India out. GST war on islam. Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier (write to: abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com)

India out.

GST war on islam.

Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier

-DR. ABDUL RUFF

abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com

_________

Parliament in Rabat, Morocco, 20 November 2011

I – Poll

Moroccans have elected new lower house of parliament on 25 November, in the first national vote since the approval of constitutional reforms in July billed as laying the foundations for a fully-fledged constitutional monarchy. Moderate Islamists, as expected, did well the vote after a similar success in Tunisia’s first democratic election a month ago and the Justice and Development Party (PJD) emerged as the biggest party in Friday’s parliamentary elections.

The Justice and Development Party (PJD) took 107 seats out of the 395 in Parliament, almost twice as many as the second-place nationalist Istiqlal party, with 60 seats. The election was held more than a year early, after pro-democracy demonstrations swept the country earlier this year as part of the regionwide Arab Spring.

The leader of a moderate Islamist party Abdelilah Benkirane has been appointed by King Mohammed VI as Morocco’s new prime minister. Abdelilah will now hold talks on forming a coalition government.  His Justice and Development Party has not been in government before.

The PJD’s victory follows that of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party in an election there last month. Following elections, King Mohammed VI is for the first time obliged to choose the prime minister from the largest party, rather than naming whoever he pleases. King Mohammed received Benkirane, who is the PJD’s secretary general, in the mountain town of Midelt and named him head of government with the task of forming a new government.

Under a new constitution approved by referendum in July, the king has to choose a prime minister from the party that won the most seats. The constitution also gives the prime minister more powers to govern, but the king still has the final say on issues of defence, security and religion. The reforms were supported by all the main political parties, which called on their supporters to back the proposals in the referendum.

The 20 February movement, which spearheaded Morocco’s pro-democracy protests earlier this year, has called for a boycott of the elections, dismissing them as a “piece of theatre”. It says the constitutional changes approved in July are superficial, and perpetuate a “facade of democracy” that – it says – has disguised continuing royal rule for decades.

King Mohammed VI presented the constitutional changes as a far-reaching concession to Arab Spring-style pro-democracy protests, but activists believe they will do little to change the actual power structure and have called for a boycott of the elections. As a result of the constitutional changes approved by 98% of those voting in a 1 July referendum, the position of the prime minister, who must now be appointed from the largest party in parliament, has also been enhanced, gaining the authority to appoint government officials and dissolve parliament.  However, the parliament will have a greater share of power and – in theory – will play the leading role in a legislative process previously dominated by the king.

Benkirane, who was elected head of his party in 2008, leads its more pro-monarchy faction. He has repeatedly stated his support for a strong king, even though some of his colleagues would prefer a less powerful ruler. “The head of the state is king and no-one can govern without him,” he told supporters. The PJD has said it will promote Islamic finance. However, it has avoided focusing on issues such as alcohol and headscarves for women.

Many of the protesters who took to the streets in February feel the reforms still fall far short of their demands for a democratic, constitutional monarchy, and have called for a boycott. Ahead of the poll, the sleepy calm of the capital, Rabat, was occasionally punctuated by the marches of unemployed graduates. But the country’s powerful monarchy and the system that supports it appear to have averted any direct, mortal challenge for now.

A low turnout in the parliamentary poll would detract from the legitimacy of King Mohammed VI’s reforms and could hint at future problems.

II – Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries known as the Maghreb. To the south, the status of Western Sahara remains unresolved. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 and a guerrilla war with Algerian-backed pro-independence forces ended in 1991. UN efforts have failed to break the political deadlock. To the north, a dispute with Spain in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta. The small enclaves on the Mediterranean coast are surrounded by Morocco and have been administered by Madrid for centuries.

Strategically situated with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, but with a rugged mountainous interior, it stayed independent for centuries while developing a rich culture blended from Arab, Berber, European and African influences.  However, Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. He played a prominent role in the search for peace in the Middle East, given the large number of Israelis of Moroccan origin, but was criticized for suppressing domestic opposition. A truth commission set up to investigate human rights violations during Hassan’s reign confirmed nearly 10,000 cases, ranging from death in detention to forced exile. After his death in 1999 Hassan was succeeded by his son, who became King Mohammed VI and was seen as a modernizer. There has been some economic and social liberalization, but the monarch has retained sweeping powers.

King Mohammed is aided by a powerful propaganda machine – his image adorns streets and shops across the country. Central to the monarchical regime’s strength is its longevity – the Alaoui dynasty gained control of most of Morocco in 1664 – and its claim of descent from the Prophet Muhammad. The king has tremendous religious and political capital – it’s not just the king but the whole political establishment, the monarchy and the “makhzen” provide for the patronage network that embodies Morocco’s ruling elite.

Moroccan citizens, many of them poor and illiterate and living in rural areas, are made to believe that the monarch has a special gift or blessing and they feel that they have some psychological relationship with the king. Symbolic rituals also boost his status. In an annual ceremony of allegiance, the “bay’a”, Moroccan officials bow before the king as he parades on a horse.

Despite these traditional trappings, the monarchy under the 48-year-old king has taken on a more modern, reformist image. His father, Hassan II, ran a notoriously brutal regime between 1961 and 1999. Opponents were tortured and protests repressed.  1965, the interior minister at the time, Gen Mohammed Oufkir, supervised a crackdown on demonstrations in Casablanca from a helicopter while – according to one story – personally spraying rioters with a machine gun. But a process of gradual reform began in the final years of Hassan’s rule, and continued with his son. It included a family law that advanced women’s rights and a truth commission that explored abuses under King Hassan – though none of those responsible were prosecuted.

Along with Ennahda in Tunisia and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, it places itself within a contemporary movement to promote and respect Islam and reconcile Islam and democracy. Coalitions of more secular, royalist parties have tried to smother it and the Islamists have found it hard to directly challenge the king because of his religious status as “commander of the faithful”. It too is seen by many as being in the pocket of the palace. The PJD here in Morocco is presenting the ‘third way’ between revolution and the uncertainty of the current system.

The toppling of long-standing leaders in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of the year is widely seen as having caught the Moroccan regime off-guard, at a time when the reform process had stagnated. As Morocco’s own protest movement took shape, a long-held taboo was breached. It’s the first time in Morocco that the king was openly criticized and they didn’t shoot people. Instead, the monarchy’s response was to promise changes including rights guarantees and more powers for the parliament. These were enshrined in a new constitution that was approved by referendum in July.

III – Observations

Maybe, the Arab World is in the process of changing but Arabs still don’t know the results and what will happen in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria or Yemen especially the destruction of Libya by the NATO-UNSC terror organizations. The moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which has been buoyed by the recent reforms, and by the gains Islamists have made elsewhere in the region, could win the election and so supply the next prime minister.

Leaders of Morocco claim they are presenting the way of reform without losing the stability, the unity of the country- but at the same time furthering the democratic agenda of Morocco.

Morocco’s ruling elite thinks it has skillfully sidestepped the revolutionary fervor sweeping the Arab world by offering a milder, more peaceful vision of change. Critics of the reforms point in particular to the fact that the king will still have wide-ranging executive powers, in particular control over foreign, defence and security policy. Activists also say the reforms will not end the behind-the-scenes dominance of the “makhzen” – a power apparatus of veteran politicians, powerful businesspeople, the security forces and royal officials controlled by the king through a system of patronage.

Morocco is bidding for membership of the European Union, its main trade partner, but there appears to be little enthusiasm for this within the bloc.

Morocco has been given the status of non-Nato ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the US-led war on terror. After deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

The message of a democratic agenda and gradual change is one that has gone down well with Morocco’s allies in the anti-Islamic US and Europe who promote pro-west leaders in Muslim world and destabilize the Muslim nations if the leaders do not buy CIA terror gimmicks…

Political and poll bribery is common. Sheep were being handed out to voters, and over the last few months, the protest movement has been subject to a smear campaign, arrests, and intimidation at the hands of shadowy groups of pro-monarchy thugs known as “baltaja”. But Moroccans say they will show the Western world that Morocco can bring about a gentle revolution and the nation can travel towards a real democracy.

In Morocco elections are never decisive as the king retains ultimate control and though parliament has more power, parties are weak. The electoral system is prepared on purpose not to let anyone succeed, so it’s impossible to get more than 20% of the seats in parliament and this is to allow the monarchy to dominate. The manipulation of the party system is just one of the old-fashioned tactics still being deployed to bolster the status quo.  According to analysts, the reforms passed this year are largely cosmetic, and there is no guarantee they will be put into practice on the ground. However, so long as it plays the NATO fiddle well, it has got nothing to worry.

Claims, fake or real, of descent from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace) by a few pampered Muslim leaders might be fashionable but are ridiculous if they decline to promote true Islam in the society. Moroccan king clams the same of being a descent from the Prophet Muhammad but he shamelessly sides with NATO terrorism and western anti-Islamism. A Muslim nation that promotes anti-Islamism and helps, directly or otherwise, the anti-Islamic GST rogues and refuses to promote Islamic way of life and institutionalize Islamic law on daily basis ceases to be a Muslim nation.  Muslim leaders in such societies are guilty of anti-Islamic crimes.

Elected premier Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane, though worships the king, has a responsibly constructive role to play in this regard so that Islam takes firm roots in the society. Americans, Britishers and other western terrocrats cannot help him or Morocco in this regard. Benkirane’s pro-people policies and their proper implementation would greatly benefit not just Muslims but entire humanity in some measure.

Muhammad praying at the Ka’ba.

——–
د. عبد راف

Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism; Educationalist;Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Independent Analyst;Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine,Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc); Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are more dangerous than “terrorism” Anti-Islamic forces & terrorists are using criminal elements for terrorizing the world and they in disguise are harming genuine interests of ordinary Muslims. Global media today, even in Muslim nations, are controlled by CIA  & other anti-Islamic agencies. Former university Teacher;/website:abdulruff.wordpress.com

Israel officially annexes West Bank!

Israel officially annexes West Bank!
-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL
——————-

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war together with Gaza and east Jerusalem. It annexed east Jerusalem shortly after the war in a move that hasn’t been recognized internationally and evacuated Gaza unilaterally in 2005. The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews support Israel extending its sovereignty over some or entire West Bank, either unilaterally or as part of an agreement.

