http://www.egyptindependent.com/An official source at the Giza Security Directorate said on Tuesday evening that demonstrators belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood fired shots at opponents of President Mohamed Morsy as they were marching in Faisal Street in Giza, wounding seven with bullets and cartridges. The directorate deployed the Central Security Forces to control the situation.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane has been forced to land in Austria after France and Portugal refused to let the jet land on their territories amid false rumors that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board, media cited the Bolivian foreign minister as saying. Snowden, a former contractor for the US National Security Agency, is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans. He is believed to be in Moscow. “We are told that there were some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane,” Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told journalists as quoted by the CNN. “We do not know who has invented this lie, someone who wants to harm our country,” Choquehuanca said. “This information that has been circulated is malicious information to harm this country.” The foreign minister said the move had put the life of Morales, who visited Russia for a gas exporting conference, at risk. “Portugal owes us an explanation. France owes us an explanation,” he said. Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told CNN en Español that he thought the US government was behind the rumors. “This is a lie, a falsehood. It was generated by the U.S. government,” he said, adding that Bolivia’s air travel rights were violated. Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he planned to call a regional meeting of the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, to discuss the situation, according to CNN. The United States is communicating with several countries that could offer Snowden political asylum or be a stopover, about his possible return home to face criminal charges of leaking state secrets, a US State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday. Washington has spoken with “a broad range of countries” that could either serve as “transit spots or final destinations” for Snowden, who is holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport while trying to elude US authorities, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a news briefing. South American nations Bolivia and Venezuela have expressed possible support, but 11 of the 21 governments that the whistleblowing website Wikileaks said the fugitive former CIA employee had appealed to for possible political asylum have said Snowden must be on their respective territories in order to request political asylum, CNN reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, three of the countries – Brazil, India and Poland – have rejected his request outright. Snowden had asked for asylum in Russia, but a Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday that the American withdrew his request after Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly stated Monday that Snowden must stop “harming our US partners” with the leaks. The United States has revoked Snowden’s passport, but US officials have said Washington would issue him a one-time travel document in order to travel home to face a “free and fair trial.”
President Barack Obama is on his way back to the US after visiting Tanzania, the last leg of his Africa tour, which also included Senegal and South Africa. Earlier he laid a wreath for the victims of the 1998 US embassy bombing in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam. Eleven people were killed in the al-Qaeda attack, which coincided with a bombing in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, which left hundreds dead. The president was joined for the ceremony by predecessor George W Bush. Mr Bush was in Dar es Salaam for a conference on African women sponsored by the George W Bush Institute. While he and Mr Obama attended the ceremony at the US embassy memorial, their wives took part in the African First Ladies Summit. 'Modernise customs' Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete walked Mr Obama and his wife down a red carpet to the Air Force One at the international airport in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday. A guard of honour saluted and marching bands played as the couple boarded the plane.The US president had arrived in Tanzania on Monday. During his stay, he also visited a US-owned power plant, following his announcement over the weekend of a multi-billion-dollar electricity initiative. The $7bn (£4.6bn) five-year initiative is intended to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, in partnership with African countries and the private sector. "We're starting with countries that are making progress already with reforms in the energy sector - Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique and Liberia," he told a business leaders forum in Dar es Salaam. "And with a focus on cleaner energy, we will initially add 10,000 megawatts of new electricity generation, which expands electricity to 20 million homes and businesses." At the same forum on Monday evening, Mr Obama launched a programme helping Africa's eastern nations of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda trade both with each other and with the US. "We'll work with the countries involved to modernise customs, move to single more efficient border crossings, reduce bottlenecks, reduce the roadblocks that stymie the flow of goods to market," he said. Mr Obama's second tour to sub-Saharan Africa since becoming president began in Senegal where he called on African governments to give gay people equal rights by decriminalising homosexual acts. The US president excluded from his week-long itinerary Kenya, where his father was born, and Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer which has been hit by an Islamist insurgency.
http://www.egyptindependent.com/Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak watched 30 June demonstrations demanding President Mohamed Morsy stand down, well-informed sources have revealed. The imprisoned dictator reportedly expressed astonishment at the number of protesters on the streets of Cairo, commenting that crowds dwarfed those that rose up against him in January 2011. Sources said that Mubarak told his two sons Alaa and Gamal in their cell that those who revolted against him were much less than the millions that came out calling for the fall of the current Muslim Brotherhood--led regime. Mubarak said he responded to the demands of the people and stepped down in order to save lives, sources added. Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Mubarak appeared happy and that his psychological condition improved significantly. The sources pointed out his condition improved especially after he watched comparisons between him and Morsy in talk shows, and the result always seemed to be in his favour. Mubarak is currently imprisoned at Tora prison in Cairo's Helwan area, pending trial on charges of exploiting influence and killing demonstrators during the 25 January revolution, in addition to other corruption and public money squandering charges. Mubarak stepped down on 11 February 2011, after 18 days of protests that swept the country demanding an end to his 30-year reign.
