Monday, June 25, 2018

Meet Sadia Khan: The Pakistani Woman 'With a Price on Her Head' IBTimesUK

As the recent abduction of nearly 300 Nigerian girls by terror group Boko Haram sheds light on the dramatic situation of women's rights in many countries, IBTimesUK has decided to tell the story of Sadia Khan, a Pakistani refugee in Sri Lanka, who fears she might be killed by Pakistani authorities.

"People think that in Pakistan crimes are committed only by the Taliban," the young activist told IBTimesUK.

Khan, 29, comes from a Christian Pashtun family in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

She has always been interested in human rights and, at a very early age, she started writing about abuses occurring in her country - carried out by fundamentalists and members of the government - with the hope that her words could pave the way to social justice.


Her blog, however, was soon noticed by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan), who she claims tried to quell her voice.
"I was writing a book about the Pakistani ISI.
"There was an army operation going on in the country: The army would kill those who were against Taliban.
"Somebody started following me, as soon as they knew I was writing the book."

Fearing for her life due to her investigative work, Khan, along with her 10-year-old sister Amala and their mother, say they fled to Sri Lanka in January 2012.

Khan kept publishing blog posts under the fake name of Khizra Khan Yousafzai.

The three women applied with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR to be recognised as asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, but their request was rejected.

Khan was accused of being a spy for India by the Sri Lankan government, who confiscated the three women's documents and took them to a detention camp, where they stayed for one month.

During the detention, Khan suffered a minor heart attack.

The three women fled the detention centre on 8 April 2013.

Khan started contacting journalists, asking them to write about her situation.

The Colombo Gazzette and the Cristian Post were the only publications that reported her story.

The Sri Lankan UNHCR eventually approved Khan and her family's asylum requests in November 2013, thanks to newly arrived senior RSD officer (Refugee Status Determination) Ilija Todorovic. Later, another "very helpful" resettlement officer Joseph Carroll joined UNHCR Colombo.

"If those two guys were not here, I would be dead," Khan said. "They are the decision makers, but none from the other staff helped me. UNHCR local staff is working for their own government.

"For one long year they refused to talk to me. They literally ruined my life

Khan says the Sri Lankan government is still in possession of the three women's passports, stopping them from leaving the country.

"Sri lanka is playing games, they are not holding any meeting with them [Todorovic and Carroll], they are holding our passports because they want to take me to the detention centre," Khan said.

Carroll confirmed to IBTimesUK that Khan's family has been granted refugee status in Sri Lanka.

Living as refugees
"We now live separate from our mother," Khan said.

The two sisters keep moving from house to house as soon as the landlords ask for their documents.

"We come up with an excuse that we are going to my aunt, for example, and we leave.

"We live in fear. When we go out, I wear a burqa with a fully covered face and my sister is disguised as a boy."

The two sisters have written about their precarious situation on blogs and social media. They also have a Google+ page and a YouTube channel and a petition on change.org

In one video posted on YouTube, Khan is shown cutting herself in protest at her situation. Although her face is visible, she does not fear she will be recognised.

"Even at home I show very little part of my face, there is no way someone can recognise me from the video."


After more than two years living in hiding, and constantly fearing for her life, Khan's anger towards the Sri Lankan government is growing. But she is very determined to have her rights recognised.


"Please write my story," she said. "This will bring shame to the Sri Lanka government and will help me to leave this country, that's all I want."

Life of a refugee woman in Canada who has a price on her head


(I have changed the names of the people. Names of places remain the same)

It was a cold day of March 2015 when 2 women and a child, my mother myself and my 13 year old sister landed in Canada.
  We have been through countless troubles for the last many years. That included being physically assaulted, being stripped off our passports living in detention and hiding.
 I dreamed of a normal life.

We started living in a rented apartment in Surrey BC.  Our building Manager Gracy was a nice lady. She was helpful and very cooperative.
I took admission in a Private college. My teachers were awesome. College staff was very kind and caring.
I remained safe in Canada for one long year.
I was in touch with an Afghan man Meer on facebook. He was now in Switzerland. I knew him from Srilankan detention camp.  He started begging me for my residential address. I was very careful but fell into his trap. He told me that he was going through huge problems in Switzerland and wanted to send me some documents to take my advice. I gave him my address. He never send me any documents.
Everything else changed.
I started being followed. I went through huge troubles in my college as well as In my residential building and everywhere else.

