By Reuters in Beirut, theguardian.com
Islamic State (Isis) fighters have captured villages and besieged a Kurdish city in northern Syria near the border with Turkey in a major assault that prompted a commander to appeal for military aid from other Kurds in the region.
Read more » The Guardian
The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted to feeling doubts over the existence of God.
In a recent interview at Bristol Cathedral, Archbishop Justin Welby said on a recent morning run with his dog he had questioned why God had failed to intervene to prevent injustice.
“The other day I was praying over something as I was running and I ended up saying to God ‘Look this is all very well but isn’t it about time you did something – if you’re there.’”
Earlier in the interview, when asked if he had moments of doubt, Archbishop Welby replied: “Yes. I do, in lots of different ways.”
“There are moments, sure, when you think is there a God, where is God?”
Read more » The Independent
Sindhi refugees fleeing Pakistani religious persecution in recent decades may finally get official asylum in India.
A delegation of Sindhi and Bengali communities accompanied by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today met Home Minister Rajnath Singh here and submitted a memorandum to highlight their plight on visa and citizenship related issues. Singh assured the delegation that the Home Ministry is committed to address issues faced by them and it had already constituted a Task Force headed by Joint Secretary (Foreigners) to look into such issues.
Read more » DNA
The video of two parliamentarians being forcibly offloaded a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad has gone viral. The incident is generally being viewed as an indicator of how a peculiar behaviour, which was associated with old style patronage politics, will get challenged. The national carrier may find it increasingly difficult to treat its passengers differently — trap over two hundred souls in an aircraft while allowing VIPs to sit in a comfortable lounge as the aircraft recovers for two hours from its technical problems. Surely we can all clap at the event as a forward movement, this also indicates militant attitudes creeping into our political and social lives. Here I am not taking a position for or against but only suggesting what has changed.
This is not even an isolated incident. Those enjoying video evidence must also see the manner in which the police have been taking a thrashing from the ‘Naya Pakistan’ protestors. While we can all sympathise with Imran Khan’s right to change the political tone, it would be worthwhile for him to envision how he would, if he did become the prime minister of this country, put the genie back into the bottle. Much that he likes to compare himself with Jinnah, Imran would not be able to ensure that the same police, which get battered and bruised during the rule of his opponents, will get respected when he becomes the man in charge. No one seems willing to tell the story of the tired policemen who have been doing their duty for the last 30 days with little to boost their ego.
Scottish people decide their political future according to their will. No doubt it is political civilization of UK due to which it agreed with the Parliament of Scotland for holding a referendum of the union versus secession. It is an important moment when UK also needs to consider its obligations for the political morality concerning its previous colonies.
The previous British colonies are globally in the media lime light today. Conflicts, violence and wars have become commonplace in the regions that were colonized by Great Britain between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.
Why after winning freedom in the wake of Second World War, the previous British colonies in Asia are still yearning for the real freedoms, development, peace and human security? The answer can only be found in the design and modus operandi of the colonial rule as well as the Britain’s departure strategy from the colonies after 1945. One cannot underestimate, however, the positive contribution of the Britain imperialism of putting the modern foundations of state-building, development and social-transformation in the colonies, which earlier were unable to transform from feudal societies and barter economies into the Industrial and modern one.
South Asia is a highly intelligible and comprehensive example of the prolonged instability among the previous British colonies despite the fact that Iraq and Kuwait in the Middle East have been centre-stage of world politics of conflicts during the last three decades. The partition of Kuwait from the historical Iraqi territory had arguably lesser impacts on the Asian politics of the international interests than that of the partition of the Indian Subcontinent due to South-and-Central Asian strategic contours. This is important to note that like Pakistan there has been no country named ‘Iraq’ in the history, neither the contemporary Iraqi geography has ever been a sovereign country.
Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh have undergone several waves of conflicts, violence, civil rights violations and crimes against humanity, militarization and the wars in the post-colonial era. Mainland India alone has socio-politically elevated to certain extent from such broader instability.
