Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Video Report - Portland Protest Shows New Far-Right Trend: Multiethnic Groups with Fascist Heroes Like Pinochet

Video Report - The world according to Philip K. Dick | DW Documentary

Video Report - #Canada will not apologize for #Saudi critique

Video Report - Why is Saudi Arabia angry at Canada? | Inside Story

Video Report - Venezuelan Pres. Nicolás Maduro Targeted in 1st Assassination Attempt by Drone Against Head of State

#Pakistan - Girl tortured by cleric dies, family protests in #Multan

An eight-year-old girl, who was allegedly tortured by a cleric at a religious seminary in Qadir Pur Rawan last week, died at Nishtar Hospital Multan on Tuesday.
After the death of Mahnoor Fatima, her family took to the streets and protested outside the hospital. They blocked the road for two hours and demanded strict action against the accused.
Mohammad Jameel, father of the victim said police arrested cleric Abdul Haq, but later released him without initiating any legal proceedings. “My daughter died due to the negligence of the doctors and brutal torture inflicted by the teacher at the seminary.”
Tied up with a rope reportedly for going out of a class without permission. Qadir Pur Raan police had told The Express Tribune that Mahnoor, a student of Madrassah Ameer Muawiya, left the classroom to drink water without the permission of cleric Qari Abdul Haq. When the girl came back in the classroom, the cleric tortured her and strung her up from a tree in the yard of the seminary, the police said. When the family protested outside the hospital, Qadirpur Rawan police reached the spot and assured that legal action would be taken against the culprits. Police told The Express Tribune that the cleric was released on bail and further investigations are underway.
Later, the protesters ended the demonstration and left for their hometown in Bangal Kalaranwala, Qadir Pur Raan.
On the other hand, Commissioner Multan Nadeem Irshad Kiyani formed a three-member committee to probe the death of the girl. The committee members included Additional Commissioner Multan, Assistant Commissioner Multan and Dr Kashaf Chishti.
The Multan commissioner told officials that a comprehensive report, revealing the identity of the people involved in the student’s death, should be submitted within the three days. The report will also indicate if there was any negligence on the part of the doctors. Kiyani said that strict action would be taken against the responsible people after the submission of the report.

#Pakistan - Mutilated body of six-year-old girl found in #Mardan

A tortured body of young girl was found from a field in Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Wednesday.
Haseena, the six-year-old victim, had been missing for the past two days, authorities said. The deceased’s father Habibur Rehman said that they had been trying to find her, but to no avail. The body has been shifted to the Mardan Medical Complex for medico-legal requirements.
Mardan District Police Officer Wahid Mehmood constituted a special team to investigate the incident with the family to be briefed on the progress into the case on a daily basis.
The victim’s family demanded the concerned authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice to set an example for such an issue to not occur in the future.
On Tuesday, an eight-year-old girl, who was allegedly tortured by a cleric at a religious seminary in Qadir Pur Rawan last week, died at Nishtar Hospital Multan.
After the death of Mahnoor Fatima, her family took to the streets and protested outside the hospital. They blocked the road for two hours and demanded strict action against the accused.
Mohammad Jameel, father of the victim said police arrested cleric Abdul Haq, but later released him without initiating any legal proceedings. “My daughter died due to the negligence of the doctors and brutal torture inflicted by the teacher at the seminary.”

Pakistan’s Opposition Alleges Rigging in July Polls

Pakistan’s opposition parties gathered in Islamabad to protest what they said was rigging in last month’s polls.  
The protest Wednesday was called by Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections, an 11-party coalition formed last Friday. 

Leaders of various parties demanded senior officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan resign for failing to stay neutral during the polls. Some leaders also blamed the judiciary and the military for interference.

“The judiciary and the military have shown that they are no more neutral,” said Fazl-ur-Rehman, a leader of MMA, an alliance of religious leaning political parties.

Various smaller protests were held in parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces as well. 

