Archive for ‘Non-Mainstream News’

December 30, 2010

MQM and PML-N introduce each other

by admin

غیر اخلاقی بیان بازی کے بعد فائر بندی

فریقین میں تلخی اور توہین آمیز بیان بازی کا سلسلہ اس وقت شروع ہوا جب مسلم لیگ (ن) کے سربراہ نواز شریف نے مظفرآباد میں ایک خطاب میں ایم کیو ایم پر فوجی آمر کا ساتھ دینے، کراچی میں بارہ مئی کے قتل عام اور ٹارگٹ کلنگ کا الزام عائد کیا۔

جس کے جواب میں الطاف حسین نے کراچی میں اپنے کارکنوں سے خطاب میں کہا کہ وہ

December 30, 2010

In appreciation of Malik Riaz Hussain, General Aslam Beg and Saudi dates – by Javed Chaudhry

by admin

Related articles:

LUBP archive on Javed Chaudhry
LUBP archive on Malik Riaz

Thanks to Mohammed Hanif (@Twitter) for pointing towards this perfect Urdu column: Malik Riaz great+ General Beg greater+ secret Cardio cures+ Saudi dates+ nuke india+ pray for me

In the meanwhile, let us believe Javed Chaudhry that he was not paid a single penny by Malik Riaz Hussain for his legendary excursions to Europe!


Source: Express

December 28, 2010

Pakistani Hindu families seek political asylum in India

by admin


According to the report published in various national ‘Dailies’ and in international media with regard to the Pakistani Hindu families seek asylum in India. The Times of India report says Kidnapping, killing force Pak Hindus to seek political asylum in India. The Hindu says In the latest incident in that country targeting minorities, an abducted elderly spiritual leader is still untraced.

Ravaged by attacks and extortion, dozens of Hindu families from Pakistan’s Baluchistan province have sought political asylum at Islamabad’s Indian High Commission , a senior official said.

‘‘ As many as 27 families have sent their applications to the high commission,’’ Pakistan human rights ministry’s regional director Saeed Ahmed Khan said in Quetta on Sunday. Khan said Hindus have been living in Baluchistan for centuries, but many have been forced to flee due to kidnapping of several members of the community.

The province’s Hindus took to streets in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki towns and blocked a highway linking it to Karachi to protest their spiritual leader Laxmi Chand Garji’s kidnapping along with four companions — Sajan Das, Ram Chand , Babo Lal and Venod Kumar — last week. The 82-year-old leader heads Qalat’s Kali Mandir.

Baluch Trouble

Protests rage in Baluchistan as spiritual leader Laxmi Chand Garji kidnapped along with 4 companions Hindu families in region say kidnapping and extortion have become routine, allege that cops support kidnappers
Kidnappers backed by police, says leader

The kidnappers later released three of Garji’s companions. Sajan Das said the kidnappers blindfolded and tied their hands before dropping them off at a deserted place.

Baluchistan DIG Hamid Shakil said around 78 groups of criminals operate in the province. ‘‘ These gangs are mostly responsible for kidnapping for ransom and target killing,’’ he said.

Addressing the protesters outside Khuzdar Press Club, a community leader said the government has failed to protect the life and property of the minority, particularly those belonging to the minority community. ‘‘ The incidents of kidnapping had become routine and it seems that the gangsters have been given a free hand,’’ he said. He alleged that police and other law enforcement agencies were supporting the kidnappers .

Baluchistan chief minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani said he has directed the cops to secure Garji’s release at the earliest. ‘‘ I believe it’s an incident of kidnapping for ransom and doesn’t have any religious overtones,’’ Raisani said.

Pakistan has a Hindu population of about 25 lakh and of these Baluchistan has about 40,000. Like Hindus in Sindh, most Hindus there work as traders and small businessmen. They speak the local dialect and follow local tribal customs.

Slain tribal chief Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti , who led a separatist movement in the province, awarded the tribal name of Bugti to Hindus living in his area. He also got a local Hindu leader, Arjun Dass Bugti, elected as the province’s deputy speaker.(Source)

In Pakistan, to be a minority is a curse ?

Pakistan, which does not let go of any opportunity to heckle India on perceived human rights violations, stands exposed as at least 27 Hindu families from Balochistan have approached the Indian High Commission in Islamabad seeking political asylum in this country. The drastic step taken by the Hindus, who have been living in the Province for centuries, shows their miserable plight and that they can no longer live in fear of abduction for ransom, armed robberies and murder. When a Pakistani official — Regional Director for the Federal Ministry of Human Rights Saeed Ahmed Khan — expresses great concern and urges the Pakistani Government to take immediate measures to improve the law and order situation, it serves to underscore that it has failed miserably in its duty to protect the religious minorities from growing Islamist violence. Most important, the Pakistani Government cannot even term it as a false allegation because statistics of its Ministry of Human Rights reveals an alarming rise in the cases of human rights violation in Balochistan. The situation in Sind, where 95 per cent of the Hindus in Pakistan live, is worse. A BBC report, published earlier this year, has cited several cases of abduction, torture, rape and murder to show how Hindus face an uncertain future in Pakistan due to its Government’s failure to take action against Islamic groups hostile to minorities.

Hindus in Pakistan seeking asylum in India is a stark reminder that minority Hindus continue to suffer apartheid in that country despite Gen Pervez Musharraf abolishing the separate electorate system as no political party fights for their cause or respects their aspirations. Therefore, it is extremely galling to see Pakistani leaders taking the moral high ground and indulging in self-righteous rhetoric — both Houses of Pakistan’s National Assembly adopted resolutions in September condemning the ‘violence’ against Kashmiri people to ‘sensitise’ the international community — when discriminatory laws in their own land foster intolerance and compel the oppressed to suffer in silence. Certainly, it is the prerogative of every sovereign state to legislate the laws of its land, but at the same time, it does not merit reiteration that every Government is bound by its responsibility to protect the weak and the vulnerable. Pakistan has relentlessly pursued the Kashmir issue on every conceivable international forum, brazenly accusing India of imagined atrocities. But today, it stands accused of charges it levels against others. Its not Hindus alone who suffer indignity and worse in Pakistan; Christians are treated like criminals and charges of blasphemy are levelled against them on the flimsiest of excuses. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is anything but a republic; it’s a hell for minorities.

بلوچستان سے ہندو خاندانوں کی ہجرت

بلوچستان میں انسانی حقوق کے ڈایکٹر نے کہا ہے کہ عدم تحفظ کی وجہ سے ہندوبرادری کے بہت سے لوگ مجبوراً ہجرت کرکے ہندوستان جاچکے ہیں

ہندو برادری نے اغوا برائے تاوان کی بڑھتی ہو وارداتوں پر سخت پریشانی کا اظہار کیا ہے

دوسری جانب ہندوبرادری نے ایک ہفتہ قبل اغواء ہونے والے ہندومذہبی پیشواکی فوری بازیابی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ جبکہ پیرکو جعفرآباد سے نامعلوم افراد نےہندومذہب سے تعلق رکھنے والے ایک اور سب انجینئر کو اغواء کرلیا ہے ۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق پیر کے روز بلوچستان کے ضلع جعفرآباد میں بعض نامعلوم مسلح افراد نے ہندو مذھب سے تعلق رکھنے والے سابق مقامی صحافی اور محکمہ ایریگیشن کے سب انجینئر نانک رام کو اغواء کرلیا ہے۔ مقامی پولیس نے مقدمہ درج کرلیاہے لیکن تاحال انکا سراغ نہیں لگاسکی ہے

دوسری جانب ایک ہفتہ قبل قلات میں اغواء ہونے والے قدیم ہندومندرکےمہاراج اور ہندو مذہبی پیشوا حسین لکھ میر اور انکا ساتھی ونود کمار کی بازیابی ابھی تک ممکن نہیں ہوسکی ہے۔
دوسری جانب ہندوبرادری نے ایک ہفتہ قبل اغواء ہونے والے ہندومذہبی پیشواکی فوری بازیابی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ جبکہ پیرکو جعفرآباد سے نامعلوم افراد نےہندومذہب سے تعلق رکھنے والے ایک اور سب انجینئر کو اغواء کرلیا ہے ۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق پیر کے روز بلوچستان کے ضلع جعفرآباد میں بعض نامعلوم مسلح افراد نے ہندو مذھب سے تعلق رکھنے والے سابق مقامی صحافی اور محکمہ ایریگیشن کے سب انجینئر نانک رام کو اغواء کرلیا ہے۔ مقامی پولیس نے مقدمہ درج کرلیاہے لیکن تاحال انکا سراغ نہیں لگاسکی ہے

دوسری جانب ایک ہفتہ قبل قلات میں اغواء ہونے والے قدیم ہندومندرکےمہاراج اور ہندو مذہبی پیشوا حسین لکھ میر اور انکا ساتھی ونود کمار کی بازیابی ابھی تک ممکن نہیں ہوسکی ہے۔

Source: BBC Urdu

December 28, 2010

Assassinations mark worsening conflict in Balochistan – by Abubakar Siddique

by admin

Amnesty warned that the rise in disappearances and bodies being dumped in Balochistan has aggravated political tensions. Photo- Dawn


Death tolls are rising in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, adding to fear that the low-level separatist conflict in the resource-rich region is
read more »

December 28, 2010

Qari Saifullah Akhtar, ISI's most valued asset, resurfaces in Punjab

by admin

About
Qari Saifullah Akhtar is a senior al Qaeda military leader who operates in Paksitan. Akhtar is the influential leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and commands Brigade 313, a unit in al Qaeda’s Shadow Army. Akhtar has direct links with Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri. Source. He is a graduate of the Deobandi Banuri madrassah in Karachi and is also a close affiliate of Fazlur-Rehman Khalil, Azam Tariq (slain leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba), Masood Azhar and Mufti Taqi Usmani.

Karsaz attack suspect resurfaces in Punjab – By Amir Mir

Source: The News, December 28, 2010

In a surprising development, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the alleged mastermind of the October 18, 2007 twin suicide attacks on the welcome procession of Benazir Bhutto in Karachi, who had shifted his militant base to Waziristan in 2008, has resurfaced in Punjab as a free man.

However, the most astonishing aspect of his return is the fact that the fugitive ameer of the al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militant group Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI) has actually been freed by the Punjab home department.

According to well-informed sources in the Pakistani security agencies, the Qari was being kept under house arrest at an undisclosed place in the Chishtian tehsil of Punjab since August 2010 and has just been freed — almost three weeks ago — in the first week of December.

The sources say Qari Saifullah had to abandon Waziristan, his birth place, after he was wounded in a US drone attack in the area. He subsequently travelled to Peshawar and then to Rawalpindi for treatment before being arrested and taken to Lahore.

He was eventually put under house arrest in Chishtian, only to be released recently. Interestingly, his release orders coincide with the third death anniversary of Benazir who had named the Qari in her posthumous book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, as a principal suspect in the attempt to kill her in Karachi, a few hours after her homecoming.

In her book, which was published in February 2008, Bhutto had narrated in detail the suicide attacks targeting her welcome procession as well as the involvement of Qari Saifullah Akhtar in the assassination bid.

She wrote: “I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned… Three men belonging to a rival political faction were hired for half a million dollars…. However, a bomb maker was needed for the bombs. Enter Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a wanted terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government. He had been extradited by the United Arab Emirates and was languishing in the Karachi central jail…. The officials in Lahore had turned to Akhtar for help. His liaison with elements in the government was a radical who was asked to make the bombs and he himself asked for a fatwa making it legitimate to oblige. He got one. The bomb blasts took place in the army cantonment area in Karachi.”

Subsequently, on February 26, 2008, the Qari was arrested by the Musharraf regime for the purpose of interrogation in the Bhutto murder, although there were many in establishment circles who believed that Qari Saifullah had actually been taken into protective custody by his spy masters.

The HUJI chief is generally considered a handy tool of the intelligence establishment. Whenever required, he is used and then dumped by his spy masters. Qari Saifullah was seized by the security agencies along with his three sons in Ferozwala, near Lahore. He was then grilled by a joint interrogation team comprising operatives from the Punjab Police, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Special Investigation Group of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Although, Qari Saifullah denied having played any role in the Bhutto murder, he did tell his interrogators that since his 2007 release, he had been in contact with former ISI chief Lt Gen Hamid Gul and two other army officers who had attempted to stage a coup to topple her government in 1995.

“I was in touch with Lt Gen Hamid Gul, Maj Gen Zaheerul Islam Abbasi and Brigadier Mustansar Billa,” Qari Saifullah said in a 35-page statement submitted to the Joint Investigation Team. Hamid Gul was one of the three persons Bhutto had named as her possible assassins in a letter to Musharraf, written in October 2007. Though Gul was retired prematurely, Bhutto believed that he still maintained his former close ties with the militant groups.

Ironically, Qari Saifullah’s February 26, 2008 arrest established the fact that despite all the charges levelled against him, he had been released much before Benazir returned home. Born in January 1959 in South Waziristan, the HUJI chief is a graduate of the famous Jamia Binoria in Karachi, who was arrested and extradited from the United Arab Emirates on August 7, 2004 on charges of plotting the twin suicide attacks on General Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December 2003. But instead of trying to prosecute him, the agencies chose to keep him under detention for the next two years and nine months, without even filing any criminal charges against him, giving credence to reports that he was a handy tool of the Pakistani establishment.

The Qari’s “unprovoked” arrest was challenged in the Supreme Court in the first week of January 2005. On January 18, 2005, the apex court dismissed the petition against his arrest and directed him to first move the high court by filing a habeas corpus writ petition.

But after Benazir’s murder, it transpired that the Qari had already been released by the apex court after being told by the agencies that he was one of the “missing persons” being sought by a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. His name was in the list of persons being held by the agencies without any formal charges having been filed against them. But the Musharraf government had told the Supreme Court on May 5, 2007 that Qari Saifullah was not in the custody of the state agencies.

The concise report presented by the National Crisis Management Cell to the court revealed that he was engaged in militant activities somewhere in Punjab and not under detention. On May 21, 2007, the Qari suddenly reached his hometown in Mandi Bahauddin of Punjab. The release was subsequently brought to the notice of the apex court by the Ministry of Interior. Hashmat Habib, the counsel for Qari Saifullah, told the court that while setting him free, the intelligence officials had informed his client that had they not picked him up, there was a strong possibility of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation taking him away for interrogation because of his alleged al-Qaeda and Taliban links.

At the time of his arrest in August 2004 and his subsequent extradition from the UAE, the Pakistani authorities had described the development as a major blow to the al-Qaeda sponsored terrorist network and its local affiliates in Pakistan. On March 20, 2008, Qari Saifullah was produced before an anti-terrorism court in Karachi for his alleged role in the twin suicide attacks on Bhutto’s welcome procession in Karachi.

