Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Music Video - Madonna - Papa Don't Preach

Music Video - Madonna - Like A Prayer

Video Report - Chief justice admonishes discourse during impeachment trial

CNN poll: 51% think Trump should be convicted and removed from office

Video Report - 'Danger,' 'Despot,' 'Liars': See Trump Trial Opening Argument By Dem Prosecutors | MSNBC


Music Video - 'Sabko Maloom Hai Mein Sharabi Nahin...' by Pankaj Udhas

Pashto Music - Nashenas - ســـــاقی داســــی مســـــتی غــــواړم

Pashto Music - Nashenas _ Za Kho Sharabi yom.

Persian Music Video - Mohsen Chavoshi - Ghande Mani (محسن چاوشی - قند منی - آلبوم بی نام)

#Pakistan - Perils of populism - Imran Khan’s populist regime.

FAISAL Vawda is a ‘phenomenon’ that defines Imran Khan’s populist regime. His theatrics on a TV talk show last week may have appeared excessively crude, but were not surprising. The federal minister for water resources has been known for his absurd acts.
Remember his dramatic entry dressed like a cowboy at the Chinese consulate in Karachi while it was under a terrorist attack in 2018? His presence at the spot may have been a nuisance for the security agencies trying to break the siege, but why would he care? It was his way of getting media attention.
Imran Khan, who had promised to bring in new talent to build a ‘naya Pakistan’, chose Vawda to head one of the most critical ministries. Soon after taking charge, Vawda promised to open the ‘floodgates to jobs’ that would even require Pakistan to import labour from other countries. We are still waiting for that miracle to happen. Meanwhile, his expensive sports car and motorbikes remain the centre of media attention.
But Vawda is not the only jewel in the crown of Imran Khan’s collection of talents. He is part of a careless crew piloting a rudderless ship of state. Many of the crew members are quite entertaining and end up providing considerable comic relief in times of crisis. Whether it is the special assistant to the PM on information and her daily pearls of wisdom or the railway minister’s habit of shooting from the hip, it’s all a manifestation of an administration that thrives on absurdity.

We seem to be witnessing a dangerous confluence of populism and occultism.

If this were not enough, the PTI government also has ministers like Shehryar Afridi and Ali Amin Gandapur in its ranks. The minister of state for narcotics control, Afridi is known for his outrageous utterances, including his claim that 75 per cent of female students and 45pc male students in the capital city use drugs including crystal meth and ice. It is such statements, not backed by evidence, which render his remarks pointless. Similarly, his constant reminder that he “owes his life to God” has made him a star in PTI ranks.
For Gandapur, the minister of Kashmir affairs, inflation ‘benefits’ a large section of the population. “If someone is benefiting from rising prices then it is our farmers, they are the ones growing the tomatoes,” he remarked. Going by such profound logic, people should be hailing the hike in prices rather than protesting against it. The list of such knights in shining armour in the PTI cabinet is quite long.
For sure, one cannot forget the great discovery of ‘Wasim Akram-plus’. The star is yet to shine but Imran Khan has not lost faith in his protégé. It is believed that the reason for backing Usman Buzdar, the chief minister of Punjab, has to do more with occultism than political rationality.
Although most of his powers seem to have been taken away, Buzdar’s stay in office, even as a figurehead chief minister, is seen as essential to the survival of Khan’s government. One really feels sorry for the man from Taunsa Sharif who appears helpless, despite occupying the second-most powerful political office in the country. The affairs of the country’s biggest province are now run by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat through the provincial chief secretary and the inspector general of police.
This unique arrangement has thrown the province into complete disarray, raising questions about who is really in charge. The growing rebellion within the ruling party’s ranks and threats by allies to part ways has left the survival of the Buzdar government hanging by a thread. Yet there is no sign of the prime minister changing his original decision thought to be influenced by ‘hidden powers’. Such is the predicament of the leader who rose to power on the promise of changing the country and strengthening institutional democracy.
We seem to be witnessing a new phenomenon in Pakistani politics — a dangerous confluence of populism and occultism. While the government claims to act for the people, it has deviated significantly from even basic democratic norms. The Vawda phenomenon is a manifestation of a culture that negates pluralism and democratic tolerance. It is not surprising that the party leadership has never taken any action against the ministers who routinely display such uncivilised behaviour. In fact, it seems that the top leadership encourages their practices.
While in the opposition, Imran Khan had blamed corrupt politicians, mafias, and oligarchies for having appropriated power from the legitimate owners ie the people. He is using the same mantra to cover up his government’s ineptitude. He has used populism as a political tool to mobilise mass support. But like other populist leaders, he has failed to deliver on his promises. The PTI government’s policy on critical issues is vague and often contradictory.
Imran Khan’s populist slogans had worked because of our chronically infirm democratic process and weak institutions. But that may also go against a populist government failing to reverse the situation. Growing public discontent and increasing dissent in the ranks are a clear manifestation of the perils of populism.Unlike in other countries where populist parties returned to power with an absolute majority, the PTI government has been in a disadvantageous position, and is dependent on disparate allies and the powerful security establishment. One of the PTI government’s biggest failures has been its inflexible approach, despite being a coalition government. Because of its stubbornness, the PTI has allowed the opposition greater space.Given the current crisis of governance and ineptitude, the emerging cracks in the coalition are not surprising. Sensing that the government is now on a weak wicket, the allies have raised the stakes and are demanding a larger share in the pie. The situation in Punjab is particularly precarious with the coalition government surviving on a razor-thin majority.
There are ominous signs of the opposition parties, particularly the PML-N, bridging differences with the security establishment. Given the shifting sands of Pakistani politics, nothing can be ruled out. These are the perils of populism. But things become more complicated when this is mixed with occultist tendencies.

