Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Pakistan helped US get Osama, insists Hersh, ANWAR IQBAL

WASHINGTON: “More than ever,” says legendary US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh when asked if he still believes Pakistan helped the United States get Osama bin Laden (OBL).
When the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist first made this claim in an article published last year, it shook Washington and forced the White House to reject the story as false. Major US media outlets also rejected his claim as incorrect.
But Mr Hersh repeated the claim in his new book, “The Killing of Osama bin Laden,” published this week, insisting that he was right.
In an interview to Dawn on Tuesday, Mr Hersh said that since last year he had seen new evidence that cemented his belief that the official US account of how OBL was found in his compound and killed was deceptive.
He reiterated his claim that Pakistan had detained OBL in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. The United States and Pakistan then struck a deal: The US would raid bin Laden’s compound but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware.
“I learned a lot more than I knew in the beginning,” he said.
“Pakistan is in constant alert because of India. Their radars are watching, their F-16s are up all the time,” said Mr Hersh while arguing that it was not possible for US helicopters to enter Abbottabad without alerting the Pakistanis.
He said the then army and ISI chiefs had made this deal with the Americans, which upset other Pakistani generals.
“The then head of Pakistan’s Air Defence Command was very, very upset. He was ready to go public,” said Mr Hersh, claiming that the disgruntled general was made PIA chairman after his retirement to compensate for his silence.
In an interview to Democracy Now, a network of more than 1,400 radio and television outlets, Mr Hersh said the US and Pakistan had jointly created the ‘myth’ “we discovered” where he was living.
“What I know is … that in August of 2010, a Pakistani a colonel … came into our embassy, went to the then CIA Station Chief Jonathan Bank, and said: ‘We’ve had bin Laden for four years’.”
Mr Hersh told Dawn that the colonel was later moved to the US and was now living somewhere near Washington.
“The Pakistani intelligence picked him (bin Laden) in the Hindu Kush area, built the compound in Abbottabad and put him there,” he said. “Pakistani officials did so because the Saudis asked them to. The Saudis did not want Americans to interrogate OBL.”
According to Mr Hersh, when the CIA asked Pakistani officials to make the May 2, 2011, operation at OBL’s compound in Abbo­ttabad a surprise raid, they agreed “because they had kept OBL in custody without telling us”.
The Americans were already very upset and the Pakistanis did not want to make it worse, he added.
“I wrote the name of the station chief, Jonathan Bank, something you are not supposed to do, but he did not attack me for doing this. He did not contradict my story, although if there is one guy who can end my story, it is him,” Mr Hersh said.
“Of course not, I have a great deal of sources here,” said Mr Hersh when asked if he based his story entirely on Pakistani intelligence source.
“I was going to take a chance that Bank would not succumb to pressure. I knew a lot about him. He’s a Harvard grad, very bright guy, very competent. And I just didn’t think he would be trotted out by the CIA to say, ‘What? What’s Hersh writing about? I don’t know anything about a walk-in,” Mr Hersh told Democracy Now.
“I did have more contact with people in the ISI after I wrote. I learned much more, that gave me much more flesh on the skimpy bones I guess I had,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

What good is Zarb e Azb and NAP if Hafiz Saeed is giving lectures at UET, Hamza Baloch

How can we fight the terrorist ideology with this selective approach?
Last year Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was barred from organising an event on Balochistan and missing persons. The LUMS initially invited Mama Qadeer and Ustad Mir Muhammad Talpur to speak at a session and  to interact with students there and with the youth of Lahore. LEAs pressurized the LUMS administration to cancel the event, 'Unsilencing Balochistan'.
And yet today it's not really surprising to see LeT/JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed, a globally declared terrorist, addressing students of the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.
It seems that we have learned nothing from our bloodied past and are inclined towards making the same mistakes again and again.
Or may be Mama Qadeer is a bigger threat for the petty ideological state of Pakistan than this globally recognized terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
Pakistan is still a venomous breeding ground for terrorists and jihadists. It may sound sad, but let's not forget this is a bitter truth as well.
Hafiz Saeed is just a puppet on the front, the real masterminds of this venomous ideology of jihadism are those elements who had backed the so-called Afghan jihad and also declared the mass murderers as their "strategic assets".
The problem of radicalization is not as shallow as it seems. When we thought that madrassas were the real problem we were shocked by Saad Aziz of IBA following the number of similar radical militants and their supporters and financiers from SZABIST to CAMS.
It was shocking for many fellow Pakistanis to see the elitist brainwashed terrorists from the prestigious private educational institutes, but it wasn't shocking nor surprising for me being a student of a public sector university. 
Those who are studying in Karachi University (KU) and Punjab University (PU) are well aware of the presence of radical preachers not only teaching in these universities but also brainwashing and recruiting the youth for their jihadist missions.
Putting aside the debate of breeding terrorists in madrassas and universities, we need to ponder upon the hypocrisy of our state.
This venomous ideology of jihad is deeply rooted in to the state institutions. Hatred for India is based on the anti-Hindu narrative which is against the very principle of coexistence. At its peak the very same ideology of conquering New Delhi is much more lethal than the dreams of defeating the Soviets in the past.
How can we fight the terrorist ideology with this selective approach?
If we do not consider Afghan Taliban to be the mass murderers of Afghan people we have no right to mourn the APS children. 
If we only consider the attackers of Mehran Base, Quaid-e-Azam International Airport and Lahore blasts terrorists but keep a soft corner and praise the attackers of Mumbai attacks as heroes of the nation, we can't play victim.
Zarb-e-Azab and NAP won't fool the masses with these inhumane policies.
One day Pakistani universities might replace the likes of Professor Shakil Auj and Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy with many Hafiz Saeeds producing many Saad Azizs in future.
It's high time for state to realise that we cannot prosper with the terrorists like Hafiz Saeed lecturing the students of UET. We'll only prosper with the intellectuals and physicists like Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy educating our children about the science and technology. 
We need to stop here and think whether the academic discussions with the culture of dissent is good for us or if fascist tactics are the only option left for us.
Is Mama Qadeer more dangerous and lethal for the mighty Pakistan or if it's a globally recognised terrorist Hafiz Saeed who is the real threat for our national security and future generations?
In 1980s only madrassas were radicalized in the name of Afghan Jihad under the banner of defeating communism, and we are still paying a heavy price for that. But today our state is deliberately radicalizing the entire society and pushing our youth towards the militant jihadism under the umbrella of Pakistani nationalism ignoring the horrible future consequences of its war mongering policies.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Corruption and terrorism, by Farrukh Saleem

