Sunday, October 5, 2014

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Qatar and Saudi Arabia 'have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam'

By David Blair
General Jonathan Shaw, Britain's former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, says Qatar and Saudi Arabia responsible for spread of radical Islam
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have ignited a "time bomb" by funding the global spread of radical Islam, according to a former commander of British forces in Iraq.
General Jonathan Shaw, who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012, told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.
The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.
But the rulers of both countries are now more threatened by their creation than Britain or America, argued Gen Shaw. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has vowed to topple the Qatari and Saudi regimes, viewing both as corrupt outposts of decadence and sin.
So Qatar and Saudi Arabia have every reason to lead an ideological struggle against Isil, said Gen Shaw. On its own, he added, the West's military offensive against the terrorist movement was likely to prove "futile".
"This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop," said Gen Shaw. "And the question then is 'does bombing people over there really tackle that?' I don't think so. I'd far rather see a much stronger handle on the ideological battle rather than the physical battle."
Gen Shaw, 57, retired from the Army after a 31-year career that saw him lead a platoon of paratroopers in the Battle of Mount Longdon, the bloodiest clash of the Falklands War, and oversee Britain's withdrawal from Basra in southern Iraq. As Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, he specialised in counter-terrorism and security policy. All this has made him acutely aware of the limitations of what force can achieve. He believes that Isil can only be defeated by political and ideological means. Western air strikes in Iraq and Syria will, in his view, achieve nothing except temporary tactical success. When it comes to waging that ideological struggle, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are pivotal. "The root problem is that those two countries are the only two countries in the world where Wahhabi Salafism is the state religion – and Isil is a violent expression of Wahabist Salafism," said Gen Shaw. "The primary threat of Isil is not to us in the West: it's to Saudi Arabia and also to the other Gulf states."
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are playing small parts in the air campaign against Isil, contributing two and four jet fighters respectively. But Gen Shaw said they "should be in the forefront" and, above all, leading an ideological counter-revolution against Isil.
The British and American air campaign would not "stop the support of people in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for this kind of activity," added Gen Shaw. "It's missing the point. It might, if it works, solve the immediate tactical problem. It's not addressing the fundamental problem of Wahhabi Salafism as a culture and a creed, which has got out of control and is still the ideological basis of Isil – and which will continue to exist even if we stop their advance in Iraq."
Gen Shaw said the Government's approach towards Isil was fundamentally mistaken. "People are still treating this as a military problem, which is in my view to misconceive the problem," he added. "My systemic worry is that we're repeating the mistakes that we made in Afghanistan and Iraq: putting the military far too up front and centre in our response to the threat without addressing the fundamental political question and the causes. The danger is that yet again we're taking a symptomatic treatment not a causal one."
Gen Shaw said that Isil's main focus was on toppling the established regimes of the Middle East, not striking Western targets. He questioned whether Isil's murder of two British and two American hostages was sufficient justification for the campaign.
"Isil made their big incursion into Iraq in June. The West did nothing, despite thousands of people being killed," said Gen Shaw. "What's changed in the last month? Beheadings on TV of Westerners. And that has led us to suddenly change our policy and suddenly launch air attacks."
He believes that Isil might have murdered the hostages in order to provoke a military response from America and Britain which could then be portrayed as a Christian assault on Islam. "What possible advantage is there to Isil of bringing us into this campaign?" asked Gen Shaw. "Answer: to unite the Muslim world against the Christian world. We played into their hands. We've done what they wanted us to do."
However, Gen Shaw's analysis is open to question. Even if they had the will, the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar may be incapable of leading an ideological struggle against Isil. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is 91 and only sporadically active. His chosen successor, Crown Prince Salman, is 78 and already believed to be declining into senility. The kingdom's ossified leadership is likely to be paralysed for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile in Qatar, the new Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is only 34 in a region that respects age. Whether this Harrow and Sandhurst-educated ruler has the personal authority to lead an ideological counter-revolution within Islam is doubtful.
Given that Saudi Arabia and Qatar almost certainly cannot do what Gen Shaw believes to be necessary, the West may have no option except to take military action against Isil with the aim of reducing, if not eliminating, the terrorist threat.
"I just have a horrible feeling that we're making things worse. We're entering into this in a way we just don't understand," said Gen Shaw. "I'm against the principle of us attacking without a clear political plan."

