Thursday, October 23, 2014
At the moment the world finds itself threatened by a spate of both traditional and non-traditional security issues: the spread of Ebola, terrorism, the resurgence of the Iraq war, and the Ukraine crisis. All countries are struggling to find a path of development through these unpromising circumstances. China, as a fast-growing country, has every reason to decide on its own path. China has a clear awareness of what it should do and what it should never do, a mindset that demonstrates that it takes its responsibilities to the world seriously. China's interpretation of what it should do means that it will be active in combating common concerns and contributing to world peace and development. China is willing to shoulder its responsibilities based on its own strength and its international status. China was one of the first countries to grant aid to Ebola-hit western African countries, offering more than 32 million US dollars of emergency assistance in cash, food, and other materials, as well as dispatching a medical team to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and also providing the World Health Organization and the African Union with 2 million US dollars assistance in cash. China is also active in international efforts to combat terrorism and has played a vital role in defending regional and world peace by backing the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, promising to offer Iraq 60 million yuan in humanitarian assistance, and working with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to thwart around 1000 terrorist attacks. China has reduced 30% of its carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2013, and recently unveiled a target to slash 40% of its 2005 carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. China abides by the UN charter and international law and has worked to develop cordial relations with other countries in accordance with the Five Principles of peaceful coexistence. China is committed to implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to talks and negotiations with concerned parties. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of other independent countries. It fully supports the right of people of all nations to choose their own path of development. It has repeatedly spoken up for developing countries and striven for more say for developing countries in international bodies, a move that has been heartily welcomed by developing countries. China carries out win-win cooperation with other countries. It is trying to build a new model relationship between major powers with the US, an initiative that will contribute to the interests of both China and US, as well as responding to the hopes and expectations of the international community. China has unveiled its proposals for further and deeper reform, and hopes to share the benefits of this reform with other countries. It has contributed to the foundation of the BRICS Development Bank and raised cooperation among emerging countries to a new level. China has also initiated the “one belt, one road” project, which offers golden opportunities to the countries along the belt and the road. China will never do anything to threaten peace or damage peace. We hold that what you do not do to others what you would not wish to have done to yourself. Therefore, China follows a defensive defense policy and maintains its opposition to hegemony and power politics. China's position on what it will do and what it will never do demonstrates its wisdom and its approach to new relationships among all powers, however great or small.
http://fusion.net/Saudi Arabia is one of the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to women’s rights. Women must have a male guardian to accompany them in public, grant permission to travel, attend school or marry. Gender segregation is also common in public areas — from swimming pools to restaurants. The country is slowly making strides toward some form of gender equality. Women will be allowed to vote in 2015 and may even be able to run for municipal elections then. But it is still the only country in the world where women are strictly prohibited from driving. Saudi women there have campaigned for the right to drive since 1990. The campaign continued in 2011 and reignited on the social media scene more recently last October with a small handful of women getting behind the wheel and sharing videos of their daring drives on YouTube. Today, many of these women are pushing forward in their demand to drive despite the risks and punishments they may face. “In my sixth attempt I was stopped by traffic police. And I signed a pledge not to not drive again,” Saudi blogger and columnist Tamador Alyami told Fusion Live. “The car is my car and the registration is under my name, but they still made my husband sign the pledge. And they towed my car away for eight months without a ticket.” Supporters of the ban say women driving can lead to more car accidents, low birthrate or even the spread of adultery. Still, women like Tamador are pushing forward with their campaign to end the driving ban. “The campaign is worth every risk because it’s one right, a lot of rights that we are missing and we are asking to have a good life. And all our rights, not only this right because standing passive and just waiting for your rights to come to you will not work.”
Saudi Arabia has strongly warned its women against any move which violates the kingdom’s controversial ban on female driving. In a statement issued on Thursday, Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said it will "strictly implement" measures against anyone who "contributes in any manner or by any acts, towards providing violators with the opportunity to undermine the social cohesion." The warning comes amid a renewed right-to-drive campaign to challenge a law that prevents women from driving in the kingdom. Activists have encouraged Saudi women to post on social websites pictures of themselves behind the wheel. Several women took the wheel last year on October 26 in defiance of the driving ban in the kingdom. More than 2,700 people have already signed an online petition to support women's driving rights in the Arab country. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving. The medieval ban is a religious fatwa imposed by the country’s Wahhabi clerics. If women get behind the wheel in the kingdom, they may be arrested, sent to court and even flogged. Saudi authorities have defied calls by international rights groups to end what has been described as its violation of women’s rights.
