Saturday, July 6, 2019

Arabic Music Video - Nni Sbabi Remix

United Arab Emirates Withdraws From Yemen

By James M. Dorsey
A United Arab Emirates decision to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Yemen shines a spotlight on hard realities underlying Middle Eastern geopolitics.
The pullback suggests that the UAE is preparing for the possibility of a US military confrontation with Iran in which the UAE and Saudi Arabia could emerge as prime battlegrounds.
It also reflects long-standing subtle differences in the approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE towards Yemen.
It further highlights the UAE’s long-standing concern for its international standing amid mounting criticism of the civilian toll of the war as well as a recognition that the Trump administration’s unquestioning support may not be enough to shield its allies from significant reputational damage.
The withdrawal constitutes a finetuning rather than a reversal of the UAE’s determination to contain Iran and thwart political Islam witness the Emirates’ involvement in the Libyan civil war and support for renegade field marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar as well as its support for the embattled Sudanese military and autocrats like Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
While the UAE may have withdrawn the bulk of its troops from key regions of Yemen, it leaves behind Emirati-trained local forces that will continue to do its bidding. The withdrawal, moreover, is not 100 percent with the UAE maintaining its Al-Mukalla base for counterterrorism operations.
The UAE’s commitment to assertive policies designed to ensure that the small state can continue to punch above its weight are also evident in its maintenance of a string of military and commercial port facilities in Yemen, on the African shore of the Red Sea, and in the Horn of Africa as well its hard-line towards Qatar and rivalry with Turkey.
As part of its regional and international projection, the UAE is keen to maintain its status as a model for Arab youth and preferred country of residence.
The UAE’s image contrasts starkly with that of Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies, including the clampdown on domestic critics and the Yemen war, have prompted embarrassing calls by prominent Islamic scholars for a boycott of the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Wittingly or unwittingly, the withdrawal leaves Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed, the instigator of the more than four-year long war that has sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, exposed.
Nonetheless, despite differing objectives in Yemen, the UAE too suffered from the reputational fallout of bombings of civilian targets that were largely carried out by the Saudi rather than the Emirati air force.
Operating primarily in the north, Saudi Arabia focussed on countering Iranian-backed Houthi rebels whose stronghold borders on the kingdom while the UAE backed South Yemeni separatists and targeted Muslim-Brotherhood related groups.
With the withdrawal, the UAE may allow differences with Saudi Arabia to become more visible but will not put its alliance with the kingdom at risk.
If past differences are anything to go by, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are able to manage them.
The differences were evident in recent weeks with the UAE, unlike Saudi Arabia, refraining from blaming Iran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Leaked emails written by Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s influential ambassador in Washington, laid bare the Emirates’ strategy of working through the Saudi court to achieve its regional objectives despite viewing the kingdom as “coo coo.”
Similarly, differences in the two countries’ concept of Islam failed to rock their alliance despite the effective excommunication in 2016 of Saudi-backed ultra-conservatism at a UAE-sponsored conference in the Chechen capital of Grozny.
The alliance is key to the two countries’ counterrevolution aimed at maintaining the region’s autocratic status quo in the face of almost a decade of popular revolts, public protests and civil wars.
The UAE-Saudi-led counterrevolution is driven by Prince Mohammed and his UAE counterpart, crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s desire to shape the Middle East in their mould.
The UAE rather than the kingdom was the driver behind the Qatar boycott with Saudi King Mohammed and Prince Mohammed initially reaching out to the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood when they came to power in 2015.
Four years later Saudi Arabia, is unlikely to radically shift gears but could prove less intransigent towards the group than the UAE.
While preparing for possible conflict with Iran may be the main driver for the withdrawal, it is unlikely to protect the UAE from damage to its reputation as a result of its involvement in Libya and Sudan as well as its draconic clampdown on dissent at home.
Haftar’s UAE-armed forces are believed to be responsible for this week’s bombing of a detention center for African migrants in the Libyan capital Tripoli that killed 40 people and wounded 80 others.
The bombing came of the heels of a discovery of US-made missiles on one of Haftar’s military bases packed in shipping containers stating they belonged to the “UAE Armed Forces.” The UAE has denied ownership.
The UAE’s withdrawal from Yemen will likely help it evade calls for Yemen-related arms embargoes.
Libya, however, could prove to be the UAE’s Achilles heel.
Said Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “You are surely aware that if these allegations prove true you may be obligated by law to terminate all arms sales to the UAE.”

