Monday, January 18, 2016

Music Video - Miley Cyrus - Bangerz Tour: Can't Be Tamed

Video Report - 62 world’s richest people own same wealth as half the world – report

Erdogan wants to turn Turkey into Islamist state, bets on uneducated masses - CIA veteran

Recep Erdogan: Building an autocratic narrative in Turkey by criminalizing truth speaking

Turkish President Recep Erdogan recently clashed against the most prominent scholar of our time, Noam Chomsky, labeling his truth speaking a parody of intellectualism. I will let you decide which of the two stand the fool.
These days all paths of oppression appear to lead to Turkey. Once again, and probably not for the last time, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has flexed his autocratic muscles to silence the opposition and whomever else he perceives as a threat.
Of course on this long and slippery road that is fascist paranoia, and Turkey's leader will likely find that there are indeed many enemies to be had. Autocracy is a lonely state of affair!
A rising despot, President Erdogan may have actually overstepped the license his people relinquished to his rule, now that his ire has been directed not at politicians, or ethnic minorities, but intellectuals - Turkey’s academic cream - because they dared protest his treatment of Kurds.
Earlier this week, President Erdogan called on his security services to crackdown on academics, demanding that they face criminal charges for a petition they circulated that called for an end to Turkey’s “deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish people.”
The opening statement of the petition reads as follow: “We ask the state to put an end to violence inflicted against citizens right now, we as academics and researchers of this country declare that we won’t be a party to this crime and that promise that we will sustain our stance in the presence of political parties, parliament and international public”.
1,128 academics from 89 universities in Turkey, and over 355 academics and researchers from abroad - including prominent figures such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, David Harvey and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek - have offered their personal support to the petition. Those are the men and women whom President Erdogan had the gall of publicly defaming.
Before such a clear exercise of academic conscience, before such an injunction to reason and political restraint, Erdogan answered by way of chilling violence, which of course betrays the very nature of Ankara’s new political paradigm. If Turkey continues to hide behind a democratic veneer, calling itself a model for all aspiring democracies in the region, I would argue that the country in fact should serve as a cautionary tale against absolutist presidentialism.
There is a lot which can be said about a political system that preys on its intellectuals, its teachers, and its thinkers - more importantly against those who wish to speak the truth, and offer an alternative to the tyranny they witness. Devoid of direction, devoid of academic guidance, exactly how long can a nation stand before it is swallowed completely into the abyss of ignorance and falsehood, the ugly step-sisters of fascism?
If ever President Erdogan wanted to come out as a brutal despot, that was pretty much his moment. I don’t think there will be any going back from that point on… The ship has already entered the ominous high seas and Erdogan’s vantage-point principles - such as freedom of expression, civil liberties, and of course political self-determination - are but mirages in the distance, shadows preventing his unique strain of government from ever shining.
"Unfortunately these so-called academics claim that the state is carrying out a massacre. You, those so-called intellectuals! You are dark people. You are not intellectuals," Erdogan railed against the group.
I believe Mr Erdogan exemplified the very political and moral devolution Noam Chomsky and 1,127 other academics were alluding to through their denunciation of Ankara’s repression campaign against an ethnic minority: the Kurds.
Forget politics for a second and consider the human implications of Erdogan’s witch-hunt against a people based on their ethnic markers … can there ever be a justification? Can there ever be a rationale behind the engineered persecution of any group, or community, on account of geography? Because really, when we discuss ethnicity, we are actually referring to geography. I’d like to think that we know better.
Actually we do, at least our most brilliant thinkers do. And therefore we ought to pay attention to what it is that they are saying.
“The detention and harassment of these academics is an ominous marker of the precarious state of human rights in Turkey. They have as much right as anyone else to exercise their right to freedom of expression, without being branded as terrorists and menaced with arrest,” said Andrew Gardner from Amnesty International.
Turkey today, under Erdogan’s rule, is heading toward a brick wall. Not only is Ankara criminalizing free speech by waving terrorism charges at its nationals, but it is also wielding Syrian refugees’ human tragedy to score very geopolitical points.
A political vulture, President Erdogan has built an entire narrative of hate, suspicion and criminality around Syrian refugees, to better sell internment camps as a viable option.
On January 15, Mark Lowen wrote a report for the BBC in which he carefully lays out Turkey’s new humanitarian paradigm - cracking open a window into Erdogan’s little house of horrors.
While Turkey has allowed for Wahhabi-inspired militants to freely move across its borders, while its officials have exploitedTerror’s industries to fill their coffers, and turned a blind eye to the despicable infamies ISIL has committed against Syria and Iraq, it is Syrian war refugees the state sees as an enemy!
Dystopian does not even begin to cut it.
Amnesty International has already confirmed that its research found that scores of refugees and asylum-seekers have been sent back to Syria and Iraq, in clear and complete violation of international law - yet Turkey was offered a handsome sum of money by the EU to bear both Syria and Iraq war burden.
"This is absolutely illegal, both under Turkish and international law, because you cannot forcibly return someone to a place where their lives and rights are in danger," Andrew Gardner, the head of Amnesty in Turkey told the press.
Ankara has already been proven guilty of terror profiteering, today it has raised the bar one step higher by adding humanitarian exploitation to its list of capitalist crimes - not bad for a thriving democracy sitting a NATO member … not bad indeed!
But here is my question, of Turkey still holds the title democratic, what does autocratic looks like?

