Sunday, September 14, 2014
Thousands of Scottish independence supporters have gathered outside the BBC headquarters in Glasgow to protest against the network's biased coverage against independence of Scotland. The crowd marched from the city center to the BBC's Pacific Quay offices on Sunday in one of the biggest demonstrations against the state-run broadcaster. Waving Saltires and Lion Rampant flags, the demonstrators demanded the dismissal of the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, saying that Robinson has blatantly lied to the public in the referendum debate. The rally comes two days after Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond slammed the BBC for using a “dirty tricks campaign” to disrupt the outcome of this week’s referendum on Scottish independence. The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) made the remarks after the British Treasury leaked sensitive information about the future of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to the BBC in case of a “Yes” outcome. The BBC was first to announce that several major banks, including RBS, could relocate their headquarters from Scotland to Britain if Scotland votes to break away from the UK. Scotland will hold a national referendum on September 18 to determine the country’s future. The independence referendum could result in Scotland’s breakaway from the United Kingdom after more than 300 years of political union. The Westminster, however, has repeatedly warned against Scotland’s independence, saying it will jeopardize the UK’s stability and damage its international standing. Scottish authorities, on the other hand, argue that independence from the UK would free Scotland from London’s austerity policies and unnecessary military spending. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/09/14/378744/scots-indep-supporters-slam-bbc-bias/
The Moon represents my heart(English translation)
Just hours before announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists last week, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East — the frenzied weeks leading up to the American invasion of Iraq a decade ago.
The United States resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the 2011 withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, fearful the militants would break the country up and use it as a base for attacks on the West. The addition of Arab fighter jets would greatly strengthen the credibility of what is a risky and complicated campaign. "We have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires," Kerry said. "And we also have a growing number of people who are prepared to do all the other things," he said in remarks broadcast on Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation". Australia became the first country to detail troop numbers and aircraft to fight the militants in Iraq. It said it would send a 600 strong force and eight fighter jets to the region but did not intend to operate in Syria. Russia, at odds with the West over Ukraine, has said any air strikes in Syria would be an act of aggression without the consent of President Bashar al-Assad or an international mandate. Britain has often been the first country to join U.S. military action overseas and is under pressure to get much tougher with IS after video footage of the killing of Briton David Haines by IS militants was released on Saturday. In footage consistent with the filmed executions of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in the past month, they also threatened to kill another British hostage. Speaking after chairing a meeting of the government's emergency response committee in London, Prime Minister David Cameron called the killing of Haines, a 44 year-old Scottish aid worker, callous and brutal and hailed him as a "British hero". "We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes," he said, calling IS "the embodiment of evil" and saying his government was prepared "to take whatever steps are necessary" against the militants. SUNNI "ANVIL" But he did not announce any air strikes, mindful of war-weary public opinion, parliament's rejection last year of air strikes on Syria, and sensitivities surrounding Scotland's independence referendum on Thursday. U.S. allies are skeptical of how far Washington will commit to a conflict in which nearly every country in the region has a stake, set against the backdrop of Islam's 1,300-year-old rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Many fear there is not enough emphasis on ensuring the Iraqi government is strong and united enough to overcome sectarian divisions and run the country effectively after any intervention. Britain and the U.S. have ruled out sending ground troops back into Iraq and Kerry did not say which countries had offered. "We're not looking to put troops on the ground," he said. "There are some who have offered to do so, but we are not looking for that at this moment anyway." On the CNN program "State of the Union," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked if this coalition would need ground troops beyond opposition forces in Syria and Kurdish and government forces in Iraq. "Ultimately to destroy ISIL we do need to have a force, an anvil against which they will be pushed - ideally Sunni forces," he said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "EXTREMELY ENCOURAGED" On Thursday, Kerry won the backing for a "coordinated military campaign" from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including rich rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar. "This is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they are prepared to do," Kerry said in the interview, taped on Saturday in Egypt. "I've been extremely encouraged to hear from all of the people that I've been meeting with about their readiness and willingness and to participate," Kerry added. France has offered to take part in air strikes in Iraq and is expected to give more details this week on what it is willing to do, although its financial resources and forces are already stretched with more than 5,000 soldiers in West Africa. Michael McCaul, a Republican who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, told the same CBS program that Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan told him "he is ready to put his troops into Syria to fight ISIS". The U.S. could also try to persuade Egypt to put troops in Syria," McCaul said. A conference in Paris on Monday brings Iraqi authorities together with about 30 countries and organizations to coordinate their response to the Islamic State. “It will also be the first time to really gage what Russia thinks and is ready to do,” a French diplomat said. The diplomat said Syria was a different case. “The situation is not the same either legally or militarily. We do not want to strengthen Assad so we have to be sure that strikes there don’t do that,” the diplomat said. “We are ready to help Iraq’s government which has asked for our help, but not Assad’s dictatorship."
