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India-Pakistan
Protection of minorities
[DAWN] AMONG the many, far too many, attacks on minorities in Pakistain in recent years, the lynching of Shama and Shahzad in November 2014 stands out for its sheer scale of bestiality. The Christian couple, brick kiln workers in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, were accused of having desecrated the Koran. A mob incited by local holy mans, beat the couple to death and then burnt their bodies in the kiln where they worked. On Thursday, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore indicted 106 suspects, after police presented a charge-sheet against them. Included among them are three holy mans accused of having instigated the 400-strong mob. The court has also issued a summons for witnesses to record their statements.

That there finally seems to be some progress in bringing the perpetrators of that horrific episode to account -- despite some false starts -- is a positive development. One of the principal drivers of violence against minorities is the impunity with which attacks on them are carried out. The example of the ransacking in March 2013 of Joseph Colony, a Christian-majority locality in Lahore, is a case in point. The trial of the Moslem suspects in that case is still wending its way through the courts; meanwhile, the Christian man accused of the blasphemous act that 'provoked' the riot has already been found guilty and sentenced to death. The government must pursue the cause of justice in every instance of violence against minorities, not only the most egregious ones. Another aspect of the predicament that minorities find themselves in is, of course, lack of security. Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked the provincial home departments to conduct an audit of existing security plans for minority communities -- both among Moslems and others -- and improve them in the light of the findings. While practical steps are indeed important, to bring about a long-term change law-enforcement personnel must realise they have not only a professional obligation to protect minorities, but also a moral duty based upon the shared values of humanity.
Posted by: Fred || 05/25/2015 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [67 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan


Private schooling and inequality
The age old question: crappy education for the many and quality education for the advantaged few, or crappy education for everyone.
[DAWN] IN February, Oxfam, in collaboration with the department of economics at LUMS, published a report on persistent inequality and multi-dimensional poverty in Pakistain. The core message at the heart of their study is that despite moderate-to-high rates of economic growth, Pakistain remains a thoroughly unequal society if measured along multiple dimensions, over and above consumption and income. Another key message is that inequality is worse in urban areas, and appears to persist over generations. Forty per cent of all children born in bottom income quintile households will remain in the same quintile over their lifetime, while only 9pc will see some substantive upward mobility.

The startlingly low levels of upward socio-economic mobility may come as a surprise to those who thought more ACs and refrigerators being sold was a sign of evenly spread-out prosperity. All independent research appears to confirm the existence of rigid inequality traps: households locked out of access to land and housing (agricultural or urban), employable skills, and quality skill-imparting education will suffer over multiple generations.

Traditional government instruments used to kick-start social mobility include redistribution of agricultural land, provision of low-cost loans for urban housing, and access to quality public education. The first two remain non-starters in Pakistain (for any number of reasons), while the third strategy remained partially successful only till the mid-80s.

What's often understated in Pakistain's case, especially on the third front, is the multi-faceted part played by elite private schools, and the qualifications they impart, in the persistence of intergenerational inequality.

In the first instance, a larger pool of expensive schools now means that children from affluent households no longer go to a government-owned or government-regulated institution for their basic education. This is a departure from earlier decades where elite institutions catered to a much smaller subsection of the population, while the bigger chunk of the urban middle class (children of babus bureaucrats, army officers, mid-tier professionals) had no other option but to attend government schools.

Given the pervasive presence of affluent offspring in elite schools, the socially embedded pressures to improve government schooling no longer exists. Simply put, if the children of all decision-makers ie politicians, babus bureaucrats, judges, and army officers, and the children of all those connected to these decision-makers, study outside of the government system, why would anyone be interested in fixing public schooling?
Posted by: Fred || 05/25/2015 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [81 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan


Educated militants
[DAWN] WHY are we feigning shock at the revelation that IBA graduate Saad Aziz might be a holy warrior? The news that Aziz and his friends from prominent universities are jihadis has been met with widespread histrionics. But there is nothing unprecedented about this.

In a Pak context, the obvious example is MIT graduate Aafia Siddiqui
...American-educated Pak cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. In September 2010, she was sentenced to 86 years in jug after a three-ring trial. Siddiqui, using the alias Fahrem or Feriel Shahin, was one of six alleged al-Qaeda members who bought $19 million worth of blood diamonds in Liberia immediately prior to 9-11-01. Since her incarceration Paks have taken her to their heart and periodically erupt into demonstrations, while the government tries to find somebody to swap for her...
. Militants ranging from the late Osama bin Laden
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Fred || 05/25/2015 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [48 views] Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Pakistan


Terror Networks
Wasteland
[DAWN] THE rise of the self-styled Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
seems to have left much of the world nonplussed. The threats it poses go far beyond the immediate concerns dominating the bulk of the global discourse, though. No matter how the story of this conglomerate of barbarism eventually turns out, one dimension of this threat that will prove enduring with absolute finality is that of its effect on history and culture.

Last week, the self-proclaimed IS overran the modern settlement of Tadmur in the Homs province of Syria. The Syrian state media has conceded that pro-government forces have pulled out after "assuring the evacuation" of "most" of the inhabitants.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Fred || 05/25/2015 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [85 views] Top|| File under: Islamic State



Who's in the News
20[untagged]
10Islamic State
6Govt of Syria
4al-Qaeda in Pakistan
3Taliban
3Govt of Pakistan
2Govt of Iran
2Hezbollah
2Houthis
2Govt of Saudi Arabia
1Govt of Iraq
1Abu Sayyaf
1Commies
1al-Shabaab
1Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh

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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2015-05-21
  Kurds advance against Islamic State in northeastern Syria
Wed 2015-05-20
  IS Attacks Syria Druze Village, Battles for Palmyra
Tue 2015-05-19
  US drone strike in North Waziristan leaves six 'militants' dead
Mon 2015-05-18
  ISIS confirms Ramadi capture
Sun 2015-05-17
  US special forces kill senior IS leader in Syria: Pentagon
Sat 2015-05-16
  Jury sentences Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for marathon attack
Fri 2015-05-15
  Belmokhtar's Jihadist Group in N. Africa Pledges Allegiance to IS
Thu 2015-05-14
  ISIS acting leader al-Afri killed by US-led airstrike
Wed 2015-05-13
  Iraq Blast Kills Four including Peshmerga General
Tue 2015-05-12
  Drone Strike Kills 4 Qaida Suspects in Yemen's Mukalla
Mon 2015-05-11
  Terror recruiter with roots in Minn. linked to Texas shooting

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