Friday, March 13, 2015

Pakistan Civil Society; Rangers at MQM HQ "90"; India's Ban on "Daughter" and Beef

What is the role of civil society in Pakistan today? How's civil society activist Jibran Nasir's movement doing? 

Why did Pakistan Rangers raid MQM headquarter at "90" which is also self-exiled MQM leader Altaf Husain's home in Karachi? Was this action justified? Why are Ranger not acting against many banned sectarian outfits engaged in murder and mayhem of Shias? 

Why has Indian government banned BBC documentary "Daughter" about the culture of rape? Why is beef now banned in Maharashtra in Indian "secular democracy"

What is the significance of Pakistan's Shaheen 3 missile's successful test

ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Pakistan's leading civil society activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir - Official and regular panelists Ali H Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq(

Pakistan Civil Society; Rangers at MQM HQ "90"; India's ban on "Daughter" and Beef from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Pandering Politicians Part of the Problem

Pakistan's Shaheen 3 Can Serve as SLV and Hit Deep Inside India and Israel

Will Modi's Pakistan Policy Focus on "Aatankwad" and "Vyapar"?

Growing Intolerance in Pakistan

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel 


Anonymous said...

Police in eastern India are searching for a group of six men who gang-raped an elderly nun in West Bengal.
The men ransacked the convent school in Ranaghat early on Saturday morning and stole money before entering the convent itself.
The 74-year-old nun is now recovering in hospital.
Christian groups have recently held protests in the Indian capital, Delhi, saying they are being targeted and demanding better protection.
The Archbishop of Calcutta, Thomas d'Souza, told the BBC that security cameras inside the Convent of Jesus and Mary School show the faces of the six men who carried out the assault.
They first ransacked the school principal's office and classrooms before entering the convent itself.
"There are only three Sisters in the community," he said.
"One sister was molested badly. The other two, and a guard, were tied to chairs."

Syed said...

Why has the British Scotland Yard not been able to prove the money laundering or Dr. Imran case against Altaf over the last several years now, despite the diatribe you have been spewing all along.

Riaz Haq said...

Syed: "Why has the British Scotland Yard not been able to prove the money laundering or Dr. Imran case against Altaf over the last several years now, despite the diatribe you have been spewing all along."

Altaf Husain is a crime boss heading Karachi's biggest crime gang in Pakistan. He uses his political party label to hide his criminal enterprise. Pakistani politicians, particularly PPP, need to hand over evidence and witnesses to the Scotland Yard to convict Altaf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a leaked US diplomatic cable from Karachi on MQM:

MQM\'s armed members, known as \"Good Friends,\" are the
largest non-governmental armed element in the city. The police estimate
MQM has ten thousand active armed members and as many as twenty-five thousand armed fighters in reserve.
This is compared to the city\'s thirty-three thousand police officers. The party operates through its 100 Sector Commanders, who take their orders directly from the party leader, Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in the United Kingdom.
Low to middle-ranked police officials acknowledge the extortion and the likely veracity of the other charges. A senior police officer said, in the past eight years alone,MQM was issued over a million arms licenses, mostly for
handguns. Post (Consulate) has observed MQM security personnel carrying numerous shoulder-fired weapons, ranging from new European
AKMs to crude AK copies, probably produced in local shops.

MQM controls the following neighborhoods in Karachi:
Gulberg, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Korangi, Landhi, Liaquatabad, Malir, Nazimabad, New Karachi, North Nazimabad, Orangi Town, Saddar and Shah Faisal.

Riaz Haq said...

Duke Political Review--Examples of Pakistan's growing civil society::

Humaira Bachal started teaching when she was twelve years old. Backed by her determined mother, who bore verbal and physical abuse for the sake of her daughters’ education, Humaira managed to go to school despite all the obstacles. Her mother would cut wood and sell it in the market just so she could keep sending her daughters to school as the men of the house were opposed to their education. In her home, in one of the poorest neighborhoods at the outskirts of the metropolitan Karachi, twelve-year-old Bachal then taught other children what she had learned at school. When she was fifteen, Karachi’s Rotary Club spotted her initiative. They provided funds so she could move this project of hers to another building. This became the Dream Model Street School. Another remarkable Pakistani woman, Oscar-winning Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, filmed Bachal’s journey for the philanthropy Chime for Change—a campaign founded by the fashion house Gucci to further female empowerment—in a documentary titled ‘Humaira Dreamcatcher’. This documentary debuted at a concert in London where Bachal shared the stage with the pop star Madonna. The singer appealed for funds, and promised to contribute, to build a new structure that would house an expanded Dream School. Today Bachal’s school is educating 12,000 young Pakistanis. Bachal came up with an innovative way to encourage female enrollment. It was something like a ‘buy one, get two free’ offer—with every girl that parents admitted to the school, they would get to educate two sons free of cost. She has also pioneered home-based teaching for older girls and women, keeping in mind the social conservatism in the area. Humaira is a strong, independent Pakistani woman who is emancipating other women and furthering the cause of education in her community.