For several months, the Islamic State has been making a concerted effort to enlist women and girls. It is deploying female recruiters, producing new publications and creating online forums.
The precise number of women seeking to join the groups is unclear, but some analysts estimate that roughly 10 percent of recruits from the West are women, often influenced by social media networks that offer advice, tips and even logistical support for travel. These networks often portray life under the caliphate as a kind of Islamic paradise that offers a religious alternative to what can often be a second-class life of struggle and alienation in the West.
While some women are attracted to the idea of marrying a fighter, others “are joining I.S. because it provides a new utopian politics, participating in jihad and being part of the creation of a new Islamic state,” said Katherine E. Brown, a lecturer in defense studies at King’s College London who studies the phenomenon.She cited images on social media of female recruits cooking, chatting, caring for children and meeting for coffee. At the same time, there are images of women carrying automatic rifles, wearing suicide belts and even displaying severed heads. The “combination of violence and domesticity” is important, Ms. Brown said, adding that the women were politically engaged and often felt alienated by Western life, mores and politics. Just 10 days ago, an all-woman jihadist group calling itself Al Zawraa announced its establishment on the Internet, saying that it sought to prepare women for jihad by teaching them Shariah, weapons use, social media and other online tools, first aid, sewing and cooking for male fighters (“the heroes of the religion”). Al Zawraa appears to be affiliated with the pro-Islamic State group Al Minbar Jihadi Media Network, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activities. Continue reading the main story Historically, women make up about 25 percent of the members of terrorist organizations as diverse as the Irish Republican Army, Chechen fighters and the Tamil Tigers, Ms. Brown said. But in the case of the Nusra Front and the Islamic State, the figure is about 10 percent, more in line with the gender makeup of far-right movements, she added. Over the past two years, “a maximum of 200 women” have traveled to Syria or Iraq from Europe, she said. At least a quarter of those women traveled with members of their families — husbands, brothers or fathers. While figures vary, at least 60 of the women are believed to be British, and more than 70 are French. A majority are thought to be 18 to 25 years old. Kamaldeep Bhui, a professor of cultural psychiatry and epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, said that young Muslim women were as likely to be radicalized as men. “There is an increasing epidemic of girls” wanting to join jihad, he said at a briefing organized by the Science Media Center in London. He found that women with the highest risk of radicalization were most angry about injustice and most tolerant of even violent forms of protest against it. “The group who sympathized were younger, in full-time education” and more middle-class, Professor Bhui said. “They were more likely to be depressed and socially isolated.” Recent migrants who were poorer and busier were less likely to have radical sympathies, he said, in part because they remembered the problems of their homelands. Dounia Bouzar, a French anthropologist, is the founder of the Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Excesses Linked to Islam. In most cases, she found, young women who seek jihad do not come from particularly religious families but are good students who want to go to Syria to marry a devout Muslim or provide humanitarian aid. “There is a mix of indoctrination and seduction,” Ms. Bouzar said. “They upload photos of bearded Prince Charmings on Facebook.” The propaganda and messaging of the Islamic State is positive, a contrast to the negative message coming from anxious governments, Ms. Brown of King’s College London said. “The Islamic State offers a positive image and says: ‘You’re welcome here. Come join us in the formation of an ideal state.’ But from Western governments, it’s very negative, so they feel demonized constantly and alienated.” Some of the British women are reportedly running a sort of all-female religious police force to monitor un-Islamic behavior in Raqqa, a Syrian city held by the Islamic State. Other women have been posting on Twitter images of food, restaurants and sunsets clearly intended to lure more recruits. In Colorado, friends and relatives of the three teenagers who were detained over the weekend were struggling to understand why, according to federal officials, they left the Denver suburbs to join Islamic State fighters in Syria. Last Friday, the two sisters stayed home from school and told their father that they were heading to the library. The parents soon discovered that the girls were gone, with their passports and $2,000 in cash. The reality of life inside the radical groups is often different, of course, from the cheerful images on screens. The Islamic State is run by men and is strictly patriarchal, with recruits separated by sex. Ms. Bouzar said some young women had found themselves confined to the home. “Some see the massacres, the bombs, and understand that they’ve been had,” she said. Others, Ms. Brown pointed out, “find that life there is as mundane as in Birmingham or Glasgow — except for the electricity blackouts and communal toilets and beheadings.”
