Author Archives: barakatinc

About barakatinc

Barakat is dedicated to providing exemplary basic education in Afghanistan and Pakistan that advances literacy and increases access to secondary education, particularly for girls and women.

Recent events in Afghanistan

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Dear readers,

Happy Wednesday. The Barakat team is wishing you a pleasant week ahead.

No End to Terrorism Without Better Pakistan-Afghanistan-India ties

In an article in the Express Tribune of Pakistan the conclusion that terrorism will not end without better Pakistan-Afghanistan-India ties is a strong, yet true statement in mending the region that has been plagued with extremism and war over the last few years. Without stronger multi-national relations between these countries it is virtually impossible to represent a a strong and unified strategic and military front.

All three countries have suffered from the rise of extremism, which has been attributed to foreign intervention and war in the last few decades. The article states that in “in the last 16 years, scores of terror attacks have killed about 61,700 people in Pakistan.” Furthermore, “India has suffered the Mumbai attacks, assaults on its parliament and security forces, as well as the recent Uri incident.” Afghanistan has also be subject to similar extremist activity with “severe militancy and heavy civilian casualties” as a result of the creating of the Islamic State and other organizations “with global agendas (who) are also active in the country.”

To read more please visit this link.

Australian aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan freed

Recent Events in Pakistan

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Dear readers, we hope you are enjoying your week! Below are some articles about recent events in Pakistan over the last month or so. Enjoy, and as always we hope we are doing a good job at informing you all!

G7 Plus India and Afghanistan: Lead Economic Sanctions against Pakistan

The G7, which leads the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has warned Pakistan that if they are involved with terrorist financing (during the three-month warning they have been given) Pakistan will become a “no-go zone” for international banking. The threat of losing that status will put Pakistan in grave economic turmoil, and also effect many non-resident Pakistanis that live outside but choose to bank in Pakistan. Pakistan has a history of allegedly supporting the Taliban in times when the government needed a sort of paramilitary support.

To read more please visit this link.

Afghanistan urges Pakistan to reopen border, de-escalate tensions

The closure of the two major border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan has not only halted or impeded travel, but has also blocked trade supply. The border closures took place following an ISIL attack on a Sufi shrine that killed 88 people in the middle of February. The border closure is intended to put pressure on Kabul to look into the frightening increase of ISIL members in Afghanistan in the last few months.

Ambassador to Afghanistan Abrar Hussain has requested the borders to be re-opened, and he also stressed that “Afghanistan should take appropriate measures to deny “use of its soil by terrorists against Pakistan.” Hussain also suggested that both countries look into improving and strengthening their border management so future attacks can be halted before they become detrimental.

To read more please visit this link.

 

Pakistan Super League controversy

As some of you may know, cricket is not only a past time, or a hobby in Pakistan but it has become an institution of some sorts. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a club cricket league that runs a tournament every year. The games have been played across the UAE in Sharjah and Dubai, however the final is to be played on March 5th in Lahore. In the recent months Lahore has faced turmoil and has been victim to extremist activities, therefore many international players have decided not to participate if their team reaches the final. Also, many international renowned commentators will not be traveling to Pakistan for security reasons.

There have been many other complications to hosting the PSL final in Pakistan, for example the PSL broadcasting company has pulled out of covering the final (following the example of international players and commentators), competition will be unequal because many international players have decided not to play, there are evident security threats, in fact having an international event in general is a risk with “deteriorating security conditions of Lahore.”

The idea is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan, but the question to be asked is it really worth it and at what cost will this be achieved?

To read more please visit this article.

 

 

Background Information in Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Dear readers, wishing you a very happy Wednesday from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Today we would like to try something a little different, instead of briefing you on current events and recent news, we thought we would do a quick overview of Afghanistan and Pakistan and share facts that are relevant in understanding why things are happening the way they are in the region.

Pakistan:

Area:  796,095 km2 (slightly less than twice the size of California)

Population: 201,995,540 (July 2016)

Capital: Islamabad

Largest city: Karachi

Official languages: Urdu, English

Religion: 96.4% Muslim, 3.6% other (Christian, Hindu, Zoroastrians, etc.)

President: Mamnoon Hussain

To learn more please visit this link.

Afghanistan: 

Area: 652,864 km(slightly less than twice the size of California)

Population: 33,332,025 (July 2016)

Capital: Kabul

Largest city: Kabul

Official languages: Pashto, Dari

Religion:99% Muslim (Sunni, Imamiyyah, Ismailism), 1% other

President: Ashraf Ghani

To learn more please visit this link.

Recent Events in Pakistan

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On behalf of the Barakat team we would like to wish you a very Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Please find below a short summary of a couple recent events in Pakistan in the last month.

  • New App for women to report harassment launched in Pakistan

Women in the Punjab region of Pakistan are now able to report incidents of harassment and assault through a smartphone application that directly communicates with the Pakistan’s Punjab province. The app also allows women to report incidents of a more pressing nature by alerting an emergency response team at the press of a button. The police team can track the users location “via a built-in global positioning system (GPS).”

Through the app users can also mark areas that are unsafe and gives women a toll-free number to call in the event that they need an emergency response.

Phone applications like this one are a response to studies like the one by the “by the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani women’s rights group, in 2013 found that Punjab province alone accounted for 5,800 crimes against women – 74% of crimes against women in the whole of Pakistan.”

The women’s rights advocates who launched the application and are campaigning for its use are afraid that not all women have access to it. So, the next step will be creating a more accessible platform where women can report incidents and utilize the resources available to them.