#Pakistan - A Shameless Surrender - #Pakistani Prime Minister IMRAN NIAZI SURRENDERS TO TERRORISTS

A few short days ago 86 Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers were each handed 55 year-long sentences by an anti-terrorism court for rioting and resisting the police. The verdict was celebrated across the country; finally, the group gets what it deserves, a just punishment for taking the law into their own hand and blackmailing the government based on their own hardline interpretation of Islam. Yet, that watershed moment shone brightly for a few days only; the TLP is back to strong-arming the government, and more disappointingly, the government is all too willing to surrender without a fight. The saga surrounding the release of the Pakistani movie “Zindagi Tamasha” is a dismal display of how weak this government has become. It starts from the beginning; the director of the film, Sarmad Khoosat, starts receiving threatening calls and messages from the TLP to pull the film from cinemas. The government instead of investigating and arresting the perpetrators of a clear crime of blackmail decided to halt the release of the film for “reconsideration”. Why reconsider when the film has already been approved by all censor boards in Pakistan? Why can’t the government follow its own laws? More fundamental is the question of who is the TLP to “raise concerns” about the release of a film that does not concern them. Why are such a small group of people afforded such enormous importance, more important than the government’s own institutions?
After bending over backward so far that their backs must certainly be broken, the PTI’s solution is more slavish pliancy. Instead of sticking with the opinion of the censor boards specifically designed for the purpose the government decides to arbitrarily form a new committee to review the film; comprised of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). Some reports suggest that TLP members might be part of this new Frankenstein’s monster of a film review board.
Why must the CII be dragged into this? The constitution gives the body only one role, give advisories on legislation, no more. The government cannot make up powers on the spot. Since when has the CII been competent enough to pass judgment on the suitability of films? Will everything in this country be approved by a council of clerics from now on? Can no discussion be had – in film or otherwise – about the role religion plays in our society without hardline fanatics descending upon the conversation? The government needs to answer. The government’s shameless surrender to political forces wielding the name of religion is a travesty.

