A New Language for Pakistan’s Deaf

sign languageBy 

KARACHI, Pakistan — With one national language, Urdu, four provincial tongues (Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto and Balochi), and nearly 300 regional dialects, Pakistan’s linguistic diversity is like a beautiful carpet, interwoven with threads ancient and young. The regional languages developed over thousands of years, while Urdu came from northwestern India in the 12th century. Then, in 1947, English was made an official language as a legacy of British rule in India.

Now a small group of educators of the deaf intends to add one more language — this one not spoken. It is called Pakistan Sign Language, and its creators just may succeed in spreading its use across the country.

Schools for the deaf have existed in Pakistan since the 1980s; one of the largest in Karachi is the Absa School and College for the Deaf, where initial research was conducted to develop Pakistan Sign Language, or P.S.L., as it is known here. A Pakistan Association of the Deaf, with chapters in many cities and towns, was formed in 1987, when deaf people in Pakistan were not just misunderstood; often they were shunned or ostracized by people who considered them mentally handicapped and unsuited for normal life.

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What’s wrong with the world of Islam?

shokingIslamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

Look at the mess Muslim states are making of their affairs. From Tunisia to Yemen, Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, the whole world of Islam is in turmoil. Pakistan has its own share of troubles, a unique republic with serviceable nukes in one hand and one of the world’s toughest begging bowls in the other, a republic that in its more ecstatic moments dubs itself a Fortress of Islam. Is this a problem of culture, of genes, of history?

Once upon a time Islam had a golden period. But long ago so did the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Mongols, the Tatars and the Huns? Can past glory be an excuse or a sufficient fig-leaf for present day weakness and failure?

History records the rise and fall of civilisations. But it also shows the revival of declining nations and their regeneration in other forms. In Europe the so-called Dark Ages were followed by the revival of learning and the rebirth of knowledge in the Renaissance. Christianity had its Reformation. Turkish nationhood found fresh expression in the republic founded by Mustafa Kemal. The China of today is not the China of the Boxer Rebellion or the Opium Wars.

Why has there been no similar movement in the world of Islam? For close to 500-600 years why has no fresh breeze wafted through its musty and cobweb-laden corridors? Why has it been left behind in the quest for knowledge and the discovery of new scientific frontiers?

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Pakistan MQM member arrested in London for money-laundering

mqm

Mohammed Anwar, a member of MQM’s Central Coordination Committee, was arrested in London on Wednesday on suspicion of money-laundering.

London: (Reuters) – A member of one of Pakistan’s major political parties, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was arrested in London on Wednesday on suspicion of money-laundering, the party said.

Mohammed Anwar, a member of MQM’s Central Coordination Committee, was arrested at his home in north London and was currently being questioned, MQM said in a statement.

“MQM firmly denies any suggestion of money-laundering,” the statement said.

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement officers had arrested a 64-year-old man as part of an ongoing investigation into money-laundering.

Five other men previously arrested in connection with the investigation remained on police bail while inquires continued, the statement said.

The party’s leader Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Britain since 1992, is one of those. He was arrested and questioned last June, leading to protests which led to a lockdown in Karachi.

MQM is the most influential party in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, its commercial capital and home to 18 million people.

In 2010, Imran Farooq, a founding member of MQM who was on the run from Pakistani police, accused of involvement in murder and other serious crimes, was stabbed to death in London.

British detectives have made a number of arrests and named suspected they would like to question, but no one has been charged with his murder.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

News courtesy: Reuters

Indus re-enters India after two centuries

Ancient Indus  Civilization.

Ancient Indus (Sindhu Saraswati ) Civilization.

Indus re-enters India after two centuries, feeds Little Rann, Nal Sarovar

By D. P. Bhattacharya

The Indus or Sindhu, a major river flowing through Pakistan around which the great Indus Valley Civilisation flourished, may have shifted course after an earthquake in 1819, but recent satellite images show the river has re-entered India feeding a lake near Ahmedabad known as Nal Sarovar.

The discovery has been made by Rohan Thakkar, a postgraduate student of climate change working on the water bodies of Gujarat.

The development will hugely benefit the water-starved Kutch region as well as the Bhal region adjoining Ahmedabad district.

Speaking to Mail Today, Rohan said he spoke to his father about it after detecting that water from a river in Pakistan was flowing into the Rann of Kutch. Further examination of the satellite images showed the water was flowing from the Indus.

Rohan’s father Dr P. S. Thakkar, who is a satellite archaeologist with the Indian Space Research Organisation, said the river started flowing into India last year when the Indus river basin was heavily flooded. “Heavy rains had left the river basin along with the Mancher, Hemal and Kalri lakes inundated and people breached several canal heads,” Thakkar said.

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Army for Rent: Pakistan has long tradition of dealing out its military – be it to Saudis or Americans

Pak Army deployment in North Waziristan started.

Islamabad has thus far sent mixed signals on whether it will join Saudi strikes on Yemen. Don’t be surprised even if it does.

By 

The liberal section of the civil society in Pakistan is aghast at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s intent to send a contingent of the country’s armed forces to Yemen in support of Saudi operation to fight the Houthis. The obvious concern is that participating in such a battle will not serve Pakistan’s interests and instead deepen the sectarian divide in the country that has already cost thousands of lives.

Although the spokesperson for the Foreign Office, which is far more abreast of the country’s permanent military-led establishment, has issued a statement that a decision had not been taken in this regard, there is news of Pakistan Navy and Air Force already operating in Yemen. Whether there has been a secret decision or no decision, it has compounded the confusion in the country, particularly among those who believe the deadly attack on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, had taught Pakistan a lesson in staying away from Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi version of Islam. It is a fact that since the attack, Saudi Arabia had come under some criticism, something which had never happened before. A while ago, there were print articles and discussions on electronic media criticising the Saudi royalty for coming to Pakistan to kill houbara bustards.