But few days later, Justice Khawaja Naveed Ahmed of the Sindh High Court released him on bail, after the investigation officer said that no evidence had been found to link him with any terrorist activity. But he was rearrested the same day under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and shifted to a Karachi safe house. Two months later, on June 8, 2008, Qari Saifullah was released by Sindh Home Department as the two-month term of detention set under the MPO had expired.

Though Qari Saifullah’s role in the Karachi suicide attack could not be explored further due to an apparent lack of interest by the agencies, his previous involvement in a failed coup plot in 1995 had projected him as one of the deadliest militants who, from the establishment’s viewpoint, had gone astray.

The group of potential plotters busted by the Military Intelligence at that time included four serving army officers, headed by Major General Zaheerul Islam Abbasi. Brigadier Mustansar Billa, who had also been arrested, was described as the ideologue of the religiously motivated army men.

The arrested army officers were accused of plotting to first take over the GHQ of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi during the Corps Commanders Conference, and later overthrow the Benazir government to eventually enforce their own brand of Islamic Shariah and Khilafat in Pakistan.

Those who had plotted the coup were convicted by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) and awarded different sentences ranging from two to 14 years on October 30, 1996. Qari Saifullah decided to become the approver for the prosecution.

After the dismissal of the second Bhutto government in 1996, he was released by the agencies; he went to Afghanistan and was inducted into the cabinet of the Taliban ameer, Mulla Omar, as his adviser on political affairs. Qari Saifullah was one of the few militant leaders from Pakistan who had escaped with Mulla Omar after the US-led Allied Forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001.

December 23, 2010

Rulers and taxes – by Khurram Hussain

by admin


This is an interesting article that is praising the government in the way it is trying to handle the RGST issue. It is also tracing the history of efforts on revenue generation.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/93231/rulers-and-taxes/

Things were not going well for Pervez Musharraf during the first year of his rule. The earlier part of the year 2000 had seen a very muscular effort to pull retailers into the tax net. In the last week of May, a tax survey had begun with the aim of distributing something like a million and a half forms in 13 cities across the country.

Thousands of tax officials started canvassing homes, shops, businesses, industries and even schools. Accompanied by uniformed soldiers, they went door to door demanding information on the source and quantity of income, work address, number of members of the household, utility bills, and so on. Within days of the ‘documentation drive’ as it was called, sparked a countrywide strike.

On June 1, the first tear gas canisters were fired. Traders had taken out a small procession of a couple of hundred people in Multan that marched in the streets and chanted slogans against taxes and military rule. Rallies were banned in those days and the police baton-charged them, tear-gassed them, and took around 50 protestors into custody. Musharraf meant business, it seemed.

And as with most such things, the tough talk had a history. Attempts to raise more revenue were constant throughout the decade, but had gained urgency during the second Nawaz Sharif government in the late 1990s. In December 1998, President Rafiq Tarrar signed an ordinance raising the sales tax rate from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent. The signature came a week after the government had been handed a laundry list of upfront actions required by the IMF board to extend a new loan to Pakistan.

If you were to trace the effort to reform our tax system further and further into the past, the exercise would take you past many milestones that would leave you with a sense of déjà vu. All the way back to 1991 when the Sales Tax Act was passed — bundled into the finance bill — it didn’t have to be debated in parliament.

But trace the thread forward from when Musharraf seized power and when the most vigorous exercise for revenue enhancement began and hit a dead end. That dead end was 2005. It was in that year that the hard-earned victories, meagre as they might be, of this long-fought battle to raise revenue for the state, were all largely given away in the form of sweeping exemptions.

Today, it’s the sad duty of this government to resume the battle in which Musharraf laid down arms. Effort to raise revenues is amongst the most ghastly and wretched of the obligations that befall any ruler, promising stiff penalties in the event of failure and no kudos whatsoever in the event of success. Nobody applauds a ruler who is successful at raising revenues.

But look at the way this government is going about the task. The RGST law has not been bundled into the finance bill, nor has it been slipped into law through the back door of the presidential ordinance. Rather, it has been brought before the committee in both houses of parliament for full and open debate.

Likewise, nobody has been tear-gassed thus far, no arrests have been made, no rallies or strikes have been taken out against the measure and no batons have been wielded. Rather, the voice of debate and persuasion has been used, to diminishing effect no doubt, but without resort to threats or tough talks.

So let’s discern the trend here. All three rulers that Pakistan has seen in the past two decades have tried to advance the cause of revenue enhancement. All have tried to do it primarily through the sales tax.

But where the general favoured the baton as his instrument in this effort and Nawaz Sharif resorted to the back door of the presidential ordinance or the finance bill, the present government is advancing the revenue interest of the country with the wiles of a card player. And given a choice between the truncheon, the back door or the card table through which to advance a legislative agenda, I’ll take the card table any day.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2010.

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December 23, 2010

Shame on the PPP government and its ambassador-at-large

by admin

The following is a disturbing news report. We would like to know the purpose of such trips and the benefits that Pakistan has received in return. If Mr Klasra’s story is verified and if it is proven that it is a case of nepotism, then Shah Mahmood Qureshi must be asked to return this money to the exchequer from his personal pocket. (AN)

‘Squandering’ taxpayers’ money: Ambassador-at-large undertakes 30 foreign trips in two years – by Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: An ambassador-at-large Nasir Ali Khan has set a new record of foreign trips as he has undertaken as many as 30 tours of 25 countries in a matter of 24 months.

The Islamabad-based gentleman, who is an optician by profession, is known to be a close friend of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Khan spent a total of 156 days out of the country, almost every third night since becoming an ambassador-at-large in 2008.

Out of these trips, His Excellency, the ambassador, spent 45 days in the US alone. On one trip to the US, he stayed there for 18 days, a record of long stay by any government official – president, prime minister or even the foreign minister.

Another ambassador-at-large, Khalid Ahmed almost matched the performance of Khan as he spent 135 days out of Pakistan during the last two years. Both the gentlemen spent a total of Rs15 million on their foreign trips in these two years.

Khan’s only qualification for the job was that he used to be a class fellow of Foreign Minister Qureshi at an elitist college in Lahore. Their friendship seems to have cost the poor taxpayers heavily.

The countries Khan visited during the last two years included Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan, France, Uganda, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, the UK, Italy, Germany, Iran, Czech Republic, Russia, Holland, Turkey, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Manama, the UAE, Belgium and Denmark.

The official documents available with The Express Tribune reveal that the second ambassador-at-large, Khalid Ahmed, visited 12 countries and the third, Zia Isphani, visited only one country – Bangladesh.

The details of foreign trips by ambassadors-at-large were placed in the National Assembly during the question hour on Monday. The question was asked by MNA Nighat Parveen. However, the official documents did not give any reason for these foreign trips or the objectives achieved.

Foreign Minister Qureshi, in his written reply to the house, said that during the last two years, three ambassadors-at-large had made 43 trips to different countries. These ambassadors-at-large were Nasir Ali Khan, Zia Isphani and Khalid Ahmad. Khan visited 30 countries followed by Ahmed, with 13 trips and Zia, with only one.

Source: The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2010.

December 22, 2010

General Pasha hazir ho: ISI chief summoned by a US court for complicity in the Mumbai terror attacks

by admin


Related article:

Why did the CIA recall its station chief in Pakistan?

ISI on the run, refuses to explain its role in drone attacks!

The Mumbai lawsuit in Brooklyn

Last month, a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn, which was brought by families of American victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had named the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, as being complicit in the attacks. The suit asserts that General Pasha and other ISI officers were “purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material support or resources” to the planners of the Mumbai attacks.

American officials believe that ISI officers helped plan the deadly July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks later that year.

(Source)

Summons

A US court has summoned top officials of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as also the alleged masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in response to a case filed by relatives of two American victims.

Summons were issued by a New York court to ISI’s powerful chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials, as also Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

The New York Times reported this week that the recent “outing” of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, which caused the CIA to pull him from the country, may have been payback for the November lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court that accused Pakistan’s ISI spy agency of complicity in the terrorism in Mumbai. Pakistan denied it.

The November lawsuit named several officers, including the director, of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and claimed the ISI helped Lashkar-e-Tayyiba terrorists carry out the slaughter of 166 people and the wounding of more than 300 on Nov. 26-29, 2008.

The Mumbai victims’ attorney, James Kreindler, said in an interview that he modeled the lawsuit after his successful case against Libya for its role in the hijacking of the Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. The attack killed all 259 passengers and crew aboard the plane, and 11 people on the ground.

After two decades of litigation, Kreindler secured more than $500 million from Pan Am’s insurers, and $2.7 billion from the Libyan government, according to a document by his law firm, Kreindler & Kreindler. He said the trial led to the passage of the Libyan Claims Resolution Act of 2008, which resolved U.S. claims against Libya through creation of a fund that led to settlements.

That case, Long believes, helped heal American relations with the then-pariah state, inviting it to “come in from the cold.”

Kreindler said that if the Mumbai-ISI wrongful death suit end in a similar piece of legislation, “I hope it will bring positive things for the U.S. and Pakistan.”

But there are significant differences between Libya of the late ’80s and Pakistan today, Long said.

“Libya was a pariah state at that time, whereas Pakistan – whatever its problems – is an ally of the United States. So I think he’s going to have a much harder time with this,” Long said. “I don’t think it’s impossible, but I just don’t see him having a great shot, or an as-good shot at it.”

Kreindler feels differently. “Ultimately, it’s an easier case because we’re dealing with a smaller number of plaintiffs (5). It’s easier to handle and to resolve,” Kreindler said.

Kreindler acknowledged that politics will affect the lawsuit. But he said that, when presented with the evidence of its complicity in the attacks, the ISI will have the opportunity to turn away from supporting terror, which could improve relations in the long term.

Long said that, from his extensive travel in the region, he was not surprised by the allegations made in the complaint, and he had heard credible rumors that Pakistani intelligence has supported acts of violence against Americans.

“It’s pretty widely believed that Pakistani intelligence still plays a big role in the Taliban insurgency,” Long said.

Long said two branches of the Taliban are based in Pakistan: the Haqqani network, in Miranshah; and the Quetta-Shura, also known as the Karachi-Shura, in Balochistan and Sindh.

Another Taliban group, the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, has had a relationship with Pakistani intelligence dating back to the 1980s, Long added.

Although the ISI provides some Afghani Taliban groups with “tacit sanctuary” and “probably active support,” Pakistani intelligence is a sworn enemy of its own country’s Taliban, the TTP, which seeks shariah law in the country and opposes its government as a “proxy” for Americans, Long said.

“The Pakistanis have cooperated with the United States in gathering intelligence against al-Qaida, but also the Pakistani Taliban because the Pakistani Taliban is a threat to the Pakistani state. … The Pakistani military launched an effective, if brutal, campaign to drive militants out,” Long said.

Long said he was not surprised that victims of violence turned to a civil court to seek justice against a foreign intelligence agency.

“Wrongful death lawsuits have become a way to get things into court that are difficult to get seen to any other way,” Long said.

Long believes that, if successful, the lawsuit could set a precedent for civil actions.

“If they’re going to admit to being linked to this attack, which was carried out by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, then theoretically any Lashkar-e-Tayyiba attack could be linked to the Pakistani intelligence, if there’s the same kind of evidence. Once you admit initial culpability with a group, then I think you’re at least open to any of the group’s actions,” Long said.

The lawsuit blaming the ISI for conspiring in the Mumbai terror attacks is still in discovery.

Here is a link to Courthouse News’ Nov. 23 story about that complaint, Rosenberg et al. v. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Source: Courthouse

ممبئی حملہ کیس، آئی ایس آئی سربراہ کے سمن جاری

احمد شجاع پاشا کے ساتھ آئی ایس آئی کے سابق سربراہ کو بھی طلب کیا گیا ہے

سنہ دو ہزار آٹھ کے ممبئی حملوں کے معاملے میں نیویارک میں بروکلین کی عدالت میں جاری ایک مقدمے کے سلسلے میں، پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کے سربراہ اور کالعدم تنظیم لشکرِ طیبہ کے کئی عہدیداروں کو اگلے ماہ جنوری میں عدالت میں پیش ہونے کے لیے سمن جاری کر دیے گئے ہیں۔

یہ مقدمہ امریکی قانون کے تحت دہشتگرد حملوں میں زخمی ہونے والے ایک امریکی شہری اور ان حملوں میں ہلاک ہونے والے چار امریکی شہریوں کے لواحقین نے دائر کیا ہے۔

نیویارک سے صحافی سلیم رضوی کے مطابق عدالت نے اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی کے موجودہ سربراہ جنرل احمد شجاع پاشا اور سابق سربراہ جنرل ندیم تاج کے نام سمن جاری کر کے انہیں عدالت میں طلب کیا ہے۔

عدالت نے پاکستانی فوج کے دو افسران میجر علی اور میجر اقبال کو بھی طلب کیا ہے۔ ان کے علاوہ جن افراد کے سمن جاری کیے گئے ہیں ان میں لشکرِ طیبہ کے ذکی الرحمان لکھوی اور جماعت الدعوہ کے امیر حافظ سعید بھی شامل ہیں۔

ممبئی حملوں میں ہلاک ہونے والے یہودی ربی گیبریئل ہولزبرگ اور ان کی اہلیہ روکا کے وکیل کا کہنا ہے کہ سبھی سمن جاری کر دیے گئے ہیں اور جنوری میں ان سبھی کو یا تو خود یا کسی وکیل کی معرفت سے عدالت میں پیش ہونا ہوگا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ان کے مؤکلوں کو زرِ تلافی دیا جانا چاہیے تاہم انہوں نے تسلیم کیا یہ معاملہ طول پکڑ سکتا ہے۔

انہوں نے کہا کہ ’میں نے اپنے موکلوں کو بتا دیا ہے کہ اس مقدمے میں کئی برس لگ سکتے ہیں تاہم میرے موکل اس مقدمے کو حتمی انجام تک پہنچانے کے لیے کمربستہ ہیں‘۔

اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی اور پاکستانی فوج کے افسران پر الزام لگایا گیا ہے کہ انہوں نے ممبئی حملوں کے لیے دہشتگردوں کو تربیت دی اور ان کی مدد کی۔ لشکر طیبہ کے عہدیداران پر بھی دہشتگردی میں ملوث ہونے کے الزامات عائد کیے گئے ہیں۔
اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی اور پاکستانی فوج کے افسران پر الزام لگایا گیا ہے کہ انہوں نے ممبئی حملوں کے لیے دہشتگردوں کو تربیت دی اور ان کی مدد کی۔ لشکر طیبہ کے عہدیداران پر بھی دہشتگردی میں ملوث ہونے کے الزامات عائد کیے گئے ہیں۔

