Tag Archives: living

Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

The recent spate of forced conversions, killings and abductions for ransom of non-Muslims living in Pakistan is an open question mark to the democratic governance and establishment of the country.

“Unless we protect and strengthen the weak, we will not be able to exercise the true power of democracy,” said Nazish Brohi, an independent research professional and a human rights activist.

Inaccessibility to appropriate health facilities, education and other essentials of life have transformed many Pakistanis into ‘weaker beings’, with non-Muslim factions topping the list. It is consequential to understand that protection of the suppressed and marginalised population of Pakistan indeed, is the only way to prove our stance towards a secular country.

In a country such as Pakistan, where male section of the society is predominantly overpowering, women generally face an ‘unequal’ share of hatred and discrimination.

A case of double jeopardy

Pakistani women are more susceptible to violence and other violations of human and civil rights however non-Muslim women are subjected to more discriminated behaviour on different stages and level which increase the magnitude of their ordeal.

“A vast population of Pakistani women suffer from effects of double jeopardy as they are discriminated because of multiple reasons,” said Brohi.

“Women in general are discriminated by men of their own families because they are considered to be carrying the responsibility of safeguarding their honour. Women are then subjected to discrimination because of the fact that they profess other faiths. And then the never-ending discrimination goes on,” added Brohi.

According to a report published by National commission for Justice and Peace, 74 per cent of minority women living in Pakistan faced sexual harassment during 2010 and 2011, respectively, whereas 43 per cent complained about facing religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods.

Moreover the report also proved that 68.4 per cent of non-Muslim women have no political participation which according to Brohi evidently signifies the mistrust of minority women in the political system primarily because it does not offer significant assistance to them.

Forced conversions

With forced conversions and kidnappings for ransom on the rise, many non-Muslims have fled Pakistan to seek refuge abroad.

Mangla Sharma, Chairperson of Pak-Hindu Welfare association said, “forced conversions and blasphemy laws affect non-Muslims of Pakistan at every level. In fact it will not be unwise to say that legislation and laws are manipulated to favour the majority,”

Continue reading Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

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Demands of Canadians – Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

The CPC (Ontario) has condemned the Ontario Budget, delivered yesterday, as a massive attack on working people and the poor that will destroy tens of thousands of jobs, drive down wages, pensions, incomes and living standards, and which, combined with the austerity measures in Thursday’s federal budget, could push the province into another deep economic recession.

The Executive Committee of the CPC (Ontario) also warned that the threat of legislated wage controls is a dangerous attack on free collective bargaining and on civil and democratic rights.

Continue reading Demands of Canadians – Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

Hindus in Pakistan have experienced harsh, brutal, and severely inhumane living conditions since the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Kidnappings, physical and psychological torture, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages of young Hindu girls to Muslim men, lack of police protection, bonded labor, and religious-based discrimination has become the norm for our Hindu brothers and sisters who chose not to leave Sindh after the partition of India. Of late the rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan has created a viciously hostile environment, choking Hindus of their basic rights to live in the land of their forefathers.

Many of you may have heard about the case of Rinkel Kumari, a teen Hindu girl from the town of Mirpur Mathelo who was kidnapped on February 24, 2012. Rinkel’s case is quickly gaining media attention in Pakistan and around the world – not because it is shockingly rare – but because it is one of several recent cases in which young Hindu girls were kidnapped, tortured, forcibly converted to Islam under the mandate of a Mullah, and immediately forced to marry a Muslim man. Notably, the man behind Rinkel’s abduction – Mian Abdul Haq (aka Mian Mithu) – is a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Her abduction by a MNA of the ruling political party in Pakistan clearly highlights a case of state-sponsored terrorism. Moreover, the same week Rinkel was kidnapped three other Hindu girls were kidnapped and underwent the same harassment, conversion, and forced marriage including a physician who worked at a prestigious hospital in Karachi. The female physician, Dr. Lata, was forcibly married to a Muslim man who already kidnapped and converted 5 Hindu wives previously. Since Rinkel was kidnapped just over two weeks ago dozens of other Hindu girls in Sindh have been either kidnapped or are reported missing.

Continue reading ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

A Hostage in Pakistan Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., is living under house arrest. The reason? He offended the country’s military.

