STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST PAKISTAN’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

We urge you to intervene and stop the killing of Pakistan’s religious communities, including Sunni (Barelvi), Shia (including Hazara) and Ahmedi communities that are facing a virtual genocide simply for following their religious beliefs and practices.

You are no doubt familiar with Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on Aug 11, 1947, in which he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The recent attacks on the 12 Rabiul Awal processions in various cities around Pakistan (including Gujranwala, Mansehra, Gojar Khan, Mirpur, Khairpur, Mustang and Karachi) are evidence of the menace of bigotry and intolerance. The government must act with all of its might to put a stop to this. It needs to be done NOW.

The evil lurks in the belly of the so-called Diffa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition comprising several ‘religious parties’ including some banned organsiations whose views dont resonate with the majority but are able to use their armed status and street power to attack others with impunity. The activities of this coalition need to be curtailed before it becomes the Destroy Pakistan Council. ….

Read more » CHANGE

Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

By DECLAN WALSH

LAHORE, Pakistan — Long unchallenged, Pakistan’s top spy agency faces a flurry of court actions that subject its darkest operations to unusual scrutiny, amid growing calls for new restrictions on its largely untrammeled powers.

The cases against the agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, have uncertain chances of success, analysts say, and few believe that they can immediately hobble it. But they do represent a rare challenge to a feared institution that is a cornerstone of military supremacy in Pakistan.

In the first case, due for a hearing on Wednesday, the Supreme Court has ordered the ISI to produce in court seven suspected militants it has been holding since 2010 — and to explain how four other detainees from the same group died in mysterious circumstances over the past six months.

The second challenge, due for a hearing on Feb. 29, revives a long-dormant vote-rigging scandal, which focuses on illegal donations of $6.5 million as part of a covert, and ultimately successful, operation to influence the 1990 election.

The cases go to the heart of the powers that have given the ISI such an ominous reputation among Pakistanis: its ability to detain civilians at will, and its freedom to meddle in electoral politics. They come at the end of a difficult 12 months for the spy service, which has faced sharp criticism over the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos inside Pakistan and, in recent weeks, its role in a murky political scandal that stoked rumors of a military coup.

Now its authority is being challenged from an unexpected quarter: the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Only weeks ago, Justice Chaudhry, an idiosyncratic judge, faced accusations of being soft on the military when he inserted the courts into a bruising battle between the government and army.

Now Justice Chaudhry seems determined to prove that he can take on the army, too.

“This is a reaction to public opinion,” said Ayaz Amir, an opposition politician from Punjab. “The court wants to be seen to represent the popular mood.”

The court’s daring move has found broad political support. Last Friday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, compared the military to a “mafia” during a National Assembly debate about the plight of the four detainees who died in ISI custody.

Continue reading Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

The United States (US) Committee on Foreign Affairs is set to convene a congressional hearing on Wednesday (February 8), for an exclusive discussion on Balochistan.

The extraordinary event has generated great interest among followers of Pakistan-US relations, as the allies’ mutual relationship seems to be deteriorating. The powerful House of Representatives committee oversees America’s foreign assistance programs and experts believe it can recommend halting US assistance to Pakistan over human rights violation in Balochistan.

Calls for ‘independence’
While Islamabad has strictly treated Balochistan as an internal matter, the debate on such a divisive topic by the powerful committee has highlighted the level of American interest in Balochistan and its support, if any, for the nationalist movement. On its part, Pakistan has kept Washington at arm’s length on the Balochistan issue, by refusing to grant it permission to open a consulate in Quetta.

A Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who recently co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert expressing support for an independent Balochistan, will chair the hearing.

Continue reading DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

Killing OBL & US citizenship for Dr Shakil Afridi, says congressman

US citizenship for Dr Shakil Afridi, says congressman

By Huma Imtiaz

WASHINGTON: A United States (US) Congressman has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives asking to grant US citizenship to Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who provided vital help to the US in finding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The bill submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday, called for Dr Afridi to be deemed “a naturalized citizen of the United States.”

In his speech in Congress, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight, said, “Pakistan’s Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation, the US mission which killed bin Laden, has recommended that Dr Afridi be tried for treason for helping the US. If convicted, he could be executed. My bill would grant him US citizenship and send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to execute bin Laden.”

Rohrabacher cited media reports that Dr Afridi’s wife, an American citizen of Pakistani origin was also missing. “This bill shows the world that America does not abandon its friends,”  adding that 21 members of Congress had endorsed the bill as well.

The bill, which was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, comes after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in an interview last week that Dr Afridi had provided key intelligence that led to the raid in Abbottabad.

