More than 50 people have been killed and at least 100 injured in a suicide bombing close to Pakistan’s only border crossing with India.
The blast hit near the checkpoint at the Wagah border crossing, near Lahore.
The Pakistani Taliban told the BBC that it had carried out the attack, although another militant group, Jundullah, also said it was responsible.
At least 15 people were badly injured, and officials said three members of the Pakistani border force had died.
The Wagah crossing is a high-profile target, with large crowds gathering every day to watch an elaborate flag-lowering ceremony as the border closes.
Read more » BBC
Via Vince Sparks
Last month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.”
I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona would commit suicide.
As more information was revealed about his addictions, his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and his dealing with severe depression, I totally understood how this unfortunate incident could occur. Of course, the naysayers had to emerge and utter incoherent ramblings about cowardice and his leftist views that made him unhappy. All of the unintelligent garbage that gets reported needs to be tossed away promptly.
Suicide is not an act of cowardice, but a result of depression or other mental illnesses.
Robin Williams’ death is a tragedy, but if it can help start a national conversation about Depression and Mental Illness than something positive can come from an untimely death. It seems that many people view mental illness through a stereotype of straight jackets and padded cells.
Mental Illness encompasses many forms and can be as blatant as someone with agitated, incoherent behavior or very subtle cue which make a person appear to have nothing wrong with them.
I understand the symptoms and the impact, because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. It is a hard condition to understand because it affects emotions. This makes it difficult for people, not familiar with the disease, to comprehend as a real illness.
Believe me, it is just as real as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or any other disease that hides beneath the surface. It requires treatment just the same as a diabetic requires medication to keep their condition stable.
The illness is as old as recorded history.
Years ago people thought of it as melancholia. The prevailing notion would be “he just needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps.” It was an uneducated thought that if you were sad, you would just get glad again. It was a self-inflicted pity party. The more the condition was studied and as medical advances were made, clinicians realized that there are many factors and conditions involved with the illness. Depression has many causes and can stem from genetic predisposition, life events, faulty mood regulation by the brain, and medical problems.
Whatever the specific cause for depression, there are always chemicals in the brain involved. There are many drugs available for treatment, but each person can react differently due to internal chemical reactions to the medications. The complexity of the illness is daunting for practitioners. They can’t simply review similar symptoms and think that the treatment will be the same for each patient.
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
When people ask me about my experience studying abroad in India, I always face the same dilemma. How does one convey the contradiction that over the past few months has torn my life apart, and convey it in a single succinct sentence?
“India was wonderful,” I go with, “but extremely dangerous for women.” Part of me dreads the follow-up questions, and part of me hopes for more. I’m torn between believing in the efficacy of truth, and being wary of how much truth people want.
Because, how do I describe my three months in the University of Chicago Indian civilizations program when it was half dream, half nightmare? Which half do I give?
Do I tell them about our first night in the city of Pune, when we danced in the Ganesha festival, and leave it at that? Or do I go on and tell them how the festival actually stopped when the American women started dancing, so that we looked around to see a circle of men filming our every move?
Do I tell them about bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, and not mention the men who stood watching us, who would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins?
When people compliment me on my Indian sandals, do I talk about the man who stalked me for forty-five minutes after I purchased them, until I yelled in his face in a busy crowd?
Do I describe the lovely hotel in Goa when my strongest memory of it was lying hunched in a fetal position, holding a pair of scissors with the door bolted shut, while the staff member of the hotel who had tried to rape my roommate called me over and over, and breathing into the phone?
How, I ask, was I supposed to tell these stories at a Christmas party? But how could I talk about anything else when the image of the smiling man who masturbated at me on a bus was more real to me than my friends, my family, or our Christmas tree? All those nice people were asking the questions that demanded answers for which they just weren’t prepared.
When I went to India, nearly a year ago, I thought I was prepared. I had been to India before; I was a South Asian Studies major; I spoke some Hindi. I knew that as a white woman I would be seen as a promiscuous being and a sexual prize. I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets. And I was prepared for the curiosity my red hair, fair skin and blue eyes would arouse.
But I wasn’t prepared.
There was no way to prepare for the eyes, the eyes that every day stared with such entitlement at my body, with no change of expression whether I met their gaze or not. Walking to the fruit seller’s or the tailer’s I got stares so sharp that they sliced away bits of me piece by piece. I was prepared for my actions to be taken as sex signals; I was not prepared to understand that there were no sex signals, only women’s bodies to be taken, or hidden away.
