Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Women for Hillary: We're With You | Hillary Clinton - Oct 1, 2015

Video - Hillary Clinton's past debate moments

Six things to watch for at the Las Vegas Democratic debate

Two hours on a live debate stage Tuesday should be ample time for the Democratic underdogs battling front-runner Hillary Clinton to make a beneficial impression on voters — or to acutely disappoint them, politics watchers say.
"The debates will alter the race," said Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist and top staffer in the President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. "Clinton will no longer be running against herself — the debates will force a choice, but only if she strongly stands by her positions, record and beliefs and doesn't get pushed to the left by others."
Nearly 23 million viewers tuned in for the last GOP debate, featuring the smash-mouth antics of Donald Trump and his rivals' attempts to weaken him. Will the Democrats be able to engage as many people for their first debate, set to begin at 9 p.m. ET (coverage starts at 8:30) on Tuesday in Las Vegas?
"Hillary should appear in character as 'Val,' " joked Tracy Sefl, a former senior adviser to Ready for Hillary, the super PAC that laid the groundwork for Clinton's campaign. Clinton portrayed a bartender named Val in a recent Saturday Night Live sketch.
Those competing Tuesday are Clinton, a former secretary of State; Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, her closest rival in the polls; former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley; former Virginia senator Jim Webb; and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee.
Executives with debate host CNN have said they'll squeeze in an extra podium for the still-deciding Joe Biden if the vice president files last-minute paperwork for a 2016 presidential bid before the debate begins.
CNN reported recently that the vice president was likely to skip the opening debate. Still, the Biden question mark adds drama, said Grant Woodard, an Iowa political operative and lawyer.
"If he is there," Woodard said, "it will be one hell of a show."
The debate comes as Sanders has closed the polling gap on Clinton in Iowa, where party caucuses kick off the nation's presidential voting, and overtaken her in New Hampshire, home of the first primary.
Here are six things to watch for:
1. Steam from the Hillary grilling
If the CNN debate moderators treat this as their chance to grill Clinton on live TV instead of carrying out an actual debate where other candidates are allotted plenty of time to make their case, "Democrats will likely be frustrated," said Pat Rynard, a former Democratic campaign staffer from Iowa.
2. The Biden shadow
Even if he's not on the stage, "Joe is a real part of the debate," said Democrat Patty Judge, a former Iowa lieutenant governor.
"Sadly," added Rynard, "in terms of the media narrative, nothing in the debate may matter if Biden announces his intentions the next day and wipes out all the coverage. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but it's near when Biden has to make a decision for ballot purposes."
3. Sanders' fidelity to fixed talking points
The liberal messenger could miss an opportunity if he expounds only a dry, policy-heavy message, Democrats said.
"He really refuses to deviate much from his economic inequality shtick on the campaign trail — which, to be fair, is a very powerful message that has gotten him far," said Rynard, who writes about presidential politics on the website Iowa Starting Line. "(But) debates tend to favor interaction and candidates quick on their toes who can give punchy responses."
4. Two debates in one
One debate will likely be a policy contest between Clinton and Sanders, both of whom have declined to stray into personal attacks, observers said.
"She will continue to move herself to the left in order to appeal to undecideds and to those who are leaning to Sanders but not firmly in his camp," Judge said of Clinton. "She will also try to continue to distance herself from the Obama administration to give herself room to take on Biden if he gets into the race."
The second debate could feature hard swings from the low-polling contenders, especially O'Malley, who has gotten increasingly personal in drawing contrasts with Clinton.
Watch for gun control, trade, banks and foreign policy to take center stage, said Michael Cheney, a professor of communication and economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
5. O'Malley's moment?
Many Democrats worry that Sanders' "socialist" label and Clinton's struggles with her email controversy would badly hinder them in the general election, Rynard said.
O'Malley has run a serious campaign and impressed Democrats who go see him. But he barely attracts national media coverage, and many voters haven't noticed him yet.
Cutter said: "This is the last best chance for Martin O'Malley."
O'Malley needs to pull votes from Sanders, she said. "If he doesn't distinguish himself as the person more likely to achieve results for a progressive agenda, rather than just a protest," Cutter said, "then he's out."
6. The invisible Democrats
It's now or never for Webb and Chafee, neither of whom do any real campaigning, Rynard said.
"At this point, they're just taking up space," he said.
Democrats said they're hesitant to take either candidate seriously when even low-polling GOP candidates such as Rick SantorumBobby Jindal and Lindsey Grahamthrow energy into reaching out to early state voters.
But debates are fertile ground for earning a bump in the polls, strategists noted.
"The best debaters," Sefl said, "are those who don't look like they rehearsed their one-liners thousands of times, and who know how to demonstrate command of the issues without being the annoying kid from class who always raised their hand to every question."

