Sunday, September 23, 2018

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A Saudi human rights activist and a critic of the kingdom’s royals who sought refuge in the UK has been assaulted in London by men backing Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Both the UK and US supply Saudi Arabia with munitions that are used in Yemen. An American laser-guided bomb is believed to have been used in a coalition strike in early August which killed more than 50 people.
Ghanem al-Dosari, who is known for satirical YouTube videos criticizing the Saudi royal family, was attacked by two men on Brompton Road in London after he posted a Snapchat to his followers that revealed his location where he was having a coffee with a friend.
After al-Dosari and his friend left the café, two men started following them.
“After we walked 100m or so we were approached by two guys from behind,” al-Dosari told The Independent on Sunday.
“They started shouting at me... they were saying ‘who are you to talk about the family of al-Saud?’ I think they knew where I was from Snapchat, they recognized me easily.”
Viral footage shows a man, wearing jeans and a light shirt, punching al-Dosari in the face as terrified shoppers and families flee the scene while others attempt to separate them.
Another man, wearing a grey suit and a wired earpiece, then follows the activist down the road before being dragged backwards and restrained.
His friend Alan Bender, a Canadian businessman, said the two men accused al-Dosari of being a “slave of Qatar” – a foe of Saudi Arabia – and threatened to “teach him a lesson”.
“I told them this was not Riyadh, this is London, and the guy immediately said: ‘F*** London, their Queen is our slave and their police are our dogs,” he added.
According to Bender, the pair shouted “how dare you curse Prince Salman, we won’t allow it” and insulted al-Dosari, his mother, sisters and family in bad language.
Bender added that the men only fled when some people shouted that the police were coming.
The attack left al-Dosari bleeding from the mouth and he received treatment at the scene in an ambulance.
He was later transferred to Notting Hill Police station, where he reported the attack although he believed that both men have since returned to the kingdom.
The activist vowed that he will not retreat and will continue his human rights work, which is well-known in his home country because of his sizable social media following.
“They were trying to intimidate me, they were trying to scare me, but I will not stop,” said al-Dosari.
“I had never thought they would attack me here – anywhere else in the world yes – but in the UK and in front of Harrods in broad daylight? This is the area where I feel most safe.”
He also denounced the UK government for being too “friendly” with the Saudis in spite of the kingdom’s human rights record.
Al-Dosari, who has been living in the UK since he fled Saudi Arabia in 2003 due to his political views, said, “I’ve never been back.”
“It’s not safe for me there, it’s not safe for anybody who tweets their opinion.”
Al-Dosari’s YouTube videos target the Saudi regime. He has nicknamed Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman “the tubby teddy bear”.
Bender noted that his friend had received threats before and the attack did not surprise him.
“I am worried about his safety,” he added. “The message [from this attack] says ‘no one can stop us’.”
According to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police, officers were called shortly before 6.15 pm on 13 August to an assault on Brompton Road, SW1.
“At the scene the victim, a man aged in his 30s, had suffered bruising to the face. He did not require hospital treatment,” they added.
“Officers from Kensington and Chelsea are investigating. The suspects are believed to be two males aged in their 30s. At this stage there has been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”
Last month, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended close ties with Riyadh, telling the BBC that the UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia stops bombs going off on the streets of Britain.
Hunt also said he was "deeply shocked" that at least 40 children were killed in northern Yemen when a Saudi airstrike hit their school bus.
Both the UK and US supply Saudi Arabia with munitions that are used in Yemen. An American laser-guided bomb is believed to have been used in a coalition strike in early August which killed more than 50 people.

#SaudiNationalDay2018 - Human Rights Council Should Stand Firm on #Yemen

Kristine Beckerle

Renew and Strengthen International Experts Inquiry.

The United Nations Human Rights Council cannot afford to falter on Yemen.
This month, as the council debates the fate of a UN investigation into abuses in Yemen’s armed conflict, the warring parties continue to indiscriminately bomb and shell civilians, abduct people from their homes, and interfere with the delivery of food and medicine in a country where millions are hungry and sick.
For too long after the Yemen war began, the Human Rights Council was silent. Last year, the council finally acted, adopting a resolution by consensus – with the support of the Yemeni government and coalition members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to empower a group of experts to investigate abuses since September 2014 and identify those responsible.
In August, the Group of Experts presented their first report, describing horrific war crimes and other abuses that the coalition, the Yemeni government, and the Houthi armed group committed. Given the severity, breadth, and scope of abuses, the experts asked for more time, urging the council to renew their mandate.
The coalition, unhappy with the findings, has sought to quash the inquiry. Human Rights Council member countries should not give in to this pressure.
Last year’s resolution brought an unprecedented level of scrutiny to the warring parties’ horrendous conduct. It was a testament to activists across Yemen and around the world who pushed for the inquiry’s creation, and to the core group of governments – the Netherlands, Canada, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Ireland – who took up the call and made it possible.
The Human Rights Council’s message to the warring parties in Yemen last year was clear: The world – at long last – is watching.
If the council folds to pressure and fails to renew the mandate, the opposite message will be sent this year: the world no longer cares. Yemeni civilians will continue to suffer without the scrutiny that only an independent international monitoring body can provide.
The Group of Experts has much more work to do to ensure investigations into the numerous abuses that have already occurred—and continue to occur—are completed. Members of the Human Rights Council, entrusted with standing up for victims of grave violations, should ensure that work can continue.

