Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nawaz Sharif's Heart Surgery; India Racism; India-Iran Chabahar Deal; Pak IIC on Women

How serious is Prime Ministry Nawaz Sharif's heart condition? What kind of surgery is he undergoing? Is it to fix a hole in his heart caused by prior atrial fibrillation ablation complications he developed during surgery in 2011? What are the risks? How soon can he recover?

Why did the United States kill Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a drone strike in Pakistan's Balochistan province? Is the US trying to promote dissensions among the Talibs? What was Mansoor doing in Iran just prior to his killing after crossing the Iran-Pakistan border into Balochistan? Did Pakistan's intelligence service ISI help orchestrate Mullah Mansoor's assassination by the United States Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)? Will weakened Afghan Taliban make room for the rise of ISIS in South Asia?  What are the driving motivations of United States, Iran and Pakistan in their dealings with the Taliban? These are some of the questions that come to mind when attempting to analyze the current situation in Afghanistan.

Why was a Congolese young black man murdered in Delhi? Why are Africans being targeted in India? Why are African diplomats in Delhi so angry about it? What do Indians think of Black Africans? Is it blatant racism as reported in World's Values Survey that termed India most racist nation in the world? How will it impact India's plans for close ties in African continent? What kind of damage control must Modi and Swaraj do?

What is India-Iran deal to build Iran's Chabahar port close to Gwadar in Pakistan? Is it aimed by India to bypass Pakistan to reach Afghanistan and Central Asia? Will India-Iran compete with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)? Will India use it as base to launch covert ops in Baluchistan to sabotage CPEC? How will it impact Iran-Pakistan ties?

What are the recommendations of Pakistan Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) on "women's protection"? Is it meant to legalize wife-beating? Is it to enforce absolute gender segregation in all walks of national life? Is Pakistan society changing in profound ways to resist it? Will such proposals be taken seriously by Pakistan's national and provincial legislators? Or will these proposals make IIC totally irrelevant?

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

Nawaz Sharif's Heart Surgery; India Racism; India-Iran Chabahar Deal; Pak IIC on Women from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Nawaz Sharif's Heart Surgery; India Racism... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Will Taliban Chief's Killing Help ISIS in Afghanistan?

Gwadar vs Chahbahar

World Values Survey: Indian Most Racist Nation

Social Revolution in Pakistan

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Shams S. said...

I do not understand why you make faulty statements and then stick with it. You state on your show that Iran will have to build airports and road networks to Chahbahar and it does not exist today.

Chahbahar has had an international airport for tnearly 60 years. Its code is ZBR. Flights to Middle East have been operating there for a long time. It has TWO runways that are more than 12,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, capable of operating the 550-ton A-380 and 500-ton 747-8 and even the 700 ton Russian An-225 cargo planes.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "Chahbahar has had an international airport for tnearly 60 years....."

Having a road and airport does not mean they are capable of handling millions of tons of additional capacity being planned for Chabahar.

Chabahar is now just s front for India to launch covert ops in Balochistan as we saw in Kulbhudhan Yadav arrest recently

Anonymous said...

"Kulbhudhan Yadav arrest recently"

That case has more holes in it than a Swiss Cheese.

It is to be noted that his case has not been accepted by any other country as "proof". So it is time to put an end to this nonsense. It was meant for the consumption of low IQ, low educated Pakistanis coupled with very poor standard of education (fact check: Pak has virtually exports in knowledge based economy).

We are seeing such proof for the last many years. For some mysterious reasons, Pak never shows such proof to USA, UK and get this backing.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "That case has more holes in it than a Swiss Cheese."

To the contrary, it is India's denials that are full of holes.

What was this man Kulbhushan Yadav doing in Balochistan under the fake identity of Hussain Mubarak Patel issued by Indian govt?

Why has Indian NSA Doval been openly talking about India's role in Pakistan "losing Balochistan"?