One of my teacher (Hermina) started bullying me in the class. The extreme bullying continued on daily basis.
Once she asked me to stay back in the class room.  She waited till everyone else left.
I was expecting some big thing. She came near and started threatening meI She talked about some  minor class matter which didn’t need any secrecy at all. I was not comfortable.  I rushed outside and said good night to her.
It was 10 PM. On my way to the bus stop I was followed by a man who followed me to the bus stop. He got into my bus and got off from the bus on my stop.
Next day I wrote a detailed complaint letter to Eliza. She was in charge of all student affairs. I informed   her how Hermina held me till late night. I also wrote in detail how she was bullying me in the class.
She wrote back to me advising that I should confront her.  I never did that.
Our new class “Advance Psychology” was assigned to one of my favourite (highly qualified) teacher Lina.  I was looking forward to it. It did not happen. Lena was removed from the class few days before it started. It was assigned to Sheri.  Lina didn’t know why she was removed from the class.
Sheri had no history of teaching ever at all. She neither had the basic knowledge nor any back ground of the subject. 
 A new student,  Shaaki who was previously expelled from the college  joined our class. In her intro she told the class that she had been in sex trade and left because her body could not take it anymore. When she was asked why she chose that profession? Her answer surprised all of us. “Obviously For money” she replied.
During class group participation Momi an Urdu speaking class fellow hit me with his shoe on my mouth. I crumpled with pain he smirked and didn’t say sorry. Few days later I found paper tissues in my coffee bottle. My coffee smelled very bad. Someone had put lots of dirty tissues in my coffee. I went to Eliza and complained.
She said “go stand in front of the class make a presentation and tell them what they have done to you”

So far I got A grades in the class.  To my utter surprise Sheri failed me in a presentation. When I questioned her about the unfair marking she was very confused and told me that she was not authorized to pass me unless Eliza allowed her.
 We (myself and Shaaki) were scheduled for an off hours retake presentation. Shaaki behaved in a very strange way. She was overjoyed about her failure. She went dancing in the class saying “I am fail I am fail!”
Next day during the class hours  shaaki took her bag and left the class. Sheri had a good look at me and followed her. I was not comfortable. I came out from the class. I heard my name. They were talking in a secretive way. When I asked them what they were saying about me Shaaki started abusing me and left for home. Sheri said she was right I deserved that.
  I complained to Eliza about their behaviour, about unfair marking and Sheri s insistence that I should come for a retake in off hours with no students in the college.
Eliza said I must do as told.

