Sunday, February 10, 2019

Music Video - Ariana Grande - break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored

Video Report - The struggle of China's #MeToo movement

Video Report - Can the African Union solve the continent's refugee crisis?

Video - #YellowVest #YellowVests #LesGiletsJaunes Yellow Vest protests turn violent in Nantes & Lyon

Video Report - Amy Klobuchar throws her hat in the 2020 ring

Video - #AfgPeace Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad on the Prospects for Peace in #Afghanistan

Human Rights Watch report highlights rampant abuse within Pakistan’s garment industry

Rizwan Tabassum

last week, Human Rights Watch released an explosive report documenting the numerous violations of labor practices it had found in Pakistan’s garment factories. Incorporating testimony from over 140 people—workers, union leaders, government representatives, labor rights advocates—the global watchdog found abuses ranging from salaries below minimum age, to forced overtime, insufficient breaks, and a blatant disregard for regulations requiring paid maternity leave.
The sweatshop conditions are largely the result of a lack of accountability that allows factory owners to capitalize on high poverty rates, forcing laborers to bear the inhumane working conditions or risk destitution. “There are 300 to 400 workers in the factory crammed in a small space. The factory is filthy, and cleaning is done rarely. There is no clean drinking water in the factory,” said one worker at a Lahore factory.
Women workers face even greater challenges as laws concerning maternity leave are completely absent. “Pregnant women are ‘left’ [a euphemism for termination] and now whenever a woman worker becomes pregnant, she leaves the job herself to avoid the indignity of being fired,” notes HRW.
Labor activists and union leaders who have attempted to halt the atrocities are shunned, according to testimony, with any worker seen even talking to a union representative immediately dismissed from service without cause.
It is high time, as recommended by the rights body, that Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments step in to revise relevant labor laws and ensure they are in line with international labor standards. More importantly, implementation must be prioritized via regular and thorough inspections to ensure the labor force is protected.

P.M. Khan has repeatedly pledged to establish a welfare state in Pakistan. Ensuring the rights of impoverished laborers would be a fine first step in achieving this lofty goal.

#Pakistan - Dr Ammar Ali Jan - Crisis of legitimacy

Dr Ammar Ali Jan, an academic in Lahore, was taken away at 4am on Saturday morning by a police team, including plainclothes person, who broke into his home without court warrants. His ‘crime’ was to attend a protest against the extrajudicial killing of Ibrahim Arman Loni, another academic, in Loralai district of Balochistan. The country’s constitution neither recognises protest as a crime nor condones extrajudicial killings by state personnel. To the contrary, protest is granted as a fundamental right in our constitution, and extrajudicial killing is among the most serious crimes. That what is written in the supreme text of the land is not how state personnel responsible for law and order and internal security act on the ground is an alarming thought, and citizens concerned with the sanctity of the constitution have been raising voice against the impunity enjoyed by such personnel for quite some time. However, such is the insulated nature of the highest executive and judicial offices in Islamabad that violations and excesses committed by their subordinates on an almost everyday basis doesn’t invoke any substantive action.
Thus, the first order of business for those at the helms in Islamabad should be to come clean to the Pakistani electorate. For this, they must be reminded that they cannot claim to be upholding the oath of their offices, while condoning violations of their subordinates at the same time. The two cannot carry on together, and as harsh as it may sound, the frequency of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, crackdown on peaceful protests, and muzzling of people’s right to speech suggests that at the moment none of the higher ups in Islamabad are truly upholding oaths of their offices.
The FIR registered against Dr Jan was such a hurried affair that it referred to laws about which state personnel couldn’t bring up any evidence in front of the sessions court that granted the academic’s plea for a bail. Alongside, the FIR also mentioned a colonial era law, introduced to deny the people their fundamental rights in the name of public order. Back then, it was an order imposed by an illegitimate regime. Today, we recognise the legitimacy of our state institutions on grounds that they will uphold the law, since the law reflects the will of our people. The only kind of order worth imposing, and guarding, is the order that flows from such democratically enacted laws. The Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance that gets invoked at the whim of a commissioner, another legacy of the colonial times, does not stand for such a public order, and there must be no room for it in our statute books. The Parliament must, therefore, take cognisance and immediately repeal it as well as other colonial legacies in our law books.
The executive and the judicial authorities, meanwhile, should wake up to the crisis of legitimacy that keeps getting worse by day. The peaceful and law-abiding academics, intellectuals and dissenters in general will only strengthen the state and its contract with the people. The state must shun paranoia, and enable these critical voices in their endeavours.

