Friday, August 15, 2014 INTERNATIONAL

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150,000 protest in London against Israel’s siege of Gaza

Paul Bond

The march assemble outside BBC headquarters

Thousands of people opposed to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza have taken to the streets in London in a mass demonstration to try and intensify pressure on the British government. Arranged by a compendium of anti-war campaigners and religious organisations, the march, from the BBC’s headquarters near Oxford Circus to Hyde Park, was claimed by organisers to have had as many as 150,000 in attendance.
An Israeli embassy spokesman told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) they “don’t have a problem” with the protest, but then identified the march as supporting terrorism. The spokesman stated they opposed “people expressing support for a terror organisation which is designated in the UK [Hamas] and which today is the key obstacle to the prosperity of Gaza.”
Despite a number of Jewish speakers at the rally, the media still tried to whip up fears of “anti-Semitism” in order to divide Arab and Jewish workers.
The speeches before and after the march revealed the bankrupt perspective of those leading the protests, who seek to corral the growing anger behind attempts to change UK governmental foreign policy through the dead-end of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. While there was acknowledgement of the scale of war crimes committed by Israeli troops, and calls for an end to the selling of military equipment to Israel, much of the final rally was given to political manoeuvring by the major parties ahead of next year’s general election.
The protest assembled outside the BBC’s headquarters in Portland Place in order to draw attention to the broadcaster’s biased coverage in support of Israel and its discrediting of international protests.
Several speakers, predominantly trade union officials, addressed the crowd before the march, clearly setting out the agenda of the organisers. Speakers from the train drivers’ union ASLEF and Unite called for support for BDS.
Chris Nineham of Stop the War, a former leading member of the pseudo-left Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and Jean Butcher of Unison both pointed to the organisers’ main ambition. In their call for the protest Stop the War had said one of their main aims was the recall of parliament from its holiday. As Stop the War indicated last year in relation to the proposed bombardment of Syria, their intention is increasingly to act as advisers to the British ruling class on questions of foreign policy. Butcher insisted: “our own government” needs to “step up to the mark.”
For his part, Nineham said the developing crisis within the British government over support for Israel, including the resignation of one of the government’s leading figures, Baroness Warzi, would not have happened without the protest movement. Nineham made clear that pursuing this line required the exclusion of any mobilisation of the working class against war. This was a broad movement, he said; “the whole of civil society” demonstrating “people power.”
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and another former leading figure in the SWP, said, “We are calling for an end to the massacre and the recall of the UK parliament. Our government must be forced to end its support for Israel’s siege of Gaza.”
Her comments were echoed at the closing rally by Sarah Colbourne of the Public and Commercial Services Union, who spoke of the need to “send a message to our government that we’re disgusted.” They had received support, she said, from “people from every party,” citing support from Liberal Democrats and “even Conservative MPs.” The line was echoed by Labour MP Diane Abbott, who said the protest showed “British people of all colours and all political parties” standing in solidarity.