There is no greater proof of India's covert war than having a serving Indian Navy officer spilling the beans.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "It was meant for the consumption of low IQ, low educated Pakistanis coupled with very poor standard of education (fact check: Pak has virtually exports in knowledge based economy)."

And Indian denials are meant for the consumption of poorly educated Indians who rank last on international tests.

Riaz Haq said...

#US on the eve of #Modi's visit: #India's 12m slaves, rights abuses, gender violence. civil society under attack

Days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fourth visit to the United States, its senators painted a dismal picture of India as a land of 12 million “slaves”, human rights abuses, gender violence and a country where civil society is under constant attack.

They said India was deliberately targeting Christian organisations and their “researchers” by harassing them, denying them visas and revoking their licenses. Religious intolerance and sectarian tensions in the country are increasing.

In equally harsh terms they dismissed Modi government’s economic reforms as inadequate and not truly “free market”. They complained about red tape, high tariffs, lack of market access for American companies, and inadequate protection for intellectual property.

Even India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group came in for criticism as Senator Ed Markey claimed an exemption for India would further “infuriate” Pakistan into making more nuclear weapons. There were also probing questions on India getting too close to Iran since Modi was just in Tehran.

Timed for maximum impact

It was not the kind of build-up New Delhi had anticipated for Modi’s visit but American lawmakers seemed determined to deliver a hard blow. Senator after senator rained down on Modi’s record just as the prime minister was marking his two years in government.

The questions were directed at Nisha Biswal, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, who was testifying at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Indo-US relations. Biswal defended the relationship and tried to push back but it seemed the senators were determined to embarrass both the State Department and the Indian government.

Not for the last 15 years has India taken such a bashing on Capitol Hill, the home of the US Congress. It was reminiscent of the early 90s when the US Congress regularly attacked India for alleged human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, largely at the behest of Pakistan’s lobbying.

To say the negative tone and content of the hearing were a surprise would be an understatement given the largely positive narrative of Indo-US relations. Officially, the two countries have a mature, strategic and full relationship covering just about every aspect of human endeavour.

But clearly not all is well. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its powerful Republican chairman, Bob Corker, sent a very public message: India’s domestic climate stinks with all the reported incidents against women, Dalits, Christians and Muslims.

The hearing was timed for maximum impact – exactly two weeks before Modi’s arrival in the American capital and on Capitol Hill.

Bubbling anger

According to a Congressional source, anger has been bubbling over the past year as reports kept surfacing about incidents of communal tension, lynchings, hangings and sedition charges being filed against students in India.

“Is this 2016 and a democracy with which we share values? Ford Foundation is in trouble. Greenpeace has been kicked out,” the Congressional aide continued. “If the State Department wants to hide things, it doesn’t mean the Congress will too,” he said, adding that pressure had come from constituents and the human rights community to raise questions on India’s record.

New Delhi’s recent decision to deny visas to members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a quasi government body, to visit India also shaped senators’ thinking. It bolsters the feeling that the Indian government is uncooperative on a range of human rights issues, the aide said.

New Delhi doesn’t help even in “child abduction” cases. These cases mostly affect Indian American couples where a spouse flies off to India with the child and disappears to escape American courts and custody battles.

Nabob of Lucknow said...

Racist BJP putting the teachings of the Racist Gandhi ... into practice ... What do you expect?

Note: "Kaffir" refers to black South Africans ...

M K Gandhi, Mar. 7, 1908: “Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised – the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals”

M K Gandhi, September 24, 1903, Gandhi said: "We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they (the Whites) do... by advocating the purity of all races."
M K Gandhi, June 2, 1906 he commented in the Indian Opinion that "Thanks to the Court's decision, only clean Indians (meaning upper caste Hindu Indians) or colored people other than Kaffirs, can now travel in the trains."

M K Gandhi, September 26, 1896 about the African people: "Ours is one continued struggle sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness."

Syed Qasim Abbas said...