Video Report - Executed cliric al-Nimr’s son: ‘Saudis didn’t extract bullet to make him suffer’

Video Report - Iran denounces US sanctions on missile program

Video - China holds sweeping military drills across the country

Moscow, Doha unanimous in desire to achieve stability in energy markets

Qatar and Russia are unanimous in their desire to achieve stability in the energy markets, for which a dialogue between producers and consumers of hydrocarbons is needed, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said following meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. He pointed to an agreement to develop cooperation between the two countries in various fields, including in the energy sector. "Both countries have a real desire to strengthen cooperation and achieve stability in the energy markets. 

This should be done, including through dialogue between producers and consumers of energy products," Qatar’s top diplomat said, adding that this happened amid falling oil and gas prices. The Qatari foreign minister also said that the parties "had pointed to the need to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries with regard to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trade." According to him, it is necessary to increase the LNG share in trade, including for combating global warming. "The leaders of Russia and Qatar have confirmed their desire to pursue the objectives for whose sake the Gas Exporting Countries Forum has been established," 

Qatar’s top diplomat said. For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that that the two countries’ leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to develop cooperation in various areas, including in the energy sector. To solve common problems in this field Putin and al Thani "agreed to use both bilateral channels of cooperation and our cooperation within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and with countries that are not OPEC members as well as within the Gas Exporting Countries Forum," Lavrov said.


Europe's Historic Irony: Unity Was Ensured by Oppressive Surrounding States

Europe has found itself facing an unhappy historical irony: the only reason it was able to flourish and remain unified was due to the oppressive regimes which once held sway on its periphery, such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi’s; their elimination has fractured the continent’s shape once again, according to political analyst Robert Kaplan.

The decades of peace and prosperity in Europe as well as its unity are now suffering one blow after another from within and without, Robert D. Kaplan, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, writes in his article for The Wall Street Journal.

The recent flood of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa and the latest terrorist outrages however has fractured the continent’s shape once again.

“Today, migrant caravans assemble across North Africa, from Algeria to Libya, for the demographic invasion of Europe proper,” the author writes.

“The Balkans, too, have resumed their historic role as a corridor of mass migration toward Europe’s center, the first stop for millions of refugees fleeing the collapsed regimes of Iraq and Syria.”“Europe thus now finds itself facing an unhappy historical irony: the decades in which it was able to develop its high ideals of universal human rights, including the right of the distressed to seek havens in Europe, was made possible, it is now clear, by the oppressive regimes that once held sway on its periphery,” he therefore concludes.

“The Arab world was slammed shut for decades by prison states whose dictator-wardens kept their people in order. Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Assad family in Syria, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya — they allowed Europe to have its idealistic cake and eat it, too.”

The author further suggests that as the EU continues to fracture, it will become what he calls “a 21st-century equivalent of the late Holy Roman Empire: a rambling, multiethnic configuration that was an empire in name but not in fact, until its final dissolution in 1806.”

“Here we may be witnessing the start of a remarkable reversal of Cold War alliances. Europe is again redividing into halves, but this time it is Eastern Europe that wants to draw closer to the US because it increasingly doubts that NATO alone will be an effective defensive barrier against Russia,” he suggests.

“Meanwhile, the countries of Western Europe, worried about the tide of refugees and terrorist attacks at home, seek to draw closer to Russia (the Ukraine crisis notwithstanding) as a hedge against the chaos emanating from Syria.”

The expert however has come to a very surprising conclusion suggesting that the key to solution of the above crises is the American leadership in Europe.