I covered up, but I did not hide. And so I was taken, by eye after eye, picture after picture. Who knows how many photos there are of me in India, or on the internet: photos of me walking, cursing, flipping people off. Who knows how many strangers have used my image as pornography, and those of my friends. I deleted my fair share, but it was a drop in the ocean– I had no chance of taking back everything they took.
In the last few months of his life, Craig Monk attempted several overdoses and was described as ‘vulnerable’ by his family.
An accident a few years before had resulted in the partial amputation of his leg and he had suffered unnecessary, and anxiety-inducing, obstructions in receiving state assistance – even though his disability was clear for all see. Over time he slipped further into poverty, the ends could no longer meet.
Finally, the fear of there not being a light at the end of his personal tunnel overwhelmed him and Mr. Monk, a 43-year-old from Burnley, was found hanging in his home in October last year.
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter
Bulgaria bus bombing suspect had real Canadian passport, lived in B.C. before return to Lebanon at age 12
By: Stewart Bell
The suspected organizer of a Hezbollah bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a local driver in Bulgaria last July has only tenuous links to Canada but still possessed a genuine Canadian passport, the National Post has learned. ….
By: Agence France Presse
A 17-year-old Indian girl who was gang-raped committed suicide after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers, police and a relative said on Thursday.
Amid the ongoing uproar over the gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi earlier this month, the latest case has again shone the spotlight on the police’s handling of sex crimes.
One police officer has been sacked and another suspended over their conduct after the assault during the festival of Diwali on November 13 in the Patiala region in the Punjab, according to officials.
The teenager was found dead on Wednesday night after swallowing poison.
Inspector General Paramjit Singh Gill said that the teenager had been “running from pillar to post to get her case registered” but officers failed to open a formal inquiry.
ISLAMABAD (The Global Edition) – Khalida Akhtar, a 20-year-old Taliban suicide bomber, decided at the last minute not to blow herself up at the main train station in the capitol of Pakistan because she remembered that she would have to deal with a bunch of virgin guys in heaven, local authorities say.
Ms. Akhtar, who was dressed in a head-to-toe burqa and strapped with explosives, was seen just hours ago running and screaming through the Islamabad Railway Station before she was apprehended by local law enforcement.
“The young woman realized that she would have 72 virgins on her hands if she sacrificed her earthly life, and apparently the thought made her so sick to her stomach that she decided on the spot to pull the plug on the whole operation and give herself up to the authorities,” police officer Malik Rashid told reporters.
In a statement recorded by arresting officers, Ms. Akhtar explained her decision. “I’d actually never stopped before to think about the reward I would receive for my sacrifice,” Ms. Khalida said. “Unlike my brother and his friends, I’m actually not a fan of virgins. To be fair, I don’t think any woman in the world is. I’m supposed to give my life for a bunch of guys that don’t know anything about the female body or how to please a woman? I don’t think so!” Khalida added.
Singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter Varsha, who was reportedly suffering from depression, shot herself in the head with a pistol at her mother’s Peddar Road home on Monday morning. She was 56. Varsha, said the police, was found lying in a pool of blood on a sofa of her living room by Bhosle’s driver at around 10.30am.
Domestic help Deepali Mane had alerted the driver after Varsha, who was alone in the house, did not answer the doorbell. The driver entered the flat through Bhosle’s elder sister and singer Lata Mangeshkar’s adjacent house. ….
Read more » Hindustan Times
AFP – The United States is running out of patience with Pakistan over safe havens for insurgents who attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday.
Panetta was speaking during a brief visit to Kabul overshadowed by Afghan fury over a NATO air strike that allegedly killed 18 civilians — an issue that the Pentagon chief did not mention at a news conference.
Panetta left for the airport just hours after his arrival, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to cut short a trip to Beijing and head home over the deaths of around 40 civilians Wednesday in the air strike and a suicide bombing.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
The honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan says he is losing patience with the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In a court-initiated (suo motu) action, he wants a quick rebuilding of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, flattened by bulldozers in 2007, after it became the centre of an insurgency. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJ, is now dragging procrastinators over the coals by issuing notices to the CDA chairman, Islamabad’s chief commissioner and the interior secretary. The Court has also expressed its “displeasure” over the status of police cases against the Lal Masjid clerics and ordered the deputy attorney general to appear before it next week.
