Thursday, September 18, 2014
Al-Khawaja, arrested after arriving at Manama airport last month and accused of assaulting a police officer, was released dependent on a guarantee of her place of residence and is banned from travelling, Thursday's statement said. "The lawyer of the accused requested her release after she was arrested on charges of assaulting a female officer and a policewoman at the Bahrain International Airport on August 30," the statement said. If convicted, al-Khawaja can spend several years in prison. She denies all accustions, and confirmed upon her release that she will not stop speaking out against human rights violations in the kingdom. "Before leaving prison, I informed them that I will continue my human rights work," al-Khawaja said on her Twitter account. Al-Khawaja, a director of the Beirut-based Gulf Centre for Human Rights, also holds Danish citizenship and is a daughter of jailed Shia opposition icon Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. The family played a pivotal role in anti-government protests in 2011 and in sporadic anti-government protests that followed. The father is on a hungerstrike to protest his arrest since 2011 for his peaceful role in the upheaval. In 2011, Bahrain was caught up in the so-called "Arab Spring" and thousands of protesters from the country's Shia majority sought to topple the ruling Sunni Muslim Al-Khalifa dynasty. Earlier on Thursday, more than 150 civil society organisations from more than 60 countries called on King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa to immediately and unconditionally release Al-Khawaja. Life imprisonement The signatories to the letter also urged the Bahraini ruler to release imprisoned human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience and cease all undue and unwarranted restrictions on civil society activism. Since the 2011 protests, dozens of Bahraini Shia have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after being convicted of involvement in violent protests. Before al-Khawaja's release, a Bahraini court has handed down a punishment of life inprisonment to 14 Shia protesters after they were convicted of attempted murder of policemen. The defendents were found guilty of participating in unauthorized protests, and detonating an improvised explosive device during a 2013 anti-government protest, AFP quoted an unnamed judicial source as saying. Several policemen were wounded, some seriously, at the incident. "If the international community could secure my release, that gives me hope that we can do the same for the thousands of political prisoners," al-Khawaja tweeted following her release.
http://www.breitbart.com/ Under the unofficial rules governing Saudi Arabia’s strict fundamentalist society, women are forbidden from driving automobiles. Although the Quran, which is the basis for Saudi laws, could not possibly address such a subject, as it was written well over one thousand years ago, most Saudi clerics have determined that women driving automobiles is haram (forbidden). Saudi Arabia’s unofficial religious policemen (Haia) have taken it upon themselves to enforce this primitive custom. This week, Aliyah Al Farid was pulled over by police and fined after driving herself to the hospital for a medical emergency. Well aware of Saudi Arabia’s mandates against women driving, she said that there was no one around the house to drive her to the ER, so she took it upon herself to get behind the wheel. Al Farid is a human rights activist who has in the past tried to expose Saudi Arabia for its barbaric treatment against women. She said of the incident, “I told the traffic officers that I had to drive because it was an emergency case. I didn’t do it on purpose and I’m not after fame or media hype. I was very sick and that was it.” “We can’t leave an epileptic patient convulsing on the ground while waiting for our male driver to come and transport him to the hospital,” she added. “I have to get behind the steering wheel to do it.” Not only are women forbidden from driving cars, they must also receive permission from a mahram (close male relative such as a son or husband) simply to be able to travel outside the boundaries of their home. According to Saudi Arabia’s Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid, a well-respected cleric in the Islamic world, women should not be allowed to drive for the following reasons: 1. Driving the car necessitates that women remove the niqab, which covers the face. Women must wear the niqab in Saudi Arabia, mostly for fear of punishment should the religious police see them without full cover. The niqab is a black full-body cloth with a thin slot for the eyes. 2. Driving requires women to leave the house, “but their homes are better for them.” 3. They lose their modesty, so it protects them from “fitnah” (temptations). 4. Divorced women will be able to go wherever they want. 5. It is a means of “rebellion.” 6. She may cause an “immoral man” to “take advantage of her in return for helping her” if her car breaks down. 7. It will lead to “overcrowding in the streets.” 8. Women won’t be able to stop buying new fashion items because women“by their nature--like to make themselves look good with clothing etc,” and they will keep buying new cars “whenever a new model appears.”
