ISLAMABAD- Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) operations Ismatullah Junejo, who took charge of police operations in Red Zone on Sunday was injured on the very first day of his assignment earlier today, reported a private news channel. Junejo, along with his five colleagues, was hit by sticks and stones by the protesters.
Read more » Pakistan Today
The ongoing violence prompted the top generals of the nuclear-armed state to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday, August 31. The army – which has directly ruled the nation for more than three decades collectively – voiced support for democracy, but also “expressed concern.”
Pakistani military – back in charge
But many people in the country think the army’s “concern” is part of the script that the generals have written themselves. Pro-democracy activists believe Khan and Qadri have the full backing of the army, which is wary of Sharif’s cordial moves towards the country’s regional arch-rival India. The PM and the army are also not on the same page over the Islamic Republic’s Afghanistan policy, nor on the future of Pervez Musharraf, former military chief and ex-president, who is currently detained.
The military, which has been in control of the country for most of its recent history, enjoyed limited power during the five years former President Asif Ali Zardari was in office. The generals fear that if Sharif remains in power, they may further loose grip on the country’s defense and foreign policy.
Read more » dw
Atta Ul Haq Qasmi on Azadi & Inqalab March
We know from history that the skill, wisdom and effort (and oodles of luck) needed to build and sustain a working democratic system (whatever you may think of the pros and cons of such a system is a separate and interesting discussion) in one of the ex-colonial countries is orders of magnitude greater than the skill needed to just run a functional government for a few years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Ayub Khan, they all ran functional regimes and even made their Universities conduct their examinations on time. But none had a system with adequate checks and balances or the mechanism to transfer power smoothly from one elite clique to another without having to shoot the other clique first.
It may be possible to repair the effects of poor governance by this or that democratic regime in a few years, but if the system as a whole is undermined and devalued, then it may never get working again, or may take decades to repair. Political authority (like money) is a shared (useful) illusion. Puncture the illusion and what is left is naked force (or, if enough of asabiya exists, a monarchy; whether called a monarchy or under some other name).
Given our history, it is a significant achievement that all parties participated in a reasonably (by our standards) fair election under reasonably (by our standards) neutral caretaker administrations and an actual transfer of power took place peacefully. All that progress can be (and is) being undermined by this sustained campaign against democracy and civilian politics (with TUQ playing a conscious and Imran Khan a characteristically semi-conscious role in the undermining). That the Sharifs are not the best rulers is hardly debatable, but that the system should be wound up on that account is a disastrous step beyond the punishment of the Sharifs for any specific crime or misdemeanor. They must be removed from within the system or else they must be tolerated for their term. There is no third choice.
We know very well from our history that the next step in the paknationalist (aka PMA) framework is a “technocratic government of all talents” and we also know that in short order that will prove worse than the poor Sharifs and will lack even the rickety checks and balances that limit the damage done by the Sharifs or any other democratically elected crook. Beyond that, we also know that the institutional biases of the Pakistani army in particular are utterly opposed to the rights of smaller nationalities and are determined to pursue suicidal and extremely disruptive policies with respect to relations with our neighbors and with the wider world. The Sharif brothers dalliances with ASWJ notwithstanding, it is the army that is most responsible for creating and sustaining various sectarian and islamofascist tendencies in the body politic. For all these (and other) reasons, this latest farcical soft coup is very bad news.
Finally, it is good to keep in mind that it is not all fun and games…there really IS a bottom. One fine day the whole shithouse could go up in flames (as East Pakistan did in 1971); and what follows could then cause significant discomfort even to those whose low opinion of the Sharifs or of bourgeois politics or of the current politicians, makes them look kindly upon any disruption to the system...