It is dangerous to comment on Pakistan’s highest level of judiciary. So let me solemnly declare that the highest wisdom must lie behind this extraordinary judicial activism. Nevertheless, I must confess my puzzlement because — as was seen by all — Lal Masjid and the adjoining Jamia Hafsa had engaged in a full-scale bloody insurrection against the Pakistani government, state, and public. Hundreds died. That those who led the insurrection should be gifted 20 kanals of the choicest land in sector H-11 of Islamabad is, I think, slightly odd.
Such thoughts crossed my mind last week when a flat tyre occasioned me to walk along the outer periphery of the freshly-painted and rebuilt Red Mosque. I momentarily stopped to read a large wind and rain-weathered monument which, placed on the government-owned land that Jamia Hafsa once stood upon, declares (in Urdu) that “The sacred Islamic worship place here was destroyed by a tyrannical ruler to prevent Sharia from becoming the law”.
The story of the insurrection and its tragic end is well-known. In early January 2007, the Lal Masjid had demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally-constructed mosques that had been knocked down by the CDA. Days later, an immediate enforcement of the Sharia system in Islamabad was demanded. Thereafter, armed vigilante groups from this madrassa roamed the streets and bazaars. They kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, and repeated the demands of the Taliban and other tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.
At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an FM broadcast, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in the nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”
Lal Masjid was headed by two clerics, the brothers Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi. They had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Muhammad. Also on April 12 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of my university, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:
“The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-e-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the Hereafter for such women.”
For months, unhindered by General Musharraf’s government, the Lal Masjid operated a parallel government that was barely a mile or two away from the presidency and parliament. Its minions ran an unlicenced FM radio station, occupied a government building, set up a parallel system of justice, made bonfires out of seized cassettes and CDs, received the Saudi Arabian ambassador on the mosque premises, and negotiated with the Chinese ambassador for the release of his country’s kidnapped nationals. But for the subsequent outrage expressed by Pakistan’s all-weather ally, the status quo would have continued indefinitely.
Nevertheless, our courts say that they cannot find any evidence of wrongdoing during the entire six-month long saga. They say there are no witnesses or acceptable evidence. Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan (his wife, who heads Jamia Hafsa), therefore, stand exonerated. Also lacking, they say, is proof that the Lal Masjid accused possessed heavy weaponry.
But Islamabad’s residents know better. When the showdown came in July 2007, machine guns chattered away as mortars and rocket launchers exchanged their deadly fire. Copious TV coverage shows armed madrassa students putting on gas masks to avoid the dense smoke. The final push left 10 of Pakistan’s crack SSG commandos dead, together with scores of defenders. A tidal wave of suicide attacks — as promised by the clerics — promptly followed.
Some speculate that the land gifted to Aziz and Hassan is actually the price for keeping hornets inside their nest. This is not impossible because suicide bomb attacks inside Pakistan’s major cities have decreased dramatically in the last two years. The authorities claim credit, saying the reason is better intelligence about violent groups and better policing. But anyone driving through Islamabad knows how trivially easy it is to conceal weapons and explosives; the security measures are certainly a nuisance to citizens but hopelessly ineffective otherwise. So, could the H-11 land offer be part of a much wider peace deal with various militant groups?
The temptation to make deals has grown after the battle for Lal Masjid. It is clear who won and who lost. Even as they fought tooth and nail against the Pakistan Army, the madrassa clerics were never dismissed and continued to receive their full government salaries. On the other hand, General Musharraf — who acted only after things went out of control — now sulks in exile. All madrassa curriculum reform plans are dead; the government does not talk about them anymore — let the clerics teach what they want.
Appeasement is the hallmark of a weak state and dithering leadership. Once again, Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns and bombs. For a country alleged to have the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, this is surely ironical.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.
KABUL: Afghanistan’s intelligence agency on Thursday said it had prevented a large terrorist attack in the capital, arresting a Pakistani national driving a truck packed with explosives in Kabul.
The agency said in a statement that the man was arrested Thursday on a major road in the east of the city. It said the man was going to use the truck bomb in a suicide attack.
The agency did not say what the suspected target was. It said it would release more details as they became available.
The arrest comes a day after a suicide attack on the same road killed seven people. In that attack one militant detonated his car bomb outside a compound where foreigners live, while two other attackers fought their way inside before being killed.
