What the US media ignores — Pakistan through the eyes of an American

BY AZEEM HAIDER

On a freezing February morning in a bustling Soho cafe, I was to meet American-born Lebanese, Afeef Nessouli.

A New York-based CNN reporter, with a focus on Middle Eastern politics, Afeef had recently visited Pakistan on a “no-agenda” trip — today, he was bounding with energy to tell me all about his experiences.

Having grown up in Karachi, I was equally curious to learn what his perception of Pakistan was.

Afeef’s stories were about places even an average Karachi dweller would rarely go to, he met with inspiring people that I wish to meet some day and most of all, he ended up engaging in interesting conversations with the public in ways that I, as a Pakistani, have never been able to.

“Pakistan is a very complex part of the world; its fabric woven with intricate layers of cultures and sub-cultures,” says Afeef Nessouli.

With Afeef’s background in politics, he opened with his biggest revelation about Pakistan:

It’s nothing like how the American media portrays it to be.

His friends too, couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of him visiting Pakistan.

“Why the hell would you go there? You will get killed,” he was frequently told. Afeef doesn’t blame them; the news on their TV screens and mobile phones tells them so.

“The US media, like in many other countries, just picks up on the most sensational aspects of a region and runs with it for maximum attention, ignoring the many exciting things happening in Pakistan,” Afeef says sipping on his latte.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239914/

‘One Belt, One Road’ – China’s road to the future

One Belt, One Road’ is China’s bid to create a new approach to economic development that could benefit all of Asia.

Writer: Umesh Pandey

Greater integration among Asean economies, coupled with China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road policy, could set the stage for China to undertake many projects to show the world that it has come of age as…

Read more » Bangkok Post
See more » http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/847144

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PM praises Pakistani scientist who played key role in discovery of gravitational waves

By Abdul Manan

 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has felicitated Dr Nergis Mavalvala, the Pakistani-American Astrophysicist, for being part of the team of scientists who have recently detected gravitational waves in space.

In a statement on Monday, the prime minister said Mavalvala, who is also a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a source of inspiration for Pakistani scientists and students aspiring to become future scientists.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/1047451/pm-congratulates-pakistani-who-played-part-in-discovery-of-gravitational-waves/

First ‘Silk Road’ train arrives in Tehran from China

Tehran (AFP) – The first train to connect China and Iran arrived in Tehran on Monday loaded with Chinese goods, reviving the ancient Silk Road, the Iranian railway company said.

The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products from eastern Zhejiang province, took 14 days to make the 9,500-kilometre (5,900-mile) journey through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan.

“The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented,” said the head of the Iranian railway company, Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi.

“The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route,” he said at a ceremony at Tehran’s rail station attended by the ambassadors of China and Turkmenistan.

The journey was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to Aqayi.

The railway will not stop in Tehran “as we are planning to extend the railway to Europe in future,” generating more income for Iran from passing trains, he added.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/first-silk-road-train-arrives-tehran-china-134703954.html

17 years old Saqiba committed suicide

By

A despondent 17 years old Saqiba committed suicide after taking poisonous medicine in Muslim Bagh city after being rejected by school administration of her admission forms to be sent to Balochistan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education board for exams scheduled from April 1st.

The dispiriting decision came by the principle of the Inter Girls College Abida Ghos as she refused to send Saqiba’s admission for Intermediate exams. “After the principle behavior and the due dates for form submissions, my sister lost her hopes and committed suicide by taking poison,” Aizazullah brother of Saqiba said.

Dozens of students staged protest against the behavior of the principal of Inter-College Muslim Bagh last August where they urged the provincial government to appoint senior professor in the college.

Saqiba who loved to get education and was raising voice to promote girls education in her impoverish area was leading the student protesters came to Quetta and demanded quality education in her college.

Read more » Daily Balochistan Express
See more » http://www.bexpress.com.pk/2016/02/httpwp-mep5f0gk-3pm/

Pakistan’s Risk Surges to One-Year High Amid Global Turmoil

By 

Bets are rising that Pakistan will default on its debt just as it starts to revive investor interest with a reduction in terrorist attacks.

Credit default swaps protecting the nation’s debt against non-payment for five years surged 56 basis points last week to 620 points amid the global market sell-off, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest since January 2015 and the steepest jump after Greece, Venezuela and Portugal among more than 50 sovereigns tracked by Bloomberg.

