Thursday, September 4, 2014

Music: Anna Kendrick - Cups (Pitch Perfect's "When I'm Gone")

History as a mirror – a necessary prerequisite for world peace

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.

Ukraine and rebels back peace plan, ceasefire from Friday

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the main pro-Russian rebel leader said they would both order ceasefires on Friday, provided that an agreement is signed on a new peace plan to end the five-month war in Ukraine's east.
The breakthrough came after a week in which the pro-Moscow separatists scored major victories with what NATO says is the open support of thousands of Russian troops.
Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales, Poroshenko said the ceasefire would be conditional on a planned meeting going ahead in Minsk on Friday of envoys from Ukraine, Russia and Europe's OSCE security watchdog.
"At 1400 local time (0700 ET on Friday), provided the (Minsk) meeting takes place, I will call on the General Staff to set up a bilateral ceasefire and we hope that the implementation of the peace plan will begin tomorrow," he told reporters.
Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the main rebel Donetsk People's Republic, said in a statement his men would also order a ceasefire, from one hour later, provided that Kiev's representatives signed up to a peace plan at the Minsk meeting.
There have been local agreements to hold fire, for example during the recovery of bodies from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel territory in July, but Thursday's announcements were the first time the two sides have called for a full truce.
Rebels still expressed scepticism. Oleg Tsaryov, a senior rebel official, told Reuters the separatist truce would depend on the government providing guarantees, "because in the past we had some ceasefire agreements Poroshenko didn't honor".
A source close to Zakharchenko said government forces bombarded Donetsk within 15 minutes of Poroshenko's announcement of the ceasefire plan: "We'll see how the talks go tomorrow, but it won't be easy. All this talk of truce amid more and more shelling."
The announcements come a day after Russia's President Vladimir Putin put forward a seven-point peace plan, which would end the fighting in Ukraine's east, bring in outside monitors and aid, while leaving rebels in control of their territory.
To keep the pressure up on Russia, a White House official attending the NATO summit said the United States was preparing a new round of economic sanctions, but progress towards a truce could halt new European financial sanctions that EU leaders had been expected to agree on Friday. French President Francois Hollande said the decision on the sanctions package would depend "on the coming hours".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, warned that while NATO members wanted a political solution and would talk to Russia about this, "We're also prepared to lend weight to our political demands by imposing further sanctions".
There is no sign of a halt in fighting in the east, where rebels have rapidly advanced in the past week, backed by what Kiev and NATO say is the support of thousands of Russian troops with artillery and tanks. Moscow denies its troops are there.
Reuters journalists heard explosions and saw columns of smoke on the eastern outskirts of Mariupol, a government-held port of 500,000 people that is the next big city in the path of the rebel advance. A Ukrainian military source said troops were bracing for a potential attack on the city.
Government shells rained down overnight on a residential district of Donetsk, capital of one of the rebels' two self-proclaimed independent states.
The West has backed Kiev by imposing economic sanctions on Moscow, but has also made clear it will not fight to protect the country, where pro-Russian rebels rose up in two provinces after Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula in March. Poroshenko was invited to meet U.S. President Barack Obama, Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Francois Hollande and other Western leaders at the NATO summit in Wales, hosted by Britain's David Cameron.
The summit stage was set with harsh words for Russia: "To the east, Russia has ripped up the rule book with its illegal, self-declared annexation of Crimea and its troops on Ukrainian soil threatening and undermining a sovereign nation state," Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint newspaper editorial.
But after the announcement of the potential ceasefire, Western officials appeared to take a softer line. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was moderately optimistic that de-escalation could be achieved.
The prospect of a ceasefire could also give France an opportunity to reverse a decision to postpone the delivery of a French helicopter carrier warship to Russia, due next month.
"What are the conditions (of delivering the ship)? A ceasefire and a political settlement. Today those conditions are not in place," Hollande said. If there were further complications the delivery would be delayed, but the contract would not be suspended, he added.
Moscow had accused him of caving in to U.S. political pressure: "France's reputation as a reliable partner that carries out its contractual obligations has been thrown into the furnace of American political ambitions," Russian Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.
The past few days have seen conflicting signals from both Moscow and Kiev. Putin made a number of belligerent statements over the past week before unveiling his peace proposal on Wednesday and discussing it by telephone with Poroshenko.
The Ukrainian leader hinted at a possible ceasefire on his website on Wednesday, but that wording was later dropped. His prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, derided Putin's peace proposal as a "deception" and said Putin's real aim was to "destroy Ukraine and restore the Soviet Union".
Ukraine has previously refused to discuss any political deal with the rebels, calling them terrorists and proxies of Moscow. But with the hope evaporating of a swift victory, Poroshenko may have felt it is now time to hear the Kremlin's offer.
This week the rebels dropped a demand for full independence and said they would accept some kind of special status in Ukraine. That lifts one of the main obstacles to peace talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the ceasefire with his French and German counterparts, and accused Washington of trying to undermine the nascent peace process.
Putin's peace offer would leave rebels in control of territory that accounts for a tenth of Ukraine's population and an even larger chunk of its industry. It would also require Ukraine to remain unaligned. Kiev had said last week it would try to join NATO, although full membership is unlikely since several members oppose it.
The rebels said they would agree as part of the ceasefire to allow a humanitarian corridor for aid and refugees. The truce would be monitored by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
On the ground, there has so far been no sign yet of any ceasefire. Government forces shelled the southern outskirts of the rebel bastion of Donetsk overnight.
Houses in Donetsk's leafy Petrovka district were pockmarked with shrapnel. Residents had sought refuge in a bomb shelter.
"I don't think they can reach any agreements now. Each side comes up with conditions unacceptable for the other. And so we get shelled," said Lena, who declined to give her surname.
Reuters journalists saw a rebel column including a tank driving south from Donetsk towards the village of Berezovo. Residents said three burnt out military trucks in the village had carried Ukrainian troops that came under attack. Government troops had been on the offensive since Poroshenko took office in June, squeezing the rebels into two provincial capitals, Donetsk and Luhansk. But last week the rebels turned the tide with an advance along the coast of the Sea of Azov. A NATO officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said NATO believed several thousand Russian troops were in Ukraine with hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles.