The following day I was very sick with sharp pain in my heart. I was in the hospital. I wrote an email to Eliza and informed her that I was in ER and had heart trouble.
She responded immediately “Does that mean you are not coming for your presentation tomorrow?”She wrote
When I was discharged from the hospital I wrote to my college again - Not to Eliza –
I contacted the Manager of the college whose office was somewhere else. She arranged a meeting with me.  I told her all the details.  It was a lot to tell her. It was a story of months of sufferings. Everything is not mentioned here. She agreed with me that it was very unusual and no such things have ever happened in the history of college.
 She offered me compensations. I did not know what to ask for!  I left the college, left my studies.  
I tried to forget what happened in the college but unfortunately it didn’t happen.
My building manager Gracy turned over sweet. She started visiting our apartment very often. Once she sent the building plumber to fix something in the bath room which was not needed; we knew the plumber very well. He was a well mannered gentleman. This time he was different. He was working in the washroom and we kept the main door opened. It’s a rule. He closed the main door many times and closed the open curtains of the living area.. It was very unusual. I started making a video of of my family just in case he lies about something. He was abusive when he left.
 I decided to leave BC.
I informed Gracy about our intention to leave. She started a big quarrel. She said we were not allowed to leave.
It was strange. We had over lived our contract paid all our bills and rent. There was absolutely no point in stopping us.
We informed her in writing. She forced my mother to write that we were leaving 30 days later then our planned departure date. She also insisted that we should provide her with our future address or else we cant leave.
 Her supervisor once a gentle man stood by her. We started preparing to leave. She kept visiting our
House in Odd hours and harassed us.
In the past one year she was highly appreciative of our good conduct and maintenance of the house. Now she was simply being extremely unreasonable. On the 22nd of April we were to fly to Toronto. She was not allowing us to leave. She visited our house around 11 pm. She warned us that we should not run from the house at night.
I was alarmed she might lie about something. I made a detailed video of the house. Next morning. On the day of our departure I left the house earlier to nearby recreation center to avoid any troubles with her. My mother went to her office and asked for the clearance letter. Its a requirement in BC.
 She refused once again. My mother said,
“We must go. Authorities have informed us that someone here has been heavily bribed by our enemies to put us in trouble”. --It worked--
Her pen dropped. She lost her coherence.   She went in a state of shock and murmured no one came here.
 My mother took her to check the house. She checked the house thoroughly gave clearance letter and thanked my mom.
Our flight was a three stop transit flight and it gave me peace of mind that no one can follow us after changing 3 flights.
 In Toronto we stayed in a couple of hotels. After few days Gracy started harassing us again she wrote “You have destroyed the apartment.  Come back and face me in the court.  I have collected lots of witnesses against you”
Thank God I had made the video of the apartment before leaving the house.
 Finally we found a one bedroom subleased apartment. We had some savings in the bank. We started looking for a small house of our own.
I started calling the Realtors to find the house.
The Realtors in Toronto informed me that it was impossible for me to buy a house with such little money and being unemployed.
 I got in touch with Viky by phone A Realtor from Arora. He welcomed my call. He reassured me that he will help me to buy a house in greator Toronto. He wanted to meet me. He repeatedly requested to know my address. I refused to give him my address.
I started receiving loads of wrong calls. Everyone tried to know my address using different tactics. Once I a caller who knew my name told me that I had won a huge prize. He wanted to bring the prize to my house and needed my address. I said no to him.
 Finally I fell in to the trap of Vicky.
Vicky said he had a huge collection of bank sale houses in Toronto. They were available on throw away prices.  My mouth watered. I gave him my address. He did not send me the details of throwaway houses instead I was once again being followed.
 Some Pakistani looking men started appearing in the apartment opposite to our balcony. It was far away but it was the only building which had a clear view of our living area. They took our photographs.  They also kept an all time watch on us. Once we turned off our lights in the late evening to see their reaction. We had never left the house in the late evening and our apt lights were always on. They were going up and down. They were bending all the way down from their high rise building to have a look in our apartment. We turned on the lights and they disappeared.
I was continuously being followed.
We left Toronto and came to Ottawa.  
We started living in Adi s short term apartments. He was very nice his staff was very respectful.