#Balochistan: Contextualising The Recent Spike In Attacks – Analysis

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

On 23 November 2018, a Baloch insurgent group, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. In a statement, the BLA said the “objective of the attack was to highlight Chinese exploitative designs to the world.”
The attack on the Chinese consulate took place merely two weeks after the mastermind of the attack, Aslam Baloch, initiated the formation of the Baloch Raaji Ajoi e Sangar(BRAS), a united front of Baloch insurgent groups, namely the Baloch Liberation Army, the Balochistan Liberation Front, and Baloch Republican Guards. Subsequently, on 14 December 2018, BRAS also carried out a major attack on Pakistani forces in the Tagran area of Balochistan province’s Turbat district. Some other smaller scale attacks on security forces too were reported in the meantime, indicative of a spike in insurgent activity.
These recent attacks could be viewed as an outcome of China’s failure to convince the groups to negotiate. Ever since the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been in the works, Beijing has made clandestine attempts to negotiate with Baloch insurgent groups to ensure security for the US$ 60 billion project. The recent Beijing-led attempt to initiate negotiations did not succeed probably because of the groups’ scepticism regarding how the post-negotiation period would pan out. The issue of ‘breach of trust’ is a major concern that looms large in Baloch insurgents’ minds. This phenomenon is a result of historical memory arising from experiences such as the execution of surrendered insurgents by the Pakistani state in post-settlement period of the first (1948) and second (1959) phases of the insurgency.
Days before he was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on 25 December 2018, Aslam Baloch had described the “partnering” between China and Pakistan as a “challenge” to “the future of the Baloch people,” and flagged the “outnumbering” of indigenous Baloch population by outsiders as a concern. It is true that the general Baloch population has been facing economic, socio-cultural and political marginalisation since independence. However, in today’s situation, the disenchantment borne out of the discrimination and marginalisation is compounded by fears of demographic change and loss of land due to the ongoing land acquisition related activities in Balochistan.
To illustrate, Balochistan’s port city of Gwadar is a rapidly growing urban centre. Gwadar is a key component in the CPEC, and recent development activities in the area have involved extensive land acquisition. For instance, thousands of acres of land have been acquired by the Pakistani navy and land grabbers, through uneven means around the Kalmat Khor lagoon, among others. As a result, the livelihoods of local fishermen, who comprise 80 per cent of the total population of 185,000, have been affected. According to media reports citing official documents, a range of ministries, and state-run defence sector institutions and departments are collectively seeking over 60,000 acres of land for them in different the area.
Given the scale of the Gwadar port project and CPEC, local fishermen fear that after the infrastructure is developed, they would not be allowed to enter the sea. Additionally, their grievances also stem from the fear that the local population would not benefit from development projects. In the past, such as in the Saindak Copper Gold Project and the Sui gas field project, the federal government gave only a meagre share of profits to the Balochistan provincial government. In the case of the Gwadar port project too, China is set to receive 91 per cent of the profits for the next 40 years. Past experiences of marginalisation have caused a severe trust deficit in case of ongoing Chinese-led development projects as well.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the failed talks, incidents of forced disappearances of Baloch persons have risen in the province. A judicial “Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance” has recorded 84 cases of forceful disappearance as of end of October 2018. According to the government of Pakistan, there are 5507 alleged victims of forceful abduction, but the actual numbers are estimated to be much higher.
It is possible that Baloch insurgent groups have increased attacks on Pakistani security forces also as retaliation to the sudden upsurge in the instances of forced disappearances of locals through October and November 2018. It remains to be seen whether the recent spate of attacks escalate or abate. A lot depends on the availability of arms and the will of the groups. Significantly, it also depends on the state’s counter-insurgency approach and the manner in which the state addresses local grievances.