Among South Asian countries, Pakistan is a peculiar case study of the inappropriate, unrealistic and unjustified designs of the Imperial Britain, which have resulted into the broader insecurity for the tens of millions Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun. The colonial and contemporary unrealistic experiences of the world community with the internal politics of Pakistani ethno-national dynamics have damaged both Sindhi-Baloch-Pashtun and the international community.
Rationality behind Pakistan and the realities
No historian, academician or analyst has hitherto found an appropriate rationale for creating Pakistan. The historical documents note that Pakistan was created on the line of so-called two-nation theory based on Indian Hindu and Muslim nationhood. The idea of Pakistan was rejected by the federating provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhawa – KPK), and Siraiki speaking people of Southern Punjab that together form roughly ninety percent of geography and seventy percent of the population of Pakistan.
Russia’s ‘Breakthrough’ energy project enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.
The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) – a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.
A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts
Read more » RT
AHMEDABAD: India’s new prime minister rolled out the red carpet for Xi Jinping in his home town on Wednesday, as the Chinese president began a maiden visit with both sides seeking to reset the relationship between Asia’s rival superpowers.
Narendra Modi has pulled out all the stops for Xi’s arrival, organising an intimate riverside dinner in Ahmedabad, the main city in his home state of Gujarat, where giant billboards in Chinese, Gujarati and English have been put up to welcome him.
Read more » DAWN
By USMAN CHEEMA
Islamabad – A wild boar faced the wrath of supporters of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri on Tuesday morning when they captured the animal near the Parliament House, brutally thrashed it with sticks, tied it with cables and wrote “go Nawaz go” on its body in a distasteful form of political protest.
Islamabad is no stranger to wild boars, often seem roaming the roads near the hills late in the nights – and sometimes the cause of accidents. But the sight of a boar during daytime is rare. Boars are considered impure according to Islamic injunctions.
Around 11:00am on Tuesday, the wild boar emerged on the Constitution Avenue and immediately set off an enraged fury amongst the followers of the cleric. It was caught within seconds and then dragged through the street as a jubilant crowd shouted and jeered the hunted animal.
A slogan against the prime minister was inscribed on the thick hairy skin before the boar was subjected to a slow, painful death, sticks raining down on it in quick succession. By doing so, Qadri’s workers not only exhibited a disturbing form of violence against a defenceless animal. The boar did not survive the torture, and died surrounded by a crowd of protestors celebrating its agony.
Qadri, just like Imran Khan, is threatening the government that his workers can get out of his control and attack the government buildings and law enforcing officials. He has also threatened that his workers will collect all the looted money from them. He has never directly said that his workers might kill the prime minister and others among his cabinet but his language exhibits extreme hatred for the elected government. Some fear that the cleric’s followers might do something unexpected and unlawful as frustration with their lengthy and yet un-concluded protest sets in.
Courtesy: The Nation
(CNN) — In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.
Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”
ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.
Read more » CNN
KARACHI, Pakistan—Al Qaeda militants tried to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate earlier this month and use it to target U.S. Navy vessels on antiterrorism patrol in the northwestern Indian Ocean, Pakistani security officials said.
The Sept. 6 raid, which was foiled after a fire fight and a suicide bombing, was carried out in part by Pakistan Navy personnel who had been recruited by al Qaeda, these officials said. The raid, in which 10 militants and one petty officer died, raised fears about terrorist infiltration of the nuclear-armed nation’s military forces.
“Without assistance from inside, these people could not have breached security,” Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said about the incident at a recent parliament session.
The Karachi raid was the first major operation carried out by al Qaeda’s newly formed regional wing, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, according to counterterrorism officials. The timing of the raid may have been set to mark the start of the affiliate or to coincide roughly with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Western security officials believe.
News of the attempted seizure of the frigate, PNS Zulfiqar, was initially kept from the media, and the details of the incident are only beginning to emerge.
Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
The competing ambitions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand Finance Minister Yair Lapid are turning this year’s budget process into a who-blinks-first battle between the leaders of the country’s two biggest parties.
