Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pakistan VIP Culture's Young Victim; Trump's Muslim Ban; PTI's Lodhran Win; Rangers' Powers

Why did a 10-month old have to die for PPP co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto? Who's to blame for the excesses of Pakistan's VIP culture? Is the entire nation responsible for cheapening of lives in the country?

What explains the US Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump's increasing lead in polls? Is it his bigotry against minorities and Muslims? Is it anger against the established politicians among the Republican base? What is the demographics of Trump's supporters? Is it middle-aged non-college educated whites unhappy with their declining fortunes in society as Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton says?

How did PTI's Jahangir Tareen pull off a big win in Lodhran after PTI's losses in local elections? What explains it? Is it a boost for PTI in Punjab?

Is the Sindh government justified in limiting the powers of Pakistan Rangers in the fight against terror in Karachi? Are there parallels between this situation and the history of the United State where the federal government has repeatedly intervened in US states violating the fundamental rights of the people?

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

Pakistan VIP Culture's Young Victim; Trump's Muslim Ban; PTI's Lodhran Win from WBT Productions on Vimeo.

Pakistan VIP Culture's Young Victim; Trump's... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Potential Impact of Trump's Muslim Ban on Pakistanis

Bilawal: Feudal Prince of Pakistan

Rangers vs PPP in Karachi 

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Riaz Haq said...

Inside CAIR's command center of the fight against #Islamophobia. #Trump2016 #Republican … via @thisisfusion

Barely a few sentences were passed between us when Ibrahim Hooper cut me off to tend to other business. “Hold on, I have another call,” he said.

About twenty seconds later he was back with me, but he couldn’t quite remember who I was. The previous day, we had twice spoken by phone and exchanged emails. A formal interview was arranged, and I would be speaking with him at length. The story: What it’s like to work in in the communications office at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil-rights organization. If anywhere, the office is the command center in the fight against Islamophobia in the U.S., I figured. Hooper, being the national communications director, would be the ideal person to talk with.

But between the time I spoke to him the previous day and when I called him back, something monumental happened. It was revealed that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married suspects responsible for the mass shooting of a public health facility in San Bernardino, Ca., which left 14 dead, were Muslim. “Muslim Killers,” read the front page of the New York Post. An anti-Muslim backlash was anticipated, and the group had been scrambling to control the message, setting up press conferences and communicating with countless media outlets.

“From 9/11 to now this is the most toxic atmosphere I’ve seen,” Hooper said of the aftermath of the shooting, when we could finally talk at length the following day. “We’re at a rather sharp moment in America where we have to decide if we’re going to vilify Islam and Muslims on a daily basis, or if we’re going to have to work together for the common good.”

Again, just three minutes into our conversation, another call came in. It was CNN.

“There’s a controversy brewing,” Hooper told me when he came back.

News outlets had been let into the home of the shooters, and camera crews were fixing shots on all the personal items they could find. Family photos, underwear drawers, the baby’s crib. At one point, the lens of an MSNBC camera trained itself on the expired driver’s license of Rafia Sultana Farook, the mother of Farook, one of the shooters. It contained her address and other personal information.

“They would never do this with the abortion clinic shooter, or the Newtown shooter, or any of the 355 mass shootings (Editor’s note: That number has since gone up) around the country. They would never do this,” said Hooper, leaning on me through the phone line for support.

“But somehow it’s okay with Muslims,” he said.

Hooper does not have an easy job.

Every morning, he wakes up hours before going into the office, filtering through an extensive keyword news search, looking for recent anti-Muslim incidents around the country. Rarely is there a shortage. On the day we first spoke, his organization was figuring how to respond to a bullet-riddled Qu’ran that was found outside an Islamic store in Anaheim, Ca., about 48 miles from where the shooting in San Bernardino would happen hours later. Earlier in the week there was the story of a Muslim taxi driver who was shot in the back on Thanksgiving Day after the suspect allegedly probed him about his religion. A group of white supremacists were planning an anti-Islam rally in front of a Texas mosque.

When he finally arrives in the office, he told me, the staff holds a briefing he likened to a news assignment meeting you would find in a television newsroom. “That will determine the direction of the day,” he said. “We’ll start working with the chapters, editing, suggesting communications content,” and coordinating with the legal team on language.

Riaz Haq said...

Donald #Trump butchers #Bible, quotes non-existent verse. #TrumpatLiberty

The Republican presidential candidate who has preached about how much he loves the Bible butchered the Book of Proverbs and nearly invented his own scripture in an interview Wednesday.

"There's so many things that you can learn from it," Trump said in an exclusive sit-down with the Christian Broadcasting Network from his California golf course. "Proverbs, the chapter 'never bend to envy.' I've had that thing all of my life where people are bending to envy."

But the bombastic billionaire horribly misquoted the verse. While the topic of envy appears a few times in the Book of Proverbs, the line he cited does not, CNN reported.

Trump's campaign later told CBN the GOP hopeful was referring to Proverbs 24:1-2: "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief."

The gaffe comes after Trump declared the Bible to be his favorite book without sharing his favorite verse.

Riaz Haq said...

Donald #Trump for President, in #America or in #India. #Trump2016 via @htTweets …

‘If the US doesn’t elect Trump, he should come to India and become our president,’ said a local bigot. He predicted, ‘With his fantastic ability to flaunt his prejudices, his narrow-mindedness, his contempt for minorities, his jingoism, his wealth and his hair, he’ll be a great inspiration for many of our political leaders.’

Riaz Haq said...

