Sunday, May 31, 2015

Music Video - INNA - Be My Lover

Failure and civil war: Blair's legacy in Middle East

WITH more of a sigh of relief than any fanfare, former prime minister Tony Blair stood down last week from his grandiose position as peace envoy to the Middle East.
It is tempting to ask if anyone will really notice. Appointed in 2007 as the lead diplomat to the Quartet Group representing the UN, the EU, the US and Russia, Blair's task was to "mobilise international assistance, address the rule of law and promote Palestinian economic development".
Basically, that meant dealing with the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians and making it work.
On all counts he failed and it is safe to say that his absence will not be felt by anyone in the Middle East - apart from Israeli politicians on the right who warmed to his steady condemnation of the dangers posed by Iran. When Blair arrived in the job it was hoped that he would bring with him some of the experience gained in the Northern Ireland peace process of the late 1990s but instead he carried too much baggage from his role as a leader who had aided and abetted the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
That was an onerous halter around his neck and it prevented him from being taken seriously.
Arabs could never forgive him for that lack of judgement and he compounded the error by failing to criticise Israel for inflicting heavy civilian casualties in Gaza. And then there was the cost and extravagance of his expensively maintained headquarters in Jerusalem. When there, he had very little to say.
The people of Israel and Palestine deserve better than that. If Blair is to be replaced by the Quartet, it must be with a politician who understands the many nuances of the Middle East and comes with a reputation for strict neutrality. As it is, Tony Blair's only legacy is a region riven by civil war and threatened by the extremists of Islamic State.

Israel Supplying Saudi Arabia With Weapons To Fight Yemen Rebels

By Cristina Silva

Shiite Houthi rebels seized Israeli-made weapons from the Saudi Arabian embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa Saturday, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. The militants discovered the Israeli weapons along with U.S. plans to construct a military base in Saudi Arabia to monitor the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The rebels explored the embassy after overtaking its guards during heavy fighting. Saudi Arabia allegedly requested Israel to provide “state-of-the-art weapons to supply the terrorist groups in Yemen,” Iranian media claimed. “The Saudis are using Israeli weapons in their raids on Yemen,” Haaretz quoted Yemeni army commander Taher Rasoul Zadami as saying.
Shiite Houthi rebels seized Israeli-made weapons from the Saudi Arabian embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa Saturday, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. The militants discovered the Israeli weapons along with U.S. plans to construct a military base in Saudi Arabia to monitor the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The rebels explored the embassy after overtaking its guards during heavy fighting. Saudi Arabia allegedly requested Israel to provide “state-of-the-art weapons to supply the terrorist groups in Yemen,” Iranian media claimed. “The Saudis are using Israeli weapons in their raids on Yemen,” Haaretz quoted Yemeni army commander Taher Rasoul Zadami as saying.
Iran-backed Houthi fighters captured Sanaa in September and seized the presidential palace in January, forcing Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to resign. The conflict has claimed more than 2,000 lives. Saudi forces began airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in March in conjunction with an ongoing battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran over control for the region. Saudi Arabia seeks to restore Hadi to power.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have quietly cooperated on certain intelligence and security matters in recent years. “The changes that the Middle East has experienced in recent years have created a set of joint interests between the two countries,” Michal Yaari, an expert on Saudi foreign policy and a lecturer at the Open University, told the Jerusalem Post. “The biggest enemy for both countries is Iran.”

Video - HRW Report - Saudi Arabia: Migrants Abused During Mass Deportations

HRW: New evidence Saudi-led coalition uses cluster bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch has published new evidence alleging the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen has been using internationally-outlawed cluster bombs. The organization says innocent civilians have been targeted in the raids.
The New York-based organization visited the Saada province in the north of Yemen this month in order to compile its report. Human Rights Watch says it managed to document the use of three types of cluster munitions in the country.

