Thursday, February 7, 2019

Video Report ; ‘Unacceptable’: Saudi-led coalition slammed for avoiding responsibility over Yemen hospital bombing

Video Report - Basta Cosi! France recalls ambassador as row with Italy escalates

Video Report - Ocasio-Cortez slams ICE: They don’t deserve a dime

Video Report - UN rapporteur: Khashoggi murder 'perpetrated' by Saudi officials

Year Before Killing, Saudi Prince Told Aide He Would Use ‘a Bullet’ on Khashoggi

By Mark Mazzetti
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed in October, if Mr. Khashoggi did not return to the kingdom and end his criticism of the Saudi government, according to current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of intelligence reports.
The conversation, intercepted by American intelligence agencies, is the most detailed evidence to date that the crown prince considered killing Mr. Khashoggi long before a team of Saudi operatives strangled him inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and dismembered his body using a bone saw. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder prompted weeks of outrage around the world and among both parties in Washington, where senior lawmakers called for an investigation into who was responsible.
The Saudi government has denied that the young crown prince played any role in the killing, and President Trump has publicly shown little interest in trying to get the facts about who was responsible. Prince Mohammed, the next in line to the Saudi throne behind his ailing father, King Salman, has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the Trump White House — especially Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
The conversation appears to have been recently transcribed and analyzed as part of an effort by intelligence agencies to find proof of who was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. The National Security Agency and other American spy agencies are now sifting through years of the crown prince’s voice and text communications that the N.S.A. routinely intercepted and stored, much as the agency has long done for other top foreign officials, including close allies of the United States.
For the past several months, the National Security Agency has circulated intelligence reports to other spy agencies, the White House and close foreign allies about the crown prince’s communications. The reports were described by several current and former officials. Weeks after the killing, the C.I.A. finished its first assessment about the operation, concluding that Prince Mohammed had ordered it.
The conversation between Prince Mohammed and the aide, Turki Aldakhil, took place in September 2017, as officials in the kingdom were growing increasingly alarmed about Mr. Khashoggi’s criticisms of the Saudi government. That same month, Mr. Khashoggi began writing opinion columns for The Washington Post, and top Saudi officials discussed ways to lure him back to Saudi Arabia.
In the conversation, Prince Mohammed said that if Mr. Khashoggi could not be enticed back to Saudi Arabia, then he should be returned by force. If neither of those methods worked, the crown prince said, then he would go after Mr. Khashoggi “with a bullet,” according to the officials familiar with one of the intelligence reports, which was produced in early December.
American intelligence analysts concluded that Prince Mohammed might not have meant the phrase literally — in other words, he did not necessarily mean to have Mr. Khashoggi shot — but more likely he used the phrase as a metaphor to emphasize that he had every intention of killing the journalist if he did not return to Saudi Arabia.
At the time of the conversation with Mr. Aldakhil, Prince Mohammed was in the midst of consolidating power in the kingdom. Just months earlier, his father elevated him to second in line to the throne after Prince Mohammed plotted the ouster of his predecessor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
In late 2017, Prince Mohammed ordered hundreds of influential businessmen and Saudi royals — some who had been considered contenders to the throne — locked up at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where they were interrogated.Days before the conversation with Mr. Aldakhil, according to the same intelligence report, Prince Mohammed complained to another aide — Saud al-Qahtani — that Mr. Khashoggi had grown too influential. Prince Mohammed said that Mr. Khashoggi’s articles and Twitter posts were tarnishing the crown prince’s image as a forward-thinking reformer, and the criticism was more cutting because it was coming from a journalist who had once been seen as supportive of his agenda. When Mr. al-Qahtani said that any move against Mr. Khashoggi was risky and could create an international uproar, his boss scolded him: Saudi Arabia should not care about international reaction to how it handles its own citizens, the crown prince told Mr. al-Qahtani.
Prince Mohammed also told Mr. al-Qahtani, according to an official who has read the report, that he “did not like half-measures — he never liked them and did not believe in them.”
Days after this conversation and the one about the bullet, Mr. Khashoggi wrote his first column for The Washington Post: “Saudi Arabia Wasn’t Always This Repressive. Now It’s Unbearable.” It was a withering attack on Prince Mohammed’s crackdown inside the kingdom.“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” Mr. Khashoggi wrote. “To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”Spokesmen for the National Security Agency and the C.I.A. declined to comment. In a statement, Mr. Aldakhil said, “These allegations are categorically false. They appear to be a continuation of various efforts by different parties to connect His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to this horrific crime. These efforts will prove futile.”On Thursday evening, a Saudi official issued a statement saying: “We again deny any involvement on the part of the crown prince in the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is moving forward with its investigation and has already indicted a number of officials linked to the crime. We are focused on uncovering the full truth and ensuring complete accountability.”
In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that Prince Mohammed exchanged numerous messages with Mr. al-Qahtani in the hours before and after Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, citing the C.I.A.’s assessment of the Saudi operation.
The Journal report did not give details about the messages, and officials have said that American spy agencies in many cases are able to capture only the date and time of messages — so-called metadata — not their content.The Journal also reported that Prince Mohammed spoke with associates in August 2017 about luring Mr. Khashoggi from the United States to a third country if officials were unable to get him to Saudi Arabia.American intelligence agencies have identified Mr. al-Qahtani as the ringleader of the operation that killed Mr. Khashoggi, and last year, he was put on a list of Saudi officials sanctioned by the United States for their role in the journalist’s death. Mr. al-Qahtani is viewed in the kingdom as a brutal enforcer of the crown prince’s agenda and has used an army of online trolls to harass Saudi dissidents on social media.
After Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, the kingdom announced that Mr. al-Qahtani had been removed from his position as an adviser to the royal court. Saudi Arabia has since begun criminal proceedings against 11 individuals involved in the operation. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of them.
The kingdom has not released the names of the people on trial, and it is unclear whether Mr. al-Qahtani is among them.
Mr. Aldakhil, the other aide to the crown prince caught in the intercepts, until recently was the general manager of the Al Arabiya television network in Saudi Arabia. He is an influential media figure in the kingdom and a prominent adviser to the crown prince.
During the September 2017 conversation, according to intelligence reports, Mr. Aldakhil spoke to Prince Mohammed about luring Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia with the possibility of a job at Al Arabiya. The crown prince was skeptical that Mr. Khashoggi would accept the offer.
Last month, Mr. Aldakhil left his post at the network. Saudi news sites have reported that he is expected to be named the next Saudi ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
American officials said there is no evidence that Mr. Aldakhil had knowledge of a specific plan to capture or kill Mr. Khashoggi, and his name has never been among the suspects in the killing.In the weeks after Mr. Khashoggi’s death, classified evidence piled up that senior Saudi royals approved the Khashoggi operation, even as American officials insisted that there was no “smoking gun” directly tying the crown prince to it. The narrative from the Saudi royal court changed repeatedly, and the Saudi government has been determined to insulate the powerful crown prince from blame.Most recently, Saudi officials have said that the operation was a kidnapping gone awry — that the team had been sent to Istanbul to forcibly bring Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia but made the decision to kill him after he refused to cooperate. Saudi officials have said that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the operation.In the latest indication that the international uproar over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing will continue, a United Nations investigator released a preliminary report on Thursday that concluded that Mr. Khashoggi “was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia.”
Late last year, Mr. Trump tried to blunt the outrage by issuing a statement saying that it was possible that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing, but the facts might never be known.
What was more important, the president indicated, was that the kingdom had pledged hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in the United States, including $110 billion in arms purchased from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other defense firms. Defense analysts say that the actual amount that the Saudi government spends is likely to be far lower.With Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, lawmakers are hoping for a sustained push for answers about who was behind Mr. Khashoggi’s death. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is planning to introduce legislation calling for the director of national intelligence to produce a report to Congress identifying which Saudi officials helped plan the operation, according to two Democratic congressional aides.
In early December, Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, told reporters, “We are doing everything we can to go down every rabbit hole to find what’s there,” adding, “We are leaving no stone unturned.”
“I am quite satisfied we will find more evidence of what happened,” Mr. Mattis said. “I just don’t know what it’s going to be or who is going to be implicated.”

