The regional control freaks like Saudi/UAE Monarchies, Iranian Theocracy, Israeli Apartheid regime and Syrian Dictatorship felt threatened by the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in the region. It is interesting to see that these have their own conflicting interests but rise of a genuine movement was their common target.
These forces are in conflict with each other in Syria, Palestine and other parts of the region but for a rising democracy of middle east under the leadership an elected president Morsi, they decided to directly or indirectly collude with each other.
This shows big challenges for pro-democracy forces in the region especially if they belong to Islamic movements.
We wish best of luck to people who are opposing a military coup. For those who think that the anti-Morsi crowd in Tahrir square exercised their democratic right by demanding a coup and their large number provides moral justification of the coup. My question is: What about the millions who voted for him? It means anyone who can gather a big crowd on nations capital can practically impose their will on people living in other parts of the country. Egyptians will soon realize where they are heading and what fraud happened with them. The victory they achieved 2 years ago is lost as the control is in the hands of same forces now (just different faces). They should have waited for 3 years for next elections instead of calling military or accepting military coup.What about the millions who voted for him? It means anyone who can gather a big crowd on nations capital can practically impose their will on people living in other parts of the country. Egyptians will soon realize where they are heading and what fraud happened with them.
The victory pro-democracy and pro-freedom people achieved 2 years ago is lost as the control is in the hands of same forces now (just different faces). The fascist crowd should have waited for 3 years for next elections instead of calling military or accepting military coup.
Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message in UK–> A question mark on the concept of freedom of speech
It is remarkable to see the colors of hypocrisy in different societies. One such example can be seen in the home of world’s so called the best democracy in the world i.e. United Kingdom. On one hand they preach concepts of freedom and democracy to the whole world and even bomb them to achieve these objectives and on the other hand they punish teenage boy Azhar Ahmed for just writing some facebook message against the soldiers of British Army.
What a hypocrisy?
Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message
A teenager has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message following the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Azhar Ahmed, 19, of Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was charged with sending a grossly offensive communication.
He told Huddersfield Magistrates Court he accepted the message had been “unacceptable” but had denied it was “grossly offensive”.
Burmese Muslims under threat of extinction–> A thought proviking article by Tariq A. Al-Maeena of Saudi Gazette
We have been hearing some news about the massacre of Muslim minority community going on Burma but due to restrictions on media, not much is coming out. There have been some fake images circulating in the social media but that doesn’t make the real issue fake. Tariq A. Al-Maeena has tried to put some light in his article written for Saudi Gazette.
Burmese Muslims under threat of extinction
Tariq A. Al-Maeena
While most of the media’s attention is focused on Syria, the state of the euro or the US presidential elections, very little is being said about state sponsored ethnic cleansing in Myanmar or Burma. Perhaps it is because the unfortunate victims happen to be Muslims and there are no strategic gains to be garnered by allying with them.
Ten Burmese Muslims on their way to a spiritual place of worship last month were attacked by a large number of Rakhine Buddhists who butchered and killed them with knives. Five others escaped. One man from the village where the attack took place said a mob of ethnic Rakhines set upon the bus carrying the pilgrims and carried out the massacre.
“More than a hundred people beat and killed those people. The residents even torched the bus,” he said, adding that the police arrived but were unable to control the baying crowd. “There are not many people at the scene now, only dead bodies on the road. The senior town residents are trying to comfort the people,” the man added. The Rakhine Buddhists are also threatening Muslims from the other towns of Rakhine state with the same fate.
There was a lot of fanfare and noise by the West on the repressions by the military regime against its people. The pressure by Western governments intensified in the form of sanctions against the regime which resulted in the generals allowing a small amount of democracy to creep in.
This also brought notable Burmese activists working for democracy such as Aung San Suu Kyi to the front pages and television screens and calls for the continued democratization of the country. Amidst this fanfare of publicity, the plight of the minority Muslims somehow failed to attract any headlines or generate any sanctions.
A government statement following the massacre of the Muslims last month which was published in the New Light of Myanmar added more fuel to the burning embers when it warned against “anarchic and lawless” acts, but referred to the victims as “kalar” (blackie), a racial slur used for persons of Indian appearance.
Dozens of people marched in Yangon to protest growing anti-Muslim violence and accused the government of stoking the flames of sectarian tensions. Political leaders and civil society groups appealed for calm and called on the government to issue an apology.
“The newspapers should not stoke this conflict. Are they trying to suggest that one race is more violent than another?” said an MP from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party. The state media has since issued a retraction for the use of racially offensive language in its official appeal for calm and urged readers to refer to the victims as “Islamic residents”.
In the past, the Nobel Prize winner and democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy have gone to great lengths to avoid discussing the country’s Muslim minority, especially the Rohingyas, for fear of alienating many of their supporters. But following the brutal slayings, which was one more chapter of targeted violence against the Muslim minority, she was compelled to speak out.
Finally breaking her silence, she joined the fray in the debate by calling for the perpetrators to be held to account in accordance with the rule of law. She added that “the majority of the people in a society should have sympathy for the minority.”
“Maybe some people would not like me saying this but I have to say what I must say regardless of whether they like it or not. When you are the majority in a society, then you are the strong party. If you are strong then you must be generous and sympathetic. I would like to see all people in Burma get along with each other regardless of their religion and ethnicity.”
This pattern of violence against the Muslim minority should be brought to light. The safety and security of all minorities in any society must be guaranteed.
World governments and international human rights organizations that were so focused on the democratization of the Burmese in the past must now focus their attention on saving one of the country’s minorities in the present.
— The author can be reached at email@example.com
Below is an article by a Syrian journalist who has put light on the lives people of Syria are living in fear. Bashar al Asad like his father is a tyrant and he seems to be the modern version of Nazi leadership. People should raise their voices all over the world and support the freedom and justice loving people in any manner they can.
Confessions of an ‘agent’ in Syria–>DAWN News Article
by Maryam Hasan (Pen name)
Whether it’s a call on my phone or at the door, I feel scared to death. I mentally prepare myself for the worst, assuming that “they” are here to take me.
But then, when I find a friend at the door or a homeless compatriot asking for food, I realise that it is not my day yet, it is someone else’s.
Despite being unusually lucky, my nightmares don’t end. I rather prepare myself to deal with a situation when Bashar’s sleuths would come to pick me up for writing about the misery of Syrian taxpayers and democracy-lovers.
Regardless of our terrible conditions, we do greet each other daily with ‘sabah al-khair’ or good morning but with little hope for the same.
When I hear stories of torture and disfigured bodies of the missing Syrians and journalists alike, my only prayer to Allah remains, “I am ready for it but ease it on me and my people please.”
We write with pen names and log on the Internet using proxies, thinking we are safe. The reality is otherwise. My missing journalist friends and bloggers had no time to say bye to their loved ones inside the very home they were abducted from. Al-mokhabarat or intelligence agents, just plucked them away, mostly in the dark of the night.
They may discover me sooner or later but I make it a point to erase all my cell phone logs of call and text messages, clear my browser history and empty my laptop’s trash bin. Thinking that I might have forgotten something, sometimes I repeat the act many times a night.
Of late, my personal fear of being kidnapped by government sleuths has been overshadowed by a big, bloodier development. Every day, I see uploaded YouTube videos of the best of Soviet and Russian arsenal knocking down bustling neighborhoods first in Dara’a, then Hama and now Homs.
While I still fear the footsteps of sleuths on my door, I am not being searched as minutely as before.
Instead of looking out for activists and undercover journalists, Bashar’s military is wiping out entire cities from world maps, over suspicions of treason against the Alawite regime.
What started as massacre has duly transformed into genocide. My editors abroad insist on sending my stories with real names, concrete evidence and versions from both sides. I have been in double jeopardy since the first eight months of the uprising when the world only knew about Tahrir square kind of protests.
I, sometimes, wonder if the top-notch media watchdog bodies really know what a faceless and nameless journalist in Syria goes through, at the hands of sleuths as well as the very editors known as gatekeepers.
When making a phone call can risk not only yours and your families’ lives but also the person answering the phone, calling a government source is simply suicidal. Even the most naïve journalist here knows that cellular and landline phone companies are not only owned by the regime’s front-men but also bugged and monitored.
Simultaneously, Syria is a busy place for journalists where one cannot choose which story angle to focus on any given day i.e. massacres in Homs, protests in Damascus and Idlib, Russian FM’s visit to Bashar, or statements from Washington echoing only fake promises.
But in the end the choice won’t be mine! The media company decides which one suits its agenda and its geopolitical context. Mostly, the easy bet is to bank on the wire service, ignoring the at-risk on-ground journalist who for them is a mere ‘stringer’!
I felt proud of my profession when I first saw stories by foreign journalists covering Syria from their high risk abodes and makeshift media centers. Though the world would not have believed a Syrian journalist like me for the Bab Amar massacre or siege of Homs but I hope they won’t ignore the outsiders’ testimony.
The natural but tragic death of Anthony Shadid, a Lebanon-born journalist for The New York Times, weighed very heavy on Syrian people’s hearts and the battered country’s image. Syria was referred to as home of death.
Besides dozens if not hundreds of slain Syrian journalists, the uprising has claimed two French media-men, and the one and only Marie Colvin died in more familiar way. Their heartrending deaths came in solidarity with local fellow professionals whose names and faces may be known when the tyrant falls and conscience rules in Syria.
Unluckily, I have many pen names for it is hard to write with a real one. Death of Marie Colvin was personally embarrassing to me. Should I still use pen names when my star colleagues are writing with their warm blood?
I am a single woman with no liabilities except a widowed mother and siblings. One simple story with my real name appearing on an Arabic language blog or English-language website has greater probability of leading sleuths to my home.
Now even my family rarely knows which pen name I use and where in the world, my work publishes. Not that I don’t trust my family but the regime’s four decades of fear can easily cause a Freudian slip.
A year ago, I proudly showed off my byline in international dailies but now we are writing for our lives and not for pride.
I rarely get internet access good enough to open my emails and send my stories in time. I must admit that overall depressing conditions too result in my missing deadlines. Ironically, stories featuring Syrians’ bloodbath are never stale and the desk accepts them more often.
When I work on my laptop, my siblings and mother spy on me to see what I am doing or writing. My eldest sister advised me last September, “I can’t stop a journalist from writing but she should not forget the fate her younger brothers may face if they (mokhabarat) find out.”
One of my university fellows was picked up for writing a blog about a missing seven-year-old in Dara’a. Her brother went to a police station to lodge a report but never returned home. Three weeks later, their mother was asked to receive her son’s body from the same police office. She not only got the body of her 20-year-old son but also discovered the disfigured corpse of her blogger daughter.
Earlier, I hoped to change the world’s opinion with my writings but now, I am only recording testimonies of massacres and detailing current history.
Long after they have taken me to die in their dark cells, my stories will serve as credible evidence to try Bashar and his advisors for crimes against humanity.
Like journalism, we are learning survival techniques on our own, the hard way. Whenever a couple of us sit together away from our parents and the listening walls, we talk about the best ways in dealing with the worst.
I usually tell my colleagues, “Why do you think they would wait for us to admit or defend ourselves. Our charge-sheets are already there with no room for defense or discussion . . . Agents we are! . . . Agents of change!”
Maryam Hasan is a young journalist, whose family struggled against Hafiz Al-Assad’s tyrannical rule and policies. She is using a pen-name due to security reasons.
Transparency International Pakistan says Gilani tenure has given a loss of Rs 8,500 billions in corruption so far. Still nincompoos and corrupts in government expect people to pay taxes like “responsible” citizens. Yes, people like us who pay taxes despite corruption are responsible and they are responsible for beeing ignorant.
People should go for a collective boycott of taxes and take back the country from these evil ruling elite.
by Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lost an unbelievably high amount, more than Rs8,500 billion (Rs8.5 trillion or US$94 billion), in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s tenure, Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) claims.
The TIP advisor, Adil Gillani, told The News that the real impact of corruption in the country’s economy is far more than what is generally estimated or what is formally uncovered. He believes that Pakistan does not need even a single penny from the outside world if it effectively checks the menace of corruption and ensures good governance.
It is generally believed that the four years of the present regime under Gilani had been the worst in terms of corruption and bad governance in the country’s history. Past records of corruption were broken and Pakistan started rising in the ranks of the most corrupt nations of the world.
There has been no check on corruption as the anti-corruption institutions like the National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency instead of checking corruption have been siding with the corrupt.
These institutions have been helping the corrupt to get off the hook by distorting and mutilating the evidence in favour of the influential accused.
Adil Gillani, the TIP representative, who too has been haunted by the government during these years for producing corruption reports, explained that the TIP pointed out corruption of Rs390 billion in 2008, Rs450 billion in 2009, Rs825 billion in 2010 and Rs1,100 billion in 2011 under the present regime. The total of these identified cases of corruption is Rs2,765 billion.
In addition to this, he explained the following:
The minister of finance of the present regime himself confirmed corruption in FBR of over Rs500 billon per year, which makes the total Rs2,000 billion; Auditor General of Pakistan pointed out Rs315 billion corruption in 2010; Public Accounts Committee recovered Rs115 billion in 30 months till 2011; circular debt is Rs190 million; KESC was given Rs55 billion illegal benefits per annum since 2008; state-owned enterprises like PSO, PIA, Pakistan Steel, Railways, SSGC, SNGC are eating away Rs150-300 billion per annum; tax to GDP ratio in 2008 was 11%, which in 2011 has reduced to 9.1% instead of being increased.
