Tag Archives: victims

Pakistan tragedy: The killing of newborn girls

Killing of infants on the rise in Pakistan

By Reza Sayah, CNN

Karachi, Pakistan (CNN) — At a morgue in Pakistan’s largest city, five linen pouches — each the size of a loaf of bread — line the shelf of a walk-in freezer. Wrapped inside each small sack is the corpse of an infant.

The babies are victims of what one relief agency calls Pakistan’s worst unfolding tragedy — the killing and dumping of newborns.

“Sometimes they hang them and sometimes they kill by the knife, and sometimes we find bodies which have been burned,” said Anwar Kazmi, a manager at Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest privately run social service and relief agency.

Records at Edhi Foundation show more than 1,200 newborns were killed and dumped in Pakistan last year, an increase of about 200 from the previous year.

Families view many of these children as illegitimate in a culture that condemns those born outside of marriage.

Statistics show roughly nine out of 10 are baby girls, which families may consider too costly to keep in a country where women frequently are not allowed to work. …

Read more : → CNN

Almost in every 2 hours a woman is raped in Pakistan. Yet, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami insists she not report her rape to police

The Jamat-e-Islami, and rape

by Usmann Rana

A viral video of Ameer Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Munawwar Hassan defending the silence over the rape of women and condoning imprisonment of female rape victims if they fail to produce four male witnesses in accordance with the Hudood Ordinance, has deeply outraged many sane people in Pakistan.

According to Hassan, if a woman cannot produce four male witnesses present at the time of her rape, she be imprisoned based on Hudood Ordinance and Shariah Law. This, he claims is in the best interest of women who are raped so if she fails to produce the witnesses she ought to refrain from filing an FIR altogether.

According to Hassan, somehow, it is in the best interest of the society for a woman to stay silent after being raped, while the perpetrator roams free.

I can’t help wonder if the leader would preach silence if a member of his family was attacked.

In the video, the Ameer inexplicably labels the Women’s Protection Bill as an effort to spread “vulgarity, nudity and shamelessness” in Pakistan, while demanding the seemingly intimidated anchor quote verses from the Holy Quran, who eventually has to descend into a monologue to prove his own Islamic credentials before being able to propose an argument to defend raped women. Interestingly, the Ameer himself fails to present any Quranic verse or Hadith to back his views.

The repugnant manner in which the host of the talk show is dismissed, and labeled an infidel for challenging the Holy Quran and Hadith, is a classic example of moral policing by self righteous Muslims in the country, who are masters at evading rationality.

I sincerely hope these morally, self righteous people read Maheen Usmani’s piece titled ‘Why the deafening silence after rape’ which cites horrific facts about rape in Pakistan including “Situation of Violence against Women in Pakistan 2010” by Aurat Foundation, according to which  a total of 4,069 cases occurred in Pakistan last year.

Every two hours, a woman is raped in Pakistan and every eight hours, gang raped. And after all this, we are confronted with the reality that in this land, where the taste of justice for many is nothing but bland and vapid, 70 per cent of the crimes against women go unreported.

But how silly of those supporting the Women’s Protection Bill to seek greater freedom and protection of women in a society suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder regarding female sexuality, and the shame/honour dichotomy. The last thing then this country needs is rights for some 51 per cent of population. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

Don’t need non-Muslims to kill Muslims

Insurgents suffer bloody reprisals

By Cyril Almeida

QUETTA: A deadly campaign of killings in Baloch areas has driven a low-level insurgency in Balochistan further underground, curtailing insurgent attacks in the province but raising fears that a new generation of Baloch youth may embrace separatist violence.Since June last year, the bodies of approximately 170 Baloch men aged between 20 and 40 have been recovered, victims of the so-called ‘kill and dump’ operations. …

Read more: → DAWN.COM

Women can’t be trusted

By Sami Shah

Excerpt:

Those western-imperialist-baby-eating-drone-flying-war-mongers are at it again. Tarnishing the image of this noble and pure nation of ours. Don’t they know that their propaganda cannot work here? That all their vile and blatant attempts are doomed to failure? Has no one told them that all Pakistani’s are born with a thin layer of an anti-Pakistan narrative filtering gauze over our ears that only thickens with time? Haven’t they heard that we Pakistanis cannot be anything but shining paragons of humanly virtue because we put “Islamic” in the full title of our country? Clearly not. How else can one justify the base lies and vile falsehoods in this latest report independently published by the Thompson Reuters Foundation. The clear work of a group of Jewish bankers sitting in the basement of the Bilderberg headquarters while taking time out from scuffing the shoes of their Hindu-Illuminatis masters, the report alleges that Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women.

Surely the claims that 1,000 women and girls are victims of honour killings every year and that 90 per cent of Pakistani women suffer domestic abuse are pure fantasy fiction. No doubt, they were paid off by India to say this, although not paid enough to prevent India from appearing one spot below us on that same list. Besides, have you ever seen American television? The women wear the kind of clothes that should be relegated to lurid descriptions by maulvis who are trying to inspire the next batch of suicide bombers. At least we don’t let our women dress like that! That has to count for something? ….

…. In fact, just stop paying attention to us altogether. Just leave us alone, in the dark.

Read more: → The Express Tribune

This torture confirms the worst fears that torture and massacres in Pakistan are encouraged by superiors, and they are not isolated incidents

Kharotabad shooting incident: Police surgeon tortured

QUETTA: Dr Baqir Shah, the police surgeon who conducted autopsy on the victims of Kharotabad shooting incident has been attacked in Quetta.

According to the Express 24/7 correspondent in Quetta, Muhammad Kazim said that Dr Shah was visiting a restaurant on prince road when up to 10 people pulled up outside and dragged the surgeon out. As the men tried to drag the doctor away to their vehicles, he put up resistance, upon which the men beat him up. His wounds were so severe that he had to be rushed to the civil hospital.

Earlier in the day, Dr Shah had recorded his statement in the ongoing tribunal on the Kharotabad killing incident in which five foreigners were gunned down at a check post by police and FC personnel on suspicion that they were armed suicide bombers.

In his testimony, Dr Shah confirmed that all the victims had died of gunshot wounds from the police and FC weapons fired from a distance of 50 – 60 feet, instead of a hand grenade as claimed by the police. This is one of the incriminating evidences pointing towards gross negligence of the police and FC personnel.

The victims, a five member party of men and women of Russian and Tajik nationality, were unarmed. An inquiry report presented to the Parliamentary committee on the killings also said that none of the victims had fired a shot, and that FC personnel injured in the incident had been struck by bullets fired by other FC personnel and police.

The inspector general of police has taken notice of the incident and has suspended the SHO of Gawalmandi.

Correction: The above story carried an error that up to ten police mobiles had pulled up. The correct version reads that up to ten people had attacked the surgeon. The mistake is regretted.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

The success of the Sindh Caucus in US Congress

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

…. I feel proud that the Sindhis have chosen non-violent and democratic methods to promote their rights instead of going on the path of armed struggle like our Baloch brothers and sisters. …

…. Congressman Brad Sherman organized the first ever congressional hearing on the enormous loss suffered by Sindhis in recent floods and wrote formal letters to US Aid officials and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He urged them to ensure that the US aid also reached the flood victims in Sindh. At the urging of a Sindhi-American supporter, he confronted the Pakistani Ambassador in USA about why so few native Sindhis were employed at the Pakistani Embassy in the USA. He publicly acknowledged that he never received a satisfactory answer to this question from Pakistani ambassador.

Less than two weeks ago, Congressman Dan Burton wrote to the President of Pakistan expressing concern about the enforced disappearances and other forms of unlawful detention focusing on the disappearance of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto. The letter says “… I and my congressional colleagues are hearing more and more stories, particular centering on alleged human rights violations against Baloch and Sindh ethnic peoples, including numerous women and children.” …..

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

Fanatics kill 8 in attack on UN workers in Afghanistan; two beheaded as mob chants “Islam is religion of peace”

Seven killed in worst-ever attack on UN workers in Afghanistan

Seven United Nations workers have been executed in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, two of them by beheading, by demonstrators protesting the burning of a Koran at a church in Florida.

By Dean Nelson, New Delhi and Farhad Peikar in Kabul

The victims of the worst-ever attack on UN personnel in Afghanistan included five guards from Nepal, and civilian staff from Norway, Sweden and Romania. Four local residents were also killed.

UN officials told The Daily Telegraph the final toll could rise as high as 20, and there were unconfirmed reports that the head of the United Nations Military Assistance Mission (Unama) in Mazar-e-Sharif had also been seriously injured …

Read more : The Telegraph.co.uk

‘Flood-hit women abandoned by govt, relief agencies

SINDH: KARACHI – The worst victims of the last year’s flood have been the women of the province as the government and other relief agencies did not give them priority while their issues still remain largely unaddressed.

This was pointed out by speakers at a dialogue held on women rights hosted by women wing of Sindhi Association of North America. SANA vice-president Noor Nisa Ghanghro presided over the session, which was attended by a large number of political and women rights’ activists.

The speakers emphasised that all poverty-alleviation programmes must address the gender poverty issue while particularly focusing on rural women

Expressing grave concern over a recent report from the flood-hit areas of Sindh that over a million rural women were suffering from blood anaemia, they demanded that the authorities concerned should take the issue seriously and immediately help the womenfolk of the province. …

Read more : Pakistan Today

‘Davis released in accordance with Shariah law’: Now why are they upset? What’s their morality & legality & how can they demonstrate against the Islamic Shariah law, protesting against Qasas & diyat, sounds like blasphemy according to their own rules. Otherwise liberel forces have always demanded review of these kind of laws.

Davis released in accordance with Shariah law

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the payment of blood money (Diyat) in accordance with Shariah Law.

Speaking on or show on PTV, she said that it was the federal government had already taken the stance that the matter would be decided by the court of law.

She said that according to the settlement, the families of the Lahore shooting victims pardoned Davis, after receiving the blood money.

The minister said that the Raymond Davis case was registered and carried out in the Punjab court and Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah verified the settlement as well.

“If he speaks against his own party’s policy or decision, It was his legal right”, she remarked. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Davis started weeping after he was released from jail and seemed to be in a state of trauma

Davis weeps after release, say reports

LAHORE: Raymond Davis was immediately taken to the US consulate after being released by a Pakistan court on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

The CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistani men was freed from prison after the United States paid ”blood money” to the victims’ families, Pakistani officials said.

Sources in American Embassy told DawnNews that the US was in contact with all the stake holders and it followed rules and regulations for Davis’s release.

Davis started weeping after he was released from jail and seemed to be in a state of trauma, said sources.

He was also given medicines along with counseling and therapy sessions that were carried out in the consulate by the American doctors.

Davis afterwards left for the US because he wanted to reunite with his family and not stay in Pakistan any longer, said sources.

Courtesy: DAWN

Blood money’ frees CIA contractor Davis in Pakistan

Excerpt:

Islamabad: The Raymond Davis saga finally seemed to come to a conclusion on Wednesday after a Pakistan court acquitted the US diplomat-cum- CIA contractor as the relatives of the victims agreed to accept blood money in exchange for pardon.

American CIA contractor Raymond Allen Davis has been in jail since Jan. 27 after he was arrested on the account of shooting and killing two Pakistanis. His detention was known to seriously strain the US-Pak relations.

Shortly after Additional District and Sessions Judge Yousuf Aujla indicted Davis on murder charges during in-camera proceedings at the Kot Lakhpat Jail, 18 relatives of the dead men appeared in the makeshift court and said they were willing to forgive the American if compensation was paid under the Qisas and Diyat Law.