 Few days later Ady sent some men to work in our apartment. They were installing some wires. I didn’t like the idea of huge work going on in our rented apartment. I was in my room lying in my bed. One of a very close staff of Ady named Yaseen entered my room and kissed me on my lips. That time office was closed. Next day I went to complaint. They didn’t allow me in the office. Ladies shouted at me and turned me back.
We were disappointed. There were other signs that our enemy knew our where abouts.
We thought of another self defence tactic and decided to change our names.
  We had to fly back to British Colombia to change our names.
We came to Victoria British Columbia. During the name change process, we stayed in a guest house. The building Manager started acting in a weird way. I was to receive our new names approval letter by mail. Despite my continuous requests she was not giving me the mail box key of my rented apartment. I got very suspicious. I spoke to her strictly demanding the key so that I can take out my letters. Letters should have been there for quite some times.
Around noon time I saw her quietly opening the main door. She had letters in her hand. She opened my mailbox. I came running and took one letter from her. She gave me the key and left.
Letters were opened. I went and a filed a case with police.  
I called service Canada and informed them what had happened. They quickly agreed to accept another set of names for a legal name change.
Our names were changed legally. We Left Victoria BC.
Now I was Sofiya.
We went to Nanaimo and then to Duncan BC
Duncan is a small town. We hoped once again that our enemies have lost us.
  One day I was standing on a bus stop, a Pakistani man came and stood next to me . He said “Hi Christian lady how are you?” I was shocked. Then he started talking in urdu. He told me that he was also writing a book on terrorism. When I asked him what he meant by also? He laughed and said “Oh I thought you did the same”
We left Duncan. The motel owner an honest senior man didn’t trouble us at all.
WE went to Montreal but soon returned to Ottawa. We had lots of problem in communication. Very few people spoke English in Montreal.
 We started living in a very small basement of a guest house in Ottawa.
 Owner named Hussain was very kind and understanding. I told him in advance that some very powerful enemies were following me who often bribed people to put us in trouble. He laughed and said “if they come to me I will share the money with you”
Afghan man Meer again started emailing me from Switzerland. He sent me the link of an Afghan organization in Ottawa. He begged me to go there. He said that his family was in the protection of Pakistan authorities in Islamabad. He asked me to go to a certain person and ask her about the safety of his family in Pakistan. This was rubbish but a good sign an indication that my enemies have lost my track.
 We lived there for 6 months. In November 2016 I found a job in a factory. I started working there. My supervisor and all the coworkers were nice and helpful. After 2 weeks a female supervisor who was on vacation came back. She didn’t like me. She kept shouting at me. It affected my performance. Next day my job was over.
In the last couple of months Hussein and the hotel staff was not very kind. Toby an employee of the hotel came to our basement. He went to the store room and secretly opened a window which was leading outside. I saw him and was very concerned.
Once I was traveling in a bus when someone sitting near me spoke in a very threatening language. He was talking about punishing a woman severely. He said to the other man that such women shoud be shot in head.  He was speaking in Urdu and looked at me while he spoke. They also followed me to the church.
We decided to leave Ottawa. During this time I searched desperately for a place of our own. I knew that if we were living in our own house there will be no hard time from the owners.
 Finally I found a small old house which was priced only 80,000 in Welland Ontario.
It was a bank sale. The price went little higher as there were more offers. I managed to buy the house. Thanks to my bank staff who tried day and night to get my mortgage approved.
 Hussain was very angry when I gave him the news that we were leaving. We had paid all our dues. We had no contract.   He had no excuse to force us to stay there. He with held our money and said he will give the refund when we will contact him again. We never contacted him back.
We came to Welland. Our house was not liveable. We lived in unhygienic conditions. I was very sick with sepsis. I was once again in ICU. Doctors tried hard to save my life.
I responded well to the medicines and was discharged from the hospital after a few days.
After gaining some strength I went to 2nd hand shops to get some necessary items.
As I got off from the hired vehicle and was offloading the house holds items. A good looking man approached me. He helped me with the heavy items.. He came inside our home. He introduced himself as Hash. He said he was the best friend of our neighbours and lived nearby. He told us that he was soon going to Pakistan to get married. I asked his wife’s name.
 He thought for a while and then said “SADIA”
 It was my previous name.
 When he left my mother expressed her doubts about him. I hoped similar name was a coincidence. After a few days he met my mother again. My mother asked his wife name again to reconfirm. This time he gave another name. My mother said last time you said your wife name was Sadia?
He replied Sadia is my first wife and she is the servant of my 2nd wife.

