Absenteeism in Sindh schools worries World Bank and European Union

Absenteeism at schools worries WB, EU officials

By Azizullah Sharif

SINDH – KARACHI, Oct 28: Officials of the World Bank and the European Union on Friday voiced their concern over the existence of `ghost` and closed schools in different districts of Sindh and absenteeism of teachers from schools.

This and other issues figured at a meeting held between Sindh Minister for Education Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and a joint delegation of the World Bank and European Union comprising Vishant Raju, Peter Poiter and Ms Louis.

Sindh Education Secretary Siddik Memon and Resource Support Unit`s programme managers Pervaiz Ahmed and Raeesa Ali were also present.

The issues concerning the closure of schools and long absence of teachers from schools were raised by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and EU officials when the minister informed them that more funds were required to repair and renovate a large number of schools, which had been damaged in the recent floods.

The minister said that the Sindh government by appointing teachers in two phases had already made a number of schools functional. He added that many other schools lying closed would be reopened with the hiring of more teachers in a third phase ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Eight Beheadings on Justice Square

By Jalal Alamgir, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

Excerpt;

It’s Friday, the holy day of the week. The Kingdom’s law enforcers gather up eight Bangladeshi migrant workers from their prison cells and bring them to Justice Square in the capital, Riyadh.

Blindfolded, they are led to the center of the square, and made to kneel down. A small crowd forms in anticipation. At 9 am, a robed man walks up and slowly raises a sword, four feet long and shining. Ambulances wait, stretchers ready.

The sword sweeps down.

The sleek expanse of Justice Square is patterned with beautiful granite. There is no stage, no unnecessary equipment, no fanfare. Underneath runs an efficient drainage system, with a receptacle the size of a pizza box at the center.

Regardless, the head often rolls in unexpected directions. It’s collected and laid alongside the body before being taken away on stretchers. Some of the blood spilled on the granite drains quickly, and the rest is hosed down. Those spraying the water are themselves migrant workers.

This is justice, square and fair in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most backward regimes in the world. Here, hands are chopped, bodies are decapitated. Torture is common in extracting confessions. The accused have little protection.

And racism is stark: Arabs get away with a lot more than dark-skinned migrant laborers do. ….

….. The Kingdom, buttressed by its special relationships, does not waste any opportunity to show who the boss is. A public execution is just such an opportunity. The beheading of the eight was a shameful shock-and-awe tactic, a warning to the millions of other workers to remain submissive, however back-breaking their life may be. The message is clear: obey, and keep your head.

To read complete article » The Huffington Post

A Pakistani Christian student’s question to the High Court

Is a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow Muslim?

“A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ? For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College but was beaten on the list by 20 marks by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz–e-Quran. So, now this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that “this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan.” The petition admitted by the Lahore High Court demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or should declare that a parallel policy should be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge. Fifty eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic and hopeful”.
Constitution of Pakistan, Part II, Chapter -1, Fundamental Rights, Article 22 says:-

(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.

(3) Subject to law: (a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and

(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.

Read more » Pak Tribune

Imran Khan is emerging as a tea partier of Pakistan

– The Ghost of Imran Khan

by Zafar Imam

He has emerged as a tea partier of Pakistan

The Ghost of Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehrek – e- Insaaf leader, is haunting many his critics, political opponents, liberal secular democrats and even many leftists after his successful rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on October 30, 2011. International and national media gave this rally an overwhelming coverage, which facilitated the break out of shock waves across political circles in Pakistan. The rally was named ‘Azaadi’ (Freedom) and was held at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, a symbol of conservative rightist Pakistani nationalism. ….

Read more » Zafar Imam » The Biased Blog

BAAGHI: Lion of Lahore growls, but what for? By Marvi Sirmed

Politicians have a collective challenge right now that they must face collectively. Before the organised propaganda of ‘democracy cannot deliver in Pakistan’ starts infusing deep in people’s minds, they must proceed to political maturity ….