Asma Jahangir - One year on - Feb 11, 2018


No one comes to mind as Asma Jahangir’s successor and that is not a reason to despair. While Asma was undoubtedly the brightest star, she always had sisters in the struggle when the first punch was thrown and the first lathi inflicted. 
What would Asma Jahangir say on the “dam fund?” She would have been scathing, incisive and above all witty. Would it have put an end to the “dam fund” and the arrogance and silliness coming from the Court room no. 1 during the tenure of the former Chief Justice? It would not have; however it would have made it harder for those defending and more embarrassing for those maintaining silence. Most importantly, the record would have shown that this era of arrogance and egomania did not go unchallenged (Fittingly, the most clear-eyed indictment came from her comrades at Women Action Forum).
She would have had great fun with the “department of agriculture” and the shenanigans leading up to July 25, 2018. Would even the mighty Asma Jahangir been able to thwart the scriptwriters? No, she wouldn’t have but it would have made the attempt more transparent. She would have had much to say about a media that has been intimidated into silence and had enough substance and “star power” for the media to give airtime to her comment on its silence.
“What ifs” of history are fascinating but ultimately fruitless at most times. However, much of the speculation is unavoidable whenever I deliberately choose not to turn the television on, and each time I cringe at an editorial and can imagine the writer cringing even more. Every confrontation with misogyny, prejudice, Sheikh Rashid and unintelligent parochialism makes one acutely aware of her absence, this means all day, every day. In playing this game, I also risk, disregarding one of her primary lessons which was to always be suspicious of unmitigated hero-worship (Full disclosure, the personal and professional debts that I owe Asma Jahangir are all-engulfing).
Implicit in this thought experiment is the assumption that we had “outsourced” our fight with totalitarianism, autocracy and ignorance to Asma. Now, one year on since she has left, the position remains vacant. This is as much about Us as it is about her.
No one comes to mind as Asma Jahangir’s successor and that is not a reason to despair. Asma was a product of the era of her formative years and the uniquely horrifying challenges of that time. The misogynist totalitarianism of General Zia-ul Haq produced many of these larger-than-life women and while Asma was undoubtedly the brightest star, she always had sisters in the struggle when the first punch was thrown and the first lathi inflicted.
It is tempting for us to believe that there was something inherently different about Asma and that she was “completely fearless” and other such unqualified epitaphs; however, that will be reductionist. She was often fearful and fretful and embraced and overcame the fears. She conscientiously spent a lifetime of making simple, difficult and often painful decisions. It was a grind rather than a fit of inspiration. In the context of the women’s rights movement of the 1980s till the present, while Asma was the best and most representative example, she was not an aberration, she was part of a large and extraordinary sisterhood of courage upholding the tradition of speaking truth to power.
In April 1986, the headline announcing Simone de Beauvoir’s death in Paris read, “Women, you owe her everything”. Our version of this headline is that “We owe these women everything”. Not a lot, not significant bits but everything. Asma Jahangir, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Malala, Women Action Forum and millions of other women represent everything that is worthy here; intelligence, wit, irony and courage. Asma’s seat like Shaheed BB’s seat is always going to be vacant but there are legions of successors, generations of women holding the torch.
She would have had great fun with the “department of agriculture” and the shenanigans leading up to July 25, 2018. Would even the mighty Asma Jahangir been able to thwart the scriptwriters? No, she wouldn’t have but it would have made the attempt more transparent. She would have had much to say about a media that has been intimidated into silence and had enough substance and “star power” for the media to give airtime to her comment on its silence.
The assault on clear language, and in the Orwellian analogy clear thinking, today is another constant reminder of Asma. Euphemisms now have euphemisms of their own (“Khalai makhlooq” for the euphemism “Establishment” being one example). Many of our public intellectuals think their primary responsibility and skill is to inject nuance, particularly in moral and political questions which require clarity, not “complexity” (increasingly a euphemism for “obfuscation”). Regardless of the language she was speaking in, she always spoke it in the Punjabi of Lahore with all its warmth, unapologetic emotion and boldness. The right answer to a judge of the Islamabad High Court issuing judgments on Valentine’s day is not always a discussion of Rousseau and Montesquieu sprinkled with eighteen “My Lords” but simply that “he is not fit to be a judge and should apply to be a Khatib at a local mosque”.
She had no time or patience for throat clearing, feet shuffling search for the most inoffensive word to not convey what is staring directly in the face. And that made the misogynists and the tin pots mad. She was already unacceptable as the “angry woman” and by being herself she denied them the malicious attempt at confining her in their tiny little box of “western agenda,” even her beedi was subversive at multiple levels (although she smoked it for the mundane reason of liking it).
One year down the line, the full accounting of the loss of Asma’s presence is still not done, it continues to hit us in waves and will do so for the foreseeable future. Asma became a national monument, a phenomenon whose existence we took as a given and also for granted. She fought so we didn’t have to.
One of the most remarkable achievements of Asma was not being on the wrong side of history in any significant political question of her life (the only other example that I can think of is the great Mr. I.A. Rehman). She was unequivocally opposed to Nawaz Sharif’s Shariat bill and unambiguously condemned the October 1999 coup of General Musharraf. Her principles were simple, as most principles are, and here adherence to them was unconditional. On the contrary, the unsure, hedging intellectualism of our times means to be wrong on all questions at all times.
There is another way that the memory of Asma remains inescapable. A few days ago, on the Mall Road on a rare smog-free afternoon after a drizzle, two women on motorbikes talking to each other, beaming passed my car and I remembered Asma, this time not with a sense of loss but of gratitude; for playing her part in enabling this seemingly ordinary yet extraordinarily courageous act, a basic function of any civilized society.
One is reminded of Asma as her law firm continues to represent victims of sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence. Every now and then, I play “yeh tana bana badlay ga” to remind myself of Asma as she was: life-affirming and a symbol of hope. One year down the line, it is inconceivable that there will be another Asma Jahangir and there will not be. However, millions of Asmas are fighting everyday for equality, dignity and freedom and in “the” Asma Jahangir there is a shining example of what is possible.
 Asma Jahangir passed away on Feb 11, 2018

Bangladesh’s lesson for India-obsessed Pakistan: Transform war economy into a peace economy


The city of Dhaka 

Bangladesh’s priorities are economic growth and human development whereas the bulk of Pakistan’s national energies remain focused on check-mating India.