I would add that I have come around to agreeing with those who think that NONE of the major VISIBLE players really had a detailed plan or a script that has been faithfully followed during this farce. But that does not mean that there is no one with a coherent agenda. There are people with coherent agendas and they make hay while the sun shines on Imran Khan’s empty chairs. Just as the ASWJ terrorists are pursuing their agenda, the “Paknationalists” in the intelligence agencies are pursuing theirs. Sharifs (including Raheel Shareef) may have no plan and may be blundering in the dark, but some people have plans and most of them are dangerous…
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
ANALYSIS: The Russian President uses frightening language to bolster his support at home – but it’s a gamble he cannot lose
By Tom Parfitt, in Moscow
For Vladimir Putin, his yearly trip to a patriotic youth camp on the banks of Lake Seliger northwest of Moscow has the mark of tradition.
Russia’s president sheds his suit for jeans or slacks and a sweater. He picks up a microphone and starts casually taking questions from a group of eager young people in hoodies.
And then he says something flinty sharp – a comment that shoots over the birch trees and around the world.
This year, Mr Putin’s language cut deeper than usual.
“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he began mildly. “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.” And then the killer phrases: “Russia’s partners … should understand it’s best not to mess with us.”
Read more » The Telegraph
The first, presumably written by the edit page staff of the paper, underlines the absurdity of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s demands placed before the Nawaz Sharif government. Last week, the protest march, led by Imran Khan had stormed Islamabad’s red zone, proceeded towards the country’s parliament with next to no resistance from the government.
While, it was read as a victory for the protesters demanding Nawaz Sharif resign immediately the events that followed revealed that Sharif had played well. Because in the course of the next few days, the events unfolded in a way to make Imran Khan look increasingly vacuous, while Sharif held fort, quietly. From threatening to storming Sharif’s house, Imran Khan came down to demanding a temporary resignation, where he asked Sharif to step aside for a month so that the judicial commission’s enquiry into the alleged rigging in the country’s polls concluded without government pressure.
Naturally, national and international media reacted with ridicule. Almost in the way India’s media reacted when AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal first organised a dharna against his city’s police force, then quit the government and then decided to run for the general elections this year by challenging Narendra Modi. Like Kejriwal’s recent political trajectory in India, Imran Khan’s gimmicky ‘protest’ has not been received well by the media in Pakistan and abroad.
Understandably, therefore, the editorial in Dawn punches several holes in PTI’s stand on the Nawaz Sharif government by observing, “Consider that the very elections that the PTI is disputing were held under a caretaker government. Clearly then, even within the PTI’s scheme of things, if the PML-N was allegedly able to rig an election when not in office, could it not affect the outcome of a judicial inquiry when the party has governments at both the centre and in the principally electorally disputed province of Punjab?”
Almost as a nod to Dawn’s stand, an editorial on another Pakistan daily Express Tribune describes Imran Khan’s situation as ‘Lose Lose’. Talking about Khan’s grand announcements, the writer Saroop Ijaz says about PTI’s stir, “Everybody wants it to stop, except maybe Mr Imran Khan. One can only speculate on how those who truly care for him will be pained to see all this happening to him. It is all heading towards ending with a whimper; any banging sound will only be made by heads.”
The second editorial in Dawn spells it out without mincing words: “What is the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s great revolutionary idea that will fix our broken homeland? Replacement of Nawaz Sharif with Imran Khan? Is the PTI fighting for a goal larger than the political aggrandisement of Imran Khan?”
Writer Babar Sattar observes, “If its sole purpose is to fix a perceived unproven wrong inflicted on the PTI voter in 2013, this movement by definition is a narrow partisan struggle not aimed at empowering ordinary citizens but a means to snatch power from the PML-N and hand it to the PTI.”
And it’s not just Pakistanis who seem to be discomfited by Imran Khan’s flashy political rhetoric and confusing political message. New York Times’ Declan Walsh observes in a piece on the protest that the mood at the protests is mostly carnival-esque. He writes, “On the streets, Mr. Khan’s movement has the boisterous feel of a midsummer music festival. Pop stars introduce his speeches, which are punctuated by songs during which his supporters, many of them women, burst into dance. A disc jockey known as DJ Butt is part of his entourage.”