Read more » Daily Times

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Growing ‘Occupy’ movement makes China nervous

Mark Mackinnon

Beijing — According to a Chinese joke, there are three parts to any newscast on the official Central China Television station.

The message in the first block of stories on each night’s news is: Your leaders worked hard today. This is proven with eye-glazing footage of President Hu Jintao and other top Communist Party officials meeting foreign dignitaries, ordinary Chinese people and each other.

For those still awake when the second block of stories airs, the theme is: The Chinese people are happy. Great things are happening in the People’s Republic.

The third bit is the counterpoint to the second chunk, and the message is equally simple: The rest of the world is in chaos. Europe is falling apart! The Arab world is on fire! Aren’t you glad you live in China?

When the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began on Sept. 17, it nicely fit into the third block of that news agenda. American capitalism, China’s great rival, was in crisis (although it does put a few million people here to work), and the masses were taking to the streets against it.

Could Occupy Wall Street be America’s Arab Spring? the China Daily asked gleefully before going on to argue the Arab Spring was in fact “objectively non-existent.” (China’s leaders have opposed the uprisings in the Middle East every step of the way, perhaps seeing a little of themselves in Hosni Mubarak, Moammar Gadhafi and Bashar Assad.)

With no apparent sense of irony at all, the state-controlled Chinese press even joined those accusing the mainstream U.S. media counterparts of imposing a blackout on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

But that was back when the “Occupy” protests were safely an ocean and a bit away in New York City. But the movement’s rapid spread across North America and Europe to Asia – Occupy Tokyo, Occupy Seoul and Occupy Taipei protests began on Oct. 15 – has clearly rattled the Communist Party leadership. There’s even a small but ongoing Occupy Hong Kong protest camp in front of the HSBC headquarters in that separate-but-still-part-of-China city’s financial district.

The chuckling from stability-obsessed Beijing has ceased. On Sina Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service (the real Twitter is blocked here), the search terms “Occupy Beijing,” “Occupy Shanghai,” “Occupy Guangzhou,” “Occupy Lhasa” and so on were blocked, right down the line to “Occupy Haikou” and “Occupy Shijiazhuang,” smaller provincial centres where there’s not much of a financial district to camp in anyway. ….

Read more » THE GLOBE AND MAIL 

Imran Khan has no coherent message and no coherent ideology

Pakistani middle class gets really excited about Imran Khan..

By omar

In my opinion, he has no coherent message and no coherent ideology (both terms obviously depend on my definition of “coherent”). He is getting support in the middle class because the middle class in every developing country seems to pass through a phase of disappointment in actually existing democracy (and the “ignorant masses” who keep electing bums the middle class does not like). Witness the middle class excitement around Anna Hazare in India. And in Pakistan in particular, he gets even more support (some of it now outside the internet burger-jihadi class too… I dont mean to imply that ONLY the middle class likes him, or Anna Hazare for that matter) because the existing parties and leaders are so bad;, but even though he has genuine popularity in some sections of the population, he has insufficient grass-roots organization. I still think he cannot come to power without ISI support, and will not last long unless he is a completely pliant puppet in their hands. If he does act as their pliant puppet, he may last longer in office, but people will get tired of him rather quickly because many fundamental problems will not change one bit and some will get worse.

IF he actually tries to make his “policies” work, then we are in ever more serious trouble since he has no workable policy prescription for many serious issues. For example, his solution to the Pakistani Taliban is “stop military operations, stop supporting the US, stop drone attacks, and our brothers will come to the table in peace and brotherhood”. Apart from the obvious problem of how he expects NATO to leave this safe haven alone, what does this tell you about his understanding of the Pakistani Jihadis and their agenda? (not talking about the burger-jihadis who dream of 72 virgins and a job in microsoft in the course of the same lonely night). What happens when they want to enforce their will in the Islamic emirate? and what happens when they want to expand the emirate to Islamabad?