Video - Hillary Clinton taunts Donald Trump

Video - President Obama crashes San Diego wedding

Afghanistan Unable to Handle Security Situation With ISIL Alone

According to Russia's permanent envoy to NATO, Afghanistan cannot deal with thousands of Islamic State militants without any outside cooperation.

 – Afghanistan’s security forces are incapable of handling the situation inside the country without outside help since 4,000 Islamic State (ISIL) militants have entered the country, Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO said Tuesday.

“[The bombing of the hospital in] Kunduz was a cold shower for those here in the NATO headquarters, and they don’t hide this. The city was taken by a small number of forces and national security forces ended up in a difficult situation. It’s obvious they cannot handle the challenges without any outside cooperation,” Alexander Grushko said on his Twitter account.
He said that thousands of Islamic State militants have slipped into Afghanistan.
“We see not only a strengthening in the Taliban movement, but what is particularly alarming is that ISIL is slipping into Afghanistan. According to preliminary figures, approximately 4,000 ISIL militants are already in Afghanistan and their ranks are growing,” Grushko added.
Islamic State

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/asia/20151013/1028448592/afghanistan-islamic-state-security.html#ixzz3oTbUSuJG

Is the Pentagon Telling the Truth About Afghanistan?

New data from the United Nations on the military advances by a resurgent Taliban is alarming for what it says about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan — and what it suggests about the American military’s honesty about what is happening there.
The fall of Kunduz two weeks ago was a startling sign of how the Taliban has reasserted itself, wresting a northern city from the control of the NATO-trained Afghan Security Forces, who are not doing a great job of showing they are up to defending their country. The United Nations data, reported by The Times on Monday and backed up by interviews with local officials, paint an even bleaker picture of an expanding insurgency that has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since the Taliban government was deposed at the end of 2001.
Compiled in early September before the latest uptick in violence, the data shows that United Nations officials have rated the threat level as high or extreme in about half of the country’s administrative districts. Contrast that with the assessment offered by Gen. John Campbell, the American commander in Afghanistan, when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. “The Afghan security forces have displayed courage and resilience,” he said. “They’re still holding. The Afghan government retains control of Kabul, of Highway One, its provincial capitals and nearly all of the district centers.”
According to The Times’s Rod Nordland and Joseph Goldstein, Highway One, which connects all of Afghanistan’s main cities, has long suffered repeated Taliban attacks; in recent weeks, the insurgents have cut a highway in Baghlan Province, which had been an uncontested government stronghold. Meanwhile, in many districts that are nominally under government control, like Musa Qala in Helmand Province and Charchino in Oruzgan Province, Afghan military forces hold only the government buildings in the district center and are under constant siege by the insurgents.
Administration officials say General Campbell has been forthright in private about the challenges faced by the Afghan Security Forces as well as about the political divisions within the unity government. These officials argue that President Obama understood when he ordered the withdrawal of most American troops that the Afhgans would not be able to secure the whole country right away. They say Afghan forces fought hard and have suffered thousands of casualties, even though they failed to hold Kunduz and have yet to field an air force.
But the contrast between the image offered by the Pentagon and the reality on the ground as portrayed in the United Nations report and the Times article raises far-too-familiar memories of the Pentagon’s habit of manipulating the facts to maintain public support for wars that are going badly. That was powerfully true in Vietnam, but also in Iraq, and at other times in Afghanistan. American military officials far too often have provided misleadingly upbeat assessments of battlefield efforts and belittled reporting that contradicted their narrative.
Now, at the request of Afghan officials, Mr. Obama is considering whether to delay the withdrawal of the remaining 9,800 American troops.
As long as this country has troops and money invested in Afghanistan, Congress and the public need to hear the truth about how the mission is going. That truth will come out, sooner or later, and, meanwhile, trying to hide it just feeds people’s cynicism about government and the military and can produce disastrous policy.