Pashto Music - Janan Toba Toba - By Sana Tajik

Sana Tajik - This young #Pashto singer is using social media to fulfill her musical dreams

I have released my songs through social media and have been to Kabul twice.

Sana Tajik, a rising Pashto singer from Lower Dir, launched her career in music a year ago despite unfavourable conditions for artists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In a chat with this scribe, she says that one should not take art as something to fetch earnings; instead, talent should be used for positive cause and change in society.
Her recent Pashto video album has shot her to fame on social media. She is currently doing BS from a college in Peshawar but also pins her hopes on her career in music despite unfavourable conditions for artists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Sana Tajik says talent should be used for positive change in society
Ms Tajik says that she got inspiration from Haroon Bacha, a noted Pashto singer, when she was in 8th grade and fell in love with Pashto folk music. Defying social taboos, she sought permission from her parents to learn the basics of music.
“Being the elder of my siblings, I was able to convince my parents to permit me for music career. My hopes are high and I am quite confident about success in my future in the field, otherwise disliked by many in our conservative society,” she states.
Ms Tajik says that two years ago her family shifted from Dir to Peshawar where she met senior folk singer Gulzar Alam, who taught her for a few months. “Now I have been taking music lessons from Ustad Safdar Ali from Punjab. I got a tremendous response from audience on social media. The number of my fans has crossed more than a million,” she claims.
The rising singer says that she doesn’t feel any threat as her parents have permitted her to launch her career in music despite being from a place where she doesn’t think any female might have joined singing field ever even in the distant past.
“I have released my songs through social media and have been to Kabul twice,” she says with confidence.
About the problems of artists, she says that government should not always be held responsible alone for this mess. She says that well-off people and the artists themselves should be blamed. She adds that artists in some cases never care for future life and when their end comes near, they begin to complain of their miserable plight which she thinks is unfair.
Ms Tajik has recently released her Pashto video album ‘Deedan’, a medley of traditional, modern and rock music. She has set a target of 10 years for scaling the height of fame on Pashto music chart and wants to make music her career with a social cause.
“I strongly believe that life is worth living and our artists should concentrate on this theme. Earning money shouldn’t be the only objective. Fame with respect and to bring about change towards a pluralistic and peaceful society should be the prime aim,” says the artist.
She says that she prefers only social media for her career but will also continue to perform live. She says whether man or woman, an artist should launch career with a positive thinking and should not depend only on government’s support.
“I think the aspiring artists should come up with creative ideas and audience will definitely buy it if it comes up to their taste and expectations,” says Ms Tajik.

