Sindh: Three Activists Killed On Independence Day

On the 66th celebration of the Independence Day of Pakistan, three Sindh activists were gunned down in a fake encounter in Karachi. Many young Sindhi activists were also arrested from different districts of Sindh province and their whereabouts are unknown.

Below is an article published by the Asian Human Rights Commission:

– See more at: http://www.unpo.org/article/16319#sthash.MFlHM1Nh.0h5LNTEF.dpuf

Russia Warns of ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ If US Meddles in Syria

By KIRIT RADIA

MOSCOW: Russian officials today hit back at the United States and its allies after Secretary of State John Kerry warned Monday that the Syrian government would face consequences for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack.

A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry this morning warned of “catastrophic consequences” for Syria and the region if the United States and its allies intervene. It also expressed “serious disappointment” after the United States announced it would back out of a meeting this week with Russian officials to plan a long-delayed peace conference.

Read more » ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/International/russia-warns-catastrophic-consequences-us-meddles-syria/story?id=20081747#.Uh0qZCO7_1g.twitter

via Twitter

Remember bogus U.S. excuses for Iraq war before attacking Syria: China’s Xinhua

(Reuters) – An attack on Syria would be dangerous and irresponsible, and the world should remember the Iraq war was started by U.S. allegations of weapons of mass destruction which turned out to be false, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/27/us-syria-crisis-china-idUSBRE97Q09420130827

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More » First Post
http://m.firstpost.com/world/remember-bogus-u-s-excuses-for-iraq-war-before-attacking-syria-chinas-xinhua-1065437.html

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Via – Above news adopted from facebook

The partition story ~ Kuldip Nayar

Partition of the Indian subcontinent is 66 years’ old. On August 14, 1947, the states of India and Pakistan came into being in the wake of division. Even today they have not settled down as neighbours, much less as friends. Borders are bristling with troops and clashes are inevitable. A few days ago, five men from the Indian army were killed. The Pakistan army may not be directly involved. But it helps the jihadis and even the Taliban in their plan to destablise India. It looks the Pakistan army is not interested in conciliation between Islamabad and New Delhi. One incident or the other always takes place before the talks between the countries begin.
What surprises me is that no front-rank politician, historian or any other person of eminence has given me a cogent reason, much less a convincing one, to explain why the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, separated after having lived together for more than a thousand years.
The radicals may claim that they maintained peace because they were the rulers. Yet the fact is that Hindus and Muslims had developed a composite culture which recognized the mingling of two civilizations and which had overcome the pulls of polarization. Social contacts were regular and festivals of the two communities were celebrated jointly. Still it did not take the articulators of religious identity to tear the fabric apart from the thirties. Was pluralism only a cover to hide differences? And in reality, the two communities had never occupied the common ground and had remained distant from each other.
Had this been the case, why the exchange of population was ruled out when the separation was contemplated? Even Muslims on their own did not raise any objection that those left behind in India would number more than the ones in the Muslim homeland, Pakistan. Hindus left Pakistan and Muslims from Punjab and a few other cities in the north. It was a forced eviction.

Britain 2013: children of poor families are still left behind

By and Taytula Burke

Special report: More than four decades ago a groundbreaking report, Born to Fail?, highlighted the extent of child poverty in Britain. Since then, despite the pledges of successive governments, things have only got worse. Where now for the next generation?

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/24/child-poverty-britain-40-years-failure

Undeclared warfare between Iran and Turkey

By Mahir Zeynalov

Turkey’s strange ties with Iran, still presented as a significant pillar to the region’s stability, have deteriorated into virtual unacknowledged warfare, with two countries literally waging a proxy war beyond their borders in the region.

Throughout the last century, Iran and Turkey had difficult times to understand how they relate to each other but couldn’t risk severing ties despite numerous confrontations over a wide range of regional issues. In the past few years, Turkish government officials used a treaty signed between Ottoman and Iranian delegates in the city of Qasr-e Shirin to describe how the borders of the two countries have remained unchanged since the agreement was signed in 1639, a widely accepted myth.