India says don’t need Pakistan lecture on pluralism

India on Tuesday lashed out at Pakistan for “lecturing” it on pluralism after Islamabad expressed concern over attempts to disrupt functions of its prominent personalities, and asserted that non-practice of terrorism was central to the betterment of the Indo-Pak relationship.
“[As if] Pakistan is the embodiment of tolerance, pluralism. India does not need to take a lecture from Pakistan. If India has a shortcoming, it is capable of looking after it,” top official sources said.
The Indian reaction came after Pakistan Foreign Office said it “noted with concern attempts to disrupt functions organised in respect of prominent Pakistani personalities on visit to India” while referring to cancellation of a cultural event by gazal maestro Ghulam Ali and attempts to disrupt a function in Mumbai organised for its former Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.
“There is a need to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said.
However, the sources said India still remains interested in NSA-level talks as per Ufa understanding but made it clear that terrorism cannot be an instrument of statecraft.
“A lot of what has not gone as per Ufa is because of Pakistan’s domestic politics.... They are also having some disturbance. There are non-elected players in play. The dynamics of it is both complicated and less transparent.
“The issue is that there has to be a recognition that terrorism cannot be an instrument of statecraft and you cannot say it was only Gurudaspur attack, why are you overreacting or an attack on BSF, why are you overreacting.
“It cannot be a routine way. There has to be recognition that non-practice of terrorism is central to the betterment of the relationship. If they are in denial of that [that is an issue]. One country cannot resort to terrorism as a way of pressurising the other. It is not asking for too much,” they said.
On Pakistan leaders meeting Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leaders, the sources said India has an issue if the manner of consultation or discussions or whatever way they interact with the Hurriyat was done in a manner where they are projected as a third party.

Malala Revisited: Perhaps a potential future Leader, still Maligned by her own Country

