Tuesday, October 23, 2018

G7: Saudi explanation of #Khashoggi’s death leaves many questions unanswered

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations (G7) have strongly denounced the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and found Riyadh’s explanation of his death unconvincing since it has left “many questions unanswered.”
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of every G7 nations – Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the UK, and the US – along with the high representative of the European Union condemned the journo’s death “in the strongest possible terms.”
“The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward full transparency and accountability. However, the explanations offered [by Saudi Arabia] leave many questions unanswered,” the statement added.
It also called on Riyadh to fully cooperate with the Ankara’s probe into the killing, and to provide a "thorough, credible and transparent” accounting of the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death.
The G7 ministers further called on Saudi Arabia to hold to account "those responsible for the killing... and put measures in place to ensure something like this can never happen again.”
Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on dissent.
He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out despite Riyadh’s initial claim that he exited the mission less than an hour after entering.
The kingdom, however, later admitted that the journo had been murdered in the consulate after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national. However, it said that it did not know the whereabouts of the journo’s body, which is widely believed to be dismembered.
Meanwhile, Turkish Hurriyet daily said that police had found Khashoggi’s clothes inside two suspicious suitcases in the trunk of a Saudi consular car abandoned in a private parking lot in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul.
Another report on Tuesday by UK-based Sky News broadcaster, citing unnamed sources, claimed that the journalist had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured.” One of the sources even suggested that Khashoggi's remains had been discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home.
The report came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said body of ill-fated journalist had not been found, demanding Saudi officials to disclose its whereabouts.
“Why has the body of someone who was officially said to be killed not been found yet?” Erdogan asked, during a speech he delivered at a meeting of his party's lawmakers in capital Ankara on Tuesday.
He further criticized Riyadh’s contradictory reports in the days following his disappearance, saying Ankara will not stop its investigation until all major questions in the case are answered.
Amnesty International has already said Riyadh’s explanation of Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul appeared to be a whitewash of “an appalling assassination.”
The rights group also said the “impartiality” of a Saudi probe into the case would remain in question after the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate.

#Khashoggi's body parts found at #Saudi consul's residence in #Istanbul: Report

Body parts belonging to murdered journalist JamalKhashoggi have been found, according to Sky News.
Citing anonymous sources, the UK-based broadcaster reported Oct. 23 that the writer had been "cut up" and his face "disfigured".
According to the report, one source suggested that Khashoggi's remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general's home.
"I am aware of the reports, they are deeply disturbing ... the location of Mr Khashoggi's body is just one of the questions we need answers to and as such we await the full results of the Turkish investigation," British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Oct. 23.
The report came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Khashoggi's body had not been found and demanded Saudi officials reveal its whereabouts.
"Why has the body of someone who was officially said to be killed not been found yet?" Erdoğan said in an address to his party's MPs in Ankara on Oct. 23, before accusing the consul general's stance after Khashoggi's disappearance.


