Author Archive: iaoj

The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World

File photo: Pakistani Security forces indiscriminately firing  on peaceful gathering by the students of university of Sindh. - Photo credits: Social media + Internet

File photo: Pakistani Security forces indiscriminately firing on peaceful gathering by the students of university of Sindh. – Photo credits: Social media + Internet

By AJAY ANIL CHERIAN

Oxford University Press, 2014

The ability of the state to efficiently provide essential services to its citizens is the marker of a strong state. But since its independence on 14th August 1947, the state of Pakistan has been struggling to exist as a cohesive unit. Despite overwhelming support from the United States, Saudi Arabia and China in terms of aid, it has continuously faltered in emerging as a powerful South Asian economy, becoming instead a breeding ground for Jihadist networks and a proliferator of nuclear weapons technology. A 2013 global survey conducted by Worldwide Independent Network/ Gallup shows that Pakistan is considered the second largest threat to world peace.[1] While India, with several problems of its own, has prospered since partition and is regarded as a champion of democracy and an emerging great power in Asia by the United States and its allies[2], neighboring Pakistan has failed to emulate this success story. Well-known International relations academic T.V. Paul’s TheWarrior State cogently summarizes the reasons why Pakistan remains Obama’s “biggest nightmare”.[3]

According to the author, the primary reason why Pakistan is what it is today is because of the state’s Hobbesian view of the world (2014: 4), which leads to excessive spending on the military as a result of its obsession to achieve strategic parity with its “rival” India. The Pakistani military continues to stimulate threat perceptions of India to gain a major portion of the economic pie and overexerts itself militarily; acquiring nuclear weapons for instance. India sees such behavior as a threat to its own national security and an arms race ensues, destabilizing the entire region. Paul understands that Pakistan has had its own “resource curse” in a different form: the geostrategic curse (2014: 5). Pakistan has made use of its pivotal position in South Asia to attract billions of dollars of aid money which it has funneled to its military and it’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). It worries that a peaceful resolution of problems in its backyard would cut the flow of monetary aid it currently receives from the West and therefore continues to cultivate an atmosphere of uncertainty in the region.

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Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar named new ISI chief

rizwanBy Dawn.com | Reuters

RAWALPINDI: Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, considered a close ally of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, has been promoted to the post of Director General Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) on Monday among other promotions within the army ranks. The announcement was made by Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major Asim Bajwa on Twitter:

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1133581/lt-gen-rizwan-akhtar-named-new-isi-chief

The Barbarians Within Our Gates

vice newsArab civilization has collapsed. It won’t recover in my lifetime.

By HISHAM MELHEM

With his decision to use force against the violent extremists of the Islamic State, President Obama is doing more than to knowingly enter a quagmire. He is doing more than play with the fates of two half-broken countries—Iraq and Syria—whose societies were gutted long before the Americans appeared on the horizon. Obama is stepping once again—and with understandably great reluctance—into the chaos of an entire civilization that has broken down.

Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.

Is it any surprise that, like the vermin that take over a ruined city, the heirs to this self-destroyed civilization should be the nihilistic thugs of the Islamic State? And that there is no one else who can clean up the vast mess we Arabs have made of our world but the Americans and Western countries?

No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century. There is no obvious set of reasons for the colossal failures of all the ideologies and political movements that swept the Arab region: Arab nationalism, in its Baathist and Nasserite forms; various Islamist movements; Arab socialism; the rentier state and rapacious monopolies, leaving in their wake a string of broken societies. No one theory can explain the marginalization of Egypt, once the center of political and cultural gravity in the Arab East, and its brief and tumultuous experimentation with peaceful political change before it reverted back to military rule.

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Pakistan – Superintendent of police also ‘punished’ for stopping general’s car

AJSP also ‘punished’ for stopping general’s car

LAHORE, Oct 16: Model Town division SP Syed Ahmed Mobin Zaidi was transferred and directed to report to the central police office (CPO) in the wake of an incident on Tuesday night when a police team stopped the car of a major-general’s family at a picket near Ghalib Market, Gulberg.

Model Town division ASP Muhammad Ali Nikokar has already been asked to report to the CPO. Besides, Ghalib Market SHO Shahid Chaddar has been suspended and Constable Nazir booked under Section 506.

