Friday, January 31, 2020

Video Report - #Brexit #BrexitDay Brexit Day: What's next for the UK and the EU?

#China develops rapid #Coronavirus test that works in under 15 MINUTES

Scientists in China have reportedly developed an express test which can detect the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus in under fifteen minutes, in a major breakthrough which will hopefully help stem the tide of infection. Experts from a tech company based in Wuxi in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, working with the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, developed the rapid nucleic test kit in just ten days, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The test takes between eight and 15 minutes to produce a result and is currently being mass-manufactured at a rate of 4,000 kits per day, with the city government in Wuxi exploring efforts to boost production even further.
The first batch of kits has reportedly already been deployed to the frontlines at the epicentre of the outbreak, Wuhan, in Hubei province.
The death toll from the virus continues to rise, as does the rate of infection around the world. On Friday the UK confirmed its first cases of the illness, joining more than 15 other countries around the world with verified instances of the disease.
To date, some 213 have died as a result of coronavirus infection and a further 9,700 have contracted the disease.

#coronavirus - Commentary: PHEIC, not panic

It is a time calling for enhanced international preparedness and greater confidence when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
PHEIC does not mean panic. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, stressed that the WHO disfavored imposing travel or trade restrictions on China. The WHO announcement signifies a new starting point for international collaboration to combat the enemy of global health.
Much remains to be understood about the new virus. The source of the outbreak and the extent to which it has spread are not yet known. The announcement of PHEIC might influence the world economy. But confidence is more precious than gold in face of epidemic. As long as the international community stands together, with scientific prevention and cures, and precise policies, the epidemic is preventable, controllable and curable.
It is based on this confidence that the WHO does not recommend overreactions such as trade and travel restrictions.
China is now engaged in an arduous battle. Its measures, swift, strong, and smart, have shown that early discovery, diagnosis, treatment and quarantine are the most effective method to bring the outbreak under control.
Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has put paramount importance on the prevention and control measures and is working with the international community in a spirit of openness, transparency and scientific coordination.
The world is impressed with the commitment from China's top leadership, the efficiency of national mobilization in response to the outbreak, the actions to limit transmission, including the lockdown of Wuhan, an 11 million population city and center of the outbreak.
Virus can cross borders in an integrated world, but it is the integration and borderless collaboration that allow us to stop it.
After identifying the pathogen in a record-short time, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus in a timely manner with the WHO and relevant countries and regions. China invites WHO experts to do field study in Wuhan. The government attaches great importance to the safety of all foreigners in China.
Progress is being made day by day. Development of vaccine, diagnose and treatment is accelerated. Researchers have selected 30 existing drugs, biologically active natural products and traditional Chinese medicines which may have therapeutic effects on the virus for further tests. More patients have recovered and been released from hospital. China is willing to share the experience with the world.
Renowned Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said Tuesday that the outbreak in China would reach its peak in one week or around 10 days, and then there will be no large-scale increases.
Standing on the frontlines, China is beefed up to deal with the most difficult issue. Its efforts are not only protecting its people, but also protecting the people in the whole world.
As Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, the announcement of PHEIC is not a vote of no confidence in China, and the greatest concern is "the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems."
It is time to test the strength, wisdom, and solidarity of the international community as the world did when reining in viruses including swine flu, polio, Ebola, and Zika.
Facing an extraordinary challenge posed by the outbreak, the world needs extraordinary confidence. In the joint fight for global health security, sacrifice cannot be made in vain.

#coronavirus - China's Xi orders military to contribute to winning battle against epidemic

President Xi Jinping has ordered Chinese military to keep its mission firmly in mind and shoulder responsibility to make contributions to winning the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a recent instruction to the military on the prevention and control of the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.
The military resolutely implemented the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee after the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan of Hubei Province, Xi said, adding that the armed forces rapidly initiated the joint prevention and control mechanism and sent elite medical teams to combat the epidemic at the frontline.
Xi said the epidemic prevention and control remained grim and complex and demanded the armed forces shoulder their responsibility, fight the hard battle and actively assist local authorities in fighting the epidemic.
The armed forces are tasked with treating patients in Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, which reflects the high level of trust that the Party and the people place in them, Xi said.
To meet the expectations and fulfill the task, the military must strengthen leadership, enhance coordination with local authorities, adhere to scientific treatment, and pay attention to their own protection, Xi added.
Huoshenshan Hospital, which is under construction, is a makeshift hospital dedicated to treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Xi ordered military hospitals engaged in the epidemic control to treat patients with all-out efforts and military research institutions to step up scientific research to contribute to winning the battle against the epidemic.

