How's Eid celebrated in America? Is it different from how it is celebrated in Pakistan? What do Pakistani-Americans do on Eid?
What will be the impact of Iran Deal on Pakistan and the Middle East? How will it help US and Iran and other powers, including India, strategically, economically and politically? Can the Israel lobby still sabotage this deal?
Are Pakistan Rangers targeting MQM and going easy on PPP in Sindh? Will Pakistan Army succeed in containing or eliminating MQM's militant wing? What is the PPP strategy in cooperating with Pakistan Rangers? Will MQM leaders be convicted of either money-laundering or murder or both charges in British Courts? How will it impact MQM as a political party in Pakistan? Will new leadership reform and recreate the party?
Are India-Pakistan ties taking a turn for the worse after Modi-Sharif meeting in Russia? Will Modi continue his policy of isolating Pakistan and use proxies to hurt his neighbors?
Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam (www.politicsinpakistan.com) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com).
Eid in America; US-Iran Deal's Impact on... by ViewpointFromOverseas
Eid ul Fitr in America; US-Iran Deal's Impact on Pakistan; Rangers vs MQM-PPP in Sindh; India-Pakistan Ties from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Eid in America
Scotland Yard Confirms Document Linking MQM to RAW
Ex RAW Chief on Agra Summit and Kashmir
Pakistan Opposition Indicts But Supports PMLN Government
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#Pakistan banks on bonanza from #Irandeal. #Nawazsharif Advisor Tariq Fatemi talks in #Washington
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/24/pakistan-banks-bonanza-iran-nuke-deal/#.VbL4-FpJseI.twitter … via @washtimes
The lifting of economic sanctions on Iran will open “massive trade” opportunities for Pakistan and could effectively transform the energy markets of South Asia by paving the way for a long-awaited gas pipeline across the Iran-Pakistan border, a top Pakistani diplomat said Friday, expressing his nation’s deep hope that the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Tehran goes into effect as soon as possible.
Syed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said his country is being “mindful” not to take action until U.N. sanctions officially lifted, but he asserted that Islamabad is already in constant communication with Iranian authorities about the prospects for the stalled pipeline, as well as other avenues for growing commercial ties between the two nations who share a 560-mile border.
In a wide-ranging chat with reporters at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, Mr. Fatemi said that after a decade of internal turmoil, Pakistan is on a path toward stability and democratic transformation — and increased trade is essential to the goal of weening the nation’s economy off of handouts from the U.S. and other international powers.
Pakistan’s hopes are just one sign of the wide-ranging implications of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five international partners with Iran, which may quickly lead to an end to punishing economic and financial restrictions on the Iranian economy.
“An end to sanctions will open up new opportunities for Pakistan to enhance its commercial and economic ties with Iran,” Mr. Fatemi said. “We have a long border and we could have massive trade with that country should this issue of sanctions no longer be hovering over us.”
The “Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project,” he said, could ease crippling power shortages that plague Pakistan, where blackouts combined with an intense heat wave killed more than 1,000 people during recent months.
But Mr. Fatemi said the prospective pipeline would “not only benefit Pakistan in terms of providing us with a valuable source of energy, we also believe that such a pipeline could encourage cooperation amongst the countries of the region that would really strengthen peace and stability.”
“Iran’s coming into out into the mainstream of international politics will [also] be a positive development,” said Mr. Fatemi, who played down the idea that closer ties between Islamabad and Tehran might anger Arab powers in the Middle East who have expressed discontent over the Iran nuclear deal.
Leaked audio reveals neoconservative plan to torpedo U.S.-Iran nuclear deal: http://interc.pt/1DSp2mm
The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here.
Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004 (where he anointed Paul Wolfowitz “Man of the (Jewish) Year”), is essentially a standard-issue neocon and warmonger, which is why his mentality is worth hearing. He begins the strategy call with an attempt to sound rational and sober, but becomes increasingly unhinged and hysterical as he progresses. Here, for instance, is Stephens’ message that he believes should be delivered to wavering members of Congress:
Someone should say, “this is going to be like your vote for the Iraq War. This is going to come back to haunt you. Mark my words, it will come back to haunt you. Because as Iran cheats, as Iran becomes more powerful, and Iran will be both of those things, you will be held to account. This vote will be a stain. You will have to walk away from it at some point or another. You will have to explain it. And some of you may in fact lose your seats because of your vote for this deal. You’ll certainly lose a lot of financial support from some of your previous supporters.”
First, note the bizarre equation of support for the war in Iraq with support for a peace deal with Iran. Second, since when do neocons like Stephens talk about the Iraq War as something shameful, as a “stain” on one’s legacy? Stephens was a vehement advocate for the attack on Iraq, as was the paper for which he works, and never once suggested that he was wrong to do so. Third, yet again we find journalists at newspapers claiming the pretense of objectivity who are in fact full-on activists: here, to the point of colluding with a right-wing group to sink the Iran Deal — there’s nothing wrong with that on its own terms, other than the conceit that journalism is distinct from activism.