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Pakistan : Message of Co-Chairman PPP Former President Asif Ali Zardari On the Occasion of Eid-ul-Azha
Co-Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party former President Asif Ali Zardari has felicitated Muslims throughout the world on the eve of Eid ul Azha falling.
Following is the text of his message:
“Eid-ul-Azha has a two-fold theme for the Muslims throughout the world. First the willingness and readiness to offer the highest sacrifice in the cause of Allah and second the unity of the Muslims.
“I greet the Muslims throughout the world in general and of Pakistan in particular on this auspicious occasion.
“Eid-ul-Azha should serve to remind us that we have an obligation to our community through which we attain a higher purpose in life.
“So while we celebrate and rejoice let us also pause and ponder over the plight of our less fortunate brethren.
“On the festive occasion of Eid-ul-Azha I therefore urge my countrymen to also remember the families of those who have laid down their lives and suffered grievously in the fight against militancy.
“The internally displaced persons of North Waziristan who have left their homes and hearth for the sake of peace country deserve our special attention. We must also not forget on this festive occasion those whose lives have been uprooted by devastating floods. We must also remember those deprived of the most ordinary things of life due to poverty. We must therefore share our bounties with them and strive to end poverty and exploitation wherever we see it.
“The message of Islam is the message of social justice and of the rights of the weak and the dispossessed. We have an obligation to our community through which we attain a higher purpose in life.
“The celebrations today should focus on this aspect of the message of Islam”.

Pakistan : Drone strike kills five in South Waziristan

A suspected US drone strike in South Waziristan tribal region's Shawal area on Sunday killed at least five persons.
Official sources say the drone fired two missiles on a compound in Kand Ghar area of Shawal district, which stretches across both North and South Waziristan tribal regions.
Some local sources said that a high level target is among those killed in the attack but the identity is yet to be ascertained.
The drones reportedly hovered above the area for some time, causing panic and fear among the locals.
These details could not be independently verified since the media's access is severely restricted in the troubled region.
South Waziristan is among Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border which are rife with homegrown insurgents and are alleged to be strongholds of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, among others.
The tribal region was once the main stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban. The military launched a large offensive against militants there in 2009 and an operation launched this year is currently underway, but insurgents still operate in the area and periodically stage attacks.