In a smoothly working western-style democracy, he might even do good work because he is relatively honest and well-intentioned and the system and its basis is already set, so his shallow understanding of history and political evolution is of no consequence. In Pakistan, where fundamental problems of identity and political direction are not yet settled, this 6th grade “Pak studies” version of history, sociology and political science is not going to get far. In short, he is a confused man, with very superficial and shallow notions about politics and religion. Many of his everyday opinions are relatively liberal, but he has no idea where those liberal notions came from and how they are (or are not) compatible with other 6th grade Islamiat and Pakistan Studies BS he also holds dear.

ALL politicians repeat simplistic 6th grade bullshit in speeches because of practical exigencies of modern mass politics, but he (Imran Khan) repeats them because he doesnt know any better, THAT is a problem.

Courtesy » Brown Pundits

The dubious left – By Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt;

….. Benazir too always treated the PPP as a social democratic party. On her return from exile in 1986 when millions arrived to support her bold challenge against the pro-US dictatorship of Ziaul Haq, Dawn reported how during a mammoth rally in Lahore when some PPP radicals began torching a US flag, Benazir asked them to stop. And let’s not even get into how those media men who scorn at today’s ‘establishmentarian PPP’ and lament the loss of Benazir were the loudest in their condemnation of her being a ‘US stooge’ when she returned in 2007 to challenge Musharraf’s regime.

The truth is the PPP today is quite like what it has always been, i.e. a roller-coaster political soap opera involving bickering comrades, populist, joyous eruptions and heartbreaks. In other words, it is still very much a party that continues to reflect the emotional and intellectual disposition of its founder, Z A Bhutto: spontaneous, reckless and intriguingly, but at the same time highly pragmatic and somewhat Machiavellian.

Read more » DAWN.COM

Violence is unacceptable at all in Sindh, we condemn attacks on PMLN offices

– PML-N offices attacked, set ablaze in rural Sindh

KARACHI: Unknown miscreants attacked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) offices in different cities and towns of rural Sindh and set them ablaze late on Saturday, DawnNews reported.

Unknown attackers escaped after setting PML-N office in Hyderabad on fire, which was located on first floor of the district council building.

According to the watchman of the building four attackers opened fire and escaped after setting the building alight.

General secretary PML-N Hyderabad told DawnNews that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif’s posters and pictures were also being burnt in different parts of the city.

NawabShah, Kindhkot, Jacobabad and Khairpur were among other cities where PML-N’s offices were targeted and set ablaze.

Residence of PML-N district chief’s brother in Sukker was also attacked with a petrol bomb, however no casualty was reported.

Sindh Home Minister Manzoor wasan ordered for the judicial inquiry of the incidents and asked IG Sindh police to submit report on priority basis.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Pentagon confirms 13 troops killed in Kabul attack are Americans

Kabul suicide bomb kills 13 troops, civilians workers

By Hamid Shalizi

KABUL: (Reuters) – A suicide car bomber on Saturday killed 13 troops and civilian employees of the NATO-led force in Kabul, including Americans and a Canadian, in the deadliest single ground attack against the coalition in 10 years of war in Afghanistan.

“Five International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members and eight ISAF civilian employees died following a suicide vehicle-born improvised explosive device attack in Kabul earlier today,” ISAF said in a statement.

A Canadian military spokesman said one of the dead was a Canadian soldier. The Pentagon said earlier all 13 of the ISAF fatalities were American. But after the Canadian death was reported, a Pentagon spokesman said Americans were among the dead but that authorities were checking the identities of those killed.

Three other civilians and a police officer were also killed in the attack on a convoy of military vehicles, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

Lethal attacks are relatively rare in the heavily guarded capital, Kabul, compared with the south and east of Afghanistan, but Saturday’s killings came less than two months after insurgents launched a 20-hour assault on the U.S. Embassy in the capital.

The assault on the ISAF convoy took place late in the morning in the Darulaman area in the west of the city, near the national museum.

The former royal palace, now in ruins, is also in the area, along with several government departments and Afghan and foreign military bases.

