Saturday, November 2, 2019

Music Video - Mere Naseeb Mein Tu Hai Ke Nahi

#Afghanistan: CIA-Backed Forces Commit Atrocities, Says HRW

United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed Afghan forces have committed summary executions and other grave abuses without accountability, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. These strike forces have unlawfully killed civilians during night raids, forcibly disappeared detainees, and attacked healthcare facilities for allegedly treating insurgent fighters. Civilian casualties from these raids and air operations have dramatically increased in the last two years.
The 53-page report, “‘They’ve Shot Many Like This’: Abusive Night Raids by CIA-Backed Afghan Strike Forces,” documents 14 cases from late 2017 to mid-2019 in which CIA-backed Afghan strike forces committed serious abuses, some amounting to war crimes. The US should work with the Afghan government to immediately disband and disarm all paramilitary forces that operate outside the ordinary military chain of command and cooperate with independent investigations of all allegations of war crimes and other human rights abuses.
“In ramping up operations against the Taliban, the CIA has enabled abusive Afghan forces to commit atrocities including extrajudicial executions and disappearances,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director and author of the report. “In case after case, these forces have simply shot people in their custody and consigned entire communities to the terror of abusive night raids and indiscriminate airstrikes.”
The report is based on interviews with 39 local residents and other witnesses to night raids in Ghazni, Helmand, Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Uruzgan, Wardak, and Zabul provinces, as well as with Afghan human rights groups that have documented these raids.
Since 2001, the CIA has maintained a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan parallel to but distinct from the US military operation. It has continued to recruit, equip, train, and deploy Afghan paramilitary forces in pursuit of Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, and, since 2014, militants affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).
Night raids by these strike forces aimed at killing or capturing insurgents largely occur in rural areas that are under Taliban control or contested. The forces breach the walls of residential compounds, search the homes, and question the inhabitants. Some men have been detained without their families knowing their whereabouts. Others have been summarily shot.
In many of the night raids Human Rights Watch investigated, strike forces attacked civilians because of mistaken identity, poor intelligence, or political rivalries in the locality. These units have also sometimes targeted houses based on intelligence that family members had provided food to Taliban or ISIS insurgents, even if under duress. 
A resident in Wardak province told Human Rights Watch that the strike force “destroyed the gate to our compound with an explosive device. They killed one of my sons at the back of our home and took the other with them.… The forces accused us, ‘Why are you feeding the Taliban?’ But the Taliban come asking for food. If you don’t feed them, then they harass you.”
In Paktia province in August 2019, a paramilitary unit killed eight men who were visiting their families for the Eid holidays and three others in the same village. Witnesses said none offered any resistance before being shot. The forces fatally shot a 60-year-old tribal elder in the eye and his nephew, a student in his 20s, in the mouth.
Afghan community elders, health workers, and others described abusive raids as having become a daily fact of life for many communities – with devastating consequences. One diplomat familiar with strike force operations referred to them as “death squads.”
Night raids have often been accompanied by airstrikes that have indiscriminately or disproportionately killed Afghan civilians. The dramatic increase in civilian casualties from US air operations over the past year may reflect changes to tactical directives eliminating measures that had formerly reduced civilian harm, including limitations on striking residential buildings. The US and Afghan governments have not adequately investigated alleged unlawful airstrikes in Afghanistan. In one case Human Rights Watch investigated, an airstrike called in by strike forces in Nangarhar killed at least 13 civilian members of two families, including
several children.
“The US and Afghan governments should cooperate with independent investigations into these allegations,” Gossman said. “These are not isolated cases but illustrative of a larger pattern of serious laws-of-war violations – and even war crimes – by these paramilitary forces.”
During night raids on medical facilities, strike forces have assaulted and sometimes killed medical staff and civilian caregivers and damaged facilities. In July, a strike force unit raided a medical clinic in Wardak province, accused clinic staff of treating Taliban fighters, and killed two caregivers, a guard, and a clinic lab worker. 
The laws of war protect patients, including wounded fighters, and all medical personnel from attack. While medical facilities can be searched to ensure they are genuinely providing medical services, it is unlawful to disrupt facility operations or confiscate medical equipment.
Taliban forces have frequently committed laws-of-war violations and human rights abuses, including indiscriminate attacks that have killed and injured numerous civilians. However, Taliban atrocities never justify Afghan or US government violations. 
The Afghan government should impartially investigate all allegations of abuse by Afghan security forces, prosecute those responsible for war crimes and serious abuses, and disband and disarm paramilitary forces operating outside normal chains of command. The US government should investigate any US personnel involved in these abuses, prosecute those responsible for war crimes, and cease supporting Afghan forces that have been responsible for serious violations.
“CIA-backed Afghan forces in case after case have disregarded protections to which civilians and detainees are entitled, and have committed war crimes,” Gossman said. “The US and Afghan governments should end this pathology and disband all irregular forces.”

