Sunday, October 28, 2018

Video Report - Leaders of Turkey, Syria, France and Germany hold Syria talks

Video Report - Four-way Syria talks kick off in Istanbul

#syriasummit #istanbulsummit Key points from Syria summit in Istanbul

#PittsburghSynagogue - Why the Pittsburgh shooter is not being prosecuted for terrorism

Robert Bowers faces 29 charges, including murder and hate crimes, but lacked any connection to a State Department-designated terrorist group.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Robert Bowers carried out what is likely the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history when he opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, killing 11 congregants and injuring four police officers. Bowers’ social media accounts were littered with anti-Jewish hatred and conspiracy theories. He also screamed “All Jews must die” when he confronted law enforcement after committing the massacre.

His shooting spree at the Tree of Life synagogue was an unprecedented act of political anti-Semitic violence on American soil.

But it was not, according to the US government, an act of domestic terrorism.
On Saturday afternoon, federal prosecutors announced that Bowers would face 29 charges, including 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and several counts of hate crimes, such as obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
A fan holds up a sign to honor the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 2018. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images/AFP)
Yet the reason he will not face domestic terrorism charges are simple — no such charge actually exists.
“There is no federal crime labeled domestic terrorism,” Department of Justice spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, told The Times of Israel on Sunday.
While the US Patriot Act, passed in 2001 by the George W. Bush administration, following the September 11 attacks, includes a working definition of “domestic terrorism,” no crime was ever created to match such a designation.
The law describes domestic terrorism as an attempt to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”
The most common terrorism-related charge in US courts is providing “material support” to one of the State Department-designated foreign terrorism organizations. There were roughly 300 such prosecutions from 2001 to 2011 that resulted in indictments related to jihadist terror or national security charges, according to the Center on Law and Security.
While Bowers’ motives seem plainly evidenced through his social media accounts and verbal proclamations at the scene of the massacre, he acted alone and not on behalf of any terror group.
There have been other recent tragedies in which a lone gunman slaughtered innocent civilians, including at places of worship, and did not face terrorism charges.
Alex Fields is suspected of driving his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing a counter protester. Fields is being charged with a number murder charges by the state of Virginia.
Dylann Roof was convicted on federal and state crimes, including hate crimes, for killing nine African-Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina church in the summer of 2015. He has been sentenced the death penalty.
Neither Field nor Roof were hit with terrorist-related charges.

#PittsburghSynagogue - #CNN #News - Fareed Zakaria: One of the saddest weeks I've witnessed

#Khashoggi #SaudiArabia #US - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia risks isolation over Khashoggi killing | Money Talks

#JamalKhashoggi - Three of the assassination squad were eliminated by Saudi Prince MBS

Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

Saud al-Mojeb set to discuss the latest findings of the probe into Khashoggi's killing with Turkish investigators.
Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Khashoggi - a Saudi writer, US resident, and Washington Post columnist - entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry. 
After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that the murder was premeditated. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.
Here are the latest developments:

Sunday, October 28

Turkey to present Saudi probe findings, request residence search

Turkish investigators looking into Khashoggi's killing will present Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor with a 150-page dossier and request another joint search at the residence of the kingdom's consul-general in Istanbul, according to a Turkish source.
Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb will meet on Monday Irfan Fidan, the Istanbul chief public prosecutor, to discuss the latest findings in the case.
According to a source at the Istanbul prosecutor's office, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, Fidan will ask al-Mojeb to conduct another joint search at the consul-general's residence. 
Meanwhile, the dossier that will be presented to al-Mojeb in Monday's meeting will include interviews with 45 consulate employees.
According to the source, the file also identifies four people as the prime suspects of Khashoggi's killing but names only three of them: Saudi Consul-General Mohammed al-Otaibi, forensics expert Saleh al-Tubaiqi and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, who was identified as being part of a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on October 2, the day of Khashoggi's disappearance after entering the consulate to obtain paperwork needed for his upcoming marriage.
The fourth person that will be presented as a main suspect is an unnamed "local collaborator" who, according to Riyadh, was given Khashoggi's body in order to dispose of it.
Read more here.