We decided to keep a distance from him. Once he met me outside my house. He offered me lots of help. He said he can provide me a driver and a car to go anywhere in Canada any time. I thanked him for his generous offer but didn’t accept it.
 After a few days he met me again and asked me to meet two Pakistani men Nasir and Ali. He said they were waiting to meet me.   I told him that I am being followed by Pakistani extremists and there is no way that I will meet any Pakistani stranger men due to my security issues. After a few days I found a hanging rope in the backyard of my house.

This is the rope I received upon arrival in my new house in Welland

  I called ADT for installation of security system. During my conversation the lady noticed that I was taking extra measures for the security. She questioned me and I showed her the rope. She advised me to inform the police. 
I reported that to the police. Next day I was interviewed by 2 officers from anti terrorism branch of the police. One of them looked and sounded Pakistani. I was scared and remained very confused. They were very friendly and understanding.

Once in the midnight my mother saw a man in our backyard. He stood close to our shed.

We were scared they will put some illegal things in the shed to put us in trouble or harm us in some other ways. We installed some cameras facing our house and backyard.

 Two children of our neighbors started coming to our backyard. They often played there for an hour or more.
 I was over whelmed with the feelings of love for them. They looked like 2 little angels. Once I went to my backyard and said hello to them. I saw their mother who was standing in her house watching them.
They never came again. Instead our neighbours started parking their vehicles in our drive way. It went on for quite some time.
After seeing the neighbour’s children playing in our backyard the desire to have my own children was sky rocketing. I contacted family care services. We (myself and my mother) applied to be a foster parents.
I bought huge selection of gifts for children in foster care for the Christmas Eve 2017. One of the workers named Andy came to visit our house. He was very kind. He was highly appreciative of our family. He gave me a list of things to be completed in the house. He was positive that we will get a child in our care if we fix the house. We promised to do whatever was required. I bought a small bed and lots of toys for the tiny new family member.
Andy asked us for our friend’s contacts in Canada. I chocked, we had no contacts to recommend us. We were running from one place to another and had absolutely failed to make friends. I contacted a cab driver for my reference but it was not enough. Andy talked to his supervisor. Next day he came to our home. All three of us sat around him full of hopes.  He broke the news that his supervisor didn’t approve us. We were not well integrated in the Canadian society. We had no friends No recommendations.
I was deeply hurt. I slept in the room which I had prepared for my child. I cried for a long time.  

This was not the first time when I felt emotionally broken.
During my Run-arounds in Canada, I found the love of my life. I wouldn’t change him with the world.
 He was too good to have a woman on the run.
I said goodbye to him and a part of me died.

In Welland Ontario I tried hard to get a job. I was hired In a Tim Horton. The owner who hired me was an awesome Lady. I started working there. The staff didn’t want me to be there. They made the job very difficult for me. They asked me to serve on the cash on the very first day. They told me to go about cleaning the place when there were no customers and run back to the cash when someone comes. There was no formal training - Not even for an hour- On the 4th day they said I was a slow learner and said good bye to me. After hearing the news I wanted to remain calm but lost my senses.
 I went around looking for the exit. I remained blank for a long time.
 We had completed 3 long years of hide and seek in Canada.  I applied for Canadian citizenship. It takes a year. I was constantly receiving wrong calls and messages on my cell phone.  
I bought a new blackberry with a new number. I decided to keep it only for CIC. I didn’t want my enemies to know my number. I was scared that they will call on my behalf and make things difficult for me.  I was tired of my sufferings and decided to request CIC for an urgent processing of my application for citizenship.  If I become a Canadian citizen I will have more rights. I will have more strength to face my unique situation.
Our passports were confiscated in 2013. Ever since, we had lived a life which was below the line of being stateless. 
I contacted one lawyer for a 2nd opinion and some guidance. She met me in McDonalds.  She agreed with me that I should apply for urgent processing of my citizenship application. She took photographs of my application. She told me that she will write an impressive cover letter.
Next day I received her cover letter. It was not very convincing and had mistakes. She also wrote to me that I should write urgent processing request underneath my application not on the top.

I sent my application with my own cover letter with the urgent processing request on the top of the envelope.
I received a call on my blackberry. The caller who knew my name told me that they wanted to clean my duct. When I asked how they got my number? The caller replied from 110.
Someone in the background spoke in Urdu. He was using abusive and threatening language. My secret blackberry number was not secret any more.

 Despite our troubles all of us are trying hard to adjust in our new beautiful country.
 Recently my sister was a huge success in her grade 10 exam. She is an honour roll student and stood 1st in her class. She is the first student ever in the School who topped in all her subjects. This came as a huge surprise to us as she has missed 2 years of Studies and has changed a number of Schools.
My colorless fearful Life goes on.
 I pray to God to bless my enemies, Show them the right path, give them strength and wisdom to feed hungry children and to do  better deeds than following me.
Amen








Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tribute to fallen soldiers of Canada







Brave Young men 

Broken bodies, living souls
Beloved children of proud mothers

Lie in graves, Walk in heaven

 So hard to carry their coffin
fallen but not forgotten
Beloved brave sons and brothers



Friends carry the dead and cry
Chariot comes and the triumphant souls fly

Standing by father's side
beloved children tell their story
They are back home with glory

Tonight there s a big party in Lord' s Mansion
Salutation, Preparation and the celebration


