Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is correct about PTI’s Double Games with Takfiri terrorists

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called out the PTI Federal Government for the latter’s senior minister’s hobnobbing with Takfiri terrorists and hate mongers. Bilawal is correct.
In the image, PTI’s Interior Minister is hobnobbing with banned sectarian terrorists. The person circled behind him is Ahmed Ludhianvi – leader of ISIS-affiliated terrorist group, ASWJ-LeJ (aka Sipah Sahaba)Whenever such instances are brought to the attention of PTI supporters, they start abusing the messenger. Bilawal raised this issue in the Parliament. PTI leaders and supporters went ballistic and started abusing Bilawal instead of asking hard questions about their leaders.
This is the urban, upper middle class generation which has grown up hating PPP while absolving genocidal military dictators.
For generations of Pakistanis indoctrinated by Jamaat e Islami and it’s various political and ideological affiliates, there are no other villains besides the Bhutto family and the PPP. Of course, if someone leaves PPP, they become angelic again.
For decades, these brainwashed Pakistanis have been defecting Blame. It has now reached a point where this brainwashed lobby is now sitting in the same camp as killers and their apologists.

Pakistan's Shia Genicide: ‘Shia homes empty, graveyards full’

Denouncing the Quetta bombings and the continuous incidents of Hazara killings, civil society activists, political parties and religious parties assembled outside National Press Club and staged a protest which concluded at the Super Market. Holding placards and pictures of the deceased, they protested against Quetta bombings on Thursday that resulted into killing of around 122 people of the Hazara community.Chanting slogans against the government and religious fanatics, the protestors expressed their complete solidarity with the Hazara community and demanded the government to provide protection to the Shia community. “Hazaras are Pakistanis like us, we all are Hazaras now, kill us all if you are unable to provide us security,” said Ferzana Bari, a human righsts activists.
She said that since the 1980’s, Hazara’s were being killed and no one was questioning the culprits. Bari questioned the army chief that was it not the duty of the armed forces to protect the lives of Pakistani citizens. “If yes, then why isn’t the army fulfilling its duty? How can unarmed citizens clash with the armed terrorists backed by agencies,” he said. Demanding the military to take administrative control of Quetta, MNA Bushra Gohar of the Awami National Party said thousands, including women and children, had refused to bury the bodies of their loved ones but not a single provincial minister visited them. Expressing her sorrow and grief, she expressed complete support to the Hazara community and asked the armed forces to ensure their protection and to end Hazara genocide.The ANP leader also demanded Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf to reach Quetta along with his cabinet to negotiate with the thousands of protestors and to meet their demands.
“It’s time for action now,” Gohar added.
He noted that the ANP had initiated efforts to contact all the political parties and to form a single point agenda focused of countering terrorism.Lashing at the federal and provincial government, she said both had failed in meeting their responsibility to protect Pakistani citizens.MNA Akhunzada Chittan termed the Quetta bombings as a great loss for the country. “His party laid many sacrifices fighting against the terrorists and would not tolerate terrorism in any circumstances,” he said. Hasan Nasir of the Awami Workers Party protested over the continuous genocide and demanded to book all those behind the killings. Leaders of the MWM asked the army chief to intervene into the issue take control of Quetta as the homes of Shias were now empty and their graveyards full.
Dr Ambreen Ahmed, Tahira Abdullah and other civil society leaders also criticized the federal and provincial government.