Nicki Minaj asked not to perform in Saudi Arabia by human rights group

By Rosy Cordero 

Nicki Minaj has been called out by human rights activists over an upcoming performance in the ultraconservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The “Megatron” rapper, who is known for her sexy lyrics, raunchy music videos, and provocative dance moves, is set to headline the state-sponsored Jeddah World Fest on July 18. She will share a stage with DJ Steve Aoki and former One Direction star Liam Payne at the alcohol- and drug-free event, where female attendees will be required to wear modest full-length robes known as abaya.
On Friday, the Human Rights Foundation published a five-page open letter to Minaj asking her to pull out of the festival, which is funded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“I am writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crisis in Saudi Arabia; to explain the role that the regime of MBS has played in violating the rights of tens of millions of Saudis; and to request that, in light of your status as a global personality, you cancel your appearance as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people,” HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen wrote. “Since coming to power in 2017, MBS has spearheaded a crackdown on human rights, especially those of the women who live in his Kingdom.”
Halvorrsen added, “You recently celebrated Pride Week to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Yet, if you move forward with this performance, you will be condoning, and serving the public relations needs, of a government that executes homosexuals for the ‘crime’ of being who they are. Just three months ago five gay men were beheaded after they confessed to crimes under torture. If you move forward with this performance for a festival sponsored by the Crown Prince, you will be in league with the people who respond to freedom of expression and thought with murder.”
Halvorrsen’s letter did not mention Minaj’s fellow performers or ask them to pull out of the festival.
Other artists who have recently performed in Saudi Arabia — sometimes despite objections — include Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, and David Guetta.
Minaj previously came under fire in 2015 for performing in an event in Angola associated with the government, which has also been accused of violating human rights laws. A letter from Halvorssen at the time told Minaj that her payment for the show would be funded from “government corruption and human rights violations.”
Some of Saudi Arabia’s strict rules have been loosened under Mohammed bin Salman, such as women being allowed to drive and attend sporting events in stadiums. In 2018, Riyadh opened its first movie theaters after a ban that lasted 35 years.
Minaj has not publicly addressed the recent controversy, and a representative for the rapper did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

“China is not the enemy”: Experts warn US actions are damaging its relationship with China

By Curtis Stone 

Members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military, and business communities, overwhelmingly from the United States, including many who have focused on Asia throughout their professional careers, signed an open letter to US President Donald Trump and Congress, saying they are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in US relations with China, which they believe does not serve American or global interests.
The letter, which was published in The Washington Post on July 3, was circulated by M. Taylor Fravel, J. Stapleton Roy, Michael D. Swaine, Susan A. Thornton, and Ezra Vogel, and it included seven propositions which represent their collective views on China, the problems in the US approach to China, and the basic elements of a more effective US policy.
Though the members think that various challenges exist, they also said that the current approach to China “is fundamentally counterproductive.”
“We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere,” the members said in the letter.
The members also warned that US efforts to treat China as “an enemy” and decouple it from the global economy will damage the United States’ international role and reputation and undermine the economic interests of all nations, saying that the United States cannot significantly slow China’s rise without damaging itself. If the United States presses its allies to treat China as an economic and political enemy, it will weaken its relations with those allies and could end up isolating itself rather than Beijing, they warned.
The members of the letter also said that the fear that Beijing will replace the US as the global leader is exaggerated, and urged the US government to work with members of the international community to create a more open and prosperous world rather than carry out efforts to isolate China.
They concluded by saying that a successful US approach to China must be based on a realistic appraisal of China. Ultimately, they said, the United States’ interests are best served by restoring its ability to compete effectively in a changing world and by working alongside other nations and international organizations rather than by promoting a counterproductive effort to undermine and contain China’s engagement with the world.
“We believe that the large number of signers of this open letter clearly indicates that there is no single Washington consensus endorsing an overall adversarial stance toward China, as some believe exists,” they ended.
The letter was signed by 95 members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military, and business communities, in addition to the five members who circulated the letter, including Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations and a number of notable scholars from across the United States, including Harvard University Professor Emeritus Joseph Nye, who coined the term “soft power” in the late 1980s..