First things first. On April 21, General Raheel Sharif broke the status quo on corruption. On March 11 2015, General Raheel Sharif broke the status quo on Karachi. On June 15 2014, General Raheel Sharif broke the status quo on North Waziristan. Imagine, a victorious general with no lust for power and a squeaky clean reputation has now thrown down the gauntlet. On April 22, the PM, walking on thin ice, responded: One, no one can give me lessons on morality. Two, accountability should begin from 1947. Three, the masses should hold Imran Khan liable. Four, the army is also culpable. Five, the media is being nonchalant.
Now the topic of the day. Corruption and terrorism are interlinked. According to the secretary-general of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “corruption….facilitates terrorism” and “corruption hampers countries’ ability to fight terrorism”.
On April 14, Admiral (r) John Kirby, spokesperson of the US Department of State, was asked: “Sir, the political parties in Pakistan have launched a campaign against PM Sharif to resign after the accusations of corruption in [the] Panama Papers....will the US support the democratic elected PM of Pakistan, or [do] you want to see the corrupt leader go home?” Reply: “The secretary has been very clear about the dangers of corruption...and what that does to fuel extremism and to increase economic instability…. So corruption is something we obviously take very seriously……”
On April 19, General Raheel Sharif said, there “cannot be…enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is not uprooted. Therefore, across-the-board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan.”
According to Ashraf Rifi, minister of justice of Lebanon and president of the Arab network for strengthening the integrity and the fight against corruption, “Terrorists benefit from corruption and promote it in order to finance their activities….. Terrorism and corruption are feeding each other.”
According to the secretary-general of the OECD, “Identifying connections between corruption and terrorism and the means to break them is crucial to fighting terrorism.” The secretary-general continues that there are four connections between corruption and terrorism. One, corruption helps terrorist funding. Two, corruption facilitates terrorist attacks. Three, corruption and terrorism financing share methods to hide money. Four, corruption and poor governance undermine the fight against terrorism.
The OECD, in its analysis on offshore companies, says: “Traffickers, corrupt politicians, and terrorists need ways to raise, move, conceal and spend money. One of their main means is the use of anonymous ‘shell companies’. Security experts and law enforcement officials all agree that shell companies, or other forms of legal entities like trusts, pose a threat to national security... and can be ideal vehicles for terrorist financing.”
How does corruption facilitate terrorism? According to the OECD, “Terrorist groups may seek funding through crimes out of financial necessity or because the potential profits associated with the criminal activity are too attractive to ignore. Terrorist may also be involved in some forms of criminal activities not only as a source of financing but also for logistics purposes in the context of terrorist attacks.”
How does corruption contribute to terrorist financing? According to the OECD, “Although awareness of corruption, organized crime and terrorist financing has been growing in recent years, the linkages and resonances between these three forms of behaviour may not be sufficiently acknowledged.”
The secretary-general concludes: One, corruption is a national security threat. Two, criminals and terrorists use similar tactics to reach their separate operational objectives. Three, the fact is that like criminal organisations, terrorists also engage in a range of activities that are greatly facilitated by corruption. Four, corruption is the ‘enabling technology’ that makes many terrorist crimes possible.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email:
Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Implications of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive on Afghanistan, by Abdul Basit

