Wednesday, November 28, 2012
http://rt.comA horrifying amateur video from Syria emerged online, showing an apparent mass execution of Assad supporters in Aleppo at the hands of rebels from the Free Syria Army. The footage shows several bloodied men stripped down to their underwear being forced to kneel by a wall amidst a throng of excited, machine gun-touting men. Once their captors open fire, the camera jerks away as the crowd momentarily disperses, seemingly unprepared for the nearly 40 seconds of uninterrupted shooting that follows. As the gunfire dies down, shouts of “Allahu Akbar!” resound as the once skittish onlookers victoriously raise their guns in the air, approaching what appears to be a pile of stripped-down corpses. One of the victims has been identified as Ali Zein Al-Abidin Al-barri; the rebels accused him and his family of killing 15 FSA soldiers during a truce in Aleppo on Tuesday. The video depicting the apparent massacre has not been verified, though the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said such vengeance was a crime as Islamic law does not authorize the execution of prisoners. Clive Baldwin, a senior legal adviser for Human Rights Watch (HRW), told BBC News: "What it looks like is execution of detainees and if that is the case, that would be a war crime." Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov condemned the shooting. "The brutal massacre of government supporters by the opposition in the city of Aleppo shows that human rights violations are being committed by both sides,” he wrote on Twitter. It is not the first time that reports have emerged of rebels carrying out executions against pro-Assad forces without trial. Ahmed, a rebel fighter from the Amr bin al-Aas brigade which operates in the Syrian town of Azaz, recounted the execution of a Syrian army sniper named Rami who was shot dead after a graveside “trial,” Reuters reports. Ahmed says Rami was firing from the top of a high minaret at a local mosque before he was captured. "We took him right to his grave and, after hearing the witnesses' statements, we shot him dead," the agency sites Ahmed as saying. Ahmed made it clear that his forces often capture “handfuls of soldiers” in battle, saying that his men would create courts for the captured men and execute them. However, when pressed on the specifics of creating makeshift courts to justify killing those captured in battle, Ahmed remained stoic. "The culture of lawyers has long passed. I mean a guy like that," Ahmed said, referring to the slain sniper Rami, “what do you think his fate should be?" Such extra-judicial killings might be a sign of things to come if the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad spins further out of control. Asia Times Online correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT that such massacres occur “all the time” in today's Syria. He believes, however, that summary executions of this nature will push minorities to fight against the rebels. “I received this video from a source in Arabic, and then I asked for a translation. This is a very important clan in Northern Aleppo. Some of them were executed in cold blood, this is what this two and a half minute video shows. This is an extended clan. They have like 20,000 brothers, sisters and extended family in this tribal clan,” Escobar said. “So this means that all of these people, instead of being recruited to the opposition, now they will fight the opposition because they are being executed in cold blood. This explains, among other things, why Christians all over Syria are taking up arms to defend themselves. Because they know if there is a post-Assad controlled [government] by Sunni hardcore elements, including Salafi jihadists, they are going to be unprotected minorities. At the moment they are protected minorities under the Assad regime," he continued.
Chairman of the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR) Hussain M. Jawad rapped the al-Khalifa regime for continuing planned crackdown on peaceful protests, illegal detention of demonstrators and torturing of political prisoners. Jawad said the Bahraini regime presses ahead with its planned suppression of peaceful protestors, detention of activists and torturing of prisons despite global condemnation of its totalitarian and illegal behavior. He said that the Bahraini regime resorts to harsh approaches to silence freedom of speech, and added the regime even clamps down on licensed demonstrations - of course, when it, though very rarely, issued license for some gatherings in the early months of unrests in the country. The Bahraini activist also rejected the al-Khalifa regime's claims that Bahraini protestors wanted to stir chaos in the country during the demonstrations on Ashoura day on Sunday. Jawad said the regime does not allow foreign journalists and reporters to visit Bahrain in order to avoid a coverage of its inhuman crimes by the world news media. The al-Khalifa security forces are continuing the clampdown on peaceful protests across the country and have intensified arrests since the start of the holy month of Muharram. Muharram, a religious month is commemorated by Muslims across the world annually. The holy month which started on Friday bans people from killing, arresting, committing any wrong doing or crime. The regime has also insulted the religious slogans chanted by people during the holy month. The Bahraini government, facing protracted unrest by an overwhelming majority of the people, has revoked the nationality of 31 men on charges of harming national security. The men include London-based dissidents Saeed al-Shehabi and Ali Mushaima, the son of jailed opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, as well as clerics, human rights lawyers and activists. Also on the list published by Bahraini News Agency (BNA) were two former parliamentarians from the leading Shiite party Wefaq, Jawad and Jalal Fairooz. Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty's over-40-year rule, end of discrimination, establishment of justice and a democratically-elected government as well as freedom of detained protesters. Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors. So far, tens of people have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.
