Canada – Manufacturing sales drop sharply

By: The Canadian Press

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 3.1 per cent in December to $48 billion, the largest decline since May 2009 and worse than expected. ….

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/02/15/business-manufacturing-drop.html

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?

By

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.

Continue reading Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

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

By

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.

Continue reading Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

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.

Continue reading The Female Factor: Bangladesh Protests Break Boundaries

MOHABAT-E SINDH SUJAGGI MARCH BY AWAMI TAHREEK

Via Kalavanti Raja

Awami Tahreek has planned to start a bestir march bannered as “Mohabat-e-Sindh Sujagi March” on 16th February 2013 and shall visit 13 districts of Sindh. Dynamic young leader of Sindh shall address in about 40 cities to make people aware and protest against: 1. Anti-Sindh Local Govt Act 2012. 2. Violation of SC’s orders on Voter List Verification 3. Corruption 4. Price-hike 5. Unemployment

Schedule of March:

16th Feb: JamShoro, Khanoth, Manjhand, Sun, Sehwan, Bhan, Dadu, Phulji, Seeta, KN.Shah, Mehar, Warah.
17th Feb: Nasirabad, Wagan, Qambar, Larkano, Rato Dero, Dakhan, Garhi Yasin, Shikarpur, Sultan Kot, Humayun, Jacobabad, Thul.
18th Feb: Tangwani, Kandhkot, Kashmor, Gudoo, Obawro, Daharki, Mathelo, Ghotki, Pano Aqil, Rohri, Sukkur, Khairpur.
19th Feb: Gambat, Ranipur, Hingorja, Kotri Kabir, Halani, Kandiaro, Bhirya, Noshahro, Moro, Shahpur, Dolatpur, Qazi Ahmed, Sakrand, Saedabad, Hala, BhitShah, Kheber, Matiari.

CANADA – RCMP accused of repeated abuse of B.C. aboriginal women

Human Rights Watch report contains allegations of brutality, rape, threats

By: CBC News

An international human rights organization is calling on the federal government to launch a national inquiry into claims from aboriginal women of abuse and threats by RCMP officers in northern British Columbia.

Human Rights Watch, known for bringing worldwide attention to victims of torture and abuse in places like Syria and Burma, says the eyes of the world should also be on northern B.C. ….

Read more » CBC
Link – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/02/12/bc-human-rights-watch-abuse-report.html

– – – – – – – – –

More details » Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/13/canada-abusive-policing-neglect-along-highway-tears

TTP talks: Legitimising terror

By: Saher Baloch

The annual report of Human Rights Watch (2013) on Pakistan reads exactly the same as the ones published before it. Only the brutality of those involved in the killings and the apathy of those observing has increased tenfold. Apart from that, the report has nothing ‘positive’ to report from Pakistan.

The reason why there is nothing ‘positive’ in the report reflects the fact that our state continues to move backwards, learning nothing from past mistakes.

If learning was the case, the recent offer of talks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who have single-handedly ruined thousands of lives in Pakistan, would have been refused by the state immediately.

As it is, we are already in a state of war with the Taliban, who continue to attack children, students, teachers, journalists, minorities, and any one who does not accept or follow their brand of Islam.

To be precise, it is progression and a progressive mindset that the Taliban and likeminded groups are against. I felt it necessary to spell it out because it is important to understand, that militants are against each one of us, including every ideology or sect that they feel threatened from.

In 2012, militants killed around 325 people from the Shia sect, shot a student Malala Yousafzai, apart from torching over a hundred schools in different areas of Pakistan. This is not all, as there are countless other incidents where shrines have been attacked, apart from the ruthless targeting of the Pakistani police. Verve and confidence are not lacking in these people at all, as after every attack that destroys a home, a family or a school, the militants have openly taken responsibility for their actions.

Continue reading TTP talks: Legitimising terror

Canada is not doing better

Ed Broadbent: Inequality’s a problem for Canada, too

By: ED BROADBENT, The Globe and Mail

I don’t know whether it’s smugness or indifference, but we Canadians can be a self-deluding lot. Growing inequality, portrayed recently in The Economist as a global scourge, when viewed from Canada, seems to be a problem only for others.