My mom went to India in late 80's ......what she vividly recalls is the Lal Qilla that she was visiting and saw an India woman pulling up her sari a little and taking a leak standing up.....and Gandhi thought he was better then Black's.....that's hillarious

19640909rk said...

Riaz Haq : India as a land of 12 million “slaves”

Haq sab, is Pakistan free of slavery? Has it become a paragon of Virtue?

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk: "Haq sab, is Pakistan free of slavery? Has it become a paragon of Virtue?"

No country other than India has 12 million slaves. No country other than India has 42 African diplomats angry about the horrible treatment of blacks. No other country has Apartheid as India does where hundreds of millions are denied the right to even sit and drink water or eat food with upper castes.

PTI said...

Mr Huq, recently a parliamentary committee said we were paying 8% interest on CPEC projects, obviously information is not available in the open, and international tendering outside of China is prohibited, so everyone is unsure.

Riaz Haq said...

PTI: "recently a parliamentary committee said we were paying 8% interest on CPEC projects"

All these rumors about high interest rates are just that...rumors. They have no basis in fact.

The Chinese state-owned banks are not lending money to Pakistani state; they are lending to their own Chinese state-owned companies. Chinese will run these infrastructure projects on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. They will recoup their investment and ROI by charging fees & running these as businesses. Gwadar port will be paid for by port charges of millions on tons of cargo a substantial part of it being Chinese cargo.

Riaz Haq said...

A newer and increasingly common option in conventional power projects involving Chinese contractors is a project finance structure
such as a BOT (build-operate-transfer). Under a BOT, developers set up and arrange loans to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in the host country. Some 70-80% of the capital costs of construction will come from these loans, and the remainder will be provided by the developers through equity and / or other loans.

The SPV then enters into all the contracts needed for the project, including an engineering procurement construction (EPC) contract with the contractor. If the funding is from China, this EPC contract will almost always be with a Chinese contractor.

Conventional power projects are seen as particularly 'bankable' BOT projects, because the technology is usually tried and tested and there is a high likelihood that performance requirements will be met. These projects also do not generally require significant land acquisitions, or need extensive underground works, reducing the risk of delays and unforeseen problems. Many jurisdictions, in fact, now have standard form power purchase agreements and implementation agreements that offer to allocate project risks between the offtaker, the government and the developers in a split that is attractive to many lenders.

It has taken Chinese contractors some time to get used to EPC contracts under project financed structures, as these tend to be tough on the contractor. Rates of delay and performance liquidated damages, and the caps on these, are generally much higher, and the contractor's rights to additional time and cost are limited. Many of these rights have to match the power purchase agreement that the SPV has negotiated with the offtaker. However, the upside for the contractor is that the developers are often willing to pay a higher contract price in return for the contractor taking on these additional risks.

Where the finance for the project is coming from Chinese banks, the Chinese contractor may enjoy stronger bargaining power, although that is not always the case. There are plenty of Chinese contractors with the skills needed to build these power stations, and developers will often use the threat of switching negotiations to a competing contractor to get their way in negotiations.

Evolution to investment

Even before the launch of OBOR, the larger and more experienced Chinese contractors had begun the transition from a traditional contractor business model to a 'contractor plus investment' model. Now, the signs are that a significant proportion of OBOR projects will involve Chinese contractors making investments in the projects that they are engaged to construct, and conventional power projects have been among the first to use this structure.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been among the first to see innovative project structures. The Thar Coal Block II project involves the development of an open pit coal mine and 660MW mine mouth power station through two SPVs set up by a consortium of Pakistani and Chinese investors, including a major Chinese contractor who will act as both EPC contractor and SPV equity participant. Project finance loans, including conventional RMB and Rupee Islamic tranches, are provided by syndicates of Pakistani and Chinese lenders including Habib Bank, United Bank, China Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Construction Bank of China.