ٹرین سانحہ اور ہماری غفلت ِمجرمانہ #Pakistan TrainAccident#

31اکتوبر کا دن بھارت میں تو اندرا گاندھی کی درد ناک ہلاکت کے باعث یومِ 
سوگ کے طور پر منایا ہی جاتا ہے لیکن پاکستان میں بھی 31اکتوبر‘ افسوسناک ٹرین سانحہ کے باعث اتنا ہی بڑا انسانی المیہ بن گیا ہے۔ اس سانحہ میں 74انسان زندہ جل مرے جبکہ 90کے قریب زخمی پڑے ہیں۔ مرنے والے 58مسافروں سے متعلق بتایا گیا ہے کہ آگ میں جل کر ان کی لاشیں ناقابلِ شناخت ہو گئی ہیں۔
مرنے والوں کی بھاری اکثریت تبلیغی جماعت کے مبلغین کی تھی جو سندھ سے تبلیغی اجتماع میں شرکت کے لیے لاہور جا رہے تھے لیکن بیان کیا جا رہا ہے کہ کچھ غیر ذمہ دار افراد نے ناشتے کے لیے انڈے ابالنے کی خاطر گیس سلنڈر جلایا جس کے پھٹنے سے یہ تباہی ان کا مقدر بن گئی۔
بعض اطلاعات کے مطابق سلنڈر بوگی نمبر 13میں پھٹا اور پھر اس کی آگ نے بوگی نمبر 14اور 15کو بھی اپنی لپیٹ میں لے لیا۔ عینی شاہدین کے مطابق ٹرین کی زنجیر خراب تھی اور آگ بجھانے کے آلات بھی غائب تھے اس لیے ٹرین کو بروقت روکا جا سکا نہ آگ بجھائی جا سکی۔
اب اگر ہم چاہیں تو اتنے بڑے انسانی سانحہ کو ایک اتفاقی حادثہ یا امرِ ربی کہہ کر دبا سکتے ہیں لیکن اگر مہذب اقوام کی طرح اس سانحہ کا باعث بننے والی غفلت یا غفلتِ مجرمانہ کا تعین کرنے کے لیے اعلیٰ سطحی تحقیقات کا مطالبہ کریں تو جو سوالات سامنے آتے ہیں ان میں سب سے پہلا سوال یہ آئے گا کہ ریلوے انتظامیہ نے خطرناک گیسوں والے سلنڈر یا آگ پکڑنے والا ممنوعہ مواد ٹرین میں رکھنے کی اجازت کیوں دی؟ اور پھر ٹرین میں محکمہ ریلوے کی جو سیکورٹی ٹیم تعینات ہوتی ہے وہ اپنی ڈیوٹی سے اُس وقت کیوں غافل رہی جب چلتی ٹرین میں ان سلنڈروں کو جلایا جا رہا تھا؟
رپورٹ کے مطابق عینی شاہدین نے یہ بھی بتایا ہے کہ ٹرین رکوانے والی زنجیریں کام کر رہی ہوتیں تو فوری ٹرین رکوا کر بہت سی قیمتی انسانی جانیں بچائی جا سکتی تھیں۔ اسی طرح یہ سوال بھی اہم ہے کہ آگ بجھانے والے آلات کیوں عنقا یا ندارد تھے؟
درویش نے بچپن کی یادوں میں اپنے دادا کے منہ سے نکلتے یہ الفاظ بارہا سنے ہیں کہ اس خطے میں اعلیٰ ترین ڈسپلن والی آئیڈیل حکمرانی تو انگریز کر گئے ہیں ان کے بعد تو ہر چیز انحطاظ پذیر اور ناکارہ ہو گئی ہے۔