Pakistan : The Killing of the Sikhs

By Ammara Ahmad
Rising attacks and religious desecrations are forcing Pakistan’s Sikhs from their homes.
On September 6, Harjeet Singh was sitting in his herbal medicine store in the Nothia Bazaar area of Peshawar when two armed men entered the shop and opened fire. Harjeet, 30 and a member of Pakistan’s Sikh minority, succumbed to his injuries while his attackers escaped.
Peshawar is the capital of Pakistan’s north-west province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), which has become the epicenter of militancy and violence in Pakistan over the last decade. Just two days before this attack, another Sikh was stabbed to death in Mardan, another city in KPK. Amarjeet Singh was at his cosmetics shop, when the shutters were pulled down. He was found later that evening by his son- stabbed to death in the warehouse adjacent to the shop.
In early August, two unidentified men fired on three members of the Sikh community in Peshawar. One teenager, Jagmot Singh, was killed and two others were injured.
“Sikhs are under attack because they can be distinguished from other people because of their turban,” says Haroon Sarab Diyal, chairman of the All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement,. “We are in no position to name the culprits but we know these are attempts to further destabilize Pakistan and frighten the community.”
In a report issued by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in 2014, Pakistan was declared one of the most dangerous countries in the world for religious minorities. The report mentioned militant groups like Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SPP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TPP) and Jaishul Islam, which attack, threaten and abduct minorities. According to a U.S. State Department Report on religion in 2008, there are some 30,000 Sikhs residing across Pakistan, many in the north-western provinces of KPK and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
“Sikhs are not sending their children to schools or to their businesses now,” says Haroon Sarab Diyal. “The evening and night prayers are not held any more. We all know it is because of the attacks. If they give a statement or witness testimony, they will be in trouble.”
Following Pakistan’s general election in 2013, there was a new government in KPK. The new ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), is led by the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who came to office opposing an operation against militants, proposing dialogue instead, and claiming that Pakistan’s army cannot win this “American war.” Khan even suggested that the Taliban should be allowed to open an office in KPK. Critics of his party believe that this has given the militants a free hand in the province and made minorities more vulnerable.
“This is the seventh attack in seven months,” says Amarjeet Malhotra of the Awami National Party, the main opposition to PTI. “PTI’s government has no writ in KPK. Now TTP and Taliban are free to do anything. There is no one to stop them. Six Sikhs have been killed.” Outlawed TTP militants from neighboring areas have infiltrated the Tirah valley (also in the north-west of Pakistan). Some of the roughly 40,000 people who were internally displaced from the valley were Sikhs. In 2013, the Pakistan military launched operation in an attempt to establish control there for the first time. The army now claims that the area is free of militants.
Many of the Sikhs displaced from the Tirah Valley have adopted Pashtun traditions and culture. Most of them dealt with herbal medicine, spices, groceries, or were farmers. Since their displacement they are in a hurry to return home and restart their businesses. But these internally displaced Sikhs have not been able to return to the lush green Tirah valley, which is still not secure.
“After the Sikhs were killed in Peshawar this August, Al Qaeda took responsibility,” said Amarjeet Malhotra, a senator from KPK. “The government did nothing. These parliamentarians are a weight on our country. They do nothing.”
Sikhs are also exposed to kidnapping threats from militant groups. The kidnappers demand unaffordable sums and then kill the victim if not paid. In February this year, two Sikh businessmen were kidnapped in Dera Ismail Khan. They were released after allegedly paying a hefty ransom of Rs. 4 million ($38,953), although one of the victims denied paying.
In January 2013, a 40-year-old Sikh was kidnapped by the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam in Khyber Agency (tribal areas in the north-west of Pakistan). He was later beheaded and his mutilated body was dumped in a sack with a note accusing him of spying for a rival group.
Asked about the attacks on the Sikhs in KPK, Suran Singh, minister of Minorities for the province and a member of the ruling PTI, fumes. “Did you ask Sindh and Punjab (other provinces in Pakistan) what they have done for the minorities? Our province is on the frontlines of the war on terrorism. We have a border thousands of kilometers long near Peshawar through which militants can enter. We have limited the drone attacks in the first 14 months of our government and there have been no suicide bombings.”
Meanwhile, the Sikhs have also clashed with other minorities. In March last year, a rift emerged between the Hindu and Sikh communities in Shikarpur, Sindh. Sikh students were in uproar after the head of Shikarpur’s Jai Samadha Ashram was photographed holding the Sikhs’ holy book without his head covered, drawing symbols on it. Photos of the act, considered disrespectful to the book, circulated on social media. The outraged Sikh community eventually received an apology. In Pano Aqil, meanwhile, a group of Hindus tore Sikh scriptures placed in a Hindu temple in mid June. They were later arrested because under Pakistani law, destroying any religious scripture is considered blasphemy. A compromise was subsequently reached, after the head of the temple apologized. Pakistan Sikh Council Chairman Sardar Ramesh Singh confirmed that the desecrations have taken place in other parts of Sindh, like Shikarpur, Mirpur Mathelo and Dadu.
“Many Hindus in Sindh consider Guru Nanak as their guru and are now converting to Sikhism,” explains Pakistani Punjab’s first Sikh MP, Ramesh Singh Arora. “There is a lobby that wants to stop that and therefore dishonored the Guru Granth Sahib.”
This week, at least five Sikh families have decided to move to India because of the security situation. However, the Indian visa requirements have become tougher. Most pilgrims have to submit a written document saying they will not seek asylum in India and will return to Pakistan before their visas expire. The Pakistani Sikh community, which has lived in Pakistan since partition and has been affiliated with a violent separatist movement in the Indian Punjab in the 1980s, is not welcome in India. Since last month, the PTI has been on a sit-in in Islamabad, protesting what it claims was vote rigging in last year’s general election. Many of PTI’s leaders, including Imran Khan, have been seen in Islamabad more often than in KPK. Opposition members, including Senator Amarjeet Malhotra, have been critical of the PTI’s absence and alleged neglect during this period. However, Suran Singh rebuffs the criticism.
“We fixed the police which had third-rate equipment, no protection jackets or CCTV cameras. The chief minister of KPK and I met the victim’s family, attended their funerals and gave them compensation. I went to the murder site, picked up the bodies myself, and went for their prayers. The minorities are not the only ones in danger, everyone is.”

