'King of Pop' Michael Jackson is dead

I am deeply saddened by the death of the most unique talent the world has seen in pop music. Michael Jackson was one of the greatest music icons of the 20th Century. A true star who will never be forgotten. There will never be another Michael Jackson. He was the consumate performer and talented in ways that we have not seen since. His appeal crossed over racial lines. His influence on R&B and Pop will live forever. Thriller is one of a kind. MTV would not be what it is today if it were not for Michael. He was a music legend, an American icon, and a talented Black man. MJ loved so many in his life and was loved by all who heard his music, saw his dancing & acting, or heard him share his heart. Such great loss to so many. Such great loss for us all. Funny thing about Billie Jean...as a kid, I never really knew what it was about. I distinctly remember hearing it as an adult and having an "ah hah!" moment when I realized the underlying theme. I don't know that I have ever been so shocked to hear of a celebrity's death. Madonna, a fellow pop icon, said, “The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!”He ruled entire globe through his music. Rest in Peace MJ. You will forever be an icon of music and culture. Jackson was a brilliant talent, and left behind some of the greatest pop music ever made. He was exceptional, artistic and original. He gave the world his heart and soul through his music.

Iran: Four Ways the Crisis May Resolve

By Tony Karon

Some observers see Iran's courageous protests against a stolen election as a replay of the 1979 revolution that ended the tyranny of the Shah — or of the "velvet revolutions" that ended communism in Eastern Europe. Others fear a repeat of China's 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. But none of these comparisons easily fits the unique combination of discord on the streets and infighting in the corridors of power currently under way in Tehran.

The situation is all the more dangerous and unpredictable because the election and its aftermath appears to have surprised all the major players, forcing them to improvise their responses to a fast-changing situation. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei appear to have been taken aback by the surge in support for the pragmatic conservative candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The decision to hastily announce what many say was an improbable landslide victory for Ahmadinejad touched off an unprecedented wave of protests that have rocked Khamenei, who has since backtracked by ordering an investigation into claims of voter fraud. Despite violent attacks on demonstrators and arrests of political figures, security forces have in the main refrained from unleashing their repressive might on the demonstrators who are openly defying the law. The partial recount of the vote has bought Khamenei time, but the crisis of legitimacy facing those in power grows by the day.(See pictures of Iran's presidential election and its turbulent aftermath.)

Violence and the threat of violence has not deterred the demonstrators, and Mousavi is showing no inclination to back down just yet. Khamenei appears to be scrambling for a compromise that will persuade Mousavi to end the demonstrations while keeping Ahmadinejad in the presidency. But the outcome of the battle of wills may depend on how the key players read the balance of forces on the street and in the councils of the regime. The situation is delicately poised; what follows are four scenarios that could resolve it.

One: Revolution 2.0?
Despite the Twitter-enabled street scenes and revived slogans of Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1979 revolution, a repeat of that successful insurrection remains highly improbable. For one thing, the protest movement is being led by a faction of the Islamic Republic's political establishment, whose members stand to lose a great deal if the regime is brought down and, thus, have to calibrate their dissent. More important, an unarmed popular movement can topple an authoritarian regime only if the security forces switch sides or stay neutral. But Iran's key security forces — the élite Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Basij militia — are bastions of support for Ahmadinejad. And they have hardly used a fraction of their repressive power. Also, while the opposition draws far larger crowds, there are still millions of Iranians strongly backing Ahmadinejad. So even if the government is unable to destroy the opposition, it's unlikely that the opposition will be in a position to destroy the government. (See pictures of the enduring influence of Ayatullah Khomeini.)

Two: A Tehran Tiananmen?
The harsh language used by Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guards to describe opposition protests — and their invoking of the specter of an Eastern European–style "velvet revolution" backed by the West — appeared to be generating a narrative that would justify a bloody crackdown, a massive use of military force that would terrify the opposition into submission. Clearly, the limited violence unleashed by the Ahmadinejad camp thus far has failed to intimidate Mousavi and his supporters. But while it would almost certainly clear the streets, the "nuclear option" of a Tiananmen Square–style crackdown would be a potentially fatal wound to the regime's own sources of legitimacy — its limited but lively democracy and the backing of Shi'ite clergy. Discord among the mullahs is growing, with some senior clerics like the esteemed house-arrested dissident Ayatullah Hossein-Ali Montazeri publicly condemning Khamenei's handling of the election and warning ordinary soldiers and police officers that they would "answer to God" for any violence against the people. A crackdown would risk reducing a regime built on clerical authority and "managed" democracy to a tyranny on par with the Shah. Khamenei will be reluctant to go that route. But his handling of the political crisis thus far will have deepened long-standing skepticism within the clergy about his abilities as Supreme Leader. A harsh crackdown, even if followed by reforms, would solve an immediate crisis, but at the cost of inflicting a possibly fatal long-term wound on the regime.

