Friday, February 6, 2015

Video - Liberia kicks off clinical trial for Ebola vaccines as outbreak ebbs

NBC Williams' false Iraq story hurts news media's credibility

NBC News anchor Brian Williamsadmission of falsely claiming that he was on ahelicopter forced down in Iraq in 2003 drew harsh words from media critics as well aspeople on social media on Thursday.
Usuallyit is admirable for a personespecially a celebrityto honestly confess his or herwrongdoing as most people tend to weasel out of their mistakes.
Howeverthe timing and approach of the anchor's apology was dubious.
Williams retracted his story only after being challenged by veterans writing on theFacebook and a military publication, "Stars and Stripes," which has a timeline showing hisshifting version of events over the years.
Crew members said that the NBC anchor was not on board the aircraft which was hit bytwo rockets and small arms and that Williams arrived in the area about an hour later onanother helicopter after the crippled aircraft made an emergency landing. ' In Williams'casefabricating a story of him surviving an air attack broke the basic code of media ethics,whose harm can not be repaired by a mere apology.
In the long runthe episode may not only damage the anchor's own credibilitybut evenfurther erode Americanstrust in news media as well as the world's faith in the U.Smedia.
For decadescredibilitythe most valuable asset for news mediahas been edgingdownward from high levels in the United States.
According to a recent Gallup pollAmericansconfidence in the media's ability to report"the news fullyaccuratelyand fairlywas at its all-time low of 40 percent in 2014.
The falloff in credibility is partly due to many ultra-hyped stories that pandered to luridcuriosity or practices of rushing to judgement on unverified informationincluding thelack of professionalism in news reports about the Ferguson incident and the Syrian crisis,among others.
The Society of Professional Journalists has declared four principles as the foundation ofethical journalism and encouraged their use in its practice by all people in all mediaTheyareSeek Truth and Report ItMinimize HarmAct IndependentlyBe Accountable andTransparent.
This code of ethics should be upheld by all news professionalsAs the U.Smedia issuffering a crisis of confidenceits journalists should work hard to restore their credibilityby firmly following these principles.

The Ukraine crisis has finally reached its moment of truth

With German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande paying a joint visit to Kiev and then to Moscow to prevent the conflict from turning into a full-fledged war, there is still hope for a peaceful end to the crisis.

On Feb. 5 French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an unprecedented diplomatic statement by embarking on a joint emergency visit to Kiev, and then Moscow, in an effort to bring the war in the Donbas region to an end. This suggests that the situation in Eastern Ukraine has reached a critical moment.
To date, the conflict in the Donbas region has been a war of attrition. Each side has been seeking to extract the most favorable conditions for peace from the negotiations. The problem is that the very concept of “peace” can be interpreted according to where one stands on the Ukraine crisis.
The pro-Russian separatists want a frozen conflict in Ukraine (or on its borders if the independence of the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk republics is ever recognized) in order to have constant leverage over Kiev and sow doubt in Europe as to the advisability of rapprochement with Ukraine.
Kiev, on the other hand, needs a real peace that will permit the gradual introduction of reforms, without which rapprochement with the EU is a forlorn prospect and the political leadership would lose public trust.
Moscow’s objectives for Ukraine
The tripartite meeting in Minsk on Jan. 31 showed that the separatists are operating from a position of strength, which could only be possible with Moscow’s support.
The key matter relates to the rejection of previously signed agreements fixing the demarcation line as of Sept. 19, 2014. This line has since changed in some areas in favor of the rebels, suggesting that the separatists are not interested in complying with banal diplomatic principles and are even making direct threats part of their negotiating strategy. It is worth emphasizing that, without the tacit consent of Russia, such actions would be out of the question.
Given the reality on the front line, such an approach could be a bluff by the separatists, who do feel they are under some pressure from the Ukrainian army. Moreover,Moscow, very much squeezed by economic sanctions, is most likely seeking to minimize the loss of face in what is an extremely unfortunate situation. At the same time, Moscow is trying to achieve at least some of the goals set at the start of the “Novorossiya project.”