BBC VIDEO REPORT‘ - I smuggled jihadists into Syria’

Video: Z A BHUTTO never said idhar hum udhar tum - These words were concocted by Abbas Athar

ZAB never said idhar hum udhar tum - These... by myjkyz87a

Arab Music - حفلة نجوى كرم موزاين 2013 كاملة

Maryam al-Khawaja’s arrest shows Bahrain at its worst

Sara Yasin
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 kidnap dozens in north Iraq village

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.

U.S. - Justice Dept. to investigate Ferguson police

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.

President Obama Addresses the People of Estonia

Afghan officer claims asylum upon arrival in UK for NATO summit

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.

ISIS trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, distributes pamphlets

The dreaded Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, with pamphlets being distributed in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan, seeking support for jihad.
A booklet titled 'Fatah' (victory) in Pashto and Dari languages was distributed in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city, the Express Tribune reported.
The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma, the historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar, the paper said. On the last page of the pamphlet, the editor's name appears to be fake and where the document has been published cannot be ascertained, it said.
Since long, Afghan militant groups, including Haqqani Network and Hizb-e-Islami, have been publishing similar pamphlets, magazines and propaganda literature in Peshawar black markets.
Formerly known as the ISIS, the group introduced itself as Daulat-e-Islamia (Islamic State) in the pamphlet and made an appeal to the local population for supporting its jihad (struggle) for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
A number of hardline groups operating in border areas have already announced support for the outfit. Among them, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and Maulvi Abdul Qahar, stalwarts of Saudi Arabia-backed Salafi Taliban groups operating in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan, have extended support to the self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Besides distribution of its literature and pamphlets, some of the ISIS supporters have also made wall chalking, asking locals to join and support the group. Some cars and vehicles also have ISIS stickers pasted on them.
Recently, established Ahrarul Islam, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is already working on the lines of ISIS. Similar is the status of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, also known as Hizb-e-Islami Turkistan.
Ahrarul Islam doesn't believe in boundaries between Islamic countries, therefore, it is working for the establishment of a network throughout South and Central Asian regions.
The group doesn't recognize al-Baghdadi as the caliph, but considers Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar as 'commander'.
ISIS or IS is an al-Qaida splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaida has distanced itself from the group, chiding it for its lack of teamwork in its aggressive, brutal expansion.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari asks for rescheduling Chinese President’s visit
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.

