Earlier, the 70-year-old ex-president was brought to the court from a military hospital in Rawalpindi in a heavily-protected convoy. He sat in witness box and stood briefly when addressed by the judge. But Musharraf did not speak.
When Justice Arab asked him how he was feeling, he replied with a smile on his face that he was “good”. He remained in the court for 20 minutes and was taken back to the hospital, where he was admitted on January 3 after complaining of chest pain while traveling to the court for hearing.
The trial against Musharraf is related to his suspension, abrogation and subversion of the constitution after imposition of emergency rule in November 2007.
Obama cut aid to Pakistan, by a substantial amount:
the State Department argued is aimed at improving ties with India.
“Developing an enduring and collaborative relationship with an increasingly stable and prosperous Pakistan that plays a constructive role in the region will therefore continue to be a priority for the United States,” the State Department said proposing USD 100 million to Pakistan under the Economic Support Fund (ESF) for the fiscal year 2015.
“The USD 280 million Pakistan requests will enhance the Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Air Force, and Navy’s ability to conduct counter insurgency (COIN) and counter terrorism (CT) operations against militants throughout its borders and will improve Pakistan’s ability to deter threats emanating from those areas, and encourage continued US-Pakistan military-to-military engagement,” the State Department said.
The little known, and very intriguing story of the father of Nepalese democracy, and arguably its greatest modern political figure:
When India expelled the British in 1947, the Nepali people became more eager to introduce democracy to Nepal. As it was very difficult to organise a revolutionary political party inside Nepal, they used Indian territory to do so.
Now, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has a great opportunity to follow in KP’s footsteps by writing a new republican constitution. KP’s contributions to the struggle for freedom and democracy in Nepal are a grand legacy, which all of our current politicians must strive to emulate.
More: Remembering KP Bhattarai
Addressing a gathering organised on the third death anniversary memorial of leader Bhattarai here in Lalitpur on Tuesday, leader Deuba reminded that the government led by leader Bhattarai in 2047 B.S. had brought the constitution within a year. Present government can also learn lesson from him, he reiterated.
Rape has long plagued the women of Pakistan. In a country where it is estimated less than four percent of rape cases result in conviction, it has become more than sex. Rape has become a tool of power, leaving its victims vulnerable in a world that resembles state sanctioned misogyny and oppression. From forensics to judicial safeguards, political perspectives to cultural misnomers, it leaves women powerless in one of the most populous countries on earth.
With protections continually being stripped, it is both important and difficult to unspin the entire ball of thread that is sexual assault, power, and religion in Pakistan.
A brief history of rape in Pakistan :
Rape, and other forms of sexual assault and abuse have been an intrinsic part of Pakistan’s history, stemming from the violent convulsions of the region that resulted in partition:
“Right before partition took place in August 1947, there were what we now know as the “Rape of Rawalpindi,” where Sikh and Hindu women killed their baby girls and then threw themselves into wells to avoid further “dishonor” or being raped. Women were bartered for the safety of families and some were killed by their kin, again, to protect the ‘honor’ of the family. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, more than two hundred thousand Bengali women and girls were sexually assaulted by the Pakistan Army and the religious militias.”
As if to highlight this is about power and politics and not sex :
“The rape of Muslim women by Hindu males during this period is well documented, with women also being complicit in these attacks. As was the rape of Hindu and Sikh women by Muslim males”
Yet, rape remains a contradictory nexus of shame and dominance:
It’s not hard to find veterans of the partition violence who admit sometimes with remorse, sometimes with an obscene pride that, yes, they rioted, and perhaps even killed. No one will admit to rape. Yet in 1947, there were tens of thousands of rapists Hindu, Muslim and Sikh exacting what they saw as communal vengeance, or taking advantage of the breakdown of order to brutalise and humiliate women.
The human cost during, and after partition, was severe:
Sheila Sen Gupta witnessed something of the agony of the women victims of partition when she worked with Mridula Sarabhai in locating and exchanging women who had been abducted. Khorshed Mehta served as a medical welfare worker in 1947, meeting the refugee trains as they arrived from Punjab at Old Delhi Station. She reckons that almost half the women she helped as they arrived, near destitute, had been assaulted.
Again, during the Bangladesh Liberation War:
….it is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 women and girls were sexually assaulted by the Pakistan armed forces and the Al-Badr (“the moon”) and the Al-Shams (“the sun”) militias that supported them.
Which of course carries a high human price :
The rapes caused thousands of pregnancies, births of war babies, abortions, incidents of infanticide and suicide, and, in addition, led to ostracisation of the victims. Recognised as one of the major occurrences of wartime rape anywhere, the atrocities ended after armed forces from neighbouring India intervened. Initially India claimed its intervention was on humanitarian grounds, but after the UN rejected this argument, India claimed intervention was needed to protect its own security, and it is now widely seen as a humanitarian move.