A key objective of this project is to force Ukraine to abandon its intention of joining NATO, whereupon it is interesting to note that the alliance itself does not have a clear roadmap for Ukraine membership.
Another objective for Moscow is to hinder Ukraine’s drift into the European orbit, where it would be far less susceptible to the pitfalls of post-Soviet corruption. After all, any positive shifts in Ukraine would demonstrate the falsity of the “Russian way of development” as proposed by the Kremlin but yet to have any real positive effect on Russia’s own population. That in turn would provoke consternation on the part of Russian society.
In crisis conditions, which both the Ukrainian and Russian economies are experiencing, each side is trying to hold out for as long as possible, waiting for the other to fall.
Whereas Russia is surviving on its depleted reserves, Ukraine is clinging to support from the West. What is more, Russia’s development opportunities have been stymied for the foreseeable future. Even two years before the war and throughout the whole of 2013, economists were adamant that Russia’s development hinged upon three key factors: cutting dependence on energy, increasing foreign investments, and developing infrastructure projects.
Moscow’s strategy is not paying off
As things stand, there is no hope of implementing any of them. Export proceeds from the sale of oil and gas remain a key source of income, the conditions for foreign investment are lacking, the war has effectively closed off all openings for foreign business (confirmation of which is Standard & Poor’s downgrading of Russia’s credit rating to non-investment grade for the first time in a decade), and major infrastructure projects have been limited to the mega-development of Sochi, while suburban trains in the most developed part of Russia have stopped running.
As a result, it is clear that Moscow needs to abandonits policy on Ukraine; otherwise, the deteriorating economic conditions could cause a serious social outburst inside RussiaThe constant stream of data on the deployment of Russian military equipment and troops in the Donbas region mean that Europe cannot weaken the sanctions, while the West continues to show political support for Ukraine.

Cartoon by Khalil Rahman
There is no doubt that the resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) depriving the Russian delegation of its voting rights until April 2015 and Moscow’s reaction, namely its refusal to participate in the Assembly until the end of the year, are “demonstrations of intent.” Moreover, Russia has signaled that further action on Europe may be taken, showing resoluteness in the face of tighter sanctions.
The Russian delegation’s decision to “slam the door” was directed primarily at strengthening its image back home. After all, the defiant steps that Russia is taking in the international arena, including the demonstrative withdrawal from any negotiations, is essentially aimed at the domestic audience.
For Ukraine, although the PACE decision will have no significant direct impact on the situation in the Donbas region, it is nevertheless is an expression of European support, which means that Kiev can count on further assistance from the EU and Western financial institutions in the confrontation with Russia, which, to reiterate, is a war of attrition.
The role of the United States
Do not forget about the role of the United States in the conflict. Washington is supporting Kiev through financial aid, expert military advice and supplies of non-lethal gear. And of no small importance is its role in encouraging Europe to impose economic sanctions against Russia.
Information has begun to appear on Washington’s intent to deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine, with no mention of exactly what weapons - or when. Certain types of weaponry could indeed influence the course of military operations in the Donbas region, but the impact would hardly be decisive.
The Ukrainian military-industrial complex (MIC) produces the range of weapons that the country’s armed forces need. Therefore, it would be more expedient to allocate financial aid for the purchase of arms from the Ukrainian MIC, and as direct assistance deliver only what Ukrainian enterprises cannot produce in sufficient quantities.
Moscow tries to win favor with Europe
Moscow, for its part, is trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe — and inside the EU itself in order to reduce its assistance to Ukraine. In certain areas, the policy is working. For instance, the political forces supported by Moscow are becoming stronger in some European countries, notably France, Greece and Spain.
According to some sources, the “corruption aspect” is playing a role in relations between Moscow and certain current and former European leaders, as well as the media and business. However, overall, Europe’s position on Ukraine can be said to be one of unanimity.
All hopes pinned on Russia’s political pragmatists
In addition, there is still a reliance on Russian political pragmatism in the current conflict. This pragmatism should not allow the personal interests of individuals to expose their own country to the risk of economic decline and political isolation, or to jeopardize the security of the region - if not the world.
Thus, the efforts of world leaders should be focused on securing a diplomatic solution to the problem using the tools of economic pressure, which, unlike brute military aggression, does not entail causalities. In this context, Hollande and Merkel’s urgent visit to Kiev and Moscow is a positive sign. 
A strong leader who feels a sense of responsibility for his own nation can still withdraw from the game simultaneously achieving some initial goals and without compromising the future of the Russian people or those of neighboring Ukraine.