Video Report - See how each senator voted on witnesses at Trump’s trial

#Pakistan likely to stay in #FATF grey list over inadequacy in curbing terror

Rezaul H Laskar

The working group and plenary meetings of FATF in Paris from February 16 to 21 will assess the implementation of a 27-point action plan by Pakistan, which was placed in the grey list in June 2018 for failing to stop fund raising by groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Pakistan is expected to be retained in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “grey list” at an upcoming meeting of the multilateral watchdog as it hasn’t made adequate progress in countering terror financing, diplomats of two European countries have said.
The working group and plenary meetings of FATF in Paris from February 16 to 21 will assess the implementation of a 27-point action plan by Pakistan, which was placed in the grey list in June 2018 for failing to stop fund raising by groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Taliban and al-Qaeda.
“The available information suggests Pakistan has taken some steps to bring its terror financing and money laundering laws in line with international obligations and to improve its legal structures,” said a diplomat from a European country that was closely involved in the efforts which led to Pakistan being included in the grey list.
“But it hasn’t done enough to prosecute or convict terrorists, including those sanctioned by the UN, for their involvement in terror financing. It is expected to stay in the grey list,” said the diplomat who declined to be named. He added the latest analysis showed Pakistan was fully or partially compliant with only 14 of the 27 points in the action plan.
A diplomat from a second European nation that closely tracks Pakistan’s efforts to end terror financing, too, said the country is expected to stay in the grey list till the next FATF plenary meeting in October as it hasn’t done enough to implement the action plan.
Indian officials declined to comment on the matter.
However, diplomats from both European nations contended that there has been a softening of the US position on Pakistan’s case at FATF, and they attributed this to Washington’s hope that Islamabad will play a role in arranging a deal with the Taliban. Such a deal is crucial for US plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, preferably before the American presidential election later this year.
“It seems the US is trying to encourage Pakistan to help in Afghanistan by going softer at FATF,” said the diplomat from the second European nation, who also declined to be named.
In recent weeks, Pakistan has stepped up diplomatic efforts to be taken off the FATF’s grey list, with foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telling a news briefing in Washington on January 17 that the country hopes the US will back its efforts to get off the watch list.
At a news briefing in Washington on January 24, Alice Wells, the Trump administration’s pointsperson for South Asia, appeared more conciliatory about Pakistan’s case at FATF. Speaking after a recent visit to India and Pakistan, she said the US appreciates steps taken by Pakistan to advance the Afghan peace process and also welcomed efforts by Islamabad to “meet its counterterrorism financing obligations under FATF”.
Pointing to progress in the relations with Pakistan, including President Donald Trump’s “warm and constructive meeting with Prime Minister [Imran] Khan at Davos to the restoration of the International Military Education and Training” programmes, she added: “We’ve been pleased to see progress by Pakistan towards fulfilling FATF obligations.”
As things stand, Pakistan needs the support of only three of FATF’s 39 members to stay out of the “black list”, and it sure to get the votes of China, which holds the watchdog’s presidency till June, Malaysia and Turkey.

#bringthemback - Government Must Ensure Return Of Stuck Pakistanis In China : Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that PPP is are very much concerned about stranded Pakistanis in China. He was talking to the media in the parliament here on Friday.

He said that PPP has raised the issue of stranded Pakistanis in National Assembly." The government has assured the house that measures are being taken for safe return of stranded people. India and Bangladesh are evacuating their citizens and we do not know what difficulties are faced by the government.
We should strive for solution of the people's problems ,in this regard", he added.Bilawal said that apparently at present there seems no from the government action apparent for these stranded Pakistanis.
Government should fulfil its responsibility and bring back Pakistani citizens.Responding a question he said that Federal government did not fulfil MQM's demands with regard to Karachi. There is a lot of differences between the ideology of PPP and MQM but all should make efforts to solve Karachi's issues together.He said that it would be in favour of MQM if it would leave federal government and solve problems of Karachi.
MQM should think that why they are supporting a party which has not done anything for Karachi and its people. Economic situation of the country is appalling and people are economically murdered.He was of the view that PM Imran Khan has not fulfilled even a single promise he made to the people.
PPP was promised that federal government will work with Sindh government on water projects, but Imran Khan took a U-turn on desalination plant and K-4 projects.He said that PTI's government even could not fulfil the promises of providing jobs and building houses.He said that voices are being raised from Punjab, federation and KP against PTI government.
"I think that this will not stop now. PTI has neither capacity to run the country nor it has ability to keep its allies together.The PPP's chairman said that the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Sindh had consultation with regard to IG Sindh and they both had agreed on the issue of IG.
It is hoped that the decision of IG will be according to the agreement between PM and CM Sindh and Imran Khan will keep his promise about IG Sindh.He said that this should not be the perception that federal government wants to intentionally disturb the law and order situation in Sindh." It has always been tried to create monopoly of the economy of the country.
PPP is hoping that PTI will not be involved in monopolise the economy.He said that as far as the sugar crisis is concerned it was intentionally created to provide benefit to the deputy prime minister and harmed other businessmen in the country.
Similarly the wheat crisis is also a very serious issue. There was food crisis in the times of Pervaiz Musharraf as well. During his regime the country was buying wheat from other countries despite being an agricultural country.He said that President Zardari had turned the country, which used to export the wheat, instead of buying wheat.
"Our growers are economically murdered since this PTI government has come to power. Agriculture is backbone of national economy but government has completely failed to introduce any agricultural policy", Bilawal added.He said that agriculture emergency was also not imposed in the country.
Pakistan is facing flour crisis due to wrong policies of PTI government. The solution of wheat crisis presented by the government is in fact no solution. Buying duty free flour from other countries will further harm Pakistani agriculture.
The wheat crop in Punjab and Sindh is nearly ready but now it will have to compete with wheat bought from international market.He said that PTI government was imposed after rigging the elections.
Every political party despite differences among them agree on one point that Imran Khan has to go home as he is so non-serious and cannot work even with his own team.Bilawal said that if some people appointed by Imran Khan go on vacations and long leave then how the tax reforms can be introduced. PM says that he wants to increase tax net but he keep sending his own FBR chief on leave.