“The relatives appeared in court and independently told the judge that they had accepted the diyat (compensation) and forgiven him,” said Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab province. …

… Sources said that the Saudi Arabian government played a key role in secret negotiations to arrange the “blood money” deal to settle Davis’ case, which had resulted in Pakistan-US ties plunging to a new low.

The Saudi royal family played a key role in convincing Pakistan’s radical groups and religious hardliners to agree to the deal, the sources said.

Read more : ZeeeNews

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Saudis come to Raymond’s rescue! – [More detail -BBC urdu]

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Courtesy: Dunya TV (Cross Fire with Mehar Bukhari, 16 March 2011-1)

via- Siasat.pkYou Tube

This is how the poor people of Pakistan subsidized the Millionaire/ Billionaire ruling elite of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Federal Assembly Canteen price list: Tea Rs.1.00, Chicken Soup Rs.5.50, Dal Rs.1.50, Meals Rs.2.00, Chappati Rs.1.00, Dosa Rs.4.00, Veg Briyani Rs.8.00, Fish Rs.13.00. The language of the program is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: Dunya TV (Program Hasb e Haal with Sohail Ahmed, Junaid Saleem and Najia Baig)

You Tube

PAKISTAN: Two more disappeared persons are extrajudicially killed in Balochistan to destroy evidence of abduction by law enforcement agencies

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the bodies of two disappeared persons have been found in a remote area. The bodies bore bullet wounds and marks of torture. Both victims were abducted from Karachi, Sindh province at different times but their bodies were found together 500 kilometers near the Gwader district, Balochistan province. Both the bodies were lying side by side in an abandoned place. It was witnessed that both were abducted by persons in uniformed and in plain clothes that identified themselves to the onlookers as being from the state security agencies.

Disappearances in Balochistan have become the routine work of the Frontier Corps (FC) and state intelligence agencies. Since last year the law enforcement authorities have introduced a new trend in which they kill the disappeared person extra judicially so as to destroy any possible evidence of their involvement. …

Read more : AHRC

Robert Fisk: The crimewave that shames the world

It’s one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of ‘honour’. Nor is the problem confined to the Middle East: the contagion is spreading rapidly.

It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the “honour” of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women’s groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations’ latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe. ….

Read more : The Independent.co.uk

Long live the people, fighting for the democracy, freedom and justice

Bahrain protests: Angry mourners bury clashes victims

France announced on Friday it had suspended exports of security equipment bound for Bahrain and Libya, where protests have also been suppressed by the authorities.

The BBC’s Caroline Hawley in Manama: “I saw men with tears in their eyes

Thousands of people have been voicing anger against Bahrain’s authorities at the funerals of victims of Thursday’s clashes which left four dead.

Crowds attending Friday prayers joined the funeral processions, calling for the overthrow of the ruling family. …

Read more : BBC

Anna Yablonskaya

Anna Yablonskaya (July 20, 1981(1981-07-20) – January 24, 2011(2011-01-24)) was born Anna Grigorievna Mashutina (Russian: А́нна Григо́рьевна Машу́тина) in Odessa USSR (now Ukraine). She was a Russian-language playwright and poet, and one of the victims of 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing.

Under the pseudonym Anna Yablonskaya (Russian: А́нна Ябло́нская) Yablonskaya published over a dozen playscripts. Many of them were staged at venues in Russia, in particular, in St. Petersburg — the last city she visited just a month before her death. Since 2004 Yablonskaya received several awards in different literary and dramatic events in Russia (Moscow, Yekaterinburg) and Byelorussia (Minsk)[2]. She also wrote a series of lyrical poems.[3]

Half an hour before the explosion Yablonskaya arrived in Moscow on a flight from Odessa to attend the presentation ceremony as one of the 2010 winners of the award established by the Cinema Art magazine.

