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Strike across Balochistan cities against ‘racial profiling’

by Muhammad Akbar Notezai in Dawn, March 11th, 2017
QUETTA: A strike was observed in the provincial capital on Friday on the call of the Awami National Party (ANP) against the arrest and torture of Pakhtuns in various cities of Punjab and in Karachi.

Shops, markets, shopping plazas and business centres remained closed in main areas of the city. However, on the outskirts of Quetta, business remained as usual.

The local authorities had taken strict security measures and deployed a heavy contingent of police and Frontier Corps to avert any untoward incident during the strike.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, ANP’s Balochistan president Muham­mad Asghar Achakzai and deputy opposition leader in the provincial assembly Zamarak Khan Piralizai claimed that a complete strike was observed in Quetta, Pishin, Qila Abdullah, Chaman and Loralai.

They strongly condemned the “racial profiling” of Pakhtuns and their arrest in Punjab.<....... Read more

March 11, 2017   No Comments

Haqqania seminary seeks university status:

By Sohail Khattak in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2017.
PESHAWAR: Authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administration of Darul Uloom Haqqania on Friday discussed the possibility of granting university status to the seminary.

Located in Nowshera district, the seminary is currently run by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami chief Maulana Samiul Haq.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the issue was discussed by K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Maulana Hamidul Haq — the administrator and son of Maulana Samiul Haq — during a meeting held at the assembly building.

“Both the modalities and programmes of the university will be discussed in the next meetings,” said an official present during the meeting. The speaker has asked the K-P higher education department to be present at the next meeting with all relevant records.

The official said K-P’s Higher Education Minister Mushtaq Ghani and secretary, who were not present during....... Read more

March 11, 2017   No Comments

Pakistan: The land of bigotry, misogyny and violence with blasphemy allegations as its raison d’etre

by Saima Baig in The Nation blogs,March 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm
The author is a Karachi-based environmental economist, climate change consultant and a freelance writer.
Here is what has happened this week in the land of the pure. A politician (from PTI) punched another one (from PML-N) for calling his leader a traitor. In response, the first politician stood in front of the media and made allegations against his harasser’s sisters. That’s violence and misogyny taken care of, within a space of 24 hours.

Let’s move on to a few days before that. It seems that our judiciary is in need of special hugs because one of its members, a judge in the Islamabad High Court, professed to weeping inconsolably when he reads anything against his religion on social media. He wants the government to ensure that “blasphemers” are put on Pakistan’s pride and joy: the Exit Control List. One wonders why you would want anyone who you think has made fun of your rel....... Read more

March 11, 2017   No Comments

Senate slams blasphemous content on social media

By Iftikhar A. Khan in Dawn, March 11th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The Sen­ate unanimously adopted on Friday a resolution condemning the blasphemous content circulating on social media and seeking exemplary punishment for those behind it.

The resolution asked the government to act under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code against those uploading the objectionable material on social media. The government was also asked to put in place a regular mechanism to check circulation of such material on social networking sites in the country.

The resolution, moved by Kamil Ali Agha of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, was endorsed by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan.

Pointing out that Pakistan was the only country in the world to have been carved out in the name of Islam, the resolution said the Constitution of the country guaranteed respect for all prophets, all sacred personalities of Islam, the last Prophet....... Read more

March 11, 2017   No Comments

Pushing MQM-P towards PSP: by Mazhar Abbas in the News, March 11, 2017

In the post-August 22 scenario when the MQM-Pakistan distanced itself from the MQM-London and MQM founder Altaf Hussain for his anti-Pakistan slogans, it expected a favourable response but was disappointed by both Pindi and Islamabad which still ‘suspect’ it to be a silent supporter of London.

The MQM-P feared that some quarters are trying to push it towards the PSP and using either arm-twisting tactics on their workers to change their loyalties or killing them in extrajudicial encounters. This fear is not different from the one repeatedly expressed by the MQM-London which had already sacked Dr Farooq Sattar, Aamir Khan, Faisal Sabzwari and Khwaja Izharul Hasan.