While the criticism was new, did it really indicate a shift in Pakistan’s policy towards Riyadh? Where finally is the centre of policymaking regarding Saudi Arabia – the prime minister’s office or the army’s General Headquarters?

Sharif has attracted a lot of attention with his expression of support for the Saudi operation in Yemen. Many of his critics believe he is but too happy to commit Islamabad to Saudi Arabia’s security goals since he is indebted to the Saudis for bailing him out and keeping him through the worst of times after his unceremonious sacking in October 1999. Some people in Saudi Arabia I spoke to a year ago even suggested that Saudi intelligence had played a role in the 2013 elections, which brought Sharif back to power.

That may be, but the Yemen decision has traces of permanency, of being anchored in Pakistan’s security establishment more than the prime minister’s office. It seems odd that army chief Raheel Sharif, who is otherwise hands-on on security issues and all critical policies, suddenly opted to toe the political government’s line on this matter and volunteered to become subservient to the will of the elected prime minister. Given this, it is not surprising that there is limited criticism of the military as well. A photograph circulated on social media has Pakistan Army soldiers marching and a caption that says: “Army-for-Rent – special concession for Arabs particularly Saudi Arabia. Those unsure of the army’s capabilities must seek guidance from Americans regarding war in Afghanistan.”

All-weather partnership

The army has a long history of serving Saudi Arabia and even tailoring its internal politics to suit the whims of the Saudis. Reportedly, some of the officers in the army contingents sent by Pakistan in the early 1960s under General Ayub Khan were returned as they were Ahmedis and the Saudis did not consider them Muslims. This was much before Islamabad’s own decision to declare Ahmedis non-Muslims in the 1970s.

Over the years, while the Kingdom has depended on security assistance from Pakistan, several myths about the ties have taken hold. The Pakistanis like to believe that their armed forces played a key role in quelling the armed rebellion inside the Kaaba in 1979, but it was the French who played a greater part. Another common myth is that bilateral relations strengthened under a more religiously conservative army chief, General Ziaul Haq. But it is in fact the security ties that have been the most stable component of the relation despite the ill-treatment of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia.
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Egypt, Pakistan join military campaign against Houthis

Pakistan army in Suadi Arab.

Pakistan army in Saudi Arab.

By Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News

Pakistan and Egypt announced their participation in the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against with air and naval forces, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Al Arabiya said Egypt, Pakistan and Sudan have also expressed their readiness to contribute ground troops in the campaign.

Four Egyptian warships entered the Suez Canal on Thursday en route to the Gulf of Aden, Reuters news agency reported citing canal officials said.

The officials said the ships will take part in operations “to secure” the strategic waters that control southern access to the Suez Canal.

The UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan have also deployed fighter jets to join the Saudi air force in the ongoing air campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, Al Arabiya News Chanel reported.

The UAE has deployed 30 fighter jets, Bahrain 15, Kuwait 15, Qatar 10 and Jordan 6 warplanes, according to the news channel.

News courtesy: Al Arabiya
Read more » http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/26/Pakistan-Egypt-join-military-campaign-against-Houthis.html

Tahira Mazhar Ali’s death a profound loss to many

By XARI JALIL

LAHORE: Veteran leader of the left movement, Tahira Mazhar Ali, passed away on Monday. Though she had been unwell for some time, her death has been met with a profound sense of loss by those who knew her.

Born in Lahore in a prominent family, Tahira’s father was Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, the prime minister of united Punjab from 1937 to 1942, while her maternal grandfather was Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan, a prominent landlord of Punjab. She studied at Queen Mary School in Lahore and later married Mazhar Ali Khan at the age of 16. Marrying a student leader may have been a turning point in her life and her political life began after marriage.

Being born in an affluent family did not deter her from struggling for the rights of the marginalised. She carried on her activism for labour and women’s rights for over 60 years.

It was Tahira who for the first time in Pakistan observed the International Women’s Day publicly, where it was openly demanded that women be given their equal status and their rights be established. When it came to fighting for human rights, Tahira was unbending and her marked resistance made her a threat to the establishment.

In 1950, the Democratic Women’s Association (DWA) was formed and led by Tahira. It is considered the country’s first women’s rights organisation that ran with the support of the Communist Party, something that Tahira was proud of, often comparing it to internationally run organisations today. Other members of the DWA included Hajra Masood, Khadija Omar, Amatul Rehman and Alys Faiz. Its work was based in the grassroots in small neighbourhoods and involved mobilisation of women and workers.

It is because of her work in this regard that Tahira is seen as one of the greatest women of the subcontinent. Those who knew her well recall her active role in protests and rallies.

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Rewriting the Pakistani script

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

A few words about the parade…why must the accompanying commentary be so hysterical? I put on the TV at about a few minutes to eleven but the commentary, male and female, was just too much, going on and on without a moment’s rest, much too loud and indeed deadlier than any of the weaponry marching past. If the military can’t be made to learn the uses of brevity what hope for the rest of the nation? Thanks to the commentary, two minutes of the parade was all I could stand. There was also the charismatic visage of the president. On this subject what more is there to say?
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Pakistan holds first Republic Day parade in seven years

By DAWN.COM

ISLAMABAD: The highly-anticipated joint military parade by the armed forces of Pakistan took place today in Islamabad after a gap of seven years, to commemorate the historic Pakistan Resolution on March 23, 1940 – a day which marks the the birth of a separate state for Muslims. Personnel from all three services, Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force, are participating in the parade.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1171371/pakistan-holds-first-republic-day-parade-in-seven-years

Lahore Resolution and the status of constituent units

A distinct negation of the letter and spirit of the 1940 Resolution occurred when, in 1949, the Objectives Resolution was passed, which usurped the sovereignty of the constituent units in the name of God