Read more : Wikipedia – More details : BBC urdu

Pakistan Today Is Better Than It Was 20 Years Ago

by Farid Ahmad
Sitting in the middle of load-shedding, watching the political theater roll-on ad infinitum, and reading the news of another security incident somewhere, it is easy to be depressed about Pakistan these days.

Depression, however, is parasitic.

It jumps from person to person and grows in strength unless treated. It makes you weak and vulnerable  and sometimes it is necessary to break the circle. Yes, Pakistan is going through very tough times, but there is no reason to throw all hope to the wind and to start denying the things that are going right  and a lot has gone right in the past twenty or so years.

First, the necessary disclaimer: The intention here is not to sweep Pakistan’s problems under the rug or to try and rationalize away the immense suffering of the victims of recent violence and economic turmoil. There is no doubt that things have taken a very serious turn in recent months and millions of people are paying a heavy price every day.

With that disclaimer in place, here’s a collection of things that I have seen change for the better in my life in Pakistan – from high-school in the eighties to today.

It is necessarily a very personal list, though others might be able to relate to some of it. Traveling apart, I’ve spent my life living in Islamabad and Lahore and my memories are naturally specific to these places. So again, I’m fully conscious of the fact that not everyone can relate to or agree with my attempt at optimism.

But even if I come across as being overly optimistic, it is only to counter those who are becoming unnecessarily pessimistic.

Maybe you have your own stories, your own inspirations, your own rays of hope that keep you going… these are mine. And I share them with the hope that they will help someone else break out of the circle of pessimism.

Roads: 1989: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad was an ordeal on the mostly single-lane, badly maintained GT road.
2010: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad is a pleasure on the motorway. And it is not just this one road, a lot of roads have been added to the network or improved. I know people in my office in Islamabad who routinely drive to Karachi with their families. We need many more roads – but we have certainly not been sitting idle.

Communications: 1989: Calling from Islamabad to Lahore meant going to the market to a PCO, telling the guy to book a 3-minute call and waiting around till it got connected. Even if you had an STD line at home, your fingers were likely to get sore from dialing before you got connected. And once the call was connected you watched the clock like a hawk as it was so expensive.
2010: Instant, cheap calls worldwide for everyone from cellular phones.

Internet: 1995: I was first introduced to the wonders of Email in 1995. It was an offline ‘store and forward’ system (remember those @sdnpk email addresses?) . If you sent a mail in the morning, it reached in the evening when your Email provider called USA on a direct line to forward it.
2010: Broadband, DSL, WiMax, Dialup, Cable – instant connectivity for everyone. More generally, I’ve gone thru a series of denials about the adoption of new technologies in Pakistan. I went through thinking that cellular phones would never gain widespread adoption – I was wrong; that internet would remain a niche – I was wrong; that broadband would never take off here – I was wrong; that Blackberry would never be adopted – I was wrong. Here I speak from some experience as I work for a cellular company and I’ve seen all these numbers grow exponentially. The fact is that Pakistan and Pakistanis love technology and are eager to adopt and adapt the latest technologies as soon as they become available. With its huge population, this creates a large market for every new technology in Pakistan and businesses rush in to fill it. This bodes well for the future. ….

Read more : Pakistaniat

Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Condemned the religious intolerance and human rights violations in Pakistan

HOUSTON, TX, USA. Tens of hundreds of Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 15, 2011 to commemorate the 107th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of the Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.

Sindh is home to the ancient Indus (Sindhu) Valley civilization and is now a unit of Pakistan. A vibrant Sindhi-American community numbering in the tens of thousands lives in various U.S. cities. More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by security establishment of the country and its religious extremist reactionary ideology.

Continue reading Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

US court summons ISI chief in Mumbai terror case

Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) A US court has summoned top officials of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as also the alleged masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in response to a case filed by relatives of two American victims.