Saudi station chief 'explored forest a day before Khashoggi's murder'

Police sources have told Turkish media that the Saudi consul station chief in Istanbul went to a forest north of the city, a day before Khashoggi's killing.
A CCTV image, obtained by state television network TRT and other media, showed a black car with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrad Forest on October 1.
Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Istanbul, said the man being implicated was Ahmad Abdullah al-Muzaini, one of the station chiefs of the consulate since 2015.
"In the last week or so, it's also been reported that al-Muzaini left Istanbul for Riyadh on September 29 and returned on October 1, and that's the day, according to these reports that he was seen around that forest."
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that consulate officials made "reconnaissance" trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed.

Top Saudi prosecutor arrives in Turkey

Saudi Arabia's attorney general has arrived in Turkey to hold talks with investigators looking into the killing of Khashoggi.
Turkey has said Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, is expected to discuss the latest findings of the investigation with Turkish investigators.
Ther visit comes just days after CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey to review evidence before briefing the US president.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in the kingdom in connection with the October 2 killing.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister appeared to reject that notion in remarks on Saturday, saying the kingdom would try the perpetrators and bring them to justice after the investigation is completed.

UK knew of Saudi plot to kidnap Khashoggi three weeks before killing - Express

Britain's Sunday Express newspaper is reporting that the UK was made aware of a plot to kidnap Jamal Khashoggi and take him back to Saudi Arabia, three weeks before he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was killed.
An intelligence source told the Sunday Express: "We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2.
"These details included primary orders to capture Mr Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem.
"We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman."
The source added that MI6 had warned their Saudi counterparts to cancel the mission, though this request was ignored.
"On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of Riasat Al-Istikhbarat Al-Amah (Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence) to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was.
"Through channels we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events show that our warning was ignored."

Mattis calls for transparent probe in Khashoggi killing

US defence secretary, Jim Mattis, said that he had met Saudi Arabia's foreign minister and called for a transparent investigation into the killing of Khashoggi.
Mattis said he met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a conference in Bahrain on Saturday and discussed the killing.
"We discussed it. You know the same thing we talked about, the need for transparency, full and complete investigation," Mattis told a small group of reporters travelling to Prague with him.
"(There was) full agreement from foreign minister Jubeir, no reservations at all, he said we need to know what happened and it was very collaborative, in agreement," Mattis added.

Saturday, October 27

France's Macron calls for sanctions over Khashoggi killing

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi's murder.
"For me, things are clear. Firstly, some of facts have been established. We must fully investigate the nature of these facts, and who's responsible," he told reporters on the sidelines of a four-way Syria summit in Istanbul, also attended by the leaders of Turkey, Germany and Russia.
"Sanctions must be taken on this basis and these sanctions must be coherent and complete, and be extremely concrete and proportional," added Macron.
"It will depend on the facts as they are established and the sanctions will be taken at a European level, as we usually do, so that there is true coordination."

Merkel and Macron to seek joint EU position on Saudi arms sales 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to find a common European Union position on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, according to Germany's leader.
"We agreed that when we have more clarity, and we are counting on that, when we know who was behind this then we will try to find a unified European solution or reaction from all member states of the European Union to show that we negotiate on the basis of common values," Merkel told reporters in Istanbul.
The chancellor has promised to halt all German arms exports to the kingdom until the killing of Khashoggi is explained.

Turkey's Erdogan demands more answers in Khashoggi case

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has shared details of the Khashoggi case in bilateral talks during a four-way summit on Syria with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany.
Speaking at a joint news conference following a summit in Istanbul, Erdogan said Riyadh needed to say who sent to Turkey the 18 people believed to be responsible for the journalist's killing.
He also said Ankara valued the conclusion of discussions between Turkish and Saudi prosecutors, who are due to meet on Sunday.

Macron, Merkel back Europe coordination on arms sales to Saudi

France and Germany's leaders have said they want a "coordinated" European position for sanctions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
This came after French President Emmanuel Macron implied on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was engaging in "pure demagoguery" by halting arms sales to Riyadh.
On the sidelines of a Syria summit in Istanbul, the two leaders had a "peaceful exchange", the Elysee palace said, and agreed not to announce their next positions on the issue without first coordinating "at the European level".

Saudi FM: Khashoggi issue has become 'hysterical'

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has criticised the global outcry surrounding Khashoggi's killing as "hysterical" and rejected Turkey's demand to extradite the suspects.
"The issue has become fairly hysterical," Jubeir said, adding that investigations take time and facts should be determined as inquiries continue.
Answering questions from journalists at a regional summit in Bahrain, Jubeir described Saudi Arabia's relationship with the United States as "ironclad", despite earlier comments from US Secretary of State James Mattis that the killing "undermines regional stability".