The West Bank shares boundaries (demarcated by the Jordanian-Israeli armistice of 1949) to the west, north, and south with the state of Israel, and to the east, across the Jordan River, with Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coastline along the western bank of the Dead Sea. From 1517 to 1917 the West Bank was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, renounced its territorial claims in 1923 and the area now called the West Bank became an integral part of the British Mandate for Palestine.

Successive Israeli governments have refrained from annexing the West Bank, now home to 2.3 million Palestinians, since capturing the territory in 1967 and resettling and encouraging more than 350,000 Jews to live there. Bennett’s call for annexation after the collapse of peacemaking is deepening rifts within the government, which has declared support for Palestinian statehood.

The International Court of Justice advisory ruling (2004) concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power. West Bank settlements are considered illegal by the international community and prevent a territorial continuity to the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. With the announcement, the illegal settlements will be turned into part of Israeli lands. The announcement paves the way to the establishment of the new city of Gva’ot.

Even as the Palestinians, besieged and terrorized by Israel continue to play silly games with a monstrous and criminal state of Israel, the Zionist regime goes about its occupational plans with Arab league looks to Washington for petrodollars and guidance and UNSC enjoying the Zionist crimes by tea parties.

Even after the crudest crimes in Gaza strip where the Israeli military killed over 2000 Palestinians including children, the PLO and Arab League Arabs do not think proper to sue the Israeli criminal regime backed it is backed by USA, the major Arab ally.
The Palestinians are still unable or do not want to approach the ICJ and ICC to take Israeli leaders for trials for crimes probably not getting positive signals from Arab nations, especially Saudi kingdom which plays into the dirty hands of USA directly and Israel indirectly.
Encouraged by the emerging scenario when none can challenge Israel and USA for their joint crimes, Israel, obviously on suggestion from Washington, has decided to officially annex the West Bank region, making it a state within the Zionist criminal state.
Israeli authorities announced a land of 4,000 dunam used as a settlement in the West Bank would be turned into state land and the government would acknowledge it as a new Israeli community. There is currently a settlement in the area of Gva’ot, near Gush Ezion in the West Bank, which is built without proper permits.

The reason for the new action is explained by Israel is that no ownership has been claimed by Palestinians or PLO or PA over these specific lands. Israeli authorities have however announced that there will be a period of 45 days, in which objections against the decision could be filed.
The decision was made following the alleged kidnapping (most probably that was a lie spread by Israeli media to claim legitimacy for attacking Gaza Strip) and murder of three Israeli teens at the same area in June. Hawkish Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, wanting to replace Netanyahu as PM, had said a new settlement would soon be established in the area.

In June, Israeli Economy Minister Naphtali Bennett outlined a proposal for Israel to assume sovereignty over about 60 percent of the West Bank where more than 100 settlements are located. He defended his proposal to annex West Bank territory as “the only sane plan,” even as it threatened to tear apart the government. Annexation “is the only sane plan,” Bennett, whose Jewish Home party opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, told Army Radio. “It’s no secret that for dozens of years there has been a chasmic disagreement on how to leave the settlements. It hasn’t proven itself.” Bennett said Palestinians would be given “enhanced autonomy” in the rest of the territory.

The concept of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed, making annexation the solution. “The world will get used to it in time,” Bennett said. Although tricky fascist PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest coalition partner warned he would topple the governing coalition if it tries to extend Israeli sovereignty over any settlements.

While Netanyahu hasn’t adopted Bennett’s annexation plan, another minister Lapid said the prime minister’s push for renewed construction in existing West Bank settlements has led to an “unprecedented crisis” in relations with the USA. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party is the coalition’s second-largest partner advocated the resumption of peace talks and a gradual withdrawal from some West Bank territory, challenging Netanyahu to present a map showing how he would delineate the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief peace negotiator, told the conference her party would also withdraw its support for the government if Netanyahu tries to annex any part of the West Bank without Palestinian agreement. Her Hatenuah party and Yesh Atid command 25 of the coalition’s 68 seats.

The latest US-backed effort to forge a peace agreement fell apart in April after almost nine months of negotiations. Any effort to resume them has been complicated by the formation of a new Palestinian government last week backed by Gaza’s Hamas leaders.

Netanyahu says he won’t return to talks as long as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is backed by Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis and fired thousands of rockets at civilian Israeli targets. Abbas has said the new government will abide by international principles, which include honoring past agreements with Israel and renouncing violence.

The Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, oppose any Israeli settlement of territory they claim for a homeland. While the United Nations considers the West Bank illegally occupied territory, Israel maintains it has legitimate claims to the land based on its historic ties to the Jewish people.

Meanwhile, the tense relations between the PA and Hamas, strains have most certainly continued even after the cessation of the 50-day conflict in the Gaza Strip. Even at the height of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Hamas security forces continued to crack down on Fatah activists in Gaza. In the past two days, the PA security services, the general intelligence service, and the preventative security force, have carried out a wave of arrests of Hamas operatives across the West Bank. The PA president won’t rebuild Gaza if Hamas stands in his way, and won’t work with Israel in the West Bank unless there is substantive progress toward Palestinian statehood

While grappling with the tensions with Hamas, the Palestinian leader simultaneously intends to renew the diplomatic pressure on Israel. His peace plan, which he is set to submit for Arab League approval by the end of this week, envisions filing a request with the Americans in the coming days to pressure Israel to present a map of a future Palestinian state as the basis for substantive negotiations.

After Israel presents the map, Abbas’s plan would call for a firm timetable to be laid down for a gradual Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

If Israel refuses his plan, or refrains from responding, the Palestine Liberation Organization intends, within three months, to seek a UN Security Council resolution that recognizes the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.

The US veto remains a bottleneck for peace in the region. The Palestinians, expecting the US to veto any such resolution, intend to then approach the General Assembly with the same request. After that, the PLO will seek to join international bodies and organizations, and then to campaign to have Palestine recognized as a nation under occupation according to the Geneva Conventions.

The final phase of Abbas’s ambitious plan is to halt joint security operations with Israel, so central to the recent relative calm in the West Bank, and hand over all responsibility for rule in Palestinian cities to the IDF.

Israel might have annexed West bank as a powerful ploy to bully the Palestinians to agree for Israeli terms and conditions.

Even while the Fatah and Hamas factions could not come together to form a unity government for a long time, Israelis have Israeli leaders have been contemplating unilateral action in the West Bank after the recent breakdown of peace talks with the Palestinians. Jews are moving ahead with their plans for expansionism.
Interestingly, the Hamas or allies in Gaza Strip kept on firing toy rockets into southern Israel unmindful of what exactly the Israeli regime has been trying to do with Palestine territories. So childish!

Unless Israel is punished for its crimes against humanity for so many years, the fascist regime would continue to do what it has done so far in Palestine – terror blockades, airstrikes, expansionism and genocides!

_________________

*د. عبد راف *

(Humanity has a right to know the truth which does not require
endorsements) Unfortunately, today there is not even one Muslim nation
today practicing truly Islamic faith and life.
(Account: No 62310377429* -* CIF No:
78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India) Phone: 91-8129081217

_____________________

Israel officially annexes West Bank!


Israel officially annexes West Bank!

-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL
——————-

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war together with Gaza and east Jerusalem. It annexed east Jerusalem shortly after the war in a move that hasn’t been recognized internationally and evacuated Gaza unilaterally in 2005. The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews support Israel extending its sovereignty over some or entire West Bank, either unilaterally or as part of an agreement.

The West Bank shares boundaries (demarcated by the Jordanian-Israeli armistice of 1949) to the west, north, and south with the state of Israel, and to the east, across the Jordan River, with Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coastline along the western bank of the Dead Sea. From 1517 to 1917 the West Bank was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, renounced its territorial claims in 1923 and the area now called the West Bank became an integral part of the British Mandate for Palestine.

Successive Israeli governments have refrained from annexing the West Bank, now home to 2.3 million Palestinians, since capturing the territory in 1967 and resettling and encouraging more than 350,000 Jews to live there. Bennett’s call for annexation after the collapse of peacemaking is deepening rifts within the government, which has declared support for Palestinian statehood.

The International Court of Justice advisory ruling (2004) concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power. West Bank settlements are considered illegal by the international community and prevent a territorial continuity to the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. With the announcement, the illegal settlements will be turned into part of Israeli lands. The announcement paves the way to the establishment of the new city of Gva’ot.

Even as the Palestinians, besieged and terrorized by Israel continue to play silly games with a monstrous and criminal state of Israel, the Zionist regime goes about its occupational plans with Arab league looks to Washington for petrodollars and guidance and UNSC enjoying the Zionist crimes by tea parties.

Even after the crudest crimes in Gaza strip where the Israeli military killed over 2000 Palestinians including children, the PLO and Arab League Arabs do not think proper to sue the Israeli criminal regime backed it is backed by USA, the major Arab ally.
The Palestinians are still unable or do not want to approach the ICJ and ICC to take Israeli leaders for trials for crimes probably not getting positive signals from Arab nations, especially Saudi kingdom which plays into the dirty hands of USA directly and Israel indirectly.
Encouraged by the emerging scenario when none can challenge Israel and USA for their joint crimes, Israel, obviously on suggestion from Washington, has decided to officially annex the West Bank region, making it a state within the Zionist criminal state.
Israeli authorities announced a land of 4,000 dunam used as a settlement in the West Bank would be turned into state land and the government would acknowledge it as a new Israeli community. There is currently a settlement in the area of Gva’ot, near Gush Ezion in the West Bank, which is built without proper permits.

The reason for the new action is explained by Israel is that no ownership has been claimed by Palestinians or PLO or PA over these specific lands. Israeli authorities have however announced that there will be a period of 45 days, in which objections against the decision could be filed.
The decision was made following the alleged kidnapping (most probably that was a lie spread by Israeli media to claim legitimacy for attacking Gaza Strip) and murder of three Israeli teens at the same area in June. Hawkish Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, wanting to replace Netanyahu as PM, had said a new settlement would soon be established in the area.

