Monday, February 27, 2017

Hate Against Indian-Americans; Trump NSA Gen McMaster; Pak Op Radd-ul-Fasaad

Why was Garmin engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, shot dead and his colleague Alok Madasani, also 32, injured in shooting at a bar in Olathe, Kansas? Why are Indian-Americans being targeted by white nationalists after President Donald Trump's victory? Why have hate crimes against ethnic and religious minorities in America jumped in the last few months? Is Trump's election campaign rhetoric and his subsequent silence on hate crimes contributing to it?

Kansas Shooting Victim Late Srinivas Kuchibhotla with His Wife
Who is Trump's new national security advisor General H.R. McMaster? Why are his views of Muslims and Islam so completely different from his predecessor Gen Michael Flynn? Why does he oppose the use of the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" by Trump? Can McMaster succeed in shaping Trump's Islamophobic policies heavily influenced by White House strategist Steve Bannon?

What is Pakistan's anti-terror military operation Radd-ul-Fasaad launched by General Javed Bajwa after the latest wave of terror attacks? How is it different from ex-COAS General Raheel Sharif's prior anti-terror operation named Zarb-e-Azb? Is the inclusion of the province of Punjab in Radd-ul-Fassad the only difference between the two? Will Radd-ul-Fassad succeed in ending terror without a simultaneous long-term commitment to change the national narrative?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/oavE96unJ-8




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Phenomenon

A Conversation with White Nationalist Jared Taylor

Implications of Trump's Muslim Ban

Islamophobia & Gun Violence in America

Policy Impact of Trump's Appointments 

Latest Wave of Terror Attacks in Pakistan

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

US Tourist Puts Pakistan Among Top 10 Favorites After Visiting 196 Countries

Cassie De Pecol, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for traveling to all 196 countries of the world in shortest time, has put Pakistan at number 5 among the top 10 "must visit" countries.

Other countries on De Pecol's top 10 list are: Mongolia, Bhutan, Maldives, Vanuatu, Oman, Tunisia, Peru, Costa Rica and USA.

Lahore Fort Source: Telegraph

De Pecol said people must visit Pakistan “to get a true sense of raw, authentic Asian culture, and for the food.”  Earlier, in an Instagram message at the start of her Pakistan visit she wrote: “My time here in Pakistan has just begun and has been one of the many wonderfully educational and culturally enriching experiences…. Don’t judge by its color or a country by the media", according to media reports.

De Pecol, a Connecticut native, left the United States on July 14, 2015, and just completed her 196-country tour Feb 2, 2017 — beating the current Guinness record of three years and three months, according to Today.com.

De Pecol needed money to finance her expedition. She found her first nonprofit endorsement through the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, and after that, she decided to reach out to big and small companies and independent investors to contribute to her mission. “A lot of people think it’s so easy to find a sponsor to travel,” she today Today. “One of the most difficult aspects of this expedition was trying to find funding through sponsorship.”

Here's a documentary about Pakistan by Cynthia Ritchie:

https://youtu.be/G8bzv3G9vjY



Here's a Pakistan Pictorial:

Find more photos like this on PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

State of Air 2017: China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh Among Most Polluted

The 2.5 micron particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution of air accounts for the world's highest number of pollution-related premature deaths in China and South Asia, according to a report titled "State of Global Air 2017".

Source: State of Global Air 2017

PM2.5 Pollution Deaths:

More than half of the 4.2 million deaths attributed to PM2.5 pollution occur in just two countries: India and China. The next two countries accounting for the highest pollution-related mortality are Russia with 136,900, Pakistan with 135,100 and Bangladesh with 122,400 deaths in 2015, according to the report.

India and Bangladesh experienced some of the largest increases in PM2.5- attributable mortality, on the order of 50% to 60%. India (1.09 million deaths) now approaches China (1.11 million deaths) in the number of deaths attributable to PM2.5.

Source: State of Global Air 2017
Nearly all (86%) of the most extreme concentrations (above 75 µg/m3 ) were experienced by populations in China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Among the world’s 10 most populous countries and the EU, the biggest increase (14% to 25%) in seasonal average population-weighted concentrations of ozone over the last 25 years were experienced in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Brazil.

The report said decreases in exposure in Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Pakistan were offset by population growth and population aging, resulting in net increases in attributable mortality.

In the United States and the European Union, reductions in exposure over the past 25 years have offset the contributions of population growth and aging, resulting in net decreases in PM2.5-attributable mortality (by 17% and 22%, respectively).

A similar pattern contributed to a net decrease of 34% in PM2.5-attributable mortality in Nigeria, although the reductions in exposure were likely due to factors different from those in the United States and EU. Within the EU, this pattern held in all member countries except Italy, Greece, and Malta, where attributable mortality increased from 1990 to 2015, according to the report.