In the speeches there was only the occasional mention of the imperialist-backed war by the Ukraine government against the population in the east of that country, and the recent US bombing of Iraq. Israel’s onslaught against Gaza was treated by the speakers chiefly as a moral question. Liberal Democrats David Ward MP and life peer Baroness Jenny Tonge spoke, with Ward promoting BDS. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams sent a statement in which he called on the Irish government to end its “shameful silence” on Palestine.
Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett called for ending arms exports to Israel and ending further military cooperation. “That,” she said “is achievable,” saying that Green MP Caroline Lucas had already called for it in Parliament. Bennett summed up the position of the organisers when she called simply for “pressure” on Prime Minister David Cameron.
In their call for the protest Stop the War had written enthusiastically of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband having come out “strongly critical” of Cameron, and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg “calling for a ceasefire.” The rally was attended by a number of Labour Party MPs—Abbott, Rushanara Ali, Yasmin Qureshi—who were given a platform to call for “pressure” on Cameron. Abbott spelled it out most clearly. Referring to Baroness Warsi’s resignation from Cameron’s cabinet last week, Abbott said the task was to “keep up the pressure until David Cameron takes a position that is morally defensible.”
This call for pressure on the British government as the solution was made under conditions, as the speakers themselves noted, of the hypocrisy of Cameron’s boast of having sent NHS medical teams to tend those wounded by arms exported under British government licence.
Many speakers drew parallels between the situation in Palestine and that under apartheid in South Africa. All of them treated the end of apartheid as a revolutionary victory rather than a tactical manoeuvre by a bourgeoisie trying to maintain its position within global capitalism. Labour supporter Owen Jones said that apartheid had seemed strong and asked “But did it fall?”
Apartheid was removed because it provided an obstacle to the South African ruling class, and threatened a social explosion that might lead towards moves to overthrow capitalism. Today the African National Congress itself is responsible for the policing and brutalisation of the South African working class. The mineworkers union, which collaborated in shooting dead striking miners at Marikana in 2012, belongs to the ANC-affiliated trade union body COSATU, which has been at the forefront of the BDS boycott campaign.
The boycott campaign is based on opposition to winning the Israeli working class to a struggle against the government and war. It obstructs and prevents efforts to build a unified struggle of Jewish and Arab workers against their common oppressors. The Israeli government can sustain its militarist outrages and unrelenting repression of Palestinians only because of the absence of a working class leadership armed with an internationalist and socialist program opposed to Zionism.
The aim of those promoting the BDS campaign is to further the “two-state solution” via the creation of an unviable mini-state that could serve only as a prison for the Palestinians.
The unity of the working class, both Arab and Jewish, was at the centre of the campaign by members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party, who distributed thousands of copies of the World Socialist Web Site statement, The Slaughter in Gaza: A Warning to the International Working Class. SEP campaigners won a warm response for our call to build an international socialist movement to put an end to capitalism and war.
—WSWS