In June, Israeli Economy Minister Naphtali Bennett outlined a proposal for Israel to assume sovereignty over about 60 percent of the West Bank where more than 100 settlements are located. He defended his proposal to annex West Bank territory as “the only sane plan,” even as it threatened to tear apart the government. Annexation “is the only sane plan,” Bennett, whose Jewish Home party opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, told Army Radio. “It’s no secret that for dozens of years there has been a chasmic disagreement on how to leave the settlements. It hasn’t proven itself.” Bennett said Palestinians would be given “enhanced autonomy” in the rest of the territory.

The concept of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed, making annexation the solution. “The world will get used to it in time,” Bennett said. Although tricky fascist PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest coalition partner warned he would topple the governing coalition if it tries to extend Israeli sovereignty over any settlements.

While Netanyahu hasn’t adopted Bennett’s annexation plan, another minister Lapid said the prime minister’s push for renewed construction in existing West Bank settlements has led to an “unprecedented crisis” in relations with the USA. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party is the coalition’s second-largest partner advocated the resumption of peace talks and a gradual withdrawal from some West Bank territory, challenging Netanyahu to present a map showing how he would delineate the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief peace negotiator, told the conference her party would also withdraw its support for the government if Netanyahu tries to annex any part of the West Bank without Palestinian agreement. Her Hatenuah party and Yesh Atid command 25 of the coalition’s 68 seats.

The latest US-backed effort to forge a peace agreement fell apart in April after almost nine months of negotiations. Any effort to resume them has been complicated by the formation of a new Palestinian government last week backed by Gaza’s Hamas leaders.

Netanyahu says he won’t return to talks as long as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is backed by Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis and fired thousands of rockets at civilian Israeli targets. Abbas has said the new government will abide by international principles, which include honoring past agreements with Israel and renouncing violence.

The Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, oppose any Israeli settlement of territory they claim for a homeland. While the United Nations considers the West Bank illegally occupied territory, Israel maintains it has legitimate claims to the land based on its historic ties to the Jewish people.

Meanwhile, the tense relations between the PA and Hamas, strains have most certainly continued even after the cessation of the 50-day conflict in the Gaza Strip. Even at the height of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Hamas security forces continued to crack down on Fatah activists in Gaza. In the past two days, the PA security services, the general intelligence service, and the preventative security force, have carried out a wave of arrests of Hamas operatives across the West Bank. The PA president won’t rebuild Gaza if Hamas stands in his way, and won’t work with Israel in the West Bank unless there is substantive progress toward Palestinian statehood

While grappling with the tensions with Hamas, the Palestinian leader simultaneously intends to renew the diplomatic pressure on Israel. His peace plan, which he is set to submit for Arab League approval by the end of this week, envisions filing a request with the Americans in the coming days to pressure Israel to present a map of a future Palestinian state as the basis for substantive negotiations.

After Israel presents the map, Abbas’s plan would call for a firm timetable to be laid down for a gradual Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

If Israel refuses his plan, or refrains from responding, the Palestine Liberation Organization intends, within three months, to seek a UN Security Council resolution that recognizes the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.

The US veto remains a bottleneck for peace in the region. The Palestinians, expecting the US to veto any such resolution, intend to then approach the General Assembly with the same request. After that, the PLO will seek to join international bodies and organizations, and then to campaign to have Palestine recognized as a nation under occupation according to the Geneva Conventions.

The final phase of Abbas’s ambitious plan is to halt joint security operations with Israel, so central to the recent relative calm in the West Bank, and hand over all responsibility for rule in Palestinian cities to the IDF.

Israel might have annexed West bank as a powerful ploy to bully the Palestinians to agree for Israeli terms and conditions.

Even while the Fatah and Hamas factions could not come together to form a unity government for a long time, Israelis have Israeli leaders have been contemplating unilateral action in the West Bank after the recent breakdown of peace talks with the Palestinians. Jews are moving ahead with their plans for expansionism.
Interestingly, the Hamas or allies in Gaza Strip kept on firing toy rockets into southern Israel unmindful of what exactly the Israeli regime has been trying to do with Palestine territories. So childish!

Unless Israel is punished for its crimes against humanity for so many years, the fascist regime would continue to do what it has done so far in Palestine – terror blockades, airstrikes, expansionism and genocides!

_________________

*د. عبد راف *

(Humanity has a right to know the truth which does not require
endorsements) Unfortunately, today there is not even one Muslim nation
today practicing truly Islamic faith and life.
(Account: No 62310377429* -* CIF No:
78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India) Phone: 91-8129081217

_____________________

New Power struggle in Pakistan

New Power struggle in Pakistan
-DR.  ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL

____________________

When he established Pakistan in 1947 as an Islamic nation to protect
Muslims and promote the genuine interests of Pakistanis and Islam,
barrister Mohammad Ali Jinnah would not have thought that  Pakistani
rulers and  self-promotional politicians of  future generations would
make his  dream a big joke.
Power struggle in Pakistan during the erstwhile military rule of Gen
Musharraf that rocked the nation and prompted the so-called democracy
parties the Pakistan people party (PPP) and Muslim League to join
hands to fight to end the military era, has now returned again to
haunt the Muslim league rulers led by Nawaz Sharif, causing serious
disturbances in the Islamic nation.  The two-week standoff between
protesters and security forces in Islamabad has taken place just 15
months after the prime minister won a five-year mandate in elections.
Last year’s elections marked Pakistan’s first civilian transfer of
power but Pakistan faces an inherent power struggle. .
After taking over reigns of regime from President Asif Ali Zrdari,
Sharif is only 15 months into his administration, but is already
facing concerted public protests against him. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI)  led by former cricketer Imran Khan is spearheading  agitations
country wide in Pakistan  demanding a virtual regime change but the
Muslim League  government led by Nawaz Sharif has rejected the demand
as illegal. As the third round of talks between the government and
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ultimately ending in a stalemate on
August 23, despite showing the most progress, supporters of PTI and
the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) continued their sit-in at D-Chowk in
front of Parliament House. The PTI proposed that the prime minister
resign at least for a period of 30 days during which a judicial
commission works ‘independently’ to determine if the May 2013
elections were transparent. This demand though was rejected by the
government, who said they had accepted almost all the other demands of
the PTI. The party has announced it will recommence its sit-in on
Sunday evening with screens and mini-protests in other cities as well.

The opposition protests in Pakistan which began with a march from the
eastern city of Lahore on Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14
have been growing day by day. Latest violence was sparked when the two
opposition leaders ordered their supporters, many whom were wielding
batons, to move closer to the PM’s house. Imran Khan – who argues that
elections in June 2013 were rigged – has also called for Sharif to
resign. Khan and Qadri led thousands of their supporters in separate
marches from Lahore to Islamabad – and both protest camps are now
occupying two highways in the Pakistani capital.
The protesters began their sit-in after a huge march from Lahore to
Islamabad, vowing to camp out in the capital until the government
stood down. Thousands of anti-government protesters tried to raid the
official residence of Pakistan’s prime minister, sparking clashes with
police that killed three people and wounded nearly 400 amid cries for
the premier to step down. The protesters started regrouping at
daybreak yesterday and made repeated attempts to make their way
through heavy deployment of police and barricades to reach the
premier’s residence. Police strengthened their lines and responded by
lobbing tear gas canisters. Nearly 400 people — including women,
children and police officers — were admitted to local hospitals,
officials said. The injured had wounds from tear gas shells, batons
and rubber bullets, said Dr Javed Akram, who heads the capital’s main
hospital. One person drowned in a ditch after he was in a crowd
bombarded with tear gas while two others died from wounds related to
rubber bullets, said Dr Wasim Khawaja, a senior official at the
hospital. Police also beat local journalists covering the protests
with batons, injuring some, Railways Minister Saad Rafiq said. Rafiq
said he intervened to stop the police assault and said that he would
ask the government to investigate the officers’ conduct. Khan
described the police action against the crowd as illegal. Qadri said
he’d been up all night praying for a resolution. “If they think their
brutality will force us back, they are wrong,” he said in a choked
voice. Nearly 100 protesters were arrested at the scene. Islamabad
police chief Khalid Khattak told the BBC that close to 100 protesters
had been arrested, some armed with “axes, hammers and cutters”. An
official at the Polyclinic hospital in Islamabad told reporters that
the wounds of those injured were caused by teargas shells, stones and
batons. One protester Naveed Razzaq, a supporter of cleric Tahirul
Qadri, died of a heart attack in a ditch near the clashes, said Dr
Wasim Khawaja, spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical
Sciences hospital in Islamabad.

Authorities said they had no choice but to use force. Islamabad police
chief Khalid Khattak said protesters were armed with large hammers,
wire cutters, axes and even a crane. The overnight violence has raised
the stakes in the two-week sit-in led by opposition politician Imran
Khan and fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, which earlier saw demonstrators
march past roadblocks to set up camp outside of Pakistan’s parliament.
They demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down over their
allegations of massive voting fraud in the election that brought him
into office last year. Protesters are demanding PM Nawaz Sharif
resigns. Demonstrators loyal to opposition politician Imran Khan and
cleric Tahirul Qadri have been taking part in a sit-in for two weeks.
They accuse Sharif of corruption and electoral fraud – charges he
denies. There are now widespread fears that the escalation of
political tensions may cause the army to intervene and weaken the
country’s fledgling democracy.
Sharif has majority in the parliament. Backed by parliament and many
political parties, Sharif has refused to step down as negotiators
tried to convince Qadri and Khan to end their protests. When the crowd
started removing shipping containers used as barricades, police fired
salvoes of tear gas that forced the crowds back. Police have used tear
gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of protesters armed
with batons, gas masks and slingshots. The protesters broke security
barriers to move closer to Sharif’s residence late on Saturday,
sparking clashes with the police which continued overnight and into
Sunday.

