The News – Rumi Forum being dragged into Gülen controversy

Fakhar Durrani

Islamabad, 31 July 2016. The President of Rumi Forum, Suat Erguvan, says they are being dragged into the Gülen controversy unnecessarily as they have nothing to do with the politics and the forum is purely established for academic and intercultural dialogue.

Talking to The News, Erguvan said with reference to a number of news items appearing in the national vernacular and English media across Pakistan for the last couple of days, as Rumi Forum, we unfortunately have been witnessing biased and unverified reporting that claims to place the Forum in a discussion that it does not belong.

The Rumi Forum is an intercultural dialogue and peaceful coexistence platform for academic and cultural exchange in Pakistan since 2006. The office bearers of the Forum are Turkish and Pakistani nationals and professionals, all of whom are residents of Pakistan.

The Rumi Forum is funded locally and in an apolitical manner. It is completely non-partisan and committed to the promotion of universal human values such as respect, reconciliation, coexistence and acceptance through its activities.

The Forum cooperates similar local and international civil organisations and works closely and transparently with them while staying within the boundaries of its constitution.

The Forum organises in-house and external activities such as seminars, conferences, afternoon talks on various mainstream academic, historical and intercultural themes, Rumi talks on the life and works of ‘Mevlana’ Jalaluddin Rumi, 13th century Muslim scholar, luminary and Sufi, Masnavi Reading Circles, round table discussions, poetry and prose recitals (mushaira and sham-e-afsana), exhibitions, public lectures and the like.

We believe that constructive communication and interaction is one of the major remedies to overcome common ills arising from misunderstanding.

That is why we endeavour to establish suitable environments for constructive interaction and peaceful coexistence in Pakistan to enable all participants to appreciate diverse opinions and eliminate all stereotypes.

Therefore, the Rumi Forum upholds being the part of solutions instead of being the part of or subject to any problem of any kind. We unconditionally reject all types of biased information that has been printed and circulated in various media without soliciting the Rumi Forum’s opinion and stance.

He said the Rumi Forum requests the amendments to the aforementioned biases in media and expresses that the Forum may state its stance whenever necessary. – British-Sikhs protest Hindu ‘terror group’ chief Mohan Bhagwat UK visit to ‘spread hate’

Priyanka Mogul
29 July 2016

British-Sikhs are set to stage a protest against the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group in India. The protest against Mohan Bhagwat will take place on 30 July during his visit to the UK, where he has been addressing Hindus from Britain and Europe.

Bhagwat told the Press Trust of India that he would be attending a number of gatherings of Hindus that have been organised to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), which has drawn inspiration from his RSS group.

However, some British-Sikhs have hit out against the decision to allow Bhagwat into the UK, accusing him of “spreading hate”.

Gurjeet Singh, spokesperson for the Sikh Federation UK, told IBTimes UK: “Following Indian government pressure the terror group chief has been allowed to enter the UK and spread religious and ethnic hate at a European-wide conference.

The RSS presents a significant threat to religious and ethnic minorities in India with the declaration that they will ensure India becomes a Hindu Rashtra by 2021.”

Singh noted that the RSS group has been banned in India several times, including when their member Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Some have also blamed the RSS for forcing thousands of people to covert to Hinduism, while attacking Dalits, Muslims and Christians since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014.

Singh said: “Groups like the RSS have an objective of attacking the Sikh faith so it leads to its eventual assimilation and is driving a campaign to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism by force. Intolerance and attacks against women have reached epidemic levels in India.”

Protests against the RSS chief are due to take place on 30 July from 1pm GMT at the Hertfordshire County Showground near Luton. This is where Bhagwat will be speaking for the HSS anniversary celebrations and the event is expected to be the first time that he has ever addressed such a big gathering of Hindus in the UK.

RSS sources told the Press Trust of India that the event aims to “bring all like-minded Hindus together from across Europe”, as well as encourage the younger generations to “connect with their cultural heritage”. They also said that it would allow Bhagwat to present the “perfect model” of the “Hindu-family” to countries around the world.