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairperson, Pakistan Peoples Party has strongly condemned the brutal gang-rape of a girl in Faisalabad and demanded the arrest and prosecution of the real culprits. In a press statement issued here, PPP Chairperson said justice and protection should be provided to the victim and also sympathized with her.
At least seven suspected militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition security forces on Pak-Afghan border. The airstrike was reportedly carried out on Saturday at Pak-Afghan border on zero line with Paktika province along South Waziristan Agency. Two top commanders of the Badr Mansoor group were also among those killed following the airstrike. According to informed sources, the a militants compound was targeted by US drone near Komal village of Paktika province. Sources further added that the key militant commanders were identified as as Aqalzadin and Ikramullah. In the meantime, residents of Watapur district in Kunar province said Saturday a senior Taliban commander identified as Mullah Basir was killed following a drone strike. The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.
Regional Director of the Independent Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Saturday said the government has been incapable of preserving the rights of citizens escalating insecurity in the lives of the public. Shamsullah Ahmadzai, head of the regional HRC office, said the condition of human rights in the country is very alarming. In just the past five years, the lives of 11,200 innocent civilians were taken by the government and anti-government forces. “More than 11,200 guiltless civilians of this country were killed and lost because their human rights were infringed upon by government, government supporters and armed opposing groups,” Ahmadzai said. “In addition to that, 13,000 other citizens, including women, the youth and elderly have been affected by the violation of their rights injuring and/or disabling their physical and mental health.” Civil society activists say that the politicization of human rights in the country has resulted in the abuse of the public’s right. “Those against the values of human rights, especially civil and political rights are taking political advantage of the human rights,” civil society activist Malek Setez said. “Politicization of human rights will harm the value of each human being.” In the Islamic view of constitutional and natural rights, the Head of the Sciences Academy of Afghanistan said that human rights holds a special place in Islam. “Allah says that if someone kills a soul who has not killed anyone or was not involved in any corruption in the world means that humanity as a whole has been killed,” Muneer Marwat, head of the sciences academy, said. “That is the value and definition of a human life according to the holy Quran.” Despite the constitution defending the rights of the public, in the current system these civil liberties, on many instances, have been violated and looked past on a daily basis.
The United Nations has threatened to cut assistance to Afghanistan if its staff are harassed. A tweet by the official UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on September 13 said: "Intimidation and verbal attacks directed at #UN are unacceptable." The warning comes a day after demonstrators gathered outside the UN's Kabul headquarters and accused it of aiding vote-rigging. The rally featured chants of "Death to the UN." The UN has been monitoring a vote-rigging investigation since both presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, claimed victory and accused the other of fraud in early July. Talks between both sides on forming a unity government have broken down. Afghan election officials have said the final election results would be released over the next week.
The recent attack on the Karachi naval dockyard exposes how our military has been infiltrated by extremist ideology of the Al Qaeda brand. While Zarb-e-Azb seems like a golden victory horse with unimaginable numbers of “militants” killed if one is to believe ISPR announcements, we have this fiasco, with navy officials turning on the navy itself in the name of Islam. This would be the first attack claimed by the terror network’s new wing, whose creation was announced by chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri last week.
Operations like Zarb-e-azb will in all probability fail, because one can’t really fight fire with fire. The Taliban can survive air strikes and bombings, but they cannot survive without support from people. Sadly, there are a substantial number of people in Pakistan, from all classes and professions, who believe in the Taliban philosophy. With the revelation that the dockyards attack was an inside job, it should be clear to us that our society, and not just parts of the military, has been Talibanised. The Taliban enforce this thinking with weapons. It’s just that not everyone picks up weapons, yet have the same theological holdings. There is no debate between our ulema and the Taliban. Those who had difference of opinion, like Ghamidi and Khalid Zaheer, had to leave the country for fear of their life. It remains to be seen what will happen to Qadri once his position at the centre of Pakistani politics weakens.If highly trained Naval personnel can join ranks with the Taliban, then there is a bigger problem that the nation has to deal with. What made the high level Navy officers susceptible to such infiltration? Is it lack of active warfare engagement, or a lack of teaching of more secular values like nationalism? Is it just the Navy or do we have more surprises in store for us? Initial screening for commission in Pakistan Army, Navy and the Air Force was being done by the police during 1950s. Today the same system must be in use, and with how threadbare our law enforcement agencies are, they are desperate for recruits. The process of promotion and training is also highly politicised, and allows criminals into their ranks. We need better screening and better intelligence. The army and navy need a serious debriefing and re-education. It is already under scrutiny for its awkward role in the Azadi/Inqalabi drama, and now its seems, inefficient at its real job.