http://www.voanews.comThis week, Human Rights Watch criticized Pakistan's judiciary for using legal powers to try to silence critics in the media. Journalists, long under pressure from militants and the country's powerful army, are trying to deal with new attempts to curtail their reporting. At first, Pakistan's major television stations did not pay much attention to the order from the broadcasting regulatory body, PEMRA, that criticism of the country's increasingly powerful judiciary should stop. The popular talk shows continued. But then, news editors said, PEMRA started issuing warnings to individual shows, reminding them that criticism of the judiciary was considered illegal. Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams said this week that these curbs on free expression in Pakistan should be immediately revoked and that judges should not have "special immunity from criticism." Both sides to blame Tariq Mahmood, a lawyer and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, agreed that the judiciary may have overused its legal powers, but blamed reporters for inappropriate reporting. "This contempt of court law has been there in the constitution primarily to discourage attempts to personally malign judges," he said. "But I admit this law has been excessively used by the judiciary in recent months, and because of that, it has lost its effectiveness. But let me tell you that some media outlets, particularly TV channels, have overstepped their limits, and that has provoked the courts to repeatedly use this law." But Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said while Pakistan journalism is far from a perfect institution, journalists in Pakistan do not deserve the amount of pressure they are coming under. "The fact that they keep on doing their jobs in the face of such animosity and so much danger to me is always incredible," he said. Pakistan has some two dozen news channels, and news-based talk shows are very popular, dominating the airwaves during prime time evening hours. There is also plenty of political satire, such as the Banana News Network, which makes fun of both reporters and politicians. Limits and self-censorship But the mockery stops there. Mubashir Zaidi, an editor for Dawn TV, one of the biggest TV channels in Pakistan, said news channels know there are limits. "They know there are red lines that you don't cross, you don't mock judges, you don't mock the military and you don't mock Taliban," said Zaidi Dietz agreed there is self-censorship in Pakistan. And he noted that, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Pakistan last year was the world's deadliest nation for reporters. The organization said at least 29 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in direct relation to their work since 2007. Zaidi said although the media is in trouble in Pakistan, coming under pressure from the Taliban, from the military in insurgent areas, and now from the judiciary, it is not about to stop doing its work. "Pakistan has been the most dangerous country for journalists, so what to do here? But we have to survive, we have to report, as media is the flag bearer of rights in Pakistan," he said. The dangers facing journalists in Pakistan were illustrated once again this week, when top TV talk-show anchor Hamid Mir found a Taliban-planted bomb under his car, apparently for his reporting on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for what it described as her pro-Western ideology.
The Frontier PostSelling medicine with the prescription of a qualified doctor is illegal and a cognizable offence throughout the world where even a painkilling pill is not made available without authorization. But this practice, meant for the safety and health of the people, is altogether absent in Pakistan where even toxic material is sold without the fear of law. Neither Punjab nor any of other provinces have enacted laws that restrict pharmacies and medical stores to sell medicine without the prescription by a qualified doctor and, as a result, tragedies like the one occurred in Lahore’s poor neighbourhood of Shahdara, keep on taking place and are normally pressed into oblivion by governments and people alike within no time. Reports say that seventeen people died by the intake of a toxic cough syrup between Friday and Sunday. By all means this is a human tragedy but authorities concerned up to the level of the chief minister took eyewash legal steps to hoodwink the people. Also included in these measures is the constitution of an inquiry into the terrible incident only to become one of the hundreds ordered before. That is why Punjab authorities thought as if sealing down three pharmacies and the medicines factory manufacturing the toxic syrup, Reko Pharmacals, was deemed enough a step enough to take on criminals. Reports say that fifteen people, mostly drug addicts, from one of the city’s most backward area of Shahdara, died on Friday and two more fell the victim on Sunday. Police said on Monday that several people fell ill and were shifted to Mayo Hospital after they took the syrup, Tyno. Five of them died en route to hospital while seven more died on Sunday as the victims consumed the syrup to get high. All the three pharmacists and owners of the medicines factory have been arrested on the charge of committing willful murder. Family members of the victims staged a protest on Shahdara Road on Monday for delay in post-mortem of the deceased. The provincial government also banned the sale of the syrup across Punjab. Police say they have also conducted raids at various medical stores and drug distributors to seize the banned syrup. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who also holds the portfolio of health, has constituted a three-member inquiry team headed by Chief Ministers Inspection Team, which has started its proceedings. The inquiry committee will submit a report within 72 hours in the light of which action will be taken against those responsible. Pakistan Medical Association said a law to restrict the sale of all medicines without a doctor’s prescription has already been enacted but the government failed to enforce it. A PMA statement said the sale of medicines by medical storeowners without prescription from a qualified doctor is a crime and is the root cause of the deaths caused by the cough syrup. In January 2010, more than 100 heart patients under treatment at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology died because of local made spurious drugs. The matter was taken up by the Lahore High Court which sought and got reports by health secretary and Director-General (Health) and sought the services of the FIA to proceed against all those responsible for the deaths. These medicines were procured for free treatment of poor patients The chief minister also constituted an inquiry into the alarming occurrence. But all these steps failed to take action against one single culprit and the chief minister’s inquiry was also never completed; no report saw the light of the day. If the PML-N government’s cognizance of the matter produced no results earlier, how can they make any meaningful difference now? The issue also concerns the Drug Law Authority which is tilted heavily in favour of pharmaceutical companies and was launched only two weeks ago with a fanfare, to roll itself into action by taking action against makers of sub-standard and spurious medicines. Perhaps, the authority can also undertake a legislation banning medicines sale without prescription. This step is absolutely necessary if the authority earnestly wants to achieve its objective of ensuring quality medicine at affordable price reaching the people. But this goal is not likely soon because provinces are yet to establish such authorities as required by the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan act 2012 and as ordained by the devolution scheme.
The day would also be used to pay homage to party leaders and workers who gave their lives for the cause of democracy and empowering people
timesofindiaPakistan on Wednesday test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of 1,300 kilometres (800 miles), the military said. The military described the Hatf V Ghauri missile as a liquid fuel missile, which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. It was Pakistan's eighth missile test so far this year and comes two months after its last test of a Hatf-VII with a range of 700 kilometres. Five of those tests were conducted within a few weeks after India in April successfully test fired the Agni V, which can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China, marking a major advance in its military capabilities. India and Pakistan have fought three wars -- two over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir -- and have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998. Defence analysts say India's strategic priorities are focused more on China, while Pakistan is still concerned about its eastern neighbour.