"The Saudi-led coalition and other warring parties in Yemen need to recognize that using banned cluster munitions is very likely to harm civilians," said HRW's senior emergencies researcher Ole Solvang.
"These weapons can't distinguish military targets from civilians, and their unexploded submunitions threaten civilians, especially children, even long after the fighting,” he added.
Human Rights Watch added at least two people injured in one air attack were likely to have been civilians. They have pinned the blame on the Saudi-led coalition because it’s the only party in the conflict using air power.
In a second attack, four civilians were wounded, including a child. Both assaults took place in the northern strongholds, controlled by the Shiite Houthi anti-government forces.
HRW has called on the 10-member coalition not to use cluster bombs in the conflict. It has also urged nations backing the Saudis, such as the US, to denounce the use of the illegal munitions.
Five ZP-39 submunitions delivered by an unknown type of ground-fired cluster munition photographed in Baqim village in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate, April 29, 2015. (image from
Five ZP-39 submunitions delivered by an unknown type of ground-fired cluster munition photographed in Baqim village in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate, April 29, 2015. (image from

Saudi Arabia and the nine other Arab nations, who make up the coalition, have not signed up to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits their use.
Cluster munitions contain hundreds of smaller explosive submunitions that are spread over a wide area. This type of weapon is dangerous because some submunitions aren’t immediately detonated and can lie dormant for decades before exploding. Civilians and particularly children have traditionally been the primary victims of such lethal traps.
This is not the first time Human Rights Watch has alleged the Saudi-led coalition’s use of cluster bombs during the conflict. The organization also alleges the US has been supplying the munitions used to bomb Houthi positions in Yemen.
“These weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other coalition members – and the supplier, the US – are flouting the global standard that rejects cluster munitions because of their long-term threat to civilians,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

According to the World Health Organization, the Yemen conflict, which started in March, has killed almost 2,000 people and wounded 8,000, with hundreds of women and children among the casualties.
Belkis Wille, Yemen and Kuwait Researcher at Human Rights Watch, explained that HRW has just published a second report on the use of cluster munitions in the ongoing war in Yemen.
“This is the second time we’ve found that coalition forces are using cluster munitions. In the reports that are published we document the use of three different types of cluster munitions all in the northern governante of Sadaa in five different incidents. And all of these cluster munition incidents have happened in areas that are near civilian centers, and therefore pose a real risk to civilians who might come across unexploded cluster munitions,” she told RT.
Willie said that several weeks ago a Saudi spokesman for the coalition has denied that they have used cluster bombs.
“They did not say that they would not be using cluster munitions just that they were not at that time. We have not since heard from any member of the coalition or another of the nine countries also participating in the air strikes whether they have been using cluster munitions,” she said.
She said that those countries tacitly supporting the collation such as the US and the UK should do more to stop them using the weapons.
Willie also voiced concerns that the coalition appeared to be targeting non-military targets.
“The problem is the choice of target. We’ve seen multiple instances in which the target that was selected by the coalition is potentially a violation of the laws of war and really calls into question what process the coalition has for selecting its targets,” she said.

Video Report - Russia issues travel ban for 89 EU politicians & military leaders

#RIP - Beau Biden honored by presidents Obama, Clinton

The last two Democratic presidents -- Barack Obama and Bill Clinton -- are praising Beau Biden in the wake of his death from brain cancer.
Like his father -- Vice President Joe Biden -- Beau "was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched -- and he lives on in their hearts," said a statement from President Obama.
Former President Bill Clinton, along with 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, called Beau Biden "a son to be proud of, a brother to cherish, a husband and father to love and be grateful for. The pain of his loss is so great because his life was so large and good."
Beau Biden, 46, the twice-elected attorney general of Delaware, was planning a run for the governor's office when he suffered a recurrence of health problems he has had in recent years.
In his statement, Obama said that "for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder -- nothing made him happier -- nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family."
The president and first lady Michelle Obama also praised the vice president and wife Jill.
"Joe is one of the strongest men we've ever known," the president said. "He's as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It's one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill -- to who they are -- that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family."
Obama cited the Irish poet William Butler Yeats: "I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher."
Said the president: "Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher."

