Fahmida Riaz passes away in Lahore

LAHORE: Well-known progressive Urdu writer, poet, human rights activist and feminist Fahmida Riaz has passed away on Wednesday night. She was 73 years of age.

She passed away after a prolonged illness in Lahore where she was with her daughter

Fahmida Riaz was born on July 28, 1945 in a literary family of Meerat, UP, India. Her family settled in the city of Hyderabad following her father’s transfer to the province of Sindh. Her father passed away when she was four and so she was brought up by her mother.

She learned about the Urdu and Sindhi literature in her childhood and later learnt the language of Persian. After completing her education she began working as a newscaster for Radio Pakistan.

Fahmida Riaz was encouraged and persuaded by her family to step into an arranged marriage after the graduation from college. She spent some years in the United Kingdom with her first husband before coming back to Pakistan after a divorce. During this period she worked with the BBC Urdu service (Radio) and got a degree in film making.

She has one daughter from that marriage.

She has two children from her second marriage with Zafar Ali Ujan, a leftist impressive political worker.

Fahmida Riaz worked in an advertising agency in the city of Karachi before beginning her own Urdu publication Awaz. The liberal and politically charged content of Awaz grabbed the attention of the Zia era and both Fahmida and her husband Zafar were charged with various cases—the magazine shut down and Zafar was imprisoned.

Fahmida Riaz was faced with challenges due to her political ideology. More than 10 cases were filed against her during General Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship. She was charged with sedition under Section 124A of the Pakistan Penal Code. After her husband was arrested she was bailed out by a fan of her works before she could be taken to jail and fled to India with her two small children and sister on the excuse of a Mushaira invitation.

Her friend the renowned poet Amrita Pritam who spoke to then prime minister (late) Indira Gandhi which got her asylum.

Her children went to school in India. She had relatives in India and her husband later joined her there after his release from jail.

The family spent almost seven years in exile before returning to Pakistan after Zia-ul-Haq’s death on the eve of Benazir Bhutto’s wedding reception. During this time Riaz had been poet in residence for Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and it is during her exile that she learnt to read Hindi. She was greeted with a warm welcome upon her return from exile.

Interview Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai: ‘I became a person who hates all injustice’ – Alex Clark (Guardian UK)

Ziauddin Yousafzai: ‘I will fight for women’s rights, for girls’ education, for women’s empowerment.’

Ziauddin Yousafzai founded a school in the Swat valley, Pakistan, where girls and boys were educated together. When his eldest child, Malala, was shot at point-blank range by the Taliban in 2012 in retaliation for her activism, the family relocated to Birmingham. In 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel peace prize. Let Her Fly is Ziauddin’s account of his life and his fight for the rights of all children to receive equal education, opportunities and social and political recognition.

Your life in the aftermath of the attack on Malala is well known; what did you want to add in this book?
People may think that most of my story was already told, in Malala’s book four years ago, and that was one part of my life, a daughter’s father. But I was the brother of five sisters who had never been to school, the husband of a wife and the father of two sons. This book tries to cover the bigger picture of my life and the lessons I have learned. I have tried to honestly share them with readers so they can see how this transformation happened for me – from being a member of a patriarchal society to the kind of person I am now.

That journey started when you were very young, didn’t it?

In my early childhood, for some years, and like all other brothers and men in patriarchy, I accepted the situation for women like my mother or my sisters. I was the blue-eyed boy of my family – if I had been the sixth daughter to my parents, or if I had been one of my five sisters, the world would have never heard of me. Not even the world at large, but my own community.

What changed?

I was very conscious of this discrimination after my school life, at 16 or 17. One of my cousins who was in a forced marriage was shot in an honour killing accident and I was thinking, why are five of my sisters not going to school? This was the end of your life, in a way, of your social life, because the only dream parents had for girls was, the earlier they married, the better. So those are the circumstances that made me conscious, made me stand against the social contract, which was anti-development, anti-rights of girls.

When you were a child, you developed a stammer. Do you think this affected the course you took?

I was dark in colour, not from a rich family, I had stammering problems, so I was bullied by some of my class fellows and by my cousins, and I was feeling very unhappy and angry. I became a person who hates all kinds of discrimination and injustice in society, whether it’s because of the colour of somebody, because of any physical impairment, physical deficiencies or social status. I became very conscious of all these discriminations and one of the worst was among the boys and girls. And that’s why it became my mission in life that I will fight for women’s rights, for girls’ education, for women’s empowerment.