A deadline looms Tuesday for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, and another hangs over his head for Wednesday. Opposition protesters are threatening to march on Cairo's presidential palace, if Morsy does not step down Tuesday evening. So far, he has given no indication that he will do so. But that is no surprise. What's unclear is what happens Wednesday. That's when a 48-hour deadline imposed by the Egypt's military expires.Appearing to throw its weight behind the opposition that has swarmed Cairo's Tahrir Square, the military told Morsy's government it has until Wednesday evening to "meet the demands of the people," or it will step in to restore order. But the army stopped short of saying that it was suggesting a coup. The ultimatum was meant to push all factions toward quick solutions and a national consensus, and the armed forces aren't looking to be part of the political or ruling circles, a spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said in a written statement Monday. While insisting they want no direct role in national politics, the generals appeared instead to be pressuring Egypt's first freely elected president to restructure his government. The steps could include reducing the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in his Cabinet and calling early presidential and parliamentary elections, a source close to highly placed members of Egypt's leadership told CNN.
http://www.afghanistantimes.af/Efforts of the Afghan government to halve poppy cultivation and trafficking has hit a dead end, having unleashed catastrophic mayhem in the vulnerable society of Afghanistan, said Acting Deputy Minister of Information and Cultural (MoIC), Mustafa Saeedi, on Monday. Mustafa Saeedi told a workshop on the occasion that the deficiency of concerned officials in reining in drug haul and alcohol abuse has inflicted a terrible impact on the youth. Ever-galloping violence, poverty, weak family system and illegal immigration are of also the major reasons that propel the naive youth to resort to the malicious practice of drug addiction. The Afghan government has not been able to deliver on this highly important issue and as it is apparent international community’s counternarcotic focus has drained as no substantial achievement concerning elimination of drug cultivation is visible. The world’s consumption of the illicit drugs and intoxicatives is rapidly increasing and as far as Afghanistan is the most abundant source of narcotics, notorious drug rings and mafias use every opportunity to export narcotics from the country, he said. He criticized the government policies for eliminating opium cultivation and trafficking and said that the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics has not shown any interest for cooperation with the MoIC regarding current anti-drug policies. Mr. Saeedi warned of appalling consequences of drug abuse such as rise in crimes, murder, robberies and kidnappings if the government fails to contain drug haul. Chief of Afghanistan Youth National and Social Organization, Mohammad Shfiq Popal, said that social dilemmas derived by drug smuggling are huge and the seminar is aimed at raising public awareness regarding detriments of drugs and ways to eliminate drug abuse. Mrs. Shabnam a Kabul resident said that many drug rendezvouses are in Kabul city and act as sources of infesting the young generation. She urged profound strategies be implemented to eliminate this social menace. Impunity of drug lords from conviction has caused a surge in drug trafficking and increased drug abuse in the Kabul city.
http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/(LEAD) Church, Scholars, lawyers and members of civil society are discussing the deteriorating situation of the Christians and threats posed by the religious extremists and society’s outdated customs. It is our duty to take your attention to injustices, prejudices and discrimination, which is being faced by Christians of Pakistan. Root Level Serious Issues of Pakistani Christians Religious Discrimination: we receive many complaints and applications regarding different issues of persecution and discrimination in Pakistan. On dated 26 June,2013,LEAD's lawyers submitted a Writ Petition No.16117/2013 in The Lahore High Court Lahore in which it was requested and prayed to direct the respective Government Departments to implement the notifications Nos.4/15/94-R-2 of 26th May, 2009,SOR-III(S&GAD)1-35/93,dated 23 October,2009 and SOR-III(S&GAD)1-35/93 dated 27 March,2010 in which right of 5% quota in all kinds of jobs was given to religious minorities but that was not implemented by any single Government Institution and Department. We are waiting for the decision of Court. Economic Persecution: We are getting information and requests from different people regarding the issues and problems of sanitary workers. They are making complaints that there are a number of vacancies of sanitary workers are filled by Muslims almost in every city and town and these Muslims just get the salaries and do not perform their duty. We are going to file a writ petition regarding this serious issue in Lahore High Court Lahore. We heard from different Christians that they are being deprived the right of job in private sector too due to possession of Christian faith sometimes they are openly and straight forwardly told and sometime in hidden they are ignored and refused. Religious Hatred: The main problem is the religious hatred among Pakistani. The claim of Muslim is that Pakistan is for Islam and other religious minorities feel unsafe and insecure of this claim. Pakistan should be for Pakistani not for any particular religion. Blasphemy laws: The promulgation and misuse of the blasphemy laws against Pakistani Christians is one of the biggest concerns for us. After Joseph Colony issue one other heart breaking incident happened at Pattoki Three Christian Women Beaten and Publicly Humiliated in Village Sereser Chak No.21 Pattoki. At that time, the women were sleeping in the house along with their father-in-law Sadiq Masih, 73, and mother-in-law Rani Bibi, 70.The mob invaded the house and started looking for Masih’s sons, but when they could not find his sons, they started beating the three women. We, the Christians of Pakistan, need to start working hard to attain positions where our voices can be heard loud and clear by our fellow Christians in the world and only then will our problems be put in front of the top hierarchy of the Church and The Politicians and some good hearten Christians will stand with us to resolve and solve these issues. LEAD is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. As followers of Jesus, we are motivated by God’s grace and love to serve all people regardless of race, religion gender or ethnicity.