It’s almost impossible to ignore the glaring similarities with the anti-corruption movement started by Anna Hazare, steeped in rousing youth support. Like that movement was almost a performed, with all its pop culture ramifications, Imran Khan’s ‘protest’ seems theatrical, almost an elaborate attempt to confer heroism on Imran Khan, anew.
It’s equally hard to ignore, how, like the anti-corruption movement that AAP’s grandiose anti-establishment politicking ran out of fizz. And the latter got branded as ‘anarchists’ – a brand they anyway decided to flaunt with impudence. However, the petulance had its effect on the voters, reflected in the shoddy performance of the party in the general elections.
Imran Khan, might, well be headed in the direction. The Wall Street Journal notes that despite all the sound and fury, despite Khan promising at least a million protesters, the officials numbers could be anything between just 20,000 and 50,000. Definitely not more than 60,000.
Like we had noted in our live blog in the past, Khan’s call to stop paying taxes and utility bills was met were severe criticism from the business communities and intellectuals of the country who pointed out that he is encouraging the citizens to serve a death blow to their own country’s economy.
Also, PTI’s voters in Peshawar were reportedly wary of Khan’s theatrics and said that none of the promises made to them have even been taken up by Khan in the past few months. The region continues to suffer from the same old ills.
Walsh notes in The New York Times article, “Mr. Khan’s call for supporters to stop paying taxes and utility bills met with widespread derision because few Pakistanis pay income taxes, and the country is already crippled with power shortages.” Much like Kejriwal’s call to Delhi to stop paying bills was met with a fair amount of concern.
If the alarm bells ringing about Khan manage to shake his voters up, this protest movement might be just his undoing.
Courtesy: First Post
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The government on Thursday approached both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) after Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give talks one more chance.
Prime minister and army chief met for the second time in three days against the backdrop of government’s lingering deadlock with PTI and PAT.
Insiders told The Express Tribune that Nawaz briefed the army chief about talks with Qadri and Imran.
According to sources, the premier told General Raheel that government had agreed to accept first two demands of PAT in return for Qadri calling off the sit-in outside the Parliament.
But an agreement could not be reached after Qadri refused to accept the government’s condition, sources said.
Sources further said the army chief advised the prime minister to give talks one more chance and after which the government decided to approach both PTI and PAT.
A senior government official claimed that the army chief conveyed a clear message to both Qadri and Imran to resolve the impasse through dialogue.
“It was agreed to take necessary measures for resumption of stalled process of negotiations for an expeditious resolution in the best national interest,” the spokesperson for the PM House added.
The crucial meeting was held hours after talks between government and Qadri broke down on Wednesday evening over the registration of First Information Report (FIR) of Model Town incident.
Following the meeting between the COAS and premier, the government agreed to accept Qadri’s demand of FIR.
The official while requesting anonymity also said the next 24 hours would be very crucial.
He also insisted that the army chief extended his support to the government in the face off of brewing political tensions.
However, army officials could not be reached for their reaction on the meeting between General Raheel and Nawaz Sharif.
Later, both PAT and PTI accepted army chief’s role as mediator and guarantor to end the crisis.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain terming all demands of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri as ‘valid’, has said that it would be in the country’s interest if the government voluntarily stepped down to avoid any bloodshed, DawnNews reported.
Talking about the anti-government sit-ins being held in the federal capital city and a possible government reaction, Hussain said that the government should consider the safety of women and children, participating in the sit-ins.
He further cited that the ‘third force’ would have to intervene, if Tahirul Qardi did not step back voluntarily.
Read more » DAWN
After endless promotion of her role in Raja Natwarlal, Pakistani actor Humaima Malik appears to have struck gold in Bollywood.
According to the Deccan Chronicle, the Bol actor has signed up for three films by famous Bollywood director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
“I have signed a three-film contract with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The first film is yet to begin but I have already been signed up,” Humaima confirmed. Humaima also denied rumours that UTV had gone back on their word and were not signing any films with her.