Separately, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif¸ with a view to seeking a way
out of the impasse has held talks with former president Asif Ali
Zardari in Raiwind who has indirectly supported Sharif. Zardari made a
rare appearance before the media following his day-long trip to
Lahore, where he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with other
PML-N members as well as leaders of various other parties, including
the PML-Q and JI. Taking a page from PTI chief and cricketer Imran
Khan’s metaphors, Zardari said that there is “no third umpire,” adding
that if there was one, the matter would have escalated. “We are all
working together,” he said, while stressing on the need for dialogue.
“Democracy means never shutting the door.” Zardari was noticeably in a
good mood while responding to questions posed by media persons, during
which he said, “Conspiracies are part and parcel of politics.”
Maintaining a diplomatic stance, Zardari said that the PPP
acknowledges the PTI’s right to hold on to their position when he was
asked about the party’s decision to resign from the National Assembly.
“One democratic government should not challenge another democratic
government, especially through street power,” the PPP chief said,
adding, “Under no circumstances should democracy be challenged or
derailed.” Zardari also advised the government to deal with everything
in a peaceful manner, and proudly said that the PPP had completed five
years making peace. “I am for Pakistan; I have given this Parliament
power…At this moment; we need to focus on standing with our armed
forces who are engaged in an “operation”, alongside the occupations
forces of USA.

Sharif’s resignation is not acceptable to PPP and its leader Zardari
supports Sharif.  An illusory air of change is looming all over
Pakistan but no one is sure about anything. Some might see an Arab
spring in the ongoing agitations in Islamabad led by Imran Khan for a
regime change which does not look possible now.  In fact when the Arab
Spring unleashed in many Muslim nations, it did not enter Pakistan.
Even when Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal upturned Indian politics by
their anti-corruption movement leading to regime change in India,
Pakistan remained untouched. Now people are on the streets agitating
for a regime change.  Opposition cleric Tahir ul-Qadri’s protests
could not dislodge the elected government

Adding to his misery, Pakistani police in Pakistan have named Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif as a suspect in a murder case. He is among 21
possible defendants suspected of the killing of 14 demonstrators near
Lahore in June. Opposition cleric Tahir ul-Qadri has demanded that
Sharif face murder charges and a terrorism probe. However it is not
automatic that Sharif will be arrested and produced before the court.
This is only a preliminary investigation following the filing of a
complaint to police and officers will need to find incriminating
evidence before pursuing the case any further.  This procedure could
take months. Tahir ul-Qadri, one of two opposition figures currently
leading a sit-in against Sharif for alleged electoral fraud, has
demanded that murder charges be brought in the case.

A government minister said that repeated attempts to resolve the
two-week long standoff with protesters had failed. On Friday
Pakistan’s powerful army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, stepped in to
mediate amid an ongoing deadlock. Military helicopters were despatched
to survey the scene on the Constitution Avenue, one of the most secure
zones in the city, housing a number of government buildings and
residences. Local TV pictures showed police throwing tear gas shells,
and protesters throwing rocks back at them, some wielding sticks and
slingshots. Speaking to BBC World TV, cleric Qadri condemned the
police’s actions as an “unimaginable attack by the state upon the
people”, and denied that protesters were armed with weapons.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s army commanders met amid clashes between police
and anti-government protesters which have left three people dead and
hundreds hurt. The meeting was brought forward after clashes flared
overnight. They warned the government not to use force against the
protesters.
The demonstrations signify the starkest threat to Sharif’s third term
as prime minister. His previous term ended with a military coup and
his eventual exile. Sharif vowed  he would not step down. “The biggest
question: Can Nawaz Sharif survive and how long?
In fact, the question is not whether or not Sharif would step down, at
least temporarily, but if all these protests, destabilizing an already
limping Islamabad due to the successful execution of a deep-rooted
Neocons conspiracy hatched in USA to occupy both Afghanistan and
Pakistan, will change the future of weak Pakistan and bring solace to
the poor Pakistani masses.
Pakistan has been endowed with tremendous resources and capabilities
but it continues to bleed and that too because of rampant corruption,
manipulation and ignorance.  Unfortunately, only the rich enjoy all
privileges and benefits of policies made by the regime of aristocrats
and rich lords. The regime itself is keen to promote the US/NATO
interests. The most impacted victims to the disease of US engineered
change are the people from the lower strata, the common people. Their
sufferings are not going to be addressed or mitigated even if the
present regime is replaced by a new because they all exist to promote
the rich.

Time is overdue for the government to devise the needy reforms and
policies to benefit the poor and common people.  After all, the rich
knows how grow their wealth. Islamic Pakistan need not add more
profits to the cooperates.

___________________

Islamic Faith: Purpose of Hajj

Islamic Faith: Purpose of Hajj

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

______________________

Those Muslims who follow the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAS) would perform Hajj only once in life. 

 

  1. Holy Hajj Pilgrimage

 

As Muslims from all over the world are preparing to perform the annual and truly one time holy Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia,  it is of paramount importance for Muslims to know, along with the process of this important pilgrimage but also the purpose of it so that the Hajis after the hajj  live as  the best possible humans as model Muslims for the  society and humanity at large to derive inspiration from them and benefit  tremendously this way. .   

Hajj is the largest human gathering on earth for religious purposes. Over three million registered pilgrims are taking part in the rituals which will be over on scheduled day every year. Many pilgrims, however, conclude the pilgrimage one day earlier.

Hajj is performed annually by Muslims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world, grouped by nationality, stoned the devil in Saudi Arabia’s Mina valley on scheduled day as the hajj reached its final stages.

 

Muslims of all ages and colours, men, women and children from 189 countries, many of whom had saved up for years to make the trip, hurled pebbles at the vast stone pillars that represent Satan, shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest).” They walked easily from one pillar to the next, moving in groups by nationality and carrying their countries’ flags so as not to be separated in the sea of humanity. Generally no members get lost in the massive crowds.

 

Security forces were heavily deployed in the stoning area and first aid teams remained on high alert around the three adjacent pillars representing Satan. According to the authorities, 168,000 police officers and civil defence personnel were mobilised for this year’s hajj. For the stoning, they organised specific times of day for groups of pilgrims to perform the ritual.

 

  1. Ritual

In 630 CE, Prophet of Islam Muhammad (SAS) led his followers from Medina to Mecca; it was the first Hajj to be performed by Muslims alone, and the only Hajj ever performed by Muhammad (SAS) . He cleansed the Kaaba, destroyed all the idols, and re-ordained the building as the house of God. It was from this point that the Hajj became one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad (SAS) was known to regularly perform the Umrah, even before he began receiving revelation. Historically, Muslims would gather at various meeting points in other great cities, and then proceed en masse towards Mecca, in groups that could comprise tens of thousands of pilgrims. Two of the most famous meeting points were in Cairo and Damascus. In Cairo, the Sultan would stand atop a platform of the famous gate Bab Zuwayla, to officially watch the beginning of the annual pilgrimage.

Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage. During the Hajj, male pilgrims are required to dress only in the ihram, a garment consisting of two sheets of white unhemmed cloth, with the top draped over the torso and the bottom secured by a white sash; plus a pair of sandals. Women are simply required to maintain their hijab—normal modest dress, which does not cover the hands or face.  The Ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims, in front of God: there is no difference between a prince and a pauper. Ihram is also symbolic for holy virtue and pardon from all past sins. A place designated for changing into Ihram is called a miqat (like Zu ‘l-Hulafa, Juhfa, Qarnu ‘l-Manāzil, Yalamlam, Zāt-i-‘Irq, Ibrahīm Mursīa). While wearing the Ihram, a pilgrim may not shave, clip their nails, wear perfume, swear or quarrel, have sexual relations, uproot or damage plants, kill or harm wild animals, cover the head [for men] or the face and hands [for women], marry, wear shoes over the ankles, or carry weapons.

The ritual is an emulation of Abraham’s stoning of the devil at the three spots where it is said Satan tried to dissuade the biblical patriarch from obeying God’s order to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. The ritual, which takes place in the kingdom’s usually-deserted Mina valley and comes to life only during the annual pilgrimage, began with the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday as the faithful began by stoning the largest pillar, Jamrat al-Aqaba.

Associated with devil stoning, Mina used to be the most dangerous phase of the hajj and the most problematic for the Saudi authorities, marred as it was by deadly stampedes as well as fires in tent camps. In the past few years, however, tents have been fire-proofed and gas canisters and cooking are now banned. The stoning area has also been expanded to avoid overcrowding. Saudi authorities have built a five-level structure around the three stoning sites, allowing for a smooth flow of pilgrims who are only permitted to move in one direction throughout the area to prevent congestion.

 

Pilgrims confess that there’s a sweet feeling about getting tired during Hajj, which Muslims who sincerely follow the Prophet of Islam, must perform only least once in their lifetime. “Ever since I was a child I had dreamt of standing on the Mount of Mercy in Arafat,” where the Prophet Mohammed (SAS) is said to have given his last sermon, one pilgrimage said with a smile. “They were purely spiritual moments. The trip to perform the hajj costs many poor pilgrims all the money they had been saving small amounts for many (over 15) years and some people say they finally sold all their jewellery to “reach this place.”

 

  1. Background

The Hajj is based on a pilgrimage that was ancient even in the time of Prophet  Muhammad (SAS) in the 7th century. According to Hadith, elements of the Hajj trace back to the time of Abraham (Ibrahim), around 2000 BCE. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was unable to conceive, and upon her request, Abraham had taken their female servant, Hagar, as a second wife. Hagar bore Abraham a son, Ishmael. It is believed that Abraham was ordered by God to leave Hagar (Hājar) and Ishmael (ʼIsmāʻīl) alone in the desert. Looking for shelter, food and water, Hagar ran back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times with her son. In desperation, she laid the baby on the sand and begged for God’s assistance. The baby cried and hit the ground with his heel (some versions of the story say that the angel Gabriel (Jibral) scraped his foot or the tip of his wing along the ground), and the Zamzam Well miraculously sprang forth. 

The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language). The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Pilgrims generally travel to Hajj in groups, as an expression of unity. Some airlines have special packages for Muslims going to Mecca such as the Haj subsidy. Ships also take pilgrims to Mecca. 

Though Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham (Ibrahim). Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: Each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer, runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, and throws stones in a ritual. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice, and celebrate the three day global festival of Eid al-Adha.

Prior to Prophet Muhammad’s era, each year tribes from all around the Arabian Peninsula would converge on Mecca, as part of the pilgrimage. The exact faith of the tribes was not important at that time, and Christian Arabs were as likely to make the pilgrimage as the pagans. Muslim historians refer to the time before Muhammad as jahiliyyah, the “Days of Ignorance”, during which the Kaaba contained hundreds of idols – totems of each of the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, with idols of pagan gods such as Hubal, al-Lat, Al-‘Uzzá and Manat.

