Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Al-Baghdadi’s death is profoundly important. But the jihadi movement will continue without him.The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is profoundly important. He was a powerfully inspirational figure, more formidable and perhaps more evil than Osama bin Laden.
He was an Islamic scholar who claimed to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He built on the apocalyptic ideology and extraordinary cruelty of his mentor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (the predecessor organization to ISIS).
Importantly, Mr. al-Baghdadi managed to recruit former Iraqi Baathist military and intelligence personnel, hugely strengthening his capacity for the insurgency. And he took advantage of Syria’s civil war to create a first in the history of modern terrorism: a proto-state able to seize and control territory, amass possibly billions of dollars and organize a major military force.
Under Mr. al-Baghdadi’s leadership, ISIS became the richest and most powerful terrorist group in contemporary history.
He promised his global followers a five-star jihad — to include free housing, cars, even wives. His adherents flocked to his “caliphate” from all over the world, the most effective recruitment drive to a jihadi organization that the world has ever seen.
He specialized in unusual cruelty, including live-streamed beheadings of his enemies (most of whom were Muslim), training small children to kill at close range (something most humans have difficulty doing), and selling women to be repeatedly raped. Even Al Qaeda reviled his gruesome tactics.
Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death demonstrated to remaining supporters that even the “caliph” is vulnerable. But it is more important politically and symbolically than it is militarily.
Jihadi leaders, and even jihadi groups, come and go. They split off into new factions, merge with erstwhile enemies, and acquire new names and allegiances.ISIS is perhaps the best example of this trend. Two leaders were vying for control of what remained of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group supposedly defeated by President George W. Bush’s “surge.” One of the leaders — Abu Mohammad al-Julani — stayed within the bosom of Al Qaeda. The other — Mr. al-Baghdadi — broke with Al Qaeda and eventually announced his creation of a caliphate, eventually attracting tens of thousands of followers.
Did Mr. al-Baghdadi put a succession plan in place? There are highly credible rumors that he did.
But even if there was no concrete plan for succession, ISIS had already returned to its terrorist roots, with the capacity to inspire attacks all over the globe. Even after losing its territory, ISIS continued to attract adherents.
But more important, we need to remember that the world is fighting not a single man, nor even a single organization, but a movement. Unfortunately, many of the risk factors for the rise of ISIS still remain. Among these are weak states with poor governance, unemployed or underemployed youth, simmering sectarian tensions or civil war. ISIS exploited many of these factors to spread its “provinces” into other nations wracked by conflict, among them Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria and Yemen. Many of its provinces remain in place. Despite losing what remained of its caliphate in March, ISIS still managed to carry out several major terrorist strikes, including in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq. For those of us in the West, ISIS exploited social media to attract and inspire global followers, in what became known as “open-source jihad.” Unfortunately, this is one of a number of lessons that other terrorist groups will take on board: Until social-media companies find a way to address the dangers of anonymity online, terrorist groups and criminal rings will continue to follow suit.
On Sunday morning, President Trump provided an unusual level of detail about the workings of the mission to take Mr. al-Baghdadi down. Still, in the coming weeks and months, we may learn about how global intelligence personnel penetrated ISIS, and the kinds of international cooperation that led to his demise.But one thing is already clear: This was not the work of a single president or a single nation taken over a single week. It involved the courageous citizens of the “deep state,” those often-nameless intelligence and military personnel so dedicated to protecting the lives of fellow citizens that they are willing risk their own. It also, according to Mr. Trump, involved cooperation from Russia, Syria, Iraq and Turkey — as well as intelligence from the very Kurds that Mr. Trump abandoned when he pulled American troops out of northern Syria.
In this regard, Mr. al-Baghdadi’s most significant mistake may have been to make himself the enemy of the entire world, inciting his enemies to work together against him.
ISIS will eventually be defeated. But we are fighting the jihadi movement, not a single jihadi group. And the jihadi movement is just one manifestation of the fundamentalist impulse — the desire to turn the clock back to an imaginary simpler time. The ever-quickening pace of technological advancement will continue to bring the entire world into our homes, leaving some feeling alienated and confused. Climate change will continue to contribute to conflict over resources and waves of migration. And terrorist groups will continue to emerge, seeking to return us to a Golden Era when our worlds seemed neatly contained and when right and wrong seemed crystal clear.