The police had stopped the car on Tuesday night to remove its tinted glass, which was banned by the Punjab government for security reasons following the murder of MNA Maulana Azam Tariq.

The driver, who was reportedly in army uniform, introduced the family on board. But constable Nazir Ahmad refused to let them go because “no body was exempted from the ban”.

This led to an argument between the two which attracted other policemen present there who intervened in the matter and allowed the family to go with the tinted glass still intact.

Before leaving, the general’s driver reportedly threatened the policemen with dire consequences. His threat meterialized within minutes as the senior army command got into action and asked the police hierarchy to take strict action against the constable, Ghalib Market SHO and Model Town division SP and ASP.

The police command not only booked constable Nazir Ahmed but also allowed the army to take him to the corps headquarters handcuffed for “further interrogation”. He managed his release on Wednesday after getting bail from a local court.

Sources said SP Syed Ahmed Mobin Zaidi did try to use his connections in the army but failed to stop his transfer due to “enormous pressure” on the police hierarchy.

According to an army official, the action has been taken to “condemn the police conduct at pickets”. Soon after the incident, vehicles of the army and the judiciary were exempted from the ban.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/120505/sp-also-punished-for-stopping-general-s-car

Kurds call on ‘all Middle East’ to help defend stronghold from Isis

shokingKurds call on ‘all Middle East’ to help defend stronghold from Isis

Tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have fled to Syria-Turkey border region of Kobani to escape onslaught of Islamist militants

By Agencies in Suruc, Turkey and Beirut, theguardian.com

Kurdish fighters from Turkey and Iraq are scrambling to help defend a vital Kurdish safe haven in northern Syria, where tens of thousands of Kurdshave fled after an offensive by Islamic State (Isis) militants.

The border region of Kobani, home to half a million people, has held out for months against an onslaught by Islamists seeking to consolidate their hold over swaths of northern Syria. But in recent days, Isis extremists have seized a series of settlements close to the town of Kobani itself, sending as many as 100,000 mostly Kurdish refugees streaming across the border into Turkey.

“I don’t think in the last three and a half years we have seen 100,000 cross in two days,” the representative for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Turkey, Carol Batchelor, told Reuters. “So this is a bit of a measure of how this situation is unfolding, and the very deep fear people have about the circumstances inside Syria and, for that matter, Iraq.”

A Kurdish commander on the ground said Isis had advanced to within 9 miles (15km) of Kobani.

Isis fighters were beheading people as they went from village to village.

A Kurdish politician from Turkey who visited Kobani on Saturday said locals told him Isis fighters were beheading people as they went from village to village.

They are going into the villages and cutting the heads

“Rather than a war this is a genocide operation … They are going into the villages and cutting the heads of one or two people and showing them to the villagers,” Ibrahim Binici, a deputy for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party (HDP), told Reuters.

It is truly a shameful situation for humanity,” he said, calling for international intervention. Five of his fellow MPs planned a hunger strike outside UN offices in Geneva to press for action, he said.

Read more » The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/21/kurds-defend-kobani-syria-turkey-border-isis

Civilians Trapped in Yemen TV Station as Clashes Intensify in Capital

By Liz Fields

Authorities in Yemen have imposed a curfew and shut down schools in the capital city of Sana’a amid violent clashes and reports that the state’s TV station had been overrun by Shiite rebels Saturday.

The country’s Supreme Security Commission announced that the curfew would start at 9pm and last until 6am local time, and will be upheld in four parts of Yemen’s capital, according to Reuters.

The Ministry of Education announced that schools across the capital would be closed until fighting subsided, and the University of Sana’a was also shuttered Saturday after a mortar round fell inside its grounds.

‘Yemen: A Failed State.’ Watch the VICE News documentary here.

The security measures came on the same day Yemen’s state-run television station was stormed by Shiite Houthi rebels. Broadcasts were temporarily taken off-air and several staff were trapped inside, witnesses told the Associated Press. Video showed smoke rising above the building, which has been bombarded by three consecutive days of shelling.

In a written message broadcast Saturday, the television station appealed for outside assistance to help rescue its employees from the violence.

