As climate impacts hit, Pakistan faces migration surge: experts


Photo credits: AP


THATTO: Fisherman Muhammad Yusuf’s family has been living on the island of Hajamaro, just over three miles off the coast of southern Pakistan, for generations. But the island that was once a happy home has now become a prison.

Sea level rise and frequent cyclones are eroding Yusuf’s property. Decreasing fish stocks are threatening his livelihood. And relentless health problems are killing his children.

Some 60 families like Yusuf’s live on a cluster of more than a dozen islands off Keti Bunder, a port on the Arabian Sea in Thatta district. With too little money to move to the mainland, they feel trapped.

“If we had sufficient resources to relocate, we would have moved to Thatta city some five years ago and quit fishing,” said Yusuf, 62.

Across Pakistan, families are struggling against rising sea level, droughts, floods and other climate-change related pressures. Many of them — those luckier or richer than Yusuf’s family — move to safer ground in new areas. Others are trapped where they are.

Read more » DAWN
See more »

Canada – Maple Leaf Foods to cut more than 400 jobs, 3% of workforce

jobMaple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI.TO 1.6%) said it would cut more than 400 jobs, or about 3 per cent of its work force, nearly a month after the Canadian meat packer pushed back its timeline for hitting a key profitability target.

Read more » BNN
See more »

Turkish intelligence chief: ISIS is a reality and we must stop Putin from crushing the Islamic revolution (Updated)

14451661031November 24, 2015

AWD News

Posted October 18, 2015

Turkish intelligence chief: Putin’s intervention in Syria is against Islam and international law, ISIS is a reality and we are optimistic about the future

Ankara— Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known by the MİT acronym, has drawn a lot of attention and criticism for his controversial comments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President’s staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries,” – Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as saying on Sunday.

Fidan further added that in order to deal with the vast number of foreign Jihadists craving to travel to Syria, it is imperative that ISIS must set up a consulate or at least a political office in Istanbul. He underlined that it is Turkey’s firm belief to provide medical care for all injured people fleeing Russian ruthless airstrikes regardless of their political or religious affiliation.

Read more » FortRuss
See more »

via Facebook

Russia to deploy S-400 missile defense systems to Syria: Defense minister


Photo credits: AFP

Russia will be deploying S-400 missile defense systems to Syria, the Russian defense minister says.

“The S-400 anti-aircraft missile system will be deployed to the Hmeimim airbase,” Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday, referring to the Russian airbase outside the port city of Latakia in western Syria.

The system is the most advanced one owned by Russia in the field of air defense. The missile system, an upgrade of the S-300 family, is capable of intercepting and destroying airborne targets such as aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles at distances of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles).

The official’s remarks came a day after the Turkish Air Force shot down a Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer, which they had accused of having violated Turkish airspace. Russia denies the allegation.

Read more » Press Tv
See more »


Portrait of Poet Fatimah Asghar in her homeby Amy Lam

Fatimah Asghar’s poetry is brutally beautiful. Her stanzas are heavy with pain yet buoyant with light. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Pakistani and Kashmiri immigrants, Asghar now resides in Chicago and is a poet and performer whose work leaves you reeling and repeating lines to yourself the same way you memorize lyrics to a favorite song. Is it possible to read her poem “Pluto Shits on the Universe” and not utter to yourself, “I chaos like a motherfucker”? That singular line can also describe the energy of Asghar’s work, as she tries to make sense of the chaos in our own histories of diaspora, place, belonging, and language.

Asghar talked to us about her first chapbook released earlier this month. After, published by Yes Yes Books, is a collection of poetry that explores the aftermath of violence in a relationship. The book is unforgiving in its honesty in examining desire, anger, and power.

Read more » Bitch Media
See more »

International bomb plotter jailed for 40 years in US


Photo credits: BBC website.

A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for plotting attacks in several countries.

Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York.

US authorities said he had been part of a plot to attack Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen.

In March, a jury found him guilty of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device.

FBI assistant director-in-charge Diego Rodriguez said that Naseer, who moved to the UK to study, failed to use the British education visa system to make the best of his life.