Letting the Internet Regulate Itself Was a Good Idea — in the 1990s

By Margaret O’Mara
It’s time for lawmakers to step back in, carefully.
Tech regulation may be the only thing on which a polarized Capitol Hill can agree. “We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that, and perhaps we will,” President Trump recently declared. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, has made the breakup of tech companies a central plank of her campaign. Even Silicon Valley-friendly contenders like Pete Buttigieg have called for curbs on the industry’s power.
If Americans buy into the idea that the tech industry is an entrepreneurial, free-market miracle in which government played little part, then the prospect of stricter regulation is ominous. But that isn’t what actually happened. Throughout the history of the tech industry in the United States, the government has been an important regulator, funder and partner. Public policies — including antitrust enforcement, data privacy regulation and rules governing online content — helped make the industry into the innovative juggernaut that it is today. In recent years, lawmakers pulled back from this role. As they return to it, the history of American tech delivers some important lessons.
Advocates of big-tech breakup often point to precedent set by the antitrust cases of the twentieth century. The three biggest were Microsoft in the 1990s, IBM in the 1950s through the 1980s, and the moves that turned AT&T into a regulated monopoly in 1913 and ended with its breakup seven decades later. Microsoft and IBM didn’t break up, and even AT&T’s dissolution happened partly because the company wanted the freedom to enter new markets.
What made these cases a boon to tech innovation was not the breaking up — which is hard to do — but the consent decrees resulting from antitrust action. Even without forcing companies to split into pieces, antitrust enforcement opened up space for market competition and new growth. Consent decrees in the mid-1950s required both IBM and AT&T to license key technologies for free or nearly free. These included the transistor technology foundational to the growth of the microchip industry: We would have no silicon in Silicon Valley without it. Microsoft dominated the 1990s software world so thoroughly that its rivals dubbed it “the Death Star.” After the lawsuit, it entered the new century constrained and cautious, giving more room for new platforms to gain a foothold.
Bill Gates observed recently that a “winner take all” dynamic governs tech, encouraging only one product — IBM mainframes, Microsoft Windows, the Apple iPhone — to monopolize its market. History shows that he’s right, and that the actions of government have been a critical countervailing force.Enforcement, however, needs to be savvy about the technology itself. When Congress first took up the issue of computer privacy in the 1960s, its focus was on the information-gobbling mainframe computers of the federal government. Lawmakers paid little attention to what private industry was doing, or could do, with personal data. And they had little inkling of what could happen when such databases became part of a networked communications system.Had they paid closer attention to some of the experts on computing at the time, they might have acted differently. Paul Baran, a pioneering computer scientist, warned at a 1966 hearing about the dangers of networked computers. “Even a little information improperly used can do irrevocable harm,” he said. “Information is readily counterfeited. It can be quickly reproduced and widely transmitted very cheaply.” Baran knew what he was talking about; a few years later, he helped design the internet. The detailed prescriptions he offered that day — basic encryption of all files, random external audits, mechanisms to detect abnormal information requests — could have altered the trajectory of the online world.
Technology will always move faster than lawmakers are able to regulate. The answer to the dilemma is to listen to the experts at the outset, and be vigilant in updating laws to match current technological realities. Which leads to a final point: The rules governing the internet made sense in the dot-com era. They don’t anymore. Today’s online world was built largely in the early 1990s, when the government opened up the internet to commercial activity and wrote rules governing its infrastructure. This included Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which said that no internet provider or platform could be considered the publisher or speaker of any information placed on its site by a third party.
The measure came out of another intensely partisan moment. Bill Clinton was in the White House; Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House. Internet policy was close to the only thing on which the rivals could agree. This was thanks, in large part, to the persuasive power of Silicon Valley, which then was the outsider, lobbying Washington lawmakers to protect their electronic frontier from the greedy designs of large cable and telecom companies. Don’t regulate us, dot-com leaders cried. Let us regulate ourselves. Lawmakers agreed.
Before then, the American government had tightly regulated other communications media like radio, television and telephony. But Congress chose not to hold the small, still developing 1990s-era internet to the same standard. That was a wise move then. Google and Facebook didn’t exist when Section 230 went into effect. Amazon’s website had been up less than a year. As online platforms become more powerful than all other media, it is time for policymakers to step back in. But they should do so with care, and with history in mind.
Silicon Valley’s story isn’t just one of freewheeling entrepreneurs and farsighted technologists. It’s about laws and regulations that gave the men and women of the tech world remarkable freedom to define what the future might look like, to push the boundaries of what was technologically possible, and to make money in the process.
Washington’s hands-off approach ultimately permitted a marvelous explosion of content and connectivity on social media and other platforms. But the people designing the rules of the internet didn’t reckon with the ways that bad actors could exploit the system. The people building those tools had little inkling of how powerful, and exploitable, their creations would become.
The tech world likes to look forward, not backward. But reckoning with its past is essential in mapping out where it goes next.
Margaret O’Mara (@margaretomara) is a professor of history at the University of Washington and the author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,” from which this essay is adapted.