Read more » VICE News

https://news.vice.com/article/civilians-trapped-in-yemen-tv-station-as-clashes-intensify-in-capital?utm_source=vicenewstwitter

Two pilots injured as military aircraft crashes in Ziarat

By Syed Ali Shah

QUETTA: A military aircraft crashed in Balochistan’s Ziarat district on Saturday morning, a security official said, leaving two pilots injured.

A security official who requested anonymity told Dawn.com the two pilots injured during the crash were rushed to Ziarat for medical treatment by locals of the area. Pilots Captain Omar and Captain Hasnain Mehmood were later shifted to Quetta in an army helicopter for further treatment.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1133182/two-pilots-injured-as-military-aircraft-crashes-in-ziarat

Don’t trap Sindh!

File photo: Sindh festival, Photo credits: Social media + Internet

File photo: Sindh festival, Photo credits: Social media + Internet

By Zulfiqar Shah

The time has come for Sindhi, especially Sindhi in Diaspora, to seriously opt for taking the formal case of Sindh in the United Nations on the basis of historical treaties signed between sovereign country of Sindh and the Britain before Britain’s invasion of Sindh as well as crimes committed by the State of Pakistan and its ethno-communal mercenaries against Sindhi. This has become necessary especially after the recent blackmailing attempts by the sate-cronies. 

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Sneak peak at Russia’s ‘under renovation’ Arctic base

PutinKotelny Island is a nondescript piece of frigid wasteland of no particular note. Except hosting a military base-in-the-making, the first of many from which Russia plans to project its military might to and across the Arctic. RT visited with the Navy.

The island is the largest in the Novosibirsk Archipelago, located in the Laptev Sea off the eastern Siberian coast. Back in the soviet days the military deployed an observation post and a radar station on the Kotelny Island, but with the fall of the country all the troops were withdrawn, leaving behind only a civilian meteorological station.

But now, after decades of desolation, the former military base is being rebuilt. Last year sailors and engineers of the Russian Northern Fleet began construction works, cleaning up rusty barrels and broken vehicles abandoned on the island and constructing a landing strip so that supplies could be airlifted rather than air-dropped.

Read more » RT

http://rt.com/news/188712-arctic-russia-military-base/

Forbes report – Thanks To Imran Khan And A Sunni Cleric, Pakistan’s Democracy Is Under Threat

By Deedar Hussain Samejo, Forbes

Pakistan has been once again gripped by the domestic political crisis. Country’s fragile democracy is facing serious threats as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Movement for Justice party, and Sunni cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, head of Pakistan People’s Movement party, along with their supporters, armed with clubs and batons, continue to paralyze the capital city, Islamabad, for more than three weeks.

Protesters led by Imran Khan, who believes that Nawaz Sharif is corrupt and became prime minister after rigging the May 2013 elections, and Tahir-ul-Qadri, who aims to abolish the current parliamentary form of political system and bring “revolution” in the country, have occupied the sensitive area of the capital city, bringing the normal diplomatic activities at a complete standstill. They are demanding nothing less than resignation of elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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Islamic State militants seize Kurdish villages in northern Syria

Rights activists say 21 villages have fallen to Isis fighters advancing on Kobani, prompting appeal for military aid from other Kurds

By Reuters in Beirut, theguardian.com

Islamic State (Isis) fighters have captured villages and besieged a Kurdish city in northern Syria near the border with Turkey in a major assault that prompted a commander to appeal for military aid from other Kurds in the region.

Read more » The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/18/islamic-state-isis-militants-seize-kurdish-villages-northern-syria

Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted to feeling doubts over the existence of God.

In a recent interview at Bristol Cathedral, Archbishop Justin Welby said on a recent morning run with his dog he had questioned why God had failed to intervene to prevent injustice.

“The other day I was praying over something as I was running and I ended up saying to God ‘Look this is all very well but isn’t it about time you did something – if you’re there.’”

Earlier in the interview, when asked if he had moments of doubt, Archbishop Welby replied: “Yes. I do, in lots of different ways.”

“There are moments, sure, when you think is there a God, where is God?”

Read more » The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/archbishop-of-canterbury-admits-doubts-about-existence-of-god-9740965.html

Sindhi refugees fleeing Pakistani religious persecution in recent decades may finally get official asylum in India.