Comment

Paul Bond

The march assemble outside BBC headquarters

Thousands of people opposed to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza have taken to the streets in London in a mass demonstration to try and intensify pressure on the British government. Arranged by a compendium of anti-war campaigners and religious organisations, the march, from the BBC’s headquarters near Oxford Circus to Hyde Park, was claimed by organisers to have had as many as 150,000 in attendance.
An Israeli embassy spokesman told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) they “don’t have a problem” with the protest, but then identified the march as supporting terrorism. The spokesman stated they opposed “people expressing support for a terror organisation which is designated in the UK [Hamas] and which today is the key obstacle to the prosperity of Gaza.”
Despite a number of Jewish speakers at the rally, the media still tried to whip up fears of “anti-Semitism” in order to divide Arab and Jewish workers.
The speeches before and after the march revealed the bankrupt perspective of those leading the protests, who seek to corral the growing anger behind attempts to change UK governmental foreign policy through the dead-end of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. While there was acknowledgement of the scale of war crimes committed by Israeli troops, and calls for an end to the selling of military equipment to Israel, much of the final rally was given to political manoeuvring by the major parties ahead of next year’s general election.
The protest assembled outside the BBC’s headquarters in Portland Place in order to draw attention to the broadcaster’s biased coverage in support of Israel and its discrediting of international protests.
Several speakers, predominantly trade union officials, addressed the crowd before the march, clearly setting out the agenda of the organisers. Speakers from the train drivers’ union ASLEF and Unite called for support for BDS.
Chris Nineham of Stop the War, a former leading member of the pseudo-left Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and Jean Butcher of Unison both pointed to the organisers’ main ambition. In their call for the protest Stop the War had said one of their main aims was the recall of parliament from its holiday. As Stop the War indicated last year in relation to the proposed bombardment of Syria, their intention is increasingly to act as advisers to the British ruling class on questions of foreign policy. Butcher insisted: “our own government” needs to “step up to the mark.”
For his part, Nineham said the developing crisis within the British government over support for Israel, including the resignation of one of the government’s leading figures, Baroness Warzi, would not have happened without the protest movement. Nineham made clear that pursuing this line required the exclusion of any mobilisation of the working class against war. This was a broad movement, he said; “the whole of civil society” demonstrating “people power.”
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and another former leading figure in the SWP, said, “We are calling for an end to the massacre and the recall of the UK parliament. Our government must be forced to end its support for Israel’s siege of Gaza.”
Her comments were echoed at the closing rally by Sarah Colbourne of the Public and Commercial Services Union, who spoke of the need to “send a message to our government that we’re disgusted.” They had received support, she said, from “people from every party,” citing support from Liberal Democrats and “even Conservative MPs.” The line was echoed by Labour MP Diane Abbott, who said the protest showed “British people of all colours and all political parties” standing in solidarity.
In the speeches there was only the occasional mention of the imperialist-backed war by the Ukraine government against the population in the east of that country, and the recent US bombing of Iraq. Israel’s onslaught against Gaza was treated by the speakers chiefly as a moral question. Liberal Democrats David Ward MP and life peer Baroness Jenny Tonge spoke, with Ward promoting BDS. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams sent a statement in which he called on the Irish government to end its “shameful silence” on Palestine.
Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett called for ending arms exports to Israel and ending further military cooperation. “That,” she said “is achievable,” saying that Green MP Caroline Lucas had already called for it in Parliament. Bennett summed up the position of the organisers when she called simply for “pressure” on Prime Minister David Cameron.
In their call for the protest Stop the War had written enthusiastically of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband having come out “strongly critical” of Cameron, and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg “calling for a ceasefire.” The rally was attended by a number of Labour Party MPs—Abbott, Rushanara Ali, Yasmin Qureshi—who were given a platform to call for “pressure” on Cameron. Abbott spelled it out most clearly. Referring to Baroness Warsi’s resignation from Cameron’s cabinet last week, Abbott said the task was to “keep up the pressure until David Cameron takes a position that is morally defensible.”
This call for pressure on the British government as the solution was made under conditions, as the speakers themselves noted, of the hypocrisy of Cameron’s boast of having sent NHS medical teams to tend those wounded by arms exported under British government licence.
Many speakers drew parallels between the situation in Palestine and that under apartheid in South Africa. All of them treated the end of apartheid as a revolutionary victory rather than a tactical manoeuvre by a bourgeoisie trying to maintain its position within global capitalism. Labour supporter Owen Jones said that apartheid had seemed strong and asked “But did it fall?”
Apartheid was removed because it provided an obstacle to the South African ruling class, and threatened a social explosion that might lead towards moves to overthrow capitalism. Today the African National Congress itself is responsible for the policing and brutalisation of the South African working class. The mineworkers union, which collaborated in shooting dead striking miners at Marikana in 2012, belongs to the ANC-affiliated trade union body COSATU, which has been at the forefront of the BDS boycott campaign.
The boycott campaign is based on opposition to winning the Israeli working class to a struggle against the government and war. It obstructs and prevents efforts to build a unified struggle of Jewish and Arab workers against their common oppressors. The Israeli government can sustain its militarist outrages and unrelenting repression of Palestinians only because of the absence of a working class leadership armed with an internationalist and socialist program opposed to Zionism.
The aim of those promoting the BDS campaign is to further the “two-state solution” via the creation of an unviable mini-state that could serve only as a prison for the Palestinians.
The unity of the working class, both Arab and Jewish, was at the centre of the campaign by members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party, who distributed thousands of copies of the World Socialist Web Site statement, The Slaughter in Gaza: A Warning to the International Working Class. SEP campaigners won a warm response for our call to build an international socialist movement to put an end to capitalism and war.
—WSWS


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SRI LANKA
Govt actions should be consistent locally and globally