“For the US, a Europe that continues to fracture internally and to dissolve externally into the fluid geography of Northern Africa and Eurasia would constitute the greatest foreign-policy disaster since World War II,” he therefore suggests.

“The success of the EU over many decades was a product of American power, stemming from the victory over Nazi Germany.”

However, he notes, the big mistake of the Obama administration is currently making, is the inattentiveness to the European crises and “the mistaken idea that somehow Europe matters less than it did during the Cold War”.

President Obama’s successor, he says, should put the security of the continent at the center of his priorities.
“Geography is a challenge, not a fate,” he therefore concludes.

Economic emergency declared in France

French President Francois Hollande has announced what he called "a state of economic and social emergency" involving a €2 billion plan to revive hiring and catch up with the world’s economy.
"Due to the threat of terrorism in the past, we had to introduce a state of emergency. But amid global chaos and an uncertain economic environment, it’s appropriate to talk about a state of economic and social emergency. Employment is the most important question after the security of French citizens," TASS quotes Hollande as saying.
“New economic powers are rising, the digital economy is rapidly developing, we have to rethink our economic and social model," said the President.
Hollande's socialist government has been failing to boost long-stagnant French growth or cut chronic unemployment, which has been about 10 percent for a long time. One of the key milestones of his presidential program of 2012 was to cut the unemployment. Hollande’s chances for a second term may depend on his ability to create jobs.

Video Report - Cover-up allegations in Flint water crisis

President Obama, Please Come to Flint, Mich.

By Michael Moore 

This letter originally appeared on Common Dreams.

Dear President Obama,

I am writing this to you from the place where I was born—Flint, Michigan. Please consider this personal appeal from me and the 102,000 citizens of the city of Flint who have been poisoned—not by a mistake, not by a natural disaster, but by a governor and his administration who, to “cut costs,” took over the city of Flint from its duly elected leaders, unhooked the city from its fresh water supply of Lake Huron, and then made the people drink the toxic water from the Flint River. This was nearly two years ago.

This week it was revealed that at least 10 people in Flint have now been killed by these premeditated actions of the Governor of Michigan. This governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the democratic election of this mostly African-American city—where 41% of the people live below the “official” poverty line—and replaced the elected Mayor and city council with a crony who was instructed to take all his orders from the governor’s office.

One of those orders from the State of Michigan was this: “It costs too much money to supply Flint with clean drinking water from Lake Huron (the 3rd largest body of fresh water in the world). We can save a lot of money doing this differently. So unhook the city from that source and let them drink the water known as ‘General Motors’ Sewer’—the Flint River.”

And, lo and behold, the Governor was right. It was a lot cheaper! Fifteen million dollars cheaper! And for saving all that money, it is now estimated that to repair the damaged water system in Flint, it will cost at least $1.5 billion. Someone had suggested to the governor, before he did this, that the river contained many toxins. He ignored that. One of his own people said maybe they should add a safe-to-drink “corrosive protector” to the water so that the toxins in said water wouldn’t leach the lead off the aging water pipe infrastructure and into the drinking water. “How much will that cost?” asked the governor’s office.

“Just $100 a day for only 3 months,” the governor was told. Oh, $100 a day?! THAT’S TOO MUCH!, came the reply from the governor. Don’t worry about the lead. “Lead is a seasonal thing,” he would later explain to the public. “Heck, there’s lead in everything!” Just let them drink the river water.

This is a city full of poor black people, a city where half the population (including myself) found a way to escape the misery and the madness (the crime rate is so bad, we’ve lead the country in murders for most years—and just to get an idea of what that means, if NYC had the same murder rate as Flint last year, over 4,000 New Yorkers would have been killed, instead of the 340 who actually were).

Mr. President, we need YOUR help—TODAY. 100,000 people have no water to drink, to cook with or to bathe in.

My city has been pummeled by General Motors, Wall Street and the State and Federal governments. It’s no surprise that the Republicans who control our State Capitol in Michigan didn’t have to worry about any push-back from the residents of Flint because, to them, that’s just a bunch of eviscerated black people who have absolutely no power, “don’t vote for us any way,” and have NO means to fight back.

And now, after every single child in Flint has been poisoned with lead-filled water that the State knew a year ago was in that water, we learn that the governor’s office sought to cover it up, hiding it not just from the defenseless African Americans they secretly fear and despise, but also hiding it from YOU and the federal government! (Link)

And, as if things couldn’t get any worse, the news of 87 people with Legionnaires Disease happened this week. Ten Flint residents have been KILLED by this disease which is caused by tainted water. Not by gun violence, not in Afghanistan, but by an act of racism and violence perpetrated by the—I’m sorry to say—white, Republican governor of Michigan who knew months ago the water was toxic.