In ancient times, when a war was lost, or a famine ravaged the land, the kings would blame it on the gods and their capricious favour and that would have been the end of that. Unfortunately for Mr Nawaz Sharif, times have changed; now we can scientifically analyse heaps of data and can pinpoint why something went wrong. It is becoming increasingly clear that sheer ineptitude, apathy and laziness has significantly contributed to the magnitude of the floods. The Meteorological Office of Pakistan issued warnings of medium to high level flooding in Ravi and Chenab as early as 14th August. Despite repeated warnings, neither the Ministry of Water and Power nor the Indus River System Authority felt the need to react. IRSA, up till 5th September, continued to operate the dams normally and not under flood protocol. Had the stored water been released from these dams earlier, there would not have been a massive surge that is now sweeping through the land. These are hard, cold facts; these conclusions are based on data taken from the state’s own departments, yet the Prime Minster continues to pretend that nobody in government knows what happened. The much bandied around fact that Indian Kashmir was flooded as well, does not prove that this was an unpreventable, across the board phenomena; a cursory examination proves India too is at fault. The government needs to own up to its failings. Pakistan suffers from almost annual flooding, not having built enough dams and chronic departmental failings. If we refuse to even admit that there is a problem, how do we begin addressing it? If we continue to maintain that the floods are caused by events beyond our control, how do we generate the political impetus to build the Kalabagh dam or any other project? The government needs to care a little bit less about its own skin and perhaps a tad bit more about the people’s. This is not the only problem; elements such as Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, are stoking hatred by pinning the blame on India. These notorious organisations are sweeping the affected areas providing relief and then filling those grateful ears with tales of how India uses its dams upstream to practice ‘water terrorism’ by releasing huge amounts of water into Pakistan. With no official explanation provided to contradict these claims, coupled with a deep seated suspicion of India, people are easily convinced, and the very real, ongoing discourse regarding Indian water aggression is damaged by dubious spokespeople. The dire circumstances the affectees are facing, along with propaganda, is a recipe for minting radicals. We need the state to own up, to officially provide an explanation. Not only because it is practically necessary but also because the state owes it to the thousands whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed.
Cross-border attacks, denials of Pakistani involvement in terrorism in Afghanistan, and an operation against tribal area militants; these are familiar tropes in Pakistan’s news cycle. On the surface they appear ordinary by now. On Tuesday a group of militants from Afghanistan attacked a Frontier Constabulary (FC) border post in North Waziristan (NW). Reports say 11 militants were killed and one captured, while three FC men died. On the same day the military said it had killed 23 terrorists in airstrikes in Khyber Agency. The number of terrorists killed in the operation is now over 1,000 and military losses number near 100, according to recent ISPR statements. The ten-to-one ratio again appears positive, but when one considers the bulk of militants have escaped to other Agencies or across the border, these numbers come into perspective. This fight has not been easy or less costly despite the armed forces’ critical access to airpower and overwhelming ground support when needed. At the same time apparently random incidents of terrorism continue around the country. Karachi police yesterday killed seven terrorists in Sohrab Goth, which has long been a haven for drug and weapons smuggling. Police repelled an attack on a check post in Swabi by 12 militants; no casualties were reported after the militants melted away. The nature of these and other attacks over the summer indicate militant attempts to probe defensive preparedness. They are getting ready to go on the offensive when NATO leaves. Yet the military is still trumpeting victory. Yesterday 40 militants were reportedly killed in airstrikes in NW, while the ‘turning’ of former Punjabi Taliban chief Asmatullah Muawiya is being hailed as a sign of Zarb-e-Azb’s success. However, Muawiya’s statement that he will continue fighting in Afghanistan indicates that the policy of trying to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ militants that infuriated the US and Afghanistan is continuing. Pakistan’s sponsorship of religious extremist proxy groups is an open secret. We have used them in Kashmir and Afghanistan in pursuit of strategic goals that would have been better served using sound diplomatic strategy. After our use of proxies was exposed, it destroyed whatever diplomatic credibility and capital the country had. Afghanistan again levelled the accusation on Tuesday, which the Foreign Office (FO) rejected with ‘dismay’. Since Muawiya’s case substantiates Afghan claims, the FO’s ‘dismay’ seems filled with rank disingenuousness. What is more troubling about Muawiya is that he, like many terrorists, has switched sides before. The Taliban too were effectively out of Pakistani control by 9/11. There is no guarantee that proxies used today will not do the same if they achieve success in Afghanistan. Unlike an elected Afghan government, they will not adhere to the system of international law. It would be far wiser to work above board with a government in Afghanistan that may become friendly if we help it, than to rely on proxies whose ideological proclivities will eventually turn them against us and towards pan-Islamic radical groups like the Islamic State.