Opp slams govt for not evacuating Pakistanis stuck in virus-hit China

Opp senator says govt should bring back its citizens from China and keep them in isolation
 Opposition lawmakers in Senate on Friday slammed the government’s decision to leave Pakistani citizens stranded in China due to “larger public interest” in the wake of a global novel coronavirus outbreak.
During a heated debate in the Upper House, the opposition called for bringing back over 500 Pakistani students who are stuck in the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan and for establishing a temporary quarantine to contain a possible outbreak in the country.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that a dangerous situation has emerged due to the spread of coronavirus. Referring to Wuhan, he said: “There is a curfew-like situation in the city.”
He added that Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza was of the opinion that the Pakistani students currently stranded in China should not be repatriated. “Chinese people are coming to Pakistan but our own citizens are not being brought back,” he alleged.
A day earlier, the government had decided to leave the students stranded in Wuhan, saying it won’t indulge in “irresponsible” behaviour by evacuating Pakistan nationals as this could lead to further spread of the deadly virus.
During the session, Kakar urged the government to bring back the citizens and to isolate them in a particular area. “We have been unable to treat tuberculosis, polio and measles, so treating coronavirus is out of the question,” he said.
Meanwhile, PML-N parliamentary leader Mushahidullah Khan called coronavirus an “epidemic and a global catastrophe”.
“The foreign minister and the health ministry need to take action immediately [in this regard]. There is a Pakistani embassy in China but nobody there seems to be active,” he claimed.
Criticising the government’s decision, he added that other countries were also evacuating their citizens from China.
“So far we have not adopted any precautionary measures. Whenever there is a problem, they just try to get rid of it. Their [students in China] mothers are crying and we have abandoned them,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq stated that “coronavirus is now a global health emergency”.
“China has no hand in the current health crisis. They themselves have been affected by this virus. Only time will tell how far this virus has spread.
PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz also sided with the views of the opposition and stated that students who show no signs of the virus should be allowed to enter the country while those that are sick should be quarantined.
However, PTI Senator Seemi Ezdi explained that it was in the best interest of the Pakistanis in China to stay there.
“They have better access to health facilities and are also trying to come up with a treatment for the virus. We cannot treat this virus. The government’s decision is in the best interest of Pakistani citizens.”
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman maintained that Pakistan has expressed solidarity with the Chinese government, but urged the government to take precautionary steps.
“Protecting their citizens is the prime responsibility of any country. The government should order kits for diagnosing coronavirus as the screening at airports is not helping us to diagnose cases,” she said.

پاکستان میں جنسی ہراسگی: بیوہ جس نے اپنی جنگ خود لڑی اور جیتی

سوات سے تعلق رکھنے والی لیڈی ہیلتھ ورکر شہناز کو مسلسل چار سال تک ہراساں کیا گیا۔ شوہر کے انتقال کے بعد ان کے لیے اپنے گھر کا چولہا جلتا رکھنے کے لیے اس کے علاوہ کوئی راستہ نہیں تھا کہ وہ کوئی ملازمت کریں۔

