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Military Dictatorship Always Halted Progress in Pakistan, says Pakistan Prime Minister

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Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. ians

Islamabad, October 14: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said that military dictatorship always halted progress in the country.

Pakistan Prime Minister, who was in Karachi on a day-long visit, was speaking during the inauguration ceremony of the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal at Port Qasim.

Pakistan Prime Minister said that the people of Pakistan should decide who they want in the government and who they don’t.

“The masses have always elected political parties that have performed well for them,” he said adding that leaders who do not perform well should be sent home.

“But the process should be democratic and the people should decide,” stressed Abbasi.

Taking an apparent dig at the army chief for his remarks of the country being in “sky high” debt, the Pakistan Prime Minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)-led government, in its four years, has made the economy stable.

According to him, the current government was successfully completing power projects, initiated by the previous government, along with the ones the ruling PML-N started.

“The previous government faced an energy crisis, our government has brought stability in the country and added 10,000 MWs to the national power grid,” Abbasi added.

The Pakistan International Bulk Terminal at Port Qasim was completed at a cost of $285 million early this year, according to a press statement, and has so far provided berths to 12 coal ships. It has been dredged to a depth of 13 metres and is capable of handling ships of up to 65,000 tonnes.(IANS)

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Pakistan’s Hindu Community criticises Religious Political Parties for opposing Minorities Bill, 2015, that Criminalises Forced Conversions

Conversion is a basic right as marriage is, but just like forced marriage, forced conversions are also a violation of human rights

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Pakistani Hindus Complain of Forced Conversion of Teenage Girls, VOA

Islamabad, November 30, 2016: Pakistan’s Hindu community has criticised religious political parties for opposing the Minorities Bill, 2015, that criminalises the forced conversions. The bill was recently passed by Sindh’s provincial assembly.

Pakistan Muslim League-N lawmaker Ramesh Kumar commended the Pakistan Peoples Party government in Sindh for setting the minimum age for religious conversion at 18.

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“People are issued a CNIC and driving licence at 18 and are allowed to vote after they are 18. In Sindh, the age at which someone can be legally married is also 18, because before that age an individual is considered a child,” Kumar was quoted by Dawn as saying.

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He said that girls belonging to religious minorities were kidnapped in Sindh and forcibly married, mostly to seminary students, and that they have no choice but to adapt to their new lives.

“After this law, conversions before the age of 18 will be considered a crime,” Kumar said.

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Members of the civil society said that the incidence of forced conversions was increasing across the country, particularly in Sindh, and that the bill will go a long way to help the minorities in Pakistan.

“Conversion is a basic right as marriage is, but just like forced marriage, forced conversions are also a violation of human rights, and is against the teachings of Islam as well,” said Krishan Sharma, Chairman of the REAT Network Pakistan (Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought Network).

Sharma said that Hindus in the region have historically converted to Islam or Christianity and that they have carried their family names after conversion as well.

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All the provinces should adopt similar laws to protect minorities from forced conversions and forced marriages, he said.

The two larger religious political parties, the Jamiat-e-Islam and the Jamiat Ulema Islam-F, are opposing the new law which was recently enacted in Sindh. They claim the law is part of a conspiracy to make Pakistan a liberal and secular country. (IANS)

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Act against Militants or Face International Isolation, Pakistan govt tells Military

In what could be seen as an unprecedented warning for the Pakistan military, the Pakistan Muslim League (N)-led government has informed the former about the growing international isolation of Islamabad

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October 6, 2016: In what could be seen as an unprecedented warning for the Pakistan military, the Pakistan Muslim League (N)-led government has informed the former about the growing international isolation of Islamabad and has sought consensus on several key actions by the state.

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At least two sets of actions have been agreed as a result of the most recent meeting, an undisclosed one on the day of the All Parties’ Conference, which took place on Monday.

As per the Dawn, firstly, General Rizwan Akhtar Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), accompanied by National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasser Janjua, is to travel to each of the four provinces with a message for provincial apex committees and ISI sector commanders.

It is reported that the message that has been sent by the government is that military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action.

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The second set of action is that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed that fresh attempts should be made to conclude the investigation in the Pathankot terror attack and restart the stalled 26/11 Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi antiterrorism court.

The decisions which have been made after an extraordinary verbal confrontation between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the ISI DG, indicate a “high-stakes” new approach by the PML-N-led Pakistan government.

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On Tuesday, at the All Parties’ Conference, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry gave an exclusive presentation in the Prime Minister’s Office to a small group of civil and military officials.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Sharif and had the presence of senior cabinet and provincial officials. (IANS)

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Surge in Religious Extremism: Balochistan civilians likely to be targeted by Pakistani Forces, says Activist

Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days

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People of Balochistan. Image source: Flickr

New Delhi, September 10, 2016: Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province by area which has experienced insurgency by Baloch separatists, targeted killings, and disappearance of Baloch people by security forces for more than a decade now, along with the sectarian violence against minority Hazara Shia Muslims by fundamentalists.

The ongoing government action against the insurgency and terrorist organizations has resulted in a surge in religious extremism in the region. Hindus, Shias (including Hazaras) and Zikris have been targeted, causing massive migration from Balochistan, mentioned ANI report.

Pakistani forces have launched a fresh wave of military operations across the restive Balochistan province. An activist for a prominent Baloch political outfit has said even civilians have been attacked and abducted in the ongoing operations and has called on the international community to take steps to stop Islamabad’s human rights abuses in Balochistan, quoted the ANI report.

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“In many parts of the Nasirabad district (of the Balochistan province), Pak forces have carried out attacks. Baloch civilians have been harassed and many have been abducted,” said Abdul Nawaz Bugti, Baloch Republican Party’s representative at the United Nations human rights council.

“In different parts of Dera Bugti, Baloch civil populace have been attacked and more than 19 Baloch civilians, including women and children, all belonging to the same family have been abducted,” Bugti told news agency ANI in a video message.

Bugti added that Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days. “His family, mostly women, and children, is starving and Pakistani forces have denied access to them,” Bugti said to ANI.

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He had earlier tweeted that Pakistani forces use such tactics to compel Baloch political activists who have gone underground to resurface. They are then abducted, tortured or killed, he alleged.

“It is the time that international media raises their voices and helps save Baloch from the inhuman atrocities committed by Pakistani forces on a daily basis in Balochistan,” he added.

Abdul Nawaz Bugti’s twitter timeline is filled with tweets that are updates of the actions of Pakistani security personnel in Balochistan.

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When questioned by some on whether PM Modi’s mention of Balochistan has had a negative effect on Baloch people, Bugti tweeted, “It hasn’t. Pakistani atrocities have always been there. The positive thing now is that the world knows about them,” Bugti further added.

Modi’s statements have flashed Balochistan as a key regional subject and everyone is talking and researching about it. The Baloch goal was to be recognized as a separate entity instead of being looked at as a disillusioned segment of Pakistan’s domestic politics.

The army and the civilian government both seem to be on the same page. The former government of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League have shown little interest in pursuing talks with the Baloch leadership.

– prepared by Arya Sharan of NewsGram