Kerry Ends Overseas Trip After Bike Accident

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has cut short an international trip after breaking his leg in a bike accident outside Geneva, Switzerland.
Kerry was hospitalized Sunday after being flown by helicopter to Hospital University Geneva following the accident.  
The State Department said Kerry did not lose consciousness, is stable and expected to make a full recovery.  Paramedics and a physician were with Kerry's motorcade at the time of the accident.
Kerry, who fractured his femur, will receive further treatment in Boston.  A spokesperson said that because the injury is near the site of his prior hip surgery, Kerry will be treated by the same doctor who performed that surgery.
He was in Switzerland for talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on reaching a nuclear deal before the June 30 deadline. 
Those talks did not continue Sunday as originally planned, after Iran rejected a Western demand to allow site inspections.
Kerry had been due to travel to Spain for talks and then on to Paris for a conference on fighting the Islamic State group.  A spokesperson says he plans to participate in the IS conference remotely.

#RIP - In Memory of Beau Biden: "Quite Simply, The Finest Man Any Of Us Have Ever Known"
By Tanya Somanader

“Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known” –Vice President Joe Biden

On Saturday, May 30, our country lost a dedicated public servant – a fighter for justice on the frontlines of war and in the courts here at home. A committed son, father, and husband, Beau Biden put his family first. His was a life we all strive to lead.
For all who knew him, who were inspired by his example, who share the passion for service that guided every day he lived, please offer your thoughts, prayers, and a message that will be shared with the Biden family as they grieve the loss and honor the memory of a most cherished man. 
Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Beau Biden on stage together at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver
Then Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Beau Biden on stage together at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
Statement by Vice President Biden:
It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life. The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.
Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.
More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.
Statement by President Obama:
Michelle and I are grieving tonight.  Beau Biden was a friend of ours.  His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours.  And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.
Beau took after Joe.  He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school.  He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware’s Attorney General.  Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched – and he lives on in their hearts.
But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.
Just like his dad.
Joe is one of the strongest men we’ve ever known.  He’s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family.  It’s one of the things we love about him.  And it is a testament to Joe and Jill – to who they are – that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.
The Bidens have more family than they know.  In the Delaware they love.  In the Senate Joe reveres.  Across this country that he has served for more than forty years.  And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight – for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau’s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.
“I have believed the best of every man,” wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, “And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.”
Beau Biden believed the best of us all.  For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.
Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.

Video Report - Beau Biden dies of brain cancer

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says his family is saddened beyond words. His son, Beau Biden, died Saturday after battling brain cancer at age 46. His family was with him when he died.

Pakistan's 'Pro-Taliban' Gov't Encourages Violent Muslim Attacks Against Christians


