AP sources: Pakistanis tip off militants again

By KIMBERLY DOZIER

WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say Pakistan has apparently tipped off militants at two more bomb-building factories in its tribal areas, giving the terror suspects time to flee, after U.S. intelligence shared the locations with the Pakistani government. …

Read more: Yahoo News

Chronicles foretold – By Najam Sethi

– The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.

Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?

The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.

That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.

Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.

In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?

The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.

The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar

They’re blood thirsty now

The Good Old Days of Fatwas and Anita Ayub

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I was reading an article the other day in which a female writer explains that how women too are going to get male virgins in heaven. While I found the article interesting and entertaining, it reminded me of Anita Ayub. Anita Ayub was a model and an actress in Pakistan in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She also worked in an Indian movie called ‘ Pyar Ka Tarana’. Legend has it that she fell in love with a Sikh, married him, and moved to India. I don’t know if there is any truth to this news or not. Anita was a beautiful, smart, and intelligent model with serious lack of talent. She said things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to say. She did things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to do.

She got quite a few Fatwas (religious condemnation to be killed) against her. It has been a hobby of our mullas to give Fatwas for centuries. But things were not this bad in the 1990’s. I call those days “good old days of Fatwas”. When moulvi hazarat gave a Fatwa those days, few fanatics sent you death threats, you apologized, they forgave you. Everyone moved on and nobody got hurt.

Who knew that one day the Zia-ul-Haq era would be considered a relatively peaceful era!

Years ago when I was just a child, I heard that Anita Ayub had asked a very bad question, “If men are going to get hoors (virgins) in heaven, what are women going to get?”

I remember my mom commenting on Anita’s morality and mentality in a not so complementing manner. My teenage mind was confused. The question did not seem that unreasonable to me. Risking judgment on my own morality and mentality, I asked my mom if there was an answer to Anita’s question. My mom said very understandably that in heaven women would become hoors themselves. Asking any further questions meant asking for God’s wrath. This is where we are stopped. When you do not understand it, asking any further questions is a sin.

So, moulvis of Pakistan issued a Fatwa against her. Next week, Anita’s apology was published with the explanation that this is not what she meant. How could she possibly question the divine laws? The matter indeed ended. Mullas put her episode of temporary insanity (or logical thinking) behind. So this is what I call good old days of Fatwas. When you spoke your curious mind, few good moulvis actually tried to explain things politely, few gave Fatwa, you apologized, and you got to live.

Mercy no more my friends! Forgiveness no more. Asia Bibi has apologized a million times. Salmaan Taseer gave explanation after explanation that he did not mean to defend a blasphemer, but a weak and poor woman. They did not listen. They’re blood thirsty now. Now those good old days of Fatwas are over. …

Read more: LUBP

Gangs using children as sex workers, says NGO

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

Pakistan – the current Pushto song & dance

She might be describing the miserable conditions of lovers (Aashiqaan) in Taliban era. She is saying “Oh God, all lovers are crazy. Although lovers ostensibly look pretty happy, yet they are heart-broken from within. THE NAME OF THE SINGER IS NAZIA IQBAL & THE NAME OF THE GORGEOUS DANCER IS SHEHZADI.

Source – YouTube, adopted from Facebook

Jewish court sentences dog to death by stoning

(AFP) – JERUSALEM — A Jerusalem rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court’s judges 20 years ago, Ynet website reported Friday.

According to Ynet, the large dog made its way into the Monetary Affairs Court in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, frightening judges and plaintiffs.

Despite attempts to drive the dog out of the court, the hound refused to leave the premises.

One of the sitting judges then recalled a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges two decades previously.

Their preferred divine retribution was for the lawyer’s spirit to move into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism.

Clearly still offended, one of the judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children.

The canine target, however, managed to escape.

“Let the Animals Live”, an animal-welfare organisation filed a complaint with the police against the head of the court, Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin, who denied that the judges had called for the dog’s stoning, Ynet reported.

One of the court’s managers, however, confirmed the report of the lapidation sentence to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

“It was ordered… as an appropriate way to ‘get back at’ the spirit which entered the poor dog,” the paper reported the manager as saying, according to Ynet.

Certain schools of thought within Judaism believe in the transmigration of souls, or reincarnation.

Courtesy: AFP, Google News

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gpVCUh9KzOc5uEutaeYfOTL_m2dw?docId=CNG.7cb7d99990eea60a7a2805cbbc294dbf.631

Pakistan: the situation inside

The natives getting restless – by Mujahid Hussain

The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten

Recent events have caused the army and its intelligence wing to be exposed to criticism in a manner never seen before in this country. This estrangement does not apply to the religious right alone anymore, who were already angry because of their one dimensional view on the war on terror. Both the religious and the left wing parties have felt emotions of betrayal and anger towards the army for different reasons. The liberal intellectuals who support the army in the war on terror, have expressed concerns about the duplicity and the modus operandi of the intelligence agencies.

Usama Bin Ladin’s death in Abbottabad, Mehran Base Attack, successive drone attacks, and now the killing of a youth by the Rangers in Karachi in public, has caused the decibel levels to rise as never before.

The less than complimentary views about the army expressed by Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the torch bearer of Human Rights, has created a new situation. The reaction of the military top brass has been to rely on its carefully nurtured constituency in journalism, politics, establishment and other vocal segments of the society, to stick to the well rehearsed standard narrative, offering the usual rewards in return.

On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif intends to exploit this situation, for he knows full well that his rivals are weak and that internal and external factors may allow him to gain political ascendancy. There is no evidence coming to the fore that the army has grasped the significance of the change in the public mood and increasing disillusionment among its traditional supporters.

It does not seem that the army has yet decided to curtail its role in politics. History, however, is full of ironies. The coziness with the Army that was the preserve of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group [PML-N] is now enjoyed by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party [PPP], given expression through the statements of Rahman Malik, Babar Awan, and Firdous Ashiq Awan. All three are new PPP faces whereas the traditional party leaders have lost their pre-eminence. On the other hand, the PML-N members are moving towards the role played by the PPP workers during and following the Zia regime. Jamaat-e-Islami [JI] has lost favour and Imran Khan has stepped into its shoes.

Whereas the brittleness of the state has become obvious in these circumstance, its only stable institution, the Army, is also facing retreat and uncertainty. The situation in the tribal regions is a stalemate. The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten. In Sindh, the increasing unrest in cities is not a good omen for all unitary forces including the Army even though there is no prominent movement in the rural Sindh. …

Read more: ViewPoint

Worth Watching

The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: News 1 (Bang-e-Dara 23 May 2011 with Faisal Qureshi)

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