Indian Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju on India's Criminal Organizations
I regard the Congress and the BJP as criminal organizations.
In 1984 that criminal gangster Indira Gandhi, who imposed a fake ' Emergency' in 1975 in India in order to hold on to power after she had been declared guilty of corrupt election practices by the Allahabad High Court, an ' Emergency' in which even the right to life was suspended, and lacs of Indians were falsely imprisoned, was assassinated.
As a reaction,the Congress Party led by Rajiv Gandhi organized a slaughter of thousands of innocent Sikhs, many of whom were burnt alive by pouring petrol or kerosene on them and setting them on fire. When there were protests against this horrendous crime, Rajiv Gandhi said ' jab bada ped girta hai, dharti hil jaati hai' ( when a big tree falls, the earth shakes ). It is believed that he gave oral instructions to the police not to interfere with the massacres for 3 days ( see my blog ' The Sikh riots of 1984 ' on justice.blogspot.in )..
Soon after these horrible massacres, elections to the Lok Sabha was declared, and Congress swept the polls on this emotional wave winning a record 404seats in the 532 seat Lok Sabha, while BJP won only 2 seats.
In 2002 the massacre of Muslims was organized in Gujarat by BJP led by our friend ( see my blog ' All the Perfumes of Arabia ), and the result was that BJP has been regularly winning the Gujarat elections ever since, and has even won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
So the message which has been sent is loud and clear : organize massacre of some minority in India, and you will sweep the polls. Never mind how much misery you cause to many people.
Are not the Congress and BJP, and even many smaller political parties, which are responsible for horrible deeds and for systematically looting the country of a huge amount of money for decades, and for causing such terrible sufferings and misery to the people, criminal organizations, most of whose members deserve the gallows ?
The search for jet black terrorists leads to the nabbing of white-collar criminals. It’s open hunting season. Shocked? You should be. That’s not how we do things in Pakistan. So what gives?
The last few weeks have witnessed frantic nab and grab action in many corners of the country, forcing citizens to scratch their heads and ask: Are we finally entering an era where the traditionally short arm of the law is growing in length? The evidence is mounting. In Peshawar, the government picks up a local Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf minister for corruption; in Karachi, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrest high-ranking officials of the Sindh government while taking away records and files from the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) offices; In Lahore, Pakistan People's Party leader and former hockey star Qasim Zia is seized (again by NAB) for embezzlement; in Rawalpindi, the army takes action against its own generals for financial bunglings, and the list gets longer and longer. This is crazy stuff. Suddenly, Pakistan’s law enforcement seems to have grown some teeth, a spine, and perhaps even a brain.
This sounds suspiciously like a new Pakistan. Are the leaders in grave danger of becoming good men?
There is a certain urgency in what we are seeing unfolding; a certain deadlined challenge that is in the process of being achieved. An impression has successfully been created that the state finally means business; that the gloves are off and political expediency has been boxed and shelved. Onwards ho! Doors will be kicked down, closets overturned and skeletons dug back out. Villains, run.
For now, that is.
Retribution triggers such happy emotions. You killed our sons? Now hang. You looted our money? Now rot in jail. You abused your office? Now suffer humiliation. Yes, the average God-fearing, well-meaning, taxpaying citizen is experiencing deep catharsis watching lowlife individuals being dragged to justice. All power to those who have grown fresh spines. May you crush more them under your boot.
But wait. Everything that feels good, isn’t. Snatch and grab makes for great headlines, but what then? How many of these crooks, cons and racketeers will actually be convicted? Would not it be fairly easy for them to worm, wiggle and wriggle their way out of our criminal justice system and into the fresh, crisp air of lucrative freedom? Naming and shaming is good, but convicting is better.
Plus, hey who’s doing the naming and shaming? And at whose behest?
Three federal agencies backed by a federal minister inspired by a federal institution are driving this campaign. FIA, NAB and Rangers (in Sindh) cannot be accused of having a brilliant track record in the past. Yet, all three at this point seem a model of efficiency and resolve. Is it that overnight these three agencies have discovered their mojo? Or stumbled upon a hidden reserve of proficiency, performance and prowess? Or is it in fact a new-found will at the top that has transformed them into rocket-propelled chainsaws?
Chaudhry Nisar, the minister of interior (and exterior too apparently), wears a determined, no-nonsense look nowadays. They say he doesn’t take pressure and uses his moods like a lethal weapon. In Star Wars terminology, he is this government’s Jedi and the federal agencies are his lightsabres. Slash and burn.