Turkish officials frequently refer to the Qasr-e Shirin agreement to illustrate how their relationship is solid and based on mutual respect. Since the famous agreement, six states have been established in both countries (two in Turkey and four in Iran) and the borders had changed for ten times, the last time in 1931. Presenting the Qasr-e Shirin myth as a cover for a number of wars the two countries fought in the past four centuries also characterizes today’s relationship between Iran and Turkey.

Unrestrained

While Iranian political and military officials are unrestrained in their critical remarks about Turkey, often tantamount to threats, Turkish officials are much softer while talking about their relationship, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the two nations. It is unclear how false description of ties helps prevent further confrontation at a time when the two nations are even fighting a proxy war in Syria, where more than two years of civil war has left at least 100,000 people dead, mostly civilians.

When Turkey kicked off its ambitious foreign policy in the region under the leadership of its popular prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his then adviser and later Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu tried to assure the neighboring countries that Turkey’s rise is peaceful and that it only aims to advance peace in the region. Davutoğlu’s goal was to cultivate relations among countries in Turkey’s vicinity by abolishing visa requirements, creating free trade zones, and constantly holding high-level political consultations. Deepening ties with Iran was a cornerstone of this project that is now crumbling after Iran has started to sabotage Turkey’s interests in the region.

Continue reading Undeclared warfare between Iran and Turkey

Pak state rapidly withering away

Nadeem F ParachaBy Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Pakistan military has performed better as a rented entity in other countries than it has as a national army in Pakistan

‘The state in Pakistan is reflecting the fragmentary nature of Pakistan’s society and polity,’ says Nadeem Farooq Paracha.

Born in Karachi, Nadeem Farooq Paracha is a leading cultural critic, political analyst, and a columnist. In the 1980s, he was active in student politics at college with Peoples Students Federation (PSF). Twice, he was arrested under the Zia dictatorship. For ten years he worked with the Jang Group (first with Weekly Mag and then with The News between 1990 and 2000). Currently he is doing regular columns for the DAWN, Dawn.com, The Pioneer and Indian Express. In an interview with Viewpoint, he discusses the character of Pakistani state. Read on:

Ayesha Siddiqa in her book Military Inc (2007) describes Pakistan as a Praetorian state. In his recently published Pakistan: The Garrison State (2013) Ishtiaq Ahmed describes Pakistan as a ‘Garrison state’. Pakistan is also described as the ‘National security state’ in journalistic narratives. How would you characterize the Pakistani state?

I wonder if Pakistan really has any kind of a state left anymore. Nevertheless, as far as I am concerned expressions like Praetorian, Garrison and National Security State are basically mediations on a similar concept. By and large, Ayesha and Ishtiaq Ahmed are talking about the same thing. I’d say Pakistan is a National Security state. Same thing.

Do you think Pakistan can also be described as a Rentier state? After all, it has been renting out military services to Gulf sheikhdoms. Post-9/11, it has rented out military facilities to the USA True, the rent is not on regular basis as stipulated by Hossein Mahdavy who propounded the theory. However, Pakistan has largely been under an autocratic rule. Your comments.

I think any state with a large and, if I may, an entrepreneurial military would have a prominent rentier side to it as well. And ironically, the Pakistan military has performed better as a rented entity in other countries than it has as a national army in Pakistan.

Do you think the Marxist notion of state as a particular expression of class formation instead of a “thing” or collection of individual social actors is relevant?

As a self-proclaimed Marxist during my student years, I was never comfortable with this concept.

To me this idea is too abstract. I’ve never been able to relate to it on an intellectual nor on an instinctive level. I think the whole concept of individuality finally managed to overpower at least this Marxian idea of the state in me, especially considering the fact I live in a country where religious sectarianism and ethnic nationalism have submerged the whole concept of class as being secondary.