Another young Pakistani leader is Jibran Nasir. In the 2013 elections, he ran as an independent candidate and although he was unsuccessful, he gained the admiration of many by addressing taboo issues and through his unique campaigning—he refused to advertise himself on billboards and instead opted to spend the money on societal improvements such as fixing sewers to prove his competence. Come December 2014, the lawyer and human rights activist again rose to prominence when he took a stand against the Lal Masjid cleric, Abdul Aziz, who had refused to condemn the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar. He was eventually joined by a few hundred more and when the cleric started threatening them, they refused to budge until the police registered an FIR against Aziz for inciting violence. Pioneering an unapologetic approach to taking on Taliban sympathizers, this attitude was fairly new to Pakistan’s civil society movement. Despite a disappointing turnout at his recent protests against the Sindh government for allowing a banned, sectarian organization to hold public rallies, and a social media campaign to defame him, the activist appears to be standing firm.

Riaz Haq said...

No Beef For #India's Lions and Tigers in #Mumbai Zoo. #Beefban #BJP #Modi .. He (Palash) and the park’s eight other Bengal tigers, three lions, 14 leopards and three vultures are subsisting almost exclusively on decidedly lighter fare: chicken.

The change in diet has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with India’s particular mix of politics and religion.

The Maharashtra state government, led by the country’s governing Hindu nationalist party, recently banned the possession and sale of beef, imposing religious dietary restrictions on Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Violations can be punished by up to five years in prison.

The law has been sought by Hindu right-wingers, who helped bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power last year. Their ability to get the ban passed is seen by many as a sign of their growing power in the B.J.P.-led governments in important states. The new rules caused grumbling from Mumbai’s cosmopolitan, sometimes beef-eating elite — a group that includes some Hindus — who were sore over the sudden disappearance of steaks in restaurants. Others were unsettled by the rising culture wars between the Hindu right and those who oppose its agenda, including minorities. In this case, that group includes the state’s mostly Muslim cattle traders and meat retailers, who fear the ban will damage their businesses.

The traders are now weeks into a strike over the ban, refusing to supply shops with even buffalo meat, which is still legal.

And that is where the animals at the national park come in.

Until recently, the animals at the park had feasted on a mixed diet of fresh beef, water buffalo and chicken. But the ban pulled beef from the menu, and the strike — at least for now — put fresh buffalo out of reach.

The animal’s handlers, who seem baffled by the attention in the Indian news media since the ban, give mixed reviews on the switch to white meat.

Babu Vishnukote, one of the feeders, says the animals are devouring the chicken, which he sees as a good sign. But Shailesh Bhagwan Deore, who oversees the care of animals kept in captivity at the park, fears the leaner diet might eventually deplete the animals’ strength.

“In fresh beef, the animals get the taste of blood,” Mr. Deore said. “They enjoy that.”

The fight, of course, is not over what the park’s animals are eating; they will be able to tear into freshly slaughtered buffalo meat as soon as the striking traders begin supplying it again. Underlying the debate is unease among some liberal Indians worried that the ban shows the growing power of the Hindu right in the country.

Neerja Chowdhury, a journalist and political analyst, said the passage of the ban seemed to indicate a kind of quid pro quo between Mr. Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or R.S.S., a Hindu nationalist organization that backed his recent attempts at land reform despite its reservations.

“He’s walking a tightrope because he himself is trying to come across as somebody who is pursuing inclusive politics,” Ms. Chowdhury said. “The general is taking one view, but the foot soldiers are taking a different view.”

The protection of cows is a volatile subject in India, where the animals are revered by the majority-Hindu population.

In a recent interview with The Indian Express, Noorjehan Safia Niaz, an activist, railed against the law, which she says unfairly affects poorer members of the country’s Christian, Muslim and Dalit communities who are reliant on beef because it is generally cheaper than chicken.