By Shamsul Islam
A case against three sons of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Mian Farooq and five others who allegedly gang raped a girl, Naz*, has been dropped. Naz stated on Saturday that she is “not interested in the prosecution of the accused.” According to SP Madina Town Nasir Sial, Naz submitted an affidavit before the investigation officer dropping the charges against Mian Muazzam Farooq, Mian Saad Farooq, Mian Qasim Farooq and five others. The girl said she is unwilling to give a blood sample for a DNA test and stated in the affidavit that there is no need to carry out DNA tests on the accused. The police have therefore dropped the case. MNA Mian Muhammad Farooq said Naz had ‘concocted the rape incident’ and accused her of blackmail. On Saturday he said, “My sons are innocent and this has been proven as the complainant herself backtracked on her allegations.” Sources, however, said Naz was forced to withdraw her complaint as she belongs to a poor family. When registering the case on Friday, Naz said she could identify three of the accused, but could not name their five alleged accomplices. SHO Madina Town police station Farukh Waheed told The Express Tribune that medical examinations revealed the girl had been gang raped. “A DNA test will establish whether or not the alleged persons have committed the crime,” he added. City Police Officer (CPO) Faisalabad Sohail Tajik formed a committee under the supervision of SP Madina Town Nasir Sial to probe the incident. Naz alleged that Mian Muazzam Farooq and his two brothers Mian Saad Farooq and Mian Qasim Farooq took her from Abdullah Chowk at gunpoint and drove her to a house in Raza Garden, Canal Road, where five armed persons were present. She said the men locked her in a room and forced her to drink alcohol before raping her at gunpoint. She claimed a video was made of the incident. A case was registered under PPC 376. *Name of the victim has been changed to protect her identity
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has rejected the new wave of large-scale arrests of PTI and PAT workers in a bid to prevent the largest participation in Islamabad sit-ins on Saturday evening. Talking to a party delegation on Saturday, Wattoo maintained that this “senseless” move was not only repugnant to the fundamental right of peaceful procession of citizens but was also at variance with the Supreme Court instructions to the effect that peaceful procession was a fundamental right of political parties. Wattoo pointed out that both of the protesting parties have been holding their processions in a peaceful manner within the ambit of the constitution and that arrests of their workers would tantamount to preventing them from exercising their fundamental right guaranteed also by the Supreme Court. Wattoo called upon the government to desist from indulging in illegal and unconstitutional arrests because misuse of power had already led to the deleterious consequences as was evident in the Model Town incident of June 17. It can be ironically said that the rulers had learned no lesson from their repeatedmistakes and that they were still following the beaten tracks, he added.
Just as in Kashmir and Afghanistan, these killing fields have been outsourced to jihadis, resulting in making the lives of the Hazaras, Shias, Baloch and Pashtuns a living hell.
In this nauseating and disingenuous confrontation of the elites, real issues are shoved into oblivion. Balochistan appears in the corporate media in accordance with the whims and needs of the deep state and ruling classes. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, Balochistan has been in a state of turmoil, revolts and insurgencies. Militant struggles and military operations rage on. In reality, Balochistan has become a festering wound on the body politic of the whole region, including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
The discovery of mass graves in Tutak, more than 800 bodies of abducted activists dumped in Balochistan and Karachi, and the 18,000 missing persons, predominantly young people, are a stain on the system, state and the incumbent, so-called progressive government brought into power by Nawaz Sharif with the petitioning of over 600 NGOs. Under Abdul Malik Baloch’s watch the crisis has only been aggravated and its performance has proved to be even worse than the previous regime of clownish Aslam Raisani. Just as in Kashmir and Afghanistan, these killing fields have been outsourced to jihadis, resulting in making the lives of the Hazaras, Shias, Baloch and Pashtuns a living hell. In addition, proxy wars between various world and regional imperialist powers like the Iranian clergy and the Saudi monarchy are compounding miseries on a daily basis.
It would be wrong to limit our analysis to proxy wars and communalisation of Baloch society. The Baloch youth in particular have a rich tradition of generations of revolutionary struggle against national and class oppression. The first stirrings of polarisation between the youth and the narrow nationalist leadership are beginning to emerge, particularly on the question of internationalism and class struggle. Imperialist corporate vultures from the US and China to Russia and India are looking for proxies mainly amongst the leaders and sections of the state to become partners in the imperialist plunder of Balochistan.Gwadar port, Mirani dam, the Makran coastal highway and other projects aimed at extracting the estimated $ 1.5 trillion in mineral wealth from Balochistan have intensified the great game between these imperialist monsters. The masses are being subjected to brutalities and excruciating social and economic woes. Baloch grievances in the past have centred on the gas fields (of which the biggest are around Sui, in Bugti tribal territory) that provide around a third of Pakistan’s energy. The Chinese corporation running the Saindak mine, in 2010, processed around 15,000 tonnes of ore a day. Scientific estimates for the Reko Diq field near the borders of Afghanistan and Iran show up to 16 million tonnes of pure copper and 21 million ounces of gold that, if developed, would make Pakistan one of the world’s largest producers of copper (though still far behind Chile) and a serious gold producer.
Ironically, Reko Diq could lead to explosive disputes between the Chinese contractors and among the tribes themselves, as has been the case with both Sui gas and Gwadar port. The principality that Baloch nationalists regard as the historic Baloch national state was that of Kalat, founded in 1638 around an oasis like that of Quetta, fed by two natural springs (now dry because of tube-wells and the radical sinking of the water table). The British arrived in the region in the 1830s and from 1839 to 1847 fought a fierce war with the Baloch tribes. In 1876, the British frontier official, Sir Robert Sandeman, signed a treaty with the Khan bringing Kalat and its dependent territories under British suzerainty. During partition in 1947, the myriad princely states of British India were voluntarily or involuntarily annexed to India or Pakistan, among them Kalat. While the new rulers of Pakistan claimed Kalat as a part of their new state, Baloch nationalists claimed that the relationship with the British Empire was closer to that of the British protectorate of Nepal that, after 1947, became an independent state.
The current insurgency is the fifth during the last seven decades between the Baloch masses and the state, the pro-establishment sardars, politicians, fundamentalist forces and those hungry for Balochistan’s resources. All these revolts have been concentrated in one tribal group or another, or parts of that group. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Mengals took the lead and, in the 1970s, it was the Marris. This allowed the Pakistani state to play on deep traditional rivalries between the tribes and, eventually, through a mixture of force and concessions to the sardars of the rebel tribes, bring these revolts to an end.The Pakistani state’s approach is summed up in the remarkable fact that, as of 2009, out of 65 members of the Baloch Provincial Assembly, 62 were in the provincial government as ministers or advisers with ministerial ranks. Every member of the government received Rs 50 million as a personal share of Balochistan’s development budget. This was an effective co-option of the tribal leadership, as it ensured all but three of the 80 odd tribal sardars or claimants in Balochistan were neutralised and arrayed with the government, as opposed to the armed struggle. Rather than the old British strategy, this was closer to the Roman approach of making smaller local tribal chieftains into local officials and bigger chiefs into Roman senators. By making them responsible for tax collection, these local leaders were also given a share in state revenues. The Romans, however, had the advantage of representing not just overwhelming military force and an efficient state bureaucracy but also a great state-building idea, summed up in the values of Romanitas (Roman-ness). However, Pakistani regimes have always been inefficient, corrupt and in economic decay.
A senior army general summed up the state’s analysis and strategy to a British journalist in 2009: “Everything here is shades of grey. Here you have to be street smart. Or to put it another way, you need to be a little bit of a rascal to understand this part of the world. You always have to be prepared to negotiate with your enemies. Who knows, they may change sides and become your allies tomorrow. That is something the Americans still have not understood in Afghanistan...That is why you can meet in Quetta many nationalist politicians who have declared themselves as rebels against Pakistan, but whom we deliberately have not touched.”
Balochistan is plagued by extreme deprivation, poverty and joblessness. Social indicators are at rock bottom despite the province having the most natural resources. Human existence is traumatic. Constitutional amendments and reform packages are contemptuously rejected by the Baloch masses. These have never been sufficient nor can they be implemented in this catastrophic capitalist crisis. Balochistan is not homogeneous. It has Baloch, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Punjabis, and Mohajirs who have traditionally lived in harmony, but imperialism has sowed communal, ethnic and sectarian divisions that they use to divide and rule in order to perpetuate their plunder. There is no salvation on a communal, national, or ethnic basis. Under capitalism no solution is possible whatsoever. The struggle for national liberation must be linked to the class struggle within Balochistan and on a regional and international basis for genuine liberation.
Imran Khan never consulted his parliamentarians before announcing resignations from assemblies, claims MNA Nasir Khattak of PTI
Pakistan: Civil society organizations (CSO) condemn killings of Sikhs; Urge govt. to realize responsibility
http://sikhsiyasat.net/Peshawar and Mardan, and pressed the government to take tangible steps to protect religious minorities. According to a press statement issued on Sept 11, representatives from various groups—including Khwendo Kor (KK), SAP-PK, Aurat Foundation, Bacha Khan Trust and Shirkat Gah—voiced their concerns that such attacks have compromised the rights of religious minorities. The CSOs said despite consistent efforts by Sikhs in the province to draw attention to the killings, the police have not been able to find the culprits. The statement came a day after the police released sketches of suspects in the recent murder of 30-year-old Harjeet Singh. However, to date, not much can be cited in terms of convictions in any of the cases of Sikh target killings. The handout added Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has become unsafe for members of religious minorities to live in and the provincial government needs to pay attention to this problem. Law enforcement agencies have failed to take action against these incidents of targeted killing, it read. Moreover, the CSOs criticized the general public for remaining apathetic to the murder of Sikh traders. “The Sikh community has already been hit hard by violence in other parts of the region which had led to their displacement from native areas,” they maintained. Calling for tolerance towards minorities, the CSOs urged the government to realize its responsibility to protect the Sikh community.
After yet another devastating flood, experts say that what Pakistan and India need to do is build more dams and reservoirs.It makes these annual disasters all the more tragic that for most of the year both countries have little rain. Yet after leaving more than 450 dead and a swathe of destruction on both sides of the border, much of the water dumped on the Kashmir and Punjab regions in the past 10 days will now be wasted. Critics say both the Indian and Pakistani governments have repeatedly failed to act on lessons from the past on how to manage their yearly monsoon drenching, even as flood catastrophes become more frequent. While the two governments are now being battered by complaints over the relief effort, more important in the long-term, water specialists say, is building a better system to capture each new deluge. Much of the water that has inundated Pakistan's Punjab in this latest disaster came via rivers which originate in the Indian Himalayas, where there has been even more rain. 'Water jihad' accusations The surge was so big the Pakistani authorities resorted to dynamiting river dykes to divert the flow from urban areas, but thereby flooding farming areas and displacing tens of thousands of people. Some in Pakistan have attacked India for not controlling this surge, the more extreme even accusing it of a "water jihad" against its long-time rival. But Ahmer Bilal Soofi, a Pakistani lawyer who specialises in water issues, says his country is as much to blame for the way it has managed the rivers inside its borders, in particular by failing to build more dams to control and store water. Mr Soofi's words carry weight because he advises Pakistani officials on the Indus Water Commission, a cross-border body set up after the two states signed a water-sharing treaty in 1960. The two sides last met just days before this latest flooding crisis, ironically to discuss Pakistani objections to plans for a new Indian dam project. But it is perhaps one sign of hope in their turbulent relationship that the treaty has held and they keep meeting. Better drainage needed However, experts say India has been just as complacent with water on its own territory. There too, the authorities are charged with letting the big monsoon storms go to waste, and as Indians know only too well, there is a chronic shortfall in electricity production, which more hydropower schemes could help solve. Better drainage is also needed and more control of building in flood-prone areas, especially in towns and cities. But "urban India is mindless about drainage" fumes Sunita Narain, a Delhi-based environmentalist. "Storm water drains are either clogged, full of garbage and sewage, or just do not exist." But the signs are that these extreme weather events are becoming more common and more unpredictable - which many scientists believe is because of climate change. The rains that just engulfed India and Pakistan came much later than usual, when most thought the annual monsoon was over. Similarly, an estimated 5,000 people died in India after being caught by flash floods in June, well before the heavy rains usually start. In 2010, the river Indus burst its banks over much of central Pakistan killing more than 2,000 people. Several hundred have died in floods every year since. After the 2010 disaster, Pakistan set up a judicial investigation which came up with a host of recommendations to avoid a repeat. "But nothing has happened since," says a Pakistani water expert who participated in the 2010 investigation, but asked not to be named. "After each disaster," he says, "we just go back to sleep again."