Instead, he exploited it “to take away the lives of many others in large numbers”, said Mr Rodriguez.

Naseer was first arrested in the UK in 2009, along with 11 other men, suspected of planning a bomb attack on the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester over the Easter weekend.

Read more » BBC
See more »

State Bank of Pakistan denies giving go-ahead for $75m investment


Photo credits: St. James’s Hotel website.

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: A lawmaker has raised fears of money laundering after the central bank declared that it had not initiated any process for granting permission to a billionaire for remitting $75 million for the purchase of Saint James’s Hotel in London as the deal has already been sealed.

“The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) neither gave any permission nor initiated a case for approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC),” Irfan Ali, Director Banking of the SBP, told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday.

In July this year, the Senate committee had directed the SBP to furnish details whether the Nishat Group remitted $75 million for acquisition of the five-star hotel through proper channels. Billionaire Mian Muhammad Mansha had purchased the hotel in 2012 for $75 million.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more »

Turkey has spent years allowing jihadist groups to flourish – so beware its real reasons for shooting down a Russian plane

turkey-plane-2-getty_0Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As Erdogan gets desperate, he will attempt to bring focus back to Assad

By Ranj Alaaldin@RanjAlaaldin

Turkey is getting desperate. Under President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), its policies toward the conflict in Syria over the past four years have been misguided and costly. When conflict broke out in 2011, Ankara mistakenly under-estimated the strength of the Assad regime and supported hardline Islamist groups seeking its downfall. In the process, Turkey also marginalised the Kurds and alienated regional powers like Iran.

See more »

The Turkish provocation: Will it lead to War?

Written by Alan Woods

This morning the Turkish military shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria. It is unclear so far whether it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian plane. But that is a mere detail. What is quite clear is that this was a blatant provocation by the Turkish ruling clique.

Turkish military officials claimed that Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after “repeatedly warning” its pilots that they were “violating Turkish airspace”. Russia’s defence ministry said an Su-24 had crashed on Syrian territory after being hit by fire from the ground, and that its pilots had managed to eject. Russia insists that its warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. The ministry stressed that “throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory”, adding: “Objective monitoring data shows it.” The fact is that video footage showed the plane crashing into mountains in Latakia province – that is, inside Syria. The pilots also landed inside Syrian territory. Even the Turkish radar imagery seems to confirm that the plane was shot down over Syrian airspace.

Was it an accident?

Was this a case of a mistake on the part of the Russian pilot? Was the navigation system defective? Such explanations are of course possible. But the first question must be asked is about the readiness of the Turks to open fire. The skies over Syria have got rather crowded lately, with the risk of collisions or other accidents ever present. This is exactly the kind of incident that many have feared since Russia launched its air operations in Syria.

The dangers of operating near to the Turkish border have been all too apparent. It is well known that arrangements to avoid incidents between warplanes over Syria have been made. Why were they ineffective? The bringing down of a Russian plane was a very serious step that could not be taken without express permission from the highest level – that is, from the Turkish President himself. We should point out that Turkish planes have already shot down at least one Syrian air force jet and possibly a helicopter as well earlier on in the civil war.

The Turkish authorities may claim that the arrangements to avoid clashes in the air do not cover the approaches to their “own airspace”. But what exactly constitutes their “own airspace”? The Turkish government claims that the Turkmens who inhabit an area of Syria adjacent to the Turkish border have always been under their “protection”. This assertion gives the game away straight away.

Erdogan’s regional ambitions are well known. He wishes to re-establish something resembling the old Ottoman Empire, bringing large parts of Central Asia and the Middle East under Turkish control. In order to further this ambition he attempts to use the Turkic-speaking peoples like the Turkmens for his own cynical purposes, just as Russian tsarism used the South Slavs in the past as the pawns of an expansionist foreign policy.

It is also an open secret that Erdogan has been supporting ISIS and other Islamist gangs in an attempt to overthrow President Assad and grab slices of Syrian territory. That is why he has allowed a large number of Islamist fighters to cross the Turkish border and join ISIS in Syria, while blocking the supply of arms and volunteers to the anti-ISIS forces in Syria and brutally crushing the Kurds who are fighting ISIS.