Jehan Perera in Colombo

The government has criticised sections of the diplomatic community for getting involved in events targeting a particular region and community which lead to volatile situations and urged the diplomatic community to be more conscious of local sensitivities when attending events of an emotive nature. This has followed the growing interest that some embassies have been demonstrating in ensuring that civil society space for dissent is not restricted by the government. When an event organized by a civil society group to give voice to the grievances of family members of those who had gone missing in the war was held in Colombo last week, it was broken up by outsiders.  This led to several embassies issuing an unprecedented joint statement.
The embassies of France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland condemned the disruption of the meeting in which families of disappeared Tamils were briefing Colombo-based diplomats and civil society activists. Issuing a joint statement, the embassies stated that “an organized group including monks” had disrupted the civil society meeting, on the theme “Sharing and listening session with families of the disappeared” organized by Families of the Disappeared in the Centre for Society and Religion. The statement said that the organized group made forced entry into the room where the discussions were taking place, shouting violently and “All those present felt that their security was under threat.”
The joint statement urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure and respect freedom of assembly and expression in Sri Lanka and to ensure the safety of those who participated in the meeting. In addition, the US Embassy in Colombo also expressed concern over the incident while claiming that the initial reaction of the local police to this disruption appeared to be in “support of the mob’s efforts to shut down the meeting.” In the case of forcible disruption of events, especially by extremist Buddhist groups that are seen to be linked to the government, it has become the unfortunate practice of the Police to ensure that the event is abandoned and the parties dispersed, with both sides being summoned to the Police Station to lodge their respective complaints. 
In fact the government took the statement by the foreign embassies so seriously that the External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris summoned all diplomatic missions to inform them about the limits of their mandate. The Ministry also issued a strong statement that “a certain section of the diplomatic corps appears to be involved in a manner lacking in objectivity, in events organized for a particular region and community.” It is clear that what was being referred to was the North of the country and the Tamil community who were the main victims of the last phase of the war. The singling out of the Tamil minority and the North of the country would be in conformity with the government’s domestic priority of affirming national pride and continuing to receive the political support of the ethnic majority in a time of elections.

International role
The meeting that was broken up was convened by the Right to Life Human Rights Center and sought to give voice to the sentiments of t hose who had lost their loved ones over five years ago. While the larger Sri Lankan society may be willing to forget what happened during the war time and enjoy the fruits of peace, those who lost their loved ones cannot so easily forget, especially when they are unsure as to the fate of their missing ones. The timing of the meeting was appropriate, as it coincides with the government’s surprise appointment of three international advisors to guide the proceeding of the presidentially appointed commission on missing persons, which has recently also had its mandate expanded.

Humanitarian concerns
The CSR statement also made the relevant point that “We live in a world where humanitarian concerns transcend national boundaries, hence the presence of non-Sri Lankans should not be construed as external interference. “  The government’s domestic imperative of showing a strong hand to the ethnic majority population and obtaining their backing goes counter to another important government priority.   The government’s main foreign policy concern is accountability in regard to what happened during the war. The issue of war crimes is particularly serious because it gives the international community the power to punish according to international law. Unlike other issues of abuse of power, for which there are no international laws, where war crimes are concerned there are international laws. This explains why the government is investing heavily in opposing the ongoing UN investigation into the last phase of the war.
It is possible that the initiatives that the Sri Lankan government is taking to gain international goodwill and support abroad is being severely undermined by what is happening within Sri Lanka itself. It would be a miscalculation to believe that it is possible to separate what is happening locally with the lobbying that is done internationally. There needs to be a consistency between the government’s conduct of its affairs locally and what it says through its lobbyists internationally. Any sharp contradiction between the two would not be helpful to the government.
In this context it is to be welcomed that a second meeting by the same organization, the Right to Life Human Rights Centre at the same venue of the Centre for Society and Religion on the issue of torture by the Police took place without disruption, although the organizers received threats not to go ahead with the meeting. The foreign diplomats were there once again. It appears that the government did not wish to be at the receiving end of more such strictures, especially when there is an ongoing UN investigation into human rights failures during the war.  On this occasion the Police were present and the mischief makers had been warned off.  The role of the international community, it appears, has become more important. The international community, of which Sri Lanka is a member, has come to play at least a limited role in being a check and balance in favour of protecting democratic rights.