Human rights activist Pervez Rafique, who's also a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, said it will be hard to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which he said are upheld by an Islamic government that has "strong relations" with Muslim extremists.
Such blasphemy laws are often used to persecute minorities, and Christians in the country have been facing a growing wave of violence, with a Protestant church destroyed and six Christians beaten by armed men in Chakwal in Punjab in an incident on Thursday.
Rafique told The Christian Post in an email interview on Thursday that those presently in power in Pakistan are known for having a "pro Taliban, pro Islamic ideology" and said that they have "strong relations with Muslim extremist organizations."
He pointed out that 80 percent of blasphemy accusations against Christians have occurred in Punjab, where Christians have been violently attacked on a number of occasions.
Fides News Agency reported that the latest attack occurred in Chakwal, when pastor Suhail Masih and five other members of the Protestant church were beaten by armed men who stormed the house of worship. Reports have said that Masih and the other church members were being accused of "proselytism and conversions of Muslims," while the attack is believed to have been instigated by a local imam.
While Christians in the community protested and called for police to take actions against the attackers, so far only two men were arrested but later released by authorities.
Some Christians in Pakistan, such as human rights lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, have said that blasphemy laws, which Muslim mobs sometimes take in their own hands, need to be abolished.
Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, told Fides: "No one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Mass attacks against entire communities show that hate against Christians is growing. The blasphemy law is widely used for revenge, but the government has not yet managed to take steps to stop the misuse of the law and ensure security for Christians. If those responsible are not punished, those who attack with impunity Christian neighborhoods and churches are encouraged."
Rafique revealed in his interview with CP that back in December 2010 he was the only parliamentarian who submitted a bill at the Punjab assembly aimed at stopping the misuse of blasphemy laws. The bill was never taken up, however, and instead he received threats and warnings from the law minister at the time.
"It's hard to change or relax the laws," he said, "especially the Blasphemy law 295-A-B-C of Pakistan's penal code." He noted that although to change or abolish laws the parliament needs only simple majority, but to amend the constitution or any article of the constitution it needs two third majority. The present government that supports these blasphemy laws has enough support to continue upholding them.
The former minority parliament member identified several reasons for why he doesn't believe the blasphemy laws will be relaxed soon, and said that there is a "lack of political will and religious fear and mindset," alongside the "presence of an Islamic ideology council," which "will never ever allow changes in the blasphemy laws."
He said the problem is also in civil society, where media and progressive-thinking people are afraid "to take bold stands against the blasphemy laws," which he called a "naked sword on Christians and other communities."
As an example Rafique gave former Pakistan Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who he said were "close friends" of his who spoke out against the blasphemy laws, but were both assassinated for their opposition in separate incidents in 2011.
He said that in the present situation and circumstances, "there is no way" that Christians and human rights defenders will be able to "bend the government to abolish or amend the blasphemy laws."
Rafique said, however, that the international community has an important part to play in influencing the government, and said that it might even be the "only hope for persecuted communities in this bleak situation."
The human rights activist offered that the United Nations needs to remind Pakistan that it is a signatory of the universal declaration of human rights, and therefore "is bound to grant and protect the fundamental rights of its religious minority citizens," as stated in the declaration.
He said that sanctions need to be imposed on Pakistan if it fails to remove clauses and laws that do not conform with the U.N. charter of human rights and the rule of a truly democratic society.
Rafique added that the United States and the European Union especially should reconsider how they provide financial aid to Pakistan's government, and ask it to "protect the lives of innocent Christians and other religious minorities."
He suggested that the international community will furthermore need to demand that Pakistan's government takes strong actions to "curb the religious terrorism" and "ban extremist Muslim organizations from the country."
Rafique said that the international community needs to "support and encourage Christian and progressive leadership in Pakistan" in the mission to to build a "progressive and liberal country" that is free from the theocratic state.
He also called for a special refugee quota for Pakistani Christians and other religious minorities who have suffered religious persecution, he asked other governments to pile diplomatic and political pressure on Pakistan, and said that people should offer prayer for the troubled country.


Pakistan - Producing electricity through prayers

By Elf Habib  

The nation presently has no recourse but to besiege the mercy, intervention and indulgence of Providence for uninterrupted and unlimited electric power.
The fervour of the faithful lining up in Lahore to propitiate the Almighty Provider to send a celestial downpour to beat the severe sweltering summer heat and scarce water supplies was really quite a momentous and moving event. The scenes splashed on some television channels while eliciting instant spontaneous intonations by the viewers also made them realise that the Lord stands as their sole source for succour and relief where their mundane masters and mavens have failed them. Most of them will also be wondering if similar collective prayers could also mitigate the misery of the long, torturous, unscheduled and inordinately prolonged power cuts during the sizzling summer season. The agony exacerbated by the scorching heat and sweating even sparks unrest, street agitation and protests.