Gent – De Lijn Trams

Gent, De Lijn Trams
10 May 2016


Galglaan – Tram 21 to Melle Leeuw


Galglaan/De Pintelaan


De Pintelaan


UZ Gent


De Pintelaan


De Pintelaan – Tram 4 to Moscou

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on July 31, 2016 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Human Rights Watch – Turkey: Rights Protections Missing From Emergency Decree

Orders to Purge Civil Servants, Judges; Close Groups Down

Istanbul, 26 July 2016. The first emergency decree under Turkey’s state of emergency is arbitrary, discriminatory, and unjustified as a response to the violent coup attempt or other public order concerns.

The July 23, 2016 decree orders the closure of thousands of private educational institutions, hospitals, and clinics, and associations allegedly linked to a movement inspired by Fethullah Gülen, a cleric the government blames for a violent coup attempt on July 15-16.

The decree allows the permanent discharge of judges, prosecutors, and civil servants without any investigation or possibility of legal challenge. The decree also extends police powers to detain some suspects for up to 30 days without being taken before a judge and seriously curtails detainees’ right to private communications with lawyers.

“The first state of emergency decree goes well beyond the legitimate aim of promoting accountability for the bloody July 15 coup attempt,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch.

“It is an unvarnished move for an arbitrary, mass, and permanent purge of the civil service, prosecutors, and judges, and to close down private institutions and associations without evidence, justification, or due process.”

The decree was published and became law, no. 667, published in the Official Gazette, on 23 July. It is the first such decree by the Council of Ministers headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan under Turkey’s three-month state of emergency, which entered into force on July 21.

On July 22, the Turkish government notified the Council of Europe that it was also “derogating” from, that is, temporarily imposing extraordinary limitations on, the guarantees under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to which it is a party, which the convention says a government can only do “in times of public emergency threatening the life of a nation.”

The decree identifies 35 private health clinics and hospitals; 1,043 private schools and student hostels; 1,229 foundations and associations; 15 private universities; and 19 trade unions, federations, and confederations for closure.

The decree states they are closed on the grounds that they “belong to, are connected or are in communication with the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ/Parallel State Structure), which has been identified as a threat to national security.”

As many as 60,000 civil servants, including judges, prosecutors, police, teachers, and bureaucrats, have already been suspended from their jobs, and this decree terminates their careers in public service without a disciplinary investigation.

The decree stipulates that the government can seize property owned by foundations, hospitals, and clinics.

Even if institutions or groups are not named in the published lists, under article 2/3, they can still be closed down if they are “identified as being a threat to national security or are established as being members of terrorist organizations or linked to them or in contact with them.”

“The wording of the decree is vague and open-ended, permitting the firing of any public official conveniently alleged to be ‘in contact’ with members of ‘terrorist organizations’ but with no need for an investigation to offer any evidence in support of it,” Sinclair-Webb said.

“The decree can be used to target any opponent, perceived or real, beyond those in the Gülen movement.”

Any judge or civil servant, including prosecutors, can also be removed from their jobs on the grounds of being deemed a threat to national security, with no possibility of challenging the decision, reinstatement, or future employment as public officials.

In each case the measure to strip people of their position rests on an administrative decision without an investigation.

The decree increases the maximum period of police detention from four days for terrorism and organized crime to 30 days, which violates the European convention, not least as it increases the risk of torture and ill-treatment on top of the reports already documented by Amnesty International of abuses in detention since the failed coup.

The European Court of Human Rights had ruled in a 1996 case against Turkey that detention without being taken before a judge for 14 days, even in a state of emergency, violates its human rights obligations under the convention.

The court, acknowledging that Turkey then had a legitimate state of emergency and derogation, held that “it cannot accept that it is necessary to hold a suspect for 14 days without judicial intervention.”

It noted that the period was “exceptionally long, and leaves detainees vulnerable to arbitrary detention and torture.” (Aksoy v. Turkey, Application No. 21987/93, judgment December 18, 1996 paras. 78, 86.)

The decree also stipulates that in cases relating to terrorism and organized crime, communications between a detainee in pretrial detention and their lawyer can be recorded, monitored, limited, or stopped at the request of a prosecutor if the authorities deem that there is a risk to security, or if such communications may be a means of passing on messages or instructions to “terrorist or other criminal organizations.”

Doing so violates the right to an effective defense, Human Rights Watch said. The authorities reserve the right to appoint another lawyer to represent the detainee. The decree also significantly curtails detainees’ rights to family visits and phone calls.