After all, it was other countries’ banks that crashed in 2008. It’s in southern Europe that tens of thousands are taking to the streets. And it was in France and the United States that recent elections were fought over the fact that those who created the mess, the top 1 per cent, are still getting big bonuses and low tax rates.

Well, guess what? Canada is not doing better. From 1982 until 2004, almost all growth in family income went to the top 20 per cent, with much of that going to the top 1 per cent, while the bottom 60 per cent saw no growth at all. The increase in inequality in Canada since the mid-1990s has been the fourth highest in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But does this matter? Yes, the evidence is in, and the conclusion is clear: Inequality does matter. In terms of social outcomes, more equal societies do better for everyone, not just for the poor, in almost every respect: health outcomes, life expectancy, level of trust in society, equality of opportunity and upward social mobility. A recent study showed that if Americans want to experience the American Dream of upward mobility, they should pack up and move to Sweden. They would have to leave the most unequal democracy and move to the most equal.

Continue reading Canada is not doing better

Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Pervez Hoodbhoy

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Some readers, whose intelligence I respect, took my last op-ed to be dismissive of corruption as a cause of Pakistan’s social decay. I apologise for having failed to express myself adequately: I certainly do not dispute that Pakistan is reaping the terrible consequences of wholesale corruption. Corruption, by definition, expropriates that which rightfully belongs to others. By doing so, it hurts the poor more than the rich, lowers productivity, creates mistrust of authority, breaks down the social contract and leads towards ungovernability. We all know that the average Pakistani is frustrated and that he encounters corruption while reporting a crime, seeking justice in a traffic accident, getting an electricity or gas connection, securing admission to school for children, or getting a business contract signed. We have kunda mafias, tanker mafias, and mafias of all shapes and forms that raise the collective blood pressure.

So, instead of emphasising corruption, why did I choose to identify the principal problems of Pakistan as a) unbridled population growth; b) terrorism; and c) slowness of cultural modernisation? (Please wait until I define modernity; it doesn’t mean consumerism or rock music!).

My plea: corruption is a symptom of some social disease, but there are very many different kinds of such diseases. To borrow a medical analogy: high fever could come from typhoid, pneumonia, measles, flu and a hundred other diseases. They can all make you hot and sick, but no genuine doctor specifically targets ‘fever’. Buying the wares of roadside hakeems who advertise anti-fever brews is worse than useless. It is equally useless to target corruption without understanding its origins.

Continue reading Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Black Day – RALLY AGAINST STATE-SPONSORED PERSECUTION OF SINDHI HINDUS IN PAKISTAN

London (Press release) – 24th February is a black day in the history of Pakistan. On 24th Feb 2012, a Sindhi girl, Rinkle Kumari was kidnapped by a Member of Pakistani Parliament belonging to so-called democratic party, Peoples Party and judiciary approved forceful conversion in the court despite girl cried in front of the media that she had been kidnapped. It is reported that 20 to 25 girls are kidnapped from Sindhi Hindu community each month to harass and victimize the indigenous Sindhi people.

Members of religious minorities – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and Ahmedis are being kidnapped, killed and converted. Their worship places are occupied or destroyed!! The international conscience to support Sindhi people in their struggle to save women and their human right being violated from religious bigots.

Location: Opposite Pakistan High Commission, London 34 – 36 Lowndes Square SW1X 9JN, Nearest Tube Station: Knightsbridge

Organised by: World Sindhi Congress (WSC), International Sindhi Women Organization (ISWO)

Defending from within

Shouldn’t we stand up and face the real enemy?

By Tausif Kamal

So our army brass has now come to the brilliant conclusion that the Talibans/jihadis’ internal threat constitute the biggest security risk to the country. Indeed! This belated acknowledgment comes after a period of no less than a decade when this internal enemy first launched its attacks against the state and people of Pakistan, after the killings of no less than 40, 000 of our citizens and forces, wounding of thousands more, and after the horrific destruction wrought by this enemy from within.

But even this eureka moment of the army in recognising Taliban as the country’s biggest enemy does not mean that the army is ready to take action to confront and defeat the enemy. The army wants the civilian government to devise a “comprehensive strategy” to fight this enemy. And the civilian government in turn wants the army to further tweak and “redefine” its reading of this grave security threat.