The Implications of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive on Afghanistan, by Abdul Basit      April 22, 2016
It’s shaping up to be a tough few months for Afghanistan’s increasingly beleaguered government.
On April 12, the Afghan Taliban announced the launch of their annual spring offensive in Afghanistan: “Operation Omari.” The spring offensive has been named after the movement’s late founder Mullah Muhammad Omar. Ahead of the offensive, the statement on the Taliban’s website mentioned the use of large-scale attacks against government positions, while employing a combination of hit-and-run assaults and suicide attacks in urban areas. And indeed this week a major blast in Kabul killed at least 64 people.
This year’s fighting season will determine the future trajectory of the Afghan conflict, as civil war looks imminent.
While there was no lull in the fighting in Afghanistan throughout 2015, the announcement of the spring offensive could signal a further escalation of violence, accelerating the country’s destabilization.  Since the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban have grown from strength to strength, despite initial setbacks emanating from the disclosure of their leader Mullah Omar’s death in July last year.  Last year’s violence left 11,000 civilians dead across Afghanistan.
The launch of the spring offensive by the Taliban is a major setback for the fledgling peace process in Afghanistan. A Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), comprising China, the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan was created in December last year in Islamabad to revive the stalled peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban. The QCG held four meetings – two in Islamabad and two in Kabul – but failed to overcome differences on the operational details of negotiations. Notwithstanding these differences, the QCG was hoping to hold the first direct meeting between Kabul and Taliban in April. However, the spring offensive has dashed hopes that a political solution will be found to the Afghan conflict.
Right from the outset, irreconcilable differences existed between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban – differences that made the peace process a non-starter. For instance, the Taliban unequivocally demanded the release of prisoners, removal from the UN’s sanctions list, the easing of travel bans, and recognition of the Qatar office as the Taliban’s official political office for peace talks. In contrast, the Afghan government called for condition-free peace talks, arguing that the demands should be discussed during talks. Second, the Taliban wanted a timeframe from the Afghan government for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, something Kabul was not ready to grant (under the Bilateral Security Agreement, U.S. troops can stay in Afghanistan until the end of 2024). Finally, Kabul aimed at reaching a power sharing agreement with the Taliban in exchange for a cessation of violence and the Taliban’s recognition of the Afghan government and constitution. In contrast, the Taliban saw peace talks as one means, among others, to return to power.
The Taliban has been buoyed by last year’s military victories in Afghanistan. The senior leadership of the Taliban has defied the pressure of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment by plainly refusing to talk to Kabul. By doing so, they have emerged out of the shadows of Pakistani military’s dictates and have done much to dispell their image as a proxy.
Ahead of the spring offensive, the new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has emerged as the legitimate and undisputed leader of the militant movement. Masnoor has not only succeeded in stitching up the cracks that emerged within the group following the disclosure of Mullah Omar’s death, but has also succeeded in shifting the momentum of battlefield victories into a nuanced political narrative in the eyes of the Afghan populace. The recent inclusion of Mullah Qayum Zakir, an influential military commander, along with Mullah Mannan and Mullah Yaqoob, the brother and elder son of Mullah Omar, will further strengthen the Taliban’s military position and dispel the impression of internal disputes and weaknesses. The leader of the Haqqani network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has played an important role in bridging these differences. More importantly, several influential commanders and fighters of IS-Khurasan, the local ISIS affiliate, have re-joined the Taliban. The Mehsud faction of the Pakistani Taliban has also merged its fighters with the Afghan Taliban.
Continuing last year’s strategy, the Afghan Taliban is launching operations in both the south and north of the country, to stretch out the Afghan security forces. The focus of this spring offensive will be on capturing more territory to strengthen their position and expose the weaknesses of the Afghan government.
The spring offensive will have a direct impact on Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbor Pakistan. As the fighting escalates, the blame game between Kabul and Islamabad will intensify. The Afghan government will try to exert pressure on Pakistan through the international community and the U.S. to act against Taliban sanctuaries on its soil. Specific demands could include arresting top Taliban leaders or chasing them out of Pakistan.
The escalation of conflict in Afghanistan will also have negative fallout at the global level. It will result in a flow of Afghan migrants to European countries, which are already grappling with a flood of refugees from Syria. Given the uncertainty surrounding its future and growing unemployment, Afghanistan is experiencing a rapidly worsening brain drain. The deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan will also put pressure on the international community to increase their financial contributions to keep the U.S.-backed Afghan government afloat.
The diminishing hopes of a political settlement of the Afghan conflict with defiant Taliban posturing has increased the prospect that Afghanistan will once again slide into chaos. If it does, a lingering conflict will become a festering wound for the region.
Abdul Basit is an Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Has Pakistan gone too far?By: Madiha Batool