Silence on earth, Eleven eleven eleven
Skies hit the drums in heaven

Dressed in gold and silver
They smile at us an whisper
Carry the flag, protect the nation
We will meet again in Heaven








Monday, January 30, 2017

The pressure on Zia to hang Bhutto — view from the US

DAWN.COM — UPDATED Jan 26, 2017 10:06am
The following is an excerpt from a declassified document released online by America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as part of a searchable database on its website Reading Room. Declassified documents were previously only available to the public at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
document titled “National Intelligence Daily Cable”dated October 1978 contains an excerpt on the pressure on then president Zia-ul-Haq’s from the military establishment.
The cable, written “for the purpose of informing US officials only”, contains brief assessments on several countries including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Brazil and Pakistan.
It reads: "Ultimately, Zia's ability to stay in office depends on the continued support of the military. Zia's inability to solve Pakistan's economic and political problems, his assumption of the presidency, his efforts to downgrade potential rivals in the army, and the belief that martial law is damaging both the reputation and the military capability of the army have all contributed to growing unhappiness among senior officers."

"So far however, military officers do not appear to be planning to move against him in office till he decides Bhutto's fate"
Another assessment report compiled by US officials dated February 1979 also reflects on Zia’s decision regarding Bhutto’s trial.
It reads: "If Bhutto is spared, the army leadership will be reinforced in its unhappiness with Zia and more inclined to move against him"
The abovementioned document is part of a database of 930,000 previously-confidential files released by the CIA on January 17, 2017. The CIA had disseminated historical declassified documents to its CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) since 1999.
To view Dawn.com's compilation of extracts from the declassified CIA documents, click here.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1309819/the-pressure-on-zia-to-hang-bhutto-view-from-the-us

Wednesday, November 2, 2016



Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq
Seumas Milne

The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.

The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.

That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases. Less fortunate was a London cab driver Anis Sardar, who was given a life sentence a fortnight earlier for taking part in 2007 in resistance to the occupation of Iraq by US and British forces. Armed opposition to illegal invasion and occupation clearly doesn’t constitute terrorism or murder on most definitions, including the Geneva convention.

But terrorism is now squarely in the eye of the beholder. And nowhere is that more so than in the Middle East, where today’s terrorists are tomorrow’s fighters against tyranny – and allies are enemies – often at the bewildering whim of a western policymaker’s conference call.

For the past year, US, British and other western forces have been back in Iraq, supposedly in the cause of destroying the hyper-sectarian terror group Islamic State (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq). This was after Isis overran huge chunks of Iraqi and Syrian territory and proclaimed a self-styled Islamic caliphate.

The campaign isn’t going well. Last month, Isis rolled into the Iraqi city of Ramadi, while on the other side of the now nonexistent border its forces conquered the Syrian town of Palmyra. Al-Qaida’s official franchise, the Nusra Front, has also been making gains in Syria.

Some Iraqis complain that the US sat on its hands while all this was going on. The Americans insist they are trying to avoid civilian casualties, and claim significant successes. Privately, officials say they don’t want to be seen hammering Sunni strongholds in a sectarian war and risk upsetting their Sunni allies in the Gulf.

A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.

Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.

Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later. The report isn’t a policy document. It’s heavily redacted and there are ambiguities in the language. But the implications are clear enough. A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.

That doesn’t mean the US created Isis, of course, though some of its Gulf allies certainly played a role in it – as the US vice-president, Joe Biden, acknowledged last year. But there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control.

The calculus changed when Isis started beheading westerners and posting atrocities online, and the Gulf states are now backing other groups in the Syrian war, such as the Nusra Front. But this US and western habit of playing with jihadi groups, which then come back to bite them, goes back at least to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which fostered the original al-Qaida under CIA tutelage.

It was recalibrated during the occupation of Iraq, when US forces led by General Petraeus sponsored an El Salvador-style dirty war of sectarian death squads to weaken the Iraqi resistance. And it was reprised in 2011 in the Nato-orchestrated war in Libya, where Isis last week took control of Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte.