SindhiNitin Gadkari meets Rajnath Singh on visa, citizenship issues for Sindhi, Bengali communities

A delegation of Sindhi and Bengali communities accompanied by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today met Home Minister Rajnath Singh here and submitted a memorandum to highlight their plight on visa and citizenship related issues. Singh assured the delegation that the Home Ministry is committed to address issues faced by them and it had already constituted a Task Force headed by Joint Secretary (Foreigners) to look into such issues.

Read more » DNA

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-nitin-gadkari-meets-rajnath-singh-on-visa-citizenship-issues-for-sindhi-bengali-communities-2019467

Pakistan – No room for democracy

GulBy Ayesha Siddiqa

The video of two parliamentarians being forcibly offloaded a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad has gone viral. The incident is generally being viewed as an indicator of how a peculiar behaviour, which was associated with old style patronage politics, will get challenged. The national carrier may find it increasingly difficult to treat its passengers differently — trap over two hundred souls in an aircraft while allowing VIPs to sit in a comfortable lounge as the aircraft recovers for two hours from its technical problems. Surely we can all clap at the event as a forward movement, this also indicates militant attitudes creeping into our political and social lives. Here I am not taking a position for or against but only suggesting what has changed.

This is not even an isolated incident. Those enjoying video evidence must also see the manner in which the police have been taking a thrashing from the ‘Naya Pakistan’ protestors. While we can all sympathise with Imran Khan’s right to change the political tone, it would be worthwhile for him to envision how he would, if he did become the prime minister of this country, put the genie back into the bottle. Much that he likes to compare himself with Jinnah, Imran would not be able to ensure that the same police, which get battered and bruised during the rule of his opponents, will get respected when he becomes the man in charge. No one seems willing to tell the story of the tired policemen who have been doing their duty for the last 30 days with little to boost their ego.

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Why Britain is responsible to the people of Sindh and Balochistan

Photo credit to View Point Online

Photo credit to View Point Online

By Zulfiqar Shah

Scottish people decide their political future according to their will. No doubt it is political civilization of UK due to which it agreed with the Parliament of Scotland for holding a referendum of the union versus secession. It is an important moment when UK also needs to consider its obligations for the political morality concerning its previous colonies.

The previous British colonies are globally in the media lime light today. Conflicts, violence and wars have become commonplace in the regions that were colonized by Great Britain between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Why after winning freedom in the wake of Second World War, the previous British colonies in Asia are still yearning for the real freedoms, development, peace and human security? The answer can only be found in the design and modus operandi of the colonial rule as well as the Britain’s departure strategy from the colonies after 1945. One cannot underestimate, however, the positive contribution of the Britain imperialism of putting the modern foundations of state-building, development and social-transformation in the colonies, which earlier were unable to transform from feudal societies and barter economies into the Industrial and modern one.

South Asia is a highly intelligible and comprehensive example of the prolonged instability among the previous British colonies despite the fact that Iraq and Kuwait in the Middle East have been centre-stage of world politics of conflicts during the last three decades. The partition of Kuwait from the historical Iraqi territory had arguably lesser impacts on the Asian politics of the international interests than that of the partition of the Indian Subcontinent due to South-and-Central Asian strategic contours. This is important to note that like Pakistan there has been no country named ‘Iraq’ in the history, neither the contemporary Iraqi geography has ever been a sovereign country.

Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh have undergone several waves of conflicts, violence, civil rights violations and crimes against humanity, militarization and the wars in the post-colonial era. Mainland India alone has socio-politically elevated to certain extent from such broader instability.

Among South Asian countries, Pakistan is a peculiar case study of the inappropriate, unrealistic and unjustified designs of the Imperial Britain, which have resulted into the broader insecurity for the tens of millions Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun. The colonial and contemporary unrealistic experiences of the world community with the internal politics of Pakistani ethno-national dynamics have damaged both Sindhi-Baloch-Pashtun and the international community.

Rationality behind Pakistan and the realities

No historian, academician or analyst has hitherto found an appropriate rationale for creating Pakistan. The historical documents note that Pakistan was created on the line of so-called two-nation theory based on Indian Hindu and Muslim nationhood. The idea of Pakistan was rejected by the federating provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhawa – KPK), and Siraiki speaking people of Southern Punjab that together form roughly ninety percent of geography and seventy percent of the  population of Pakistan.