Facing genocide for decades, Shias want freedom from Pakistan

Faced with the prospects of breaking into several nations, Pakistan rather seems quite complacent when it comes to the systemic state-supported persecution of minorities, Shias included.
The scale of violence against the Shia Muslims that make up for some 20% of the population of the belligerent neighbour is such that it has been called genocide. No wonder, the Shias are up in arms to demand a nation of their own, separate from Pakistan.
The minority Hazara Shias of Baluchistan raised a massive protest rally after a bomb blast ripped through a fruit market in Quetta. In all, 24 people lost their lives in the blast for which the Pakistani Taliban and Sunni terror group Islamic State claimed joint responsibility.
This is not the first attack and perhaps will not be the last attack on the community that has been systematically targeted since 1963, from when the extremist Deobandi Sunni groups started receiving state patronage.
According to an estimate by the website called ‘Let Us Build Pakistan’, between 1963 when the first attack on the community at Therhi Khairpur in Sind was reported in media and December 31, 2018, 23,500 Shia Muslims were killed in Pakistan.
This was apart from the 45,000 Sunni Sufi or Barelvi Muslims and hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and other minority communities.
BBC ran a story titled, ‘The story of Pakistan’s ‘disappeared’ Shias recently, focusing on the instances of forced disappearances of Shia people from cities such as Karachi. While one Naim Haider, 30, was
According to experts, the Shia problem has diplomatic, apart from purely sectarian, angles to it. While Pakistan has Shia Iran as one of its neighbours and the Shia community is concentrated more in the bordering Baluchistan province, Pakistan has chosen to side with the Sunni aggressors supported by the ISI-Saudi nexus as the almost bankrupt economy of Pakistan needs Saudi petrodollars to keep flowing in.

USCIRF Condemns Terrorist Attack on Shi’a Muslims in Pakistan

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned in the strongest possible terms Friday’s terrorist attack in Quetta, Pakistan, which left more than 20 dead and dozens injured. The attack, for which the Islamic State has reportedly claimed responsibility, took place in a neighborhood heavily populated by Hazaras, a mostly Shi’a Muslim ethnic group.
“We offer our deepest condolences to those affected by this horrific and cowardly attack against a community that already has suffered terribly in recent years at the hands of extremist groups,” said USCIRF Chair Tenzin Dorjee. “We urge Pakistani authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable and to provide adequate protection for Hazara and other Shi’a Muslims who face such grave risks because of their faith.”
Every year since 2002, USCIRF has recommended that the U.S. Department of State designate Pakistan a "country of particular concern" (CPC) for "ongoing, systematic, egregious" violations of religious freedom. In December 2018, the State Department designated Pakistan as a CPC.