Saudi Arabia’s “Reforms” Don’t Include Tolerance of Shia Community

Adam Coogle

Pervasive Discrimination Against Shia Persists.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has recently made moves likely to appeal to the country’s Shia minority. This includes neutering the country’s once-powerful religious establishment, which has spewed anti-Shia vitriol and demonized Shia religious practices for decades, as well as changes to the 2018-19 Saudi school curriculum to remove some anti-Shia images and rhetoric.
But some of the worst abuses of the Saudi state of its Shia citizens and their ability to practice their religion remain unchanged.
Saudi Shia in the Eastern Province town of Qatif observed this stark reality first-hand over the past week, as authorities banned certain public aspects of their annual Ashura commemoration. Activists told Human Rights Watch that this year Shia cannot broadcast rituals inside some of their Husseiniyas (religious gathering spaces) via loudspeakers, and Saudi authorities have removed food standsand vendors that sell clothes, books, and flags. It also appears that public mourning rituals have been restricted to certain hours.
Saudi Arabia’s education reforms also did not remove all anti-Shia rhetoric in textbooks, especially at the secondary school level. One secondary textbook, for example, contains a section that condemns “building mosques and shrines on top of graves,” a common Shia and Sufi practice. The same text also refers to Shia using the derogatory moniker rafidha, meaning “rejectionists.”
Furthermore, dozens of Saudi Shia remain in prison, merely for participating in protests since 2011 calling for full equality and basic rights for all Saudis. Prosecutors recently filed charges and requested the death penalty against five Eastern Province activists, including female human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham. While there are many Shia on death row accused of acts of violence but convicted in patently unfair trials, authorities have alleged no such acts against al-Ghomgham and the other four. Rather, they are seeking to execute them on charges such as “incitement to protest” and “chanting slogans hostile to the regime.”
Saudi Arabia cannot solve its Shia discrimination problem with baby steps. Rather, authorities should allow Shia to build houses of worship and freely engage in their traditions and practices, remove all demonization of Shia in textbooks, and release all Shia languishing in jail on protest-related crimes convicted in unfair trials.

The Roots of Terrorism: Saudi Arabia

By Rusty Walker

The roots of terrorism are derived from a single, draconian ideology that has its source traced from a depraved interpretation of the Quran by the theologian and self-appointed “reformer,” Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya. In the United States the 9/11 hijackers were 19 radical Muslims of this same Wahhabi/Salafist ideology, from Saudi-funded al-Qaeda, the attack the brainchild of Osama bin Laden. Remember that 15 of the 19 were Saudis, and the rest were nevertheless, radical Sunni Wahhabis, two from United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon. 