Balochistan : Innocent and peaceful people are harassed in name of search operations

Balochistan National Party (BNP) has condemned the arrest of innocent people in connection with hand grenade attacks.
According to BNP, Search operations are nothing more than an attempt to harass the peace loving people who have nothing to do with any sabotage activity.
Security forces inadequately treat women and children during these search operations, lamented BNP leaders. Earlier, Security forces conducted raids in Killi Kirani, Eithiad Colony, Sariab, Nawa Killi, Pashtunabad, Killi Geo and Khiljibada and arrested 80 people.
According to a security official, who talked to a newspaper on condition of anonymity, search operations were conducted after a tip off that perpetrators of hand grenade attack of 1st October were possibly hiding in those areas.
In Past, culprits have mostly never been arrested using large scale indiscriminate operations. Most of the accused arrested in previous search operations have been released.

Pakistan - ''HYPOCRITE'' Leaders - Imran follows VIP culture norms for CNIC renewal

“After coming to power Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would eliminate VIP culture from the country. There is a need to eradicate the VIP culture, which is stifling the nation. PTI will eliminate VIP culture, arrogant display of wealth and authority.”
The aforementioned are excerpts from the speeches of Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf. The boisterous outbursts from the PTI chief Imran Khan against the VIP culture appear to lead all the search engines if one is to revisit the recent past in the cyber world but whether he really practices what he propagates with vocally open mouth is just another story altogether!
It really gets hard for a common Pakistani to make a choice out of the two different factions of the same phenomenon particularly when the anti-status quo forces who never sound vary of preaching austerity for all are caught practicing the prevalent highhanded norms that serve the interests of nobody but the VIPs.
A NADRA van ‘rushed’ to the PTI chief’s hilltop bungalow in Banigala to process his identity card renewed after the expiry of the previous one. Khan simply afforded this luxury against the payment of ordinary fee.
Interestingly, this exercise was done citing the ages old excuse of ‘security problems’ that saw the extension of the same facility to our very own President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, each of whom availed this ‘golden’ service last year.
Will Khan, who now and then predicts about a ‘new Pakistan’ where there will be no differentiation between the ordinary Pakistanis and the influential elite, be able to achieve any such things, when came to power, in the presence of such ‘personal flaws’ associated with every influential Pakistani and especially the ruling elite.
Chairman NADRA, Tariq Malik while taking to TheNation confirmed the news, adding the service is primarily for handicapped people who cannot visit the NADRA offices. However, our ruling elites, who develop some ‘VIP disabilities’ out of their royally elite nature, also avail this service, and Imran Khan joined this prestigiously elite club reportedly on the last month’s 14.
Malik said rules were not being violated, as every Pakistani after citing some specific reasons could avail this facility, so did Imran Khan.
Another top official of NADRA wishing not to be named said the Authority had received a formal written request in this regard from PTI Chairman. He (Imran) had requested for processing his national identity card at his residence, the official said, adding, “It was a general request, without citing any security concerns.”
When asked about the criterion to avail such facility, the official said, the facility was primarily for the people with disabilities, imprisoned or hospitalised persons and all those who could not visit NADRA center for some obvious reason.
When asked about the ‘obvious reason’ stated by the PTI Chairman to avail this facility, the official recalling his memory said, “Through that letter, NADRA was informed that Imran Khan is the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, not an ordinary person....”
A common man stops to ask, is there any difference, when it comes to VIP culture, between our very own ‘captain’ and respectable President, who according to Khan, is the ‘biggest thief of this country’ and his government and ally parties promoters of VIP culture.
No doubt, that practice of Imran Khan was not against the spirit of rules and regulations of NADRA. But when it comes to the Captain, his voters and supporters specifically and ordinary Pakistanis in general demand something “awami” rather the decades old and traditional way of action. PTI Shafqat Mehmood was tried to contact but he was not available for his comments over the issue.