Saudi FM: Khashoggi murder suspects will not be extradited

Riyadh dismissed Ankara's calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder of Khashoggi.

"The individuals are Saudi nationals. They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a regional defence forum in Bahrain.

He was responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who on Friday renewed his call for the 18 men to be extradited for trial in Turkey.

Mattis: Khashoggi killing 'undermines regional stability'

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that Khashoggi's murder "undermines regional stability" and that the US intends to take further action in response.
Speaking to an audience of international officials in Bahrain, Mattis avoided mentioning Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder but did say that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already revoked some Saudi visas and "will be taking additional measures".
"With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all," he said.
He added that "our respect for the Saudi people is undiminished" but that respect "must come with transparency and trust".
Mattis also argued that Russia could not replace US commitment to the Middle East, saying that Moscow lacked essential moral principles, and renewed criticism of Iran's "outlaw regime".



These are the most sophisticated systems Israel has ever sold to any Arab country.

Saudi Arabia and Israel held secret meetings which led to an estimated $250-million deal, including the transfer of Israeli espionage technologies to the kingdom, Israeli media reported on Sunday, citing an exclusive report by the United Arab Emirate news website Al-Khaleej.
Some of the spy systems, which are the most sophisticated systems Israel has ever sold to any Arab country, have already been transferred to Saudi Arabia and put into use after a Saudi technical team received training in operating them, the report added.
The exclusive report also revealed that the two countries exchanged strategic military information in the meetings, which were conducted in Washington and London through a European mediator.
Such cooperation would not be the first of its kind between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In September, Al-Khaleej reported that Saudi Arabia had purchased Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system to defend itself from Houthi missile attacks.
The deal, which was reportedly mediated by the United States included further plans to reach an agreement on broad military cooperation between the two countries.
While Israel has no official ties with Saudi Arabia, the relationship with the Sunni kingdom and other Gulf states has grown stronger in recent years, due in large part to the shared threat of Iran’s expansion across the region.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot met with his counterparts from several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia’s Chief of Staff Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, in mid-October while in Washington for the Countering Violent Extremist Organizations Conference for military commanders.
While this seemed to be the first publicized meeting between Eisenkot and Al-Ruwaili, it was the second consecutive year the two attended the military commanders’ conference.
Last November, following Eisenkot’s first participation in the conference, he offered to share Israeli intelligence about Iran with Riyadh, telling the Saudi newspaper Elaph in an unprecedented interview that what he heard from the Saudis about Iranian expansion was “identical” to Israeli concerns.

Analysis - The Sultan’s New Friend: Just Why Did Netanyahu Visit Oman?