The photo is appropriately of the Muhammad ibn Saud family, because the emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744 in a bloody massacre, rape and pillage of non-Wahhabi tribes, marked as Kafir, from  Muhammad ibn Saud’s Jihadists and Emir Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab ideology.
The ideology has its roots traced from a Jihadist interpretation of Islamic Law. The roots do not originate with the prophet, Mohammed (PBUH), but from an austere and puritanical Jurist, Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya of Damascus c. 1320. He took two verses in an uncompromising interpretation of Quranic Jihad and bestowed it the greatest act a man could perform: Jihad. He declared Shia, Sufis, moderate Sunnis Kafir. Such self-appointed gatekeepers of the Islamic faith, have no rightful Takfiri claims, anymore than Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s politically motivated decision to denounce the Ahmadis, at the pressure of Wahhabi clerics, non-Muslims.
This inflexible ideology was reintroduced by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab of Uyainah c.1790. The emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744. Muhammad ibn Saud, the tribal ruler of the town of Ad-Dir’iyyah near Riyadh, joined forces with the ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, to conquer what became Saudi Arabia. The Salafi Movement is an off-spring of Wahhabism sharing the same ideology of with literalist, strict and puritanical way of life, sharing the misogynic suppression of women, utopian views, the attaining of martyrdom in the cause of God, purification of the ranks of Islam by death whether Muslim or non-Muslim, the elements of depravity, seen as apostasy, therefore, rightful murder of Kafirs.
Bidat was forbidden- no innovation, thus bringing an end to the legacy of inventions attributed to the Arabs through history prior to Salafi prohibitions. In fact, no significant science or mathematics or technology as come from Arab Islam since Mohammed (PBUH) of the 7th Century, due to the change in values and interpretations of the Quran, Sunnah, the body of traditional social and legal custom and practice of the Islamic community and Hadith. It should also be remembered that many of the interpretations of Sharia Law in Arabia were tribal and varied from tribe to tribe. The suppression of women might be more pronounced in one nomadic tribe than another, for example. One is tempted to reflect on the achievement of Muslim females, in particular, the Harvard education and brilliance of the martyred Benazir Bhutto, whose parents were Sunni and Shia, even as she adopted a policy of Pluralism in Pakistan.
The Deobandis, 1866, Delhi, Mullah Muhammad Qasim and Rashid Ahmed set up a Madrassa in Deoband, a small town near Delhi, India. The school had one teacher, Mullah Mahmood Deobandi and one student, 15 year old, Mahmood Ul-Hasan. He and the movement promoted through their Madrassas the denouncement of the worship of saints, adorning of tombs, music, dancing, waged war against Shia and Sufis, Hindus and Christians. Women must be covered entirely and denied an education.
If the civilized world was shocked at the public beheadings of ISIS (Daesh) a few years ago, or Taliban in the 1990s public stoning’s and beheadings in Afghanistan, consider the roots: Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, displayed the callous, ruthlessness of Wahhabi mentality.
The Ikhwan movement, ibn Saud’s army of nomadic tribesmen, demonstrated the extreme to which Wahhabism and Deobandi ideologies would lead. For the duty of “Holy War,” Ibn Saud was savage in his suppression of opposition and the maintenance of Sharia Law from the beginning of his power. The governors appointed by him were reported to have carried out forty thousand public beheadings and no fewer than 350,00 amputations by the sword, with ibn Saud’s cousin Abdullah taking the lead in the zeal to rid by rape of women, torture of apostates, and mutilations for any resistance to Wahhabi ideology. (God’s Terrorists, Charles Allen, 2006). Saudi Arabia was founded on a Wahhabi blood bath.
Wahhabi/Deobandi Tafiris demanded uncompromising, religious dogma. The following list of theological imperatives, only touch the surface, and are present today in 21st Century al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS: refusal of trimming beards; banned holidays, banned music, dancing, kites, even the prophet’s birthday; destroy holy sites, considered idols, attack arts as frivolous and dangerous; jihad justified killing apostates, raping women, taking slaves, or plunder and destruction of holy sites, murder of those who refuse to follow the injunctions Salafist/Deobandi, namely, Shia, Sufi, Ahmadis, Hindu, Sikhs, Christian, and others, from Kabul to Quetta from Taliban to ISIS.
Where did Osama bin Laden form his views? In 1948 Sayyid Qutb of Egypt, joined the Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb’s ideology harkened back to the murderous interpretation of the Quran as Jihad and Sharia Law, as the primary purpose for Muslims established by Ibn Taymiyya. It allowed a revised interpretation of the Quran, acts once prohibited, to permit Muslim’s to murder Muslims, and the once forbidden suicide, to be re-casted as martyrdom. Anyone familiar with Arabic knows that the language is imprecise and allowed in the 7th Century and later throughout, many interpretations. Words have different meaning even by virtue of emphasis.
Arabic is a language whose words can have multiple, sometimes contradictory, meanings. Arabic has the possibility to conform to one’s biases. It should be remembered that the interpretation of the Quran prior to the politicization of radical Islam was “ijtihad.” Ijtihad was the accepted practice of theology, interpretation by the religious scholars of the Umma. Most Muslims do not subscribe to terrorism or the quest for a caliphate as a goal in life. Muslim Jurists over time reinterpreted law to justify the suspension of Jihad, a “just war.” “Inner struggle, outer struggle.” Though, Islam nor Christianity could claim to be pacifist religions, certainly, Jihad is one of the Five Pillars of Islam in, say, the Kharijic Theory for example. The dubious mission of the Kharijites was buried on the first day, because Imam Ali (a.s.) disclosed it and revealed its false reality when he said, “It is a word of truth by which untruth is intended.” Imam Ali (a.s.) fought the Kharijites with no leniency according to the will of his brother and cousin, the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and he did away with them and with their flawed mission.
From individuals such as Maulana Maudooli, extreme interpretations emanated.
It might lend some insight, that in Pakistani Madrassas, orphans and other children learn the entire Quran, without understanding a single word in Arabic. Suicide bombers, justified as Martyrs, are nurtured from many of these radical madrassas in years past and today in KSA, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Quran forbid suicide, to sidestep that problem, “martyrs,” were substituted. As I have mentioned, the Ibn Taymiyya ideology could a useful tool of dogmatic proselytization by obfuscation: it allowed Muslims to murder Muslims.
Qutb was a Takfiri Salafist, the Egyptian forerunner to al Qaeda. Justified any reason for bloodshed on immediate excommunication of infidels- Muslim or not- if not aligned with Wahhabi ideology.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, M.D. met bin Laden in Saudi Arabia. Aside from their issue with Americans in Middle East, (bin Laden once thanked the Saudi Ambassador for the U.S. involvement against atheistic Soviets in Afghanistan). Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri created the idea of global Jihad and the operatives carrying out the destruction of the WTC on 9/11.
There were many warnings that the CIA were communicating to the White House. Al-Qaeda operatives carried out the bombing of the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, 12 October 2000, in Yemen’s Aden harbor. Seventeen American sailors were killed and 39 injured in the deadliest attack against a United States naval vessel since 1987.
The first attack by al-Qaeda, was carried out against innocents in Aden, Yemen known as the 1992 Yemen Hotel bombings. That evening, a bomb went off at the Gold Mohur hotel, where supposedly U.S. troops had been staying; but, the troops had left, thus killing at random, innocent men, women and children.
Taliban conquered Afghanistan territories 1996. Irreplaceable historical icons were heartlessly destroyed:  The world’s two largest standing Buddhas, the two Buddhas of Bamiyan over 150 feet high at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, were obliterated by the Taliban. 1,700-year-old sandstone statues gone, irreplaceable treasures decimated to please the fanatical ideology of the Wahhabi/Deobandis.
Shiekh Omar Abdul Rahman planned a failed assassination plot on Pope John Paul II and Bill Clinton, but succeeded in 1993 the first World Trade Center bombing. The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing killed six people and injured more than 1,000. A 1,200-pound bomb was in a Ryder truck parked in a parking garage beneath the World Trade Center.
Since the 1990s Saudi princes had been paying off Osama bin Laden. Since a 1995 bombing in Riyadh, which killed five American military advisors, the funding came from Prince Nayef, the father of crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, and his brother Prince Sultan, once defense minister and father of Prince Bandar. Both Prince Nayef and Prince Sultan are now dead.