The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it packed a four-wheel-drive vehicle with 700 kg (1,500 pounds) of explosives. …

Read more » Reuters

Sharif’s letter to Brother Abdullah

by Hakim Hazik

With Saudi money, American weapons, suicidal youths, and the fauji IQ, Pakistan will prevail and lead the Ummah. We will have a friendly government in Kabul, the Dhimmis in Orakzai will pay Jizya and the infidels in New Delhi will pay tribute. I would appeal to Taliban again, not to attack us, because as the Chief Minister has said, we stand for the same things …

Read more » ViewPoint

Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary

by K. Alan Kronstadt, Specialist in South Asian Affairs

Summary

This report summarizes important recent developments in Pakistan and in Pakistan-U.S. relations. Obama Administration engagement with Pakistan has been seriously disrupted by recent events. A brief analysis of the current state of Pakistan-U.S. relations illuminates the main areas of contention and uncertainty. Vital U.S. interests related to links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism, Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Islamabad’s policies toward the Afghan insurgency, Pakistan’s relations with historic rival India, nuclear weapons proliferation and security, and the troubled status of Pakistan’s domestic setting are reviewed. Ongoing human rights concerns and U.S. foreign assistance programs for Pakistan are briefly summarized, and the report closes with an analysis of current U.S.-Pakistan relations.

In the post-9/11 period, assisting in the creation of a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy has been among the most important U.S. foreign policy efforts. Global and South Asian regional terrorism, and a nearly decade-long effort to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan are viewed as top-tier concerns. Pakistan’s apparently accelerated nuclear weapons program and the long-standing dispute with India over Kashmir continue to threaten regional stability. Pakistan is identified as a base for numerous U.S.- designated terrorist groups and, by some accounts, most of the world’s jihadist terrorist plots have some connection to Pakistan-based elements.

While Obama Administration officials and most senior congressional leaders have continued to recognize Pakistan as a crucial partner in U.S.-led counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts, long-held doubts about Islamabad’s commitment to core U.S. interests have deepened considerably in 2011. Most independent analysts view the Pakistani military and intelligence services as too willing to distinguish among Islamist extremist groups, maintaining links to some as a means of forwarding Pakistani’s perceived security interests. Top U.S. officials have offered public expressions of acute concerns about Islamabad’s ongoing apparent tolerance of Afghan insurgent and anti-India militants operating from Pakistani territory. The May 2011 revelation that Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had enjoyed apparently years-long and relatively comfortable refuge inside Pakistan led to intensive U.S. government scrutiny of the now deeply troubled bilateral relationship, and sparked much congressional questioning ….

Read more » Congressional Research Service (CRS)

Insurgents in Pakistan are now the biggest threat to NATO – Pentagon

Insurgent safe havens in Pakistan big threat: U.S.

by Eric Beech

(Reuters) – Insurgent safe havens in Pakistan are now the biggest threat to NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Overall, enemy attacks in Afghanistan in recent months were 5 percent lower than the same period a year ago, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress. But high-profile attacks were up in Afghanistan, and the enemy remains resilient, it said.

Courtesy: » Reuters

via → Siasat.pk

Pak society is “effectively cannibalizing itself” due to dehumanization of Ahmadis

Ahmadis: The lightning rod that attracts the most hatred

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.– Illutration by Faraz Aamer Khan

By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, DAWN.COM

A month after ten Ahmadi students were expelled from two schools in the village of Dharinwala, in Faisalabad district, all have been put back to school, not in there old ones, but in two schools in Hafizabad, thanks to Khalil Ahmad, father and grandfather of four students who were among those expelled.

“I managed to get all of them enrolled in two schools in the nearby city of Hafizabad,” he said talking to Dawn.com over phone from his village.

But it’s not been easy. Most parents of the expelled children are too poor, so Ahmed volunteered to pay for their admissions, their books and stationery. And that is not all. He, with the help of his two sons, makes sure they drop and pick all of them on a motorbike, doing turns.

In one school, the principal knows he has given admission to Ahmadi students but the educator believes faith should not come in the way of those seeking education. “In the other the principal has not been told,” Ahmed revealed.