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan PM #NawazSharif’s Heart Surgery Successful, Daughter Says. Out of surgery, into ICU at #London hospital

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s open heart surgery operation in London on Tuesday was successful, according to his daughter Maryam.
Sharif “is off the pump now” after the surgery started at 8 a.m. London time and will be shifted to an intensive care unit in the next hour “or so,” she said on Twitter at 12:20 p.m.
Sharif, the 66-year-old three-time prime minister who helped Pakistan become the only Muslim-majority country with a nuclear weapon, underwent surgery after a previous procedure in 2011 had led to complications. Sharif’s party won a majority in the lower house of parliament in 2013, the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan’s history.
Sharif has faced calls to resign in recent weeks after leaked files from a Panama law firm showed his children used offshore companies to make investments. The uproar was emblematic of persistent challenges to his authority throughout his latest term that undermined his efforts to make Pakistan’s economy more market friendly.

Riaz Haq said...

False #terror charges against #Indian #Muslims cause for concern: #India's Gowda #Islamophobia via @timesofindia

Touching on an issue that has for long agonized Muslims in India, Union minister for law and justice DV Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday said he is concerned about false terror charges slapped on Muslim youths that are followed by acquittals due to lack of evidence across the country. More importantly, he said legal reforms are in the pipeline to address such cases.
Gowda, here for the 'Vikas Parv' celebrations to mark two years of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the centre, said, "Cases of arrest of Muslim youths on false terror charges are a matter of concern. We are thinking of bringing in changes. The law commission is working on a report in this matter to bring about reforms in criminal procedure, bail, prosecution lapses, etc. A Supreme Court judge is the chairperson of a panel preparing the report, and there are other legal experts who are helping in preparing this report, and it is being worked upon."

Gowda's remarks on the thorny subject have come barely a week after home minister Rajnath Singh told TOI that "the government has settled for a calibrated approach to terror investigations, advising police to adopt a more sophisticated approach, including de-radicalisation strategies, rather than necessarily prosecuting all suspects".
Singh had then gone on to point out how the Delhi Police had recently released seven of the 10 suspects held for their alleged involvement in a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror plot. "You would have seen only three of the lot were arrested. We are working in a balanced manner. Earlier, all would be sent (to jail)," he had then said.
Slapped with untenable terror charges, many Muslim men have lost the prime years of their lives as they languished in jail. After their release they have found it difficult to adjust to a world that has changed in the interim, graduating from buses to metros, banks to ATMs, landlines to smartphones.
Recently, Nisaruddin Ahmad was acquitted in the Babri anniversary blast case after he spent 23 years in a Jaipur jail. There have been others too. Mohd Amir Khan was acquitted in 17 out of the 19 terrors charges he was fending off, but only after being incarcerated for 14 years. He had been charged with setting off 20 low-intensity bombs over 10 months during 1996-1997 in Delhi, Rohtak, Panipat and Ghaziabad. He told TOI on Tuesday: "The government has policies to rehabilitate surrendered terrorists, but nothing for those who are falsely charged."

In the past, six Muslim men accused of being trained operatives of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam (HUJI) were acquitted of the terror charges for lack of evidence by a special court in Lucknow. Five Muslim youths who were arrested in 2006 by the Mumbai police from different parts of the city on charges of terrorism were also acquitted this year. Gulzar Ahmad Bani, an alleged Hizbul Mujahideen operative who had been in jail from 2001 in a blast case in Agra, was set free for want of evidence by a local court.
The problem runs deep. A film based on legal activist Shahid Azmi, who himself faced false charges and after his release fought to defend those accused wrongly in cases of terrorism, poignantly points that out. Mufti Abdul Qayyum, who had spent 11 years in jail and was later acquitted by the Supreme Court in the Akshardham attack case, wrote a book, 'Gyarah Saal Salakhon Ke Peeche', narrating the stories of trumped up terror charges.

Ramesh said...

Riaz sb, kuch achee khabar do Pakistan ke economy kee. bahut saalon ho gaye us khabar ko sun-ne ke liye.

Riaz Haq said...