Video: PPP Song - 'Mai Bhutto Hon'

PPP Song Mai Bhutto Hon by Haider110

Chinese President Xi Jinping cancels visit to Pakistan
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.

Habib Wali Mohammad - "Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo"

In Pakistan a Soft Coup Stalls

By Myra MacDonald
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.

Pakistan: Former President Zardari meets PML-Q leaders

Former President Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi over the ongoing political crisis in the country, ARY News reported on Thursday.
According to sources, Zardari advised Chaudhry Shujaat, a former ally in previous People’s Party government, to follow a more flexible stance during the ongoing crisis situation in the country.
He also asked the PML-Q leaders to advise Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri to soften his stance and avoid a hardline during present stand off with the government, sources further said.
Pakistan People’s Party headed by Zardari trying to mediate between the government and protesting parties to break a middle ground for resolution of the crisis.
The party will produce a model of middle path to resolve the crisis, sources added.
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Pakistan: PTI’s men of honour

In walked Shah Mehmood Qureshi to the very institution his party has denounced as illegitimate and corrupt and which his leader Imran Khan has been abusing from atop his container. As the PM and the interior minister walked away, Qureshi delivered a speech so laden with hypocrisy that it made many cringe. Remarkably, he insisted his party had never attempted to harm parliament and was in fact out to defend it, denying there was any other agenda, any script written by hidden hands and handed to the PTI and PAT. It must have taken a considerable degree of shamelessness on Qureshi’s part to do so, but he had to run this errand. He spoke of the sanctity of parliament, its lawns, its land and his respect for these. He only exposed himself and Imran Khan further by giving away the real ‘code of honour’ the PTI leadership lives by: that whatever is said outside parliament is just words and verbosity. We wonder how this should be taken by those PTI supporters – men, women and children – who have been misled, exploited and endangered by the words and verbosity of the proponents of ‘Naya’ Pakistan. In a stunning display of hypocrisy and double-talk, Qureshi claimed that he could only advise the crowds, not command them, and then in the next breath said PTI marchers had nothing to do with the violence that had occurred. He blamed the PTV headquarters attack on the PAT, ostensibly throwing Tahirul Qadri under the bus.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the other PTI MNAs who had submitted their resignations, were, according to Imran Khan, supposed to appear at the joint sitting of parliament for the last time to lay out their case. It did not quite work out that way. In the manner of Mark Antony coming to bury Caesar rather than praise him, Qureshi hoped to win over lost PTI support, made his speech and walked out before any of the PTI members could have their resignations accepted. This tactic should not work. Walking out of parliament before anyone could confront them, he and his fellow MNAs managed to avoid Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s proposal to pass a resolution condemning the attacks on parliament and PTV and getting the PTI MNAs to sign it. Avoiding responsibility has been a hallmark of the PTI since day one of the march and Qureshi and the rest of the MNAs merely played to type. It is highly telling that the only PTI MNA to have really and openly followed the original instructions to resign so far is Javed Hashmi – the one who dared defy Imran and expose his real intentions.
Even as the ‘political jigra’ tries to hash out a political settlement – something Qureshi claimed to support in his speech – Imran is still insisting on Nawaz’s resignation. What now remains to be seen is if the PTI and PAT drift apart as talks continue with Imran’s men or if a more comprehensive solution can be found. We have already seen enough to know that both Qureshi and his leader cannot be trusted. He may have, in what can be seen as an admission of defeat, said that the PTI wants a negotiated solution. But Qureshi and his fellow men’s real standing in Imran Khan’s eyes, and how they can so easily be overruled and used by Imran Khan’s megalomania is now sufficiently known. Until such an agreement is in place and adhered to, Islamabad should continue to be alarmed. Still, the triumphant cries from just days ago to march towards the PM’s house seem to have been forgotten. An agreement there has to be, but there will be little now that the PTI can hold up as a sign of success – even for face-saving. The feeble cries that ‘awareness’ has been raised leaves us incredulous. Awareness about what? How not to lead a party? How to lie? How to incite a mob and worship chaos? How to invite the army to make order out of chaos? Yet, for all the humiliation they have suffered, the PTI may be marginally better off than Tahirul Qadri. Though he made some attempts to soldier on his body language gives him away. His cape droops, his shoulders sag and no one pays him much heed at all. He has already asked supporters who wish to leave to go home. We hope the attention should soon shift to clearing up the debris left behind by the marchers in Islamabad.

