Thursday, September 4, 2014
Confronting one's history is a highly political subject. The Chinese people’s victory in the anti-Japanese war was their first victory in the war against foreign aggression. The victory brought an end to an era in which China had been forced to cede territory and pay forfeits to foreign enemies. It was the start of China's defense of its centuries-old civilization which provided a solid foundation for the rejuvenation of the Chinese people. Reviewing history can reveal valuable lessons. Patriotism made a substantial contribution to the anti-Japanese victory, so we should carry forward the anti-war spirit with patriotism as its core. The aggression against China launched by Japan brought the Chinese people to the verge of disaster, but aroused their awareness of crisis and sense of mission. Uniting the people of China, the national spirit was reinforced in the anti-Japanese war. The Communist Party of China (CPC) shouldered the task of saving the country from its peril, and appealed for a united anti-Japanese front based on cooperation between the CPC and the Kuomintang (KMT). Under the umbrella of fighting against Japanese fascism, the CPC and the KMT worked together to counter Japanese aggression. China's war against fascism was inseparable from the wider international anti-fascist effort, and China made a great contribution to world peace. History, like a mirror, can tell wrong from right. The Japanese government has consistently denied its history of aggression, harming relations between China and Japan. Moreover, the Japanese government advocates lifting the ban on self-collective defense, seriously undermining its international credibility. The path of Japanese development is determined by its people. The Japanese government should respect the legitimate concerns of its neighboring countries. It is necessary to take history as a mirror and face up to historical realities.
The US and UK should be held accountable for being complicit in human rights violations carried out by countries they are friendly with.On 30 August, the prominent Bahraini human rights defender Maryam al-Khawaja, was detained upon her arrival in Manama, the country’s capital. She risked arrest for the chance to see her ailing father, dissident Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence, and has been on hunger strike since 26 August. Maryam is now being held in remand at Isa Town prison, charged with allegedly assaulting a policewoman at the airport. She was told that she was also facing charges for leading a campaign called Wanted for Justice in Bahrain (which named government officials responsible for torture) and for insulting the king. A dual Bahraini-Danish national, Maryam’s Bahraini citizenship has now been stripped, according to her lawyer. At 26, Maryam is the sort of woman that dictators have nightmares about: she is one of the most prominent voices condemning Bahrain’s ongoing human rights violations, which have only continued in the years following a brutal crackdown on popular protests in February 2011. Maryam’s public face is straightforward, clear and calm, cutting through the regime’s attempts to whitewash its human rights records. The Maryam I know is adept at debating human rights and the ins and outs of Arabic pop music in the same conversation. It’s the qualities that I’ve seen through our friendship that have made me respect her the most: she’s principled, compassionate, tough and stubborn as hell. We became friends for many reasons – but perhaps one of the most striking connections is the mutual experience of yearning too long for a country built through the memories and idealised pictures painted by our parents. For her, it was the picture of Bahrain built through the eyes of her exiled parents during her childhood in Denmark, and for me it was a feeling of being homesick for Palestine, despite being born and raised in the US. Maryam moved to Bahrain at 14, and in an essay for Jadaliyya last year, described watching the country she idealised, a “land of a million palm trees” and “pearl divers and Bahraini men in their local attire catching fish”, being brutalised by the greed of its ruling regime, which, “instead of investing in underdeveloped parts of Bahrain, busied itself in moving landmass from certain areas of the main island and dumping it into the sea to create more land space”. It’s that love for Bahrain that moved Maryam to become an activist, and it’s one of the things that I admire most about her. I remember in February 2012, in the early days of her father’s most high-profile hunger strike, how hard it was for us to get her to stop working and actually sleep. She contemplated risking arrest to fly to Bahrain to see her father, finding it unbearable to be far away from her family during such a difficult time. But she didn’t do it: not because she wasn’t terrified for her father, but because she knew that remaining outside of her beloved country and campaigning internationally was the only way to ensure that the world could understand the repression happening inside of it. Bahrain’s troubles don’t usually make headlines – perhaps eclipsed by strife in the wider region. But Bahrain enjoys a particularly cosy relationship with the west, particularly the US and UK. It is our duty to hold our governments accountable for being complicit in human rights violations carried out by countries that we are friendly with. And it certainly says something that these are the sorts of people that it throws in jail: the members of a family who have devoted their lives to speaking out against injustice.
