Saudi Arabia is a Peninsula of Stability in the Region – Said Pak Ambassador

Faiz Al-NajdiBy: Faiz Al-Najdi

Muhammad Naeem Khan – the Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia – has said that Saudi Arabia has emerged as a “peninsula of stability” in the region. He was speaking as the Chief Guest on the occasion of investiture ceremony of the newly elected office bearers of Pakistan Investors Forum-Riyadh (aka: PIF) – at Riyadh Palace Hotel on Tuesday evening. This event was attended by about 500 persons that included several high officials from SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce & Industries (aka: RCCI), Saudi officials from various Saudi departments that included: Passport, Labor, Police departments and several noted Saudi businessmen. Many Pakistani professionals and members from the Pakistani community also attended.

Received via Email: faizalnajdi@gmail.com

 

Chinese Troops Set Up Post 10km Inside Ladakh – India Times

By IndiaTimes

NEW DELHI: In yet another deep incursion into Indian territory, Chinese troops apparently made inroads into the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post there this week.

Indian Army officials were, however, not too perturbed about the incursion, holding that it was a common occurrence. “In that area, patrols do have a face-off every now and then due to differing perceptions of where the Line of Actual Control lies. We resolve it through existing consultative border mechanisms,” said a senior officer.

As per reports, a platoon-strength contingent of about 50 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), which mans that stretch of the border, have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.

ITBP has asked for a flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response till now.

The Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that specializes in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China. IAF has in recent years activated advanced landing grounds at DBO and two other places in eastern Ladakh as part of the policy to build military infrastructure along the LAC, in a belated move to counter strategic moves by China in the region.

Courtesy: India Times
http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/chinese-troops-set-up-post-10km-inside-ladakh-73150.html

The great game

Western World’s opposition to Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline is seen as a reiteration of its economic interests and geopolitical hegemonic designs in the region

By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq

In the face of threats of sanctions from the United States, President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on March 11, 2013 launched the groundbreaking work on the 781-kilometre-long pipeline on the Pakistani side of the border. The Iran-Pakistan (IP) Gas Pipeline Project, initialed in 1995, has been facing perpetual opposition from the United States and its allies. Heads of both the countries, in their speeches at the occasion, reaffirmed their commitment to go ahead with the project “despite threats from the world powers”.

President Zardari said that the project would promote peace, security and progress in the region besides improving economic, political and security ties between the two neighbouring states. Stressing that the project was not against any country, President Zardari said such steps forging better understanding would also help fight terrorism and extremism.

President Ahmadinejad, while pointing towards foreign states and criticising what he called “their unjustified opposition to the project under the excuse of Iran’s nuclear issue”, said: “They are against Iran and Pakistan’s progress and have used the nuclear issue as an excuse”. He added, “We never expected [Western] companies to make an investment in this pipeline which guarantees progress, prosperity and peace in the region; if they don’t want to join this project for any given reason, they are not entitled to rock the boat and disturb the project”.

Pakistan on the completion of IP is to receive 21.5 million cubic meters of natural gas on daily basis. Faced with extraordinary energy crisis, Pakistan needs natural gas badly — its shortage has caused miseries to millions of Pakistanis and closure of industries. Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its side. The Tehran-based Tadbir energy development group has undertaken all the engineering procurement and construction work for the first segment of the project. It will also carry out the second segment of the project and also extend the financing of $500 million to Pakistan. Iran and Pakistani are optimistic to complete the project by December 2014.

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US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran gas pipeline

Pipeline undermines US hegemony in the region

The US has threatened Islamabad with sanctions over Pakistan’s partnership with Iran to construct a section of a gas pipeline. Washington said that the much-delayed $7.5-billion project violates sanctions on Iran, a claim denied by Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan expect the completed pipeline will deliver 21.5 million cubic meters (760,000 million cubic feet) of gas per day to Pakistan from its giant offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf by December 2014.

Iranian contractors will construct the pipeline, which crosses Pakistani territory. Tehran has agreed to lend Islamabad $500 million, one-third of the estimated $1.5 billion cost of the 750-kilometer pipeline, according to Fars news agency.

After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari launched the project on Monday on the Iran-Pakistan Border, the US threatened to respond with sanctions if the project “actually goes forward.”

“We have serious concerns if this project actually goes forward that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, commenting on the so-called ‘peace pipeline.’

Iran has completed 900 kilometers of the pipeline’s segment on its side of the border with Pakistan. Monday’s ceremony marked the beginning of work on the Pakistani segment, which will start at the Iranian town of Chahbahar near the border.

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Jihadi Vs. Jihadi – 32 dead as Taliban clash with rival Islamists in Pakistan

Militant clash in Khyber tribal region kills 32

By: Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: An intense gun-battle erupted between two banned militant groups in Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley on Friday, with at least 32 militants so far killed in the clash.

Intelligence officials said the gun-battle started late Thursday between the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and rival group Ansarul Islam (AI) in Tirah Valley’s Maidan village. The dead included 23 Ansar fighters and nine TTP militants, while several others were also injured.

Officials said the death toll was likely to increase as the fighting had not yet ended.

Speaking to a Dawn.com reporter, Sadat Afridi, a spokesman for the banned Ansarul Islam group, claimed that they had captured over three TTP bases in the valley’s Maidan village, and that the fight was still on for a fourth base.

Afridi said that his group has vowed to flush out TTP militants from Tirah Valley as they “carry out attacks on mosques and public places, which is against Islam.”

Afridi said that they would not allow the TTP to continue “killing innocent Muslims in the name of religion.”

Khyber is among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and home to religious extremist organisations including the al Qaeda.