By Zvi Bar'el

If we let our imagination run wild, Trump might now encourage the Saudi prince to promote an agreement with Israel to cleanse himself of the Khashoggi affair, with Israel’s visit to Oman part of the process.
Sultan Qaboos of Oman is a very secretive leader. He’s minister of defense, finance, foreign affairs and intelligence, and heads the central bank. In Oman there are no democratic institutions and the ruler appoints the judges. Leaks are unlikely to come out of Muscat to shed light on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit.
But that doesn’t diminish the importance of the trip, which cracks the wall of no public meetings between Arab leaders and Israel’s prime minister. Netanyahu had good reason not to visit Oman and one excellent reason to do so. Oman is the close ally of Iran and Qatar. One is Israel’s great enemy and one has been defined by Israel as supporting terror because of its assistance to Hamas and its alliance with Iran and Turkey.
Oman recently announced that it opposes sanctions on Iran and that it intends to build a gas pipeline connecting it to Iran. It helped Iranian smugglers do business during the previous period of sanctions and it opposes Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iranian policy.
Sultan Qaboos, Oman’s absolute ruler, is the most veteran Arab leader; he came to power in a coup against his father in 1970. He opposes the Saudi war in Yemen, though he decided late to join the Arab coalition, and has even threatened to withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council due to his opposition to Saudi hegemony in the Gulf. When three Gulf states imposed an embargo on Qatar more than a year ago, Oman and Kuwait didn’t join this dramatic move and Oman even allowed Qatar free use of its ports to get around the blockade, setting a collision course with Saudi Arabia.
Ostensibly Oman should have incurred Saudi sanctions no less than Qatar did, and Saudi Arabia might even have penalized Oman if not for American pressure and the desire to avoid a greater rift among the Gulf states.
The visit by an Israeli prime minister to Oman contradicts not only Israel’s policy toward Iran, it sticks a toothpick in the eye of the Saudi kingdom. And yet, no condemnation has been heard from Riyadh or other Arab countries. Only Iran responded to the surprise visit with an interpretation that once again Israel and the United States are trying to drive a wedge into the Muslim world.
This is relatively moderate verbiage that didn’t touch on the initiator of the visit, Sultan Qaboos, who is Tehran’s ally. Iran can’t criticize Qaboos because back in 2013 it agreed to hold talks in Oman with U.S. officials on laying the groundwork for the nuclear agreement, and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry subsequently met with Iranian officials for discussions that led to the nuclear talks.
And here we have Oman, on whose soil was born what President Donald Trump called “the worst agreement ever,” hosting with pomp and circumstance the Israeli prime minister, his wife and his entourage, and no less importantly, the Mossad chief. It’s not superfluous to ask why the Mossad head of all people joined the visit, and it wouldn’t be baseless to assume that the Mossad had a hand not only in planning the trip but also in assisting Qaboos in his rule for years.For years, the sultan’s power relied on the British intelligence services to protect his little country of 2.9 million citizens, and another 2 million foreign workers or so. In any case, it’s possible to conclude that the visit to Oman is the fulfilment of a promise Netanyahu made to forge ties with Arab countries that haven’t signed peace agreements with Israel. Thus the visit is very important politically to Netanyahu, but it’s still too early to say whether the visit will lead to full diplomatic relations, with other Arab countries following suit.
In the same breath one might wonder what led Qaboos, Iran’s ally, to invite an Israeli prime minister and thus raise a wave of speculation about the possibility of talks between Iran and Israel. We don’t have to get excited about talks with Iran. The 76-year-old Qaboos, who three years ago fell ill with cancer, is a realistic leader who knows very well the limitations of the conflicts in the region. He certainly received a long lecture from Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen about the Iranian threat and Israel’s desire for Oman to distance itself from Israel’s enemy and join the U.S. sanctions.
Qaboos certainly politely explained to his visitors that he has no intention of changing his taste for Iran. There’s nothing new about Israelis visiting his country, considering that an Israeli representation operated in Muscat until 2000, but that was Israel’s status in Morocco and Qatar as well.
Qaboos may have understood from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who visited the sultan’s palace shortly before Netanyahu, that there is a chance for renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is unlikely that this was the reason that Qaboos invitated Netanyahu, especially when on the horizon the Trump administration is threatening to announce its deal of the century.
If there's someone who should and can persuade Netanyahu to renew the talks, he's sitting in the White House, not on the Persian Gulf coast. If we let our imagination run wild, Trump might now encourage the Saudi crown prince to promote an agreement with Israel to cleanse himself of the Khashoggi affair, with the Israeli visit to Oman, to the expert go-between, being part of the process. But you have to exercise great caution when you let your imagination speak.