شہناز (نام دانستہ طور پر بدل دیا گیا) بیوہ ہو جانے کے بعد شروع کے چار برسوں کو اپنے لیے کسی عذاب سے کم نہیں سمجھتیں۔ مگر اب وہ تلخ سماجی حقائق کا مقابلہ کرنا سیکھ چکی ہیں۔ وادی سوات سے تعلق رکھنے والی لیڈی ہیلتھ ورکر شہناز کو چار سال تک بہت مشکل حالات کا سامنا رہا۔ ان کے شوہر ٹیکسی ڈرائیور تھے اور اپنی محنت کے معاوضے سے گھر کا خرچہ پورا کرتے تھے۔ لیکن جب ان کا دل کا دورہ پڑنے سے انتقال ہو گیا، تو شہناز کے پاس کوئی  ملازمت تلاش کرنے کے علاوہ کوئی دوسرا راستہ نہیں بچا تھا۔ وہ کہتی ہیں، ''مجھے کئی اعلیٰ افسروں کی منت سماجت اور سفارشوں کے بعد ایک بنیادی مرکز صحت میں ہیلتھ ورکر کی نوکری مل گئی۔ میں روزانہ دفتر جاتی، تو راستے میں بھی مجھے حقارت کی نظر سے دیکھا جاتا تھا۔ لوگ نامناسب جملے کستے۔ مجھے ذہنی تکلیف ہوتی۔ مجھے دفتر میں بھی کئی ساتھی کارکنوں اور افسران کی جانب سے ہراساں کیاجاتا تھا۔‘‘
شہناز نے ڈی ڈبلیو کو بتایا کہ ان کے ساتھی کارکنوں میں سے کئی  ملازمین انہیں موبائل فون پر غیر اخلاقی پیغامات بھیجتے اور کئی بار گفتگو میں بھی براہ راست طرح طرح کی پیشکشیں کی جاتیں، ''میں تقریباً چار سال تک اس عذاب میں مبتلا رہی۔ پھر ایک دن میں نے ہمت کی اور اپنے دفتر کے کارکنوں کا سامنا کیا۔ میں نے غصے میں انہیں گالیاں بھی دیں، جس کے بعد میرے لیے وہاں کے حالات کچھ بہتر بھی ہو گئے تھے۔‘‘ لیکن شہناز نے اپنے ہراساں کیے جانے کے خلاف ہراسگی کی روک تھام کے لیے موجود قانون کا استعمال کرتے ہوئے متعلقہ محتسب کو کوئی شکایت کیوں نہ کی؟ اس کے جواب میں انہوں نے کہا، ''تب مجھے علم ہی نہیں تھا کہ ایسا کوئی قانون بھی موجود ہے۔ اس قانون کے بارے میں تو مجھے اب پتہ چلا ہے۔ اب لیکن میرے لیے صورت حال ٹھیک ہے۔ تاہم اگر مجھے پھر ہراساں کیا گیا، تو میں اس قانون کا عملی استعمال ضرور کروں گی۔‘‘
مسئلہ عمومی سوچ کا ہے
شہناز کہتی ہیں کہ پاکستانی معاشرے میں گھر سے باہر کام کرنے والی عورتوں کے کردار پر زیادہ تر بڑی آسانی سے سوال اٹھا دیے جاتے ہیں۔ انہیں حقارت کی نگاہ سے دیکھا جاتا ہے اور اکثر لوگ یہ سمجھنے کی کوشش کم ہی کرتے ہیں کہ کوئی خاتون اپنے گھر سے نکل کر کوئی ملازمت کس مجبوری کے باعث کر رہی ہوتی ہے۔
وہ کہتی ہیں، ''اب لیکن میں اپنے ارد گرد کے معاشرے کی اس سوچ کو اچھی طرح سمجھ گئی ہوں۔ میں جانتی ہوں کہ کم ظرف افراد کو کچھ سمجھانے کے لیے کس لہجے میں بات کرنا پڑتی ہے۔ اب میں خوف زدہ نہیں ہوتی اور اس بات کی پرواہ بھی نہیں کرتی کہ کوئی کیا کہہ رہا ہے یا کیا کہے گا۔‘‘
قومی سطح کے اعداد و شمار
سوات کی شہناز کی طرح پاکستان میں ہر روز ہزاروں دیگر خواتین کو بھی ان کی جائے روزگار یا عوامی جگہوں پر ہراساں کیا جاتا ہے۔ گزشتہ برس جہاں ملک بھر میں ایسے واقعات میں اضافہ ہوا، وہیں پر قدامت پسند پاکستانی معاشرے میں خواتین کے ساتھ ساتھ مردوں کو بھی ہراسگی کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ پاکستان میں جنسی ہراسگی کی روک تھام کے نگران وفاقی محتسب کے دفتر کے مہیا کردہ اعداد و شمار کے مطابق صرف جنوری 2019ء سے اکتوبر2019ء تک ایسے 300 سے زیادہ واقعات میں پاکستانی شہریوں کو ہراساں کیا گیا۔ اسی طرح 2018ء میں پاکستان بھر میں ایسے 260، دو ہزار سترہ میں 90 اور 2016ء میں ساٹھ کے قریب ایسے واقعات رپورٹ ہوئے تھے۔
صوبے خیبر پختونخوا کی محتسب برائے انسداد جنسی ہراسگی کے مطابق ان کے دفتر کو اب تک کل 60 واقعات رپورٹ کیے گئے ہیں، جن میں سے 23 واقعات عملاﹰ متعلقہ قانون کے دائرے میں آتے ہیں۔ ان میں سے 22 واقعات کی شکایت خواتین نے کی جبکہ ایک واقعے میں ایک مرد شہری کو ہراساں کیا گیا۔ صوبائی محتسب کے مطابق ان واقعات میں سے چھ پر کارروائی مکمل ہو چکی ہے۔
صوبائی محتسب کا موقف
خیبر پختونخوا کی محتسب برائے انسداد جنسی ہراسگی رخشندہ ناز نے اس حوالے سے ڈی ڈبلیو کو بتایا کہ کل 36 صوبائی محکموں میں تین تین افراد پر مشتمل ایک ایک انکوائری کمیٹی بنائی جا چکی ہے اور پشاور میں صوبائی حکومت اس معاملے میں محتسب کے دفتر سے مکمل تعاون کر رہی ہے۔ رخشندہ ناز نے کہا، ''پہلے خواتین کو ہم پر اعتماد نہیں تھا۔ لیکن وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ لوگوں میں اعتماد قائم ہوا ہے۔ ہمیں جس کسی کے خلاف بھی کوئی شکایت ملتی ہے، ہم اسے تین دن کے اندر اندر نوٹس بھیج دیتے ہیں۔‘‘
صوبائی محکموں میں قائم کردہ کمیٹیوں کے بارے میں رخشندہ ناز نے کہا کہ جنسی ہراسگی کے خلاف کمیٹیوں کے  لیے ایسے ارکان کا انتخاب کیا جاتا ہے، جو بالکل غیرجانبدار ہوں اور جن میں معاملات کو پرکھنے کی صلاحیت بھی ہو، ''ہر کمیٹی کے تین ارکان ہوتے ہیں، ایک عورت اور دو مرد۔ یہ ارکان کسی بھی متعلقہ سرکاری ادارے کے سینئر اہلکار ہوتے ہیں۔ لیکن اگر کسی ادارے میں ایسے ارکان ضروری تعداد میں دستیاب نہ ہوں، تو اس ادارے سے باہر سے بھی کسی رکن کو نامزد کیا جا سکتا ہے۔‘‘
صوبائی محتسب نے مزید کہا کہ جن افراد کے خلاف ایسی شکایات موصول ہوتی ہیں، وہ اکثر اپنا اثر و رسوخ استعمال کرتے ہوئے ایسے کیسز کو دبانے کی کوشش کرتے ہیں، جس کے بعد زیادہ تر شکایات واپس بھی لے لی جاتی ہیں۔ دوسری طرف یہ بات بھی اہم ہے کہ ملک بھر میں جنسی ہراسگی کے خلاف قانون کی نفاذ اور صوبائی سطح پر محتسبوں کے دفاتر کے قیام کے باوجود ملک میں جنسی ہراسگی کے واقعات میں اضافہ ہوا ہے۔
بہت سی خواتین شکایات کرنے سے اب بھی گریزاں

