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Plan to ‘corner Russia,’ ‘stop Turkey’: This plan is going to be ruined!

Ibrahim Karagul

The rapport between Turkey and Russia is not limited to the improvement of the two countries’ relations and economic and political partnerships alone. It is not limited to the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the military technology cooperation, the state of understanding each other in the area of defense, coordination in Syria or massive partnerships in economy either.

Russia’s involvement in the Syria war, the bad memories in the Syria issue that Turkey and the US started together and the downing of a Russian jet for this sake, the two countries being dragged into crises that could cause war, and then, Ankara and Moscow getting close around a common will and becoming determinants in the Syria issue, has made the Ankara-Moscow rapport one of the most important targets of the US and Europe.

The plan to ‘corner Russia,’ ‘stop Turkey’: A Western priority such as “cornering Russia” and “stopping Turkey” is revealing itself in every area and every front now. The threats rising from the US and Europe are now targeting both countries. In the rising East-West showdown, the two countries farthest in the West are now considered a “front” for the West. Turkey and Russia are facing similar threats and, these threats are really very serious. Just the cooperation with respect to Syria alone reset all of the US and Israel’s theories on Syria. This situation struck a heavy blow on the West’s new Middle East design.

Turkey ruined the West’s geography adjustments; the map drafts went down the drain: If the Syria war does not end the way they want, all their map drafts for the region are going to go down the drain. This alone is enough for the West to threaten the two countries. Because they know well that the share in the 21st century global power map depends on how much of our region they rule.

Thus, they would not allow anyone to get close to the region, they would divide whichever country they want and mobilize the local regimes for this global invasion. Turkey suddenly changing position, seeing the threats and attacks coming from the West and turning to its own historical theories largely spoiled the game. Russia going all the way down to the Mediterranean and intervening in the Syria-Iraq joint map had already ruined the Atlantic alliance’s plans.

Their plans will be ruined in the east of the Euphrates: Now, the trilateral mechanism between Turkey, Russia and Iran remaining intact despite all kinds of attacks and narrowing down the West’s area of initiative in Syria have also intensified the showdown. The latest agreement between US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emannuel Macron, the deployment of French troops to Syria, the terror corridor in the country’s north being ruined by Turkey, the doors of the Mediterranean being closed off with the Afrin operation and Turkey turning toward the east of the Euphrates will further increase the conflict. All secret US and European deals somehow include ruining the Turkey-Russia-Iran trilateral mechanism.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed have been released on the ground as the West’s new Trojan horses. It is clear that these leaders are dragging their own countries into a trap that will destroy them, that they are going to be badly used, and yet that they will not be able to build a force against Turkey and Iran. They have been released on the ground to continue the Western occupation that has been ongoing for a century in the power fight over our region, for a new wave of attacks.

Turkey and Russia are under open threat: Russia is under open threat. The tensions that started with the U.K.-Russia spat, that continued with the diplomat crisis, and lastly grew with the US deporting 60 and many European countries deporting one-to-two Russian diplomats, and which has gone as far as closing the US Consulate in St. Petersburg, are going to further escalate.

Because the US and Europe are openly preparing the infrastructure of the attack against Russia and making plans to plunder this country’s resources; and they are acting with the idea to make Russia collapse a second time after the Soviet Union. It is a fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is aware of this, is in offense instead of defense.

As for Turkey, the more it rediscovers its historic regional theories, the more it claims them, the more it becomes the West’s target. A country at the center of the Atlantic alliance is being directly struck by the Atlantic alliance, with efforts to bring it to its knees through terrorist organizations. July 15 is an open attack on Turkey by this alliance. The attempt to invade in Turkey’s southeast through the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is such a plan. The plans to siege through the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) from northern Syria are the same.

‘Conservative opposition,’ July 15 headquarters and the pro-Atlantic operation: All the developments regarding the “internal operation” are within this context.  The efforts made on the inside with the aim of the Syria war going in the direction the US wants, regardless of who does it, is part of a pro-Atlantic operation. Those who conducted the July 15 attacks and these operations are controlled by the same centers.

The biggest threat for Turkey comes from the West and its old allies. We have to carefully watch the foreign forces and internal operators that are making plans to “shrink Turkey,” and see this connection and take precautions. I am drawing attention to the “conservative opposition” and “conservative intervention” terms, which I have been using recently, specifically from this aspect. An initiative that seems like an “innocent opposition” that may come from here will become part of this new multinational intervention. The attack will again come from the West and be controlled by the headquarters of the July 15 attack.

Ankara-Moscow should get close: The job that was started with Afrin must be completed: Turkey and Russia are facing almost the same threats, they are building similar defense lines and expressing a similar defense discourse. Rapport between the two countries is in both their favors. Ankara and Moscow must be more open toward one another, strengthen their trust relations and develop a kind of solidarity. Turkey needs Russia, true, but maybe Russia needs Turkey a lot more.

The storms, the attacks headed toward both countries from the West are going to continue to intensify. Russia must show resistance against this, otherwise a great disaster is going to knock on its door. Turkey must continue the job it started with Afrin, regardless of its cost, otherwise it will have to face a new wave of attacks.

The World’s map is going to narrow down for the West: We can clearly say that the world has divided into two as the East and West. Not all of Turkey and Russia’s maneuvers are tactical, current moves; they are geopolitical maneuvers. The attacks from the West targeting these two countries are the same. There are facts that we cannot give up for Turkey, such as it defending itself, protecting its future, existing by growing and being a determining force in the building of its own region. For Russia, there is a great battle with respect to preventing the country from being divided a second time.