Khaled Ahmed in his booklet Pakistan and Nature of State: Revisionism, Jihad and Governance (2009) claims: that unlike other states that have three mutually balancing centres of power i.e. the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, Pakistan has six ‘existential’ pillars of the state: ‘Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Army plus Establishment, Media, and Jihadi Organisations’. Do you think Pakistan is an exception to rule?

Ahmed is correct. The state in Pakistan is reflecting the fragmentary nature of Pakistan’s society and polity. One can say that all six pillars usually feed off each other, but not always. And when this happens you get a situation like the one we are in these days.

This is certainly exceptional and exactly the reason why policy formation through a consensus is so tough in this country and also why most political scientists of the world have struggled to fully understand the political dynamics of Pakistan.

We have states within a state so much so that the conventional idea of having a state has rapidly withered away.

Continue reading Pak state rapidly withering away

LAVISH LIVING IN ISLAMABAD

By DR ALI AKBAR DHAKAN, Karachi, Sindh

On the top hill of Margalla mountain at the sight of Pir Suhawa, a Restaurant namely M O N A L has been established and opened in the night only by a highly influential retired Government servant. It is at the height of about 4000 feet and situated at the distance of about 20 kms fom Islam abad city where MNAs, SENATORS, MINISTERS, High graded bureaucrats, Contractors of big contracts, Business people, Ambassadors and Foreighners etc are residing having many resources and unaccountable money. They want to spend their money and resources lavishly on eating and entertainment visiting such dangerous heights in the darkness of the nights if not daily but usually on alternate nights along with their friends, family members, guests coming from other big cities and also foreighn countries. At night the position of the hotel area becomes very dangerous for lives of the visitors due to traffic jams, small and big vehicles in huge number and also countless huge number of people of young,middle and old age level male and female gentry. Up to 2am the people come and eat the dinner in the heavy rush to the extent that the tables for sitting purpose remain so busy that people coming late have to wait for their turn even mostly for hours and stand in big rows. The number of such tables for the visitors must be more than a thousand accomodating at least more than five thousand visitors.The items of edibles ordered by the hosts are so of lavish and expensive quantity that every group leaves about half of items or they order for packing the rest food for drivers or for their family members.The bill for each table must be about more than Rs ten thousand and total receipts of the hotel must be for about more than one crore per night.Now many questions arise from such lavish habits. Some are as under: (1) why such hotels and restaurants have been allowed at such dangerous places (2) why not such lavish activity taxed to discourage lavish expenditures (3) There is no security arrangement so it is very risky to visit such places in the nights. The concerned departments particularly the FBR,Home ministry, CDA and others may consider these points and take necessary steps to save the Pakistani nation from the self destructive activities.

Received via email – drdhakansindheconomist@hotmail.com

Sailing between Karachi and Bombay

By Ajmal Kamal

I have a happy dream. Sometimes, when I am particularly distressed by the politics that carries on in our sorrowful subcontinent adding to its various peoples’ misery, I allow myself to be lost in this delicious dream. I imagine myself sailing to Cox’s Bazar.

The small, beautiful ship starts every Saturday from the newly commissioned port of Gwadar on the western Makran coast. It passes through Karachi and picks up most of its Pakistani and some foreign passengers from here. But I have made it a point to travel on the coastal highway to the starting point and when the ship touches Karachi, look at the city of my residence without getting down, as someone travelling in a passing vessel would. I have a long and fascinating journey before me: we’ll pass through many ports and stop at some of them:

Dwarka, Porbandar, Diu, Surat, Daman, Bombay, Ratnagiri, Panjim (Goa), Mangalore, Kozhikode (Calicut), Kochi (Cochin), Trivandrum, Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari), Pondicherry, Chennai (Madras), Vishakhapatanam, Puri, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Chittagong and our final destination: Cox’s Bazar. Since such a thing is on no one’s agenda, it is safe to predict that it is not likely to be launched for as far as we can look into the future. Which gives me all the freedom to add delectable details without a care for whether they are sensible and practical.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1038269/sailing-between-karachi-and-bombay

Australia violated refugees’ human rights, UN says

By Michael Gordon

Australia has been found guilty of almost 150 violations of international law over the indefinite detention of 46 refugees in one of the most damning assessments of human rights in this country by a United Nations committee.