“The decision to ban beef is a communal one targeted at the marginalized Muslims and Dalits,” she said, adding that the decision was tantamount to the government “entering our kitchens and asking us what to eat.”

“It is an extremely personal attack,” she said.

Riaz Haq said...

From NY Times:

The news media, which previously treated the party (MQM) with caution, has aired criticism of the party. (Among those arrested was a Muttahida supporter charged with the murder of Wali Khan Babar, a prominent television journalist who was shot dead in his car in 2011.) And in the city’s political back rooms, senior Muttahida officials have begun to quietly consider the possibility of a new leader — an unthinkable idea until recently.

Continue reading the main story
“The fear factor is gone,” said a senior party official who, like several others, spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.

But the upheaval has also brought worries of new instability in a city that is awash with armed groups. Noting that Karachi is in a “state of flux,” the newspaper Dawn warned in an editorial this month that “when the chips fall, they may not do so without considerable violence.”

The moves against Muttahida are part of a broader effort to stem a cycle of political and criminal violence that has left Karachi prone to Taliban infiltration in recent years. Militants disrupted election campaigning in 2013, leading to a crackdown that has broken several Taliban cells, according to police officials and ethnic Pashtun community leaders.

Now the authorities have turned their attention to the armed wings of the city’s political parties, of which Muttahida is by far the largest.

But few are writing off Mr. Hussain, a wily political player with a long record of survival, just yet.

For much of the 1990s, Mr. Hussain’s supporters waged a street war against the security forces in Karachi, only to ultimately re-emerge stronger than ever.

Since then, he has enjoyed unquestioned support from the city’s Mohajir population — mostly Urdu-speaking families that migrated from India in 1947 — by playing on their sense of grievance at the hands of local ethnic groups, creating a magnetic cult of personality in the process.

This time, however, the challenges also come from within. Mr. Hussain’s stewardship of the party has become increasingly erratic recently, several officials said.

In addresses to party rallies in Karachi, delivered over the phone from London (his usual mode of communication with the party faithful), he frequently appears to be under the influence of alcohol, they said.

During one lengthy tirade on March 30, Mr. Hussain publicly resigned his leadership and urged his followers to take up charity work, only to reappoint himself hours later.

“We never know if it’s going to be happy hour or sad hour,” said one senior official who privately advocated a change in leadership and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

To many, it seems clear that the Pakistani military, which has a long history of meddling in politics, is trying to engineer a change in leadership. Journalists say the videotaped accusations from Mr. Mirza, the death-row convict, bore the hallmarks of a military intelligence operation.

In political circles, the army has started to take informal soundings about a possible successor to Mr. Hussain, the same party official said.

“They want to keep the M.Q.M., but without Altaf or anyone directly associated with violence,” he said.

But experts warn that such a strategy is fraught with danger. “If the M.Q.M. implodes, what will happen to Karachi?” said Laurent Gayer, author of “Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City,” a recent book on Karachi. “It seems that few people are thinking about the consequences of a militarized, fragmented party.”


Mr. Hussain looked unsteady as he pushed through reporters at the entrance to the London police station on Tuesday. He has said a large sum of money found at his house — about $650,000, party officials say — came from legitimate political donations.

Riaz Haq said...

Not just Madhya Pradesh: Denying eggs to malnourished children is common in #India's #BJP-run states … via @scroll_in

A staggering 52% of children in Madhya Pradesh are malnourished but chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has flatly refused to provide them with a key source of protein they could use: eggs. He made his stand clear recently while turning down a proposal from the state’s own Women and Child Development department to serve eggs on a pilot basis in the anganwadis of three tribal districts.....midday meal scheme has been heavily influenced by this vegetarian lobby, which includes Akshay Patra and the religious organisation ISKCON Food Relief Foundation.

Riaz Haq said...

The average protein intake of a person through normal diet has dipped 6-10% in the past two decades with almost 80% of rural population and 70% of urban people not getting the government-designated 2,400kcal per day worth of nutrition, latest data shows.

Comparative estimates drawn by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) reveal that in urban areas the gap in nutrition intake is worse. While the richest get over 2,518kcal each per day, the poorest get less than 1,679kcal — a difference of nearly 50%.

"The situation has very harmful health implications, apart from its sheer inhumanity," says Vaibhav Kulkarni, chairman-nutraceuticals committee (western region), Ficci.

Riaz Haq said...