Bangladesh is not some Scandinavian heaven. It is poor and overpopulated, undereducated and corrupt, frequented by natural catastrophes, experiences occasional terrorism, and the farcical nature of its democracy was exposed in the December 2018 elections. But the earlier caricature of a country on life support disappeared years ago. Today, some economists say it shall be the next Asian tiger. Its growth rate last year (7.8 per cent) put it at par with India (8.0 per cent) and well above Pakistan (5.8 per cent). The debt per capita for Bangladesh ($434) is less than half that for Pakistan ($974), and its foreign exchange reserves ($32 billion) are four times Pakistan’s ($8bn).
Much of this growth owes to exports which zoomed from zero in 1971 to $35.8bn in 2018 (Pakistan’s is $24.8bn). Bangladesh produces no cotton but, to the chagrin of Pakistan’s pampered textile industry, it has eaten savagely into its market share. The IMF calculates Bangladesh’s economy growing from $180bn presently to $322bn by 2021. This means that the average Bangladeshi today is almost as wealthy as the average Pakistani and, if the rupee depreciates further, will be technically wealthier by 2020.
Other indicators are equally stunning. East Pakistan’s population in the 1951 census was 42 million, while West Pakistan’s was 33.7m. But today Bangladesh has far fewer people than Pakistan — 165m versus 200m. A sustained population planning campaign helped reduce fertility in Bangladesh. No such campaign — or even its beginnings — is visible today in Pakistan.
The health sector is no less impressive — far fewer babies die at birth in Bangladesh than in Pakistan. Immunisation is common and no one gets shot dead for administering polio drops. Life expectancy (72.5 years) is higher than Pakistan’s (66.5 years). According to the ILO, females are well ahead in employment (33.2 per cent) as compared to Pakistan (25.1 per cent).
How did West Pakistan’s poor cousin manage to upstage its richer relative by so much so fast? It’s all the more puzzling because Bangladesh has no geostrategic assets saleable to America, China, or Saudi Arabia. It also has no nuclear weapons, no army of significance, no wise men in uniform running the country from the shadows, and no large pool of competent professionals. At birth, East Pakistan had, in fact, no trained bureaucracy; it received just one member of the former Indian Civil Service.
None should be more surprised at these new developments than those West Pakistanis — like me — who went to school during the 1950s and 1960s and grew up surrounded by unconcealed racism. Short and dark Bengalis were reputedly good only for growing jute and rice and catching fish. They were Muslims and Pakistanis, of course, but as children we were made to imagine that all good Muslims and real Pakistanis are tall, fair, and speak chaste Urdu. We’d laugh madly at the strange-sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan. In our foolish macho world, they sounded terribly feminine.
The mega surrender of 1971 made West Pakistanis eat humble pie. But, even as the two-nation theory went out of the window, the overwhelming majority was loath to change its thinking. The west wing renamed itself Pakistan, many assuming this was temporary. They said Bangladesh could never survive economically and would humbly ask to be taken back.
Others optimistically imagined that the disaster had taught Pakistan a profound lesson making change inevitable. Responding enthusiastically to the popular roti, kapra, makaan slogan, they believed Pakistan would shift from pampering its hyper-privileged ones towards providing welfare for all. Equally, it was hoped that the rights of Pakistan’s culturally diverse regions would be respected. None of this happened. Instead, we simply got more of what had been earlier.
Thirsting for vengeance, Pakistan’s establishment could think of nothing beyond wounded honour and ways to settle scores with India. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s secret call for the nuclear bomb led to the famed Multan meeting just six weeks after the surrender. That centralisation of authority breeds local resentment remained an unlearned lesson. In 1973, Bhutto dismissed the NAP government in Balochistan and ordered military action, starting a series of local rebellions that has never gone away. In doing so, he re-empowered those who ultimately hanged him.
In a nutshell, Bangladesh and Pakistan are different countries today because they perceive their national interest very differently. Bangladesh sees its future in human development and economic growth. Goal posts are set at increasing exports, reducing unemployment, improving health, reducing dependence upon loans and aid, and further extending micro credit. Water and boundary disputes with India are serious and Bangladesh suffers bullying by its bigger neighbour on matters of illegal immigration, drugs, etc. But its basic priorities have not wavered.
For Pakistan, human development comes a distant second. The bulk of national energies remain focused upon check-mating India. Relations with Afghanistan and Iran are therefore troubled; Pakistan accuses both of being excessively close to India. But the most expensive consequence of the security state mindset was the nurturing of extra state actors in the 1990s. Ultimately they had to be crushed after the APS massacre of Dec 16, 2014. This, coincidentally, was the day Dhaka had fallen 43 years earlier.
Bangladesh is conflicted by internal rifts. Still, being more multicultural and liberal, its civil society and activist intelligentsia have stopped armed groups from grabbing the reins of power. Although elected or quasi-elected Bangladeshi leaders are often horribly corrupt and incompetent, they don’t simply endorse decisions — they actually make them. Ultimately responsible to their electorate, they are forced to invest in people instead of weapons or a massive military establishment.
For Pakistan, these are lessons to be pondered over. CPEC or no CPEC, it’s impossible to match India tank for tank or missile by missile. Surely it is time to get realistic. Shouting ‘Pakistan zindabad’ from the rooftops while obsequiously taking dictation from the Americans, Chinese, and Saudis has taken us nowhere. Announcing that we have become targets of a fifth-generation hi-tech secret subversion inflames national paranoia but is otherwise pointless. Instead, to move forward, Pakistan must transform its war economy into ultimately becoming a peace economy.