Sadly, all during this episode, the government has remained a quiet bystander, as always.

It is not the first time that students have been expelled from an educational institution in Punjab because of their religious affiliations, remarked Bushra Gohar, a parliamentarian belonging to the secular Awami National Party.  According to Gohar, her party members had condemned the expulsion of students belonging to the Ahmadiyya community each time on the floor of the house. “However, a protest or condemnation from the parties leading in the Punjab has not been forthcoming,” she said.

For far too long, Pakistani students belonging to this minority community have been facing various forms of discrimination based on their faith.

“This tidal wave against the Ahmadiyya education shows no sign of ebbing,” Saleemuddin, the spokesperson of the Ahmaddiya Jammat, told Dawn.com.

He said after 1984, when the government promulgated the anti Ahmadiyya ordinance, both the government and the clerics have been trying their utmost to punish them in various ways.

“Ahmadi lecturers were posted away to distant locations and some were not allowed to teach. Ahmadi principals and headmasters were replaced. Ahmadi students were deprived admission in professional colleges. They were refused accommodation in attached hostels. They suffered attacks by extremist elements on campuses.”

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Islami Jamiat Talaba, the student wing of the Islami Jamiat has been tasked to cleanse the educational institutions, including universities and professional colleges of Ahmadi students.

Hasan Ahmed, who was among the 23 students who were expelled from Punjab Medical College, in Faisalabad, back in 2008, can never forget the stressful event and how “night after night, for over a month” he kept stressing over the events that turned his settled student life all topsy-turvy.

“I knew it happened to others, so was not completely caught unawares,” Hasan acknowledged. He is at present completing his house job in Lahore, keeping an “ultra busy schedule”.

Eventually all were re-instated in some college or another. “After months of waiting, just before exam, my friend was sent to Bahawalpur while I went off to a distant place of Rahimyar Khan in a college of lower merit,” narrated Hasan.

After a gargantuan effort, he was finally allowed to appear in exams from Lahore and then got admitted to Allama Iqbal Medical College, in Lahore.

“To be in a state of flux was the worst part of this episode specially since exams were approaching and I didn’t know which place I was to appear from,” said Hasan.

He expressed that till the identity of an Ahmadi remains undisclosed “he remains safe”.

But that is sadly not the case if you are living in Pakistan. People are culturally nosy and want to know your cast and sect. “Eventually they end up finding that you are an Ahmadi. Once they know, you can feel a change of attitude and it just takes a mischief maker to exploit others’ feelings against you,” said Hasan.

Till Hina Akram’s faith remained unknown to her teacher in Faislabad’s National Textile University, she was considered a star student. But after it became known she belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, she faced so much faith-based harassment that she had to quit studies.

“I was told to convert to Islam,” said Hina, who was studying in the sixth semester of her BSc.

“I was handed some anti-Ahmadiyya literature to read, offered a refuge in Muslim home. But when she told the teacher she was an Ahmadi by choice he called her an infidel and warned her of severe consequences.

“You will face such a fire of animosity in the campus that not even the vice chancellor will be able to help you,” he threatened her.

True to his word, a hate campaign was initiated and a social boycott began. Out of college, she is desperately trying to go abroad. Her fate remains in balance.

But it’s not just the education aspect where the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby is hitting, said Saleemuddin. Since 1984, some 208 faith-based killings have taken place. The persecution against the community has surged following the May 28, 2010 massacre of 94 members of the community in Lahore.

After the four million Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in 1984 by the state, they cannot call themselves Muslims or go to mosques. They cannot be overheard praising Prophet Mohammad. To add insult to injury, every Pakistani who claims to be a Muslim and owns a passport has declared that he or she considers them to be non-Muslims and their leader an imposter prophet.

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.

“The extremist elements are getting more and more powerful because of Saudi-US influence and the government’s policy of appeasement,” said I.A. Rehman, General Secretary Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“The Ahmadis are already the worst persecuted minority in our country – and things for them appear to be growing worse as hatred and intolerance spread,” Kamila Hyat, a journalist and a rights activist echoed the same sentiments. “The lack of enforcement of laws to prevent the preaching of hatred adds to the problem,” she added.