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No nuclear waste: Fuel of future produced at Russia’s high-tech underground plant

sdelanounasRussia’s ‘Breakthrough’ energy project enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.

The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) – a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.

A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts

Read more » RT

http://rt.com/news/188332-mox-nuclear-fuel-production/

India rolls out red carpet as China President Xi makes maiden visit

ModiBy AFP

AHMEDABAD: India’s new prime minister rolled out the red carpet for Xi Jinping in his home town on Wednesday, as the Chinese president began a maiden visit with both sides seeking to reset the relationship between Asia’s rival superpowers.

Narendra Modi has pulled out all the stops for Xi’s arrival, organising an intimate riverside dinner in Ahmedabad, the main city in his home state of Gujarat, where giant billboards in Chinese, Gujarati and English have been put up to welcome him.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1132526

Boar becomes casualty of revolution

boarBy USMAN CHEEMA

Islamabad – A wild boar faced the wrath of supporters of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri on Tuesday morning when they captured the animal near the Parliament House, brutally thrashed it with sticks, tied it with cables and wrote “go Nawaz go” on its body in a distasteful form of political protest.
Islamabad is no stranger to wild boars, often seem roaming the roads near the hills late in the nights – and sometimes the cause of accidents. But the sight of a boar during daytime is rare. Boars are considered impure according to Islamic injunctions.
Around 11:00am on Tuesday, the wild boar emerged on the Constitution Avenue and immediately set off an enraged fury amongst the followers of the cleric. It was caught within seconds and then dragged through the street as a jubilant crowd shouted and jeered the hunted animal.
A slogan against the prime minister was inscribed on the thick hairy skin before the boar was subjected to a slow, painful death, sticks raining down on it in quick succession. By doing so, Qadri’s workers not only exhibited a disturbing form of violence against a defenceless animal. The boar did not survive the torture, and died surrounded by a crowd of protestors celebrating its agony.
Qadri, just like Imran Khan, is threatening the government that his workers can get out of his control and attack the government buildings and law enforcing officials. He has also threatened that his workers will collect all the looted money from them. He has never directly said that his workers might kill the prime minister and others among his cabinet but his language exhibits extreme hatred for the elected government. Some fear that the cleric’s followers might do something unexpected and unlawful as frustration with their lengthy and yet un-concluded protest sets in.

Courtesy: The Nation

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/17-Sep-2014/boar-becomes-casualty-of-revolution

Welcome to the 8th century – ISIS bans math, social studies for children

vice newsBy Holly Yan and Anas Hamdan, CNN

(CNN) — In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”

ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

Read more » CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/17/world/meast/syria-crisis/index.html

Al Qaeda Militants Tried to Seize Pakistan Navy Frigate

shippAl Qaeda Raid Foiled After Firefight Involving Rogue Naval Officers

By SYED SHOAIB HASANSAEED SHAH and SIOBHAN GORMAN

KARACHI, Pakistan—Al Qaeda militants tried to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate earlier this month and use it to target U.S. Navy vessels on antiterrorism patrol in the northwestern Indian Ocean, Pakistani security officials said.

The Sept. 6 raid, which was foiled after a fire fight and a suicide bombing, was carried out in part by Pakistan Navy personnel who had been recruited by al Qaeda, these officials said. The raid, in which 10 militants and one petty officer died, raised fears about terrorist infiltration of the nuclear-armed nation’s military forces.

“Without assistance from inside, these people could not have breached security,” Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said about the incident at a recent parliament session.

The Karachi raid was the first major operation carried out by al Qaeda’s newly formed regional wing, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, according to counterterrorism officials. The timing of the raid may have been set to mark the start of the affiliate or to coincide roughly with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Western security officials believe.

News of the attempted seizure of the frigate, PNS Zulfiqar, was initially kept from the media, and the details of the incident are only beginning to emerge.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

http://online.wsj.com/articles/al-qaeda-militants-tried-to-seize-pakistan-navy-frigate-1410884514

Israeli Finance Minister Lapid threatens to topple Netanyahu’s government

IsraClash of Israeli Political Ambitions Fuels Budget ‘Street Fight’

By Alisa Odenheimer

The competing ambitions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand Finance Minister Yair Lapid are turning this year’s budget process into a who-blinks-first battle between the leaders of the country’s two biggest parties.