Pakistan: State blamed for complicity in persecution of minorities

Successive governments not only failed to contain religious-based violence and amend the controversial blasphemy law, but many state functionaries were also involved in hate crime, a survey carried out by an Islamabad-based think tank showed.
The findings revealed that discrimination against minorities was connected with the overall inequality and government inattention, lack of effective protection accorded by the state against violence, intimidation and intolerance.
The survey, “Minority rights in Pakistan: historic neglect or state complicity?” conducted by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) stated that the most common tool of persecution against non-Muslim communities and even the Muslims in many cases was the allegation of blasphemy.
The survey also covered the other forms of discrimination, including opportunities for seeking jobs. Around 73 per cent of the respondents belonging to non-Muslim minority communities in Sindh said they experienced discrimination due to their religious believes.
This was followed by 50 per cent of respondents in KP, 31 per cent in Balochistan and 29 per cent in Punjab.
When asked, “Do you think the government caters to your needs as much as it does to the followers of other religions, 92 per cent Sikh community members responded ‘Yes’, while 63 per cent of Christian respondents said ‘No'
It was highlighted that faith-based violence, targeted killings, kidnapping for ransom and incitement to hatred were not confined to non-Muslims alone.
“Muslim sects mainly Shias, including the Hazaras in Balochistan, have become frequent targets of violence for their religious beliefs. State complicity is yet another factor which makes minority persecutions more rampant and left unpunished.”
The failure of the government to tighten protection mechanisms, both judicial and executive, and its use of political religion as a tool to oppress minority groups were also examined in the larger context of spreading extremist, anti-liberal propaganda and a peripheral weak civil society to counter the right-wing ideologies.
“When mob violence dictates court verdicts in cases of blasphemy and judges hearing arguments are threatened and killed, there is a severe need for protecting the accused and those defending them.”
The survey was conducted in 2014 with 327 respondents belonging to Christian, Hindu, Bahai and Sikh communities from the four provinces.
Most of the respondents, though deeply committed to their faith, were able to integrate and live peacefully with other religious groups, but felt threatened by the overall deteriorating security situation in the country.
The survey said extremist views were taking hold of the mainstream and were accorded encouragement by the state.
“It has been noted that a record number of blasphemy accusations have surfaced over the past years, with young children and handicapped individuals punished for their words and religion and those seeking to inflict inhumane harm against vulnerable, poor communities without influential, political support permitted to do so with impunity.”
It also referred to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that 34 individuals were charged with blasphemy in 2013. Though no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, 16 people were on the death row and 20 were serving life sentences.
The survey said attempts had been made in the past to amend the blasphemy law but they were dropped fearing a backlash from the religious parties.
Violence, hate crime, murder, desecrating places of worship, verbal abuse and intimidation were regular occurrences for the Muslims and non-Muslims communities and this was the consequence of the intolerant extremist ideologies supported by the state.
The survey compared the situation of Dalit women in India, with the Hindu women in Sindh and said they were often kidnapped, forcible raped and converted to Islam despite demands from within the community and its leaders that the authorities must act to apprehend the oppressors.
“Such a crime, because it goes unpunished, is under-reported and the victims refuse to give statements for fear of their families being attacked.”
However, the survey stated that a majority of Pakistanis did not adhere to the extremist mindset and there was also a strong backing for inter-community associations that appeared to be functional for most minority groups in various parts of the country.
It was evident from the response to a question, “Do you participate freely in cultural and religious festivities along with the followers of other religions?” As many as 94 per cent Hindus, 76 per cent Christians, 96 per cent Sikhs and 90 per cent Bahais said ‘yes’.

Shia genocide continues unabated in Pakistan - 3 Bomb attacks in last 72 hours

by Naseem Chaudhary
Shia genocide continues unabated in Pakistan: 3 Bomb attacks in last 72 hours, on Shias returning to their homes in Gilgit and Parachinar for Eid holidays.
This is the third bomb attack massacre of Shia muslims in Pakistan in the last 72 hours but not a peep from Pakistan’s Pro Taliban kleptocrat Interior Minister, Chaudhary Nisar. Similarly, hardly any notable mention from the so-called secular Pashtun nationalists whose Deobandi sectarian idenity clearly trumps any human rights concerns of the Shia Pashtuns facing Genocide at the hands of the Deobandi Taliban-ASWJ alliance. PTI, which is in government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa need to be condemned. However, secular Pashtun nationalists always assume the high moral ground when it comes to opposing the Taliban but where are they on the ongoing Shia genocide of fellow Pashtuns at the hands of the Taliban? Like the rest of Pakistan’s drawing room elite liberals, they also continue to misrepresent Shia Genocide in the dishonest Sunni-Shia proxy war theory.
Two separate buses travelling to Shia majority areas were attacked by Deobandi ASWJ terrorists with bombs yesterday. Scores of Shias were killed and wounded including women and children. Their only fault – returning from major urban centers like Peshawar to their homes in Gilgit and Parachinar in Pakistan’s Northern Areas.
The attacks had all the ruthless and bloodthirsty hallmarks of Deobandi terror organizations like ASWJ-LeJ and the Taliban.
These attacks have continued unabated in Pakistan and the few arrested suspects have either been let of in jail breaks or by Pakistan’s Pro Taliban judiciary. The ruling PML N is in an open alliance with ASWJ-LeJ who are the ones committing Sunni, Sufi and Shia genocide in Pakistan. ASWJ-LeJ and other Deobandi terrorist organizations are also linked to ISIS.
Twenty four hours have passed and not a single arrest has been made by either the Federal PML N government or the Provincial PTI government under whose jurisdiction in Peshawar one of the blasts took place. The typical hollow and vague condemnations have followed which hide both the identity of the victims as well as the perpetrators.
This is what life in Pakistan has been reduced to. Aside from the odd mention by a few columnists, Shia Genocide has now been accepted as a routine activity. The ruling PML N does not care, the PPP is spineless, MQM is too faced while PTI is too busy conducting politics to care about the carnage against Shias that is regularly occurring in Khyper Pukhtunkhwa.
As for Pakistan’s (fake) Civil Society and human rights champions, the less said the better. Between misrepresenting Shia Genocide to ignoring it altogether, most have played a negative role. Pakistan’s premier human rights activist, Asma Jehangir is more passionate about defending her Pro Taliban client, Nawaz Sharif, than worrying about the plight of Pakistan’s vulnerable and targetted communities who are being targeted by her clients friends and allies.