By Abdul Khalique Junejo, Karachi

Today, March 23, is the most sacred day of Pakistan’s calendar. It owes this position to the 1940 Lahore Resolution, revered as the Pakistan Resolution, and the day is celebrated as Pakistan Day. It follows that the 1940 Resolution should be the guiding force for our state structure, and all subsequent resolutions, agreements, contracts and covenants should be subordinate to it. Owing to its importance, the framing, formulation and subsequent interpretations and explanations of this document attract heated debate. So should it, being the founding charter of the emergent state. As Mr Jinnah, while writing to Gandhi, said, “The word Pakistan has now become synonymous with the Lahore Resolution.” However, the question of the status and role of the constituent units has found very little attention in this discourse despite the fact that decentralisation and autonomy were the basic points of the Muslim League constitutional package before partition. The most important part of the Resolution says, “The areas in which Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the north-western and eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”

Historical facts demonstrate that since its creation the state of Pakistan has traversed a direction opposite to the one envisaged by the Lahore Resolution. On the very day Mr Jinnah made that historic speech in the constituent assembly, i.e. August 11, 1947, the Balochistan (read Kalat) Assembly, alleging its sovereignty, declared Balochistan an independent state, but after seven months Balochistan was annexed to Pakistan. Similarly, against the unanimous resolution of the Sindh Assembly, its capital Karachi, which Sindh happily agreed should be Pakistan’s capital, was arbitrarily snatched from the province. A distinct negation of the letter and spirit of the 1940 Resolution occurred when, in 1949, the Objectives Resolution was passed, which usurped the sovereignty of the constituent units in the name of God. The Objectives Resolution says: “Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him, is a sacred trust.” In reality this was a ploy on the part of our politicians to seize state power, and proved to be a ready recipe for dictators (including Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf) who used it to claim that, ‘since sovereignty lies with God and since He has chosen me so I have a divine right to rule over you’. General Zia used it for Islamisation, while General Pervez Mushraf used it for ‘de-Islamisation’.

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WordPress temporarily blocked in Pakistan

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has temporarily blocked WordPress.com in Pakistan.

According to reports, PTA has asked all Internet Service Providers in Pakistan to block the site. WordPress.com, a blog hosting platform that hosts millions of blogs, is currently inaccessible on all major ISPs in the country.

It is still unclear why the site has been blocked.

ProPakistani.pk, quoting an unnamed source at PTA, has claimed that WordPress.com is blocked due to issues related to national security. It further said that the content which has caused the blockade of the site cannot be revealed due to sensitivity of the issue.

A recent study released by Freedom House in December last year noted that increasing attempts by the government to curb access to content online while seeking introduction of laws that limit civil liberties online, has landed Pakistan among the 10 worst countries for net freedom.

News courtesy: The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/857401/wordpress-temporarily-blocked-in-pakistan/

MQM Is a Mafia. They are Militant and Have Kiilled Hundreds of People. Former MQM member tells BBC

Former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) member Naim Ahmed has said that MQM is involved in killing of hundreds of people. He was givinginterview to UK’s BBC Two programme ‘Newsnight.

Naim Ahmed said: “you know I cannot count but hundreds of people. They (MQM) are not peaceful party. They are militants group and they are like bunch of mafias”. When he was asked did you ever commit act of violence Naim replied: “no, it was not my job, If I like the violence why I leave the party (MQM). It’s ideal party for violence”.

“I left the party because of violence, because of militancy” said Naeed. He said that those who were killing people always said that they are directly getting order from London”.

News courtesy: Siasat.pk » BBC » DailyMotion » AwamiPolitics » ZemTv
Read more » http://www.awamipolitics.com/former-mqm-member-naim-ahmed-accuses-mqm-of-killing-people-13869.html
More » http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?332281-MQM-Is-a-Bunch-of-Mafias-They-are-Millitant-and-Have-Killed-Hundreds-of-People-Former-MQM-MP-tells-BBC
More details » http://www.zemtv.com/2015/03/22/mqm-is-the-idol-party-for-violence-former-mqm-party-member-in/

Massive Dublin Protest with One Clear Message: Irish Water ‘We Wont Pay’

BY

Once again tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin.  Saturday is the latest protest against the Irish government’s attempt at imposing a second charge for water. Today is the latest affirmation of overwhelming public opposition to this austerity measure to privatize the nations water, put in place by Ireland’s coalition government.

As if the message from the people of Ireland to their government wasn’t clear in September when thousands marched on Dublin after months of small yet effective community actions to disrupt the instillation of water meters. It should have been clear in October when thousands more marched on Dublin or at least clear that the resolve of the Irish wasn’t going to change. By the time thousands marched in November and again in December maybe the Irish government thought that waiting it out over the winter and making some early morning arrests on protest organizers might slow this whole movement down.

While we don’t know what is clear to the Irish Government, one thing is very clear to us, the people of Ireland are not going to pay twice for water or have their water privatized. The chants and banners are very clear ‘We Cant Pay – We Wont Pay’.

Today’s action in Dublin has made it clear to the rest of the world once again, that Irish Water will not be privatized.

Read more » http://revolution-news.com/massive-dublin-protest-with-one-clear-message-irish-water-we-wont-pay/

Marches for ‘Bread, Work, Homes and Dignity’ Converge on Madrid – End w/Police Repression

BY

Madrid, March 21, 2015. Coinciding with the first anniversary of the massive March for Dignity last March 22, 10’s of thousands of people have returned this Saturday the streets of Madrid to demand ‘bread, work, shelter and dignity‘.

The protest was organized by over 300 social groups and 9 Dignity Marches converged on Plaza Colon in Madrid from virtually every corner of Spain shortly after noon today.