Pakistan: The economic cost of the two sit-ins

The ongoing sit-in on Constitution Avenue by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) is taking a serious toll of the economy. Figures released by several federal ministers including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar vary between 500 to 800 billion rupees during the last 17 days with the business community of the country concurring with these estimates and warning that the toll is rising with each passing day that the political crisis is not resolved. The Finance Minister pointed out that the bulk of the loss - 350 billion rupees - was on account of the stock market, or in other words it was in portfolio investment, which is the most susceptible to political turmoil yet this too has major macroeconomic implications.
Transporters from Karachi port to upcountry areas are reluctant to take any consignments through Punjab for delivery not only in Punjab but also in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) for fear that their trucks may be attacked by angry mobs of PTI and PAT workers. While the consignments may be insured yet most of the trucks are not and the transporters have refused to take the risk. Thus, for example, palm oil importers have been unable to move the product to Punjab and KPK during the past two weeks or so, creating shortages that would soon begin to bite the common man.
Inventories are rising throughout the country and until and unless they are offloaded soon stockpiling would make any additional output/import uneconomic due to shortage of storage facilities that would automatically lead to workers layoff.
No federal ministry is open for business to the general public including the Ministry of Finance and Commerce and therefore business activity remains stalled. And finally the daily wage earners in Islamabad are suffering especially those who were engaged in the Metrobus project as that has come to a complete standstill.
Recent data released by the Federal Board of Revenue indicates that tax collections have exceeded targets for August by over one billion rupees, however, the implications of rising inventories and inability to transport to up-country areas would have major implications for revenue collections in weeks to come. The business community has expressed serious concern over their failure to meet with their foreign clients due to the sit-ins maintaining that they could lose existing clients if they divert their orders to competing businesses in other countries. Once a client is lost it is very difficult to get him back, exporters are warning.
The rupee-dollar parity has also declined as a consequence of the political uncertainty, which implies that imports would become dearer though exports may receive a boost as Pakistani products would now be cheaper than before. However, blocked roads and other transport-related issues would limit the favourable impact of the rupee-dollar parity.
Imran Khan's call of civil disobedience that includes non-payment of electricity bills is also a cause of serious concern as power sector recoveries remain low; and any further rise would automatically lead to a worsening of the power crisis.
While no one challenges the right to protest in a democracy yet the continuing sit-n for over two weeks is exacting a heavy economic toll from the general public and one hopes that the two protagonists begin to move towards resolution of the crisis. Imran Khan would do well to heed his own advice to the government in the matter of the Taliban namely to first negotiate prior to using force. At the same time the onus of concessions in negotiations is on the greater power, which in this case is clearly the government. One can only hope that better sense prevails on both sides and the existing stalemate is breached promptly.