سوات میں خواتین کے حقوق کے لیے کام کرنے والی غیر سرکاری تنظیم خوئندو جرگہ کی چیئرپرسن تبسم عدنان کہتی ہیں کہ جنسی ہراسگی کے خلاف قانون منظور ہوا اور صوبائی محتسبوں کے دفاتر بھی بن گئے،  لیکن خیبر پختونخوا میں خواتین اب بھی کسی کے خلاف شکایت درج کرانے سے کتراتی ہیں اور سمجھتی ہیں کہ ایسا کرنے سے ان کی بدنامی ہوگی۔ تبسم عدنان کے مطابق صوبے میں ہراسگی کے ہزاروں واقعات ہو سکتے ہیں، جو مختلف دفاتر اور عوامی مقامات پر پیش آتے ہیں، مگر ان کے بارے میں کوئی بات نہیں کرتا، ''ہمارے پاس بھی ایسے کیسز آتے رہتے ہیں۔ لیکن جب ہم انہیں قانونی شکل دینے کے لیے کارروائی شروع کرتے ہیں، تو متاثرہ خواتین اکثر اپنی شکایات واپس لے لیتی ہیں۔‘‘
تبسم عدنان کا کہنا ہے کہ جنسی ہراسگی اور اس کے خلاف موجود قانون کے حوالے سے زیادہ آگہی کی اشد ضرورت ہے تاکہ ہر کسی کو علم ہو کہ ایسا قانون بھی ہے، جس کے تحت خواتین کو چھیڑنے یا تنگ کرنے پر بھی سزائیں سنائی جا سکتی ہیں۔ ''ایسے واقعات میں اگر کسی ملزم کو سزا سنائی جائے اور اس کی باقاعدہ تشہیر بھی ہو، تو میرے خیال میں باقی لوگ بھی محتاط رہین گے۔‘‘
خیبر پختونخوا کی انسداد جنسی ہراسگی کی محتسب رخشندہ ناز کہتی ہیں کہ اس رجحان کے تدارک کے لیے انکوائری کمیٹیاں تقریباً ہر محکمے میں قائم کی جا چکی ہیں اور کالجوں، یونیورسٹیوں اور بڑے نجی دفاتر میں بھی ایسی کمیٹیاں قائم کرنے کی کوششیں جاری ہیں۔ اس کے علاوہ جنسی ہراسگی کے قانون اور محتسب کے دفتر سے متعلق زیادہ آگہی کے لیے سوشل میڈیا پر بھی اپ ڈیٹس دیے جاتے ہیں۔ انہوں نے خاص طور پر خواتین سے یہ اپیل بھی کی کہ وہ بوقت ضرورت ان کے دفتر سے اس ادارے کے فیس بک پیج کے ذریعے بھی رابطہ کر سکتی ہیں اور اس سلسلے میں کسی بھی متاثرہ شہری کو خاموش نہیں رہنا چاہیے۔