The main reason for the protest was once again unemployment, affordable housing, social rights and democratic freedoms, rejection of austerity cuts, corruption and privatization of once public services. Also banners against the free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States (TTIP, for its acronym in English) were seen.

Read more » http://revolution-news.com/marches-for-bread-work-homes-and-dignity-converge-on-madrid-end-wpolice-repression/

Time for Pakistan to give up the ‘jihadi’ option forever: Hussain Haqqani

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistani envoy to United States, Hussain Haqqani, said Pakistan was not doing enough to show the world the seriousness of its efforts to curb and eradicate terrorist setups breeding on its soil.

“It is time for Pakistan to give up the jihadi option forever, only when we do that, we will have credibility in the international community,” Haqqani said.

Haqqani told ANI that terror attacks in India perpetrated by agents from across the border were a deliberate hindrance to peace talks.

“Terrorists have always wished to interrupt talks between India and Pakistan through terror attacks. But India and Pakistan must understand that there is no other way than a peaceful bilateral dialogue. No terrorist is a friend of Kashmir, India or Pakistan,” he said.

Calling upon the Pakistani government to up the ante against terror if it wanted to show the world that it was serious against militancy he said that ”Pakistan’s government continues to say that it is trying to eliminate terror and efforts have been started, but they are not enough. Pakistan needs to make it clear to the world and to India that no jihadi group will have safe haven in Pakistan anymore.”

Haqqani observed that Pakistan itself had suffered in the hands of terror breeding on its soil and said that it was high time that authorities accepted this.

“The acceptance and tolerance towards jihadi groups over the past has harmed Pakistan more than any other country in region,” he felt.

The former Pakistan envoy to the US condemned Friday’s terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and said efforts were required from Pakistan to build confidence and move towards healthier, meaningful dialogue between the two countries. “Kathua attack should not only be condemned, but Pakistan must extend cooperation in finding out which groups based. Only then can the confidence be built which will enable India and Pakistan to move forward in a comprehensive dialogue,” added Haqqani.

He termed Pakistan’s steps towards Tehreek-e-Taliban as a positive step but an inadequate one.

Unless Pakistan acts against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, JeM and all militant groups, wherever they might be operating Pakistan, will continue to be suspected by international community of harbouring terrorists,” he said.

Pakistan High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit’s decision to engage with Hurriyat Conference leaders from Kashmir was criticised by Haqqani, terming it as an ‘ill-advised’ move which would not be looked on positively by India.

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The twin gifts of the sophisticates

By Ayaz Amir

The Urdu-speaking population which migrated from India at the time of Partition came in two categories: 1) the upper-crust or the elite class which settled in such places as Clifton, Bath Island, PECHS and later Defence; and 2) the somewhat less well-off which settled in Nazimabad, Liaquatabad and later Korangi, etc.

Regardless of class differences, this migrant population as a whole was literate, cultured and gifted – in many ways more sophisticated than the Punjabi farmer, the Sindhi Hari, the Pathan labourer or the Baloch camel driver.

There was no television back then, only newspapers…concentrated in two large centres, Lahore and Karachi. Lahore newspapers were Punjabi dominated; Karachi newspapers, which soon outnumbered any other, were dominated, as to a large extent they still are, by Urdu speakers.

The Punjabi feudal class, very much a part of the ruling elite, was mainly interested in preserving its privileges and its landholdings. As an expression of its conservative if not reactionary political outlook, it was also in favour of joining up with the western camp as cold war warriors. Even if India had not been a security concern, the Punjabi feudal was socially and historically programmed to look towards Washington and London, not Moscow.

This was an ingrained reaction, part of the Punjabi feudal’s psyche. But insofar as the new state started developing a conscious thinking, a set of beliefs and convictions, this process was heavily influenced by the Urdu-speaking elite. Steeped in the ‘tehzeeb’ of Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal and Hyderabad Deccan, Urdu speakers had articulation and eloquence at their command. They also had a certain moral standing in that they could claim to be the progenitors or the vanguard of the Pakistan movement.

Allama Iqbal indeed delivered his Allahabad address, in which the germ of the Pakistan idea can be detected, but the Pakistan movement, the idea of a separate state, really developed in the Urdu-speaking heartland of north, middle and south India.

The holocaust of Partition took place in Punjab, the Muslim setting upon the Sikh and the Hindu, and the Hindu and Sikh setting upon the Muslim. The East Punjabi migrant came with the clothes on his back. But the Urdu-speaking elite of Delhi, Lucknow and the Deccan…they were men of ideas. They brought their distinctive thinking, their good ideas and their prejudices, with them. And it was only natural that these ideas and prejudices would become part of the thinking of the new state.

So from this elite we got the obsession with India, the overriding concern with security, the sense of a land under siege, threatened by conspiracies and enemies. Surrounded on three sides by India and on the fourth by the sea, East Pakistan had greater reason to feel threatened. But here it was the other way round. West Pakistan, or at least its elites, felt threatened by India. The Bengali intelligentsia was more concerned by the economic and political domination of West Pakistan. Both parts of Pakistan thus had their burdens but of a different kind.

So the one gift, from the Urdu-speaking elite, was that distinct brand of thinking later to be known as the ideology of Pakistan. The second gift, but much later, was from the non-elite Urdu-speaking class: the MQM. It is a matter of opinion which is the tougher nut to crack, the ideology of Pakistan or the MQM. As things stand, there is no escaping the one or the other.

Other nations may be in the business of creating wealth and improving the living conditions of their people. In Pakistan we are still stuck with arguments about the meaning of Pakistan – 67 years after the country’s founding.

Equally vexed is the status of the MQM. Successive governments, successive military commands, have tried to tame it, or at least defang it…its fangs known to be pretty sharp. The effort has failed although for the first time we may be getting the sense that it is getting somewhere.