A Timeline of Food Safety in #India. High levels of worms, bacteria, insecticdes, pesticides, lead. via @WSJIndia
As public debate turns to food safety, we recap other recent allegations of food contamination in India.

Pesticides and cola: CocaCola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. found themselves in a media storm in 2003 after a New Delhi-based nonprofit alleged their soft drinks contained pesticide and insecticides at levels between 11 times and 70 times the maximum set by the European Union for drinking water. Coke’s sales plummeted by as much as 40% in the aftermath of the scare. Both companies disputed the claims, and spearheaded aggressive ad campaigns to contain damage.
Worm-infested Cadbury bars: The same year, chocolate lovers in the western state of Maharashtra discovered worms in Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars, the country’s best-selling candy. Cadbury India Ltd., now Mondelez India Foods Pvt., said the infestation was likely because of poor storage conditions in India’s mom-and-pop shops. Much like Pepsi and Coke, the company responded with celebrity endorsements, including from Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. They also added a plastic coating to their chocolate wrappers. The issue resurfaced in 2006 after a local court ordered the company to pay 15,000 rupees (now $235) as compensation to a man who gifted a worm-infested chocolate to a friend.

Poisoned school lunch: At least 23 children died and two dozen others fell sick after eating rice, beans and potato curry at a school lunch in the eastern state of Bihar in 2013. The lunch, part of a government program to feed tens of millions of malnourished children, was contaminated with pesticides.

KFC worm allegations: A businessman in the state of Tamil Nadu said he found a worm in a piece of KFC chicken last year. The allegations follow similar claims in 2012, when authorities shut down an outlet in the neighboring state of Kerala after customers reported worms in their chicken. KFC denied their food was contaminated in both instances.

Tainted country liquor: A batch of tainted country liquor killed 18 people and left another four dozen hospitalized in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh earlier this year. Inexpensive, homemade alcohol is common in rural areas, and often spiked with chemicals to enhance its flavor or potency.

Riaz Haq said...

#MQM, #PPP, other parties extort over Rs. 230 billion in #Karachi every year: DG Rangers. #Pakistan via ShareThis​
A briefing by the DG Rangers told the Sindh Apex Committee meeting that millions of rupees are distributed amongst gang-war factions in Karachi.

According to a press release, DG Rangers Maj Gen Bilal Akbar gave a detailed briefing to the Apex Committee meeting that was held a day earlier, regarding the Karachi situation.

The DG Rangers revealed that over Rs.230 billion is collected illegally in Karachi annually.

The briefing went on to say that this money is used for the purchase of arms and ammunition.

It was also noted that money is coerced out in the form of alms for the same purpose.

The briefing further said that most crime is committed by a large party in Karachi.

The DG Rangers went on to say that a large part of illegal businesses in the city is the distribution system of water which also involved illegal means of making money – in millions of rupees.

The briefing also noted that the money made from sale of sacrificial animal hides is used for funding terrorist activities.

Regarding land grabbing in Karachi, the DG Rangers said that political parties, the City Government, District Administration, and police personnel are all involved in the activity.

He added that the amount made from land-grabbing is used by political and religious parties to operate their armed wings.

He went on to say that there are three types of land-grabbing being carried out in the metropolis including grabbing of government land and property as well as grabbing of private property.

The DG Rangers added that the funds from the mentioned activities are used for gang-warfare amongst factions in Lyari as well as other areas of the city and also distributed amongst some important dignitaries in Sindh.

Illegal marriage halls, unlawful car parking business, match-fixing, and money laundering all play an important role in promoting terrorism in Karachi, the press release stated.

It added that cyber-crime, beggar mafia, and external funding of seminaries also endorse terrorism.

Regarding income sourced from Iranian diesel, the DG Rangers revealed that it is also a major source of funding crime as well as terrorism.

He added that this amount is also used to provide for political groups in Sindh as well as armed groups of land lords.

He further said that a systematic and regular distribution is in place for these amounts to reach certain influential people.

Riaz Haq said...

First beef ban, now egg ban in India:

Via @nprnews: Egg War: Why #India's Vegetarian Elite Are Accused Of Keeping Kids Hungry, Malnourished. #Jain

Why this vehement opposition to eggs? Well, the local community of Jains, which is strictly vegetarian and also powerful in the state, has previously thwarted efforts to introduce eggs in day care centers and schools. Chouhan is an upper caste Hindu man who recently became a vegetarian.