Comment

Jehan Perera in Colombo

The government has criticised sections of the diplomatic community for getting involved in events targeting a particular region and community which lead to volatile situations and urged the diplomatic community to be more conscious of local sensitivities when attending events of an emotive nature. This has followed the growing interest that some embassies have been demonstrating in ensuring that civil society space for dissent is not restricted by the government. When an event organized by a civil society group to give voice to the grievances of family members of those who had gone missing in the war was held in Colombo last week, it was broken up by outsiders.  This led to several embassies issuing an unprecedented joint statement.
The embassies of France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland condemned the disruption of the meeting in which families of disappeared Tamils were briefing Colombo-based diplomats and civil society activists. Issuing a joint statement, the embassies stated that “an organized group including monks” had disrupted the civil society meeting, on the theme “Sharing and listening session with families of the disappeared” organized by Families of the Disappeared in the Centre for Society and Religion. The statement said that the organized group made forced entry into the room where the discussions were taking place, shouting violently and “All those present felt that their security was under threat.”
The joint statement urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure and respect freedom of assembly and expression in Sri Lanka and to ensure the safety of those who participated in the meeting. In addition, the US Embassy in Colombo also expressed concern over the incident while claiming that the initial reaction of the local police to this disruption appeared to be in “support of the mob’s efforts to shut down the meeting.” In the case of forcible disruption of events, especially by extremist Buddhist groups that are seen to be linked to the government, it has become the unfortunate practice of the Police to ensure that the event is abandoned and the parties dispersed, with both sides being summoned to the Police Station to lodge their respective complaints. 
In fact the government took the statement by the foreign embassies so seriously that the External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris summoned all diplomatic missions to inform them about the limits of their mandate. The Ministry also issued a strong statement that “a certain section of the diplomatic corps appears to be involved in a manner lacking in objectivity, in events organized for a particular region and community.” It is clear that what was being referred to was the North of the country and the Tamil community who were the main victims of the last phase of the war. The singling out of the Tamil minority and the North of the country would be in conformity with the government’s domestic priority of affirming national pride and continuing to receive the political support of the ethnic majority in a time of elections.

International role
The meeting that was broken up was convened by the Right to Life Human Rights Center and sought to give voice to the sentiments of t hose who had lost their loved ones over five years ago. While the larger Sri Lankan society may be willing to forget what happened during the war time and enjoy the fruits of peace, those who lost their loved ones cannot so easily forget, especially when they are unsure as to the fate of their missing ones. The timing of the meeting was appropriate, as it coincides with the government’s surprise appointment of three international advisors to guide the proceeding of the presidentially appointed commission on missing persons, which has recently also had its mandate expanded.

Humanitarian concerns
The CSR statement also made the relevant point that “We live in a world where humanitarian concerns transcend national boundaries, hence the presence of non-Sri Lankans should not be construed as external interference. “  The government’s domestic imperative of showing a strong hand to the ethnic majority population and obtaining their backing goes counter to another important government priority.   The government’s main foreign policy concern is accountability in regard to what happened during the war. The issue of war crimes is particularly serious because it gives the international community the power to punish according to international law. Unlike other issues of abuse of power, for which there are no international laws, where war crimes are concerned there are international laws. This explains why the government is investing heavily in opposing the ongoing UN investigation into the last phase of the war.
It is possible that the initiatives that the Sri Lankan government is taking to gain international goodwill and support abroad is being severely undermined by what is happening within Sri Lanka itself. It would be a miscalculation to believe that it is possible to separate what is happening locally with the lobbying that is done internationally. There needs to be a consistency between the government’s conduct of its affairs locally and what it says through its lobbyists internationally. Any sharp contradiction between the two would not be helpful to the government.
In this context it is to be welcomed that a second meeting by the same organization, the Right to Life Human Rights Centre at the same venue of the Centre for Society and Religion on the issue of torture by the Police took place without disruption, although the organizers received threats not to go ahead with the meeting. The foreign diplomats were there once again. It appears that the government did not wish to be at the receiving end of more such strictures, especially when there is an ongoing UN investigation into human rights failures during the war.  On this occasion the Police were present and the mischief makers had been warned off.  The role of the international community, it appears, has become more important. The international community, of which Sri Lanka is a member, has come to play at least a limited role in being a check and balance in favour of protecting democratic rights.