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Shocking revelations: MQM chief ordered KESC director’s assassination, claims Saulat

By Web Desk / Irfan Ghauri / Shezad Baloch

Just hours before his execution, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) convicted worker Saulat Mirza alleged in a supposed video confession that he killed former KESC Director Shahid Hamid on the directives of party chief Altaf Hussain.

According to video released by the Geo TV late on Wednesday, Mirza alleged that he received the order for the ‘hit’ from Altaf at MQM leader Babar Ghauri’s residence.

Mirza revealed that orders were given on telephone by the party chief himself. Usually, the party chief would either give orders himself or through the likes of Bababr Ghauri.

He further alleged that people whom the party wanted to save from police torture are provided protection in police stations through Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan. Even during the PPP’s government, he was facilitated in jail and allowed to meet family members in separate rooms.

In the video, shot apparently on death row in Mach Jail, shows Mirza claiming that Altaf would not let anyone to rise in the party, adding that the MQM chief ordered the murder of Azeem Tariq when he started rising within the party ranks. Similarly, when former Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal started getting popular among masses, he was disgracefully thrown out of the party.

Mirza in his video message appealed to the co-party workers to take heed from his fate, of how he was used and then later discarded like ‘used tissue paper’.

The death row convict said earlier he was afraid for the safety of his family.

Saulat said he was not appealing to commute his sentence, but was asking to delay it.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/855524/shocking-revelations-mqm-chief-ordered-kesc-directors-assassination-claims-saulat/

Status of Princely States, Treaty of Amritsar:  Myths and Realities

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

By Nayyar Niaz Khan

Part I, Concept of a Nation State and Indian Princely States:

The nation states developed not long ago in the known political history. Prior to the 1500 in Europe, the nation-state as we know, did not exist. If anything, people were more likely to recognize themselves with their constituency or local lord. At the same time, the rulers of states normally had slight rheostat over their countries. Instead, local feudal lords had a great deal of power, and kings often had to be contingent on the goodwill of their dependents to rule. Laws and their practices freckled differently in different parts of a country. After the Treaty of Westphalia the concept of nation states emerged on the global political scene. After the birth of nation states monarchs encouraged their subjects to be loyal towards their nation. It took almost two centuries after the Treaty of Westphalia to establish the integrated nation states in Europe.

This was not all true with regards to princely states of India (562 as most historian agreed on this number). Princely states of India were merely subordinate units of British India but some of them enjoyed greater internal autonomy as compared to others because of the size of the area and other factors. To call them sovereign states per Westphalia Treaty is politically incorrect because if that was the case there would have been 562 nation states in the greater sub-continent.

Hasan Ahmed in an academic paper notes with references and citations that princely states were internally autonomous entities of India during the British Raj, which were not under direct rule of British but rather ruled by their local ruler which was subject to the subsidiary alliance agreement between princes and British paramountcy. Malleson, G. B. in his book “ Historical Sketch of the Native States of India in Subsidiary Alliance with the British Government, Published by Longmans in1875 writes that “ The Indian princely states were not fully sovereign, but remained under the British Raj. Their sovereignty was mainly affected by the acceptance of subsidiary alliance and the suzerainty or paramountcy of the British Crown.

In other words Princely States enjoyed the internal autonomy instead of the sovereignty and the autocratic rulers were the masters of their states answerable to East India Company and later the British Raj. This mechanism was introduced by the Viceroy Lord Wellesley. According to the agreement between the rulers of the Princely States and British Colonial government in India Princely States were barred from maintaining troops in their states and had to allow British troops in their states known as Imperial Service Troops, had to allow a British Resident in their states, they were not allowed to enter into agreements with any other power nor could they declare war on any other state without approval from British Indian government. (Malleson 1875). Malleson further notes that “the rulers of the princely states had to acknowledge East India Company as a paramount power in India, if they failed to pay British troop maintenance fee a part of their territory would be acquired by British as a penalty and in return they were guaranteed protection from internal disorders and external dangers”

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Deadly blasts hit Pakistan churches in Lahore

Two bomb blasts have killed at least 10 people near two churches in a Christian neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Lahore, local officials say.

At least 50 people were reportedly hurt in the explosions at the Catholic church and Christ Church in the city’s Youhanabad area.

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with large crowds already in the area to attend Sunday mass.

Pakistan’s Christian community has often been targeted by militants.

An offshoot of the Pakistan Taliban, calling itself Jamatul Ahrar, has said it carried out the attack.

Witnesses say suicide bombers were responsible for the explosions but police have not confirmed this.

The bombers are said to have detonated their explosives at the gates of the churches. Local media say the death toll has reached 14.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31894708

Pakistan military’s new combat drone

Pakistan military’s new combat drone is ‘great national achievement’

Burraq unmanned aircraft capable of firing laser-guided missiles

US refused to share technology despite heavy use of drones in Pakistan

Pakistan, the country that has been subjected to more secret US drone strikes than any other, has hailed the development of its first unmanned combat plane as a “great national achievement”.

In a significant breakthrough, the country’s army announced on Friday it had successfully test-fired a missile from an indigenously developed drone – a technical feat few nations have managed.

Army chief Raheel Sharif was among the engineers and scientists who witnessed the demonstration of a technology that has largely been the reserve of a few countries, such as the US and Israel.

The army said the drone, named Burraq after the flying horse of Islamic tradition, successfully hit stationary and moving targets with its Barq laser-guided missile with “impressive pinpoint accuracy”.

The system would be a “force multiplier in our anti-terror campaign”, said an army spokesman, Asim Bajwa.

Developing homemade drones has been a priority for Pakistan given the extensive use made of them since 2004 by the CIA to target terrorist groups in the restive north-west tribal belt.

he controversial weapons have proved irresistible given their ability to linger over their targets for extended periods of time, collect intelligence and deliver deadly missiles far more cheaply than conventional aircraft.