Jessica Stern, a research professor at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, is the co-author of “ISIS: The State of Terror.”
By Fauzia ViqarWe are living in the age of a technological revolution that has fundamentally altered the way people, organisations and institutions connect with each other. Technology has also transformed the world of work, launching the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) that is characterised by a range of new technologies such as financial technologies (Fin Tech), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Deep Learning (DL) that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting every aspect of our lives today. This stage of industrial development is meant to connect people, goods and service with the aim of increasing productivity, alleviating hardship for people and lead to an overall improvement in the human condition.
Pakistan exists in the first, second, third and fourth stages of the Industrial Revolution stage simultaneously, with agriculture still being in the first stage, whereas our e-commerce and financial services appear to have leapt fully to the IR 4.0 stage. Despite delayed progress in some sectors in Pakistan, there is no denying that we are living in an age of technology-induced connectivity that is meant to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people, communities, and organisations. But, is the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the related greatest good being achieved for all? Are women included?
A few stark figures make it clear that the technology-fuelled revolution has perhaps not contributed so well towards the promised gender equality, despite assertions that technology would level the playing field by resolving women’s mobility issues and by creating positive disruptions with respect to the future of work for women. In Pakistan, women are mainly employed in agriculture, home-based work and informal jobs that are exploitative and offer no social protection. In formal work also, women are working in repetitive functions requiring low skill levels, especially in textiles, readymade garments, sports industry, etc. These functions render these jobs more vulnerable to redundancy when technological advancements in the industry replace human function. Reports show that around 60% of garment workers will lose their jobs in Bangladesh by 2030 with the invasion of automation. Data is not available for Pakistan but it is safe to assume that the loss will be greater and will hit women disproportionately due to their low skill levels and lack of preparedness. New employment and entrepreneurship opportunities can be created via digital platforms that provide flexibility and circumvent barriers of physical mobility and domestic commitments. However, results are not showing an increase in women’s businesses that currently stand at only 3%, a regional low. In fact, a tech sector study (P@sha Study) in Pakistan shows that women comprise only 14% of the workforce and that the sector is dominated not only by male tech entrepreneurs but by men in executive positions.
As a region, South Asia has not been able to tackle the tech or digital divide, with women being 28% less likely than men to own a mobile phone and 58% less likely to use mobile internet. Pakistan is, unfortunately, worse than other countries of the region where there is a 33% gender gap in mobile usage and only 13% of women have internet access, in comparison to 29% in India. This translates into poorer financial inclusion outcomes, with only 7% of women owning an account at a formal financial institution in Pakistan, compared with about 36% in Bangladesh and 76% in India. The situation requires action on a war footing if we wish to launch Pakistan on the much-desired path of economic and social development.
What needs to be done to ensure women’s participation in the IR 4.0? To begin with, we need to tackle the societal perception that women’s only role is in the domestic sphere and that any other activity is incidental to this role. Financial imperatives are pushing women into entering the labour market, so it is critical to prepare them for a productive role with advanced technological skills. This will require the government to take a lead role in skilling, re-skilling and upskilling of women for greater inclusion and to offset technology-induced inequality and job losses. Flexibility in work hours and work-from-home, review of commerce-related policies to remove roadblocks for e-commerce and tax-based incentives for start-ups, are some ways of encouraging women’s participation in technology-based work. It will require a review of government plans for technical and technological skills development, in order to ensure their relevance and alignment with the future of work.
It all begins with an increased enrolment of women in subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics from school to university level. Like India, a strong government push to increase bank account ownership through biometric identification cards will also help narrow the gender gap in financial inclusion. Businesses will need to actively undertake technological skills enhancement of their workforce. And finally, cybersecurity will have to be increased to make cyberspaces safer for women. This will not only help with cyber frauds but also decrease online harassment of women, increasing their participation in digital platforms.