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 ISLAMABAD DIARY 

Stinking political weather: Wolves are circling again

Jonaid Iqbal

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif delivers a speech during the Independence Day parade

It rained here after a weeklong spell of hot and humid weather coupled with absolutely stinking political weather stirred by the wrath of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, who till his latest speech to his supporters, Wednesday night, vowed he would have nothing less than the resignation of Prime Minister.
May the shower help to cool his temper. Right now residents of the capital are jittery since the PTI as well as Allama Tahirul Qadri and devotees of his Minhajul Quran Movement are set to reach here with their long marches, that, by the way, has been permitted by a recent judgment of three-member bench of Lahore High Court has restrained these two parties from ˜launching the Azâdi march, Inqilab march or holding a Dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad in any constitutional way. At the same time the Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab government to remove shipping containers from roads and give way to people to exercise their right to protest.
However, both Imran Khan and the Allama claim marches and Dharna are constitutional, have decided to stick to their agenda.
In keeping with our own restraint we might describe at a later date, as to how both these protagonists treat the people of this city. At the moment, nobody is putting their bet on the outcome of the long marches. For this moment, let us say, the prime minister have shown sagacity in allowing the parties to hold the pre- announced programme of the day.
Speaking at zero hour, at the 68th Independence Day function combined with military parade, held in front of Parliament House, the Prime Minster vowed to protect at all costs and to build Pakistan as democratic and progressive state.
 day earlier, in his televised broadcast to the nation, Nawaz Sharif  proposed a three member commission of the Supreme Court  to probe Khan^s allegation of rigging  in  May 11 general election. Khan spurned the gesture and continues to press his demand for Nawaz Sharif‘s resignation. Most commentators and analysts are of the view that Mr. Khân’s demand is extra constitutional, but his right to hold protest falls within the rule of law.

Wolves are circling again
Last summer was an historic one for Pakistan. Not only did a civilian government manage to serve a full five-year term, at long last, but the country also saw its first-ever transition of power between two elected governments. It sparked heady optimism that democracy in Pakistan, for so long a stop-start affair to be interrupted constantly by a meddling military establishment, was taking root. And yet little over a year since Nawaz Sharif won a thumping overall majority in parliament, the wolves are circling once again.
This time the threat does not come from the army—or, not directly—but from a shameless power grab by a pair of politicians: one of whom failed to win enough votes during lâst year’s election, and another who didn’t even field candidates. The first of the two men is Imran Khan, a playboy-cricketer turned right-wing populist (pictured), who claims he would have won last year’s election had it not been rigged by Mr Sharif. Mr Khan is calling it the greatest robbery ever in Pakistan’s history.
Mr Khan’s PTI won 35 seats in parliament. He argues that an elaborate conspiracy was responsible for putting Mr Sharif in power instead of him. But independent experts say that while the election was not perfect, any irregularities probably hurt all parties. After being rebuffed by the courts and election tribunals, Mr Khan says he has no choice but to launch a major protest in the capital.

Comment

Jonaid Iqbal

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif delivers a speech during the Independence Day parade