Read more » DAWN
Someone watching Pakistan from afar would really wonder if the state has not begun to resemble some of the countries in Africa. There is a deep power struggle amongst the ruling elite that totally ignores the fact that the country and its people cannot afford this kind of life style. Anarchy, in fact, has become Pakistan’s trademark. The battle for and obsession with power is to a degree that while challenging opponents leaders do not consider longer interest of the state and its people. Asking people not to pay taxes or sending money through official channels is not just about starving the government. It is about establishing a very bad habit that the country can ill-afford. What if Imran Khan makes the government tomorrow which does not meet an ideal standard that he seems to have set for his followers? This is not protest but a criminalisation of politics which is as bad as some of what he seems to object to.
We hear little about the negative impact of the current state of politics. People are actually losing opportunities and the economy is bleeding money faster than usual. The small and medium entrepreneurs that I talked to recently in various cities of Punjab complained about how business has almost dried up since the marches were announced. The reason people are not crying out loud and surviving is probably due to a parallel economy. The pro-government rallies are not likely to help improve conditions but increase the threat of a real conflict. Many believe that the clash between mobs is what might open doors for a hard coup.
Perhaps, the powers that be should take a plunge. It will be interesting to see what they then feel about a world they created themselves. The establishment and its many intellectual clients often refer to the Bangladesh model. What they often forget is that Dhaka’s political system or people’s choices did not change even with intervention. The challenges are far bigger than what some of the foreign qualified Chicago trained economists, commercial bankers or development gurus could manage to even understand. The US has some of the best universities but it has also produced experts that have often messed up with developing states rather than put things right. The question is can Pakistan afford such experimentation?
This is a not a moment for personal egos but for compromises which aim at benefiting the country and not just the individual. Instead of aiming at resignation of the prime minister it would help if Imran and Qadri could extract commitment for transparent institutional changes which will take this country a long way. If not then we have terribly lost our way into an endless abyss.
KARACHI: In an interview with a private TV channel on late Tuesday night, former president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf supported the demand for ‘change’ and stressed the United States must not interfere in Pakistan’s internal politics. His remarks come at a time when many have been speculating that the military is involved in the prevailing political crisis.
Read more » DAWN
Boko Haram has seized control of a Nigerian town after hundreds of soldiers stationed there reportedly fled across the border to Cameroon, a police source said.
“Boko Haram fighters moved into Ashigashya” overnight on Monday, where they slaughtered three people in front of a church, a Cameroon police source told the AFP news agency on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
Almost 500 Nigerian soldiers fled the Nigerian border towns of Ashigashyia and Kerawa over the weekend to take refuge from Boko Haram fighters on Cameroonian territory.
Read more » Aljazeera
War takes on new dimension after United Arab Emirates is accused of secretly bombing Tripoli with the help of Egypt.
Libya: The escalation of a proxy war?
The political turmoil in Libya is exposing a growing gulf between rival Arab states. It is also defining a proxy war over the threat to the region’s old order since the start of the Arab Spring.
The United Arab Emirates is accused of carrying out air strikes on militias in Libya with support from Egypt. Two bombings in eight days are said to have caught the US completely by surprise.
Read more » Aljazeera
Germany’s Ifo Business Climate Index in manufacturing, which looks at the confidence of the country’s 7,000 firms, fell to 106.3 in August from 108 in July.
It’s the lowest figure since last July, marking the longest successive monthly decline since 2012, the report said.
Monday’s figures come after frustrating economic data for the second quarter. It showed Europe’s biggest economy contracted 0.2 percent during the period, after it grew 0.7 percent in the first quarter.
Read more » http://rt.com/business/182672-german-business-confidence-low-august/
KARACHI, SINDH: Well-known legal expert Asma Jehangir has said that those driving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Tahirul Qadri are hell bent on sending the Prime Minister home.