But Russia and Turkey are not the only ones standing against the West. Asian powers are rapidly rising. They are narrowing the world map for the West. We are going to see that map narrow even more and their areas of influence in our region further break. When analyzing the two countries, it is an obligation to examine the current global power map and its changes and tremors very carefully. That is when the truth will be revealed.

West on the decline, the East rises!

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey, the tripartite summit taking place today between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Putin is important enough to shape the region’s destiny. All three countries need to avoid getting caught in the waves coming from the Atlantic shores, and stand against the invasion scenarios in our region with a political language and stance.

Truly, a new world is being shaped; the West is pausing, becoming aggressive; the East is rising, gaining power. As Turkey, we are interpreting all this chaos well and taking our steps accordingly. The political genetic continuing since the Seljuks is going to put us in the center of the 21st century. We are going to continue with patience, determination and resistance.

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Assange works for the people – now we need to save him

Slavoj Zizek

Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave Wik-iLeaks boss quiet right now.

Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?

As for the second question, it is not enough to claim that people simply got tired of Assange. Rather, a key role has been played by the long and well-orchestrated slow campaign of character assassination which reached the lowest level imaginable two months ago with the unverified rumors alleging how the Ecuadorians want to get rid of him because of his bad smell and dirty clothes.

In the first stage of attacks on Assange, his ex-friends and collaborators went public with claims that WikiLeaks began well but then it got bogged down with Assange’s political bias (his anti-Hillary obsession, his suspicious ties with Russia, etc.). This was followed by more direct personal defamation: for instance, he is paranoiac and arrogant, obsessed by power and control. But now we have reached the direct bodily level of smells and stains.

Manipulating Motives: They say Assange is paranoid? How could anyone who lives permanently in a flat which is bugged from above and below, a victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, not be? As for him being a megalomaniac? When the (now ex-) head of the CIA says your arrest is his priority, does this not imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least? And the trope where Assange behaves like the head of a spy organization? But WikiLeaks IS a spy organization, althou-gh one that serves the people, keeping them informed on w-hat goes on behind the scenes.

Yet, they say Assange is a refugee from justice, hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape judgment. But what kind of justice is this which threatens to have him arrested when the case has already been dropped?

So let’s move to the big question: why now? I think one name explains it all: Cambridge Analytica – a name which stands for all Assange is about, for what he fights against; the disclosure of the link between the great private corporations and government agencies.

Remember what a big topic and obsession the Russian meddling in the US elections was – now we know it was not Russian hackers (with Assange) who nudged the people towards Trump, but instead the West’s own data-processing agencies which joined forces with political forces. This doesn’t mean that Ru-ssia and its allies are innocent: they probably did try to influence the outcome in the same way that the US does in other countries (only in this case, it is labeled “de-mocracy promotion”). But it means the big bad wolf who distorts our democracy is not in the Kremlin, but wal-king around the West itself – and this is what Assange was claiming all along.

Covert Rule: But where, exactly, is this big bad wolf? To grasp the whole scope of this control and manipulation, one should move beyond the link bet-ween private corporations a-nd political parties (as is the case with Cambridge Analy-tica), to the interpenetration of data processing companies like Google or Facebook and state security agencies.

We shouldn’t be shocked at China but at ourselves who accept the same regulation while believing that we retain our full freedom and that media just helps us to realize our goals (while in China people are fully aware that they are regulated). The overall image emerging from it, combined with what we also know about the link between the latest developments in biogenetics (wiring the human brain, etc.), provides an adequate and terrifying image of new forms of social control which make the good old 20th century “totalitarianism” seem a rather primitive and clumsy machine of domination. The biggest achievement of the new cognitive-military complex is that direct and obvious oppression is no longer necessary: individuals are much better controlled and “nudged” in the desired direction when they continue to experience themselves as free and autonomous agents of their own lives. And this is another key lesson of WikiLeaks: our lack of freedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very manifestation of our freedom. Because what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications which allows every individual to popularize their opinions and forms virtual communities at the user’s own volition? This is why it is absolutely imperative to keep the digital network out of the control of private capital and state power, i.e., to render it totally accessible to public debate. Assange was right in his strangely ignored key book on Google (When Google Met WikiLeaks, 2014) in his understanding of how our lives are regulated today, and how this regulation is experienced as our freedom. Meaning, we have to focus on the shadowy relation between private corporations which control our commons and secret state agencies.

People Power: Now we can see why Assange has to be silenced at exactly this moment when the topic of Cambridge Analytica is everywhere in our mainstream media. At a time when all the effort of those in power goes into reducing it to a particular “misuse” by some private corporations and political parties – but where is the state itself and the half-invisible apparatuses of the so-called “deep state”?

No wonder that the Guardian, which extensively reports on the Cambridge A-nalytica “scandal,” recently published a disgusting atta-ck on Assange as a megalomaniac and fugitive from justice. Now, as far they are concerned, write as much as you want about Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon, just don’t dwell on what Assange was drawing our attention to: that the state apparatuses which are now expected to investigate the “scandal” are themselves part of the problem.

Assange characterized himself as the spy of and for the people: he is not spying on the people for those in power, he is spying on those in power for the people. This is why the only ones who can really help him now are we, the people. Only our pressure and mobilization can alleviate his predicament. One often reads how the old Soviet secret service not only punished its traitors even if it took decades to do it, but also fought doggedly to free them when they were caught by the enemy. Assange has no state behind him, just us, the public – so let us do at least what the Soviet secret service was doing, let’s fight for him no matter how long it takes!