BBC – “Will the generals and judges force the president from power?” Pakistan’s political soap opera – By Owen Bennett Jones
Pakistan’s political soap opera
Islamabad – Earlier this week, Pakistan’s prime minister appeared before the country’s Supreme Court to defend himself against allegations of contempt – it is symbolic of a dispute that is on-going at the centre of the country’s powerful elite.
When great institutions of state clash, history is made. It is the stuff of school history lessons – the Magna Carta, the Star Chamber, the Great Reform Act – that kind of thing.
But while in the UK such milestones have generally been once-a-century type events, in Pakistan they have become a way of life. Constitutional crises have become business as usual.
This week Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to appear before the Supreme Court. He was there to face contempt proceedings related to the president’s immunity from prosecution.
I will spare you the details. But as I sat in the court’s press gallery, I felt pretty sure that in 100 years, Pakistani school children would not be learning about the January 2012 contempt case.
Perhaps they will be studying something the Western journalists did not even know was happening: a debate between some clerics on what role Islam should have in the state.
But the court was colourful. There was the prime minister, alongside him his brilliant lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan and a throng of ministers showing solidarity.
And buzzing about all of them, the journalists – representatives of Pakistan’s new, irrepressible 24-hour news television culture.
For millions of Pakistanis, the constant wrangling of the elite has the quality of a TV soap opera.
I do not want to belittle the importance of politics. The failure of successive elected and military governments has left millions of Pakistanis highly frustrated. But still the TV news shows attract massive audiences – people both despair of their leaders and want to know all about them.
Because many of the political parties are little more than family businesses, the same names have been around for decades – with power passed from father to daughter, brother to brother, and so on.
All this is against a backdrop of corruption cases, the frequent imprisonment of politicians, the “war on terror”, suicide attacks, assassinations, US military incursions – there is so much going on.
Pakistani news anchors can pirouette from the big news such as “The Prime Minister’s Day in Court”, to the tittle-tattle – the affairs, the hair transplants, the family rows.
“Will the generals and judges force the president from power?” …
Read more » BBC
The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.
The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.
“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.
On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.
“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.
The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.
Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Courtesy » ToloNews
- Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed
The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog
During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?
- By: AFP
KABUL: Afghanistan said on Sunday that the suicide bomber who assassinated Afghan peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani national.
Tensions between the neighbours have been rising amid allegations from Afghan officials that Pakistan and its powerful ISI intelligence agency masterminded Rabbani’s assassination and are seeking to destabilise Afghanistan.
An investigative delegation established by President Hamid Karzai said evidence and a confession provided by a man involved in Rabbani’s killing on Sept. 20 had revealed that the bomber was from Chaman and the assassination had been plotted in Quetta, both on the Pakistani side of the border.
“It proves that the assassination of Professor Rabbani was hatched in Quetta and the man who carried out the suicide bombing is a Pakistani national,” the delegation, led by Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, said in a statement issued by the presidential palace.
“The documents and evidence in hand, details of other accomplices and their phone numbers have been handed over to Pakistan to make arrests,” it said.
Rabbani’s killing derailed efforts to forge dialogue with the Taliban to end the 10-year war, and raised fears of a dangerous widening of Afghanistan’s ethnic rifts.
The High Peace Council, which Rabbani headed, reiterated earlier comments by Karzai that negotiations should continue, but with Pakistan, rather than the Taliban.
“For the groups that are tired of conflict and want to end the killings and destruction inside the country, peace efforts must continue,” the council said in a separate statement issued late on Sunday.
“But because of those who hide in Pakistan with no known address, who send killers (to Afghanistan), we must negotiate with Pakistan instead.”
Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday to condemn recent shelling of border towns by Pakistan’s army and accuse the ISI of involvement in Rabbani’s killing.
Courtesy: → DAWN.COM
More details → BBC urdu
After the Haqqani suicide bombers to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, the Pakistan Army now says “there is a need to de-escalate the situation!?
- Commanders ‘in favour of defusing tensions’
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD: Top army commanders held an extraordinary meeting on Sunday in the wake of US allegations about ISI’s links with the Haqqani network and agreed on the need to de-escalate the situation. …
Read more → DAWN.COM
- A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people, making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks
On July 4, 2011, the Pakistan Army announced that it has launched an operation in the Central Kurram Agency with the primary objective of clearing the ‘miscreants’ and opening of the Peshawar-Thall-Parachinar Road (why Tal has become Thall in the English press beats me). The geographical scope of the operation is rather circumscribed, if the army communiqués are to be believed, and its focus, ostensibly, would be on the Zaimusht, Masozai and Alizai areas. But speaking to the Kurramis from Lower, Central and Upper Kurram, one gets a different sense.
