Saturday, June 22, 2019

Video - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: Sudan | The Daily Show

Video Report - CrossTalk on US vs Iran: Careening Toward War?

Video Report - #USIranTensions - Will the U.S. talk to Iran? | Inside Story

Video Report - Minutes before strike: Close-call US airstrike displays how violate tensions in region are

Video Report - Smerconish: This scenario would be a nightmare for Dems in 2020

Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar .... raka saqai raka sharab

Sold into marriage, Pakistani women endure rape in China

At first, in her desperate calls home to her mother in Pakistan, Natasha Masih couldn’t bring herself to say what they were doing to her.
All the 19-year-old would say was that her new husband — a Chinese man her family sold her off to in marriage — was torturing her.
Eventually she broke down and told her mother the full story, pleading with her to bring her home. The husband had hidden her away in a hotel in a remote corner of China and for the past weeks had been forcing her to have sex with other men.
“I bought you in Pakistan,” she said her husband told her. “You belong to me. You are my property.”
Her mother turned to the only people she knew who could help: her small evangelical church in a run-down slum of the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. There, a group of parishioners began putting together an elaborate plan to rescue the girl from the hotel more than 1,100 miles (1,800 km) away.
Natasha was one of hundreds of Pakistani girls who have been married off to Chinese men in return for cash payments to their families, most of them Christians, a community that is among the poorest of the poor in the country. The Associated Press reported previously how Christian pastors and Pakistani and Chinese brokers work together in a lucrative trade, aggressively pursuing Pakistani girls who are tricked into fraudulent marriages and find themselves trapped in China with sometimes abusive husbands.
Since then, police investigations have uncovered that many of the women are forced into prostitution in China. A picture of the extent of the trafficking networks has emerged from a series of arrests and raids in recent weeks by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, as well as testimony from victims, many of whom were previously too frightened to come forward.
On Friday, Chinese authorities said they had rescued more than 1,100 abducted foreign women in police raids coordinated with five Southeast Asian countries.
The Ministry of Public Security said more than 1,300 suspects had been arrested for allegedly luring and kidnapping women after promising jobs or marriages. The joint operation ran from last July to December.
The AP spoke to seven girls who had been forced into prostitution — four of them still in China.
Families are told their daughters will be wed to well-off businessmen and given good lives in China, and the marriage trade is depicted as a benefit for all sides — impoverished parents receive money, while Chinese men find brides in a country where men outnumber women. But investigators are increasingly convinced that the majority of the girls are sold into prostitution, two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigations told the AP.“The girls who are interviewed say they were tortured” — using a euphemism for rape and forced prostitution, said one of the officials. “They are afraid for their families and for the disgust they fear they will feel. … Make no mistake, this is trafficking.”
However, even as investigators are uncovering the scope of the trade, the Pakistani government has sought to keep it quiet. Senior government officials have ordered investigators to remain silent about the trafficking because they don’t want to jeopardize Pakistan’s increasingly close economic relationship with China, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Beijing is investing billions of dollars in Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road initiative, a global endeavor aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all corners of Asia. Under a $75 billion project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Beijing has promised a sprawling package of infrastructure development, from road construction and power plants to agriculture. The largest component is a 2,000-mile (3,200-km) road linking China to Pakistan’s deep-water port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
In Pakistan, it has been billed as a massive development program that will bring new prosperity to the nation, where the average citizen lives on just $125 a month. Since 2015, thousands of Chinese people have arrived in Pakistan to work on a multitude of projects.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan has gone on local television denying girls are trafficked to China and sold into prostitution. The issue of human trafficking was not discussed during a visit to Pakistan this month by Vice President Wang Qishan, who held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan’s president. In comments carried in the Pakistani press, Wang denied trafficking is taking place — and referred to an online video that traffickers often use to lure in families, showing Pakistani brides in China dancing and happy.
“China is denying it is happening, but we are showing the proof,” said Saleem Iqbal, an activist in Pakistan’s small Christian minority who has helped bring girls back from China and collects evidence of trafficking networks that he provides to police.
The AP spoke by messaging app with Arooj, a Pakistani girl still trapped in China. She said her husband beat her and would come home drunk with friends and force her to have sex with them. Like many of the girls, she wasn’t sure where she was in China; often they are taken from Beijing on flights elsewhere in the country, then driven for hours to small towns without being told the destination.