Lapid is threatening to topple Netanyahu’s government, rather than raise taxes — something he has promised voters he won’t do — deepening the standoff between the two over spending plans for next year.
“What we have here is a political street fight,” Yaniv Pagot, chief strategist for Ayalon Group Ltd. inRamat Gan, a Tel Aviv suburb, said by phone. “It’s not the numbers talking, it’s the political agendas.”
The disputes have already held up submission of a draft budget to cabinet. Lapid says the Defense Ministry is asking for too much more money after the recent war in the Gaza Strip. He has said he’d rather see the budget gap increase than add taxes or abandon his flagship program to lift the 18 percent value-added tax for some first-time homebuyers.
“I will bring down the government and won’t raise taxes,” Lapid said in a videotaped interview posted yesterday on the Ynet website.
Read more » Bloomberg
Via Vince Sparks
Last month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.”
I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona would commit suicide.
As more information was revealed about his addictions, his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and his dealing with severe depression, I totally understood how this unfortunate incident could occur. Of course, the naysayers had to emerge and utter incoherent ramblings about cowardice and his leftist views that made him unhappy. All of the unintelligent garbage that gets reported needs to be tossed away promptly.
Suicide is not an act of cowardice, but a result of depression or other mental illnesses.
Robin Williams’ death is a tragedy, but if it can help start a national conversation about Depression and Mental Illness than something positive can come from an untimely death. It seems that many people view mental illness through a stereotype of straight jackets and padded cells.
Mental Illness encompasses many forms and can be as blatant as someone with agitated, incoherent behavior or very subtle cue which make a person appear to have nothing wrong with them.
I understand the symptoms and the impact, because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. It is a hard condition to understand because it affects emotions. This makes it difficult for people, not familiar with the disease, to comprehend as a real illness.
Believe me, it is just as real as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or any other disease that hides beneath the surface. It requires treatment just the same as a diabetic requires medication to keep their condition stable.
The illness is as old as recorded history.
Years ago people thought of it as melancholia. The prevailing notion would be “he just needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps.” It was an uneducated thought that if you were sad, you would just get glad again. It was a self-inflicted pity party. The more the condition was studied and as medical advances were made, clinicians realized that there are many factors and conditions involved with the illness. Depression has many causes and can stem from genetic predisposition, life events, faulty mood regulation by the brain, and medical problems.
Whatever the specific cause for depression, there are always chemicals in the brain involved. There are many drugs available for treatment, but each person can react differently due to internal chemical reactions to the medications. The complexity of the illness is daunting for practitioners. They can’t simply review similar symptoms and think that the treatment will be the same for each patient.
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Imran Khan was a true cricketing hero for Pakistan. He was an exceptional all-rounder, a graceful batsmen and a formidable fast bowler. But as a politician – seemingly hell-bent on becoming prime minister at whatever cost to his country – he makes a far less edifying spectacle.
Read more » Financial Times
By Shaikh Aziz
The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.
The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.
Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.
The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction
The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.
As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.
Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.
While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.
Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’
Pope Francis has compared the current situation internationally to a third World War “fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction.” Calling wars irrational, the Pontiff lamented conflicts are often “justified by an ideology.”
“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” Francis said while visiting Italy’s largest war memorial Saturday. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often…”
“War is madness” which “ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers” the Pope said as he recalled the Genesis story of how Cain killed his brother Abel.
“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass.
Francis has also spoken during a mass at the Italian First World War memorial at Fogliano di Redipuglia, in northern Italy, where more than 100,000 fallen Italian soldiers are believed to be buried in the military graveyard.
“Here lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is sadness. From this place we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, the victims are many,” the Pope said.
“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction,” Francis said. “And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, ‘What does it matter to me?’”
In the past few months, Francis has repeatedly called for the end of military conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and throughout Africa.
In July, he also made an emotional appeal to the world, calling to stop war, especially in the Middle East and Ukraine, saying that the children who live in conflict zones are suffering most and are deprived of hope and a future.