Talking to Geo News, She said it seems as if the law is of no value in the country as any individual can hurl any kind of allegations by pulling together a crowd of 10 people.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by the former additional secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Asma Jehangir said she had opposed his appointment in the ECP.
She said had the former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry been involved in rigging, then Imran Khan could also have played a role in it. “All this is part of a conspiracy to dislodge the Prime Minister,” she maintained.
Asma Jehangir asked as to what it is that Imran Khan himself had done for the country. “If Imran Khan thinks that by resorting to such acts he can tie the knot, it is his mistake,” she added.
Read more » The News
A senior US official told the BBC that Washington was not consulted about the attacks and was “caught off-guard”.
The air strikes on militia positions around Tripoli’s international airport were reportedly carried out by Emirati fighter jets using bases in Egypt.
The Egyptian authorities have denied involvement, and there has been no direct comment from the UAE.
The strikes failed to stop militias from Misrata and other cities, which operate under the banner Libya Dawn and include some Islamist groups, seizing the airport from a militia from Zintan that had controlled it since 2011.
Read more » BBC
Khan and Qadri both believed Musharraf would make them prime minister back in 2001. Khan acknowledged his mistake and has come a long way since: he is now a popular leader with a genuine political base. His position today is heartbreaking as standing alongside Qadri and delegitimising the ‘system’ without proposing an agenda for reform, Khan is deliberately or unwittingly entrenching the rhetoric about uncouth politicos, broken constitutional order, skies caving in and mighty saviours that is staple diet for our de facto system.
Many standing with the existing constitutional order and against the ‘revolutionaries’ are not inspired by love for Sharif. In a choice between the de jure system and the de facto system, they are standing with the former. But if the choice were between a status quo de jure system and a reformed de jure system, they would stand with the latter.
By Babar Sattar
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many — they are few
Shelley is believed to have introduced the idea of nonviolent resistance in his poem The Mask of Anarchy, which celebrated the power of ordinary people to defeat violence with pacifism. Thoreau in his essay Civil Disobedience advocated listening to one’s conscience and rising up against injustice and slavery. Gandhi’s doctrine of Satyagraha, inspired in part by Shelley, aimed at freeing India from colonial shackles and seeking self-rule. Nelson Mandela suffered penalties of law to fight apartheid.
In transformational revolutions (eg French, American, Chinese, Iranian) the key idea has been to liberate the many from the oppression of the few. And civil rights movements (such as that of Martin Luther King) resonated with people when they sought equality and justice for those oppressed due to vile prejudice or tyranny of the majority. What is the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s great revolutionary idea that will fix our broken homeland? Replacement of Nawaz Sharif with Imran Khan? Is the PTI fighting for a goal larger than the political aggrandisement of Imran Khan?
If this movement ensures that the mandate to rule in our democracy must be beyond suspicion, it will benefit ordinary Pakistanis. But if its sole purpose is to fix a perceived unproven wrong inflicted on the PTI voter in 2013, this movement by definition is a narrow partisan struggle not aimed at empowering ordinary citizens but a means to snatch power from the PML-N and hand it to the PTI.
The US has said that ISIL is more dangerous than a conventional terrorist group in terms of ideology, military and financial power and present an imminent threat to American people.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded.”
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready,” he said at a Pentagon news conference which was jointly addressed by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.
“If they were to achieve that vision, it would fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East and create a security environment that would certainly threaten us in many ways,” Dempsey said.
Referring to the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, Hagel said, “When we look at what they did to Foley, what they threatened to do to all Americans and Europeans, I don’t know any other way to describe it other than barbaric.
“They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior. They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” he said.
Hagel regretted that the secret operation launched by the US military this summer to rescue American hostages in Syria, including Jim Foley, did not succeed.
“We all regret that the mission did not succeed. The US will not relent our efforts to bring our citizens home and their captors to justice,” he said.
Hagel noted that US’ assistance helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces blunt ISIL’s advance around Irbil, where American diplomats and troops are working, and help the Iraqis retake the strategic Mosul Dam.