The remote Tirah valley holds strategic significance for militant groups. On one side, it shares a border with Afghanistan. On the other it leads to the plains of Bara, which connect the agency to the outskirts of Peshawar.

Khyber also links several agencies to each other, serving as a north-south route within Fata. The region has been long fought over by a mix of militant organisations, including the TTP, the Ansarul Islam and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam.

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Major gas field discovered in Sindh

Major gas field discovered in Pakistan

ROME: Italian energy major ENI said on Wednesday it had discovered a major reserve of between 300 billion and 400 billion cubic feet of gas some 350 kilometres north of Karachi in Pakistan.

The discovery was made in the Khirthar Fold Belt region close to the ENI-operated Bhit gas processing facility, the company said in a statement.

ENI said it “confirms the presence of significant exploration potential that can be exploited through the application of new geological models.”

The company said it had begun talks with Pakistani authorities on creating a joint venture, adding that it would “help to reduce the national gas deficit.”

ENI has been in Pakistan since 2000 and is the country’s largest producer, with average production of 54,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.

Pakistan has had an endemic energy crisis for years, characterised by frequent blackouts, which has crippled the economy.

The crisis is blamed on chronic mismanagement and corruption.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/major-gas-field-discovered-in-pakistan/

Radical Islamic Attacks in a Moderate Region Unnerve the Kremlin

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

KAZAN, Russia — A string of violent attacks by Islamic militants has shattered this city’s reputation as a citadel of religious tolerance and unnerved federal officials in Moscow, who have worked for decades to prevent the spread of radical Islam out of the southern borderlands and into places like this city 500 miles east of Moscow.

Officials have long sought to contain Islamic fervor in the Caucasus to the south while insisting that places like the republic of Tatarstan, where Kazan is the capital, were different, representing a moderate “Russian Islam,” said Aleksei Malashenko, the co-chairman of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s religion, society and security program.

But that comfortable assumption began to crumble just before the start of Ramadan in late July, when a senior cleric in charge of education was shot outside his apartment building on Zarya Street. Roughly an hour later, the city’s chief mufti survived a bomb attack that demolished his Toyota Land Cruiser. A previously unheard-of group, the mujahedeen of Tatarstan, claimed responsibility.

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Drone strike kills five in Pakistan after local military leader meets US general

US presses Pakistan for offensive against tribal region militants amid tensions over continuing unmanned aircraft strikes

By: Associated Press

A missile launched from a US drone struck a suspected militant hideout in a tribal region in northern Pakistan where allies of a powerful warlord were gathered Saturday, killing five of his supporters, Pakistani officials said.

The strike in North Waziristan against allies of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a militant commander whose forces frequently target US and other Nato troops in neighboring Afghanistan, comes amid speculation over whether Pakistan will launch an operation against militants in the tribal region. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Xinjiang Communist Party chief has called for an “iron fist” to deal with “separatists, extremists and terrorists.”

Party chief calls for ‘iron fist’ against terrorism

By: Xuyang Jingjing

In the wake of a recent plane hijacking attempt, the Party chief of the Xinjiang Ugyhur Autonomous Region urged soldiers to keep vigilant against hostile forces while overseeing a counter-terrorism drill ahead of the third anniversary of the July 5 riot.

Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China, asked the soldiers Wednesday to strike the separatists, extremists, and terrorists with “iron fists.”

“We should leave the terrorists no place to hide,” said Zhang.

During the drill, soldiers demonstrated special skills such as climbing walls with their bare hands and shooting cardboard “terrorists” with a single shot without harming hostages, according to the regional government’s website.

Within seconds, soldiers in dark uniforms and heavily armed broke into rooms on the fifth floor of a building to dispose of explosives and rescue hostages.

They also showcased weapons, communications equipment, devices for security inspection and explosive disposal, as well as safety and transportation equipment.

While commending the police forces for contributing to stability and public security in Xinjiang, Zhang said although the region’s overall situation remains stable and controllable, it still faces severe challenges and the basis of its stability is fragile.

In recent years, terrorist attacks and violence in Xinjiang have been on the rise and most prominently connected with overseas forces, experts said.

“From the timing of these terrorist activities, it seems that overseas separatist groups such as the World Uyghur Congress are closely related to the domestic attacks,” explained Li Wei, director of the Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

The authorities have put great emphasis on building counter-terrorism forces in Xinjiang and they have played an important role, said Li.

The Urumqi-based counter-terrorism forces were formed in the 1990s when separatists and religious extremists engaged in various terrorist activities such as explosions, assassinations and arson in the region.

Li said that compared with the 1990s, there are more suicide terrorist attacks now.

“Unlike remotely detonated bombs or poisoning, terrorists now attack in broad daylight and throw their own lives on the line,” said Li. “Therefore, the situation is more dangerous and more difficult, which requires the special forces to enhance their skills and capabilities, such as rapid response and intelligence collecting.”

On July 5, 2009, Xinjiang saw the worst outbreak of violence in decades when riots incited by overseas groups broke out in Urumqi. Nearly 200 people were killed and about 1,700 injured.

In the southern area of Hotan, 18 people attacked a local police station in July last year, killing three people and injuring two. Earlier last month, local police also cracked down on an illegal Koran teaching site that was holding 59 children.

In the most recent case, six alleged terrorists carrying explosives attempted to hijack a plane from Hotan to Urumqi on June 29. The attempt was foiled by the passengers, several of whom were police officers.

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‘Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform’ says Hyrbyar Marri

In the wake of the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by American elite troops, DW takes a closer look at Pakistan’s “other” war in a rare interview with a prominent Baloch leader.

Hyrbyar Marri is the fifth son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a veteran national leader and the head of the largest Baloch clan. In the late 1990s Hyrbar Marri went into exile in Britain. In 2007, he was arrested under a warrant issued by former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and held in Belmarsh – a maximum security prison in southeast London. Prominent British human rights advocates such as Peter Thatchell campaigned for Marri and accused the British executive of collaborating with Musharraf’s regime. Marri was eventually acquitted in 2008 by a British jury and remains in Britain where he has recently been granted asylum.

DW: What’s the current situation in Pakistani-controlled Balochistan?

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Pakistan Splits: The birth of Bangladesh – By J R Saigal

About the Book

Description: Hard Bound, It is for the first time that a book has come out by a senior officer of the 1 Corps in the Western Sector, Shakargarh Region, where the Strike Corps of Indian Army fought its war. As a participant of war, Col. Saigal, analyses 1971 Indo Pak war in his book, and indirectly enables one to have the reasons for Kargil misadventure of the Pak Army. We get a good factual knowledge of Pakistan Army and why it is in the present shape. This book is unique in so far as it gives the insight into Sam Manekshaw’s personality- a fine soldier who has been misunderstood as also of the real liberator of Bangladesh, Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh, about whom very little is known. While narrating the facts of 1971 Indio-Pak war he very rightly spells out a question-Pakistan was spilt while the country had a General at the helm of state of affairs. Will the country be split again with a General at the helm of affairs-a pointer, he argues-as it is not in the interest of Pakistan and India both If a further split occurs, It will be in the interest of foreign powers.

Courtesy: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=182036138&cm_ven=Twitter&cm_cat=TYShare&cm_pla=link&cm_ite=TYShare

BBC – Enormous frustration in Washington regarding Pakistan which is now seen by many in the US Congress and the military as an enemy rather than a friend.

Afghan end game sees Pakistan ‘paralysed’ by US rift

Since US forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan a year ago, relations between the two countries have never recovered. Writer Ahmed Rashid looks at a relationship in crisis as US troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.

The continuing breakdown in co-operation between the US and Pakistan is having a hugely detrimental effect on US and Nato resolve to withdraw from Afghanistan while trying to remain committed to the region’s stability.

Although the US has much to answer for in terms of mistakes made, the refusal of the Pakistani leadership – both military and civilian – to take responsibility and ownership for desperately needed decisions, is leading the country into a terrible sense of drift and despair.

The recent visit to Islamabad by a high-level US delegation, consisting of officials from the defence and state departments, the CIA, the White House, and led by US special envoy Marc Grossman failed to elicit any major breakthrough in resolving any of the major outstanding issues which could lead to improving relations.

Drone attacks

Pakistan insists on a US apology for the killing of 24 of its soldiers last November by US helicopters on the Afghan border – yet when a US apology was on the cards a few months ago, Pakistani officials declined to meet their US counterparts.

Pakistan also insists on an end to drone strikes which the US refuses to agree to.

Both sides have tried to explore different scenarios for co-operation so that drone attacks can continue.

If a co-operation mechanism can be found, the US wants Pakistan to be more transparent about drone attacks because Pakistani interests are also served when drones kill leading members of the Pakistani Taliban.

US officials say their own lack of transparency over drones was dictated by former President Pervez Musharraf who insisted that they never be admitted to, even though drones took off from Pakistani bases until last year.

Also stuck is the reopening of the road that is used to take supplies from the port of Karachi to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The road should have reopened nearly a month ago after approval from Pakistan’s parliament, but threats by Islamic extremist groups to burn trucks and convoys of goods have played a part in the delay.

The US has already indicated that it is willing to pay generously for use of the road.

The talks were made more complicated by the Obama administration now refusing to issue an apology and US charges that Pakistan allowed the Haqqani group to launch the multiple suicide attacks on Kabul and other Afghan cities on 15 April.

‘Window on the West’

There is enormous frustration in Washington regarding Pakistan which is now seen by many in the US Congress and the military as an enemy rather than a friend.

Many leading Americans consider that Pakistan should cease being important for the US, or should no longer be considered an ally when the US gets over the 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Pakistan is doing little to stop this drift in negative opinion growing in the US.

Gone are the early days of the Obama administration when major efforts were made to woo Pakistan.

Now what Pakistan may lose as a US ally in the region, India will gain – something that should be worrying for the Pakistani ruling elite.

The failure of Pakistan to rebuild ties with the US is rooted in actual incidents, anger and real disputes.

But it is also down to the inability of the government or the military to make decisions that need to be taken collectively to preserve the state of relations with a powerful country which has acted in the past as Pakistan’s window to the West – especially in terms of loans, aid and business and exports.

Internal conflict

There has been an unprecedented growth in violence from north to south involving sectarian, ethnic, militant Islamic, criminal and other heavily armed groups which the government appears helpless to stop.

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Must read: ‘The path of isolation’ – by Asma Jahangir

PAKISTAN remains in the dog house of the international community mainly because its rulers refuse to accept that violence and conflict within the country are escalating and have serious ramifications for the entire region.

Pakistan’s friends fear a severe economic meltdown and there are widespread concerns over continuing corruption which has also partly impaired governance.

Amazingly, while militant non-state actors are knocking down our doors and have successfully solidified their networks, our civil institutions are busy rubbing each others’ noses in the dirt — perhaps for sound reasons but the rubbing is excessive.

Constant political bickering keeps policymakers, the media, the judiciary and the public distracted from the risks we face.

Corruption is rife in all governments and institutions. Sadly, selective investigations often remain inconclusive. Ironically, most of those accused of corruption brazenly say they have been singled out, rather than plead innocence and prove it too.

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Saving Pakistan via India

Saving Pakistan… and India?

by Omar Ali

Pakistan is in the throes of an existential crisis. Pakistan has always been in the throes of an existential crisis. Pakistan’s interminable existential crisis is, in fact, getting to be a bore.  But while faraway peoples can indeed get away from this topic and on to something more interesting, Pakistanis have little choice in this matter; and it may be that neither do Indians.

The partition of British India was different things to different people, but we can all agree on some things: it was a confused mess, it was accompanied by remarkable violence and viciousness,  and it has led to endless trouble. The Paknationalist narrative built on that foundation has Jihadized the Pakistani state, and defanging that myth is now the most critical historic task of the Pakistani bourgeoisie.

Well, OK. We don’t actually all admit any of those things, but all those are things I have written in the past. Today I hope to shed my inhibitions and go further.

First, the crisis. Some friends think I am being unnecessarily alarmist and the only crisis is the presence of American infidels/imperialists in the region. Let America leave and all will be well. Others believe that if the army had a “free hand”, they would have things under control within days.  Let us dispense with both theories. The crisis is not primarily American generated (though they have a long and glorious history of feeding dollars to the crisis) and no one is in complete control.  The existing corruption-ridden state is a British colonial creation struggling to get by alongside an unstable mix of Islamist ideology and a very shallow and self-contradictory foundational myth. Even though the karma of the Raj is potent stuff, it will not last forever against these forces. When it goes, the next step will not be the dawn of Chomskyan enlightened anarchy or democratic socialism; it will either be Salafist Islam or the dissolution of the state. Dissolution being physically and diplomatically difficult (who will handle the scramble over borders that would follow?), Salafist Islam administered by the army (perhaps with a charismatic cricketer as its public face) is the likely option.

Unfortunately, it is not likely to work very well. In fact, it is incapable of sustaining even the bare minimum of modern statehood. Unlike Iranian Islam (which is literate, modern and sophisticated compared to Salafist fantasies) there is no there there.  A militarized salafist Pakistan may hold together a few years in the name of war against the infidels, but after the war (and who wants a war that could go nuclear?) we are left with little more than the vague notion of a rightly guided caliph, the whipping of uppity women and the accelerated cleansing of undesirable smaller sects. After all, if you have a religious state, then you cannot have ten different interpretations of religion (not to speak of ten different religions). Which vision is in charge has to be clear. The state must enforce religious uniformity or become secular. There is no third option.  One can see this principle in operation in Pakistan ever since General Zia started Islamizing in earnest.  Ahmedis were already beyond the pale, but Shias, a sect that provided the founder of Pakistan and were an integral part of Pakistan, now face the prospect of second class citizenship or worse. If you happen to believe in the Salafist project you may find this a desirable endpoint, but everyone else will want to stop this process and reverse it if possible.

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BBC News – Avalanche buries 100 Pakistani troops in Kashmir

A Pakistani general says more than 100 troops have been buried by an avalanche in the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told the BBC some bodies had been recovered but could not say how many had survived.

The avalanche hit a military camp near the Siachen glacier in the Karakoram branch of the Himalaya mountains. A rescue operation is underway.

India and Pakistan both claim the area and have deployed thousands of troops. ….

Read more » BBC

Pakistan heading towards anarchy, cautions author

By: Reuters

Excerpts;

…. Pakistan’s escalating problems are rooted in its reliance on US aid, its complex politics, the government’s lack of control over both its military and intelligence service and its failure to protect minorities and secure regions controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, the book maintains. That spells more trouble for Washington if such groups gain further control in a nuclear-armed country where the military now largely controls foreign and security policies and has taken the lead in relations with the United States, he said. “Pakistan has all the potential of becoming a failing state,” Rashid, 63, said in an interview, explaining the title of the book that follows bestsellers including “Taliban” and “Descent Into Chaos” that were translated into dozens of languages. “I feel very much that the lack of state control, the lack of state authority is going to mean there is going to be increasing anarchy in many different parts of the country,” said Rashid, who has received numerous death threats and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

DPC: a religious outfit with a political cover

By Durdana Najam

Why should the Pakistan Army borrow the mullah alliance to restore its image? Perhaps the language of Islam is the easiest to use as an exploitive tool for an emotionally charged Muslim community

The religious-politico parties have become active owing to the US’s increasing intrusion into Pakistan’s territorial precincts, the latest being the Salala checkpost attack that killed 24 soldiers in November 2011. The investigative report prepared by NATO, which revealed the determinants of the attack, termed the incident to be a joint sin committed by NATO and the Pakistan Army, suggesting that on a border as volatile as the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region, the rage of wrath can unleash itself at any time in any mode. Pakistan rejected the findings of the report, alleging it to be biased and obsessive. The attack irked even the government and, for a change, the NATO supply route was completely shut down — to this day. A parliamentary committee on national security is working to define new contours for Pak-America relations. In the meantime, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is sending strong massages to the American government about the so-called sovereignty that we guard so close to our bosoms (depending largely on our whims and wishes).

The recent collaboration of 40 religious parties going by the name of Difa-i-Pakistan Council, comprising the likes of General (retd) Hamid Gul, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, President Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq and the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, Munawar Hasan, geared towards defending Pakistan against foreign aggression, has raised national and international concerns, especially since the definition of foreign aggression from the point of view of Difa-i-Pakistan relates to none other than the US and India. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Inside Balochistan’s dirty war – Praveen Swami

Baloch secessionist leader Brahmdagh Bugti says he wants political engagement with Pakistan — but that its military wants war.

Late last month, Zamur Domki and her 12-year-old daughter were driving back to their home in an upmarket Karachi neighbourhood when a black car swerved across the road, blocking their route. Thinking she was a target of an armed robbery, Ms Domki offered the masked men who surrounded the car her jewellery and mobile phone — but the attackers weren’t interested.

An eyewitness recalls that Ms Domki watched in horror as the assassins repeatedly shot her daughter in the chest and neck. Then, it was her turn to die.

Baloch politicians allege the murders, for which no one has been held, were carried out by Pakistan’s intelligence services to send a message to Ms Domki’s brother, Brahmdagh Bugti — a soft-spoken 31-year-old father of three who, from exile in Geneva, leads the region’s largest secessionist party.

Concern over assassinations

In recent months, assassinations of Baloch nationalist politicians and their kin have provoked growing concern. Last year alone, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported, there were at least 107 new cases of enforced disappearances. The missing, the commission’s chairperson Zohra Yusuf said, “were increasingly turning up dead.” The United States’ State Department has voiced concern, and political leaders have called for action.

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DAWN – “No peace in Balochistan without referendum” – Eddie Walsh

The hearing showed that there will be no peace in the region without a referendum of self-determination. That cannot be ignored.”

As the sole witness of Baloch ethnicity to speak at the recent Balochistan hearing before the United States Congress, M. Hossein Bor disagrees with comments that he was not relevant to the proceedings.

Not only was he the only witness able to speak as a Baloch, he points out that he also was the only one with deep subject matter expertise in foreign trade and investment in Southwest Asia. From this perspective, he hoped his testimony would have shed light on the unrealised strategic and economic opportunities that an independent Balochistan would provide to Americans, including the ability to contain a rising China and an emerging Iran, prevent an adversarial Pakistan from achieving strategic depth in Afghanistan, and ensure Baloch-American economic prosperity through new energy and mineral resource agreements. However, with little time to prepare for the hearing and only five minutes of allotted time to provide oral testimony, many of these points were not expressed. Bor therefore looks to this post-hearing assessment as a mechanism to share publicly for the first time what he has shared privately with Baloch nationalists and their supporters. As one of the five witnesses called before Congress, it is assured that these remarks will be closely watched by all side to the Baloch debate.

Great Game 2.0

To understand Balochistan, Bor believes that one cannot look at Pakistan’s largest province through the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) box. In retrospect, this is perhaps one of the strongest contributions that he could have made at the hearing.

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Al Jazeera – Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.

By Al Jazeera

In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.

“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader

The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.

But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …

Read more » al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

‘Israel sells Pakistan military equipment’

The leading Israeli manufacturer of tankers, aircraft refuelers, fire fighting trucks, armored vehicles and special purpose trailers, Hatehof Ltd., reportedly provides Pakistan’s Air Force with military equipment under a clandestine contract.

Nearly a month ago, 11 aircraft refueling trucks departed Hatehof’s plant in the Tzippori industrial zone in Galilee region, situated 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) northwest of Nazareth, for the Port of Ashdod, located about 40 kilometers (24 miles) south of Tel Aviv, in the dead of the night.

The trucks were later boarded on a cargo ship in the Ashdod Port and dispatched to Turkey from where they were transported to Pakistan, according to a recent report aired on Israel’s Channel 2 television network.

The report comes as the Israeli firm has sent several convoys of aircraft refueling trucks to Pakistan in order to equip the Muslim states’ Air Force.

Under an agreement reached between Hatehof Ltd. and BMC — one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in Turkey, truck chassis are sent to Israel to be converted into aircraft refueling trucks for Pakistan’s Air Force.

Courtesy: Press Tv

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/224293.html

In Unstable Fields

Comment by Omar Ali

The writer is a former Secretary of the Indian intelligence agency RAW (an agency no more capable than other arms of the Indian government, but thought in Pakistan to possess superhuman powers and very beautiful female agents who trap Pakistani patriots, or so we hope).  His views on things to come..

To read the article » In unstable fields by Vikram Sood » CLICK HERE

Via » Brown Pundits

Turkey’s former military chief arrested over alleged anti-government plot

By Associated Press

ISTANBUL — A former Turkish military chief suspected of leading an Internet campaign to stir revolt was jailed Friday in a sweeping investigation of alleged conspiracies to topple a civilian government that has stripped the armed forces of political clout.

Gen. Ilker Basbug, 68, was the most senior officer to face trial in the anti-terror probes that began years ago, netting hundreds of suspects, many of them retired and active-duty military officers. The government casts the inquiries as a triumph for the rule of law and democracy, but suspicions of score-settling, long imprisonments without verdicts and other lapses have tainted the legal process.

The investigations serve as a pivotal test for Turkey’s ability to put its own house in order even as it seeks a higher profile in a turbulent region where the Turkish brand of electoral politics and Islam-inspired government is viewed by some as worthy of emulation.

Perhaps most notable about Basbug’s arrest was the muted public response in a country where civilian leaders were once beholden to the generals, and any hint of conflict stirred fears of a coup. The power balance shifted in the past decade as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan undermined the premise that the military brass were the untouchable guardians of secularism, as enshrined in the constitution. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Defeat in the West

by Waseem Altaf

Pakistan lost half its navy, a quarter of its air force and a third of its army. Pakistan suffered most, with 8,000 killed and 25,000 wounded while India lost 3,000 lives and 12,000 wounded.14000 square kilometers of land was captured by the Indian army on the Western front

In most of our narratives, the Eastern Theatre during the 1971 Indo-Pak war remains the focus of our attention. This is primarily due to the magnitude and complexity of war in the East and the far-reaching consequences it had on the geo-political developments in the region. However, little has been written and known on our side as to the conduct of war on the Western front.

Apart from political factors, the Pak Army generally puts the blame of its defeat in East Pakistan to large scale Indian involvement and the role Mukti Bahini played as a guerilla force supporting the invading Indian army. However, it would be enlightening as to how it performed in the Western Theatre of operations where Pakistan army existed as an integrated military force with no threat of any sabotage or clandestine acts of hostility by an invisible enemy. ….

Read more » ViewPoint

The constructive approach shown by Pakistan and India at a meeting between their prime ministers in Maldives

Pakistan-India cooperation win-win for region: US

By APP

WASHINGTON: Applauding the constructive approach shown by Pakistan and India at a meeting between their prime ministers in Maldives on Thursday, the United States has said cooperation between the two regional powers would be a win-win for the entire region. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Isaf Investigates Rocket Attacks from Pakistan

Written by TOLOnews.com

Isaf said on Sunday that it is investigating continued missile attacks from Pakistani soil into Afghanistan, and stressed that talks must occur before any “appropriate action” is taken.

Isaf spokesman General Carsten Jacobson said that the organisation is still trying to confirm whether it is the Pakistani army that is firing the rockets.

Referring to the huge presence of militants in border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, General Jacobson said insurgents should not be allowed to use the area to the detriment of either country.

It is suspected that the Pakistani army has some role in the rocket attacks emanating from its soil. The attacks have continued for several weeks, targeting the border regions in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. According to local officials, the attacks have killed dozens of people and displaced hundreds of families.

General Jacobson said: “Isaf is investigating this. The commander of Isaf has been talking to the Pakistan’s chief of staff. Just lately this is a matter of concern and we have to look at it.” ….

Read more » TOLONEWS

If USA attacks Pakistan…

- by Harris Bin Munawar

When America’s top military official hinted at direct US action in the tribal region where it believes Pakistan shelters and works with the anti-American Haqqani Network, among the first to respond was the network’s top leader. “The US would suffer more losses in the North Waziristan Agency than they did in Afghanistan,” Sirajuddin Haqqani said, daring the US to send its troops into the tribal region that the Pakistani army itself has refused to enter.

This means: 1. His network is entrenched in North Waziristan 2. It is their responsibility to defend the agency 3. They would prefer to do so over several years in Afghanistan-style guerrilla warfare

Pakistan Army says it is not ready to take on the influential pro-Taliban leader, effectively giving up a claim on the territory he controls.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani says a raid on the Haqqani Network would be an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty, as if the defence of North Waziristan has been outsourced to the Haqqanis.

Prone to the drone:

If Pakistan Army indeed lacks capacity, or will, to reclaim North Waziristan where Afghan insurgents are believed to hide, regroup and plan new attacks, that means it has no effective control over the region.

Pakistan says that: 1. Its army does not have the means or resources to control that territory 2. The government will lose political credibility if it orders an operation in the North Waziristan 3. Taliban reaction to such an operation will destabilize the entire country

If that is correct, Pakistan has lost de facto control over the area and it cannot claim sovereignty. That gives the US a justification to go after its enemies itself. And that is what the US does with missile attacks by unmanned aircraft.

A government that has been holding tribes collectively responsible for violations committed by their individual members has no moral authority to suddenly invoke modern notions of justice or mourn the death of innocent civilians who shelter the Taliban.

So little leverage:

If Pakistan is collaborating with, or supporting, or merely avoiding confrontation with a group it has long-standing ties with, a group it believes or hopes will have a significant role in the post-US Afghanistan, there is no reason it will stop doing that for an ally that is about to leave the battlefield.

Washington wants to put its foot down. It wants Pakistan to stop supporting its enemies. But “the problem is”, security analyst Caroline told Reuters, “we have so little leverage”. Because:

1. America cannot engage in a long-term battle inside Pakistan with its economy worsening, troops thinning, and a complete withdrawal from the region already announced

2. It has no identifiable target in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network does not have too much of a stationary central command that it could attack

3. Now that they are expecting an attack, members of the group will disperse

4. If the IsI is supporting the Haqqani Network, killing one or two of its leaders will not significantly hurt the group’s capability to attack US interests

What can America do?

1. The US can make a May 2 style incursion into Pakistan and go after the top leader of the Haqqani Network. After his father Jalaluddin Haqqani’s retirement, Sirajuddin the most influential insurgent figure in that region. But the impact of his killing might not be more than that of the killing of Osama bin Laden

2. It can make a number of simultaneous raids under air cover on several key targets in North Waziristan – people or buildings that might include Pakistan Army’s check-posts. Like the May 2 raid, the legitimacy of the operation will depend on how successful it is

3. The US can carry out a series of individual strikes followed by periods of calm. That way it will continue to meet its goals and embarrass the Pakistan Army, while making sure the tipping point is never reached

4. Washington can impose an economic embargo on Pakistan, stop all aid, freeze its accounts and declare the ISI a terrorist organisation. It can also use its influence on international agencies to end all aid and loan programs to Pakistan. That will be deathblow to Pakistan’s ailing economy

5. It can increase drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and take out targets with virtual impunity

Neither of these steps is new or extraordinary, and neither of these steps will dramatically reverse the US predicament in Afghanistan.

What can Pakistan do?

Any US move against Pakistan does not have to be new or extraordinary to hurt Pakistan. Pakistan Army has influenced public opinion in the past to create an anti-America feeling that it can then cite to seek concessions from the US. In doing that, it has entrenched itself into a position where it will have no choice but to respond to a US strike.

As an immediate response, Pakistan can:

1. Retaliate and fire at intruding US aircraft or men. Claims have been made that Pakistan can shoot down predator drones, but it is less likely Pakistan can detect and attack US fighter aircraft. The Osama bin Laden raid has also raised doubts about Pakistan’s ability to detect and attack intruding helicopters

2. Carry out a delayed but full-fledged counter-attack on US bases in Afghanistan that it believes were used in attacks on its soil. That may lead to a US counter-counter-attack and an all out war. How long can Pakistan sustain that war is an important question

3. Increase attacks on US interests through any Taliban factions or other insurgent groups that are ready to support Pakistan. If Sirajuddin Haqqani has made an offer to defend North Waziristan, the Pakistani military might take them up on that. Sooner or later, the US will withdraw anyway. But is there a guarantee these groups will not go rogue like many in the past? Can a modern Pakistani republic reconcile with their version of the Muslim faith?

4. Step back and start an operation in North Waziristan. But with the US leaving, will Pakistan want to alienate its supporters in Afghanistan? One way to deal with the problem is to continue the policy Pakistan is accused of. The army can hide key figures of the network and then conduct a fake operation for several months until the US is pressured by its politics or economics to leave the region. But then, how will Pakistan deal with the network and reclaim its territory after the US leaves?

5. Not retaliate with a military move, and just end diplomatic ties with the US, losing a key source of aid. Closing down NATO supply routes will hurt the US immediately. But if the supplies are stopped for too long, the US will find new, although more expensive, ways to get supplies to Kabul. If that happens, Pakistan would have burned up a very important advantage.

6. Go to China for help. China’s key security officials came to Pakistan last week. Pakistani analysts saw that as a sign of support. But the Chinese delegation is on a scheduled visit to discuss terrorists hiding in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas that fight against China in its Xinjiang province. It is not likely China support Pakistan on some of the possible plans we have discussed. Nor is it in China’s interest to jump into a US-Pakistan conflict.

Can Pakistan sustain a war?

Opinion leaders in Pakistan believe the resource-rich republic can sustain confrontation with a defeated US empire. Such self-deception has cost Pakistan dearly in the past. Let us look at the key resources needed in a war:

Troops: Pakistan does not have enough troops to guard both the Indian and Afghan border. We have grouped India with the US as a matter of policy, and will have to pay for that by being sandwiched between two hostile neighbours

Weapons: The weapons and equipment used by Pakistan Army come from the US and its allies. That means we will soon run out of ammunition and cannot repair or service the equipment

Money: Pakistan’s economy cannot pay for a war, especially after an embargo by the US. Hit by floods two years in a row, suffering from an energy crisis, cash-strapped because of huge government spending, and dependent on foreign aid, how long will its money last?

Communications network: Pakistan’s communication system can not bear the burden of war with a dysfunctional railways. With engine shortages and trains stopped half way for up to 20 hours because there is no diesel, how will Pakistan fight a war?

Intelligence: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are to be believed, they had no clue about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in Pakistan, a planned US raid to kill him, or even about the activities of Raymond Davis and CIA contractors like him. On the contrary, it is accused of targeting journalists who there is a general consensus are not American agents. Pakistan’s intelligence network does not look like it is ready to fight a war

Diplomatic support: Every single country in this region was hurt when Pakistan had influence in Afghanistan the last time. Insurgents from China and Central Asia were sheltered and trained in Afghanistan, Iran was unhappy because tens of thousands of Shias were massacred, and India was among the victims of guerrilla warriors too. The International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is asking for former ISI chief Gen Javed Nasir. Who in the region will support Pakistan in its battle to control Afghanistan?

Domestic politics: Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic and political battles in the crime-infested economic hub Karachi, Punjab is suffering from a new epidemic, Sindh is submerged in floods, Balochistan is fighting an insurgency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dysfunctional because of terrorism. Pakistan’s domestic situation is less than ideal for a war.

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Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship

- Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest

Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.

Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.

As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.

Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.

Sindhis can Prevent Deletion of Sindh

- Sindhis can Prevent Deletion of Sindh From Jana Gana Mana

by Ashok T. Jaisinghani

Some persons are again trying to get “Sindh” deleted from Jana Gana Mana, the National Anthem of India written by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. The Sindhi leaders can easily prevent the deletion of “Sindh” from Jana Gana Mana if they take one step, which I have explained below.

The main objection to the mention of Sindh in the National Anthem is the fact that Sindh is a part of Pakistan. At present, no part of Sindh is in India, though there are millions of Sindhis living in India.

This objection can be removed if all the Sindhi leaders, living in India and other countries, jointly petition the Government of Gujarat to create a small district with the name of Sindh from the District of Kutch. I am sure that the large-hearted Kutchis will accept this proposal, just as they had welcomed the Sindhi refugees from Pakistan to settle in Kutch after the Partition of India in 1947. [After partition in 1947, Kutchis are cut-off from their fellow Sindhis in Sindh but they are trying to hang on to their dialect of Sindhi, culture and traditions. Watch this  that how Kuchi language and dialect is a part of mainland Sindh.]

Should the Sindhi leaders not send a petition to the Government of Gujarat requesting it to make the region of Adipur-Gandhidham in Kutch into a separate District of Sindh? The Sindhi leaders from all over the world must send such a petition as soon as possible. The majority of the people in the Adipur-Gandhidham region of Kutch are Sindhis, whose parents and grandparents had migrated to India from Sindh after the Partition of the country.

Once we are able to get a very small District of Sindh anywhere in India, there will be no need for the Government of India to delete the name of Sindh from Jana Gana Mana. Even if it is very small, the new District of Sindh will be known as a part of India. Jana Gana Mana will then require no correction, as far as the mention of Sindh in the National Anthem is concerned.

Courtesy: Desi e-lists/ e-groups, 5 October, 2011

GRAPES TURNING SOUR: THE APC

- Waseem Altaf

They give a damn when it comes to worthless civilians and more so in case of corrupt politicians but when feel the need to signal the world that the whole nation stands behind them, orchestrate such gatherings. However, perhaps the time is over for such theatrics. This time around popular leaders from Baluchistan were not invited because they don’t like their faces but militant mullahs were very much part of the APC.

The Prime Minister gave his address by reading a carefully crafted paper rejecting the US allegations and “do more demand” and also stressed his complete support to the valiant armed forces.

The DG.ISI categorically denied any links with Haqqani network and any export of terrorism. However Mian Nawaz Sharif countered him and asked if that was so why the whole world accused Pakistan? General Kayani and Molvi Munawwar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami, the hand in glove came to Pasha’s rescue. Mahmood Achakzai stated that if ISI wanted, there could be peace in Afghanistan within a month. The gallant sons of the soil however could not muster enough courage to even name the US or even its functionaries in the draft of the resolution and the drone issue was not even discussed.

Let us look at the general and vague clauses of the APC resolution:-

A) The already passed resolutions of the Parliament should be implemented.

Yes sure, but a little difficult task for you guys. How about hiring some overseas consultants to get those implemented after all we do import professionals to get things done.

B) Pakistan wants good relations with all countries.

Yes you want to have good relations with other countries but also want to continue with mischief mongering. Unfortunately the two things don’t go together.

C) The focal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy is peace in the region.

Yes that is why you facilitated peace in Afghanistan (1979-89) and in Indian administered Kashmir (1989-99) Peace in Baluchistan and Karachi is immaterial for those who think “international

D) Defense of Pakistan is the first and foremost duty of the people and defense forces of Pakistan.

Maybe it’s the first and foremost duty of people of Pakistan but please let the defense forces defend the Defense Housing Societies .And please also defend your citizens in your own country. They are being abducted and bombed and killed within your so called jurisdiction.

E) Pakistan rejects all baseless allegations.

Okay! So allegations leveled by you have a base but the Indian and the Afghan allegations, the American and the British ones and perhaps those by Iran and China are all baseless. And surely the allegation of murder of Saleem Shahzad by ISI should also be baseless.

F) Pakistan wants negotiations with all groups who want peace.

Unfortunately you only want negotiations with those who don’t want peace.

G) To move forward Pakistan should focus on trade and not aid.

Good realization after 64 years of coming into existence.

Perhaps the grapes are turning sour.

Courtesy: → SPN → South Asian Pulse

ISI urged attacks on US targets: Officials

- By Reuters

WASHINGTON: US officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack US targets.

The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks US officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike againstthe American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Some US intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.

Another US official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.

While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack US targets.

While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.

This week, top US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, ….

Read more → The Express Tribune

Mass Graves Hold Thousands, Kashmir Inquiry Finds

By LYDIA POLGREEN

NEW DELHI — Thousands of bullet-riddled bodies are buried in dozens of unmarked graves across Kashmir, a state human rights commission inquiry has concluded, many of them likely to be those of civilians who disappeared more than a decade ago in a brutal insurgency.

The inquiry, the result of three years of investigative work by senior police officers working for the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, brings the first official acknowledgment that civilians might have been buried in mass graves in Kashmir, a region claimed by both India and Pakistan where insurgents waged a bloody battle for independence in the early 1990s.

The report sheds new light on a grim chapter in the history of the troubled region and confirms a 2008 report by a Kashmiri human rights organization that found hundreds of bodies buried in the Kashmir Valley.

Tens of thousands of people died in the insurgency, which began in 1989 and was partly fueled by weapons, cash and training from Pakistan.

According to the report, the bodies of hundreds of men described as unidentified militants were buried in unmarked graves. But of the more than 2,000 bodies, 574 were identified as local residents.

“There is every probability that these unidentified dead bodies buried in various unmarked graves at 38 places of North Kashmir may contain the dead bodies of enforced disappearances,” the report said.

The report catalogs 2,156 bodies found in graves in four districts of Kashmir that had been at the heart of the insurgency. ….

Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES

SDF statement – A leading Sindh based think tank fully supports the SAFMA and stands against a so-called scholar. People of Sindh will not allow conservatives, extremists and religious fundoos to take over progressive and secular society. Let peace, tolerance and plurality may prevail

- Pak media professionals slam security analyst Zaid Hamid

From Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Aug 18 (PTI) Leading Pakistani media professionals and civil society leaders today condemned security analyst Zaid Hamid allegation that the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) was acting at the behest of Indian intelligence agencies.

In a statement, the media and civil society personalities said they had “taken serious exception to the unfounded and shameful accusations hurled by an irresponsible person against a media body of most credible journalists of the South Asian region”.

Hamid, who is known for his anti-Indian stance and for backing jehadi and extremist groups, had made the allegations on a sensational talk show hosted by anchor Mehr Bukhari on Dunya news channel.

The media and civil society personalities said Hamid”s remarks violated “all ethics of professional journalism”.

They said SAFMA was a “mainstream media body associated with SAARC”.

“If Mr Hamid has committed an extreme defamation which incites public sentiments against SAFMA and its thousands of members, MB (and the) D– TV management have intentionally tried to malign a media body and its leaders by allowing such a provocative and damaging statement,” the statement said.

The media and civil society leaders expressed serious concern over the “slanderous programme” anchored by B— and took exception to the “dangerous trend in the electronic media of maligning various personalities and credible organizations”.

They pointed out that the talk show had made no effort to invite a SAFMA representative to rebut the “atrocious allegations”.

Senior journalists and civil society leaders have endorsed a move by SAFMA to sue Bukhari, her team and the management of — TV.

SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and other office-bearers of various SAFMA branches in Pakistan have decided to issue notices to the persons for their “highly irresponsible and provocative conduct”.

— had earlier come under a cloud after media watchers said her interview with slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer could have incited violence against the politician for opposing the controversial blasphemy law.

Taseer was gunned down earlier this year by a police guard who was angered by his calls to amend the blasphemy law.

Courtesy: → MSN News

via – Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011