پی ٹی آئی سابقہ ریکارڈ توڑنے میں کامیاب

تحریک انصاف نے اپوزیشن میں رہتے ہوئے نئے پاکستان کے جو خدوخال بیان کئے تھے ان میں سے ایک اہم ترین نکتہ یہ تھا کہ سیاسی وابستگی کی بنیاد پر سرکاری عہدے نہیں بانٹے جائیں گے بلکہ میرٹ پر تقرریاں ہوں گی لیکن حقیقت یہ ہے کہ پی ٹی آئی نے اس ضمن میں بھی سابقہ تمام ریکارڈ توڑ دیئے ہیں اور اپنے لاڈلوں اور چہیتوں کو نوازنے کا سلسلہ جاری ہے۔ وفاقی کابینہ کی تشکیل اور مشیروں کی تقرری کے وقت ’’دوست پروری‘‘ کا جو عظیم الشان مظاہرہ کیا گیا، وہ تو سب کے سامنے ہے ہی مگر گزشتہ کئی ماہ سے ہر چھوٹے بڑے عہدے پر اپنے منظور نظر افراد کو لایا جا رہا ہے۔ جب کسی عہدے پر تقرری کا حتمی فیصلہ ہو جاتا ہے تو پھر وہ اسامی مشتہر کی جاتی ہے اور اس میں قابلیت کا معیار اس طرح سے ترتیب دیا جا تا ہے کہ پہلے سے چنیدہ شخص کے علاوہ کوئی امیدوار میرٹ پر پورا نہ اتر سکے۔ مثال کے طور پر پنجاب میں سمندر پار پاکستانیوں کے لئے اوورسیز پاکستانیز کمیشن (OPC) تشکیل دیا گیا ہے۔ گزشتہ دورِ حکومت میں افضال بھٹی کو اس کا کمشنر لگایا گیا تو اس وقت کے چیف جسٹس ثاقب نثار نے از خود نوٹس لیکر اس تعیناتی کو غیر قانونی قرار دیدیا اور کہا گیا کہ چونکہ افضال بھٹی نوازشریف اور شہباز شریف کے سیکرٹری رہے ہیں اس لئے یہ تعیناتی اقربا پروری کے زمرے میں آتی ہے۔ نہ صرف اس شخص سے تنخواہ واپس لی گئی بلکہ نیب کو اس غیر قانونی تعیناتی پر افضال بھٹی کے خلاف ریفرنس بنانے کا حکم بھی دیا گیا۔ یہ اعتراض بھی ہوا کہ برطانیہ میں پیدا ہونے والے ایک شخص کو لاکر پاکستانی ادارے کا سربراہ لگادیا گیا۔ جب تحریک انصاف کی حکومت آئی تو پی ٹی آئی لندن کے عہدیدار اور گورنر پنجاب چوہدری سرور کے ساتھی چوہدری وسیم اختر کو اوورسیز پاکستانیز کمیشن کا وائس چیئرمین لگا دیا گیا اور اب یہ تعیناتی نہ صرف جائز اور قانونی قرار پائی بلکہ کسی نے یہ سوال اٹھانے کی زحمت نہ کی کہ برطانیہ سے ایک شخص کو لاکر پاکستانی ادارے کا سربراہ کیوں بنا دیا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح تحریک انصاف ملتان کے سابق صدر اعجاز جنجوعہ کو چیئرمین پی ایچ اے لگا دیا گیا ہے۔ ان کی قابلیت کا معیار یہ ہے کہ گزشتہ عام انتخابات کے موقع پر ٹکٹ نہ ملا تو وہ ناراض ہو گئے اور اب یہ عہدہ دیکر انہیں منا لیا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح مسلم لیگ (ن) کے سابق ایم پی اے ایس اے حمید جنہوں نے2012ء میں پی ٹی آئی میں شمولیت اختیار کی اور2013ء کے بعد 2018ء کے عام انتخابات میں بھی ہار گئے، انہیں گوجرانوالہ میں چیئرمین پی ایچ اے لگا دیا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پی ٹی آئی کے ایک اور ناراض رہنما عامر شیخ جنہیں گزشتہ عام انتخابات میں ٹکٹ نہ دیا جا سکا، اب انہیں نہ صرف گوجرانوالہ ڈویلپمنٹ اتھارٹی (جی ڈی اے) کا سربراہ لگایا گیا ہے بلکہ واسا کا اضافی چارج بھی دیا گیا ہے۔ گوجرانوالہ سے ہارنے والے پی ٹی آئی کے مزید دو امیدواروں رضوان اسلم بٹ اور مہر صدیق کو بھی اسی طرح کے عہدوں پر کھپانے کی کوشش کی جا رہی ہے۔ راولپنڈی میں سابق ارکان صوبائی اسمبلی عارف عباسی اور آصف محمود کو عام انتخابات میں ٹکٹ نہیں دیا جا سکا تھا تو اب ان دونوں کو بالترتیب راولپنڈی ڈویلپمنٹ اتھارٹی (RDA) اور پی ایچ اے کا چیئرمین لگا کر ازالہ کیا گیا ہے۔ لاہور میں میاں محمود الرشید کے سابقہ پی آر او حافظ ذیشان کو وائس چیئرمین پی ایچ اے لگا دیا گیا ہے۔