At least one General has reportedly been heard saying during the recent operational meetings leading up to the military action that he intends to teach the Turis (in Upper Kurram) a lesson that they would never forget. The Corps Commander’s communication delivered to the tribal elders of the Upper Kurram literally ordered them to acquiesce in and sign on to the operation. But quite significantly, many other leaders among the Turis, Bangash and Syeds of Upper Kurram have vehemently opposed the military action as well as their own elders who seem to have caved in under duress.
The Turis and Bangash tribesmen are of the opinion that on the Thall-Parachinar Road, the only extortionists bigger than the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are the officers of the army — and they specifically name two colonels — who have made life miserable for the people of Parachinar. These security officials levy protection money even on the supply of daily provisions and medicine to Upper Kurram, resulting in jacked-up prices and in many instances unavailability of life-saving drugs, resulting in deaths that otherwise could be preventable.
The more ominous and geo-strategically important aspects of the current army operation are twofold and are interconnected. We have noted in these pages several times that the Pakistan Army has no problem securing Central and parts of Lower Kurram for its jihadist asset, i.e. the Haqqani terrorist network, who have essentially had a free reign in this region for almost a decade using the Sateen, Shasho and Pir Qayyum camps. The army has also helped the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups set up humungous compounds on the Durand Line such as the Spina Shaga complex.
The problem the security establishment has faced is to secure a thoroughfare between Central Kurram and the assorted jihadist bridgeheads along the Kurram-Afghanistan border, including but not limited to the Parrot’s Beak region. The key hindrance to such movement is the resistance by the Turi and Bangash tribesmen, which neither the security establishment nor its jihadist proxies have been able to neutralise, coerce or buy off. Projecting the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar’s operatives into Afghanistan from Tari Mangal, Mata Sangar, Makhrani, Wacha Darra and Spina Shaga and other bases on the border is a pivotal component of the Pakistani strategy to keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan and for the post-US withdrawal phase. But with the recent wave of drone attacks on the hideouts of these groups, their vulnerability to the US/ISAF — buoyed by the OBL raid — has also become evident and hence the need for secure routes to retract the jihadists back when needed.
Several attacks on the Turi and Bangash, including by Pakistan Army helicopter gunships last year killing several Pakistanis, have not dented the resolve of the locals to fight back against the jihadists. I had noted in these pages then: “The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement [to relocate the Haqqanis to Kurram]. When the local population reversed the Taliban gains in the battle for the village Khaiwas, the army’s gunships swooped down on them to protect its jihadist partners” (‘Kurram: the forsaken FATA’, Daily Times, November 4, 2010).
The option that the army wants to exercise now is to disarm the Upper Kurram’s tribesmen, especially the Turis. The security establishment has told them that they will have to surrender their “qawmi wasla” (an arms cache that belongs to a tribe as a whole). To disarm and thus defang the tribesmen, who have held their own against the disproportionately stronger and state-sponsored enemy for almost half a decade, is essentially pronouncing their death sentence.
Without their weapons, the Turis and Bangash will be at the whim of an army that had literally abandoned Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala and Pir Samiullah in Swat and the Adeyzai lashkar (outside Peshawar). Afzal Khan Lala lost several loyalists and family members and Pir Samiullah was murdered, his body buried but later exhumed and mutilated by the Taliban, while the army stood by and did nothing. My co-columnist and researcher, Ms Farhat Taj has highlighted the plight of the Adeyzai lashkar several times in these pages, including the fact that it was left high and dry by the security establishment against an overwhelming Taliban force. And lest we forget, it was this same army that made Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party (ANP) negotiate with Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban, with suicide bombers standing guard on each men and blocking the door along with muzzles of automatic rifles pointed into their faces.
A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people (IDPs), making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks. Also, the establishment’s focus has been to ‘reorient’ the TTP completely towards Afghanistan. The breaking away from the TTP of the crook from Uchat village, Fazl-e-Saeed Zaimusht (who now interestingly writes Haqqani after his name) is the first step in the establishment’s attempt to regain full control over all its jihadist proxies.