Ramesh: "Riaz sb, kuch achee khabar do Pakistan ke economy kee. bahut saalon ho gaye us khabar ko sun-ne ke liye."

Pak economy is in strong recovery phase.

The GDP growth for 2015/16 is estimated at 4.7%.

All major indicators are positive. There are double digit increases in motorcycle demand, car sales, cement and steel consumption, etc etc. Mobile broadband is growing by leaps and bounds, up from nothing two years ago to about 30 million subscriptions now.

Agriculture is lagging but both manufacturing and service sectors are strong.

Gwadar port and CPEC are making good progress.

Riaz Haq said...

The 'Avon ladies' of #Pakistan selling contraception door to door. #BirthControl #Pills

From 8am to 4pm, 25-year-old Samina Khaskheli travels door-to-door in rural Pakistan handing out free samples of condoms, birth control pills, and intrauterine devices.

“I was told ‘This is sinful’,” Samina says about the initial opposition to her selling birth control. She took the job warily. Her off-the-map village, Allah Bachayo Khaskheli, is home to roughly 1,500 people in the country’s south-eastern Sindh province. The flatlands are covered by livestock, and economic desperation leaves women toiling alongside men as farmhands, livestock breeders and cotton pickers.

Samina is a worker for the Marginalised Area Reproductive Health Viable Initiative – Marvi – once a popular emblem of female independence in Sindhi folklore. Today, Marvi refers to a network of literate or semi-literate village women aged 18 to 40 who travel door-to-door selling contraceptives. “In our village, there was no information about family planning. Many women died during childbirth,” says Samina about what inspired her to join.

Trained by the Karachi-based Health and Nutrition Development Society (Hands), roughly 1,600 Marvis are dispersed throughout Pakistan’s remotest villages, where government healthcare facilities are scant or nonexistent. In the Sanghar district where Samina’s village is located, at least 400 Marvis fill a gap left by a lack of government funded lady health workers (LHWs).

Pakistan’s contraceptive prevalence rate is low – out of a population of more than 190 million, only 35% of women aged 15-49 use contraception. Nevertheless, demand is high in rural areas, where women give birth to an average of 4.2 children, compared to 3.2 children in cities. “In villages, electricity is not there and health facilities are not there, but the need for contraceptives certainly is,” says Dr Talat Abro, the deputy secretary of reproductive health service for Sindh’s population welfare department.

Marvi workers receive a six-day initial training by Hands and have their sessions in the field supervised by LHWs. Marvis emerge from the underserved populations they work with, so understand how family planning is best presented to the women they target.

“I wish I had learned about birth control 15 years ago,” says Azima Khaskheli, a 45-year-old livestock breeder in Allah Bachayo Khaskheli village, her black bangles clinking together as goats bleat nearby.


“We are not trying to limit the number of children – a woman or a family has a right to choose as many number of children as they want, but they must keep in mind the pregnancy period is important for a woman’s health,” says Anjum Fatima, the general manager for health at Hands.

Opposition to birth control in Pakistan often takes on a religious hue, so Marvis are trained to sensitise local religious leaders on the health benefits of family planning. The Marvi programme relies on community mobilisers – ranging from religious leaders to influential landlords – to communicate the benefits of contraceptives. In 2014, approximately 40 Islamic religious leaders approved birth spacing for women in Pakistan. Samina adds that she enjoys the support of the village’s maulvis, or religious authorities, who endorse her door-to-door campaign, and never issue anti-contraceptive messaging over the mosque’s loudspeakers.

“Before the culture was rigid, but now they’ve gradually accepted family planning,” says Samina, the Marvi worker, motioning to the group huddled around her. “I am proud I can teach women about both the Qur’an and birth control.”

Riaz Haq said...

No evidence to prove #Pakistan, its agencies helped JeM in #PathankotAttack: #India's NIA chief … via @ibtimes_india

No evidence exists so far on either Pakistan's or any of its agency's direct involvement in the Pathankot airbase attack, Sharad Kumar, the director general of India's National Investigation Agency (NIA), told News 18. India's law enforcement agency has completed its investigation in the country and is now awaiting an approval to carry out a probe in Pakistan.