Ijaz Alam Augustine, the human rights and minorities minister in Pakistan’s Punjab province, estimated that more than 500 women have been trafficked to China, while Iqbal put the figure at 750 to 1,000.
In early May, Pakistani police swept through posh neighborhoods in the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore and in the national capital, Islamabad. They arrested Chinese nationals and their Pakistani partners involved in two marriage-broker networks that sought out Pakistani girls for Chinese grooms. All now face trafficking charges.
Investigators have since made further arrests in smaller Punjab towns and in the western city of Peshawar, rolling up more networks. Overall, at least two dozen Chinese and dozens of Pakistanis have been arrested.
The two law enforcement officials said the Lahore-based network had been operating for at least a year. The network was protected by corrupt policemen, and the son of a former senior police official served as the linchpin between the Chinese and Pakistani operatives, the officials said.The network also benefited from lax oversight by authorities, they said. For example, at least five of the Chinese traffickers were able to enter Pakistan on business visas based on companies that didn’t exist.The AP saw one of the charge sheets from the wave of arrests, in which eight Chinese and five Pakistanis were charged with human trafficking. They also accused the traffickers of profiting on body parts stolen from girls trafficked to China, without offering evidence. Other police reports tell of a Pakistani pastor who signed dozens of empty marriage certificates, which were later filled out by traffickers once they had acquired a prospective bride.Investigators have conducted dozens of interviews in recent weeks with trafficked girls and women, who are increasingly speaking out.One woman, Sumaira, who was sold to a Chinese groom by her brothers, told the AP she had remained silent for months after escaping her husband, even refusing to talk to investigators. But now she is coming forward.“If I had told everything that happened to me then, maybe I would have saved so many other Pakistani girls,” she said. “But I was too afraid, too afraid of my brothers. Now I want the people that did this to me to not do it to other girls.”The 30-year-old Sumaira had been running a small beauty salon in a poor, mostly Christian neighborhood of the Punjab town of Gujranwala. “I was a very different person than what you see now,” she said. “Then I had hope. I believed in my future. Now I don’t know.”
Her brothers forced her to marry in July last year after being offered money by brokers. Her husband took her first to a house in Islamabad, where she said she was kept for a week, raped every night by Chinese men.
Before leaving for China, she convinced her husband to let her go home to say farewell to her sisters.
“When I got home, I yelled at my brothers, ‘Why did you sell me? How much money did you get for me?'” she said. The brothers beat her, but she managed to escape to the home of an uncle.
Natasha Masih lives in Wasirpura, a mainly Christian district of Faisalabad where many work as domestic workers. She didn’t want to marry, but “what could I do, my family is poor.” A friend of her father suggested he marry her to a Chinese man. She said her father struggled with the decision but needed the money. He had four other daughters and could no longer work after hurting his back. Natasha said refusing was never an option.
In November, her husband took her to China’s remote northwestern region. She was driven to a forested area and a small house with no kitchen or bathroom that she was told would be her home. She discovered that three male and two female friends of her husband shared the house. Soon, her husband began to force her to have sex with the men.
After that, her husband took her to the Yin Du luxury hotel in the nearby city of Urumqi. There, he confined her to a room and sold her into prostitution.
“Always two or three men were the same, and then he would bring other men, ordering me to have sex with them,” she said. “I was living in hell-like conditions, silently weeping, silently praying for help.” She made furtive calls to her parents on her mobile phone.
Back in Faisalabad, a member of her parent’s church, Farooq Masih, formed a group of men from the congregation to try to help. Masih, who is not related to Natasha, told the AP they struggled with how to free Natasha until one among them told of his younger brother who was a student in China. The brother agreed to contact Natasha’s husband, pose as a client and pay him to sleep with her to get access to her. The student texted Natasha and told her he was coming to rescue her, asking for details of when her husband comes and goes from the hotel. Finally, the day came. He called her and told her to slip outside the hotel to where he was waiting in a taxi.“I saw him and quickly I took my clothes and got into his taxi,” she said. “I didn’t ask his name. I didn’t ask anything, I just said, ‘Brother, thank you.'” Soon she was on a plane to Pakistan.Farooq Masih and the other men from the church have since dedicated hours to unearthing trafficking networks. They recently conducted their own sting operation in Faisalabad, orchestrating a fake marriage to a prospective Chinese groom that led the Federal Investigation Agency to the Chinese and Pakistani brokers and the pastor who solemnized the unions for a fee.
Meanwhile, Natasha — who turned 20 last week — helps other young women open up about their experiences and encourages them to talk to investigators. She has heard reports that her husband was back in Pakistan looking for another girl to marry.
“I am lucky,” Natasha said. “Many girls who were taken there by their husbands are still living a terrible life. … Now I know what is freedom and what is slavery. In China, I was treated as a slave by my husband.”