مجھے جیل میں زنجیریں باندھ کر رکھا جاتا تھا: آسیہ بی بی

آسیہ بی بی نے بدھ کو فرانسیسی زبان میں شائع ہونے والی کتاب ’بالآخر آزاد‘میں اپنی گرفتاری، قید میں حالات اور نئی زندگی میں ایڈجسٹ ہونے کی مشکلات کے بارے میں بات کی ہے۔

 توہین مذہب کے الزام سے بری ہونے والی مسیحی خاتون آسیہ بی بی نے کینیڈا منتقل ہونے کے بعد پہلی مرتبہ اپنی خاموشی توڑتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ دوران اسیری ’آنسو ہی ان کے واحد ساتھی ہوا کرتے تھے۔‘
کینیڈا پہنچنے کے بعد فرانسیسی صحافی اینا ایسابل تولے، جو آسیہ بی بی پر کتاب لکھ چکی ہیں، نے ان سے ملاقات کی۔ اینا ایسابل تولے واحد صحافی ہیں جو ان سے اب تک مل سکی ہیں۔ ایسابل ماضی میں کینیڈا میں مقیم تھیں اور انھوں نے یہاں سے آسیہ کی رہائی کے لیے مہم چلائی تھی۔
خبر رساں ادارے اے ایف پی کی ایک رپورٹ کے مطابق پاکستان میں آٹھ سال تک سزائے موت کی منتظر رہنے کے بعد اب آسیہ بی بی نے ملک چھوڑنے کے بعد پہلی مرتبہ لب کشائی کی ہے۔ انھیں 2010 میں ایک عدالت نے توہین مذہب کے الزام میں سزائے موت سنائی تھی لیکن سپریم کورٹ نے ڈرامائی انداز میں 2018 میں انھیں بری کر دیا۔ وہ اب کینیڈا میں کسی نامعلوم مقام پر رہتی ہیں۔
فرانسیسی زبان میں بدھ کو شائع ہونے والی کتاب ’بالآخر آزاد‘ میں آسیہ بی بی نے اپنی گرفتاری، قید میں حالات، آزادی سے ملنے والی راحت اور نئی زندگی میں ایڈجسٹ ہونے کی مشکلات کے بارے میں بات کی ہے۔ اس کتاب کا انگریزی زبان میں ترجمہ اس سال ستمبر میں شائع ہو گا۔
آسیہ بی بی کا کہنا تھا: ’آپ کو میڈیا کے ذریعے میری کہانی کے بارے میں پہلے سے معلوم ہے، لیکن آپ میری روزانہ کی اسیری میں زندگی اور نئی 
زندگی کے بارے میں کوئی ادراک نہیں رکھتی ہیں۔
تاریکیوں کی گہرائی
آسیہ بی بی کہتی ہیں کہ وہ جنونیت کی قیدی بن گئی تھیں اور ’قید میں آنسو ہی میرے واحد ساتھی تھے۔‘
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ پاکستان کی بدحال جیلوں میں انھیں زنجیروں میں رکھا جاتا تھا جہاں دیگر قیدی جملے کستے تھے۔ ’میری کلائیاں جل رہی تھیں اور سانس لینا مشکل تھا۔ میری گردن کے گرد آہنی کالر لگایا گیا تھا جسے محافظ پیچوں سے تنگ کر سکتے تھے۔
’میں ایک لمبی زنجیر گندے فرش پر گھسیٹ رہی ہوتی تھی۔ یہ میرے ہاتھوں میں پڑی زنجیروں کے ساتھ جڑی ہوتی تھی اور مجھے کتے کی طرح کھینچا جا سکتا تھا۔ میرے اندر کا خوف مجھے تاریکیوں کی گہرائی میں لے جاتا تھا۔ ایک چمٹا ہوا خوف جو مجھے کبھی نہیں چھوڑے گا۔‘
دیگر کئی قیدیوں نے کبھی رحم ظاہر نہیں کیا۔ ’میں عورتوں کی چیخوں سے حیران ہو جاتی تھی۔ کئی عورتیں چیخ چیخ کر کہتیں، ’اسے پھانسی دو۔‘
’کس قیمت پر؟‘
’میری آزادی کے بعد بھی (مسیحیوں) کے لیے ماحول تبدیل نہیں ہوا اور مسیحی کسی بھی قسم کے ردعمل کی توقع کر سکتے ہیں۔ ان کے سروں پر تلوار لٹکتی رہتی ہے۔‘
اب جب کہ کینیڈا نے انھیں محفوظ اور زیادہ یقینی مستقبل دیا ہے، آسیہ بی بی کو اس بات کو بھی تسلیم کرنا ہو گا کہ ان کی اپنے ملک واپسی کبھی ممکن نہیں ہو سکے گی۔ ’اس نامعلوم ملک میں، میں ایک نئے آغاز، غالباً ایک نئی زندگی کے لیے تیار ہوں، لیکن کس قیمت پر؟
’میرا دل اس وقت ٹوٹ گیا جب میں اپنے باپ اور خاندان کے دیگر افراد کو ملے بغیر چلی آئی۔ پاکستان میرا ملک ہے۔ مجھے اپنے ملک سے پیار ہے لیکن میں تمام زندگی کے لیے جلا وطن ہو گئی ہوں۔‘
آسیہ بی بی نے کتاب میں خود پر توہین مذہب کے لگے الزام سے انکار کو دہرایا اور خوف کا اظہار کیا کہ مسیحی اقلیت کے خلاف مقدمات اب بھی جاری ہیں۔