All fingers from the doctors and scientists point to the filthy, toxic Flint River as the cause of this Legionnaires Disease outbreak. 10 human souls deceased. In an average year, Flint already had an astounding 8 cases (and rarely a death) of people contracting Legionnaires Disease. Since the citizens of Flint were forced to use the water from the Flint River, EIGHTY-SEVEN CASES OF LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE have happened! AND TEN DEATHS! And the number is expected to rise.
President Obama—the people of Flint are crying out to you for help. Our Congressman, Dan Kildee, has called the federal government for assistance. But he’s been told that it’s a “State issue” and that “the State of Michigan has to be the one asking the feds for the help.”
NO! The STATE is the one who CAUSED THIS! That’s like asking the fox if he could repair the chicken coop. No, Mr. President, we need YOUR help—TODAY. 100,000 people have no water to drink, to cook with or to bathe in.

This week, you are coming to Michigan to attend the Detroit Auto Show. We implore you to come to Flint, less than an hour’s drive north of Detroit. Do not ignore this tragedy taking place every day. This may be Gov. Snyder’s Katrina, but it will become your Bush-Flying-Over-New Orleans Moment if you come to Michigan and then just fly away. I know you don’t want that image of flying over us as you “fake-sad” look down on Flint just as Bush did in that never-to-be-forgotten photo-op over New Orleans. I know you are going to come to the rescue here in Flint. I can’t imagine any other scenario.

We need:

1. The CDC here at once to truly assess all of the disease and damage that has been forced upon the people of Flint.

2. FEMA has to supply large water containers in every home in Flint—and they must be filled by water trucks until the new infrastructure is resolved.

3. The EPA must take over matters from the State (can the governor be removed and replaced like he did to the mayor of Flint?). Immediately.

4. You must send in the Army Corps of Engineers to build that new water infrastructure. Otherwise, you might as well just evacuate all the people from Flint and move them to a white city that has clean drinking water—and where this would never happen.
President Obama, I’m counting on you to give us a response. Can we expect to see you, in Flint, in the next few days?
Michael Moore
Flint native

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Leave Sparring Behind at a King Day Event

By Alan Rappeport

Hours after engaging in their most contentious debate to date, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders reconvened on Monday in a less charged setting to honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Speaking in succession at a Martin Luther King Day event in Columbia, S.C., the two leading Democratic presidential candidates made no mention of each other as they heralded the work of the civil rights icon. But beneath the warm words, it was clear that the campaign must go on as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders both sought to cloak themselves in Mr. King’s legacy in different ways.
For Mrs. Clinton, the pressing issues of the day were criminal justice and gun violence, which she pointed out is disproportionately harming black Americans.
“This isn’t just a public safety issue, it’s a civil rights issue,” Mrs. Clinton said of the need to restrict access to guns.
The former secretary of state drew cheers when she praised civil rights leaders of the past and the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol last year. As she did during Sunday night’s debate, she also embraced President Obama, echoing his language about being part of the “Joshua generation.”
“Dr. King died, but his work is unfinished,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It is up to us to see it though.”
Mr. Sanders, who spoke after Mrs. Clinton, agreed with that sentiment but suggested that he was best suited to act upon Mr. King’s intentions.
“What would he say?” Mr. Sanders said, asking how Mr. King would have addressed issues like the lack of health insurance and affordable education for many in the United States. The senator added that Mr. King should not be viewed as a museum piece or a figure from the past, but as an inspiration for the future.
“All of us have got to stand together and fight for dignity for all,” Mr. Sanders said.

Martin Luther King, Jr: Our Beloved Revolutionary!

Video - Martin Luther King | "I Have A Dream"