About 40 percent of Pakistan’s outstanding debt — both local and foreign — is due to mature in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s roughly $45 billion, of which about 4.3 trillion rupees ($41 billion) is in local currency.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-14/pakistan-default-risk-surges-as-50-billion-debt-bill-coming-due

Pakistan among top 20 happiest countries, beating India, US: Report

KARACHI: Pakistan ranked 16th among 151 countries of the world on the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2012, beating India and the United States which ranked 32nd and 105th respectively. Costa Rica was termed the happiest country, followed by Vietnam and Colombia.

Read more » The express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/446303/pakistan-among-top-20-happiest-countries-beating-india-us-report/

US expresses concern over security of Pakistan’s N-weapons

BY ANWAR IQBAL

WASHINGTON: The United States expressed concern on Friday over the security of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons. The statement followed the US announcement about its intention to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239432/us-expresses-concern-over-security-of-pakistans-n-weapons?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dawn-news+%28Dawn+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

A faith hijacked

Why don’t we see fatwas in support of the right of every child to food, shelter, healthcare and a decent education?

BY IRFAN HUSAIN

WHEN Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa directing Muslims not to play chess as, according to him, the ancient board game was un-Islamic, a roar of laughter greeted this edict on social media.

A similar reaction was seen when a Malaysian cleric decreed that yoga should not be practised by Muslims as it had Hindu origins. More recently, a so-called fatwa permitting Muslim men to eat their wives in extreme circumstances went viral on social media. Although the Saudi grand mufti denied having issued it, many may have believed it to be genuine as the same worthy had urged in 2012 that all churches in the Arabian peninsula be destroyed.

But why look towards Saudi Arabia and Malaysia for such examples? Here in Pakistan some years ago, a cleric in Noshki, a small town in Balochistan, reportedly issued a fatwa to the effect that girls using mobile phones would have acid thrown in their faces. He cited ‘Islamic tradition’ to bar girls from receiving a formal education and was critical of women working in NGOs, urging them to go home and look after their husbands.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban banned all forms of sports and entertainment. Women showing an inch of skin could be flogged, as they are in Saudi Arabia. And while the world is outraged at the routine beheading of prisoners by the militant Islamic State group, it chooses to avert its eyes from the same savage punishment regularly meted out to convicts in Saudi Arabia.

And let’s not forget our own Council of Islamic Ideology’s preoccupation with the subjugation of women. Its misogynistic rulings on child marriage and divorce threaten to drag Pakistan back to the seventh century.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239223/a-faith-hijacked

Former Obama intel official: Hillary Clinton should drop out

Washington (CNN): President Barack Obama’s former top military intelligence official said Hillary Clinton should pull out of the presidential race while the FBI investigate her use of a private email server for official government communication while secretary of state.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the retired chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the call in an interview with Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”

“If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail,” said Flynn, who decried what he said was a “lack of accountability, frankly, in a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America.”

Read more » CNN
See more » http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/12/politics/hillary-clinton-michael-flynn-email-fbi-investigation/index.html

Nergis Mavalvala: The Karachiite who went on to detect Einstein’s gravitational waves

BY DAWN.COM

Karachi-born quantum astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala, Associate Department Head of Physics at MIT is a member of the team of scientists that announced on Thursday the scientific milestone of detecting gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesised by physicist Albert Einstein a century ago.

Professor Mavalvala, whose career spans 20 years, has published extensively in her field and has been working with MIT since 2002.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239270/

 

Pakistan parliament turns to solar power

Amid a growing energy crisis, Pakistan is installing a 1.8 megawatt solar power plant at the Parliament House building in the capital city Islamabad.

 

Work on the project began in the first week of January. The initial cost – which is being funded by the Chinese government as a friendship gesture – is estimated at $60m (£36.5). The solar plant is projected to save almost $1m each year in utility bills for the parliament complex.

“This is the first project of its kind (in a public building) in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis,” said Munawar Abbas Shah, a special secretary at the National Assembly

Read more » the guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/20/pakistan-parliament-turns-to-solar-power

More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2016/02/160212_parliament_solar_ra

Inclusive financing improving in Pakistan, says Queen Maxima

BY AMIN AHMED

ISLAMABAD: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, said here on Tuesday that Pakistan had built one of the strongest foundations for financial inclusion in the world.