Asif Ali Zardari : Solution to crises given in Constitution:

Former president and Co-chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari Sunday said the Parliament and constitution can provide solution to the present crises and underlined the need for unity among political forces to tackle the challenges being faced by the country.
He expressed these views while talking to Pakistan Muslim League-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervez Elahi who called on him here at Bilawal House.
Zardari said all the party heads are respectable for him and that Pakistan’s interest should be on top in the priority list of the entire political forces of the country.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on the occasion said his party had discussed every demand and issue by remaining within the parameters of the Constitution.
He said democracy is the name of resolving the problems and issues of the people, who cannot be stopped from staging protests in case the rulers demonstrated an undemocratic attitude.

Video - Meraj Mohammad Khan tells why he joined and quit Imran Khan's PTI.

EX PTI Leader Meraj Muhammad Khan with Najam... by SalimJanMazari

Pakistan : Ending the sit-in standoff

While PTI Chairman Imran Khan continues to hang on to his maximalist position refusing to call off the sit-in until the acceptance of his demand for the Prime Minister's resignation, his party's protest politics partner, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri, is slowly but surely opting for the compromise route. The latter told supporters from Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Karachi on Friday they could go home. Even though PAT's stated objective, aside from staging a revolution, was also to seek the PM's resignation, he made no mention of it in his speech. Instead the shrewd operator that he is, Qadri proclaimed victory and announced a new plan of action. He declared, "we succeeded to create awareness among the people and brought a change in their mindset", telling PAT activists to go and make preparations for the party's upcoming rallies in Faisalabad and Lahore "because the struggle for revolution and the campaign for elections will continue side by side." In other words, he is saying the sit-in has served its purpose and the way forward and hence out of the current stalemate - contrary to his earlier stance that the system is so rotten it is useless to participate in elections - is to continue struggle for revolution from within the electoral system.
The PTI, on the other hand, seems to have painted itself into a corner with its hardliner position. Indeed, Imran is getting an overwhelming response from the public with his daily anti-status quo rhetoric and 'go Nawaz go' slogans. But while his daily harangues are irritating for the government, unconditional support it received from a joint parliamentary session offers strength and reassurance to the ruling party. Aware that the sit-ins and rallies cannot force him into resigning the PM has dug in his heels. Yet the stalemate cannot last forever. If the two sides fail to resolve it, something else will. A direct military intervention is not possible anymore; but an indirect intervention is not completely outside the realm of possibility. Already, certain political leaders have been dropping hints about installation of a technocratic government to preside over fresh elections. If that unsavoury suggestion turns into reality, excuses will be invented to delay elections, under one pretext or the other, for at least a couple of years. In such an eventuality all genuine political forces, the PML-N and PTI included, will be the losers.
Notably, talks between the two parties on electoral reforms and constitution of a judicial commission to investigate alleged electoral rigging broke off when the PTI along with PAT marched on to the Parliament building and the Prime Minister House, and the PTI blamed the government for resorting to crackdown on its workers. Both sides since have continued to accuse one another for the standoff. Meanwhile, political uncertainty is causing serious harm to an already struggling economy. Needless to say, the situation does not serve the interest of genuine political players. It is good to note that the six parliamentary parties' jirga is continuing to try and bring the two sides to the negotiating table. According to a press report, the jirga has the go-ahead from both PTI and PAT to take the dialogue process forward. Hopefully, the government will also show flexibility to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Pakistan : Kidnapped ANP leader Arbab Zahir Kasi recovered from Peshawar

