Thursday, August 16, 2018

#PressFreedom #Media - A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU

In 1787, the year the Constitution was born, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to a friend, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
That’s how he felt before he became president, anyway. Twenty years later, after enduring the oversight of the press from inside the White House, he was less sure of its value. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” he wrote. “Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”
Jefferson’s discomfort was, and remains, understandable. Reporting the news in an open society is an enterprise laced with conflict. His discomfort also illustrates the need for the right he helped enshrine. As the founders believed from their own experience, a well-informed public is best equipped to root out corruption and, over the long haul, promote liberty and justice.
“Public discussion is a political duty,” the Supreme Court said in 1964. That discussion must be “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” and “may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”
In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.
These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry’s economic crisis. And yet the journalists at those papers continue to do the hard work of asking questions and telling the stories that you otherwise wouldn’t hear. Consider The San Luis Obispo Tribune, which wrote about the death of a jail inmate who was restrained for 46 hours. The account forced the county to change how it treats mentally ill prisoners.
Answering a call last week from The Boston Globe, The Times is joining hundreds of newspapers, from large metro-area dailies to small local weeklies, to remind readers of the value of America’s free press. These editorials, some of which we’ve excerpted, together affirm a fundamental American institution.
If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.

Video Report - US press unite against Trump ‘fake news’ attacks

Video report - Hundreds of newspapers push back against Trump's "fake news" attacks

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Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takker ... Ghazal

میا افتخار ته د ورپېښو مبینه ګواښونو پرضد لاریون

#Pakistan Not A Threat For #Israel: Clearing Misconceptions – OpEd

Ever since 1998, the beginning of Pakistan’s nuclear age, the state’s self-defense mechanism has been a source of worry and unrest for India and the US. Both these states never really accepted that a small state like Pakistan could develop the prestigious asset and was now well capable of defending itself against external threats.
The US opposed the program on the grounds that it had been tested after the signing of NPT and that it is an “illegitimate” program. Their basic concern was Pakistan not being a party to NPT and US non-proliferation efforts failing. India, though very much against the program, could not openly oppose it on the same grounds because its own Nuclear Program had the same issue i.e. it was tested after the signing of NPT and they had also not signed the treaty.
There are a lot of ambiguities surrounding Pakistan’s nuclear program which are there intentionally for the benefit and security of the program and state. However, there is one thing which has been kept very clear since day one and that is the Indo centric nature of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The program was developed because the conventionally strong next door neighbor had developed their program. Pakistan, in an attempt to ensure territorial security, had to develop its own program as well.
The US, China, Russia, France or the UK were never a threat to Pakistan nor was Pakistan on their attack agenda. India on the other hand was in close territorial proximity, a historic enemy, conventionally stronger and now also a nuclear power. After evaluating all these factors any national strategist would suggest a nuclear program for Pakistan and that is exactly what the state did.
There has been news in an Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, that Pakistan is more of a threat to Israel than Iran. This was published on 20 May, 2018. The grounds for this allegation have been identified as Pakistan’s growing arsenal and other similar reasons which have always been popular in the western policy circles. Iran, a conventional enemy, one with which there have been numerous conflicts, has been ruled out as a threat to Israel since they do not have a nuclear arsenal.
However, there are many concrete facts that have been ignored in this propagating debate. For instance Pakistan has had no wars with Israel. Both the states have never even been on the verge of an all-out war. The states have never even had a conflict that could’ve led to war. Although Iran does not have a nuclear arsenal at present but that did not stop the states from indulging into conflicts before and although initiating a nuclear war might not be a possibility for Iran but a conventional war is very much within their skill set.
Pakistan is already indulged in a two front defense strategy on its eastern and western borders. The Taliban threat from the west and the ever present Indian threat from the east, particularly along the line of control is already consuming most of the state’s energy, attention and resources. Under such circumstances, jumping into any sort of venture as far as Israel without any apparent or direct conflict seems like an amateur move which is not expected from Pakistan whatsoever. If any linkages are being made based on the fact that Iran and Israel have cordial ties then they are weak to begin with.
On the other hand India and Iran have more than friendly ties and India’s nuclear arsenal is growing rapidly with the US help. However, this does not mean that just because India is a nuclear state and a friend of Iran, it will be inclined to attack Israel.
Pakistan’s nuclear program is solely for the safety and security of the nation against any external threat. The program is not for the state to pick and choose enemies and start non-existing conflicts. That is definitely not how Pakistan intends to use its resources and deviate from the real agenda which is to protect the state of Pakistan. The only condition under which Pakistan would use its nuclear weapons against any state would be if they choose to attack the territory of Pakistan in a nuclear or non-nuclear manner. The state has been absolutely clear about this from the very beginning of its nuclear era.