خیال رہے کہ چند روز قبل بھی اس مقدمے کا ذکر اس وقت خبروں میں آیا تھا جب پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے شمالی وزیرستان کے ایک رہائشی نے ڈرون حملوں پر ان کے خلاف عدالتی چارہ جوئی کرنے کا اعلان کیا تھا۔ کریم خان نامی اس شخص نے اس سلسلے میں امریکی وزیر دفاع رابرٹ گیٹس، سی آئی اے کے سربراہ لیون ایڈورڈ پنیٹا اور اسلام آباد میں سی آئی اے کے انچارج جوناتھن بینکس کو قانونی نوٹس بھیجا تھا۔

اس نوٹس بھیجے جانے کے بعد اسلام آباد میں سی آئی اے کے انچارج جوناتھن بینکس کو واپس امریکہ بلا لیا گیا تھا اور امریکی حکام نے ان کی روانگی کی وجہ ان کی زندگی کو لاحق خطرات بتائے تھے۔

اسی بارے میں امریکی اخبار نیویارک ٹائمز نے امریکی جاسوسی اہلکاروں کے حوالے سے اپنی ایک رپورٹ میں کہا تھا کہ پاکستان میں مبینہ طور امریکی جاسوسی ایجنسی سی آئی اے کے سربراہ کا نام افشا کیے جانے کے پیچھے مشتبہ طور پر پاکستانی جاسوسی ادارے آئی ایس آئی کا ہاتھ ہے۔

اخبار نے امریکی جاسوسی اداروں کے حکام کےحوالےسے یہ بھی قیاس کیا تھا کہ ممکنہ طور پاکستان میں امریکی سی آئي کے کے عملداروں کے خلاف فوجداری فریاد نیویارک کی ایک وفاقی عدالت میں آئی ایس آئی کیخلاف دائر مقدمے کے بدلے میں کی گئی۔

تاہم پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کے ترجمان نے اس تاثر کی نفی کی تھی کہ آئی ایس آئی نے پاکستان میں مقیم سی آئی اے کے اعلیٰ ترین اہلکار کی شناخت بے نقاب کرنے میں مدد کی تھی۔

Source: BBC Urdu

December 22, 2010

Updated: An open letter to the PPP – by Shams Rehman

by admin

With the dropping out of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) from the ruling coalition, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government suddenly looks vulnerable. And the fact is that it has become vulnerable. The possibility of the revival of the defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has already been raised.

The historical parallels are very chilling. Those who witnessed the clerical movement in the late 70s against Z A Bhutto’s elected government have reasons to be fearful of the developing scenario. What is, therefore, imperative is to derive the correct lessons from history so that we do not repeat it, for the very thought of it sends shivers down one’s spine.

The first thing that the PPP needs to do is shun its obstinacy and habit of placing the responsibility of Bhutto’s fall and subsequent long persecutions of party workers on the unconstitutional actions of certain individuals or on adverse circumstances. A clear assessment should be made of the achievements and failures of the founder of the PPP, keeping in mind that the latter by no means diminish the former. All great leaders do make mistakes but the tendency to overlook them by their followers often leads to the eclipse of what they had achieved.

To put it briefly, the chief mistake that Bhutto made was the appeasement of the clerics. Why did he do this? This is a complex question but it was chiefly his foreign policy vision that determined the change in the course on which he had won the mandate to rule. His coming to power was a revolution, for he mobilised the masses and got himself elected on a socialist, progressive agenda that demanded radical socio-political changes in society. It included striking at the power of all the forces of reaction, of which the feudal lords, clerics and the army were the three interlinked wings. However, while in power, he gradually distanced himself and got alienated from the progressive agenda and the forces representing it.

The change of course was determined by his thinking that Pakistan would gain more by unifying the Islamic world around his leadership, tapping the resources of the Islamic world and creating a third bloc besides the ones led by the US and USSR. Such thinking marked a reversal on the home front that led to legislation such as the banning of alcohol and declaration of the Ahmedis as non-Muslims. This was a dangerous path that he chose for himself. What he failed to see was that in the Cold War era, the clerical forces were deeply allied with the US. Therefore, his strategy of standing up to the US while appeasing the clerics at home was bound to lead nowhere but to his own downfall.

Now political parties, by their intention and structure, are driven to political power. Parties are indeed formed, as the PPP was, on idealism, but once a party becomes part of the establishment, there is no room for idealism in its discourse or strategy. Thus Benazir made peace with the executioners of her father at home and abroad and made her party electable once again.

Since then the leadership of the party has come to believe that with its roots in all the provinces of the country it has secured its right to rule the country in a democratic set-up. But that is not the case. The religious right considers democracy that invests power to legislate to the people and their elected parliament as contrary to shariah and therefore un-Islamic. According to their vision of Islam, the ultimate authority in Islamic society rests with the ideologues and guardians of shariah, namely the clerics.

It is a brilliant fact of the history of this country that its people decisively rejected this view of Islam in 1970 in both parts of the country. Leading the Islamic world from the front, they demonstrated their understanding that the clerical view of Islam was only an ideology of the obscurantist forces, forming a nexus of clerics, feudal lords and the army, which seeks to maintain the outdated and unjust social and economic structure of society. Now, although this view continues to hold the Islamic world in thrall, the Pakistani people have never, in any free elections since 1970, voted for the religious parties. This is the core fact that we must remember in our review of the strategy being proposed.

The second core fact in this regard is the radical change in the geopolitical situation of the world. For now, after the fall of the USSR, a war has broken out between the former allies that brought the USSR down. The US, the remaining superpower, though increasingly on the wane, is at loggerheads with the global network of Islamic clerics. For the present PPP leadership, therefore, it would be a folly to follow Benazir’s policy of appeasing both the US and the clerics. Even from a purely pragmatic or realist perspective, which guided Benazir to revise direction, it is no more conducive to keep the party in power.

It is well worth pointing out that the west, led by the US, has all along betrayed its own ideals of enlightenment by supporting the forces of reaction in the non-western world. It has been content to create and support westernised elites in these countries that exercise control over their people by whatever means. The policy no doubt helped them in beating their international foe but the price was unimaginable even in their wildest dreams, for it is now widely feared that Afghanistan might also become the graveyard of the remaining superpower. For this reason, the US seems prepared, however unwillingly, to support the Pakistani government to take on the clerics and cut them down to size.

This remarkable development and change in the global situation provides the PPP leadership and workers with a historic opportunity to take that revolution further that their leader unleashed in 1970 and which was left unfinished. Now, with all quiet on the western front, it is this very realism, with the objective to remain in power, which demands that the PPP abandon its fear of the clerics and leading the people from the front, confront them and curb their power, hugely disproportional to their vote bank, that they continue to enjoy in our society. (Source)

Part II

In the current debate over the blatantly unjust Blasphemy Law and the persecution of a helpless Christian woman, the cat has once again come out of the bag. The clerics, who are hugely supported by the other two partners in the nexus, have made it clear that they do not accept the sovereignty of parliament and its right to legislate however it deems fit, or even the right of the constitutionally elected president to exercise his right to grant pardon to anyone condemned by any court of the country. Thus, once again, it is this simple question at the centre of the debate about whether the people govern this country through their elected representatives or the clerics by virtue of their self-professed divine right.

The PPP leadership and workers, therefore, need to wake up and read the situation correctly, which is hugely in their favour this time. It is perhaps an opportunity of the same magnitude that came the way of their leader in 1970 and which he lost as much due to his own failures as for the determinations of history. They must not lose it this time, for on its fulfillment hangs the fate of our future generations.

For President Zardari it would be a folly to believe that he can survive by giving in to the clerics; their appetite for power is insatiable. They know that they cannot win in a general election so they are bent upon using Islam to create a situation whereby their partners in the nexus can intervene in the name of national security and install a government that keeps them happy.

I understand that for President Zardari it would be difficult to make a U-turn and renounce the legacy of not only the latter-day Bhutto but also of his own spouse. But Zardari has a huge advantage at his disposal, for the US-cleric coalition that framed the unfortunate legacy is now broken. Our country has become a laughing stock for getting all our money from the outside world to fight the militant vanguard of the clerics while internally keeping their lifelines intact. It is indeed mind boggling that a government that openly claims to be an ally of the US in the so-called war on terror should leave the lifeline of its vocal internal enemies intact. Choosing the path of confronting them openly will surely enhance the stature of this country in the international community and will wash the stigma that this is a nation of hypocrites run by a hypocritical government.

Zardari has nothing to lose, for he has nothing substantial to his credit for which the Pakistani people can hold him in special reverence. Now he has the opportunity to make his name in history and grow even larger than his late spouse by becoming the second person to lead the people in their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of reactionary forces.

He must not consider, like Bhutto, that the seat he sits on secures him. He must come out of the Presidency, for if he thinks it is a castle, he must know that it is built on foundations of sand. He must go to the people and seek a fresh mandate on the simple question as to who possesses the right to govern this country: the people or the clerics and their allied network.

In a personal meeting recently I heard from a PPP MNA, a close associate of Zardari, that when party members come to him with long faces, frightened by the rising dangers to their power, he raises their spirits in no time and they leave happily, saying, “He is all right, he says all is well and there is nothing to fear as long as we stand united.” He enjoys the reputation of being a brave man among his party cadre. But Bhutto was no less a brave man; in the end, he said to his executioner: “Make it quick.”

The truth is that it is only the people of Pakistan who can save Zardari if he opts to come out to them. He must rally the enlightened intelligentsia of the country around him and prepare his party to fight the battle on two fronts. First, that it is the people of Pakistan and their elected representatives who have the sole right to govern their country and not the clerics, and second, that the view of Islam and shariah as propagated by the clerics is a tendentious, obscurantist view that conflicts with the teachings of the Quran and message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

On my part, I, a member of the academia in this country, can offer support on the second front. And I will conclude this brief letter with two questions. First, the clerics claim their authority higher than the people’s legislature in the name of the divine right of the ulema to guard Islam and the lives of its adherents. Is this right sanctioned in the Quran? The simple answer is no, it contradicts the teaching, even the words of the Quran, and, further, it has no sanction in the history of pre-modern Islamic civilisation. It is simply the other side of the conventional belief in the divinity of kings and the Quran supports neither the one nor the other, for both stand and fall together.

There is an important concept of asbab an-nazul (the reasons or causes behind the revelation of the verses of the Quran) employed in the exegesis of the Quran, which helps us understand the answer just given. Extending this concept, we must ask what the reasons of the descent of the Quran itself were and the institution of a separate religion other than Judaism and Christianity whose texts it affirmed again and again. One of the chief reasons was the institution of priesthood in both Judaism and Christianity that claimed a position between the believers and God and thereby claimed the right to control the whole mental and practical life of the believers. In the new dialectic between the individual and community that the Quran developed, each and every individual stood face to face with God while the right to legislate was invested in the community. It is clear then that the divine sanction of the clerical authority derives from Jewish and Christian influences and is therefore un-Islamic, for it is completely rejected by the Quran.

As for the second question, the clerics hold that the Quran is pre-eminently a book of law, or shariah, and since they hold all knowledge of it, they also hold the ultimate authority on how the people of this country should live their lives. Now there are 6,236 verses in the Quran of which only 290 deal with the law. What are the rest of the verses about? The truth is that they virtually do not exist for the clerics.(Source)

(Concluded)

The writer is an academic and teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University

December 21, 2010

Christians will observe Christmas as a 'protest day', Sandul prays for Aasia Bibi

by admin

President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday said that his government would not allow the blasphemy law to be used for the settling personal scores. “The government,” he insisted, “will take all appropriate measures, whether administrative, procedural or legislative to stop growing incidents of misuse of the blasphemy law”.


A number of Pakistani Christian organizations have decided that they will observe Christmas as a Protest Day. The decision has been made in All Pakistan Christian Parties Conference, the Christians’ will also host black flags on their residences and business houses against the blasphemy laws and enormities toward minorities. According to a report published in the BBC Urdu human rights activists expressed fear of security risk attached with newly formed alliance of radical religious parties and it’s life threatening warning of anarchy if the civilian government attempts to repeal the nation’s strict blasphemy law and pardon Asia Bibi. The leaders of the All Christian Parties Conference have decided to take to the streets on Christmas Day to call on the government to repeal the blasphemy law and the conference also noted that President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Human rights activist Asma Jehanghir and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer have all concluded that Asia Bibi is innocent, Speakers have also expressed disappointment that they have not received justice from courts.

Activists from various Christian organizations have also reiterated that they will support Sherry Rehman’s bill seeking amendments to blasphemy laws.

In a related development, Sherry Rehman is no longer alone in her campaign. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has recommended several amendments to the blasphemy law, but it is still opposed to its repeal.

The Council has suggested a number of procedural amendments to ensure that the law is not misused against any individual irrespective of his religion. Capital punishment should however be retained for people who wilfully offend.

Criticism of the misuse of the law is widespread though. Several Pakistani human rights organisations are leading the charge, complaining that the legislation discriminates against minorities.

President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday said that his government would not allow the blasphemy law to be used for the settling personal scores. “The government,” he insisted, “will take all appropriate measures, whether administrative, procedural or legislative to stop growing incidents of misuse of the blasphemy law”.

The President made the statement during a meeting with a delegation that included MNAs from the country’s minorities led by Federal Minority Affairs minister.

“Our faith Islam teaches us deep respect for the rights of all human beings,” the president said.