In his book, Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, German philosopher and social scientist Friedrich Engels outlines the role of technological development in what he refers to as the “great historical defeat of the female sex”. Therefore, the enhancement of technical skills of the female labour force is necessary to prevent exclusion and marginalisation in the age of Industry 4.0.
#Pakistan - #Azadi_March_Updates #AzadiMarch4CivilSupremacy: Maulana Fazl says Azadi March ‘represents the entire nation’
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is leading an anti-government protest dubbed as Azadi March, said on Tuesday that the opposition’s “march is a representation of the entire nation”.
Before proceeding to Lahore, Fazl addressed a crowd in Multan where he was welcomed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior politician Javed Hashmi.
The JUI-F chief said that his party considers the Constitution of the country as the charter of the nation.”Our fight is for the protection of people’s constitutional rights and the country.”
He accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of making the Kashmir issue knotty and shedding ‘crocodile tears’ over the plight of Kashmiri people. “The whole world’s leaders know that you [PM Imran Khan] have compromised on Kashmir. Don’t further deceive Kashmiris by expressing fake sympathy.”Later today, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government would not create any hurdles in Azadi March as long as its participants followed the law but warned them of strict action if agreement signed with his negotiation team is violated.
“We will not create hurdles if the march remains peaceful and within the legal boundaries … however, strict action will be taken if the agreement is violated,” the premier was quoted as saying during the cabinet meeting.
Addressing the rally, Hashmi said following the directive of his party supremo Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N “will fully support the JUI-F’s rally”.
“The PML-N will support the JUI-F march at every nook and corner of Punjab and the people of this country are the real ruler whose decision will have to be respected at any cost,” he added.
The Azadi March, which began on Sunday from Karachi aiming to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, is backed by all major opposition parties – including PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) among others – alleging him of coming into power through rigged elections.
The marchers are expected to arrive in Islamabad by October 31.
On Saturday, the JUI-F and government agreed that the protesters would gather at a ground in H-9 Sector but not enter the federal capital’s Red Zone.
A written agreement was signed between the Islamabad deputy commissioner and JUI-F, Islamabad General Secretary Mufti Mohammad Abdullah.
The opposition, in view of the verdicts of the apex and high courts, said it would ensure that the basic rights of public were not affected due to their protest.
The opposition parties would ensure that the protesters do not leave the designated venue. Besides, they would also be responsible for their internal security.
Pakistani PM Khan faces a tough political challenge as an anti-government march to topple his government set off on Sunday. Khan's woes have been aggravated by a deteriorating economy and accusations of bad governance.
Thousands of supporters of a major religious political party gathered Sunday in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi to start an anti-government march on the capital, Islamabad.
The rally was led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a powerful religious figure and head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, who claims that Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power last year through rigged elections.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan will have to resign. Hundreds of thousands have gathered in Karachi; what will the government do when people from across the country reach Islamabad?" he told rally participants in Karachi.
Rehman is backed by Pakistan's major opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the Pakistan People's Party headed by former President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
The rally participants — expected to be in the hundreds of thousands by the time they reach Islamabad — plan to stage a sit-in protest outside the capital, with a possibility of further rallying closer to the prime minister's house.
"I will announce the future course of action in Islamabad," Rehman said in Karachi.
Such "long marches" have become a common occurrence in Pakistan, with some religious organizations previously attempting to put the capital under siege and resorting to violence.
Although a religious leader, Rehman is a supporter of parliamentary democracy and has served under previous governments.
Khan's 'closeness' to military generals
Mufti Abrar Ahmed, a spokesman for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, said Sunday that Rehman would lead the protesters' caravan. He lashed out against Khan, saying that the "illegitimate" government came to power through the army's support.
Although the major political parties denounced last year's general election as "rigged," they chose not to immediately launch protests. But Khan's heavy-handedness against opposition politicians and the country's deteriorating economy have given them the impetus to finally attempt to dislodge his government.
Khan has been accused of receiving indirect support from the country's powerful military — a claim denied by both Khan and the army. Sharif's supporters say their party was not given a level playing field in the run-up to the July 2018 elections, with the judiciary exclusively targeting PML-N officials and the caretaker government unleashing a massive crackdown on PML-N activists.