Haze Under Himalayas Source: NASA

South Asia's Vulnerability:

South Asia is particularly susceptible to pollutants that hang in the air for extended periods of time. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently released images of dull gray haze hovering over northern India and Pakistan, and parts of Bangladesh. It is believed that emissions from solid fuel burning, industrial pollutants and farm clearing fires get trapped along the southern edge of the Himalayas. NASA Earth Observatory explains this phenomenon as follows:

"The haze visible in this image likely results from a combination of agricultural fires, urban and industrial pollution, and a regional temperature inversion. Most of the time, air higher in the atmosphere is cooler than air near the planet’s surface, and this configuration allows warm air to rise from the ground and disperse pollutants. In the wintertime, however, cold air frequently settles over northern India, trapping warmer air underneath. The temperature inversion traps pollutants along with warm air at the surface, contributing to the buildup of haze."

Urgent Actions Needed: 

South Asian governments need to act to deal with rapidly rising particulate pollution jointly. Some of the steps they need to take are as follows:

1. Reduce the use of solid fuels such as cow dung, wood and coal to limit particulate matter released into the atmosphere.

2. Impose higher emission standards on industries and vehicles through regulations.

3. Increase forest cover by planting more trees.

4. Encourage the use of more renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, etc.

The cost of acting now may seem high but it will turn out out to be a lot more expensive to deal with extraordinary disease burdens resulting from rising air pollution.

Summary:

South Asia accounts for more than a third of all PM2.5 pollution related deaths in the world. The sources of particulate pollution range from solid fuel burning to crop clearing fires and use of dirty fuels in vehicles and industries. Recognition of the growing problem is urgent. Failure to act could be very costly in terms of human health.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Diwali Pollution Warnings in India

Cow Dung Sales in India

India's Air Most Toxic

Pak Entrepreneur Recycles Trash into Energy and Fertilizer

Bhopal Disaster

Environmental Pollution in India

Rising Population, Depleting Resources

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

Heavy Disease Burdens in South Asia

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wave of Terror Attacks in Pakistan; Trump's Rocky Start

Who sponsored terrorism in Pakistan claiming over 100 lives last week in multiple incidents, including Lahore and Sehwan bomb blasts? Is it domestic terrorist groups inside Pakistan? Is it intended to create negative headlines to deter business and investment in Pakistan? Is it part of India's Modi's well-publicized campaign to isolate and punish Pakistan? Is to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?



Is it being orchestrated by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies supporting TTP/Jamat-ul-Ahrar based in Afghanistan? Is Pakistan justified in closing the Afghan-Pakistan border and launching attacks on terror bases inside Afghanistan? How deep should Pakistan go in pursuit of terrorists in Afghanistan?

Source: Economist Magazine

Can Pakistan government alone accomplish de-radicalization of terrorists and their sympathizers? What is the role of educators, mass media, entertainers, civil society and other groups? Can it be done quickly? How long would it take?

How's President Donald Trump's administration doing so far? Why is it having such a rocky start? Why are hate groups and hate crimes against minorities rising across America? Is it similar to the situation in Modi's India where attacks against minorities up sharply, according to USCIRF? Why are America's allies concerned about US commitments to their security? What must Mr. Trump do to improve his administration's performance?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/VIEfYOt0bbQ




https://vimeo.com/204799658


Who is behind the latest spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan Trump’s first month from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Ex US Def Sec Hagel: India Finances Trouble in Pakistan

Has Modi Stepped Up Terror Attacks in Pakistan?

USCIRF: Attacks on Minorities Up Sharply in India

Massive Growth of Hate Groups in Trump's America

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Trump's Muslim Ban, Mexico Wall

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel



Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Conversation with White Nationalist Jared Taylor on Race in America

Is there an established link between race and intelligence? Are whites inherently more intelligent than people of color? If so, why did Europe suffer a rapid decline during the Dark Ages after the Fall of the Roman Empire? Did the Europeans' intelligence (IQ) precipitously drop? Or did the IQ of the Arab-Persian Muslims experience a meteoric rise during the Golden Age of Islam while Europe was in the Dark Ages?

World IQ Scores Map Source: American Info Maps

Where did the term "Caucasian" to describe Europeans come from? Does it suggest that Europeans originally migrated from Caucasus region in Central Asia? Didn't most Pakistanis and North Indians also come from the same Caucasus region to their new home in South Asia? If so, why is the IQ for Europeans (100) higher than the IQ of 82 for Indians and 84 for Pakistanis? Is it dealing with the harsh winters than has increased European IQ? If so, why do the Eskimos have lower IQs than the Europeans?

Is race a biological or a social/cultural construct in America? Does the one-drop (of blood) rule suggest it's more cultural than biological? Why does a person with even a single drop of African blood considered Black even if he/she looks and acts white in every way?