The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi isn't the first atrocity committed by key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. And Donald Trump isn't the first U.S. president to stand by and watch. America's red lines almost never apply to America's allies.
But this time could be different.
Khashoggi's murder was committed in broad daylight, in a Saudi diplomatic venue in another U.S. allied country. It was carried out by a special team flying in private jets known to be owned by the Saudi crown prince, including at least one "autopsy specialist" armed with his own bone saw, and followed up by a cleaning crew armed with buckets, scrub-brushes, and fresh paint. This wasn't normal, even by Saudi standards.
Khashoggi was a mild, cautious journalist with close ties to the Saudi royals, who only recently emerged as a critic of the regime. A permanent legal resident of the United States who was friendly with Washington elites, the Washington Post columnist should have been untouchable. Going after him so brazenly could only be an attempt to intimidate all potential critics.
His murder has generated massive press coverage and public outrage. And there's been some blowback in the form of high-visibility CEOs pulling out of the Saudi crown prince’s "Davos in the Desert" investment festival.
The Saudis now admit the murder, blaming it on a "rogue operation." They've even made a few show arrests. Still, putative Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known widely as MBS) is plainly counting on Trump—and especially his BFF Jared Kushner—to do what they've always done in response to Saudi abuses: nothing.
After all, the United States has done nothing to challenge any of the prince’s earlier stunts: launching a pointless economic blockade against Qatar; detaining the Lebanese prime minister; arresting over 200 Saudi princes and business leaders and extorting much of their private fortunes; and freezing trade relations with Canada over a mild human rights complaint. Most of all, there's Saudi Arabia's devastating, one-sided war on Yemen.
Backed by U.S. military and political assistance, the Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led assault has been overwhelmingly responsible for the more than 16,000 civilians killed and the tens of thousands more civilians injured in the Arab world's poorest country. Parents are still mourning the 40 children killed and 56 wounded last August in a U.S.-backed Saudi airstrike targeting a school bus. Meanwhile, the Saudis are blockading Yemeni ports crucial for both commercial and humanitarian goods, causing thousands of cholera deaths and creating a massive famine that the U.N. calls the worst anywhere in the last 100 years. In normal times, bad press like the Khashoggi crisis might make the prince a little jittery at the prospect of his U.S. military spigot being turned off. These days, the U.S. president accepts—and parrots—Saudi denials at face value. The crown prince, Trump breezily accepted, "totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish consulate." He even dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for an obsequious photo op sharing smiles and a warm handshake with MBS in Riyadh.

Video Report - Khashoggi killing: "Saudi Arabia is trying to divert pressure away from the Crown Prince"

Video Report - #Turkey - #SaudiArabia - #Erdogan speaks on #Khashoggimurder


Ghazal - Sabko Maloom Hai Main Sharabi Nahin By Pankaj Udhas "

#Pakistan - EDITORIAL: Forced conversions in Sindh

Eleven-year-old Monika Luhano is back home safe and sound. Thankfully. Yet to point out that she is among the fortunate is an understatement. That she was recovered relatively swiftly speaks volumes of mobilisation efforts on the part of the Hindu community rather than, say, political impetus. Or, indeed, police efficiency. For the little girl was abducted over the weekend from her home in Sindh’s Matiari district; immediately giving rise to fears of forced conversion to Islam and, then, marriage.
This case should persuade the PPP government sitting at the provincial helm that the time has come to revisit the question of legislating against forced conversions; a violent practice that the Hindu community terms ‘genocide’. Indeed, it is beyond shameful that the political set-up capitulated to the religious right back in 2016 at the final hurdle. For despite the Sindh Assembly having passed the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill towards this end — the then provincial governor refrained from signing it into law.
Hardliners opposed the Bill on the grounds that no obstacles may be put in the path of those wishing to embrace Islam. And when it comes to the question of forced marriages to Muslim men — religious clerics are quick to defend the supposed right of the girl child to elope and marry of her free will. When such moves undertaken even by adult Muslim women are sufficient to incite honour killings.
Thus far women’s rights groups have been focusing on how the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 puts the legal age of wedlock at 18 years. This is a good place to start. In fact, adopting a purely legal perspective serves to take some of the pressure off the Hindu community; which increasingly lives in fear of reprisals or worse. Yet the systematic overlooking of the religion question in the long-term risks strengthening the hand of the hardliners. Thus the way forward must see a concerted effort — led by the political set-up but in collaboration with civil society and right groups as well as moderate Muslim clerics — to frame forced conversion within the context of child marriage as not only statutory rape but also ethnic cleansing. And those at the forefront of such a campaign must build alliances within the majority Muslim community. For ideological extremists such as Hafiz Saeed and Khadim Rizvi harbour no love for the latter either. The endgame must therefore be to rob these actors of perceived moral legitimacy.
Naturally, none of this can happen overnight. But the PPP, having spent a decade at the helm in Sindh, cannot afford to squander yet more opportunities to safeguard the province’s Hindu community; comprising some six percent of the overall population. Thus no more can it stand impotent as children are abducted in broad daylight and, in Monika’s case, from what should be the safety of their own homes.