#Pashto Music Video - Rubab Instrumental - Bya ke borem ba mazar

The never-ending ordeal of Pakistan's minorities

By Rabia Mehmood, South Asia Researcher

As the world awaits the Supreme Court’s verdict on Aasia Bibi’s unjust conviction and death sentence in a blasphemy case, hardliners have started agitating both online and offline, increasing pressure on the authorities to uphold the sentence. A not-so-cryptic tweet by Rizvi Media of Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLYR) reads: “Think carefully before making any decision.”
The fate of those unjustly accused of blasphemy hinges on this emblematic case, which has created an environment of fear and hostility for Pakistanis especially those who adhere to religions other than Sunni Islam.
Since Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s killing in 2010, I have interviewed and spoken to hundreds of Pakistani minorities. The impact of Taseer’s death, for taking a stand against Aasia Bibi’s arrest on blasphemy charges, came up a lot in the conversations. Many spoke about how unsafe minorities felt in Pakistan. If a governor could not be protected, then what of religious minorities, who are at a higher risk?
Eight years on, the situation seems to be getting worse. Prosecutions on blasphemy charges have expanded to the internet and people have been accused even for social media posts.
Even the faintest suspicion of a blasphemy allegation is enough to put the accused and, in case of religious minorities, their entire community in danger 
Rabia Mehmood
In February this year, a video of an injured young man, Sajid Masih, went viral on social media. Sajid alleged that he was tortured by an officer belonging to the Federal Investigation Agency who ordered him to have sex with his cousin, Patras. Unable to bear the humiliation, Sajid jumped off from the fourth floor of the FIA building.
Patras Indreyas Masih, Sajid’s cousin, was charged with committing blasphemy – taken into police custody on February 19 after being accused of posting a blasphemous message on Facebook. The case, which was filed by a TLYR supporter, went to trial on April 30.
Patras Masih’s lawyer and family insist that he was a minor at the time of the alleged offence. However, the authorities have prosecuted and tried Patras as an adult. His family says that, despite allegations in the media that his National ID card showed he was 21, his age on his CNIC was changed for him to be able to get a job and provide for his low-income family.
His birth certificate clearly shows he was born in 2001, proving he was 17 at the time of the post. Pakistan is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which each child has the rights to freedom of religionand expression.
Accusing and prosecuting children for blasphemy is not new to Pakistan. Many other minors who were arrested on blasphemy charges include Salamat Masih (11) of Gujranwala, Rimsha Masih (13) of Islamabad, Nabil Chohan (16) of Kasur, Ryan Stenton (16) of Karachi and Aqib Saleem (15), an Ahmadi of Gujranwala. Nabil Chohan has been in jail for two years without access to a lawyer of his choice.
In addition to minors, the list of Pakistanis condemned under blasphemy charges include women, older people, persons with mental disabilities, teachers, school and university students and many others. In 2009, a blasphemy case against a Muslim woman living with schizophrenia, Zaibunnisa, was quashed by the Lahore High Court after she had spent nine years in jail and five in a mental health facility.
So far, there has been no accountability for those who have justified and advocated hatred and discrimination against the most marginalized sectors of society. 
Rabia Mehmood
Even the faintest suspicion of a blasphemy allegation is enough to put the accused and, in case of religious minorities, their entire community in danger. In 2012, I had reported on an Ahmadi man who was acquitted in a blasphemy case after spending years in prison sharing a barrack with militants. Despite being proven innocent, he ended up living in hiding, unable to step out the town his family was living in. He eventually had to flee Pakistan for a safer place for him and his family.
Christians and Ahmadis have been displaced within Pakistan and others have had to either flee the country or seek asylum elsewhere due to the lack of protections and the constant threat of blasphemy laws pending over them.
The impunity and free pass given to those who use blasphemy laws to threaten and attack minorities is not a mystery. So far, there has been no accountability for those who have justified and advocated hatred and discrimination against the most marginalised sectors of society.
Despite decades of activism by civil-society organisations, journalists and legislators to amend the blasphemy laws to protect the rights to freedom of religion and expression for all, Pakistani authorities seem reluctant to bring laws in line with international law and have preferred to stay in the past. In the meantime, the list of victims who fall prey to blasphemy allegations keeps growing.
The question is: will Naya Pakistan take a stand against the religious discrimination that has hounded minorities for decades in Purana Pakistan?
Today, Patras Masih’s parents remain displaced from their home due to threats they have received since their son was accused. It is time for the justice system to ensure that blasphemy allegations are no longer used to silence and violate the human rights of any Pakistani.

Mentally Disabled Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Life in Prison

A 25-year-old mentally disabled Pakistani Christian faces life in prison for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam.Yaqoob Bashir was accused of burning a booklet that carried Quranic verses in Mirpurkhas in June 2015.Bashir was reportedly receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Hyderabad prior to the blasphemy accusation.
Human rights groups have reported widespread abuse of Pakistan's blasphemy laws. False accusations are often made to settle personal vendettas or incite religious hatred against minority communities.Christians accused of blasphemy may face mob violence and lynchings, even if those accusations are clearly false.
During Bashir's three years of imprisonment prior to his conviction, he was attacked by fellow inmates on several occasions, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).  In June 2018, he was brutally beaten by fellow inmates for praying in their shared jail cell and sustained multiple injuries.Bashir's appeals for bail were twice rejected. He also reportedly suffered from serious illnesses due to the poor conditions in jail and a lack of adequate medical care.
"The blasphemy laws need reform," Imtiaz Amanat, Legal Aid Coordinator at Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, told ICC. "There are a number of case studies where these laws have been misused against the most vulnerable segments of the society. Yet, these laws are mute about mentally disabled persons, children, and intention. Because of this, these laws have created an atmosphere of fear in Pakistan."
ICC says that since the day Bashir was accused of blasphemy, his family has been monitored by extremist groups who have repeatedly threatened and harassed them during court hearings."It's unbearable and unjust," Kasur Bibi, Bashir's mother said. "My son is innocent. He did not insult or do blasphemy. He does not care much of these issues as his mind works differently than that of a normal person's."
Bashir's legal defense will file an appeal against his sentence in Hyderabad High Court, but it may take years for that appeal to be heard.