You decided to become a teacher, taught for a while in the public education system, and then set up your own school. What was that like?

I thought, let me start a school of my own, I will have more freedom to practise the vision that I have. I started my school with 15,000 rupees – about £100. It was very meagre capital. But the big capital and the big power that I had was my passion, my conviction, my connection to the community. I was so happy that the school I started, with just three kids, had 1,100 students – 500 girls and 600 boys – by 2012.

It was a huge achievement, but what you couldn’t change was that the Taliban had by then taken control of the Swat valley and imposed a ban on female education. That must have been hard.

It was the most traumatic and fearful time of our lives. It was a horrible time for the 1.4 million people of Swat. The Taliban were so terrible, they were so cruel.

So it was the hardest time for all of us and especially for people like me who were speaking against the Taliban, speaking against the ban on girls’ education, condemning the bombing and the banning of the schools. I spent some nights in our friend’s house because I did not want to be killed in front of my family; I thought that if I die, I will die, but my family won’t be able to come out of this trauma if they’ve seen me being killed.

And then the worst moment, when Malala was shot in the head while she was travelling on the school bus.
The trauma that we had in 2012 when she was attacked is quite difficult to be free of completely. The girl who I love, the girl who was like my comrade and is loved by the whole family, her mother and the two boys – we had all almost lost her. Her survival is a miracle.

You visited Pakistan earlier this year. What was that like?

I just felt the soil of home. It was such an emotional moment. When we were going from Pakistan six years ago, it was a very bad situation and this time, when we were going back, we landed at the same helipad from where Malala was lifted as an injured and wounded girl. We landed all five of us. So this wholeness of family was a great feeling: on the same land, in the same place, near our home in the Swat valley. This is our dream: to go back and to return to work for education.

Do you think that will ever be possible?

I hope that the situation is getting better with every passing day. It is never perfect and it’s not perfect in any country now – every country has to strive for peace in their country, and in their communities.

Even this year, when we were going to Pakistan, it was Malala’s decision. I said, let’s wait for some time. She said, Aba, you will never have a perfect time to go back. Let’s go. We have to go. I was so proud of her. I said OK, I’m your father; for me, it will be very difficult if you go on your own and I’m not with you and the family’s not with you. So she took all of us back to Pakistan and I hope that she will take us again.

• Let Her Fly by Ziauddin Yousafzai is published by Ebury (£14.99). To order a copy for £13.19 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

Jamal Khashoggi Disappears, a Mystery Rattling the Middle

LONDON — Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident, met two friends for lunch last Monday in London to discuss a newspaper column he had drafted lamenting the lack of free speech in the Arab world. “Everyone is fearful,” he wrote.

But Mr. Khashoggi appeared to have little fear about his plans for the next day: to pick up a document from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He brushed aside warnings from his friends that his criticism of the kingdom’s rulers had drawn their enmity, making the consulate dangerous territory.

The consular staff, he assured them, “are just ordinary Saudis, and the ordinary Saudis are good people,” recalled one of his lunch companions, Azzam Tamimi.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Khashoggi entered the consulate. He has not been seen since.
Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him.

Saudi Arabia has denied it, insisting Mr. Khashoggi left shortly after he arrived.

By Sunday, the dispute over his disappearance threatened to upend relations between two of the region’s most important powers. If his killing is confirmed, it could also unravel the campaign by the 33-year-old Saudi Arabian crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to cultivate an image in the West as a promising reformer and dependable ally.

Turkish officials demanded Sunday that Saudi Arabia explain Mr. Khashoggi’s failure to re-emerge from the consulate.

“There is concrete information,” Yasin Aktay, an adviser to the head of Turkey’s ruling A.K.P. party, said Sunday in a television interview. “It will not remain an unsolved case.”
Turkish officials have not made their accusations publicly nor have they provided any evidence to back up their claim, raising questions about whether Ankara would stand behind the leaks or whether it was seeking to avoid a costly fight with Riyadh.

A Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government was waiting until the investigation was complete to disclose the evidence because of diplomatic sensitivities. Full disclosure, he said, would eventually come from the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Saudi Arabia stuck by its blanket denials without offering a credible alternative explanation. It dismissed the accusations from unnamed Turkish officials as “baseless” and “expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials that are informed of the investigation,” according to a statement from the Istanbul consulate.