The demonstration in Islamabad, failed to get large crowds, as the top leadership of two major parties, the PPP and PML-N stayed away.

Shehbaz Sharif, the president of PML-N, and the younger brother of the ousted and jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, was criticized heavily on social media for staying away from the protest, reportedly due to bad weather that barred him from traveling from Lahore. 

“Shehbaz Sharif is not the resistance hero Nawaz is looking for. Shahbaz is not the Leader of the Opposition this country needs!” wrote Twitter user Nadir Daman.

Despite their complaints, the protesting parties have decided to take their seats in the upcoming parliament. 

“We do not want to give them a walk over ... They deprived us of a majority in this august house of parliament. We’re going to fight on every front, whether it is inside parliament or outside parliament,” said Mushahid Hussein Syed, a leader of the PML-N.

He added the opposition had a cumulative vote bank of 25 million, as opposed to 15 million of PTI, the party that won at the polls.

Meanwhile, PTI said the opposition had a right to peaceful protests. In his victory speech, PTI leader Imran Khan also supported recounting of votes in any constituency where rigging was suspected.

Khan’s party emerged with the greatest number of seats in elections that were held on July 25 across Pakistan.

But a glitch in the electronic result transmission system delayed the results in several constituencies. Opposition parties also claimed that in some places their agents were illegally thrown out during the vote counting process in violation of election laws.

In the country’s parliamentary system of governance, the prime minister is elected by the parliament, not through a direct vote of the public. Khan is expected to take the oath of office next week.

The opposition plans to continue their protest and also to organize a national conference on rigging in which they intend to invite members of the civil society as well. 

The alliance has also given a call for a protest Thursday outside provincial election commissions.

Who are Pakistan’s Ahmadi Muslims and why haven’t they voted in 30 years

Peter Gottschalk

It is only for the second time in the 71-year history of this second largest Muslim majority country that a democratically elected government, will transfer power to another after completing its full term. The nation’s military has intervened repeatedly to remove leaders and has directly controlled the country for about half of its history.
And so this recent milestone in Pakistan’s democracy has elated many citizens. However, one community boycotted the recent elections, as they have for over three decades: the Ahmadi, a religious minority.
Who are the Ahmadis and what does their boycott tell about the role religion has played in Pakistan’s nationalist politics?

The Ahmadi of Pakistan

The origin of the Ahmadi community goes back to the British-ruled India of 1889. At the time, in the province of Punjab (a region that would later be split between an independent India and Pakistan), a Muslim religious leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, became disenchanted with what he viewed as Muslim decadence that allowed for the humiliating experience of foreign rule.
Like many Indians, he wondered what needed to change in order to overcome the invaders.
Many European missionaries wanted to “free” Indians – both Muslims and Hindus – of what they characterized as their religious ignorance by bringing them to the “truth” of Christian traditions.
With the British government’s consent, some traveled through cities and rural areas to publicly denounce Islamic and Hindu traditions, while others published pamphlets doing so.
To restore the wholesomeness of Islamic traditions that had once influenced much of South Asia, Ghulam Ahmad reinterpreted branches of Islamic thought. He broadcast the message of reform through his prolific writing. Most prominently, he claimed to be both the Messiah and a prophet.
Most Muslims believe that Isa, or Jesus – whom they recognize as a prophet akin to Muhammad – will return as a Messiah, a figure expected to prepare the world for Judgment Day. In contrast, Ghulam Ahmad claimed to displace Isa in this role and announced that the end times were near.
What was more problematic, particularly to Islamic scholars, was his claim as a prophet. Most Muslims understand Muhammad as the “seal of the prophets,” the last sent by God. The Quran represents the final revelation offered to humanity by God. Ghulam Ahmad addressed these concerns by claiming to be a lesser type of prophet.
His message attracted growing numbers of followers among Muslims struggling to deal with the realities of British rule. Many were drawn partly to his strident criticism of Christian missionaries and Hindu activists who denigrated them. In 1889 he inaugurated a small group called the Jamaat-i Ahmadiyya (the Organization of Ahmad), that helped spread his message.
Although some Ahmadis later turned away from their leader’s most disputed assertions, the Jamaat-i Ahmadiyya held steadfast to his claim to prophethood. This group viewed him as nothing less than the Messiah who had returned to help humanity as it faced its end.
They made Rabwah, a town in Pakistan’s province of Punjab, their headquarters.
During Ghulam Ahmad’s life, Islamic scholars expressed disapproval with other scholars or individual Ahmadis. However, in 1947, after Pakistan was established as a separate Muslim homeland, some Islamic scholars publicly attacked the theology of the Ahmadis. Various politicians harnessed the controversy to their nationalist politics.