Jihadists kidnapped dozens of residents of a northern Iraq village on Thursday after villagers burned one of their positions along with a jihadist flag, police and witnesses said. The militants of the Islamic State (IS) group had withdrawn from Tal Ali in Kirkuk province on Wednesday, but returned in force on Thursday and abducted some 50 people, the sources said. It is not the first time IS has carried out mass kidnappings in Iraq, with the group abducting thousands of civilians as it overran minority-populated northern villages last month, according to human rights group Amnesty International. Amnesty has accused IS of "systematic ethnic cleansing," including mass killings, of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq. A senior UN rights official has said the group is responsible for "acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale." IS-led militants launched a lightning offensive in the north in June, sweeping through much of the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad before turning on Christian and Yazidi areas. Iraqi security forces, now bolstered by thousands of Shiite militiamen as well as Kurdish fighters, have clawed back some ground northeast of Baghdad.
The Justice Department is launching a civil rights probe into the Ferguson Police Department after the shooting of an unarmed black teen Michael Brown, setting off days of protests.
A senior Afghan National Army (ANA) officer has claimed asylum upon arrival at United Kingdom to participate in NATO Summit in south Wales. An informed source has said that the army officer Enayatullah Barek was accompanying a delegation of the Afghan government officials including defense minister Bismilalh Mohammadi during the tour to Britain. The source speaking on the condition of anonymity said the ANA officer abandoned the delegation upon arrival in London and claimed asylum. Afghan defense officials have not commented in this regard so far. According to reports, the ANA officer Enayatullah Barek was flag-bearer and was due to accompany Afghan army chief of staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi in NATO summit in Wales. This is not the first time that senior Afghan officials are seeking asylum during official trips outside the country, specifically in European countries. Several security officials, government employees and diplomats have not returned back to Afghanistan following their official tours.
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed deep regrets over the inability of all to end the standoff in Islamabad that has resulted in the most unfortunate setback to our relations with China manifested by the postponement of the scheduled visit to Pakistan of the Chinese President. He called upon the government to seek an immediate rescheduling of the visit of Chinese President. Mr. Zardari also called for an immediate and peaceful resolution of the frustrating standoff in the federal capital.
http://www.thenewstribe.com/Chinese President Xi Jinping has delayed his official visit to Pakistan following security concerns in the country. President Jinping canceled the official visit as Chinese team showed security concerns amid ongoing political crisis in Islamabad followed by sit-ins, sources said. The Chinese President has been scheduled to inaugurate power projects besides finalisation of business deals with Pakistan during his two-day visit from September 14-16. China showed willingness to invest $34 billion in Pakistan. Pakistani government had suggested President Jinping to land in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, following ongoing protests in the federal capital Islamabad. However, the development cleared the vague picture that Pakistani suggestion turned down by the Chinese authorities. The cancellation of one of the best strategic partner of Pakistan sparked severe criticism in various circles against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protestors declaring the major reason of recent economic shock to the country. Earlier, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa cancelled his official visit on August 20 due to deteriorated political situation to Pakistan since August 14.
When protesters converged on the Pakistani capital of Islamabad to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, many were quick to see the hand of the military pulling the strings behind the scenes. Sharif, who became prime minister in 2013 after Pakistan’s first full transition of power from one democratically elected government to another, irked the army during his first year in office. He put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf — who overthrew Sharif in a 1999 coup — on trial for treason. He tried to carve out an independent foreign policy — the traditional preserve of the army — including promising better relations with India. The protests, led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and cult religious leader Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri looked like a means of putting Sharif in his place. Then, with Sharif refusing to resign and the protesters turning increasingly violent over the weekend, the showdown appeared to be following a familiar course. If Pakistan became ungovernable, the Pakistan army would be “forced” to intervene and take over to restore order. It had happened before. In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq seized power ostensibly to end a political crisis. Throughout the 1990s, elected governments were repeatedly changed as political parties moved through a revolving door pushed by squabbling politicians and spun from on high by the army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. This time around, however, events are not following the script. In what could become a watershed for Pakistan’s fragile democracy, civilian politicians are fighting back. Political parties, with the exception of Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), rallied behind the government. PTI’s own president, Javed Hashmi, broke with his leader to accuse him of acting on the behest of the army in the hope of forcing fresh elections. A statement