By MIRA SETHI, Islamabad, Pakistan

There are forces in Pakistan that want us to live in fear—fear of external and internal enemies.” So warns Husain Haqqani, until November Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington and now a de facto prisoner of the Pakistani generals whose ire he has provoked. “But just as the KGB and the Stasi did not succeed in suppressing the spirit of the Soviet and East German people, these forces won’t succeed in Pakistan in the long run, either.”

I am speaking to Mr. Haqqani in a spacious room in the official residence of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, where the 55-year-old former ambassador—wearing a cotton tunic, loose trousers and white rubber slippers—has been living for weeks, mainly for fear that he might be assassinated outside. The living arrangements may seem odd for those unfamiliar with Pakistan’s fractured politics. But his fear is not ill-founded.

Continue reading A Hostage in Pakistan Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., is living under house arrest. The reason? He offended the country’s military.

Real-Life Iron Man Suit Is Stronger, Faster Than Ever

U.S. military tech firm Raytheon is living the dream — as long as that dream involves donning a mechanical suit, smashing through thick pine boards and pressing a hundred kilos just for fun.

Meet the » XOS 2.

Read more: → http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/scitech/2010/09/28/iron-man-suit-exoskeleton-raytheon/#slide=10#ixzz1bFE0UqoY

 

 

Leave “The Crazies” alone Shehrbano!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I read the news while exploring the internet on my iPad, sitting at the airport on my way back home from our annual APPNA conference. The news said, “Shadab Qadri, the leader of Sunni Tehreek, said the politician’s daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, 21, must stop speaking out against blasphemy laws.” He said,

”We read the statement of the slain governor’s daughter in a newspaper. She should refrain from issuing such statements and must remember her father’s fate,”

I had just met Sherherbano Taseer a day before I read the news. She was invited to the APPNA conference to speak about the radicalization of Pakistani society. One thing I noticed about her was that she really does not say a word against blasphemy laws. All she keeps on saying is that these laws are being misused to settle personal scores against each other in Pakistan. Many intellectuals living in USA have seen and experienced the freedom of speech, and criticize the law itself. And of course, then we have our real religious scholars who tell you to not kill anyone using our Prophet (pbuh)’s name since it gives the Prophet pbuh a bad name.

One almost want to blame the religion for turning people in to crazy killers. This is what I did initially. But then the Sialkot incident happened in which the whole village got together and tortured two young boys to death. They were shown on TV. Over and over again. Villagers had iron rods. They pushed iron rods in to young boys’ eyes. They removed Mugheez’s pants to hit on his sensitive parts, so it would hurt more. They literally crushed those boys and they made their faces unrecognizable pieces of minced meat.

Then the incident happened in which almost six Pakistani rangers got together and shot a young unarmed boy, and then let him bleed to death. Ah, the site of fresh flowing blood! Nothing better and exciting! And then of course the incident in Multan happened, in which a group of students beat a journalist to death while “protesting” for their rights of some sort.

Religion really was not involved in all these incidents mentioned above. I know what has happened to Pakistan. You would know too if you watched a movie called “The Crazies”.

If you have not seen the movie, please rent it tonight and watch it. In the movie, a virus was dropped over a town as a biochemical weapon. Whoever got infected with that virus became a crazy killer for no reason. People started killing their own families after getting infected with that virus. They loved the sight of fresh flowing red blood. They enjoyed stabbing iron rods through the living humans, just like the village people did to Mugheez and Muneeb.

Seems to me that a virus has infected people of Pakistan too in to being “The Crazies”.

And government and judiciary is incompetent. It’s the lack of rule of law. There is absolute anarchy in Pakistan and no one gets punished for their crimes. Law is unable to punish the killers. Rulers are unable to punish the killers. Shazia Masih’s killer, who tortured her to death, was found “not guilty”.

Muslims who burnt the Christians alive in Gojra were released due to the lack of evidence and witnesses. So, really, there is no reason for people to stop their behavior. I am surprised that killings are limited to only a few a week and people are not looting and killing each other constantly like they did during partition. And like they showed in the movie “The Crazies”

Once Crazies get infected with a virus like that, there is no way to stop them. They have to kill and be killed. It has to happen. Roads have to be red with blood. I would advise my younger Pakistani sister Shehrbano to stay away from the crazies though. Once Taseers and Asias are not there, Qadris would go after each other, and there would be nothing left but fresh flowing blood and shattered pieces of fresh human meat.

Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host. Wants justice and equality for all.

Courtesy:→ WICHAAR.COM

Britain: Royal wedding exposes deep class divisions

by Alan Woods

On Friday 29 April the people of Britain will be invited to participate in the joyful celebration of the marriage of Mr. William Windsor and Ms. Katherine Middleton. At the same time that the government is cutting billions from unnecessary extravagances such as hospitals, schools, teachers, nurses, the old and the sick, the unemployed and single parents, the Coalition has had the good sense to spend a lot of money on something as essential to the Public Good as the nuptials of Willy and Kate.

One can see many advantages in this. At a time of falling living standards for everyone who is not either a member of the royal family or a banker, it can take the minds of the British public off unpleasant thoughts of unpaid debts and unemployment. It might even make them forget the recent mass demonstration that brought half a million of them onto the streets of London to protest the vicious cuts being implemented by the ruling Conservative-Lib-Dem Coalition. …

Read more : Marxist.com

ISLAMABAD: Population by mother tongue

According to the statistics of Population and Census Organization, Government of Pakistan the percentage of people living in Islamabad based on mother tongue is: (Urdu  10.11), (Punjabi 71.66), (Sindhi o.56), (Pashto 9.52), (Balochi 0.06), (Saraiki 1.11), (others 6.98)
From these figures it is clear who gets high benefits from Islamabad? Wouldn’t it be fair that provinces give their share to federal institutes located at Islamabad based on their population? Are the people of Islamabad more poor to have highest number of public institutes and services as compared to rest of the populace of the country?

For more details : statpak.gov.pk

Skin diseases make lives a living hell in Sindh

Rare skin disease makes a family’s life a living hell

Report: Imran Soomro

According to residents of Tahir Bhatti village near Daharki, the man tried to set himself and his children on fire. Residents rushed to his house when they heard the children’s screams and saved the family from a gory death. “I cannot watch my little children in such pain,” said the father, “Death is better than such existence.” Bhatti said his children cannot sleep in the night or even sit because of their pain. “All day they just keep standing,” he said. The children, 11-year-old Yasmin, eight-year-old Naseema, seven-year-old Fahad and one-year-old Sohrab, have been afflicted with a skin disease for as long as Bhatti can remember. Bhatti is a daily-wage labourer. Having no means to get medical help for his children, he has no choice but to watch his children become sicker. …

Read more >> The Sindh Telegraph

Dams upriver hurting people living downstream

VOICES FROM MEKONG

By – ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT

When 42-year-old Zhang Chun Shan, a Chinese farmer-cum-activist , told a public forum in Bangkok this week that he was unaware of the negative impact his great nation’s hydropower projects have caused to neighbouring countries downstream, a hundred participants understood him.