Another troubling provision says that “individuals who make decisions and perform their duty in the context of this decree bear no legal, administrative, financial or criminal responsibility for those duties performed.” That sends a clear signal to police officers and other officials that anything goes, Human Rights Watch said.

“The government should know that the introduction of 30-day police detention cannot be justified even under a state of emergency and that it increases the possibility of torture and ill-treatment of suspects,” Sinclair-Webb said. “That risk is compounded by the removal of private communications between a prisoner and their lawyer, which is also incompatible with the right to an effective defense.”

Dawn – Samia’s father now claims she committed suicide

A perfectly healthy young woman travels from Dubai to Pakistan, where according to her father she 1) died of cardiac arrest and 2) committed suicide. In view of the background of her divorce from her cousin/husband and remarriage without parental permission, it seems only too clear what really happened. The new husband should involve the UK police, who did an excellent job  in the case of Jagdeesh Singh’s sister.
Man in Blue

Gujrat, 31 July 2016. The father of Samia Shahid, the British woman of Pakistani origin who was allegedly killed for ‘honour’, has reportedly changed his statement by saying that his daughter had committed suicide. In his initial statement, Chaudhry Shahid had told police that his daughter died of a cardiac arrest.

The fresh statement by him was given before the four-member investigation team, headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh.

The investigators on Saturday visited the Mangla Police Station and also held a meeting with the officials of the local police at Police Lines.

Sources in the police told Dawn that Chaudhry Shahid, a suspect in the case lodged by Syed Mukhtar Kazim, the second husband of Samia, had told the investigators that his daughter had committed suicide.

Police are keeping development, if any, in the case secret and even the spokesman for the Jhelum district police officer (DPO) is the least available for comments to the media.

The investigation team has widened the scope of the investigation into the case as now sub-inspector of homicide unit of the Jhelum Sadar circle who was previously investigating the case, the Mangla station house office and other officials concerned will also be questioned besides the lady doctor and medico-legal officers, related to the autopsy and forensic evidence of the dead body.

The investigation was launched on the orders of the Punjab chief minister on Thursday to complete the inquiry into the matter within 72 hours.

The Asian Age – Rajnath Singh won’t hold bilateral meet with Pakistan leaders during SAARC visit: MEA

New Delhi, 29 July 2016. Reports suggested that Rajnath Singh may hold discussions with with his counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Pakistan.

External Affairs Ministry on Friday made it clear that there will be no bilateral meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Pakistani leaders when he travels to Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference on 4 August.

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “Let me categorically state that @Home Minister of India is going for SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan.”

The remarks by the Spokesperson come in the backdrop of the reports in the media quoting an unnamed Home Ministry official as saying that Singh will have a bilateral meet with his counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in contradiction to MEA’s statement.

Swarup had on Thursday also clearly said that the Home Minister was going for a multilateral SAARC event and there will not be any bilateral meeting.

According to sources in Home Ministry, Singh is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring acts of terror in India and also raise the issue of slow pace of probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the trial into the Mumbai terror attack case in that country.

Rajnath’s visit comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. Wani was a wanted terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.

Not only did Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.

Singh will be accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the Home Ministry.

The Tribune – Solar power push hits PSPCL roadblock

Corperation fears hike in buying limit will eat into profits

Ruchika M Khanna, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 28 July 2016. The Union Ministry of Power’s latest order on enhancing the growth trajectory of renewable purchase obligations (RPO) for solar and non-solar power has not gone down well with the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). The latter has decided to oppose the hiked limit for buying solar power.

Top officials in the state power utility told The Tribune that the enhanced trajectory of solar power was financially unviable for the corporation.

Though the rate at which the corporation is to buy the solar power from the producers is expected to be reduced considerably from last year, the PSPCL says that increased buying of solar power will eat into their profits. Solar power is costlier than the thermal one by over Rs 3 per unit.

Punjab has allotted 1,050-MW solar power projects. So far, 491 MW is being generated. The generation of the remaining power is expected to begin by December, once the projects get commissioned.

PSPCL officials said they were already objecting to the growth trajectory of 4 per cent (submitted for approval before the enhanced limit was set), recommended to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) by the Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA).