But the US supplies only its most trustworthy allies with the capability and has refused repeated requests from Pakistan, which has been attempting to join the club of countries with armed drones for at least two years.

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/13/pakistan-military-new-combat-drone-great-national-achievement

Toronto terror arrest linked to suspected plot against U.S. consulate

A Pakistani man has been arrested in connection with a suspected terror plot against the United States consulate in Toronto.

The Canada Border Services Agency says Jahanzeb Malik was arrested on Monday on suspicion of “engaging in terrorism and being a danger to national security.”

The CBSA says the suspect displayed a “violent and extremist mindset” in allegedly plotting to kill people and destroy property in Toronto. The alleged plot involved plans to bomb the U.S. consulate in Toronto and other targets in the city’s financial district.

According to the CBSA, Malik attempted to “radicalize” an undercover RCMP officer by showing him videos of apparent Islamic State beheadings. Malik allegedly attempted to recruit the officer to help him make an explosive device to be detonated remotely.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney called Malik “a supporter of the Islamic State” in an address to reporters on Wednesday.

“This individual was also promoting jihadi ideology,” Blaney said.

Malik arrived in Canada on a student visa in 2004. He obtained permanent resident status in 2009 with his wife as his sponsor.

Malik first appeared on the CBSA’s radar when he was questioned by border guards and intelligence agents upon his arrival at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on a flight from Libya in 2013. Malik claimed he had been teaching in Libya and had also visited Saudi Arabia for a few months.

He was allowed into Canada because he is a permanent resident.

Court documents allege Malik has taken weapons, combat and landmine training in Libya, and was a “personal friend” of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical cleric who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

He is believed to be a self-proclaimed supporter of the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

The CBSA flagged Malik as a potential threat last week and arrested him on Monday.

Malik appeared in front of an immigration board on Wednesday. CBSA officials say they are pushing to have him deported. His next detention review is scheduled for March 16.

Read more » CTV News
See more » http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-terror-arrest-linked-to-suspected-plot-against-u-s-consulate-1.2274369

American brilliance, Saudi anguish

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

A question worth asking: who’s stoked the fires of extremism across the troubled world of Islam? Who is the real begetter of the radicalism sweeping across the region? Alas, not the usual culprits, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and certainly not the Islamic State which is a newcomer on the scene, a babe in the terrorist woods.

The honour of godfather falls squarely on the shoulders of our American friends. Had that evangelist George W Bush and his neo-con crusaders not thought fit to blunder into Iraq, the fires we see lit across the region would not have blazed with such fierce intensity.

There would have been no Al-Qaeda in Iraq, no Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, no Sunni rebellion, no need of a Gen Petraeus-inspired surge, no bombing of Fallujah with nuclear-depleted artillery shells (isn’t that the name?), and, from the viewpoint of our Saudi friends, no Shia domination of Iraq which is sending such cold shivers down the backs of our Saudi friends.

That is the difference between big and small blundering. When a country like India blunders it leads to a Kashmir crisis or the storming of the Golden Temple. When Pakistan blunders it creates ‘jihadi’ ghosts in its backyard. When mighty Rome blunders the earth shakes and turmoil spreads across an entire region.

There was no Al-Qaeda in Libya, Col Gaddafi not suffering even the shadow of its presence in his country. The west got rid of Gaddafi and earned payback in the form of Islamic extremism. Libya has known no peace ever since.

Libya, however, is a backwater compared to that other battleground, Syria, racked by civil war and a western and American agenda that, frustratingly, remains unfulfilled. The Turks wanted Bashar al-Assad out. The Saudis and Qataris wanted him out. The Americans had long hated him because he had ties to Iran, and both Iran and Syria had ties to Hezbollah which the Americans (and Israel) can’t abide. So for different reasons the Turks, the Arabs, the Americans and the French formed a holy alliance to get rid of al-Assad.

And they would have succeeded but for three things: 1) Bashar’s defiance; 2)Iran’s support for him; and 3) the realisation on the part of Vladimir Putin, who had had his fingers burnt in Libya when he did not stand up for Gaddafi, that enough was enough and that the Americans needed to be stopped somewhere. Not to forget a fourth factor, courageous Hezbollah – the only force in the Arab world to stand up to Israel in battle – physically stepped in on Assad’s side.

Syria has been devastated, millions of Syrians becoming refugees from their homeland, and over 200,000 Syrians killed since the civil war started. But to western frustration and Turkish and Saudi anger, Bashar remains in Damascus. The Saudis are upset with President Obama because he did not bomb Syria.

All this was serious enough but containable. The Syrian crisis has done more: lit the fires of radicalism and extremism like nothing else. Just as the American invasion of Iraq brought Al-Qaeda into Iraq, the destabilisation of Syria gave Al-Qaeda an entry point in the form of the al-Nusra Front. Out of the resulting witches’ brew there further mutated the Islamic State (or Isis) to whose danger the Americans woke up only after it had consolidated its presence across a wide stretch of Syrian and Iraqi territory.

And now American warplanes have swung into action against Isis…as good an instance of higher statesmanship as we are likely to find: first light a bonfire and then start screaming, and calling in the fire engines.

The same tricks were tried in Ukraine, the Americans first engineering the ouster of the admittedly maladroit President Victor Yanukovych – the US assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, cheering lustily from the sidelines – and then going red in the face about Russian aggression. Putin did not trigger the Ukrainian crisis; the Americans did. They are crying now because they couldn’t handle the fallout. And Putin of course has held his nerve and outsmarted them.

Ukraine is outside the Islamic orbit. Syria and Iraq are at the very epicentre of the Islamic world where the battle-lines, alarmingly, are drawn along sectarian lines. Sunni groups are fighting Bashar al-Assad. These groups are being armed and funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US. Isis is distilled Sunni-ism, in its most extreme form. Iran is on the other side, backing Hezbollah and Assad, and helping the Iraqi government fight off the challenge from the Islamic State.