The federal government has been ordered to release the refugees, who have been in detention for more than four years, “under individually appropriate conditions” and to provide them with rehabilitation and compensation.

Consistent with Australia’s treaty obligations, the government has been given 180 days to assure the committee that it has acted on the recommendations and taken steps to prevent “similar violations in future”.

The UN’s Human Rights Committee concluded that the continued detention of the refugees, most of them Sri Lankan Tamils, is “cumulatively inflicting serious psychological harm” and in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/australia-violated-refugees-human-rights-un-says-20130822-2sdxq.html#ixzz2czBXeB00

U.K: Tens of thousands set for country-wide protests against Government’s ‘bedroom tax’

London – Tens of thousands of people will take part in a “mass sleep out” tonight to protest against the “bedroom tax” and other welfare changes.

People will gather in towns and cities across the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, and sleep on the streets to draw attention to the effects of the controversial measures.

One of the organisers, Rick Victory, 46, of Cheltenham, said: “We expect at least 3,000 people to take part in the 60-plus events.

“We fear that the cuts will push people who cannot afford to move into the private rented sector towards homelessness.

Read more » Evening Standard
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/tens-of-thousands-set-for-countrywide-protests-against-governments-bedroom-tax-8783231.html

Sindh Textbook Board the most progressive of all provinces – Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum.

Textbooks and tolerance –Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum

Sindh Textbook Board has been the most progressive of all provinces, taking the lead in formalizing a reform policy in 2006. According to Prof Siddiqui, who has been part of the curriculum board, the federal curriculum wing had rejected the Sindh board’s manuscripts on several occasions. “Making provinces in charge of the curriculum will be a game changer.” Secondary schools in Sindh were at the center of a controversy when a book on “life skills” advocated using condoms and discussed sexual health issues.

By Ali K Chishti

In spite of the rich and diverse cultural history of Sindh, textbooks in the province promote bigotry and glorify war. The provincial government says it is all set to change that.

Continue reading Sindh Textbook Board the most progressive of all provinces – Sindh is set to remove bigotry from its school curriculum.

Celebrations of renowned mystic poet Baba Bulleh Shah’s Urs have started in Kasur.

Na maen momin vich maseet aan, Na maen vich kufar diyan reet aan, Na maen paakaan vich paleet aan
Na maen moosa na pharaun. Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun

Not a believer inside the mosque, am I, Nor a pagan disciple of false rites, Not the pure amongst the impure, Neither Moses, nor the Pharoh. Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na maen andar ved kitaab aan, Na vich bhangaan na sharaab aan, Na vich rindaan masat kharaab aan, Na vich jaagan na vich saun. Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun.

Not in the holy Vedas, am I, Nor in opium, neither in wine, Not in the drunkard`s craze, Niether awake, nor in a sleeping daze. Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na vich shaadi na ghamnaaki, Na maen vich paleeti paaki, Na maen aabi na maen khaki, Na maen aatish na maen paun. Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun

In happiness nor in sorrow, am I, Neither clean, nor a filthy mire, Not from water, nor from earth, Neither fire, nor from air, is my birth. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.

Na maen arabi na lahori, Na maen hindi shehar nagauri, Na hindu na turak peshawri, Na maen rehnda vich nadaun. Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun.

Not an Arab, nor Lahori, Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri, Hindu, Turk (Muslim), nor Peshawari, Nor do I live in Nadaun. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.

Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya, Ne maen aadam havva jaaya, Na maen apna naam dharaaya, Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun. Bulleh , ki jaana maen kaun

Secrets of religion, I have not known, From Adam and Eve, I am not born, I am not the name I assume, Not in stillness, nor on the move. Bulleh! to me, I am not known.

Avval aakhir aap nu jaana, Na koi dooja hor pehchaana, Maethon hor na koi siyaana, Bulla! ooh khadda hai kaun. Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun.