گزشتہ برس کٹاس راج از خود نوٹس کیس میں اس وقت کے چیف جسٹس ثاقب نثار نے متروکہ وقف اِملاک بورڈ کے چیئرمین صدیق الفاروق کو گھر بھیج دیا تھا۔ بتایا گیا کہ چونکہ صدیق الفاروق کا تعلق مسلم لیگ (ن) سے ہے اس لئے ان کی تعیناتی اقربا پروری کے زمرے میں آتی ہے۔ اس فیصلے کے خلاف صدیق الفاروق نے نظر ثانی درخواست دائر کی جس میں موقف اختیار کیا کہ ثاقب نثار ایڈووکیٹ کی بطور سیکرٹری قانون تعیناتی اور پھر بطور جج لاہور ہائیکورٹ تعیناتی بھی اسی شخص نے کی جس نے صدیق الفاروق کو چیئرمین متروکہ وقف اِملاک بورڈ لگایا، تو کیا اسے بھی قربا پروری ہی کہا جائے گا؟ یہ نظر ثانی درخواست تاحال زیر التوا ہے۔ اب تحریک انصاف کی حکومت نے متروکہ وقف اِملاک بورڈ کا مستقل چیئرمین لگانے کے لئے اشتہار دیا ہے مگر باوثوق ذرائع بتاتے ہیں کہ پی ٹی آئی کے رہنما ممتاز اختر کاہلوں کو چیئرمین متروکہ وقف اِملاک بورڈ لگانے کا فیصلہ ہو چکا ہے۔ ممتاز کاہلوں تحریک انصاف شمالی پنجاب کے سینئر نائب صدر ہیں، این اے 90سے ٹکٹ نہ ملنے پر خفا ہو گئے تھے اور بطور آزاد امیدوار الیکشن لڑنے کا ارادہ رکھتے تھے لیکن انہیں بعد میں ایڈجسٹ کرنے کے وعدے پر دستبردار ہونے کے لئے منالیا گیا اور اب وعدے کے عین مطابق انہیں چیئرمین متروکہ وقف اِملاک بورڈ لگایا جا رہا ہے حالانکہ سپریم کورٹ صدیق الفاروق کو گھر بھیجتے وقت یہ قرار دے چکی ہے کہ اس عہدے پر اقلیتوں کی نمائندگی ہونی چاہئے۔
چند روز قبل ایوان صدر میں پی آر او کی اسامی کے لئے اشتہار دیا گیا لیکن اس عہدے کے لئے بھی ایک انصافیے کا انتخاب پہلے سے کیا جا چکا ہے۔ لاہور سے پی ٹی آئی کے نوجوان رہنما فرحت عباس کو چیئرمین ٹیوٹا جبکہ فاطمہ چدھڑ نامی ورکر کو چائلڈ پروٹیکشن بیورو کا سربراہ لگانے کا فیصلہ کیا گیا لیکن جب پی ٹی آئی کے اندرونی حلقوں سے شدید مخالفت ہوئی تو یہ ارادہ ملتوی کر دیا گیا۔ اب چیئرمین پی ٹی آئی اور وزیراعظم اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان عمران خان کے حکم پر ایک چار رُکنی کمیٹی بنائی گئی ہے جس میں ارشد داد، اعجازچوہدری، کرنل (ر)اعجاز منہاس اور گورنر پنجاب چوہدری سرور شامل ہیں۔ چوہدری سرور نے اپنی جگہ رابعہ ضیاء کو اس کمیٹی کا ممبر نامزد کیا ہے اور اب یہ کمیٹی فہرستیں مرتب کررہی ہے کہ کن سرکاری عہدوں پر اپنے منظورِ نظر افراد کو ایڈجسٹ کیا جا سکتا ہے۔ یہ کمیٹی فہرست بنا کر نعیم الحق کو بھیجے گی جہاں چیئرمین کی منظوری لینے کے بعد ان افراد کو تعینات کرنے کا حتمی فیصلہ ہو گا اور پھر اخبار میں اشتہار سمیت رسمی کارروائی پوری کرنے کے بعد تعیناتی کا نوٹیفکیشن جاری ہو گا۔ یہ ہے تبدیلی کی ایک لہر جسے نادان دوست تازہ ہوا کا جھونکا سمجھ رہے تھے۔ یہ ہے میرٹ پر تعیناتیوں کی تلخ حقیقت۔ یوں لگتا ہے پی ٹی آئی اپنے لاڈلوں، چہیتوں اور منظور نظر افراد کو نوازنے میں سابقہ حکومتوں کو پیچھے بلکہ بہت پیچھے چھوڑ چکی ہے اور کوئی مقابل نہیں دور تک بلکہ بہت دور تک۔

#Pakistan - The menace of child marriage plagues our society

By Munaj Gul M

It is the right of every girl to say no to marriage if she pleases and pursue her education. We do know that girls are the backbone of every developed and under-developed country, since without the assistance of females, no nation can be successful. But, unfortunately, we are unaware of the rights of females as they are facing numerous obstacles and societal issues like honour killing, child labour, acid attacks, unemployment, child marriages, rape and many more.
It is tragic that 15 million girls are married off before the age of 18 each year and every second a girl becomes a child bride. A report by Save the Children also revealed that every second, girls under the age of 15 are forced to marry to much older men. Child marriage starts a cycle of disadvantages that denies girls of most fundamental rights to learn, develop and be children and it has also so many other harms which can ruin their lives because they cannot attend schools and are subjected to domestic violence.
Here, many questions arise. Are females born to have a discouraged life? Don’t they have the right to be educated?
Why are they being neglected by the government? Who is the onus of these girls whose jubilance of life is crushed, due to marriage?
Apart from this, poverty and gender discrimination are the main root causes of child marriages.
Furthermore, recently a 14-year-old girl was married to a 59-year-old man. Now 15, she is three months pregnant and says that “my marriage is a misery for me and I feel blessed that I’m having a baby, but I’m a child and have to raise another child.”
This is the time that she should be in school but she is out of school, due to her marriage.
Going to school gives choices and opportunities in life, allow girls to play an active role in their communities and break the cycle of poverty. Educating girls is one of the most powerful tools to prevent child marriages.
Although child marriage is a global issue, yet its prevalence is high in Balochistan due to various causes such as lack of education and awareness; in Balochistan, approximately 22 percent boys and 63 percent girls are married before the age of 18. Child marriage affects both boys and girls, but a majority of girls is affected by this torment.
The splendid lives of girls are spoiled.
It’s alarming that children of age 10 to 14 are getting married. Because of early marriages, the mortality ratio during pregnancy is high. Child marriage still persists in most of the villages in Balochistan where illiterate people are involved in such heinous negligence. The people from rural areas are unaware of child marriage and its effects.
Nevertheless, in January, a minor, Sarah who belonged to a poor family got married before she even hit 16.
“I was very much interested in studying and wanted to become a school teacher but unfortunately now my dreams are crushed owing to early marriage,” Sarah laments her plight. There are so many children like Sarah whose dreams are being crushed owing to child marriages. Girls have the right to not be forced into marriage and they have a right to stay in school as the most fundamental rights of girls are to learn and develop, to be children, to be empowered and be free from harm.
Why has the government abdicated its responsibility to ensure that girls are protected against this pervasive ill that plagues our society? Only education will cure this epidemic.