Gillani explained that Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product is worth US$175 billion and in the light of this the drop of 1.9% in the tax GDP means annual loss of US$ 3.3 billion. This confirms that FBR is losing Rs300 million per annum, which is annual additional loss since 2008 and stands at Rs1,200 billon in four years
The TIP adviser added that India’s tax-GDP ratio is 18%, and at that rate, Pakistan’s tax evasion/corruption in FBR is 9% of $175 billion, which is US$15.5 billion per year, i.e. Rs1,400 billion per year.
It is worth mentioning here that it is not only the Transparency International but there have been different international bodies including the World Bank and world capitals, which have been showing their concern over rising trend of corruption in Pakistan under the Gilani’s regime. It was mounting corruption and extremely bad governance, which even dithered the outside world to offer cash to Pakistan during 2010 and 2011 floods, which devastated different parts of Pakistan and affected millions of people.
At home the corruption became a fashion in such a shameless manner that even the cabinet ministers started openly pointing fingers at each other and even at the highest levels including the prime minister. Some even approached the Supreme Court but despite all this, corruption remained the hallmark of the present regime, which instead of curbing it started defending it in the name of democracy.
Recent wave of Arab spring and success of Justice and Development Party in Turkey have given many lessons to Islamic movements and political parties around the world.
These revolutions and political successes came as a result of patient and hard laboured struggles without compromising on fundamental issues.
Here in Pakistan, after wasting a decade in an un-wanted foreign war, there was a chance of smaller but ideologically focused parties to join hands against the so called war on terror.
The other fundamental issues which got spot light during that time were issues like independent judiciary,corruption, missing persons and breaking the status-quo in Pakistani politics.
Two political forces, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan and Jamat e Islami led by Munawwar Hassan, can be expected to bring people together on fundamental issues related to the survival of our country. On one hand eyebrows are being raised over the inclusion of former PML-Q members in PTI and their alleged soft corner for MQM which Imran Khan has rejected.
PTI’s poltical leadership has been denying the impression that they are forming any alliance with forces of status-quo, MQM with its politics of violence or any corrupt leadership. Their point of view on the inclusion of new leadership as expressed by Imran Khan recently is that these people are joining PTI after agreeing with PTI’s agenda and knowing that their assets and credibility will be scruitinized before giving them any party tickets.
Time will tell if PTI sticks to what it claims. Now in another turn of events Jamat e Islami is getting closer with PML-N, a force well-known for being an important part of status-quo along with two other pillars including PPP and establishment.
This development is interesting as according to the news reports, Farid Paracha of Jamat e Islami said,“All the PML-Q has been renamed as PTI. If we have to work with these corrupt people, there is no need to get closer to the PTI.”
This line of argument is interesting from Jamat e Islami’s senior leader. JI is criticizing PTI for including those who are joining the party after accepting PTI’s agenda on USA war on terror, corruption,judiciary etc. Also these people are joining PTI after knowing the fact that their assets and credibility will be scruitinized before giving them party tickets.
On the other hand JI prefers to be partners with a party which is itself an important part of status-quo and has a good history of corrupt power politics (JI’s past statements are also there on this). It was evident from the JI’s recent social media campaign that the people in JI who support PML-N and JUI-F are not happy with PTI’s growing popularity and a possible conflict of interest in the form of some common vote bank or supporter base especially anti-war on terror votebank.
If we talk about fundamentals, PML-N supported operations in Sawat and tribal areas, and played its double role in judiciary movement. Also the possibility of them having a clear stance on corruption is very limited, if we look at their past tenures in federal government.
But still they are eligible for being a partner in the eyes of JI’s senior leader despite former accusations by JI on PML-N for playing the role of a friendly opposition.
So far there are no clear statements on the recent developments between PTI and JI relationship by their top most leaderships. According to news reports, they are expected to meet soon to discuss recent developments in Pakistani politics and way forward with each other.
I hope they will keep fundamental issues like war on terror, corrution, indepndent judiciary, missing persons and independent foreign policy in mind before taking any major decision. This is a make or break time for Pakistani politics as new developments are taking place in neighbouring Afghanistan and a new wave of change in Pakistan is knocking our doors.
Will PTI and JI compromise their fundamental stances over some tactical politics? Their answer may determine the future course of our country and its politics.
Our political dynamics are changing drastically with new players emerging and old players losing their positions. We are also seeing a power struggle between so called Rightists vs Leftists or Seculars vs Theocrats and somewhere there are parties which place themselves in-between. People are even talking about Judicial Martial Law.
But over all out look shows that the focus is on putting together a centralized system with some aspects of democracy. Our feudal culture, history of martial laws and domination of state institutions have restricted our minds to run things from centre with iron fist or authoritarian ways.