Thursday, January 30, 2020

What’s behind Israel’s latest decision to allow travel to Saudi Arabia

Israeli citizens are now allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia for the first time in the country’s history, according to a statement Sunday by the country’s Interior Minister Aryeh Dery.
The rule applies to business meetings, including searching for new investment opportunities, as well as for Islamic pilgrimages, and can allow travel to the kingdom for up to 90 days. Business trips are conditional on the traveler receiving an invitation from a Saudi official as well as not having outstanding warrants that bar visits to the country. 
Israelis — particularly Arab-Israelis — have already been traveling to the kingdom in modest numbers for religious trips, yet in the past this required special permission from the government. 
Questions on implementation remain. In response to Israel’s announcement, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told CNN that Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom “at the current time.” He noted Riyadh’s policy remains the same and that integrating Israel into the regional context is contingent on a peaceful resolution between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Why it matters: The decision is part of a broader Israel strategy to soften relations with its Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, which shares enmity toward Iran.
Despite no formal diplomatic relations, Jerusalem and Riyadh have warmed in recent months, highlighted by Israel congratulating the kingdom in September of 2019 during their national day. 
“May this holiday take place again in safety, security and a climate of peace, cooperation and good neighborliness,” read one tweet from an Arabic-language Twitter account run by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. “We ask God, the exalted, that your efforts to develop, prosper and advance will be successful.”
Before the announcement, Israeli pilgrims to Saudi Arabia have gone through Jordan to arrange travel, according to a comment in Haaretz by Sheikh Abd al-Rahim Fukara, a spokesman for The Hajj and Umrah Committee.
Diverting travelers from Jordan, Fukara said, could affect Israel’s relations with the country. The committee estimates that around 30,000 Israeli pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia every year. 
What’s next: The decision came one day before the Trump administration hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Trump also received a visit from Netanyahu’s political challenger, Benny Gantz. 

Read more:

W.H.O. Declares Global Emergency as Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads

By Austin Ramzy and Donald G. McNeil Jr.
The announcement came as nearly 8,000 cases have been reported worldwide, almost all of them in mainland China.
The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak was a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease now represents a risk beyond China, where it emerged last month.
The decision reversed the organization’s decision just a week ago to hold off such a declaration.
Since then, W.H.O. officials said, thousands of new cases in China and clear human-to-human transmission in several other countries — now including the United States — warranted a reconsideration of that decision by the agency’s expert committee.
The W.H.O.’s declaration — officially called a “public health emergency of international concern” — does not have the force of law. But it serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body thinks the situation is grave. Governments then make their own decisions about whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other protective measures.
Declaring emergencies also adds urgency to any W.H.O. appeal for money. Thus far, that is hardly relevant: The countries most affected — China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, the United States and Vietnam — can afford to wage their own battles against the virus. By contrast, the Democratic Republic of Congo has needed large infusions of cash and medical expertise to fight an ongoing Ebola outbreak, and the need for money was one of the reasons the W.H.O. declared an international emergency in that case, even though Ebola has not spread outside of Congo except in a few patients who briefly entered Uganda.
Last week, the committee was divided. Declaring emergencies is always a hard decision, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director general, because closed borders and canceled flights lead to personal hardships for millions of healthy people near the epicenter and can cause massive economic disruption.
In the worst cases, supplies of food and medicine can run short and panic can spread, threatening to do more damage than the disease does.
The agency has lavishly praised China’s aggressive response to the virus.
China effectively isolated Hubei Province, stranding more than 30 million people, at the height of the New Year holidays — an act tantamount to quarantining the Midwest at Christmastime.
Dr. Tedros, who met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, said Mr. Xi had led “a monumental national response,” and that he was “struck by the determination of Chinese leadership” and by how much Mr. Xi personally understood about the outbreak.
China said on Thursday that another 38 people had died from the disease, bringing the total to 170. Nearly 8,000 cases have been reported worldwide, almost all of them in mainland China.
On Thursday, Russia closed its 2,600-mile border with China and stopped all trains except for one between Moscow and Beijing.
Within China, some medical experts have questioned their country’s response, arguing that local officials could have put in place stricter travel restrictions before the virus spilled beyond the central city of Wuhan. The country has now confirmed cases in every province and region.
The W.H.O. has made such declarations just five times since its power to do so was established in 2005: for the pandemic influenza in 2009, a polio resurgence in 2014, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that same year, the Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
Dr. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus and the presence of AIDS in Africa, said he personally considered the outbreak an emergency and found the process flawed.
“It is time for the W.H.O. to change its all-or-nothing, binary approach to declaring a PHEIC,” he said, referring to the emergency declaration. “In every emergency, there is a spectrum of alert levels, rather than ‘PHEIC or not PHEIC.’”
Dr. Tedros said the same thing at a news conference on Wednesday, suggesting that the agency might want to go to a graduated green-yellow-red system.