The utter inability of the Mians in managing any requisite relief may be painfully epitomised by the erstwhile, ominous enunciation by Khawaja Asif, the minister for power, that “prayers were left as the only option for improvement in power supplies”. His confession evidently confirmed how the crisis has stymied their efforts and strategies. The pre-election promises by the Mian clan for quicker and qualitative relief actually foundered with the soaring temperatures making a mockery of their fiery protests and flagellations against the previous government for its inability to enhance generation capacities. Lies in shambles similarly also the Shahbaz Sharif’s shtick at the Minar-e-Pakistan, presiding over his cabinet in an ornate canopy and the ostentatiously orchestrated and frenetic swirling of their hand fans to stop the sweat streaking their faces and files before them.

The scene repeatedly played out by their partisan television channels was evidently meant to shame the federal PPP government into releasing the electricity stocks that they had allegedly withheld and expose their utter incompetence and apathy against the masses. The Mians and the media had actually manipulated a morbid perception that Zardari had somehow locked away a larger part of the generating potential at the presidential palace. Ousting him through public protests or the mighty mice wielded by Iftikhar Chaudhry thus could instantly unleash the hidden cache. Khawaja Asif’s adventures in this case seemed most comical. Seeing him, in his long discarded advocate’s outfit, and sauntering into the Supreme Court (SC), to pound the rental power perpetrators was almost too theatrical.

Immediately after the formation of government, they unfolded their recipe to raise the mammoth energy mountains for the masses, manufacturing and exports. Marathon whirlwind foreign visits were made to rake in the aid, loans and investment. Thirty nine billion dollar deals were signed with China alone. Trips to Turkey and the US were touted to turn in even more voltage. The glitter of their gushing energy grids feels so fabulous but none of them has yet dispelled the darkness and six of their most flaunted coal-based units have already been scrubbed. The uncertainty regarding the rest, the painful periods preceding their completion and the fear of excessive profit pegged prices by the investors obviously necessitate some more immediate and inexpensive alternatives. This dire dilemma, it must be emphasized, has not been forced merely by political governments. Even the Mush dictatorship, displaying the efficiency and expertise of the entire constellation of our sovereign commanders, could not contribute a single electric unit to the system.

So, the nation presently has no recourse but to besiege the mercy, intervention and indulgence of Providence, the greatest Lord of lords, for uninterrupted and unlimited electric power. Some critics, of course, could cloud the actual efficacy and relevance of such prayers by various inane arguments. They may argue that advanced western nations have managed their energy needs despite a patent decline in their religious beliefs, prayers and practices. They could cite the futility of our prayers for ummah unity, Kashmir and kindred glory and conquests, witnessed during the last six decades. Yet these sceptics must realise that Pakistan, being a special divine blessing, has its own characteristic cosmos, psyche, standards and perceptions. Unique and supernatural strategies, accordingly, are inevitable for its needs, renaissance and splendour. For this, the familiar traditions of collective prayers for dire emergencies like deliverance from drought can be reprised to combat this calamity of crippling power cuts. The reports of special divine indulgence to send special green robed bearded guardians rising to rip off the bombs rained by India during the 1965 war indeed have been so fondly relished by our compatriots.

We must thus spurn all such contentions and rush to organise collective prayers to overcome the outages that have outpaced our entire human and material efforts. The exact mechanics for this obviously will have to be hammered out by the higher inter-ministerial echelons. A possible plan, for a real ultimate expression of collective and sincere national supplication, however, would be to constitute a leading council representing all sects. The prayers led by the minister of power production must be held and transmitted simultaneously across all television, radio and mobile phone networks to ensure maximum possible participation across the land. It would be still better if the premier, known for his religiosity and frequent marathon trips to the holy lands, himself leads the supplication. Some leading preachers can be inducted to infuse a really charged flux of the mood, mind and soul. This rare, collective and continued surge of daily prayers, offered over a sufficient span of time, will certainly help solve the energy crisis preferably before the relentless monsoon rains and the ancillary merciless muggy spells set in.