Driven from Pakistan, Ahmadi Muslims find paradise. In the Marshall Islands

Ali Raj  

  • In Pakistan, Ahmadis have been subjected to routine violence and discrimination and are not even allowed to call themselves Muslim
  • But in a tiny corner of Micronesia they have finally found peace.
  • Nestled along a backstreet behind the courthouse in downtown Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, is a mosque that looks like any other mosque in the world. A cinder block building, covered with a gabled roof that supports two minarets, its paint combining the cerulean blue of the lagoon and the white of the ocean waves. The Arabic inscription on the entrance proclaims the unity of God and the prophethood of Mohammed. A speaker sounds the call to prayer five times a day.
    Had this mosque existed in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
     in the same shape, it would have run the risk of being attacked and vandalised by religious extremists, or padlocked by the government for violating the ‘copyright’ to practice the world’s second-largest religion.The mosque belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, an Islamic revivalist movement that has its origins in 19th century South Asia. The community considers its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be the promised messiah and a spiritual successor of the Prophet of Islam, challenging the majority belief in the finality of Mohammed’s prophethood.
Following the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the community moved its headquarters to Rabwah, a city in the province of Punjab. Religious extremists soon began attacking them, and in 1974, after decades of riots, Pakistan declared Ahmadis non-Muslim. Ten years later, it snatched from them the right to practice the religion, or ‘present’ themselves as Muslims by doing Muslim things – the only law of its kind in the world. They cannot say the Islamic greeting, cannot make their places of worship look like mosques. A violation can lead to a fine and a maximum of three years behind bars.
Since then, Ahmadis have been subjected to routine violence and discrimination in the country. In the summer of 2010, an Ahmadi mosque in the Pakistani city of Lahore was attacked. Nearly 100 were massacred and another 120 were injured.In a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council just last month, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion Ahmed Shaheed lambasted Pakistan for what he called “systematic persecution” of the Ahmadis by means of “state-sanctioned discrimination.” Pakistan said Shaheed’s findings were “grossly exaggerated”.
According to the community, last year four of their mosques in Pakistan were sealed, another two were set ablaze and two more were torn down. Two Ahmadis were murdered and another nine survived attacks, while 62 were booked and 15 were arrested on faith-based charges. Thankfully though, inside the tiny island-nation some 4,600 miles away in the Pacific Ocean, Ahmadi Muslims have the right to have rights. “Ahmadis of the Marshall Islands are aware of their privilege to practice their religion freely,” says Sajid Iqbal, the Majuro mosque’s prayer leader.
In the largely Christian land facing economic and environmental uncertainty, Ahmadis first arrived in the late 1980s but it wasn’t until 2012 that they erected a mosque – their first and only in Micronesia. Sam Nena, a local convert who now lives in the United States to receive regular dialysis, and his wife donated the 3,300 square feet plot of land, a stone’s throw away from the ocean. The construction wasn’t easy. The Marshallese had previously had little to no interaction with Muslims and from what they saw in the news, they weren’t particularly keen on giving them refuge. Senators thundered against them in the legislature. Opponents pelted eggs and empty beer cans at the building. “People would throw rocks at those praying in the hall,” says Iqbal. A barbed wire fence was erected and the windows were reinforced with grille. The community’s motto, painted on a metal plate hung on the fence, was still discernible: “Love for all, Hatred for none.” Efforts by the community to undo the resentment tell their own story of persecution and show from their actions a different side of Islamy. Humanity First, the movement’s charity arm, began working in the country in February 2011, providing health care, remedial education for children and feeding the needy. It helped dispel misconceptions and the Marshallese gradually began to embrace Ahmadis as fellow citizens.
James Matayoshi, mayor of Rongelap atoll, has been among those politicians who threw weight behind the Ahmadis. “Christians here have been a little biased towards them,” he says. In Pakistan, the common people are forced by the state to participate in the discrimination. To obtain an ID, every citizen has to declare that they consider Ahmad an impostor and his followers outside the fold of Islam. As for the leaders, they tread a thin line when it comes to the community. Voicing support is out of the question. Mostly, they have to think twice before even expressing concern over Ahmadi persecution.
Last summer, the populist politico Imran Khan became prime minister with the promise of change. His government formed a council of experts to advise it on curing the country’s ailing economy. Among the 18 specialists was Atif Mian, a prominent Princeton economist and a devout Ahmadi. Religious extremists threatened to agitate against the appointment and the government cowered. It asked Mian to step down and vociferously denied having a soft corner for the community. Global condemnation followed. Nearly 300 economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners, put out a statement in Mian’s support. Khan later admitted that this wasn’t the hill he was willing to die on. HOPES AND PRAYERS Iqbal, 28, is a bespectacled young man with a cropped beard and a gentle demeanour. He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, where his parents had migrated from Pakistan to flee persecution. He trained in Islamic theology at the community seminary for seven years and arrived in the Marshall Islands in 2017 to head the mosque.
Every day, Iqbal and his wife Maria wake up at around 5am to prepare for the morning prayer congregation, attended by both men and women in their respective halls. Iqbal’s quarters are on the second floor. On the ground floor is the library and a community kitchen, where three meals are served daily and everyone is invited. Breakfast is usually attended by the local schoolchildren. For lunch and dinner, food is prepared for up to 80 people. Marshallese delicacies made with local fresh catch, coconut and rice are popular. The community has started a garden nearby to supply vegetables to the kitchen. It has recently been planted with spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, okra and pumpkin. The Marshallese, themselves victims of centuries of colonisation and radiation from American nuclear testing, understand what victimhood feels like and are willing to give space to the religious group. But the fears are still there. “For us, it is still a little difficult. They are scared of us sometimes,” says Iqbal. A threatening message on Facebook may arrive every now and then but the vandalism has stopped. Iqbal has been looking to hire the services of a translator. A friend referred someone who agreed to help out but wouldn’t come to the mosque. He doesn’t want to be seen as being associated with the Muslims.

#Pakistan - #PTI - Scared of criticism? - Unfortunately, PTI allows dissenting voices to be suppressed