In 1979 Pakistan passed into law the Hudood Ordinance, which made all forms of extra-marital sex, including rape, a crime against the state. It also began, many activists say, thirty years of a nexus between the state and sexual crimes as a means to keep a geocentrically male ordered Koranic society. In 2006, Pakistan passed “The Protection of Women Bill” which sought to fix the perceived problems inherent in the Hudood Ordinance.
Between 1979 and 2006, rape was lumped together with laws criminalizing zina - extra marital sex and adultery - all of which carried a potential punishment of stoning to death if four male witnesses to the crime could be furnished. Without witnesses, rape and zina could be tried as lesser offenses under the criminal code, but police were often untrained and unwilling to collect forensic evidence that would prove force was used. Unable to prove their allegations, women were then often charged with zina based on their admission that they had had intercourse. While top courts threw almost all of the cases out on appeal, rights groups claimed thousands of women languished in prison for years awaiting the final verdicts.
In 2006, rape was moved back to the criminal code, to be prosecuted based on forensic evidence, and the practice of pursuing zina cases against women who could not prove rape was specifically prohibited.
Pakistan claims this has solved much of the issue, and that hysteria and profit are behind claims to the anterior, but i am not so sure.
“A report presented to the Senate last October said 10,703 rape cases were registered in Pakistan since 2009. According to War Against Rape (WAR), a Karachi-based NGO, less than four percent of Pakistan’s rape cases result in a conviction.”
rape is an even larger problem for women in captivity :
” Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and co-founder of the women’s rights group Women’s Action Forum, reported in a 1988 study of female detainees in Punjab that around 72 percent of them stated they had been sexually abused while in custody.
for female ‘bonded laborers:
“While bonded Labour exists throughout Sindh Province, the majority of those bonded in the north belong to the Muslim majority, while most of the bonded agricultural labourers in southern Sindh Province belong to dalit 2 (untouchable) and to tribal communities who have migrated from the drought-prone area of Tharparkar desert. Poverty and starvation have forced these communities to accept the landlords’ cash advances, and to be available for work from dawn to dusk. Bonded labourers may be detained or guarded to stop them escaping and in these situations of total ownership rape of women is not uncommon.”
And, of course, children :
In a study of child sexual abuse in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, out of a sample of 300 children 17% claimed to have been abused and in 1997 one child a day was reported as raped, gang raped or kidnapped for sexual gratification.
Pakistan’s justice problems are not necessarily restricted to rape and violence against women and minorities :
“Violent crime goes largely unpunished in Pakistan - even cases tried in special anti-terrorism courts net only an 18 percent conviction rate “
“… in the case of rape, a host of problems keeps the conviction rate in the single digits. Those include a lack of resources for DNA analysis, a dearth of female medical examiners, and a reluctance of victims to come forward. “
one reason victims may feel reluctant to come forward:
WAR is an NGO whose mission is to publicize the problem of rape in Pakistan; in a report released in 1992, of 60 reported cases of rape, 20% involved police officers.
and of course, misogyny :
“One senior police official told a delegation of local human rights activists that “in 95 percent of the cases the women themselves are at fault.”
And, while misogyny is a driving force, there are other, namely regional and cultural issues, at play:
“In our society, prosecutors and police think a crime is something to be settled among the parties.”
“Over the last five years, Karachi authorities conducted 1,482 medical examinations of suspected sexual assault victims, but only registered 387 cases. By law, police are required to always register cases.”
“This attitude is reflected in the way police handle cases of rape brought by a woman. We found that police routinely refuse to register such complaints, particularly if the complaint is lodged against a fellow officer. We also found that police officers often illegally detain women in police lock-up for days at a time without formally registering a charge against them or producing them before a magistrate within the required 24-hour period. Women can thus be held indefinitely without the knowledge of the courts. It is during these periods of “invisibility” that most sexual abuse of female detainees occurs.”
Very recently, DNA has become an area of heightened tensions within the general debate on rape and justice :
Until now, police have relied heavily on DNA tests to determine cases of rape. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), however, has declared that DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases.
In a meeting of the council on Wednesday, religious scholars observed that while the tool could aid investigation into rape complaints, it could not be taken as evidence. It could, at best, serve as supplementary evidence but could not supersede the Islamic laws laid out for determining rape complaints.”
Anti-government protesters in Thailand have begun scaling back their presence in the streets of Bangkok, in what could be a prelude to eased tensions.
This comes after opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban said on Friday demonstrators would withdraw from several key intersections in the capital. Protesters on Saturday cleaned posters and graffiti outside the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police.
Starting on Monday, protesters will consolidate at Lumpini Park, a central venue that has become a traditional protest site. Political violence escalated in the past week with nightly grenade attacks. Four children died last weekend in attacks, raising the death toll to 23 since last November.
read more @ cntv
This is a must-see documentary about the hard lives of the Chinese workers who make the stuff Americans buy at WalMart. It is streaming online for free until Feb. 11. Go here. pbs.org
Lixin Fan, a Chinese-Canadian film maker, has captured the essence of what it is like to be a migrant worker in China. For this documentary, he focused on just one family, and the parents’ one and only chance to see their child and her grandparents — the Chinese New Year.