She was speaking at the launching ceremony of the Universal Financial Access initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The queen said new regulations had supported the emergence of branchless banking, a growing microfinance sector, effective payments systems and a more constructive approach to customer identification.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238590/

Husky Energy lays off workers across company’s operations

Calgary-based Husky Energy said it has laid off workers on Tuesday but declined to provide specific numbers or details on the jobs lost.

“These are difficult decisions and we will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure the company’s resilience through this cycle and beyond,” spokesperson Mel Duvall wrote in a statement.

Duvall said the job cuts were across the company’s operations.

Posts on social media and tips sent to Global News from people claiming to be employees suggested as many as 500 positions had been eliminated.

Read more » Global News
See more » http://globalnews.ca/news/2507657/husky-energy-lays-off-workers-across-companys-operations/

Bernie Sanders just easily won the New Hampshire primary. It’s a remarkable achievement.

by

 

The political revolution has arrived in New Hampshire, as Bernie Sanders easily defeated Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, according to calls by multiple networks.

Sanders’s victory — which would have been all-but-unimaginable a year ago — is a truly remarkable achievement for a “democratic socialist” who began the the campaign as a mere blip in the polls, little-known nationally and lacking any party establishment support whatsoever.

Read more » Vox
See more » http://www.vox.com/2016/2/9/10955298/new-hampshire-primary-results-bernie-sanders-wins

Under Sanders, income and jobs would soar, economist says

  @Luhby

Median income would soar by more than $22,000. Nearly 26 million jobs would be created. The unemployment rate would fall to 3.8%.

Those are just a few of the things that would happen if Bernie Sanders became president and his ambitious economic program were put into effect, according to an analysis given exclusively to CNNMoney. The first comprehensive look at the impact of all of Sanders’ spending and tax proposals on the economy was done by Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor.

Read more » CNN
See more » http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/08/news/economy/sanders-income-jobs/index.html

 

The irony of having an ‘iron brother’ — My failed quest for a Chinese visa

BY SYED KAMAL MUSTAFA

Hitchhiking a few months ago from Europe to Pakistan, I stopped in Tbilisi — the capital of Georgia — where I met two Chinese travellers in the hostel I booked myself in.

The duo could barely contain their excitement when I told them I was from Pakistan. We conversed about everything under the sun — our trips, future plans, and of course, the friendly relations between Pakistan and China.

And so, predictably, we came to a point where we decided to visit each other’s country.

I was, however, disappointed to learn that my Chinese friends could not visit Pakistan because in order to acquire a tourist visa, they needed an invitation from a travel agent in Pakistan. To top this, they were required to pay a sum of $300 for the invite.

“What sort of friendship is this? Where you can’t even allow your friends into your country without such an exorbitant amount and a sponsor?” remarked my Chinese friends.

Embarrassed, I checked the website of the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing which said, Pakistan Embassy does not receive any visa and processing fee from Chinese nationals”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236765/

Karl Marx Was Right

By Chris Hedges

 

Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called “the bourgeois mode of production.” He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies—think neoliberalism—were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production” and “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships … the relationships which make one class the ruling one.” He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was “an astronomer of history, not an astrologer.” Marx was keenly aware of capitalism’s ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism’s most prescient and important critic.

In a preface to “The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” Marx wrote:

Read more » truthdig
See more » http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/karl_marx_was_right_20150531

‘Malaysia wants to be a part of this new era of economic development in Pakistan.’

Malaysian airline plans Pakistan operations

 

LAHORE: A Malaysian airline is going to start its operations in Pakistan from March, Malaysian High Commissioner to Pakistan Hasrul Sani Mujtabar disclosed on Monday, as part of increased people-to-people and business-to-business contacts between two countries.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238240/

‘Stalin’s Daughter,’ by Rosemary Sullivan

BY 

A young princess walks the corridors of an ancient palace, surrounded by adoring relatives, governesses and tutors. Her father is a beloved ruler of a vast country, and she is his only daughter and favorite child, his “little sparrow,” his “little fly.” She brings him presents of violets and strawberries, and he pets her, showering her in bristly kisses redolent of tobacco. She spends idyllic summers at the family dacha, where her father’s merry friends, whom she calls “aunts” and “uncles,” come on visits and regale her with stories and songs. The world she inhabits seems magical to her, “that place of sunshine.”

Read more  » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/books/review/stalins-daughter-by-rosemary-sullivan.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

David Headley: Mumbai plotter ‘visited India’ before attacks

A US man convicted for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has told an Indian court that he visited Mumbai seven times in advance to gather information.