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Pakistan specific Trumponics

Iqbal Khan

American impatience with China’s economic rise is quite evident in the recently launched tariff war by President Donald Trump. America has its own problems. Of these, fear of losing the mantle of sole superpower, out of own stupidities, is quite over whelming. Hence, there is a sense of urgency, bordering panic, to stop the downslide. With this degree of desperation, direct and oblique pressure are being brought down to bear upon Pakistan from all directions to inflict punishment for joining China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The US has been contemplating a wide range of choices to make the things enduringly painful for Pakistan. Strategy is to incrementally and persistently pressure Islamabad. Usual vehicles are counter terrorism, non-proliferation and persecution of religious minorities. When trumpeted in orchestration, combination makes an attractive symphony for the American camp followers- especially the EU. And even if it does not, camp followers are any way supposed to fall in line.

Of now, White House is weighing unprecedented penalties including revoking the country’s major non-NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bars on select Pakistani government officials resisting the US onslaught. However, there is no unanimity within the US policy circles with regard to the “tempo and scale” of such erratic measures. While some officials and military men favour pursuing an aggressive policy, others advocate caution.

However, President Trump is continuously stuffing his team with hawkish guys and constituency of reason and prudence is shrinking fast. If Trump’s ‘Fire’ machine keeps its tempo, soon he would be sitting on top of the heap of likeminded trash.

For Pakistan, the omens are not good. With John Bolton and Mike Pompeo at the lead, adverse balance could soon “tilt” the discussion on Pakistan within Trump’s kitchen cabinet in favour of punitive measures. Indicators suggest that too hard a push may be in the offing-a multipronged squeeze to hit where all it could pain the most. In a sort of oblique pressure, on March 22, the US Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce imposed sanctions on seven little known privately owned Pakistani companies, placing them on its “Entity List”, making it harder for them to operate in the US and do business with the US companies. These sanctions could complicate Pakistan’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an issue that Pakistan regards as its vital national interest.  Pakistan’s foreign office responded:

“We reject attempts by Pakistan’s detractors to exploit these listings to cast aspersions on Pakistan’s non-proliferation credentials.” America is known for making moves to block Pakistan’s entry into NSG and paving the way for India’s entry.

No one knows better than the US about Pakistan’s efforts in the area of export controls and non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security because the two countries have not only been engaged in regular talks on the subject but also have ongoing active cooperation; the US has extended substantial support to Pakistan in upgrading the relevant procedures and systems. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been expressing complete satisfaction over these measures.  Hence, there is absolutely no justification to subject private or public-sector entities of Pakistan to undue restrictions.

Earlier the US went out of the way, by circumventing the procedure, to enlist Pakistan on Grey list on account of laxity of procedures and measure to prevent terror financing. The US has also placed Pakistan on watch list in the context of persecution of relegious minorities. On the eve of new year Trump’s obnoxious anti-Pakistan tweets made headlines followed by severing of aid in the pipeline that may value up to US$ 2 billion:

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.” Contrary to tall claims, the US has not been very generous in providing the financial assistance to Pakistan.

The US aid and assistance has been only limited to its strategic and political objectives. Substantial amount was recycled back through American NGOs, executing most of these projects. Despite his status as President of the US, Trump is suffering from the hangover of his previous job-a whimsical business tycoon-vested with absolute authority over his employees. He still behaves the same way, as is evident from the way he “fires” his key team members.

Latest meeting between the US Ambassador Alice Wells and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary took place in Islamabad on March 29. This was her second visit to Pakistan in 2018. The aim of the visit was to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and situation in Afghanistan. Indicators point towards a protracted unease in bilateral relations. The silver lining is that there are murmurings from within Trump administration that cutting off aid to the country permanently would make it harder for Pakistan to access high-tech military hardware, hampering the fight against terrorism, bolstering militants and weakening a nuclear-armed nation. Pakistan is also an important country as all roads to Afghan peace pass through Pakistan’s good will. Even mere stonewalling by Pakistan would make Afghan peace a bridge far away.

Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth and a volatile relationship with anyone who disagrees with him. Safe projection is that Trump’s America is likely to continue hitting Pakistan where it pains the most. Billion-dollar question is: Does the US want peace in Afghanistan, followed by an honorable exit? OR, does it want a perpetually simmering Afghanistan to justify an open-ended deployment of its troops? Upcoming tempo of Pakistan-America equation would offer factual answer to real American intent.

Iqbal.khan9999@yahoo.com

 

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What does Trump’s ‘Syria message’ mean?

Abdullah Muradoglu

The promise made by U.S. President Don-ald Trump, who leap-ed from the business world to politics, to pull back U.S. troops from many countries, primarily Afghanis-tan, played an important role in the success he gained in the 2016 presidential elections. It was clear that Trump got more votes in areas where the families of soldiers who lost their lives abroad reside. On the other hand, Hilary Clinton’s eag-erness to continue her war policies ended in defeat.

Trump, who was one of the severe critics of the Iraq war, during his 14 months in office, did not fulfill his promise, and what’s more, he approved the sending of more troops to Afghanistan. The U.S., which has more than 2,000 soldiers in Syria, is also helping Riyadh in the war in Yemen.

The deal on the Patriot air system with Poland was smoothed over. We don’t know the details yet on whether technology will be shared, but the agreement was announced. The U.S. is also going to send heavy weaponry to Ukraine. The tension that started between the U.K. and Russia is increasingly escalating. In the conflict that has turned into an international crisis, the anti-Russia front is expanding. Trump, who is in favor of having good ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, took place on the same side as the U.K.

A significant number of voters and the political elite are angry with Trump because he failed to fulfill his election promise about U.S. troops returning home.

The commenters who referred to the abovementioned headlines said, “If voters wanted this, they would have elected Hilary Clinton, not Donald Trump.”