عدالتوں میں بروقت انصاف ہی نہیں ملتا تھا بلکہ ٹرینیں بھی بروقت چلتی تھیں اور کسی کی مجال نہ ہوتی تھی کہ اپنی ڈیوٹی میں کوتاہی کا مرتکب ہو۔ آخر اب ہماری ہر چیز ہی ناکارہ اور خراب ہو کر کیوں رہ گئی ہے؟ گزرتے وقت کے ساتھ ہر چیز میں بہتری و برتری آنا چاہئے تھی مگر ہم نے تو پہلے والی بہت سی اچھائیوں کو برائیوں اور بربادیوں میں بدل ڈالا ہے ایسے میں گڈ گورننس کہاں سے آئے گی؟ہمارے وزیر ریلوے ماشاء اللہ خوب گرجتے، برستے ہیں۔ سارے شعبہ جات کا درد ان کے سینے میں ہے۔ ان کی دیگر مصروفیات اتنی زیادہ ہیں کہ اپنے محکمے کو درست کرنے کے لیے شاید انہیں ٹائم ہی میسر نہیں۔
انہی کا فرمانا ہے کہ پہلے ٹرین حادثات زیادہ ہوتے تھے، شکر کریں کہ میرے دور میں یہ کم ہو رہے ہیں اور اب یہ سانحہ بھی ہماری وجہ سے نہیں تبلیغی جماعت کے مسافروں کی وجہ سے ہوا ہے مگر سوال یہ ہے کہ کیا ان کے زیرِ سایہ ریلوے انتظامیہ کی بھی کوئی ذمہ داری تھی یا نہیں؟ خطرناک گیس سلنڈروں کا ٹرین میں رکھا جانا اور پھر ان کا چلتی ٹرین میں استعمال روکنا تو ریلوے انتظامیہ کی ذمہ داری تھی جو شیخ صاحب کے زیر نگرانی کام کرتی ہے۔
بالفرض اگر آگ کی وجہ سرکٹ شارٹ ہونا بھی قرار پاتی ہے تب بھی اس کی درستی یا ٹرین زنجیروں کا ٹھیک حالت میں ہونا وزیر ریلوے کی ایسی محکمانہ ذمہ داری ہے جس سے جان نہیں چھڑائی جا سکتی۔ پاکستانی عوام وزیراعظم عمران خان سے یہ استدعا کرنے میں حق بجانب ہیں کہ وہ کم از کم ایک نااہل وزیر سے محکمہ ریلوے کی جان چھڑوا دیں۔ ہم اکثر ترقی یافتہ مہذب اقوام کی مثالیں دیتے نہیں تھکتے مگر اُن کا طرزِ عمل اور ڈسپلن اپنانے سے گریز کرتے ہیں کیا وہاں ایسے سانحات یا ایسی غفلتِ مجرمانہ کا مرتکب وزیر فوری مستعفی ہونے کا اعلان نہیں کر دیتا؟
زندہ اقوام ہر لمحے اپنی خود احتسابی کے لیے تیار رہتی ہیں جبکہ زوال پذیر اقوام یا معاشرے ہر پل خود ستائی و خود پسندی کا پرچار کرتے ہوئے اپنی مصنوعی عظمتِ رفتہ پر اتراتے رہتے ہیں۔
ہم سات دہائیاں گزرنے کے باوجود اپنے عوام کی بنیادی انسانی ضروریات پوری کرنے سے قاصر ہیں۔ آئین، قانون اور جمہوریت کی حکمرانی و پاسداری یا گڈ گورننس کی معیاری صورتحال تو رہی ایک طرف، ہم تو ستر برسوں بعد بھی اپنی غربت، جہالت اور اندھی جذباتیت پر قابو نہیں پا سکے۔ اپنے سماج کو مہذب، جمہوری، لبرل اور ترقی یافتہ معاشرہ بنانے کے بجائے جنونیت کے پھیلاؤ کو اپنا بزنس سمجھ بیٹھے ہیں۔
جب چھوٹی باتوں میں ہمارے رویے غیر ذمہ دارانہ ہوں گے تو بڑی باتوں کے مفاسد بھی بڑے اور برے ہی برآمد ہوں گے۔

A #Pakistani Catholic talks about the mistreatment, violence suffered by #Christians

Naseem Nawab, a nurse, told Aid to the Church in Need about a beating she received this summer at the hands of two Muslim colleagues at the hospital.