And the state of Madhya Pradesh is mostly vegetarian, as are some other states, like Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat. For years, the more politically vocal vegetarians in these states have kept eggs out of school lunches and anganwadis.

But here's the thing: While these states as a whole may be mostly vegetarian, the poorest — and most malnourished — Indians generally are not. They would eat eggs, if only they could afford them, says Dipa Sinha, an economist at the Center for Equity Studies in New Delhi and an expert on India's preschool and school feeding programs.

India's free school lunch program alone reaches about 120 million of India's poorest children, and the anganwadis reach millions of younger children. So, the egg war isn't trivial.

Chouhan's office has said the chief minister is "sentimental" about keeping anganwadis egg-free. "This is a very upper caste Hindu sentiment," says Sinha.

Hindu scriptures prescribe notions of purity for people belonging to upper castes, Sinha explains. "You can't use the same spoon as someone else. You can't sit next to someone eating meat. You can't eat food cooked by someone who eats meat. And they think this is a dominant culture and that they can impose it on anyone."

The recent ban on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the neighboring state of Maharashtra also reflects this sentiment.

While most Hindus today don't eat beef, Hindus belonging to lower castes, including Dalits (considered the lowest in India's caste hierarchy), do rely on this meat as a regular source of protein, as do Christians and Muslims. Dalit scholars have called this ban an effort to impose upper-caste Hindu values on the lower caste minorities.


"We opened it, and one of the letters in that box was from a girl in [fourth grade]," says Sinha. "It was a Dalit girl, who said, 'Thank you very much. I got to eat an egg in my life for the first time.' "

"Wherever eggs are introduced, attendance goes up," says Sinha. "It's very popular, because children don't get it at home."

Eggs are also an easy way to provide much-needed protein and fat to malnourished children, says Sachin Jain, the food rights activist. They are easy to procure locally, and storage and transportation aren't a problem. "No ... vegetarian food item is that good a source of protein," he says.

Milk, which comes close and is often touted as a good alternative by vegetarians like Chouhan, comes with many complications. It is often diluted by suppliers and is easy to contaminate, says Jain. It also requires more infrastructure to store and transport to remote rural areas.

"I am a vegetarian," adds Jain. "I have never touched an egg. But I have other sources of fat and protein, like ghee (clarified butter) and milk. Tribals, Dalits and other poor people don't have these options. They can't afford these things. Then, eggs become a very good option for them."

"We still have very high malnutrition," says Dipa Sinha. "Every third Indian child is malnourished."

This context is crucial in this discussion, she says, "because the best interest of the child is what should be driving policy. I think this (ban on eggs) is a big setback."

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India again abstains in #Israel-related UN vote on #Palestine - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
- from Jpost

For the third time in three months, India on Monday opted to abstain, rather than vote against Israel in a UN vote dealing with Middle East issues.

The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) approved the accreditation of the London-based Palestine Return Center, an organization Israel maintains is linked to Hamas, on the same day that the UN Security Council unanimously approved the Iran nuclear deal.

India abstained in a vote on the Palestine Return Center last month in a smaller UN body that accredits NGOs, but when that body approved the measure, Israel put forward a resolution in the 54-member ECOSOC against it.

That resolution was defeated by a vote of 13 for the Israeli resolution, 16 opposed, and 18 abstentions. The representatives of another seven countries were absent from the vote.

Despite repeated efforts throughout the day on Tuesday for a reaction from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, none was available.

In addition to India’s abstention, other interesting aspects emerged when looking at Monday’s vote.

First of all, the EU countries did not vote as one bloc, with two EU countries – Portugal and Sweden – breaking away from the pack and abstaining, rather than voting for Israel. The following EU countries did vote for Israel: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Great Britain.

Another two non-EU European countries abstained, rather than voting for Israel: Switzerland and San Marino.

One non-EU country in Europe, Albania, voted for Israel, making it the only Muslim country to do so.

Botswana was the only African country to vote for Israel, though five others abstained: Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Togo and Uganda. Only two non-Muslim African countries voted against: South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Three counties with good relations with Israel – China, Russia and Kazakhstan – all voted against.