Here is a news item published in BBC Urdu:

آسیہ کو سزا، کرسمس پر یومِ احتجاج
پاکستان میں مسیحی برادری نے رواں سال کرسمس کے تہوار کو یومِ احتجاج کے طور پر منانے کا فیصلہ کیا ہے۔

یہ فیصلہ ایک مسیحی خاتون آسیہ بی بی کی توہین رسالت کے قانون کے تحت دی جانے والی سزائے موت کے فیصلے کے سبب کیا گیا ہے۔

مسیحی رہنما جوزف فرانسس کے مطابق آل پاکستان کرسچن پارٹیز کانفرنس کے ایک اجلاس میں یہ فیصلہ کیا گیا ہے کہ پچیس دسمبر کو لاہور میں ایک احتجاجی مظاہرہ کیا جائے گا اور پورے پاکستان میں مسیحی برادری گھروں اور عبادت گاہوں پر کالے جھنڈے لہرائے گی۔

لاہور میں بی بی سی کی نامہ نگار مناء رانا سے بات کرتے ہوئے بتایا کہ اس برس کرسمس کی عبادت بھی انتہائی سادگی کے ساتھ کی جائے گی۔

جوزف فرانسس کا کہنا تھا کہ آسیہ بی بی بے گناہ ہیں اور ان کی سزا درست نہیں اور ان کے مقدمے کی تفتیش میں خامیاں تھیں۔انہوں نے کہا کہ ہمیں خدشہ ہے کہ آسیہ کو جیل میں قتل نہ کر دیا جائے۔

کرسمس کو اس طرح منانے کا ایک مقصد یہ ہے کہ ہم توہین رسالت کے قانون اور اس فیصلے کے خلاف بین الاقوامی دباؤکو بڑھانا چاھتے ہیں اور پاکستان میں تمام مسیحی برادری کو ایک پلیٹ فارم پر اکٹھا کرنا چاہتے ہیں تاکہ تمام لوگ اپنے گھروں پر سیاہ پرچم لہرائیں اور یہ پرچم اس وقت تک لہرائے جاتے رہیں گے جب تک 295 سی اور بی کی قانونی دفعات ختم نہیں کی جاتیں۔
جوزف فرانسس کے مطابق کرسمس کو اس طرح منانے کا ایک مقصد یہ ہے کہ ہم توہین رسالت کے قانون اور اس فیصلے کے خلاف بین الاقوامی دباؤکو بڑھانا چاھتے ہیں اور پاکستان میں تمام مسیحی برادری کو ایک پلیٹ فارم پر اکٹھا کرنا چاہتے ہیں تاکہ تمام لوگ اپنے گھروں پر سیاہ پرچم لہرائیں اور یہ پرچم اس وقت تک لہرائے جاتے رہیں گے جب تک 295 سی اور بی کی قانونی دفعات ختم نہیں کی جاتیں۔

جوزف فرانسس نے کہا کہ ’پاکستان کی بعض مذہبی جماعتوں نے آسیہ بی بی کو سزایے موت کے فیصلے پر عمل درآمد کے لیے پمفلٹ اور پوسٹرز شائع کیے ہیں، ہم ان کی مزمت کرتے ہیں۔ یہ ملک میں مذہبی رواداری کے خلاف ہے اور کچھ مذہبی جماعتیں اس ضمن میں حکومت پر جو دباؤ ڈال رہیں ہیں اس میں ان کے ذاتی مفاد پنہاں ہیں‘۔

جوزف فرانسس نے کہا کہ شیری رحمان نے توہین رسالت کے بارے میں جو ترمیمی بل پیش کیا ہے ہم اس کی حمایت کرتے ہیں اور اس کے لیے ہم نے ایک کمیٹی بنائی ہے جو ارکان پارلیمان سے مل کر انہیں بتائے گی کہ توہین رسالت کے تحت بنائے جانے والے مقدمات جھوٹے اور بے بنیاد ہوتے ہیں۔

یاد رہےکہ پاکستان میں متعدد افراد کو توہین رسالت کے تحت سزائے موت سنائی جا چکی ہے جبکہ آسیہ بی بی پہلی خاتون ہیں جو اس قانون کے تحت سزا وار قرار پائیں۔

آسیہ بی بی کے فیصلے کے خلاف ہائی کورٹ لاہور میں اپیل دائر کی جا چکی ہے تاہم پاکستان میں ناموس رسالت اور دیگر مزہبی جماعتیں آسیہ کو سزا دینے کے لیے مظاہرے اور اجلاس منعقد کر رہے ہیں۔

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2010/12/101220_xmas_aasia_protest_zs.shtml

Christmas in ‘Islamic State’

Another report which suggests that this Christmas many Christians in predominantly Muslim nations will also be shadowed by fear.

In Iraq, churches have recently been bombed and Christians murdered. In Pakistan, Asia Bibi awaits hanging, accused of insulting the prophet Mahommad(PBUH).

Radio Australia summarizes Asia Bibi blasphemy case.

Pakistan: Released Prisoner Prays for Asia Bibi

Sandul Bibi recently met with one international organization VOM in Pakistan to celebrate one year since her release from prison. Sandul was arrested in October, 2009, and falsely charged with tearing pages from the Holly Quran. During the time of freedom Sandul and the other took time out to pray specifically for Asia Bibi, another Christian in Pakistan who is currently facing a death sentence for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed(PBUH).

This video includes Sandul’s prayer for Asia Bibi, as well as her comments about Pakistan’s blasphemy laws that are so often used against innocent citizens.

December 20, 2010

Kill the sectarian killers: Will Pakistan follow the Iranian example?

by admin

Related article:

Rigi’s execution in Iran: Why can’t Pakistan do this?

Iran set a worthy example today by punishing rogue elements (sectarian terrorists of Jundullah and Sipah-e-Sahaba) who have crept into Baloch nationalist movement in Iran and Pakistan.

This swift action by the Iranian government (police, army and judiciary) in arresting and punishing those responsible for suicide attacks is a useful example, something which is currently lacking in the state of Pakistan where the ISI is known for its support to jihadi-sectarian groups and the judiciary remains infested with the pro-Jamaat-e-Islami (pro-Taliban) judges.

Here is the news item:

Iran hangs 11 extremist Deobandi/Wahhabi terrorists, urges Pakistan to act

Mon Dec 20, 2010

* Jundollah claimed Dec. 15 suicide bombs that killed 39
* Iran says rebels take refuge over Pakistan border
* Army official says Rev Guards able to deal with them

By Mitra Amiri

TEHRAN, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Iran hanged 11 people linked to the Deobanid/Wahhabi terrorist group that killed 39 people in a mosque bombing, the Justice Ministry said on Monday, and an army official urged Pakistan to root out the “terrorists” across the border.

“The people of Sistan-Baluchestan province, in their continuing campaign against the elements of cruelty and insecurity, hanged 11 people at Zahedan prison,” the ministry said in a statement on the semi-official Fars news agency.

“These corrupt and Mohareb [an enemy of God] elements have been identified and arrested by security and intelligence forces,” Ebrahim Hamidi, the head of the provincial justice department, said.

The Irna news agency quoted him as saying: “The sentence was carried out after receiving confirmation from the country’s senior judicial bodies.”

It said those executed were all supporters of Jundollah, the group that Iran says is linked to al Qaeda and which claimed a double suicide bombing of Shi’ite worshippers in the southeastern province bordering Pakistan on Dec. 15.

Iran hoped it had neutralised Jundollah when it executed its leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, in June. But the mosque bombing in the town of Chabahar, which wounded more than 100 people, was the latest action by the group to show it is fighting back.

Jundollah says it fights for the rights of the Baluch people, an ethnic minority it says faces “genocide”.

The families of the bombing victims sent a letter to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari calling for “serious measures” against Jundollah and other “terrorist” groups, echoing a call from some Iranian officials.

“These anti-revolutionary groups which have been given shelter in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and are being supported there should be pursued and suppressed on Pakistani soil,” Qolamali Rashid, a senior military official, said according to Fars.

“The land forces of the Revolutionary Guard have the ability to do this,” he said, referring to Iran’s elite military force.

A member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee said on Sunday that “Pakistan should be served notice” to destroy what he called terrorist training camps.

“If the Pakistan government refused to take measures to destroy the terrorist centres in that country, then the Islamic Republic would have the right to take steps and make the atmosphere unsafe for the terrorists in defence of its own nationals,” Kazem Jalali told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

“If Pakistan fails to control and prevent terrorist measures at its borders … we will make use of our legitimate rights,” the armed forces chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said.

Relatives of some of the 39 people killed in last week’s mosque bombing, in the port city of Chabahar, have also asked Pakistan to crack down on the group.

The Chabahar attack happened during a religious ceremony on the eve of Ashoura, Iran’s biggest Shia religious holiday. Security officials said there was evidence the bombers were “supported by regional intelligence services”.

Jundollah has a long history of targeting civilians. Often said by Tehran to be secretly backed by the US, Britain or Israel, it has reportedly used bases in Pakistan to mount operations in Sistan-Baluchistan, which has an ethnic Baluchi Sunni majority.

The US and Britain both consider it to be a terrorist organisation.

Jundollah’s last big bomb attack was on a Zahedan mosque in July, on another Shia religious holiday. The bombing, described as retaliation for the execution of the group’s captured leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, killed 28 people, including members of the Revolutionary Guard.

Sources:

Reuters

Guardian

December 17, 2010

A letter to Barack Obama from the Afghan experts

by admin

To the President of the United States:

Mr. President,

We have been engaged and working inside Afghanistan, some of us for decades, as academics, experts and members of non-governmental organisations. Today we are deeply worried about the current course of the war and the lack of credible scenarios for the future. The cost of the war is now over $120 billion per year for the United States alone.

This is unsustainable in the long run. In addition, human losses are increasing. Over 680 soldiers from the international coalition – along with hundreds of Afghans – have died this year in Afghanistan, and the year is not yet over. We appeal to you to use the unparalleled resources and influence which the United States now brings to bear in Afghanistan to achieve that longed-for peace.

Despite these huge costs, the situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taliban insurgency has made progress across the country. It is now very difficult to work outside the cities or even move around Afghanistan by road. The insurgents have built momentum, exploiting the shortcomings of the Afghan government and the mistakes of the coalition. The Taliban today are now a national movement with a serious presence in the north and the west of the country. Foreign bases are completely isolated from their local environment and unable to protect the population. Foreign forces have by now been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Red Army.

Politically, the settlement resulting from the 2001 intervention is unsustainable because the constituencies of whom the Taliban are the most violent expression are not represented, and because the highly centralised constitution goes against the grain of Afghan tradition, for example in specifying national elections in fourteen of the next twenty years.

The operations in the south of Afghanistan, in Kandahar and in Helmand provinces are not going well. What was supposed to be a population-centred strategy is now a full-scale military campaign causing civilian casualties and destruction of property. Night raids have become the main weapon to eliminate suspected Taliban, but much of the Afghan population sees these methods as illegitimate. Due to the violence of the military operations, we are losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Pashtun countryside, with a direct effect on the sustainability of the war. These measures, beyond their debatable military results, foster grievance. With Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution. Drone strikes in Pakistan have a marginal effect on the insurgency but are destabilising Pakistan. The losses of the insurgency are compensated by new recruits who are often more radical than their predecessors.

The military campaign is suppressing, locally and temporarily, the symptoms of the disease, but fails to offer a cure. Military action may produce local and temporary improvements in security, but those improvements are neither going to last nor be replicable in the vast areas not garrisoned by Western forces without a political settlement.

The 2014 deadline to put the Afghan National Army in command of security is not realistic. Considering the quick disappearance of the state structure at a district level, it is difficult to envision a strong army standing alone without any other state institutions around. Like it or not, the Taliban are a long-term part of the Afghan political landscape, and we need to try and negotiate with them in order to reach a diplomatic settlement. The Taliban’s leadership has indicated its willingness to negotiate, and it is in our interests to talk to them. In fact, the Taliban are primarily concerned about the future of Afghanistan and not – contrary to what some may think – a broader global Islamic jihad. Their links with al-Qaeda – which is not, in any case, in Afghanistan any more – are weak. We need to at least try to seriously explore the possibility of a political settlement in which the Taliban are part of the Afghan political system. The negotiations with the insurgents could be extended to all groups in Afghanistan and regional powers.

The current contacts between the Karzai government and the Taliban are not enough. The United States must take the initiative to start negotiations with the insurgents and frame the discussion in such a way that American security interests are taken into account. In addition, from the point of view of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations – women and ethnic minorities, for instance – as well as with respect to the limited but real gains made since 2001, it is better to negotiate now rather than later, since the Taliban will likely be stronger next year. This is why we ask you to sanction and support a direct dialogue and negotiation with the Afghan Taliban leadership residing in Pakistan. A ceasefire and the return of the insurgency leadership in Afghanistan could be part of a de-escalation process leading to a coalition government. Without any chance for a military victory, the current policy will put the United States in a very difficult position.

For a process of political negotiation to have a chance of addressing the significant core grievances and political inequalities it must occur on multiple levels – among the countries that neighbour Afghanistan as well as down to the provincial and subdistrict. These various tables around which negotiations need to be held are important to reinforce the message – and the reality – that discussions about Afghanistan’s political future must include all parties and not just be a quick-fix deal with members of the insurgency.

We believe that mediation can help achieve a settlement which brings peace to Afghanistan, enables the Taliban to become a responsible actor in the Afghan political order, ensures that Afghanistan cannot be used as a base for international terrorism, protects the Afghan people’s hard-won freedoms, helps stabilise the region, renders the large scale presence of international troops in Afghanistan unnecessary and provides the basis of an enduring relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. All the political and diplomatic ingenuity that the United States can muster will be required to achieve this positive outcome. It is time to implement an alternative strategy that would allow the United States to exit Afghanistan while safeguarding its legitimate security interests.

Respectfully,

Matthieu Aikins Journalist

Scott Atran Anthropologist (University of Michigan) and author of Talking to the Enemy

Rupert Talbot Chetwynd Author of Yesterday’s Enemy – Freedom Fighters or Terrorists?

Robert Abdul Hayy Darr Author of The Spy of the Heart and humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Gilles Dorronsoro Visiting Scholar (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and author of Revolution Unending

David B. Edwards Anthropologist (Williams College) and author of Before Taliban Jason Elliot Author of An Unexpected Light

Antonio Giustozzi Author of Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop and editor of Decoding the New Taliban

Shah Mahmoud Hanifi Associate Professor, James Madison University

Daniel Korski Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

Felix Kuehn Kandahar-based writer/researcher, co-editor of My Life With the Taliban

Minna Jarvenpaa Former Head of Analysis and Policy Planning, UNAMA

Anatol Lieven Professor, War Studies Department of King’s College London and author of Pakistan: A Hard Country

Bob McKerrow Author of Mountains of our Minds – Afghanistan

Alessandro Monsutti Research Director, Transnational Studies/Development Studies at The Graduate Institute, Geneva

Ahmed Rashid Journalist and author of Taliban and Descent into Chaos

Nir Rosen Fellow, New York University Center on Law and Security

Gerard Russell Research Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University

Alex Strick van Linschoten Kandahar-based writer/researcher, co-editor of My Life With the Taliban

Astri Surkhe Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway

Yama Torabi Co-Director, Integrity Watch Afghanistan

Jere van Dyk Author of In Afghanistan and Captive

Matt Waldman Afghanistan Analyst

Source: Telegraph

December 16, 2010

Sunnis and Shias unite to harass religious minorities on the Christman Eve

by admin

United against humanity: Extremist Deobandi, Barelvi, Shia and Wahhabi mullahs


December 15, 2010

Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Separating Friends from Enemies – by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa

by admin

2011 Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Washington Quarterly • WINTER 2011, 34:1 pp. 149-162.
DOI: 10.1080/0163660X.2011.538362
Ayesha Siddiqa is the first Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy (Pluto Press, 2007).

On October 1, 2010, the government of Pakistan shut down the supply route for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after an incursion into Pakistan’s territory by NATO forces, killing 16 Pakistanis in collateral damage. Two days later, militants torched 28 NATO supply trucks near Shikarpur in the southern province of Sindh. These events reflect the inherent tension both in Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy and in its relationship with the United States and its allies in fighting the war in Afghanistan. The future of U.S. military operations in South Asia depends on the convergence of policies between the United States and Pakistan, but since the war began in 2001, interpreting Islamabad’s counterterrorism policy has been difficult.

Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy in Afghanistan is rife with inherent
contradictions, caught between an inclination to fight militant forces and yet having to partner with some to strengthen its future bargaining position. The policy flows out of Pakistan’s multiple strategic requirements: its need to remain engaged with the United States, to save itself from the Taliban attacking the Pakistani state, and to fight India’s growing presence in Afghanistan. Caught between these three issues, Islamabad’s counterterrorism policy and objectives continue to lack clarity. At best, the policy illustrates the tension between Islamabad’s need to protect itself against an internal enemy and its sensitivity toward the external threat from India.

The primary flaw of Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy, however, is that it is defined and driven by the military and that institution’s strategic objectives. It is easier to use themilitary option than to address the problemof changing the basic narrative and socioeconomic conditions that drive militancy in the first place. The need to create an alternative political narrative and change the mindset in Pakistan to address those socioeconomic conditions is a far more critical issue, which receives
less attention than it deserves.

Is Pakistan Serious About Confronting Terrorism?
Pakistan has been the main ally of the United States since the start of the war on al Qaeda and other terrorist actors in 2001. Its role has become more important with time because the threat in Afghanistan has expanded into Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban are supported by groups hiding in Pakistan’s tribal areas, particularly North and South Waziristan, with the threat of militancy having seeped well into Pakistan’s provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Baluchistan.

Militant forces have combined their strength to attack the Pakistani state and its citizens, resulting in the deaths of more than 10,000
civilians and security forces personnel since 2003.

The militants, especially the Tehrik-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), have not desisted from attacking the Pakistani army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi and installations of the military’s primary intelligence organization, the Directorate for Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The TTP is a network of breakaway factions from various militant groups that are not all necessarily linked with the tribal areas, but use the territory as a hideout. Although the TTP seems to be popularly identified with Hakimullah Mehsud, who represents an anti-Pakistan agenda, most other groups are from Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province. Some TTP groups have links with al Qaeda. Since 2001, the threat posed by militancy has increased as the ongoing conflict, poverty, and lack of development have made it easier for the Taliban to recruit foot soldiers. The new leaders of the various Taliban and militant groups are young men, mostly in their thirties, who are battle-hardened from the last decade and are far less willing to compromise.

Both the United States and Pakistan appear to lack clarity about how to define the threat they are facing and what are attainable objectives. Although the prospective date of U.S. withdrawal has caused its fair share of controversy, Islamabad’s counterterrorism policy suffers from its own set of problems, beginning with overemphasizing the military approach. On a superficial level, the main issue with Islamabad’s approach to fighting terrorism is that it is almost completely controlled by the armed forces.

The army has a four-tiered approach
Caught between three goals, Islamabad’s counter terrorism policy and objectives lack clarity.

clear, hold, develop, and disintegratean approach used by the army in its operations in Swat in 2007 and in South Waziristan in October 2009.

Take the Fight Where …?

The army, however, is unwilling to extend that operation into North Waziristan, which has become a bone of contention with the United States. According to Rawalpindi, the military would like to adopt a careful and layered approach to counterterrorism, by which it means it will check and destroy unfriendly forces before attending to other groups. The military is not inclined to cater to U.S. concerns about
Taliban groups in North Waziristan, who have formal and informal agreements with the Pakistani army not to attack the state if
the army does not attack them. Islamabad does not want to start a battle on all fronts and is willing to talk to militant forces that do not attack Pakistan. Pakistan has its definition of good and bad Taliban, as do all the other stakeholders in the conflict, including the United States.

Pakistan’s perspective is problematic for the United States, where
policymakers at the Pentagon and elsewhere saw the Swat and South
Waziristan operations as a change of heart in Pakistan and an expression of the country’s intention to fight. Many in the U.S. government view the present Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who assumed the role in November 2007, as a more serious commander in dealing with militancy than former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf. Some of the army’s good friends among the community of journalists, such as Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s
former ambassador to the United States, and Shuja Nawaz, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, believe that the extension of operations into North Waziristan will happen in good time. Since the army has lost its own men in fighting militancy, it is keen to tackle the issue.

The Pakistani military is making an effort to clear Swat and South Waziristan of militants and establish control with the intent of denying them to the Taliban.

The clear and hold operation is also meant to facilitate the state’s integrating these areas into Pakistan, as they historically have not been part of the state’s legal and political systems. This process needs to be carefully staggered and gradual for two reasons. First, initiating operations on different fronts at the same time could prove dangerous and strain the military’s capabilities. It makes sense to adopt a policy that could be described as ‘‘divide and subdue.’’ But expanding operations to North Waziristan has become even more difficult in the wake of The primary flaw of Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy
is that it is driven by the military.

Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategythe recent floods, which have diverted the attention of both the military and the civilian government toward other issues. Hence, lack of time is considered a major factor.
Second, attacking the internal enemy is impossible without building public goodwill. Former ambassador Lodhi, while giving a presentation in Washington early in 2010, remarked that favorable public opinion made it possible for the army to launch the operation in Swat. Presumably, Taliban atrocities that made headlines in Pakistan helped the army build up public opinion against the militants. Shabana Fayyaz, a professor at the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and an expert on Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy, considers the positive opinion as a major contributor to the Swat and South Waziristan operations. Positive public opinion also is considered to be a necessary precondition for extending the operation to North Waziristan.

However, the positive opinion does not seem to have helped the army to carry its operations into North Waziristan, counter the evolution of the TTP, or take care of other militant groups inside Pakistan. This gives credence to the idea that
the military will not expand its operations to include all Taliban groups. There
are three kinds of forces which operate inside Pakistan: the ‘‘friendly’’ or good
Taliban in North Waziristan; the ‘‘unfriendly’’ or bad Taliban in North
Waziristan, South Waziristan, Swat, and rest of the country in the form of the TTP; and other ‘‘friendly’’ militants such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jamaatud-Dawa (JuD), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). The army does not seem willing to develop public goodwill against these ‘‘friendly’’ groups through a pro-active use of public and private media, which were used effectively in the case of the Swat and South Waziristan operations. This is despite the fact that the army’s main narrative revolves around presenting itself and the country as victims of terrorism.

Reportedly, even General Kayani has expressed to the United States his
reservations about launching operations against Sirajuddin Haqqani, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, and Mullah Nazeer, who are holed up in areas bordering Afghanistan and pose a threat to U.S. and NATO forces.1

Bahadar and Nazeer are significant Taliban warlords in NorthWaziristan, while Haqqani heads what is known as the Haqqani network, which has strongholds in the bordering Afghan districts of Paktia and Khost and is known to help anti-U.S. and anti-NATO operations.
Pakistan considers the Haqqani network as reconcilable, as it did not attack Pakistani troops when they launched an offensive in South Waziristan against Hakimullah Mehsud and other hostile militants.
TheU.S. commander inAfghanistan,General David Petraeus, seems unable to convince General Kayani of the need to attack elements that the White House and the Pentagon consider unfriendly. Pakistan seems to be pushing the United States to negotiate with the Haqqani network, as the network is considered to be fundamental to the future of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Rustum Shah Mohmand, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Afghanistan who is also a member of the Pakistan—Afghanistan jirga, believes that an operation in North Waziristan will
cost Pakistan dearly.2

?against whom …
The threat posed by the TTP is difficult to counter because of the conceptual confusion within Pakistan’s establishment. The TTP is not a homogenous group, but an umbrella organization which allows militants or breakaway factions from a large number of organizations to share resourcesincluding manpowerto carry out their ideological battle. Although belonging to various religious schools of thought, the militants are inspired by the Muslim theologian Ibn Taymiyyah’s philosophy of waging war against the non-Muslim world and using violence against Muslims who do not agree with a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

The TTP does not have a central command and is comprised of Pashtun Pakistani militants from groups based in mainland Pakistan such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangavi, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), JeM, and LeT. Besides LeT, which is Salafist, all the other groups have the same broad ideology froma different Islamic school of thoughttheDeobandi schoolwhich they also share with the Afghan Taliban.Most also have some links with al Qaeda (see Figure 1), but groups such as the SSP predate alQaeda and have old links with
the global terrorist network.

The TTP is a franchise of al Qaeda, with similar structures. It also draws strength from the SSP, which is considered the leading organization amongst the

Figure 1:

Deobandi groups. There also are deep links between al Qaeda and the TTP because al Qaeda has acquired a more local character over
the years. According to Aamir Rana, an expert on terrorism, militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri, who leads HUJI, is also now the new leader of al Qaeda in Pakistan. 3

Rana believes that the July 2, 2010 terrorist attack against a Sufi shrine in Lahore represented an internal scuffle for the leadership of al Qaeda’s
Pakistani franchise. This indicates that al Qaeda in Pakistan is not necessarily dominated by Arabs, but has a strong local component. It is a platform for all the militants who follow the ideology of takfir (the process of declaring someone as a nonbeliever and hence impure). The Takfiris among the Salafists, Wahhabis, and Deobandis three broad schools of thought in Islamtend to declare war against anyone who is considered a non-believer. Ayman al-Zawahiri is considered to be the ideologue of takfiri ideology in al Qaeda.4

However, the takfir ideology has spread among other militant groups, which has allowed some militants to break away from parent organizations and merge into the TTP. The TTP believes in waging jihad even against Muslims who help non-Muslims or do not fight un-Islamic rule. Such a belief compels them to wage war against
Pakistani forces, as they are considered to be toeing the U.S. line and fighting a war that is not Pakistan’s.

The list of friendly militants does not end with those present in North
Waziristan. Pakistan’s army is equally unwilling to eliminate other militant
groups which have found safe haven in mainland Pakistan. LeT, which came to international attention because of its involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and JeM have a long partnership with the army for what Rawalpindi considers strategic reasons.

Pakistan’s Preoccupation
The Pakistani army’s other major concern is India’s presence in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military establishment believes that India is fomenting instability in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan, and that this can only be checked by a policy of counterforce.5

The growing conventional and non-conventional military balance in India’s favor compels Pakistan’s military commanders to continue supporting proxy war as a policy tool. The Kashmir issue is central to Pakistan military’s interests, and LeT and JeM remain relevant to the army in this theater. When directly asked about the LeT The Pakistani army has been unwilling to extend counterterrorism operations into North Waziristan.

leadership’s views on sectarian violence, the organization’s spokesman, Yahya Mujahid, claimed that his militant outfit did not contribute to internal violence in Pakistan, given that its main objective is to
emancipate Kashmir and Kashmiri Muslims from India’s control.6

Following U.S. citizen David Headley’s arrest and admission that
he had been involved with LeTand played a role in the 2008Mumbai attacks, LeT has insisted that it is only interested in jihad against India. The organization’s leadership wants to distance itself from any
evidence linking it with global terrorism or sectarian strife inside Pakistan. Similarly, JeM, which was created in 2001 primarily to increase tension in Indian-held Kashmir, maintains close links with the Pakistani army and its intelligence agencies. Some sources say that Masood Azhar, the founder and leader of JeM, is comfortably ensconced in Karachi.7

Interestingly, he may not be the only militant in Karachi, as there is talk that some prominent Afghan Taliban also are present in the city. It was not surprising, therefore, when the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was captured in Karachi in February 2010.

Rawalpindi’s use of militancy as a strategic tool is a risky option, but is
nonetheless considered doable. The army’s argument about the battle between itself and the Taliban, and the sacrifices of the army’s men, creates a powerful narrative that helps stall criticism (and potential reevaluation) about this policy from outside the organization. The public and private media in the country present the military’s logic. Most private media outlets go so far as to find a joint ‘‘CIA—RAW—Mossad’’in other words, U.S.—Indian—Israelihand in every terrorist attack that takes place inside Pakistan. This produces strong anti-Indian and anti-U.S. sentiments in the country. Curiously, this also is a popular
perception at the highest policy levels on both the civilian and military sides.

Even Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has voiced concerns about U.S.
involvement in attacks inside Pakistan, according to BobWoodward’s account in his latest book.8

However, those views may represent President Zardari’s perception based on feedback from the armed forces, not from an independent source of information.

Zardari played a critical role in expanding Pakistan’s operations from Swat to SouthWaziristan, including putting pressure on the military. Zardari’s actions are possibly one of the reasons, as a senior foreign office official speaking in confidence said, that the army has since tried to push Zardari back from any major influence on Pakistan’s policies on Afghanistan and counterterrorism. It is Both the United States and Pakistan lack clarity about how to define the threat.

important to note that skewed civil—military relations are one of the major reasons behind Islamabad’s rather confusing counterterrorism policy.

The mindset and apparent confusion of Pakistani officials and society has made it difficult for Pakistan to put up a fight against militant forces that target the country. Despite the victory in Swat, the army was unable to catch militant leaders such as Maulana Fazlullah, head of the Taliban-backed Tehrik-e-Nifaze-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSMmovement for the implementation of Islamic Shari’a). Such failures make it difficult to boost public confidence in the government’s capacity to challenge and eliminate the Taliban, and to protect ordinary Pakistani citizens.
Maulana Fazlullah’s grip over Swat was not just a battle for the imposition of Shari’a, it was largely a matter of religiously motivated warlords establishing control over a territory where Pakistan had acceded control by not providing governance and establishing a rule of law. Initially, the people in Swat responded to Fazlullah because he called for the implementation of Shari’a law, which was perceived as a faster and more cost-effective system of justice. Fazlullah
challenged the traditional eliteknown as maliks. As his influence increased, the writ of the state, projected through the police and intelligence agencies, diminished to the point of disappearing. For ordinary people, the Taliban became more of a reality than the state.

As long as the Pakistani army continues to differentiate among the various groups on the basis of their tactical position vis `-a-vis the Pakistani state, terrorism will continue. There seems to be little intent to marginalize or eliminate the core militant groups operating inside Pakistan. This was made clear during a discussion the author had with the military’s spokesperson, Major General Athar Abbas, who termed the unfriendly Taliban as ‘‘splinters of splinters,’’ meaning that those attacking the state were just the breakaway components of otherwise friendly groups.9

It is impossible in the short to medium term for the Pakistani military to take a different look at the problem of militancy because of the outstanding disputes between India and Pakistan as well as the huge trust deficit between the neighbors. Pakistan considers India’s diplomatic and economic presence in Afghanistan as threatening Pakistan’s security, especially in Baluchistan. Not surprisingly, the chief of the ISI, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, once declared Taliban leaders such as Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud as patriots and nationalists.10

In an interview to the German magazine Der Spiegel, Pasha
similarly adopted a generous view of militant propaganda, terming it as a right in a democracy.11

The militants are considered a vital part of the army’s operational plans to counter India. Overall, the India factor has led to the seemingly divided opinion amongst the Pakistani establishment about fighting militancy, especially given that there is a deep-rooted fear of the growing strategic relationship between the United States and India. The Washington—New Delhi civil nuclear deal is seen as disturbing the balance of power in South Asia, which is detrimental to Pakistan’s interests. The friendly Taliban are a natural boost to Islamabad’s drive to protect its interests, particularly in the Kashmir dispute and thwarting the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan, which Pakistan considers detrimental to its interests.

From a tactical standpoint, the abovementioned policy is a rational outcome of Islamabad’s perception that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is temporary.

The Pakistani army does not want to find itself in a situation where Islamabad does not have links with the Taliban and other warlords. The Afghan Taliban are significant stakeholders in Afghanistan, and it is vital for Islamabad to keep ties with them. The Pakistani military went so far as to publicly admit that their forces arrested Mullah Baradarwho was apparently engaged in a dialogue with the Karzai governmentin February 2010 to signal the Taliban that Islamabad would not allow militants to strike deals independently.12

The fact that the military admitted its gameplan indicates that it expects the United States to understand its ally’s security concerns.
Thus, what emerges is a policy in which Pakistani forces seem to ‘‘run with the hare and hunt with the hound.’’ This policy may also at least partially be a result of Pakistan’s monetary dependence on the United States. U.S. diplomats stationed in Pakistan believe that the continuation of the fight against terrorist organizations helps Islamabad extract money from Washington.13

And in reality, Pakistani forces do not want the United States to leave the region. Such views emphasize the skewed nature of Pakistani—U.S. relations. The bilateral strategic re-engagement, which started after 2001, represents a patron— client relationship. Since the linkage is based simply on Islamabad providing support for U.S. security interests in South Asia, there is a trust deficit between the two states. The bulk of Pakistani decisionmakers and military commanders believe that the U.S. interest in the region will once again wane when the United States withdraws its military from Afghanistan. Therefore, as the diplomats stated, it actually benefits Pakistan to keep the threat of terrorism alive.

It’s not Pakistan…It’s the Use of Force

Even if Pakistan were fighting the war more honestly, however, it is doubtful the military option would produce desirable results. One of the greatest flaws of the overall counterterrorism approach of the allies certainly Pakistanis the concentration on the use of force. This is not to argue that the military option should not be used at all or that the state must not protect itself against terrorists.

The military option, nevertheless, does not help eradicate militancy and
emphasizes the idea that change comes about through the use of force. In this respect, the drone attacks seem to add to the problem of militancy. Given the collateral damage of these attacks, there are always more people who join the ranks of the Taliban to avenge the death of their loved ones.

Unfortunately, the frustration of ordinary people, who are stuck between the Taliban on one side and U.S./NATO/Pakistani forces on the other, makes them more inclined toward violence than peace. Not all members of the Taliban are motivated by religion; there is a division between the Taliban leadershipwho are driven by ideologyand Taliban foot soldiers who join the fight for monetary reasons or personal vendetta. An alternative narrative that could keep people away from militancy does not yet exist in Pakistan or in the U.S. strategy to fight terrorism. Such a narrative should include two ideas: changing the socioeconomic balance in the society to deter greater Talibanization; and creating tools that could help counter the religious ideology of militant groups.

Socioeconomic Priority
Although there has been no direct link established between poverty and
terrorism, a large number of people who join militant groups are from the lowest socioeconomic class in Pakistan. South Punjab and upper Sindh, which are gaining a reputation as safe havens for terrorist elements, are known areas of high poverty. The two areas rank very low in the human development indices of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. They also rank very low in terms of education.14

Consequently, there is a large presence of madrassas (religious seminaries) in these areas which, even if they are not necessarily
producing terrorists, are definitely contributing to a mindset that encourages militancy. An increase in rural poverty in a socially authoritarian environment can create political chaos, if not outright anarchy.15

In Pakistan, poverty is not just limited to economic deprivationit also
applies to the scarcity of political power or the inability to shift the status quo. The bulk of the Pakistani middle class, which is seen by authors such as Vali Nasr as a driver of change in Muslim societies due to its progressive nature,16 is actually conservative with traces of latent radicalism. Members of this class have increasingly become more conservative, and even financed and supported militant outfits because of their inability to change the political system in any other way.17

This is not done consciously, but is driven by the realization that
orthodox religious ideology provides greater sociopolitical space than the existing system. The Pakistani state has historically failed to build an alternative narrative, and the political-party system has failed to allay the concerns of ordinary people, which creates space for radicalism and militancy to grow.

The state has not managed to correct its focus and attend to the problems of human resource and socioeconomic development. Pakistan’s human development indicators continue to be abysmal, and the government has not managed to integrate the tribal areas through development work or building a legal and law enforcement system. In fairness, the state was unlucky in one sense, as its nascent efforts to fight terrorism were seriously stalled by the floods in 2010.

Given that the natural calamity badly hit Khyber—Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit—Baltistan, South Punjab, Sindh, and Baluchistan, the challenges have multiplied, as these are areas withmilitant groups present. Sincemilitant organizations helped provide relief, and there was no real attempt to discourage those efforts,18 it has become doubly difficult to reduce the influence of militant organizations.

Changing Religious Discourse
Pakistan also needs to create a new religious narrative. No amount of
counterterrorism operations will work unless the government has a plan to generate a new discourse that can counter takfiri ideology and the orthodox interpretation of Shari’a law. It is critical for the Pakistani government and civilsociety groups to combine forces and emphasize the fact that terrorism is linked with an ideological battle in the country. The U.S. fight against terrorism is one of the many layers of the current conflict, but the Muslims of Pakistan have to recognize the war as their own, which can only happen if a counter-argument is presented emphasizing ideological nuance.

A renowned Muslim scholar, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, argues that unless
Muslim ideological theoreticians are able to admit that the Qur’an prohibits killing all non-combatantsbe they in Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, India, or the United Statesit will be difficult to fight terrorism successfully. Ghamdi also believes that using religion for terrorism is a tool of power and does not depict the reality of Islam (Ghamdi has aired these views publicly, for which he received death threats and had to move to Malaysia. The state was unable to provide him protection).19

Another moderate religious scholar, Dr. Farooq Khan, was killed in October 2010 by the Taliban in Swat, further muffling the voices of
reason and tolerance.20

Unfortunately, the Pakistani government has opted for the easy way out, choosing to project Sufi Islam as a potential bulwark against terrorism. This option seems inspired by a RAND Corporation report on partnering with alternative institutions in the Muslim world, in which Sufi Islam was identified Since the floods, it has become doubly difficult to reduce the influence of militant organizations as one such element.21

The historical nature and significance of Sufi Islam is that it is more tolerant and pluralistic than puritanical interpretations of Islam. Traditionally, people from all religions, sects, ethnicities, castes, etc. visit Sufi shrines in South Asia. There is ample excitement in Washington, many European states, and Pakistan itself regarding Sufi Islam as a possible replacement for the seemingly violent orthodox version of Islam. During a visit to Washington in March-April 2010, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani even recommended that the United States support Sufi Islam in Pakistan, as it is the most popular version of Islam in the country.

The issue of an alternative narrative, however, is far more complex than what could be calculated numerically. Terrorists do not represent the bulk of the population, mainly since militants operating in mainland Pakistan have opted to co-exist with other social forces without challenging local traditions, unlike the militants operating in tribal areas such as Fazlullah. Militant organizations are in no hurry to recruit members rapidly, as noted in books by jihadist leaders such as JeM’s Masood Azhar.

The primary problem remains the underlying extremism or latent radical attitudes which seem to be growing unabated. The growth of latent radicalism is due to a general lack of knowledge in Pakistan’s religious discourse, especially concerning alternative interpretations of the Qur’an and presentations of Shari’a that do not breed hatred of the ‘‘other.’’

Pakistan is certainly not the only country facing this problem, as such a narrative is not taking root in most of the Muslim world. But given that Pakistan is immensely affected by terrorism, it has a greater need for an alternative religious narrative, and it cannot act complacently since the popularity of Sufism is an issue that lacks clarity. The majority of Deobandis, who follow a more orthodox interpretation of Islam, also subscribe to local Sufi traditions. Moreover, Sufi institutions do not necessarily counter orthodox ideology and are not equipped with the modern methods of communication used by extremist elements.

To get out of the trap of puritanical religious interpretations, especially the takfiri ideology, the Pakistani government must reach out to moderate religious scholars in Pakistan, as well as the rest of the Muslim world, to initiate a debate within the society. Such scholars should focus on introducing and establishing the principle of Islamic secularism based on the separation of religion from state.

Also, those members of Pakistani society who seek inspiration or reasoning from religion should be offered alternative interpretations of Islam that do not support takfir or discourage tolerance. This used to be the mainstream narrative in Islam, but it was pushed aside in the post-colonial Muslim world. Pakistan needs to change its socioeconomic balance and create a new religious narrative.

Like other states, Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy is an end product of its peculiar strategic priorities. Although the country’s military and civilian authorities are conscious of the pressure the international community is putting on Pakistan to fight terrorism, top officials still are not yet convinced of the seriousness of the Obama administration to combat area militants.

President Obama’s announcement of a withdrawal beginning in July 2011 is interpreted as Washington losing its will and its intent to keep fighting. There are many in the strategic community in Pakistan who believe that the fight against terrorism will eventually be outsourced to the Pakistani military. Under such circumstances, Pakistan would have to continue investing in the Taliban, especially to counter India’s growing social and political influence in Kabul. The link with the Taliban and other local militant groups, as has been argued here, is in part the result of Pakistan’s traditional insecurity concerning India. Although militancy hurts Pakistan, there is an unwillingness to abandon it as a policy tool. Using militants as part of a proxy war is a concept well integrated into Pakistan’s military strategy.22

Not only is there an unwillingness to eliminate militancy entirely, the state also has not developed an alternative social narrative that would help change the mindset producing or supporting terrorism. The subsequent sociopolitical anarchy in Pakistan adds to the problem, combining collectively to mean that the United States cannot expect Islamabad to fight the war on Washington’s terms, whatever they may be in the coming months and years.

Notes
1. Correspondent for the British daily The Independent, discussion with author, Islamabad, August 2, 2010.
2. Kamran Yousaf, ‘‘Pakistan, U.S. at odds over definition,’’ The Express Tribune, October 30, 2010, http://tribune.com.pk/story/69816/pakistan-us-at-odds-over-definition/.
3. Mohammad Aamir Rana, discussion with author, Islamabad, July 30, 2010.
4. Yahya Mujahid and Syed Saleem Shehzad, discussion with author, Islamabad, October 10, 2010.
5. ‘‘India Supporting Militancy in Balochistan: Musharraf,’’ The Express Tribune, October
10, 2010, http://tribune.com.pk/story/60862/india-supporting-militancy-in-balochistanmusharraf/.
6. Yahya Mujahid, interview with author, Islamabad, October 10, 2010.
7. Karachi-based journalist, confidential discussion with author, October 7, 2010.
8. Bob Woodword, Obama’s Wars (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010), p. 116.
9. Major General Athar Abbas, discussion with author, Rawalpindi, November 2009.
10. This was part of Pasha’s statement to a select group of media soon after the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategy11. Susanne Koelbl, ‘‘Pakistan’s New Intelligence Chief: ‘Terror Is Our Enemy, Not India’,’’ Der Spiegel, January 6, 2009, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,599724,00.html.
12. Dexter Filkins, ‘‘Pakistanis Tell of Motive in Taliban Leader’s Arrest,’’ The New York Times, August 22, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/world/asia/23taliban.html.
13. U.S. diplomats from the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, discussions with author, October 12, 2010.
14. Safiya Aftab, ‘‘Poverty and Underdevelopment,’’ The Friday Times, April 9, 2010, http://waseb.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/poverty-and-underdevelopment-by-safiya-aftab/.
15. Ayesha Siddiqa, ‘‘Terror’s Training Ground,’’ Newsline, September 9, 2009, http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2009/09/terror’s-training-ground/.
16. Vali Nasr, Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World (Free Press, 2009).
17. See Ayesha Siddiqa, ‘‘The Conservatively Hip,’’ Newsline, August 31, 2010, http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2010/08/the-conservatively-hip/.
18. Shahzada Irfan Ahmed and Ayesha Siddiqa, ‘‘Religious Mission or Political Ambition?,’’ Newsline, September 30, 2010, http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2010/09/religious-mission-or-political-ambition/.
19. Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, discussion with author, Islamabad, October 8, 2010.
20. Jamal Hoti, ‘‘Moderate scholar Dr. Farooq killed in Mardan,’’ Dawn, October 3, 2010, http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/44-swat-universitys-vice-chancellor-dr-farooq-assasinated-fa-03.
21. Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell H. Schwartz, and Peter Sickle, ‘‘Building Moderate Muslim Networks,’’ RAND Corporation Monograph Series (Santa Monica, CA:RAND Corporation, 2007), pp. 102—103, http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG574.pdf.
22. Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, ‘‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Islamist Militancy in South Asia,’’ The Washington Quarterly 33, no. 1 (January 2010), pp. 47—59, http://www.twq.com/10january/docs/10jan_GangulyKapur.pdf.

December 14, 2010

Pakistan, not a lost case: An example of sectarian harmony and tolerance – by Amna Imam

by admin

The following article suggests that religious fanatics (belonging to Deobandi, Ahl-e-Hadith, Shia and Barelvi sects) are a tiny minority in Pakistan. The dominant majority of Muslims and non-Muslims of Pakistan are a peace loving, tolerant nation. Unfortunately, our enemies within (the ISI) and without (the CIA) have exploited the religious and sectarian differences within Pakistani society to promote their specific strategic agendas, e.g., recruitment of extremist Deobandis and Wahhabis as cheap mercenaries in the cross-border terrorism (wrongly labelled as jihad) in Afghanistan and Kashmir. In the following personal account by an ex-bureaucrat, Professor Amna Imam states that “when people talk about weak democracy in Pakistan, when Pakistanis discuss the desirability of a military government, when people think that democracy is unsustainable in Pakistan, when the media reports of gross violence and inequalities in the Pakistani society, I take solace in my first hand knowledge of the real Pakistan.”

Pakistan, not a lost case
Source

It was an early morning, in the holy month of Moharram in the year 2000; I was going through the daily police reports in my office in Karachi, relieved that nothing out of the ordinary was reported, when something caught my eye.

There was a report about an incident at a small Imam Bargah (Shia mosque), in a poor community, located in the treacherous hills of North Nazimabad, separating the Urdu speaking Mohajir community from the Pashto speaking Pakhtoons – the two ethnic rival communities of Karachi.