Video - #PPP - Khursheed Shah Speech In National Assembly

Video - #PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz Complete Press Conference

Pompeo asks Pakistan to release those facing blasphemy charges

US secretary of state asks government to appoint an envoy to address religious freedom.
The US has asked Pakistan to release more than 40 members of the religious minorities facing blasphemy charges and also to appoint an envoy to address the various concerns on religious freedom in the country.
Speaking at the release of the annual report on the International Religious Freedom of the State Department for the year 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted how the Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Catholic, of blasphemy, sparing her the death penalty after she spent nearly a decade in prison.
“More than 40 others remain jailed for life, or face execution on that very same charge. We continue to call for their release, and encourage the government to appoint an envoy to address the various religious freedom concerns,” Pompeo said as the Congress mandated annual report portrayed a grim picture of religious freedom in Pakistan.
“The report we’re putting out today, then we will make other determinations off of this report. But we put them on the special watch list,” Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, told reporters.
He said that harm on various religious communities have taken place in Pakistan.
“I visited them, went to Pakistan earlier this year — we were in frequent contact with them, I’ve met with embassy officials — to cite the issues that are going on in Pakistan. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of harm to various religious communities that have taken place in Pakistan. It’s a country I’ve worked with often in the past, and it’s my hope we’re going to start to see some progress,” Brownback said in response to a question.
Referring to his talks with senior Pakistani leadership, Brownback hoped to some key negotiations with Pakistan to try to move them forward on protecting their religious minorities. “We have got a keen eye focused on them and hope to work with them, and to get them off the special watch list. But they’re going to have to take actions themselves,” he said.
According to the annual report of the State Department, there were at least 77 individuals imprisoned on blasphemy charges, at least 28 of whom had received death sentences, although the government has never executed anyone specifically for blasphemy.

Bilawal warns Imran to do as much as he can endure

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Friday warned Prime Minister Imran Khan “to do exactly as much as you can endure,” and added NAB is focused to bringing the entire political leadership into the PTI’s fold.
Addressing the party workers and loyalists at a gathering to celebrate the 66th birthday anniversary of his late mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Nawabshah, the PPP chairman said NAB has booked Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur over false charges of Rs 30 million corruption.
Addressing the prime minister, he said there are women in your household too, do as much as you can endure. Bilawal noted that only cowards targeted the women and elderly men. The PPP chairman said Zardari, who raised the slogan of Pakistan Khappay to save Pakistan at Benazir's funeral among the charged party leaders and workers has been detained,Bilawal also suggested to Imran Khan to pray for his father, PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari to come into power after him because he will nottake revenge against him. "You know what you will face if the PML-N comes into power after you," he added.Bilawal told the prime minister, “You will be stoned if JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman comes into power. Khan Sahab, you are a 70-year-old man and I'm just a 30-year-old young man." Zardari, he said, is pitted against the same forces who martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto for doing politics for the people and upholding the Federation. However, all such conspiracies and those against the 18th Amendment will be foiled and no one will be allowed to scrap the 18th Amendment.Addressing the cheering crowds, Bilawal said he is the scion of the Bhuttos and he would lead the fight against the anti-democratic forces. He said he has the full backing of people of Sindh in this struggle and we will overthrow them. Announcing to begin that struggle from Nawabshah, he said it will now continue till the government is overthrown. He said the prime minister “used” to say that he would make us cry but he happily bade farewell to his father when he was sent to jail. “However, my younger sister, Asifa Bhutto Zardari, was tearful when the PPP co-chairman was leaving.” He challenged the prime minister and said, "Khan Sahab, I will make you pay for my sister's tears and for the excesses committed against the people."
He expressed the hope that his father, who was jailed in the past for more than a decade, would again be honourably acquitted from all the baseless allegations. He said I am the grandson of Bhutto, son of Benazir, nephew of Murtaza and not scared of intimidation. Highlighting the duality of accountability process, Bilawal said the overseas companies of Niazi are kosher but those of Sharifs are not. The ministers of Sindh are being thrown into jails, while those of Punjab and KPK ministers and the PTI's interior and defence ministers enjoy immunity from any charges. Bilawal said the NAB law is aimed at joining the PTI. Pledging not to allow the passage of the anti people budget, the PPP Chairperson said we have held meetings to coordinate our actions for the purpose with Maryam Nawaz, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Akhtar Mengal.
The PPP Sindh President, Nisar Khuhro, CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and Syed Qaim Ali Shah also addressed on the occasion.