By Rusty Walker 

I published this two years ago and have found that it still applies. Pakistan has a born leader that it does not recognize. You may have another Benazir Bhutto that you can protect this time (unlike the brilliant martyr BB) and may have a leader in your midst that can change Pakistan such that plurality rises with the literate, and Pakistan can truly join the nation of liberal nations – the first for an Islamic nation, that accepts all sects, protrects the minority Shia, Hindu and Christian among us, and the ridding of Takifiri Salafist/Wahhabi cults from the Deobandis, ASWJ and TTP who murdered women and children in Peshawar to the ISIS dogs barking at the Durand Line borderline.
There are some born leaders in history that make such a positive mark on a nation’s psyche, through their historical achievements that they earn iconic status. I will discuss one such person here after some commentary: Malala Yousafzai.
Such national heroes have a creative vision, remarkable achievements, or astounding successes in the face of national or world crises, that they transcend political affiliation. Examples that come to mind are, Churchill in the UK, Kennedy in the US, and Jinnah in Pakistan.  A single name is enough to identify them. The possibility that Malala would be among those is great, given her world attention at so young an age. I would add to Pakistani national hero status, Zulfikar Bhutto, over the protesting of some, despite flaws, and mistakes, just as I would JFK, who had the Bay of Pigs scandal. As for Benazir Bhutto’s promise, not unlike Jinnah, and JFK, her legacy was short-circuited. They did not have the opportunity to achieve far beyond what they could have, by virtue of an abbreviated life. In history, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore, we are right to look past some human errors and flaws in our heroes if there was a greater good. We understand in the U.S. for example, that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slaves, but contributed far beyond those anomalies, for which we may forgive.
It has become the fashion to cut down our heroes. Some academics consider this to be a more modern assessment of things. Cynicism becomes the vogue. This thought process assumes past historical records glorified people too much. It all too often, appeals to our base-nature, as flawed humans, to cut people down a notch or two. It may satisfy our need to make ourselves feel more important. Malala Yousafzai is one such example of a pure entity, with a pure message, enduring unwarranted criticism on Twitter, Facebook, and from errant reporters in the press.
Consider that in the U.S. every decade or so ago, cycles through a phase of tearing down our heroes. Books were published about Lincoln’s depression; and Jefferson’s lover who was his slave, Sally Hemmings, and many other examples of revisionist history, that never bothers to publish the entire context. While some of these cannot be faulted for honest content, there were others that were simply malicious. The brilliant Founding Fathers of the U.S., in pseudo-intellectual campaigns to minimize their profound achievements, often by academics, were sometimes referred to as “Dead white guys, who had slaves.” But, much of this is intellectually dishonest. Alas, these national heroes still stand firm as celebrated figures in our history. Judging historical heroes through the lens of our supposed evolved mentality of today is an inaccurate historical assessment. It can also be misused as a clever ploy to reduce any past or current hero to a contemptible specimen. A nation needs heroes. It helps bond a nation; especially a nation as diverse as Pakistan, with various ethnic groups, Muslim sects and religious faiths, with a shared national-identity. Certainly heroes like Malala are sometimes difficult to see when they are in our own time.
Such revealed “truth” about national heroes were actually known facts that in the past were considered irrelevant to the great deeds. Focusing on small negatives, neglects the context of the historical figure. Maligning heroes by minimizing the extraordinary impact they made on the world, is easy with sensationalized tales of a heroes’ wanton lust, or cherry-picked defeats are featured, such as JFK’s affairs, and Churchill’s Gallipoli, respectively. We can easily bring down our heroes; especially if we do not need to air our own dirty laundry. Attempts at discrediting Martin Luther King after his death by illuminating his womanizing didn’t work. His memory remains untainted by the spotlight into his personal life. We love to search for fault where none is, kick down our national heroes, like Malala, but why?
I have noticed over the years that increasing numbers of Pakistanis have found perverted pleasure in finding fault and derision aimed at the great Pakistani icons: Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Founder- “Quaid-i-Azam;” Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the brilliant, but flawed, exceptional President elevated Pakistan to a nuclear state, and Benazir Bhutto, the pluralistic voice for the disenfranchised minorities, is constantly derided by unsubstantiated claims of corruption. Name one Pakistani leader or government politician that has not been accused of corruption! Is there anyone? All great people in the historical and global perception of Pakistan are up for ridicule to no good purpose, but shallow political advantage.
Another national hero is Mohammad Abdus Salam, theoretical physicist, who won the 1979 Noble Prize in Physics and was the firstMuslim and first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize. Salam was a devout Muslim, except in his own Pakistan, where the Constitution would prohibit your national hero from Muslim-status, due to his devotion to Ahmadiyya. Nevertheless, we know him to be a devout Muslim. Shall we not malign him for being Amedhi? No, we should celebrate him!
Malala Yousafzai, your nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the youngest ever, is the latest punching bag, where people, including establishment Pakistani press people throw an unwarranted cheap shot. The youthful example of purity, with not a mark against her, has been a victim of unfair and indiscriminate criticism, from those that chose to ignore her noble message.
It isn’t just the radical religious that scorn Malala. It isn’t just the misogynistic tribal elders; it isn’t just the terrorists from TTP who shot her; or, the ASWJ Salafists that disallow education to women, that mock Malala. It isn’t just the far-Right Mullahs that would cover women with Burqas so as to be invisible. These extremists are joined by the fake-liberals, some in the press, who also devalue women in Pakistan. These jaded and nefarious miscreants would degrade women who become world-class spokespersons for great causes. These heinous examples pretend to be progressive liberals, but are aligned with terrorists.
To be invited to speak at the United Nations is a paramount honor (see Malala’s list of accolades here: https://lubpak.com/archives/275595). But, the contingency of detractors continued. The Western press picked up on the ridicule. They wrote of Pakistanis calling her the poster child of the west. This is to be taken as an insult? She has a message every country should hear. Ask yourself why she would not be a poster child for Pakistan? To deny her that would suggest sympathy with the Taliban who shot her. Is it a cowardly effort to appease the Takfiri Salafists to malign Malala? Or, would it be both of those points, including the general hypocrisy of Pakistan’s fake social society in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, who drink, smoke, and have affairs, against prevailing laws of the land, but, pretend to purity in the “Land of the Pure? We witness them promoting by example, the notion that women should stay passive; disappear under the Burqa, and remain at fault when attacked verbally and physically by male aggressor.
There have been a number of closet Taliban sympathizers that have chosen to attempt to discredit the unassailable Malala Yousafzai. Negative efforts fail, because her message is too pure, too profound and more powerful than any Taliban. I am selecting one insignificant writer from the press to show as an example and to highlight the fake social society in our presence in order to recognize the enemy is closer than we think. Let’s give it a face!
Following what some call the Najam Sethi Raza Rumi school of thought, from Friday Times (owner and editor), Mohammad Shehzad, is an unexceptional columnist for the Friday Times. He is an ineffective caricature of what a journalist should be. That is, he chooses ridicule instead of reporting facts. He has been using sarcasm and exaggeration to malign Malala Yousafzai on Facebook. He also disrespects another Pakistani visionary, Benazir Bhutto. Mohammad Shehzad uses the stale and predictable slur calling “BB” corrupt and evil, even though the UN saw fit to award BB with the 2008 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights. Like a schoolyard bully, he jeers at Pakistan’s teenage, female hero, Malala, who carries the universal message for women’s rights, but, to this reporter she is  a stooge for the U.S. as he infers that Malala is a prostitute, and her father “a pimp.” One wonders if those who join in realize these narratives align with TTP.
