PAKISTAN: No place for slum dwellers — Asian Human Rights Commission

August 3, 2015

Asian Human Rights Commission,  July 31, 2015

In urban planning, slums are thought of as a tumor; an alien growth that can risk the overall development of an urban mega project. The notion ignores the fact that the labor force needed to materialize the urban dream often comes from this underbelly, which provides shelter to lives lived in the shadow of ostentation. Militancy, terrorism, natural calamity, and operation against militants, are driving mass migration to the cities of Pakistan at an unprecedented rate.

According to UN Habitat report, in 2000, nearly 50 percent of Pakistan’s most populated city, Karachi, lived in slums. Around 40 million of Pakistan’s urban population lives in katchi abadis, where they are deprived basic facilities like water, sewerage and electricity.

Islamabad, the capital, has witnessed mass migration from other provinces, particularly from Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa (KPK), following operation Zarb-e-Azab that intends to root out militants. Those evicted so have turned to urban centers for job opportunities and better educational facilities for their children.

Continues >>

Science, Magic and Truth

July 22, 2015

Nasir Khan, July 22, 2015

The reality of something is also the truth about it. Therefore, the reality of something and the truth about that thing are not two different things. The question is: How do we know the truth about something? The answer is: In the correspondence of any propositions/statements we make with the facts. If there is no such correspondence, then there is something lacking in the propositions we make when they cannot be validated. But there is a rational method rooted in empiricism to approach the facts about a given entity that ultimately may be the reality of that thing.
If we don’t get bogged down in irrational claims (magic and miracles included) on which any proposition is based to find the ‘reality’ of something, then we stand on some firmer ground when our propositions can be validated by corroborative evidence. If we don’t do that then we remain mired in the mud of confusion and make-believe fantasies. Science and magic cannot be put in the same category as both being ‘means to approach reality’. However, magic, miracles and fairy-tales are interesting and entertaining but they have nothing to do with what constitutes public knowledge about the reality of something.

Nato is used by the US to exert pressure on Europe. Here’s how it’s done

July 22, 2015
July 20, posted by Morning Star in Features

ALAN MACKINNON explains how the military alliance is geared to promote Washington’s interests

IN MY previous article (Nato is the menace not Russia, M Star June 20) we examined the case study of Ukraine and discussed the rapid expansion of Nato over the past 20 years.

In this piece we focus on how the United States exercises its power over Europe — and why.

Firstly, it is often asserted that Nato is a purely defensive alliance.

Certainly, the original Washington Treaty which established Nato in 1949 was framed as a mutual defence pact with the emphasis on defence, security and protection.

Yet the reality of recent practice is different.

Over the past two decades an enlarged Nato has fought wars against a range of adversaries on three continents. None of these was in response to any threat to its members in Europe or North America.

Continues >>

No scientific evidence of GM food safety: Norwegian Govt Study

July 14, 2015
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By   OpEdNews 7/14/2015,  Permalink

Reprinted from medium.com

From flickr.com/photos/68859904@N02/8854166005/: March Against Monsanto Salt Lake City, UT 5.25.13
March Against Monsanto Salt Lake City, UT 5.25.13
(image by SarahBethB1)
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A new study commissioned by the Norwegian government, and conducted by a nationally recognised scientific authority on the safety of biotechnologies, concludes that available scientific data on GM crops is inadequate to prove their safety.

The scientific report was commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency and completed last year, before being publicly released in June by the Genok Centre for Biosafety, located in the Arctic University of Norway. The Genok Centre is a nationally-designated centre of competence on biosafety issues.

Absence of evidence

The new study analyses a dossier by giant agribusiness conglomerate, Monsanto, submitted to the Brazilian government, and also conducts a comprehensive review of the available scientific literature from other sources.

Its focus is on Monsanto’s GM soybean Intacta Roundup Ready 2 Pro, which is grown in Brazil, and also authorised in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and probably also present in Bolivia due to illegal introductions from neighbouring countries.