In reality, US and western policy in the conflagration that is now the Middle East is in the classic mould of imperial divide-and-rule. American forces bomb one set of rebels while backing another in Syria, and mount what are effectively joint military operations with Iran against Isis in Iraq while supporting Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen. However confused US policy may often be, a weak, partitioned Iraq and Syria fit such an approach perfectly.

What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Misleading low crime rate



Low crime rate doesn't always mean less crime!!
Some times it simply means crime committed but not detected.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My brief story



I wrote about Human rights issues in Pakistan. Pakistan ISI wanted to kill us.
We fled Pakistan to Sri Lanka. We were traced in Sri Lanka by Pak agencies.
On the request of Pakistan ISI we were kept in detention for a month in Sri Lanka. Our passports were confiscated.
We fled detention and started living in hiding. I used black berry phone to avoid being traced. I kept fighting for my right to live.
UNHCR local Sri Lankan staff secretly stood by their Govt.
Sri Lankan Govt refused to allow us to leave the country
We lived in disguise. I wore face cover and my 12 year old sister lived as a boy to avoid being recognized and caught.




                                              My sister in disguise in Sri Lanka
                                                                          
                                                 My sister in Keena Hotel Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka.

My sister now suffers from PTSD in Canada

We remained in hiding while Special Forces were looking for us.
My mother lived separately from us to be in touch with UNHCR.

I kept writing on my blog and social media sites to get help.
I cut myself and posted the video on YouTube to be helped.
UNHCR newly arrived RSD Officer Ilija Todorovic came to know about our buried case by my cutting video.

He immediately contacted me by email and started helping us.
Soon he was transferred, He handed over our case to Joseph Carroll. He was honest and brave and stood by us in very difficult times.
Before leaving Sri Lanka, Ilija Todorovic assigned our case on emergency. Emergency case requires immediate resettlement by the resettlement country.
Canadian immigration officer who was in Sri Lanka for a long time, was taking very long to help us.
I sent a Fax to Canadian Govt written in French. (By google translator) I asked for immediate protection as was required in our urgent case. I avoided writing in English because of the fear of Fax office.
On 8th January 2015, Pakistan friendly Sri Lankan Govt fell after an election.
 The new Sri Lankan Govt had nothing against us.
My honest resettlement officer informed me about the arrival of new immigration officer in Canadian embassy.
The new officer immediately started working on our case. He made sure that we leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible.

We landed in our new beautiful country on March 5, 2015.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Who killed Sabeen Mahmud


Sabeen Mahmud with her mother

 Sabeen Mahmud, a prominent Pakistani social and human rights activist, was shot dead, shortly after hosting an event on Balochistan’s "disappeared people", in Karachi. On friday  April 25, 2015.
Mahmud, 40, was the director of T2F [The Second Floor], a cafĂ© and arts space that has been a mainstay of Karachi’s activists since 2007. She was one of the country’s most outspoken human rights advocates. She was shot four times from close range.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's Chairperson Zohra Yusuf said,
"It appears that an attempt is being made to silence human rights activists  or those who take up the causes of the people,"
Sabeen had reportedly told her colleagues that she was being scrutinized by the Pakistani intelligence agency, The New York Times reported. 
"The Baluchistan problem is so huge, and Pakistani intelligence agencies are so paranoid, that they will not allow even discussion in a room full of people, let alone a tv chanel or a newspaper.
Sabeen was known for organizing the first hackathon in Pakistan, in 2013,
a space for dialogue on social issues. 

                                Rest in peace

She often discussed the military's human rights abuses in the region and questioned the disappearance of activists. 
Sabeen had famously told a magazine in an interview that "Fear is just a line in your head. You can choose what side of that line you want to be on".
She had been receiving indirect threats.

Now after her death it is likely that Pakistani authorities will soon arrest some so called terrorists who will confess killing her because of religious motives. The question is who is supporting terrorists in Pakistan? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lawyer Lakshan Dias informed UNHCR that Sadia Khan"s life is in danger


Pakistani Christian woman threatened by 2 states protected by none.

  
Sri Lankan most famous lawyer Lakshan Dias confirmed to UNHCR that Sadia Khan is wanted by 2 states.



