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Pakistan Press ( 11 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Press On Kamala Harris , Trumpism And Human Right Violations In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: New Age Islam's Selection, 11 November 2020

By New Age Islam Edit Desk

11 November 2020

• Election Of Harris Reiterates That Immigrants Are Not The Despicable Interloping Outsiders

By Rafia Zakaria

• Overview Of Human Right Violations In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali

• Global Trumpism Lives On

By Zahid Hussain


Election Of Harris Reiterates That Immigrants Are Not The Despicable Interloping Outsiders

By Rafia Zakaria

11 Nov 2020

ON Nov 7, 2020, an ebullient Kamala Harris took the stage as the first woman and the first woman of colour to be elected vice president of the United States. Her history-making speech, delivered at the end of a long and trying week in America (and much of the world), will undoubtedly be quoted widely. Harris’s candidacy and her victory represent for Americans, and for others around the world, the power of possibility.

Here was a child of immigrant parents, a mother from South India and a father from Jamaica, who had surpassed countless obstacles and made history. Women wept in the audience and at home as Harris delivered her most memorable line, “I may be the first woman in this office, but I will not be the last.”

In South Asia, where women’s successes are, as a matter of habit and routine, looked at with scepticism, there was less excitement. Some Indians immediately tried to claim her, not because she represents the potential of Indian women, but because she may deliver up choice tidbits of concessions to the Modi administration. Many Muslims took the bait and immediately began to critique and denounce Harris based on vague connections and support for Israel.

Neither, of course, are correct; unlike many other Indian-American candidates (Tulsi Gabbard, for example), she was not close to the pro-Modi diaspora Indian community.

Kamala Harris, like Barack Obama before her, is an expression of the amalgam of cultures, languages and diaspora that is America today. Her mother, Shyamala, arrived in the United States at 19 to pursue a PhD. Soon after, she met and married Harris’s father, a Jamaican immigrant. When the marriage ended, Shyamala decided to raise her daughters on her own, and that is exactly what she did, working all the while as a cancer researcher.

The election of Harris reiterates that immigrants are not the despicable interloping outsiders Trump has made them out to be

In her daughters, she instilled a tireless work ethic, a tough-as-nails sense of fortitude and the belief that they could overcome any obstacles in their way. After graduating from high school, Harris went to Howard University, one of the historically black colleges and universities, before going on to law school. Her career since has been a series of firsts, from becoming the first woman of colour to serve as attorney general of the state of California, and then all the way to the vice presidency a mere four years after she was elected to the Senate for the very first time.

In Pakistan, girls are often told that they, too, can be anything, but this is far from the truth. When Pakistan did elect a female prime minister, she belonged to a class of landed elite so powerful that it rendered her gender an afterthought. In India, Priyanka Gandhi is undertaking the family business of politics along much the same lines.

Even in the United States, this very nearly happened. Unlike Kamala Harris, who is a truly self-made woman, Hillary Clinton rode on the coattails of her husband, using her access to the presidency to make a political career for herself. It would be correct to say that had it been Hillary Clinton rather than Kamala Harris who broke the glass ceiling and was elected, it would be a less compelling case for the power of a self-made woman.

Given the age of President-elect Joe Biden, it is entirely possible that he will choose not to run for a second term. Even before Harris was selected, there were plenty of rumors about how Biden’s vice presidential candidate would find himself or herself running for president. It is possible, given this view, that Kamala Harris’s speech was the beginning of her campaign for 2024. She is already the first female vice president; she may soon be president of the United States.

The positioning of immigrants within American political discourse has been tested in the past four years. Led by his xenophobic and Islamophobic adviser Stephen Miller, Trump has done everything to undermine the possibility of ‘becoming’ American. The push to realise a white nationalist agenda has meant that the definition of American has been theoretically and visibly reduced.

The election of Harris thus represents a retaking, a reiteration, that immigrants are not the despicable interloping outsiders Trump has made them out to be, but, as in the case of Harris’s own parents, are raising the future leaders of the nation.

It is hard not to want to wish for the existence of similar possibilities in Pakistan. Structural problems, a male-dominated and majoritarian society, the rapacious constrictions presented as essential by clerics all collude to make this almost impossible. Ideas of what a woman should be or must be revolve around clothing or piety or domesticity such that the women who do want to do something more, rise above and lead, are left to sob amid the wreckage of their dreams.

Pakistan must change. The achievements of other women in other countries reveal a bold new world where the primordial questions of skin colour or sect or whatever else are being transcended. Connectivity enables exchanges within an instant, and yet the Pakistani woman who may be a lawyer or doctor or scientist has to worry about whether her mother-in-law will be upset if she stays late at work in order to finish an assignment.

Soon, the second most powerful woman in the United States, arguably the world, will be a black and South Asian child of immigrants. The issues and enthusiasm around this event have the power to galvanise and inspire women all around the world. Pakistani women also need to think about transcending barriers and breaking ceilings. As Harris’s election reveals, over 200 years of history, of obstacles and exclusions all in the favour of white men, can be overcome if a woman and her country come together.