Lapid is threatening to topple Netanyahu’s government, rather than raise taxes — something he has promised voters he won’t do — deepening the standoff between the two over spending plans for next year.

“What we have here is a political street fight,” Yaniv Pagot, chief strategist for Ayalon Group Ltd. inRamat Gan, a Tel Aviv suburb, said by phone. “It’s not the numbers talking, it’s the political agendas.”

The disputes have already held up submission of a draft budget to cabinet. Lapid says the Defense Ministry is asking for too much more money after the recent war in the Gaza Strip. He has said he’d rather see the budget gap increase than add taxes or abandon his flagship program to lift the 18 percent value-added tax for some first-time homebuyers.

“I will bring down the government and won’t raise taxes,” Lapid said in a videotaped interview posted yesterday on the Ynet website.

Read more » Bloomberg

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-16/lapid-says-he-ll-quit-israel-government-rather-than-raise-taxes.html

Depression Kills

Via Vince Sparks

Last month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.”

I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona would commit suicide.

As more information was revealed about his addictions, his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and his dealing with severe depression, I totally understood how this unfortunate incident could occur. Of course, the naysayers had to emerge and utter incoherent ramblings about cowardice and his leftist views that made him unhappy. All of the unintelligent garbage that gets reported needs to be tossed away promptly.

Suicide is not an act of cowardice, but a result of depression or other mental illnesses.

Robin Williams’ death is a tragedy, but if it can help start a national conversation about Depression and Mental Illness than something positive can come from an untimely death. It seems that many people view mental illness through a stereotype of straight jackets and padded cells.

Mental Illness encompasses many forms and can be as blatant as someone with agitated, incoherent behavior or very subtle cue which make a person appear to have nothing wrong with them.

I understand the symptoms and the impact, because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. It is a hard condition to understand because it affects emotions. This makes it difficult for people, not familiar with the disease, to comprehend as a real illness.

Believe me, it is just as real as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or any other disease that hides beneath the surface. It requires treatment just the same as a diabetic requires medication to keep their condition stable.

The illness is as old as recorded history.

Years ago people thought of it as melancholia. The prevailing notion would be “he just needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps.” It was an uneducated thought that if you were sad, you would just get glad again. It was a self-inflicted pity party. The more the condition was studied and as medical advances were made, clinicians realized that there are many factors and conditions involved with the illness. Depression has many causes and can stem from genetic predisposition, life events, faulty mood regulation by the brain, and medical problems.

Whatever the specific cause for depression, there are always chemicals in the brain involved. There are many drugs available for treatment, but each person can react differently due to internal chemical reactions to the medications. The complexity of the illness is daunting for practitioners. They can’t simply review similar symptoms and think that the treatment will be the same for each patient.

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Imran Khan’s Threat to Pakistan Democracy

PTICricketing hero’s anti-Sharif campaign is overstepping the mark

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights.

Imran Khan was a true cricketing hero for Pakistan. He was an exceptional all-rounder, a graceful batsmen and a formidable fast bowler. But as a politician – seemingly hell-bent on becoming prime minister at whatever cost to his country – he makes a far less edifying spectacle.

Read more » Financial Times

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bbb645ba-39c3-11e4-93da-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3DR6t4wXJ

China will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India’s rail network

Xinjiang has been plagued by violence for years, but rights activists and exile groups say the government's own heavy handed policies in the region have sowed the seeds of unrest.

Chinese president likely to sign major deals in India

NEW DELHI: China will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India’s rail network during a visit by President Xi Jinping this week, bringing more than diplomatic nicety to the neighbours’ first summit since Narendra Modi became prime minister in May.

The leaders of Asia’s three major economies — China, India and Japan — have crisscrossed the region this month, lobbying for strategic influence, building defence ties, and seeking new business opportunities.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1132042/

A leaf from history: Zia rejects PNA’s conditions

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Bhutto's wife, Nusrat Bhutto. She helplessly saw her family killed by Pakistan's military establishment in pursuit of democracy,

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Bhutto’s wife, Nusrat Bhutto. She helplessly saw her family killed by Pakistan’s military establishment in pursuit of democracy,

By Shaikh Aziz

The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.

