Saturday, November 28, 2015

Amir Khan Under Fire Over “Intolerance” in India; Black Friday in Pakistan; Russia-Turkey Conflict in Syria; PPP’s Asim Husain Charged

Why did Bollywood Amir Khan talk about “intolerance” in India? Why did Hindu Nationalists attack him so furiously over it? Did they prove their intolerance by their rabid reaction?

What is Thanksgiving in America? What is Black Friday about? Why is Black Friday happening in Pakistan?

Why did Turkey shoot down down a Russian warplane at Syria border? Was it really violating Turkish airspace? Or was it attacking Turkish supported anti-Assad forces? How will this complicate fight international fight against ISIS (Daish)?

Why are Sindh Rangers and NAB vigorously pursuing PPP leaders Dr. Asim Husain and Sharjeel Memon? How will this affect PPP governance and corruption in Sindh? How will it shape civil-military ties and politics in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Amir Khan Under Fire Over "Intolerance" in India; Black Friday in Pakistan; Russia-Turkey Conflict in Syria; PPP's Asim Husain C from WBT Productions on Vimeo.

Amir Khan Under Fire; Black Friday in Pakistan... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Black Friday in Pakistan

Growing Intolerance in Modi's India

Crime and Politics in Pakistan

ISIS Threat in Europe and America

Modi's Superpower Delusions

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: " "

So why is it that Sangh Parivar Hndutvadi leaders, including BJP politicians and many top Indian officials, regularly tell Indian Muslims to go to Pakistan?

Sgt Catskill said...

Why are so many Pakistanis extremists?

Police identified the dead perpetrators as Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Farook was a 28-year-old U.S. citizen, born in Chicago, Illinois to Pakistani immigrants.[ He grew up in Riverside, California, and attended La Sierra High School, graduating in 2004, one year early. He then attended California State University, San Bernardino, receiving a bachelor's degree in environmental health in either 2009 or 2010. He was a student for one semester in 2014 at California State University, Fullerton, in their graduate program for environmental engineering, but never completed the program.

Farook worked as a food inspector for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for five years before the shooting. From July to December 2010, he was a seasonal employee for the county. He was hired as an environmental health specialist trainee on January 28, 2012, and became a permanent employee on February 8, 2014. Coworkers described him as quiet and polite; they commented on not noticing anything unusual prior to the attack. Farook was a devout Muslim according to his father and coworkers and described himself as religious in a dating profile.

Malik was a 27-year-old woman originally from Pakistan who had lived in Saudi Arabia. A coworker of Farook said he went to Saudi Arabia in the spring of 2014 for about a month and married her there after meeting her through the Internet. Farook described his wife as a pharmacist; she joined him in California shortly after their wedding. They had a daughter of six months at the time of their deaths. The couple traveled to the U.S. in July 2014; Malik entered on a K-1 visa (fiancée visa) on a Pakistani passport. According to a State Department spokesman, all applicants for such visas are fully screened. Farook applied for permanent residency (a "green card") for Malik in September 2014, and she was granted a conditional green card in July 2015. Obtaining such a green card would have required the couple to prove that the marriage was legitimate, as well as required Malik to provide her fingerprints and pass criminal and national security background checks using government databases. Malik was one of a small number of female mass shooters in the United States; according to FBI statistics, women constituted only 3.75 percent of shooters of active shooter incidents between the years 2000 and 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

Sgt: "Why are so many Pakistanis extremists?"

Get your facts straight about San Bernardino shooting.

Farook the mass murderer was born and raised in America, not in Pakistan. He was a product of American society, just like hundreds of other American mass shooters who have carried out 354 other mass shootings in a year.

The number of mass shootings so far this year has already surpassed the total number of mass shootings in 2014, according to the Reddit tracker. And the pace is well above 2013's pace, when a total of 363 mass shootings occurred.

The real issue here is not extremism; it;s access to guns that enable any crazy to buy powerful automatic weapons and kill large numbers of people in mass shootings.

Ranbir said...

Sir, how many shootings, massacres, bombings and or sectarian violence events have occurred in Pakistan. How many have Pakistanis have died? This is not a slight remark but a genuine question.

Riaz Haq said...

Ranbir: "How many have Pakistanis have died?"

about 60,000 Pakistanis, including civilians, security officials and terrorists have died in the last 12 years. It's an average of 5000 a year but it's declining, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal:

Now compare this with about 400,000 Americans who have died from gun violence in the same period in America. There have 355 mass shootings in 2015 so far, all by white gunmen with the exception of 2 this year which were carried out by Muslim gunmen.