Top officials stated that this year, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission had fixed the rate at which solar power is to be bought at Rs 5.68 per unit.

The state power regulator is expected to keep the same rate, and reverse bids on this rate will be invited. Sources in PEDA expect that the reverse bids could get them a rate of Rs 4.5-5 per unit at which the PSPCL will buy the power they generate.

Last year, the PSPCL was buying power at Rs 5.09-5.98 per unit, after having allotted tenders for solar generation through reverse bidding.

Sources in the corporation said even if the rates at which solar power was generated and sold to them was fixed at Rs 4.5 per unit, it was still Rs 2.4/unit more expensive than generating its own thermal power or buying it.

Gent – De Lijn Trams

Gent, De Lijn Trams
10 May 2016


Tram 4 to UZ, Tram 21 to Zwijnaarde


Galglaan – Tram 4 to UZ


Galglaan – Tram 4 to UZ


Galglaan/Krijgslaan – Tram 4 to Moscou


Galglaan for tram 4 and 21


Galglaan/De Pintelaan
Tram 4 turns left, Tram 21 straight on

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Relief – Ambala, Court fails to progress 27 year old case against Surinder Singh

Ambala, 27 July 2016. Surinder Singh, who worked as a journalist for 10 years in Delhi for various media outlets such as Zee TV, All-India Radio and AIN, is currently being held in Ambala jail in a case dating back to the 1980’s when he was 14 years old at the time.

During his time as a journalist, he noticed the content of the news in India would be altered in a biased manner against Sikhs before being sent out to the masses.

It was at this point that he went from simply being a journalist to being a Sikh journalist. Today, he is best known for his news show ‘Talking Punjab’, which covers issues and news relevant to the Sikh struggle.

This week, Surinder Singh appeared in an Ambala court in relation to the 27-year old TADA case registered by Haryana’s Ghula Chika police, in connection with an armed attack on a village leader in Haryana.

Prepared to represent him in court were Sikh Relief’s legal team of, Advocate Balbir Singh Saini and Advocate Kulvinder Kaur. However, after spending most of the day in the courts holding cells, Surinder Singh finally appeared before the judge at 5pm, at which point the hearing was postponed without any activity in the case.

Surinder Singh has openly spoken of being on the ‘police radar’ ever since he began reporting on apparent drug seizures in Panjab, merely querying where the drug supply had been seized from and where it would then be stored.

He has also shared his experiences of alleged biased Indian media reporting against Sikhs, his journey as a journalist and his vow to report with integrity and honesty until his last breath.

Sikh Relief member Parminder Singh Amloh, was present throughout the day and our team will continue to stand by and support Surinder Singh. The judge has set the next date for 2nd August 2016 and we will bring you further updates as the case progresses.

Sikh Relief
PO Box 690
Southall, Middlesex UB1 9QL
Tel: 0300 999 0187

The Hindu – India should hit back at Pakistan for terror: BJP MP

The former Union Home Secretary referred to terror attacks in India and said Pakistan army is involved in these

New Delhi, 29 July 2016. India should hit back at Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in this country, BJP member R K Singh said in Lok Sabha, adding there is no point in talking to the neighbouring country.

The former Union Home Secretary referred to terror attacks in India, including in Pathankot and Kashmir, and said Pakistan army is involved in these.

These terrorists, he said, are being trained in Pakistan and sent to India.

“There is no point in talking to them (Pakistan) because whenever we talk, they launch attacks like in Pathankot or series of incidents in Kashmir… Government should find out a way to retaliate and hit back at Pakistan,” Mr. Singh said.

His party colleague Kirit Solanki raised the issue of safety on the Pakistan border in Gujarat, saying the fencing on the frontier has been damaged and the route is being used to smuggle drugs into India.

He wanted installation of proper fencing along the border as well as high density CCTV cameras to monitor the activity, especially at night.

Professor Richard Hay (BJP) raised the issue of Indian youth getting involved with ISIS terrorist groups.

Quoting reports, Hay said as many as 23 Indians are fighting for ISIS terror groups and demanded that government investigate deeply to find out who is motivating the youth.

“The government should try to deradicalise these youth and take steps to monitor the cyber space so that these youths do not get distracted,” Hay said.