Such hope and optimism, in a way, also seems to be supported by the scientific basis that electricity is actually a transformation of energy from heat, falling water, moving winds or ocean waves. Light rays, by their proper realignment, are also converted into giant laser power while sounds set in some ragas that were long believed to light the lamps and the phoenix pyres now can be used to make sonar bombs. Given a bit of the Lord’s will, the energy from the sounds of our synchronised collective supplication could similarly emerge as electric power. This utterly non-conventional and perfectly pollution free process of producing energy without consuming any raw material, if accomplished, could establish Pakistan’s prestige and prominence as the most innovative industrial icon in the world. Harnessing the powers of our piety, prayers and emotions could thus herald the honour and glory that, despite our material might in the mastery of missiles, nuclear arsenal and ceaseless spurts for strategic depth in neighbouring lands, have invariably always eluded us.

Pakistan - Massacre in Mastung

THE gruesome trend of killing people on the basis of their ethnic or religious affiliation in this country shows no sign of abating. The latest incident in this regard is the killing of over 20 individuals in Balochistan’s Mastung district on Friday.
As reported, gunmen stopped two Karachi-bound coaches and pulled out the passengers; after checking their CNICs to determine their identities, the victims were taken to the nearby mountains and massacred. The victims hailed from district Pishin and almost all of them were Pakhtun.
Such atrocities have occurred previously in Mastung; last year a bus carrying Shia pilgrims was bombed in the district while in 2011, Hazara passengers were pulled off buses and butchered in a similar manner.
Elsewhere, in April a number of non-Baloch labourers were shot as they slept in Turbat. There has also been an upsurge in the targeted killings of Hazaras in Quetta over the past few days.
At the time these lines were being written, no group had claimed responsibility for the carnage.
Of course, in Balochistan there are multiple strands of violence: sectarian death squads have remained active; Baloch separatists have been censured for targeting ‘settlers’ while the security establishment has come down heavily on Baloch political activists in the name of crushing the insurgency. External actors have also been accused of fuelling unrest in the province.
The provincial home minister has pointed to the possible involvement of RAW in this incident, while other political leaders have voiced concern that the violence could be linked to destabilising the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
What is clear is that the Mastung carnage is an effort to inflame ethnic discord in the province by pitting the Baloch and Pakhtun communities against each other.
While non-Baloch have been killed in the past, this is perhaps the single biggest incident in which local Pakhtuns have been targeted. In this regard, Balochistan’s political leaders did well on Saturday by calling for calm and communal harmony.
The provincial chief minister has said a multiparty conference will be convened in the days to come to discuss the situation. In fact, the entire debate needs to be shifted to the national parliament in order to find long-lasting solutions to Balochistan’s security and political problems.
Moreover, further investigations need to be carried out to determine who is responsible and if solid evidence of external involvement emerges, Islamabad must take up the issue through diplomatic channels. The perpetrators of this brutal crime must be brought to justice; but this latest carnage must not be used to justify a more intensified crackdown on Baloch political activity.
Balochistan needs a political solution, not a militarised one. While security concerns are key, the political alienation and sense of deprivation that is felt by significant portions of Balochistan’s population must also be addressed by the state to prevent further violence.

Pakistan - Mastung Attack And Security

The latest attack on a bus carrying passengers to Karachi from Pishin district, which left 21 dead and several injured, in just one in a long list of deadly attacks that have swept Balochistan. Check posts are still being stormed, the minorities are still being bombed, and prominent civil activist still targeted and random civilians – such as the ones aboard the buses in Mustang – are still being caught in the crossfire. The standard state reply, which asserts that these attacks are part of an expected reprisal that we must persevere through, is a valid one; but it has its limits. It cannot be used to justify every single act of terrorism. The state needs to own up to the responsibility it took upon itself when starting this operation – protecting civilians. The Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti laid the blame on India’s spy agency RAW. Though foreign elements may indeed have a hand in causing mischief, this excuse is another way to skirt blame and responsibility for all the deaths in Balochistan.
As more and more people start asking these questions, the state will find itself being increasingly pressurised by the victims and their relatives; repeated state failure will convert the anger against the militant’s atrocities into frustration against an inept administration. The tense protests outside the Chief Minister’s house are a hint of what is to come if the state does not ensure the security of Balochistan, it will have a hard time convincing its inhabitants that they owe their loyalty to the state. Of course the state has done extensive work, no one is asserting they have been idle, and admittedly the state, limited by resources and manpower, cannot thwart all attacks; but such plausible arguments have little effect on someone who has lost a son, or seen a relative being blown to pieces. Justice must not only be done it must be seen to be done. The effects must be seen through the public’s own eyes; perhaps if state’s story can be independently verified, and the breadth of the challenge truly perceived, the nation can persevere for a while longer – not indefinitely, still.