Pakistan's Parliament Joint Session : PPP Senator Raza Rabbani speaks

PPP Senator Raza Rabbani opened his address with a request to the PM to direct the Punjab government to deal diligently with the situation caused due to heavy rainfall in Punjab, leading to 12 deaths.
Moving towards the current political situation, Rabbani said that he does not agree fully to the notion Parliamentarians expressed yesterday that the Parliament was victorious.
He said that yesterday was a just the first victory of a battle but the war was not over.
“If democratic forces think that it was the first and last attack on the Parliament, they are mistaken.”
“This is a war for power, for control of the state,” he said.
He said that for the first time all the democratic forces, lawyers and media were standing against anyone seeking to walk over the constitution, warning that certain elements will keep on seeking chance to break the unity showcased by the democratic forces.
He said, referring to PM, that if he and his cabinet alienate the Parliament and won’t come to the assembly and senate then such conspiracies will spring up.
“Only a united Parliament can fight off such attacks,” he said.
He said that if the situation had been handled politically from the beginning, the happenings outside would not have reached this point.
He said that the constitution has been safeguarding itself through some clauses that have hindered the attempts made by dark forces to attack the Parliament.
“ The government would have been sent packing had 58(2)(b) been in effect today but since it is not so, these forces have brought their puppets on to the streets,” he said.
He said that the election result was accepted despite rigging for the ‘sake of democracy.’
Addressing PTI, he said that first it wanted the scrutiny of four constituencies but then went on to call for the fall of the system,
“Even when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was murdered judicially, we decide to remain within the system. Our victories were snatched away but we remained in the system. Benazir Bhutto was murdered in Rawalpindi but we said we would stay in the system. We never called for the fall of the system as this is politics,” he said.
Going on with the criticism on the PAT and PTI protests, Rabbani said that what was happening at the Red Zone was not a revolution where the privileged class was raising claims of being underprivileged.
“It’s a situation where the ‘haves’ say they are ‘have nots.’ Where are the labourers, the famers,” he asked.
Hitting out at Tahirul Qadri, the senator said that he had taken an oath in allegiance to the Queen of England and hence cannot even be a Parliamentarian.
“What revolution is he calling out for? The revolution has artists, students and teachers as its forerunners,” he said.
He said that on Wednesday, Qadri turned his cannons towards PPP, in reference to Qadri’s criticism of PPP leader Khursheed Shah whom he alleged looks over the terrorists in Sindh.
He said that his party was used to such attacks but Qadri attacked Bhutto Shaheeh who was the architect of the Constitution of Pakistan.
“They should know PPP’s jiyalas know how to deal with those who attack their leaders,” he said.
He said that the Parliamentarian were ready to lay down their lives to protect the Parliament.
“In this battle we are not ready for the compromise, this war is for the survival of Pakistan.”
“The federation of Pakistan will be under threat if dictatorship is imposed. Its in no way acceptable to us,” he said.
Taking a turn to urge to Parliamentarians for soul-searching, the senator said that had the political class been able to deliver, the situation would have been different.
“ If we had been delivering as we should, each citizen of Pakistan would have actively rejected the attack on Parliament but now they don’t seem concerned,” he said.
Criticising government’s moves to call army troops to the capital and asking the COAS to mediate in the political crisis, Rabbani said that the political authority had been compromised upon by meetings with the army chief at GHQ and invoking article 245 in Islamabad.
“When we impose Article 245, we concede political space; when we ask for facilitation, we concede political space.”
“ Unfortunately, today the balance of power does not rest in Islamabad but in Rawalpindi,” he said.
He praised the government’s move to agree with five points of the protesting parties.
He said that the Parliament would be the guarantor of the commission that will be investigating the elections and would ensure that its findings are follow through and action is taken against those involved in rigging.
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Pakistan: True Lies