 The report, titled ‘Sustainability Assessment of Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant Crops’ concludes that due to major gaps in the scientific literature, it is not possible to give a scientific verdict on their safety. Monsanto’s dossier, the report concludes, demonstrates a range of methodological weaknesses, and highlights the problem of incomplete information and research on GM crops in the available literature.

According to Monsanto, genetically modified organisms do not harm human or animal health, and therefore do not have any adverse effects on crops and the environment.

Continues >>

Killing of the Shia Muslims in Kuwait on June 26, 2015

June 27, 2015

Nasir Khan, June 27,  2015


Those who commit such crimes have no concern for humans and humanity. They think what they are doing is for Allah and his ‘only true religion’, Islam. They see it as their Jihad, the holy war, for their version of ‘true Islam’ that excludes Shia Muslims and Ahmadis from the fold of Islam. That’s what they have been told by their preachers, teachers and their Muslim political leaders and that’s what they believe in. The depth of ignorance and toxic indoctrination they have defies description.

Let’s have those Muslim teachers, preachers, leaders, theologians, clerics and the laity who have some concern for humans and humanity to speak loudly from their mosques and prayer halls, from the public places, from colleges, universities and madrassas that these killers of other people including the Shia Muslims do NOT stand for Islam in general or Sunni Islam in particular. All people of good will people should unite to eradicate these criminals and murderers.

Unless there is a coordinated campaign against them on a broad scale with a view to ‘educate’ people against these misguided people, killing of ordinary people in the name of Allah and Islam will continue and the blood of innocent will continue to flow. We know that only a minority commits such crimes but all Muslims have to take the blame for the crimes of this minority.
In this struggle, the Sunni people have a lot of responsibility and constructive work to do. It is a fact that we don’t see that happening in any concrete way. So, the field for the killers is open and they know there is no serious effort to stop them.

The Relationship of the United States and Israel

June 25, 2015

Nasir Khan, June 25, 2015

In a comment on a short article of mine,  Comrade Bill Benfield raises an important point about the relationship between the US and Zionist Israel. In fact, our views have much in common while we are looking at different aspects of the same issue. US imperialism is a militaristic world power, which uses large parts of its resources to perpetuate its hegemonic domination. Transnational capital has bolstered that power. For instance, the Saudi investments in the United States amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars and China’s lending of billions of dollars to the United States show the easy flow of capital there.
But how the Zionists of Israel enter in this power game? They had found an easy way. By closely aligning themselves with the US imperial power and its objectives, they became the main supporters of the US in the Middle East. At the same time, they systematically used their influence to create a powerful Israeli lobby in the United Sates that played divergent cultural and religious cords to gain support. Their success has been phenomenal.
It is obvious to everybody that the US government, Congress and its policymakers support whatever Israel does in the occupied Palestine. Israel’s wars of aggression, its violations of human rights of the Palestinians, the demolition of Palestinian homes, illegal settlements in the occupied land, etc, are all in the service of a higher cause: for the ‘security of the land of Israel’! The United States supports this lie and protects Israel whenever the matter of its criminal actions comes before the United Nations.
In fact, the influence of Zionists in the US is so great that America has to do what the Zionists say. No one can go against the wishes of the Israeli leaders. American administration and power elite know it fully well. These are some bare facts. Thus, Israel has created a unique place for itself in the centre of US power. From this privileged position, it can get whatever it wants from the United States including military weapons, money and ‘protection’ to carry out whatever it wants to do in the Middle East.