Pakistan's 15-year-old boy's blasphemy Or Ignorance - From Error To Terror

A 15-year-old boy in Okara cut off his own hand believing he had committed blasphemy- only to be celebrated by his parents and neighbors for the act. One can only wonder to what extent we are obsessed with religiously motivated violence, that we are willing to hurt our own children.
In what can only be politely put as bullying, the imam of a mosque asked who among the crowd had stopped praying, connecting prayer to a love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The boy in question raised his hand by mistake after apparently mishearing the question. The imam, alongside the attendees around him, shamed the 15-year-old for committing blasphemy. How such an error amounts to blasphemy is up to anyone’s guess. Some reports even state that the boy was beaten by the cleric for his ‘sin’, so much so that the child had to punish himself to redeem himself in the eyes of the community. Using a fodder cutting machine, he sliced off the very hand he had raised at the mosque. Then, the child presented his appendage to the preacher on a plate. If people are ready to hurt themselves in the name of religion, imagine what they would be willing to do to others? We are in the midst of a complete breakdown of tolerance and humanity in our society. This is no worse than the terrors that Islamic State inflicts on its own and its enemies. Justifiably, Okara police have arrested the imam on terror charges.
That such a beautiful religion could be made so fearful and violent is blasphemy in itself. Children are meant to be encouraged and loved and there is enough evidence of love and forgiveness for the young in the Quran and Hadith. It is all too easy to make excuses citing illiteracy as the major culprit, but what needs to be addressed is the problem of child abuse and how our adult population is hell bent on it; whether it is young boys cutting their appendages or young girls being married at puberty. Even if the child and his family does not press charges, the state should go ahead with criminal proceedings, as harm was done on the Imam’s instigation. It is argued that the Imam misunderstood the boys intention just as the boy misunderstood his question. However, stupidity and rashness is no justification for instigating mob violence.

Boy’s Response to Blasphemy Charge Unnerves Many in Pakistan

Late one night, the imam Shabir Ahmad looked up from prayers at his mosque to see a 15-year-old boy approaching with a plate in his outstretched left hand. On it was the boy’s freshly severed right hand.
Mr. Ahmad did not hesitate. He fled the mosque and left the village, in eastern Punjab Province.
Earlier that night, Jan. 10, he had denounced the boy as a blasphemer, an accusation that in Pakistan can get a person killed — even when the accusation is false, as it was in this case.
The boy, Anwar Ali, the devout son of a poor laborer, had been attending an evening prayer gathering at the mosque in the village of Khanqah when Mr. Ahmad asked for a show of hands of those who did not love the Prophet Muhammad. Thinking the cleric had asked for those who did love the prophet, Anwar’s hand shot up, according to witnesses and the boy’s family.
He realized his mistake when he saw that his was the only hand up, and he quickly put it down. But by then Mr. Ahmad was screaming “Blasphemer!” at him, along with many others in the crowd. “Don’t you love your prophet?” they called, as the boy fled in disgrace.
Anwar went home, found a sharp scythe and chopped off his right hand that same night. When he showed it to the cleric, he made clear it was an offering to absolve his perceived sin.
The police quickly caught the mullah and locked him up, but local religious leaders protested, and the authorities backed down and released him. After the international news media began picking up on the story over the weekend, the authorities rearrested Mr. Ahmad on Sunday, holding him on terrorism and other charges.
“There is no physical evidence against the cleric of involvement, but he has been charged for inciting and arousing the emotions of people to such a level that the boy did this act,” the district police chief, Faisal Rana, said.
The boy’s family, however, argues that the cleric did nothing wrong and should not be punished.
“We are lucky that we have this son who loves Prophet Muhammad that much,” Muhammad Ghafoor, Anwar’s father, said in a telephone interview. “We will be rewarded by God for this in the eternal world.”
Anwar, too, declined to make any charge against the mullah. “What I did was for love of the Prophet Muhammad,” he said.
Blasphemy is a toxic subject in Pakistan, where a confusing body of laws has enshrined it as a potentially capital offense but also makes it nearly impossible for the accused to defend themselves in court. Even publicly repeating details of the accusation is tantamount to blasphemy in its own right.
Such cases almost never make it to court, however. The merest accusation that blasphemy has occurred has the power to arouse lynching or mob violence.
The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by his own bodyguard in 2011, after Mr. Taseer criticized the country’s blasphemy laws and defended a Christian woman who had been falsely accused under them. The assassin is a national hero to many devout Pakistanis: His jail cell has become a pilgrimage site, and a mosque was renamed to honor him.
On Monday, Pakistan lifted a three-year-old ban on YouTube, which it had shut down because of accusations of airing anti-Islamic videos. The government announced that Google, which owns YouTube, had agreed to give it the right to block objectionable content. The Pakistani government blocks thousands of web pages it considers offensive.
“We have become a society so intoxicated by negative things in the name of religion that parents feel proud of sending their children to jihad and to die in the name of such activities,” said I.A. Rehman, the secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “The government needs to do more to educate people and to speak out against extremism.”
Anwar Ali did not even go to a hospital after his amputation, but had his right arm’s stump bandaged at a village clinic and went home. Family members buried his hand in the village graveyard.