#twitter is threatened in #pakistan - German envoy voices concern over Pakistan Twitter shutdown reports

German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler on Thursday expressed concern over reports that Twitter may face shutdown in Pakistan. "Worried about press reports that #twitter is threatened in #pakistan," he wrote on Twitter.

The German envoy said social media must be handled with responsibility but it must not be blocked.
"A free country needs free social media," said he.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Worried about press reports that is threatened in . I love my followers. I learn so much from you. Social media must be handled with responsibility but must not be blocked. A free country needs free social media!

The Ambassador also shared a picture of himself with Pakistani students in his Twitter post.
The German envoy Ambassador who often uses Urdu language in his tweets  is arguably the most famous foreign diplomat in Islamabad who frequently shares his photos from his visits to different parts of the country.

#Twitter Threatened With Shutdown in #Pakistan

Twitter is in danger of being banned in Pakistan because of the government's inability to force the tech giant to bend to its notions of what is suitable for public consumption or falls within the constitutional realm of legitimate free speech.
Micro-blogging platform Twitter has been asked by the Pak­istan Telecommuni­cation Authority (PTA) to comply with its requests to block objectionable content or face a shutdown in the country, the media reported on Thursday. According to a report in Dawn online, Twitter is in danger of being banned in Pakistan because of the government's inability to force the tech giant to bend to its notions of what is suitable for public consumption or falls within the constitutional realm of legitimate free speech.
The PTA on Wednesday informed the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Cabinet Secre­tariat that while Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms complied with requests from the government to block objectionable content, Twitter did not. "Out of a hundred requests from Pakistan to block certain offensive material, roughly five per cent are entertained. Twitter ignored all the remaining requests," Director General of PTA's Internet Policy and Web Analysis, Nisar Ahmed, told the committee.
The committee met for a briefing on penalties fixed by the PTA against "derogatory" comments spread through social media targeting the state, its citizens and its institutions. Ahmed informed the committee about last week's Islamabad High Court (IHC) directive to serve Twitter with a final notice, asking the micro-blogger site to respond to requests from Pakistan or face the risk of being blocked in the country.
"The PTA has conveyed the court's concern to Twitter, but has not got a response. The regulatory authority will implement court orders if Twitter does not respond to the final notice," said Ahmed. He also said that Twitter was not as popular in Pakistan as Facebook, so it had little to lose if it was blocked. However, the platform would lose business if it was shut down in the country, another official said.
"The court is determined to teach Twitter a lesson -- they will lose business," the official added. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Information Sectary Fawad Chaudhry said that his party was against any kind of censorship on free media. "Those who do not wish to see objectionable and offensive content should not search for such content. Social media is not just for recreation and entertainment. There are jobs and households associated with the business," said Chaudhry, who is tipped to become Information Minister in the new government.
"Blocking social media websites will have both social and economic impacts," he added.