Putin, Poroshenko to Discuss Ukraine Sunday With French, German Leaders

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on a new plan for settling the Ukrainian crisis ended in Moscow late Friday evening with the announcement the Russian and Ukrainian presidents would discuss a proposal to end the crisis in a 4-way phone call on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande held talks lasting more than five hours on taking steps to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

The much-anticipated talks in the Kremlin were held in a ‘face-to-face’ format behind closed doors.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated the negotiations were ‘constructive' and the leaders have agreed to cooperate to elaborate a joint document on the implementation of the Minsk agreements in Ukraine, which will include proposals by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as proposals formulated during the Moscow talks and by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Joint document with proposals will be presented 4 approval 2 all sides of conflict,

Video - Putin, Hollande, Merkel talks on Ukraine ‘constructive’, possible document 'in progress'

Video - 'Merkel, Hollande want to move back from the brink, restrain Kiev govt'

Video - President Obama answers questions at Ivy Tech

Video - President Obama Speaks at a Town Hall on Middle-Class Economics

Obama lays out security strategy, warns against 'overreach'

President Barack Obama released an updated national security strategy on Friday that committed the United States to lead on pressing world issues but reflected his cautious policy toward foreign intervention.
The 29-page memo to Congress, required under law, broadly outlined Obama's foreign policy priorities for the final two years of his presidency.
Obama described the most pressing challenges of violent extremism, Russian aggression, cyberattacks and climate change and said they were best addressed by mobilizing international coalitions.
But he said the United States needed "strategic patience and persistence" as it does not have infinite resources and said many problems could not be resolved through military might.
"We must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear," Obama said.
In the long run, he said U.S. efforts to counter the ideology behind violent extremism were "more important than our capacity to remove terrorists from the battlefield."
The document updated a lengthier one issued in 2010, when Obama was only 15 months into the job. Since then, he has been frequently criticized at home and abroad for excess caution.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent Obama critic, said Obama's approach had led to global chaos and allowed bad actors to flourish, including Islamic State militants, also known as ISIL.
"I doubt ISIL, the Iranian mullahs, or Vladimir Putin will be intimidated by President Obama's strategy of 'strategic patience,'" Graham said in a statement.
Obama renewed the U.S. commitment to lead an international coalition to defeat Islamic State and work with European allies to isolate Russia over its support for rebels in easternUkraine - crises that did not exist in 2010.
Top White House national security adviser Susan Rice said the White House and European allies were assessing how to ramp up pressure on Moscow through sanctions or military aid.
"We have not taken a decision yet to up that, the nature of that assistance, to include lethal defensive equipment," Rice said in a speech at the Brookings Institution think-tank. Any decision would be taken only after consultation with European allies, she said.
Rice said those who criticized Obama for his reflective approach to emerging crises lacked a broad perspective and were too reactive. "We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism in a nearly instantaneous news cycle," Rice said.
She said the White House would redouble its efforts on Obama's economic, military and diplomatic "rebalance" to Asia, where he seeks to counter China's growing power.
As part of those efforts, Rice said Obama had invited Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to come to the country on state visits.