Instead, Saudi Arabia praised Turkey for accepting a Saudi request to investigate Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance. “The kingdom is concerned with the safety and well-being of its citizens wherever they are,” the statement said.

In Washington, the mystery tested loyalties. Many current and former American officials are friendly with Mr. Khashoggi, a resident of the United States who had worked at Saudi embassies and, until he became a dissident, as a kind of informal spokesman for the Saudi leadership. He had recently become a columnist for The Washington Post, where he cemented his pivot from consummate Saudi insider to critic.

But President Trump and his advisers, including his son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, have embraced the crown prince as a pivotal ally, with the president repeatedly expressing his confidence in the young Saudi royal as he amassed power.
State department officials have said only that the United States cannot confirm Mr. Khashoggi’s fate but is following the case.

Others have expressed alarm. Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said the United States should not conduct business as usual with an ally that would carry out such a killing.

“If this is true — that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him — it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Senator Murphy wrote on Twitter.

Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, said, “We must get to the bottom of what happened and then impose strong consequences. Targeting journalists must stop.”

Until recently, Mr. Khashoggi, 59, was the quintessential Saudi loyalist. Tall with droopy eyes and an easygoing manner, he graduated from Indiana State University and climbed quickly through the ranks of the distinctive Saudi news business, where the leaders of the royal family are the only readers who matter.

During the Saudi- and American-backed jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Mr. Khashoggi made a name for himself by interviewing the militant leader Osama bin Laden, who later founded Al Qaeda. Mr. Khashoggi also became a trusted aid to Prince Turki al-Faisal, who served as the head of Saudi intelligence as well as ambassador to the United States and Britain, where Mr. Khashoggi worked for him as an adviser.

Mr. Khashoggi’s relative independence sometimes probed Saudi boundaries. The authorities twice removed him as the editor of the Saudi newspaper Al Watan after he published articles critical of the religious establishment. As the head of a new Saudi-owned news channel based in Bahrain, he allowed a Bahraini dissident to appear on its first day of broadcasting, in 2015. The channel was yanked off the air the next day “for technical and administrative reasons.”

None of those kerfuffles, though, did real damage to his status around the royal court. Mr. Khashoggi remained a go-to contact for American journalists and diplomats looking for a cogent explanation of the Saudi rulers’ perspective.

After King Salman ascended to the throne three years ago, his favorite son, Prince Mohammed, began to consolidate power. He has painted himself as a reformer — weakening the religious police and allowing women to drive, for instance — while waging a crackdown on even the relatively modest and previously tolerated forms of dissent.

Mr. Khashoggi fled the kingdom for Washington, where he styled himself as the loyal opposition, supportive of the monarchy but critical of policies like its war in Yemen or intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Post. “To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison,” he added. “We Saudis deserve better.”

The Saudi authorities quietly tried to co-opt him, promising him positions at home while viciously attacking him online as a foreign-backed agent. Some of his relatives were banned from leaving the kingdom. His exile led to divorce.

That ultimately is what led him to the consulate in Istanbul. Mr. Khashoggi, whose family has Turkish roots, planned to marry a woman there, a graduate student focusing on Persian Gulf politics. He had bought an apartment and intended to move. A small wedding was scheduled. But Turkish law required a document from the Saudi consulate to certify his divorce.

He visited the consulate the week before the wedding and found the staff friendly. “They were surprised and said, ‘Yes, we will do it for you, but there is no time,’ and they agreed he will come back on Tuesday,” his friend, Mr. Tamimi, recalled.

His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, thought it was a mistake to set a meeting in advance.

Mr. Khashoggi told her not to worry.

“He said they would not dare attempt anything within Turkey’s borders,” she said.

Shortly before the Tuesday appointment, Turkish officials now say, 15 Saudi agents, some carrying diplomatic passports, arrived in Istanbul on two planes.
On Tuesday, Mr. Khashoggi and Ms. Cengiz went to the embassy at 1:30 p.m. She waited outside for him.

She was still waiting there after midnight.

She came back the next morning, which was to have been their wedding day.

“We have bought the house and the furniture,” she said then. “The furniture is arriving today.”