The politics of defining the true Muslim

The first major expression of anti-Ahmadi sentiment targeted an Ahmadi, Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan, who held the foreign minister’s post in 1953.
Some Muslims circulated rumors that Ahmadis proselytized among Muslims and represented a Western-supported conspiracy. This spurred riots throughout the country in 1953 that led to six deaths. Subsequently the government removed all Ahmadis, including Zafarullah Khan from prominent official posts.
For the next two decades, the campaign against the Ahmadi proceeded haltingly, staggering between occasional local tensions and evolving political agendas.
In 1974, however, the town of Rabwah became the epicenter of antagonism. Following riots targeting Ahmadis in many parts of Pakistan, Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto – among the least religiously inclined of Pakistan’s leaders – bowed to Islamist pressure to make constitutional amendments declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
Later in 1984, legislation prohibited Ahmadi from proselytizing or even professing their beliefs.
Matters worsened a year later when the government divided Pakistan’s electorate into “Muslim” and “non-Muslim.” This required voters to declare whether they accepted Muhammad as the final prophet. Ahmadi who declared themselves Muslim faced penalties.
The bottom line is since 1985 most have not participated in an election. Casting a vote would require them to explicitly denounce themselves as non-Muslims, which would have its own consequences.

Nationalism’s double-edge

What is important to understand is that the roots of the current electoral conflict do not inherently lie either in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s message nor the Ahmadiyya community.
The conflict emerges from an ideology of nationalism that inherently promotes a sense of belonging in its citizens, at the risk of exclusion of certain “outsiders.”
As Britain abandoned South Asia in 1947, Pakistan’s founders established a secular state meant to protect Muslims as a separate homeland from the political threats they saw in a Hindu-majority India. Certain Islamist political groups and politicians combined religious identity, language and symbols to foster national unity.
Specific domestic religious groups were targeted as the enemy of the public in order to garner popular support. In 2011, Pakistan was ranked at the top on Pew Research Center’s index on social hostilities involving religion. The Ahmadis were one targeted group.
Just as the Trump administration questions the loyalty of Muslim-Americans and simultaneously defines “true” Americans, increasing numbers of Pakistani politicians and Islamists  after 1947 portrayed the Ahmadis negatively in order to project themselves as protectors of “true” Muslim Pakistanis.
By 2012, only 7 percent of Pakistanis considered Ahmadis as Muslims.

Target of attacks

An Ahmadi mosque in the eastern city of Sialkot, Pakistan, demolished by extremists in May 2018. AP Photo/Shahid Ikram
In this environment the Ahmadis, representing perhaps 0.2 percent of Pakistan’s 208 million population, continue to struggle. They have been been the targets not only of electoral discrimination but also of vandalism against their places of worship. They have been accused of blasphemy, and laws have made it illegal for them to recite the Quran. They are also not allowed to have Islamic inscriptions on headstones, or even call their places of worship “mosques.”
Many have despaired of finding acceptance in their national homeland and emigrated to other nations. In Pakistan, as the recent election shows, they continue to struggle with a nationalist politics of exclusion.

Pakistan's first lawmaker of African descent raises hopes for Sidi community

Pakistan is set to have its first ever lawmaker of African descent, raising the profile of a small and mostly poor community that has been in the region for centuries.