Once inside Syria, they are married off to jihadists. Several who have tried to return have found themselves prisoners, analysts said. They are forced to wear head-to-toe robes with a niqab, a head scarf that covers the face.According to numerous interviews with Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria over electronic services including email and Skype, women play an important role, with wives — Syrian, Iraqi or foreign — often accompanying their husbands as they move from post to post. Married fighters receive higher pay and holiday bonuses, members say.
There have been cases of men taking multiple wives, as well as accounts of rape, of forced marriage and of women sold into slavery. In an article in Foreign Policy, Aki Peritz and Tara Maller wrote that male jihadists were “committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale,” citing reports from the United Nations and Amnesty International.
The Syrian government has long said that women are being recruited for “jihad al-niqah,” or “sex jihad,” as some sheikhs argue that it is religiously permitted to have sex with fighters to help them in their duties. Several female Islamic State supporters said that was a myth, and that women were joining the group to provide substantive help such as medical treatment, social media advice and cooking.“I know some sisters who emigrated to Syria a couple of times to help the holy warriors,” said Umm Fatimah, a Tunisian woman who said she hoped to join two brothers fighting with the group. “And not for jihad al-niqah.” The family of one young French girl in Syria, Nora el-Bathy, 15, said she was desperate to come home. Her brother, Fouad, said that she had expected to work in a hospital but that instead she was babysitting the children of jihadists. The family, which lives in Avignon in the south of France, had no idea that she had become radicalized, or that she would leave her home dressed as usual, only to change into a full-length covering on the way to school. “We were completely unaware,” said Fouad, who has since seen pictures of Nora fully veiled that were taken by her friends. “We did not know that she had a double life.”
The suspect in Wednesday's shootings in Ottawa had "connections" to jihadists in Canada who shared a radical Islamist ideology, including at least one who went overseas to fight in Syria, multiple U.S. sources told CNN on Thursday. The gunman was Quebec native Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam, U.S. officials said. Zehaf-Bibeau was connected to Hasibullah Yusufzai through social media, according to a U.S. counterterrorism source. Yusufzai is wanted by Canadian authorities for traveling overseas to fight alongside Islamist fighters in Syria, The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, reported. American officials are reportedly scouring databases and communications for possible links to American-based jihadists. Ottawa shooting witness: It was chaos Meet the hero of the Ottawa shooting Neighbor: Shooter had 'good upbringing' Other radicalized people connected to Zehaf-Bibeau are still believed to be living in Canada, two U.S. law enforcement officials said. Harper: "We will not run scared' Canadian lawmakers returned to work Thursday, giving a standing ovation to the ceremonial Parliament official credited with taking down the gunman who killed a soldier and shook the Parliament area. Their return came as the country tried to come to grips with the second killing of a soldier on home soil in three days, and questions as to why the attacks came and who exactly was behind them. "We'll be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent, but we will not panic. And as for the business of government, well, here we are -- in our seats, in our chamber, in the very heart of our democracy," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the House of Commons in Ottawa. Lawmakers stood and cheered Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who officials say took down the suspect in the halls of Parliament minutes after the killing of Canadian army reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at a war memorial nearby. Vickers, who regularly leads a procession into the House as sessions begin, stood with his ceremonial mace and appeared to be emotional during the ovation. He later released a statement saying he is touched by the attention. "However, I have the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of Members, employees and visitors to the Hill," Vickers said. It was a step toward normalcy for a government district that was widely locked down for hours after the shootings at Canada's National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. Authorities say a man shot and killed Cirillo, who was standing guard at the war memorial on Wednesday morning. The gunman then entered the nearby main Parliament building in downtown Ottawa, where witnesses say shots were fired -- many by security officers -- before he was shot dead, authorities said. A plainclothes constable who was working security at Parliament was shot