The FBI and CIA had been tracking and surveilling the 9/11 operatives, but failed to coordinate, as they did not share complete intelligence at that time (-FBI Director Dale Watson) (Now CIA and FBI share top secret information). So, on September 11, 2001 the attacks that killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others may very well have been prevented if intelligence had not been so selfishly guarded by competing security institutions.
[Sources: “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror” (Richard A. Clarke, 2004). and “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” Lawrence Wright, 2006)].
Is terrorism slowing down? Am I an alarmist? No. Terrorism continues in different forms, but the same Takfiri Wahhabi/Deobandi ideology grows by online recruitment in many ways, disenfranchised youth to radical Madrassas that are still allowed to exist.
In 2002, the same fanatical ideology was responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl and Drummer Lee Rigby. Thousands of murders of innocents too long to number have occurred since.
In 2013, in LUBP I wrote of Quetta suicide bombers having killed 81 people, a massacre by ASWJ-LeJ operatives that murdered media, police and rescue workers as double bombs exploded.
In 2014, in LUBP I wrote of an atrocity hard to fathom, of seven Taliban (TTP) who murdered 132 innocent schoolchildren (ages 8 -18), shooting faculty in front of them at the Army Public School in Peshawar. For decades Haqqani Network has been carrying out a genocidal intent on Shias in Afghanistan and across the Durand Line into Waziristan and Quetta.
Tahir Ashrafi, who casts his massive shadow across an infamous group, ASWJ-LeJ in Pakistan, a group that together spells terror, Malik Ishaq Deobandi, Ahmed Ludhianvi Deobandi, Aurangzeb Farooqi Deobandi, Ramzan Mengal Deobandi, Qazi Nisar Deobandi etc. Why? These names came from Shia protesters in the Quetta Sit-in that demanded arrest and execution of leaders and sponsors of Sipah Sahaba terrorists and Tahir Ashrafi as a supporter.
In Yemen, the “forgotten war,” a recent Saudi airstrike killed scores of Yemeni women and children. Fifty-one people died and 80 injured. Fifty-six were children between the ages of six and eleven. Writer and scholar, Abba Zaidi, reminded me today, that “apathy” is the reason Yemen despite the crises, coverage is little to none on one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. According to UNICEF, the strike was the worst attack on children since the war in Yemen escalated in 2015.
In Yemen, the Houthis are Zaydi Shiites, or Zaydiyyah. Of course, the Shia are the minorities in the Islamic world, and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites. There is a significant difference in doctrine and beliefs from the Shiites who dominate in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere (often called Twelvers for their belief in twelve Imams). Even by the standards of Middle East politics, this war is a quagmire of conflicting alliances by both the Houthis and Saleh. Much of the army remained loyal to Saleh and his family. Hadi was understandably unpopular being perceived as a Saudi puppet. The capital Sanaa eventually fell to the rebel alliance in January 2015. This was just as King Salman took the throne in Riyadh. The Houthis opened direct civilian air traffic between Sanaa and Tehran. One need not conflate a rush-to-judgement collusion that suddenly Houthis would now align with Iranian mischief. Why the partnership? Iran promised cheap oil for Yemen. The main port at Hodeidah fell to the Houthi forces and they began marching to take Aden, the capital of the south and the major threat is who controls this port on the Indian Ocean. This complex war includes forces aligned with opportunistic Wahhabi/Salafist groups, Houthis who were victims of religious and political oppression for decades, and Saudi-interested claims.
The United States contributes to this suffering in Yemen, by selling oil-rich Saudi Arabia nearly $1 billion in weapons that they use indiscriminately, targeting random regions with impunity. Is this the fight of the U.S.? This is a civil war in a country with oppressive leaders in an effort to sort its future out.
In Afghanistan, recently, at least 20 people were killed, 70 injured in twin bombings inside a sports club with a predominantly Shia Muslim clientele in Kabul. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said on Wednesday that the first attack was carried out by a suicide bomber in Dasht-e-Barchi, an area where many of the Hazara Muslims live and has frequently been targeted by bombers. Minutes later, a second explosion was reported at the same site, officials said but gave no details. The bombers: claimed by Wahhabi/Salafists, ISIS/ Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
These terrorists are intent on carrying on global terrorism indefinitely. The Shia genocide continues with the false narrative of sectarian conflicts, when it is a political version of Islamist extremism by one cult of fanatics: Wahhabi/Salafist & Khawarij/Deobandis under many names: Haqqani Network, TTP, Taliban, SSP, LeJ, ASWJ
Essays like this are merely a siren for the complaisant and apathetic. One must realize we need to have a global awareness and strategies that take into account complexities of national interests, such as, a myriad of competing stakeholders at odds in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, all of which contain contradictory factions. If history can be a lesson, thoughtful strategies are imperative: humanitarian interests are important to address, understanding root causes of terrorism allows a consensus among non-terrorist nations to target confirmed enemies, and each country, instead of rushing to judgement, while even mindful of self-interests, use caution before committing to foreign aid and instruments of war to internal struggles lest coalition forces bog down again in history’s unintended consequences: the quagmire of the U.S. in Vietnam, the Soviet-Afghanistan U.S. millions of dollars of covert aid and weapons to the Mujahideen that metastasized into weapons used by Taliban and foreign operatives creating the Frankenstein, al Qaeda; invasion and pull-out of Iraq left the vacuum that formed ISIS – the very Wahhabi/Salafists which is the theme of this essay.
If you wonder how I dare risk inaccurate but usual response of the “Islamophobia” to any critique of Islam. Consider that Ijtihad  اجتهاد of Islamic law was once common, the independent interpretation of the legal sources, of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Of course an religious text is open to interpretation.
I wrote this article because most of the public is unaware of the important differences in terrorist Muslims and traditional Muslims. One cannot lump all Muslims together into “Islam.” Further, it is not PC to write anything that may be construed to criticize Islam or Muslims, although Muslims are free to do so. The leader of Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refreshingly came out in detail criticizing Islamic terrorists in a country riddles with the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood. No president, not Clinton, Bush, not Obama, dared to present the facts.
In 2015, El-Sissi did venture into factual context: he said: “the Islamic religion should be purged of extremist ideas that fuel groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.” In his speech at al-Azhar addressing Muslim clerics el-Sissi called on them to promote a reading of Islamic texts in a “truly enlightened” manner to reconsider concepts “that have been made sacred over hundreds of years. “By such thinking, the Islamic world is “making enemies of the whole world. So 1.6 billion people (in the Muslim world) will kill the entire world of 7 billion? That’s impossible … We need a religious revolution.”
The “religious revolution” to which he referred was precisely: Wahhabi/Deobandi; Taliban, ISIS; and, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The other uncomfortable questions that should arise if this essay is fully read: “Why is a U.S. citizen who is a Vietnam Vet, and claims to be U.S. patriot so harshly criticizing our ally, Saudi Arabia? Indeed, I realize the U.S. needs bases in the Middle East, if only for the Soviet threat. Nations can be allies for Machiavellian deals of convenience (WWII Stalin). But, a government should not feel compelled to hide Human Rights violations, as if they do not exist.
I am the furthest thing from an “alarmist.” These enlightenments are truth; fact. The mainstream media and presidential administrations are largely silent on allies who continue the perpetuation of terrorism through funding radical Madrassas that still are allowed to exist. Saudis are corrupting youthful minds into suicide bombers, and to murder Kafirs (Shia with genocidal frequency), in Afghanistan and Waziristan (Quetta), when these are funded by our ally: Saudi Arabia.
As a Super Power, who claims moral high ground, is there not a responsibility to expect concessions for USAID, and be morally courageous to challenge overt corruption, funding terrorists, and oppression of its people in our allies? Or does a nation avoid the hard questions, by sticking its collective head in the Sahara Desert sands.