The UAE government delegation has been accorded warm welcome in Islamabad despite the fact that UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash had threatened Pakistan of having to pay a “heavy price” for not taking a clear position in favour of its strategic relations with the six-nation Arab Gulf cooperation Council (regarding their war on Yemen).
It is relevant to add here that UAE minister of state had threatened Pakistan using derogatory remarks when Pakistani Parliament recommended to the government to remain neutral in Saudi-UAE war on Yemen. The parliament also had opposed sending troops for that and that resolution had irked UAE sheikhdom too. But, unfortunately, Imran-led PTI government took a U-turn from previous stance and rejoined the old camp without any apology from the UAE on their anti-Pakistan derogatory and threatening remarks.  
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan asked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a deferred payment facility for the import of oil, similar to the one agreed with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia earlier this week.
He said this addressing a press conference in Islamabad, during which he briefed the media about a meeting earlier in the day between Prime Minister Imran Khan and a high-level delegation led by UAE Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber. The minister said the UAE delegation is visiting Pakistan under the aegis of UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to discuss mutually beneficial projects which both countries can undertake.
"The delegation said bilateral relations between Pakistan and UAE are decades old, but there was a dip in the last 4-5 years," Qureshi said. "In today's meeting, we have discussed measures to expand the economic side of our longstanding bilateral ties."
It is relevant to add here that UAE minister of state had threatened Pakistan using derogatory remarks when Pakistani Parliament recommended to the government to remain neutral in Saudi-UAE war on Yemen. The parliament also had opposed sending troops for that and that resolution had irked UAE sheikhdom too. But, unfortunately, Imran-led PTI government took a U-turn from previous stance and rejoined the old camp without any apology from the UAE on their anti-Pakistan derogatory and threatening remarks.