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from London, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut. Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Istanbul.

K-P authorities issue arrest warrants for Manzoor Pashteen, Ali Wazir

PESHAWAR: Authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ordered the arrest of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen, MNA Ali Wazir and six others.

A letter issued by a senior police official in Swabi declared Pashteen, Wazir, Dr Said Alam Masood, Fazal Advocate, Khan Zaman, Mohsin Dawood, Samad Khan and Noorul Salam as proclaimed offenders.

Police in Swabi confirmed to The Express Tribune that SP Investigation wrote to the political agents of North and South Waziristan seeking arrest of the PTM leaders.

According to the FIR, PTM workers held a gathering at cricket stadium in Swabi’s Shah Mansoor Town without required NOC from authorities. In the jalsa, the PTM chief and others made contemptuous statements against state institutions.

The PTM, formerly Mehsud Tahaffuz Movement, gained momentum following the extra-judicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi. It sought capital punishment for the prime suspect in Naqeebullah murder case, former SSP Malir Rao Anwar, recovery of missing persons and removal of landmines in tribal areas.

A Jirga, formed by the K-P apex committee and comprising tribal elders, is holding negotiations with the group to resolve their issues.

Why Imran Khan Must Bat for Civil Society in Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has set out an ambitious development and reform agenda. He is determined to reign in elite corruption and increase spending on health, education and women’s welfare.

To carry out these important social programs, Mr. Khan needs the support of Pakistan’s battered and bruised civil society. He needs to put an end to the coercion civil society groups have faced from the previous government and the military and help them to function effectively and without constraints.

In the past, Mr. Khan had taken various regressive positions — supporting the discriminatory blasphemy laws, attacking liberals, criticizing the press and describing the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan as a legitimate jihad against occupying forces — but he has an opportunity to turn the page and embrace a new, more inclusive vision for the country.

Pakistan features on the lower margins of most international human development indexes. It has the worst infant mortality rate. A child born in Iceland has a one-in-1,000 chance of death at birth, while a child born in Pakistan has a one-in-22 chance, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Twenty-three million Pakistani children are out of school and millions of children enrolled in public and private schools can barely read or write.

Pakistan needs all the help it can get. Mr. Khan has to find the money and expertise to face these challenges when his government faces immense international debt repayments and collapsing revenues from taxes and exports.

Several international nonprofit groups such as Action Aid, Asia Foundation, Mercy Corps and Open Society Foundation have worked in Pakistan for years.

Civil society organizations have helped during national crises like floods; promoted education in remote, rural areas; and have worked with minority groups such as Christians and Hindus, who are ignored by the state.

Instead of supporting local and international nongovernmental organizations, the Pakistani establishment has responded with a crackdown on these groups. The previous government and the military initiated proceedings to curtail the work and even eject scores of international civil society groups working in Pakistan. Sections of the establishment and right-wing television networks in Pakistan have been promoting allegations linking international NGOs to espionage and antigovernment activities.

Last year, Pakistan ordered 21 international nongovernmental organizations to renew their registration in the country. When they submitted new applications in December, they were denied registration. No official explanation for the decision was provided. They are still waiting for a reply to an appeal.

Various programs run by these groups have been paralyzed for more than a year because of the uncertainty the government has created about their future. And tens of thousands of Pakistanis who work for nongovernmental organizations face the specter of unemployment. Donors such as Western governments are hesitant to come forth.

Pakistani nongovernmental organizations work under extremely difficult conditions, as they don’t have the option of leaving the country nor of effectively challenging clampdowns by the state. Thousands of Pakistani civil society groups, especially the ones working to promote human rights, have been asked to renew their registration and submit answers to highly personal questionnaires. Foreign funding for these organizations has also been suspended.

Mr. Khan cannot make any real progress on his agenda of reform until he ends the curbs on civil society and enlists these groups in creating a better Pakistan.

It is tragic that while Islamabad has pressured and coerced nongovernmental groups, it has opened up greater political and social space for Islamic extremist groups and their affiliates. Pakistan’s Election Commission allowed several extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba — a State Department-designated terrorist group, which faces sanctions from the United Nations — to contest the recent general elections while using front organizations.

The military has argued that it is mainstreaming these groups by bringing them into the electoral process. But without any de-radicalization program in place, without a commitment from these groups to disarm their tens of thousands of followers and disavow their extremist ideology and show a commitment to democratic processes, allowing them to contest elections only helps them increase their support base.