There was so much hot air generated in Parliament on Wednesday that one thought the building would lift and hover above the righteous mob outside to provide shelter from upcoming rains. Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the heating with claims that the protests must be applauded for being so peaceful, “This parliament is our political ‘Ka’aba”. Even the Speaker Ayaz Sadiq called him out mentioning the broken gate outside. PTI has made itself into a joke that no body is laughing at, and the government, in a sudden change of narrative, is being hailed for its maturity in allowing PTI members who had tendered their resignation to address the House at all.
Aftab Sherpao accused PTI of being hand in hand with PAT, and now PTI is trying to back away and assert its independence. Unfortunately, few now believe Mr Qureshi. He denied responsibility for the actions of PTI supporters during the riots of the last few days saying, “I do not command them. I do not lead them.” It was ironically reminiscent of Shahbaz Sharif denying any knowledge of the Model Town Massacre. No body believed Mr. Sharif either.
That a million people were with the PTI has been questioned again and again in the assembly. The media has been lamented for being obsessed with the march while forgotten IDPs languish. Balochi Senator Hasil Bizenjo stated he had never before seen such a lavish “struggle” with free meals served three times a day. And it is indeed a fact; this has been three weeks of merrymaking in the PTI camp. Shah Mahmood blamed the attack on the PTV offices on PAT. Khurshid Shah thought that was great, because PPP always recommended that PAT not be allowed to march. Which caused Qadri to almost lose his lunch on television later saying that the attack was carried out by the PML-N, rather than putting the onus back on PTI.
Really, it was all rather tragic. It is sad that only mob politics has made these politicians come together in parliament (without a single phone-call or reminder, Aftab Sherpao stressed, as though this alone was democracy’s great victory). So they all came, through backdoors and hidden doors and they let out some steam. Well, now what? Apart from the ideologically appropriate backing to an embattled government, what have been the constructive points to have emerged? None. Wednesday was an exercise in the frustrated ravings of those left in the shadows. With so many MPs backing Sharif, perhaps Imran Khan will see his own political isolation and end the circus. So we can all collect the pieces, and move on.

Pakistan: Habib Wali Muhammad passes away at 90

The Express Tribune
Famed 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.

Pakistan: Reconciliation and parliamentary supremacy

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.

Imran Khan unhappy with Azadi March attendance

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.
Imran Khan summoned all leaders from Rawalpindi on Wednesday and met them inside the Azadi Truck on the Constitution Avenue. The meeting was attended by President PTI North Punjab Sadaqat Abbasi and MPAs Saddique Khan, Malik Taimoor Masood, Asif Mehmood, Rashid Hafeez, Ijaz Khan Jazi and Arif Abbasi.
He asked them to bring 200 people from each union council for the next two to three days, to show the party’s street strength in the ‘final stage’.
A senior PTI leader told Dawn that the party chairman was unhappy with the attendance of the local chapter at the sit-in site, especially after the police action.
“If all office-bearers attended the sit-in, then more than 1,000 people will remain on the protest venue. The responsibility lies on the shoulders of the local leaders to improve the attendance of the gathering in the next two or three days, which will be final,” he quoted the party chairman’s views.
He said the party leaders had informed the chairman that most of the people avoided to come in front due to the presence of Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on the container.
He said the party leaders had been asked to remain loyal to the party and be ready for the final announcement of the movement.
The official said the presence of a large crowd was necessary for the gathering, because the PAT workers were higher in number and PTI needs to increase the number of its own workers at the protest venue.
He said the party chairman also questioned the resignations of the MPAs, who told him that the Punjab Assembly speaker had made phone calls to the MPAs for verification of their resignations one day before.
“All MPAs were assured that the party would give them party tickets again and accommodate them in the cabinet if PTI manages to form a government in the next elections. The party chairman was hopeful that the next general elections were near,” he said.
PTI District President and MPA Arif Abbasi told Dawn that the party members held a meeting with the chairman and discussed party issues for the next few days.
He said the party asked them to bring maximum number of people at the sit-in for next two to three days, adding that Imran Khan wanted to improve the morale of the local leadership and heard their problems during the meeting.
He said the PTI Punjab chapter also held a meeting and discussed the current situation after the departure of Javed Hashmi.