THE recent attacks in Quetta, Peshawar and elsewhere reflect the growing culture of violence and militancy in Pakistan. Why is Pakistani culture notable for the lack of a zero-tolerance approach towards extremism, militancy and violence against innocent people? How can a cultural change be brought about which can promote enlightenment and coexistence? Over the past 30 years or so, it is possible to discern a significant transformation in Pakistani culture: the values of tolerance, moderation and coexistence have diminished, providing enormous space for aggression. One can blame the Afghan war for the permeation of the gun culture, drug trafficking, etc, but if analysed more deeply, one can see that the absence of a culture of reasoning and critical thinking has promoted extremism and radicalisation in Pakistani society. Further, the analysis raises questions about the role of state actors that are responsible for ensuring basic security for people. The absence of a culture of enlightenment can be termed a major reason why this country has become a hub of violence. And Pakistan is not alone: in terms of the absence of a culture of enlightenment, the situation is more or less similar in many post-colonial states, particularly in Muslim countries. According to the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, enlightenment means “an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries marked by the celebration of the power of human reason, a keen interest in science, the promotion of religious toleration and the desire to construct governments free of tyranny.” Cultural enlightenment, which became a part of the European/Western civilisation, caused far-reaching structural changes in the way of life and thinking of people who were once behind in the realm of scientific knowledge and reasoning. As a philosophical movement unleashed primarily in parts of Western Europe, enlightenment challenged centuries of stagnation, orthodox thinking and a conservative way of life. Based on the contributions of leading philosophers such as Jacques Jean Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Baron de Montesquieu, John Locke and David Hume, the intellectual discourse known as enlightenment focused on reasoning and rationality, doubt, the quest for knowledge, free-thinking, tolerance, secular principles, innovation and research, humanism, and the promotion of art and culture. The Renaissance, geographical discoveries, scientific innovations, exploration and reformation gave an impetus to the culture of enlightenment, which played a leading role in shaping the European/Western cultural discourse. No such activity was going on in the Muslim world at the time, though. Large sections of Muslim territories later came under the colonial and imperial tutelage of major European powers and remained devoid of the knowledge process. While repeated wars in Europe culminating in the Second World War challenged cultural enlightenment, centuries of philosophical work, discoveries and scientific innovations in the West strengthened the culture of reasoning, secularism, democracy and individualism. Cultural enlightenment became a symbol of change in the West which denied space to violence and strengthened the rule of law, notwithstanding the recent emergence of neo-nazis and anti-immigration groups in different parts of Europe. If Pakistan is known as a country with high numbers of suicide attacks and other acts of violence, it is because there are major fault lines in Pakistani culture that provide space to extremist, militant and violent groups. In order to curb extremism, Pakistanis will have to change the culture which provides space to groups that propagate hate and violence against those who do not conform to their way of life. The culture of intolerance needs to be replaced with the culture of enlightenment where reasoning, rationality, coexistence, humanism and peace will shape societal values. The process of cultural enlightenment in Pakistan can only be initiated when a parochial mindset is transformed and a broadminded approach becomes the dominant way of thinking and of discourse. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s cultural paradigm is devoid of a pragmatic, rational and democratic thought process which can effectively challenge those who promote the culture of intolerance. Furthermore, the country’s feudal/tribal culture, along with religious fanaticism, is responsible for societal retrogression. Two examples can be cited to prove the acceptability of people who take the law into their own hands, propagate hate on religious grounds and create a culture of fear. First, Mumtaz Qadri, who was officially responsible for protecting the then governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, killed him in January 2011 in Islamabad at a public place. He not only confessed to the killing in a court of law but got a lot of support from the legal community and others for an act which should have been condemned. Recently, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf member of the National Assembly demanded on the floor of the house that Qadri be “honourably” exonerated. Second, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi have taken responsibility for countless suicide attacks and other acts of terror in different parts of Pakistan but there has been no strong condemnation by religious parties. The only way Pakistan and its future generations can hope to save their country from degeneration is by promoting a culture of enlightenment by investing in the provision of quality education, encouraging innovation, scientific research, human development and preventing the use of religion for political or personal benefit.