released by the army — which appeared to draw equivalence between the mob besieging Islamabad and the elected government — was quickly called out by the English-language media. The army statement advised the government against the use of force and said that if the situation were not resolved quickly, it would play its part “in ensuring security of the state” — an apparent warning that it could take over. In response, a remarkably forthright editorial in Dawn pointed out that “it is the government that is supposed to give orders to the army, not the other way around.” The Nation also declared the army to be out of line and pointed out that the military would not hesitate to use force if violent protesters besieged its own headquarters. On Tuesday, the government called a joint session of both houses of parliament to reaffirm support for democracy. So what happened to the script? Has Pakistan’s democracy matured to the point where civilian governments can no longer be so easily dismissed? The answer may not be entirely clear for a few days or weeks yet, and will depend on Sharif’s own ability to show flexibility in accommodating opponents inside and outside of parliament. Or did this coup, by other means, stumble not just because of the resistance of the democrats, but also because the military itself was hesitant about delivering the fatal blow? Are some parts of the security establishment eagerly cheering on Khan and Qadri while others ready themselves to settle for a weakened prime minister still in place? After all, retaining the trappings of democracy would avoid the international disapproval and U.S. sanctions that might follow an outright coup. (Officially, the army denied backing the protesters in a statement that insisted it was an apolitical institution.) Pakistan’s security establishment — a term that covers everyone from army chief General Raheel Sharif, to his fellow Corps commanders, to the ISI, to retired officers who may or may not be acting under official orders — is notoriously opaque. All that can be said, then, is that Khan has been useful to the security establishment in the past, but either has a tendency to go his own way, or draws his support from particularly hard-line elements. A few years ago, for example, Khan became one of the most vocal campaigners against drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and against the U.S.-led campaign in neighboring Afghanistan. His campaigns were particularly useful to an army that liked to tell the United States that domestic opinion — albeit domestic opinion it had helped manufacture — prevented it from doing more against Islamist militants. Yet more recently, his insistence on holding peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban annoyed some in the army who believed they should be fought more aggressively. Khan’s commitment to defending the people of FATA was conveniently forgotten as soon as the Pakistan army launched its own military operation this year in North Waziristan, which produced one million internal refugees. In the run-up to the elections, Pakistani media suggested that Khan was a particular favourite of Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, then head of the ISI. The former cricketer, not well known for his critical thinking, happily espoused the army narrative that all of Pakistan’s problems could be blamed on its corrupt politicians, while disregarding the military’s own powerful role in setting policy. Yet moving Khan from a single issue player as an anti-drones campaigner to the national political stage proved extremely hard even for a powerful intelligence establishment with many friends in the media. Khan picked up genuine support from those tired of existing political parties, particularly from a younger, urban generation. His unseen friends in the security establishment made sure he was given ample coverage in the Pakistani media, while the international media duly promoted a man with a glamorous international playboy past and pukka English. But he could not win. Rightly or wrongly, Pakistan has a U.K.-style, first-past-the-post system in which the mastery of constituency politics matters more than overall voting percentage. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has taken years to build and foster its constituency. In the 2013 elections, it came out nearly 100 seats ahead with an absolute majority in parliament. During this year’s protests, Khan tried to accuse Sharif of having won only through massive rigging. In reality, he was so far ahead that even if PML-N victories had been overturned in some constituencies, Sharif would still have won — a view borne out by subsequent opinion polls giving him a strong showing, particularly in the heartland Punjab province. Khan’s failure to bring out enough supporters in the elections was repeated in this year’s protests. Even after he joined forces with Qadri in the hope of bringing out the masses in a “revolution” against the elected government, neither man could muster the numbers they needed. In a country with a population of more than 180 million, the number of protesters laying siege to Islamabad rarely went past a few thousand. Neither Khan nor Qadri could ever really have hoped to be taken seriously as leaders of a true revolutionary movement on behalf of ordinary people without challenging the role of the military establishment, which consumes more than a quarter of the annual budget. Yet despite his lack of numbers, Khan continued to insist on the resignation of the prime minister rather than trying to extract concessions and withdraw to fight another day. Perhaps he was given a false idea from some within the security establishment that the army would move in his favor, force Sharif to resign, and call fresh elections that he expected PTI to win. Certainly, his former political ally, Javed Hashmi, gave that impression when he told the Pakistani media that Khan himself cited army support and promised elections in September. Or perhaps his failure to rally enough discontent gave the army cold feet. Either way, barring any new surprises, the coup by other means appears to have run its course. It was a tawdry affair. An elected government and prime minister were chastened by a mob — a mob, moreover, that was very possibly encouraged by the military. The concessions Sharif made to the army in the course of the showdown will become clearer in the coming weeks, particularly if Musharraf is allowed to leave the country. Khan’s intransigence and willingness to put his personal ambition above support for democracy badly tarnished his reputation. The army came away looking less than sure-footed and perhaps fragmented. Yet remarkably, the fragile democratic transition survived. It is now up to Sharif — who has a reputation for autocracy and a tendency to rely on family members — to make the parliamentary system work and ensure his government is properly accountable to the electorate by delivering good governance. http://warontherocks.com/2014/09/in-pakistan-a-soft-coup-stalls/