I am the first, I am the last, None other, have I ever known, I am the wisest of them all, Bulleh! do I stand alone? Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Courtesy: YouTube + Geo News

Pakistan: A rentier state

Pakistan is a praetorian state which allows the military to partner with various other elite groups. They may contest each other on the basis of who will play the lead role or if the share of one of the elite group is threatened by the other

Pakistan is what you can call a fragile ‘limited access state’ where elite are unable to set rules for mutually beneficial rent-seeking. This creates problems and increases conflict, says Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa.

Read more » View Point Online
http://www.viewpointonline.net/pakistan-a-rentier-state.html

India gripped by mood of crisis as rupee falls again

By James Crabtree in Mumbai and Victor Mallet in New Delhi

The Indian rupee fell to a new low against the dollar on Wednesday and stocks declined after a central bank promise to inject liquidity into the country’s financial markets provided only temporary relief from a deepening sense of crisis….

Read more » Financial Times
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/af335904-0a21-11e3-aeab-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ceOcBPBJ

Saudi Arabia is a Peninsula of Stability in the Region – Said Pak Ambassador

Faiz Al-NajdiBy: Faiz Al-Najdi

Muhammad Naeem Khan – the Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia – has said that Saudi Arabia has emerged as a “peninsula of stability” in the region. He was speaking as the Chief Guest on the occasion of investiture ceremony of the newly elected office bearers of Pakistan Investors Forum-Riyadh (aka: PIF) – at Riyadh Palace Hotel on Tuesday evening. This event was attended by about 500 persons that included several high officials from SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce & Industries (aka: RCCI), Saudi officials from various Saudi departments that included: Passport, Labor, Police departments and several noted Saudi businessmen. Many Pakistani professionals and members from the Pakistani community also attended.

Received via Email: faizalnajdi@gmail.com

 

Facebook wants to give gift to the entire world

Facebook-led project seeks Internet access globally for all

By Reuters

New York (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google Inc.

The project, called Internet.org, is the latest move by an Internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fibre connections will expand connectivity.

Internet.org, which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world’s population – who do not have Internet access, come online, the company said in a statement.

It added that so far, only 2.7 billion people around the world have Internet access.

The partnership’s potential projects will include the development of lower-cost smartphones and the deployment of Internet access in underserved communities as well as working on ways to reduce the amount of data downloads required to run Internet applications, according to Facebook.

Continue reading Facebook wants to give gift to the entire world

Role Reversal: How the U.S. Became the USSR — Paul Craig Roberts

I spent the summer of 1961 behind the Iron Curtain. I was part of the US-USSR student exchange program. It was the second year of the program that operated under auspices of the US Department of State. Our return to the West via train through East Germany was interrupted by the construction of the Berlin Wall. We were sent back to Poland. The East German rail tracks were occupied with Soviet troop and tank trains as the Red Army concentrated in East Germany to face down any Western interference.

Fortunately, in those days there were no neoconservatives. Washington had not grown the hubris it so well displays in the 21st century. The wall was built and war was avoided. The wall backfired on the Soviets. Both JFK and Ronald Reagan used it to good propaganda effect.

In those days America stood for freedom, and the Soviet Union for oppression. Much of this impression was created by Western propaganda, but there was some semblance to the truth in the image. The communists had a Julian Assange and an Edward Snowden of their own. His name was Cardinal Jozef Mindszenty, the leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church.

Mindszenty opposed tyranny. For his efforts he was imprisoned by the Nazis. Communists also regarded him as an undesirable, and he was tortured and given a life sentence in 1949.

Freed by the short-lived Hungarian Revolution in 1956, Mindszenty reached the American Embassy in Budapest and was granted political asylum by Washington. However, the communists would not give him the free passage that asylum presumes, and Mindszenty lived in the US Embassy for 15 years, 79% of his remaining life.