افتخارحسین - " د سیاسي غچ له مخې زما پرضد کارروايي کیږي "

عوامي نیشنل ګوند او یو شمېر نورو ګوندونو د پښتونخوا د اطلاعاتو د پخواني وزیر میا افتخارحسین د پولیسو لخوا  نیول کیدل غندلي او تحریک انصاف ګوند یې په دې ملامته کړی چې د خپل واک نه یې ناوړه ګټه پورته کړېده. 

تیره شپه د عوامي نیشنل ګوند مرکزي جنرل سیکټري میا افتخار حسین د پو لیسو لخوا د تحریک انصاف ګوند د یو کارکن د وژنې په تور کې د نیول کیدو وروسته نن د نوښار یو عدالت ته وړاندې کړل شو. عدالت میا افتخار حسین د یوې ورځې په ریمانډ پولیسو ته حواله کړی دی.
د عدالت نه بهر میا افتخار حسین میډیا سره په خبرو کې وویل ، دا یو سیاسي انتقام دی:

« دغه کس چې څنګه ووژل شو ، دا خدای ته پته ده، خو له دغې وروسته دوی زما په دفتر حمله وکړه، زه یي محاصره کړم، بیا یي زه په ډاټسن کې کینولم ، پولیس او پوځ هم وو، خلکو پر دوی د کاڼو ګوزارونه وکړل ، او هوایي ډزې یي هم وکړې، دا یوه معجزه وه، چې زه ژوندی راووتم، او بیا یي له ما سره داسې سلوک وکړ، زه یي ګرفتاره کړم ، مونږ خو عادت یو او د تښتیدو واله نه یو. » 

دخیبر پوښتونخوا دنوښارپه پبو سيمه کې د انتخاباتو د غيرسرکاري نتایجو د اعلان وروسته تیره شپه په هوایي ډزو کې د تحریک انصاف ګوند د یو کس د وژل کیدو وروسته تاو تریخوالی رامنځ ته شو. چې وروسته د وژل شوي تن کورنۍ د عوامي نيشنل ګوند د مرکزي جنرل سکټر ميا افتخار حسين پرضد مقدمه درج کړه، او پولیسو هغه ګرفتاره کړ. 

Pakistan - Chaos, mismanagement and violence marred local government polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Nine killed during election-related violence
Chaos, mismanagement and violence marred local government polls in K-P which saw at least nine people killed and more than 32 injured in election-related violence across the province, reports our correspondent Iftikhar Firdous.
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) district council candidate in Ameerabad, Tangi, Afzal Khan, was killed. ANP’s Youth Council candidate Alam Zeb Khan was also injured in a firing incident, reported our correspondent Mureeb Mohmand.
In addition to the QWP candidate’s murder, at least six people were killed in Charsadda. According to police, a man was gunned down in a brawl in Sherpao area while two others were injured.
In Tarnab area of Charsadda, two brothers belonging to the QWP were gunned down. Two more people were killed in Mandani area of the district in separate gun related incidents.
Police arrested the Charsadda general secretary for Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Mufti Gauhar Ali for allegedly causing disruption in the voting process.
Police also booked at least 58 people in Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi, registering cases against them.
Kohat witnessed a man being killed, as election-related violence spread.
In Dera Ismael Khan, two people were killed and two others were injured in Ganju area.
Moreover, in Mirza Dher, police had to intervene as armed assailants tried to abduct a woman presiding officer. While the assailants escaped, police lodged a case on the complaint of the presiding officer.
In Rashakai near Mardan, workers of QWP and PTI quarreled with each other and damaged ballot boxes.
In Peshawar, at least 47 people were arrested from 16 different places of the metropolis. According to Rescue 1122, around 32 people had been injured in various incidents of election-related violence in the district.
In MC-2 Shabqadar, a police constable was found using illegals means of favouring a political party.
Also, ANP district workers restrained the female polling staff from working, for what they claimed, was rigging by them aimed at increasing the PTI vote count.
In Battagram, political workers brawled with rivals for most of the day. In Union Council MC-3, Gonda, a worker of Jamaat-e-Islami allegedly assaulted PTI MPA Arif Ahmad Zai over rigging in a polling station designated for women.
In Attaki, PTI workers were accused of breaking the ballot boxes.
In MC-1, there were reports of some people ‘selling’ their votes to different political parties.