Continue reading Defending from within

China Dips Toes in Arctic Waters

By Christoph Seidler

You didn’t hear much Chinese spoken on the Mackenzie River until the summer of 1999. But then excitement swept through the sleepy Tuktoyaktuk settlement in Canada’s Northwest Territories, when a vast ship with a crew from the Asia-Pacific unexpectedly docked in the port. Local authorities were caught off-guard by the arrival of the research icebreaker Xue Long, which means “snow dragon.” The vessel — 170 meters (550 feet) long and weighing 21,000 metric tons — had in fact informed faraway Ottawa of its intention to sail into Canada’s arctic waters, but the message hadn’t been passed on.

Today, such an incident probably wouldn’t happen. States around the North Pole keep careful and regular watch on visitors from China. Its “growing interest in the region raises concern — even alarm —

Read more » Spiegel
Link – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/growing-chinese-interest-in-the-arctic-worries-international-community-a-879654.html

Canadians quickly losing faith in their democracy, survey suggests

By: Kim Mackrael, The Globe and Mail

Ottawa — Canadians’ satisfaction with democracy has dipped to a new low, research suggests, with many people pegging the problem on weak performance by their federal MPs.

About 55 per cent of Canadians say they are satisfied with democracy in the country, according to a new research paper by Samara, a not-for-profit organization aimed at improving political participation. That’s down 20 points from 2004, when similar research suggested about 75 per cent of Canadians were satisfied with their democracy.

We’ve known for a long time that there is declining trust and satisfaction with democracy,” said Alison Loat, Samara’s executive director. “But to see such a large decline in a short period of time was a surprise to us.”

Samara published the findings in a paper called “Who’s the Boss?” which it released Monday morning. It’s part of a series of reports the organization is writing to analyze the results of a wide-ranging democratic engagement survey it conducted earlier this year.

Monday’s report suggests that only 36 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the way elected officials do their jobs. Asked to assess Parliamentarians’ performance in several categories, respondents said MPs do a relatively good job of representing the views of their political parties, giving them a score of 61 per cent. But Canadians panned MPs’ performances when it came to holding the government to account and representing the views of their constituents, with scores of 45 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. They also gave MPs a score of 44 per cent in managing individual constituents’ concerns.

“I think there’s a bit of a sense, at least among the public, that perhaps MPs are representing their political party at the expense of their ability to represent constituents,” Ms. Loat said.

Continue reading Canadians quickly losing faith in their democracy, survey suggests

Brainwashing the Rasputinian and Machiavellian way — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

In Pakistan, the ‘establishment’ is the Thierry Tilly and the people the Védrines family

Of late, everyone is discussing the supposed changes happening in the fundamental policies governing Pakistan. The fundamental policy here essentially means its attitude towards its ‘strategic assets’, which it thinks are instrumental in tilting the balance in Afghanistan and Kashmir because direct state involvement would invite retribution. Any change would naturally translate into a change of attitude towards India and Afghanistan, and more importantly, to the scourge of terrorism the world over, which invariably finds its origin here.

Without internal changes, there can never be external changes and no internal change is in the offing; changes cannot happen without a changed mindset. To understand change or the lack thereof, it is essential that Pakistan’s origin is understood and its paths traced. Analysing it without this context precipitates fallacious conclusions.

Pakistan came into being to suit the exigencies of the British rulers and their manufactured elite, which thought it could serve Britain better if they had the status of a country attached to their picket or garrison outpost. When demands for India’s independence gained strength, the British realised that with independent-minded politicians holding sway, their interests in the Gulf, especially their oil interests, which were of primary importance to the industrialised world, would irreparably suffer. Consequently, Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India (1943-47) in his letter of February 1946 to the Secretary of State for India proposed that while granting freedom to India, Britain needs to consider the creation of another country to the North West that would protect Britain’s interest in the Persian Gulf. This consideration suddenly changed the demand for federation to that of independence.

External factors and conditions do play a part in change but change results from decisive and crucial internal compulsions and inner essence. The internal dynamics here have remained in a rut since 1947, and the essence remains unchanged though cosmetic changes have occurred. The people here have been defrauded, shortchanged and manipulated, and ironically, yet many refuse to see this brazen manipulative fraud and continue to be willing victims. Voltaire rightly said, “You cannot free the fools of the chains they revere.”