Opinion: Surprise, Mr. President. John Bolton Has the Goods.

Who’s telling the truth about Ukraine? There’s one way to find out.
It’s just possible that common sense and reality have a shot at prying open the doors to the Senate chamber after all. After Republican senators claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to put a United States president on trial without hearing from any witnesses, a few of them are showing signs of recognizing that the truth matters. Or, at least, that the American people believe it does.
What’s changed? Shocking but not surprising revelations from John Bolton’s book manuscript, which The New York Times reported over the weekend, have made impossible to ignore what everyone has known for months: President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to benefit himself politically, and against the strenuous objections of his top aides and both parties in Congress.
On Monday morning, Mitt Romney, of Utah, said, “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”
It’s refreshing to hear those words. And yet the fact that such a statement is noteworthy at all tells you how far from responsible governance Republicans have strayed. They hold 53 seats in the Senate, and yet the nation is waiting on just four — four!— to do the right thing and agree to call Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, and other key witnesses to testify in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.
A far more representative attitude in the Republican caucus was expressed by Roy Blunt, of Missouri, who said on Monday, “Unless there’s a witness that’s going to change the outcome, I can’t imagine why we’d want to stretch this out for weeks and months.” With this tautology Senator Blunt gives away the game: All witness testimony to date — all presented as part of the House impeachment proceedings — has only strengthened the case against Mr. Trump, but Republicans will not vote to convict him under any circumstances. By definition, then, no witness in the Senate could possibly change the outcome.The reporting on Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which is scheduled for publication in March, has scrambled that strategy. Mr. Bolton’s foreign-policy disagreements with Mr. Trump have been public knowledge for months. Last fall, Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and former Bolton aide, testified in the House that Mr. Bolton was alarmed by Mr. Trump’s aid-for-investigations scheme, which Mr. Bolton characterized as a “drug deal.”In the manuscript, detailed descriptions of which were leaked to The Times, he recounts nearly a dozen instances in which he and other top administration officials pleaded with Mr. Trump to release the aid, to no avail. He describes Mr. Trump’s fixation on conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, and about the supposed corruption of Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine. He says that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted privately to him that he knew there was nothing to the theories regarding Ms. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump fired last spring.
Mr. Bolton, a hard-line conservative with decades of service in Republican administrations, is no anti-Trump zealot, which makes his allegations against the president that much more devastating. And his decision to tell these stories publicly nearly certainly waives any claims of executive privilege Mr. Trump might try to assert over their communications.
Let’s not forget the newly revealed evidence that came to light on Saturday, in the form of a tape recording released by the lawyer for Lev Parnas, who had worked for Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, in the Ukraine scheme. Mr. Trump has denied even knowing Mr. Parnas, but on the tape the two men can be heard in conversation at a dinner in April 2018. “Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Yovanovitch. “Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”
In a late-night tweet, Mr. Trump angrily denied Mr. Bolton’s allegations. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Mr. Trump wrote.
You know what would be a good way to figure out who’s telling the truth? Subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify under oath.
This isn’t a close call. A majority of Americans of all political stripes want to hear from Mr. Bolton, at the least. They believe, as do congressional Democrats, that you can’t vote on whether to remove a president from office without getting the fullest possible account of his alleged offenses.
But Senate Republicans have so far refused to hear from any witnesses or to demand any documents, following the lead of Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who has never hesitated to undermine the country’s institutions if he thinks doing so will help his party. Mr. McConnell and nearly all in his caucus seem to imagine that if they block their eyes and ears and let their mouths run, the turbulence of impeachment will eventually pass.
This is a risky strategy. One reason good lawyers insist on deposing witnesses and subpoenaing documentary evidence is to avoid any unwelcome surprises at trial. Mr. Bolton has now provided the latest of those surprises. It is surely not the last. The most galling part is that Republicans have already admitted how bad the president’s behavior was. Back in September, Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican and one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest defenders, said: “What would’ve been wrong is if the president had suggested to the Ukrainian government that if you don’t do what I want you to do regarding the Bidens, we’re not going to give you the aid. That was the accusation; that did not remotely happen.”
Except that it did, as Mr. Bolton is apparently willing to say under oath. Republicans don’t want him to do that because they don’t want Americans to exercise the simple good judgment that Mr. Graham once did.