Talking to local journalists earlier this week, Khan said the army fully backs him against the opposition's attempts to oust him.
Khan came to power after winning a simple majority in the 2018 parliamentary polls on promises to improve the country's economy and provide jobs. But his critics say he has so far not been able to honor his commitment to the masses.
Although Khan launched an austerity drive to reduce government expenses, critics say the move has been largely superficial, as the PM's team has no real economic plan to fix Pakistan's serious structural issues.
With inflation climbing to 8%, the rupee losing a third of its value over the past year, and foreign exchange reserves barely enough to cover two months of imports, Khan's government was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May for a bailout package.
The IMF's tough bailout conditions have been unpopular, and analysts say the opposition is now ready to use the "public anger" to remove Khan from power.
Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro, a JUI-F official, recently said that a World Economic Forum report found a 3% increase in corruption since Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party came to power.
"The economy has nosedived, prices of essential commodities are touching new heights and people are living in abject poverty. So it is necessary to send him [Prime Minister Khan] packing," Soomro told local media.
#Azadi_March_Updates #AzadiMarch4CivilSupremacy: - آزادی مارچ کو پنجاب میں سکیورٹی نہیں مل رہی: جے یو آئی ف
جمعیت علمائے اسلام ۔ ف نے الزام عائد کیا ہے کہ آزادی مارچ کو پنجاب میں سکیورٹی فراہم نہیں کی جا رہی۔
جے یو آئی۔ ف کے امیر پنجاب ڈاکٹر قاری عتیق الرحمٰن نے منگل کو ملتان سے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو سے گفتگو کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ مارچ کو سندھ میں مکمل سکیورٹی فراہم کی گئی لیکن جب سے قافلے پنجاب میں داخل ہوئے ہیں، نہ مولانافضل الرحمٰن کو سکیورٹی دی جارہی ہے اور نہ ہی دیگر عہدے داروں کو تحفظ فراہم کرنے کا انتظام کیا گیا ہے۔
پنجاب انٹیلی جنس سینٹر (پی آئی سی) محکمہ داخلہ پنجاب نے پیر کو ایک خط کے ذریعے مولانا فضل الرحمن کو آگاہ کیا ہے کہ مختلف غیر ملکی انٹیلی جنس ایجنسیاں آزادی مارچ پر دہشت گرد حملہ کر سکتی ہیں۔
خط میں خدشہ ظاہر کیا گیا کہ بھارتی ایجنسی ’را‘اور افغانستان کی’ این ڈی ایس‘مولانا فضل الرحمن کو ٹارگٹ کر سکتی ہیں اوراس مقصد کے لیے مقامی ٹارگٹ کلنگ گروپوں سے رابطہ کیا جارہا ہے۔
محکمہ داخلہ پنجاب نے یہ خط ڈی پی او رحیم یار خان کے ذریعے مولانا فضل الرحمٰن کو بھجوایا ہے، جس کے مطابق پاکستان کےکسی بھی بڑے شہر میں آزادی مارچ کو دہشت گرد حملہ کا نشانہ بنایاجا سکتا ہے۔
خط میں دعویٰ کیا کہ مولانا فضل الرحمن کو قتل کرنے کے عوض دس لاکھ ڈالرز کی آفر کی گئی ہے۔ خط میں مزید کہا گیا دہشت گردی کے لیے چمن بارڈر کے ذریعے خود کش جیکٹ بھی بھجوادی گئی ہے۔
اس کے علاوہ سکیورٹی حکام نے ایک ہدایت نامہ بھی بھجوایا، جس میں کہا گیا ہے کہ بغیر چیکنگ کے آزادی مارچ میں کسی کو شرکت کی اجازت نہیں،گاڑیوں کو اندر نہیں جانے دیاجائے گا،دوران سفر مارچ کے شرکا جلد از جلد سفر طے کریں اورجہاں رکنا ہو وہاں جگہ کو اچھی طرح چیک کیا جائے۔
تاہم، ڈاکٹر عتیق نے کہا ہے کہ حکومتِ پنجاب آزادی مارچ کو ناکام بنانے کے لیے افواہیں پھیلا رہی ہے۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ پولیس نے دہشت گردی کے خطرے سے متعلق خط تو مولانا فضل الرحمٰن کو بھیجا ہے لیکن سکیورٹی فراہم نہیں کی جا رہی۔ ’ہمارے جذبے جواں ہیں، کسی قسم کی دھمکیوں سے ڈرنے والے نہیں اور اگر کوئی ناخوشگوار واقعہ پیش آیا تو اسے حکومتی سازش سمجھا جائے گا۔‘