Why is the fertility rate (TFR) among whites declining rapidly below replacement levels? Is it because the whites are feeling threatened by immigrants of color and not wanting to bring white children into the world?  Or is it part of the worldwide declining trend that has cut Japan's TFR to 1.44? With total fertility rate of less than 2 children per American woman and declining, how long can the United States continue to maintain its primacy as an economic, political and military superpower? With the aging population and workers per retiree down to 2.9 already, how will the US government continue to honor its commitments of social security benefits to the elderly? Would liberal immigration from non-white countries help resolve these issues?

Is immigration good or bad for America? Are non-white immigrants helping or hurting America? Are non-white immigrants a threat to White America? Why is California with its 40% white population doing so much better than France with its 80% white population? Why is California with a population of 38 million has slightly bigger economy than France with its 68 million population? If you claim America is only for white Europeans, how would you react to the native Americans claim that America is only for them?

Viewpoint From Overseas panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com) discuss these questions with Jared Taylor, White Nationalist founder and editor of American Renaissance.

https://youtu.be/Z61ReQvXWGM




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Are People of Color Less Intelligent?

Golden Age of Islam

Harvard Genetics Study of South Asians

Pakistan Population Growth: Blessing or Curse? 

Massive Support For Muslims in Silicon Valley After Trump Ban

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Pakistanis

Rise of the West After Industrial Revolution

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pakistan's Focus on Infrastructure (Hardware) at the Expense of Human Development (Software)

American theologian and author James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) is reported to have explained the distinction between a politician and a statesman as follows: "A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation."

How does this apply to the current crop of Pakistani leaders in charge of running the country? Are they statesmen or mere politicians?

I think the answer to this question can be found in how they invest available national resources, particularly their longer term investments in education, training, nutrition and health care sectors which do not show results as quickly as building roads, metro bus, metro trains, ports and other physical infrastructure.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor:

Pakistani politicians, particularly PMLN and Nawaz Sharif, love to highlight China-Pakistan Economic Corridor  (CPEC) projects and their accomplishments in terms of motorways, metro bus, metro trains, ring roads and airports rather education and health care. And the reason they do it is because such projects can be completed before the next elections while the returns on investments in education and health take much longer to become visible.

Pakistan's M2 Motorway

In a recent piece titled "Pakistan's misguided obsession with infrastructure", The Economist magazine  said Chinese diplomat assigned to work with Pakistan on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor acknowledged this problem. Here's an excerpt from The Economist:

"Lijian Zhao, a Chinese diplomat, says China is all too aware that Pakistan needs more than just big-ticket infrastructure if it is to flourish. Disarmingly, he praises the efforts of Britain and other countries to improve Pakistan’s “software”, such as education and the rule of law. “But China’s expertise is hardware,” says Mr Zhao."

Education and Literacy Rates:

Pakistan's net primary enrollment rose from 42% in 2001-2002 to 57% in 2008-9 during Musharraf years. It has been essentially flat at 57% since 2009 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Similarly, the literacy rate for Pakistan 10 years or older rose from 45% in 2001-2002 to 56% in 2007-2008 during Musharraf years. It has increased just 4% to 60% since 2009-2010 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Pakistan's Human Development: 

Human development index reports on Pakistan released by UNDP confirm the ESP 2015 human development trends.Pakistan’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.537— which is in the low human development category—positioning the country at 146 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2013, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.356 to 0.537, an increase of 50.7 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.25.

Pakistan HDI Components Trend 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014


Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.



Summary:

The history of the industrialized world tells us that democracy, peace and prosperity can not be sustained in the long run without a solid foundation of a healthy and well-educated society. Pakistani leaders must learn from history and pay more attention to accelerate human development along with building the necessary infrastructure such CPEC projects. They must allocate greater resources and maintain sharp focus to improve education and health of the people of Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Democracy's Disappointing Record on Human Development

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Infrastructure and M2 Motorway

Pakistan's Lost Decades

Saving Pakistan's Education, Airline and Railway

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Pakistan Democracy: Neither Democracy Nor Development

Challenges of Indian Democracy

Pakistan's Economic History

Comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan

Economic and Human Development in Musharraf Years

India's Share of World;s Poor Up from 22% to 33%

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Musharraf Era Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan

Comparing 30-Year Dictatorships in Indonesia and Pakistan

Democracy vs. Dictatorship in Pakistan

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"I Am a Troll" Exposes Indian BJP's Vicious Attack Machine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows hundreds of twitter accounts regularly tweeting abuses and threats of rape and other forms of physical violence against Indian actors, artists, politicians, journalists, minorities in India and individuals of Pakistani origin, according to Swati Chaturvedi, author of "I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of BJP's Digital Army".