Anonymous said...

Nice try.

despite this, long lines will be in front of US embassy in Pak to somehow get a visa to USA. Who will want to go to Pakitan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "despite this, long lines will be in front of US embassy in Pak to somehow get a visa to USA"

The lines have always been and continue to be the longest in India. And those who are refused visa immigrate illegally.

India left Mexico behind as the top country sending illegal immigrants into the United States as of 2012, according to several media reports.

Riaz Haq said...

#India, #Pakistan Hold Secret #NSA-Level Talks in #Bangkok, Issue Statement … via @ndtv

In a dramatic development, the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan held a secret meeting in Bangkok today, discussing a range of issues including peace and security, terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.

This meeting was agreed on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif when they met in Paris last week. Bangkok was chosen as it was a convenient location for both sides.

A joint statement issued later said the Foreign Secretaries of both countries accompanied the NSAs.

The statement said the discussions "covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, other issues including tranquility over the Line of Control".

Sources said the discussions lasted for over four hours and that all subjects discussed have a security dimension, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources say PM Modi took initiative on the NSA meeting, which they say builds on the Ufa declaration on NSA-level dialogue.

Sources say the NSAs will meet again. "It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement," the statement, too, said.

Sources told NDTV Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is all set to travel to Pakistan on Tuesday for an Afghan conference.

NSA-level talks were scheduled earlier this year when the two Prime Ministers had met for a bilateral summit in Russia's Ufa on the sidelines of a convention. But the meeting fell through at the last minute over a proposed meeting between Pakistan's then Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and the Kashmiri separatists.

There were disagreements about the agenda of the meeting too - with Pakistan pushing for an "open agenda" and India maintaining the talks should be confined to terrorism.

Welcoming the talks, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Paris was more than the officially termed "courtesy meeting". Good to see India & Pakistan resume the dialogue process."

Riaz Haq said...

#India is second most ignorant nation of the world after #Mexico: Survey … via @ibnlive

London: India has the "dubious honour" of being the second most ignorant nation in the world after Mexico, according to a survey which posed questions on issues like inequality, non-religious population, female employment and internet access. The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, polled 25,000 people from 33 countries and found that while people "over-estimate what we worry about", a lot of major issues are underestimated.
"Mexico and India receive the dubious honour of being the most inaccurate in their perceptions on these issues, while South Koreans are the most accurate, followed by the Irish," the survey said. The rankings of the nations were based on the "Index of Ignorance" which was determined by questions about wealth that the top one per cent own, obesity, non-religious population, immigration, living with parents, female employment, rural living and internet access.

Most Indians "underestimate" how much of their country's wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top 1 per cent, the survey said, adding that the top 1 per cent actually own an "incredible" 70 per cent of all wealth. The survey also found that most Indians "hugely overestimate" the proportions of non-religious people in the country to be 33 per cent when the true figure is under 1 per cent.
While Israel significantly underestimates the proportion of female employment (by 29 percentage points), people in countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Chile all think of more women in work than really are, it said. India fell in the list of nations which overestimate representation by women in politics. Countries like Columbia, Russia, India and Brazil all think there is better female representation than there really is, the survey said.

However, the Indian population seriously underestimates the rural population of the country and thinks more people have internet access than in reality. In India the average guess among online respondents for internet access is 60 per cent - an overestimation of the true picture of 41 percentage points, the survey added.

Riaz Haq said...

Rising #intolerance in #India . #NarendraModi Is Running Out of Time to Reform the Indian Economy …

Popular Bollywood star Aamir Khan brought the issue to India’s mainstream when last month he criticized the sense of “insecurity and fear” felt even by his own family. The harsh response to him only reinforced Khan’s point.

Sectarian violence does more than harm innocent Indians. It also discourages foreign investment. Religious intolerance provides skittish investors with another reason to put their money elsewhere.

More state elections are pending. To win, the BJP should focus on economics, which is what boosted Modi and his party to last year’s overwhelming victory. With an expanding population, India needs strong economic growth to move people out of poverty. The Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha, said India needs at least eight percent growth annually for decades to provide sufficient jobs.

This kind of progress isn’t easy or common. Yet India’s current growth rate, around seven percent so far this year, suggests that India could take off after sustained, real economic reform.

As I wrote for Forbes: “Despite the recent challenges to his government, Modi retains a rare opportunity to advance his nation. Moreover, given his Hindu nationalist background, Modi also is well-positioned to reinforce tolerance and secularism in government.

“Doing so would promote domestic stability in a nation with tens of millions of people of different religious faiths, strengthen economic growth by encouraging foreign investment, and enhance India’s international influence.”

Will the 21st century be another American Century, the Chinese Century, or something else? If Prime Minister Modi makes tough decisions in leading his country forward, the 21st century might end up being the Indian Century. But if so, he can’t delay much longer in putting his words into action.

r_sundar said...

The data is out, and as expected India trumps Pakistan in every possible aspect. In spite of the size, population, diversity & heterogeneity of India compared to Pakistan, it is still way ahead of Pakistan in every regard.

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: "India trumps Pakistan in every possible aspect."

Only because it ignores India's well-known caste apartheid, female genocide and widespread and systemic discrimination against Adivasis, Muslims, Christians and other minorities.

The land of former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi is killing its daughters by the millions. Economically resurgent India is witnessing a rapid unfolding of a female genocide in the making across all castes and classes, including the upper caste rich and the educated. The situation is particularly alarming among upper-caste Hindus in some of the urban areas of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, specially in parts of Punjab, where there are only 300 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to Laura Turquet, ActionAid's women's rights policy official.

Over 250 million people are victims of caste-based discrimination and segregation in India. They live miserable lives, shunned by much of society because of their ranks as untouchables or Dalits at the bottom of a rigid caste system in Hindu India. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in slave-like conditions, and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state's protection, according to Human Rights Watch.

Tis report raises the following questions:

Are the authors aware of the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and housing?

Is India's criminal justice system fair to Muslims and other minorities?

Do they know that Muslims make up 13% of India's population but 28% of Indian prisoners? Similarly, Christians make up 2.8% of India's population but 6% of India's prison population? Meanwhile, the newly elected parliament has just 4% Muslim representation?

Have they seen the ghettoization of Muslims in Indian cities? Have any of the Muslims told them that they are excluded from living in nice urban neighborhoods?

Do they know that Indian Muslims are now worse off than the lowest-caste Hindus, or Dalits, in terms of education and employment? Have they seen the 2013 update of the Sachar Commission report which shows little improvement for Muslims since the original report published 2006?

r_sundar said...

Muslims thrive in India. I have so many of them as friends, when I used to be there. No wonder their population in India is exploding all over (which is the major cause of their poorer social condition)
Unfortunately, this cannot be said about in Pakistan, where the temples (whatever is left) have been forcefully taken over by land sharks, and they are forced to flee the country and apply for Asylum.
In fact not just Hindus, even other are running for their lives from Pakistan, as evidenced by the over 30,000 Pakistanis fleeing just this year under the guise of Syrian refugees.

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: " Muslims thrive in India. I have so many of them as friends, when I used to be there. No wonder their population in India is exploding all over (which is the major cause of their poorer social condition)"

Pakistan's Hindu population is growing faster than Hindu population in India or anywhere else. Contrary to the sensational media headlines about declining Hindu population in Pakistan, the fact is that Hindu birth rate is significantly higher than the country's national average. Although Hindus make up only 1.9% of Pakistan's population, it is among the worlds fastest growing Hindu communities today, growing faster than the Hindu populations in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Should we then conclude that there's no discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan?

sundar: " as evidenced by the over 30,000 Pakistanis fleeing just this year under the guise of Syrian refugees."

Over a million Indians are fleeing India for good each year. The visa lines at foreign consulates in India are the longest in the world. And those who can't enter other countries legally do so as illegal immigrants. In fact, illegal immigration from India to US as now surpassed Mexico.

India left Mexico behind as the top country sending illegal immigrants into the United States as of 2012, according to several media reports.

Many surveys conducted in India over the years indicate that millions of Indians want to leave India to settle abroad. A quick Google search for "Escape from India" produces nearly 100 million results. Many Indians cite lack of opportunity, poverty and various forms of discrimination as the reasons for wanting to leave India.

Riaz Haq said...

#Americans Attracted to #ISIS Find an ‘Echo Chamber’ on Social Media

When a lonely Virginia teenager named Ali Amin got curious about the Islamic State last year and went online to learn more, he found a virtual community awaiting. It had its own peculiar language, stirring imagery and just the warm camaraderie, sense of adventure and devotion to a cause that were missing from his dull suburban life.

At 17, the precocious son of a Yemeni immigrant family, he quickly developed online relationships with older Islamic State supporters around the globe. There was Zubair in Britain, Uthman in South Africa and Abdullah in Finland, who urged him to start a Twitter account under the name AmreekiWitness, or American witness. Mr. Amin drew several thousand followers, sparred online with the State Department, engaged with prominent Islamic State propagandists and developed quite a name among English-speaking fans of the militants — until his arrest in March.

“For the first time, I felt I was not only being taken seriously about very important and weighty topics, but was actually being asked for guidance,” Mr. Amin wrote in August to the judge overseeing his case, expressing regret for what he portrayed as a disastrous youthful mistake. “By assimilating into the Internet world instead of the real world, I became absorbed in a ‘virtual’ struggle while disconnecting from what was real: my family, my life and my future.”

As the Obama administration takes on the multidimensional challenge posed by the Islamic State after the killings in San Bernardino, Calif., the online community of sympathizers in the United States is a critical focus. They number in the hundreds, experts say, and fit no single profile. Among those whose flirtations took a serious turn and led to criminal charges are a trio of teenage siblings from Chicago, a former Air Force mechanic in his late 40s from New Jersey, and a mother of two from Philadelphia.

In fact, they have little in common except one thing: the weeks or months spent marinating in the rhetoric and symbolism of the Islamic State, courtesy of Twitter and other Internet platforms.

It is in this electronic hothouse of mutual support, a sort of round-the-clock pep rally for a cause most Muslims shun, that Americans join other English speakers to try out defiant screen names, throw around Arabic words they have often just learned, and seek to outdo one another in pious zeal. Some merely express anger at American foreign policy or at what they see as mistreatment of Muslims overseas. Others go further, trying to reach Islamic State territory or plotting violence at home.

Like most heady American romances with the Islamic State, Mr. Amin’s came to a crashing halt. In late August, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to material support for a terrorist group. Americans who managed to reach Syria have suffered a still grimmer fate, dying on distant battlefields. And last week, in California, two admirers of the extremist group were shot dead by the police after attacking an office holiday gathering and killing 14 people.

Sugandha, MSc(IT) said...

Mr Riaz,
I was puzzled by your comment, " A quick Google search for "Escape from India" produces nearly 100 million results." " because I had hoped you would know how search engine algorithms work. Then you used that comment to justify another conclusion. Well "Escape from India" will also include all articles pertaining to 'escape to India', 'escape in India', 'escapes to India', 'escapes in India' and so on. The search will also bring up many articles of Indian Mutiny of 1947, Subash Chandra Bose's escape from the British etc.

What you should also know is searching for "Pakistan not a real country" will yield 170 million articles or "terrorism from Pakistan" will yield over 70 million hits.

Riaz Haq said...

Look Who’s Going To #Pakistan After Telling Opponents to "Go to Pakistan" #India #Modi #BJP #Swaraj via @sharethis

As “go to Pakistan” quickly went from curse to foreign policy initiative, we woke up to find India’s foreign minister in Islamabad, rather than all those “Modi-baiters” and “beef-eaters”. It is a good moment to recap what has comprised a policy on the western neighbour all these months that this BJP-led government has been in charge in New Delhi.
Wounded Tiger, journalist Peter Oborne’s history of cricket and nationhood in Pakistan, recalls how Pakistan came to play its first Test series as an ICC nation in 1952 in India. India must have had supreme confidence at the time to have allowed this just five years after a bloody Partition. It has also been a long time since A.B. Vajpayee, in Parliament, alluded to a visit to the washroom by an eminent MP, who is a peacenik and frequent traveller to the Indo-Pak border, as one to Pakistan. Pandemonium followed, as Pakistan as a term for the washroom was a familiar insult.

Much distance has been travelled since, comprising bus journeys, infiltration, track twos, wars and four-point peace plans. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks brought Pakistan back to the centrestage, but some deft handling in India prevented it from becoming a vicious part of domestic politics, in a way that happened periodically, to obliquely refer to Indian Muslims. But that detente effectively ended with the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. In his articulate and sharp campaign, the current prime minister urged the former UPA 2 government to “doob maro, doob maro (go drown yourselves)” for even meeting Pakistani ministers and officials. In that context, the invitation to the Pakistan PM in May last year was a surprise, but since then, references to Pakistan had harked back to a much earlier time-frame. Until, of course, “go to Pakistan” was taken literally by none else than the affable foreign minister.
The desire to re-hyphenate with Pakistan has been witnessed over the past 20 months or so. Pakistan has become the most domestic of foreign policy issues and the most foreign of domestic policy ones. Senior ministers, MPs and other leaders, with clockwork regularity, urged Indians of a certain description to “go to Pakistan”. Totally unmindful of the enormous hurdles the Pakistan high commission has strewn in the way of the most willing travellers to Pakistan, cabinet ministers and ruling party MPs kept urging departures. Union Minister Giriraj Singh started the trend early, when he said at an April 2014 rally that Narendra Modi’s critics would “have to go to Pakistan”.
The calls to travel came regularly after that, and the BJP president even suggested this year that a fireworks party might break out in Pakistan if the BJP lost Bihar.