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Pakistan - Former president Zardari wants LG election rigging probed

Former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari condemned what he alleged was large scale rigging and manipulation in the local body elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday and called for a thorough investigation into the matter and re-polling in areas where large-scale malpractices had been reported.
According to a statement, Zardari said that the people of Pakistan had witnessed how Imran Khan, who held the nation hostage over allegations of rigging in 2013 general election, had himself resorted to worst form rigging in the LB polls through Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
He added that Khattak’s true intent had manifested itself in the arrest former provincial minister and PPP leader Liaquat Shabab just three days before polls. Zardari demanded Shahbad’s and Prof Ubaidur Rehman’s immediate release.
Zardari’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the former president as directing the provincial chapter of the Party to protest the rigging and take appropriate measures to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
He added that it was a shame that the provincial Ehtsab commission had also been used as a political tool to manipulate the local government elections.

Pakistan - Provincial Minister Ali Amin picks ballot boxes, crowd surrounds his car

Provincial Minister Ali Amin on Sunday picked up ballot boxes filled with votes from Himut polling station in Dera Ismail Khan. However, Amin’s car was surrounded by a crowd when he was about to leave.
Amin is present in his vehicle as the crowd encircles him. Top police officials including the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) have reached the scene of the incidence.
The crowd gathered around Amin’s car has refused to negotiate with the police and has requested the army to intervene.

Pakistan - ANP Chief condemns allegations against Iftikhar Hussain

Leader of Awami National Party (ANP) AsfandyarWali has strongly condemned the allegation leveled against MianIftekhar for killing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) worker.
The ANP leader strongly denounced the detention of former provincial minister and stated that he cannot take life of any one as he had lost his son in an attack.
While exclusively talking to a private news channel he further said that Jamaat-e-Ismlami (JI) has also accused PTI of staging a rigging during Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) local body elections.
Earlier, an incidence of firing by unknown individuals killed a 16 year old boy late Saturday night in Pabbi. Pakistan TehreekInsaf (PTI) has accused that the boy was shot dead by Awami National Party (ANP) workers. PTI workers surrounded the house of ANP’s former Information Minister MianIftikhar’s home after the incident.
The army was called in as the situation became serious which provided safe passage for Iftikhar to leave his home whereas the accused was presented before magistrate today.
Police has taken 10 workers of ANP into custody and began their investigation into the shooting incidence.

Pakistan - Former President Zardari terms arrest of Mian Iftikhar as reflection of dictatorial mindset

Reacting over the arrest of Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussaun, former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has termed the move a reflection of dictatorial mindset of the provincial government.

In a statement issued by the spokesman of the former president, Zardari has demanded of the KP government to release Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Liaquat Shabab, quashing “fake cases” registered against them.
Condemning the arrest, Mr Zardari asked Pervez Khattak to keep in view consequences of “political vendetta “.
He advised the KP chief minister not to become blind by intoxication of power.

Former provincial minister Iftikhar Hussain was taken into custody from his office on charges of murder and conspiracy for murder.