PTI chairman Imran Khan will write a letter to the prime minister asking him to form a comprehensive anti-terrorism policy to rid the country of this peril. Condemning the bomb blast in the KPK that killed 17 people, he says the whole nation will have to fight against terrorism and devise a joint policy to eradicate this menace for which he will ask the premier to convene a meeting of all stakeholders in the province and the army chief to discuss a comprehensive strategy to end terrorism. The PTI chief Imran Khan has rightly opted to remind the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to do more for the safety of the people of the KPK, facing bombings every now and then. The blood of the innocent people is consistently going down the drain. Yet non at the helm of the affairs is bothered to say a word about the plight of the people in Peshawar and Quetta. The federal government is keeping mum over the situation as if there is nothing doing. The lack of urgency on the part of the federal government in joining hands with the provincial administration to curb terrorism is being felt and perceived as the continuation of the previous regime with only difference of some change of faces in the Prime Minister House. Against all hopes that the federal government and army will sharply react to the deadly terrorist attacks and come up with new strategy, the National Security Adviser elderly Sartaj Aziz seems more concerned over Afghan peace process, on Monday he had floated the concept of an Afghan power-sharing arrangement between Kabul and the Taliban as part of a peace talks but he did not say a word about the TTP attacks. Peace in Pakistan, to some extent, may be linked to the peace in Afghanistan. Yet the recent clashes, amongst the TTP and pro-Pakistan militant groups along the Afghanistan border, give ample evidence for the Pakistan to open their eyes that Islamabad has to deal with the TTP terrorism phenomenon on its own—no body especially from its allies will come to its rescue. Participants of the Doha Talks from either side deemed it fit to go into the peace talks without Pakistan that many perceived it as dumping of Islamabad from the Afghan initiative. Even then putting forth any suggestion by Pakistan or from the office National Security Advisor cannot be a welcome suggestion and it has duly attracted wrath from the Kabul regime. Pakistan should concentrate hard on ways and means to curb the TTP insurgency at home rather than joining the diplomatic warfare that Americans have unleashed in the region. Blindly following the end-game of the Americans will take Pakistan no where. Islamabad needs to show far more seriousness to look after its own country and its people crying over loss of the innocent lives rather than feeling for others. The federal government’s silence over the internal situation is nerve-breaking. Leaving aside Afghan peace phobia, Islamabad must feel the pain of its masses.
– by Mahpara QalandarOne teenage mourner crying over the killing of his father raised his head up towards the sky and cried: “Ya Allah, what crime did my father commit for which he had to die like this?” Certainly, there cannot be any answer which can comfort the boy. On the other side of humanity-Islamofascism divide, a spokesman of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) phoned a few media offices proudly claiming, “By Allah’s grace, we have dispatched more Shias to hell!” The spokesman was referring to the suicide bombing near a Shia mosque in Quetta on 30 June which killed 30 Shias and injured scores of them; the majority of the injured in serious condition (Read the report: http://dawn.com/news/1022000/quetta-shuts-down-to-mourn-attack-as-blast-toll-rises-to-30). Allah’s name exists on both sides of the good-and-bad binary which has destroyed the very fabric of the Pakistan society. On the one side are the Taliban and their various incarnations such as the LeJ. On the other side are the Shias, Hindus, Ahmadis, and Christians who have been apostatized by the Taliban for not subscribing to their literalist Manichaean version of Islam. No matter you are a Muslim or non-Muslim, or even a Pakistani or else. Only two weeks before, the Taliban killed 10 foreign mountaineers at the base camp of the Nanga Parbat and made a good escape. http://criticalppp.com/archives/271141 The killing of the mountaineers was as usual “breaking news” on national channels followed by the routine condemnation from every person of substance. But in reality it was just another show of routine emotion. Pakistanis are shown this emotion every day because every day the Taliban strike with bloody precision and consequences. The day following the killing of the mountaineers, the entire Pakistani nation was held in enthrall by the national and provincial/state parliaments where the fate of the “treasonous” General Musharraf was speculated by no less a person than the prime minister who only a month before won national elections on the promise of eradicating terrorism and ending long power outages. No resolution was passed against the Taliban’s crime against humanity. No one pointed out that the killing of the foreign mountaineers has indeed killed tourism in Pakistan. The present government led by Nawaz Sharif and supported by the country’s top anchors do not use the word “Taliban”; their expression of choice is “shidat pasand” which means one who likes to do violence. When the government itself is afraid to call a spade a spade and when the ‘bravest’ decision it takes is make a dialogue offer to Taliban on the basis of equality and brotherhood, it is evidence of the collapse of the state as a sovereign entity. The story of the relations of the state of Pakistan with the Taliban is one of incompetence, complicity, and fear. Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a stateless, lawless society