Summons were issued by a New York court to ISI’s powerful chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials, as also Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a Brooklyn court last week by family members of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who were among the 166 people killed during the attack. Their son Moshe was saved by his Indian nanny in the tragedy. …

Read more : thaindianNews

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For more details : BBC urdu

Abuses by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) against both Bangladeshi and Indian nationals

“Trigger Happy” – Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border

81-page report documents the situation on the border region, where both Bangladesh and India have deployed border guards to prevent infiltration, trafficking, and smuggling. Human Rights Watch found numerous cases of indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, and killings by the security force, without adequate investigation or punishment. The report is based on over 100 interviews with victims, witnesses, human rights defenders, journalists, and Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles’ (BDR) members.

Read more : Human Rights Watch

Women in fear: Rape cases soar across Pakistan

Every morning when I leave for work, I feel uncomfortable. The constant nagging of recent (and increasing) news items of rapes in Pakistan makes me feel insecure. I fear for the vulnerability of my sisters in different parts of the city, attending lectures in college halls, making rounds in hospital wards, traveling in school vans, waiting at the bus stop or spending an evening with an aunt or uncle.

And my fear is not just confined to my sisters. It expands its ugly claws for every woman, all over the country. It takes the shape of a pitying monster whenever I wonder about the fate of the victims and the consequences that they will have to live with, and in most cases, die for. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Poorest of Poor

Drowning humanitarian aid – by Christopher Stokes
Barely hidden beneath the surface of Pakistan’s worst flooding in living memory were the geopolitical stakes shaping both the justifications for official Western assistance and how aid was delivered to victims of the disaster. The perverse result may be a further restricting of the ability of humanitarian aid workers to assist the Pakistani population in the most volatile areas of the country.  ….
…..  The people I saw in the camps in the flood-devastated region of Sindh last week are the poorest of the poor. They had very little and lost everything. Their children are now filling our malnutrition treatment centers. They deserve to be helped ….
To read full article : ForeignPolicy

Politics in Karachi get down & dirty – please do not kill each other!

No let-up in Karachi killings; toll 33

By S. Raza Hassan

KARACHI: As many as 33 people lost their lives and 50 were injured in incidents of violence in different parts of the city in 30 hours till Sunday midnight.

Five vehicles, including a car belonging to the DawnNews, were set ablaze at Safoora Chowk on late Saturday night. City Police Chief Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari said around 30 people had fallen victims to targeted killings.

In reply to a question about ethnic profiles of the victims, the CCPO said they belonged to different groups.

Read more : DAWN

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Courtesy: NewsBeat (Meher Bukhari, Oct. 19, 2010)

via – SiasatLink

Sindh Flood Crisis

Munawar Laghari

SAPAC Celebrates First Anniversary Banquet, Congressmembers and Policy Experts Speak on Sindhi-American Political Engagement and Sindh Flood Crisis

Washington, DC- September 25, 2010- The Sindhi American Political Action Committee celebrated its first year in DC politics with a banquet dinner and speaker’s program Thursday, September 23rd at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Continue reading Sindh Flood Crisis

Sorrows of Flood Victims in Sindh (Pakistan) Resonate at Capitol Hill

Sorrows of Flood Victims in Sindh (Pakistan) Resonate at Capitol Hill

Advocacy by Sindhi Americans on Behalf of Sindhi Victims of Flood

By: Khalid Hashmani

Washington D.C. – Last week, the Americans of Sindhi descend and their supporters went all out to create awareness about the plight of flood victims in Sindh (Pakistan) in Washington DC circles. There were several events in Washington D.C. on Wednesday (September 22) and Thursday (September 23) that focused on the devastation and destruction caused by recent floods upon the people of Sindh. The primary goal and objectives of these activities were to appeal to American people for their generous donations to flood relief effort and to draw their attention to the attempts by Pakistani establishment to unfairly distribute international assistance among flood-affected provinces at the expense of Sindhi flood victims.

Dinner with Congressman Steve Kagen

Continue reading Sorrows of Flood Victims in Sindh (Pakistan) Resonate at Capitol Hill

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