And all the while the West has been turning a blind eye to the fact that the Turks – along with the Saudi and Qatari gangsters – have been supporting, arming and financing the Jihadis in Syria – including ISIS. But lately all that has changed.

Read more »

Pakistan – Govt Soon to Invite PayPal, Amazon and Ebay for Operations in Pakistan: Anusha

Pakistan has finally made all prerequisite regulatory arrangements needed for global tech companies to start their operations in Pakistan, said Anusha Rehman, Minister for State for IT and Telecom, here at a conference organized by GSMA in Islamabad.

Anusha said that Pakistan is now ranked in FATF’s white-list, meaning that Pakistan has now internationally accepted anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in place which were previously not available.

Read more » ProPakistani
See more »

Downing of Russian plane is a ‘stab in the back’ from Turkey, says Putin



MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists,” saying the incident would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relations with Ankara.

Speaking in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Putin said the downed plane had been attacked inside Syria when it was one kilometre from the Turkish border and had come down four kilometres inside Syria.

That contradicted Turkey’s assertion that the aircraft had been warned multiple times that it was straying into Turkish airspace before it was shot down.

“Today’s loss is a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” said a visibly furious Putin.

Read more » DAWN
See more »


Girls at dhabas

‘Girls at Dhabas’ was set up by Sadia Khatri, Natasha Ansari, Rabeea Arif and Najia Khan. PHOTO COURTESY: GIRLS AT DHABAS

Storm in a teacup

The photo and the accompanying hashtag sparked a conversation within her social circle about how women at dhabas are seen as an anomaly. Soon, Khatri and her friends were receiving invites for doodh patti from others eager to visit dhabas. As interest in the photo grew, a friend suggested that the photo be made public online so other girls could share their photos from dhaba outings. Thus, the site ‘Girls at Dhabas’ was created and two months later, the girls have a presence on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and over 3,000 followers. That’s a lot of people curious to see photos of girls and their beloved doodh patti.
Read more » The Express Tribune
See more »

Dhaka summons Pakistani envoy, lodges protest over FO statement


ISLAMABAD: Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh received another blow when Bangladeshi government summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shuja Alam and lodged strong protest over the statement made by Foreign Office, terming it an interference into internal matters of Bangladesh.

Alam was summoned at the Bangladeshi foreign ministry in Dhaka on Monday to register protest against the statement issued by Islamabad over the executions of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general — who were both charged with 1971 war crimes.

“Yes, High Commissioner Shuja Alam was called at the foreign ministry,” an official at Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka told via phone.

Read: Pakistan deeply disturbed by Bangladesh executions: FO

The official further said that Alam was conveyed displeasure of the Bangladeshi government by acting foreign secretary Meezan-ur-Rehman who said executions in connection with 1971 is the internal matter of Bangladesh.

Read more » DAWN
See more »

Dark days are coming to India, as non-performing government will impose fascist rule

By Justice Markandey Katju

Orthodox sociological theory states that the substructure ( the method of economic production in society ) determines the superstructure ( the culture, customs, ideas, laws,state institutions, etc ), and when the substructure changes, so does the superstructure.

But in India after independence in 1947 in almost every state zamindari abolition acts were made, which meant that the feudal sub structure was largely abolished. Yet casteism and communalism, which are feudal forces, have remained, and even increased in recent times, as can be seen by the increase of intolerance lately. How does one explain this phenomenon ?.

Read more » Janta ka Reporter
See more »

Aamir Khan alarmed by growing intolerance in India


NEW DELHI: Indian Actor Aamir Khan on Monday said that he has been “alarmed and shaken” by the number of incidents related to extremism in India, Indian news agency PTI reported.

Addressing an audience at the Ramnath Goenka journalism awards, the actor known for his unique and outstanding on-screen work said that the growing insecurity in the country has alarmed him and he and wife Kiran Rao do not feel the country safe for their children.

“My wife Kiran Rao even suggested we should probably leave India,” Aamir told the audience.

Aamir Khan claimed that his sense of insecurity has increased in the past few months and laid stress upon the people in power to strongly condemn such incidents.