Extremist groups fielded some 1500 candidates in the elections. While Lashkar-e-Taiba’s proxy failed to win a seat, the Sunni extremist group, Tehreek-i-Labbaik, won two seats in the Sindh Provincial Assembly and got over four million votes.

Mr. Khan needs to rectify this reckless state of affairs as Pakistan remains on the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” of countries that have not fulfilled their obligations to curb terrorist activities. According to Western diplomats, the F.A.T.F. review of Pakistan’s compliance in August did not go well.

F.A.T.F. is concerned about extremist groups being allowed to operate as charities in Pakistan while they are listed as terrorist groups by the United Nations. By October, Pakistan could be moved up to the “black list” of F.A.T.F. that includes North Korea and Iran and would result in international sanctions on Pakistan, unless it changes its behavior.

Apart from its direct political consequences, the failure to comply with the F.A.T.F. will also force donor countries to stop bilateral funding, most of which goes to nonprofit groups.

At present there is enormous good will for Mr. Khan, but how long it lasts will depend on whether he will continue policies that are clearly harming Pakistan’s global image, undermining civil society and preventing NGOs from carrying out their tasks.

Policy decisions to return international nongovernmental organizations to their previous status, complying with F.A.T.F. obligations and stopping the growing power of Islamic extremist groups are urgently required. At stake is Pakistan’s democratic future.

Ahmed Rashid is the author, most recently, of “Pakistan on the Brink: The future of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the West.’

Committed to ‘sham’ democracy

The political history of Pakistan is marred by repeated military coups and a rich tradition of people sacrificing their lives for the restoration of democratic rule in the country. Ironically, successive civilian governments failed to deliver on public goods.

One of the main reasons for this failure is the classist nature of our ruling elite. Pakistan failed to dismantle local power configurations. Patron-client relationships especially in the context of governance failure remained intact. The dynastic nature of political parties, lack of voter’s education, poverty and the increasing role of money and violence in politics make the political arena exclusively a male prerogative.

Electoral processes keep on bringing the same old tribal, feudal and capitalist class in power. Within this larger context, the return of the time-tested political elite, having no commitment to people’s welfare in the 2018 election is no surprise.

Elections in Pakistan have been notoriously flawed and blemished with political engineering and violence. However, the level of brazen pre-election manipulation in election 2018 has been unprecedented.

Also the way ‘electables’ changed their political loyalties shamelessly before the election and the formulation of unnatural alliances of political forces in the post-election phase to form government shows that there is a death of ideology in Pakistani politics.

It is inquisitorial why people in Pakistan who have experienced only an illiberal, elite form of democracy remained committed to the democratic rule in the country? This is clearly evident from the voter turnout, consistently rising since 1988 — 35% in 1997 to 51.85% in 2018 election.

Democracy is the only system of governance that brings citizens to the centre of power politics. It establishes the principle of equality amongst citizens irrespective of their class, gender, ethnicity or religious background. Democracy invests the power of vote equally in poor and the marginalised sections of society.

Elections compel the arrogant political elite to reach out to the poor, beg for votes and make promises for their uplift. Continuity in the democratic system of governance has the potential to open the gateway of accountability of elected representatives. We have already witnessed people holding candidates accountable for their performance during their election campaigns. Voters’ aggressive questioning stunned ‘electables’. Many candidates could not digest public accountability and were seen leaving the crowd angrily. Continuity of the democratic system is critical. If politicians know that they had to face the electorates in the next election, they would be forced to improve their performance.

Transfer of power through election in the last two terms has already unleashed promising social dynamics in the political arena of the country. Political parties are forced to give representation to the marginalised sections of society to promote their pro-people image. Women, religious minorities, persons with disabilities and transgender communities also found some space in democracy to voice their issues and field their own candidates in the election.

The number of women who contested the election in 2018 is unprecedented in the electoral history of Pakistan. Out of 171 women candidates for the National Assembly, 105 were awarded tickets by the political parties. Similarly six candidates from religious minorities got elected and five transgender contested election.