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemns the arrest of PPP candidate for KP Assembly Imran Mukhlis Wazir from Wana South Waziristan

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has condemned the arrest of PPP candidate for KP Assembly Imran Mukhlis Wazir from Wana, South Waziristan.
He said the arrest of PPP contestant is part of pre-poll rigging.The PPP Chairman categorically stated that the PPP won’t accept elections conducted under tip of gun. PPP contestant Imran Mukhlis Wazir has in recent past been intimidated of life consequences.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that it is no secret that the federal and KP provincial governments are fully bent upon sabotaging the first ever elections for Provincial Assembly in former FATA areas.
He said Imran Wazir has been arrested because he had raised his voice of concern over different forms of pre-poll rigging against PPP and other opposition parties.

He said that the PPP would never compromise over rights of tribal areas and demanded that the arrested PPP candidate, Imran Mukhlis Wazir should immediately be released.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the federal and KP provincial governments are afraid of their imminent defeat and hence they are using unfair practices and are carrying on pre-poll rigging.

FATF warns Pakistan to fulfil its action plan on terror financing or face blacklisting

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned Islamabad, which is on the grey list for its weak domestic laws on terror financing, to meet its commitment by the October deadline.

Pakistan has failed to complete its action plan on terror financing, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said Friday, warning Islamabad to meet its commitment by October or face action, which could possibly lead to the country getting blacklisted.
The Paris-based global body is working to curb terrorism financing and money laundering and has asked Pakistan to reassess the operation of banned terrorist outfits in the country.
In June last year, the FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of its Plenary meeting in Orlando, Florida, the FATF expressed concern “that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”.
The FATF “strongly” urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire.
“Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress,” the international financial body said leaving a strong warning to Pakistan.
The FATF said Pakistan had taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/combating the financial terrorism) regime, including the recent development of its terroe funding risk assessment addendum.
However, it does not demonstrate a proper understanding of Pakistan’s transnational terror funding risk.
Reacting to the FATF’s warning, Pakistan on Friday said it was committed to taking measures needed to implement the action plan agreed with the FATF to come out of the grey list.
“The Government of Pakistan reiterates its commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure completion of the Action Plan in a timely manner,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
Noting that the Plenary meeting of the FATF took place at Orlando from June 16 to 21, it said the meeting reviewed the compliance of a number of countries, including Pakistan with the international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT).
FATF reviewed progress made by Pakistan towards the implementation of the Action Plan and acknowledged the steps taken by Pakistan to improve its AML/CFT regime and highlighted the need for further actions for implementing the Action Plan, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that the FATF will undertake the next review of Pakistan’s Progress in October 2019.
Pakistan should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies, including by adequately demonstrating its proper understanding of the terror funding risks posed by the terrorist groups and conducting supervision on a risk-sensitive basis, the FATF said.
It should demonstrate that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institution, it said.
It asked Pakistan to demonstrate that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS).
It also asked Pakistan to show that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for terror funding.
Pakistan should improve inter-agency coordination including between provincial and federal authorities on combating terror funding risks and demonstrate that law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror funding activity, it said.
It should demostrate that terror funding investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities, it said.
The FATF asked Pakistan to demonstrate terror funding prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and enhancing the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary.
Pakistan need to effectively implement targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services, it said.
The FATF said Pakistan needed to demonstrate enforcement against TFS violations, including administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases.
It should demonstrate that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources, it said.
The FATF currently has 36 members with voting powers and two regional organisations, representing most of the major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
On May 3 last year, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India will ask the FATF to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crime.
China is set to secure FATF presidency next year while Saudi Arabia representing the Gulf Cooperation Council is to become a full FATF member.
Turkey was the only member that stood by Pakistan despite a strong campaign launched by the US, the UK, India and Europe.