Rafia Zakaria is an attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy.


Overview Of Human Right Violations In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali

NOVEMBER 11, 2020

The 34th Annual General Meeting of HRCP was held on 8th November 2020 in Lahore. Among reports of different chapters, the one that caught one’s eye was of Khyber Pakhtunkwa. (Period September 2019-October 2020. The report was prepared by Peshawar HRCP Chapter and presented by the newly elected Vice President of HRCP KP Chapter Advocate Kamran Arif.

Some of the pertinent points stick out like a sore thumb. These need urgent attention.

The merger of formerly Federally Administered Tribal areas of Orakzai, Bajur, Mohmand, Kurram, and North & South Waziristan with KP has not led to an increase in quality of life for the people. It has rather led to regression. As Advocate Kamran Arif said, “It’s not the FATA that has merged into KP. It’s KP that has merged in FATA.” A puzzling statement until one understands the background.

FATA has continued to be a legacy of the system established by pre-partition British India. Little had transpired to change the socio-politico landscape of FATA. No major initiative for the development of FATA was taken in 1980’s and in 1990’s except the introduction of adult franchise in 1997. This was not supported by extension of Political Parties Act to FATA, as a result; the impact was less significant in general uplift of the tribesmen.

On June 25th 2013, on the front page of The Nation an advertisement was placed by the FATA Grand Assembly Peshawar titled as “FATA Declaration”. This advertisement, by the tribal elders, religious clerics, political and social activists, students, women activists, lawyers, journalists, teachers and other citizens from FATA claiming to have come together from all seven agencies had adopted the Declaration. The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 assures all its citizens the Fundamental Rights including right to fair trial, right to freedom of speech, right to access to information, liberty, dignity, equal protection under law, privacy of the home, so on and so forth. Similarly laws cannot be made that ignore the principle of double jeopardy, detention without legal counsel, retrospective punishment etc. The Declaration beseeched that these fundamental rights must be ensured for the people of FATA. (Article 247 of the constitution of Pakistan granted a special status to FATA, whereby no act of Parliament or the jurisdiction of the High /Supreme Judiciary extendable to the region.)

Sadly, honour killings from September 2019-October 2020 were 95. Out of this 53 women, 34 men and 8 children were killed. Also cases of sexual abuse were high. 91 sexual assault cases were reported including 52 minor boys, 28 minor girls, 9 women and 1 transgender

Lack of awareness of residents of the newly merged districts regarding laws and judicial system at large, make it tough for them to redress grievances. FCR was abolished upon the merger. A law similar to FCR was introduced allowing the system to run more or less the same. This was struck down by the Peshawar High Court as being unconstitutional. At this point reportedly, the issue is in limbo. Here comes the practical problem: there are no courts at any level so far established in former FATA area and neither are there any jails. This is a situation the government must address with urgency. Another related issue is lack of computerized ownership of land.

Further confusion is created with passing of an Act in 2018 by the KP Provincial Assembly, vide which all regulations which were applicable before the 25th Amendment in the Constitution will be applicable as before; says Advocate Sher Muhammad Khan.

The second crucial emerging problem is re-emergence of splinter groups of Taliban. If left to grow, the problem will spin out of control, destroying all the hard work done. As per report 45 terrorism incidents were reported in 2019 alone. South Waziristan topped the others with 25 incidents causing 17 deaths, and 26 wounded. Bajur & Khyber followed with 15 & 12 terrorists attacks each. 26 Security Personnel were killed in 2020 as opposed to 54 killed in 2019 with 107 security personnel injured in 2019. Increasing militancy is posing added problems for a weak economy.

A third of all mines in the district are high risk as per a survey that followed mine collapse in Safi Tehsil of Mohmand tribal district that caused the death of 23 miners and injuring 20 others. The government must put the necessary mechanisms in place to avoid a similar cave in as seen in Safi Tehsil. The government had announced had approved a package of Rs, 500,000 and Rs 300,000 alternatively in case of death, the same has not been so far released. An appeal through this column is made to Dr Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights, to have the amount released to the families.

Another shocking fact that Minister for Human Rights must look into is issuance of B Class domicile to minorities in Khyber district as opposed to A Class domicile to locals which is a discrimination against the minorities largely consisting of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. Likewise, job opportunities offered to them are usually at lower level (particularly the Christians).

Sadly, honor killings from September 2019-October 2020 were 95. Out of this 53 women, 34 men and 8 children were killed. Also cases of sexual abuse were high. 91 sexual assault cases were reported including 52 minor boys, 28 minor girls, 9 women and 1 transgender.

Transgender are a target in KP. However, the provincial government had allocated Rs 321 million for the betterment of transgender people in 2017. The Human Rights Minister may like to address this issue too.

“A nation which accepts to live a third-class life is just a third-class nation! If a nation wants to be called honourable nation, it must use the option to refuse any kind of policy which is against human dignity! No refuse, no honour! If you don’t refuse a bad government, you deserve it all the way!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan


Yasmeen Aftab Ali is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’


Global Trumpism lives on

By Zahid Hussain

11 Nov 2020

DONALD Trump may have lost the election but Trumpism is not defeated. The right-wing populism that the outgoing American president championed is still a powerful movement, as demonstrated by the surge in the votes cast in his favour. He received more than 70 million of the counted votes, significantly higher than what he got in 2016.