in the leg, according to a House of Commons official briefed on the investigation. The injury is not life-threatening, and the constable was treated at a hospital and released, the official said on condition of anonymity. The shootings left government workers and others locked inside offices for a large portion of the day while police searched buildings to ensure that no other culprit was loose. Wednesday's deadly attack was the second on Canadian soldiers this week. On Monday, a convert to Islam who Canadian authorities said was "radicalized" hit two soldiers with a car in Quebec, killing one of them. Police later killed the man. "When faced with attacks on the country we all love ... I know we will always stand together," Harper said. "Canadians will not be intimidated." The suspect Canadian authorities had confiscated Zehaf-Bibeau's passport when they learned he planned to go fight overseas, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN's Susan Candiotti. The official said it was not clear when that happened. Who was Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau? Zehaf-Bibeau, who was born as Michael Joseph Hall in 1982, had a history of drug use before he converted, two sources said. His mother, Susan Bibeau, spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday. She struggled to hold back tears and said she didn't know what to say to those hurt in the attack. "If I'm crying, it's for the people," Bibeau reportedly said. "Not for my son." Police are satisfied that only one person was responsible for Wednesday's shootings, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau told Canadian media outlet CTV News on Thursday morning. Lawmakers pay respects to soldier Before Parliament reopened, lawmakers gathered outside the memorial -- some holding flowers -- for a moment of silence for Cirillo. "This was very off the cuff," lawmaker Charlie Angus told CNN on Thursday morning. "I think parliamentarians really just felt that before we walked into the Parliament buildings, we had to pay respect to a young man who gave his life for his country." Angus said the soldiers' killings this week left the government with plenty of questions. "The questions we need to ask ourselves (include), 'How are these people getting this crazy ideology that's inspiring them to do these copycat killings?' " he said. Another question, he said: What can society do to deal with people who find themselves on the fringes? Issues of mental health, he said, need to be addressed. "We cannot let people like this fall through the cracks and end up doing deranged killings," Angus said.
“Asalam a laikum and Namastay. Diwali Mubarik, I am extremely happy to be celebrating Diwali today with my brothers and sisters in Larkana, just like I spent Eid with my brother and sisters in Karachi. We want a Pakistan that my mother, Quaid-e-Awam and Quaid-e –Azam dreamed of. A Pakistan where Muslim and non Muslims are treated equally. A Pakistan, where Diwali is celebrated with the same passion and fervour as we celebrate Eid. A Pakistan, where every citizen is equal in the eyes of law and has equal place in our hearts. I would like to congratulate the Government of Sindh for being the only administration in Pakistan which is celebrating Diwali this year. There are many other political parties in Pakistan. However, in their eyes Muslim and non Muslims are not equal. I am sure, if Quaid e Azam was alive, he would have despaired over the treatment of non- Muslims in his Pakistan. Religious Fascists only care about their personal and political gains and use the laws made by Zia. It is these religious fascists, who after conquering Punjab, have evil designs on Sindh. They are taking away the rights of the poor and non-Muslims in the name of religion. Marvaysun Marvaysun Sindh na Diasu. Marsu Marsu Jinnah ka Pakistan na Daisu. However, we must not forget that this is not only happening in Pakistan. There is a very famous quote by JFK “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. And we will never let evil succeed. Even today, in America, religious fascists are killing children and doctors in the name of religion. In Palestine, religious fascists are to this day spilling the blood of innocent Palestinians in the name of religion. However, wherever there is injustice in the world, the leaders of that country stand up, and speak against the persecution of the poor and minorities. However in Pakistan, the status quo politicians do not stand up and speak. This can only mean that, either, they don’t care about their people, or they are too scared to speak up. In Punjab, an attack takes place on a church in Joseph Colony, and no one speaks up! A blast occurs in a church in Peshawar and still silence! However, there is a big difference between the PPP and these status quo politicians. If there is an attack on a mosque or temple, the PPP considers this an attack on Ghari Khuda Bux itself! We will not tolerate this discriminatory treatment of the minorities. And inshallah, we will together build a safe, prosperous and forward thinking Pakistan.”