The offensive in Central Kurram is not intended for securing the road; it will be broadened to include the Upper Kurram in due course, in an attempt to bring the Turis and Bangash to their knees. After their arms have been confiscated, it could be a turkey shoot for the jihadists and Darfur for the Kurramis. It is doubtful though that the common Turi or Bangash tribesman is about to listen to some elder who is beholden to the establishment, and surrender the only protection that they have had. The Pakistan Army’s track record of protecting jihadists and shoving the anti-Taliban forces off the deep end speaks for itself.
Pakistan’s security establishment can perpetuate on the US and the world a fraud like the hashtag de-radicalisation on Twitter and buzzwords like de-programming suicide bombers by trotting out the so-called intelligentsia whose understanding of the Pashtun issues is woefully flawed. But it is unlikely that Kurramis are about to fall for this sham of an operation that paves the way for their genocide.
Courtesy: → Daily Times
- This presence of Osama bin Laden led to an extraordinary event of US SEAL military officers “invading” Pakistan, violating its air space, carrying out a military operation for 40 minutes and killing the most wanted terrorist and flying back to Afghanistan.
From drone attacks to constant admonishing by the Obama administration, to a weak economy, an insurgency and target-killing of the non-Baloch in Balochistan, and a weekly dose of suicide attacks on common people, all support a perception that Pakistan is collapsing. However, this conventional understanding may not be accurate. What these events suggest is that there is a growing crisis and contradiction within and between the institutions of the state in Pakistan and these crises and contradictions, evaluated differently, might offer a completely divergent narrative. What may be collapsing is the political settlement that has existed for many decades and this may be a positive development. Democractic forces have an opportunity now to end the military’s domination of Pakistan. …
Read more: View Point
By Saleem Shahid
Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of physical and mental torture in schools, religious seminaries and homes: SPARC
QUETTA: Organised criminal gangs are using thousands of children as sex workers across the country, a workshop on children’s rights organised by the Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) was informed on Friday.
Muhammad Hanif Panezai, the chief of SPARC’s Balochistan chapter, said a survey had revealed that thousands of children were being used as sex workers at bus and truck stands and railway stations.
“Internet cafes and videogames’ shops are also being used for the purpose,” he said, adding that men belonging to several criminal networks remain present at these places to trap children and later use them as sex workers,” Mr Panezai said.
The Programme Manager of SPARC’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, Mr Imran Khan Takkar, said a survey had revealed that 80 per cent of 1.5 million street children in Pakistan were victims of sexual abuse.
He said that organised criminal networks were using children to make pornographic material and later blackmailing them to commit heinous crimes, including suicide bombings. ….
Read more: DAWN
One thing is certain about Pakistan these days: If you are following all the news coming from Pakistan, you’re not going to have a dull moment in your life. Either they will make you cry by shooting innocent people down, and then letting them bleed to death on the road, or they will have hilarious episodes of different politicians’ melt down.
What Dr. Shireen Mazari did in that restaurant to that American was sad and hilarious at the same time. I would call it a petty revenge.
What else was it?
“You hit my chair you filthy American and did not apologize, I am going to hit your chair back and guess what, I am not going to apologize either.” Dr. Shireen Mazari truly believes in ‘Jo bakray nay mara hay bakree ko seeing / to bakree bhee maray gee bakray ko seeing’.
You send drones to us, what if I can not send drones back, I sure can hit your chair back.
I have no doubt in my mind that Dr. Shireen Mazari and Imran Khan are ultimate patriots. They are. They just don’t know politics. I am not a political analyst, but every political analyst that I know and trust, seem to have the same opinion of both Imran Khan and Dr. Shireen Mazari; They have no understanding of the current situation in Pakistan. …
…. Situation is devastating. Every Pakistani heart weeps when innocent die in drone attacks. Every Pakistani heart weeps when innocent die in Taliban suicide bombing. Imran Khan and Dr. Mazari are convinced that if drones stopped, so would Taliban suicide bombing, since Taliban are actually taking revenge from Americans by killing innocent Pakistanis. Would that not be the best thing in the world if both drones and suicide attacks stopped?
Which Pakistani in his right mind would not want that? But sadly, the majority of country’s political analysts and intellectuals believe that it is not going to happen that way. They feel that Imran Khan’s vision is shallow. Sure Taliban want revenge from USA, but they have another goal, a goal that is a lot bigger than ‘Death to America’, and that goal is to bring their version of Sharia in the whole world, and what better place to start but Pakistan?