International Yoga Day controversy as India is accused of pushing ‘Hindu agenda’ on Muslims

June 21, 2015

Nasir Khan’s remarks On Yoga and Religions

Religions and the religious are a multi-faceted phenomenon. To my understanding, to practise yoga we need not be religious or follower of any religion. In my own case, I am a Humanist. It is in the common interest of all not to politicise yoga for political or religious ends and in this way create acrimony between Muslims and Hindus because sectarians and communalists will be very happy to play in the muddy waters and infuse their venom against other religions and their followers. Yoga exercises are amazing for gaining physical fitness and mental balance. I had taken a course in yoga a few years ago and found it quite useful. Those who want to do yoga exercises for their practical purposes don’t have to learn the yoga philosophy in depth because it is complex and may not interest everyone.

International Yoga Day controversy as India is accused of pushing ‘Hindu agenda’ on Muslims

Siobhan Fenton,  The Independent, June 21, 2015

A Hindu politician has suggested that Muslims offended by yoga should “go drown in the sea”
The first International Day of Yoga is taking place around the world today, but the celebration of a usually relaxing practice has led to an increase in tensions in some parts of India.
The day has been championed first and foremost by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who petitioned the UN to make the event an international affair. But as Mr Modi himself took part in a mass yoga session on Sunday morning, a fierce debate was raised about the government’s support of yoga – with some reportedly arguing that it is a Hindu practise which goes against Islamic teaching. Continues >>

Ramadan mubarak, 2015

June 19, 2015

Nasir Khan, June 19, 2015

Ramadan mubarak to all!

Ramadan mubarak to all Muslims and others including my Facebook friends. With the coming of this holy month, many good things happen. I will mention only one here. In this month, Satan is chained and he is not able to do any harm. That is a great news for all of us. But for the rest of the year he is free to do as he chooses, like creating his steadfast disciples and activists who dutifully carry on the mission on his behalf. Therefore, the believers should be aware of the actions of his followers.
What is interesting about Satan is that he does not work only through some invisible agents but also with the help of human beings. Such people are amongst us. Unlike Satan, they are not chained in this holy month either. They operate freely to carry out the mission when the Fallen One is not around for a few weeks. Their work involves them in diverse activities, such as, hoarding, black-marketing, oppressing the weak and marginalised people, creating problems for religious minorities, fomenting communal hatred, misusing religion, inciting violence, supporting wars and warmongers, bargaining the destinies of nations for money, which only Uncle Sam and his Saudi ally give to some Islamic countries for some specific tasks.

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Ronda, Andalucia (Spain)
Photo by: Nasir Khan, October 2011

Nasir Khan's photo.

Saudi Arabia is teaching Isis a lesson in cruelty, yet the UK continues to defend them

June 17, 2015

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How medieval does a regime have to be before ministers pause to consider the relationship?

Francis Wheen, The Independent,  June 16, 2015

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Three years ago today, Saudi Arabian police arrested Raif Badawi for the crime of running a website “that propagates liberal thought”. His blog had put the case for secularism in observations such as this: “States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear.”

As if to prove his point, a Sharia court hauled Badawi back into the fearful circle, sentencing him to 600 lashes and seven years in jail for “going beyond the realm of obedience”. Last year, deciding that he had been let off too lightly, a judge upped the punishment to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment plus a fine of one million riyal (about £170,000).

Continues >>

Iraq’s Unending Woes

June 16, 2015
by Dr. CESAR CHELALA, Counterpunch, June 16, 2015

Iraq’s dismal health situation is testimony to the invasion of the country by foreign forces, including now the takeover of important parts of its territory by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Iraqi people have been the subject of mass executions, rape, torture and, in addition, the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The international community has been mostly deaf to the needs of Iraqis, who have undergone difficulties much greater that during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization Director-General stated recently, “The situation is bad, really bad, and rapidly getting worse,” as she launched a new humanitarian plan for Iraq. If they don’t receive appropriate support, 84% of all health projects and centers run the risk of closure before the end of June.

It is estimated that since January 2014, 2.9 million people have fled their homes, 6.9 million Iraqis need immediate access to essential health services, and 7.1 million need easier access to water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. Presently, 8.2 million people in Iraq need immediate humanitarian support.

Continues >>


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