Swati Chaturvedi
Swati Chaturvedi is an Indian journalist who found herself targeted by ruling BJP's highly organized professional troll operation directed from a location, called National Digital Operations Center (NDOC), in New Delhi, India. NDOC is staffed by paid workers as well as volunteers. Many of the volunteers are well-educated non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the United States and other parts of the world.

Threats Against Chaturvedi:

BJP trolls have spread lies about Chaturvedi being a "nymphomaniac" and threatened her with "Nirbhaya-style rape or an AK-47 bullet" to get her to shut up. Each morning she woke up to "hundreds of notifications discussing my "rate"". She says "her mornings were filled with rage and a sick, slightly nauseous feelings. The attacks were personal and I had had enough." She said she filed a criminal complaint under sections of Indian Penal Code dealing with "stalking, sexual harassment, transmitting obscene material over the Internet."  Twitter suspended the account and provided the IP address of the offender. But there was no action by Delhi Police.

Disinformation Campaign:

The BJP has extensively used social media apps to spread rumors, innuendo,  fake news, outright lies and various forms of disinformation against anyone seen to be even mildly critical of their leader Narendra Modi. Their harshest abuse has been targeted at the Opposition Congress party leaders, various liberal individuals and groups, Muslims and Pakistanis.

Chaturvedi cites many instances of hateful tweets from Modi-loving Hindu trolls, including Singer Abhijeet's lies to generate hatred against Muslims and Pakistan and BJP MP Hukum Singh's false claim of "Hindu exodus" from Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh blaming it on Muslims.

Kashmir and Pakistan:

Some of Twitter handles followed by Modi, including the account of BJP leader Giriraj Singh, routinely tell the BJP government critics to "go to Pakistan".

Chaturvedi talks about the use of graphic images of cow slaughter from Bangladesh and Pakistan being passed off with audio suppressed by BJP trolls as occurring in India as part of their campaign to stir up trouble against Indian Muslims.

Chaturvedi writes about "open gloating on Twitter at the pellet blindings in Kashmir during the protests that followed Burhan Wani's death. This was accompanied by calls on social media for the mass murder of Kashmiris. One Twitter handle @ggiittiikkaa with 80,000 followers--including Prime Minister Modi--tweeted pictures of Wani's funeral procession and added 20K attended funeral of terrorist Burhan. Should have dropped a bomb and given permanent Azadi to these 20K pigs". 

Modi Encourages Hate:

Prime Minister Modi has 21.6 million followers on Twitter and he follows 1375 people, according to Swati. Among the handles followed by Modi, there are at least twenty six accounts that "routinely sexually harass, make death threats and abuse politicians from other parties and journalists, with special attention given to women, minorities and Dalits. Describing themselves as "proud Hindu", "Garvit Hindu", "desh bhakt", "Namo Bhakt", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", and "Vande Matram", these users are loud and proud, inevitably have a display picture with Mr. Modi and proclaim to be "blessed to be followed by the Prime Minister of India".

Sadhvi Khosla:

Among the key sources of Chaturvedi's research is Sadhvi Khosla who has direct experience as an ex volunteer at BJP's NDOC in New Delhi. Khosla volunteered at NDOC for two years. She began her stint before the elections in 2014 and left in late 2015.

Khosla told The Caravan magazine that "there was continuous hate directed at minorities, some journalists, and anyone else who has opposing views. When the head of the NDOC (Arvind Gupta) sends me direct WhatsApp messages saying, sign the petition to remove Aamir Khan from the Snapdeal campaign, what does that mean? When the head sends you messages with hashtags for the day and targets for the day, what does it mean? No one is forcing me to do work, but it means that the heads of these organizations are endorsing such views. To me, it becomes the official line."

Social Media, Fakes News and Disinformation Campaign:

The US intelligence report released after the November 2016 elections indicates that BJP-like tactics were used by the Russians in the 2016 US elections to help the Trump campaign. Ranjit Goswami, Vice Chancellor of RK University in the Indian state of Gujarat, explained this phenomenon in a piece titled "India has been post-truth for years" wrote about it as follows: "As the US (with Trump's election) and UK (Brexit) wake up to this new era, it’s worth noting that the world’s largest democracy has been living in a post-truth world for years'.

Summary:

Social media are rapidly changing the communications landscape of the world. Everyone, including politicians, bigots, demagogues and ordinary citizens, has its own megaphones to spread whatever message they like: love, hate, anger, lies, peace, violence, etc.  These messages become much more potent and powerful when done in an organized fashion such as the BJP's professional troll operation or the Russian intelligence's information ops. It's important to acknowledge the power of the social media and find ways to make it a force for good.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Planted Stories in Indian Media

Is Hollywood America's Unofficial Ministry of Propaganda? 

Burhan Wani's Murder

Islamophobia in America

Twitter Revolution in Pakistan

India's Pakistan Obsession

Hinduization of India

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis

Breivik's Islamophobic Rhetoric