خيال محمد , بيا كدى باريگي Khyal Mohammad, Bia Kadi Barighi - Pashto Music Video -

کوڼا کالوني سکول یوازې دوه زده کونکي او دوه استادان لري

Giving birth in Afghanistan is more dangerous than war. Inside MSF’s life-saving ‘baby factory’

Giving birth in Afghanistan Khost Province is a daunting prospect. Most women avoid travelling on roads that are dangerous after dark and some arrive at the hospital minutes before delivery and leave a few hours after.
The early hours of the morning are the most feverish for the hospital – affectionately known by the NGO as “the baby factory” – just a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s tribal areas, in Khost Province.
The Taliban are active in the region and roads are often dangerous after dark, so when 25-year-old Asmad Fahri felt her contractions begin at night she knew she would have to wait until daybreak to begin the three-hour journey to the hospital.
Finally she is resting, her infant tightly swaddled and asleep between her knees.
On average new mothers are kept in the ward for six hours, but she has asked to leave after just three, to ensure she reaches home before darkness falls again.
Sometimes the mothers have to travel for days, in pain and bleeding, over unpaved, insecure roads in carts or by whatever mode of transport they can find.
In an opposite wing, the delivery tables continuously welcome newcomers.
Most only have time to lift the long layers of clothing hiding their bodies and wedge their coloured veils between their teeth, too rushed even to change into MSF’s standard red pyjamas.
The Khost Maternity Hospital opened at the end of 2012 in a medical desert in the conflict-riven country with one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.
It was an overnight success, with nearly 12,000 deliveries in its first full year in 2013.
By 2017 that figure had nearly doubled, to 23,000.
This year the hospital is on track to deliver 24,000 babies, says Dr Rasha Khoury, a Palestinian gynaecologist who is the medical officer at the site.
If so, that puts it within crying distance of the busiest maternity wards in the United States, where the Northside Hospital in Atlanta delivered 27,000 babies in 2016, the highest number in the country that year.
“Here we are saving lives for free,” smiles Safia Khan, 24, the assistant manager of the midwifery team.
Behind her, a young mother of twins searches her skirts and hands her a folded banknote. It is a traditional gesture of gratitude after delivery, at times required in some hospitals but politely declined here. “It’s forbidden,” insists Khan.
The UN and the World Bank put maternal mortality at around 396 deaths per 100,000 live births in Afghanistan.
But the figure is disputed, with experts pointing out it is an improbable fall from the 1,600 per 100,000 recorded in 2002.
Such a decline would mean Afghanistan would have reached its Millennium Development Goal set by the UN some five years early, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet noted in 2017.
The authors of that study say more credible figures released by the Afghan government in partnership with USAid suggest maternal mortality could still be as high as 1,291 per 100,000 – meaning that giving birth is around five times more deadly for Afghan women than the conflict itself.
If so, it is a staggering figure 17 years after the fall of the Taliban regime, despite billions of dollars in international aid, in a country with one of the youngest, fastest-growing populations in the world.
Khoury says that MSF facilitates around 40 per cent of the births in Khost, which has an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants.
But to make a real dent in the mortality rates in the face of these challenges they would need “three hospitals like MSF”, she says.
On top of war, poverty, and a rising population, the medical staff face a further obstacle: the Pashtunwali, the patriarchal social code of honour that dictates life in the conservative Pashtun tribal region where Khost lies.
Under the Pashtunwali the genders must be segregated, and a woman must never show her face to a stranger.
As such, medical staff at the hospital are exclusively female, with the exception of some anaesthetists and the director of the neonatology department.
Even so, a little persuasion has at times been necessary, says Salamat Khan Mandozai, a respected local figure who deals with security for the hospital and has also acted as a community liaison.
“In this rural environment, some women still prefer to give birth at home,” he notes.
Going to hospital embarrasses them, agrees Safia Khan – birth is a private matter.
Khoury says the hospital is aware that many women are not coming to them, but adds that the families who do come do so “without hesitation”.
For many, she adds, obstacles are not about culture, but finance – namely, paying for transport – or safety and security, especially at night.
Women must also wait until a man of the family is available to accompany them, she says.
But once inside the hospital, power returns to the mothers-in-law who escort the patients until they reach the doors of the delivery room.
“We are really reaching people at the margin of the society in Afghanistan,” says Khoury. “It’s a success story.”

The survival rate of a baby girl in India falls when gold prices go up

Dowries impose a considerable tax on girls’ families. In South Asia it is estimated to be six times the average annual household income. 
When world gold prices go up, fewer girl babies in India survive the first month of life, according to our new research. My colleagues and I suggest that this is linked to gold often being part of bridal dowries in India – so when gold prices go up, the cost of raising girls rises and families tend to neglect or abort them.
Dowry, a transfer at marriage from parents to daughters, is an ancient tradition thought to date back to at least 200BC, and was widely prevalent in medieval Western Europe. While it has virtually disappeared in most of the rest of the world, it persists in contemporary India – despite prohibition since 1961 – and has become increasingly common in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
While dowry payments originally acted as a bequest to daughters that afforded them financial protection after their marriage, dowries are now often appropriated by the groom or his parents rather than retained by the bride.
Dowries impose a considerable tax on girls’ families, with estimates indicating that in South Asia it is six times the average annual household income. As a result, even though dowry is banned and can result in prosecution, families in India often start saving for dowry as soon as a girl is born. Previous research has also suggested that dowry costs contribute to a preference among Indian parents for sons rather than daughters, but there is no previous causal quantitative evidence of this.
While there is no consistent time series data on dowry transactions across India, my colleagues and I analysed variation in the financial burden of dowries over more than three decades, based on fluctuation in gold prices on the world market. Gold, typically in the form of jewellery, is an integral part of dowry in India and since India imports more than 90% of its gold, fluctuations in the international price translate into fluctuations in the cost of dowry.

Girl babies neglected

We merged monthly data on international gold prices between 1972 and 2005 with monthly birth cohort data, and analysed whether gold price changes influenced the sex ratio at birth and the survival of a newborn girl up to the age of one month. Using this large data set with more than 100,000 births, we found that in months where the gold price went up, the chances of a girl surviving through the neonatal period were significantly lower than for boys. In fact, gold price inflation was correlated with an improved survival chance for boys.
Between 1972 and 1985, our analysis showed a 6.3% increase in the monthly price of gold was accompanied by an increase in girl neonatal mortality of 6.4%. During the same period, there was no significant corresponding change in male neonatal mortality.
We also found that those women who were born in months when the gold price was increasing were shorter in adulthood. This is consistent with previous research which has established that nutritional deprivation in early life leads to lower stature in adulthood, and that some parents in India deprive girls of nutritional inputs. In this case, it could be that lower levels of breastfeeding led to girls born in months of gold inflation being shorter as adults. We found that those girls that survived carried a marker of relative neglect into adulthood, compared to boys born in months of gold price inflation.
We separated out the results for children born between 1986 and 2005, as ultrasound technology became widely available across India after the mid 1980s. My previous research showed that in this period parents shifted away from neglecting girls after birth to aborting unwanted girls before birth. For potential births after 1986, we found that a 2.6% increase in the price of gold during pregnancy was accompanied by a statistically significant 0.3 percentage point decline in the probability that a girl rather than a boy would be born.