Kasi tribe chief and Awami National Party Balochistan Chapter’s former president Arbab Zahir Kasi, who was abducted in October 2013, was recovered from Peshawar on Sunday, Express News reported.
Confirming Kasi’s release, ANP leader Sardar Asghar Khan Achakzai said he was recovered without payment of ransom. “Tribal leaders played a crucial role in his release,” Achakzai added.
On October 23, 2013, Arbab Zahir Kasi was kidnapped from Quetta while on his way to visit his relatives in the downtown area of the city.
A group of armed men had intercepted his vehicle near an intersection of Patel Road and after manhandling his driver and, snatching his mobile phone and car keys, the kidnappers took Kasi away, leaving the driver and the car behind.

Bilawal Bhutto condemns the murder of Qadir Baloch

Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned target killing of PPP worker Qadir Balouch son of Khan Muhammad in Madho Village of Karachi East and termed the killing as terrorist act aimed at intimidating the democratic workers.
In a press statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that such brutal killings can’t desist the brave workers of Pakistan Peoples’ Party, from carrying out the mission of our martyred leadership to bring democracy and equal rights to all Pakistanis.
He sympathized with the members of family of Baloch and assured them that PPP will continue to strive for the rights of common people and no terrorist act can deter it from continuing its struggle.

Pakistan - Leaving Imran behind

The country has been held hostage by two parties — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) — for weeks now but the deadlock finally seems to be breaking and progress is visible as one of the protesting parties will be leaving the sit-in site. PAT leader Dr Tahirul Qadri on the 51st day of the sit-in allowed his supporters to go back to their homes to celebrate Eidul Azha, who were in any case debilitated by camping for so long outside parliament without making any headway. The condition however, was put on them to go back and motivate the public in their respective cities to attend the rallies that PAT has announced will take place in Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi. The decision to let the workers leave the protesting sight came a day after Qadri announced to contest the next general elections and therefore choosing a democratic way of bringing about the ‘revolution’ he wants. It is reportedly being said that the PAT has secretly signed a deal with the government to get a “face saving” exit. The government will now probably withdraw most of the anti-terrorism cases filed against PAT workers and leaders. Whether such reports hold any weight or not, it as a good sign that belatedly though it may be, the parties have come to a peaceful agreement. As a matter of fact, the government quite early conceded to the doable demands put up by the PAT leadership but the deadlock persisted only due to the unreasonable demands. Nonetheless, the government still has to broker a deal with Imran Khan who has vowed to spend his Eid at D-Chowk.
it was written on the walls that no matter how unwavering and disgruntled these protestors from the twin parties might be, the material conditions would not allow them to stay much longer and it was inevitable that the crowd will dwindle. Therefore, the strategy by both the leaders — Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri — to shift their protests elsewhere was nothing but the outcome of sagging morale of the waning supporters and the on-ground logic demanded them to do so in order to save themselves from any public embarrassment. Nevertheless, the decision made by Qadri to leave the sit-in and take part in the next elections is a welcome sign that the political logjam is finally breaking.