Pakistan at Seventy-One: the Search for a New Pakistan

Today is Pakistan’s seventy-first independence day. The newly elected members of the National Assembly have been sworn in, and the new prime minister–designate, Imran Khan, will take his oath of office on August 18. Last month’s national election took place amid great controversy. Opposition leaders and independent observers made considerable allegations of tampering and malfeasance, bombings marred the run-up to the election and the day of voting, and there were widespread reports of the army tilting the playing field in advance in favor of Khan, casting a shadow over the results. Even so, government formation trundles along.
Prime minister–designate Imran Khan spoke during his campaign about his vision for a “naya Pakistan,” a “new Pakistan.” As the new Pakistani government assumes office, it confronts the same old problems that stymied its predecessors: a looming economic crisis, tensions with each neighbor, internal civil-military issues, challenging human development and governance concerns, and of course the decades-long problem of terrorism. Two of these problems in particular present immediate headaches for the new Pakistani government: the economic crisis and terrorism.
The economic crisis is already preoccupying Pakistan’s incoming finance minister, and estimates of Pakistan’s financing needs are tipping upward from a reported $8–10 billion bailout on July 22, to “more than” $12 billion by August 2. Should Pakistan approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, it would be its thirteenth and largest ever. But the geopolitics of this economic crisis are now different than they were in the past, since the advent of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has created a massive $62 billion initiative with unclear debt obligations to China. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said publicly that there is “no rationale” for IMF “tax dollars” to “bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself.” Watch this space.
Equally troubling in a different way is the terrorism crisis, and by extension the state of U.S.-Pakistan ties. Relations between Washington and Islamabad were deteriorating already by the end of the Barack Obama administration—and as I have written before, it was former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter who, in 2016, was unable to certify that Pakistan had taken sufficient actions against the Haqqani network and therefore withheld a third of the coalition support funds security assistance that year. (These are funds the United States gives Pakistan as reimbursement for its support to the war in Afghanistan.) Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis faced the same situation in 2017. By January of 2018 the Donald J. Trump administration chose to suspend security assistance to Pakistan. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an anti–money laundering and counter–terrorist finance watchdog group, placed Pakistan on a “gray list” in June, citing the country’s need to improve its financial controls to end flows to terrorist groups. And last Friday reports emerged that the security assistance suspension will now also prevent participation of Pakistani military officers in the long-running International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.
Against this backdrop, it is hard to see at the moment how things might improve. Despite the FATF designation, candidates affiliated with designated terrorist groups stood for election in Pakistan in July. As a FATF team visited the country to review Pakistan’s implementation plan, the individually designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, head of a group long listed under UN and U.S. terrorism designations and held responsible for the Mumbai attacks of 2008 (Lashkar-e-Taiba aka Jamaat-ud-Dawa), offered up a speech on YouTube for Pakistan’s independence day. The lack of limitations on, let alone prosecution of, this organization even at a time of heightened scrutiny defies logic.
Pakistan’s new government has its work cut out for it. Whether Imran Khan and his government can deliver a “naya Pakistan” will hinge significantly on how they address these two urgent problems on their long list of challenges.


Bilawal Bhutto condoles demise of former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed his sincere condolences on the death of former Prime Minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee.
"Prime Minister Vajpayee’s efforts towards establishing an atmosphere of trust between India and Pakistan will be his lasting legacy,"Bilawal said, hoping that India’s current leadership exhibits similar intentions and commitment towards sustainable peace in South Asia.
Three-time Indian prime minister died on Thursday, sparking tributes from across the political spectrum as current leader Narendra Modi mourned the "irreplaceable loss" of the respected statesman.
The 93-year-old had battled poor health for years but his condition deteriorated sharply in recent days, with doctors placing him on life support.
The sudden turn sparked a flurry of visits from top dignitaries, including Modi, who credited Vajpayee with laying the foundations for the meteoric rise of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules India today.
"Atal Ji´s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me," Modi said in a tweet Thursday, using a Hindi-language honorific.
"It was Atal Ji´s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century.
"It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick."
Vajpayee was being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, where he was admitted nine weeks ago.

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto congratulates Syed Murad Ali Shah on his election as Sindh Chief Minister second time

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has congratulated Syed Murad Ali Shah on his election as Sindh Chief Minister (CM) second time.
In his statement, he said that he has fervent hope and expectation that the CM Shah would set up new trends in public service sector and with the toiling efforts in this context, Sindh province would once again take a lead in servicing its people and making gigantic developments as compared to other provinces.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PPP’s provincial government would carry all areas of the province, say the rural and the urban zones equally and without any discrimination. The PPP’s provincial government would take the province to the heights of developments and improved infrastructure.
He said that while implementing the party manifesto in letter and spirit, the PPP would prioritised the education, health, infrastructure and human development and would ensure best progress in these sectors.

He said further that the people’s elected CM, cabinet ministers and MPAs would work harder to complete the mission of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
The PPP Chairman said that PPP’s ideology and public service and welfare and sacrifices are the hallmarks of the party.

#MuradAliShah - #PPP’s Murad Ali Shah becomes the Sindh chief minister again

The Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Murad Ali Shah was elected as the chief minister of Sindh for the second time on Thursday.
He received 97 out of total 168 votes in the assembly. His opponent Shehryar Mahar of the Grand Democratic Alliance got 61 votes.
Murad was elected as an MPA from Sehwan’s PS-34. This is his second time as CM. The first time he was appointed to the post was after his predecessor Syed Qaim Ali Shah resigned in July 2016. Murad’s father Abdullah Shah served as the province’s CM from 1993 to 1996.