Islamic State’s military prowess and string of defections leave once-formidable Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan on the ropes.The dramatic rise of Islamic State (Isis) in Syria and Iraq is helping to tear apart the Pakistani Taliban, the beleaguered militant group beset by infighting and splits. Once the country’s largest and most feared militant coalition, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been on the ropes since a US drone strike killed its charismatic leader Hakimullah Mehsud in 2013, a blow followed this summer by the launch of a military onslaught against the group’s sanctuaries. But the latest challenge to the TTP has come from the startling military successes of Isis and its demand that all Muslims pledge allegiance to the new caliphate it announced in June. The claim to global Islamic leadership by the self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi threatens to undermine the TTP, which draws considerable authority from the fact that its symbolic figurehead is Mullah Omar, the one-eyed village preacher who ruled the original Taliban “emirate” in Afghanistan prior to the US-led invasion of 2001. This week the TTP’s beleaguered leadership announced it had sacked its spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, after the high profile militant announced he had pledged his personal allegiance to Baghdadi. The statement published on the movement’s Facebook page said the spokesman had left the group some time before and reiterated that the TTP’s leader, Mullah Fazlullah, continued to back Mullah Omar, “the emir of believers”. Last week an audio recording was circulated in which Shahid and five other senior Taliban commanders from across Pakistan’s troubled north-western borderlands with Afghanistan announced they were now followers of Baghdadi. Mohammad Amir Rana, head of the security thinktank the Pak Institute of Peace Studies, said the turning of Pakistani militants towards Isis was highly significant. “This shows [Isis] has captured the imagination and it will encourage many other smaller groups who have been waiting and watching to see what the major groups do.” The challenge from Isis is just the latest facing the TTP, which has repeatedly splintered since Fazlullah took control of the movement last year after a bitter succession dispute. Not being a member of the Mehsud tribe which had dominated the TTP, Fazlullah was unable to hold together a coalition of militant groups that originally joined together in 2007. The movement has fragmented into at least four groups, in part due to disagreements over strategy: whether militants committed to imposing sharia law on the country by force should engage in peace talks offered by the government. Fazlullah’s authority was further undermined by the fact that he is based in the relative safety of eastern Afghanistan at a time when Pakistan’s army is engaged in a major operation to destroy the TTP’s sanctuary in North Waziristan, which the army claims has killed 1,100 militants since it was launched on 15 June. Although the TTP disarray and loss of its North Waziristan hideout have contributed to a sharp fall in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, analysts warn that the movement and its various splinter groups are anxious to prove they can still inflict serious damage. Ehsan Ehsanullah, spokesman of the largest and most formidable new group, the TTP Jamat-ul-Ahrar, told the Guardian they were now “the real TTP” because they had been joined by so many of the Pakistani Taliban’s original founders. And he claimed the loss of North Waziristan had not affected their fighting strength. “Before the operation in North Waziristan was launched we moved our resources and basics to safe places,” he wrote in an email exchange. “Changing headquarters does not change ideologies, strategies and the desire to ruin the enemies.”
Pro-Taliban takfiri terrorists of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) have killed another Shia Muslim in Peshawar,The Shia Post reports. Tahir Ali son of Abdul Qayyum was attacked by banned terrorists of ASWJ in Khalid Town area of Peshawar. Martyr Tahir Ali was a Tailor Master. http://en.shiapost.com/2014/10/23/another-shia-muslim-shot-martyred-in-peshawar/
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that his party did not need to form an alliance with the MQM for the formation of the Sindh government.
Pakistan is finally responding to the threat posed by Ebola virus, as the Ministry of National Health Services revealed the steps it had taken to ensure that the country remained secure and Ebola-free. Other than setting up isolation units in hospitals located in all major cities, EVD counters have been set up at airports to scan passengers arriving in the country from locations deemed dangerous - mainly African countries. In the absence of systems which can be deemed suitable to effectively deal with an EVD outbreak, Pakistan’s best chances lie in preventing the deadly virus from entering its territory. For this purpose, no errors, human or otherwise, can be allowed to occur. It is critical to check the travel history of arriving passengers in detail rather than looking solely for the location they are immediately arriving from. Such cannot be accomplished without satisfactory co-operation between the health ministry and the immigration department. It is also important to ask valid questions, as advised by health professionals, to verify what cannot be ascertained from travel documents alone. It must also be kept in mind that people don’t travel to Pakistan solely by air. They travel through land and water too. What measures have been taken by the concerned ministry to scan people arriving in the country through its ports? People do travel to African countries and elsewhere via ships, and present just as imminent a danger as those arriving on airports. It would be in error to ignore such an important aspect of international travel. Other than ports, there is also a need to establish EVD counters on borders for people coming in through Afghanistan, Iran, China and India. Knowing the porous nature of our borders and our inability to prevent illegal entry, it should be accepted that we will remain exposed. While we take measures to prevent EVD from entering the country, similar efforts should be aimed at setting up suitable systems to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario. We can learn from Nigeria and other countries currently fighting against EVD, and doing so rather successfully. It is hoped that those entrusted with the enormous responsibility of keeping the country Ebola-free are fully aware of their critical role and will act accordingly.