Video - Plus size model inside Sports Illustrated

Music Video - Mera Jeevan Kora Kaagaz

Pashto Music Video - Naghma - "BANGRI"

NYT Editorial - Modi’s Dangerous Silence

What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right.
Recently, a number of Christian churches in India have been burned and ransacked. Last December, St. Sebastian’s Church in East Delhi was engulfed in fire. Its pastor reported a strong smell of kerosene after the blaze was put out. On Monday, St. Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi was vandalized. Ceremonial vessels were taken, yet collection boxes full of cash were untouched. Alarmed by the attacks, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has urged the government to uphold the secular nature of India and to assure its Christians they are “protected and secure” in their own country.
There is also concern about the mass conversions. Last December, about 200 Muslims were converted to Hinduism in Agra. In January, up to 100 Christians in West Bengal “reconverted” to Hinduism. Hard-line Hindu nationalist groups, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (V.H.P.) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (R.S.S.), make no secret of their support for a “homecoming” campaign designed to “return” non-Hindus to the fold. More than 80 percent of Indians are Hindu, but Pravin Togadia of the V.H.P. says his organization’s goal is a country that is 100 percent Hindu. The only way to achieve that is to deny religious minorities their faith.
The V.H.P. is reportedly planning a mass conversion of 3,000 Muslims in Ayodhya this month. The destruction of the Babri Mosque there in 1992 by Hindu militants touched off riots between Hindus and Muslims across India that left more than 2,000 people dead. The V.H.P. knows it is playing with fire.
Mr. Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.” Mr. Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance.

Pakistan - In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Schools, Jihad Is Back On The Books

Officials in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province have revised children's schoolbooks to make them more Islamic. The latest editions have no images of unveiled women, replace references to international historical figures with prominent Muslims, and include Koranic verses about jihad in texts starting from the fourth grade. The changes -- which reverse earlier secular revisions to school curricula -- reflect an ongoing struggle for influence between northwest Pakistan's secular and Islamist political parties.

Pakistan - What happens when justice is on trial

Zahid Hussain

Extremists have gained ground because of the moral bankruptcy of Pakistan’s political leadership. It has taken more than two years for the Islamabad High Court to finally take up the appeal against Mumtaz Qadri''s death sentence.THE divide at the Islamabad High Court when it finally resumed the hearing of Mumtaz Qadri's petition against his conviction was palpable. Those condoning murder in the name of religion stood on one side — against those prevented from standing on the side of justice out of sheer fear. The number of lawyers coming out in defence of the late governor Salmaan Taseer's assassin outnumbered even the security personnel deployed around the court that day. But no one was willing to appear for the prosecution.

No sight could be more decadent than lawyers led by a former high court chief justice and another retired judge standing by a self-confessed murderer. It was perhaps the most shameful moment for a nation when a killer is lauded as a “soldier of Islam”.  Many others who were at the forefront of the lawyers' movement — heralded as the “black coat revolution” that paved the way for the country's return to democracy — maintained a criminal silence while their colleagues idolised blatant brutality. Has the bar association, which would otherwise have been active in the struggle for rule of law, condemned the action of its members? On trial is our country's system of justice. 
It has taken more than two years for the Islamabad High Court to finally take up the appeal against Qadri's death sentence. The judge of the anti-terrorism court had fled the country after pronouncing the verdict. His life was under threat and the state was unable to provide him security.
Meanwhile, from his prison cell, Qadri has incited others to kill in the name of Islam. Who would dare uphold the death sentence against him risking the ire of the faithful? But there is little hope of the hearing concluding soon with the state showing little interest in the case. The file of the case is reported to be missing from the attorney general's office.
It is surely not fear alone that is apparently preventing the judges from upholding the law. It is also to do with rising religious extremism in society that condones murder in the name of Islam. It must have been the way Qadri was greeted by lawyers when he was first produced before the court and the failure of the state to stop thousands of others surrounding the court that has encouraged other fanatics to follow his example. Not surprisingly, we have seen a marked rise in blasphemy-related murders in the country since then.  The murder of a lawyer and human rights activist Rashid Rehman for defending a university professor charged for blasphemy is a prime example of this vigilantism now so rampant in the country. Even if the killers are arrested one is not sure that they will be convicted, leave alone punished. Most appalling was the role of the lawyers who threatened Rashid Khan in front of the judge. The role of these vigilante lawyers is most despicable. 
What is most alarming, however, is the role of the former senior judges like Khawaja Muhammad Sharif who held high positions in the country's judicial structure. It raises serious questions about whether their judgments as judges were influenced by extremist religious views. There may be many others still sitting on various benches. Some reports suggest that several sitting judges have had some links with radical sectarian groups tainting their roles at the highest positions of the legal system. It will be a test for the judges as the Islamabad High Court resumes hearings on Qadri's petition.
Another troubling question is about the administration's inaction to the extremist provocation outside the court during the hearing. The presence of hundreds of fanatics chanting slogans in favour of Qadri is aimed at pressurising the judges. 
The belligerent stance of the defence lawyers is tantamount to a direct threat to the judges. The brutal assassination of Salmaan Taseer and the growing stridency of religious extremists in its aftermath have widened the ideological divide in the country. Radical clerics publicly cite Qadri's example to incite others to kill anyone not subscribing to their obscurantist views. They have turned Pakistan into one of the most intolerant societies in the world. What the extremists have tried to do is to create a sense of fear and suppress the voices of reason and moderation. The forces of radical Islam have succeeded in infusing religion in the very fabric of the state. Many respected Islamic scholars who challenged the extremists and militants have either been killed or forced to leave the country. 
More worrisome, however, is the failure of the state to provide protection to its citizens. The extremists have gained ground because of the moral bankruptcy of our political leadership and criminal abdication of the government in the face of extremist violence. Glorification of a murderer is also incitement to violence. 
Yet no action is taken against those groups displaying banners hailing Qadri during the celebration of the Prophet's birthday anniversary. The government seems to have already started backtracking on the national counter-terrorism action plan under the pressure of Islamic parties and other radical Islamic groups. It is now unlikely that any action will be taken against those madressahs involved in extremist activities and their patrons. The Qadri case is not only a test for the judiciary, but also for the administration's commitment to eradicate militancy and violent extremism. It is also the responsibility of civil society and the bar to raise their voice for justice. Qadri is not an individual but a mindset that is represented by people like former justices Khawaja Sharif and Mian Nazeer Akhtar and their ilk in the lawyers' community. This is not a battle between liberals and extremists, but between those who preach religious intolerance and violence and those championing the cause of rule of law and religious harmony. It is a battle that will ultimately decide the future direction of the country in a most fundamental way.

Pakistan - The Qadri courtroom

By Ayaz Amir

Everyone is entitled to his prejudices. If Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, former chief justice of the Lahore High Court, is convinced that he is charting a course to heaven by defending Mumtaz Qadri in court, that’s his privilege and who is to stop him. Another former high court judge, Mian Nazeer Akhtar, is also defending Mumtaz Qadri in his appeal before the Islamabad High Court against his death sentence by a lower court.

Qadri, as we should know, is not just any murder accused. He has become a special person, an accredited hero of the faith, or at least of its Barelvi persuasion, for having emptied his Kalashnikov magazine into the body of the Punjab governor, Salmaan Taseer, on whose security detail he was deputed. He did this because he believed that the governor had committed blasphemy (by questioning the procedure of the blasphemy law, Section 295-C of the Penal Code) and for this heresy he deserved to be put to death. Killing him thus amounted to fulfilling a higher obligation.

A related circumstance should not be overlooked. In the Rawalpindi locality in which he lived Qadri had occasion to listen to fiery speeches by maulvis who denounced Taseer for blasphemy. On an impressionable mind – and someone who can kill for religion arguably has an impressionable mind – such hate-filled sermons would have acted like dynamite. Taseer’s other sin of course was that he had visited Aasia Bibi in jail – the woman from a poor background sentenced to death on a charge of blasphemy (her appeal is pending in the Supreme Court).

When first brought before a magistrate after Taseer’s killing, frenzied lawyers, ecstasy written on their faces, showered Qadri with rose petals, confirming his budding status as a hero of the faith. In the current appeal hearing a bevy of lawyers is assisting, if only with their presence, the two former justices who are actually arguing the case.

Qadri thus is not only well-represented, you might say he is over-represented (although when I listened to Mian Nazeer, one of the two defence counsel, I nearly fell asleep even as the two justices hearing the appeal – their lordships Noorul Haq Qureshi and Shaukat Siddiqui – put up a brave effort to look interested).