By Arifa Noor

IT has been a disturbing week for those who believe in freedom of expression. International events aside (such as the arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange), Pakistan seems to be facing its own set of challenges. Journalist Shahzeb Jillani has been named in an FIR for pointing fingers in a direction deemed unacceptable by the complainant while reporting on enforced disappearances, it seems.
On the other hand, Ishaq Dar is apparently not acceptable on television. A recent interview of his was pulled off air shortly after it began. Earlier, a couple of his interviews had been broadcast; perhaps it was due to the element of surprise. Those who caught on late to this trend of ratings were punished for their tardiness and the programme pulled off the air.
Our freedom of expression is now limited by a growing number of no-go areas. And it is now routine for the ugly ‘C’ word to be bandied about. So much so that it is now a truth universally acknowledged and universally discussed in Pakistan. Every seminar, literature festival and tweet, as well as story in the foreign press, makes mention of it. It is countered by arguing that the ability to say this publicly illustrates the absence of censorship. If one can publicly lament the absence of freedom, how is it absent? (This is how a federal minister recently countered the complaints at a seminar in Islamabad.)
Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Undoubtedly, it is after a long time that the Pakistani press has seen pressures of the kind that it has. And it is not used to them. But changed times and the availability of new platforms mean that curbs are more openly discussed than ever before.
It is unfortunate that the PTI is now allowing opposition and dissenting voices to be suppressed.
This also means that the forms of resistance have changed — for various reasons, there are few efforts by trade unions to take to the streets and hold demonstrations to protest the curbs. Perhaps that was the only way to highlight the issue in the old days. These days, individual voices on social media platforms create awareness. It is also where dissent is being voiced and registered, one tweet at a time. And as a result, the clampdown is not hidden from anyone.
Indeed, no one can say that the curbs on the freedom of expression are not publicised simply because there are no organised protests in the open.
The absence of unions is perhaps worrying for another reason. It points to the absence of unity among the journalists. This means that we have failed to resist the more worrying trend of criminalising journalism. Be it FIRs against journalists or JITs formed to probe their stories, out there is one group of working journalists who supports this outrageous step. And this has meant that it is no longer out of the ordinary to hear of ‘incorrect’ or ‘unfair’ reporting or commenting being seen as a crime.
This is perhaps the most serious fallout of the absence of unity.
Linked to this is journalists’ crisis of credibility (however great the pressures on journalism, journalists as a community should never stop paying attention to their own need for reform), as far as the public is concerned. Many are no longer seen as neutral by readers and viewers.
An incident comes to mind. In the run-up to the 2018 election, trying to gauge the mood of the voting public in Islamabad, I entered a shop along with a fellow journalist. The shop owner was well known in the market for his support for the N-League. Once our intentions were made clear, he said that he didn’t mind being interviewed as long as we weren’t from ARY or 92. A friend of his sitting in the shop smirked and asked: “But what about Geo?” (The friend was a supporter of PTI.)
It is of concern that journalists, or the organisations they work for, are seen as openly aligned with political parties. This does not and will never justify the pressures, but one must be aware that such biases will prevent journalists’ work from being recognised as in the public interest. And as a result, the public will simply ignore the outcries against curbs and censorship.
But now for the state, which is responsible to an extent for these pressures (partly because commercial interests have always weighed heavily on freedom of expression but are rarely discussed in Pakistan).
It is unfortunate that the PTI, which attributes its rise and success to the media, is now allowing opposition and dissenting voices to be suppressed. For who else would have reason to object to Dar spluttering away on television? Surely those who were discerning enough to vote for the PTI are also intelligent enough to understand what Dar did to this economy and how irrelevant his commentary is at the moment. The silencing of his voice achieves little but to hurt the government. It paints the picture of a government scared of criticism, even if it will deny its hand in the ‘disappearance’ of that interview.
But more importantly, those in power should not forget the importance of a credible and free press.
The recent Pakistan-India crisis is a case in point. If Pakistan had a message, it was able to pass this on partly thanks to the media in the country. Within days of the attack by India, journalists in the country were the first to report on the Balakot strike that was not. Remember an anchor reporting that the only casualty of the Indian strike was a crow?
But if this message is to remain credible, then it is up to the state to ensure that when that anchor or anyone is speaking, their voice is seen to be free and independent. For only then will they be believed.
These voices do not just criticise a government or more. Sometimes these voices are necessary for reporting other truths also, but for that, the environs in which they speak also have to be credible.

US advises citizens against travel to Pakistan following Balochistan terror attacks

The US state department asked its citizens to reconsider travel plans to Pakistan stating that terror groups continue plotting possible attacks.