Three: Khamenei's "Divine" Retreat?
Khamenei blundered when he yoked his own position as Supreme Leader — which is typically above the factional fray of the regime's politics — so closely to Ahmadinejad. He issued a barely disguised public endorsement of the candidate, and then rushed to proclaim Ahmadinejad's "divine victory" and order all Iranians to accept it. But the mounting instability on the streets appears to have sent Khamenei into retreat, ordering the Guardian Council to investigate claims of electoral fraud. If the combination of escalating street demonstrations and the politicking of Mousavi's backers inside the regime's councils prompts Khamenei to conclude that an Ahmadinejad victory is untenable, he could press the Guardian Council to heed the opposition's demand for a new vote — or, more likely, "adjust" the result so that no candidate has a clear majority, forcing a runoff election between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. Such a course would be a bitter pill for the Supreme Leader, dealing a body blow to his efforts to install Ahmadinejad and mocking his authority by forcing him to reverse himself. Whatever its outcome, this crisis has badly damaged Khamenei's credibility within the regime, heralding the onset of a bitter backroom struggle in the coming years to choose his successor. As to whether he'll sound the retreat on the election, however, his own preference and the likely tooth-and-nail resistance to any reversal from Ahmadinejad and the security establishment that backs him mean that Khamenei may be more likely to seek a compromise that keeps the incumbent in place. That may require ...

Four: A "Zimbabwe" Option?
The option that would likely hold the most appeal to Khamenei now would be to broker an agreement similar to the one that has kept Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, in power despite essentially losing an election — by bludgeoning the opposition into settling for an important yet subordinate role in his government. Already, Khamenei has appealed to a sense of national unity and preserving the regime, hoping to cajole the opposition into accepting the results. And at his first press conference following the announcement of his victory, Ahmadinejad reportedly asked his opponents to submit lists of candidates for membership in his Cabinet. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad may be hoping that standing firm and having the Guardian Council affirm his victory after a 10-day recount will produce enough opposition fatigue, which, combined with the threat of violence, will see the protests peter out. By so doing, Khamenei would hope that the pragmatic conservatives — embodied by Mousavi — can be weaned away from the reformists (led by former President Mohammed Khatami) by giving them a stake in a national unity government and promises to moderate Ahmadinejad's style of governance. However, that scenario would come into play only if Mousavi believed that he was losing the battle and risked disaster by keeping his supporters out on the street. Right now, there are no signs that the opposition feels beaten. (Mugabe's opponents settled for the deal only when they had been so pummeled that they could see no hope of unseating him.) Which is why all four options may remain in play while the various camps test one another's strength in the coming days.

‘’Pekhawar kho Pekhawar de kana‘’