Naseem Nawab is a Pakistani Catholic nurse who has worked at a hospital in Karachi since 2008. She told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about a beating she received this summer at the hands of two Muslim colleagues at the hospital. It is an example of a consistent pattern of discrimination and persecution suffered by Pakistani Christians:
On August 3 [2019] I went downstairs at the end of my shift and found Ambreen and Alia, fellow staff members, waiting for me. They immediately began to beat me. They threw me on the floor, kicked at my back, and pulled my hair. They only stopped because another nurse on duty intervened.
They had come after me because I had objected to the treatment of a second-year nursing student, a Christian girl named Mishal. When I told them not to bully her, they asked why I was interfering with someone in their ward. They told me she was their responsibility.
More than a month later, they have not admitted that this was the cause of my beating—nor have they been disciplined by hospital management despite the fact that I lodged a formal complaint, nor has the police done anything.
I love Pakistan. My family is here, and I have a good, respectable job. But for Christians, it is not safe. Reports of discrimination and forced conversion have only increased, and I fear being punished for my faith. I fear that my children are in danger. I always tell them: do not go anywhere alone.
We cannot worship freely. The path to St. Jude’s, our local church, is lined with people who taunt us, even follow us. And private worship, too, is nearly impossible: to save money, we live at the hospital, where our prayers are considered a disturbance, and there was once an attempted rape at the hospital, involving an assault of Muslim young men on a Christian woman. We must be cautious.
But despite this, I know that God is on my side, and I am comforted by His presence. I have the Bible on my phone, and I read it when I am afraid, especially Psalms 23 and 121. And I pray constantly.
I pray for peace in Pakistan and that the West will protect us from the ongoing violation of human rights. I pray that those in power will use their resources wisely. I pray that my children will lead long, full lives.”

Pakistan -sponsored terrorists target migrants, minorities to show that normalcy in Kashmir is far away

With the numbers of terrorists down but some quantum of successful infiltration, as admitted by the JKP, the terrorists have had some time to reorganize, recalibrate and reselect their targets.
The targeting of non-Kashmiris by terrorists in South Kashmir and the killing of 11 persons in less than two weeks could seem puzzling to observers. However, this is nothing new. It just revisits a tactical method that terror groups, under the guidance of Pakistan’s ISI, employ to remain relevant and promote Pakistan’s interests. It has happened many times in the past too. So, the question should be: Why should it be allowed to happen today?
In the late Nineties, while I coordinated operations in South Kashmir from Avantipur’s Rashtriya Rifles headquarters, we were suddenly hit by a spate of two kinds of incidents — minority killings and targeting of non-Kashmiri labour. The two prominent minorities in Kashmir — Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs — live in pockets of both urban and rural areas. The urban areas are relatively safe, it’s the rural pockets that pose a challenge. While there may have been an exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in1990 under a focused Pakistani strategy, some of them did stay back, and the Sikhs hardly migrated. Both communities became the target of attacks by Pakistani terror groups from time to time. Who can forget the Nandimarg (2003) and Wandhama (1998) killings of Kashmiri Pandits and the Chittisinghpura massacre of the Sikhs in 2000. Since the latter occurred just as the-then US President Bill Clinton was to address India’s Parliament, the motive behind the attack was obvious. In 1999, just as the army was redeploying troops from Kashmir to Kargil to meet the sudden occupation of winter-vacated areas, labour from Bihar working at brick kilns and in the construction industry were targeted with mass killing, leading to their exodus.
A careful analysis of the trends at that time led to the conclusion that the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had decided to execute a high-profile attack against soft targets in certain areas to announce its arrival and demonstrate its domination of the terror scene. It was almost akin to an unfurling of the LeT flag in areas of its choosing and became a signature method.
Migrant non-Kashmiri labour in those days, too, were accommodated in small camps but the security for them was always insufficient. Security could have been strengthened by recognising that there was a major threat to them and gathering them into camps which were well protected and organising their secure movement to orchards or construction sites. Yet, the nature of the terror threat at that time — with more terrorists and lesser number of troops on the ground — prevented any such counter measures. The J&K Police (JKP) on its own could not provide the necessary security. Minority killings and targeting of non-Kashmiri labour tapered off in the early part of the first decade of the millennium and did not come to the fore despite the obvious soft nature of targets available. I, however, continued to harbour fears that the tactic would be used again when the levels of frustration of the Pakistani terror groups or the more radical of the Kashmiri terror elements would cross limits.
The recent targeting of non-Kashmiri labour and others such as truck drivers took place just when the curbs on postpaid mobile telephony were lifted. There really is no connection between the two occurrences in this case, as some are attempting to deduce. What Pakistan, through its proxies, wants to try and propagate is the idea that return of normalcy in Kashmir is yet very far away and that the security space is in their hands even with a limited number of terrorists. It wants to send the broad signal that the abrogation of the special constitutional provisions for J&K is meaningless and changes nothing. With the numbers of terrorists down but some quantum of successful infiltration, as admitted by the JKP, the terrorists have had some time to reorganise, recalibrate and reselect their targets. Intelligence during the last three months has been of a lower order with a not-so-free movement of sources and non-availability of mobile communication. What we are witnessing in South Kashmir is a manifestation of this.
The focus of the security establishment would unmistakably have shifted towards the prevention of street agitation and mass protests. This was the correct response, as it responded to what was the bigger threat from 2008 onwards. Thereafter, the focus has been on counter infiltration — not that the army and police cannot perform multiple tasks and they have done so creditably in the past. However, such situations do result in a shift of priorities and balancing them is a challenge. Much of this happened in 1999-2000 when the counter terror space was severely challenged after the shift of the army’s focus to Kargil. Countering an aggressive terrorist phase involving so called “fidayeen” suicide attacks on government and other security targets proved more than challenging. The security establishment bounced back very quickly to neutralise 2,100 terrorists in 2001, the highest number ever. I have no doubt that with a little recalibration, the same will happen this time too. However, what has to be realised is that this takes away the larger focus from the more important factor of comprehensively neutralising the general ecosystem which enables the Pakistan-sponsored proxies and separatists to challenge the Indian nation’s will.
The “tactical pause”, so to say, must not allow for a return to the situation at the end of 2016 when the army and the police jointly launched Operation All Out. The latter was a very successful operation but we must not be drawn once again into the game of just neutralising terrorists. What the government had correctly done was to pay equal attention to dismantling financial networks and high-profile over-ground worker’s networks. That is still a work in progress as it cannot be an overnight affair. Any slippage in this is bound to embolden the Pakistani sponsors and give a boost to their capability.
India goes beyond just neutralising terrorists. It’s the elusive “terrorism”, which we have rarely targeted, that should be the priority. By giving leeway on potential minority and current non-Kashmiri targeting, we may hand the initiative back to the other side. The security establishment should heed the warning that not only migrant non-Kashmiri labour but also minority elements in Kashmir are currently vulnerable.