#Pakistan - NRO – Anti-#PPP propaganda and reality: an eyewitness account

Senator Rehman Malik
There are lot of controversies created in the media on an imaginary NRO supposedly signed between Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf for allegedly aiming at dropping all the case against PPP leadership. I would like to categorically deny this perception by challenging everyone who has been claiming that an NRO was signed between Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf. I expect someone either to accept my challenge or stop criticising against PPP leadership.
I feel that it is my national duty to put the facts straight related to series of meetings with General Pervez Musharraf and his team where I was leading on behalf of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in London and Dubai with the help of some important aides of General Pervez Musharraf.The first conversation took place between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and General Ehtisham Zamir on our way back to London from Bradford in which it was offered by General Pervez Musharraf to release Asif Ali Zardari from jail to start the dialogue. She, however, declined that offer and informed Gen. Zamir in my presence that she would like to first release the PPP workers and other party leaders including Jahangir Badar, Yousaf Raza Gillani and others as confidence building measures to start any dialogue with him, as they are kept in jail due to political vendetta. This was the first NRO, which was declined by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and regretted the offer of release of Senator Asif Ali Zardari.
There was a gap in the dialogue for some time and some of the government operators were talking to Yousaf Raza Gillani who declined to leave the Pakistan People’s Party to join Musharraf. Similar offers were given to Makhdoom Amin Faheem who also declined it with thanks.
The second round of the dialogue started in mid-2006, when a message was received from General Pervez Musharraf for a dialogue on transition of democracy. I had couple of meetings with the close aides of General Pervez Musharraf from army and his Principle Secretary level in Dubai on various dates. Both Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mr. Asif Ali Zardari were kept informed about the developments.
A couple of meetings between me and close aides of General Pervez Musharraf resulted into a meeting between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Abu Dhabi in early 2007 in a palace in the presence of some royal members and DG ISI Gen. Kiyani. This meeting was coordinated and facilitated by certain dignitaries of UAE.
Two Generals, myself, General Musharraf and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto sat for the cup of tea and before saying goodbye, a few minutes before departure, General Musharraf asked Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto not to come Pakistan before 31st December 2007 and insisted to come after the General Elections and then we will celebrate the new year week together. She responded in negative and turned down the offer of General Pervez Musharraf by saying that “General Sahib it is not you who will decide my return date; it is my prerogative to decide as to when I would return and I have decided to return back on the 18th October, 2007”.
In the meantime, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto went to the ladies room and General Musharraf addressed me saying that she listens you as a brother so please convince her not to come to Pakistan before general elections and I told General Musharraf that once she has decided her return date then it is not possible to change her decision, so please follow what she has told him. I told him that those who are supporting you and your uniform, one day you will look behind and there will be no one for you. But General Musharraf did not agree with me by stating that there would be lot of people who would stay behind him. The time is testimony that how he left.
It was the second offer by Gen. Musharraf to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, which was declined by her in the said meeting. The third attempt was made by General Musharraf when a senior General called me to come to Dubai from London, as he wanted to meet Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto with a special message of Gen. Musharraf. I accordingly flew from London to Dubai. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto indicated a time for meeting and I along with the said General drove to her residence and on the way I came to know that he has offer for her from Gen. Musharraf for the closure of all cases in return of deferring the return of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan before elections. The said meeting took place and resulted in a big no from her besides refusing the offer of closure of the cases. This was the third offer of NRO, which Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had turned down.Lately, Gen. Pervez Musharraf sent two of his trusted Generals along with Iqbal Z Khan who met Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto with yet another offer where Ms Naheed Khan and Mr. Safder Abbasi were also present. It was offered to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to accept the Chairmanship of Senate however Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto declined this 5th offer of NRO by Gen. Musharraf via his three trusted friends. For the fourth time I received a call from President’s office informing that Ch. Shujaat Hussain along with Ch. Pervez Elahi and Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed have been tasked by General Musharraf to meet Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto with yet another offer and to convince her to defer his return to Pakistan before elections. I was flying from Dubai to London and I had taken my boarding card to fly but on the instructions of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto I returned the boarding card and returned to her residence where we discussed the pros & cons of the meeting with three members of opponent party on behalf of Gen. Musharraf and finally Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decided not to meet the visiting politicians. Hence I informed the Principle Secretary to Gen. Musharraf and in return I was informed that a special plane has been arranged for three of them to fly to Dubai and they were present at the airport. I however regretted that she has refused to meet them. It was the fourth time that the offer of an NRO was scrapped by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
At another later date a telephonic conversation took place between Gen. Musharraf and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto wherein she demanded of Gen. Pervez Musharraf to hold elections on time, to take off his uniform, to appoint a new Army Chief and successful transition of power to the next elected government. Gen. Musharraf however stated that Gen. Hamid would get in touch for some further proposals.
Few days later Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari were present in a hotel in London and I was also there when I received a message from Gen. Hamid informing me that he is faxing a document like an agreement between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Gen. Musharraf to take the mutual understanding forward. I went to the reception, collected the fax received from Gen. Hamid, presented it to her and as a result of discussion she decided to decline the said offer which was obviously not acceptable to her not to travel back to Pakistan before elections in return of the closure of cases against her. I accordingly informed Gen. Hamid and it was 6th time offer of the NRO, which was frustrated by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.There was no written or verbal agreement between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Gen. Pervez Musharraf, which could have been termed as NRO at later stage. However, there were persistent demands from Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to Gen. Pervez Musharraf, as mentioned above. The same demands were followed later on when she arrived and it was me who conveyed to Gen. Musharraf and the guarantors of the dialogue that Gen. Musharraf had left with no choice except to take off his uniform. The persistent demands of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the sake of restoration of democracy in the country had dismayed Gen. Mushar
raf. Besides, there were lot of under current issues within the government institutions but can be stated at some appropriate time.
In fact, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had declined the offer of Gen. Musharraf for 6th time, but Gen. Musharraf wanted to oblige MQM for the closure of the cases by using the shoulders of the PPP. Mr. M. Anwar spoke to me about this offer of NRO and I told him that we were out of it and never been in search of any NRO. What I learnt later was that the Law Minister Mr. Hamid drafted the NRO which in fact Ch. Shujaat and two other political leaders wanted to bring to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for her consent and having been declined several time Gen. Musharraf issued an NRO Ordinance proposed by the Ministry of Law duly approved by the Cabinet headed by Shaukat Aziz and it was implemented. It may be kept in mind that none of the leadership of Pakistan People’s Party including Asif Ali Zardari were part of the Government and/or the Cabinet to have either influenced the government to issue National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). Hence PPP Leadership cannot be blamed for such NRO, which was, in fact, initiated by Gen. Musharraf on behalf of other party and not PPP.
If the investigation take place, the number of beneficiaries, cases closed, accused released from the jail will clear as to who were the actual beneficiary of NRO. It would be without any exaggeration to say that MQM had been the major beneficiary of the NRO of which thousands of cases were closed as a result of NRO and were never reopened after having NRO scrapped by the Supreme Court.Once again I with full responsibility categorically stated that there was no NRO between PPP and Gen. Musharraf. The big achievements, which Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto achieved, were the dosing off the uniform by Gen. Musharraf, conducting of elections on time, appointment of new Army Chief and smooth transition of power. These were the achievement of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and she got those achieved without surrendering herself and without signing NRO.
Whatever I have written above, every word can be corroborated with evidence hence I appeal to all those who are blaming PPP for signing the NRO to not to distort historical facts out of personal disliking of the party.

