USAID officially initiate construction of the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences, a state-of-the-art hospital

Jacobabad, February 13, 2013 — U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Director Jock Conly, and the U.S. Consul General in Karachi Michael Dodman, joined by Sindh Minister for Health Dr. Sagheer Ahmed and Sindh Minister for Rehabilitation Muzaffar Shujra, attended a groundbreaking ceremony to officially initiate construction of the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences, a state-of-the-art hospital. USAID is investing $10 million to build the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences and expand access to quality health care services for the residents of Jacobabad, Sindh, and Balochistan.

Courtesy: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr_021313.html

Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

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Hint: It is not the forward community.

I moved this up as a separate article since this is something I feel very strongly about. The Pakistani forward community (as evidenced from BP members) has sworn hand on heart that “caste based discrimination” does not exist in Pakistan. This is because they say so, thus it must be the truth. The reality it seems is something else altogether.

Ms. Kalavanti Raja of Sindh-Pakistan, the active member of Sindhiyani Tahreek presented the case of Pakistani Dalits in International Consultation Meeting of IDSN in Nepal which got a huge importance and space in international IDSN Publication as detailed below.

Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

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Canada – Calgary Sindhi Community celebrated Shah Latif Day

By: Mashhood Qazi, Calgary

Calgarian Sindhis met over lunch last month where a vast majority of friends attended the program along with their families. We celebrated this program with a theme of ‘Latif Day’ and encouraged our youth to speak about sufi poet Shah. The objective was to have our kids understand Sindh’s heritage and the life of our great poet of peace, Shah Latif. This gesture was very well praised by all the attendees. The beauty of this program was the enthusiastic attendees who spared no single minute but to get involved in our traditional Katchehri.

Courtesy: SANA list + Sindhi e-lists, February 14, 2013.

Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

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Police in Jerusalem on Monday detained 10 women for wearing the tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl traditionally worn by men, while praying at the Western Wall.

The Women of the Wall have been fighting for years for permission to worship in the manner that men do at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism for prayer. The stone structure is part of the retaining wall that surrounded the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Men and women both pray at the wall, but in separate sections and under rules set by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a body appointed and funded by the government. It is headed by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

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The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

By: Anushay Hossain

It is over a week now that crowds refuse to die down in Shahbagh Square in the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

While most of the “western media” has either ignored the swelling numbers of ordinary Bangladeshis joining the movement, others have wrongly labeled it as a mass demand for capital punishment.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception about what is happening in Bangladesh right now, that these historic protests are somehow a stamp of the public’s thirst just for capital punishment. Could anything be more incorrect or insulting?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Bangladeshis joined in rare solidarity to demand the death penalty for the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, well-known war-criminal, Abdul Quader Mollah. His sentencing to life in prison triggered Bangladeshis to put aside their political differences, and unite against Mollah.

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