#Pakistan - Deadly train inferno

Accidents are part of life, but definitely not as frequent as registered by Pakistan Railways. And some of these, like the one Rawalpindi-bound Tezgam met with on Thursday, leaves a deep scar on memory. Seventy four passengers were roasted alive and 41 injured as a non-stationary train caught fire near Rahimyar Khan. Almost cinematically, the red-hot flames leapt out of three bogies packed with passengers as the train kept moving. It took its driver four minutes to stop it, and while it was running some of the panicked passengers jumped out of the burning coaches. Some of them didn't survive, while some suffered multiple fractures. Most of the passengers were on way to Raiwind, near Lahore, to participate in an annual Tableeghi Ijtema. Given absence of record to show who the deceased were only DNA tests would now verify their identities. There are two versions as an answer to a question what actually caused fire- one given by Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed and the other by independent witnesses. According to the minister, it was a blast caused by a gas cylinder, insisting the concerned railways staff did object to its presence, but nobody cared. The private witnesses insist the fire erupted from short-circuiting of air-conditioning system in the Business Class which engulfed the bogies that followed it. But the minister had no answer to the widely-help perception that the filled gas cylinders were not checked because the scanners at Karachi and Hyderabad stations were/are out of order. Let that be so, but how come the body-search conducted at the entry points did not detect something as big as a gas cylinder. Insofar as the question who should inquire into what led to the train inferno is concerned, there too are two answers or positions – while the government would like this to be done by the Railways Ministry the others have demanded a judicial investigation.
Nowhere in the world are the railways free from train-to-train collisions, derailments and fire incidents. Pakistan Railways too had it, but their incidence as recurrent as since Sheikh Rasheed took over as its minister is simply mindboggling. In the 14 months of his stewardship there were no less 80 train accidents that took scores of lives. Only last July 11, a passenger train ran into a stationary freight train near Sadiqabad, causing deaths of 21 passengers. The minster blamed the local staff, refusing to accept the fact that the existing signaling system was no more functional and should have been changed. And, invariably, the minister has been blaming others for these accidents while independent sources describe the rising incidence of accidents as profound deficiency of the railways department. But, on second thought, the minister admitted that ban on filled gas cylinders was relaxed to appease the Tableeghi Jamaat members!
To fit in the ‘Naya Pakistan', he introduced a number of new trains, which were not needed at all. No wonder then quite a few of them are no longer running because the Pakistan railways as it exists on the ground is not good enough to deliver on that demand. The government has no plausible answer to question why have more trains when the system is not capable of handling even the normal load. Although Sheikh Rasheed has announced that “as far as the matter about my resignation is concerned, I will talk about it on Sunday," he must resign without any further loss of time. Enough is enough.