Pakistan Urged To Free TV Reporter Arrested For 'Obnoxious' Tweets Critical Of Government

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Pakistani authorities to release and drop all legal proceedings against television reporter Rizwan Razi, who is accused of making “defamatory” comments against the country’s authorities.
"Expressing opinions, even critical opinions, should not be a crime, in Pakistan or anywhere," the New York-based media watchdog’s Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said in a statement on February 9.
"Justice -- and Pakistan's constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press -- can only be served by Rizwan Razi's immediate release," Butler added.
Razi’s arrest comes as media workers and activists face unprecedented pressure from Pakistani authorities. Dozens of rights activists and journalists critical of authorities have been detained, arrested, or fled the country out of fear for their safety in recent years.
Razi -- a TV host for Din News, a privately owned Urdu-language news station -- was taken from his home and placed in custody in the eastern city of Lahore on the morning of February 9.
His son, Osama Razi, said that unknown men attacked his father and then dragged him into a car.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Razi had been arrested for social-media postings that allegedly violated Pakistan's Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.
Razi was being investigated for alleged "defamatory and obnoxious posts" on his Twitter account against Pakistan’s "judiciary, government institutions, and intelligence agencies," according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The agency also said that the journalist had "confessed" to uploading the posts, apologized, and promised to refrain from posting similar material in the future.
It was unclear what specifically led to Razi’s arrest.
Earlier this month, he criticized extrajudicial killings in Punjab Province at the hands of security forces, according to screenshots of Twitter postings provided to the CPJ, the media watchdog said.
The journalist’s Twitter account appeared to be offline on February 9.
Pakistan is ranked 139th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

#AasiaBibi #Christian Woman Acquitted of Blasphemy Still Unable to Leave Pakistan


A Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan has been transferred from a secret location near the capital to another in Karachi, but is still unable to leave the country to join her daughters in Canada, a friend said Saturday. Aman Ullah, who spoke to Aasia Bibi by telephone Friday, said the 54-year-old Bibi is being held in a room in the southern port city. He said Bibi, who faces death threats by radical Islamists, is frustrated and frightened, uncertain of when she will be able to leave Pakistan. 