Has Pakistan gone too far?By: Madiha Batool
Islam teaches us killing an innocent person is like killing the entire humanity, would it also not be hanging one innocent person would mean sending the entire humanity to the gallows?
In its “Death Sentences and Executions Report 2015”, the Amnesty International ranked Pakistan as the third most prolific executioner in the world. The country stood right after China (the extent of whose executions are not known) and Iran. Moreover, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia together accounted for almost 90 percent of all the global executions recorded. While the Amnesty’s data was only for the year 2015, it is noteworthy that Pakistan has since 2014 hanged at least 394 death row inmates. Lifting the six-year de facto moratorium on death penalty, first in terror-related cases and, in March 2015, in all capital cases, the government seemed quite convinced that capital punishment was the only effective way to deal with the scourge of terrorism. Therefore, when the moratorium was lifted, it was almost evident that the government of Pakistan earnestly wanted to go after terrorists in a bid to deter them from militancy. After following this policy for almost a year and a half now, a quick glance at the data of executions carried out in Pakistan would show whether this target was actually achieved.
As per the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), as many as 394 death row convicts have been hanged to date. Out of these, 49 were tried by the Anti-Terrorist Courts (ATCs) and 12 by the military courts. If this data is anything to go by, only around 10 percent of those executed in Pakistan have been associated with terrorism, while 73 percent were ordinary murderers. All others remaining were involved in murder after rape, murder after robbery or murder after kidnapping. Thus, the Pakistani government’s assertion that the moratorium on death penalty was lifted to tackle terrorism loses ground here.
Then again, it is a very unfortunate reality that juveniles and people with disabilities were also amongst those executed. Controversies came to the fore due to the trials of non-terrorism related cases in ATCs and the condemnation of alleged juveniles to death — a case in point being Shafqat Hussain’s who was allegedly sentenced to death when he was 15 years old and was hanged in August 2015. The Amnesty International also claimed that a juvenile was among those executed earlier by the courts. Aftab Bahadur Masih was hanged in June 2015 despite pleas from international human rights groups that he was a juvenile when convicted of murder.
Apart from this, there have been cases where the court-appointed lawyer does not even once meet the convict outside of court, present evidence in his defence or properly challenge witness statements. Submerged in their financial woes, the families cannot hire a private lawyer, and very often lose the battle of life against poverty. A paraplegic death row prisoner received a last-minute stay of execution in September 2015 to the relief of many human rights activists in the country. However, the news that the officials were uncertain of how to hang a man incapable of standing up unsupported was sickening and painful, to say the least.
When we talk about the national public narrative on the issue, according to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by the Gallup Pakistan in February 2016, almost 92 percent of Pakistanis said they supported the rule of hanging terrorists. Out of those who were in its favour, 64 percent opined that they supported it “a lot”, while 28 percent said they approved it “to some extent.” However, one must observe that the primary question that this survey asked was whether people were for or against “the rule of hanging terrorists.” Like the government, perhaps the Pakistani public also believes that more and more executions can deter terrorists. But is it true? Can people who know that they would ultimately be blowing themselves up one day be really deterred by capital punishment? Of course not, as either way they would consider themselves to be ‘martyrs’. In their study titled “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment:
Evidence from a Judicial Experiment”, Professors Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul R Rubin and Joanna M Shepherd of Emory University concluded that each execution resulted in 18 fewer murders in the US between 1977 and 1996. However, Shepherd revealed in another paper that shorter waits on death row increased deterrence. In Pakistan, however, the judicial system is notoriously slow, with cases frequently dragging on for years before even being given the chance of hearing. Resultantly, these longer waits exhaust the chances of any deterrent effect that the executions might have after all.
Furthermore, the broad definition attributed to ‘terrorism’ in Pakistan is also part of the problem. Subsection (b) of Section 6(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, as amended in 2013, spells out terrorism as the use or threat of action where it is “…to coerce and intimidate or overawe the Government or the public…” or “…create a sense of fear or insecurity in society.” It is very obvious that any murder can be deemed to ‘intimidate’ the public and ‘create a sense of fear’ in the neighbourhood. No wonder, as per reports, more than one in 10 of every death row prisoner in Pakistan is tried as a ‘terrorist’.
One would really want to ask at this juncture whether the Pakistani society has developed a post-traumatic syndrome. Perhaps the excessive killings that we have witnessed as a result of terrorism in our country have made us alien to the very concept of humanity? Let us not forget that a person never dies alone. While Islam teaches us that killing an innocent person is like killing the entire humanity, would it also not be that hanging one innocent person would mean sending the entire humanity to the gallows? Do we trust the fairness of our police and the judicial processes so blindly that we cannot even raise doubt over them?
Also, there is too much at stake here. Let us not forget that though we might have been lucky with the EU’s first compliance report on Pakistan’s Generalised System of Preferences-Plus (GSP+) status, there will be a reassessment in 2017. Government simply cannot take the implementation of the 27 international conventions non-seriously if it wants to avail the GSP+ benefits beyond that date. With Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) due in 2017 too, will it is not be a wise decision to start putting our house in order now? Death penalty is sure to feature as a main issue in the review process as are the hangings of the allegedly juvenile death row convicts. Pakistan has ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has, hence, committed not to impose death penalty on anyone who was a juvenile at the time of the crime. It is vitally important that we start respecting our commitments and rethinking our policies now rather than later making apologetic defenses of our position. Pakistan has indeed gone too far in its policy of executions and it is time we start doing more (or perhaps less) on the issue.
 The writer is Adviser on Political and Economic Affairs in a diplomatic mission in Pakistan

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Pakistan, China to launch satellite to monitor CPEC projects

Pakistan, China to launch satellite to monitor CPEC projects
Islamabad: Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the launch of a special satellite to monitor the development of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
Minister for planning, development and reform, Ahsan Iqbal on behalf of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) President Yin Limping signed the agreement in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The two sides agreed for the development of the ‘Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) System’ and in this regard, launch a satellite in June 2018, Dawnreported. Speaking on the occasion, Iqbal said that bilateral cooperation between the two countries in space domain would open new vistas of socioeconomic and scientific cooperation, giving boost to the historic bilateral cordial relations in other fields.
Space technology is fundamental in socioeconomic development, infrastructure upgradation, agriculture production, urban planning in new age, he added. The minister said that the agreement would also transfer space technology to Pakistan and the PRSS-1 is yet another flagship project between China-Pakistan relations after CPEC.
It would go a long way to redefine the bilateral relations, he said. The new project would also help Pakistan in national security arena by strengthening border security and surveillance apparatus, Iqbal said.
The CPEC is a $46 billion project launched with the help of China to connect western China to southern Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, giving Beijing an opening to the Arabian Sea. India has been protesting the corridor’s passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir ever since the project was kicked off by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Islamabad last year. PTI