#Pakistan #PPP - #سلام_مادرِجمہوریت - Begum Nusrat Bhutto: Mother of democracy

Bashir Riaz
Begum Nusrat Bhutto was an iron lady who stood against undemocratic forces in Pakistan. She was awarded the highest civilian award for democratic struggle against dictatorship. She faced tyrannical rule of the dictator Zia ul Haq with utmost bravado. Despite house arrests and other difficulties created for her by the government, she persisted in her struggle to raise the flag of democracy in Pakistan. Her courage was a source of inspiration for the PPP workers. She led her people by example and gave them a clear message that there would be no compromise on the struggle for democracy even if it meant writing history with their blood.
After she lost her husband to dictatorship, Begum Nusrat Bhutto took charge of PPP as the Chairperson and continued her struggle against martial law. The undemocratic forces were so terrified of this strong-willed lady that they tried to put out the spark burning for democracy by arrests and jails. The attempts to crush the voices of democracy were thwarted as Begum Bhutto kept the party flag aloft. When she was assaulted with baton charge at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, a photograph of the wounded Begum Bhutto was published in all the newspapers, revealing the ugly face of dictatorship. The photograph has been imprinted in the memory of the nation and they are haunted by the image when their mother was treated savagely by the autocratic ruler.
When such tactics proved futile, the state resorted to emotional and mental torture by targeting Begum Bhutto’s children. Her daughter was put under house arrest and denied medical assistance. She was treated brutally in Sukkar jail and was kept away and separated from her mother. However, the resolve of the Bhutto ladies shook the dictator and added to his fear.
After the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Bhutto, Begum Bhutto redoubled her political struggle for democracy. Proving his cowardice, General Zia postponed the elections scheduled on 16 October, 1979. The voice of PPP, Musawat newspaper was shut down. Along with journalists, PPP workers were punished with lashes but the sky continued to witness their echoes of jiyaye Bhutto. If their leader was facing cruelties and yet marched on for democracy, the workers decided they would not let her down.
During this era of darkness, Begum Bhutto also faced separation from both her sons, Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto. Despite all the difficulties, she dashed all hopes of Zia ul Haq to easily sail through in his boat of dictatorship.
Begum Bhutto was diagnosed with lung cancer during her long detention and the regime tried to seize the opportunity of taking revenge on its opponent by denying her aid. However, due to national and international pressure, she was allowed to go outside Pakistan for the sake of her health and treatment. On 22 November, 1982, Begum Bhutto reached Munich in Germany. Her health was very frail and she was accompanied by her sister as caretaker. Even though she was extremely ill, she addressed party workers who had gathered from different European countries:
“For the sake of democracy in our country, human rights, and restoration of the constitution, you must come forward and protest without fearing the martial law. It is the duty of the workers of Pakistan People’s Party and all the democratic citizens of Pakistan to give a final shove to the apparently strong but hollow pillars of martial law to bring them down on the ground.”
Benazir Bhutto proved true successor to her father Quaid-E-Awam Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as predicted by Begum Sahiba. She led party to victory twice against all odds. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto became leader of international stature. Begum Nusrat Bhutto proudly stated about Benazir Bhutto, “She is an intelligent, courageous, and politically enlightened girl who will play an important role in taking PPP to new heights of success. Bhutto Shaheed has especially given political training to his daughter. When Bhutto Shaheed was in jail, he was allowed one hour to meet with visitors. He used to give political lectures during this hour. This teaching during the last days of Bhutto Shaheed proved to be of immense importance for our daughter. Benazir has passed every test and will offer effective leadership to the party”.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s resolve was so strong that it travelled from one generation to another. Her children continued her struggle against dictatorship and today her grandchild Bilawal Bhutto is a champion of democracy. There is no doubt that the contributions of the Bhutto family for democracy in Pakistan are invaluable.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto was born on 23 March 1928 and she passed away on 23 October 2011.

#سلام_مادرِجمہوریت - #BegumNusratBhutto - Rich tribute paid to Begum Nusrat Bhutto on her 7th death anniversary

The seventh death anniversary of Begum Nusrat Bhutto was observed today. A large number of people gathered at Bhutto mausoleum and paid tribute to their leader. 

Quran Khwani and Fateh Khwani was held on the occasion of Madar-e Jamhooriyat (Mother of Democracy) Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s 7th death anniversary at the Bilawal House today.