Read more » DAWN
See more »

Man jailed for 13 years for Facebook ‘hate speech’



Photo credits: Social media.


LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has jailed a man for 13 years after he posted what it deemed sectarian hate speech on Facebook, officials said on Monday, with rights activists condemning the ruling as “extremely concerning”.

Saqlain, 32, who ran a small hotel in Chiniot district south of Islamabad, was also fined Rs250,000 rupees for “posting hateful material”, an official of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Hate speech: Former ASWJ Pindi president sentenced to jail for 6 months

“The accused has been convicted and fined Rs250,000 for his offense,” added SSP Attaur Rahman of CTD.

Abdul Majeed, a senior local counter-terrorism official, confirmed the incident.

“The convict was arrested on October 27 after locals complained about him and he was charged for spreading sectarian hatred under various clauses of the anti-terrorism act,” he told AFP.

Majeed said the accused was released on bail a day later, then arrested and imprisoned on November 21 after the court convicted him.

Read more » DAWN
See more »


Is the bubble bursting for India’s online start-ups?


MUMBAI: Hundreds of layoffs at several Indian start-ups have sparked fears the bubble is starting to burst for the country’s e-commerce companies, amid claims by analysts that many of them are overvalued.

Restaurant search website Zomato, food delivery app TinyOwl and property portal are all letting staff go, and experts are warning of echoes of the dot-com boom which crashed spectacularly in 2000.

“The valuation bubble is bursting. The valuations had reached levels where they were ridiculous and could not be justified at any level,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of management consulting firm Technopak.

Read more » DAWN
See more »

Does ISIS really have nothing to do with Islam? Islamic apologetics carry serious risks.

vice news

Photo credits: Vince News

By Shadi Hamid

Every time the Islamic State commits yet another attack or atrocity, Muslims, particularly Western Muslims, shudder. Attacks like the ones in Paris mean another round of demands that Muslims condemn the acts, as if we should presume guilt, or perhaps some indirect taint.

The impulse to separate Islam from the sins and crimes of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is understandable, and it often includes statements such as ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam” or that ISIS is merely “using Islam” as a pretext. The sentiment is usually well-intentioned. We live in an age of growing anti-Muslim bigotry, where mainstream politicians now feel licenseto say things that might have once been unimaginable.

To protect Islam – and, by extension, Muslims – from any association with extremists and extremism is a worthy cause.

But saying something for the right reasons doesn’t necessarily make it right. An overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose ISIS and its ideology. But that’s not quite the same as saying that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, when it very clearly has something to do with it.

If you actually look at ISIS’s approach to governance, it would be difficult – impossible, really – to conclude that it is just making things up as it goes along and then giving it an Islamic luster only after the fact.

Read more » The Washington Post
See more »

Enough PhD’s, thank you

Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

Pervez Hoodbhoy

The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.


When Freeman Dyson suggested we have lunch together at the Princeton University cafeteria on my next visit, I almost fell off my chair. To be invited by this legendary physicist, now 90-plus but sharp as ever, meant more than a banquet especially arranged for me by the Queen of England. Countless kings, queens, and generals have come and gone but only a tiny number of visionaries, Dyson included, actually make history.

Overwhelmed, I was about to blurt “thank you, Dr Dyson” but stopped in time. Else this would have violated an unstated protocol. We theoretical physicists address colleagues by their first name. And so I simply thanked him as Freeman. This avoided a still more serious error. Freeman Dyson does not have a PhD and has never sought or needed one.

Three books and biographies have been written on this PhD-less scientific genius. But, were he to apply to a Pakistani university, at best he might become an assistant professor. I thought of this while suffering through some lectures last week at an international physics conference in Islamabad.

Sadly, the presentations by most Pakistani PhD’s were uninteresting, others were wrong. One was even laughably wrong. Probably the worst was by a professor who was not just a ‘doctor’ but a ‘professor doctor’. This terrible pomposity, borrowed from some German tradition, is now routinely augmented with ‘distinguished professor’, ‘national professor’ and what-not. Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests, Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

Read more » DAWN
See more »


98th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution celebrated in Pakistan

Pakistan has 10,159 trillion cubic feet of shale gas deposits: USAID

According to the petroleum minister, 70% of data was used to develop the study and samples were sent to the New Tech laboratory in Houston, US for assessment. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has massive deposits of 10,159 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas and 2.3 trillion barrels of oil – estimates that are several times higher than figures given by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), reveals a study conducted with the help of US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more »

Pakistan – Shame of inequality


File photo – Photo credits: Social media.