During his visit to Korea in August, the Pope said that humanity was in the midst of a Third World War.
“Today we are in a world at war everywhere. A man said to me, ‘Father, we are in World War III, but spread out in small pockets everywhere.’ He was right,” Francis said at the time.
By Irfan Haider
ISLAMABAD: On the second day of a purported crackdown against protesters of both the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), both Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri decried the role of police and told them to “get your act together or face the consequences”.
Dr Tahirul Qadri, in an impassioned outburst, challenged the police to come after him. “Let them come to arrest me and we will see what happens. My protest will be the death of their regime, it’s just a matter of days,” he declared from atop his container on Constitution Avenue.
In his own outburst, Mr Khan called out the Islamabad police chief, saying, “I will not spare you Tahir Alam, when I become prime minister of Pakistan.”
Read more » DAWN
BY CNN WIRE
(CNN) — British aid worker David Haines has been executed by ISIS militants, according to a video posted Saturday to a website associated with the group, making him the third Western captive to be killed by the Islamist extremist group in recent weeks.
The ISIS video post showing Haines’ beheading called his execution “a message to the allies of America.”
It is produced very similarly to the videos that showed the executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the last of which included Haines and the threat that he’d be killed next.
The new video pictures a masked ISIS militant placing his hand on another captive, whom he identified as Alan Henning, a British citizen.
In a tweet, British Prime Minister David Cameron called “the murder of David Haines” an “act of pure evil.”
Cameron added, “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”
Read more » Fox13Now
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More » Yahoo News » Reuters
KARACHI: While the Navy continues to remain tight-lipped about the attack on its dockyard in West Wharf on Sept 6, having issued a bare-bones statement 48 hours after the incident, further details have been obtained by Dawn that reveal the extent of radicalisation within the Navy.
According to informed sources, the attack was carried out entirely by serving Navy personnel, along with Owais Jakharani, a former Navy cadet who could have been given access inside without too much trouble.
“It seems the intention was to hijack PNS Zulfiqar [a frigate purchased from China and inducted in July 2009],” said one of these sources. “The group of would-be hijackers, led by a senior officer, was even saluted by the guard at the bottom of the gangway, before another became suspicious of their intentions and alerted other personnel.”
Read more » DAWN
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that liberals in Pakistan were the scum of the country who backed US policies.
In a tell-all interview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, who was visiting Pakistan recently, Khan shared his views ranging from the political to the personal, including martial laws, Memogate, corruption and allegations against him.
Talking about liberals, he said that liberals were the scum of this country and were fascists. Khan said that those liberals backed bombing of villages, drone attacks. He added that it was the liberals who backed US policies, including the War on Terror that had aggravated extremism in the country.
Answering a question on being called ‘Taliban Khan’, the PTI chief said that he was being labelled that since he encouraged dialogue with the Taliban instead of military action, a policy which the US eventually had to adopt too.
He also touched upon criticism against him about praying on stage during rallies, to which he said that he prayed five times a day and that praying on the stage was not an exception.
A natural disaster of apocalyptic proportions has hit Kashmir. It is unprecedented in recent memory across three generations and has left tens of thousands marooned besides destroying vital infrastructure. The extent of the human toll is unclear. Reports of floating bodies and those trapped inside collapsed houses makes it a frightening scenario. Almost all major hospitals have been affected and practically dysfunctional. The ones which worked were fast running out of life-saving drugs, painkillers, food and water. Near total power and communications breakdown has complicated relief work. Even after the water recedes, Kashmir would suffer physical, economic and psychological consequences of the disaster for years to come.
Yet it seems to business as usual – dehumanizing Kashmiris — for certain people even in the midst of the catastrophe that has directly affected an estimated 60% people. It is the same old ‘good us’ versus ‘evil them’ subtext — based on chronic disinformation — that is playing out even in the sections of the mainstream media. It is been much worse on the social media. Nauseating trolling has become even more vicious in the name of exclusivist nationalism, which has no place for the monolithic other like Kashmiris. Abuse and sadistic pleasure being drawn from the colossal damage to human life and property has been very distressing particularly for non-resident Kashmiris, who have relied on social media to find out the fate of their loved ones caught in killer flood waters.
On the edge of the protest site, men line up every day near a burst pipe and take showers one by one. Women complain that they have hardly showered more than a few times in the last month. Some fear an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever among the protesters.
“The disease can rapidly spread,” said Dengue Expert Committee Chairman Javed Akram. “There is no proper sewerage facility in the area. The vulnerability of the sit-in participants has increased because of the unavailability of a waste management system.”
At least three women protesters, all of them domestic workers, said they had been paid to come to the rallies when they were first launched. One of them, with three children under the age of six, said mothers were paid 2,500 rupees ($25) more.
“You got paid more if you have a child,” said Rukhsana Bibi, one of the women. “They wanted more women with children to join the rallies so the pay for that was higher.”
(Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robert Birsel)
The Islamic State is challenging the Taliban and al-Qaeda in its Afghanistan and Pakistan heartlands and claiming both countries as part of its ‘caliphate’.
Islamic Slate leaflets proclaiming the group’s intention to bring its barbaric form of Islam to Pakistan and Afghanistan were posted throughout Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa frontier province, in the last few days, and have also been distributed to nearby Afghan refugee camps.
The leaflets, published in the local Pashto and Darri languages and bearing the Isil ‘Fateh’ (victory) flag, said the ‘caliphate’ it had established in Syria and Iraq extended to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some Muslim central Asian republics.
Read more » The Telegraph
It was the first time on Monday morning that I breathed a sigh of relief that the PTI and the PAT dharna is there and continues to attract attention. Just imagine if the media was not focusing on them they might have taken the trouble of sniffing out the drama which was unfolding in Karachi on September 6. A Chinese manufactured F-22P frigate of the Pakistan Navy, PNS Zulfiqar, came under attack by the Taliban. It is not confirmed as yet if the ship was at sea or docked at the naval dockyard. The story was kept under wraps for two days and disclosed on September 8. It was not that people were not warning others. A friend from abroad had even inquired on Saturday about what was happening in Karachi to which I had no answer as nothing was being reported on television except the Imran/Qadri roadshow. But I am still happy no one reported the story because the last time someone tried to dig out facts about infiltration of militants and ideologues inside the navy it ended in tragedy.
Gladly, the brave sailors and officers saved the day. However, the attack on PNS Zulfiqar, for which the Taliban took the responsibility, proved yet again the vulnerability of the country’s security. What we are always scared to talk about is the support from inside as had happened in the attack on PNS Mehran, PAC, Kamra and other places. Given the fact that little is known about militant penetration, it is difficult to ascertain the threat. This is about men caught by the demon of disbelief of their state and society. Glance through the literature on state making and you can find how monopoly over violence and making sure it stays that way is one of the many characteristics of a viable and efficient state. However, here is the issue of men, who join a profession to guard the state then turning away, because they suddenly suspect the state is not legitimate. The whole concept of jihad or takfir is not a simple issue of people becoming devil-like but erosion of their faith in legitimacy of the state. They begin to desire a perfect Islamic state which can only be brought about by fighting the existing system. Penetrating an armed force becomes an attractive option since achieving such objective tantamount to a force multiplier. A well-trained and oiled war machine can take you places.
Just imagine a situation where militants would try to rebel and take control of a vessel while at sea. Notwithstanding many of the earlier claims that all three services were cleaned during the Musharraf regime, these attacks suggest otherwise. Various religious groups have always had access to men in uniform under one pretext or the other. If it is not the militants then it is Deobandi or Salafi reformation movements such as the Tableeghi Jamaat or Al Huda that are allowed to access military personnel and their families. Reportedly, the households of one of the two smaller services were opened up for Al Huda by the senior leadership. The problem here is not with increased interest in religion but the fact that after a while these families and their men begin to get totally confused about where does duty to religion end and to the state begin. Not that they want to kill innocent colleagues and other people but they are blinded by their understanding of dogma to believe that they have to bring suffering in order to improve the world as ordained by God.
The PNS Zulfiqar attack is yet another reminder that things are getting serious. We need to look at this development in the backdrop of the expansion of militancy and extremism in the form of IS and the al-Qaeda’s Qaedatul Jihad in Indian Subcontinent (QJIS). While many analysts tend to see IS and QJIS from the lens of internal competition amongst militants, especially Zawahiri’s need to build up his strength, some observers argue that the two forces may have different tactics and partners but similar strategic objective. They both want to consolidate and establish a caliphate. In this regard, other existing organisations like the Hizb-ut-Tahrir also have the same desire.
‘Overt ouster’ of Sharif may trigger sanctions: US report
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: The anti-government protest in Pakistan has reversed the country’s struggle to establish a sustainable democratic system, says a report prepared for the US Congress.
The report — “Pakistan Political Unrest” — warns that “any overt military ouster” of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “could trigger another round of democracy-related US sanctions on foreign assistance to Pakistan”.
This could put “an indefinite halt to what has been one of the highest-priority American aid programmes since 9/11”.
The report also warns that the unrest could impact Pakistan’s relations with India by increasing the army’s influence in foreign policies.
“The Pakistan Army’s more openly direct control of Pakistan’s foreign and security policies may, over time, shift Pakistan’s approach towards Afghanistan further into a policy framework that seeks to counter Indian influence there,” warns the report prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Read more » DAWN
By Amaninder Sharma, TNN
PATIALA: Bringing down the script barrier between 25 lakh Sindhis in India and four crore in Pakistan, a first-of-its-kind software will enable Sindhis settled on both sides of the border to read each others’ literature despite the different scripts.
The yet-to-be-launched software has been developed by Punjabi researchers in Punjabi University, Patiala and Manchester University, England.
Despite having the same language, Sindhis residing on both sides of the border could not read each others’ literature since Pakistani Sindhis use Perso-Arabic script and those in India follow the Devnagari script.
The software, which is in trial stage, will remove this barrier as it will transliterate Perso-Arabic Sindhi into Devnagari and vice-versa.
“Like Punjabis, Sindhis also follow two scripts. Hence, the immense need to remove this language barrier. We had begun work on this project in March, last year. A Punjabi scholar form Manchester University is also collaborating on this,” said Dr GS Lehal of Punjabi University, coordinator of the project.
Dr Lehal said that the software will be equipped with over one crore Sindhi words in Perso-Arabic script and around 50 lakh Sindhi words in Devnagari script.
“Word bank of Sindhi words in Devnagari is smaller as the volume of Sindhi literature published in India is much less than that in Perso-Arabic. We found soft copies of numerous Sindhi magazines, newspapers and books published in Perso-Arabic script. These words were converted into data bank. Besides, there is dictionary of over 25,000 basic words, which is part of the word pool,” he added.
He said that phase I of the project is complete, which means that software has the capacity to transliterate with 90% accuracy. “We will launch it after we achieved accuracy rate of 95%, which likely in the next few months”, he added.
Till 1850s, Sindhi was written in several scripts including Perso-Arabic and Gurmukhi by people of different religions residing in Sindh province of Pakistan. “However, in 1850s, a special committee constituted by British mandated use of Perso-Arabic script to write Sindhi, said Dr Lehal. The practice continued till 1947, when large number of Sindhis migrated to India and settled in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Shortly after Partition, Indian Sindhis adopted the Devnagari script.
Courtesy: The Times of India
KARACHI: Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, home to around 18 million people, could be “wiped out” by a tsunami, officials said Wednesday after a drill simulating a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean.
The test, and one carried out a day earlier simulating another quake off Indonesia, were designed to check an early-warning system set up after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people.
The exercise organised by the United Nations was based on a hypothetical 9.0 magnitude quake in the Makran Trench, where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, off the coast of Pakistan.