Trump bringing CIA head Mike Pompeo to the head of the Department of State, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to the National Security Advisory, who are known as the “war falcons,” further offended these circles.

As all the developments were happening, Trump approved some 10 percent increase in the military budget; $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019. Yet, Trump could not achieve real progress on the “Mexica wall.” In the $1.3-trillion budget pack that was approved in Congress recently, an allowance of just $1.6 billion could be allocated for border security. The number foreseen by Trump was $25 billion.

Trump, who approved the general budget amid whining, is now trying to get the Pentagon to build the wall to fulfill his promise to the voters.

When Trump accepted to meet with the North Korean leader, he had two falcons like Pompeo and Bolton behind him.

This maneuver, which is seen as “carrot and stick,” is believed to be valid for Iran, Russia and China as well. Trump, who threatened to turn North Korea back to the Stone Age suddenly became a peace-making president. It is clear that Trump is going to use the “Neocons” as leverage to further his policies on these countries.

Both Bolton and Pompeo have defended that the “Iranian Nuclear Deal” should be trashed from the very beginning. Trump had given Germany, the U.K. and France until May 12 to add new terms to the agreement. These countries are in favor of leaving the deal as it is. Bolton and Pompeo may change this reality.

While the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of State have made statements that the U.S. will be in Syria for a long time, in a meeting in Ohio, Trump said that he will be pulling back U.S. troops.

Trump’s Syria statement also contradicts with Israel as well as Iran falcons like Pompeo and Bolton. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who was in the U.S., said, hours after Trump, in an interview to Time magazine,

“We believe U.S. troops need to remain in Syria for at least the medium term.” It will become clear in the upcoming days whether Trump’s Syria statement is a message given for the 2018 elections.

The question that needs to be answered is: Is Trump going to give an order or not to the Pentagon, Department of State and National Security advisers to prepare a plan for U.S. soldiers to pull out of Syria?

 

 

 

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The failure of KP Ehtesab Commission

Dr. Asmatullah Khan

Any reformative step taken to control and curb corruption with sincerity and honesty certainly pave ways to achieve its target and objectives, if the steps are taken with sincerity and devotion and is not design to punish the political rivals on personal grudges. However, if such reformative measures are taken to get personal gains and to simply subjugate the political rivals, or for targeted political benefits, than it never succeeds to achieve its goals and objectives with true spirit. It is a known fact that almost in all the developed and developing countries, the government introduces various reforms and adopt serious strategies to control mega corruptions at country level. They grabbed with iron hands, the mighty politicians, bureaucrats, generals and rulers under anticorruption laws to completely root out corruption and mega embezzlements from the society/ country.

In addition, all those countries that is determined to m-ake their anticorruption’s mea-sures productive and successful, have shown substantial achievements in this respect. They have successfully recovered and returned trillion of dollars in the state treasuries from such looters. They have almost eliminated corruption from their countries on the basis of their own fair and honest governance without any discrimination. They acted to play their role to facilitate the poor’s and distributed facilities and amenities of life among the common people with complete justice. All such reforms launched in the larger interest of the country, are not having any ulterior motives. Conse-quently, they very successfully distributed amenities of life equally and put their countries on the track of accelerated development and prosperities and hence succeeded in making their countries free from corruption and accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few.

But unfortunately, the case of such measures in the form of Ehtesab Commissions and such other anti-corruption units in the developing countries like Pakistan are made to punish the political rivals, unwanted bureaucrats, army officials etc., and they use it as a camouflage to protect their own corruption and their fellow’s mighty politicians. Likely, the Ehtesab Commission constituted in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to be a part of such institution, which is used to punish the political rivals and people of anti-groups. It’s almost five years functioning duration, proved the same role in the province, having a very malafide, dishonest and personal grudges based stories of victimizations. The Ehtesab Commission in KP was constituted almost in the early period of the present KP government. Initially, the selections of the members of the commission were certainly made purely on the basis of merit, their honesty and on the good reputation of the candidates. A very long procedure was followed in the selection process and the names of the short listed candidates seeking positions in the commission were floated again and again in the media for comments and observations of the public. But when, no such anti comments and objections against the short listed candidates were received, resultantly, a final selection was made. The names of the selected candidates were again floated in the local and national newspapers for comments and observations, before joining the assignment. The task through media was finalized and final selection of the candidates was approved.

Certainly thousands of rupees were spent on this repeated procedure with the intention to select capable and honest workers for this newly established Ehtesab Commission of KP. Consequently, very reputed, fair and honest selection was made purely on the basis of merit, reputation and honesty. Some of the selected members were highly qualified and were having international exposers as well and were certainly having great reputation during their previous jobs.  But when some dishonest and corrupt MPA’s of the ruling party, the Tehrekay Insaf, came to know about the strictness and straight forwardness of some of the selected members, then they leveled false allegations against some of them with their malafide intentions either on the basis of their personal grudges or on account of their personal enmity with them.

One very dignified member was debarred from the commission purely on personal grudges on account of his strict and honest nature. The involved MPA’s were well aware about his strict nature and non-compromising attitude. Therefore, it was certainly a danger for such corrupt MPA’s.

Hence, simply to keep away him from the commission with their own ulterior motives, and to keep his/ her corruption secrete, the selected member was made out on false and unproved baseless allegations. It is further worth mentioning that today just to protect the corrupt provincial ministers and MPA’s, every day new amendments are made in the Ehtesab Act and regulations.  Those already working in the said commission are also talking openly about its failure and also about the hurdles created in the way of its transparent functioning by the present Provincial Government.