Pakistan : Polio: our badge of shame

THE sorry tale of Pakistan’s abysmal performance in practically all global development and welfare indicators is equalled, perhaps, only by the state’s stubborn, almost criminal, refusal to undertake the task at hand.
Nothing, it seems can bestir the administrators of this country, regardless of whichever party is in power, into taking their responsibilities seriously.
Consider, for example, the fact that Pakistan made history on Friday: it broke its own record of polio cases, with eight additional cases being reported on this day, bringing this year’s tally — so far — to 202. The last time we saw such a high number of confirmations was in 2000, when 199 cases were recorded.
This regression is all the more distressing when it is considered that hardly 10 years ago, the indications were that the spread of the crippling virus was being brought under control in the country and there was hope that soon Pakistan too would join the majority of the globe’s nations that had proved themselves polio-free.
That this sorry state of affairs comes after international authorities concluded that Pakistan is in danger of reintroducing the virus to other countries, and the World Health Organisation recommended travel restrictions on unvaccinated travellers from Pakistan, is a damning indictment of the authorities’ lackadaisical attitude.
Almost all figures in political and bureaucratic circles have, at some point or the other, over the months past professed their recognition of the issue and their commitment to eradicating polio.
The fact that none of these people have subsequently put in any sustained action, or organised concerted and meaningful efforts, means that they were simply using it as a photo-op.
From Imran Khan to Maulana Samiul Haq, from Aseefa Bhutto Zardari to Maryam Nawaz, to say nothing of those directly involved such as the heads of the prime minister’s focal team for polio and the officials of the health department — all have professed their commitment to protecting future generations from this dreaded disease. And yet, there has been no sustained action at all; if anything, the issue only continues to worsen.
The travel advisory constitutes a reminder of the pariah status Pakistan faces if polio is not brought under control. While funds from international donors have been pouring in to bolster Pakistan’s own efforts and resources, all they have elicited are promises that have proved false and half-baked measures, such as the non-functional system of checking for vaccination certificates at airports.
The world could be forgiven for wondering what it will take to get Pakistan to put its own house in order in this regard. There is, perhaps, only one thing left to say now. The political classes are once again mulling over the shape of the country’s future; they need reminding that no future at all is possible with a crippled population.

Pakistan- Zardari refuses to take on PML-N

Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has rejected some party leaders’ suggestion that the party should abandon its support to the PML-N as it was affecting its popularity in Punjab. Mr Zardari said he was at present more interested in protecting democracy than party politics because the nation was going through testing times.
“We are supporting the PML-N to protect democratic system. I don’t agree that our policy of reconciliation is damaging the PPP, particularly in Punjab,” he told the party’s office-bearers from southern Punjab and Lahore at a meeting in Bilawal House on Saturday.
Some of the participants had expressed concern over the PPP’s policy of “overtly” supporting the PML-N government. A participant told Dawn that some office-bearers spoke their mind freely before Mr Zardari, saying the party’s reconciliation policy was costing it dearly in Punjab.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is filling the vacuum left by the PPP. We are conceding space to the PTI. We should start openly taking on the PML-N government and its leadership on issues of public importance and play the role of an active opposition,” an office-bearer was quoted as saying.
Mr Zardari listened to their concerns, but told the office-bearers: “This is no time for such politics. The PPP will not compromise on democracy and supremacy of the constitution and parliament.”
He said he would visit other parts of Punjab soon to strengthen the PPP in the province. It was no more a stronghold of the PML-N as people were ready to take to the streets in protest against its policies, he agreed with the workers..
Mr Zaradri deplored the defection of Malik Aamir Dogar, secretary general of the PPP’s south Punjab chapter. “The late father of Mr Dogar had told him that he should never quit the PPP, but he did not follow his advice,” he said.
Mr Dogar had refused to accept PPP ticket for by-elections in the NA-149 constituency (Multan) scheduled for Oct 16. He is contesting the polls as an independent candidate with the PTI’s support. His main rival is veteran politician Javed Hashmi, who has backing of the PML-N.
In an apparent reference to Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri, Mr Zardari said: “Those fostering anarchy will not succeed. The country cannot afford the politics of sit-ins. Dialogue, and not street politics, is a solution to all problems.”
He said it was not good to put one’s own or the party’s interest above the country’s .
“They criticise our children who are Pakistani citizens though theirs are foreign nationals,” he said in a veiled reference to Imran Khan.
He said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had decided to address a rally to be held in Karachi on Oct 18 to observe the seventh anniversary of the Karsaz tragedy. PPP workers from across the country will participate.
“Except the PPP which had a rich history of political struggle and sacrifices, all other political parties are a product of the establishment,” Mr Zardari asserted.
Some participants complained that Mr Zardari’s political secretary Rukhsana Bangash did not allow them to meet him. He said he would look into the matter.
Prominent among the participants were former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PPP leaders Qamar Zaman Kaira, Sherry Rehman, Sardar Latif Khosa, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Samina Ghurki, Shaukat Basra and Faisal Mir.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Gilani said the PML-N could not fulfil its promises. “Protests and sit-ins are part of democratic process and an objection cannot be raised to them.”
Had the PML-N government adopted the Zardari style of politics, it would not have faced the problems it was confronted with, he said.
Mr Gilani said the PPP had raised voice against rigging soon after last year’s general elections but nobody supported it.
“We want to uphold supremacy of democracy, not of the government or a person,” he said and demanded that local body polls be held in the country.