To read more, please visit this site.

  • Pakistani activist fears he will be killed after blasphemy fatwa

Shaan Taseer, son of Salman Taseer”the former governor of Punjab province, “is advocating for the release of Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy despite weak and contradictory evidence against her” and Nabeel Masih, “a Christian teenager arrested last year for “liking” on Facebook a picture of the Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.” Salman Taseer was killed for advocating for similar causes six years ago, and Shaan Taseer fears that he will be killed like his father after the blasphemy fatwa, the fatwa that he openly criticizes.

To read more, please visit this site.

 

Recent Events in Afghanistan

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The Barakat Team is wishing you all a very happy Tuesday. Today’s blog post will be focused on explaining the recent events in Afghanistan.

  • Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum accused of torturing political rival Ahmad Ishchi

Political rival, Ahmad Ishchi, has accused the current Vice Presdient of Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dostum, of torture over a period of five days after he was abducted by Dostum last month. During this time Dostum was acting-president, as President Ashram Ghani was out of the country. Ishchi claims that Dostum threatened his life, and used his power to manipulate Ishchi. There are also many witnesses that reported seeing the assault take place. Although Dostum and his staff have not made an official statement, and appear to be less than concerned, many of the Western embassies in Kabul call for a more thorough and transparent investigation of the accusations on hand.

General Dostum was formerly a warlord, and has faced accusation of human rights violation and abuse in the past. Dostum was allegedly one of the United States’ earliest and biggest allies, but his reputation was why the United States recommended Hamid Karzai not use the general as his campaign ally. On the other hand, President Ghani elected to run with Dostum in order to attract attention and gain support of Dostum’s ethnic Uzbek community.

To read more please visit this site.

  • Secretary of Defense Carter makes a trip to Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a trip to Afghanistan where he met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with US military commanders. It was the Obama administrations intention to remove troops from Afghanistan before President Obama left ISIS, but with the “lingering Taliban insurgency, and the emergence of local ISIS affiliate and the continued presence of al Qaeda, terrorists, Obama revised the plan several times, eventually opting to hand-off the issue to his successor.”

There are currently 9,800 Americans serving in Afghanistan, and the goal is the reduce this number to 8,450 by 2017.

To read more on this please visit this site.

  • Threat of Taliban emerges once again due to private financing from Saudi Arabia

The security situation in Afghanistan has reportedly been deteriorating in the last year. It has been reported that only 60% of the country is controlled by the President Ashraf Ghani’s leadership, the remainder of which is controlled by paramilitaries and the Taliban.

One would wonder with the Taliban has not yet lost its momentum over its overthrow, however they have continually received funds from many Saudis even though the King himself officially supports the Afghan Government, as well as the American mission in Afghanistan.

Saudi royals, philanthropists, and oil tycoons have been privately financing the insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan for many years now. Secretary of State John Kerry calls their support “surrogate money” that has been shown to prop up the Taliban and ISIS.

To read more please visit this site.

Recent events in Pakistan

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Dear readers, we are wishing you a very happy Wednesday and hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving with your loved ones. As per usual we would like share with you all the recent events in Pakistan, as to keep you updated with the headlines affecting the areas where our schools are run.

  • Pakistan puts an “unofficial hold” on cotton imports from India

In light of the hostility between India and Pakistan, Pakistan has suspended cotton imports from hits number one supplier. If this hold continues it can threaten to bring down an $822 million per year industry. Pakistan will seek out other cotton suppliers such as Brazil and United States to substitute India’s exports to Pakistan. Pakistan states that the Indian products have “received some complaints regarding insects, pests, in cotton consignments imported from India, so we have sent samples for tests .. If results show non-compliance of phyto-sanitary requirements, we would have to stop the imports from India.”

In 2015-2016, Pakistan surpassed Bangladesh in becoming the largest buyer of India’s cotton, in fact they make up 40% of India’s cotton exports.

To read more please visit.

  • Pakistan’s new army chief takes command

Qamar Javed Bajwa was assigned the position of being the new head of Pakistan’s military in the midst of tensions with Afghanistan and hostility with India over the controversial Kashmir region. Bajwa strongly believe that the Kashmir dispute must be resolved in order to ensure regional stability. Although Bajwa is a “fresh face,” he has inherited a plethora of problems, which will be challenging for him to deal with.

To read more please visit.

  • Militants attack Indian Army base in Nagrota on November 29th, 2016

With tensions already being high between India and Pakistan, a group of militants that are dressed in police officer uniform “attacked an Indian Army unit in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, killing seven soldiers, the Indian government said in a statement.”

On that same day, “Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir reported killing three heavily armed militants after a battle near the town of Ramgarh, on the Pakistani border, that lasted several hours.”

The historical hostility and tension between the two countries escalated on September 18th, when militants attacked an Indian Army post in the volatile and conflict area of Kashmir, which resulted in the death of 19 Indian soldiers. India fought back by conducted military strikes a couple of weeks later.

Since the Indian partition of 1947 and gaining independence from the British, India and Pakistan have been at war a total of three times.

To read more please visit.

 

Ways you can help: Peer to Peer Campaigns, Giving Tuesday

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Thinking about how to give back? Thinking of a cause that is close to home? Here’s your chance to change the lives of young children and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Can you believe that it only costs it only costs $0.70 a day to attend a Barakat school. Help today!

Here’s your opportunity to create a peer-to-peer campaign and have friends and family donate to the cause. Visit this web-page to create your fundraising page.

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Help women today, give them hope and an opportunity to make their dreams become a reality.