What is lacking in this approach is the realization of our diversity in the society. We are a country with diversified ethnic, sectarian and other social classes. Many of us cite China as an example and consider their Democratic Centralization as an ideal concept for Pakistan. We need to know that China has a dominant socialist ideology and their culture is pretty much same throughout China. They have a civilization which can be called as a Chinese Civilization. On the other hand Pakistan doesn’t have a single Pakistani Civilization. Pakistan is on the meeting point of several civilizations on both sides of Indus and which show different cultural and demographic colors if we move from Karachi to K2.
We cannot have a same system for Karachi and FATA or Islamabad and Dera Bugti. Attempts were made by Military dictators like Zia, Musharraf and Ayub who tried to implement their personal ideologies on the whole country and ending up creating a mess. Similarly civilian feudal-corporatists also tried to implement their vision on the whole country and again added to the mess. Even those who talk about liberalism have their own sectarian, ethnic and social class prejudices backing their ideals.
We need a decentralized system where federal government has minimum authority to run defense, dispute resolution and few other things. Even with them a concept of voluntary involvement and local considerations need to be taken into account. We need a system where decision making is brought to the local level which will also ensure merit among different localities selecting their leaders. It is unfair for those who don’t elect a corrupt government but they also have to face the bad consequences of its actions. To keep things in tact we can have a constitutional setup where rules of engagements should be mentioned between different constituents of the country. In short we need a “Rule of Law based Decentralization”.
This decentralization should be in Governance, Legislation and Economics. This is not something impractical; we can see some colors of it in countries like United States or Australia. Obviously for that we need to consider the ideology which dominated at the time of the creation of the country which is also reflected in the Objective Resolution. If we talk about Islam then “Meesaq e Madina” can show us how Muslims and Jews made an agreement by accepting each other as a reality. Even in a centralized country like China, they had to make adjustments in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Even Russia has different Republics with some autonomy. In Pakistan’s case Quaid e Azam made agreements with our tribes which resulted in the tribes becoming part of Pakistan. These agreements allowed the tribal people to maintain their autonomy and also accept few fundamental laws of Pakistan. We also need a loose central structure to avoid the class clashes.
At the moment power is concentrated to center and everyone wants to control it either through the power of masses or power of gun. We even cannot afford a democratic system where 90% decides to suppress the remaining 10%. It will create the sense of alienation and hopelessness in the parties not in power and so can result in an undesirable retaliation which can be damaging for all.
We need to come out of the copycat mentality and be genuine in our approach as our problems are genuine and bit different from where we are trying to import the solutions.Mutual existence can only prevail through mutual acceptance of each other as a reality.
Note : A bit edited version is also available on http://blogs.thenewstribe.com/blog/66276/decentralization-a-solution/
We, the civil society of Pakistan, demand Election Commission and Supreme Court to make sure that every Pakistani who wants to exercise his/her democratic right to vote should be facilitated.
Therefore, we demand that new elections should be based on NADRA IDENTITY CARDS and PAKISTAN ORIGIN CARD.
If democracy is the name of giving people the right to choose then there should be minimum hurdles in expressing the choice.
Current registrations with Election Commission of Pakistan will not guarantee the registration of every eligible voter.
NADRA’s machine readable cards will also help in ensuring transparency.
We also demand Election Commission and Supreme Court to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis especially students by allowing them to cast their votes either in embassy or online.
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18th amendment has made government more strong and more above the law. Now judiciary will be literally a subordinate institution of parliament and will be lead by the will of
plutocrats. Real bad part of this so called revival of 1973 constitution spirit is that they have further damaged the institution of judiciary and no curbs are put on corruption.
It doesn’t matter much who exercise the power , PM or President. The real things are transparency, accountability and rule of law which now seems to be further weakened.
Now judges will be appointed by a seven membered committee having only 3 serving judges and one retired judge appointed by government, rest of the members will be from government. The approval of the judges appointed by the committee will be approved by an 8 membered parliamentary committee having 4 members from and government and 4 from opposition.
Now the opposition will play give and take even on the issue of judges appointment, judges will be nominated by party heads.
No checks on corruption. They have only exploited slogans , no true decentralization of power.
I don’t know where the people who don’t like both opposition and government or don’t have their share in electing these corrupt feudal-corporatist will go?
We have been saying this regularly that military-feudal-corporatist are playing with our country, they don’t want to give up their control and treat everyone as equal in front of the law.
We need to continuously make efforts for freedom and justice.
We need RULE OF LAW!
We don’t need RULE OF A MAN or RULE OF ELITE.
Current plutocracy is no different than dictatorship. They, including feudal, corrupt corporatist and corrupt generals are all same.