  1. 4.Problems

However, not everyone was satisfied with the way their pilgrimage had turned out. Not every pilgrim had enough to eat. Nearby, many pilgrims struggled to reach the food and water a parked truck was offering free to pilgrims. 

Performing Hajj was a hazardous journey for early pilgrims; Ibn Jubayr noted the skeletons of pilgrims who had died of thirst during the journey. In the seventeenth century a group of Egyptian pilgrims lost over 1,500 people and 900 camels. In 1924 around one-fifth of a group of Syrian pilgrims died and two years later 12,000 are thought to have died during the journey.

In the past few years, however, tents have been fire-proofed and gas canisters and cooking are now banned.

Walking wearily towards the pillars, an exhausted 63-year-old man told bluntly “my trip has been bad.” Abdullah Jad, as he identified himself, said a company he had paid to organise his pilgrimage took his four-year savings and provided nothing in return, leaving him homeless and penniless as he moved across the holy sites. “An office took the money and told me they will have everything ready for me here,” said Jad. But “upon my arrival, I found out that I had been fooled and that I had no transport and nowhere to stay,” said Jad, still dressed in his traditional white pilgrimage robes and carrying an umbrella offered to him as part of an advertising campaign by a local telecom company.

 

The old man’s voice quivered as he said that he had been sleeping at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and did not have enough money left to eat. Drenched in sweat, Jad said the trip had cost him around 25,000 Egyptian pounds (nearly $4,000 dollars).

As many pilgrims prayed after and during the stoning, others were taking pictures on their mobile phones of themselves next to the pillars. The photographing was criticised by members of the security forces who said through loudspeakers: “How are you people stoning Satan and taking pictures with him at the same time?  That is the satanic mindset of Muslim even during and after the Hajj. 

What is missing in doing this nonsense is obviously the purity of Hajj intent.  Presumably, Muslim pilgrims want to make more profits after the Hajj and expect God to help them in their material endeavor whereas Hajj is meant to purify men  and women of their devilish desires, end their material greed. Profits are made even by non-Muslims without performing Hajj and Muslims need not undertake this pilgrimage for profits.  

 Hajj should be used as a tool to advance personal private worldly material ambitions, though politicians and others must be doing exactly that.

As a result, most of the pilgrims, if not all of them, rerun home not purified but as guilty persons. 

 

  1. An Observation: Holiness of Hajj

One doubts if religious spirituality is not taken care of by the pilgrims- before, during and after the pilgrimage. By repeated pilgrimages  by the wealthy Muslims  and those who have made wealth by illegal and immoral means have made the holy Hajj a mere formality – skeleton without blood and flesh. .

Hajj is not a show of one’s wealth, some Muslims keep going g for Hajj maybe just for fun. Though already rich by petrodollars, Saudi Arabs still want more profits from the Pilgrimages and hence they do not insist on spiritual aspect of the Hajj and do not refuse permission to perform the hajj for a second time. . 

Hajj is final pillar of Islam and is obligatory for Muslims. Since it is treated as the  most important  life achievement in the this material world for the individuals, Muslims are expected to be  very very conscious and cautious about the pilgrimage in full since Hajj is considered to be an asset made here for the life Hereafter. However, mere performance of Hajj does not automatically offer a pass port to Heavens as today’s Muslims who spend money tend to believe. If the rich help the genuine poor but committed Muslims to perform it, the benefits they can reap by that service could be more than by other means. Why don’t they trust Islam? 

The Hajj pilgrimage obtains the religious sanctity only if it is performed with honest resources and proper ways, with full dedication and total and unconditional submission to GOD- not as a show peace to impress the material world.

It is true many Muslims have plenty of resources and they go for the Hajj every years – at times as special guests of the king of Saudi Arabia who accepts huge sums and valuable gifts as service charges from the “ state guests” . That is not correct approach to Islamic faith.

Since one time Hajj is the only proper  format, those who have resources s could use the resources for positive  propagation of Islam and promotion of Muslim interests, even helping those who have are practising Muslims with no such resources. That would perhaps bring the Haji closer to what he intents by a Hajj.

Behaviour of those Muslims who have performed Hajj is very important for the Muslim society. They are required to commit themselves to the Cause of Islam and Muslim society by continuing to do good work for the Muslim community. Those who do this know they are the favourites of the Almighty. .

Pilgrims should make sure they do not make the devil happy by their carelessness. When parameters other than self-purification – like business, photography, videography etc – chosen by the pilgrims themselves the pilgrimage becomes unworthy! Significance of entire pilgrimage is lost. Such pilgrimage could backfire too!

Fear of wrath of God is somehow missing among Muslims. The attitude “so what?” could even harm the pilgrims after the Hajj.

As God is not shared with others for worship, similarly, hajj is not linked to other non-spiritual matters. Almighty would not want Muslims to use stolen type money for Holy Hajj. The money should be properly earned- a fact the Saudi officials hide in order to promote Hajj as  a tourism package.  

It is essential to remember that after stoning the devil, the pilgrims should see the devil does not come after them. 

Without sense of spirituality, very often Hajj also remains a mere formality.  Saudi Arabia that hosts the Hajj should ensure that the Pilgrimage is a meritorious effort by Muslim community!

May All the Almighty save and bless all of us. 

—————————

Russia meets Ukraine amid standoff!


Russia meets Ukraine amid standoff!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

__________________

 

 

 

After all there were together fighting the enemy of socialism during the cold war and have some basic understating about their problems and the can find solutions. Russia and Ukraine were part of Russia for centuries and separated as the mighty Soviet state crumpled and dissolved into 15 independent republics.

 

Splitting the Soviet Union had been one of the major agenda of US led NATO>and they did succeed in making the Soviet system crimple.

 

 

Conflict

 

 

The post-Crimea military tension in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. The United Nations Human Rights Committee concluded that separatists and Ukrainian forces have both committed an array of abuses. According to the findings the rebels have engaged in murder, torture and abductions that were “disproportionately targeting civilians”. They receive a steady supply of sophisticated weapons and ammunition from Russia. Violations by the Ukrainian military and Interior Ministry special battalions include “arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture. Most of the fighting, which has cost at least 2,000 lives, has been concentrated in Ukraine’s industrialized Donbass region and the key rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, which separatists have declared as independent states.

 

The fighting in eastern Ukraine began in mid-April, a month after Russia annexed Crimea. It has killed over 2,000 people and forced over 340,000 to flee, according to the U.N. Russian Defense Ministry as saying the soldiers were patrolling the border and probably crossed the border inadvertently. Russia reportedly has tens of thousands of troops positioned in areas near the Ukrainian border, leading to persistent concerns that Moscow could be preparing an invasion.

 

Putin has so far ignored requests from the rebels to be annexed by Russia — unlike in March, when he annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. But Associated Press journalists on the border have seen the rebels with a wide range of unmarked military equipment — including tanks, Buk missile launchers and armored personnel carriers — and have run into many Russians among the rebel fighters. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting. Novoazovsk lies on the Azov Sea on the road that runs from Russia to the major Ukrainian port of Mariupol and west to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia.

 

Now after the war conflict in east Ukraine, when the leaders of Russian Ukraine met an impression was  created that  they want to sort out differences. Even as tensions have ramped up after Russia for the first time admitted that its troops had crossed onto Ukrainian soil after Kiev released footage purporting to show 10 Russian soldiers captured on its territory, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine (Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko) shook hands ahead of key talks in Minsk on 26 August, though with little hope for a breakthrough to end the raging conflict pitting Kiev against pro-Moscow separatist rebels..

The soldiers from a Russian paratrooper division were captured around Amvrosiivka, a town near the Russian border. Towering columns of smoke rose Tuesday from outside a city in Ukraine’s far southeast after what residents said was a heavy artillery barrage. Ukraine accused separatists and their Russian backers of trying to expand the conflict. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting.

 

Ukraine’s forces accused Russian troops of trying to open a “new front” after an armoured convoy crossed onto government-held territory Monday in the south of Donetsk region. Ukrainian officials said artillery was fired from the Russian side of the border. A Ukrainian soldier who declined to give his name suggested that the shelling could have come from rebels aiming to take out a Ukrainian rocket launcher. In Kiev, Col. Andriy Lysenko blamed the shelling on “Russian mercenaries.” Novoazovsk lies on the Azov Sea on the road that runs from Russia to the major Ukrainian port of Mariupol. That same road goes west to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in March.

 

Ukraine also accused Russian army helicopters of launching a ferocious missile attack on a Ukrainian border position further to the north, killing four border guards and bringing the death toll to 12 soldiers in the past 24 hours. Local authorities in the main rebel bastion of Donetsk said three civilians were killed in shelling overnight as the army pummels insurgent fighters.

The rebels previously announced the launch of a counter-offensive after losing swathes of territory to a push by government forces. Officials from the EU and Russian-led Customs Union were set to discuss the crisis and trade issues after Ukraine’s new pro-Western leaders signed a landmark deal with the European Union in June that riled Russia.

Russia unilaterally sent about 230 lorries carrying what it claimed was 1,800 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the rebel-held city of Lugansk on Friday after accusing Kiev of intentionally delaying the mission. Kiev condemned the move as a “direct invasion”. Some 400,000 people have fled their homes since April in fighting that has left residents in some besieged rebel-held cities without water or power for weeks.

Ukraine said a small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles crossed into Ukraine north of Novoazovsk, raising the possibility that pro-Russia separatists were aiming to take control of a strip of land that would link up Russia with Crimea. “Russia is trying from its side to open a new front. The new columns of Russian tanks and armor crossing into Ukraine indicates a Russian-directed counteroffensive may be underway,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said there were enough forces and equipment in Mariupol to defend the city of more than 450,000. An AP reporter saw excavators digging deep trenches on the eastern edge of the city.