Video - #TrevorNoah #MomGotShot #ItsMyCulture "My Mom Got Shot In The Head" - Trevor Noah - (It's My Culture)

Video Report - Right-wing terrorism in Germany explained: How big is the threat? | DW News

Video Report - #Sudan power-sharing deal: "the military is buying time"

Video Report - What's behind the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker?

Video Interview - Vladimir Putin - Jul 5, 2019

Video - #NayaPakistanNaManzoor - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Speech - 06 July 2019

#Pakistan trying to hoodwink with cosmetic steps against terror groups: #Indian Foreign ministry

The response from ministry of external affairs came after Pakistan claimed it had booked Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his close associates.

Pakistan is trying to hoodwink the international community with its “cosmetic” steps against terror groups, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
The MEA’s response came after Pakistan claimed that it had “booked” Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his close associates for “terrorism financing” in 23 cases, amidst growing global pressure on Islamabad to act against militant groups launching deadly attacks in India.
“Let us not get fooled by cosmetic steps against terror groups by Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters here.

غیرت کے نام پر قتل: 400 ملزموں میں سے محض آٹھ کو سزا ملی

صوبہ پنجاب میں 2018 میں غیرت کے نام پر قتل کرنے والے 400 ملزمان میں سے صرف 2 فیصد یعنی صرف آٹھ ملزمان کو سزا سنائی گئی۔
سول سوسائٹی نیٹ ورک فار ہیومن رائٹس پاکستان نے ’رائٹ ٹو انفارمیشن لا پنجاب‘ کے ذریعے پنجاب پولیس سے جو اعدادو شمار حاصل کیے ان کے مطابق پچھلے سال صوبے میں غیرت کے نام پر قتل کے 234 کیس رپورٹ ہوئے، جن میں سے چھ کیس خارج ہو گئے، باقی 228 کیسز میں ملوث 439 ملزمان میں سے 400 کو گرفتار کیا گیا اور ان 400 میں سے صرف آٹھ کو ہی سزا دی جا سکی۔
سول سوسائٹی نیٹ ورک فار ہیومن رائٹس کے صدر ایڈووکیٹ عبداللہ ملک نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو سے بات کرتے ہوئے بتایا کہ جب انہوں نے پنجاب پولیس سے یہ معلومات مانگیں تو انہیں فراہم نہیں کی گئیں، جس کے بعد انہیں ’رائٹ ٹو انفارمیشن لا‘ کے چیف کمشنر کو شکایتی درخواست لکھنی پڑی اور اس کے بعد ہی انہیں پنجاب پولیس سے ساری معلومات فراہم ہوئیں۔
ایڈووکیٹ عبداللہ ملک کہتے ہیں گذشتہ چند برسوں میں غیرت کے نام پر قتل کے کیسز میں اضافہ ہوا، جس پر سول سوسائٹی، میڈیا اور خواتین پارلیمنٹیرینز نے بہت زیادہ آواز بلند کی لہذا 22 اکتوبر 2016 کو قومی اسمبلی نے کرمنل پروسیجر کوڈ کے سیکشن 299 اور 302 میں ترامیم کیں اورغیرت کے نام پر قتل بھی ایک عام شہری کے قتل کے زمرے میں آنے لگا۔
’بدقسمتی سے اس قانون میں ترمیم کے باوجود ان کیسز میں کوئی خاطر خواہ کمی نہیں ہوئی۔‘
ان کے خیال میں جب غیرت کے نام پر قتل کی ایف آئی آر درج ہوجاتی ہے تو مدعی سے ہی ثبوت مانگا جاتا ہے۔ ایسے کیسز میں پولیس یہ اخذ کر لیتی ہے کہ مرنی والی خاتون یا مرد کا کردار ٹھیک نہیں تھا لہذا یہ واقعہ پیش آیا۔