It rained here after a weeklong spell of hot and humid weather coupled with absolutely stinking political weather stirred by the wrath of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, who till his latest speech to his supporters, Wednesday night, vowed he would have nothing less than the resignation of Prime Minister.
May the shower help to cool his temper. Right now residents of the capital are jittery since the PTI as well as Allama Tahirul Qadri and devotees of his Minhajul Quran Movement are set to reach here with their long marches, that, by the way, has been permitted by a recent judgment of three-member bench of Lahore High Court has restrained these two parties from ˜launching the Azâdi march, Inqilab march or holding a Dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad in any constitutional way. At the same time the Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab government to remove shipping containers from roads and give way to people to exercise their right to protest.
However, both Imran Khan and the Allama claim marches and Dharna are constitutional, have decided to stick to their agenda.
In keeping with our own restraint we might describe at a later date, as to how both these protagonists treat the people of this city. At the moment, nobody is putting their bet on the outcome of the long marches. For this moment, let us say, the prime minister have shown sagacity in allowing the parties to hold the pre- announced programme of the day.
Speaking at zero hour, at the 68th Independence Day function combined with military parade, held in front of Parliament House, the Prime Minster vowed to protect at all costs and to build Pakistan as democratic and progressive state.
 day earlier, in his televised broadcast to the nation, Nawaz Sharif  proposed a three member commission of the Supreme Court  to probe Khan^s allegation of rigging  in  May 11 general election. Khan spurned the gesture and continues to press his demand for Nawaz Sharif‘s resignation. Most commentators and analysts are of the view that Mr. Khân’s demand is extra constitutional, but his right to hold protest falls within the rule of law.

Wolves are circling again
Last summer was an historic one for Pakistan. Not only did a civilian government manage to serve a full five-year term, at long last, but the country also saw its first-ever transition of power between two elected governments. It sparked heady optimism that democracy in Pakistan, for so long a stop-start affair to be interrupted constantly by a meddling military establishment, was taking root. And yet little over a year since Nawaz Sharif won a thumping overall majority in parliament, the wolves are circling once again.
This time the threat does not come from the army—or, not directly—but from a shameless power grab by a pair of politicians: one of whom failed to win enough votes during lâst year’s election, and another who didn’t even field candidates. The first of the two men is Imran Khan, a playboy-cricketer turned right-wing populist (pictured), who claims he would have won last year’s election had it not been rigged by Mr Sharif. Mr Khan is calling it the greatest robbery ever in Pakistan’s history.
Mr Khan’s PTI won 35 seats in parliament. He argues that an elaborate conspiracy was responsible for putting Mr Sharif in power instead of him. But independent experts say that while the election was not perfect, any irregularities probably hurt all parties. After being rebuffed by the courts and election tribunals, Mr Khan says he has no choice but to launch a major protest in the capital.


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EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
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LAST WORD
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
The OIC Foreign Ministers
Islamic solidarity fund projects and aids for the displaced
Jeddah Declaration to fight sectarianism
SEACO
Practical steps to Support Al-Quds and the Palestinian Cause
Violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka
OIC condemns approval of 1500 new settlement units in West Bank
Update: 7 July, 2014 Saudi patrol under fire at Saudi–Yemeni border post Secretary General condemns terrorist attack
Update: 10 July, 2014 Assault on Presidential Palace in Mogadishu OIC Secretary General condemns destabilising elements
Dangerous situation in Occupied Palestine Open-ended Extra ordinary Executive Committee Meeting of OIC
Update: 14 July, 2014 Appeal for Relief to Gaza
Update: 14 July, 2014 Call for International Task Force to investigate Israeli crimes
Update: 15 July, 2014 Humanitarian relief for Gaza in peril
 Update: 16 July, 2014 OIC Condemns Terrorist Attack in Paktika
Update July 19, 2014 ACT TO STOP MASSACRE IN GAZA
Update: July 21, 2014 Forced displacement of Christians in Iraq OIC condemns ISIS terror tactics
Update: August 2, 2014 Statement the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the Arab and Islamic nations
Update: August 3, 2014 Israel’s Brazen Onslaught on Mosques in the Gaza Strip
Update: August 6, 2014 Kashmir Question and Preparations of the First OIC Science & Technology Summit
State of the Ummah Review by Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
GRAVE SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED STATE OF PALESTINE INCLUDING AL-QUDS AL- SHARIF Communiqué, Expanded Extraordinary Meeting, Executive Committee of OIC Foreign Ministers, 10 July 2014
Update: August 4, 2014 Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity day
Update: August 16, 2014 OIC initiatives on ‘Gaza under fire’
Update: August 13, 2014 Positive Developments of last week
Update: August 18, 2014 Crimes against humanity in Gaza OIC Foreign Ministers, Bangladesh Cabinet denounce Israel
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