However, the incident was not ethnic in nature it was sectarian. A few days ago, a group of armed men from the Sunni extremist organization Sipah-e-Sahaba had visited the small Shiamosque, and had threatened the Shia Imam of an attack on his mosque if he commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in Shia tradition on the 10th of Moharram.

Hussain was the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Both Shias and Sunnis commemorate the Shahadat (martyrdom) of Imam Hussain on the 10th of Islamic holy month of Moharram.

However, Sunnis do it in a quiet fashion, reading Quran, fasting, and giving in charity. Shias, on the other hand, in addition to doing all that Sunnis do, hold elaborate meetings in their Imam Bargahs (Shia mosques), wear black, weep, read poetry and beat on their bodies – all the things that Sunnis consider as Bida’ats (Un-Islamic).

Reading the police report, I was at my wits end. Karachi, because of its sheer magnitude and economic significance, was always sitting on social land mines. Any violent incident had, and has, the potential to put the city into a state of turmoil, and by consequence the entire country.

Though, I had force from five police stations, I also had the headquarters of Sipah-e-Shaba (an extremist Sunni organization) in my jurisdiction, the biggest Shia mosque in the Karachi, and a high concentration of Pakhtoons living next door to Mohajirs in my sub-division.

It was a delicate social ecosystem composed of tightly knotted ethnic and sectarian intricacies.

My police force was not enough to take care of all these locations.

I could not be present at the small Shia mosque on the 10th of Moharram, 2000; I was needed at the biggest Shia mosque in my sub-division. I had learned from experience that the police force would run away for its safety, as soon as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate leaves.

I could not leave the biggest Shia congregation in such a precarious condition during their Moharram 10th events. Simultaneously, however small the other Shia mosque was, it was my responsibility to provide security to it on the same day, and at the same time, as the big Shiamosque.

If, God forbid, something had happened to the small Imam Bargah, the big Shia mosque wouldn’t have been safe from attacks and retaliation – and that would have meant that the entire city of Karachi and perhaps the country would have been thrown into flames (literally).

As aware as I was of the gravity of the situation, I could think of nothing, in terms of strategic deployment, that could have saved the day. I was tired from many sleepless nights, busy making security arrangements for the night of the 10th of Moharram, and couldn’t think clearly.

What do I do?

As I was busy thinking about the situation that had made its way to my doorstep, my secretary informed me that a community organizer wishes to see me. I let him in. He mentioned the threat to the small Shia mosque. He suggested that prior to deciding my strategy I should talk to the community members, both Shias and Sunnis. That was the first sane thought that had crossed my office that morning.

I thanked him and asked my secretary to arrange for the meeting of the elders of the community in my office later that day. I asked him to ensure that the Imam of the small Shia mosque also attended. He made the phone calls, and I was told that they will be at my office at 4 pm later that day. I had little hope, but there was nothing else that I could do.

They arrived promptly at 4 pm. The elders were all conservative Sunnis the only Shia present in the meeting was the Imam of the small Shia mosque. I informed them of the security situation and my limitations.

I asked them to advise me on how to proceed with it. The easiest option at that time seemed to be to cancel the permit for Shia commemoration for Moharram 10th of that mosque to avoid violence, but I was open to suggestions.

They all listened very patiently. Then, the oldest person in the group, who was a Sunni, spoke up on behalf of all. He said, “Ma’am, we and the Shia Imam are neighbors and friends. We have lived together for decades. We have attended each other’s weddings and funerals; we have been together in child births and in sickness. We have always taken care of each other. Although we are not Shias, the Shia Imam and his family are our family, his daughter is my daughter is his son is my son, and his congregation is my congregation.

We will not let anything happen to him, his family, or his mosque.” He paused to take a breath, and then continued, “He and his congregation have the right to practice their religion as they deem fit.

Although we do not agree with him and other Shias in how they commemorate Moharram, nevertheless, we will defend their right to practice their religion to our last breath.” You could have knocked me down with afeather at that moment!

I was elated; I had never imagined a poorly educated, low income Pakistani male, who belonged to a generation that existed eons ago, would give me a lecture on how to balance concerns of security with religious freedom!

That was one of the proudest moments of my life. However, I still did not have the solution to the problem. The elder continued in the same tone, “Ma’am, we have therefore, decided that all of us, the Sunni families, will attend the events of 10th Moharram, at the Shia mosque.

The Sipah-e-Sahaba militants have no political incentive to attack and kill us Sunnis, and hence if we are at the Shia mosque, they would not attack the Shia mosque either. This way, the plan to hold events in the Shia mosque will not be disturbed and the security will not be compromised. We will not need your force, but we invite you to come join us for the events at the Shia mosque on the 10th of Moharram.”

I was full of admiration for the simple and elegant solution, and I was speechless at the grassroots wisdom, tolerance, acceptance, empathy and strength of community. I had just witnessed a historic event – I was honored, thankful and graciously humbled.

That was our plan. We discussed the details, and carried it out to the “t”. It went well. Not a drop of blood was shed in North Nazimabad sub-division during the Moharram in year 2000.

Years passed by, some harshly, some softly, but I could never forget the simple compassion of that local Pakistani community.

Today, when people talk about weak democracy in Pakistan, when Pakistanis discuss the desirability of a military government, when people think that democracy is unsustainable in Pakistan, when the media reports of gross violence and inequalities in the Pakistani society, I take solace in my first hand knowledge of the real Pakistan.

I take solace in the inherent wisdom of the simple people, in their simple homes, eating their simple bread, talking to each other under the Neem trees in hot afternoons, and under the stars in cool evenings.

Their wisdom is gained from a culture that spans thousands of years, the wisdom that would make any post-modernist proud, the wisdom and humanity and voice and action and autonomy that are the hallmarks of Pakistani society.

I take solace in the knowledge, that democracy is inherently wise, humane, Islamic, universal, and tolerant and hence inherently Pakistani.

AMNA IMAM • ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, SUNY COLLEGE AT BROCKPORT

December 13, 2010

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Envoy To Pakistan/Afghanistan, dies at 69

by admin

Deeply saddened by the passing of Richard Holbrooke, a true giant of foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer and more respected. Barack Obama US, President

President Asif Ali Zardari called Holbrooke an “extremely hard-working man who can get things done which would otherwise take weeks to get through.”

At our last breakfast meeting I asked Ambassador Richard Holbrooke how long he planned to work and he said “As long as I can make a difference” Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.

Governor of the Punjab Salman Taseer says, “I will always remember Ambassador Holbrooke as the man who saved the Muslims of Bosnia.”


Richard Holbrooke, the veteran U.S. diplomat who was the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and perhaps best known for his role in negotiating an end to the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, has died.

On Friday, he was rushed to George Washington University Hospital with a tear in his aorta and underwent surgery on Saturday. He died today, at the age of 69.

Holbrooke, whose foreign service began in 1962 in Vietnam, had served every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy. After Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, he served as U.S. ambassador to Germany and later as assistant secretary of state for European affairs, where he helped broker the Dayton Peace Accords.

He was brilliant and savvy, but he could also be combative and cantankerous; he had his admirers and detractors. In the latter years of the Clinton administration, he served as ambassador to the U.N. but only after a lengthy investigation into his business dealings stalled his confirmation. In 2008 he was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In quotes: Tributes to Richard Holbrooke

Leaders in the US and elsewhere have paid tribute to veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who has died aged 69.

Barack Obama, US president

He was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace…

The progress that we have made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard’s relentless focus on America’s national interest, and pursuit of peace and security. He understood, in his life and his work, that our interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear.

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state

Tonight America has lost one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants. Richard Holbrooke served the country he loved for nearly half a century, representing the United States in far-flung war-zones and high-level peace talks, always with distinctive brilliance and unmatched determination. He was one of a kind – a true statesman – and that makes his passing all the more painful.

From his early days in Vietnam to his historic role bringing peace to the Balkans to his last mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard helped shape our history, manage our perilous present, and secure our future. He was the consummate diplomat, able to stare down dictators and stand up for America’s interests and values even under the most difficult circumstances.

Bill Clinton, former US president

In a lifetime of passionate, brilliant service on the front lines of war and peace, freedom and oppression, Richard Holbrooke saved lives, secured peace, and restored hope for countless people around the world. Tomorrow marks the 15-year anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Accords – the agreement Dick negotiated which stopped the killings in Bosnia and paved a path to peace in the Balkans that endures today…

For the last two years, he worked hard to counter terrorism and to build a secure, democratic future for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our nation is safer, and our world stronger, because of the work he did.

Tony Blair, former UK prime minister

He was a remarkable man, a remarkable public servant and someone who contributed enormously to the cause of a more peaceful and just world. He will be deeply mourned by many people in many different nations.

Peter Galbraith, former US ambassador and UN official

He was in a category by himself. Someone who was very strategic, he knew where he wanted to go, and he had a good understanding as a diplomat of the different players and how actually to relate to them. But [he was] an operator with a real moral sense – he didn’t have to get involved in Bosnia, he wanted to. And he did it because he was outraged by what was going on. (Source)

Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan speaks with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. – APP (File Photo)

President Zardari mourns ‘friend’ Holbrooke

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday paid glowing tribute to Richard Holbrooke, calling the late US special envoy to the region a “friend of Pakistan”.

“Pakistan has lost a friend. He was an accomplished and experienced diplomat, who quickly gained the confidence of his interlocutors,” Zardari was quoted as saying in an official statement.

He called Holbrooke a “key player in international diplomacy to bring peace to Bosnia and in confronting militancy in our part of the world”.

Zardari described the late US envoy as a personal friend of both himself and his late wife, assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“The best tribute to him is to reiterate our resolve to root out extremism and usher in peace,” Zardari said.

Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was one of America’s most experienced diplomats with an illustrious career spanning nearly 50 years.

He had the daunting task of pushing Kabul and Islamabad to work together against resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

December 13, 2010

International Minorities Alliance demands prosecution of Maluna Yousaf Quresh and Editor Nawa-i-Waqt

by admin

Hardline Pakistani cleric Maulana Yousef Qureshi, center, addresses a rally against Christian woman Asia Bibi in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. Qureshi offered a reward of US$6,000 to anyone who kills Asia Bibi.

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AHCR campaigns to prosecute Maulana Yousaf Qureshi

“No one will let her live. The mullahs are saying they will kill her when she comes out.”

And Chief Justice Justice Khwaja Sharif of the Lahore High Court barred the government from introducing any change in the blasphemy law.

International minorities Alliance and South Asian Minorities writer Association Italy demands prosecution of Maulani Yousuf Querashi, Imam Majid Mahabat Khan, Peshawar , Pakhtunkhawa, Maulana Muhammad Salim, Imam Masjid, Ittanwala village, Nankana district, and Editor Nawa-i-Waqt, Majid Nizami.

On Dec. 3 the imam of Peshawar’s oldest mosque, Maluna Yousaf Qureshi, offered a 500,000 rupee (about $5,800) reward to anyone who killed the Asia Bibi if the court failed to execute her.

His comments drew criticism from Latif Afridi, a renowned lawyer and former president of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association. He said the imam’s statement was “a mad person’s words and are contrary to basic human rights.” According to the Pakistan Express Tribune, The lawyer also charged that the remarks constituted an open threat to someone’s life and merited legal action.

However, Nawa-i-Waqt, Pakistan’s leading Urdu newspaper, also endorsed the call for Bibi’s death. It said her punishment “will be carried out in one manner or the other.”

Extremists cleric’s public incitement to murder sparked some criticism in Pakistani media, but no sign of any law enforcement action or investigation. Article 506 of the Pakistan penal code outlaws “criminal intimidation,” and in cases where death is threatened the standard applicable two-year prison term rises to seven.

On the one hand Mullahs are hell bent on seeing Asia Bibi dead, as you will see in the links to a TV discussion, and on the contrary Sherry Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party’s lawmaker and President of Jinnah Institute, heroically and rightly said,

“allowing any open incitement to murder in the name of protecting religion must stop right now. The state must retain its monopoly on the use of force, and penalties under the law, no one else. Letting Qureshi flout the justice system is also tantamount to challenging the jurisdiction of the courts, and due notice must immediately taken to penalize such actions.”

International minorities Alliance Italy

Urgent Appeals

PAKISTAN : Muslim leaders who issued decree to kill a Christian lady should be prosecuted

ISSUES: Blasphemy law; judicial prosecution; right to life and religious minority

Name of victim:

Ms. Aasia Bibi, 45, mother of five living in Ittanwali village, Nanka district, Punjab province, Pakistan
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Maulani Yousuf Querashi, Imam Majid Mahabat Khan, Peshawar , Khyber Pakhtonn Kha province, Pakistan
2. Maulana Muhammad Salim, Imam Masjid, Ittanwala village, Nankana district, Punjab province, Pakistan
3. Editor, daily Nawa-i-waqt, Lahore, Punjab province, Pakistan
Date of incident: November 1, 2010

Place of incident: Nankana district, Punjab province, Pakistan
We are writing to voice our deep concern regarding death sentence of Aasia, a Christian mother of five, on the charges of blasphemy by a court and the government’s inability to prosecute those elements who are openly announcing their intention to kill her or award cash money for that purpose. Because of lawlessness and state weakness the Muslim extremist groups are finding it easy to kill her extra judicially. From past experience it has been noted that up until now, blasphemy law had not led to an execution of any accused or convicted. But 33 people charged with blasphemy have been killed in prison by guards or in the vicinity of the court.

It is very shocking that mosque leader Mahabat Khan, of Peshawar , has announced a decree calling for the killing of Asia and a reward of Rs 500,000 (00 USD) to be given to the killer. The call for extra judicial killing by an Muslim leader was totally ignored by the state authorities, which shows that there is no rule of law in the country and every person can claim his own law is Islamic law. This amounts to a total collapse of rule of the law and justice system.

Aasia Bibi, 45, a Christian and mother of five, was sentenced to death by a local court in Nankana district, Punjab province, on charges of committing blasphemy. Ms Bibi’s case dates back to June 2009, when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields and a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl. This resulted in exchange of hot words between her and Muslim women against each others’ religious beliefs. Five days after the incident, a local Muslim leader, Qari Salem, jumped into the matter and pressured some people in the area to claim that she committed blasphemy.