دوسرا آئین کے آرٹیکل نائین اے کے تحت یہ ریاست کی ذمہ داری ہے کہ وہ شہریوں کی جان و مال کا تحفظ کرے اور ان کیسز کی پیروی کرے۔ عموماً ہوتا کیا ہے کہ ایف آئی آر درج ہونے کے بعد تفتیشی افسر کو ثبوت اکٹھے کر کے 14 روز میں چالان عدالت میں جمع کروانا ہوتا ہے لیکن وہ عین سماعت والے دن کیس کی فائل پراسیکیوٹر کے حوالے کرتا ہے جس کی وجہ سے وہ بھرپور تیاری کے ساتھ آئے مخالف وکیل سے ہار جاتا ہے۔
کنگز کالج لندن سے کرمنولوجی اور کرمنل جسٹس میں ماسٹر ڈگری لینے والے سینئر پولیس افسر رفعت مختار نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ غیرت کے نام پر قتل کرنے والے کو سزا دینا بہت مشکل ہے اور اس کی بہت سی وجوہات ہیں۔
’کچھ سال پہلے تک مدعی اور عینی شاہدین گھر کے افراد ہی ہوتے تھے جو ملزم کو معاف کر دیا کرتے یا عینی شاہدین گواہی دینے سے انکار کر دیتے تھے۔ جس کے بعد ریاست نے قانون بنایا کہ قتل کے ان کیسز میں ریاست ہی مدعی ہو گی لیکن یہ قانون بھی مسئلہ حل نہ کر سکا کیونکہ دوبارہ مسئلہ عینی شاہدین کا ہی ہوتا ہے جو اکثر گواہی نہیں دیتے یا ان کی گواہی کمزور ہوتی ہے۔ ‘
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ملزمان کے بچ نکلنے میں پولیس کی تحقیقات کا کافی عمل دخل ہے کیونکہ تفتیشی افسران ایسے کیسز میں عینی شاہدین کو صحیح طریقے سے ہینڈل نہیں کر پاتے اور کیس کمزور ہوجاتا ہے۔
ایک اور سینئر پولیس افسر نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو کو بتایا کہ پنجاب پولیس کے ثبوت اکٹھے کرنے کا طریقہ ناقص ہے اور ریاست کا وکیل بھی کیس میں دلچسپی نہیں لیتا۔
ایس پی انویسٹیگیشن ماڈل ٹاؤن ڈویژن انوش مسعود نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو سے بات کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ ایسے کیسز میں ریاست کو مدعی بننا چاہییے مگر زیادہ تر کیسز میں گھر کا ہی کوئی فرد ضد کر کے مدعی بنتا ہے جو آخر میں یا تو قاتل کو معاف کر دیتا ہے یا گواہی ہی نہیں دیتا۔
ایس پی انوش کہتی ہیں اگر ریاست مدعی بن بھی جاتی ہے تو مسئلہ گواہان کو سامنے لانا ہوتا ہے، ظاہر ہے پولیس یا ریاست توعینی شاہد یا گواہ نہیں بن سکتے اس موقع پر بھی کیس کمزور ہوجاتا ہے۔
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ایسے کیسز میں زیادہ تر بھائی بہن کو یا باپ بیٹی کو مار دیتا ہے اور گھر والے زور دیتے ہیں کہ مدعی وہی بنیں گے، پنجاب کے دور دراز علاقوں میں کئی جگہوں پر یہ قتل رپورٹ ہونے کے بعد باپ بیٹے کو بیٹی کا قتل معاف کر دیتا ہے اور بیٹا باپ کو بہن کا قتل معاف کر دیتا اور کیس عدالت میں پہنچنے سے پہلے ہی ختم ہو جاتا ہے۔
انوش کے مطابق زیادہ تر کیسز میں لڑکی کے چال چلن کے بارے میں شک یا یقین ہونے پر قتل کیا جاتا ہے مگر کچھ کیسز میں جائیداد کے بٹوارے پر بھی لڑکی کو مار دیا جاتا ہے اور بعد میں اس پر بدچلنی کا الزام لگا دیا جاتا ہے۔
انسانی حقوق کی کارکن سدرہ ہمایوں نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو سے بات کرتے ہوئے پارلیمینٹ میں حلف اٹھا کر آنے والوں سے درخواست کی کہ وہ ایوان میں عورت کی عزت اچھالنا بند کریں کیونکہ جب وہ کسی بھی ایک خاتون رکن کے خلاف غلط الفاظ استعمال کرتے ہیں تو انہیں دیکھنے یا سننے والوں پر منفی اثر ہوتا ہے اور وہ یہ سمجھتے ہیں کہ پارلیمان میں بیٹھی عورت کی کوئی عزت نہیں تو گھر میں بیٹھی عورت کی کیا اوقات ہے ؟