None of the Latin American countries voted for Israel, while Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil voted against. Two South American countries with very strong ties to Israel, Colombia and Panama, abstained, as did Guatemala and Honduras.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Holy Cow Vigilantes. #Beefmurder #BJP #Modi …

Arun Shourie, once one of the BJP's most respected leaders but now marginalized under Modi, believes the prime minister’s silence was deliberate—and it was interpreted as a green light by rowdier sections of the movement. After an incident of inter-religious violence occurs, other members of the BJP and affiliated organizations keep it alive by making provocative statements, Shourie said in a televised interview with a national channel. Only after weeks pass does Modi comment, and then it is to say something cryptic. “It almost comes out as if it is by design,” said Shourie.

Supporters reject such criticism. “To defame Modi, a negative campaign is coming from the so-called secularists,” said Surendra Kumar Jain, All India Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Hindu nationalist group leading the push for a national ban on cow slaughter. Vigilante action has to be understood in the context of the failure of law enforcement, he says. “Suppose a woman is being raped? Will you stand by and wait for the police?”

It's not only the beef and leather industry that is at stake. India has climbed in the World Bank's ease of doing business rankings and has replaced China as the most popular destination for foreign direct investment since Modi came to power in 2014. But both the devastating loss in Bihar and the flirting with sectarian strife could further derail his plans for the economy.

The vituperative atmosphere will make it more difficult to reach a consensus with the opposition. And the election loss itself means Modi is drifting further away from a majority in parliament, where several proposals for big bang economic reforms have already withered and died.

“Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the Upper House as the debate turns away from economic policy,” Moody's Analytics said in a November report. “Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Beef Dominated #Modi-#NawazSharif Conversation When #India and #Pakistan Ldrs Met Briefly in #Paris :-) #BJP #Cow

If there was one thing that was pretty much guaranteed to come out of the short meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the COP21 climate conference in Paris, it was satire.

Photos showed the leaders of the two estranged neighbors shaking hands and sitting down for a chat on Monday, the first day of crucial talks to try to broker a deal that would limit rises in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius.

The meeting between Messrs. Modi and Sharif was significant, coming three months after Pakistan called off talks aimed at restarting a stalled dialogue with India in August, amid escalating diplomatic tensions and cross-border violence.

But it was also prime territory for parody and both Indian and Pakistani media were quick to capitalize on the opportunity for puns.

India’s most widely-read English-language newspaper, the Times of India, ran the headline: “Climate Change? Modi, Sharif go into brief huddle in Paris.” Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper ran a report on the short meeting by the Associated Press of Pakistan headlined: “Fence Mending: Ice Melts as Nawaz, Modi shake hands.”

Neither side has so far disclosed what the leaders were talking about or how long the meeting lasted.

A blog post on the website of Pakistani daily newspaper Dawn carries the headline: “Exposed! What Nawaz and Modi Really Talked About in Paris.” A series of nine images speculates on the content of a conversation between the two leaders on the sidelines of the climate-change conference this week.

In speech bubbles imposed on a photograph of the two men sitting side by side on a couch, Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is shown initiating a conversation with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi about his intent to order “beef biryani,” a rice dish.

The meme was a jab at recent developments in India, where public debate has been dominated for weeks on subject of religious tolerance. Critics of Mr. Modi, a politician with Hindu nationalist roots, say he hasn’t done enough to protect Muslims and other minorities.

The current bout of national soul-searching in India, which has prompted protests by intellectuals, artists, actors and others, followed the killing of a Muslim man by a mob for allegedly slaughtering a cow — an animal deeply revered in Hinduism.

Mr. Modi, whose conservative backers are pushing for greater limits on cow slaughter and beef eating, described the death as unfortunate but said the central government shouldn’t be held responsible, noting that similar killings had happened under previous administrations.

In the Dawn blog post, Mr. Modi is shown advising Mr. Sharif against ordering the beef dish. “Order some veggies instead,” Mr. Modi is shown saying.

Riaz Haq said...

This #Pakistan #nuclear missile, Shaheen III with 2,750 Km, can hit targets anywhere in #India. #Nukes #Missiles …

Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Friday (Dec 11), the military said, two days after the government confirmed it would resume high-level peace talks with arch-rival India.

The military said it had fired a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads within a range of 2,750km.

Shaheen-III has a maximum range of 2,750 kilometers (1, 700 miles).

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.

Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998.

The test was witnessed by senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Strategic Forces, Scientists and Engineers of Strategic Organisations. He said Pakistan desires peaceful co-existence in the region for which nuclear deterrence would further strengthen strategic stability in South Asia.

It may be noted here that the Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II missiles were test-fired in Pakistan a year ago.