Electoral democracy, even though flawed and failing to deliver, is the only system that has the potential to create space for the representation of all segments of society.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, dominated by the old political elite, has transformative claims. The only way to correct the dysfunctional politics of the elite is through building strong people’s resistance movements. Civil society must mobilise the social and political imagination of people to reclaim democracy. The democratisation of democracy and strong public accountability is the only way to ensure that the wealthy and powerful in the upcoming government do not use state power to serve their own vested interests but use it to improve governance and people’s wellbeing.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2018.

SANA Convention Winds Down in Maryland

If there is one word that describes why over 1,000 people flocked from across the US to attend the 34th annual convention of the Sindhi Association of North America in the Greater Washington area – it is the word nostalgia.

Men, women and children from Sindhi families took advantage of the July 4 holiday in the middle of the week to stay in the North Bethesda Marriot Hotel and socialize extensively.

At the heart of the conversations was the sheer love and concern about the state of the motherland, especially Sindh, where the human index for development is among the lowest in the world.

The upcoming elections, coupled with the recent startling developments under which the thrice elected prime minister now has prison awaiting for him, was the topic that would constantly keep the circles buzzing.

Also under discussion were the extensive health, education and social welfare programs that SANA funds inside Sindh.

Keynote addresses ranged from `,What was the Idea of Pakistan at Partition, What it Should be Now,’ delivered by visiting professor Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, `Sindh, What then must we Do,’ by Shahab Usto and `Thar Coal Project’ by Shamsuddin Shaikh.

Festivities included the annual banquet and music by Sanam Marvi and Saif Samejo.


The Sindhi Association of North America will hold its 34th annual convention in the greater metropolitan DC area from July 6-9, 2018. The event which is being held to coincide with the July 4th independence day holiday has participants arriving from across the US, in what the organizers describe as a sold out event.

The three day convention will be cultural, educational and political, with speakers arriving from Pakistan and across the US to focus on issues such as `Missing Persons’ in Sindh, progress made in the Thar Coal Project, archaeological finds in Ranikot Fort, the situation for education, art, philosophy, involvement of civil society and to explore where the state of Pakistan is headed.

ID Session Start Time End Time Featuring Ballroom Moderator
Friday July 06, 2018
1 Sindh – Knowledge-based society – Interactive 11:00 14:00 Pre-convention Dr. Mithal Vakassi
2 Break 14:00 15:00
3 Momal Rano 15:00 17:30 New Sindhi Movie Linden Oak LOC
4 Tea for 2 17:30 18:30 Gupshup of families looking for Sindhi families
5 Membership Registration 18:00 21:00 LOC and SANA Volunteers Hall Corner LOC
6 SANA EC/LOC Meeting 18:00 18:30 Khalid Memon Linden Oak General Secretary
7 Informal Dinner 18:30 20:00
8 Formal Convention Opening 20:00 20:15
9 Sindh, the land of art and poetry
10 Youth Program 20:00 21:00
11 Youth Icebreakers 21:00 21:30 Khulda Soomro, Numrah Shaikh, Komal Bhutto
12 Women Program 21:30 22:30 LOC Women BrookSide LOC
13 Youth Game 21:30 22:30 Khulda Soomro, Numrah Shaikh, Komal Bhutto
14 SANA Talent 22:30 01:00 Local Sindhis Talent Discovery Arman, Warisha, and many more