د مسکو ناسته څه معنا لري؟

له افغانستانه د امریکايي سرتېرو ایستلو پر موضوع د واشنګټن او طالب استازو په نظر کې فرق دی او امریکا وايي چې په دې لړ کې یې هېڅ مهالوېش نه دی ټاکلی. له افغانستانه د نیمايي امریکايي پوځیانو د ایستلو خبره د فبرورۍ په مسکو کې د طالبانو یوه لوړپوړي چارواکي خبریالانو ته کړې. د طالبانو یو پلاوی او د پخواني افغان ولسمشر حامد کرزي په ګډون یو شمېر سیاستوالان د فبرورۍ پر شپږمه پر دویمه ورځ هم په مسکو کې ول او د افغانستان د سولې په اړه یې خبرې کولې. رسنۍ د طالبانو او پخوانیو افغان چارواکو په حواله وايي چې د مسکو ناسته بین الافغاني ده خو کابل دا ردوي. شنونکي وايي، د کابل او پخوانیو چارواکو په دریځ کې د توپیر لوی لامل په جولای کې د ولسمشرۍ ټاکنې دي. پر دې موضوع مو د سیاسي چارو له شنونکي مشتاق رحیم سره مرکه کړې او ورڅخه مو پوښتلي چې د اپوزیشن سیاستوالانو او حکومت په دریځ کې توپیر څه تاوان لري؟

President Ashraf Ghani cornered as #Afghan politicians meet Taliban in Moscow

Over 90 prominent opponents of Afghan President Ghani are meeting Taliban representatives in Moscow to discuss peace. The move has further sidelined the president and could pave the way for US exit from Afghanistan.
It was hard to find any influential critic of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Tuesday — not because he has become popular among his opponents overnight, but because almost all government critics are in Moscow to meet with Taliban representatives. This latest development has further isolated the Kabul government in peace negotiations.
Afghans living in Russia are hosting the meeting between Afghan politicians and Taliban members who refuse to talk with President Ghani, one organizer Ghulam Mohammad Jalal told DW. "Afghan organizations which are active in Russia have organized the meeting […] it will focus on intra-Afghan dialog," he said. The Afghan foreign ministry, however, says the Russian government has been active behind the scenes to convince more Afghan politicians to take part in the meeting.
"The Russian ambassador to Afghanistan has knocked on the doors of all those invited to the meeting many times, urging for their participation," said Sebghatullah Ahmadi, spokesperson for Afghanistan's foreign ministry. He, however, added that the Afghan government does not consider the gathering to be in the interest of peace.
"Decisions taken during the meeting will not be practical and we believe it will not help the Afghan peace process," Ahmadi stressed. It appears that Russia facilitated the meeting despite strong opposition from President Ghani, who has also been sidelined from other peace initiatives led by US special envoy Zalmai Khalilzad in recent months.
President Ghani and his allies campaign for an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" peace process, in which the government plays a central role by engaging directly with the Taliban. The Taliban, on the other hand, refuse to negotiate with Ghani. Instead, the group's representatives have held meetings with US officials in Qatar, during which they have agreed to not let terrorist outfits operating on Afghan soil to pose a threat to the US, in return for American troops' withdrawal from the South Asian country.
President Ghani believes such an agreement will not result in lasting peace and could eventually lead Afghanistan to yet another civil war. In a lengthy interview with the privately owned ToloNews TV, Ghani denounced the ongoing Moscow meeting, arguing the attendees did not have the executive power to translate decisions into action.
"They could hold a hundred such meetings, but until the Afghan government, the Afghan parliament and the legal institutions of Afghanistan approve it, it is just agreements on paper," Ghani said.
Pushed to sidelines
Ghani's representatives were not welcomed by the Taliban to Qatar, where the insurgents held talks with US representatives for six days in January alone. In Moscow, they were not even invited to the gathering. Instead, the Taliban chose to sit with the Afghan president's biggest rivals — among them former Afghan President Hamid Karzai who has been campaigning hard for more Russian involvement in Afghanistan.  
"The people who are in Moscow, including the Taliban and Afghan politicians, have one thing in common: they are all against Ghani," Yunus Fakur, a Kabul-based Afghan analyst, told DW. "This move will further sideline Ghani and his administration," he added.
Ghani enjoyed strong support from Washington when he took office in 2014. It allowed him to push forward some of his reform agenda, push most of his opponents to the sidelines and sack former warlords who held high-ranking government posts.
Despite opposition from his powerful critics, President Ghani was still able to maintain a strong position due to the backing of his most important ally — Washington. But the Afghan leader has lost that luxury in recent months as he has openly opposed the outcome of US-Taliban talks, led by US special envoy Zalmai Khalilzad.
"Washington is backing Khalilzad's efforts because it could pave the way for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan — something US President Donald Trump wants to happen," Fakur said. "This has put Ghani in a difficult position because he does not have the support of the influential Afghan figures, and cannot agree with the US on peace," the analyst noted.
Winners of the Moscow conference
The Moscow meeting undermines the progress the US has made during the talks in Qatar with the insurgent group, and highlights Russia's growing influence in Afghanistan.
The Kremlin hosted another Taliban meeting in November last year which brought to the negotiating table representatives of the insurgent group as well as members of the Afghan peace council — a body created by the Afghan government to facilitate peace talks.
"It is Russia against the US all over again, but the other way around," Fakur said, in reference to Washington's support former Mujahidin fighters against the former Soviet Union-backed government in the 1990s.
Russia is seeking to play a bigger role as peace broker in Afghanistan, ensuring that any post-peace Afghan government includes people close to the Kremlin. Former Afghan President Karzai is one such figure who has transformed into a US critic in recent years and has pushed for more Russian influence in Afghan politics.
Karzai, who is still active in behind-the-scenes politics, has put himself at the center of Afghan politics one more time. As the first speaker of the conference in Moscow, the former president stressed on the need for peace rather than defending the achievements of post-2001 Afghan governments.
"The people of Afghanistan want a country with sustainable peace, a united and democratic Afghanistan, a prosperous Afghanistan built by the educated women and men of it," he said.
But it was the Taliban who achieved the most from yesterday's gathering. Their current chief negotiator, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, painted a picture of the group's current view of the role of women in society, rejected the current Afghan constitution and called for the end of US presence in Afghanistan.
"The Taliban are dancing to different songs at the same time. In case their talks with the US yield results, Ghani will be out of office and they could be part of a new government," Fakur underlined. "But if that does not happen, they still want to have the Russian option open which has now brought them closer to Ghani's biggest opponents."