The US has advised its citizens to reconsider their travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and asked them not to travel to restive Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), identified as the most dangerous areas due to terror attacks.
While Pakistan in general has been placed in “Level Three” category in the latest travel advisory issued by the US on Monday, several parts of the country, including Balochistan, KPK province, PoK and India-Pakistan border, have been placed in the most dangerous “Level Four” category, in which US citizens are asked not to travel due to high risk areas.
“Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or near Pakistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR), the State Department said in the travel advisory.
Asserting that terror groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan, the State Department said that terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship and government facilities.
“Terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and information suggests they continue to do so, it said.
Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in hundreds of casualties, it said.
Do not travel to Balochistan province, the State Department said, adding that active terrorist groups, an active separatist movement, sectarian conflicts and deadly terrorist attacks against civilians, government offices and security forces destabilise the province.
Similarly, in the PoK, it warned that militant groups are known to operate in the area and the threat of armed conflict between India and Pakistan remains. “Indian and Pakistani military forces periodically exchange gun and artillery fire across the Line of Control (LoC), it said.
Noting that India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border, the travel advisory said the only official Pakistan-India border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the province of Punjab between Wagah and Attari.
Do not travel to KPK province, which includes the former FATA, the advisory said.
Active terrorist and insurgent groups routinely conduct attacks against civilians, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government offices, and security forces. These groups historically have not discriminated between government officials and civilians. Assassination and kidnapping attempts are common, including the targeting of polio eradication teams, it .

’انتہا پسندی کے خلاف کوئی اکیلا نہیں لڑسکتا‘ - بلاول بھٹو زرداری

چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری کا کہنا ہے کہ ظلم کا مقابلہ کرنے کا فیصلہ ہم سب کو کرنا پڑے گا، اس سوچ اور انتہا پسندی کے خلاف کوئی اکیلا نہیں لڑسکتا۔
کوئٹہ میں ہزارہ برادری سے تعزیت کے بعد میڈیا سے گفتگو میں پیپلز پارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہاکہ کب تک ہم دہشت گردی برداشت کرتے رہیں گے، ظلم کا مقابلہ کرنے کا فیصلہ ہم سب کو کرنا پڑے گا، اس سوچ اور انتہا پسندی کے خلاف کوئی اکیلا نہیں لڑسکتا۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ میرے خاندان نے بھی ہزارہ برادری کی طرح دکھ اور مشکلات دیکھی ہیں، اتنی لاشیں گرنے کے باوجود بھی حکومت کوئی فیصلہ نہیں کرسکی، حکومت کو فیصلہ کرنا ہوگا قاتلوں کے ساتھ ہے یا مظلوم کے ساتھ، ملک میں کب تک یہ دوغلی پالیسی چلتی رہےگی؟
بلاول بھٹو نے کہا ہے کہ میرے خاندان نے بھی ہزارہ برادری کی طرح دکھ اور مشکلات دیکھی ہیں، اتنی لاشیں گرنے کے باوجود ریاست یہ فیصلہ نہیں کرسکی کہ وہ قاتل کے ساتھ ہے یا مقتول کے ساتھ، آپ دونوں کے ساتھ نہیں بیٹھ سکتے، فیصلہ کرنا پڑے گا کہ آپ شہیدوں کے ساتھ ہیں یا قاتلوں کے ساتھ، کب تک یہ دوغلی پالیسی چلتی رہے گی۔
چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی نے کہا کہ جب تک دوغلی پالیسی چلتی رہے گی انصاف نہیں ملے گا، ایک وزیرکہتا ہےقاتلوں کےخلاف کارروائی نہیں کرسکتے، دہشت گردوں کےخلاف کارروائی کی بات کریں تو غدار قرار دیتے ہیں۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ میں چین سے نہیں بیٹھوں گا، میری جدوجہد کا محور ملک سے انتہا پسندی کا خاتمہ ہے، نفرت اور انتہا پسندی نے ہمیں بہت سے دکھ دیئے ہیں، ہم سب نے ملکر ملک کو انتہا پسندی سے پاک کرنا ہے، نیشنل ایکشن پلان پر آج تک عملدر آمد نہیں ہوا۔

Video - #Quetta: Bilawal Bhutto holds press conference after offering condolences to families

#Afghanistan’s Ambassador Extraordinaire to Pakistan, Shukrullah Atif Mashal calls on Bilawal Bhutto