#Pakistan - Lawmakers call for railways minister’s resignation, impartial inquiry

Lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly on Friday, while condemning the Tezgam Express inferno in Rahim Yar Khan that claimed the lives of 74 passengers, demanded the resignation of the federal railway's minister, Shaikh Rashid.
Speaking on the matter both inside and outside the assembly hall, MPAs belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) asked the federal government to conduct an impartial inquiry and provide relief to the victims’ families.
“Around 40 people who were burnt to death or have gone missing in the wake of this incident belong to Sindh,” said PPP MPA Zulfiqar Shah, raising the issue on a point of order. He lashed out at the Punjab government and railways authorities for shifting the bodies in trucks, rather than sending them in ambulances. “Every other day, PTI MPAs talk against the Sindh government’s policies,” said Shah. “We are far better than Punjab when it comes to the health sector. We never ever transport victims in trucks as they have done with the people of Sindh,” he remarked.
Referring to the opposition leader, Firdous Shamim Naqvi and PTI’s parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Shaikh’s condolence visit to Mirpurkhas, Shah said, “People have welcomed them with rotten eggs and tomatoes. This all happened when they started defending the railways minister.”
Incensed by his remarks, PTI MPAs stood up from their seats and started to protest. Meanwhile, Shah, who also belongs to the Mirpurkhas division, demanded the Sindh government to announce compensation for the victims.
Earlier, PPP’s Heer Ismail Sohu also took exception to the negligence of the railways authorities and the Punjab government for transporting the bodies in a truck. “A video has gone viral that shows government officials transporting the bodies on a truck. We have a tradition in Pakistan to respect the dead. It looks like they were loading the truck with onions and potatoes,” she said while demanding an impartial inquiry to punish those who showed a lack of respect in this case. “This was the 70th incident since the PTI government has come into power,” said Sohu. “This will continue until Sheikh Rashid holds the portfolio of the department,” she added.
GDA’s Nand Kumar Goklani and Mohammad Hussain of the MQM-P also spoke on the issue. “We should not rule out a conspiracy hatched by anti-state elements,” said Goklani. The members also offered Fateha for the victims and observed a minute’s silence in their memory.
The Sindh Assembly introduced three different laws, including the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2019, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Sindh Charities Registration and Regulation Bill, 2019, on Friday. All the bills were referred to the standing committees for feedback.
In the motor vehicle law, an amendment has been proposed to grant driving licences to hearing-impaired persons. “Applicants with hearing impairment, having up to 40 decibels (a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound) loss, shall wear hearing aids and in case the hearing loss exceeds the decibels, the applicant shall use sensitive technology devices,” the law states.
Adjournment motion on absconders
The Sindh Assembly rejected PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman’s adjournment motion to discuss a large number of absconders living in Sindh. “There are around 57,000 absconders in Sindh. I want to know what efforts are being taken by the PPP government for their arrest,” he said.
The deputy speaker asked Zaman to convince the house on whether his adjournment motion was in line with the rules or not. Zaman tried to do so, but the Sindh government opposed the motion, paving the way for the deputy speaker to dismiss it.Earlier, as the session started with speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair, the minister for parliamentary affairs, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, responded to questions related to the information technology (IT) department.
PTI MPA Saeed Afridi also tabled a resolution against the “Azadi March” organised by JUI-F leader Fazul Rehman. “We are in a war-like situation following the Indian government’s efforts to occupied Kashmir Valley. This march is against parliamentary democracy and it seems to be a conspiracy against Pakistan,” states the resolution, which could not be taken up in the house. Later, the speaker adjourned the session till Monday.