It is important to clarify here I am not disparaging Friday Times, any more than I would Dawn, or any other mainstream press that occasionally publishes unpopular articles, and more often gets it right. In fact I have a close reporter friend at Friday Times, Ali K. Chishti (AKC) who is well-researched, known for in-depth research, uses his field reporting to expose Deobandi. Wahhabi Jihadists, like TTP; any detractors he may have is an occupational hazard. Within the scope of this article, I dare say, Ali K. Chishti would agree that Malala is a laudable Pakistani icon.
Malala Yousafzai on October 9, 2012, was shot by a TTP gunman as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan’s SWAT Valley. The gunman was masked.  He warned: “Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all”, and, on her being identified, shot her through her head, neck, and ended in her shoulder. Two other girls were also wounded. My caution on using the media to give equal time to terrorists interviews as they did with this Taliban shooter, owner, Najam Sethi, and editor, Raza Rumi misuses the spirit of free press privileges. Do murderers of innocents deserve equal platforms to lie about their message?
The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, with Ehsanullah Ehsan, chief spokesman saying that Yousafzai “is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity.” He vowed that they would shoot her again. The Taliban, burned down all the schools and beheaded several locals, but justified their attack as part of religious scripture: “The Quran says that people propagating against Islam and Islamic forces would be killed….Sharia says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam.” It is shameful that most Pakistani government officials resisted criticizing the Taliban by name at the time.
Who would make a mockery out of this brave child who stood up to gunfire and was the victim? Why would  Najam Sethi’s protégés at the Friday Times allow interviews to take place with known terrorist leaders that are associated with the shooter of Malala? Why hire reporters that make a mockery out of Malala? Raza  Rumi uses the excuse on Twitter, “Personal freedoms vs editorial line. Public condemnation he’ll say I am hindering his free expression.” But, freedom of the press should not extend to facilitating terrorists’ messages. Providing a public platform to terrorists is not an obligation of any legitimate news forum. Shall we allow all murderous Salafist Jihadists a legitimate press platform to announce their #Shia genocidal intent and desire for a Caliphate-or, deny their intentions with lies? How does Najam Sethi of Friday Times manage to ignore the damage that interviews with terrorist leaders does? Does he not see that it legitimizes and humanizes known murderers?  Does he and his protégés ignore the beheadings of Shias, or shooting of women seeking education in SWAT, and go forward with interviewing these same terrorist leaders as if it is a reporter’s great scoop? News organizations like the Friday Times allow extremists to voice their vile messages, and provide a platform to lie their way into legitimacy.
Who would side with Malala? As it turns out: Islamic clerics would side with Malala. On 12 October 2012, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā – a ruling of Islamic law – against the Taliban gunmen who tried to kill Malala Yousafzai. This included the Islamic scholars from the Sunni Ittehad Council that publicly denounced attempts by the TTP to mount religious justifications for such terrorist acts.
Unfortunately, abusers like Shehzad that are too often given a voice in mainstream press.
Exaggerating Malala’s message to the extreme, so as to suggest she is saying that, “there was not a single school in Pakistan. No women ever went to school. Every girl was shot..” is a typical device of frustrated Taliban apologists to ridicule and discredit Malala, and in so doing, give allowances to the TTP who shot her with a real bullet, not a fake one. These are the typical straw man tactics of Fake Civil Society hacks who provide subtle support to the pro-Taliban discourse of the security establishment. He goes on with these tactics of misrepresenting Malala’s views in a manner of reducto ad absurdium. The views of these abusive civil journos and elite have very little daylight with Taliban. These writers who publish articles in TFT promoting and humanizing Takfiri Deobandi terrorists of banned Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASWJ). His recent interview with ASWJ Chief Ludhianvi was shamelessly defended and justified .
Shehzad: “Before Malala, there was not a single school in Pakistan. No women ever went to school. Every girl was shot in the head if she went to school. Malala wanted to go to school. She was shot. There are so many like her who want to go to school. Malala’s father will be very happy. He is thriving on his daughter. His only qualification is his daughter now. What is the difference between him and a pimp?”
Mohammad Shehzad hopes Malala’s message is lost, so that the terrorists are seen in a more favorable light. It doesn’t work.
Incredibly, in an age where presidents have speechwriter’s, Malala Yousafzai has been accused of having someone write her speech for the UN. Clearly, she wrote it herself, as she spoke with great conviction. And, these are her own words, which echo earlier sentiments. For the sake of argument, even were she to do what high officials do, enlist a speech writer, it would not be an uncommon thing. However, this is not the case. Consider that Yousafzai started speaking about the right to education at ten years of age, in September of 2008, at Peshawar to the local press club. In 2009, at the age of 11, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about her life under Taliban rule. At this young age and dangerous milieu, she took a position as chairperson of the District Child Assembly SWAT, and allowed a New York Times documentary to be filmed about her life surrounded by Pakistani military and Taliban in the battle in SWAT. This is a 16 year old, now 18, nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu.Anyone seeing the UN speech would note that her delivery had no hesitation. Instead, there was a fearless poise, strength of character, and a sense of self-confidence light-years beyond most 16 year olds.
This is no common child. At 16 she ass the youngest nominee for Nobel Peace Prize. She is the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. Malala’s photo was featured on the cover of the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, “The 100 Most Influential People In The World”. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has announced on 10 November that 12 July, the birthday of Malala Yousafzai will be celebrated as Malala Day.
I submit to you, that a person that has achieved this much already, indeed, wrote her own speech, and should be respected for her message. A Pakistani female with such a powerful message of peace, education and freedom of expression, that has achieved such high national and international honours’ does not deserve mainstream Pakistan press writing on Twitter and Facebook outrageous ridicule and exaggeration.
To sum up, the vicious attacks on Malala are not just coming from Pakistan’s self-righteous Urdu media. They are also emanating from Pakistan’s pseudo liberal circles. The abusive and personal attacks by establishment press do not help Pakistan. They represent a larger malaise.
Why do establishment press and Al Jazeera conduct softball interviews with terrorists and hate mongers. These interviews are shocking as instead of consisting of tough questions, they were geared towards humanizing hate speech and boastful terrorists.
It is sad to see the larger trend which I hope other international journalists and correspondents are taking note of. Past think tanks like the Jinnah Institute that published a Taliban advocacy report in 2011. It is becoming increasingly clear that even the pseudo liberal English media has been mostly co-opted by the security establishment. Many of these journalists and intelligentsia are connected via their links to Pro-establishment think tanks like the Jinnah Institute. In this compromised environment, is it any surprise that Malala haters and conspiracy theories multiply?
Malala is a Pakistan national treasure, welcome her and protect her better than Benazir Bhutto was and you may have a leader amongst you for the future.