“This would create waves of 0.9 to seven metres high that could reach Karachi in one and a half hours,” Tauseef Alam, the chief meteorologist who was supervising the tests, told AFP.
“This could wipe out the city as the waves would be immensely powerful.” Karachi was hit by a tsunami in 1945 that killed at least 4,000 people, Alam said.
Pakistan: Opposition Leader Shah urges Army Chief to take notice of those in Army who are involved in Politics
Shah urges army to take notice of ‘exploiters’
PESHAWAR: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah has said that Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif must take notice of those exploiting the name of army for political purposes, ARY News reported Wednesday.
Talking to media here, Shah said it was said numerous times that army will take over, however it remained neutral.
Confronting with parliament means fighting with people, said Shah.He said COAS would certainly fight any one challenging the mandate of public against the parliament and judiciary.
Read more » ARY News
- See more at: http://arynews.tv/en/shah-urges-army-to-take-notice-of-exploiters/#sthash.M4ghQr1e.dpuf
On September 9, 2014, Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death 4 years ago for the crime of “blasphemy,” is supposed to have an appeal hearing in the Lahore High Court. Yet previous hearings were cancelled 5 times, apparently because the judges are afraid to release her. Asia has now been in prison unjustly for 1,907 days. WHY IS #PAKISTAN A MEMBER OF THE U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL?
Courtesy: Facebook page, UN Watch
Q 1: Sir, you have always maintained that militants are taking innocent Pakistani lives because the militants are being attacked by American drones. But the militants insist that they would “kill everyone and anyone who stands against the imposition” of their version of Islam. In essence, the militants are convinced that they are fighting for ‘Islam’ while you continue to maintain that militant actions are actually reactions to American drones.
Q 2: Sir, if anyone wishes to negotiate with the PML-N, he would naturally have Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan or Senator Pervez Rasheed in mind. You have always favoured negotiating peace with the militants. Please name just four names representing the militants that are in your mind with whom you will negotiate peace.
Q 3: Sir, you have promised that Prime Minister Imran Khan shall wipe off militancy from the face of the country. Can you please name just two militant organisations that you plan to wipe off?
Q 4: Sir, you have been rightly pointing out that more than 40,000 innocent Pakistani lives have been lost in what you say is ‘America’s war’. Can you please identify by name the forces and groups responsible for the loss?
Read more » The News
MULTAN Pakistan (Reuters) – Gunmen have killed three people, including a senior military official, at a mosque frequented by minority Shi’ite worshippers in the Pakistani city of Sargodha, police said on Monday.
Sectarian strife has been worsening in Pakistan, where Shi’ite Muslims make up about 20 percent of the 180 million population. Sunni Muslim militants frequently attack Shi’ites they see as infidels who deserve to die.
“Brigadier Fazal Zahoor was shot by masked gunmen while taking part in a religious ritual at the mosque,” said police official Farooq Hasnaat, adding the attack took place late on Sunday. “The gunmen arrived on motorbikes and burst into the mosque. They identified the brigadier and shot and killed him, his brother Fazal Subhani and a third man called Mohammad Ayub.” The mosque is located in a military cantonment. Hasnaat said the brigadier had received threats from the banned organization Sipah-e-Sahaba, which says it want to expel Shi’ites from Pakistan.
Read more » Reuters
A British woman has been in an Iranian prison for more than two months for trying to watch a men’s volleyball match.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, was arrested along with more than a dozen women as they tried to enter a stadium where the Iranian national men’s team was playing Italy on 20 June.
She was released from custody but when she went back to collect her belongings days later, she was arrested a second time and transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin jail, which is known for holding political prisoners and journalists.
Miss Ghavami’s brother, 28-year-old Iman Ghavami, said she rang her family in tears saying she had been put in solitary confinement for 41 days.
“[The family] can barely hold themselves together,” he told ITV News.
“They are torn apart – not just my parents but my grandparents, my uncles, everybody.”
Miss Ghavami, a budding lawyer who studied in London, has dual Iranian and British nationality.