Saudi Arabia can’t help solve Kashmir issue because it now lacks legitimacy in Muslim world

Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman can snub Imran Khan and court Narendra Modi, but he won't sideline his military ties with the Pakistan armed forces.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Saudi Arabia again – his second trip in four years that many see as having the potential to solve India’s Kashmir issue. The cosying up between Riyadh and New Delhi is a signal to Pakistan that countries symbolising the Muslim ummah now stand with India instead.
The problem, however, is that the new Saudi Arabia is very different from even the pre-2010 one. Led by an ambitious, young, modern leader, who wants to modernise the state and westernise it culturally, does not have the same legitimacy in the Muslim world anymore. The Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is trying hard to do a balancing act, silencing the religious Right through oppression by gagging noted Saudi religious scholars while depending on some traditions in order to not entirely lose political legitimacy.
Therefore, despite that Israeli aircraft flying in and out of Riyadh and efforts of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of the chief architects of Trump’s Middle East peace plan and a close friend of the crown prince, Palestine continues to be mentioned in the officially transmitted prayers, especially in Mecca and Medina. Similarly, as I observed myself, writings of the former grand mufti, the rabid, although pragmatic, Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz, are still available in the two holy cities.
The desire for modernity among Saudi rulers is not new. It dates back to the first ruler of the Saudi state, Muhammad ibn Saud, who established a nation-state in the Arabian Peninsula in 1932. His sons, including King Faisal, who was killed by his own nephew in 1975, faced opposition by the religious clergy for his perceived sin of bringing modern technology in Saudi Arabia. Faisal’s wife Iffat al-Thunayan opened schools for women. Clearly, the incumbent crown prince Muhammad bin Salman, popularly known as MbS and considered the de facto king, wants to take development several notches higher and is brutal in his pursuit of power.

Only a good business partner

His political ambitions make India an attractive destination for Riyadh. Unlike Pakistan, which wants Saudi money but is shy of a total embrace because it could have high costs for the country’s security, Riyadh’s relationship with New Delhi can actually work.
Indian Muslims do not necessarily pose an ideological burden on Saudi Arabia as compared to Pakistan’s. Riyadh will never want to be burdened with claims of infesting India with radicalism, an accusation it hears from Pakistan. Moreover, Modi’s India has little qualms about engaging with Saudi Arabia riddled with accusations of human rights atrocities. This makes India similar to Pakistan but different from a number of western states.
Not surprisingly, Saudi Aramco agreed to invest reportedly US$ 15 billion into Reliance Industries. In business terms, this is a major breakthrough as it brought the largest foreign investment project in India without threatening the Ambani empire. No wonder New Delhi is ready to put its eggs in the Saudi basket and temporarily abandon the Chabahar project in Iran.
The continuation of this sheen in New Delhi and Riyadh’s relationship depends upon money in Indian pockets. But it is also worth remembering that MbS has other priorities too. He can ignore and snub Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by not inviting him to his ‘Davos in the Desert’ and instead invite Narendra Modi, but he is not about to sideline his military ties with the Pakistan armed forces. Not only does he have a retired Pakistani general at his beck and call, MbS also has good ties with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Lest we forget, MbS played a key role in arranging Imran Khan’s meeting in July this year with Donald Trump, which in reality was a meeting between Trump and Bajwa. The general was equally cool with his prime minister getting a cold shoulder.
In any case, Pakistan military is well-entrenched in the system of securing Saudi royalty for decades, which may be one of the reasons that Riyadh did not shun Islamabad despite the latter’s refusal to fight openly in Yemen, and not take a clear position against Iran.

Saudi Arabia not the inspiration

Can Saudi Arabia help solve the Kashmir issue? An MbS-led Saudi Arabia does not have legitimacy in the larger Islamic world despite physically being at the centre of the Muslim ideological imagination.
Today, the ordinary South Asian Muslim may be more thrilled by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad than MbS. Mahathir’s condemnation of the situation in Kashmir and not bowing down to India’s pressure of cancelling palm oil import has already enhanced his international credibility. Some would even put Imran Khan in the same list. Not that these leaders are above board but the point being made here is that Saudi Arabia is in no position to influence the thinking of ordinary Muslims or alter the religio-political discourse in the Islamic world.
While Saudi Arabia’s efforts to distance itself from its staple Wahabi ideology may open doors for Muslim states and Muslim citizens to think deeply about the concept of Islamic nationalism, the idea of ummah has not died entirely. It probably requires an intelligent and organic discourse that is yet to take place. The absence of a strong entity or a forum in the Islamic world that has legitimate capacity to engage with issues faced by Muslims across the world could create greater space for non-state militant entities, or simply nourish frustration.
The Indian or for that matter a Kashmiri Muslim, on the other hand, wouldn’t be inspired by an oppressive prince as they are increasingly feeling more scared, disenfranchised and unrepresented in India. It’s a fact that the number of Muslim representatives in the Indian Parliament is nowhere close to being proportionate to their share in the country’s population. The Muslim representation in the Indian military has also reduced. For Muslims in India, their conditions are a greater influence than ideology.
Moreover, once in Saudi Arabia, the Indian Muslim, due to sharing a common language, is far closer to a Pakistani Muslim than Muslims from other parts of the world. I recall my own experience of sitting in the mosque of the Prophet in Medina in a group that had women from different parts of Pakistan and India (including from Kerala) as we were all identified as belonging to the same language category – Urdu.
Not that engaging Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States is not a worthwhile policy. However, India should value Saudi Arabia for capital gains rather than for political and ideological troubleshooting. India will have to look inside to find a solution to its Muslim issue.