“She has no indication of when she will leave … they are not telling her why she cannot leave,” said Ullah, who fled the country Friday after receiving threats from extremists angered by his assistance to Bibi, which began while she was on death row.
Ullah has been a liaison between Bibi and European diplomats, who have sought to assist her. The Associated Press spoke to Bibi by telephone with Ullah’s assistance following her October acquittal, which was upheld last month.
Bibi’s ordeal began in 2009 when two fellow farmworkers refused to drink from the same container as a Christian woman. There was a quarrel and the two Muslim women later accused Bibi of blasphemy. The Supreme Court judges said there were widespread inconsistencies in the testimony against Bibi, who has steadfastly maintained her innocence. The acquittal should have given Bibi her freedom, but Ullah said diplomats were told that her departure from Pakistan, where she feels her life would be in danger, would come not in the short term, but “in the medium term.”
He said Bibi told him she is locked in one room of a house.
“The door opens at food time only,” said Ullah, and she is allowed to make phone calls in the morning and again at night. He said she usually calls her daughters.
Bibi’s husband is with her, he said.
“She is living with her family and given requisite security for safety,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in an email.
He said the government was responsible for taking “all possible measures” to protect her and her family, adding that “she is a free citizen after her release from jail and can move anywhere in Pakistan or abroad.”
Bibi told Ullah the security detail assigned to her refuses to explain why she is still confined.
Bibi’s case has brought international attention to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which carries an automatic death sentence for a conviction of insulting Islam. There have been widespread complaints that the law is used to settle scores and intimidate religious minorities, including Shiite Muslims.
The mere suggestion of blasphemy can incite mobs to kill. After Bibi’s October acquittal the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik party called its followers onto the streets, where they protested for three days demanding Bibi’s immediate execution as well as the death of the judges who acquitted her. The party leadership also advocated overthrowing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and incited the military against the army chief. Since then the party’s leadership has been arrested along with dozens of their supporters for inciting violence.
Ullah, a rights activist, first began aiding those falsely charged with blasphemy when his wife was wrongly accused, and has since helped several people gain their freedom. Bibi’s case brought him to the attention of religious radicals.
In recent months, he has been physically assaulted, gunmen have opened fire on his home, and several religious radicals attacked his home. Ullah said he fears being attacked again or charged with blasphemy.
Bibi hopes to be able to join her daughters in Canada, where they have been granted asylum.

امریکی فوجی انخلاء کے بعد کی منصوبہ سازی کرنی چاہیے،بلاول بھٹو

پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ پاکستان کے لیے یہ انتہائی اہم ہے کہ وہ افغان عمل کا حصہ بنے، دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں پاکستان نے بے شمار قربانیاں دیں ،پاکستان کا امن افغانستان سے جڑا ہوا ہے۔واشنگٹن میں صحافیوں سے گفتگو کرتے ہوئےانہوں نے مزید کہا کہ امریکی فوج کے انخلا ء کے بعد کی صورت حال کے لیے ہمیں منصوبہ سازی کرنی چاہیے، کسی بھی تنازع کا حل مصالحت ہے۔انہوں نے کہا کہ اسے مصالحت نہیں کہتے کہ آپ دشمن کو اطمینان دلائیں اور مطالبات مان لیں، مصالحت تب ہوتی ہے جب تمام فریق غلطی کا احساس کریں اور ذمہ داری قبول کریں۔انہوں نے پاک امریکا تعلقات اور افغانستان کی صورت حال پر یو ایس انسٹیٹیوٹ آف پیس میں بھی خطاب کیا۔

جام شورو لاہوتی میلہ: ’لڑکی ہنسی تو پھنسی‘ کی سوچ میں تبدیلی لانے کی ضرورت ہے‘

’لڑکی ہنسی تو پھنسی‘ کی سوچ میں تبدیلی لانے کی ضرورت ہے، ہنسی کا مطلب یہ نہیں ہے کہ لڑکی راضی ہے وہ کبھی کبھی ہنس کر ٹال دینا بھی چاہتی ہے، ہنس کر نظر انداز بھی کرنا چاہتی ہے اور جان چھڑانا بھی چاہتی ہے۔
جام شورو میں واقع سندھ یونیورسٹی میں جاری تین روزہ لاہوتی میلے میں سماجی ورکرز، شعبہ تعلیم، تحقیق و ادب سے وابستہ خواتین نے خواتین کی ہراسگی، رضامندی اور طاقت کے استعمال پر موضوعات پر بحث مباحثوں میں اس بات پر زور دیا کہ ‘رضامندی’ کی تعریف کا دوبارہ جائزہ لینے کی ضرورت ہے۔
نوجوان صوفی سنگر سیف سمیجو گزشتہ چارسالوں سے لاہوتی میلے کا انعقاد کرتے آئے ہیں، انھوں نے بتایا کہ جب انھوں نے اس میلے کا موضوع خواتین کی ہراسگی پر رکھا تو کئی سپانسرز نے تو معاونت کرنے سے ہی انکار کردیا تھا۔
نامور مصنف اور صحافی محمد حینف کا کہنا تھا ’ہمیں جو محدود زبان ملی جس کو مردوں نے قبول کیا ہے وہ بھی کافی محددو قسم کی ہے۔ اس میں ہم رشتوں کے حوالے سے دیکھتے ہیں کہ ماں ہے تو پیار کرے گی، بہن ہے تو قربانی دے گی، بیٹی ہے تو خدمت کرے گی۔ ہمیں ایک نئی زبان کی ضرورت ہے۔‘