Saleemuddin said by allowing the extremist clerics to hold anti-Ahmadiyya rallies and conferences, the government is adding fuel to this venom. “People are openly instigated to kill us in the name of Islam,” he said.

“Violence and the advance of bigotry, prejudice and hate against minorities have never really been met with the resolve needed to remove impunity from the social equation in Pakistan,” Sherry Rehman, a legislator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, agreed.
Instead, she told Dawn.com what is seen is an “expansion in the space for religious and sectarian apartheids, which has led now to heinous acts of brutality and exclusion of many, particularly Ahmadis.”

She warned: “This is a dangerous trend that conflates national identity with religion.”

Perhaps that is one reason why Pervez Hoodbhoy expresses: “Today, when religion has become so central in matters of the state, they [Ahmadis] do not stand a chance in Pakistan of getting rights, respect, and dignity. The overdose of religion given to young Pakistanis in their schools and homes means that nothing matters more than which religion and sect you belong to. Ahmadis are the lightning rod that attracts more hatred than any other sect.”

For its part rights groups like the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) say they have “repeatedly” raised the issue of “state tolerated persecution”.

“We are urging authorities to intervene in each case,” said Rehman. “But the situation is getting worse day by day.

Terming it “abhorrent and self defeating” when society allows “for the dehumanization of Ahmadis or Christians or the Shia for that matter, it is effectively cannibalizing itself,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of HRW.

“The federal government expresses regret at incidents but has made clear its unwillingness to repeal or amend discriminatory laws,” said HRW spokesperson.

Given the current intolerance, the fate of the new generation of Pakistani Ahmadis looks “quite bleak” said Rehman.

Even Hoodbhoy said: “For years, Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians have been desperately seeking to flee Pakistan. They would be foolish to want to stay,” said Hoodbhoy.

This fails to dampen young Hasan’s spirits. He thinks the future looks “brighter than ever before”.

“Even if the situation is made worse in Pakistan, this does not mean the future is not bright. It’s a matter of time before we start getting equal rights in this country.

Often when they get together, the young Ahmadis discuss the “bitter realities” they have to face as Pakistanis.

“But we don’t want to leave our country at the juncture that it is at,” said a patriotic Hasan. This is because the contribution of the Ahmadi community towards building of Pakistan has been immense,” he said with conviction.

He said recently their leader urged all Ahmadis of the world to “fast once a week and pray” especially for the prosperity of Pakistan.”

Zofeen T. Ebrahim is a freelance journalist.

Courtesy » DAWN.COM

Islamabad ke kufay se: A tribute to Madar-e-Jamhooriat Begum Nusrat Bhutto

She helplessly saw her family killed by Pakistan’s military establishment in pursuit of democracy

Here is an extract from Jauhar Mir’s poem on Beghum Nusrat Bhutto depicting her return to Sindh after execution of her husband, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, by the military establishment.

Islamabad ke Kufe se meiN Sindh Madine aai hooN

Mat pucho kia kho aai hooN

Mat poocho meiN kia laaee hooN

Kuch manzar heiN kuch yaadeiN heiN

Kuch aansoo kuch faryadeiN heiN

Kuch lamhoN ki saughaateiN heiN

Kuch ghariyoN ki rudaadeiN heiN

Kuch sangzanoN ke tohfay heiN

Jo kuch bhi mila lai aaee hooN

Islamabad ke Kufe se meiN Sindh Madine aai hooN

(credits: Dr. Taqi, via Twitter)

Read more: » LUBP

JuD ‘teaching’ Islam to Hindu flood victims

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people, including Hindus, staying in flood relief camps run by a front organization of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Sindh province are being “peppered liberally” with Islamic teachings , according to a report.

About 2,000 living in tents in camps set up by the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation , the relief arm of the JuD, were rescued by the group’s volunteers.