Now, how far these apprehensions are true and why there are no positive signals from the PML-N government despite certain assurances given by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar, in the last two or three months? Sources said that in the last two months, a....... Read more

March 11, 2017   No Comments

State tortured him ‘for pleasure’, says Pak activist

Report in The Nation, March 10, 2017
London – A liberal Pakistani activist who went missing earlier this year has said a “government institution” with links to the military held him and tortured him. Waqass Goraya, one of five activists who disappeared in early January, told the BBC he was tortured “for pleasure”.

The activists were freed after several weeks – but until now none of them has said who was behind their mistreatment. Pakistan’s army has previously denied any involvement in the case. There were vocal protests seeking their release.

Pakistan is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters and human rights activists, and critics of the powerful military have been detained, beaten or killed.

Waqass Goraya – who now lives in the Netherlands – told the BBC he had been tortured “beyond limits”. He described being punched, slapped and forced into stre....... Read more

March 10, 2017   No Comments

Nisar threatens to block all social media websites with ‘blasphemous content’

Islamabad: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Thursday threatened to block “all social media websites” that host blasphemous content hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the government to open an investigation into online blasphemy.

The issue came to the fore in January, when five activists were reported missing. Four of the missing activists were returned to their families weeks later, but not before they were tarnished by a virulent campaign to paint them as ‘enemies of Islam’.

On Thursday, the IHC ordered the government to open an investigation into online “blasphemy”, threatening to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content deemed insulting to Islam.

“We will go to any extent [including] permanently blocking all such social media websites if they refuse to cooperate,” the minister said in a statement.

No country can allow religious sentiments to be hurt or top state functiona....... Read more

March 10, 2017   No Comments

LeJ leads international terrorist organisations in Pakistan

by Imran Awan in daily times, 10-Mar-17
KARACHI: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a proscribed organization, left with only a 10 percent effective network has become the leader of international terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaida and TTP in the country, particularly in the port city of Karachi , the largest city of Sindh, and Quetta, the largest city of Baluchistan, officials involved in anti terrorist operations have revealed.

LeJ’s terror activities after many years of calm had resurfaced in the middle of last year, 2016, which drew attention of intelligence agencies as some of its key members were effectively neutralized.

The Organization is still the prime target of law enforcement agencies LEAs for its close liaison with banned “Jamat-ul-Ahrar”. Most of the organization’s activists have gone underground to escape arrests.

The officials claim that LeJ’s almost 90 percent network has been disabled by eliminating its top le....... Read more

March 10, 2017   No Comments

How strong is Islamic State in Pakistan?

By Imdad Hussain in The Express Tribune, Mar 10, 2017
The writer is an Islamabad-based journalist specialising in diplomatic and security issues.
Security forces have successfully busted several attempts by Islamic State to establish itself in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, but their continued activities in Pakistan show the threat they pose is as real as it gets.

The militant organisation, originally based in the Syria-Iraq region, recently claimed responsibility for the attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan, which killed over 80 people. Last year, it had taken responsibility for an attack on the police academy in Quetta.

Islamic State was not considered dangerous until it located itself in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan’s tribal areas. It announced its formal establishment in January 2015 and since then has expanded its influence in the war-torn country by launching attacks in Jalalabad and Kabul and by making alliances....... Read more

March 10, 2017   No Comments

Time to get tough: By Zamir Akram in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2017.

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan.
Pakistan today is in peril. Over 10 days renewed terrorist attacks across the country have claimed more than 150 lives. Confrontation is escalating with India and Afghanistan, who are promoting terrorism and insurgency in Pakistan while accusing Islamabad of instigating terrorism against them. Their strategic partner, the US, has joined this chorus to cover up for its own failure in Afghanistan and to build up an alliance for containing China with the immediate shared objective to de-rail CPEC. Our forbearance and restraint has only encouraged greater aggression. To defeat these machinations, the time has come for us to get tough — but only through a comprehensive, calculated and calibrated response.

First, we need to put our own house in order. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations — sectarian, ethnic, criminal — must be eliminated from its roots and branches. The writ of State must be enforced....... Read more

March 10, 2017   No Comments