Continue reading Brainwashing the Rasputinian and Machiavellian way — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

A perfect day for democracy – By Arundhati Roy

WASN’T it? Yesterday I mean. Spring announced itself in Delhi. The sun was out, and the law took its course. Just before breakfast, Afzal Guru, prime accused in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, was secretly hanged, and his body was interred in Tihar jail.

Was he buried next to Maqbool Butt? (The other Kashmiri who was hanged in Tihar in 1984. Kashmiris will mark that anniversary on Monday.)

Afzal’s wife and son were not informed. “The authorities intimated the family through speed post and registered post,” the Home Secretary told the press. “The Director General of J&K police has been told to check whether they got it or not.”

No big deal, they’re only the family of a Kashmiri terrorist.

In a moment of rare unity the nation, or at least its major political parties, the Congress, the BJP and the CPM, came together as one (barring a few squabbles about ‘delay’ and ‘timing’) to celebrate the triumph of the rule of law.

The conscience of the nation, which broadcasts live from TV studios these days, unleashed its collective intellect on us — the usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts. Even though the man was dead and gone, like cowards that hunt in packs, they seemed to need each other to keep their courage up. Perhaps because deep inside themselves they know that they all colluded to do something terribly wrong.

Continue reading A perfect day for democracy – By Arundhati Roy

Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again.

Editor’s note: America has a long history of treating the poor like criminals, from legislation banning the transportation of poor people across state lines to anti-vagrancy laws that could land you in jail if you didn’t have a job or a home. We’ve come to rely on the criminal justice system to deal with the poor, even as more and more Americans fall into poverty. The following is part of a series that looks at the diverse ways poverty is criminalized in America, such as laws targeting the homeless, the surveillance of welfare recipients, the re-emergence of debtor’s prisons, and extreme policing tactics like stop-and-frisk.

Kawana Young, a single mother of two kids, was arrested in Michigan after failing to pay money she owed as a result of minor traffic offenses. She was recently laid off from her job, and could not pay the fees she owed because she couldn’t find another source of employment. So a judge sentenced her to three days in jail. In addition, Young was charged additional fees for being booked and for room and board for a place she did not want to be. In total, she has been jailed five times for being unable to pay her debts.

“It doesn’t make sense to jail people when they can’t pay because they definitely can’t pay while they’re in jail,” said Young.

Continue reading Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

PPP Government’s 5-Year bad performance and National Interests of Sindh

Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s “Reconciliatory” Provincial Government’s Five-Year bad performance and National Interests of Sindh

SWTF will launch mass movement if SPLGA-2012 is not annulled before next elections!

Respected Journalists!

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) is generally considered as the party mainly belonging to Sindh and Sindhis, which is enjoying the power of being the largest parliamentary party on the basis of Sinshi vote. However, unfortunately instead of safeguarding Sindh’s rights, it has caused fatal damage to the integrity, economy, human development and developmental infrastructure of Sindh through bad governance, corruption, nepotism and misuse of people’s mandate. PPP Government’s notorious decision of Sindh Peoples’ Local Government Act (SPLGA) 2012 has caused an unprecedented damage to ethnic harmony and social cohesiveness of society of Sindh.

We, the intellectuals, writers, poets, journalists, civil society activists and concerned citizens strongly believe that PPP’s sitting government has betrayed the democratic mandate of majority of people of Sindh.

Continue reading PPP Government’s 5-Year bad performance and National Interests of Sindh

CBC – Canadian quality of life hammered by recession

Index shows turnaround in GDP growth no boost to quality of life

Canada’s economy may well be muddling through, but on a more personal level, Canadians generally are not, a new study of well-being suggests.

The Canadian Well-being Index, led by researchers at the University of Waterloo, shows that quality of life in Canada deteriorated by 24 per cent between the onset of recession in 2008 and 2010.

Canada’s main economic indicator, gross domestic product, only declined by about 8.3 per cent over the same period and began to make a turnaround by the end of 2010. ….

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/10/23/well-being-index-canadians.html

Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

By: Shaheen Sehbai

Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.

ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.

The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.

The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.

The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.

His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.

Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.