I am Sadia Khan, a Pakistani Christian. I wrote about Pakistan intelligence agency (ISI) & became a target of 2 friendly States Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I fled Pakistan with my little sister & mother to save our life and got trapped by Sri Lankan intelligence (SIS)

Sri Lankan authorities took our passports & all we had. We were illegally detained and were about to be deported on the request of Pakistan ISI when we fled from the detention.

For the last 2 long years we live in hiding and bleed every day.  

Though its crystal clear that 2 States want to take our life none has protected us so far. While Sri Lankan authorities are looking for us we continue to live in fear.

Here are the main points. It is very clear that Pakistan is chasing me in Sri Lanka.

(1)  When I wrote by the name of Khizra I was followed on the internet which continues to date.

As soon as I got exposed, Sri Lankan authorities took us to the detention.



(2)  An officer who was the part of special CID team, shouted at me, "You give our information to India." Another said "why did you do that, you don't know your country."



(3) Officers in the detention camp told us clearly.

"Your case is between ISI and SIS. ISI Head contacted SIS Head to investigate about you. Special investigation team is investigating about you. You will be taken to the court and deported."



(4)    Two very well educated Pakistani men came to the detention camp at different occasions and collected information about us from the other detainees.



(5)  When I had a minor heart attack, a Doctor in the Hospital told me that Sri Lankan authorities have    informed the Hospital Management that I am a spy. 

(6)  I was guarded by armed police men and women in uniform in the hospital.



(7)   My mother was not allowed to visit me.



(8)  I called my church Brother from the hospital and asked him to help me. He said "police came to my house to investigate about you. They have declared you a criminal and its a crime to help criminals. You don’t even know what you are being charged with"



(9)  When I was discharged from the hospital, 2 police officers took me to a horrible looking jail, they talked about me and my name was enlisted there.



(10)  In the detention camp I discussed all this with a very kind immigration officer He said with lot of worry "I am also listening to this Spy Spy thing"



(11)  In October 2013 I called immigration Department of Sri Lanka. I spoke to the Deputy Controller General of immigration. I asked him if I get married to a foreigner and want to leave your country will you return my passport? 

He said no why did you come here?.



(12)  I spoke to another immigration officer Assistant Controller Bandara and asked for help. In the guise of a friend he told me, Special forces are looking for you, I will secretly return your passports. Run to India. Leave this place this call must be getting traced.



(13)  Easwaran a Christian Sri Lankan journalist promised me that he will take me out from this trouble. After speaking to  Sri  Lankan foreign Ministry sounded very worried and wrote to me that he cannot afford to support me anymore.



(14)  After the publication of my appeal http://colombogazette.com/2013/04/07/pakistani-blogger-appeals-to-mr/  to the president in the newspaper, I was positive and thought its over. I called the same officer who was very kind to me and asked him If I could move freely. He said 

"Hide hide Special Forces are looking for you." He also told me that according to the authorities I was recently spotted in Jafana. (I have never been there) He was also very worried that my call will be traced to him.



(15)  Mr Tatari an Afghan detainee told my mother on phone that immigration officers have asked him about me( Sadia) several times. They are getting more and more aggressive and want to know my location. They are accusing him that it was him who told me how to get out from the detention camp.



(16)  During my efforts to save my life I called Pakistan High Commission several times.   They tried to trace my calls and  tried  to convince me to pay a visit to them (to be arrested) Deputy High Commissioner Amna Baloch who actually wanted to help me told me that she had no access to my file in the embassy. It was horrible to know that I had a file in Pakistan high Commission Sri Lanka.



(17)  Recently I called Sri Lankan Immigration and once again requested them to return our passports so that we can move about freely before our resettlement to a safe country. They kept insisting that I should pay them a visit. 



UNHCR requested Sri Lankan Govt & Immigration department to return our passports. They did not comply & keep holding our passports.





Last but not the least,

During our detention Lakshan Dias the most famous Sri Lankan lawyer ,Chairman of SANRIM, who has currently challenged court decision about the deportation of Asylum seekers in Supreme court wrote to UNHCR confirming that he has 1st hand knowledge  that I am targeted by Pakistan friendly Sri Lankan SIS to fulfill the request of Pakistan ISI. I am putting the snapshot of his email below.
2 long years have passed. Though we have a huge threat to our life yet we  are not saved by any other state.