’خود مختار عورت کون ہے یہ فیصلہ کوئی مرد نہیں کرسکتا۔ عورت جب آزاد ہوجائے تو مرد کو بھی اس کی مردانگی سے آزاد کرائے، حالانکہ کام اپنا ہے لیکن کرانا پھر بھی عورتوں سے ہے۔‘

وومین ایکشن فورم کی رہنما، کالم نویس اور متحقق نازش بروہی کا کہنا تھا کہ اگر تعلق برابری کا نہیں تو اس میں رضامندی نہیں ہوسکتی۔
’جہاں جبر اور زور کا استعمال کیا جاتا ہے اس کو سمجھنا بہت آسان ہے کہ یہ غلط ہے۔ جیسے ریپ ہے یا جنسی حملہ ہے۔ اور جہاں ہنسی خوشی رضامندی شامل ہے تو ہم کہتے ہیں کہ یہ لوگوں کی اپنی مرضی ہے اس میں کوئی مسئلہ نہیں، لیکن مسئلہ درمیان میں ہوتا ہے جب ہمیں واضح نظر نہ آئے کہ اظہار ہے کہ نہیں ہے ۔‘
نازش بروہی کا کہنا تھا کہ ہو سکتا ہے ایک شخص کسی چیز کی رضامندی دے رہا ہو لیکن دوسرے شخص کے ذہن میں اس رضامندی کے معنی کچھ اور ہوں۔ یعنی لڑکی کے لیے یہ رضامندی ہو کہ اس سٹال سے جا کر کولڈ ڈرنک پی لیتے ہیں مگر ہوسکتا ہے کہ اس کو دوسرا شخص مختلف انداز سے سوچے کہ کس چیز کی رضامندی دی گئی ہے۔
’اگر آپ انڈین فلمیں یا گانے دیکھیں جس میں ایک لڑکا مسلسل لڑکی کے پیچھے ہے اور وہ منع کر رہی ہے لیکن وہ گانا گائے جا رہا ہے کیونکہ آگے جاکر اس نے ہاں ہی کہنا ہے۔ دیکھیں یہ کس طرح کا پیغام دیا جارہا ہے کہ یہ جو نا ہے وہ دراصل نا نہیں، اگر نا ہے تو آگے جاکر ہاں بن جائیگی۔

لاہوتی میلہ

جامشورو میں سندھ یونیورسٹی کے ساتھ لیاقت میڈیکل یونیورسٹی، مہران انجنیئرنگ یونیورسٹی اور فائن آرٹس کالیج بھی واقع ہیں۔ ان کے طالبات نے بڑی تعداد میں شرکت کی اور مباحثے میں جامعات میں طالبات کے ساتھ ہراسگی پر بھی بات ہوئی۔
سندھ یونیورسٹی کے پروفیسر اور وومین ایکشن فورم حیدرآباد کی سرکردہ رہنما عرفانہ ملاح کا کہنا تھا کہ تعلیمی اداروں میں زیادہ تر نوجوان ہوتے ہیں اور بدقسمتی سے کئی مرتبہ طالبہ اور استاد کے تعلق کی شکایات سامنے آتی ہیں لیکن استاد کہتے ہیں کہ لڑکی راضی تھی۔ تو سوال یہ ہے کہ کیا استاد اور طالبہ میں کوئی رضامندی پائی جاتی ہے، کیونکہ ان کے تعلق میں طاقت کا عدم توازن موجود ہے۔
’استاد زیادہ با اختیار ہے اور لڑکی بے اختیار، ان کے درمیان ایک احترام اور اعتماد کا بھی رشتہ ہے۔ کوئی ٹیچر آگے بڑھتا ہے تو لڑکی خاموش رہتی ہے۔ اس کو رضامندی تصور کیا جاتا ہے کہ اس نے انکار نہیں کیا، اس نے روکا نہیں یا اس نے مزاحمت نہیں کی اس کا مطلب ہے وہ راضی ہے۔‘
عرفانہ ملاح کا کہنا تھا کہ تعلیمی اداروں میں ہمیں دیکھنا پڑیگا کہ اساتذہ اور طالبات میں کوئی رضامندی نہیں ہوتی جیسے کسی بالغ اور نابالغ کے تعلق میں کسی قسم کی رضامندی نہیں ہوتی۔ اسی طرح استاد بااختیار ہے، طلبہ انکار نہیں کرسکتی کیونکہ اس کے ساتھ کئی خوف و خطرات اور مارکس جڑے ہوتے ہیں۔
’لڑکی آپ کے دفتر میں آئی تو وہ اس پر راضی نہیں تھی کہ آپ اس کے ہاتھ میں ہاتھ ڈالیں۔ وہ اس پر بھی راضی نہیں تھی کہ آپ پہل کریں کہ آپ مجھے اچھی لگتی ہیں۔ یہ اس لیے نہیں آئی تھی کہ آپ اس کے ساتھ کوئی بھی حرکت کریں۔‘
سندھ یونیورسٹی کے وائس چانسلر ڈاکٹر فتح محمد برفت کا کہنا تھا کہ جو رویے گلی محلوں میں نظر آتے ہیں ان کی جھلک جامعات میں بھی ہوتی ہے۔ انھوں نے ہراسگی کے حوالے سے پولیس اور انتظامی سیل بنائے ہیں جس میں ڈی ایس پی سطح کا افسر اور ٹیچرز شامل ہیں۔ انھوں نے بتایا کہ ان کی یونیورسٹی میں 32،000 طالب علم ہیں جن میں سے 40 فیصد طالبات ہیں اور اسی طرح فیکلٹی میں بھی خواتین کا اضافہ ہوا ہے۔