Commander of the Al-Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian general Syed Qassem Soleimani, is directing the Iraqi war effort. By all accounts he is the most influential man in Iraq today, credited with stopping the Isis advance towards Baghdad.

Consider then the fullness of the American achievement. Saddam Hussein was no threat to the US. He was just an emotional irritation. But on a tissue of lies the Americans sowed the invasion of Iraq and are reaping the whirlwind in the shape of enhanced Iranian influence across the region. So much for intended consequences.

Now consider the Saudi dilemma. Sunni radicalism sits ill with the monarchical principle on which their dynasty rests. But standing against Sunni radicalism is not them but Iran. And if there is anything the Saudis detest more than Islamic radicalism it is Iran, a hatred going back to the early days of Islam. The irony of this has to be savoured. American meddling created the conditions for the rise of Iranian influence. America’s neo-cons, and the pro-Israeli lobby, have thus proved to be revolutionary Iran’s most useful supporters.

These are not outcomes the Saudis had foreseen. To counter them they are now trying to drum up a Sunni alliance – that is why the outreach to Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey. There is, however, a major difference. The principal weapon in the Saudi armoury is their ample cheque book. The Iranians have more effective assets on the ground: Hezbollah, Bashar al-Assad, a friendly regime in Baghdad, a Shia militia in South Yeman. And what if there is a nuclear deal with the world powers? That will further tip the scales in Iran’s favour, as Israel realises and Saudi Arabia, mistakenly, fears. (The mistakenly can be left for some other time.)

Any fool can see that it is none of Pakistan’s business to be drawn into this game. It has enough of a sectarian problem at home and can do without involvement in the larger struggle for influence, dressed up in sectarian colours, raging across the heart of the Islamic world. Better that it keep its own counsel and act as a bridge where it can.

But there is a lesson for it in all this. The Iranians are making their moves on a large chessboard. The Americans may be hostile to them but they take them seriously. Pakistan remains a prisoner of its past, its vision limited by narrow concerns.

Despite its size, despite its large army and its nuclear stable, time and again it has fallen readily into the role of a client and satellite state, almost as if the purpose of its existence was just that and nothing more. What is that mysterious force, where the Holy Grail, that can bring about the liberation of the Pakistani mind?

Writer can be reached at:  bhagwal63@gmail.com

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-305971-American-brilliance-Saudi-anguish

 

Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

By DAWN.COM | SOHAIL SHABBIR

Excerpt:

Rangers issue details of raid

A press release was issued by Rangers soon after the raid on MQM’s headquarters.

It said: “Pakistan Rangers Sindh has conducted a series of targeted raids at Surrounding areas of 90 including Khursheed Memorial Hall today. During the above mentioned action following hardcore criminals have been arrested.”

Following is the Rangers press release with details of those arrested:

Faisal Mota (involved in murder of Wali Khan Babur and convicted and sentenced to death by court)
Farhan Shabbir aka Mullah
Amir
Nadir (convicted and sentenced 13 years)
Ubaid K 2
Faisal Mota had been awarded the death sentence in absentia on Mar 1 2014 by an anti-terrorism court in the murder case of Wali Khan Babar, a Geo TV reporter.

Journalist injured
Express News cameraman Waseem Mughal who was at Nine Zero among other media personnel has been injured due to firing.

An employee of the Express Media Group confirmed that Mughal has been shot in the arm and that his condition is stable.

‘Stolen ammunition seized’

According to Rangers spokerperson Colonel Tahir, ammunition stolen from Nato containers was also seized during the search operation at Nine Zero. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1168840/rangers-raid-mqm-hq-in-karachi-detain-member-of-rabita-committee

China to invest $50bn in Pakistan by 2017

ISLAMABAD: China intends to invest as many as $50 billion by 2017 in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy, particularly in energy sector to help the country overcome power crisis and help sustainable economic growth, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shah Faisal Afridi said.
“China has planned to replicate the model of Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) by investing $50 billion into a number of projects including coal, solar and wind energy till 2017 under Early Harvest Programme,” Faisal said.
These projects would enable Gawadar to create a nexus between Pakistan, Iran, China and Central Asian States that would ultimately generate billions of dollars in revenues along with huge job opportunities in the region.
Afridi said that SFTZ is a perfect model to be implemented at Gwadar, asserting, the SFTZ was first used as a testing ground for a number of economic sectors.
The zone, he said, incorporated numerous relaxations in different sectors, under the FTZ’s new capital registration system, foreign investors were no longer required to contribute 15 percent capital within three months and full capital within two years of the establishment of a foreign invested enterprise (FIE).
Meanwhile, official sources said that in addition to invest in power projects, China was also interested in already working in various projects of motorways and railways.
On energy front, Pakistan has been already working to generate about 10400 megawatt electricity with the help of Chinese investment and several projects were already underway to overcome energy crisis.
Beijing has designated three banks including Exim Bank that will provide loans to Chinese companies for investment in power, railway and transport sectors in Pakistan.

Read more » http://defence.pk/threads/china-to-invest-50bn-in-pakistan-by-2017.333769/

A Strategic Seaport – Is Pakistan Key to China’s Energy Supremacy?

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

A seaport in southwest Pakistan may hold the key to China’s energy supremacy. At least, that’s what China hopes. The Gwadar port, which China has built and will operate in the province of Balochistan, is situated near the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil-shipping lane that can serve as an energy corridor from western China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf.

Beijing’s pivot to Pakistan is a substantial one. The story goes back to 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed a railroad and an oil pipeline to link Gwadar to the Kashi port in Xinjiang—allowing China to take advantage of the shortest possible route to the Middle East. In exchange, Pakistan would get an influx of Chinese investment. Indeed, in 2014, the Chinese government committed to spending $45.6 billion over the next six years to build the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. China’s stake in Gwadar will also allow it to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas.