In the 21st century roles have reversed. Today it is Washington that is enamored of tyranny. On Washington’s orders, the UK will not permit Julian Assange free passage to Ecuador, where he has been granted asylum. Like Cardinal Mindszenty, Assange is stuck in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

Washington will not permit its European vassal states to allow overflights of airliners carrying Edward Snowden to any of the countries that have offered Snowden asylum. Snowden is stuck in the Moscow airport.

In Washington politicians of both parties demand that Snowden be captured and executed. Politicians demand that Russia be punished for not violating international law, seizing Snowden, and turning him over to Washington to be tortured and executed, despite the fact that Washington has no extradition treaty with Russia.

Snowden did United States citizens a great service. He told us that despite constitutional prohibition, Washington had implemented a universal spy system intercepting every communication of every American and much of the rest of the world. Special facilities are built in which to store these communications.

In other words, Snowden did what Americans are supposed to do–disclose government crimes against the Constitution and against citizens. Without a free press there is nothing but the government’s lies. In order to protect its lies from exposure, Washington intends to exterminate all truth tellers.

Read more » Paul Craig Roberts
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/07/23/role-reversal-how-the-us-became-the-ussr-paul-craig-roberts/#assange

What’s wrong with Pakistan?

By Peerzada Salman

KARACHI, Aug 16: A book titled ‘What’s wrong with Pakistan?’ written by eminent journalist Babar Ayaz was launched at a hotel on Friday.

The main feature of the event was an interesting discussion on the contents and genesis of the book with the writer anchored by journalists Asif Noorani and Amir Zia. Mr Ayaz was first requested to read out a couple of passages from What’s wrong with Pakistan?

The author obliged and mentioned that at the beginning of every journalist’s career he’s asked to learn about the five Ws (what, where, when, who and why). Citing examples of the likes of political economist Adam Smith and economist and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, he pointed out they studied why society behaved in a particular way.

He said he had read many books on the topic he chose to write on but had found out that those books shied away from calling a spade a spade. His was an attempt to call a spade a spade. He then read out passages from the preface to the book in which he touched upon issues such as distrust between institutions and provinces, military operations, war on terror and the notion of a failing state espoused by certain writers. He said there was a need to have an unbiased and dispassionate diagnosis. He argued Pakistan was born with a genetic defect.

After the reading was over, Mr Noorani asked the writer about why he penned a book at such a later stage in his life. The author replied that when he was a young student in Sukkur, he was required to read Shakespeare. It made him think to himself that Shakespeare would not have even imagined that one day his work would be read in a place called Sukkur. This meant writing helped you live on. Mr Ayaz said he was not in favour of compiling his newspaper columns into a book. The fact that Syed Sibte Hasan began writing after he turned 60 proved an encouraging factor as well.

Continue reading What’s wrong with Pakistan?

CNN – India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear

By RoseChasm, Chicago

When people ask me about my experience studying abroad in India, I always face the same dilemma. How does one convey the contradiction that over the past few months has torn my life apart, and convey it in a single succinct sentence?

“India was wonderful,” I go with, “but extremely dangerous for women.” Part of me dreads the follow-up questions, and part of me hopes for more. I’m torn between believing in the efficacy of truth, and being wary of how much truth people want.

Because, how do I describe my three months in the University of Chicago Indian civilizations program when it was half dream, half nightmare? Which half do I give?

Do I tell them about our first night in the city of Pune, when we danced in the Ganesha festival, and leave it at that? Or do I go on and tell them how the festival actually stopped when the American women started dancing, so that we looked around to see a circle of men filming our every move?

Do I tell them about bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, and not mention the men who stood watching us, who would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins?

When people compliment me on my Indian sandals, do I talk about the man who stalked me for forty-five minutes after I purchased them, until I yelled in his face in a busy crowd?

Do I describe the lovely hotel in Goa when my strongest memory of it was lying hunched in a fetal position, holding a pair of scissors with the door bolted shut, while the staff member of the hotel who had tried to rape my roommate called me over and over, and breathing into the phone?

How, I ask, was I supposed to tell these stories at a Christmas party? But how could I talk about anything else when the image of the smiling man who masturbated at me on a bus was more real to me than my friends, my family, or our Christmas tree? All those nice people were asking the questions that demanded answers for which they just weren’t prepared.