Among those millions are husband and wife Zhang Changhua and Chen Suqin who, 16 years earlier, left their village in Sichuan Province — and left their children in the care of grandparents — to work in the city of Guangzhou, 1,300 miles away. Their contact with their children was reduced largely to telephone calls and the annual New Year’s reunion. While the great spaces of China, alternately empty or crowded with anxious tides of people, are always present, Last Train Home is most intimately the story of the Zhang family, who are fated to reach for the promise of the new China and discover its wrenching cost.
Last Train Home catches the Zhang family at a critical juncture in their struggle to better their lives — or more accurately, the lives of their children. The parents left their village of Huilong when their first child, a daughter, Qin, was only a year old (a son, Yang, would follow). The children were left in capable and caring hands, but the Zhangs’ decision to go was a heartbreaking one made by millions of Chinese parents who felt they had, as Suqin puts it, “no choice.” Like the Zhangs, many have traded a poor but perhaps psychologically secure life of subsistence farming for long, relentless hours of work in city factories and residence in rudimentary dorm-like structures.
More: Film Description
I live in the next province over from the one mentioned in this article, but the same problem exists here, too. Parents from rural areas go to the big cities for work and they leave their kids behind — not out of choice, mind you.
So, these children grow up with parents far away. Their grandparents shoulder the child-rearing duties, but many are not up to the task. My former students who now teach in the mountain schools worry that China is raising generations of children with little education and poor social skills, who will just repeat the cycle with their own kids.
About 61 million Chinese children—one of every five in the world’s most populous nation—haven’t seen one or both parents for at least three months, according to the All-China Women’s Federation, a Communist Party advocacy group. The total has grown so big that the children are widely known as left-behind kids. Nowhere else on earth do so many children live largely on their own.
Many migrant parents believe they are fulfilling their duty to raise their family’s standard of living. Income sent home helps pay for better food and education, and some workers save enough money to build a new home in their rural village. It is common for both parents to leave home together, since they can save faster and there are so many jobs in the city.
Their absence forces children to shoulder the responsibilities of running a household. Grandparents who live with left-behind children often are ailing or toil long hours tending fields or gathering firewood. Many rural Chinese grandparents are illiterate and can’t help with homework.
A few of these kids manage to do well in school, and go to college. I teach some of them.
Forget the hangman’s noose, the firing squad or lethal injection: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle and a handful of the man’s aides by feeding them to a horde of 120 starving dogs, according to a shocking account.
Jang Song Thaek, the former No. 2 official in the secretive regime, was stripped naked and tossed into a cage along with his five closest aides.
“Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called ‘quan jue’, or execution by dogs,” according to the Straits Times of Singapore. The daily relied on a description of the execution in a Hong Kong newspaper that serves as the official mouthpiece of China’s government.
OK, so this report comes via a Chinese government newspaper, so we should remain skeptical. Still:
“The entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr. Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials,” the Straits Times said
I can only assume he did so while stroking a white cat and laughing maniacally.
The Chinese state really can’t honor Mandela and what he did without looking like hypocrites.
It’s the Chinese government’s Nelson Mandela problem.
When news broke of Mandela’s death on December 5, China’s state media joined in the global torrent of tributes for the former political prisoner turned beloved president of South Africa. President Xi Jinping praised Mandela as “an accomplished politician of global standing,” while state-owned China Central Television described him as “an old friend of China.” Glaring omissions in those early tributes were references to “freedom,” “democracy” and any mention of Mandela as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
That was no accident. For the ruling Chinese Communist Party, observing Nelson Mandela’s death is a fraught exercise in verbal contortions to distance him from China’s own imprisoned Nobel laureate and advocate for peaceful social change: the writer Liu Xiaobo
On December 11, China’s state-owned Global Times went on the offensive with an accusation that “Western media” had “deliberately cast a light on the imprisonment of Liu and praised him as ‘China’s Mandela.’” The objective? To deflect from the striking parallels between the globally revered former South African president and the quiet, self-effacing Chinese writer in Jinzhou Prison in northeastern Liaoning province.
But this is easier said than done
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle brought a swift and violent end to a man long considered the country’s second-most powerful. But while Jang Song Thaek is now gone, the fallout from his bloody purge is not over.
In a stunning reversal of the popular image of Jang as a mentor and father figure guiding young Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, North Korea’s state-run media on Friday announced he had been executed and portrayed him as a morally corrupt traitor who saw the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to make his own power play.
Experts who study the authoritarian country, which closely guards its internal workings from both outsiders and citizens, were divided on whether the sudden turn of events reflected turmoil within the highest levels of power or signaled that Kim Jong Un was consolidating his power in a decisive show of strength. Either way, the purge is an unsettling development for a world that is already wary of Kim’s unpredictability amid North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
The purge also could spread and bring down more people, Cha said. “When you take out Jang, you’re not taking out just one person — you’re taking out scores if not hundreds of other people in the system. It’s got to have some ripple effect.”