Saturday July 07, 2018
15 Breakfast 07:00 09:00
16 Membership Registration 08:00
17 Protest at Capitol 08:00 10:00 Ali Khaskheli, Ali Hassan Capitol General Secretary
18 Youth DC Tour 09:00 16:00 Komal Bhutto, Khulda Soomro, Numrah Washington DC Komal Bhutto
19 Sorrows of Sindh: Issue of Missing Person 10:00 10:30 Aziz Narejo, Irshad Abbasi, Zakir Bullo, M Rajpar
20 Sindh Vision 10:30 11:00 Ahmer Nadeem Memon, Faiz M Khoso, Aziz Narejo
21 Thar Coal 11:00 12:00 Shamsuddin Shaikh and Naseer Memon, Mushtaq Rajpar
22 Lunch 12:00 13:00 Hafeez Abbasi, Imran, Nasrullah, Sanaullah, Jabbar
23 Media Session Sindh, SANA and news media Zakir Bullo
24 Ranikot jaa raaz (Mysteries of Ranikot) 14:00 Ishtiaque Ansari, Aziz Narejo
25 Bilqees and Razia Trust 14:20 14:40 Sultan LaghariMushtaq Rajpar
26 Sindh Hope (Akhwat NJV Hostil, Schoool and SSS Project) 14:40 15:00 Nazir Tunio, Aziz Narejo
27 Tea for 2 15:00 16:00 Gupshup of families looking for Sindhi families
28 SDA: Small steps big difference 15:00 15:15 Dr Nazeer Dahar D Dr Abbassi
29 Sustainable Sciences 15:15 15:45 Dr Fayaz Memon D Fayaz Memon
30 Women Empowerment through SMEs Business 15:45 16:00 Profs Dr.Anwar Ali Shah G.Syed, Dr.Faiz Muhammad
31 Keynote Speech – The Idea of Pakistan –
What Was It In 1947 And What Should It Be Now? 16:00 17:00 Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy
32 Break 17:00 19:00 NA ABCDE YOU
33 Dinner 19:00 21:00 Hafeez Abbasi, Imran, Nasrullah, Sanaullah, Jabbar ABCDE LOC
34 Youth Skit 21:00 21:45 Komal Bhutto, Khulda Soomro, Numrah ABCDE Komal Bhutto
35 Music 21:45 01:00 Sanam Marvi and Rajab Ali ABCDE Maheen Heesbani

Sunday July 08, 2018
36 Breakfast 07:00 09:00 Hotel Provided, only for room Registered Guest ABC Hotel
37 Medical Seminar 09:00 10:30 Dr Nazeer Dahar, Dr Nada Memon,
38 FAME 10:30 11:00 Zafar Agha D Dr Abbasi
39 State of Education in Sindh 11:00 11:30 Nisar Siddiqui, Dr Abbasi
40 Session with Saif 10:00 11:00 Saif Samejo, Khulda Soomro, Numrah Shaikh White Oak
41 SSDP / Model Village Project 11:30 12:00 Dr Ghulam Qadir Mallah / Ali Hasan Bhutto
42 Career Panel 11:00 12:00 Khulda Soomro, Numrah Shaikh White Oak Komal Bhutto
43 Lunch 12:00 13:00 Hafeez Abbasi, Imran, Nasrullah, Sanaullah, Jabbar ABC LOC
44 Sindhi Philosophy 13:00 13:20 Javaid Bhutto
45 Shaheed Allah Bux Trust 13:20 13:30 Ms Rufina Soomro
46 Keynote – Sindh – What then must we do? 13:30 14:30 Shahab Usto
47 SANA and Computing 14:30 15:00 Majid Bhurgari
48 SANA -Vision 2028 15:00 16:00 Various Speakers
49 General Body 16:00 17:30 Khalid Memon
50 Membership Registration 18:00 19:00 LOC and SANA Volunteers Hall Corner LOC
51 Tea for 2 17:30 18:30 Gupshup of families looking for Sindhi families Brookside Shereen
52 Break 17:30 19:00 NA ABCDE YOU
53 Annual Banquet Transforming Thar Documentary by Thar Coal Dr Abbassi
55 Award Presentation Various Awards presents ABCDE Dr Abbassi
56 Donor Recognition screen slides Dr Abbassi
57 Dinner 20:30 21:30 Hafeez Abbasi, Imran, Nasrullah, Sanaullah, Jabbar ABCDE Dr Abbassi
58 Music 21:30 02:30 Saif Samejo (The Sketches group) and Sanam Marvi ABCDE Maheen Heesbani
59 Music Program Registration LOC and SANA Volunteers Hall Corner LOC
60 Youth Banquet 22:00 23:30 Youth Activities in Separate Hall White Oak Komal Bhutto

Monday July 09, 2018
61 Breakfast 07:00 09:00 Hotel Provided, only for room Registered Guest ABC Hotel
62 Convention Ends 18:27 18:27

Pak business delegation seeks to enhance trade ties with US

WASHINGTON: A 20-member business delegation has vowed to enhance and expand economic and trade ties with the United States.

The high-powered delegation comprising at least 10 listed companies, including representation from the Pakistan Business Council, Pakistan Stock Exchange, market research companies, large financial institutions and others is visiting the US these days.

It will present success stories and opportunities at the second investors conference organised by JS Global Capital, Pakistan’s largest premier brokerage and investment banking firm, today (Wednesday) in New York.