This puppet government will collapse on its own: Bilawal

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that his party doesn’t need to topple this puppet government, as it will collapse on its own, while “we continue to serve the people”.
Bilawal expressed these views while addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the new 100 MGD water plant in Dhabeji. Calling out the double standards and hypocrisy that prevails in the federal government, he said that policies being followed were indicative of how it had bifurcated Pakistan.
He said the people of Sindh should not be punished for upending the plots of the selectors in the general elections. He added that whilst in Punjab, the inspector general (IG) is replaced with astonishing regularity, but when it comes to the powers vested in the government of Sindh by its people, the law changes and suddenly the province is beholden to those in Islamabad.
“Is Sindh still a colony that the viceroy in Islamabad needs to give approval for the daily affairs of the province?” he asked.
The PPP chairman said that the selected government had been in the power for over a year, but during this time the federal government has yet to complete any of the development projects it promised. “The incompetent government is dividing the nation, damaging the federation and instead of abusing others, it should pay heed to its assigned duties,” he added. He went on to say that the slogan of “Not two, but one Pakistan” was chanted by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had taken on the institutionalised cartels which were running the country and redistributed wealth, creating a sizable middle class. He said the PTI government may take much pleasure in plagiarising the slogan, but its policies had decimated the poor and middle class in favour of the prime minister’s crony capitalist friends.
He added that the Sindh chief minister, an elected official accountable to the people of Sindh, should have enough room to create his own team to help him govern. He went on to say that the rise of street crime in Sindh had led to public outcry. And since the provincial government is accountable to the people it is only fair that the police be accountable to it. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that only an elected government can hold the police accountable. He said that despite all the conspiracies and limited resources, Sindh’s government is striving to serve the people to the best of its abilities. He said that solving the shortage of water is amongst the government’s top priorities.
He said the Sindh government had completed the work of lining over 1800 kilometres of canals to prevent the loss of water. “Sindh also has the largest number of reverse osmosis water plants in the country, providing safe and clean drinking water across small villages and hamlets across the province.” He pointed out that 101 villages of Achro Thar, a traditionally arid desert area, were now being supplied water through the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Fresh Water Project, a pipeline that stretches over 240 km. He also added that work was underway to tackle the shortage of water in Lyari.
The PPP chairman said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that he would set up desalination plants in Karachi, but did not spend even a dime, though the Sindh government with limited resources had taken steps to eradicate the water shortage in Karachi. He said that the federal minister had acknowledged on the floor of the assembly that the water share of Sindh was being stolen, but the issue had not been resolved as yet.
He pointed out that the policies of the Musharraf regime had left the country food insecure in 2008, but within a year, the PPP government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, had transformed Pakistan from a wheat-importing country to a wheat-exporting country. The PPP chairman termed the present government a revival of the Musharraf regime and said that the country was now facing the same crises which the country was facing during Musharraf’s rule. “This government is a hostile government in every respect. It is hell bent on persecuting the poor and trampling on their rights as long as their friends and backers could make a quick buck. The present rulers have no empathy or even idea of the trauma and pain inflicted on the children, women and elders of those made homeless by the wrecking balls of their anti-encroachment drives. ” Bilawal said that according to the constitution, the first right to the resources of a province rest with the province itself. By overriding this right, the federal government is weakening the federation and the tearing the very fabric that holds this country together.
“We are not threatening anyone but telling them that we will not compromise on the rights of the people.”

7 Pakistani journalists killed, 60 booked under anti-terror & other laws in 2019: Report


The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors has released a report showing that journalists were routinely subjected to “strict” forms of physical intimidation.

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), a body that has acted in defence of press freedom since 1957, released a report that found at least seven journalists had been murdered and 60 booked under anti-terrorism and other laws in 2019, painting a “grim” picture for press freedom in the country.  
According to the report, though both Article 19 of Pakistan’s Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee press freedom, journalists were still routinely subjected to “strict” forms of physical intimidation and charged under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, among others.
The report also said “mysterious and unidentified actors pose the biggest threat to press freedom”, including non-state forces and outlawed militant groups. 
The report further added: “Not a single killer or attacker of media persons has been brought to justice.”

Pakistan to import wheat to deal with flour crisis

Pakistan is in the grip of a wheat crisis — supply of which has plummeted and prices have sky-rocketed — putting the Opposition and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government at loggerheads. People are paying as much as Rs 70 to buy one kg of flour — up by upto Rs 25.
The crisis was going on for the last several months, but aggravated this week after Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the provincial governments to come down stronger on hoarding and profiteering. The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party has said the PTI is ill-equipped to handle the shortage problem.
While hoarders are one part of the problem, The News International has found the government exported over 6,40,000 tonnes of wheat in 2019. What made things worse was a ban by the Punjab government on inter-movement of wheat. 
On Monday, Pakistan agreed to import 3,00,000 tonnes of wheat to mitigate the crisis, but the details of where it will come from are unknown. 

Climbers on way to scale Karakoram peaks

It’s mountain-climbing season in Pakistan and climbers are on their way to Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and K2 on the Pakistan-China border. These mountains are part of the Karakoram range.
K2, the second highest peak in the world, is considered one of the deadliest mountains on Earth to climb.
Russian mountaineer Denis Urubko, Don Bowie from Canada and former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa are part of the Broad Peak winter expedition.
The three began their ascent in late December 2019, and have now halted at a spot 6,400 meters above the sea level, where they are waiting for better weather conditions to go ahead. Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and K2 are over 8,000 meters in height. 

Activist Jalila Haider detained at Lahore airport

Prominent human rights activist and lawyer Jalila Haider was detained at Lahore airport for seven hours Monday.
Haider, who was about to board a flight to London to attend a conference on feminism at the University of Sussex, said she was stopped from taking her flight because of her “anti-state activities”.
After making her wait for 7 hours, the authorities returned her passport and told her to book another flight to the UK.
Last year, Haider made it to the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women for defending women’s rights. She’s a member of the minority Hazara community, which has faced persecution in Pakistan. In 2018, she had gone on a hunger strike, demanding the government to act on the discrimination faced by the community. 