Taliban want to bring that kind of Sharia to Pakistan in which girls will be kept in the houses, girls schools will be closed, women would be stoned and flogged, no women would be allowed to leave their houses with out a mahram (chaperone), music will be banned and media will not be free. Taliban want to take Pakistan, and eventually the whole world, back to dark ages. They want to create a society where individual freedom would not exist and personal happiness will have no value.
This is why most Pakistanis have never voted for Imran Khan. He does not understand the consequences of letting Taliban loose. One thing is for sure, if Taliban took over, Dr. Shireen Mazari would not be sitting in that resturant with no hijab picking fights with Na-mehram.
Most intellectuals and analysts in Pakistan believe that once USA leaves, Taliban are not going to get settled in their small village far far away and live happy lives. Taliban’s vision of Islam is a little different than modern Pakistanis’. Once USA leaves, Taliban are going to try to create a state with in the state again, like they did in swat when peace deal was made. They will keep spreading terror and will keep killing Pakistanis until a Sharia state of the kind they made in Afghanistan is created in Pakistan.
So, sure, demand that drones should be stopped, but please also share with us your plan to get rid of Taliban, who have killed 30,000 Pakistanis in suicide attacks so far.
To read complete article: LUBP
This torture confirms the worst fears that torture and massacres in Pakistan are encouraged by superiors, and they are not isolated incidents
QUETTA: Dr Baqir Shah, the police surgeon who conducted autopsy on the victims of Kharotabad shooting incident has been attacked in Quetta.
According to the Express 24/7 correspondent in Quetta, Muhammad Kazim said that Dr Shah was visiting a restaurant on prince road when up to 10 people pulled up outside and dragged the surgeon out. As the men tried to drag the doctor away to their vehicles, he put up resistance, upon which the men beat him up. His wounds were so severe that he had to be rushed to the civil hospital.
Earlier in the day, Dr Shah had recorded his statement in the ongoing tribunal on the Kharotabad killing incident in which five foreigners were gunned down at a check post by police and FC personnel on suspicion that they were armed suicide bombers.
In his testimony, Dr Shah confirmed that all the victims had died of gunshot wounds from the police and FC weapons fired from a distance of 50 – 60 feet, instead of a hand grenade as claimed by the police. This is one of the incriminating evidences pointing towards gross negligence of the police and FC personnel.
The victims, a five member party of men and women of Russian and Tajik nationality, were unarmed. An inquiry report presented to the Parliamentary committee on the killings also said that none of the victims had fired a shot, and that FC personnel injured in the incident had been struck by bullets fired by other FC personnel and police.
The inspector general of police has taken notice of the incident and has suspended the SHO of Gawalmandi.
Correction: The above story carried an error that up to ten police mobiles had pulled up. The correct version reads that up to ten people had attacked the surgeon. The mistake is regretted.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
Our atomic bomb complex
By Saroop Ijaz
There is something very falsely mawkish and diabolically insensitive about celebrations and chest-beating at the end of a week which suffered multiple terrorist attacks, including one on an important naval base. The venue was Lahore on May 28 and the cause for this sloppy jubilation was the Yaum-e-Takbir, i.e. the anniversary of the ‘Islamic atomic bomb’. A disgracefully and wilfully ignored anniversary falling on the same day was the wanton murder committed in the Ahmadi places of worship, one year ago. The irony here is agonising. If there is one item that brings moral and political certainty in the otherwise grim flux, it is the bomb. The bomb allows for a complete suspension of reason across the political spectrum. The ritualistic solidity of the opinion regarding the bomb is completely apt at some level, given its theological nature. Revelry regarding an instrument of mass destruction, which can kill millions of people in a matter of seconds, defies rationality and decency. ….
Read more : The Express Tribune
Having been embarrassed by the Abbottabad operation, the military’s position was seemingly weaker and they wanted to regain their previous status by using the media to spread anti-American sentiments amongst the people and parliament.
Nawaz Sharif torpedoed the sovereignty ship that the Pakistan military had launched under the stewardship of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lieutenant-General Shuja Pasha. ….
…. However, Pakistan lives on a different planet by allowing or tolerating the Taliban and other jihadi groups that are involved in harmful activities against many other nations, including Afghanistan, the US, and Pakistan itself. A television talk-show host on one of the most watched programmes listed all the violent suicide bombings of a decade in the world. He pointed out that all the perpetrators of these violent acts were nabbed from Pakistan. Pakistan may boast about having handed over these criminals to the world but why were these terrorists found in Pakistan, instead of war-torn Afghanistan?