The Express TribuneFamed singer Habib Wali Muhammad passed away on Thursday at the age of 90, after being treated for his illness in Los Angeles for the past few days, Express News reported. Born in 1921 in Rangoon – present day Myanmar, Habib’s family later moved to Mumbai. Though he belonged to an industrialist family, he always showed keen interest in music. He also won a singing competition in Mumbai which had more than 1,200 participants. His family later moved to Pakistan in 1947. Habib was trained by Ustad Latafat Ali Khan in formal singing and rose to fame after the release of his song “Lagta nahi hai dil mera” which was a poem of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Other famous songs of Habib include “Kab mera nasheman ahl-e-chaman” and “Gulshan mein gawara karte hain”. He also sang numerous patriotic songs as well as a few tunes for the film industry.
Part of the reason that on August 30 the authority of parliament was challenged by a mob is that in the past much of the damage to the democratic system came from within. Political parties and factions have feuded and undermined each other consistently leading to martial law or allowing vested interests, including the military, to manipulate parliamentary politics from behind the scenes. Blaming this solely on the machinations of the military or the deficiencies of parliamentarians is a failure to view the historical context in which Pakistani politics developed. Throughout its history after independence, Pakistan developed a ruthless political culture in which blood feuds, personal attacks and collaboration with the military was more often than not the norm. Often the Constitution was seen as a hindrance rather than the foundation of the state. The country has also been divided on the form of political society we hoped to achieve. Many people have in the past genuinely believed that a dictator could solve the country’s problems because of the perception that parliament was built on selfish interests. The inability of parliamentarians to come together strengthened this perception. The question of form was answered by the mass movement against President Pervez Musharraf, and much of the credit for this and the current consensus on the supremacy of the Constitution goes to the higher judiciary and the lawyers’ community. Parliamentarians have only recently learnt that the strength of parliament is built on the foundations of the constitution. Similarly the government appears to be learning that its strength depends on parliament and democratic convention, which it previously ignored. If anything was clear after August 30, it was that parliamentarians had been shaken by the events of that night. Demagoguery, incitement and lies led a mob to attack the houses of parliament that are meant to represent the will of the people. In the joint session of parliament called by the Prime Minister (PM) on Tuesday, what became visible was the unity of parliament in the face of a challenge to the authority of an elected government. PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan addressing the house on Tuesday told an illustrative story that at once reminded the PM that parliament is the source of his authority and rebuked him for ignoring the democratic conventions from which it derives strength. The change in parliamentary politics began with Benazir Bhutto, when she formulated a policy of “reconciliation”, the visible outcome of which was the 2006 Charter of Democracy. During the 1990s the PPP and PML-N were unable to come to terms with each other repeatedly. If Benazir Bhutto was alive today she might not recognise the political class that came together in the last two days in the face of violent protests by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). The unity across party lines is unprecedented: whether it is a sign of better things to come remains to be seen. What is apparent is that the centre of political gravity seems to be shifting from traditional power centres towards parliament, with the democratic conventions and norms that implies. Parliament it seems is beginning to understand its own powers, and the government appears willing to respect the authority of parliament. A new political paradigm may be developing in Pakistan, one where parliamentary politics is the platform where problems are solved. As parliament debates a resolution to clear the red zone of protestors, while its authority has been challenged, the unity of parliamentarians means that the government may be empowered to enforce its writ, beginning with clearing the red zone and following this by ensuring that no similar incitements threaten to bring down the democratic system in one night of violence. Though the PTI shares responsibility for those events, and its members have handed in their resignations to the Speaker of the NA, there appears to be no rush to process them. This along with the government’s repeated calls for negotiation might indicate that the PTI hopes for some reconciliation as well, and in the interests of parliamentary sovereignty that is the best outcome it can hope for.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the party’s Rawalpindi chapter and its six MPAs for not bringing enough people to the sit-in.