices involving sensitive matters. Another demand sought a direction from the court to “ban those NGOs which are spreading secular thoughts in the country”.
Worse still, the government will have to prepare a list of the Ahmadis; the last census in 1998 recorded 2,86,212 all over Pakistan. The government had no data to show for those in the civil service, further dismaying the court.
To correct this, the court has ruled that an affidavit saying you are a Muslim or non-Muslim as the case may be (which is already required for the national identity card, passport, birth certificate and voter list), must be made a requirement for appointment in all government and semi-government institutions, especially the judiciary, armed forces and civil services.
The Ahmadis rarely make their voices heard for fear of reprisal. It is left to public-spirited citizens to campaign for their rights. Yasser Latif Hamdani, high court advocate, author and a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's Human Rights Programme this year, said ‘The Islamabad High Court judgment crosses the first threshold of genocide by not only creating further curbs but by levelling a series of accusations against Ahmadis (and even telling them that they should be forced to write a derogatory Mirzai or inaccurate Qadiani at the end of their names). This is like the yellow star in Pakistan. The international community must act before there is genocide of Ahmadis in Pakistan.”
He pointed out that the constitutional purpose of the Second Amendment and Article 260(3) of the Constitution's definition of a Non-Muslim is limited to its application to the offices of President and Prime Minister as well as the Council of Islamic Ideology — which are reserved for Muslims. Hamdani said for every other government job, judiciary and armed forces there is no bar constitutionally against non-Muslims. This judgment goes beyond that framework and requires that all non-Muslims now submit affidavit of their religious beliefs for government jobs, judiciary and armed forces — which, in the case of Ahmadis, would expose them to severe discrimination as well as the possibility of being targeted. It would like Nazi Germany for them, he remarked.
Given that Ahmadis were promised specifically by none other than the founder of the nation,  Jinnah, in 1947 that their status as Muslims would never be questioned in Pakistan since religion would be a personal matter, Hamdani said the Second Amendment by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 1974 was wrong, as it was historically and ethically only applied for the purposes of the law and Constitution (kind of analogous to the status of Sikhs or Jains, as Hindus for the purposes of family law under the Indian constitution).
It would be a mistake to see this judgment in isolation, feels Reema Omer, international legal advisor, South Asia Programme, International Commission of Jurists, adding that there is a long history that has led to this situation, including the second constitutional amendment and offences against religion in the Penal Code introduced in the 1980s that prohibit Ahmadis from “posing as a Muslims”, and the 1993 Supreme Court judgment in Zaheerudin vs the State which upheld the validity of laws that criminalise the expression of religious beliefs by the Ahmadi community.
The judgement uses rhetoric and prejudice to further marginalise and endanger the Ahmadis, she said and the court’ s directions have no basis in law and violate a number of constitutional safeguards including freedom to profess religion and equal protection under the law, as well as Pakistan’ s legal obligations under under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
On the question of appeal, Omer said given the highly charged political climate and sensitivities surrounding this issue, it is also questionable whether the Federation and the government of Pakistan — the respondents in the case — would appeal the judgement. An impartial and independent Supreme Court has ample grounds to overturn such a flawed judgement, she felt but as is the case in a number of blasphemy related cases in Pakistan, the threat of violent reprisals — including for judges and lawyers — greatly compromise the fairness of judicial proceedings and chances of justice.
In the event that the Pakistan government may not ensure adequate protection for the Ahmadis, it is left to the international community to do so. Yasser Latif Hamdani says Pakistan should be made accountable under ICCPR and the UN Declaration of Human Rights (which was in part drafted by Pakistan's own representative).

#PPP - Bilawal Bhutto warns against delay in elections

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that election should be held as per schedule as any delay will be detrimental to the interest of the country. He said that his party was being subjected to discriminatory treatment ahead of election adding restrictions on his party were encouraging the workers more to counter such nefarious designs. He said this while addressing a press conference here onSunday, from where he is contesting.
He said that terrorists do not want democracy and elections adding that despite terrorism elections can be held in Iraq and Afghanistan so why not in Pakistan. Bilawal said our workers and candidates are being threatenedbut free and fair election are our right. He lamented that his party is facing difficulties while campaigning across the country. He alleged that local administrations aretreating PPP differently than other political parties. He said that PPP wouldtake the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan in this regard.
Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan”sspeech using derogatory words for supporters of other political parties, Bilawaltermed it outrageous and said that using of such words damage the society.
Responding a query, Bilawal Bhutto said that the NationalAction Plan is not fully implemented.
Bilawal said that we have to focus on basic issues like gas,health, education and water and vowed to resolve the problems of masses and torise on national level.
Bilawal said despite cancelling his public gathering here in light of the Mastung blast, he has come to Malakand to meet the people.
He said that he will soon go to Quetta to express solidarity with families of the Mastung blast victims.