“A breach of the dam would have threatened the lives of thousands of Iraqis as well as Americans at our facilities in Baghdad and prevented the Iraqi government from providing critical services to its citizens,” Hagel said.
Courtesy: Out Look India
In an unprecedented public statement, Sindh Government minister has admitted that Pakistani armed forces have recently abducted the dissenting political parties’ activists in Sindh from their houses and later on killed them in a fake encounter.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sindh Minister Javed Nagori has said that Pakistan Rangers, an armed force under the command of Pakistan Army, is abducting activists of various political parties from Liyari, Malir and other parts of Karachi, the capital of Sindh, and killing them extra-judicially in the fake encounters, reports a Sindhi daily Awami Awaz.
He further said that since Pakistan Rangers is a federal armed force and take orders from the Centre, therefore Sindh Government has no practical control over such actions. He mentioned, according to the journalists of Karachi, that Government of Sindh conveyed its objection to the Centre concerning such unlawful actions of the law enforcement agency, which remained unheard by Islamabad.
Malir and Liyari, along with other districts and townships of Karachi, are ethnic Sindhi and Baloch majority area of the city. Many a Sindhi and Baloch political activists have been killed in the fake-encounter so far in these areas. Majority of Sindhi activists killed in the fake encounters were associated with Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSQM), Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM) and Jeay Sindh Tahreek (JST). A high scale secessionist uprising has been seen in Sindh province, a historical land, during last ten years.
China’s Inner Mongolia is hosting the biggest military drill ever held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The training of 7,000 servicemen from five SCO member states is set to test troops’ effectiveness in fighting terrorism.
The Peace Mission-2014 drill, being conducted from August 24 to 29 in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was declared open by Deputy Chief of Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Wang Ning, who is supervising the military training.
Read more » http://rt.com/news/182400-sco-military-drills-china/
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard says it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
The Guards issued a statement saying the drone was trying to penetrate the site, state news agency ISNA said on Sunday.
“The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limit nuclear area in Natanz… but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” ISNA said, citing a statement by the Revolutionary Guards.
Read more » Aljazeera
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More details » BBC urdu
Iraq conflict: UN warns of possible Amerli ‘massacre’
The UN has called for action to prevent what it says may be a possible massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Amerli.
Special representative Nickolay Mladenov says he is “seriously alarmed” by reports regarding the conditions in which the town’s residents live.
The town, under siege by Islamic State for two months, has no electricity or drinking water, and is running out of food and medical supplies. The majority of its residents are Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by IS.
Read more » BBC
Islamic State militants are the most dangerous threat America has faced in years, top US officials have warned. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said US strikes had weakened IS in Iraq, but the group could be expected to regroup. America’s top general Martin Dempsey said IS fighters could not be defeated without attacking its base in Syria.
Read more » BBC
Hamas must halt its campaign of summary executions of suspected collaborators, Amnesty International today said after at least 18 more Palestinians were put to death by firing squad for allegedly providing information to Israel.
It brings the number of alleged informants executed in the past two days to 21, including several people arrested yesterday in relation to the killing of three senior Hamas commanders by Israeli forces.
“This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.
“Hamas must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty.”
At least 11 people, including two women, were executed by firing squad today in al-Katiba prison yard in the west of Gaza City.
Seven others were executed after Friday prayers outside the main mosque in Gaza City.
Read more » Amnesty International
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.
Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest.
“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.”
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Saudi government news agency, on August 18, authorities executed four Saudi men in Najran province. A court had previously convicted the men – identified as Hadi al-Mutlaq, Awadh al-Mutlaq, Mufreh al-Yami, and Ali al-Yami – of attempting to smuggle hashish into the country.
Read more » Human Rights Watch
GENEVA (14 August 2014) – Two United Nations human rights experts today expressed their grave concern at the situation of Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka who are being detained and forcefully deported to Pakistan without an adequate assessment of their asylum claims.