Ukrainian media aired footage purporting to show captured Russian soldiers confessing to crossing into Ukraine in armoured convoys.  Kiev has long accused Moscow of stoking the separatist insurgency raging in its east — charges the Kremlin has repeatedly denied — but this is the first time it has claimed to have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil.”Officially, they are at exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality, they are participating in military aggression against Ukraine”, Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey said  A Russian defence ministry source on Tuesday said the captured soldiers had crossed into Ukraine accidentally. The soldiers had been “taking part in patrolling a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border. They crossed it most likely by accident, on an unequipped, unmarked section”.

 

 

Meeting

 

 

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine met face-to-face on 26th August for the first time since June to talk about the fighting that has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east. From their opening remarks, it appeared unlikely that Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko would find common ground. Meanwhile, a Moscow military source claimed they had crossed into Ukraine “by accident”. Pressure soared after Kiev’s security service said that paratroopers from Russia’s 98th airborne division had been captured by Ukrainian forces about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

The two leaders sat on opposite sides of a large round table and were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union. Contrary to some expectations, they did not meet one-on-one ahead of the talks. They did stage a handshake for the cameras.

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine who arrived to attend a conference in the Belarusian capital about the development of the Eurasian Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, representatives of the European Commission and the Russian Federation, met face-to-face for the first time since June on the fighting that has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east. They were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The meeting came as Ukraine said its forces had captured 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and the shelling spread to a new front in the far southeast. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting and arming the rebels, which Russia denies daily. “The fate of peace and the fate of Europe are being decided in Minsk today,” Poroshenko said as the talks began.

The leaders spent two hours discussing bilateral concerns after a regional economic summit in Minsk, Belarus, in which Putin said there is no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine. It was their first formal meeting since a chilly encounter in June during D-Day commemorations in Normandy, France.  Poroshenko said in a statement afterward that a “road map” for a possible cease-fire in eastern Ukraine would be prepared as soon as possible. He and Putin agreed to begin consultations about border guards.

The meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk came as Ukraine said it had captured 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and shelling spread to a new front in the country’s southeast. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting and arming the pro-Russian rebels fighting government troops, which Russia always denies. “The fate of peace and the fate of Europe are being decided in Minsk today,” Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate magnate, said as the talks began, his manner unusually restrained. Poroshenko told the gathering in Minsk that “the fate of the world and Europe” is being decided there. 10 soldiers from a Russian paratrooper division were captured Monday in the area of Amvrosiivka, near the Russian border in the Donetsk region. Russian Defense Ministry said that the servicemen were patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border area and probably crossed the border by accident. Ukraine rejected any claims of an accident.

Putin devoted most of his opening remarks to trade, arguing that Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the 28-nation EU would lead to huge losses for Russia, which would then be forced to protect its economy. Russia had been counting on Ukraine joining a rival economic union it is forming with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine is set to ratify the EU association agreement in September. On the fighting, Putin said he was certain the conflict “could not be solved by further escalation of the military scenario without taking into account the vital interests of the southeast of the country and without a peaceful dialogue of its representatives.”

 

Poroshenko said the purpose of his visit was to start searching for a political compromise and promised that the interests of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine would be taken into account. Ukraine wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine, while Putin wants to retain some sort of leverage over the mostly Russian-speaking region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union.

 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged both sides to “discard political ambitions and not to seek political dividend.”

 

No compromise

The refusal by Kiev’s former president Viktor Yanukovych to ink the EU deal last year in favour of Moscow’s economic bloc sparked the protests that eventually led to his ouster and sparked a chain of events that saw Russia annex Ukraine’s Crimea region and sparked the pro-Moscow insurgency.

 

On the ground there appeared no end in sight to the four months of conflict that has already claimed some 2,200 lives and has plunged relations between Russia and the West to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

 

Ukraine wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine, while Putin wants to retain some sort of leverage over the mostly Russian-speaking region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union.

 

Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin met in Belarus with top EU officials and the leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus in a bid to defuse the conflict some fear could trigger all-out war between Kiev and its former Soviet master Moscow. Poroshenko told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that “peace is the priority” ahead of the group meeting.

Putin called their discussions “positive” and said Russia would do everything it could to help achieve peace between Kiev and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. He said a cease-fire was never discussed with Poroshenko. Putin devoted most of his opening remarks to trade, arguing that Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the EU would lead to huge losses for Russia, which would then be forced to protect its economy.

 

Putin has so far ignored requests from the rebels to be annexed by Russia — unlike in March, when he annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. But the rebels are seen with a wide range of unmarked military equipment — including tanks, Buk missile launchers and armored personnel carriers — and have run into many Russians among the rebel fighters.

 

 

Russia had been counting on Ukraine joining a rival economic union that it is forming with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine is set to ratify the EU association agreement in September. On the fighting, Putin said he was certain the conflict could not be solved by further escalation of the military scenario without taking into account the vital interests of the southeast of the country and without a peaceful dialogue of its representatives.

 

Ukraine said a small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles crossed into Ukraine north of Novoazovsk, raising the possibility that pro-Russia separatists were aiming to take control of a strip of land that would link up Russia with Crimea. Ukraine accused the separatists and Russia of trying to expand the conflict. Towering columns of smoke rose from outside a city in Ukraine’s far southeast after what residents said was a heavy artillery barrage.

 

Poroshenko would be unlikely to agree to Russia’s frequent call for federalization — devolving wide powers to the regions from the central government — but could agree to allow them to have some expanded powers. He also has spoken against holding a referendum on Ukraine’s joining NATO; Russia’s desire to keep Ukraine out of the military alliance is seen as one of Moscow’s key concerns.

 

Moscow also said it seeks a negotiated settlement and not a military victory. Poroshenko would be unlikely to agree to Russia’s frequent call for Ukraine to federalize — devolving wide powers to the regions from the central government in Kiev — but could agree to give the regions some expanded powers. Poroshenko also has spoken against holding a referendum on Ukraine’s joining NATO.

 

Meanwhile, Washington claims Russian-directed counteroffensive may be underway and Russia is trying from its side to open a new front. Russia reportedly has tens of thousands of troops positioned in areas near the Ukrainian border, leading to persistent concerns that Moscow could be preparing an invasion. Ukrainian officials said artillery in the region was fired from the Russian side of the border. Later in the day, reporters saw Ukrainian troops and equipment moving on the road west of Novoazovsk, and heard the rumbling of what sounded like artillery fire in the distance.

As Ukraine’s political transition continues, Poroshenko announced long-awaited early parliamentary elections for October 26. The Kremlin also ratcheted up the pressure by announcing plans to send another aid convoy into eastern Ukraine “this week”.

 

 

Of course, there wasn’t any peace talk between Putin and Poroshenko and hence real peace in Ukraine is far away. .

 

 

Global Warming and Scientific Warning

Global Warming and Scientific Warning

 

Global Warming and Scientific Warning

-DR. ABDUL RUFF COALCHAL

____________

 

If the world powers are bent upon destroying the world and all living beings along with it, it seems, nothing can stop them. They can achieve the devastating objective but would not be existing to recount the tragedies impact on them.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) synthesis report on the global scientific community’s assessment of human-caused global warming offers the starkest and most strongly-worded warning yet of the dangers ahead for the earth and humanity.

Aspects of future climate shifts are probably already irreversible but, however, Climate change will be significantly more dangerous, deadly, and expensive if nothing is done to correct humanity’s course

Climate change is the most important environmental threat at par with nuclear weapons. Climate change is real and around us. The IPCC assessment seeks to tie together previous reports the panel has released over the last year and offers a stark assessment of the perilous future the planet and humanity face due to global warming and climate change.

The world’s leading scientists have reached a clear and overwhelming consensus that the failure to adequately acknowledge and act on previous warnings has put the planet on a path where “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” of human-caused climate change will surely be felt in the decades to come. Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann wrote: “The report tells us once again what we know with a greater degree of certainty: that climate change is real, it is caused by us, and it is already causing substantial damage to us and our environment. If there is one take home point of this report it is this: We have to act now.”

Using blunter, more forceful language than the reports that underpin it, the new draft highlights the urgency of the risks that are likely to be intensified by continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

It cited rising political efforts around the world on climate change, including efforts to limit emissions as well as to adapt to changes that have become inevitable. But the report found that these efforts were being overwhelmed by construction of facilities like new coal-burning power plants that will lock in high emissions for decades.

From 1970 to 2000, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at 1.3 percent a year. But from 2000 to 2010, that rate jumped to 2.2 percent a year, the report found, and the pace seems to be accelerating further in this decade.

 

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems The IPCC draft paints a harsh warning of what’s causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it.

The IPCC report  is designed to integrate the findings of the three working group contributions to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and two special reports” and provide policymakers with a scientific foundation to tackle the challenge of climate change. Taken together, the IPCC reports and their recommendations are designed to help governments and other stakeholders work together at various levels, including a new international agreement to limit climate change.

It mentions extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts. It even raises, as an earlier report did, the idea that climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food. And ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will harm marine life, it says.

Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century

 

The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases. The draft includes not new information per se, but employs stronger language and contains a more urgent warning than the previous reports from the IPCC which it attempts to synthesize and summarize.

The report found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level. That means if society wants to limit the risks to future generations, it must find the discipline to leave a vast majority of these valuable fuels in the ground

The final report, rather final warning will be issued after governments and scientists go over the draft line by line in an October conference in Copenhagen late October. In September, the United Nations is hosting its next international climate summit in New York City and climate campaigners are hoping to capitalize on the meeting by planning what they are calling the “People’s Climate March” during the same week as a way to apply pressure on world governments to finally act on the issue.

Politicians have come together too many times with nothing more than rhetoric and empty promises in tow. Next month, thousands of true leaders will be marching on the streets of New York demanding real action. The question is, will our elected leaders follow.

The IPCC draft report should serve to galvanize and add weight to the climate justice movement, which has consistently demanded that world leaders respond to the crisis with action—not words.

Save climate!

Save world!

Save humanity!

cientific Warning

Another Fragile Truce- What is next for Palestinians?

Another Fragile Truce- What is next for Palestinians?
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
_____________

Upon successful aggression of Gaza strip of Palestine territories, fascist terrocracy and US ally Israel has also achieved yet another fragile truce with the Gaza Palestinians, essentially giving some gap for another aggression. News outlets streamed images of people in Gaza celebrating in the streets for their disastrous “victory”.