’حکومت سکیورٹی کیا دے گی، ہماری میڈیا کوریج پر بھی پابندی ہے، جب سے مارچ پنجاب میں داخل ہوا ہے اس کے راستوں پر انٹرنیٹ بند کیا جارہا ہے تاکہ سوشل میڈیا پر بھی ہم اپنا پیغام نہ پہنچا سکیں۔‘
انہوں نے الزام عائد کیا کہ حکومت میں غیر سنجیدہ لوگ ہیں، ان سے بات کرنا بھی مناسب نہیں سمجھتے کیونکہ انہیں سکیورٹی کا کہا جائے تو مذاق اڑاتے ہیں۔
جب ان سے پوچھا گیا کہ اتنے زیادہ لوگوں کے لاہور میں قیام اور کھانے پینے کے کیا انتظامات ہیں؟ توانہوں نے بتایاکہ مارچ کا پڑاؤ مینار پاکستان گراؤنڈ میں ہوگا،جہاں جلسہ بھی ہوگا اور مولانا فضل الرحمٰن کے علاوہ شہبازشریف،قمر الزمان کائرہ و دیگر اپوزیشن رہنما خطاب کریں گے۔
ڈی آئی جی اشفاق خان کے مطابق پولیس نے لاہور میں آزادی مارچ کے بھر پور انتظامات کر رکھے ہیں اور بدامنی کے خدشے کو مد نظر رکھتے ہوئے پولیس اہلکاروں کو الرٹ کر دیا گیا ہے۔
انہوں نے بتایاکہ آزادی مارچ کے راستوں پر چیکنگ کی جارہی ہے اور جہاں سے آزادی مارچ گزرے گا ان شاہراوں کو بند کر دیاجائے گا۔
The IMF approved a $6bn loan package for Pakistan in July but warned that it would require ambitious fiscal measures and a sustained commitment to mobilise tax revenue to ensure funds for development while reducing debt.
The two-day strike is the second since July called by business groups after negotiations with the government on efforts to enforce the paying of sales tax and catching tax dodgers."This taxation system ... will bring death," Atiq Mir, president of the All Karachi Traders Alliance, which represents markets in Pakistan's biggest city, told Reuters news agency.
All major wholesale markets in the commercial hub were closed along with most shopping centres. Traders holding banners and chanting slogans against the government-held protests in cities across the country. The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has made getting the economy back on track its main priority. The fiscal deficit has ballooned to about seven percent of the GDP and a balance of payments crisis is looming. Pakistan has long suffered from a weak tax base, with only about one percent of its 208 million population filing income tax returns and major industrial sectors dominated by powerful lobbies paying little or no tax.
The agricultural sector, for example, dominated by politically powerful landowners, makes up about 20 percent of the economy but accounts for only 0.22 percent of direct taxes, according to the World Bank.
Naeem Mir, general secretary of the All Pakistan Association of Traders, based in Lahore, said the government risked enraging voters.
"This government has increased inflation, it has raised discount rates ... it has made the life of the common man miserable because of its economic policies," Naeem said.
Among new measures angering traders is a rule requiring anyone buying items worth 50,000 rupees ($315) or more to produce identity papers, a measure aimed at helping authorities track tax evaders. Naeem said traders called for the amount to be raised to 100,000 rupees ($630) but the government has not responded.
"Why won't they listen to us? We'll protest, protest and protest," he said. "The future of the trading community and their children is at stake."