It’s not just people, in Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan interviews go missing too

Creeping fascism is what defines Naya Pakistan. What doesn’t please the ear, won’t be heard.

In old Pakistan, only people would go missing. In Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan, even interviews go missing.
On Monday, the interview of former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari abruptly went off air from Geo News within minutes of the broadcast.
Journalist Hamid Mir, host of the very show Capital Talk, took to Twitter saying, “It’s easy to understand who stopped [the interview]”, and that “those who stopped it have no courage to accept publicly that they stopped it.”
‘Who’ being the operative word here.
What is it that Zardari was to say that would have hurt the Pakistan government or the person of Prime Minister Imran Khan? The promos of the interview that ran for two days prior saw Zardari talking about a financial scandal that could hurt Imran Khan and also that he doesn’t see Imran Khan being PM in the near future.
Nothing new here. Politicians talk for a living.
Why would the Pakistan government take offence to Zardari’s views and take it off air, only to make it a bigger issue and help it reach a bigger audience?
Only a few days ago, Imran Khan had shown disdain to the speaker in the national assembly for allowing opposition leaders with corruption charges to make speeches. Citing the example of the British parliament, he said, “If a politician is even stigmatised of stealing from the people there, neither is he entertained on the TV channels nor the parliament.”
Ironically, the same Imran Khan, when in opposition, made hay on mainstream TV channels without any censorship.

This not a debate about ‘corrupt’ politicians being given airtime or the morality of who can be interviewed. After all, Pakistani media houses have given air space to the likes of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Ehsanullah Ehsan, Islamic State-recruit Naureen Laghari, Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s Ahmed Ludhianvi, Tehreek-e-Labbaik’s Khadim Hussain Rizvi or Kashmiri militant Syed Salahuddin. Not once did the regulatory authority oppose or censor these interviews.
Creeping fascism is what defines Naya Pakistan. What doesn’t please the ear, won’t be heard.
There are several instances of such censorship from the Khan government. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued orders to Channel-24 to air an apology for what it described as “propagation of false news about the prime minister.” The false news being that journalist Najam Sethi said, “Phadda parh gaya hai”. A “little bird” told himthat Imran Khan had “developed differences” with the first lady.
Masroor Ali Siyal, a politician from the ruling PTI, assaulted Karachi Press Club president Imtiaz Khan during a heated argument on a news show. Federal minister Fawad Chaudhry slapped journalist Sami Ibrahim because he had accused Chaudhury of hatching a conspiracy against the prime minister.
Pakistan’s regulatory authority also told TV channels to not “demean individuals representing various political parties and law enforcement agencies through caricatures, animated characters, photo-shopped images and funny memes.” They thought satire would tarnish the image of the leaders.
From Zia to Khan, Pakistan has had a long history of curbing press freedom in the name of national interest. The current suppression of the media is not new, it has been managed over the past two years especially in the run-up to the 2018 general elections, when Imran Khan came to power.
The biggest rights movement in the country, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, sees a complete blackout on mainstream television channels. Their leaders are not invited on talk shows, their protests are never worthy of coverage. They are accused of all wrongdoings, but are never given airspace to defend themselves.
When journalist Gohar Wazir from Khyber News interviewed PTM leader and member of national assembly Moshin Dawar, he was arrested.
During the 2018 elections, Lahore High Court ordered the PEMRA to ban “anti-judiciary” speeches of former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on television. Rallies of PML-N were taken off-air, particularly of the one when Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from London. Journalist Talat Hussain’s show on Geo News wasn’t allowed to air any footage from the ground on that day.
In May 2018, government-run Pakistan Television Network decided not to telecast a press conference of then Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Even the prime minister himself wasn’t above censorship. Unprecedented indeed.
Space for diverse opinion has not only shrunk in Pakistani media, but also in public spaces. Last November, PTM leader and member of national assembly Ali Wazir, senior journalist Rashid Rehman, academics Dr Ammar Ali Jaan and Dr Taimur Rahman were barred from speaking at the Faiz International Festival. Again by ‘who’, no one knows.
Often news channels go off air across the country and no one knows why. The government and the PEMRA deny it, and the cable operators are clueless. And the Pakistanis?