#AzadiMarchForDemocracy - Not ready to bow before any dictator, Bilawal Bhutto

Calling Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan a "puppet", Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressed a large crowd at the main camp of anti-government march and said that they will not bow down to any 'dictator'.

"We are not ready to bow before any selector or dictator... The hub of power is people and not the state", Bilawal said in front of the charged-up crowd waving flags of the various opposition party on Friday.
He also asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down and said, "All opposition parties have gathered at one platform to give a clear message to Prime Minister Khan that the time had come for him to step down".
The march, spearheaded by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the chief of the right-wing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), kickstarted from Karachi's Sohrab Goth area on October 27 amidst a massive show of strength by the party workers from other opposition parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and Awami National Party (ANP), Dawn reported.
The anti-government 'Azadi March' caravans reached its final destination at Peshawar Morr in the wee hours on Friday. Opposition parties participating in the massive protest are scheduled to hold a rally after Friday prayers.JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman welcomed participants to the Azadi March.
He also thanked Awami National Party president Asfandyar Khan Wali, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PPP, PML-N and ANP workers as well all other parties` workers.
Informed sources told The Dawn that PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif is expected to join Rahman in his Azadi March rally in Islamabad. The PML-N leader is scheduled to depart for Islamabad from Lahore and is expected to address the gathering in the capital.
The anti-government protest is likely to be one of the biggest in the country, surpassing the numbers of the 2014 'dharna' held against the then Pakistani government led by Nawaz Sharif.
The purported aim of the march is to oust Imran Khan, who has been at the helm for just over a year.

#AzadiMarch_UpDates - Pakistan protests: Imran Khan crisis as angry crowds flood streets promising to bring chao

TENS of thousands of Pakistani opposition supporters rallied on Friday to demand the end of what they insist is the illegitimate government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, warning they will spark chaos if the demands are not met.
The protest, in the capital Islamabad, is the first concerted opposition challenge that cricket star-turned-politician Khan has faced since he won a general election last year promising to end corruption and create jobs for the poor. The leader of one of Pakistan's largest religious parties, Fazl-ur-Rehman, is spearheading the protest with the support of both main opposition parties. It comes as Khan's government is struggling with the economy. The opposition says the government is illegitimate and is being propped up by the military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half of its history and sets security and foreign policy. The military denies meddling in politics. Khan has dismissed the opposition calls to step down and the government has warned it will not tolerate chaos on the streets.
"There is an undeclared martial law here," said protester Habib ur Rehman, 35, a supporter of Fazl-ur-Rehman's conservative Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl party.
The veteran politician can mobilise support in numerous religious schools and has warned of chaos across the country if the government does not step down. He was due to address the rally after Friday prayers. Security is tight in Islamabad with the government and diplomatic sector - just a few miles from the rally site - sealed off, roads blocked by barriers of shipping containers.
Schools are closed, public transport suspended and internet services interrupted in some areas, a service provider said.
The army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, urged Khan to handle the protest peacefully and avoid violence by both sides, a military spokesman said.
Khan won the election on promises of breaking Pakistan away from its legacy of corruption and on plans to pull 100 million people out of poverty.
But an economy in crisis forced his government, like many of its predecessors, to turn to the International Monetary Fund.
Pakistan got a $6 billion bailout in July.
The government is trying to correct an unsustainable current account deficit and cut debt while trying to expand the tax base in the country of 208 million people, in which only one per cent of people file returns.
Inflation is squeezing household budgets and traders this week protested against new tax measures.
Protester Rehman said people were struggling to make ends meet, and he blamed Khan. "My family voted for him thinking he's a new person and looked sincere," he said.
"But he's failed us."