Tahirul Qadri’s dharna (sit-in) has finally ended after 67 days of torture that proved in the end to be a waste of time. The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader made the announcement at D-Chowk, Islamabad on Tuesday, saying he would continue his ‘revolution’ by holding rallies nationwide. He told his followers that they should not see the decision as a defeat, but as part of the process of revolution, a concept he has tried to sell without any clear definition of its meaning. One cannot say his sit-in was destined to fail or that its outcome was inevitable. There were moments where the actions of Qadri and his supporters seemed like they might succeed in forcing the government into a desperate corner or creating a situation where the military would take extraordinary action. However, after the cleric ran and hid in his car while sending women and children to be teargassed, and after the ransacking of the PTV office in Islamabad was found to be the work of PAT supporters, the dharna lost any moral sheen it may have had in the eyes of the wider television watching audience. Effectively the dharna ended over a month ago. After August 30 it was unlikely the prime minister (PM) would resign with nearly all the elected political parties and the bulk of civil society behind him. Keeping the dharna going gave Qadri time to plan a strategy while remaining in the limelight. With attendance dropping from the thousands to hundreds — particularly after religious holidays like Eid — and with Muharram on the horizon promising that more people would leave, it seems Qadri knew that either he would have to end the sit-in or then start addressing a crowd of dozens, if that. His declaration last month that his party would contest elections was a sign of this and showed that Qadri is aware of the limitations of protest. His demand for the PM’s resignation was predicated on being able to force the military to intervene, and failing that, the PAT leader knew that he would either have to accept a face saving exit or then prepare his party for a new direction. His other demands, some of them reasonable, were mostly accepted by the government and though Qadri says no deal has been struck, Nawaz Sharif’s order to his party’s members to refrain from making derogatory remarks about the PAT certainly indicates that some sort of accommodation has been reached. The protest has put Qadri on the map, but whether he will be able to translate airtime into votes remains to be seen. With the decision to go nationwide, the PAT and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) appear to have a connection, but the end of Qadri’s dharna has effectively parted the Siamese twins and one could say this was inevitable. Imran Khan’s demands prior to his partnership with Qadri were focused on achieving power within the current system, while Qadri wanted an overhaul of the system. ‘Revolution’ was not Imran’s agenda, and elections were not Qadri’s. Their only meeting point was the PM’s resignation, failing which they did not have much in common. Today the parties’ differences are clearer. Fundamentally it was unlikely that two personality-driven parties led by their respective demagogues would be able to cooperate for more than a short space of time. Imran and Qadri both want power for themselves, not for each other. The division is highlighted by the fact that Imran has not called off his dharna and continues demanding the PM’s resignation, though if the dharna did not sufficiently pressurise the government to capitulate, it is unlikely rallies will. They will necessarily lose steam as well with the passage of time. Ironically, over the course of the Islamabad sit-in, the positions have reversed, with Imran demanding a change in the nizam (system) and Qadri deciding to contest elections. The tragedy is that the PTI had a strong position prior to the dharna, which it has squandered, while the PAT has suddenly become a possible election contender. Qadri piggy-backed on Imran’s popularity to build his own and his future looks brighter while the PTI leader is struggling to find a face saving exit from his maximalist demands.
THE information may not be new, but the issue is so crucial that it bears repetition: Pakistan will have no future unless it invests heavily in the young — and this investment begins with the long-neglected, even forgotten, sector of education.Despite having a clause on the law books that makes education a universal right for all children, the country is still struggling to put every child in school. On top of that, we now have stark facts and figures about the difficulty in keeping children in school, even if they make it there in the first place. On Tuesday, education campaigner Alif Ailaan released its latest report, Broken promises: The crisis of Pakistan’s out-of-school children. The figures are worrying: of those that do enrol in school, only one in four make it to Grade 10; as indicated by data from various sources used by Alif Ailaan. That means some 25 million children drop out of school. A perusal of the reasons the report lays out for this shamefully high figure is as revealing as it is instructive. A couple of myths are busted, for example, only 1pc of girls were forced to opt out of school because of marriage. Some reasons are obvious — poverty, the need to start pulling in an income and the expense of schooling are deterrents for both boys and girls. But other factors are an indictment of the education infrastructure and its handling. Consider, for example, that 5pc of male dropouts find that school is too far off to make attendance viable; and 51pc of such boys don’t go because they themselves are not willing to continue. The figure for girls not attending for the latter reason is 28pc. But why would children be unwilling to go to school? An answer is found in what the Rawalpindi deputy district education officer had to say to this newspaper. The major reasons, according to him, are “[in]consistency of policies, poverty and a shambolic education infrastructure”. A schoolteacher from the city commented in addition: “a poorly managed system of examinations and teachers’ maltreatment of students”. The path to remedying the situation on paper is quite clear. But so far the country has lacked the sort of political will needed to make it happen. For instance, in the wake of devolution after the passage of the 18th Amendment, the centre seems to have abandoned the subject as a provincial matter; the provinces have, meanwhile, done little (other than Sindh, which has started to try and weed out political appointees in schoolteachers’ positions). The low school enrolment rates coupled with high dropout rates are a disaster in the making for the country’s social and economic future. But going by the response to this abysmal state of affairs, the dire implications have not yet filtered into the consciousness of those at the helm.
