Sindhi version of US Consulate website, Karachi

Brad Sherman
Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman

Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman, Hon. Congressman Adam Schiff, and Hon. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney have signed the letter to have the State Department produce a version of the website of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi in the Sindhi language. They have sent the letter below to Honorable Secretary John Kerry”:

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to respectfully request that the State Department produce a version of the website of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi in the Sindhi language. This modest goal has the potential for enormous benefits for the United States’ diplomacy efforts in Pakistan. The response from the Sindhi population, including Sindhi journalists and intellectuals, to previous U.S. outreach in their language has been extraordinarily positive.

The Sindh province is home to tens of millions of speakers of Sindhi, which is spoken by at least 12% of Pakistanis and has more native speakers than the national language of Urdu. The translated website will serve as an important source of news and understanding of U.S. policy in Pakistan for a large segment of the population.

It is in America’s national interests to reach out to this historically marginalized segment of the Pakistani population in their native language. Sindhis in Pakistan help advance U.S. interests in the region by opposing extremism and violence. Many Sindhis, highly influenced by rich Sufi traditions, share our core values and seek our help in a more secure and safe world. We strongly support the translation of the U.S. Consulate website in Karachi to Sindhi.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, SAPAC and Social Media

India – BJP minister targeted Sindhis and threatened to send them back to Pakistan!

Will send you back to Pakistan, says BJP minister to Sindhi traders of Bhopal

By: Bhaskar News

Bhopal: Controversy erupted over Urban administration minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Babulal Gaur’s casteist remarks on Sindhis on Thursday. The ruling BJP government minister targeted Sindhis and threatened to send them back to Pakistan.

Members of traders association of Sindhi market in Sant Hirdaram Nagar of Bhopal protested against the drive to relocate them from the area to the New Sabzi Mandi, outside the BJP minister’s residence.

The civic body had ordered the traders of Sindhi market to relocate to the New Sabzi Mandi area in the wake of encroachment incidents reported by nearby residents.

The traders of Sant Hirdaram Nagar protested against the civic body’s relocation drive and shouted slogans against the ruling BJP government outside Gaur’s residence. The minister got irked and passed casteist remarks on them.

He reportedly said, “Stop shouting slogans or else you will be sent to where you are originally from (Pakistan).”

Courtesy: Daily Bhaskar
http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/MP-BHO-bhopal-will-send-you-back-to-pakistan-says-bjp-minister-to-sindhis-when-they-pro-4290924-PHO.html

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

It’s High Time We Abolished the Department of Homeland Security

It’s the path to national sanity.

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

And, as a result, it’s time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach.

Last Wednesday, the  Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone “metadata” over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.

We now also know that what the  Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies.

President Obama – who promised the “most transparent administration ever” – now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy. That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named “PRISM.”

PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies – including Facebook, Google and Apple – the NSA has access to millions of users’ personal data, including emails, chats and videos.

Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about “foreign individuals” suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens

As the  Washington Post pointed out:

“Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in.”

These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who’s the  Guardian‘s source?

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/thom-hartmann-abolish-homeland-security

Pakistan – Defence budget hiked by 15 per cent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has increased its defence spending by 15% for the coming fiscal year, as the military remains engaged in fighting a deadly Taliban insurgency in the strife-torn tribal regions.

The defence budget has been jacked up to Rs627.2 billion for the financial year beginning July 1, compared to Rs545.3 billion allocated in the outgoing fiscal year, showing an increase of Rs82 billion.

However, against the original allocation of Rs545.3 billion, the military overspent Rs25 billion, raising the total expenditure to Rs570 billion in 2012-13.

According to the budget document, the lion’s share went to the army which got Rs301.54 billion, followed by the air force with Rs131.18 billion and the navy with Rs62.80 billion.

Of the total Rs627.2 billion, Rs271.2 billion have been allocated for employees-related expenses, Rs162.2 billion for operating expenses and Rs131.3 billion for physical assets.

However, the figures do not include over Rs132.7 billion allocated for pensions of the retired military personnel that would be paid from the civilian budget and a separate allocation for the security-related expenses, a move which critics say seeks to conceal the actual defence spending.

In addition to this, the military will also be given Rs150 billion under the contingent liability, Rs70 billion under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and Rs35 billion has been allocated for the military’s services to the UN peacekeeping missions in the coming fiscal year. This means a whopping Rs1,014 billion have been allocated for the military, which is about 28.2% of the country’s total budget.

The defence budget – which has never been properly debated in Parliament – has remained a sensitive and controversial subject in Pakistan and there have been calls for greater scrutiny of the spending.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/562640/defence-budget-hiked-by-15-per-cent/#.UbkuwH1R5qc.facebook

Via Facebook

Aligarh mother killed by mob for allowing daughter to wear jeans

India – A 55-year-old woman was beaten to death by a mob in Aligarh on Tuesday because she allowed her college-going daughter to wear jeans. Shockingly, the mob was led by a woman.

It happened in Jwalajipuram colony of Mallrose bypass area in Aligarh where one Phulwati raided the house of her neighbour Netrapal Dubey along with her aides and killed Dubey’s wife, also the mother of 20-year-old Gunjan, Kamlesh.

Netrapal and Gunjan have been admitted to hospital with serious injuries. Phulwati and her aide Ravindra Singh have been arrested and sent to jail for killing Kamlesh.

Netrapal, a driver, told the police that Phulwati, who lived in his neighbourhood, used to object to Gunjan’s wearing jeans.

“My daughter is an undergraduate student and she feels comfortable in jeans. Other girls of her college also wear jeans. But Phulwati, wife of a contractor, came to me one day and asked to prevent her from wearing jeans because it was vitiating the atmosphere in the colony. She said her own sons stare at her because of her jeans. She also told me that other people in the area would start eve-teasing my daughter if I didn’t stop her”, he said.

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