JAVED’S mother insisted that we, the owners/managers of a motorcycle repair shop, hire her son as an apprentice even if it was with no pay. We refused as Javed was only eight years old. His mother’s logic was simple. “I cannot feed him at home, he cannot go to school as I cannot afford it, and we need any money that Javed can make. Even if you do not pay him for an initial period, he will get lunch here and will also learn a skill. That is enough.”

We made some arrangements for Javed. But there are millions of Javeds in Pakistan. Even though, and there is evidence for this, absolute poverty has gone down in the country, inequality has, by all estimates, increased significantly. This does not mean there are no poor people in Pakistan. There are still plenty of them. But the percentage of people living a life of absolute deprivation is lower than before.

The story is one about poverty and the extremes of inequality this society appears to be willing to live with.

Yet, not only has inequality increased manifold, it seems the progress we had been making on reducing infant mortality, maternal mortality, malnutrition in children and morbidity has slowed down significantly and, in some cases, disappeared. This is quite a paradox: poverty is down but why are child and mother health indicators not improving? Is it a case of time lags? Or is there something more to it?

Read more » DAWN
See more »

Why do Muslims Blow Stuff Up?

indoctrinatedIndian secular commentator Harbir Singh Nain has a nice piece in the Nation (a Lahore newspaper that has shifted from jingoistic Islamism to hosting the most “free-thinking” blog posts of any major Pakistani paper; there is probably a story in there somewhere). The entire piece is here, but a few excerpts give you the flavor:

Again I hear talk everywhere that Islamist terrorism is a reaction to Western imperialism.  It’s supposedly got nothing to do with radical Islamists.  I have to wonder if why Korea and Vietnam didn’t start pumping terrorists into the world as an aftermath of the horrendous wars there, why oil producers in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa didn’t start pumping terrorists into the world in reaction to western meddling there.

The cause is Saudi Arabia, which has used its oil revenues to drive fundamentalist radicalization of Muslim societies all over the world, infesting them with mosques and seminaries that disseminate Saudi scripted fundamentalist, hateful perspectives. Every major Muslim terrorist organization in the world is connected to a web in the center of which sits Saudi Arabia..

The West is not without fault. But it is dishonest to assert that the Islamist terrorism is merely a backlash to Western foreign policy.  The other party at the table is radical, oil fed fundamentalist Islamism.

In the West, after every instance of slaughter by a crazed Islamist, liberals run to call for tolerance towards ordinary Muslims innocent of the crime. It is the West that welcomes immigrants from Muslim countries and guarantees their freedom to practice their faith and to live their lives without persecution. It is the West that makes peace with its former enemies at the first opportunity. See the relations of Germany, Japan, Italy, Vietnam, and South Korea with the US. The West welcomes immigrants en mass from enemies, both former (Russians flooded into the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union) and present (so many Iranian students in the US). It is the West that takes in Muslim refugees escaping from slaughter by Muslims as has been seen by the flow of Syrians into Europe.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have not opened their own borders to the faithful fleeing the slaughter.  There is no call in the Middle East for understanding and tolerance towards the West and non-Muslims. There is no voice allowed to call for moderation of Islamist hatemongering, to curtail the raging hatred that constantly spews out against the West…

These are actually fairly common sentiments among liberal Muslims and Hindus (and presumably, many others). I don’t have time for a full post, but a few comments came to mind:

South Americans, as colonial settler nations with a history of conquering Native Americans and owning more slaves than the United States, are not exactly in line for the honor of being oppressed subjects of the West. (though good branding and anti-Yankee propaganda has pretty much cleared their elites of their colonial/slave-owning past, especially amongst distant observers).