BBC News - #Pakistani #MQM linked to 'dozens of UK bank accounts' . 70 accounts total, 26 in #AltafHusain's name
UK police documents obtained by the BBC list more than 70 London bank accounts related to a Pakistani party being investigated for money-laundering.
Twenty-six are in the name of MQM leader Altaf Hussain. UK-based party officials are waiting to hear if they will face money-laundering charges.
Six British detectives were recently in Pakistan seeking co-operation in the alleged money-laundering case.
The MQM has said Scotland Yard's claims about the bank accounts are baseless.
British police have been investigating the MQM, one of Pakistan's main political parties, for several years but the pace of their investigations has picked up markedly since a meeting in London in April between Pakistan's Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and Home Secretary Theresa May.
The Scotland Yard documents, which include details of both open and closed bank accounts, were submitted to Pakistan's Federal Investigations Agency (FIA) as part of a British request for assistance.
Scotland Yard has declined to comment on the documents.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service is already considering whether leading MQM officials should be charged with money-laundering offences but police say that does not stop them making further inquiries.
"The investigation continues and any further relevant information would be discussed with the CPS," said a spokesperson at Scotland Yard.
The British police team in Pakistan was also seeking to advance a separate investigation into the 2010 murder in north London of a senior MQM leader, Imran Farooq.
Three suspects in the case are being held in Pakistan. The UK police want to extradite one of the three - Mohsin Ali Syed - who they claim was present at the scene of the killing.
Pakistan is insisting that either all three should be extradited - or none at all.
The MQM denies any wrongdoing and insists that all the allegations made against it are false.
The British judiciary has been highly critical of the MQM. Back in 2011 a British judge adjudicating an asylum appeal case found that "the MQM has killed over 200 police officers who have stood up against them in Karachi".
During their investigation into the murder of Mr Farooq the police found £167,525.92 (about $235,000) in the MQM's offices in London and a further £289,785.32 in Mr Hussain's home in Edgware, north London.
Previous investigations in London uncovered a list in Mr Hussain's home itemising weapons, including mortars, grenades and bomb-making equipment. The list included prices for the weapons.
The Scotland Yard documents include a number of other British requests for assistance from their Pakistani counterparts.
The British asked for information about cash and weapons found at the MQM's Karachi headquarters. They also asked for official confirmation of Pakistani media reports that the MQM was involved in extortion in Karachi.
How Pakistan’s Most Feared Power Broker Controlled a Violent Megacity From London
Though he was born in Karachi in 1953, Hussain has always identified as a Mohajir—a term that refers to those, like his parents, who left India after partition. In Agra, about 140 miles south of Delhi, Hussain’s father had a prestigious job as a railway-station manager. In Karachi he could only find work in a textile mill, and then died when Hussain was just 13, leaving his 11 children dependent on Hussain’s brother’s civil-service salary as well as what their mother earned sewing clothes. Such downward mobility was common among Mohajirs, who were the target of discrimination by native residents of Sindh, the Pakistani state of which Karachi is the capital. Hussain was enraged by his community’s plight. He and a group of other Mohajir students founded the MQM in 1984, and Hussain gained a reputation for intense devotion to the cause. After one protest, when he was 26, he was jailed for nine months and given five lashes.
Religiously moderate and focused on reversing discriminatory measures, the MQM built a large following in Karachi, winning seats in the national and provincial parliaments. It didn’t hurt, according to UK diplomatic cables and two former Pakistani officials, that it received support from the military, which saw the party as a useful bulwark against other political factions. Although Hussain never stood for elected office, he was the inescapable face of the MQM, his portrait plastered all over the many areas it dominated.
From the beginning, the MQM’s operations went well beyond political organizing. As communal violence between ethnic Mohajirs, Sindhis, and Pashtuns worsened in the mid-1980s, Hussain urged his followers at a rally to “buy weapons and Kalashnikovs” for self-defense. “When they come to kill you,” he asked, “how will you protect yourselves?” The party set up weapons caches around Karachi, stocked with assault rifles for its large militant wing. Meanwhile, Hussain was solidifying his grip on the organization, lashing out at anyone who challenged his leadership. In a February 1991 cable, a British diplomat named Patrick Wogan described how, according to a high-level MQM contact, Hussain had the names of dissidents passed to police commanders, with instructions to “deal severely with them.” (Hussain denies ever giving instructions to injure or kill anyone).
Even the privileged came under direct threat. One elite Pakistani, who asked not to be identified due to fear of retribution, recalled angering the party by having the thieving manager of his family textile factory arrested, unaware the employee was an MQM donor. One afternoon in 1991, four men with guns forced themselves into the wealthy man’s car, driving him to a farmhouse on the edge of the city. There, they slashed him with razor blades and plunged a power drill into his legs. The MQM denied being behind the kidnapping, but when the victim’s family asked political contacts to lean on the party he was released, arriving home in clothes soaked with blood.
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