shiapost.com/Pro-Taliban and pro-ISIL Takfiri terrorists today shot and killed Dean of Islamic Studies at the University of Karachi Professor Dr Shakeel Auj in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi after after a Madrassah issued a fatwa relating to alleged blasphemy against Dr Auj. According to reports, Dr Shakeel Auj was critically injured when four takfiri terrorists assailants ambushed his car near Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area. He was rushed to Agha Khan Hospital but succumbed to his injuries. He was accompanied by Professor Dr Tahir Masood when he was attacked and was on his way to Khana-e-Farhang to attend a ceremony organized to honor him. Fortunately, Dr Tahir Masood remained safe during the incident and shifted his injured colleague to the hospital who couldn’t survive the attack. It is pertinent to mention that the government of Pakistan had recently announced to honor both the scholars with the second highest civilian award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz. According to reports, Dr Auj was shot three times in the neck and chest. Top police official, SSP Pir Mohammad Shah told BBCUrdu that a madrassah in Karachi had issued a fatwa relating to alleged blasphemy against Dr Auj. The SSP added that following the fatwa, a message declaring the professor as ‘wajibul qatl’ (liable to be killed) was made public via SMS messages. Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad has ordered Inspector General of Sindh Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali to submit a report on the incident. As news of Dr Auj’s death was confirmed, it was announced that Karachi University would remain closed for three days. Dr Mohammad Shakeel Auj was an author, a professor and dean at Karachi University’s faculty of Islamic Studies. He also used to edit Al-Tafseer — an HEC-recognised research journal on Islamic Studies. He has been associated with KU for 19 years and had been heading the Islamic Studies department since February 1, 2012. According to the university’s website, Dr Auj has written 15 books.
Bangladesh s parliament now has the authority to impeach Supreme Court judges after lawmakers late Wednesday voted to approve a much-debated amendment to the constitution. The amendment passed unanimously in a voice vote of 327-0, with support coming from the ruling Awami League. Critics of the amendment, including senior jurists, said it was a thinly veiled way for the ruling party to keep the judiciary under control. But Law Minister Anisul Hoque, who proposed the change, said the amendment allows parliament to impeach judges on grounds of "misbehavior or incapacity." Previously a council of senior judges led by the chief justice was assigned to deal with any case of misconduct by judges. Bangladesh s judiciary, often riddled with corruption, enjoys relative freedom but the appointment of senior judges is often influenced by authorities. Major opposition parties opposed the government s move to amend the constitution, saying authorities will systematically influence the judiciary, especially when it comes to politically sensitive cases. The law minister has denied the allegation and said with the changes will not undermine the judiciary s independence. Clashes between the government and judiciary are rare in Bangladesh, although recently Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina criticized two judges for a ruling that asked authorities to arrest members of an elite law enforcement agency to face murder charges in the death of seven people in a single incident. Sheikh Hasina s Awami League has three-fourths of the seats in the parliament. A two-thirds majority is needed to pass any bill.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited the embankments at Sukkur Barrage to review the flood situation on Thursday, Dunya News reported. Bilawal Bhutto was briefed about the flood risk in the province of Sindh. Panicked at the devastation caused by massive floods in Punjab, Bilawal Bhutto reviewed the situation at the Sukkur Barrage to take precautionary measures, in case of floods. He was accompanied by Shery Rehman, CM Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Syed Awais Muzafar, provincial ministers and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Major General Said Aleem. Bilawal Bhutto closely assessed River Sindh and parts of the Sukkur barrage. Babur Afandi secretary Irrigation briefed Bilawal about the flood situation in Sindh. He told that the risk of a high flood in River Sindh has lessened, however, low-level flood tides are raging from both Sukkur and Guddu barrage. He informed that the precautionary measures have already been taken against floods after 75 villages have been inundated near the Kashmore-Kandhkot district. Forty-five embankments have been termed as sensitive. The dykes in Larkana can also be considered sensitive in case a high flood hits the nearby areas. The Irrigation Secretary said that rural areas including Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Khairpur, Naushero Feroze are at a higher risk of damage caused by floods, therefore people have been asked to shift to safer places. On this occasion, Chairman NDMA Major General Aleem, talking to the media also said that currently the flood situation has been brought under control through strict protective measures in Sindh.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto on Thursday visitedChiniot and distributed food items among flood victims. He was accompanied by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khurshid Shah, former information minister Qamar Zaman Qaira, Manzor Watto and others. Addressing to politicians, Bilawal Bhutto said it is not the time to make political statements but to concentrate on flood affected people. He asked MNAs and MPAs to visited their respective constituencies and addressed their needs. He also called on Chief Minsiter Sindh Qaim Ali Shah to make comprehensive strategy to address flood victims problems.
The Scot had previously remained silent on the issue, but posted a message on Twitter just hours ahead of the polls opening, to state his position. He tweeted: "Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!" The Wimbledon champion has been quizzed on the issue previously but dodged the question, although in an interview in June he did criticise Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond for waving the country's flag at the tournament last year. Murray will not have a vote as he is not currently resident in Scotland, but he has generally been seen as a firm Scottish nationalist - drumming up controversy in 2006 when he said he would support "anyone but England" in the World Cup. Last month he told the Guardian that he did not think it looked likely the result would be a Yes, but he added that his preference would be to represent Scotland if the country became independent. "If Scotland became independent, then I imagine I would be playing for Scotland," he told the newspaper. "I haven't thought that much about that yet because I don't think it's looking too likely that it's going to happen. But if it did happen, then it would be pretty much the first time in my life that I would have ever (had the chance to play for Scotland)." He added that he did not like making his views on politics known as previous comments had "caused me a headache ... and a lot of abuse".