In its first leg of tour, the delegation met officials from the State Department here on Monday, urging them to soften travel-related advisories so that American investors could be confident to visit Pakistan and make considerable business-related decisions. According to Kamran Nasir, CEO JS Global, the US officials were apprised about growing opportunities as the country transforms into an investment friendly destination.

“We had a candid exchange and managed to discuss mutual concerns with the objective that both countries cannot afford to ignore opportunities that lay ahead,” Kamran said, adding the Americans were told that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was merely an infrastructure network which would ensure foreign direct investment into the country.

“It’s not just about China, the machinery that is being used in energy-related projects and otherwise comes from American companies. Similarly, logistics and technical equipment areas would provide a large window of options to invest in Pakistan,” he said.

The head of the Pakistan Stock Exchange, Richard Morin told The News that the mission in Washington was more about promoting trade between the two countries, and removing barrier or irritants. “Pakistan equities are very reasonably priced. There are tremendous growth opportunities for PSX listed companies, and the plan is to share foreign portfolio and direct investment options with US investors,” he said.

Morin added that uncertainty rhymes with opportunity. “If I was a Pakistani investor, my reaction would be to get PSX stocks which is a screaming buyer — a superb buying opportunity. It’s 20 percent cheaper, and these companies provide close to five and a half percent dividend yield, that is almost the interest rate that you get on a savings bond. Then there’s capital appreciation opportunity of the stock market that tops it all,” he said.

Chairman of the Pakistan Business Council Ahsan Malik said Pakistan has a vibrant middle class that’s ready to compete with the rest of the world. “The manufacturing sector represents 13.5 percent of the total GDP by affording 58 percent of tax burden. This isn’t sustainable but expansion in tax base will offer cuts in high taxes on formal sector and provide glowing opportunity for a new investor,” he said.

Ahsan Malik maintained that CPEC provides opportunity to the US companies to bring technological advances in various areas, especially the agriculture sector. Part of the delegation was also Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as Hubco CEO Khalid Mansoor who said that the second investor conference was an earnest effort to dispel Pakistan’s negative image and showcase untapped business opportunities to multinational companies.

“The Business Confidence Index survey has been extremely positive that tells a paradigm shift in growing business environment and should correct Pakistan’s image,” he said. The delegation had compiled a more than hundred pages long comprehensive presentation to convince the US companies about investment in Pakistan in various carefully identified business and development areas. The booklet shows facts and figures along with comparisons with regional competitors. The delegation also met members of the US Pakistan Business Council and had detailed engagements with scholars at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, a local think-tank, on Tuesday.

UK ‘deeply concerned’ by brief abduction of British Pakistani journalist and establishment critic

The UK has expressed deep concern after a British Pakistani journalist was abducted by unnamed men in the latest seizure of a media critic of the military establishment.
Gul Bukhari was driving to a television studio late on Tuesday when her car was intercepted by pick-up trucks in the city of Lahore.

Her plainclothes abductors were overseen by men wearing military uniforms according to her driver. A mask was placed over her face and she was driven off.
Ms Bukhari, a dual British national, was later released to her family who said she was well and requested privacy.

But the British High Commission said it was giving her consular assistance and said it was “very concerned at reports of Gul Bukhari’s abduction”.

Ms Bukhari has been an outspoken critic of the military in advance of what is expected to be a tense general election scheduled for July 25.

She has also defended ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who clashed with the defence establishment before the Supreme Court forced him from office last year over an undeclared source of income.

A string of social media activists have been kidnapped in the past year in what rights’ groups say is a campaign to intimidate and silence critics of the powerful security establishment.

Five bloggers disappeared for several weeks last year before four of them were released. All four sought refuge abroad, with at least two since saying they had been tortured by a state intelligence agency while in captivity.

A leading English language newspaper last month complained it was being blocked from sale in large parts of the country after it published an interview with Mr Sharif that angered the army.

The military has denied any role in previous disappearances and did not immediately comment on Ms Bukhari’s seizure.

But the incident was seized on by activists as further evidence of a concerted effort to stifle dissent and scare off critics.

“If true, this would be a most audacious attempt to silence a known critic. Is this Pakistan or Kim’s North Korea or Sisi’s Egypt?” Syed Talat Hussain, a prominent journalist, said.