“States must guarantee that every single asylum claim is individually assessed with due process and in line with international law,” stressed the UN Special Rapporteurs on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt.
At least 108 Pakistani citizens have been deported since the beginning of August, according to the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR).
“Most asylum seekers from Pakistan belong to religious minorities, including Ahmadiyya Muslim, Christian and Shia, groups that are often subjected to persecution, discrimination and violence in Pakistan,” Ms. Izsák said. “Many of them are being deported despite being registered with UNHCR and having their first instance interviews still pending.”
Violent attacks against religious minorities have increased significantly in recent years, according to Pakistani sources. Last year, 687 persons belonging to religious minorities were reportedly killed in over 200 separate attacks.
“Such violence is fueled by existing blasphemy legislation particularly targeting minorities and lack of protective measures for them in Pakistan,” Mr. Bielefeldt said.
“The personal security and safety of Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians and Shias who are being returned to Pakistan from Sri Lanka is a matter of serious concern, due to the large number of cases of violent attacks and threats against members of those religious communities by militant extremists in Pakistan,” he highlighted.
The UN human rights experts called on the Government of Sri Lanka to comply with the principle of non-refoulement (no-forced-returns) when there is a credible potential threat against an individual and to stop the deportations immediately in order to allow the completion of the entire asylum claim process.
Read more » UN, Office of High Commissioner Of Human Rights
KARACHI: There has been a shift from one dominant institution to multiple institutions in Pakistan which has transformed into an urban country where provision of goods is now a privatised process. These thoughts were articulated on Wednesday by political economist Dr Akbar Zaidi invited by the Karachi University faculty of arts to deliver a lecture on “The Changing Nature of Pakistani State”.
Read more » DAWN
Watch a very memorable singer of Sindhi language, Late Syed Suleman Shah.
Courtesy: PTV » Youtube
Disney India and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt. Ltd (AGPPL) are to collaborate on Mohenjo Daro.
Directed by Gowariker, the film will star Hrithik Roshan and new comer Pooja Hegde in an epic adventure love story set at the time of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Mohenjo Daro, meaning Mound of the Dead in Sindhi, is a lost civilization that was abandoned in 19th century BCE. The city’s ruins lie in the Larkana district of Sindh, and are a designated Unesco World Heritage Site since 1980.
Given the settings, the movie is likely to be a sweeping historical extravaganza, along the lines of Jodhaa Akbar and Lagaan, the former also an association between UTV Motion Pictures (aka Disney India), while the latter an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film; both movies were critical and box-office hits.
According to a press release, Disney India Producer Sunita Gowariker said, “There has always been a natural creative synergy between UTV and AGPPL in our previous movies. This time through our collaboration with Disney we’ll have an even greater focus on entertaining families”.
“After Jodhaa Akbar, we are thrilled to work with Ashutosh and Hrithik again, and we are excited about bringing another wonderful Indian story to the big screen,” said Amrita Pandey, VP and Head of Marketing & Distribution, Disney Studios, India.
Mohenjo Daro is set to go into production in South Africa from October 2014.
The U.S. military said U.S. forces conducted nine strikes on Saturday and another 16 on Sunday in efforts to help the Iraqis retake the dam.
As we noted earlier, a pitched campaign delivered control of part of the dam to Kurdish forces earlier this weekend before the entirety of what has been called “the most dangerous dam in the world” was seized on Monday. As Daniel Pipes told CNN after the structure was initially seized by the marauding group just two weeks ago:
If you control the Mosul dam, you can threaten just about everybody — a very substantial part of Iraq — with flooding, with lack of electricity, with lack of water.
Last week, we mentioned the growing role of the PKK, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, in the fighting. Despite being designated a terrorist group by the United States for waging a decades-long battle against Turkey, the group has become a formidable opponent in the battle against ISIS. Helping to lead the way have been female guerrillas who enlisted in the battle to fighting alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Read more: Business Insider
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