Indo-Pak hostility costing them $35 billion dollars a yearDunya (September 26) quoted a World Bank report “A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia” as saying that missed trading opportunities are inflicting a loss of $35 billion a year on India and Pakistan. The volume of trade between India and Pakistan is a mere $2 billion whereas without trade barriers, this could reach $37 billion. According to the report, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world. Thirty-three percent of the poorest people live in South Asia. Forty percent of the children are suffering from malnutrition belong to this region. Pakistan criticizes China over treatment of MuslimsAccording to The Nation (September 20), Pakistan has asked China to soften restrictions on ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang, one of the first public criticisms from a majority Muslim country over China’s policies in the western territory. In a meeting with China’s ambassador, Yao Jing, the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, said that strict regulations and laws fuel extremism and in order to curb intolerance and promote religious harmony China should exercise patience. The minister proposed that Pakistani religious scholars could visit the troubled region and play their role in ending extremist ideology and promote moderate thinking. The Chinese ambassador promised that his government would soon facilitate a Pakistani delegation of religious scholars to visit Xinjiang. The paper approvingly quoted international media reports as saying that Muslim ethnic minorities were being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored. Peshawar journalist earns $200 a month after 30-year careerKhawar Naeem Hashmi published an appeal from a Peshawar-based copy editor (sub-editor) with a 30-year experience (Daily 92 News, September 28). His father, who worked as a calligrapher for Mashriq newspaper, advised him to earn his living with scrupulous honesty. He works for a national newspaper and his salary is only Rs25,000 ($200) a month. He lives in a rented house. He has four daughters and a son. During his long journalistic career, he could afford to buy only a motorcycle, that too on installments. Economic worries have ruined his health. He has appealed to philanthropists for one hundred thousand rupees to pay for his daughter’s marriage. Pakistan has asked China to soften restrictions on ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang, one of the first public criticisms from a majority Muslim country over China’s policies in the western territoryIndonesia blasphemy woman endures cramped cell, bad foodDaily Times (September 28) reported a human-rights group saying that the Indonesian woman imprisoned for blasphemy after complaining about noise from a mosque is sharing a cramped cell with 16 other women and given “terrible” food. Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said the ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, was emotional but tough when he and other supporters visited her in prison in Medan this week. “She was sobbing when talking to us,” Harsono said Thursday in a statement about the visit. “The cell is about 30 square meters. The food is terrible,” he said. The case has highlighted how Indonesia’s blasphemy law has become a tool for Islamic hardliners to persecute followers of minority religions. Meiliana, who uses one name, was sentenced to 18 months in prison last month. She was charged in May, nearly two years after her comments sparked riots in Tanjung Balai, a Sumatran port town. Najam Sethi, Muneeb Farooq, Mir Shakil and Absar Aalam booked for seditionNajam Sethi, Muneeb Farooq, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the owner of Geo TV network, and Absar Aalam, former PEMRA chief, have been book booked for sedition (Dunya, September 26).A case has been registered against them under Section 124 A, at a police station in Faisalabad. Mr. Naqash Liaqat of village No 226 RB got the case registered. He argued that on January 25, 2017, while taking part in his TV talk show Mr Sethi caused chaos and a sense of insecurity by engaging in hateful conversation against the judiciary, armed forces and security institutions. The charge against Mr. Aalam is that he, as the PEMRA chief, he did not take action against the offending TV program. Thinking of friendship with India is a crimeThe senior columnist Abdul Qadir Hassan says that it is a crime to think of friendship with India after what it did to Pakistan in 1971 (Express, September 25). Any efforts for friendship with India will be useless. India is hell-bent on hostility towards Pakistan. Its cunning and ignoble nature is also obvious. He has approvingly quoted Dr AQ Khan as saying that if India committed any aggression against Pakistan, we will smash it to smithereens within 15 minutes. “It will not be able to do anything about it.” It may be added that Mr. Hassan was born on May 12, 1935, in Khoda village of Khushab district. A few months before December 1971, he wrote an article in Nawa-i-Waqt, taunting the Arabs for not being able to handle a small country, Israel. Here we have bridled such a big country, India, he had written.Operation Gibraltar destroyed our awe over IndiaIn Dunya of September 26, Rauf Tahir published an account of the launch of Altaf Hassan Qureshi’s book about the 1965 war. Speaking on the occasion the senior journalist Ata-ur-Rahman criticized Operation Gibraltar. It harmed the economy. It destroyed our awe over India. If we had not launched this operation, India would not have summoned the courage to commit aggressions against Pakistan in 1971. It may be added that Ata-ur-Rahman admires Bin Laden for “thoroughly defeating the might and technology of the United States.” Obviously, he does not agree with those conspiracy theorists who blame 9/11 on Jews. In his column of July 15, 2005, he wrote in Nawa-i-Waqt: “Arab youngsters were responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.”The writer studied international relations at QAU, Isd, and media at the LSE. He has worked for several English newspapers. He has done extensive research on the Pakistani media, in particular the Urdu pressPublished in Daily Times, October 2nd 2018.