They are provided meals twice a day “peppered liberally with religious teachings” , The Express Tribune reported. “They remind us again and again to offer namaz,” said a man at a relief camp in Badin. He said families have been given copies of the Quran. “Namaz parho, Quran parho, safai karo! (Say your prayers, read the Quran and clean up),” mimicked a refugee.

Courtesy: » TOI

US sows discord in South Asia

– By M K Bhadrakumar

Two templates in regional politics are seriously debilitating the United States’s campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees in the Afghan endgame. One is that Delhi has distanced itself from the US campaign and pursues an independent policy toward Islamabad.

The second factor frustrating US policies to isolate Pakistan is the South Asian nation’s bonhomie with Iran. Pakistan would have been pretty much isolated had there been an acute rivalry with Iran over the Afghan endgame. The current level of cordiality in the relationship enables Islamabad to focus on the rift with the US and even draw encouragement from Tehran.

It’s baloney

A recent statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the US-Pakistan rift underscored that India doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the US approach. (See US puts the squeeze on Pakistan, Asia Times, October 22). It was carefully timed to signal to Washington (and Islamabad) that Delhi strongly disfavored any form of US military action against Pakistan.

There is a string of evidence to suggest that the Pakistani leadership appreciates the Indian stance. The general headquarters in Rawalpindi acted swiftly on Sunday to return to India within hours a helicopter with three senior military officers on board which strayed into Pakistani territory in bad weather in the highly sensitive Siachen sector. The official spokesman in Delhi went on record to convey India’s appreciation of the Pakistani gesture. Such conciliatory gestures are rare (for both sides) in the chronicle of Pakistan-India relationship.

Again, last week, India voted for Pakistan’s candidacy for the Asia-Pacific slot among the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the Pakistani ambassador promptly responded that he would work with his Indian counterpart in New York. Ironically, the UN has been a theater for India and Pakistan’s frequent clashes over the Kashmir problem. ….

Read more » Asia Times

No Good News for Pakistan: BBC Claims Pakistan ‘supports Taliban’

– Claim Pakistan ‘supports Taliban’

Allegations that Pakistan has actively been supporting Taliban insurgents, while acting as an ally of the US in public, have been made to a BBC investigation.

Last week Pakistan said it could do more to prevent militant groups operating within its borders, but the allegations suggest Islamabad has been secretly backing the Taliban. Pakistan denies the allegation. David Loyn reports. ….

Read more » BBC

via » Siasat.pk

Pakistan’s army: Divided it stands

by Pervez Hoodbhoy in Economic and Political Weekly

Although the army has been extremely reluctant to admit that radicalisation exists within its ranks, sometimes this fact simply cannot be swept under the rug. Last week, the army was forced to investigate Brigadier Ali Khan for his ties to militants of the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical organisation that seeks to establish a global caliphate and thinks its mission should begin from nuclear Pakistan. The highest ranking officer so far arrested, Ali Khan, comes from a family with three generations of military service and is said to have a strong professional record. It is said that General Ashfaq Kayani was reluctant to take this step in spite of incontrovertible proof that Khan had militant connections because he feared the backlash. Four army majors are also currently being investigated, but this could be just the tip of an iceberg. …

Courtesy » epw  → 3quarksdaily

Canadian aid for flood victims in Sindh

Canada provides funds for projects

Islamabad—Canada has announced $11 million for eight new projects in support for those affected by recent monsoon rains and ongoing flooding in southern Pakistan.

According to Canadian Embassy here, an announcement in this regard was made by Minister of International Cooperation Beverley J. Oda in Ottawa.

“Canada is greatly concerned for the people of Pakistan affected by recent severe flooding,” said Minister Oda.

“We are responding to emergency appeals by humanitarian organizations and will continue to monitor this evolving situation to ensure Canada is supporting those who need it the most.” Heavy monsoon rains that began in mid-August have led to extensive flooding in Pakistan, primarily in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. The United Nations reports that approximately 5.8 million people have been affected by the rains and ongoing flooding, with close to 1.8 million displaced and living in extremely difficult conditions. …

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