پی پی کا آئی جی اسلام آباد کے تبادلے پر اظہار تشویش

پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی نے وفاقی وزیر کا فون سننے میں تاخیر پر آئی جی اسلام آباد جان محمد کے تبادلے پر تشویش کا اظہار کیا ہے۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری کے ترجمان مصطفی کھوکھر کا کہنا ہےکہ وزیر کا فون سننے میں تاخیر پر آئی جی اسلام آباد کا تبادلہ حیران کن ہے ، اس نے وفاقی وزیر کے غیر قانونی حکم کی تعمیل نہیں کی ہے ۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ وفاقی وزیر پولیس کو اپنے ذاتی جھگڑے میں استعمال کرنا چاہتے تھے ۔
ترجمان چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی نے کہا کہ نیازی اینڈ کمپنی کے تبدیلی کے دعوے بے نقاب ہو رہے ہیں۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ آئی جی اسلام آباد کو سزا دیکر پی ٹی آئی حکومت نے بیورو کرسی کو پیغام دیا ہے۔

#Paokistan - One step closer to #FATF blacklist

Hafiz Saeed has seemingly won the latest round in the ring with the civvies. For the presidential ordinance promulgated by the last government back in February — proscribing individuals and entities already outlawed by the UN Security Council — has lapsed. In real terms, this means that both Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) are no longer banned. And, as such, are free to resume fund-raising.
The simple fact is that Pakistan faces a major economic crisis. This is something that Prime Minister Imran Khan understands all too well; as his hectic travel schedule underscores. Indeed, having visited Saudi Arabia twice since assuming office, both times with begging bowl firmly in hand, the man who insisted he would remain homeward bound for the first three months of his tenure is all set to jet into Beijing at the beginning of next month. To seal yet another deal.
Yet someone somewhere should have had a quiet word with the premier. To point out that the path towards economic salvation is not to be found in the balancing of friendly loans against those of the IMF. But, rather, in tackling terror-financing head-on. For failure in this regard will essentially fast-track FATF black-listing. Thereby not only impacting Islamabad’s borrowing ability vis-à-vis established multilateral frameworks but also rendering the country a liability for traditional allies.Tellingly, the Task Force delegation that was in town this month to measure progress on this and other fronts gave the country a less than clean bill of health.  It is therefore absolutely inexcusable that the ruling PTI did not see fit to extend the amendments to the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act ahead of the 120-day expiration date. This is not to let the opposition off the hook. For the latter, as part of its check-and-balance mandate, ought to have tabled a resolution towards this end before Parliament.
This gross misstep will do nothing to mend ties with the US. For Pakistan has unwittingly cast itself in the role of ineffective broker for regional peace and security. It also reinforces the folly of viewing American complaints through an exclusively Afghan prism. As when Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi recently called on Washington to restore military reimbursements; while vowing to support negotiations with the Taliban to secure the Afghan quagmire. Such myopia will not do. For India is a reality that Pakistan cannot ignore. Especially given that Islamabad had conceded that the US-led motion back in February to have it placed on the FATF grey-list centred heavily on the release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest. And that this was likely done at New Delhi’s behest.
Bluntly put, the country is worse off than before. For unless this question is remedied at the earliest, it is all but guaranteed that Pakistan will be joining the likes of Iran and North Korea on the Task Force blacklist sometime next year. And if that happens, the entire political leadership will be at fault. While the citizenry continues to pick up the tab.
None of which is cricket.