Riaz Haq said...

Post-#BlackFriday: In #Pakistan, #ecommerce entering a new era with big-ticket items sales to rural customers …

Not long ago, e-commerce in Pakistan was primarily related to online sales of smartphones, laptops and fashion apparel and almost all online retail sales were generated from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad – the largest urban centres constituting major markets for e-commerce even today.

Fast forward to 2015, Pakistan’s e-commerce sector held the country’s first ever ‘Black Friday’ in the last week of November. The industry noticed people buying washing machines and televisions online with orders coming from as far as Tando Allahyar. The rural town, as opposed to a daily average of one, placed 50 orders on, a major player, which had 40,000 people on its website when the deal started at midnight (the night between Thursday and Friday).

According to major market players, one-third of the total Black Friday transactions were online – a major shift in the consumer habit from cash-on-delivery (CoD), which still accounts for more than 95% of Pakistan’s e-commerce that has already surpassed the $100 million milestone. These Black Friday trends indicate e-commerce in Pakistan is certainly picking up.

According to industry experts, e-commerce follows a four-phase growth cycle from infancy to maturity in any new region. Some say China has entered the third phase while India is close to finishing the second.

However, when it comes to Pakistan, many say the country’s e-commerce is still in its infancy. But a successful Black Friday, which received an overwhelming response from consumers across Pakistan, certainly merits a question: is the country’s e-commerce entering level two?

“Absolutely, Pakistan’s ecommerce is entering the second phase,” says Saman Javed, Head of Communications and PR at Daraz, which started Black Friday sales and invested heavily in its marketing for consumer awareness.

“One-third of the payments were online, which indicates a shift in consumers’ attitude who now trust online payment system,” Javed said, adding the response was beyond the company’s expectations, which shows the demand people have here is almost similar to elsewhere in the world.

Though it didn’t disclose sales figures, Daraz said it offered Rs132 million in discounts during Black Friday sales when 1.5 million people visited its website.

Another factor indicating an overwhelming consumer response was the websites of and – which attracted almost all the traffic on November 27 – went down immediately after the sale began.

“We witnessed something we have never seen before,” Shayaan Tahir of Homeshopping said, adding there were 1,000 people on their page at a single point in time. “It will be even bigger next year.”

Homeshopping sold Rs5.6 million worth of iPhones at more than one phone per minute during the first hour of its ‘White Friday’ sale before running out of stock. The company sold 45 units iPhone 6 Plus and 25 units of iPhone 6. This is in addition to 100 units of smartwatch sold by the online retailer.

By contrast, iPhone deal on Daraz was sold out within minutes and many consumers complained over being left out. The traffic was insane and not everyone could get what they wanted, says Javed. It’s a global trend where people fight for the best deals that sell out in minutes, she added.

While smartphones remained the top-selling category on all major platforms, other sectors were also impressive. Daraz says it had record-breaking sales for fashion while home appliances brands, such as Kenwood and Dawlance were also amongst the top sellers. On the other hand, TVs were among top selling categories at Homeshopping.

Riaz Haq said...

Samwers Peddle iPhones in #Pakistan for Emerging Market Lead. #BlackFriday #ecommerce via @technology

When Rocket’s shopping site Daraz held a Black Friday sale in Pakistan, orders jumped 55-fold compared to regular days, with rebated Apple Inc. Iphone 6s handsets selling out in five minutes. The same day, Rocket’s African shopping site Jumia had 35,000 orders mainly from Nigerian customers, with one in four of them new to the platform.
Rocket, which has already built up online retailers in countries including Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, plans to expand further in Africa and Southeast Asia in a bet that young and growing populations, rising Internet and smartphone use and a widening middle class will fuel revenue growth and eventually profit. The Berlin-based company -- founded by Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer -- needs these regions to grow because unlike Inc. in the U.S. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in China, Rocket doesn’t dominate one large home market.