Fears of censorship, vendetta grip Pakistan

Mehmal Sarfraz
On Monday evening, Geo News started telecasting an interview of former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. But a few minutes into the interview, it was stopped, without any explanation.
Earlier in the day, Rana Sanaullah , a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) for “possession of a huge amount of drugs”, allegedly found in his car. The incidents have raised fears about censorship and crackdown on political vendetta.
Journalist Muneeb Farooq said the current government is a renewed version of Pervez Musharraf’s military regime where there was a titular head who owed everything to the people who brought him to power. “It is designed to be a 10-year-rule. Brace yourselves for more crackdowns, for more censorship and for more arrests of Opposition leaders. The interesting bit is that nobody can predict that maybe a year down the line, the ones who are blue-eyed can become expendables,” Mr. Farooq toldThe Hindu.
Ajmal Jami, a journalist with Dunya News channel, said it was quite surprising that a seasoned politician like Rana Sanaullah and someone who already knew he was going to be arrested soon was caught with such a large amount of drugs in his own car. “This makes it easy for the Opposition, especially the PML-N, to raise fingers as this entire exercise was a bit suspicious. ANF officials are saying that they have sufficient evidence and they will present them in the court of law,” said Mr. Jami.Besides Mr. Sanaullah, a number of Pakistan’s Opposition politicians, including Mr. Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are in jail on corruption charges. Mr. Sharif’s brother and former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was also arrested last year.
Populist direction
The arbitrarily imposed curbs on freedom of expression over the past year have certainly endangered Pakistan’s democratic fabric, said Fahd Humayun of the Jinnah Institute. “Restrictions on journalists, fake news and media clampdowns are being witnessed the world over as populist leaders try to shore up support in the face of slow growth, wage stagnation and unemployment. Recent trends at home suggest a similar direction,” Mr. Humayun said.Senior analyst Raza Rumi said the problem in Pakistan is twofold. First is the continued self-censorship which many media outlets are undertaking even if there is no advisory or direct order to censor content. “They do this because owners of TV channels and newspapers are reluctant to take risks. In a way, this is the classic corporatisation of media that is taking place, which has already reached its zenith in the U.S. and India and other bigger countries.”The second problem, Mr. Rumi said, pertains to the political polarisation. “The journalists and media houses are divided along political lines and it is not a healthy sign for the growth of independent media and even the consolidation of journalism. What is required is that the editors and the news managers of media houses should take stock of the situation and try to make their programming and reporting less polarised and less partisan. This might help the overall impression of some kind of censorship in place.”
When Mr. Zardari’s interview was abruptly taken off air, many people pointed out how Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan’s interview was aired despite the fact that the TTP has killed thousands of Pakistanis in dastardly attacks.
“The following terrorists, murderers, etc. allowed interviews and television coverage but not former President @AAliZardari. Why is our wannabe dictator so scared,” Mr. Zardari’s daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto tweeted, quoting a tweet with pictures of Ehsanullah Ehsan, Kulbhushan Jadhav (Indian charged with spying), Abhinandan (Indian pilot) and Saulat Mirza (a convicted murderer).
TV journalist Sabir Shakir, however, diasgreed with her. “Comparing her father with them is not appropriate. Besides, PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) laws don’t give permission for such interviews. Ehsanullah Ehsan’s interview was a mistake; it shouldn’t have gone on air. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”