Apart from lawyers, activists affiliated with a small Barelvi outfit – Shabab Islami Pakistan – under the command of a Rawalpindi khateeb, Hanif Qureshi, regularly assemble on the road outside to chant slogans in Qadri’s support. The day I was there, there must have been around a hundred, or at best a hundred and fifty, of these firebrands. When I spoke to Hanif Qureshi he informed me that he had been to Chakwal several times on speaking missions. He said he knew my views but that we were all entitled to our opinions…with which I could scarcely disagree.

But if this was the Qadri lineup, what about the other side? The Taseer family has hired no private lawyer, and no heavy-duty lawyers, or even light-duty ones, have rushed forward on their own. I was half-expecting, however, some token if not full-blown presence of ‘civil society’, of which we otherwise hear so much. But there was not a soul from that quarter, none of the usual bazookas and Amazons who specialise in candle-lit vigils usually in the relative safety of Super Market and Kohsaar Market.

And no representation, none at all, from that pillar of freedom and secularism, the PPP, the party after all to which Taseer belonged when he was assassinated. The National Assembly was in session. Could not some PPP members have made an appearance in a gesture of support, if not for Taseer personally for the larger cause which in death at least he symbolises? Perish the thought.

We have no shortage of op-ed writers going red in the face as they hold forth on what the Qadri case means for Pakistan – whether this will be a country forever under the influence of the bigoted rightwing or a country opting for the paths of freedom and tolerance. To my mind, this is a false dichotomy. Pakistan’s problem is not so much the power of the religious right as the fecklessness and lack of spirit of the liberal left, what may be loosely called the liberati…the liberal, English-educated classes.

Take in the evidence. Whereas the half-tutored and half-lettered battalions of the religious right are ready to take to the streets at a moment’s notice, and at the slightest provocation, in defence of obscure and often hard-to-understand causes, the liberati for the most part are armchair samurai, waging their battles – in a language and an idiom which most Pakistanis find hard to comprehend – from the deep comfort of their sofas. 

Class divisions are at work here. The liberati constitute this country’s privileged classes – those who have everything, for whom this system works, indeed who benefit the most from the inequities of this system. The traditional left is dead in Pakistan: it exists no more. Trade unionism is dead; student activism is a thing of the past. The religious right by no means represents the have-nots of Pakistan (if it did it would fare better at the polls) but it comes from the have-not sections of society. It is drawn from there. And between privileged Pakistan and de-privileged Pakistan there is no meeting point.

Let us not be under the misapprehension that the periodic agitations of the religious right – whether against some cartoons published abroad, or against supposed blasphemy or some obscure film made on the Californian coast – are in defence of the faith or for its greater glory. These stirrings are a bid for greater importance, for a greater share of the pie. They are a bid for power.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is a grab for power. The Taliban insurgency is a bid for power. What was Mullah Fazlullah before he set up his radio station and took up arms? 

Nothing, counting for nothing in this society. What was Mangal Bagh before becoming a militant leader? A truck driver. The entire Taliban leadership is made up of figures from humble beginnings rising to positions of unimagined authority and power. And their methods are barbaric – slitting of throats, etc – because their world-view is that of the village preacher blaring out his message through a loudspeaker. Place a gun in the hands of such a person and he will behave as the Swat Taliban did: with unrivalled brutality.

Pakistan’s tragedy or, if tragedy be too strong a word, its failing is that the privileged classes, the elites, have not done what was in their enlightened self-interest to do: create a more just, less unequal, society. What is more, the elites are distracted: some of their interests are still in this country, but many are now abroad. To the defence of Pakistan they cannot summon up that commitment which the Taliban and the religious right bring to the destruction of Pakistan.

By design or accident, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri tried to change the terms of this dialectic. They tried to lift the liberati from their sofas and bring them into the hurly-burly of the political mainstream. But it was a confused effort, sustained by no cogent political argument. So it has proved abortive, and the two knights, licking their wounds, are still in the process of figuring out what their next step should be. 

To sum up, the Qadri trial is not showcasing the power of the religious right. To think so is to get the whole thing wrong. As I have tried to explain, there is very little raw power on display. But it is a commentary, albeit in a minor key, on the indifference if not the helplessness of the enlightened left.