The United States fears that China will come out of its dealings with Pakistan with more power. But it need not be worried: China’s involvement in Balochistan, a restive area prone to insurgencies, will not end well. Many believe Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, is hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Meanwhile, small towns in Balochistan are the breeding grounds for a decades-old separatist movement targeting federal agencies. Increasingly, China has been caught up in the violence. In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine wounded when separatists attacked their van in Gwadar. In 2009, China shelved its $12 billion plans to build an oil refinery and an oil city in Gwadar due to security concerns.

China’s involvement in the region’s politics can only be bad news. In 2012, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution that asked the United States to support Baloch separatists as freedom fighters. The resolution was tabled, but if the United States ever does decide to involve itself in the conflict, China’s strategic interests will be at risk.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143227/syed-fazl-e-haider/a-strategic-seaport

Pakistani man survives liver surgery after 12 Indian students donate blood

Humanity knows no boundaries. This was proven by 12 Indian students who donated blood to a Pakistani liver patient, saving his life.

Aman Lal Makhija, a 40-year-old Pakistani man from Sindh, traveled to New Delhi for a liver transplant after being advised by doctors to seek help across the border, according to Daily Mail.

Makhija was accompanied by his donor and brother-in-law Dilshad Ali. However, Makhija’s liver started failing and there was urgent need for blood. Responding to Dilshad’s pamphlets requesting blood donations, 12 students came forward to donate blood.

The doctors who operated on the patient, Dr KR Vasudevan and Dr Abhideep Chaudhary, said that owing to the timely contribution of blood, the team was able to successfully perform a complicated liver transplant surgery on February 27.

“Usually, all liver transplant patients are advised to arrange 10 units of blood in case of any eventuality. But being from Pakistan, the family did not have any donors. The noble act of blood donation by these students really touched us all,” said Dr Vasudevan, a liver transplant surgeon.

Makhija, who runs a medical store in Pakistan, said, “This rebirth is the best Holi gift to me by Indian doctors and students.”

“There are about 400 Hindu families in our area. We have never faced any problems in Pakistan. Here, everyone, including these young students, have been so helpful. The students even came to enquire about my brother’s health and have invited me to take part in Holi celebrations. My family will always remain obliged to them,” Jawahar Lal Makhija, the patient’s brother, said.

“The patient was suffering from Hepatitis-B for the last three years and needed an urgent liver transplant. A part of his bother-in-law’s healthy liver was transplanted in a seven-hour surgery. Both donor and recipient are fine now and will be discharged in a week,” said Dr Chaudhary.

News courtesy: The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/849466/pakistani-man-survives-liver-surgery-after-12-indian-students-donate-blood/

China’s ‘gift’ of Z-10 Stealth helicopters to Pakistan

China Likely to give 3 Z-10 Attack Helos to Pakistan; Will this ‘Gift’ Support its R&D?

By

Pakistan is all set to welcome new attack helicopters from China — the Z-10 — in 2015 if reports are to be believed. Moreover, these attack helicopters will be given free of cost to China’s “all-weather friend”, Pakistan.

The reports originated from unconfirmed Russian media, which claimed that China might be gifting three of its latest anti-tank attack helicopter that was designed by the Russian design bureau, Kamov, and further developed by the Chinese 602nd Research Institute.

The primary missions for the Z-10 are anti-tank missions with air-to-air missions being its secondary capability. These according to Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet, will be added to the aviation fleet of Pakistani Army.

This helicopter will be able to attack either on ground or on air. It has a range of 3-4 kilometres without appearing on the radar. The maximumspeed of Z-10 is 300+ km/h with a range of 800+. It also has 23 mm or 30 mm autocannon mounted, 57 mm, 90 mm multi-barrel unguided rocket pods and four hard points for missiles.

Read more » INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
S
ee more » http://www.ibtimes.co.in/china-likely-give-3-z-10-attack-helos-pakistan-will-this-gift-support-its-rd-619658

Banned ASWJ ends protest as Islamabad police forms team to probe murders

By SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: The banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) marched from Lal Masjid to the Parliament House on Friday in protest of “target killings and kidnappings” of its representatives.

The proscribed outfit marched today to protest against what it called a recent surge in acts of violence against its representatives. The march was led by ASWJ Islamabad President Ghulam Mustafa Baloch in light of which police cordoned off the street near the headquarters of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) with containers.

Following a dialogue with the Islamabad police, the outfit agreed to end its protest after an assurance was given that the murders of its workers would be probed. The additional deputy commission Islamabad, the SSP and other police officials said that a special investigation team to be led by SP Captain (retd) Ilyas was being formed to investigate the killings.

ASWJ, a reincarnation of the banned Sunni militant group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), had been banned in Feb 2012.

Despite the ban, the ASWJ continues to operate in the country with religious conferences and demonstrations held in different cities from time to time and no apparent action from the authorities.

Read more: Banned outfit operates with impunity in Chakwal

Last month, lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir led a protest against ASWJ’s activities, bringing attention to the government’s negligence towards following due process of law.

ASWJ representatives have been targeted in three incidents of sectarian violence this year. Two days ago, senior ASWJ leader Dr Mohammad Fayyaz Khan was gunned down in Karachi.

According to data compiled by the South Asian Terrorism Portal, 112 people have been killed and 140 injured in incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan since the beginning of 2015.

The Sunni Supreme Council had, at the end of February, announced the launch of a protest movement against sectarian killings and terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but the province-wide protest has not picked up impetus outside of KP.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1167784/banned-aswj-ends-protest-as-islamabad-police-forms-team-to-probe-murders