When finding no way to get Ms. Bibi to confess, Salem used the loudspeakers of the mosque, as other Muslim leaders usually do in the cases of alleged blasphemy acts, to spread the news of blasphemy and instigate the people of the locality to punish the alleged blasphemer. The people of the locality beat her severely in the presence of her children. The local police came and took her into protective custody, but at the police station the crowd under the leadership of Qari Salem pressured the police to file a charge of blasphemy against her and arrest her for desecrating the last prophet of Islam (peace be upon him).
On November 1, 2010, 16 months after her arrest, the court pronounced a death sentence on charges of committing blasphemy. The judge totally ruled out in his judgment any chance that Aasia was falsely implicated; he said that there were no mitigating circumstances. His comment in his verdict shows that he knew that it was a weak case and that people will oppose his judgment giving a death sentence to a woman in a blasphemy case for the first time in the history of Pakistan . According to the reports, the court relied on the witnesses provided by the Muslim leader of the mosque and Christians were not allowed to produce any witness. The judge also did not know that according to the 2004 amendment to blasphemy law the investigation of any blasphemy charges should be conducted by an officer who is at least a Superintendent of Police (SP). In the case of Aasia, all the investigation was done by a low rank officer, the Assistant Sub-Inspector.
It has been found that Pakistan ’s judges, from the lower courts to the highest courts, are eager to get popularity through their verdicts and comments during the hearing. When the chief justice of the Lahore High Court stopped the government from withdrawing the case of blasphemy against Aasia on the assumption that president of Pakistan would withdraw the case, Ms. Asma Jehangir, the president of Supreme Court Bar Association told the judges that if they want to get popularity through their judgment then they should do some other job rather than being a judge. The judiciary’s attitude towards the blasphemy law is no different than that of ordinary Muslim leaders. When the Chief Justice implored the government not to pardon the sentence, another bench of the same court also asked the government not to amend the blasphemy law.

It is also evident that those persons responsible for extra-judicial killings of persons accused of blasphemy will never be punished by the courts because of the biases of the courts and because of the lengthy period of trial during which witnesses were pressured by the militant groups.
A prominent Muslim leader, Maulana Yousef Qureshi, a hard line Pakistani Islamic cleric, told a rally in the north-western town of Peshawar that his mosque would give Rs. 0.5 million approximatively (5,000 US dollars) to anyone who kills Aasia Bibi. The Maulana is the leader of Mosque Mahabat Khan, the biggest in the Khyber Pakhtoon Kha province. His announcement was carried by all electronic and print media, yet the government has not taken any legal action against Maulana for inciting people to kill extra judicially. Muslim religious groups all over the Pakistan are holding protest meetings in large numbers, instructing followers that there should be no compromise if the government or courts pardon Aasia’s death sentence.

The Governor of the Punjab Salman Taseer, who met Aasia in jail after her sentence and assured her that he would take her case before the president of Pakistan , advocating to pardon her. However, the Lahore high court suddenly stopped the process and said before the decision of the court that the government cannot do such a thing. All the religious groups and parties maligned the Governor as he is violating the basic teachings of Islam.
Ms. Bibi’s husband and children are hiding. They left the house after receiving threats from the Muslim extremists. It is difficult for them to survive, as the husband and his other brothers are always chased by Muslim groups. There is a strong chance that her family would be attacked and might be killed as these happened in previous cases when persons were accused of blasphemy. In a recent case of two Christian brothers, the AHRC informed the authorities of the threat well before those brothers were killed in custody.

In another case dating from July 2009, a Christian youth was killed by extremists in November2010 after being released from charges of blasphemy.
One daily newspaper, Nawa-i-Waqt has written an editorial in favour of Maulana Yousuf Querashi, who issued a decree against Aasia Bibi and announced a cash reward for whomever kills Aasia Bibi. The newspaper wrote that Maulana was great in his decree and his action is according to Islam therefore Aasia Bibi should be killed.
The speaker and legislators of the provincial Assembly of Punjab province who support the move against Aasia Bibi are no better. When Mr. Shara, a minority member of the assembly, wanted to discuss the issue of Aasia and her punishment, the speaker, Rani Iqbal Ahmad, refused to allow Shara to speak on the issue, describing it as “sensitive”. Protesting against the speaker’s attitude, legislators belonging to minority communities walked out of the House. However, when Ali Haider Noor Niazi of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan party began speaking emotionally on the same issue, the speaker did not stop him. Niazi began shouting within the assembly as he criticised those who were trying to defend the woman. Niazi criticised Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer for raising his voice in favour of Asia Bibi. “The governor has no right to make efforts for Asia ‘s pardon,” he said. Niazi was also of the view that those demanding the woman’s release are blasphemers.
It is very much feared that Aasia Bibi or her family members may be killed during her detention or when she is released. The Punjab government is silent on the issue and allowing fundamentalist groups to decide all things.

* We urge the government to take strong action against the fundamentalist Muslim leaders who take the law in their own hands in the name of Islam and want to rule the country with their extremist designs and misuse the blasphemy law.
* We urge you to immediately repeal the black law, the blasphemy law, or at least delete section 295C from the Pakistan Penal Code, release Aasia Bibi and provide protection to her and her family. Also prosecute those who issued decrees ordering the killing of Aasia Bibi.
* We look forward to your prompt action to provide substantial and comprehensive policy responses on the protection of religious minority groups and misuse of blasphemy law.

Yours sincerely,

Jeem Phey Ghauri

President : (SAMWA),(SACWA) International Secretary (IMA)

Main Office: Via S.Martino 5, 43036-Fidenza(PR), ITALY.

Tel&Fax:+39 0524 202250 / Cell +39 329 1627240

Emails: jeemghauri@alice.itsacwait@alice.itamenews@alice.it

Web Sites: www.amenews.org www.sacwapakistan.org

Javed Iqbal Gill James(President European Union IMA)
umaspain@yahoo.com

Board of Directors IMA ( Italy )

G.Secretary: Nadeem Naseem (nadeem.naseem@.com )

A.D.Chaudhry (chaudhry_arif@yahoo.it

Mushtaq Sultan

Vilayat  and   George Khurshid

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9204801 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +92 51 9204801 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / 51 9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2.Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9221596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk, pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk

3. Mr. A. Rehman Malik
Federal Minister for Interior
Government of Pakistan,
R block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +92 51 9212026 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 51 9212026, 51 9212026, 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com

4. Mr. Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US AID Building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9204108
E-mail: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Salman Taseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Mall Road
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99203044
E-mail: governor.sectt@punjab.gov.pk

6. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore, Punjab province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 7324489
E-mail: chiefsecy@punjab.gov.pk

7. Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Ravi Road
Lahore, Punjab province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99212004
E-mail: law@punjab.gov.pk

8. Dr. Faqir hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

Thank you.

December 12, 2010

Pakistan "not willing " to obliterate terrorist havens on its soil: US intelligence report

by admin

Related article:

Online factories of suicide bombers: An ISI production

Amrullah Saleh, who led Afghanistan’s spy agency from 2004 until earlier this year, told a Washington conference Thursday that the key to defeating the Taliban is cutting off its support from Pakistan.

“Demobilize them, disarm them, take their headquarters out of the Pakistani intelligence’s basements,” Saleh said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, in no uncertain terms, castigated Pakistan for using terror as a tool to fulfill its political objectives.

Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Merkel said Germany would extend its fullest cooperation to India in battling militancy.

She added: “Our intention is also to talk to Pakistan to make clear that terror is not a means to an end when it comes to helping solve political problems. It is unacceptable and that Germany will cooperate with India very closely in this particular area.”

The German Chancellor said that during her one-to-one talks with the Indian Prime Minister and the delegation-level talks that followed, the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region was discussed in great detail, as also the future of enhancing security in South Asia.

Pak not willing to destroy terrorists’ havens:

Meanwhile New U.S. intelligence reports paint a bleak picture of the security conditions in Afghanistan and say the war cannot be won unless Pakistan roots out militants on its side of the border, according to several U.S. officials who have been briefed on the findings.

The reports, one on Afghanistan, the other on Pakistan, could complicate the Obama administration’s plans to claim this week that the war is turning a corner. But U.S. military commanders have challenged the conclusions, saying they are based on outdated information that does not take into account progress made in the fall, says a senior U.S. official who is part of the review process.

The analyses were detailed in briefings to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, and some of the findings were shared with members of the House Intelligence Committee, officials said.

All the officials interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified documents.

The reports, known as National Intelligence Estimates, are prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and used by policymakers as high up as the president to understand trends in a region. The new reports are the first ones done in two years on Afghanistan and six years on Pakistan, officials said. Neither the director’s office nor the CIA would comment on either report.

The new report on Afghanistan cites progress in “inkspots” where there are enough U.S. or NATO troops to maintain security, such as Kabul and parts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Much of the rest of the country remains Taliban-controlled, or at least vulnerable to Taliban infiltration, according to an official who read the executive summary.

The report contains public opinion polling that finds Afghans are ambivalent – as willing to cut a deal with the Taliban as they are to work with the Americans, the official said.

It also shows U.S. efforts are lagging to build infrastructure and get trained security forces to areas where they are needed, the official said. And it says the war cannot be won unless Pakistan is willing to obliterate terrorist safe havens in its lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.


The new report on Pakistan concludes that the Pakistani government and military “are not willing to do that,” says one U.S. official briefed on the analysis.

The document says Pakistan’s government pays lip service to cooperating with U.S. efforts against the militants, and still secretly backs the Taliban as a way of hedging its bets in order to influence Afghanistan after a U.S. departure from the region.

In describing the Afghanistan report, military officials said there is a disconnect between the findings, completed in the fall, and separate battlefield assessments done by the war commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and others that contain more up-to-date and sometimes more promising accounts.

A military official familiar with the reports said the gloomier prognosis in the Afghanistan report became a source of friction as a preliminary version was passed among government agencies.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the contrast between the Afghan estimate and Petraeus’ reports.

“It’s a very disciplined, structured process, so it’s got a cutoff date that’s substantially earlier in the game than, say, the military review,” Cartwright said in a recent interview.

While the intelligence assessments show the Obama administration may still be struggling to change Pakistani behavior, former Obama war adviser Bruce Riedel disputes the hypothesis that the war cannot be won if Pakistan doesn’t close terrorist sanctuaries.

“If the U.S. continues to strengthen the Afghan state and army, that may force Pakistan to reconsider its support for the Taliban,” said Riedel, a former CIA officer and author of the forthcoming book, Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad.

December 11, 2010

Terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced, supporters plan protests worldwide

by admin

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People hold images of Julian Assange in front of their faces at a demonstration in Brisbane, Australia. Photograph: Steve Gray/EPA

According to The Guardian’s report, protests will be held around the world today against the detention ofJulian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Demonstrations are planned in the capitals of Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru to demand Assange’s release, the re-establishment of WikiLeaks domain name and the restoration of Visa and Mastercard credit services to allow supporters to donate money to the whistleblowing site.

A statement on the Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks said: “We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory.” The website called on protesters to gather at 6pm (17.00 GMT) in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and three other Spanish cities.

It also calls for “the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks (wikileaks.org) internet domain,” and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the “freedom to move money” because no one has “proved Assange’s guilt”, nor charged WikiLeaks with any crime.

Assange is in Wandsworth prison in south London after being refused bail on Tuesday. Sweden is seeking his extradition over allegations of sexual assault.

His lawyers said yesterday they are preparing for a possible indictment by the US authorities.

Jennifer Robinson said her team had heard from “several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don’t know”.

According to some reports, Washington is seeking to prosecute Assange under the 1917 act, which was used unsuccessfully to try to gag the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. However, despite escalating rhetoric over the past fortnight, no charges have yet been lodged, and government sources say they are unaware any such move is being prepared.

Robinson said Assange’s team did not believe the US had grounds to prosecute him but understood that Washington was “looking closely at other charges, such as computer charges, so we have one eye on it”.

Earlier this week, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said the US had been put at risk by the flood of confidential diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks and he authorised a criminal investigation.

In another op-ed, published in the Vancouver Sun says, terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced.

When animals perceive an external threat they close ranks. Torture becomes acceptable. Senior advisers to prime ministers publicly call for assassinations. We’re scared. We’re running scared, all of us. We’re wondering when Canada will get its first major terrorist attack. We’re wondering if Julian Assange’s big mouth will facilitate that terrorist attack.

Columnist Dan Gardner is right — ever since Sept. 11, 2001 — when many of us felt that external threat for the first time and no one knew what was happening and the only people running the world were a few CNN anchors -our Canadian mind-sets changed and we were willing to become less liberal for the first time if it meant ensuring our own survival. Animals closing ranks. Taking sides. No longer were we a fly on the wall … we were what the fly was watching.

We are now at war. We are no longer safely, comfortably, arrogantly and sanitarily observing from the wings. We don’t have that luxury any more. We are direct participants in a major world conflict. But shutting up Assange isn’t the answer. Stifling the free flow of information is like giving in to the terrorists. If we let anyone make us close ranks such that the democratic values Canada stands for are thrown out the window we become animals.

Assange is right -surely in the year 2010 human beings have evolved enough such that we don’t need secrets any more and closing ranks should be a cliquish anachronism.

December 10, 2010

Extremist Deobandis of Taliban/Sipah-e-Sahaba massacre 15 Shias at Al-Zahra Hospital and Mosque in Hangu

by admin

Pictures of 40 Shias killed by Taliban in Hangu in 2006. Source: http://www.shaheedfoundation.org/tragic.asp?Id=40

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Extremist Deobandi terrorist massacres 20 Shia and Sunni Muslims in Kohat

Shia holocaust in Pakistan: Taliban raze entire village to the ground in Hangu

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Shia-phobia of Saudi Arabia and the institutional genocide of Shia Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan

(CNN) — A suicide bomb car bomb killed at least nine (update: 15) people in northwest Pakistan on Friday, police said, also leaving 28 others injured.

The bomb hit the main gate of the Al-Zuhra hospital and maternity center in Pass Kalay, a town in the district of Hangu, said Abdul Rashid Khan, the police chief in Hangu. The hospital and mosque cater to Shia patients and worshippers.

The blast damaged the mosque, two houses and two vehicles, he said.
At least two children were killed.

Hangu sits next to Pakistan’s tribal region and is part of a region plagued by sectarian violence by extremist Deobandis and Wahhabis (Taliban / Sipah-e-Sahaba) against Shia Muslims.

The attack happened on the second day of Muhharam, one of the holiest days on the Islamic calendar, when violence and fighting is prohibited.

Source

At least 15 people were killed and over 20 others were injured on Friday when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an under-construction building of a hospital in northwest Pakistan, a media report said.

The commissioner of Kohat, Khalid Khan Umarzai confirmed “the suicide vehicle blast”, adding that “the authorities had received threats”.

On Wednesday, a suicide blast at a bus stand in Kohat city, a few kilometers away from Hangu, killed 16 people and injured more than 20.

Source

Investigators said the blast, which damaged the hospital building, was a sectarian attack.

It comes after the start of the Islamic holy month of Muharram, which is especially important for Shias.

English-language TV channel Express 24/7 reported that a suicide attacker had rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the hospital.

“The bomber blew up his car at the hospital gate,” local police chief Abdul Rashid told news agency AFP.

Source

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