584 un-registered religious institutes in Karachi with 73 thousand local and international students: Report
Special Branch Survey, which was conducted with regard to National Action plan, has revealed information that had not been know earlier. Geo-tagging and registration of religious institutes (madaaris) is almost complete. There are more than 7 thousand and 4 hundred religious institutes in Sindh, including Karachi out of which more than 584 are un-registered. These un-registered madaaris have more than 73 thousand students, some ghost madaaris are also there that exist only on papers. This is the first time that the data of special branch has been attained with regard to religious institutes (madaaris) in Sindh, including Karachi.
According to the report, there are more than 7400 madaaris in Sindh out of which around 2500 are located in Karachi and its adjacent areas. 1900 madaaris in Karachi and its adjacent areas are registered in which around 200,000 students are studying. Report tells that the number of registered madaaris were 1400 a year ago. It has also been revealed in the report that there are around 584 un-registered Madaaris in Karachi which have more than 73,000 students.
Special Branch’s report revealed that some ghost madaaris also exist and Sindh government has been trying to figure out the real work of such madaaris. In addition to this, Geo-tagging of madaaris is also in process and geo-tagging of more than 6500 madaaris in Sindh has been completed whereas the remaining work will be completed in a month. According to the report of Special branch, geo-tagging has been done for the first time in country’s history and it has not only made the access to information digital and easy but also made it easy to keep an eye on every kind of movement.

Pakistan - Saudi Arabian Government is Responsible for Hajj Tragedies

Adnan Aamir
Hajj this time proved to be bloody affair as over 1,000 pilgrims died in two separate incidents. First a gigantic crane crashed in Makkah resulting in the loss of lives of 107 pilgrims. Then a stampede at Mina, during the Jamarat ritual, took the lives of over 800 people including 52 Pakistanis, according to modest estimates. These two tragedies during Hajj are hotly debated, but what’s missing is the narrative holding the regime in Saudi Arabia responsible for both the incidents.
Mina tragedy reignited the Saudi-Iranian cold war in the public. State sponsored media in Iran quoted anonymous Saudi officials to claim that stampede at Mina was caused due to VIP movement of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia. State backed media in Saudi Arabia retaliated by quoting anonymous Iranian officials to claim that a group of Iranian pilgrims caused the Mina stampede. Supporters of both countries in Pakistan started propagating the narrative of their masters on social media forums rather than approaching this issue logically.
As usual, the religion card was tactfully played by House of Saud to absolve itself of any responsibility in both Makkah and Mina tragedies. Saudi Grand Mufti termed both incidents as part of fate and destiny, which according to him are inevitable and can’t be forestalled by humans. Similarly the clerics in Pakistan, who have a soft corner for Saudi Arabia for reasons not hidden to anyone, came out openly in defense of the Saudis. They congratulated the families of victims, as their loved ones had achieved the distinction of martyrdom in holy land during Hajj period. It’s needless to say that there is an overwhelming majority of people who are ready to be deceived in the name of religion.
As the death toll of Pakistani pilgrims increased, certain Pakistani channels started criticizing Saudi Arabia over negligence in Mina tragedy. It was a step in the right direction and news channels were asking all the right questions, but then came the PEMRA. According to reports, PEMRA contacted the owners of all major news channels and strongly warned them against any criticism of Saudi Arabia. The flawed reason used by PEMRA is that criticism on Saudi Arabia would damage the relations of Pakistan with a brotherly Muslim country. This episode once again exposed the reality of the so-called freedom of expression in Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia is responsible for all the management of Hajj related activities and therefore it is also responsible for any mishap. The responsibility for both Makkah and Mina tragedies fall squarely on the shoulders of the Saudi government and that can’t be hidden by playing religion card or using proxies in countries like Pakistan.
At the moment there is uncertainty over the cause of the Mina stampede. As per the accounts of surviving pilgrims, quoted by International media, the stampede occurred because multiple routes were closed at the time. One can assume that routes were closed due to VIP moment of a Saudi Prince but nothing can be said with certainty until and unless transparent investigations are conducted.
Saudi government has announced to conduct investigations. However, independent analysts have criticized this decision. It’s illogical that Saudi Arabia would conduct transparent investigations when the government itself is being blamed for negligence. The only viable solution out of this conflict is an independent investigation. But, who is going to conduct it? Legally speaking, there is no mechanism which can allow anyone outside of Saudi Arabia to conduct it. The investigation by Saudi Arabia would be nothing but a cover up job.
Moreover, the negligence of Saudi Arabia in dealing with Mina stampede should be a potential triggering point to challenge the hegemony of Saudi Arabia over holy sites of Islam. The holy sites of Makkah and Medina belong to entire Muslim Ummah, assuming the notion of Ummah to be true. Hence, all the Muslim counties in the world should have joint control of all the matters related to Hajj without affecting the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. However, realistically speaking that’s almost impossible. When Muslim countries, minus Iran and Syria, can’t even criticize Saudi Arabia then how can they challenge its hegemony on historical Islamic sites?
Democracy in Pakistan, which is still in stages of infancy, is damaged by nothing more than creating new holy cows. Pakistan already has many holy cows internally that are beyond any criticism and addition of any external holy cow will not bode well for democracy in Pakistan. Therefore, the need of the hour is that Pakistan as a country should be able to criticize the government of Saudi Arabia which is responsible for Makkah and Mina tragedies.

Pakistan - Rabbani seeks briefing on Mina stampede

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has called on Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf to update the upper house of parliament on the Mina stampede incident.
“He [religious minister] should come with a complete report and brief the house tomorrow [Tuesday],” he said, adding that the minister will have to inform the house what he had been doing in Saudi Arabia.
The chairman issued these directives to the federal minister through Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah.
Quoting the information available with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Shah said there were 97 martyrs, 56 of whom were officially verified by the Saudi government and 41 were identified by their relatives.
He added that all the injured, accordingly to their database, had been discharged from hospitals – except for two.
The state minister cited the number of missing persons to be 20, which included eight Iqama holders. A total of 309 have been located, he said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a compensation of Rs0.5 million for each of the deceased and nearly Rs0.2 million for each injured pilgrim, he said.
Earlier, Senator Kalsoom Parveen moved a motion to discuss Hajj policy of the government with particular reference to the performance of the ministry in providing assistance to the pilgrims after the Mina stampede.
She said the Saudi government should be requested to allow families of the martyrs to identity them, visit their graves and also confirm the status of missing pilgrims.
Senator Farhatullah Babar informed the house that four people from Edhi Foundation had been denied visa after they filed visa applications to the foreign office for going to Saudi Arabia to investigate the matter regarding bodies or missing persons.

Refugees in Pakistan hit by aid cuts as Europe crisis drains funds


Aid programs for some of the 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan are being slashed amid the worst funding shortfall for a generation, as the European and Syrian migrant crisis uses up cash and dominates headlines, United Nations officials said.
Pakistan hosts the world's largest long-term refugee population, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), mostly Afghans who fled more than three decades of war.

The exodus of people from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is forcing U.N. officials to cut programs like infant feeding, education, and sanitation for refugees in Pakistan.

The UNHCR in Pakistan has received only $33.6 million for 2015 out of its $136.7 million annual budget, officials said.
That means schools like the one run by principal Mohammad Zamir, 55, at the sprawling Kababiyan refugee camp outside the northwestern city of Peshawar, are telling students to go home.
"This year, during the summer holidays, we were suddenly told that the funds aren't there, and so we are withdrawing 7th and 8th grade classes," said Zamir, gazing over a crowd of blue-uniformed students sitting on the floor of a tent.
Thousands of children could be affected by the cuts.
More than half a million refugees have tried to enter Europe this year, including 80,000 Afghans, UNHCR says.
That's still a fraction of the 2.5 million who live in Pakistan. Many fled violence one or two generations ago.
Since the 1980s, Afghanistan has endured the campaign against Soviet occupation, civil war after the Soviets withdrew and the ongoing battle against Taliban insurgents since the hardline Islamist movement was toppled in 2001.
"The U.N. is supporting Syrian refugees. But no one ever asks about Afghans. Our war has been going on for 35 years," said Mohammad Amin, a white-bearded veteran of the fight against the Soviets, unable to hide his anger.
Globally, UNHCR's budget is under-funded by 61 percent in 2015, the largest gap in more than 15 years.
The shortfall is forcing hard choices.
"If ... there is a child who has just crossed with their families into the hills of Lebanon, and it's winter and they're freezing to death: do you give a tent there, or do you replace a shelter (in Pakistan)?" asked Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR's Pakistan chief.
The cuts could have the unintended effect of creating more migrants to Europe.
In Kababiyan camp, home to around 12,000 people, some members of Saida Jan's family have already decided there is no future to be had in staying.
Two young relatives of the 60-year-old Afghan from Nangarhar province, who fled his native country 35 years ago, paid people smugglers to get them to Germany and left around two months ago. They have arrived there safely.
"I cannot tell you all of the difficulties that we face over here," he added.

Bilawal Bhutto condemns attack on Daily Sobh

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned an attack and firing on the office of Sindh Daily Sobh in Karachi and expressed sympathy with the workers of the newspaper.

In a press statement, the PPP Chairman said his Party has always stood for freedom of the press and offered sacrifices together with the journalist community in the struggle against the gagging press.

He said PPP won’t tolerate such attacks and invasions against the media adding that Government of Sindh has already initiated investigations into the incident. The culprits involved in the attack in Daily Sobh shall be arrested soon and punished according to the law, he added.


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