Is Donald #Trump2016 inspired by Pres. Andrew Jackson? Could Trump's Trail of Tears include #Muslims & #Mexicans

Needless to say, Jackson and his Democratic Party enforced a certain idea of America — an America for white people. Jackson was personally cordial to people of other races, but their rights did not concern him. When white Southerners grew tired of Indian nations in their midst, Jackson forced them into internal exile in the West. He could have defended this policy using a Trump phrase: “We either have a country or we don’t.”
Mr. Trump’s proposal for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States until the government “can figure out what is going on” has a brutal simplicity that echoes Jackson. So does his promise to force Mexico to pay for a border wall. The people Mr. Trump favors are to be protected from all harm. Nobody else matters.

Mr. Trump cannot fully impersonate Jackson. Unlike Mr. Trump, the Tennessean rose from modest beginnings and risked his life in war; he also served for decades in government before running for president. But Mr. Trump captures Jackson’s tone, and voters clearly respond.

Could Mr. Trump ride the Jackson vote to ultimate victory? Not unless he adds to it. Jackson’s old coalition no longer dominates the electorate. Nonwhite voters are growing in numbers, and many white voters have told pollsters they would be embarrassed by Mr. Trump as president. Mr. Trump would have to reckon with one of Andrew Jackson’s cherished principles: In America, the majority rules. Assembling a majority today is not the same as it used to be.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan raps #Trump over vow to free doctor who helped track #BinLaden via @Reuters

Pakistan angrily criticized Donald Trump, frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, for saying he would force the country to free a jailed Pakistani doctor believed to have helped the CIA hunt down al Qaada leader Osama bin Laden.

Trump, a 69-year-old billionaire real estate developer, told Fox News on Friday that, if elected, he would get Pakistan to free Shakil Afridi "in two minutes", saying that Islamabad receives a lot of development aid from the United States.

"Contrary to Mr. Trump's misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America," Pakistani Interior Minister Cheudhry Nisar said in a statement on Monday.

The statement said Afridi's fate would be decided "by the Pakistani courts and the government of Pakistan and not by Mr. Donald Trump, even if he becomes the president of the United States".

The statement came on the fifth anniversary of the killing of bin Laden - architect of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities - during a secret raid in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad that damaged relations between the strategic allies.

Washington views Afridi as a hero but Pakistan sentenced him in 2012 to 33 years in jail on charges of belonging to militant group Lashkar-e-Islam, which he denies. That sentence was overturned and Afridi is now awaiting trial on another charge.

Trump has alarmed U.S. allies with his combative rhetoric and his calls for an "America First" agenda that many see as a threat to retreat from the world.

In his comments about Pakistan and Afridi for Fox News, Trump said: "I would tell them let (him) out and I'm sure they would let (him) out. Because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan."

Afridi has also been accused in Pakistan of running a fake vaccination campaign in which he purportedly collected DNA samples to help the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track down bin Laden. He has not been charged over those allegations.

After his original conviction was overturned, he was charged in 2013 with murder relating to the death of a patient eight years earlier. He remains in jail.

In the Fox interview Trump also said he supported leaving the roughly 10,000 U.S. troops still based in Afghanistan instead of withdrawing them by the end of 2017.

"I would stay in Afghanistan," he said. "It's probably the one place we should have gone in the Middle East because it's adjacent and right next to Pakistan which has nuclear weapons."

The United States led the military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Riaz Haq said...

Only 15% of the capital on Wall Street goes into investments in real businesses on Main Street. #US #Capitalism

risis always brings opportunity. And right now, we are having a crisis of capitalism unlike anything experienced during the last four decades, if not longer. The evidence is everywhere – in rising inequality, in the division of fortunes between companies and workers, and in lethargic economic growth despite unprecedented infusions of monetary stimulus by the world’s governments (a huge $29tn in total since 2008). Eight years on from the financial crisis and great recession, the US, UK and many other countries are still experiencing the longest, slowest economic recoveries in memory.

This has, of course, diametrically shifted the political climate, creating a paradigm of insiders versus outsiders. In the US, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are different sides of the same coin; in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn is an equally dramatic response to establishment politics. The challenges to the political and economic status quo are not going away anytime soon. A recent Harvard study shows that only 19% of American millennials call themselves capitalist, and only 30% support the system as a whole. Perhaps more shocking, the numbers are not much better among the over-30 set. A mere half of Americans believe in the system of capitalism as practised today in the US, which is quite something for a nation that brought us the “greed is good” culture.

In some ways that is no surprise because, as I explore in my new book, Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business, the system of market capitalism as envisioned by Adam Smith is broken – the markets no longer support the economy, as a wealth of academic research shows. Market capitalism was set up to funnel worker savings into new businesses via the financial system. But only 15% of the capital in the financial institutions today goes towards that goal – the rest exists in a closed loop of trading and speculation.

The result is much slower than normal growth, which holds true not just in the US but in most advanced economies and many emerging ones. The politics of the day – populist, angry, divisive – reflect this, in the US, Europe and many parts of the developing world as well.

But the bifurcation of our economy and the resulting fractiousness in politics has become so extreme that we are now at a tipping point. And as a result, we have a rare, second chance to change the economic paradigm – to rewrite the rules of capitalism and create a more inclusive, sustainable economic growth .

Riaz Haq said...

Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

Pew Survey of Muslims

Our 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims finds that Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group. Moreover, a solid majority of U.S. Muslims are leery of President Donald Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream U.S. society. At the same time, however, Muslim Americans overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Americans, believe that hard work generally brings success in this country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives.

U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream
Findings from Pew Research Center’s 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims