Tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have fled to Syria-Turkey border region of Kobani to escape onslaught of Islamist militants
Kurdish fighters from Turkey and Iraq are scrambling to help defend a vital Kurdish safe haven in northern Syria, where tens of thousands of Kurdshave fled after an offensive by Islamic State (Isis) militants.
The border region of Kobani, home to half a million people, has held out for months against an onslaught by Islamists seeking to consolidate their hold over swaths of northern Syria. But in recent days, Isis extremists have seized a series of settlements close to the town of Kobani itself, sending as many as 100,000 mostly Kurdish refugees streaming across the border into Turkey.
“I don’t think in the last three and a half years we have seen 100,000 cross in two days,” the representative for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Turkey, Carol Batchelor, told Reuters. “So this is a bit of a measure of how this situation is unfolding, and the very deep fear people have about the circumstances inside Syria and, for that matter, Iraq.”
A Kurdish commander on the ground said Isis had advanced to within 9 miles (15km) of Kobani.
Isis fighters were beheading people as they went from village to village.
A Kurdish politician from Turkey who visited Kobani on Saturday said locals told him Isis fighters were beheading people as they went from village to village.
They are going into the villages and cutting the heads
“Rather than a war this is a genocide operation … They are going into the villages and cutting the heads of one or two people and showing them to the villagers,” Ibrahim Binici, a deputy for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party (HDP), told Reuters.
“It is truly a shameful situation for humanity,” he said, calling for international intervention. Five of his fellow MPs planned a hunger strike outside UN offices in Geneva to press for action, he said.
Read more » The Guardian
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
PESHAWAR: In a bid to extend its influence in the South Asian region, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), commonly known as Daish, distributed pamphlets in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan as well.
The booklet titled Fatah (victory) is published in Pashto and Dari languages and was distributed in Peshawar as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma, the historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar.
Read more » The Express Tribune
Iraq conflict: UN warns of possible Amerli ‘massacre’
The UN has called for action to prevent what it says may be a possible massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Amerli.
Special representative Nickolay Mladenov says he is “seriously alarmed” by reports regarding the conditions in which the town’s residents live.
The town, under siege by Islamic State for two months, has no electricity or drinking water, and is running out of food and medical supplies. The majority of its residents are Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by IS.
Read more » BBC
US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition
White House issues unusually strong rebuke after 16 deaths
But Pentagon confirms that US resupplied Israel with ammunition
The United States issued a firm condemnation of the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that killed at least 16 Palestinians on Wednesday, but also confirmed it restocked Israel’s dwindling supplies of ammunition.
The White House expressed concern that thousands of civilians who had sought protection from the UN were at risk after the shelling of the girls’ elementary school. Some 3,300 civilians were taking shelter there, after being told by Israel to leave their homes.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which runs the school, said its initial assessment was that it has been struck by Israeli artillery.
Read more » The Guardian
ISLAMABAD — Reuters: A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.
The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.
Read more » The Globe And Mail
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More details » So what if she is 8-months old? She is Ahmadi, kill her!
New Delhi: India has become the last destination of Sindhi Hindu from Pakistan, where the state-sponsored seminaries have been victimizing them since last two decades. Over 2000 Hindus have recently refuge in the premises of Delhi in last couple of years; however rough estimates suggest their number during last ten years have crossed one hundred thousand.
Hailing from the secular province of Sindh in Pakistan, their ordeal is the evidence of systematic exodus and their ethnic cleaning by the military establishment supported seminaries and Mullahs. Land grab, forced conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have been heart wrecking ordeal.
Sindh, the second largest province in Pakistan, is the richest in the natural resources like gold, oil, coal and uranium. Analysts believe that the exodus of Sindhi Hindus is being systematically orchestrated by the Pakistan’s establishment, which is monopolized by ethnic Punjabis, and want to take hold of resource rich lands of Sindh as well as intent to alter its demography. The recent reports after Pakistan Army’s operation in Taliban and their associates in the tribal Pashtun area has also been indicating the influx of tribal refugee to Sindh.
“We were either targeted by the criminal gangs in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur divisions of the province or harassed by the seminaries that house ethnic Punjabi or Pshrun Mullahs from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa provinces,” told a few refugee during their protest demonstration in Delhi after fledging from Pakistan.
They have camped in the various places of Delhi and Rajasthan States of India, where they are mostly hosted either by the refugee supporting organizations or by the Hindu political outfits. One such camp in the northern Delhi is looked after by OM-SPBPJM Trust, led by A. K. Solanki. The refugees of Dravidian origin, Baghris called in Sindhi, practicing thousands years old traditions of Hinduism and have sustained as gypsies community in Sindh after the epic war between Arian and Dravidians in 1500 BC India.
On December 10 last years, over one hundred Sindhi refugees protested outside United Nations headquarters in Delhi and demanded international community’s intervention against Pakistani authorities for the crimes against humanity they have committed in Sindh province.
Sindh is the centre-stage of the provinces – federation conflict in Pakistan. On March 23 this year, Sindh rebelled as at least five million Sindhis took to the streets of Karachi and demanded the independence. Sindh is a home of 50 million Sindhi people and is believed to be the historical land, where massive and outrageous freedom movement has emerged during last decade. Hundreds of the Sindhi activists have been killed and more have been involuntarily disappeared by the intelligence agencies like ISI and the Military Intelligence.
Rachel Fraenkel Touches Hearts With Open Door Policy
By Sigal Samuel
The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook on Sunday to write about an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.” He said that during his visit to the Fraenkel family home, he had a chance to speak to Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, and express pain at the “barbaric” murder of his son.
Barkat then suggested that Abu Khdeir speak to Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel who recently told the press that “the life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab.” The two men took Barkat’s advice and comforted one another by telephone.
In a separate visit organized by Rabbi Rafi Ostroff, chair of the religious council of Gush Etzion, Palestinians from the Hebron area showed up at the door of the Fraenkel family, looking to comfort the bereaved.
Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.”
The death of each child should be condemned. Be it an Israeli or a Palestinian, both have equal right to live in peace.
The US and UN have condemned the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager in Israel, which sparked fierce clashes in East Jerusalem. US Secretary of State John Kerry called it “sickening” while the UN demanded justice over the “despicable act”.
Read more » BBC
Trinamool Leader’s Shocker: ‘Will Ask My Boys to Go and Rape CPM Women
Kolkata: Tapas Pal, popular Bengali actor and a member of Parliament from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been caught on camera purportedly saying, “I will ask our boys to go and rape CPM women if necessary.”
The footage aired by local TV channels is hazy, but Mr Pal is clearly heard making the shocking threat while addressing party workers and assuring them that members of other parties will not be allowed to harm them. He also allegedly makes other threats.
Read more » NDTV
Christian Father Commits Suicide After ISIS Members Rape Wife and Daughter in Front of Him Because He Couldn’t Pay Poll Tax
BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER
A Christian father who watched his wife and daughter get brutally raped by members of the militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because he couldn’t pay them a poll tax in Mosul, Iraq, killed himself under the weight of the trauma this past weekend.
A report from the Assyrian International News Agency said ISIS began enforcing Islamic laws in the northern Iraq city which they overran on June 10.
Read more » The Christian Post
Sherman and Colleagues Express Deep Concern to Prime Minister Sharif over Human Rights Violations against Sindhis in Pakistan
Sherman and Colleagues Express Deep Concern to Prime Minister Sharif over Human Rights Violations against Sindhis in Pakistan
Sherman, Bentivolio, Schiff, Gabbard, and Petri Urge Prime Minister Sharif to Take Action
Washington, DC – Congressman Brad Sherman, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, was joined by four Members of Congress – Kerry Bentivolio, Adam Schiff, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tom Petri – in sending a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to express deep concern over human rights violations in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Sindhi activists have been regularly persecuted and detained, and even violently targeted through enforced disappearances and brutal murders. Religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindu Sindhis, have faced discrimination and attacks by extremists on their houses of worship.
The letter urges the Prime Minister to “address the situation accordingly by strongly countering these actions and policies throughout the Pakistani government.”
“We are urging Prime Minister Sharif to do everything in his power to protect the Sindh community, as well as religious minorities, from attacks,” said Congressman Sherman. “The Sindhi community includes tens of millions of people in Pakistan who are striving to preserve their language and culture, but Sindhi activists are subject to enforced disappearances and sometimes targeted killings.”
“Violence against minorities everywhere is an unacceptable violation of human rights,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “ In Pakistan, we’ve heard reports of torture, executions and disappearances of peaceful and politically active Sindhis and Balochs who are Hindu, Christian, Shi’a and other religious minorities. These religiously and politically motivated attacks are abhorrent, and I strongly urge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take action to address these troubling offenses. The Government of Pakistan must stand up for human rights, and against violent radicals who seek to persecute and kill those with differing beliefs.”
Courtesy: » Congressman Brad Sherman
By Ayaz Amir
If this was Srinagar, and the Indian army had been trying to quell a crowd of Kashmiri demonstrators, we would have understood. We would have shaken our heads but we would have understood. Although even there the savagery and the mindless brutality of the Lahore police on supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri would have seemed excessive.
The Indian army and the Indian police don’t have much of a reputation for being gentle in dealing with unruly Muslim protesters. Even so, when was the last time nine people, including two women and a youngster, were shot dead in cold blood in Srinagar? In addition to the dead there are around 30-40 people with gunshot wounds in hospital. When was the last time this happened across the Line of Control? When was the last time this was the tally of the dead and wounded in East Jerusalem or the West Bank?
And this wasn’t Hamas-ruled Gaza, the West Bank or Occupied Kashmir. This was Lahore and one of its better residential colonies. The chief minister lives in the same locality. But that evening when he addressed a press conference looking ever so contrite, he gave the impression that all this happened over his head. This from someone known as a hands-on chief minister…virtually half the city’s police force deployed against the Minhajul-Quran secretariat, the locality looking like a battlefield and resounding with the sound of gunfire for hours on end, and the chief minister in blissful ignorance.
Iraq crisis: ISIS militants push towards Baghdad – live
Group claims mass killings of Iraqi troops, as militants battle security forces 50 miles from Baghdad – follow latest developments – follow latest developments
It is impossible to confirm at present whether the ISIS claim on Twitter to have executed 1,700 Shia soldiers in Iraq is accurate, or an exaggeration intended to create fear among the Shia populace. But earlier, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed “extreme alarm” at the situation and spoke of verified reports of “summary executions and extrajudicial killings”. Some of the reports cited suggest that Iraqi security forces are being purged, though it is unclear whether there is an ethnic dimension to all of the killings.
According to the UN mission in Iraq, “the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching one thousand,” Rupert Colville, Ms Pillay’s spokesman, said in Geneva.
He said UN had received reports of horrific abuses after the capture of Iraq’s second city Mosul, one such case involving the “summary executions of Iraqi soldiers (and) of 17 civilians” thought to have been working for the police, in one particular street in Mosul on 11 June.
Read more » The Telegraph
Sindh: Hyderabad – Senior Representative RightsNow Pakistan, Sindh Progressive Lawyers Forum (SLFP) and human rights lawyer, former auditor Hyderbad Bar Association Mr. Inderjeet Lohano visited camp at Press Club Hyderabad and met leaders advocate Zarina Nawaz, advocate Comrade Hussain Baksh Thebo, Eminent Hari leader Punhal Sario, Asghar Laghari, and Bakhshal Thalo who were sitting on 24 hours Hunger Strike in Solidarity with with Latif Johar who is already sitting on hunger strike for return of balouch missing leaders Advocate Inderjeet said we are with the Baloch and rest of the civil soicety in this struggle and will use legal tools to get justice.
Courtesy: via Facebook
Written by Fatima Tassadiq
Courtesy: Express Tv News » Daily Motion
Sikhs from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa protested outside parliament yesterday in Islamabad against the alleged desecration in Shikarpur of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh community. There have been multiple cases of disrespect to scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and several attacks on their worship places in Sindh. There are many things to fear on part of the safety of minorities. The protest brings the Sikh community into the forefront and a conservative backlash or violence against them might further catalyse. There needs to be a concerted effort, not least of all on part of the religious leaders in Pakistan, to condemn the attack, to demand the arrest of perpetrators and advocate religious freedom and diversity before this community and other minorities are further hurt.
In March, Sikhs in Peshawar protested against the killing of a Sikh hakim in Charsadda and the abduction of two others in DI Khan. Just a few weeks ago artifacts inside a Hindu temple were smashed by a mob in Rahim Yar Khan and the temple was set ablaze. In March, five Hindu temples were attacked. There are reports that families are leaving Pakistan for fear of safety and forced conversions. There are reports that hundreds of Hindu and Christian girls are abducted every year and converted to Islam through the use of forced marriages. This problem may be bigger than we know it to be, as families are unable or unwilling to make formal complaints and there is hardly any press coverage of this. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, last year saw over 200 sectarian attacks, which killed 687 people. Seven Ahmadis were targeted and killed, and over 100 Christians were killed in a Peshawar church.
There is almost never a provocation by the minority that causes these violent incidents. These attacks are the culmination of a social, religious and political agenda and are not just a law and order issue (though policing and security around these issues is a joke). The phrase, “the land of the pure”, is taking on a new fascist meaning, with these actions and demands on part of an intolerant conservative majority leaving no room for anyone else.
Courtesy: The Nation
Pakistan’s Tyranny of Blasphemy
LAHORE, Pakistan — “I used to feel my life was too straight, too linear.”
The speaker was Junaid Hafeez, a young poet and Fulbright scholar from the south of Pakistan, telling a radio show host in 2011 why he had given up studying medicine for a life in literature. Today, he is in jail on a blasphemy charge that carries the death penalty, and is mourning the lawyer who was murdered earlier this month for defending him.
Before his arrest, Hafeez was teaching in the English Department at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, a city in Punjab Province close to where he grew up. His personal charisma and liberal views had won him a following among students, as well as the envious attention of faculty members.
One day in 2013, a student affiliated with Islami Jamiat Talaba, a wing of the hard-line Jamaat-i-Islami party, accused Hafeez of insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. The student had no evidence, but no evidence was needed.
Hard-line students soon held a protest crying out for Hafeez’s execution. University administrators backed away. The police registered a case for blasphemy against Hafeez. They did not ask cybercrime specialists to investigate the accusation, relying instead on a fatwa issued by a seminary.
For months Hafeez’s father tried to find a lawyer. Finally he petitioned Rashid Rehman, the 53-year-old special coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Multan. A legal expert with 20 years of activism, Rehman was known as a go-to lawyer for hopeless causes. Despite the danger, he agreed to take Hafeez’s case. Defending a man accused of blasphemy, Rehman told a reporter in April, was like “walking into the jaws of death.”
Those jaws have been open wide since the 1980s, when the military dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq updated a set of colonial laws that criminalized “insulting the religion of any class of persons.” The original laws were devised in the late 19th century by a paternalistic British government trying to keep its multifaith subjects from fighting one another. Those laws were worded generally, and prescribed fines and, at most, two-year prison terms.
General Zia’s amendments particularized the insults and tailored the provisions to favor a stringent Sunni strain of Islam. They criminalized the desecration of the Quran, any defiling of the name of the Prophet Muhammad, and disrespectful remarks about his companions — a jab at Pakistan’s Shiite minorities, who dispute the outcome of the succession struggle that followed the Prophet’s death. Moreover, any attempt by members of the outlawed Ahmadi sect to refer to themselves as Muslims was criminalized. Punishments were upgraded: Blasphemers could be executed or jailed for life.
General Zia died in an air crash in 1988, but his legacy remains. It includes the empowerment of theological figures in every stratum of life — from clerics and televangelists to fanatical academics and Shariah judges — all aided in their righteous endeavors by a legislature that remains intractably Zia-ist.
The blasphemy laws are part of this package. For decades they had been rarely used, with only a handful of cases before the mid-1980s. But General Zia’s amendments opened the floodgates: More than a thousand cases have been reported since then, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Just last week the Punjabi police, prompted by a Sunni extremist, brought blasphemy charges against 68 lawyers.
The blasphemy laws can serve just about anyone with a dark design — an angry relative, an envious colleague, a neighbor with his eye on your property. But the greatest beneficiary has been the professional Islamists, who specialize in their application to encroach on both state and society.
MULTAN: Human Rights Advocate Rashid Rehman Khan was gunned down by unidentified attackers in Multan, DawnNews reported late on Wednesday night.
Initial reports suggest that Khan was targeted by two gunmen inside his office at Kachehri Chowk.
Sources told Dawn.com that two clean-shaven young men barged into Advocate Khan’s office and shot him dead. They also injured his two lawyer friends, identified as Nadeem Parwaz and Afzal.
Injured were taken to Nishtar Medical Center where Parwaz is said to be in a critical condition.
“Armed gunmen stormed the chamber of Rashid Rehman and started indiscriminate firing on Wednesday evening, injuring Rehman and two of his associates present there,” senior police official Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.
Advocate Rashid Rehman Khan was a coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The senior lawyer was defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy and had complained that he had been receiving threats on his life.
The HRCP had voiced serious concern over the threats extended to Khan.
Read more » DAWN
Pakistan’s dreaded spy agency, the ISI, is back in the spotlight, accused of murdering journalist Saleem Shahzad. The agency’s engagement with the media has become progressively more virulent as the “war on terror” has progressed. BBC Urdu editor Aamer Ahmed Khan asks whether anyone can bring the ISI under control.
Comment by Shahab Usto
In Karachi–Jinnah’s Mausoleum has been shut for security reasons. Among a host of no-go areas, this new addition is the most tragic and shameful of all.
In Lahore–A poor christian has been sentenced to death on a cooked-up blasphemy charge. If the judiciary itself plays to the gallery, instead of following law and constitution, then from where would the ‘minority’ citizens seek justice and protection.
In Hyderabad–A Kali Mata temple has been set ablaze by the ‘soldiers of Islam‘. And then we expect the world to condemn Chief Minister Narendra Modi for enacting a pogrom against the Muslims in Indian Gujarat?
In Thar–for all the tall claims, the children continue to die of dearth and disease. Yet our ‘august’ rulers continue to harp on claiming that they are not dying of famine but malnourishment, and hence they are absolved of all their duties to protect the citizens!
In Waziristan–Our official interlocutors are grovelling before a bunch of terrorists and mass killers to extend the ‘cease-fire’ with the nuclear-armed state, possessing the sixth largest armed forces in the world and a land of 200 million people!
With the prevalence of such levels of apathy, injustice, absurdity and incorrigibility, is there any doubt that we as a state and society have completely turned into a hopeless basket case??
Courtesy: » via Facebook
KARACHI, March 21: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief, Pakistan Peoples Party has strongly condemned the brutal killings of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leader Maqsood Qureshi and a worker in Naushehro Feroz.
In a press statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said inhuman act of burning the bodies of JSQM leader was the most heinous crime stressing that those committed it must not go scot-free at any cost.
He asked for thorough probe into the incident and fact-finding as PPP, being a democratic party, would never allow such incidents under any circumstances.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed sympathy to the family of JSQM leader and workers and asked the people to remain calm and assured full support to the bereaved family.
Media group opts for self-censorship on terrorism after Taliban admits murder of three employees for critical reports on militants
When it was launched four years ago, the Express Tribune set out to become the house newspaper of liberal-minded Pakistanis.
A newcomer to a market dominated by conservative-inclined papers, it made a point of writing about everything from the relentless rise of religious extremism to gay rights.
But in recent weeks the paper has been cowed into silence by an unusually blatant display of power by the Pakistani Taliban.
The paper was forced to drastically tone down its coverage last month after three employees of the media group, which includes another newspaper and television channel, were killed in Karachi by men armed with pistols and silencers on 17 January.
The attack was later claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a large coalition of militant groups, which accused the media group of disseminating anti-Taliban propaganda.
PAKISTAN: A Sindh nationalist and political activist killed by law enforcement agencies after severe torture
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that officers of the law enforcement agencies abducted a young activist who was tortured to death in illegal detention. After the incident officers of these agencies threw the tortured and bullet riddled death body near the Bharia Road City Railway Station of District Naushero Feroz of Sindh Province. They also scattered some weapons near his dead body to give the appearance that his death was due to an encounter as well as to make him look like a terrorist.
The agencies officers then started intimidating the victim’s brothers not to reveal the incident and were also warned not to register a case against them. They were told that many false cases would be registered against them.
CASE NARRATIVE: Mr. Sahib Khan Ghoto (40), a resident of village Jalal Ghoto, Taluka and District Ghotki, Province Sindh was tortured to death in the custody of law enforcement agencies during his illegal detention of three days. (warning to the reader: the photo of the deceased victim is graphic and may not be suitable for all viewers: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/images/2014/ahrc-uac-021-2014.01). Sahib Khan, son of Mr. Dhani Bux was a political activist, nationalist and central member of the Executive Committee of Shehri Etihad (Citizens Unity) Ghotki. Shehri Etihad is a organization working in Ghotki for the people and in this organization all Non- Governmental Organizations, political parties and the civil societies of the Ghotki District are collectively working together.He was also the president of Jiye Sindh MutthahidaMahaz (JSSM) a nationalist party,Ghotki District.
Minister questions Taliban’s Sharia
ISLAMABAD: Lashing out at Pakistani Taliban for slaughtering 23 paramilitary personnel, Information Minister Pervez Rashid on Wednesday questioned whether the militants’ action was in accordance with the Islamic Sharia.
Speaking to media representatives, he criticized the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership for the inhuman killing of the captive Frontier Cops (FC) soldiers.
“People favouring enforcement of Sharia should tell what treatment captives deserve according to the Sharia …… and the treatment those (FC men) received was in accordance with the Islamic laws or not,” he questioned.
The minister said that TTP’s central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid should have conveyed their reservations to the negotiating team they formed. “But, they didn’t do it and firstly attacked policemen in Karachi and then killed FC personnel,” he added.
Taking a strong stand against the home grown militants, he said the government also has reservations which the Taliban must address first.
Referring to the 1971’s war against India, Rashid said, “Even our rival country treated our 90,000 war captives in accordance with the Geneva Convention.” “Did they (Indians) behead even a single Pakistani soldier,” he questioned.
On February 4th, a day before Pakistan closes down ostentatiously for the rights of Kashmiris, Pakistani intelligence agencies’ personnel harassed the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Long Marchers with intimidation and questions. They didn’t stop at that they even harassed a Baloch family which stopped to greet the Marchers by asking them for their National Identity Cards (NIC) numbers, telephone numbers address and the purpose of greeting the Marchers. They also harassed their host at 7 Chak Raowan Wala for that night with questions and threats. They took their NIC numbers, telephone numbers and asked how they knew these Baloch. This place was arranged by Comrade Irfan Ali of Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP), who has now joined the march. This nuclear power is so scared out of its wits at these handful but brave and defiant Baloch that it is harassing not only them but even who come into their proximity.
Read more » http://www.nakedpunch.com/articles/202
The Taliban’s War on Women: Taliban violence against women in Afghanistan has never gone away. Disturbing stories of suppression and brutality show a society hanging in the balance.
The recent online video of the Taliban executing a 22-year-old woman in front of a crowd of cheering men shocked the world. As Taliban aggression intensifies, how much has actually changed in Afghanistan?
At the height of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan in 1999, a burqa-clad woman was executed in Kabul’s main football stadium. Footage of the killing shocked the world and galvanised international opposition to the Taliban’s brutal rule. Yet just two months ago, 22-year-old Najiba was mercilessly killed by the Taliban, just one hour’s drive from Kabul. The Taliban created a fake court and once they decided she was guilty, executed her within an hour. “It was tyrannical and barbaric – it is impossible that the law would allow what they did”, says Mullah Badam, who witnessed the killing. Speaking to Afghan women it’s evident that violent abuse is still commonplace. 18-year-old Mumtaz had acid thrown on her face by her would-be husband, who she had refused to marry. “They would not let me look in the mirror. I cried a lot”, she says. But there are women who are fighting back, including MP Fawzia Koofi, who plans to take on Hamid Karzai for the presidency. An outspoken champion of women’s rights, she has faced assassination attempts and numerous death threats. She argues that for her male political opposition, “women’s rights are a matter of sacrifice”. With the Allied forces set to withdraw by 2014, this disturbing report highlights just how precarious the situation remains for the future of Afghan society.
Read more » Journeyman.tv
London: (Press release) World Sindhi Congress (WSC), together with the entire world, is saddened and shocked at the uncovering of mass graves from Tootak area in Khuzdar District of Balochistan. No independent source is being allowed to visit the area, which is under strict control of Pakistani armed forces. However, a very grim picture is emerging suggesting 100s and possibly thousands of bodies in scores of mass graves. The discovery of mass graves is being viewed in the backdrop that since 2002 thousands of Baloch and scores of Sindhi political and human rights activists, intellectuals, writers and journalists have been forcibly abducted by armed forces and remain missing.
WSC believes that unearthing of the mass graves is the biggest crime against humanity of 21st century and shows that the establishment is bent to carry out genocide in Balochistan. The Baloch people are concerned that there may be many more mass graves that have to be uncovered and they believe that thousands of their loved ones missing since years have been brutally killed and inhumanely dumped in these graves.
WSC request the international community to take an urgent action on this one of the worst atrocities in recent history by sending an independent enquiry committee comprising of UN representatives, intentional experts and representatives of human rights organisations to uncover the remaining graves and identify the bodies.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 29th January 2014.
PAKISTAN: More than 100 dead bodies from three mass graves were found in one district of Balochistan
The UN and international human rights organisations must send fact finding missions to probe the illegal disposal of Baloch people in mass graves
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expresses shock and deep concern over the discovery of mass graves in Balochistan; it is suspected that these graves are of Baloch missing persons who were arrested and subsequently extrajudicially killed. A large number of family members gathered around the places of Tootak village, district Khuzdar to inquire about their loved ones who have been missing for many years. However, the police and other security forces refused them permission to try and identify the bodies and baton charged the people to disperse them.
On January 25, three mass graves were found after one of them was discovered by a shepherd who saw pieces of human bodies and bones. He informed the Levies, a private armed force organised by tribal leaders, and according to Assistant Commissioner, district Khuzdar, Mr. Afzal Supra, Balochistan, the grave was excavated and 15 bodies were found.
As the news of the mass grave spread throughout the district people gathered there and started digging in the nearby area where they found two more mass graves. In total 103 bodies were recovered from the graves. The bodies were too decomposed to be identified. From the three mass graves 17, 8 and 78 bodies were found but the local people say that a total of 169 bodies have been found. People have witnessed more than 100 human bodies in Tootak while they were digging the area. However, Pakistani military forces stopped the local people from unearthing the mass graves and took control of the area. Now, no one is allowed access to the location except military personnel.
According to the media, a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said so far they have found around 56 unidentified graves and that there are many more. It is claimed that these bodies are those of Baloch missing persons.
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