The nail-biting contest only goes to show that Trumpian populism has taken much deeper roots in four years of maverick rule. The heavy turnout of voters illustrated the existing polarisation in American society that is likely to intensify despite electoral setbacks for the right wing. The 2020 presidential election has reinforced the view that American populism is there to stay and may even take a more aggressive turn.

That should come as a wake-up call for those who have predicted the ‘end-of-life cycle’ for nationalist populism in the United States and beyond. Notwithstanding its failure to deliver, the phenomenon is far from over. It is true not only for the United States but also other countries swept by rising ultranationalist movements.

Surely, the rise of the current phase of national populism predates Trump, but his holding sway in the world’s greatest power had given impetus to such movements that have swept across a number of European and other countries. The Brexit vote in Britain is a glaring example of the ascendancy of nationalism. It has become synonymous with the nationalist isolationism and anti-globalisation wave that brought Trump to power.

There are a number of other countries that are now ruled by right-wing nationalist populist regimes with authoritarian tendencies. National populism often combines right-wing politics and populist rhetoric. Hungary, Brazil, the Philippines, India and Turkey may be the most prominent examples of nations ruled by populist leaders. But there are many other countries that are witnessing the rise of this phenomenon in different shades and forms.

The surge in right-wing nationalism in France, Germany, Italy and some Eastern European countries points to this. The economic downturn, rising unemployment and a fear of growing immigrant populations are major factors reinforcing right-wing nationalist sentiments in these countries. The ultranationalist groups in Europe are generally associated with ideologies similar to Trump’s, such as anti-environmentalism, anti-globalisation, nativism and protectionism. They are all known for their strong opposition to immigration from Muslim countries.

In recent years, European countries have witnessed growing support for nationalist populist movements, such as the National Rally (formerly the National Front) in France, the League in Italy, the Party for Freedom and the Forum for Democracy in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party of Austria, and the UK Independence Party.

There are some strong indications that extreme right-wing nationalist groups could be swept into power in some of these countries. Some recent incidents of violence involving Islamist extremists come in handy for the right-wing groups to whip up nationalist sentiments in France close to the elections. Most of these groups have drawn encouragement from the rise of Trumpism in America. For national populist leaders around the globe, Trump became a source of inspiration, and many of them imitated his style too.

The rise of neo-Nazism in some Western countries is a symptom of their racist politics and populism. Most worrisome is the prospect of Trumpian populism prevailing in other countries. Over the past years, there has been a notable rise of more virulent nationalism. Anti-immigration sentiments have strengthened right-wing extremist nationalism.

Populist leaders often use anti-elitist and anti-establishment rhetoric, and claim to be speaking for the ‘common people’, but their politics mostly strengthen elitism. National populist regimes, though coming into power through democratic processes, invariably become authoritarian and suppress democratic rights. Democracy has suffered in almost all the countries ruled by nationalist populist leaders, as is the case of India and Turkey.

Muscular nationalism, majoritarianism and populism are the most definite manifestations of the fascistic ideology that now seems to be on the rise in various parts of the world. The ascendancy of authoritarian strongmen is causing the rollback of liberal democratic values. The most dangerous fascist trait is the new virulent nationalism that seeks to assert racist, political and cultural hegemony, thus threatening not only democratic processes within states but also regional security.

India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been losing its secular character and establishing oppressive majoritarian rule. The Indian action to annex the occupied territory of Kashmir and attempt to destroy Kashmiri identity is also a part of muscular nationalism under a Hindu majoritarian regime. It is not just a matter of territorial occupation but also a move to turn a religious community into a minority. Driven by RSS ideology, Modi is trying to turn India into a Hindu rashtra and marginalise other religious communities.

Trump had developed excellent personal relations with muscular nationalist leaders like Modi. Trump’s friendly ties with the India leader were well-known. The American president expressed his solidarity with Modi at a massive rally in Houston last year at a time when the Indian leader was being castigated for a law discriminating against Muslims. Earlier this year, Trump praised the Hindu nationalist leader, saying, “He wants people to have religious freedom and very strongly.”

It is not surprising that Indian and other right-wing nationalist leaders had bet on Trump’s victory. With Trump’s exit, the right-wing autocrats and nationalistic movements across the globe have lost their ideological patron. But it is not an end to global Trumpism that has gained ground in many European and Asia countries.

Trump’s strong showing in the election keeps alive his radical nationalist ideology that has not only divided America but has also impacted the world. His narrow defeat may embolden the global arch conservative and nationalist populist movements. The new American leadership faces a massive challenge not only to bridge the divide in America intensified by Trumpism but also to change the country’s foreign policy course. It is certainly not going to be easy to unite an extremely polarised nation and a disrupted global order.


Zahid Hussain is an author and journalist.



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