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Kashmiri resources exploited by Pakistan, says former Secretary AJK Govt

Kashmiri resources exploited by Pakistan, says former Secretary AJK Govt
Caution: if any Kashmiri complains about this he will be perceived as anti Pakistan and a traitor.
سابق سیکرٹری آزاد حکومت کے تہلکہ خیز انکشافات
on: April 19, 2016No Comments
قومی ڈکیتی میں ایک نہایت ہی منظم گروہ ملوث ہے:اکرم سہیل
کوٹلی(سٹیٹ ویوز) سابق سیکرٹری حکومت اکرام سہیل نے آزاکشمیر میں ہائیڈل منصوبوں کے حوالے سے سنسنی خیز انکشافات کردیئے یونیورسٹی آف منیجمنٹ سائنسز کوٹلی میں تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے سابق سیکرٹری حکومت اکرم سہیل نے کہا کہ پاکستان اور آزاد کشمیر کے سونے ، چاندی ، کوئلہ ، یاقوت اور مرجان جیسے معدنی وسائل اور ہائیڈرل جنریشن سے حاصل ہونے والے محاصل اور مفادات سے پاکستان اور آزاد کشمیر کے عوام کو مکمل طور پر محروم کر کے طبقہ ءاشرافیہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے چند افراد کے حوالے کر دیا گیا ہے ۔ ان وسائل سے متعلق سامراجی دور کی پالیسیاں آج بھی ملک میں نافذ ہیں۔ اکرم سہیل نے کہا کہ قومی ڈکیتی میں ایک نہایت ہی منظم گروہ ملوث ہے ۔ جس نے پاکستان اور آزاد کشمیر کے کھربوں ڈالر کے معدنی وسائل اور ہائیڈرل جنریشن کے پراجیکٹس کیلئے چند مقامی سہولت کاروں کے تعاون سے لوٹ مار کابازار گرم کر رکھا ہے ۔
کھربوں ڈالرز کے یاقوت اور مرجان بیچ دیئےگئے:اکرم سہیل
انہوں نے مثال دیتے ہوئے کہا کہ بلوچستان میں ریکوڈک اور سینڈک کے سونے کے ذخائر جو اربوں ڈالر کے ہیں ،کوڑیوں کے مول دے دیئے گئے ہیں۔ اسیِ طرح آزاد کشمیر میں وادی نیلم میں کھربوں ڈالر کے یاقوت ، مرجان اور دیگر قیمتی معدنیات بین الاقوامی سامراجی کمپنیوں کے حوالہ کر دیئے گئے جس سے آزاد کشمیر کے عوام کو کوئی فائدہ نہیں پہنچ رہا ہے ۔ ہائیڈرل جنریشن کو پبلک سیکٹر میں کرنے میں قدم قدم پر رکاوٹیں کھڑی کر کے پرائیویٹ شعبہ کے حوالہ کر دیا گیا ہے ۔ جس سے نہ صرف سوگنا مہنگی بجلی عوام کو خریدنا پڑے گی بلکہ آزاد کشمیر کے عوام کھربوں ڈالر کے منافع سے بھی ہمیشہ ہمیشہ کے لیے محروم ہو جائیں گے ۔ اکرم سہیل نے کہا کہ تجارت ، نجکاری اور سرمایہ کاری کے نام پر پاکستان اور آزاد کشمیر شدید ترین نئی سامراجیت کی زد میں ہے جس کیلئے پاکستان اور آزاد کشمیر کے شعور کو بیدار کرنے کیلئے ملکی ریسرچ سکالرز ، یونیورسٹیوں کے پروفیسرز اور سول سوسائیٹی کو اپنا کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا تاکہ ملک و قوم کو تاریخ کی سب سے بڑی ڈکیٹی سے بچایا جاسکے ۔
ہائیڈ ل پراجیکٹس میں  لوٹ مار کابازار گرم ہے 
قومی قدرتی وسائل کی عوامی مفادات میں استعمال کے موضوع پر دو روزہ کانفرنس جو کوٹلی یونیورسٹی میں منعقد ہوئی اس میں دو سو سے زائد مندوبین جن میں ملکی و غیر ملکی یونیورسٹیوں کے پروفیسرز اور ماہرین نے شرکت کی ۔ قدرتی وسائل کے استعمال پر ملک میں پہلی بار ایسی کانفرنس منعقد کی گئی ۔ جس میں ان تمام قومی و قدرتی وسائل کو عوامی مفاد میں استعمال کیلئے طریقہ کار پر تفصیلی غور و خوض کیا گیا۔

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Islam Is Non Violence -Unfortunately Sufi’s Islams original mystics are succumbing to sectarianism too