Continue reading Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

The Alafis in Sindh

By Salman Rashid

he Alafi tribe of western Hejaz were among the earlier converts to Islam. Since before 680 CE, a large body of them frequently travelled back and forth between their country and Makran. Now, Makran at that time seems to have been very much like modern day Fata. Though part of the kingdom of Sindh under Raja Chach, it appears to have been only loosely held with a substantial foreign element running wild in the country.

In 684, when Abdul Malik bin Marwan took over as caliph, his deputy in Iraq, Hujaj bin Yusuf, appointed one Saeed of the family Kilabi to Makran. The man was entrusted with collecting money from this country as well as neighbouring regions wherever he could exercise pressure.

Somewhere in Kirman on his way east, Saeed met with one Safahwi Hamami. The Chachnama is not explicit about this man, but gives the understanding that while he had “no army under (him)”, he was nevertheless a man of significant social standing. The man may, therefore, have been a merchant.

Continue reading The Alafis in Sindh

Canada jobs figure shrinks for first time in 6 months

Canada’s economy shed 22,000 jobs in January, but a corresponding drop in the number of unemployed people looking for work caused the jobless rate to also drop, to seven per cent.

Statistics Canada said the jobless rate ticked 0.1 percentage points lower as 57,500 people stopped looking for jobs — more than enough to offset the decline in the number of jobs.

“It had to be coming,” CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld said in reaction to the news.

In the last five months of 2012, the Canadian economy cranked out an average of 37,000 jobs a month. That was against a backdrop of official GDP data that showed the economy wasn’t expanding much.

With those two data points at odds, something had to eventually give. “The only question was when,” Shenfeld said.

Most of the job losses came from the public sector, where there were 27,000 fewer positions. Self-employment rose slightly, and the private sector was largely unchanged, the data agency said.

Self-employment tends to tick higher following job losses in conventional industries, as people decide to start their own businesses.

Construction boom

The manufacturing sector lost 22,000 jobs, bringing total employment in that key sector down to the same level it was at a year ago. The construction industry was a bright spot, adding 17,000 positions during the month.

“Given the recent slowdown in homebuilding and ongoing public sector restraint, we do not expect the strong hiring gains in the [construction industry] to be sustained,” Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said following the release of the data.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/02/08/business-jobs-canada.html

Huge Bangladesh rally seeks death penalty for Islamists

Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, calling for the death penalty for Islamists on trial for war crimes. The protests have been going on since Tuesday, when one of the accused, Abdul Kader Mullah, got a life sentence ….

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21383632

Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/

The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

Throughout its existence since August 14, 1947; Pakistan has perennially remained in troubled waters. From the anarchy of the initial years to the interspersing of democratic stints, to military dictatorships, it has been overshadowed by a constant threat of disintegration as a state. This disintegration came off in 1971 when its eastern part then known as East Pakistan was truncated.

While East Pakistan changed her nomenclature to Bangladesh, the West wing came to be known as Pakistan. It was a cataclysmic event that happened in contemporary history when a state dismembered barely 24 years after its birth and independence from the colonial rule.

All these years, Pakistan earned strictures such as a failed state, a country not viable to stay on the world map and a nation moving towards eventual extinction or another disintegration a la East Pakistan. Pakistani society is infested with myriad chronic problems that range from poor social and utility services to unstable or dysfunctional institutions and sway of reactionary cutthroat religious militants. The competent, efficacious, egalitarian and public welfare oriented governance has ever remained elusive.

Continue reading The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

‘What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India’

New Delhi: Pakistan is a “fake” country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the “bogus two-nation theory”, Press Council of India Chairman Justice (retd) Markandey Katju said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The former Chief Justice of India was confident that in next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite and a strong, powerful, secular and modern minded government would come to power.

He condemned the recent war hysteria created by media in the wake of beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistanis troops in a cross LoC attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

“First of all let me tell you one thing Pakistan is no country. It’s a fake country, it’s artificially created country by the British who had the policy of divide and rule by starting this bogus two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims have two separate nations,” he said at a panel discussion here.

“And we are fools and were taken for a ride by the Britishers. Same artificial entity Pakistan was created. What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India,” he said at the discussion on “Fuelling Indo-Pak Crisis: Mutilation or the media” at Delhi University.

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