David Headley gave details of the planning to a court in Mumbai on Monday through a video link from a prison in the US.

Headley, 52, pleaded guilty and co-operated with the US to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India.

More than 160 people were killed by gunmen in the November 2008 attack.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35519546

To protect Chinese investment, Pakistan Army leaves little to chance

BY REUTERS

GWADAR: A heavy police presence, guarded convoys, new checkpoints and troop reinforcements have turned parts of the southern port city of Gwadar into a fortress, as Pakistan’s military seeks to protect billions of dollars of Chinese investment.

Securing the planned $46 billion economic corridor of roads, railways and pipelines from northwest China to the country’s Arabian Sea coast is a huge challenge in a country where militants and separatist gunmen are a constant menace.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238167/

Don’t need it? Leave it here: Peshawar gets its own version of Deewar-i-Meherbani

BY IZHAR ULLAH

PESHAWAR: Most of the walls in the posh neighbourhood of Hayatabad are drab structures of white and concrete; others have no paint at all. A bright yellow wall, breaking the monotony, stands out with the curious addition of clothes, hanging in various colours and sizes.

This is Peshawar’s wall of kindness, a charity wall installed on the main road. Any passerby, who wishes to donate used clothes for the homeless and poor, is welcome to drop them off here.

‘If you don’t need it, leave it’

Asad Ali Lodhi led a two-day drive with his organisation Serve Mankind requesting locals not to trash their used clothes, especially warm garments that can be used in the winter.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236975/dont-need-it-leave-it-here-peshawar-gets-its-own-version-of-deewar-i-meherbani

Syria Conflict: Bashar al-Assad’s foreign minister warns Saudi troops will ‘return in coffins’

Syria says any foreign troops would ‘return in coffins’

Syrian foreign minister warns against ground intervention after Saudi Arabia offers to send troops to fight ISIL.

Foreign army soldiers who enter Syria without government consent would “return home in wooden coffins”, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said, in a warning to Saudi Arabia.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/syria-foreign-troops-return-coffins-160206192130276.html

Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad

By

TUNIS — PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI of Afghanistan has warned in several recent interviews that unless peace talks with Pakistan and theTaliban produce results in the next few months, his country may not survive 2016. Afghanistan is barely standing, he says, after the Taliban onslaught last year, which led to the highest casualties among civilians and security forces since 2001.

“How much worse will it get?” Mr. Ghani asked in a recent television interview. “It depends on how much regional cooperation we can secure, and how much international mediation and pressure can be exerted to create rules of the game between states.”

What he means is it depends on how much international pressure can be brought to bear on Pakistan to cease its aggression.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/opinion/sunday/pakistans-hand-in-the-rise-of-international-jihad.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

Jaalis have their roots in the Indus Civilization: Prof Kenoyer at IITGN

Gandhinagar: The Jaalis that are widely seen as a part of many architectural structures and including many homes, have their roots in the Indus Civilization. This information was shared by Prof Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor of Anthropology at University of Wisconsin, Madison, during his talk at IIT Gandhinagar on Tuesday. Prof Kenoyer was delivering the “First Indira Foundation Distinguished Lecture” of IIT Gandhinagar on “Scientific and Technological Contributions of the Indus Civilization: Their Relevance for the Present”.

Talking about various technologies that were developed during the Indus Civilization which are used until today, Prof Kenoyer said, “The Indus people living in cities developed the screens or Jaalis to allow fresh air and light to get into the house and at the same time keep privacy in crowded urban neighborhoods. They were also the first to develop the spinning wheel. Many of the contributions of the Indus set the foundation for later technologies in subsequent periods and the principles which still have their relevance today.”

Read more » Desh Gujarat
See more » http://deshgujarat.com/2016/01/12/jaalis-have-their-roots-in-the-indus-civilization-prof-kenoyer-at-iitgn/

KSA lacks courage to send ground troops to Syria: Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

BY REUTERS

DUBAI: The head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said on Saturday Saudi Arabia lacked the courage to go through with a plan to send ground troops to Syria, and warned they would be wiped out if they went in.

Mohammad Ali Jafari’s blunt words on the Fars news agency were Iran’s first official reaction to a statement from its regional rival Saudi Arabia this week that it was ready to join ground operations in Syria if a US-led military alliance decided to start them.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1237813/