The Gaza strip has been witness to three wars in the past decade and each time Israel undertook mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza strip along with heavy destructions. And each time, Jewish war strategists wooed the Hamas rulers to declare a victory which they did foolishly because that helps them keep the terrorized Palestinians under their control.

Yes, Israel and Palestinian officials announced on August 26 that they have reached a long term ceasefire agreement drawing an end to fifty days of death and destruction in the Gaza strip.
After Hamas officials broke the news, Israeli officials are now confirming the truce which reportedly began at night. As part of the agreement, Israel has reportedly agreed to “ease” their blockade on the Strip to allow for rebuilding materials to enter the war torn territory.

The alleged truce comes hours after Israeli shelling toppled two high-rise buildings, among other huge devastation, in Gaza City.

The latest update by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestine is that the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 2,076, with an estimated 70 percent believed to be civilians, including 491 children and 253 women.

Hamas officials have announced the acceptance of a long term ceasefire deal with Israel; it was widely reported after seven weeks of intense bombing by Israeli forces. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza that an agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation.

And Israel has used its anti-Palestine ally Egyptian military regime to achieve the fragile truce, calling it a “long truce” to fool the world, Tel Aviv does not call it a permanent truce.

The pro-US- Israeli Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the disaster in Gaza is beyond imagination reinforced the complete destruction of Gaza after seven weeks of intense shelling and the pressing need for “materials” to help rebuild the schools, hospitals and places of worship so that Palestinians “will be able to live” in the days following the ceasefire.

Israel also announced that discussions regarding more long term issues—such as whether Palestinians in Gaza will be permitted to build a seaport or airport, and Israel’s demands for Hamas to be “demilitarized”—will begin in a month.

A Palestinian senior official claimed that the peace talk have led to a permanent ceasefire, a deal to “end” the blockade and a guarantee that Gaza’s demands and needs would be met.

Characteristically, Israeli officials have yet to comment on the reported agreement. They play the same old mischief by using Egypt and Abbas to make statements which the Israelis can later deny.. .

Even as Hamas celebrated their bogus victory, Abbas warned the people of Palestine that Israeli peace cannot be taken for granted because they always broke the truce unilaterally. “Are we expecting another war after one year or two? To what extent will this issue go on without being solved?”- asked a confused Abbas.

Obviously, fate of Palestinians, including their children, rest with Israeli military which continues to get heaps of US terror goods.

Israeli knows it. Americans also know it. However, the Hamas leaders refuse to accept this. And there lies the cruel fate of Palestine children.

__________
Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal, Educationist; Prolific writer; Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs; Independent Analyst-Commentator-Columnist;Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine,Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) researcher, university Teacher; website: abdulruff. wordpress.com/ abdulruff_jnu@ yahoo.com/abdulruff@gmail.com.
______________________

South Indian state of Kerala to ban alcohol

South Indian state of Kerala to ban alcohol
-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL
___________________________

Liquor state?

Needless to say that smoking and drinking liquor are harmful to
humans. Drinking alcohol can make human minds petrified and go rust.
However, more and more people are getting addicted to these
anti-societal habits. This is a major problem India is facing today.
People in the southern state of Kerala are the heaviest drinkers in
India, and sales of alcohol are rising fast. Keralites start smoking
and drinking local and foreign liquors right from their school days as
part of their regular life. Foreign liquor adds to their family
status.
While nukes are the status symbol of regimes, liquor has become the
status symbol of common people as well. Malayalees especially who
thrive on gulf money are the best examples.
Kerala is India’s tippler country. It has the highest per capita
consumption – over eight litres per person a year – in the nation,
overtaking traditionally hard-drinking states like Punjab and Haryana.
Also, in a strange twist of taste, rum and brandy are the preferred
drink in Kerala in a country where whisky outsells every other liquor.
Alcohol helps in giving Kerala’s economy a good high – shockingly,
about 40% of revenues for its annual budget come from booze.
Similarly, revenues from alcohol to the state’s exchequer have
registered a whopping 100% rise over the past four years. The monopoly
is so professionally run that consumers can even send text messages
from their phones to a helpline number to record their grievances.
Muslims join others in contributing to the state revenues  by buying
liquor.
A state-run monopoly, curiously-named Kerala State Beverages
Corporation (KSBC), sells alcohol. It runs 337 liquor shops, open
seven days a week. Each shop caters on average to an astonishing
80,000 clients. This fiscal year thealso  KSBC is expected to sell
$1bn (£0.6bn) of alcohol in a state of 30 million people, up from $12m
when it took over the retail business in 1984. Today, it is a pathetic
scene in many places in the towns and capital Thiruvananthapuram as
people stand in long queues to buy foreign liquor. The queues are very
long if there is holiday the next day.  People who throng the liquor
outlets right form early morning till night when the shops are closed
are young, middle-aged and old. In fact, it is difficult to use local
transport in late evening till night because of menace from liquor
commuters as commuters. Hence hardly women travel in local buses after
say 7 pm night.
India’s highly literate and biggest consumer of alcohol, Kerala, will
be liquor-free in 10 years, after the ruling United Democratic Front
coalition led by Congress party called for a total prohibition in the
state, phased over 10 percent reduction each year.

Liquor Ban

It is certain that alcohol still continues as a social danger. This is
having an adverse effect.
Of late, there has been  strong  urge from Kerala Congress party chief
Sudheeran to  impose total ban on liquor in Kerala where people simply
cannot live without taking to bottle culture as part of their daily
life. His move is obviously opposed by liquor lobbies even from his
own Congress party. Under the strong liquor lobby influence, Chief
Minister Oommen Chandy began supporting the lobbies that created a
conflict within Congress-led ruling UDF government but eventually
Susheeran won the battle for the people who want to make the state
liquor free. .
In a swift action, a day after Congress-led ruling UDF led by Oommen
Chandy on 22 August recommended shutting down over 700 liquor bars
attached to hotels below the five-star categories, the Kerala
Government on Friday approved the new liquor policy and also imposed a
five per cent cess on liquor. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the
Cabinet would formally ratify the decision in its next meeting. The
five per cent cess on liquor sold through Beverages Corporation
outlets would be used to set up a Fund for rehabilitation of employees
who lose jobs due to closing down of the bars and for creating
awareness against liquor among the people, Chandy said.
Chandy said the Congress-led government planned to make Kerala “liquor
free” with a series of proposed measures in the coming months. A total
of 418 bars already remained closed, and the other 312 bars also would
be closed this financial year, he said. Stating that the new liquor
policy was a final phase to achieve UDF’s goal of taking the state to
total prohibition in ten years, he said government had received legal
advice that the now functioning 312 bars also could be closed during
the financial year itself after completing certain financial
formalities on license fees. 10% of the 338 liquor shops owned by a
state-run monopoly will be shut every year.
The congress led UDF government has also decided to phase out the
Beverages Corporation (Bevco), which sells liquor in retail stores.
The 334 Bevco outlets will be wound up with the closing of 10 percent
every year, and they will not be allowed to sell liquor on Sundays and
on the 1st of every month.

The loss to the society due to liquor consumption was manifold more
than the revenue earned from the liquor sale. State Finance Minister
and leader of KC-M, the third largest partner in the UDF, K M Mani put
the total revenue loss on various counts due to the new liquor
restrictions at Rs.1,813 crores. Mani said even though the new policy
resulted in revenue loss to state exchequer, the decision was taken
unanimously considering the ‘well-being’ of the society. In coming
years, the revenue loss would be much more than this. The government
was expected to earn Rs.250 crore on the five per cent cess on liquor
for setting up the Fund for rehabilitation of workers in bars and
anti-liquor campaign. To close down the now functioning 312 bars, an
amount of Rs.39 crore was required to repay their license fees, he
said.
That the Kerala government has outlined plans to ban the sale and
consumption of alcohol to tackle the state’s drink problem is a bold
step. The move to close down bars came as a surprise to the people as
there were different opinions among the ruling party leaders on liquor
ban.

Causes

Since Kerala has achieved the reputation as the highest consumer of
alcohol with a per capita consumption of 8.3 litre, much higher than
the national average of 5.7 litre, Chandy said three reasons had been
cited as the major hitches for the successful implementation of the
total liquor ban. ‘Revenue to the government from the sale of liquor,
effect on tourism industry and flourishing of illicit liquor trade”,
he said but added ‘I am not agreeing with the first two points’.
Rising numbers of divorces in Kerala are linked to alcohol abuse. And
the majority of road deaths in the state – nearly 4,000 during
2008-2009 – are due to drink driving, he says. Hospitals and rehab
centres are packed with patients suffering from alcohol-related
diseases.
Drinking liquor is almost a social rite of passage, taken very
seriously in Kerala.
But he elaborates other, perhaps more important, reasons – high
unemployment, easy access to alcohol and the fact that drinking has
become a “part of upwardly mobile living”.
Most activists believe that “prohibition” is not the solution – it
just drives buyers and sellers underground.
The state government warned that alcohol abuse was becoming a danger
to society as it unveiled a plan to ban its sale and consumption
within 10 years. It said no new licenses to sell alcohol would be
granted, while many of the state’s 720 bars and restaurants would not
have their licenses renewed.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Kerala should get ready to
imbibe the essence of a total liquor ban in the state.” From next year
only five-star hotels will be granted licenses.

Doctors and activists have highlighted rising alcohol abuse, blaming
it for many road accidents and even marital breakdown. They say
hospitals and rehabilitation centres are packed with patients
suffering from alcohol-related diseases.

Liquor lobbies and businesses are worried that the proposed ban may
hit tourism in the state. Kerala is the state which attracts the
highest number of tourists in India. One estimate accounts for more
than 20-30% of revenues in the state’s annual budget.

Policy

The liquor ban decision will come into effect from 1 April 2015. Only
the 23 five-star hotels in the state will be granted bar licenses,
while those of the existing 318 bars in the state will not be renewed
from next year.