The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.

Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.

The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction

The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.

As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.

Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.

While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.

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‘War is madness’: Pope Francis says WWIII is happening already

Pope Francis (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Pope Francis (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’

Pope Francis has compared the current situation internationally to a third World War “fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction.” Calling wars irrational, the Pontiff lamented conflicts are often “justified by an ideology.”

“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” Francis said while visiting Italy’s largest war memorial Saturday. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often…”

“War is madness” which “ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers” the Pope said as he recalled the Genesis story of how Cain killed his brother Abel.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass.

Francis has also spoken during a mass at the Italian First World War memorial at Fogliano di Redipuglia, in northern Italy, where more than 100,000 fallen Italian soldiers are believed to be buried in the military graveyard.

“Here lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is sadness. From this place we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, the victims are many,” the Pope said.

“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction,” Francis said. “And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, ‘What does it matter to me?’”

In the past few months, Francis has repeatedly called for the end of military conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and throughout Africa.

In July, he also made an emotional appeal to the world, calling to stop war, especially in the Middle East and Ukraine, saying that the children who live in conflict zones are suffering most and are deprived of hope and a future.

During his visit to Korea in August, the Pope said that humanity was in the midst of a Third World War.

“Today we are in a world at war everywhere. A man said to me, ‘Father, we are in World War III, but spread out in small pockets everywhere.’ He was right,” Francis said at the time.

Courtesy: BBC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29190890

Imran, Qadri in venomous outburst against police

Khan-Qadri's violent supporters brutally beating a Police officer in Islamabad

Khan-Qadri’s violent supporters brutally beating a Police officer in Islamabad

By Irfan Haider

ISLAMABAD: On the second day of a purported crackdown against protesters of both the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), both Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri decried the role of police and told them to “get your act together or face the consequences”.

Dr Tahirul Qadri, in an impassioned outburst, challenged the police to come after him. “Let them come to arrest me and we will see what happens. My protest will be the death of their regime, it’s just a matter of days,” he declared from atop his container on Constitution Avenue.

Know more: Only criminals being targeted, not political parties: Nisar

In his own outburst, Mr Khan called out the Islamabad police chief, saying, “I will not spare you Tahir Alam, when I become prime minister of Pakistan.”

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1131861

ISIS executes British aid worker David Haines; Cameron expresses outrage

videoBY

By Greg Botelho, Michael Pearson and Phillip Taylor

(CNN) — British aid worker David Haines has been executed by ISIS militants, according to a video posted Saturday to a website associated with the group, making him the third Western captive to be killed by the Islamist extremist group in recent weeks.

The ISIS video post showing Haines’ beheading called his execution “a message to the allies of America.”

It is produced very similarly to the videos that showed the executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the last of which included Haines and the threat that he’d be killed next.

The new video pictures a masked ISIS militant placing his hand on another captive, whom he identified as Alan Henning, a British citizen.

In a tweet, British Prime Minister David Cameron called “the murder of David Haines” an “act of pure evil.”

Cameron added, “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”

Read more »  Fox13Now

http://fox13now.com/2014/09/13/isis-executes-british-aid-worker-david-haines-cameron-expresses-outrage/

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More » Yahoo News » Reuters

Pakistan: Dockyard attackers planned to hijack Navy frigate

Dockyard attackers planned to hijack Navy frigate

Dockyard attackers planned to hijack Navy frigate

By Fahim Zaman | Naziha Syed Ali

KARACHI: While the Navy continues to remain tight-lipped about the attack on its dockyard in West Wharf on Sept 6, having issued a bare-bones statement 48 hours after the incident, further details have been obtained by Dawn that reveal the extent of radicalisation within the Navy.

According to informed sources, the attack was carried out entirely by serving Navy personnel, along with Owais Jakharani, a former Navy cadet who could have been given access inside without too much trouble.

“It seems the intention was to hijack PNS Zulfiqar [a frigate purchased from China and inducted in July 2009],” said one of these sources. “The group of would-be hijackers, led by a senior officer, was even saluted by the guard at the bottom of the gangway, before another became suspicious of their intentions and alerted other personnel.”