Detention Of Ethnic Pashtun Activists Fuels Pakistan-Afghanistan Tensions

The detention of ethnic Pashtun activists in Pakistan this week has reopened long-standing tensions with neighboring Afghanistan, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressing “serious concerns” about Islamabad’s treatment of the peaceful protesters.
At least 19 members and supporters of the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) were detained during an Islamabad protest against police violence on February 5 -- the latest move against the civil rights group.

One of them, prominent human rights activist Gulalai Ismail, was later released.

Ghani, himself a Pashtun, tweeted on January 6 that the Afghan government “has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters and civil activists” in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
Pakistan rejected Ghani's comments, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying in a tweet: "Such irresponsible statements are only gross interference."

Afghan leaders should “focus on long-standing serious grievances of the Afghan people," Qureshi added.

PTM, whose support comes mainly from the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, has been holding rallies across Pakistan since early 2018 to protest against what it says are human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings by security forces in the tribal regions.

Islamabad's crackdown against the group has drawn criticism and protests from over the border in Afghanistan, where ethnic Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group.

“We believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security,” Ghani also wrote in a separate tweet. “Otherwise there could be long-standing negative consequences.”

Afghanistan has long had troubled relations with Pakistan, which Kabul and Washington accuse of harboring the Taliban leadership, a claim Islamabad has denied.
The latest dispute between Islamabad and Kabul comes as Pakistan has been supporting efforts to open a peace process with the Taliban to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

The February 5 protest in Islamabad followed the death of PTM regional leader Muhammad Ibrahim Arman Luni in the southwestern province of Balochistan. The authorities ordered an inquiry into the death, which PTM blamed on police.
PTM leader and lawmaker Ali Wazir told the Reuters news agency that 18 activists were still in custody after Ismail, the 2017 winner of the Anna Politkovskaya award, was released this week.
"It was very painful for my family, who took 30 hours to know where I was," the activist told the AFP news agency.

"They didn't charge me with anything. They didn't let me contact my lawyer. They just kept moving me around," she added.

Amnesty International on February 6 urged the authorities to " immediately and unconditionally” release the protesters, who it said had been “arbitrarily detained.”

"It is shocking that the Pakistani authorities have resorted to such heavy-handed methods," the London-based human rights watchdog’s South Asia researcher, Rabia Mehmood, said in a statement.