Chandy said new liquor policy was a unanimous decision of the UDF and
has the support of all sections in the society. The new liquor policy
makes it clear that only five-star hotels will have bars to sell
Indian Made Foreign Liquor. Only luxury hotels will be allowed to
serve alcohol from next year. The decision, taken by the UDF
leadership meeting Presided by Chandy, ended a long-drawn feud in the
state unit of the Congress and the coalition as a whole over the
question of renewing licenses of 418 bars which were found to be
lacking in quality.

On UDF recommendation of phasing out Beverages Corporation outlets,
Chandy said ten per cent outlets would be closed down every year to
wipe out them in 10 years and this would come to around 39 shops per
year. A portion of the revenue of Beverages Corporation, the sole
agency for the sale of Indian Made Foreign liquor, would be used for
the formation of Kerala Alcohol Education, Research, Rehabilitation
and Compensation Fund (KAERCF).
The Kerala government’s recommendation on complete liquor prohibition
will be ratified by the state cabinet and will then be conveyed to the
Kerala High Court as a policy decision. Interestingly, the
Congress-led government’s vision of an alcohol-free state is on the
lines of the dry state of Gujarat, which was headed by BJP’s Narendra
Modi until he took over as Prime Minister.

Thus, the government’s first step in its prohibition drive is to not
allow the licenses of 418 bars, shut since April this year for lack of
upgradation, to be renewed.

Arranging awareness campaigns against the use of liquor, to collect
data regarding this, giving compensation to those whose lives are
shattered due to excessive consumption of alcohol were the aims.

Accolades and Concerns

The New UDF liquor policy received accolade from different sections in
the society. A group of housewives met Chief Minister at his official
residence to express their solidarity with the new policy.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president VM Sudheeran, who
pushed for the prohibition, seems to have been influenced by the
Indian Union Muslim League, a major party in the coalition, and the
government may have been under pressure by the Catholic Church. As per
reports, Cardinal Baselios Mor Cleemis, the Archbishop of the
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and President of the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of India, has warned the government that it would lose
support if the licences of closed bars were renewed.
Sudheeran, who had stood firmly against renewing licenses to 418 bars,
gave full support to the government in its new policy. After the ban
on arrack by the then A K Antony Ministry two decades ago, this move
has been seen as of a major initiative to make Kerala ‘a total liquor
free state.
Not only Kerala has India’s highest annual per-capita alcohol
consumption at 8.3 litres, but it is also one of the country’s biggest
tourist draws thanks to its palm-fringed white sandy beaches and
tranquil rivers lined with paddy fields. Tourism officials said they
had not been consulted and warned that exempting five-star hotels
would not be enough to save the industry, with many tourists staying
in small guesthouses. “By this, we are denying the facility of having
beer and wine to tourists in hotels with four-star and below
category,” a Confederation of Tourism Industry Kerala official said.
“This will affect domestic and international tourist arrivals and send
a wrong message about the destination.”

Despite a growing number of people who demand a ban on the sale and
consumption of alcohol, there is an equally spirited group of
hard-core drinkers who lobby for cheaper and more widely distributed
liquor. One of them is well-known actor NL Balakrishnan, a veteran of
more than 200 films, who launched a lobby group called Forum for
Better Spirit in 1983.
The forum’s manifesto asks the government to provide liquor through
the state-subsided public distribution system, boost toddy production,
slash prices for elderly drinkers and supply free alcohol to drinkers
over 90. The jolly and convivial Balakrishnan, 67, says his father
“initiated” him into drinking when he was four. When his father died
at the ripe age of 98 after a “lifetime of heavy drinking”, he wet his
lips with liquor and not holy water, as is the Hindu custom.
Of course such rhetoric seeking liquor for the public can be harmful
and injurious to societal health.
As a result of this decision, some say that illicit liquor will
increase in the state and there may also be a hooch tragedy because of
this. If they won’t get it in Kerala, they will travel to the
neighboring Tamil Nadu where the stuff is cheaper and Karnataka and
get liquor. Malayalees, who like Kannadigas do not wish to tour
outside will be seen on the move in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka more
frequently than now, crowing the liquor shops. This would affect the
liquor supply outlets there .

Kerala’s ban on liquor all set to push up Karnataka’s revenues.
Kerala’s ‘alcohol-free in 10 years’ policy may prove to be a boon
especially for Karnataka. Places like Talapady of Mangalore, Sullia,
Puttur and a few areas of Madikeri are expecting a huge movement of
weekend crowd to the state. Deputy Commissioner (Excise) for Mangalore
and Udupi districts, George Pinto, said, “Liquor smuggling into Kerala
is surely going to increase if the ban is imposed. Smugglers are going
to mint money. We can expect businessmen to open lodges and
restaurants in the bordering areas. The only criterion is that there
should be no objection with regard to the location as well as in the
municipality areas.” The average hard liquor consumption in Dakshina
Kannada district is about 2.20 lakh boxes per month and each box
contains about nine litres. Belthangady Congress MLA, Vasanth Bangera,
also the former president of Dakshina Kannada Wine Merchants
Association, said, “If Kerala closes down all the bars in the state,
we can expect the business in the bordering areas to go up by at least
25-30 per cent.” Madikeri is also expected to see an increase in the
weekend crowd. A former president of the association said there could
be a possibility that those units in the city will expand or open more
outlets in the border areas. Andhra Pradesh had already experimented
with the ban and failed.

With the Karnataka state government increasing its duty on liquor in
the recent years, liquor here is expensive when compared with Kerala.
Areas bordering Kerala are likely to witness an increase in the demand
for liquor by at least 25 per cent.

There is a concern that Govt. is making way for more scams, which
in-turn benefit the govt. It’s not only the smugglers who make money,
even the police are going to make money.  Liquor ban could end up like
other state discipline measures. When they catch any smugglers they
are going to take a bribe from them and then let them go and in return
they help them to continue smuggling and making their commission.

Some pro-liquor people say that the solution possibly lies in
introducing drinks with mild alcohol content. And since drinking is
also a cultural problem, people need to be made aware of the havoc
that alcohol can wreak on their lives. Until then alcohol should
continue to dominate the lives of many of Kerala’s people – and boost
its exchequer’s finances.
House wives are too happy about the state decision to ban liquor.
People support this decision and are eager to see that they completely
ban liquor; they say it is injurious to health then why do they sell
it.
Instead of banning why not close down the entire liquor production
this would solve all purposes that are thought over by the govt. for
banning liquor.
Liquor lobbies think the ban would be rolled back by Oommen Chandy
sooner or later. There is a strong simmering resentment in ruling
coalition parties and it seems Sudheeran or former Kerala president of
Congress party and now the home minister Ramesh Chennithala could
replace Chandy. However there is no open demand for the same. There is
a demand for a constituent party KC that their leader Mani be made the
CM. Muslim League the second largest party after the Congress party
in UDF coalition has not openly sought  CM post for their candidate.
The liquor ban would go a long way in strengthening the health of
people and society, in making a shining India at large.
Meanwhile, the Modi government could consider passing a useful law to
ban liquor at national level.

_________________

*د. عبد راف *

(Humanity has a right to know the truth which does not require
endorsements) Unfortunately, today there is not even one Muslim nation
today practicing  truly Islamic faith and life.

Pakistan: Sharif’s resignation is not acceptable to Zardari

 

Pakistan: Sharif’s resignation is not acceptable to Zardari

-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL

_______________________

The illusory air of change is looming all over Pakistan but no one is sure about anything. Some might see an Arab spring in the ongoing agitations in Islamabad led by Imran Khan for a regime change which does not look possible now.

In fact when the Arab Spring unleashed in many Muslim nations, it did not enter Pakistan. Even when Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal upturned Indian politics by their anti-corruption movement leading to regime change in India, Pakistan remained untouched. Now people are on the streets agitating for a regime change.

Pakistan has been endowed with tremendous resources and capabilities but it continues to bleed and that too because of rampant corruption, manipulation and ignorance.   The most impacted victims to the disease of change are the people from the lower strata. Their sufferings are not going to be addressed or mitigated even if the present regime is replaced by a new because they all exist to promote the rich. The regime itself is keen to promote the US/NATO interests.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)  led by former cricketer Imran Khan is spearheading  agitations country wide in Pakistan  demanding a virtual regime change but the Muslim League  government led by Nawaz Sharif has rejected the demand as illegal. As the third round of talks between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ultimately ending in a stalemate onAugust 23, despite showing the most progress, supporters of PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) continued their sit-in at D-Chowk in front of Parliament House.

The PTI proposed that the prime minister resign for a period of 30 days during which a judicial commission works ‘independently’ to determine if the May 2013 elections were transparent. This demand though was rejected by the government, who said they had accepted almost all the other demands of the PTI. The party has announced it will recommence its sit-in on Sunday evening with screens and mini-protests in other cities as well.

Separately, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif¸ with a view to seeking a way out of the impasse has held talks with former president Asif Ali Zardari in Raiwind who has indirectly supported Sharif. .

The former president Asif Ali Zardari made a rare appearance before the media following his day-long trip to Lahore, where he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with other PML-N members as well as leaders of various other parties, including the PML-Q and JI.

Taking a page from PTI chief Imran Khan’s metaphors, Zardari said that there is “no third umpire,” adding that if there was one, the matter would have escalated. “We are all working together,” he said, while stressing on the need for dialogue. “Democracy means never shutting the door.”

Asif Ali Zardari was noticeably in a good mood while responding to questions posed by media persons, during which he said, “Conspiracies are part and parcel of politics.” Maintaining a diplomatic stance, Zardari said, “We welcome the PTI government, it is their first time on the national front.”He also said that the PPP acknowledges the PTI’s right to hold on to their position when he was asked about the party’s decision to resign from the National Assembly. “One democratic government should not challenge another democratic government, especially through street power,” the PPP chief said, adding, “Under no circumstances should democracy be challenged or derailed.”

Zardari also advised the government to deal with everything in a peaceful manner, and proudly said that the PPP had “completed five years making peace.” “I am for Pakistan, I am not for anybody else. I have given this Parliament power,” he said. The former president also added, “At this moment, we need to focus on standing with our armed forces who are engaged in an “operation.”, alongside the occupations forces of USA.

The question is not  whether or not Sharif would step down, at least temporarily but if all this will change the future of Pakistan and bring solace to the  poor Pakistani masses.

 

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