shiapost.comPro-Taliban armed takfiri terrorists of Lashkar-e-Jhagvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) killed eight Shia Muslims in the Hazar Ganji area of Quetta, the capital of the volatile Balochistan province, on Thursday morning, The Shia Post reports. The armed terrorists of LeJ-ASWJ opened fire at a Mazda bus and killed eight Shias of the Hazara community. Five persons was severely injured in the attack. The terrorists sprayed bullets over the bus and managed to escape unhurt from the spot. The bodies were brought to the Bolan Medical Complex hospital where a large number of people had gathered. According to a source, six people were killed, however, two more succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital. Pro-Taliban terrorists have killed thousands of innocent Shia Muslims across the country.
While the name of the Ottawa gunman is yet to be announced, a number of officials told numerous media that the shooter is believed to be Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, allegedly designated as a high-risk traveler. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall north of Montreal, two US officials told Reuters, claiming that American law enforcement agencies have been advised that the attacker recently converted to Islam. AP sources also identified the man to be Zehaf-Bibeau. A Twitter account associated with Islamic State militants tweeted a photo they identified as the Ottawa shooter. The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter was designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian authorities with his passport seized. Montreal-based reporter Domenic Fazioli claims that Zehaf-Bibeau appears three times in Montreal's court database. Allegedly the recent convert was arrested five times, three times for drug possession and twice for violating parole conditions. His name also appears in Vancouver's court database on charges of robbery and making threats. “I am not able to confirm that this is the same person responsible for the events in Ottawa,” Const. Brian Montague said. “Confirmation on suspect identity and information would have to come from the Ottawa Police Service or the RCMP... Due to the ongoing investigation, there is little information we can share at this time.” Whether Zehaf-Bibeau was the only attacker that killed 24-year-old Nathan Cirillo and wounded at least 2 others is still unknown. Earlier Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit said two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attacks, but at a press conference officials declined to comment on the possible number of shooters. The news of the shooting broke at 9:52 am local time when the gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial before reportedly proceeding to the Parliament Hill's Center Block where he was shot dead by a 58-year-old sergeant Kevin Vickers. “I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency. “The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle.” The safety perimeter in the downtown core was lifted at 8:30 pm while Parliament Hill remains off limits to the public. The attack on the Parliament in Ottawa comes two days after another recent convert to Islam, 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau ran over a soldier and injured another with his car before being shot to death by police. Couture-Rouleau was allegedly a supporter of Islamic State. On Tuesday, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Rouleau also had his passport revoked as he was one of the 90 people being looked at in an ongoing national security probe as he was attempting to travel to Syria. Addressing the nation from an undisclosed location on Wednesday evening, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the country will never be intimidated by something like the two outrageous attacks this week. “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Harper said, adding that quite the opposite this will “lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts – and those of our national security agencies – to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home.” Last Friday, the terrorism threat level in Canada was quietly elevated from low to medium for the first time since August 13, 2010, according to an internal document obtained by Global News. “Intelligence indicates that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism. [Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre] ITAC assesses that a violent act of terrorism could occur,” the document says. The document warns that “self-directed extremists” inspired by the Islamic State are most likely to attack Canada through “small cells or as lone actors to carry out simple, small-scale attacks.” Authorities believe that some 130 Canadians are currently abroad supporting terrorism, including more than 30 in Iraq and Syria. At least 80 Canadians are believed to be back on home soil after visiting conflict zones, it says.