When I went to India, nearly a year ago, I thought I was prepared. I had been to India before; I was a South Asian Studies major; I spoke some Hindi. I knew that as a white woman I would be seen as a promiscuous being and a sexual prize. I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets. And I was prepared for the curiosity my red hair, fair skin and blue eyes would arouse.

But I wasn’t prepared.

There was no way to prepare for the eyes, the eyes that every day stared with such entitlement at my body, with no change of expression whether I met their gaze or not. Walking to the fruit seller’s or the tailer’s I got stares so sharp that they sliced away bits of me piece by piece. I was prepared for my actions to be taken as sex signals; I was not prepared to understand that there were no sex signals, only women’s bodies to be taken, or hidden away.

I covered up, but I did not hide. And so I was taken, by eye after eye, picture after picture. Who knows how many photos there are of me in India, or on the internet: photos of me walking, cursing, flipping people off. Who knows how many strangers have used my image as pornography, and those of my friends. I deleted my fair share, but it was a drop in the ocean– I had no chance of taking back everything they took.

Continue reading CNN – India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear

Pakistan 2013: The uncertainty is real

By Omar Ali

Excerpt;

The first thing that strikes you on landing in Pakistan after a few years is how much more “modern” it is and how dramatically (and frequently, painfully) it is changing with every passing day. One is reminded that Pakistan is as much a part of “rising Asia” as India, Bangladesh or Thailand and is not all about terrorists, conspiracy theories, Salafist nutjobs or the clash of civilizations. But since more qualified people are writing about the economics of rising Asia, the destruction of the environment, the breakdown of traditional society, the future of the planet, and the meaning of life, I will try not to step too much on their turf. And since there are countless articles (and more than one famous book) detailing the Westernized elite’s view of how the underclass lives and dies in rising Asia, I will not intrude too far on that well-trodden terrain either. Instead, without further ado, here are my personal and entirely anecdotal observations from 3 weeks in Pakistan. ….

…… Last but not the least, our sense of humor is alive and well. With newly elected prime-minister Nawaz Sharif apparently floundering without a coherent national security strategy 2 months after taking office, the following joke was making the rounds: there is a new position in the kama sutra; its called the Nawaz Sharif. You get on top and do nothing.

Read more » 3QarksDaily
http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/08/pakistan-2013-the-uncertainty-is-real.html#more

Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag wins four awards in Toronto festival

KARACHI : Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag has won four major awards at the the Mosaic 2013 (MISSAF) festival in Toronto.

The festival is Canada’s largest South Asian event and includes a music and film festival featuring some of the top names from the region. Among the contenders this year were Meera Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Zinda Bhaag, produced by Mazhar Zaidi and written and directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, won the prestigious best film award. Amna Ilyas bagged the best actress award and veteran Naghma Begum the best supporting actress for their roles in the film, that also features the Indian icon Nasiruddin Shah. Sahir Ali Bagga won the award for the best music/ soundtrack for his work.

http://vimeo.com/68601131

Read more » The News

Venezuela Withdraws Its Ambassador from Egypt

By Telesur

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced today that he would withdraw the country’s ambassador from Egypt because of the conflict there and confrontations between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the defacto government, which has seen over 700 people killed.

“We have witnessed a blood bath in Egypt…We warned that the coup against Morsi was unconstitutional. Morsi was kidnapped and the responsible party for what is occuring in Egypt is the empire, which has its hands in it,” said the head of state.

Read more » Venezuelanalysis
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/9946

Rationalising exploitation and atrocities

By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Balochistan not only suffers because of the misuse of its natural gas resources and low employment but also because of the low prices for the misused gas

Punjab, with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in power, plans to take over gas resources through amending Article 158, which states: “Priority of requirements of natural gas: The Province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day.” Minister for Petroleum Khaqan Abbasi stated that it was unfair that CNG was available for vehicles in a gas-producing province (read Sindh and Balochistan) while fertiliser plants were closed in another province (read Punjab) due to non-availability of gas and added, “This needs to be rationalised. Pakistan belongs to all and provinces are a part of it.” Rationalising exploitation is their priority now.