Pekhawar kho Pekhawar de kana ,my favorite song while driving on New York streets but now I have stopped listening to this song, because that Peshawar, where I grew up, where I learned everything, where I had my school, college and university days, that feeling been jinxed in some way ,Peshawar, where I used to enjoy evenings with my friends after college hours, where we used to drink tea and gossip for hours is becoming ghost town as I hear and read about this city, now Peshawar is a place where people are afraid to come out, is now city of fear, where residents, confining to their homes because bunch of criminals took their right to enjoy their time , Grief, fear and terror is now name of Peshawar, when I was growing up, I used to hear about bomb blasts and killings in Beirut, sri lanka etc , now when ever I read and watch news, I see people in my home town getting killed by bombs, today it has become a routine matter in my city which was once famous for the peace and tranquility it had, because of these criminals who are wearing masks of religion ,because of these thugs , people have lost the spirit to enjoy and laugh and even work. The citizens of Peshawar are going through a torrid time.
I ask people of this great city to stand united and be strong to face the menace of terrorism. Peshawar, the  city of flowers will not face this darkness forever. It is time we recognize that what we are experiencing today is also a war, its our war, for our survival. We can hope and pray that its impact would not be as destructive as it was during the world wars or as in recent times in Afghanistan. But, let us not have any doubt; it is going to be a long haul. Our cities and towns and people will pay a price. But, we shall overcome.  While the state has a lot of work to do, the people also have to play an important part. It is not possible that foreign elements and hundreds of tons of explosives are smuggled into an urban centre and no one sees anything or that outsiders are not noticed. It is, but either because of laziness or fear nothing is done. This will have to change. Everything out of the ordinary must be reported. Spirit and morale has also to be kept high in times of adversity. The collaborators would continue to undermine it by calling this America's war. They would also praise the piety and the simplicity of these throat-cutters. And they would attack the political leadership viciously because they dare not attack the army. These people have to be isolated from the national discourse. They confuse and obfuscate and in practice, if not deliberately, aid the enemy. They have their democratic rights and no one is advocating taking them away but their voices should be marginalized even more than they already are. 
Whenever I visit Peshawar, the first thing I do go to a KEBAB place and order kebabs there, I hope when I return next time, I expect people as happy as they were when I was there last time, my heart goes for all those innocent people who are facing this terror by their own people, by the agents of other powers, for making little bit money, they are killing their own people and giving it name of Islam, shame on them, such people who are involved in this barbarian act deserve no mercy. Also shame on those politicians who were forcing Govt to make deals with criminals and killers, shame on Gen. Musharaff who did not take action against these murderers. Shame on those religious parties who when had power, were busy removing billboards with women pictures and encouraged those ignorant Taliban to grow stronger. the six-party religious alliance that ruled over the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) for five years is responsible for all this mess, today their leaders are saying if military stops operation, they will go and talk to Taliban, why did not they do this before military operation, Fazal Rehman, Qazi Hussain, be a man and go to FATA and Swat and tell those lunatics to stop their murder campaign. This disaster could be avoided if Musharaff regime had taken strong action against those who were challenging state writ. Why no one did anything when these thugs were destroying girls schools, bombing music centers and inter net café, No one cared when pukhtuns dead bodies were hanging to poles and trees, no one said anything when Taliban were beheading innocent puktuns. What happen to QAZI HUSSIAN and IMRAN KHAN’s long marches, why don’t they do their so called long march against bombings and killings??? when the Taliban throws acid in the faces of young women, gasses them and bombs their schools there is an eerie silence. There seems to be just more than a small amount of hypocrisy in this regard, doesn't there? But that is what, after all, we have come to expect from these people. Hypocrites all. Can Imran Khan,Qazi, Fazal Rehaman
Organize million man march to support a Swati girl’s right to education and walk all the way up to Mingora from Islamabad? These maniacs are doing what they are doing because they have been given a free hand to do as they please. This is what happens when our leaders make peace deals with barbarians who killed hundreds of people in cold blood and blew up hundreds of schools in Swat. No questions asked, no one convicted. Can the Shrif borthers/ Qazis/Imran Khans for once condemn these elements categorically and forcefully and by name that is the Taliban/ the lashker jhagwi/ the jesh muhammad? If only Sharif could put his weight against these elements . Why I don’t hear that Taliban notorious leaders are being killed or arrested? Why sufi was released? Why LAL MSJID mullah is free and not facing criminal charges??? But these hypocrite leaders will not do anything, This is the time for people to stand up and shout against Taliban in hordes and rallies and scream for their eradication. Look at the lashker in buneer, after the bomb blast in the mosque, they gathered up and attacked Taliban . Pakistan is at war! The Pakistani people should not just sit around and expect the army and police to solve this problem. People need to stand up and be counted. This is yet another reminder for the people of Pakistan in general and the Ulema in particular to make it abundantly clear that where their sympathies lie. A major section of organized religious setup (Ahle-hadith, Deobandi etc) has been bent in accusing our military and the government for all sort of things, yet they do not find the courage to challenge their fellow ‘believers’ for their atrocities. Our media will need to scrutinize the funding of these jehadi establishment more, especially within the country where prominent traders collect money for these people in different guise.
Dr. Naeemi’s murder is also a signal for the society that we must not look other way when challenge knocks at our door steps. We must not allow these people to roam freely among our midst, just because they wears their religion on sleeves. The early we challenge, the better it is, this is not the time to bash leaders of Pakistan in Govt. It is time for Pakistanis to be united, stand behind their civil and military leaders to eliminate the enemies of Pakistan and save Pakistan. When your enemy attacks you and your family with guns and rockets, what choice do you have? Open dialogue with the enemy or kill the enemy? Pakistan army is doing super job. They have no choice but what they are doing to save you and your future generation from ruthless murderers. Those opportunist politicians who are opposing this military operations are also enemies of Pakistan. Security officials have confirmed that the Taliban thugs in Swat are being funded in large part by several foreign charity groups. At a recent NATO meeting, Richard Holbrooke expressed similar concerns about the funds being provided to the taliban by private individuals and groups in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. He estimated that such funding rivals if not exceeds the $200-$300M drug money raised annually by the Taliban.
The media has an obligation to pinpoint these foreign charities and their nefarious anti-Pakistan agenda. Clearly, an organized foreign-based extremist network is providing institutionalized funding, expertise and manpower to the taliban thugs.
Our security agencies must take all necessary measures to hunt down traitors colluding with these charities and shut down their local operations. Importantly, the government must take up this serious matter with the relevant foreign leaders, asking them to do more to prevent such extremist elements from supporting the taliban fascists in our midst.