“I feel sorry for you; the downstream communities have problems with their fisheries and floods [after the dam construction] but we upstream people face the problems of soil erosion and villagers’ relocation,” said Mr Zhang, director of Lijiang City Environmental Volunteer Organisation.
The forum, entitled “Mekong Mainstream Dams: Voices Across Borders” was held last week at Chulalongkorn University.
How could the Chinese people know of the suffering of people in other countries? They do not even know about the hardships of their compatriots. “Because the local and central governments never tell anyone how we – communities affected by dams – are suffering,” mourned Mr Zhang, who comes from Yunnan province.
Niwat Roykeow, a former headmaster of Chiang Khong School in Chiang Rai province, accused the Chinese dams – Manwan, Dachaoshan and Jinghong – of causing the heaviest floods in Chiang Saen in four decades last August.
“At least three districts have yet to recoup the financial loss of 85 million baht, not to mention the heartbreak of being fooled by authorities that dams help prevent flooding, serve agriculture and produce electricity, ” said the 47-year-old Niwat.
He called on China to take responsibility for the suffering of the downstream people and urged the lower-Mekong governments to be more collaborative with their own people in seeking compensation from the upstream nation.
China expert Vorasakdi Mahatdhanobol from Chulalongkorn University said that if China wants to rise gracefully and in a sustainable manner, Beijing needs to conduct an impartial study of its dams’ impact on the riparian countries and release it publicly.
But the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) chief executive officer Jeremy Bird argued that the MRC’s own study showed that the Chinese dams did not contribute to the flood; it was a natural event.
Montha Achariyakul, a community organiser in Bo Keo, Pongsali and Luang Prabang in Laos, said the Lao people did not believe rainfall was the cause.
“Headmen in northern Lao provinces warned their villagers that China would release more water from their dams. Despite the alert, a thousand households and their rice and corn fields were damaged,” said Ms Montha.
Montree Chantawong, from Thai People’s Network for Mekong, added that the MRC River Monitoring website still showed a “green sign” for Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong during the week of August 11-14 even though the area was inundated at that time.
The two-day seminar was not meant to talk about the already-built dams or to point the finger at any particular agency, but to raise awareness and plead for policy-makers at all levels, national and regional, and among international organisations as well as the private sector, to pay more attention to the voices of the people living along the river.
Participants were trying to forge a more concrete solidarity in order to hold future projects accountable to the people. Those projects are now at their doorstep.
Over the next few years, Laos is said to be constructing at least seven dams with a total electricity generating capacity of 7,470 megawatts, while another two Thai-Lao projects will see a total of 3,409mw dams. Cambodia will have a 980mw dam in Stung Treng and another 2,600mw dam in Sambor.
Investors from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam are reportedly involved in the projects at Pak Beng, Luang Prabang, Xayaburi, Xanakham, Lat Sua, Don Sahong in Laos, and at Pak Chom and Ban Koum along the Thai-Lao border, and two provinces in Cambodia.
The seminar also saw a strong argument regarding the impact on fish stocks in the world’s seventh largest river, if more dams were to be built mid- and downstream of the Mekong.
“The issue is not about what will happen to the fish, but to the people whose livelihood relies heavily on fishery along this river,” said Chris Barlow, from the MRC Fisheries Programme.
The Mekong has the world’s largest inland fishery with 1.5-3 million tonnes a year. In 2000 it was 2.6 million tonnes, said Mr Barlow, adding that the real fishery economy was estimated at US$2-3,000 million per annum.
The MRC fish expert noted that reservoir fisheries could not compensate for lost river fisheries and aquaculture could not be a full replacement for captured fishery due to the added costs and different beneficiaries.
Professor Philip Hirsch from the Australian Mekong Resource Centre said that unless the 1995 agreement that created the MRC was revised to include civil society voices and concerns into the government-dominate d process, future relations between the MRC and civil society would remain an unfruitful dispute.
Apart from the agreement amendment, the colossal task is to accommodate China’s entry into the sub-regional body, noted Mr Hirsch.
So the MRC, NGOs and other players needed to find ways to overcome the lack of meaningful engagement that has marked the past 13 years, he said.
Jonathan Conford of Oxfam Australia, took the Asian Development Bank to task for failing to live up to its pledges of poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and sustainability.
At the ADB’s annual meeting early this year, president Haruhido Kuroda listed as priorities in the ADB’s new long-term strategic commitment, more of the same agenda – infrastructure development, regional integration, private facilitation – all under the banner of inclusive growth, said Mr Conford.
But the weight of accumulating evidence in the Mekong Region, he said, is pointing to the need for a fundamental rethink of the GMS orthodoxies around infrastructure, growth and poverty alleviation.
“Sixteen years of accelerated infrastructure development and natural resource extraction have led to irrevocable damage to the region’s ecological systems and hugely growing disparities between the rich and the poor and between ethnic groups,” the Australian activist said.
Dr Sombath Somporn, the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay award recipient for community leadership, said Laos may consider itself as a battery of the region by supplying electricity to Southeast Asia, but for how long can it sustain this?
“We need to re-educate the young people that water and light are interlinked; if we use water unwisely or energy unwisely we will have none left. We should not consume till everything depletes.”
Dr Sombath also called for more corporate responsibility in implementing hydropower projects.
“Shareholders and board members of concerned agencies including the Mekong River Commission, and the Asian Development Bank should be held accountable to their noble pledges to fight against climate change. Stopping building or supporting construction of the non-EIA-checked dams is one way to help prevent global warming,” he said.
He suggested that maybe it was time for ecological degradation to be accounted into the monetary cost of carrying out a project.
Courtesy and Thanks: Bangkokpost.com
http://www.bangkokpost.com/141108_News/14Nov2008_news21.php