Korea was not colonized by the US. South Korea was saved from Stalinist North Korean invasion by the US and its allies. They are not exactly grateful (more anti-American than the Vietnamese, for complicated reasons) but still they are hardly expected to be in the “lets bomb America now” section.

Vietnamese holds pride of place in Desi Leftist minds as victims of America (with some justification), but the Vietnamese themselves include (and always included) significant pro-American factions, and since the Americans left, their priorities are very different from the kind of unrelenting anti-Americanism that Desis sometimes feel they should have… Details complicated, I know.

But here is the point I really wanted to make:
I heard (more than 10 years ago) from an Islamist historian (PhD U Chicago) that the correct way of looking at lack of Hindu or African Pagan blowback is to regard them as weaker civilizations, unable/unwilling to contend for world-beater status (Hindutvadis are trying, with limited success, to alter this perception btw). His point was that Islamists sending terrorists and throwing bombs maybe wrong (in his opinion, it was wrong) because it may be tactically harmful to their cause or it may be morally unsound (he was not in favor of indiscriminate slaughter), but on the general point of fighting against the West, he thought the crucial difference is that the Islamic world represents real civiliazational competition; challengers who think they can and SHOULD fight in the big leagues…while Hindus and Africans are just waiting to be converted to more successful ideologies and are “not even invited to the party”.
In short, that Muslims are different, but not in the way you think: they are not different in being more bloodthirsty (he believed, as a historian, that ALL great powers and dominant civilizations have been blood thirsty) but in thinking of themselves as a potential world power, not just “subalterns”. 

I think he was wrong (i.e. the world is not best described by the kind of clash of civilizations he subscribed to, and the Muslim world is in no position to challenge as some sort of outsider civilization, distinct from what Naipaul famously dubbed “our universal civilization”).

But one should not think that sophisticated Islamists themselves have no such ambition.

Finally, the oil-kingdom and wahabiism are indeed proximate causes of the Jihadi upsurge, but they succeeded not just because they paid people (the US has paid billions for “counter-jihadist” propaganda, with little noticeable impact) but because their ideology could be presented as the logical culmination of classical Islamic themes. Which is why educated (therefore more susceptible to “logic” and rational argument) believing Muslims in Pakistan so frequently gravitate to Maudoodi-like figures, even if their own families were Barelvi/Sufi/grave-worshipping/Indian-inflected “moderate Muslims” just one generation ago.

I hope to write more later to expand on this point.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits
See more »

Pakistan – Fight like a girl: How the Punjab police is breaking stereotypes with its new recruits

Police women

Photo credits: – AP



Sub-Inspector Shahida is one of the many young women who have recently joined the Rawalpindi Police Force after clearing the Punjab Public Service Commission exam. She is conscientious, educated, and confident — exactly the image that Pakistan, whose population balance tips towards the young, needs to have.

In our dominant patriarchal culture, the induction of such a large number of young women did come to me as a bit of a surprise. So much so, I was wondering if the government had privatised the police department!

This interesting exchange with Shahida took place by chance a couple of days ago, when I was visiting my friend, a superintendent of Police in Rawalpindi. Upon entering the Rawalpindi Police Headquarters, I saw a couple of young uniform-clad women, looking very professional.

I asked her if she ever felt threatened, or if she carried a weapon. “I am the weapon,” she said.

The colour of their uniform was the same as that of their male colleagues, but something else captured my attention. They were all wearing pantaloons.

This was definitely not something I expected policewomen in Punjab to wear. They usually dress in the traditional Shalwar Kameez.

Also read: Badge of honour: KP’s female cops break new ground

I was very curious to know how these policewomen were different from the rest. When I asked my friend about it, he said these newly-recruited ladies had to undergo a rigorous police training, including an Elite Commando course.

Elite training? I was puzzled. This training is considered to be the toughest in police, not just for women, but also for men. It has the same reputation as that of the SSG trainings conducted by the army. “How did they do all this?” I inquired, on which my friend suggested that I should meet them to find out for myself.

Read more » DAWN
See more »


BRICS university to offer free education to students from member states

The BRICS Education program is expected to allow qualified students to study abroad at the aliance’s expense. Source: PhotoXPress

Thousands of students from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be able to study for free at the upcoming BRICS Network University, Russian Education Minister Dmitry Livanov said.