لاہوتی میلہ

ٹیلیویژن اور فلم میں ہراسگی پر بھی ان مذاکروں میں بات کی گئی۔ سماجی کارکن اور کلنک اور ورکنگ ودھ شارکس کی مصنف ڈاکٹر فوزیہ سیعد کا کہنا تھا کہ اداروں میں جو سیل بنائے جا رہے ہیں ضروری ہے کہ ان کے رکن تربیت یافتہ ہوں، اور خاص طور پر جو تخلیق کا شعبہ اور پروڈکشن ہاؤسز ہیں وہاں اس پر عملدارآمد نہیں ہو رہا۔
’میڈیا ہاؤسز سوال پوچھنے میں سب سے آگے ہوتے ہیں لیکن ان میں ایسے سیل قائم نہیں کیے گئے صرف سب سے پہلے جیو اور بعد میں ڈان نے ہراسگی سیل قائم کیے ہیں۔‘
رکن سندھ اسمبلی اور جنرل ضیاالحق کے دور حکومت میں پی ٹی وی پر دوپٹہ پہننے سے انکار کرنے والی میزبان مہتاب اکبر راشدی نے بتایا کہ وہ ہم ٹی وی کے ساتھ وابستہ رہی ہیں۔ ’وہاں ایک صاحب نے دیوار کے ساتھ ہاتھ رکھ کر لڑکی کو کہا کہ آپ یہاں سے نہیں جا سکتیں۔
ان کے پاس جب شکایت ملی تو انھوں نے ان صاحب کو کہا کہ آپ مستعفی ہو جائیں اور اسی طرح دو بار سینئر پوزیشن والے افسران کو مستعفی ہونا پڑا۔‘
’لڑکیاں دن رات مختلف شعبوں میں کام کرتی ہیں۔ مالکان کو، ملازمین کو تحفظ فراہم کرنا ہوگا اور اس پر کوئی سمجھوتہ نہیں کیا جا سکتا۔‘

لاہوتی میلہ

نامور فلم ڈائریکٹر جامی محمود کا کہنا تھا کہ فلم انڈسٹری میں آپ کسی عورت سے وہ سب چیزیں کرا سکتے ہیں جو عام زندگی میں کسی مہذب معاشرے میں نہیں کرا سکتے۔
’پروڈیوسر کے ساتھ جب سکرپٹ کی پہلی میٹنگ ہوتی ہے تو اس میں کہانی پر بات نہیں ہوتی، سب سے پہلے پوچھا جاتا ہے کہ لڑکی کون ہے؟ پھر لباس کی بات ہوتی ہے کہ وہ کتنا لباس پہنے گی اور کتنا جسم دکھائے گی۔‘
جامی نے میشا شفیع کے گلوکار علی ظفر پر ہراسگی کے الزامات پر بات کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ جب میشا شفیع نے بات کی تو اس کو مذاق بنا دیا گیا۔ اس صورتحال میں کون باہر آ کر بات کرے گا؟
آکسفرڈ پریس کی سابق ڈائریکٹر اور پبلشر امینہ سید کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ زندگی میں ہر چیز کا منہ توڑ جواب دے کر آگے بڑھی ہیں۔ انھوں نے مینجر کی سطح پر کام کیا ہے لیکن ماتحت لوگ حکم نہیں مانتے تھے۔ وہ کہتے تھے کہ دوسرے کسی کا حکم مان لیں گے لیکن آپ کا حکم نہیں مانیں گے۔
امینہ سید کا کہنا تھا کہ عورت کی خود مختاری معمولی چیز نہیں ہے۔ پہلے تعلیم پر معاشی آزادی ملنے کے بعد ہی عورت خودمختار ہو سکتی ہے۔