Alleged Killing by Police Angers Pashtuns in Pakistan

By Madeeha Anwar

Emotions are running high among Pashtuns over the alleged killing of a Pashtun regional leader by Balochistan police earlier this week.
Pashtuns have long felt neglected and wrongly targeted in Pakistan by the government, and in particular by the powerful military. The most recent target was Arman Luni, a leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which advocates for Pashtun rights and an end to militancy in Pashtun-populated regions.
He was reportedly beaten to death Saturday after a clash with police, which followed a four-day protest against a recent terror attack in Balochistan province's Loralai district.
PTM’s leadership has called for protests throughout Pakistan against Luni’s killing at the hands of what they called the state. They have vowed not to stay calm until they think justice has been served.
“I swear to Quran that we will not let go, and avenge his blood. ... [In our province,] they killed our youth, beheaded our elders, destroyed our homes, dishonored our mothers and sisters,” PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen said to a charged crowd after Luni’s death.
“They still chase our youth. It reached a point where they even prevent us from attending our funerals. In such circumstances, when you block all our options and ways for negotiations, we will forcibly find a way. Then we will show you the power of Pashtuns,” he added.
PTM workers in Pakistan staged countrywide protests in reaction to Luni’s death on Tuesday. Several PTM workers were arrested in Islamabad following the protests. Authorities have yet to provide a reason for their arrests.
Sister's accusation
Luni’s family accuses the Balochistan police force of intentionally beating and killing him.
“Arman was participating in the Loralai sit-in and left after talks with the government. But the police then attacked the protesters. One of the policeman hit Arman on his head, due to which he died on the spot,” Luni’s sister, activist Wranga Luni, told VOA.
FILE - Pakistani activists of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement take part in a protest against the arrest of party leader in Karachi on Jan. 23, 2019.
FILE - Pakistani activists of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement take part in a protest against the arrest of party leader in Karachi on Jan. 23, 2019.
Balochistan’s provincial government, however, denies the allegations and maintains that Luni died of a heart attack.
“This is a big mishap, an effort to destabilize Balochistan, and to incite hatred. There was no torture on Luni, and I suggest we should wait for the post-mortem and detailed medical report before coming to any conclusion,” Mir Ziaullah Lango, Balochistan’s home and tribal affairs minister, told VOA.
“Justice will be served, and I will even form a judicial committee to probe the killing if needed,” he added.
Years of targeting alleged
Luni’s family and friends say Luni paid the price for his strong criticism of the state institutions, which he accused of not acting against extrajudicial killings of Pashtuns and of violating their rights.
“The establishment [military] always eliminates our effective members. We do not know who is effective and who is not but establishment always recognize and eliminates them to make others change their path … the establishment put its policy into practice as it has done so for the past 70 years by eliminating our effective members. Arman was effective and that is why he was eliminated,” Wranga Luni told VOA.
“Arman’s aim was to do something for the oppressed Pashtuns,” she added.
Some analysts warned against rushing to judgment before the facts from the investigation were available.
“I think Luni died on the spot due to a heart attack and not torture. I think the allegations that Luni was killed due to torture are baseless. Let’s wait for the post-mortem and everything will be cleared,” Mehmood Shah, a Pakistan-based political analyst, told VOA.
But other analysts, such as Hamid Mir, a prominent journalist and commentator, charged that government should not use force to silence people.
“Whatever view professor Luni held, whether he was a supporter of PTM or not, you can have differences of opinion with him and be against his political views,” Mir said this week on Jeo TV, a private TV station in Pakistan, in reaction to Luni's death.
Killing someone to suppress a point of view — particularly when the killing is committed by a police officer, a law enforcer — "is a challenge to the writ of the state, and it is a challenge for Prime Minister Imran Khan and the chief minister of Baluchistan,” Mir added.
‘Nothing will stop us’
Pashtun activists maintain the military and establishment are afraid of the power of the Pashtun movement.
“I have seen the dead body and I can assure you — there were signs of torture on the body,” advocate Hassan Agha, a PTM activist from Balochistan, told VOA.
“And I assure you nothing will stop us from this point onward. The torture, the police, the jails, the killings — nothing,” he added. “Nothing will now stop PTM.”
The PTM emerged last year after the extrajudicial killing of a Pashtun man in Karachi. The movement has since been regularly mobilizing thousands of Pashtuns against what they believe is the state's marginalization of Pashtuns.
PTM accuses the Pakistani military of forcing evictions of Pashtuns from the tribal region that borders Afghanistan. They say militancy and military operations in the region have claimed the lives of thousands and forcibly displaced thousands more. Pakistan’s government deny the PTM’s charges.
Who was Arman Luni? 

Luni, 35, was from the Ziarat district of Balochistan province. His real name was Mohammad Ibrahim Luni.
He was a poet and taught Pashto literature at a government college in Balochistan province. He joined PTM last year in February.
Luni had repeatedly protested alleged targeted killings by the state and had criticized the state for marginalizing Pashtuns. He also raised awareness for those affected by militancy and government military operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
Luni was responsible for holding a four-day sit-in in Loralai against a militant attack on police in the city. At least eight people lost their lives in the attack.