Certainly the induction and selection of such a straight forward, honest, well reputed and highly qualified member, the ulterior designs of the corrupt mafia of the said party would have never been succeeded. Therefore, such well reputed, honest already selected members of the team was debarred from the commission on false, unproved and baseless self-made allegations to pave ways for their own corruption and embezzlements. Today, almost all the newspapers are openly highlighting the open corruption and mega scandals of the ruling party in KP. The everyday stories of their mega corruption published in the daily newspapers certainly needs to be investigated through fair and honest team of the Higher Courts Judges, because their open corruption for the first time in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa kept the province under huge unbearable debt burden. Furthermore, since 2016, almost more than Rs. 400 million of this poor Province, have been spent on this commission, but their output is zero and it has been converted just to a complaints receiving office. It is certainly crystal clear that when such commissions are constituted in the name of controlling corruptions but are used to protect and safe guard the corruption of the ruling parties, how it will succeed to achieve the desired objectives of having a corruption free society. This is the basic reason that except, punishing the rivals; the commission is not having any creditable achievement.

Neither the slogans of corruption free society of the government nor the objective of disbursement of accumulated wealth from the corrupt mafia is achieved. Therefore, the present helpless and powerless Ehtesab Commission in KP is only present in the papers and is not delivering the desired services honestly, due to the regular interference of the KP government in its functioning.

As a result corruption prevails at a very high level in the KP and it is certainly at its climax and after the completion of their tenure cases of mega corruptions would hopefully be surfaced.

This poor province already suffered for almost more than 15 years due to the devastating terrorism and imposed afghan war. Regular bomb blasts in the province for almost 15 years has not only made the province socio -economically paralyzed and faced losses of precious lives but billion of financial losses, property damages and business collapses were also seriously observed due to the ill foreign policies and poor governance. Now, the open corruption and growing unemployment has further collapsed this poor province on account of ill planning policies and corrupt governance. The scandals of open mega corruptions at higher levels, which has been exposed recently by the opposition leaders in the news conference held on March 27th, 2018, like Khyber Bank Scandal, appointment of relatives and friends on key positions, corruptions of millions in the hospitals by the MTI’s, misuse of official helicopter, unproductive burden of Rs. 33 billion loan on the treasury of the province etc., are such issues, which certainly need to be investigated through fair commission constituted under the supervision of the senior judge of the High Court.

In KP almost all businesses, industries, trade and agriculture have been flopped and poverty and unemployment has reached to its climax, because of the incompetency of the government. The higher educational sector is also not functioning appropriately, due to the induction of the Vice Chancellors from other provinces and lack of Higher Education Commission office in KP for boosting the higher education and research. It is further worth mentioning that, all other provinces have established their own HEC offices for the acceleration of the Higher Education and Research in their provinces, except KP. Hence, it is essential to fairly reshape the Ehtesab Commission in the province for transparent working without any interference from the provincial government. The everyday negative reports published in the daily newspapers about the KP Ehtesab Commission are certainly lamentable. Furthermore, a severe punishment be given to those MPA’s, involved in making the commission unproductive due to their interferences, and debarring the already selected capable candidate from the commission.

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Welcome to Pakistan Dear Malala

Mahwish Khokhar

A question popping up in every Pakistani’s brain about surprise visit of controversial Malala Yousafzai. I was just going through some news articles when snobbish face of Malala appeared with a headline, “I have dreamed of coming to Pakistan for 5 years.” She gained fame after a highly trained, fearless, fully armed, and lethal Taliban missed his target entirely and got scared after missing his target and ran away. I mean, a fearless Taliban can shoot as much time as emptying his gun but so fortunate that he got scared and ran away. Phew!! Mashaa-Allah you are such a lucky girl.
However, thousands of children, women, and men have perished because of dr-one attacks by NATO forces in tribal areas of Pakistan. Aren’t they humans? Or maybe are considered as gun fodder by so called peace bringing forces. Why Malala never talked about drone attacks by US forces in villages where children, women, and men are burnt to death? Isn’t it violation of human rights? Strange right?
A 12 years old was shifted to UK, who is a Nobel laureate now. 20 years old Malala is given reception by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Coming from very poor background but going to UK opened fortune of treasures for her and she started dreaming about becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan. So, can we say that we are watching two hopeful contenders for prime minister-ship together? Jokes apart!!
The reason for writing this article is to analyze the statements of Malala Yousafzai. She said, “Today is the happiest day of my life, because I have returned to my country, I have stepped foot on my nation’s soil again and am among my own people.” Hmmm my nation altogether sound like you are considering yourself as a leader of patriotic Pakistanis; not so fast my dear girl!! Views of patriotic Pakistanis about you are subject to many debates for the past 8 years. And I know that it is harsh to say but most of the patriotic Pakistanis don’t really like you for not raising your voice for what is right. You can win millions of hearts in Pakistan by focusing on eliminating negative image of Pakistan. In a statement about Swat you said “it was such a beautiful place”. It still is heavenly and Pakistan Army is opening many schools and colleges for the local people.
Nevertheless, your efforts for girl’s education are highly remarkable. Your efforts for underprivileged girls from around the world are receiving huge feedback, nevertheless there are many challenges that are still looming around. It melted my heart the way I saw you crying and I am happy that you stepped into Pakistan’s soil. Pakist-ani’s will appreciate your eff-orts if you will encash your i-nfluence in the world for buil-ding positive image of Pakistan.