Focus on gold

By one means or the other, parents seem to be reacting to gold price increases by trying to reduce the chance of having a surviving girl child. Clearly, to respond in this way parents need to be aware of changes in gold prices. Given the importance of gold in India, gold prices regularly feature in the media but people also talk frequently about gold prices and dowry costs. If Indians were not aware of the gold price fluctuations, it would be hard to find an alternative explanation of our findings.
We conducted various tests of our results, to determine how strongly we can link these back to dowry costs. For example, it could be that gold price increases are a proxy for a decline in real income because those who want to buy gold have less money to spend on other things and this may have an impact on girl survival rates. However, after investigating these possibilities statistically, we concluded that the evidence points to dowry costs as the driver of our findings.
One may imagine that parents react to increases in gold prices by reducing the amount of gold given in dowry while maintaining its value. But, using a rural survey containing information on dowry, we found that its value tends to rise more or less proportionately with gold prices, suggesting that social norms may make it hard to adjust quantities downwards.
Recent government figures from India’s Census Office suggest that only 900 girls were born for every 1,000 boys between 2013 and 2015, indicating a continuing trend in the abortion of girl foetuses. This is despite persistent high economic growth and declining poverty in India over the past three decades.
Policies to strengthen the monitoring of dowry prohibition in India are unlikely to work because social norms lead families to support tradition and to co-operate in violating the ban. But there is room for hope: the equalisation of property rights for women and rising levels of education for both men and women may slowly but spontaneously loosen the dowry tradition.

Pakistan's Parties Slam Imran Khan For "Too Much Keenness" On Talks With India

Imran Khan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to re-start bilateral talks on key issues "challenging the relationship" including on terrorism and Kashmir.
Pakistan's two major opposition parties have questioned the "haste" shown by Prime Minister Imran Khan in making efforts to mend ties with India and held him responsible for the "diplomatic debacle", saying he should have done his "homework" before approaching for a meeting. Mr Khan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to re-start bilateral talks on key issues "challenging the relationship" including on terrorism and Kashmir.
India initially agreed to a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month. However, New Delhi on Friday called off the meeting, citing the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of the postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani. Dawn news reported that two major opposition parties -- the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) -- have held the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government responsible for the latest "diplomatic debacle" following New Delhi's refusal to hold the meeting.
Former foreign minister and PML-N lawmaker Khawaja Mohammad Asif criticised Mr Khan for stating in the letter that "Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism" and said it seemed the government was "not prepared" from the day one.
"Too much keenness being shown by the prime minister showed weakness on our part. Giving them (India) too much reflects haste on our part to mend fences with India," Mr Asif was quoted as saying by Dawn news.
Mr Asif said he was not against normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan but "dignity must be maintained". He regretted that Mr Khan wrote a letter in which he "talked about terrorism" without realising that the US and India had recently issued a joint statement after the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to New Delhi and Islamabad which was "dead against" Pakistan. "They (the US and India) raised all kinds of allegations against Pakistan and you are talking about terrorism (in the letter). This is a sign of weakness (on our part)," Mr Asif said. He also criticised Prime Minister Modi, alleging that "he is playing to the gallery" as part of poll campaign. PPP Vice-President and former envoy to the US Sherry Rehman said that the Imran Khan government should have done its homework before approaching India for a meeting, especially after the initial response. "Right now, however the Indian Govt and Army chief response is both immature and irresponsible. What are they threatening Pakistan about?
"They have crossed all diplomatic norms and protocols to emerge as a belligerent nuclear power that is only looking to externalise its own extremisms," Ms Rehman said on her official social media page on Twitter. Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived following a spate of terror attacks on Indian military bases by Pakistan based terror groups since January 2016. Following the strikes, India announced it will not engage in talks with Pakistan, saying terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.

#Pakistan - Coal mines or death traps?