That is what makes the world suspicious about our state’s security policy run by the military and the ISI. If you look at the data from an outsider’s eye that every bomber is found in Pakistan, what will you conclude? Therefore, if Pakistan takes its case of breach of its sovereignty by the US to the UN, who will listen to it? Conversely, if Afghanistan, the US, Europe, India, Indonesia and many other countries take a similar case to the world forums, what would be the outcome? You can well imagine.
The military, backed by the weak PPP-PML-Q government, can create an illusion of sovereignty in Pakistani minds but the world is much larger than Pakistan and every outsider that counts is suspicious. If the US stops drone attacks and forgets about Mullah Omar or Ayman al-Zawahiri, can Pakistan assure the world that it can cleanse its territory of religious crusaders? And, unless that is done, the world is not going to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty. Probably, it can be done only if the military accepts the supremacy of civilian democratic governments as demanded by Nawaz Sharif. Yes, of course, the democratic governments have to be strong, but that is only a sufficient condition; the necessary condition is that the military gets out of foreign policy-making and other pivotal decisions of the state.
To read complete article : Wichaar
Is it not time for Gen Kayani to call it quits and take along with him the DG ISI and the air chief?
Time for heads to roll – By Babar Sattar
OUR military and intelligence agencies stand indicted for being complicit with terror groups and our best defence seems to be to plead incompetence.
Osama’s refuge in the shadows of the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and his killing without the knowledge or permission of Pakistani authorities have not only raised piercing questions about the country’s willingness to function as a responsible state but also cast fundamental doubts on the ability of our national security apparatus to protect Pakistan against foreign intervention.
An ISPR release after Thursday’s corps commanders’ conference that broke the security establishment’s silence on the Osama operation is mostly gibberish.
While admitting “shortcomings in developing intelligence” on Osama’s presence in Pakistan, it goes on to blow the ISI’s trumpet for extraordinary achievement all around. The commanders feel betrayed by the CIA for not telling the ISI where Bin Laden was hiding.
The release doesn’t say why the military failed to detect foreign choppers and troops in our territory for an hour and 40 minutes. ….
…. In a functional democracy, these gentlemen would be sacked after such a debacle. Unfortunately, national security related decisions in Pakistan fall within the exclusive domain of the military, which jealously guards its turf. But responsibility must accompany such power. And the responsibility for erosion of our international credibility and increased threat to security personnel and citizens from terror networks nestled within Pakistan rests squarely on the military’s shoulder.
Be it a rise in suicide bombing and terror incidents within Pakistan, an increase in US drone strikes in our territory, the Mumbai attacks or the Osama operation, the threat to Pakistan’s interests for being perceived as a pad for terrorist activity and to its citizens as targets of terror has proliferated under Gen Kayani’s watch. Is it not time for Gen Kayani to call it quits and take along with him the DG ISI and the air chief? Shouldn’t these heads roll to account for failing to do their jobs?
With them in the driving seat it might neither be possible to hold a transparent inquiry into the security breaches that led to the Osama operation and its execution without Pakistan’s knowledge nor engage in a rethink of our perverse national security mindset. Can we shed some baggage and create room for untainted faces and ideas?
The concept of sovereignty assumes control over the territory a state claims. We cannot continue to shirk responsibility for the men, material and money transiting in and out of Pakistan and simultaneously wail at the disregard for our sovereignty. It is time to publicly articulate our legitimate security interests linked to the future of Afghanistan and develop a regional consensus around it, instead of vying for the whole hog.
It is time to completely liquidate the jihadi project and cleanse our state machinery of those who believe in its virtue. And it is time to shun the delusions of grandeur and conspiracy that prevent us from realising our potential as a responsible and industrious nation.
Read more : DAWN
Vocal as they are about being bombed from the sky, most Pakistanis – including many on the Left – suddenly lose their voice when it comes to the human (Muslim/ [Suicide bomber]) drone.
A drone – of the kind discussed here – is a programmed killing machine. By definition it is self-propelled, semi-autonomous, and capable of negotiating difficult local environments. Remote handlers guide it towards an assigned target. A drone does not need to know why it must kill, only who and how. They have drenched Pakistan in blood, both of fighters and non-combatants. …
Read more : View Point