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Status of Examination in the backward areas of KP

Shaukat Hayat Buneri

Cheating in examination is a common practice not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but in all the regions and provinces of Pakistan. Although various steps and measures have been taken to curb this menace but sorry to say that all attempts have miserably failed to yield positive results in this regard. At the outset, it would not be out of place to say here that before the commencement of every grade of examination, pressure is mounted from every side to stop the practice of unfair means, but there is no panacea to conduct these exams in free, fair and transparent manners. Different tactics and techniques are being emp-loyed to make use of unfair means in examination halls even in this age of modern technology. In the past,the examination were held in much better environment as compared to the present time. The examination would be considered as the real test of one ability and hard work of a student. But as against the system can in no way be called the ultimate end to assess one capability and hidden talent.

It may be mentioned here that although the government are also taking different measures to overcome the menace but as mentioned earlier, the situation are going from bad to worse and the practice is going unabated. For example the district administration of different districts of KP with the collaboration of the education departments are devising strategies especially by exercising modern tools and techniques to stop the bad practice. But it has miserably failed to get the desired results. Even the CCTV cameras were installed in examination halls and places to stop and monitor the bad practice but this too met a failure. According to education experts the installation of CCTV camera is though a very good practice to discourage the habit of cheating- but due to meager resources the government is unable to make proper arrangement in each and every hall and exam venue. The installation of few cameras in a very few places is mere an eye wash for the common people regarding the conducting of examination in a transparent manner.

An intelligent and talented female student who is currently taking metric exam in Buner district told this scribe on the condition of anonymity that she has very finely attempted her English paper by using her own common sense and did not opt for cheating despite of the fact that she had no hindrance to go for cheating but his conscience did not allow her to involve in the bad practice. She also added that there was no bar or restrictions on any one and all were at liberty to do it accordingly. As such there was also no restriction from the duty staff to forbidden them from wrong doing. The student who attempted her English paper also pointed out a very clear point that whatever steps and measures may be taken by the government to stop the menace but one should not expect any positive result and the trend will witness upward jump.

In this backdrop it is also worth mentioning that government has also taken may reformative measures to bring positive changes in the existing system of examination from time to time. The pattern of objective types questions or MCQs in NTS or ETEA though have borne fruitful re-sults to some extent but still t-he desired results are yet be achieved. Because the people trust on all types of examinations have been done away totally. In this regard the notion of quality education has also vanished away at all. Today we see that an average student can easily mange to pass exam in throughout first division. Because they have no hurdles by using unfair means.

However in practical life he/she will have to face many hurdles to compete with other talented and intelligent people. Moreover it has also been practically proved and verified that the children of influential or affluent class get successes with grace marks in exam as their parents and guardians get sway and influence over the examination staff especially in rural and backward areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the invigi-lators are being influenced and dictated by the few influential of the areas. In this way the examinations are not a right method to make distinction between average and intelligent student in these areas. Often the students of the comparatively influential families get through in exam with grace marks but also atop the list of the successful students.

So keeping in view the significance of the examination, the government must take practical and meaningful steps to conduct the same in free, fare and transparent manner and there should be least chances of giving any favor or free hands to less intelligent and less hard working students. It is also worth mentioning to state that the incumbent government of KP has taken some stringent measures to purge the ongoing system of educational system with several reforms and measures have been introduced to ameliorate the lots of the poor segment of society. In this regards the examination system has also been streamlined to a considerable extent. The invigilators or the duty staff has been empowered to effectively manage the affairs of the examination hall. The staff deployed for the examination have also been selected as per criteria and the practice of the traditional duty staff have been discouraged and shun to a considerable extent.

However further reformative measures must be taken to really erect the examination system on strong footing so that the future of intelligent and deserving candidates may be secured for all time. Especially the students in the backward areas must be given a free, fair and transparent atmosphere to set in examination hall and attempt papers according to their own will.

asfahanbuneri@gmail.com

 

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Is Jordan enslaved to the UAE?

Yasin Aktay

It would have a particular importance to watch the developments in the world and in the region from Jordan where we were for the “Committee of Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons” of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This is because Jordan is a country that has developed a unique survival policy throughout history due to its geographical location and its dependency on the Gulf Countries and foreign aid. Even during the First Gulf War, it had managed to put across its own status as an excuse for its neutrality in the international coalition formed by Bush senior against Iraq, and it succeeded in staying out of the war, -to be more precise- out of the international coalition against Saddam. Withal, it also received an indemnity because of the war.

It never buys into tempered and impulsive tensions in the regional crises, rather, it has always tried to figure out and follow a balanced path. Despite being an ene-my of Israel in terms of official discourse as all the other Arab states are, it never resorts to any policy that will directly disturb Israel. On the contrary, it refrains from using and developing its own natural water and mineral resources within the scope of its peace settlement with Israel.

The English effect which was apparent in its foundation is continuing at the highest level because King Abdullah’s mother is British. In other words, the mother tongue of the King is English and he can speak this language more fluently and accent-free when compared to Arabic. Today, the British effect in the foundation of the Arab states and the subsequent administrations after World War I may not be that evident, yet this is quite perceivable in Jordan. The caution of Jordan in its foreign policy can be attributed to the British mind and impact to some extent.

The waves of the Arab Spring continuing as a domino effect in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen reached Jordan as well. In those days, there were also very substantial public demonstrations.

However, the attitude of the Jordan administration against the demonstrators was different from that of Syria, Egypt and Libya, and they avoided the event’s escalation in a soft manner that understood the anger of the demonstrators.

And to a degree, they directed the outrage aimed at the regime to the government through a government reform. As a matter of fact, this has turned out to be a conventional method to quell the opposition in Jordan. However, the current protests to remove the subsidies on bread and staple products are directly targeting the Kingdom instead of the government for the first time.