India and Pakistan are longtime foes engaged in a regional arms race, stemming from a conflict dating back to Britain's partitioning of its Indian protectorate into what now are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Riaz Haq said...

Almost 95% of #beef traders are #Hindus : #India's retired Justice Sachar. #BeefBan #BJP #Modi …

Agra : Justice Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of Delhi Court and much famed panel headed by him on Muslim minorities in 2006 called Sachar Committee said in Mathura on Friday that more Hindus are involved in beef trade in India than Muslims. He said this in three days International Conference on Radical Islam in the wake Paris attack. His statement reads, “Almost 95% of beef traders are Hindus. Still, a man was lynched in Dadri because he ate beef. This is the death of mankind and humanity. Eating habits have nothing to do with religion. Even I can eat beef”.
In a subtle reference to BJP’s Sardhana MLA Sangeet Soma, who recently made news over allegation about owning a beef trading company,Mr Sachar told “MPs and MLAs too own beef company. Then why is only the common man being targeted by right wing groups”.
As soon as he delivered this at RC Degree College at Mathura, people comprising mostly scholars and teachers started leaving the venue in protest. A few of them also switched fans and lights in the hall to disrupt the address and demanded Sachar to stop the address.However,the former High Court Judge tried to pacify the audience by saying that he only meant to highlight the plight of Muslims who were being targeted unnecessarily due to the beef controversy.
Among the audience present at the venue, Mr Shiv Ram Bhardwaj,a teacher at a Degree College, Mathura did not like the comment made by Mr Sachar and told that Mr Sachar tried to turn a “pro Muslim topic into an Hindu one”. Another teacher present at the venue Yaduraj Yadav told Justice Sachar should not have made reference to Hindus and their scriptures to drive home his point. Several scholars and delegates from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada and other countries were present at the Conference.

Riaz Haq said...

"9 out of 10 #Indians who eat #beef are from #Indian Institutes of Technology" #India's Minister Giriraj Singh. #IIT …

The Modi minister, known for his controversial statements, dropped another bombshell on Thursday.
M I Khan reports.

Giriraj Singh, a member of Narendra Modi's council of ministers, now has a peeve against IITians.

"Aaj samaj mein jo bachche gir gaye hain ha, gau maans kha rahein hain. Padhe likhe dus log jo gau maans kha rahein hain unmein se nau IITs ke hain (People who have fallen in society eat beef. Out of 10 educated people who eat beef, 9 are from IITs)," Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Nawada, Bihar, said on April 21.

Earlier, Singh demanded that the voting rights of couples with more than two children be revoked, to develop the nation.

"If Malaysia and Indonesia can make such a law, why can't we?" the minister asked, adding, "The nation won't progress without population control."

"There must be a balance. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians -- all must have at least one to two children. Those who don't follow, their voting rights must be revoked," Singh declared.

"A law is needed on population control for all religions if development is required," he added.

On Wednesday, Singh said if India did not change its population policy and enforce a two-child norm for all religions, then the nation's daughters would not be safe and may have to wear a veil as they do in Pakistan.

Speaking at a cultural yatra in West Champaran's Bagaha town, Singh was apparently referring to Bihar districts Araria and Kishanganj, where the Muslim population has increased faster than the Hindu population.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Why #India's food police are kicking up a storm, checking for #beef in biryani. #beefban #BJP #Modi

When police in northern India recently began checking dishes of mutton biryani to ensure that they did not contain beef, critics said it was another example of what they are calling "food fascism".
The recent drive happened in a Muslim-dominated cluster of villagers in Haryana state, which is governed by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The state has some of the most punishing laws against cow slaughter, a special police force to protect cows, and the curiously named "cow service commission", among other things.
Volunteers and vigilantes keep watch in villages to check if anyone is slaughtering or transporting cows. Village councils have been telling local Muslims to stop selling biryani.
Why the humble cow is India's most polarising animal
A night patrol with India's cow protection vigilantes
Last week samples of biryani were taken away by the local police after "some people" complained that beef was being used. Poor biryani sellers complained they had lost their livelihood and pictures showed empty stalls on the local highway.
India's Hindu majority see cows as a sacred animal but many other Indians eat the meat. According to government data, some 80 million Indians - one in every 13 - eat beef or buffalo meat. Most of them are Muslims. But more than 12 million Hindus also eat the meat.
The cow is India's most political animal. But, as historian DN Jha says, it has "become more political under the BJP governments in Delhi and in some states, which are obsessed with beef bans and cow slaughter".