By Khalid Bhatti
On September 12, a gas explosion in a coal mine in Darra Adam Khel, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulted in the death of nine miners. According to some estimates, more than 12 miners were working in the mine when the incident occurred.
They had entered the mine at the start of the day to earn a living. But a few hours later, they met a grim fate as many of them inhaled poisonous gases, sustained burn injuries or were trapped many feet under the ground.
They could have been rescued if safety regulations and labour laws had been followed. Unfortunately, no arrangements were made to check the conditions of the mine and ensure the safety of the miners. The incident is the second fatal coal-mining accident in Pakistan over the past month. On August 13, over 13 miners died and many others were injured after a blast at a mine near Quetta. In the first nine months of 2018, more than 80 miners have lost their lives. According to the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, 100 to 200 labourers lose their lives in coal mine accidents every year. Coal mines have become death chambers for miners. This is especially true in Balochistan, where miners work under deplorable conditions and little is done to ensure safety precautions. The poor conditions of mines; erratic and infrequent mine inspections; absence of basic medical and emergency facilities; and the callous attitude of employers and government officials are some of the reasons for such a large number of deaths each year. Lack of training, use of primitive methods and machinery, and the exploitative nature of casual and contract labour have also contributed to the deaths of miners.
In order to obtain maximum coal production, mine owners and contractors tend to force miners to work under dangerous conditions without proper training, machinery and tools. The contract system is quite repressive and exploitative, and compels miners to put their lives at risk to earn a living. The state has failed to protect the rights of workers, even though it has a constitutional responsibility to protect its citizens from all forms of exploitation and discrimination.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising that Pakistan is ranked alongside India and China as the most dangerous countries for mine workers. According to an ILO study conducted in 1999 on small-scale underground mines in the world, “the three countries with the highest number of small-scale underground coal mines (China, India and Pakistan) have significantly higher numbers of fatal accidents, even when the size of the workforce is taken into account, than is the case in other sorts of mines”.
The report adds: “In China, more than 6,000 fatalities are estimated to occur in small-scale mines each year. In Hunan, where 25 million tonnes of coal a year are produced in 5,220 small-scale mines employing 200,000 workers, there were 232 deaths in 1997; 70 percent of these deaths were due to gas or coal dust explosions”.
As per the ILO report, the fatality rate of 9.1 deaths per million tonnes of coal is 90 times higher than the industrialised countries average of 0.1 deaths per million tonne. The report states that the death toll is even higher in some regions. In 1998, 64 labourers in Balochistan lost their lives in mines producing 1.6 million tonnes of coal — a fatality rate of 40 workers per million tons. This is 360 times higher as compared with Western countries and 270 times higher as compared with China. Not much has changed in the last 20 years as far as coal miners are concerned. Although committees were formed and government officials visited mines in Balochistan when two mines collapsed and more than two dozen miners died in May 2018, no lessons have been learnt and improvements have yet to be made. Deaths and injuries in coal mining accidents still occur on a regular basis.
Poor ventilation and lack of adherence to safety regulations at mines have contributed to the country’s poor safety record. Occupational safety is an illusion for miners and many other labourers working for meagre wages in the most dangerous of circumstances. Mine workers are dying because the government and employers have failed to implement workplace health and safety standards and labour laws.
Between May 2018 and September 2018, more than 80 workers have died in different industrial and workplace incidents. The responsibility for these deaths rests on the shoulders of the government, contractors and the labour department. Corrupt officials at the Inspectorate of Mines are also to blame. But there is no one to hold them accountable. The violation of labour laws and safety standards at workplaces by owners and employers, and the criminal negligence of government officials in this regard have pushed several workers into death traps. To minimise deaths and injuries in these incidents, it is necessary to strictly implement labour laws, especially health and safety standards, as factories, workshops and other workplaces are no longer safe for labourers.
All miners should be registered with the social security and labour departments to extend a full social security net to these workers. Workers are not slaves and must not be treated in this manner. A dignified life with all the basic facilities and needs is their fundamental right.