., ‘Ma darta tol umar da guloono khar wayalay day.... Kala mi perzo shey pa bamoono Pekhawara’ (I have always called you the city of flowers, how can I see you being bombed now).

Pakistan’s IDP Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities

The International Crisis Group
In the wake of a conceptually flawed peace agreement, the Taliban takeover of large parts of Malakand division, subsequent military action in the area, almost three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled to camps, homes, schools and other places of shelter across Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). The challenge for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government and international actors is to make relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts responsive to needs and empower local communities in Malakand Division. Failure to do so will reverse any gains on the battlefield and boost radical Islamist groups.
The military’s use of heavy force in the ongoing operations, failure to address the full cost to civilians and refusal to allow full civilian and humanitarian access to the conflict zones has already been counterproductive. The public, particularly those directly affected, is increasingly mistrustful of a military that has, in the past, swung between short-sighted appeasement deals with militants and the use of haphazard force. While there is still broad public and political support for moving against the Taliban, it could erode if civilian casualties are high and the response to IDPs’ needs is inadequate. Indeed, it will not be long before the IDPs demand greater accountability from those responsible for their displacement and assurances of a viable return.
Almost four years after they responded poorly to the October 2005 earthquake in NWFP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), overly centralised state relief organs remain ill-equipped to deal with large-scale humanitarian crises. Likewise, despite the transition to civilian rule in February 2008, the military continues to dominate key institutions, further undermining civilian capacity. Relief and reconstruction efforts must ultimately reestablish and strengthen the link between Malakand’s citizens and the state, severed by rising militancy and the military-devised accord between the Awami National Party (ANP)-led NWFP government and the Taliban-linked Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Moham madi (TNSM) to impose Sharia (Islamic law) in the Malakand area, through the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, which President Asif Ali Zardari signed on 13 April 2009.
As they did in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, religious extremist groups, while opposing the military campaign, are exploiting relief efforts to advance their agenda. Communities displaced by a badly planned war may be especially vulnerable to jihadi indoctrination. The crisis, however, also presents an opportunity to win hearts and minds of millions of Pakistanis in NWFP, and more specifically in Malakand Division, who have suffered at the hands of the Taliban. Many of them fled the area even before the current operations began because of Taliban abuses, including murder and rape.
Mounting opposition from the religious lobby may give the military an opening to again enter into a compromise with the militants, as it has in earlier campaigns. The federal and provincial governments must resist any such efforts and assert civilian control over counter-insurgency policy, relief and reconstruction. Instituting civilian oversight and scrutiny is vital to retaining popular support for the struggle against violent extremism. The international community should help build civilian capacity to respond to the humanitarian crisis and also counsel the military against negotiating another deal that would again allow religious extremists more space to recruit and spread Taliban control.
The Pakistan government should:
devise a blueprint for reconstruction efforts, including revitalising war-shattered agricultural and tourism sectors;
develop mechanisms that will enable IDP communities to hold officials accountable for the distribution of assistance;
prohibit jihadi groups banned under the Anti-Terrorism Law, including those operating under changed names, from participating in relief efforts;
prioritise police training and other mechanisms to enhance the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain security after the military operation ends and bring militant and local criminal networks and allied serving or retired district officials to justice;
rescind immediately the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009, reaffirm the jurisdication of Malakand’s civil courts, the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court and abolish the Frontier Crimes Regulations and the Nizam-e-Adl 1999; and
build on political and public support for confronting militancy in NWFP by implementing without delay long-term political and constitutional reforms in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), of which Malakand is a part, as well as in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), so as to incorporate their districts and tribal agencies, respectively, into NWFP, with full provincial rights.
The international community should:
urge a humanitarian pause in fighting to allow much-needed assistance to non-combatants in conflict zones, to permit them to flee and to account for civilian casualties, with the timeframe dependent on assessment of needs and available logistical and other resources and material support, as determined by the provincial government and international and local humanitarian agencies;
ensure that relief and reconstruction are civilian-led and empower displaced communities to determine their own needs and priorities;
prioritise the relief and rehabilitation of IDPs, particularly those living outside government camps, through cash transfer programs that provide income support, payment of school tuition and paid vocational training;
support Pakistan civilian-led plans for return of IDPs to their communities with reconstruction programs that incorporate support for the provincial government and help build the capacity of civilian police and advance justice reform with new training, equipment and mentors; and
encourage long-term political and constitutional reforms in PATA and FATA through support for comprehensive governance, stabilisation and rural development programs.