“All the countries are keen for this university to attract as many students as possible, and contribute to the enhancement of academic exchange,” Livanov told reporters on Wednesday, following a meeting of the BRICS education ministers. “I believe that there are thousands of students from each country. All the programs at the university will be free. They will be paid for by the BRICS member countries.”

Livanov said Russia was ready to house the university, if a joint decision was taken. “From the Russian side, the Ural Federal University will coordinate the work for the BRICS Network University, therefore, if Russia is selected to house a head office, it will be in Yekaterinburg,” the minister said.

He said that the university would provide new opportunities for the exchange of students and teachers, and for the conducting of joint scientific research.

Read more » RBTH
See more »

Hyderabad: Sindh United Party’s leader Dr. Anwar Laghari shot dead in election office

Anwar LaghariHYDERABAD (Local TV) – Armed gunmen on Wednesday night opened indiscriminate fire at people preparing voter ballots in election office of Sindh United Party. The armed suspects shot dead party’s leader Dr. Anwar Laghari and wounded its Qasimabad candidate Abdul-Sami and his brother Waqar alias Sunny. The incident took place in ward 7 of Al-Mustafa Town in Qasimabad area of Hyderabad. The injured were immediately shifted to Civil hospital for treatment while Laghari’s body will be handed over to the family after a post-mortem.

Read more » The Frontier Post
See more »

Jeremy Corbyn calls for economic sanctions against banks and countries funding Isis

The Labour leader has previously said the UK should be asking questions about Saudi Arabia’s involvement

By Jon Stone

The UK should be more proactive about imposing sanctions on banks and countries suspected of funding or supporting the militant group Isis, the leader of the Labour party has said.

Jeremy Corbyn told David Cameron to push for an economic crackdown with the rest of the European Union, claiming the terror group was being provided with “vital infrastructure”.

“Surely a crucial way to help defeat Isil is to cut off its funding, its supply of arms, and its trade,” he said at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

See more »

Mani Shankar Aiyar embarrasses India in Pakistan; says remove Modi government to solve issues


NEW DELHI: Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume.

The Congress leader’s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the countr ..
Read more » The Economic Times
See more »

via Facebook

Pakistan’s Army Chief Is in Washington — Embarrassing His Prime Minister


Why is General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief, visiting Washington right now? Wasn’t his Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in the nation’s capital less than a month ago? I know you are confident about your guess: The Americans must have invited him to come and discuss the unfinished war on terror. Oops! You got it wrong.According to the Voice of America, the United States government has not invited Pakistan’s powerful army chief. To borrow a phrase from the Hindustan Times, Raheel has invited himself to the U.S. The invitation does not matter much but this trip once again highlights the army’s brazenly tight grip on the country’s democratic government, specifically its foreign policy. A smug Raheel is in Washington with a straightforward message to D.C.’s policymakers: Forget about what was discussed between President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif last month. Let’s talk again. I decide my country’s foreign policy, not the prime minister.

Before his arrival to Washington, Raheel’s army, on November 10th, had solely taken credit for the “improved security situation” but rebuked the democratic administration that the “progress” it had made in the fight against terrorism could not be “sustained without matching betterment in governance and administration.”

Although the army has historically been in full control of Pakistan’s external relations, Raheel, since becoming the army chief, has staged sort of a foreign policy coup. Prime Minister Sharif, a victim of a military coup in 1999, has been so cautious in avoiding another military takeover that he has even not appointed a foreign minister two years after becoming the prime minister for a third term. On the foreign policy front, the army is explicitly intimidating the prime minister. He cannot take bold decisions or fulfill the promises he makes during meetings with foreign heads of government. The army chief has entered into an undeclared competition with the prime minister over foreign trips.

According to Zahid Hussain, a senior Pakistani journalist, the army chief “has perhaps travelled to more world capitals over the last two years than even the prime minister, reinforcing the perception that not only does the military call the shots on security matters it is also actively directing the country’s foreign policy

Read more » Huffington Post
See more »