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Taliban suspected of sexually abusing young boys

Though the militants attempt to impose their harsh interpretation of Islamic law on others, they themselves are hypocrites, sources confirm.

ISLAMABAD – Taliban exploitation of young boys for sex is common in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Central Asia Online has learnt through interviews with analysts, military officers, clerics and a former militant.

Read more » Central Asia Online
http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2013/08/13/feature-01

Sindh Caucus : An Exhibition of Sindhi Art at Capitol Hill

Congressional Sindh Caucus :An Exhibition of Sindhi Art at Capitol Hill

Washington DC: We invite friends and supporters in joining the Congressional Sindh Caucus in presenting An Exhibition of Sindhi Art “Umar Marvi” by Uzma Kazmi. Featuring Sindhi Artists Uzma Kazmi and Jani Abro Uzma Kazmi’s work illustrates the realistic aspect, glimpses of folk tale inspired by mystic poetry of Latif Sarkar (Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai).

On September 10th, 2013, 5:30–8:00 pm. At 1539 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

Sindhi people enjoy a rich history and culture reflective of their diverse community and traditions, which includes Sufism (Mysticism). This is a night to honor the ancient way of life of this 5,000 year-old Indus valley civilization. We are here to help show support on behalf of the Sindhis.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 14, 2013

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

In a powerful speech, Chomsky lays out how the majority of US policies are practically opposite of what wide swathes of the public wants.

By Noam Chomsky

August 15, 2013  | The following is a transcript of a recent speech delivered Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum, Bonn, Germany. You can read more speeches by Chomsky here.

I’d like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not – and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they’re framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.

In these comments I’ll focus primarily on the United States for several reasons: One, it’s the most important country in terms of its power and influence. Second, it’s the most advanced – not in its inherent character, but in the sense that because of its power, other societies tend to move in that direction. The third reason is just that I know it better. But I think what I say generalizes much more widely – at least to my knowledge, obviously there are some variations. So I’ll be concerned then with tendencies in American society and what they portend for the world, given American power.

American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. Those who harbor any doubts on that should read the report issued by Stanford University and New York University, and actually I’ll return to even more serious examples than international terrorism.

Continue reading Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

Nawaz Sharif: a sloppy start to national security

By Dr. Mohammad Taqi

Without a holistic strategy addressing Afghanistan, India and also the United States, Mr Sharif cannot even begin to solve the domestic terrorism problem

Two months into his third stint, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his core team’s handling of the national security debate has been cavalier and sloppy at best, and downright dangerous at worst. The ostensibly well-oiled political machine that was supposed to have replaced the chaotic governance of the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has yet to issue a coherent statement on the domestic counterterrorism issue and the national security and foreign policies, which Mr Sharif and his associates have been promising after every major terrorist attack. About 60 terror incidents in as many days have not really instilled a sense of urgency. No sane person wants Mr Sharif’s government to fail on the anti-terrorism front or elsewhere for that matter.

We had noted here at the start of Mr Sharif’s term that “his cautious approach early in his stint is understandable but if Mr Sharif does not delineate his idea of the national interest, chances are that the usual suspects who have had a chokehold on formulating such definitions will do it for him. It might not be too long before the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) finds in its lap issues like the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which were used to set the national security narrative against the PPP.” Also, within days of President Asif Zardari’s October 2008 interview with The Wall Street Journal to start with a clean slate in India, the Mumbai massacre was unleashed. With the volatility along the Pakistan-India Line of Control in Kashmir, Mr Sharif already has a mini-Mumbai situation on his hands, if not something worse. His previous generic remark that ‘Pakistan and India should be friends’ is not enough. The usual suspects may be defining the national interest for Mr Sharif and perhaps the domestic redlines that they don’t want him to cross.

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