Pakistan paying the price of ignorance


There has always been a huge cult of ignorance around the globe and Pakistan is no different. In fact, this is a country where being ignorant is seen as a guarantee of smooth sailing, as the larger chunk of the population feels threatened by knowledge and critical thinking. The result is political and economic turmoil as the society is hell-bent on self-destruction, not ready to get rid of the chains tied to them in the name of patriotism, self-created religious interpretations and a rotten social order that exploits the weaker members of society and gives impunity to the influential. Since ignorance is considered a quality in Pakistan, the current PTI regime despite its miserable performance is still defended by its blind cult followers.
Ever since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, the country has only seen crisis after crisis with no relief or solution in sight. Right now the country is facing a shortage of wheat, and the common masses are standing in lines for hours to get a bag of flour to feed themselves. People already burdened with a surge in prices of everyday commodities are finding it tough even to exist in these circumstances, but the political elite and the military establishment are busy playing cat-and-mouse games with each other.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is on a visit to Switzerland to attend the sessions of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where he will be meeting world leaders including US President Donald Trump. But although Khan will join other world leaders for a photo session, in reality Pakistan has no say in world affairs because of its economic dependence on major global players such as the US, China, the UK and Saudi Arabia, while the masses bear the brunt of failed economic policies.
Unfortunately, it is not Khan and his backers alone who are to blame: The entire political breed is busy protecting its own vested financial and political interests, and every single player is focused on ousting one another from the power chessboard. The main opposition parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after getting relief from the establishment are exploiting the current political and economic turmoil to their own advantage, as they too have completely forgotten the sufferings of the masses.
In fact, their “opposition” is limited to Twitter and the television channels, while behind the curtains they are busy scheming to oust PTI from the central and Punjab governments. Now the question arises: What good will it be for the masses if a puppet like Khan is replaced by another puppet like Shahbaz Sharif or Bilawal Bhutto? It is evident that other than sloganeering, none of the current political leaders have the ability to turn the tables by not only ending the hegemony of the establishment but also by refusing to be dictated to by Washington and Riyadh. The prevailing crisis is not limited to political and economic turmoil; the space for freedom of speech is shrinking, while state abductions of its own citizens and sex crimes, including child rape, are also on the rise.
On Monday a human-rights activist from the Hazara community, Jalila Haider, was detained at Lahore Airport by the authorities and kept under their custody for seven hours. There was no case against her but she was not allowed to travel. When the news of her detention at the airport went viral on social media, the authorities told her that she had been accused by the spy agencies of engaging in “anti-state activities.” This clearly shows that the state itself is afraid of the people who raise questions and speak out against the political and social oppression in society.
Any sane state proudly encourages dissenting voices as they are the ones who save the entire society from inertia and keep it alive by pinpointing the wrong policies of the state. However, this is not the case in Pakistan. Haider’s case reflects the current curbs on freedom of speech in Pakistan.
On Sunday in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an eight-year-old girl was raped and murdered. She was not the first child to suffer such a fate – this has become a norm now, and even when such crimes are reported, the so-called political elite and the military establishment that actually controls the country have no time to address the issue and do something about it.
According to reports, every day seven children are sexually abused in Pakistan, and this figure is only based on the reported incidents – most of these kinds of crimes go unreported. However, the likes of PTI, the PPP and PML have no time to address this issue, and after every incident of a child being raped and killed, typical statements of condolences with the grieved families are issued. The growing incidence of child rape is the direct result of the elite, both political and non-political, using religious clerics and religious doctrines to get their interests served while in the process, they use religion to suppress basic instincts and not allowing sex education. Unfortunately, most of the non-governmental organizations and think-tanks in Pakistan are either minting money in the name of human rights or are proxies of the establishment and political elite and serving their purposes.
So the situation right now is that from governance to the economy and from social issues to basic human rights, Pakistan is facing a severe crisis, but the state has no time to address this as it is too busy fighting proxy wars for Washington and Riyadh while the political elite is eyeing the throne. The lust to control the proceedings by the establishment and the political elite has brought self-inflicted crises on the country, and to reshape the political and social narratives will require decades of effort. But the problem remains that the ruling elite has no capacity to address the issue while the invisible forces are happy to weaken the political discourse and controlling the social discourse through the use of religious interpretations suited to them.
In a nutshell, the political breed is happy that it has a blind cult following who for the sake of temporary gains or for their party affiliations will always worship their political idols, while the invisible forces are even happier, as minds devoid of critical thinking and brainwashed in the name of patriotism and the self-created religious narratives will always consider freedom as a sin and will be content to remain in a cage, thinking they are free when they actually are slaves.
In a country that produces fake intellectuals, fake think-tanks, fake journalism, fake political leadership, and fake social and political narratives, and where the establishment is moving the proceedings from behind the curtains, ignorance is not a crime, but is in fact considered a quality, as it allows brainwashed minds to become part of the exploitative and unjust political and social orders.