In the first week of September, Prime Minister Imran Khan reconstituted an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to help steer Pakistan out of its economic emergency. Comprising 11 well-regarded economists from the private sector, in addition to seven representatives of the government, the EAC was tasked with finding ways for Pakistan to bolster its fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves and boost a collapsing balance of payments.
Shortly after the list went public, however, there was uproar. As progressive voices on social media hailed the inclusion of Dr. Atif Mian—of Princeton University Department of Economics, and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy—conservative reaction was a lot less welcoming. At issue was Mian’s faith. A member of the Ahmadiyya community, Mian’s addition was seen as a betrayal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s vocal stance against any threat to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat issue. Many critics claimed a ‘non-Muslim’ could not represent the best interests of Pakistan. There was even speculation that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was internally convulsed with protest apart from the “reported” outrage felt in Pakistan’s muscular religious organizations that P.M. Imran Khan avoids offending.
As the clamor grew louder, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry came on TV to defend the government’s decision to include a constitutionally declared non-Muslim to its panel of economic experts. Chaudhry said Pakistan’s Constitution gave non-Muslim minorities a status equal to that of its Muslim citizens. He asserted that the government would not bow to any demands for Mian’s removal from the council, because the economist was among the global top 25 of his discipline. Three days later, he was proven wrong.
The PTI-led government announced it had asked Mian to leave the EAC, which he agreed to do. The formerly defensive information minister failed to offer even a mild explanation for the about-face.
Nervous ‘new’ state
Liberals on social media, having heaped kudos on Khan for appointing Mian against the opposition of extremists, did not take the latest retreat kindly. Yet, predictably, their outrage counted for nothing and was swiftly muffled in the face of backlash they too wanted to avoid. No reference to the Constitution, already defiled by apostatization, would secure their position on Mian, who was graceful in his farewell message:
“For the sake of the stability of the Government of Pakistan, I have resigned from the Economic Advisory Council, as the Government was facing a lot of adverse pressure regarding my appointment from the Mullahs (Muslim clerics) and their supporters. Nevertheless, I will always be ready to serve Pakistan as it is the country in which I was raised and which I love a great deal. Serving my country is an inherent part of my faith and will always be my heartfelt desire. Moving forward, I now hope and pray that the Economic Advisory Council is able to fulfill its mandate in the very best way so that the Pakistani people and nation can prosper and flourish. My prayers will always be with Pakistan and I will always be ready to help it in any way that is required.”
A few hours later, Dr. Asim ljaz Khwaja, professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, walked out of the EAC in protest at Mian’s removal. He was followed a day later by Professor of Economics at University College, London, Imran Rasul. No Pakistan-based members protested publicly or resigned, likely hardened by what Pakistan routinely does to its Ahmadis. A notable voice of dissent was Khan’s ex-wife, Jemima Goldsmith, who tweeted: “Indefensible & V disappointing. New Pak gov asks renowned & respected Prof of economics to stand down because of his faith. NB: The founder of Pakistan “Quaid-i-Azam” appointed an Ahmadi as his Foreign Minister.”
Collapse of conscience
Opposition parties in the Senate, including members of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Awami National Party, submitted a call attention notice to voice their disapproval. The PMLN later claimed this did not represent the entire party, but the damage had already been done.
The “liberal” Pakistan Peoples Party avoided joining the opposition’s campaign in the Senate, but remained noncommittal, perhaps remembering that its own government had inserted the Second Amendment in the Constitution declaring the Ahmadi community non-Muslim 44 years ago. One of its senior-most leaders, ex-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, had said the following famous words in 2016:
“No one has been able to compete with Pakistan Peoples Party. If someone has served Islam, only the Government of ‘martyr’ Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has. It solved the 90-year-old problem, the problem of Qadianis [Ahmadis] who challenged the Prophethood of Islam’s Prophet. The PPP shut them up, broke their neck and buried the [Ahmadi] problem.”
A tainted Constitution
The “apostatizing” Second Amendment passed in 1974 by a “socialist-liberal” government led to the following insertions in the Pakistan Penal Code: the Ahmadi community cannot call their places of worship “masjid” (mosque) and cannot give the call to prayer (azaan). Section 298-C says Ahmadis cannot pose as Muslims, directly or indirectly. This led to the extremely touching incident of an Ahmadi being hauled up in court for renting a house inscribed with the kalima (oath of Islam); he was hauled up again, this time for desecration, when he tried to wipe it off!
Pakistan’s Constitution declares Ahmadis non-Muslim, placing them in the category of minorities that have equal rights under its own articles. Dictator General Zia-ul-Haq, under his Islamization campaign, introduced separate electorates to prevent non-Muslims from voting together with Muslims. When this abuse of human rights was corrected and separate electorates removed from the Constitution, all-non-Muslims got back their right to vote together with Muslims, except Ahmadis, thus implying that they are not accepted even as a minority in Pakistan. Subliminally, they remain apostates and, under Islamic law, are punishable by death. Few Pakistanis realize what message they are sending out to the world by treating the Ahmadis the way they do. By remaining passive, the state allows the extremist elements to “enforce” this law.
A calendar of calumny
In May 2010, two Ahmadi mosques—which must be referred to as “places of worship” under law—were attacked in Lahore during weekly Friday prayers. When the attack was done, 95 graves were dug for them in the headquarters of the Ahmadi community, Rabwa (‘high’ or ‘raised’ place in Arabic)—which can’t be called Rabwa under law and is officially known as Chenab Nagar.
The massacre was undertaken by six or seven suicide bombers armed with Kalashnikovs and hand-grenades. The Punjabi Taliban claimed responsibility. Then-Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah told journalists the attackers had planned the attack in South Punjab after being trained in the Waziristan tribal territory. One of the terrorists, captured alive, said they had been brought to Lahore nine days earlier in a group from Bannu, housed in various mosques across the city including the Tablighi center at Raiwind, and eventually driven to two designated targets. He said their handlers had been waiting in back-up vehicles with orders to kill and replace any attacker who tried to run away instead of killing the Ahmadis.
The killers were clearly terrorists who routinely kill Pakistani troops. Instead of making an example out of them, the state largely ignored the assault, with the investigation seemingly coming to a close after the arrests of six men believed to be linked to the attack. Then-federal interior minister Rehman Malik was somewhat more forthcoming. He claimed the attackers had belonged to the Sunni extremist Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the former being an “asset of the state” based in Bahawalpur.
Then-chief minister Shahbaz Sharif appeared greatly upset but announced no compensation for the dead—a common practice after similar tragedies. He also could not personally visit either of the targeted locations. TV channels tried to discuss the issue, but struggled to communicate with their audience without attracting the mischief of the anti-Ahmadi laws. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, many reporters had already blundered by referring to “mosque”, “juma”, “khutba” (sermon) and “namaz,” before being corrected.
Fomented by foreign foes
As is typical, Pakistan’s Urdu language press blamed the attack on forces inimical to Islamabad. Daily Jang, in a front-page report published on May 29, 2010, carried a message from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, alleging Ahmadis were being killed in accordance with plots hatched by the United States, India, Afghanistan and Israel to defame Pakistan. These four countries, opposed to “Islamic jihad,” were determined to damage the image of Pakistan in the international community, and India sought in it a justification for clamping down on the Deobandi madrassas on its soil. The report added that Indian intelligence agents had contacted a Qadiani—a pejorative for Ahmadi—representative in East Punjab’s Kapurthala to tell him members of the community would be targeted in Lahore.
In the same newspaper, Lahore Commissioner Khusrau Parvez was reported as saying that members of India’s spy agency, RAW, had penetrated Lahore and had killed the Ahmadis to avenge Yaum-e-Takbir—the anniversary of the day Pakistan tested its nuclear devices in 1998—because that day had marked Pakistan achieving security against India. He did not explain his reasoning, but many assumed that after the Ahmadi massacre Pakistan would start worrying about its international image and stop celebrating the historic achievement of becoming a nuclear state.
Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, writing in the May-June 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine wrote: “In the decades to come, the most lethal threats to the United States’ safety and security are likely to emanate from states that cannot adequately govern themselves or secure their own territory. Dealing with such fractured or failing states is, in many ways, the main security challenge of our time.”
Exclusion and expiry
In the case of Pakistan, these words apply to a weak state stricken with the additional palsy of “exclusion” that may be forced to apostatize the Shias—then killed like flies in cities from Kohat to Kurram—and the Ismailis too. The killing of Ahmadis in Lahore was just another brick in the wall consolidating Pakistan’s pariah status in the world and giving rise to more xenophobia—expressed through its commissioners and senior police officers—and leading to more killings at home in a cycle that has perpetuated itself for decades.
Most (Sunni) Pakistanis believe minorities enjoy complete freedom in the country. Blinded by their own privilege, they are often shocked when human rights organizations such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan object to Pakistan’s tacit abuse of its minorities, forgetful of the rule that only maltreatment emanating from legislation is blamed on the state.
Even though many Pakistanis don’t count Ahmadis as Muslims, they don’t treat them as a protected minority either, allowing mullahs to step in and set the narrative for how the community should be treated.
So blinkered are reactions to the abuse of minorities in Pakistan that many reject outright statistics that prove the state’s abysmal role in safeguarding their rights. Non-governmental organizations that strive to publicize these statistics are angrily condemned as foreign-funded institutions carrying out ‘alien’ agendas in Pakistan. There is little thought given to the selective embrace of independent organizations. When Amnesty International reveals Pakistan’s negative record, for example, they are rejected; but when they reveal India’s negative record their findings are gleefully highlighted.
Dr. Atif Mian is likely well aware that the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan has not ceased. More than 250 members of the Ahmadi sect have been killed since 1984, not including those under death sentence after being accused of blasphemy. A TV anchor instigated the murders of three Ahmadis in Sindh in 2008 after calling them insulters of Islam’s Prophet during a live broadcast. From April 1984 to December 1999, as many as 753 Ahmadis were arrested for displaying the kalima and another 379 for “posing” as Muslims.
The years of state repression have taken their toll. Many members of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan now suffer their persecution in silence and hate to be noticed by hypocritical Muslims feeling the rare twinge of conscience. The continued support of Pakistan by people of such brilliance as Atif Mian is a testament to him and his community, who certainly owe Pakistan nothing; the state, however, owes them far more than it can ever hope to repay.