And last year, in the Gulf Crisis, which was seen as the biggest regional problem in the Arab world, Jordan at first didn’t want to join the anti-Qatar front established by UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain, but with the pressure of the axis, it reluctantly joined them later on.  However, just as it was expected, it didn’t take hostility to extremes and it always kept relations at a level so that it could be repaired.

It is known that this quadruple alliance does not leave Jordan in peace and wants to see it on their side. This axis, which is led by UAE, is determined to wipe off any democratic Islamic movements on Earth. This alliance, which has devoted its existence to avoid the development of democracy in the Muslim world, is not leaving Jordan alone.

Jordan is one of the rare states of the region where elections somewhat take place, where the legislative parliamentary functions, and where governments are formed considering the vote of the people. Although elections are arranged with a fine adjustment so as to avoid the Muslim Brotherhood from coming to power, the representation of Brotherhood in parliament is still not completely blocked.

Although the Brotherhood-phobia of the alliance led by UAE is wearing a moderate Islam mask, this is certainly a fear of Islam and democracy. This is because the movements supported by this axis is Salafi or Wahhabi movements. In reality, the Brotherhood is the movement that puts the most distance between itself and acts of violence. The words of Muhammad Badii, the leader of the movement in Egypt saying, “Our peaceful movement is more powerful than their bullets,” the most repeated slogan of the Brotherhood movement, reveals their principle of action.

Nevertheless, battling the Brotherhood inevitably necessitates massacring democracy. It necessitates supporting acts of violence be it for an alliance against the Brotherhood or fighting them.

Recently, Jordan suspended the free trade agreement it signed in 2001 with Turkey. The timing of this decision ahead of the visit of UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the country is being interpreted as the subordination of Jordan to this axis. Of course, the officially declared reason was to protect the “domestic industry.” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah has stated that UAE is ready to help Jordan solve its economic problems and to give support to the investment projects toward development in the meeting with King Abdullah II on March 13. Naturally, this was interpreted as a pledge of support in exchange for the suspension of the free trade agreement with Turkey.

You know the famous idiom: If you see two fish fighting in a river, look around for the British guy who started it. Nowadays, we can repeat the saying by substituting the British with the UAE. If you see any development against Turkey, look around for one of current governors of the UAE. The existence of Turkey in Jordan has already spread to the cultural, historical, geographical and economic depth of society. It is true that the trade deficit is to Turkey’s advantage, but to which country’s disadvantage is this deficit? This matter turning into a problem shows in itself that the UAE is devising a plot against Turkey.

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With eyes on Iran, Trump builds ‘war council’

Ihsan al-Faqih

John Bolton, the newly-appointed US national security advisor, portends a more hawkish approach by Washington to America’s perceived enemies. The 69-year-old has a long history of adopting hardline positions and showing a readiness to use military force overseas as evidenced by the “preemptive war” doctrine embraced by President George W. Bush (2001-2009), who launched wars on both Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).

Under Bush, Bolton served as both undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs (2001-2005) and as US ambassador to the UN (2005-2006).  Bolton was close to US decision-making circles throughout the terms of republican presidents Ronald Reagan (1983-1989) and George H. W. Bush (1989-1993).

He was a vocal supporter of regime change during the US-led war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1990/91 and maintained this orientation under the George W. Bush administration, which would end up invading — and occupying — both Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). The younger Bush took the decision to invade Iraq when Bolton was serving as undersecretary of state. In the run-up to the invasion, Bolton exerted pressure on decision-making circles — including the CIA and the US National Security Council — to endorse Bush’s decision.

Trump era: With his appointment last week as national security adviser, the Trump administration appeared to follow the policies of the Bush era, which was dominated by the pro-war “neo-conservative” movement. The national security adviser’s most significant function is to provide the president with options, alternatives and information relevant to political and/or military decision-making.

Bolton does not hide his preference for the use of force against Iran and North Korea in response to perceived threats to US national security on the pretext that both these countries boast a nuclear capacity and are generally antagonistic to the US

Bolton’s appointment was made in the run-up to historic peace talks with North Korea (expected in May) and shortly after Trump’s remarks on March 20, in which he — in the presence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — voiced his refusal to allow Iran to threaten global stability. Just before signing the six-nation nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, Bolton had argued that Tehran would never abandon its nuclear program and that US sanctions would not be enough to deter it from developing a nuclear-weapons capacity.

Only military action would stop Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, Bolton asserted, citing Israel’s 1981 strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor and its 2007 strike on a nuclear reactor in Syria. Bolton’s latest appointment, experts say, along with that of Mike Pompeo — a former CIA director — as secretary of state, suggests the nuclear deal with Iran will be revoked by Washington.

‘Declaration of war’: Others, including Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, have gone further, saying the appointment of Bolton and Pompeo was tantamount to a “declaration of war” on Iran.

Before his appointment, Bolton told members of Iran’s opposition People’s Mujahideen in Paris that Trump should “review” his policies on Iran and that the US should openly call for regime change. In Iran, there has been a general sense of pessimism regarding the nuclear deal, especially since the appointment of Pompeo, who, like Trump, has described it as “terrible”.

Trump believes there are only two options regarding the deal with Iran — to withdraw from it or to “do something else”. But given that the agreement is not a bilateral one between Iran and the US, Washington’s choices in this regard are limited. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghji, for his part, believes Washington “is determined” to withdraw from the deal and that Pompeo was appointed expressly for this purpose. While some voices in Tehran say Iran should abandon its obligations as laid out in the agreement if the US withdraws, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated his country’s commitment to the deal — even if the US abandons it — “as long as it benefits Iran”.