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1131654

Liberals are scum of this country: Imran Khan

imran 1

On a question regarding his playboy image of the past, the even flamboyant Khan remarked that his spirituality had not made him an angel and that he was still a ‘humble sinner’ .

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that liberals in Pakistan were the scum of the country who backed US policies.

In a tell-all interview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, who was visiting Pakistan recently, Khan shared his views ranging from the political to the personal, including martial laws, Memogate, corruption and allegations against him.

Talking about liberals, he said that liberals were the scum of this country and were fascists. Khan said that those liberals backed bombing of villages, drone attacks. He added that it was the liberals who backed US policies, including the War on Terror that had aggravated extremism in the country.

Answering a question on being called ‘Taliban Khan’, the PTI chief said that he was being labelled that since he encouraged dialogue with the Taliban instead of military action, a policy which the US eventually had to adopt too.

He also touched upon criticism against him about praying on stage during rallies, to which he said that he prayed five times a day and that praying on the stage was not an exception.

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Hyper nationalism can wait, Kashmiris need succour first

Pakistan Asia FloodsBy 

A natural disaster of apocalyptic proportions has hit Kashmir. It is unprecedented in recent memory across three generations and has left tens of thousands marooned besides destroying vital infrastructure. The extent of the human toll is unclear. Reports of floating bodies and those trapped inside collapsed houses makes it a frightening scenario. Almost all major hospitals have been affected and practically dysfunctional. The ones which worked were fast running out of life-saving drugs, painkillers, food and water. Near total power and communications breakdown has complicated relief work. Even after the water recedes, Kashmir would suffer physical, economic and psychological consequences of the disaster for years to come.

Yet it seems to business as usual – dehumanizing Kashmiris — for certain people even in the midst of the catastrophe that has directly affected an estimated 60% people. It is the same old ‘good us’ versus ‘evil them’ subtext — based on chronic disinformation — that is playing out even in the sections of the mainstream media. It is been much worse on the social media. Nauseating trolling has become even more vicious in the name of exclusivist nationalism, which has no place for the monolithic other like Kashmiris. Abuse and sadistic pleasure being drawn from the colossal damage to human life and property has been very distressing particularly for non-resident Kashmiris, who have relied on social media to find out the fate of their loved ones caught in killer flood waters.

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Exhausted and frustrated, Pakistani protesters want to go home

PAKISTAN-UNREST-POLITICSThe protest site, within walking distance of many embassies and ministries, is in a sorry state, littered with rubbish, with the stench of human waste hanging in the air.

On the edge of the protest site, men line up every day near a burst pipe and take showers one by one. Women complain that they have hardly showered more than a few times in the last month. Some fear an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever among the protesters.

“The disease can rapidly spread,” said Dengue Expert Committee Chairman Javed Akram. “There is no proper sewerage facility in the area. The vulnerability of the sit-in participants has increased because of the unavailability of a waste management system.”

At least three women protesters, all of them domestic workers, said they had been paid to come to the rallies when they were first launched. One of them, with three children under the age of six, said mothers were paid 2,500 rupees ($25) more.

“You got paid more if you have a child,” said Rukhsana Bibi, one of the women. “They wanted more women with children to join the rallies so the pay for that was higher.”

(Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Corutesy: Reuters

http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN0H70K520140912?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0

 

Islamic State claims Pakistan and Afghanistan for its ‘caliphate’

After imposing its brutal rule in swathes of Iraq and Syria, Isil is claiming Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of its ‘caliphate’ in direct challenge to al-Qaeda

By , New Delhi and Ashfaq Yusufzai in Peshawar

The Islamic State is challenging the Taliban and al-Qaeda in its Afghanistan and Pakistan heartlands and claiming both countries as part of its ‘caliphate’.

Islamic Slate leaflets proclaiming the group’s intention to bring its barbaric form of Islam to Pakistan and Afghanistan were posted throughout Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa frontier province, in the last few days, and have also been distributed to nearby Afghan refugee camps.

The leaflets, published in the local Pashto and Darri languages and bearing the Isil ‘Fateh’ (victory) flag, said the ‘caliphate’ it had established in Syria and Iraq extended to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some Muslim central Asian republics.

Read more » The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/11075390/Islamic-State-claims-Pakistan-and-Afghanistan-for-its-caliphate.html