"No evidence to show that Pakistan government or Pakistani government agency was helping Jaish-e-Mohammed or Masood Azhar or his aides carried out the Pathankot attack," he said in an interview to the news channel.

Taking a question on any possible insider (Indian) help for the terrorists, Kumar said the investigations so far also "does not point at any insider" involvement.

A parliamentary panel and many security experts had raised concerns that despite a terror alert issued in advance, the infiltrators could breach the security and initiate a gun battle lasting for three days continuously. The report had expressed dismay that there was "something seriously wrong with our counter-terror security establishment."

With Kumar ruling out an insider hand, he was asked if India's security apparatus and its robustness needed scrutiny. "That is for the government to see. We are an investigating agency. We are investigating the case as a crime. We will not recommend any action for lapses or security breach," he retorted.

Without wanting to comment on the role of Salwinder Singh, superintendent of police in Punjab, as either an accuse or witness in the case, Kumar said his status would be revealed at the time of filing the complaint. "But at this point don't want to give him a clean chit," he added.

Ramesh said...

"All major indicators are positive. There are double digit increases in motorcycle demand, car sales, cement and steel consumption, etc etc. Mobile broadband is growing by leaps and bounds, up from nothing two years ago to about 30 million subscriptions now.

Agriculture is lagging but both manufacturing and service sectors are strong.

This is good. However I notice that all indicators are for consumables. An economy can't sustain just on consuming. What are the major highlights in manufacturing. I keep checking Dawn and I am yet to see any news of new factory or industry.

Riaz Haq said...

Ramesh: "However I notice that all indicators are for consumables. An economy can't sustain just on consuming. What are the major highlights in manufacturing. I keep checking Dawn and I am yet to see any news of new factory or industry."

Who do you think is meeting the demand for more "consumables"? Is it not the factories in Pakistan? They are all adding capacity and hiring people to meet demand. Also, cement demand is a major indicator of increased construction that drives not only cement and steel but also many other industries and creates greater economic activity and employment opportunities.

Riaz Haq said...

The awful Swami Adityanath went so far as to demand that Akhlaq’s family be arrested on cow slaughter charges. Is he sick or mad? - See more at:

Another anniversary of Operation Blue Star is here, so it is hard not to begin by remembering that hot, horrible summer of 1984 when it seemed that religious madness was on the verge of tearing India apart again. It is especially important to commemorate this terrible anniversary in a week in which we have seen religion once more play a dangerous role. Fortunately it was also a week when the Indian justice system played a healing role, albeit 14 years too late. Since I like to get bad news out of the way first, I shall begin by saying how appalled I was by the reactions of some BJP politicians to the dubious discovery that the meat found in Mohammad Akhlaq’s fridge was beef. The awful Swami Adityanath went so far as to demand that Akhlaq’s family be arrested on cow slaughter charges. Is he sick or mad? A man was killed by a mob of Hindu fanatics for nothing. It shamed India not just in Indian eyes but in the eyes of the world. So it is revolting to hear a chorus of BJP voices concentrate their attentions on punishing the dead man’s family for a crime that there is no evidence they committed. Frankly the first mistake was to allow the police to send the meat off for forensic analysis at all. -

This seemed to embolden the cow slaughter gang and God knows that they need to be crushed and not encouraged or India will return once more to those barbarous days when it was routine for thousands of innocent people to be killed in the name of religion. If the Prime Minister really wants India to awaken to a ‘nayi subah’ (new dawn), he must go out of his way to stop any more beef murders. After Akhlaq was killed, at least five Muslims lost their lives for the ‘crime’ of transporting cattle. A whole range of livelihoods have been destroyed since this beef ban nonsense gathered steam last year, and Hindu slipper makers in Kolhapur have made their complaints public. Who is going to come and ‘Make in India’ when you could be killed for eating a steak? So enough. - See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan women protection bill: #CII ‘ignored’ opinion of its lone female member Dr. Samia Qazi

In a letter addressed to CII’s high-ups, Dr Samia Raheel Qazi referred to the council’s proposals and expressed her reservations, saying her recommendations and opinion – given in CII’s two earlier meetings with regard to the PPWVA and K-P bill – were ignored.