Islam Is Non Violence -Unfortunately Sufi’s Islams original mystics are succumbing to sectarianism too      Sadia Dehlvi  April 19, 2016
The malaise creeping into Sufi communities manifests in the recent violence and siege of Islamabad that glorifies Mumtaz Qadri’s death. In 2011, he assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for talking about reforming blasphemy laws that victimise minorities. Mumtaz Qadri was aligned to the Qadri Sufi order, which once produced the great Mian Mir who laid the foundation of the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
Pakistan’s bold step in hanging Mumtaz Qadri has set the cat amongst the doves. Many Sufi leaders are competing to claim his political legacy, lauding the ‘ghazi’ or ‘warrior of Islam.’ Extremism feeds on selective retrieval of sacred texts and history, creating irrational fears that require urgent remedial measures. Terrorists employ this methodology to evoke rage, Salafi Wahhabi groups to promise a return to some imagined historic ideals as the only route to paradise.
Many Sufi leaders in the subcontinent are turning political, extreme and as exclusionary as the groups they condemn for the same reasons. At the culminating public rally of the recent Sufi event in Delhi Sufis from India and Pakistan, with authoritative titles such as Pir Saqib Shami, Shaykh ul Alam Alauddin Siddiqui and Shyakh ul Islam Tahir ul Qadri were present. Most stressed on ‘ahle sunnat wal jamaat’, the aqeedah, creed, describing Sunnis following Sufi traditions.
Distancing from Shias and other Muslim groups, they reinforce the sectarianism they pledged to fight. Sectarianism is fuelling bloodbaths in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan. Somewhere the strife is Shia-Sunni; elsewhere it is Sunnis against other kinds of Sunnis!
Tahir ul Qadri and Saqib Shami are religious figures from Pakistan with cult-like followings. While appreciating Qadri’s fatwa against terrorism, Shami challenged him publicly to issue a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from praying behind terror supporting Salafi Imams, even in Mecca. In earlier videos Siddiqui takes similar positions, calling Salafis kafirs for pronouncing other Muslims kafirs.
Shami is the new icon for the Bareilly Sufi Centre that has long proclaimed Shias as kafirs, non-Muslims; recently closing their mosques to Wahhabi Muslims. This contradicts Prophet Muhammad’s action of facilitating the prayers of a Christian delegation at his mosque in Medina.
Tahir ul Qadri’s scholarship, efforts in interfaith and Shia-Sunni unity and unequivocal condemnation of Mumtaz Qadri are commendable. However, his political methodologies and positions on blasphemy are questionable. On Pakistani television, Qadri says that blasphemers require to be killed, claiming credit for helping General Zia creating the blasphemy laws in 1985.
On foreign shores, Qadri tactfully denies this by blurring the issue with legal jargon. Pir Shami held special prayer services honouring Mumtaz Qadri’s martyrdom with thousands in attendance. Talk of combating terrorism while legitimising violence for blasphemy is ridiculous.
Sufism is the modern word for Tasawwuf, Islam’s mystic path. Sufis never called themselves Sufis but faqirs, indicating their state of humility before God. Datta Ganj Baksh of Lahore wrote of Sufis in the 8th century saying, ‘Tasawwuf, once a reality without a name, is today a name without a reality’. The ‘ism’ remains problematic for it turns an internal spiritual quest into externalised religiosity and bubblegum spirituality. The ‘ism’ is commercialised, pickled and sold as Sufi Disco, Sufi Kathak, Sufi Nights at bar clubs, and as the ‘Antidote to Terror’.
Historically, Sufis played key roles in providing educative, philosophical and spiritual nourishment, enabling openings of both mind and heart. Sufism gained strength in the 8th century as a reaction to the Islamic Caliphate’s obsession with conquests and wealth; forgetting the egalitarianism and simplicity of the Prophetic message.
Early mystics raised voices against stifling religious freedoms, ensuring Islam not be confined to legalistic codes. Today, frequent Deoband fatwas and Sufi advisories constrict the inherent flexibility of Islam. Barring some mandatory rules, Quranic wisdom lies in its silence on trivial issues; offering layers of multiple interpretations.
Sufis like Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Baba Farid and Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya brought new dimensions to Islamic understanding; enabling it to blossom organically with the colours of the Indian soil; not requiring local citizenry to commit cultural apostasies. This provided nourishment to the synthesis of Muslim and Hindu mystics that produced the Bhakti movement, when people across faiths came together against religious orthodoxies and social divisions.
At the World Sufi Forum in Delhi, as expected, enlightened Islamic narratives came from Sufis and scholars in Syria, Egypt, Indonesia, America, Africa, Europe, and Canada. Contemporary Muslim rhetoric in the subcontinent remains intellectually lethargic, failing to rejuvenate the pluralistic traditions of Islam.
Perhaps the slogan ‘Islam is peace’ should change to, ‘Islam is non-violence and non-coercion’. Some individuals and states find peace through wars, suicide bombings, retribution, death penalties and other ways of blood letting. Peace in the Quran flowers from the absence of ‘khauf’, fear, and ‘huzn’, grief; achieved through denial of violence, coercion, sectarianism, oppression, injustice and poverty. Prophets were not sent to establish peace, but to alleviate suffering, establish law and preach the Oneness of God.
Violence is an aberration of the human heart that naturally inclines towards calm. Muslims requiring fatwas against terrorism reveal the vulnerability, despair and defeat of Muslim communities. Until issues such as heresy, blasphemy, apostasy, exclusion and gender justice are addressed; the words ‘love, harmony and world peace’ remain candy floss. Be they Salafis, Sufis, Deobandis, Barielvys, Shias or other, Muslim thinkers must engage critically and creatively with canonised medieval laws; enabling Muslims to negotiate today’s realities. Otherwise, violence in the name of Islam will long continue.

After PM Modi’s appeal Barelvi Sufis hit out against Wahabism in India

After PM Modi’s appeal Barelvi Sufis hit out against Wahabism in India

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealing to the clerics of Barelvi sect among the Muslim Sunni community to step up their efforts to counter extremism, the clerics have raised a clarion call against the Wahabi ideology and demanded the government to clear the Waqf Boards across the country off the control of Wahabi elements.
An anti-terrorism Sunni conference organised by All India Tanzeem Ulama -e- Islam (AITUI) in the national capital on Monday spewed venom against the Wahabi ideology and cautioned the community against the radicalisation being funded by the Saudi and Qatar petro-dollars.

"AITUI clearly states that this radicalisation is being spread within Muslim community like a virus by Wahabi elements funded by Petro dollars of Saudi Arabia & Qatar ... AITU wants to highlight the fact that ISIS is active in Indian under different names and banners. These ISIS fronts are organising conferences, and programmes to show their presence in India to their Saudi and Qatar-based funders and to assure them that they are present in India and working for the vested interests of Wahabis Monarchies of Saudi Arabia & Qatar," declared the conference of Barelvi clerics at Talkatora Stadium in the national capital while demanding the government to ban organisations promoting Wahabi and Salafi objectives.

"We want to say that these radical organisations are working for Wahabi and Salafi objective of radicalising youth in the name of social revolution. AITUI demand that the activities of these extremist organisations be banned as they are working against national security," the conference demanded, asserting that "Wahabism is part of dirty politics and has nothing to do with Islam". The impressive gathering of Sufi Sunni Muslim community members in the national capital, in this backdrop, also pitched its battle against the dominance of Wahabi or Deobandi followers in the affairs of Waqf Boards and minority educational institutions and prevalence of their teaching through various forms in the country.

The gathering holds significance in wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to members of Barelvi sect to counter extremism by way of Sufi version of Islam "In his remarks during a meeting with a delegation of 40 Barelvi Sufi Scholars from various parts of the country this evening, the Prime Minister said that forces of extremism are attempting to weaken the Sufi ideology today. He added that it is essential for Sufi saints and scholars to counter these forces through various avenues including on social media, so that the ideology of extremism does not take root in India," a government communique had revealed about Prime Minister's appeal to the community of Barelvi Sufi scholars in their meeting in August last year.

While the August communique by government did not refer to Wahabi ideology, the gathering of Barelvi Sufi clerics in the national capital today launched a tirade against the Wahabi ideology and sought government action to contain the followers of Wahabi sect in Waqf Boards among other things.

Monday, 18 April 2016

PAKISTAN: Safe Haven for Rapists in Uniform, says Asian Human Rights Commission

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Safe Haven for Rapists in Uniform
Pakistani women, be they young or old, or even dead or alive, suffer rape by perverted elements that use rape as a tool to suppress and oppress half of the country’s population. One cannot fathom the moral bankruptcy of a society where a rape occurs every two hours. Going by the statistics, each day 12 women suffer rape in the “land of the pure”. It is not simply a matter of blaming a proportion of perverts in a society, when State functionaries are themselves indulging in rape with abandon.

That rape is endemic in a country where Islam is the ideology seems oxymoronic. And, the way it is addressed is only making matters worse. Pakistani society, by and large, treats incidents of rape as a hush-hush affair to be swept under the carpet. The response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Thus, many women are forced to suffer in silence. It beats common sense that you can get raped, but can’t speak about in a conservative society like Pakistan. No woman dares to approach a police station to report this crime for fear of further shaming and potential abuse by the police officials themselves.

Rape is the most common form of custodial torture against accused women. Law enforcement officials also force the accused to confess to a crime by raping his female relative in front of him, i.e. rape is used as a means of torture. Many women are also raped as a result of vendetta against their male relatives. Some women are simply kidnapped by law enforcement officials from their homes or the streets and raped. Despite the reality, torture and ill-treatment of women in custody has received scant attention from legislators and adjudicators alike. No specific law exists to penalize such heinous crimes.

Recently, on 6 April 2016, Station House Officer (SHO) Digri Police Station, Badin District, Sindh Province, picked up a 20-year-old mentally challenged woman from her home. Later, on the victim’s complaint of rape, an FIR (No. 42) was registered against Digri SHO Mohammad Aslam Jamali, under Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Jamali was suspended and later arrested. However, with the help of his colleague, he managed to escape from police custody in Mirpurkhas District of Sindh Province.

Proving rape is in itself a difficult task. However, when the law enforcement agencies are involved in such crimes, it becomes next to impossible for the victim to seek and attain redress. Even in most of the cases that garnered media attention, the matter was hushed-up after the initial hullabaloo and media frenzy.

The cases of Dr. Shazia Khalid and Uzma Ayub, highlight the extremely insecure environment in which women of Pakistan are compelled to live, one where the custodians of law turn predators and commit sexual violence. Both the victims were raped by military personnel and were later forced to flee the country. In an interview, Shazia said, “I did not get justice and I will regret that for the rest of my life”.

When asked to comment on Dr. Shazia’s case by a reporter of The Washington Post, General Pervez Musharraf, the then President of Pakistan, unabashedly stated that claiming rape has become a “moneymaking concern” in Pakistan and that many Pakistanis felt it was an easy way to make money and get a Canadian visa.
Loot and rape has become an everyday affair for the citizens of the country. On 3 September 2015, six policemen raped a 22-year-old for three days while keeping her intoxicated. The victim later told the police that Constable Shahzad Warraich, along with Zulfiqar and his four accomplices, kidnapped her at gunpoint. She said that the accused took her to a hotel and continually raped her after administering intoxicants. She alleged that the accused had also snatched gold ornaments worth Rupees 1,50,000 from her.

Heartbroken and dismayed many victims resort to self-immolation as a mean to protest and escape the injustice. On 22 October 2015 a 20-year old woman from Multan in Punjab Province set herself on fire when the police refused to register a case of rape against three police officers. On her deathbed she testified that three policemen raped her. The officers were arrested after the woman's death began receiving local news attention.

The delay in registration of the case not only gives impunity to the perpetrator it also allows time for the evidence to vanish thus making it impossible to prove rape. Delay in judicial proceeding is another hurdle faced by the victim. The conviction rate of rapists is zero in Pakistan, making the country a safe haven for rapists. Many cases of rape are settled outside of court, where the perpetrator is allowed to go scot free, or gets away by paying peanuts in the name of compensation to the aggrieved family of the victim.

In Uzma Ayub’s case, the perpetrator of rape, a military man, told Uzma that they would pay her whatever compensation she required. She refused any offer of settlement. The influential elders of the area, who were acting as arbitrators between Uzma and the alleged rapist, were forced by the police to pressurize the victim for settlement. Upon her refusal to accept compensation, she was threatened and harassed.

Under administrative jurisprudence, an act of a State functionary amounts to the act of the State itself and the State is responsible to protect and compensate its citizen if he or she is victimized by such actions. However, there is no semblance of the rule of law in Pakistan and so the State feels no duty towards its citizens. The status quo in the garb of democracy is perpetuating and unleashing terror upon citizens by giving unbridled impunity to the guardians of law. This State-sanctioned violence against women and sex-discrimination by law enforcement authorities is a denial of the fundamental right of access to justice to women.

The persistence of violence against women in Pakistan highlights the failure of the judicial system, which is affected by a strong feudal system, religious and social taboos, traditions, customs, a homogeneous religious society, a vast gender gap, a monstrous policing system, and sexual discrimination in economic and social activities.
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The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Pakistan’s Premier Leaves the Country Amid Panama Papers Scandal

Pakistan’s Premier Leaves the Country Amid Panama Papers Scandal
By SALMAN MASOOD       APRIL 14, 2016

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Speculation about the political fate of Pakistan’s embattled prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was swirling on Thursday after he left the country in the middle of an unfolding scandal over his family’s offshore wealth.
Opposition politicians have pressed Mr. Sharif to resign after the so-called Panama Papers document leak revealed that three of his children controlled shell companies through which they owned expensive residential properties in London. Demands have picked up for a judicial commission under the country’s chief justice to investigate any potential wrongdoing by the prime minister and his family.
Mr. Sharif has rejected any allegations of money laundering, claiming that his children have legitimate business abroad, and he has signaled his willingness to establish an inquiry commission.
But as the political turmoil increased, Mr. Sharif flew to London on Wednesday for cardiac medical treatment that he described as a checkup. The timing of the visit immediately prompted rumors that Mr. Sharif might not return to Pakistan until investigations were completed.
In his absence, the finance minister, Ishaq Dar, is leading important cabinet meetings this week. However, government officials said that Mr. Sharif will return on Sunday, and will face the crisis.
Mr. Sharif, 66, an affluent businessman whose family has made its money through businesses primarily dealing in steel, returned to power in 2013 after his party won a majority in the general elections. He had been also been prime minister in the 1990s and was ousted in a military coup in 1999.
Mr. Sharif has tried to assert civilian control over the government but has run into difficulties with the powerful military, which has again become ascendant in both foreign and domestic affairs in recent months and commands a deep well of public support.
On Thursday, Imran Khan, the most trenchant political opponent of Mr. Sharif, also arrived in London. Mr. Khan said he was looking to hire financial investigation agencies that could look into the Sharif family’s dealings.
Mr. Khan has threatened to lead street protests if an investigation is not initiated by the government.
Some political analysts here say that the major opposition political parties do not want the crisis to reach the point at which the military might step in.
But the Panama Papers leak has undeniably lent momentum to Mr. Khan at a time when he had seemed politically weakened. He led thousands of his supporters and staged a sit-in outside the Parliament in 2014, accusing Mr. Sharif of rigging the last general elections. That effort to bring down Mr. Sharif fizzled, but Mr. Khan is taking this as a second chance.
“This is a godsend opportunity for us,” Mr. Khan said last week, urging Pakistanis to rise against Mr. Sharif.
Another mainstream political power, the Pakistan Peoples Party, has so far seemed to be weighing its options, and there has been no major joining of forces with Mr. Khan. Analysts say the party may be looking to cut a deal with Mr. Sharif.
“They are trying to find some kind of political agreement to deal with the current crisis,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a prominent political analyst based in Lahore.
Mr. Rizvi said Mr. Sharif is expected to return to the country soon. “He is not threatened to that extent,” he said. “However, if all political parties join hands, then Nawaz is in real trouble.”