Bilawal Bhutto calls for FATA reforms; Condemns government’s neglect of the IDPS as “criminal”

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the return of the internally displaced persons of tribal areas to their homes was critical to the development and mainstreaming of FATA and deplored the government’s neglect of this issue as a crime against the people of tribal areas.This he said during meeting with the office bearers and workers of PPP FATA chapters in Zarari House Monday morning.“It is scandalous that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still rotting in camps despite tall claims that more than 90 % of the tribal areas have been cleared of the militants and extremists”,Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the PPP chairman as saying .Bilawal also called upon the provincial and central chapters, the parliamentarians and senior leadership of the party to expose the government’s apathy towards the plight of the tribal people and forceit to resettle and rehabilitate the IDPs.
The meeting was also attended by former Prime Minister Raja Pervez ,PPP FATA coordinator Akhunzada Chatan ex MNA, vice president senator Sherry Rehman, some former federal and provincial ministers and political secretary Jamil Soomro.Farhatullah Babar said that the Monday was the fourth day of meet the workers meetings of Chairman PPP in Islamabad. The PPP Chairman called for mainstreaming FATA by giving its fundamental rights and local self governments in the tribal Agencies. Bilawal Bhutto deplored that the government had done nothing for reforms in the tribal areas even though mainstreaming FATA was also a central plank of the National action Plan (NAP). Bilawal said that the former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari had also addressed recently a letter to the Prime Minister on this subject but the letter has not even been acknowledged by the Prime Minister. He called upon the party MPs to pursue the issue of FATA reforms in the national Parliament.
He said that according to the Constitution tribal areas were part of Pakistan. However, its people were denied basic rights as guaranteed to the people of other parts of the country as the superior courts had no jurisdiction in the tribal areas. This anomaly has been taken note of by the courts and the provincial Assembly has also passed a unanimous resolution urging the federal government to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to the tribal areas. He asked the government to immediately adopt a private member’s bill already passed by senate committee. We must give strategic importance to the people and empower them instead of stating that the tribal lands were strategic in nature.
Talking of the land only and not of the people reflects a colonial mindset, he said. Empowerment is linked to sense of justice and sense of participation of the people in their own affairs, he said. Bilawal Bhutto said that a governing structure that is not based on the will of the people cannot resist the militants. Had there been people participation in FATA the area would not have been taken over by others so easily.
He said that political reforms and empowering people in tribal areas will strengthen and not weaken national security as is often contended by a section of the powerful establishment. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also called for devising a mechanism for holding elections to local self governments in each Agency in the tribal areas. The mechanism should be based on adult franchise, transparency, and duly empowered local government bodies, he said. There should be local governments in FATA so that people participate in and manage their own issues. It is a measure of double standards that while we demand LGs throughout the country we are not prepared to hold local polls in the tribal areas, he said.
He also called for separating judicial functions and authorities from the executive authorities and functions in the tribal areas and said that the local Agency governments should have a say in the formation of tribal Jirgas as alternate dispute resolution mechanism. He said that the driver for change in FATA has to be driven by the tribal people themselves and it cannot be imposed from outside. The issue of whether FATA should be made a separate province or merged with the KPK should be left to the people of tribal areas themselves, he said.
Bilawal also called for carrying forward in consultation with the people of tribal areas the FCR reforms process that was started by the PPP government in 2011. Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and vice president senator Sherry Rehman also addressed the meeting.


Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan said that there has been no implementation on the National Action Plan in Punjab and Islamabad.
While talking to ‘Online’ Aitzaz said that PPP wishes that the government gets to complete its tenure, but PM Nawaz Sharif is a master of making mistakes. He lauded the services of COAS General Raheel Sharif; however, he said that the army chief should retire on time.
He said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has been claiming that there has been successful implementation of NAP; however, banned outfits have been operating in Punjab with new names.
Dr Asim has been termed a terrorist, while cell phones have been closed in Islamabad during the speeches of Maulana Abdul Aziz on Friday prayers, he asserted.


Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has congratulated the newly elected body of Lahore Press Club today.

Progressive Panel Led by Muhammad Shahbaz Mian has swept the Lahore Press Club Elections 2016.
In a congratulation message to newly elected President Muhammad Shahbaz Mian and other office bearers, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Lahore Press Club is role model institute for journalists and also pioneer of media activism in the province .
PPP Chairman further said that National and regional Media is playing positive role and it is also need to make it more pro-active and constructive as it is recognized as fourth pillar of the state.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also assured that party will remain with journalist community to protect their rights and media freedom as it always did..