She said being a female member of the CII, the media always asked her as to how much importance was given to her opinion. “I’ve always given a positive feedback to the media,” she added.

In the letter – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune – Dr Qazi said cases of violence against women were increasing in society due to ‘unawareness of Islamic values’. “It is our responsibility as members of the CII to take steps for ensuring women’s protection,” she added.

She argued that NGOs and civil society had become champions of women’s rights, while the opinion of religious groups was being undermined. “There is a dire need for playing our role to protect women. We must stand against violence against women. We must raise our voice,” she added.

Dr Qazi confirmed to The Express Tribune that she had expressed her reservations during the CII meetings in which the PPWVA and K-P’s domestic violence bill were rejected.

She hoped her opinion would be considered when the members finalise the women protection bill in the upcoming meeting. Sources said the council has prepared a reply to the letter which will be forwarded to Dr Qazi soon.

Riaz Haq said...

#Africans in #India face constant battles with #racism | Fox News |

The daily indignities Africans suffer usually go undocumented both by the police and local media.

That changed on May 20, when Congolese student Masunda Kitada Oliver was fatally attacked in a dispute over hiring an autorickshaw in New Delhi. Three men who insisted they had hired the vehicle beat him up and hit him on the head with a rock, killing him, according to police.

The death made the city's African students, diplomats and business owners rally together demanding quick justice. The African Heads of Mission in New Delhi issued a statement asking the government to address "racism and Afro-phobia" in the country.

"Given the pervading climate of fear and insecurity in Delhi, the African Heads of Mission are left with little option than to consider recommending to their governments not to send new students to India, unless and until their safety can be guaranteed," the statement said.

The killing and the outrage it sparked drew an unusually prompt reaction from local police and India's foreign ministry. Two men suspected in the attack were arrested within a day, while a third remains at large.

Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that her ministry asked for "stringent action against the culprits." But the ministry also said all criminal acts involving Africans should not be seen as racial in nature.

The bad press the country got as a result of the killing prompted India's glacial government machinery to move quickly to try to address the issue.

An India-Africa art exhibition was cobbled together at government expense and on short notice. A protest planned by African students in the Indian capital was put off after government officials reached out to African student groups.

The police and government began holding workshops in neighborhoods across the city to try to sensitize local residents about their African neighbors.

There were other well publicized examples of anti-African prejudice in India before Oliver's death.

In February, a Tanzanian woman was beaten and stripped naked by a mob in the southern city of Bangalore after a Sudanese student's car hit an Indian woman. In September 2014, a video of three African men being beaten inside a security booth at a New Delhi Metro station went viral. For several minutes a large mob beat the men with bare hands and sticks and shoes as they climbed up the walls of the glass booth in terror. The police were absent.

These incidents made it to the local newspapers. Hundreds more do not.

Prejudice is open in India. The matrimonial columns of the newspaper are strictly segregated along caste lines. Landlords in cities like Delhi and Mumbai deny homes to people based on race and religion.

Indians from northeastern India, who look different because of their Asian features, are routinely harassed and have to endure being called names on the streets.

But the worst kind of discrimination is reserved for the Africans. In a country obsessed with fair skin and skin lightening beauty treatments, their dark skin draws a mixture of fear and ridicule.

Landlords shun Africans in all but the poorest neighborhoods, and in those they are charged unusually high rent. African students in the New Delhi neighborhood of Chhatarapur reported paying 15,000 rupees ($225) a month for a single room and bathroom that would normally rent for 6,000 to 7,000 rupees.

Strangers point at them and laugh — or gang up and assault them.