North Korea: Before his appointment, Bolton did not appear to put much stock in diplomacy as a means of resolving the dispute with North Korea. His appointment, however, comes only weeks ahead of a meeting, slated for May, which will bring together — for the first time ever — the US and North Korean leaders.

Bolton’s appointment came following a series of resignations by senior administration officials — resignations that have left Trump surrounded by officials who largely agree with his views on major foreign policy issues, including North Korea and Iran. Bolton’s appointment appears to suggest that Trump is building a “war council” stacked with hardliners who favor a muscular foreign policy. That council, which now includes both Bolton and Pompeo, is now awaiting a successor to Defense Secretary James Matiss, who many observers believe is on the verge of being replaced by Trump.

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Afghan peace effort: From nowhere to nowhere

Iqbal Khan

Prime Minister’s ‘private’ visit to the United States has, apparently, resulted in some forward movement. Two sides have agreed to increase contacts for the resolution of all issues-especially Afghanistan. Repo-rtedly, the US authorities have assured Pakistan that the Trump administration will continue dialogue on all issues and all its reservations will be addressed in an amiable manner. The officials level meetings would follow soon on eradicating terrorism and Afghan reconciliation process.

Pakistan has once again reemphasized that it has cleared the entire border region and there is no organized presence of terrorists within its territory. Neverth-eless, considering the porous nature of the border and the presence of over 2 million A-fghan refugees, sporadic occ-urrences could not be ruled out, and to counter this, Pa-kistan is determined to continue its Intelligence Based Operations.

Reportedly Pakistan has once again told the US that it will not accept any ‘do-more’ demands. Pakistan will not allow US or any other country to take action on its land and there will be no joint action either.

And that if the US has proof of any terrorist safe heavens it should share it with Pakistan. Pentagon has stated that the US has ruled out any plan to cross the international border in chasing the Taliban or any other terrorist groups who flee to Pakistan. Pakistan has all along been willing to cooperate in the Afghan reconciliation process. Pakistan’s role is critical for Afghan peace. Therefore, the US will have to adopt a balanced policy.

Intra Afghan efforts to hold backdoor diplomacy had begun last year after Afghan government’s announcement to initiate talks with Taliban for restoration of reconciliation process. Effort is on to persuade the Afghan Taliban to make a formal announcement of a coordination committee; immediate objective is to declare a ‘safe zone’ where the parties could hold peace talks.

During Pakistani National Security Adviser’s visit to Kabul, the two sides discussed a whole range of bilateral reconciliatory measures. Both the countries have agreed to work out a coordinated policy for resumption of talks with Taliban. Officials of Pakistan, US and Afghanistan are in contact with each other for gradual resumption of talks for Afghan reconciliation process.

President Ashraf Ghani met with a Pakistani delegation and discussed the Afghan government’s peace offer to the Taliban. Ghani has also officially invited Pakistani Prime Minister to visit Kabul. Moreover, the two sides also discussed the importance of regional cooperation in a campaign against crime and activities of terrorist networks. Afghan President has also shown a deep desire to have a comprehensive plan of action with Pakistan regarding connectivity and trade enhancement, particularly in the context of CPEC and CAREC.

Afghan government has repeatedly requested Pakistan to extend the stay of Afghan refugees, however, on the behest of India, some elements of Afghan refugees have been found involved in nefarious propaganda to create unrest in the Pashtun community in Pakistan. Afghan government should seriously do something to facilitate the return of its refugees in a dignified way. Pakistan is cognizant of humanitarian dimension of this issue. Its policy on Afghan Refugees is focused on dignified return of Afghan brothers to their homeland. In this spirit, Pakistan government has extended the validity of Refugee Cards until 30th June, 2018.

Earlier this year, Ghani has made, yet another, peace offer to the Taliban. However, the Taliban have not yet responded to the offer. Taliban continue to carry out their tactical missions. President Ashraf has offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group as part of a proposed political process. Ghani said a framework for peace negotiations should be created, with the Taliban recognized as a legitimate group, with their own political office to handle negotiations in Kabul or another agreed location, inside Afghanistan. In addition, Taliban prisoners could be released and their names removed from international blacklists, while security arrangements could be made for Taliban agreeing to join a process of reconciliation. Former fighters and refugees could be reintegrated and provided with jobs. The offer, aimed at creating a platform for peace talks, also proposes a ceasefire and alongside new elections in which the insurgents could participate, and a constitutional review to end the conflict.

These comments, a month after a suicide attack in central Kabul that killed around 100 people, represented a change in tone on Ghani’s part, who has regularly called the Taliban “terrorists” and “rebels” although he has also offered to talk with parts of Taliban that accepted peace. The UN mission in Afghanistan has welcomed the offer and said it “strongly supports the vision for peace through intra-Afghan dialogue.”

However, there is no immediate response to Ghani’s offer, although one Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was being studied by senior Taliban leaders. In return for Ghani’s offer, the Taliban would have to recognize the Afghan government.

Defence Secretary Mattis flew into Kabul two weeks after Afghan President unvei-led a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban. Mattis said some Taliban leaders have expressed an interest in the discussions; “It may not be that the whole Taliban comes over in one fell swoop, that would be a bridge too far, but there are elements of the Tal-iban clearly interested in talking to the Afghan governme-nt.” Alongside these gestures, military operation by occupation forces are on an upward trajectory. There were over 10,000 non-combatant casualties during last year, mostly attributed to indiscreet US bombing. Last week Taliban have once again described the Afghan government as “illegitimate” and its peace process efforts as “deceptive.” The peace process may not yet be out of incubation!

Writer is a freelance columnist; e-mail: Iqb-al.khan9999@yahoo.com