Media reports had earlier said that Dr Afridi had organized a polio vaccination campaign in the city for the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to collect DNA sample to prove that the al Qaeda leader was present in the Abbottabad compound.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/332342/us-citizenship-for-dr-shakil-afridi-says-us-congressman/

Congratulations – Pakistan defeats England 3-0

England slump to humiliating 71-run defeat as Pakistan complete 3-0 series whitewash

By Sportsmail Reporter

England’s miserable Test tour of the Middle East reached an appropriately sorry conclusion today with a 71-run defeat, and resulting 3-0 whitewash, against Pakistan.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-2097152/England-lose-Test-Pakistan-slump-3-0-whitewash.html#ixzz1lc5NmQwZ

– – – – – –

» YouTube

The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey

The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)

By Wayne MADSEN

There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran…

Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.

The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.

The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey
Continue reading The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey

Some sanity, but the shenanigans go on

By Kamran Shafi

Excerpt;

…. The Prime Minister is again summoned to the SC on charges of contempt of court. By golly, the majesty of the Honourable Court when it comes to ‘bloody civilian’, elected leaders! When will those who disappear people, or those who imprisoned the judges in their homes also appear in court? …

Read more: The Express Tribune

Why Imran Khan has decided not to go to Quetta with his so-called Tsunami

Graphic details: Killing of Brahumdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi on 31st January

Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister, and Mehran Baluch’s sister-in-law Zamur Bugti (34), and 13-year old daughter, Jaana Domki were visiting the house of Zamur’s maternal uncle after attending a wedding ceremony of a cousin at Carlton Hotel in D.H.A, Karachi. They were accompanied by their driver (Barkat Baloch) and a helper’s 12 year old daughter. They were travelling in a black Toyota sedan (Registration: ANR-353). The car also had an MPA Balochistan plate on it.

Between 1 and 1:30 AM on the 31st of January, shortly after leaving the uncle’s house, a black coloured car intercepted Bugti’s car near Gizri Bridge, Clifton. A man dressed in black shalwar kameez and wearing a black face mask jumped out of the car and shot the driver, Barkat Baloch, as they tried to get away. The driver was killed on the spot as a result of multiple bullet wounds to the head. Then the assailant opened the rear door at which point two bikes arrived at the scene and parked on the left and right side of the car. Upon opening the door, Zamur Bugti offered her jewellery, phone and valuables to the man, thinking that he was a robber. In response the killer told Zamur that he didn’t need her valuables and that he was there to kill her and her daughter, in urdu. Zamur Bugti told him to spare her daughter and that he could kill her. At this point the killer went to the daughter who was sitting on the front passenger seat and fired multiple shots at her, hitting her in the chest and neck.

Zamur Bugti was made to witness the brutal killing of her daughter. Zamur Bugti was then shot over a dozen times in the head, face and neck at point blank range and was left in a pool of blood. During this incident, the police were spectating from a distance.

We have gathered all this information from a first-hand witness who was a helper’s daughter. She was deliberately spared by the killer. The girl ran back to the house which they had just left and informed the family there of what had happened. The family members immediately rushed to the scene where they found the previously spectating policemen close to the victims’ bodies, trying to steal jewellery the victims were wearing. A family member who just arrived at the scene from the uncle’s house witnessed this and yelled at them and told them to get away, so they stepped back. No personal belongings were taken.

Continue reading Why Imran Khan has decided not to go to Quetta with his so-called Tsunami

‘Restraint’ must follow ‘activism’

By Khaled Ahmed

Expansion of judicial power is welcome, but one must not forget that there is also such a thing as judicial excess

On 30 February 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) has allowed former Pakistani ambassador to US Husain Haqqani to travel abroad after an important witness in the ‘memo’ case finally refused to present himself at the judicial commission set up by the Court. This is the first sign of gradual erosion of the charges that were finally to target President Zardari as the originator of ‘treason’ against the Pakistan Army through an American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz.

Analysts believe the Court has been let down by the other parties interested in crucifying the PPP leader and sending the PPP government packing before its term. Nawaz Sharif may have stitched up a deal with Zardari over the timing of next general election; and the Army may have been appeased through Zardari’s sacrifice of Husain Haqqani as burnt offering to the generals. At the time of writing, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was defending Prime Minister Gilani against a charge of contempt and persuading the honourable Court to relent and be satisfied with a belated letter to the Swiss authorities.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan is hearing two cases – and a third one is coming up later in the month – that threaten to expose it to lack of judicial restraint. At home, internecine politics and the besiegement of the ruling party give it the ballast with which it can keep going if it wants. But the lawyers’ movement – which deluded it into feeling that it was backed by ‘the nation’ rather than the Constitutionis split at the top, the vanguard of its leaders now skeptical of its steamrollering activism. Internationally too it is now facing isolation.

On January 25, 2012, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expressed its concern over the convening of the inquiry commission for the memo affair, saying ‘there are legitimate concerns‘ that, by neglecting the rights of the ex-ambassador Husain Haqqani, the Court ‘may have overstepped its constitutional authority and that this action could undermine the ongoing Parliamentary inquiry. The ICJ supported the ousted Supreme Court and consistently accepted its activism in a national environment of extreme dereliction and corruption in state institutions topped by the incumbent executive.

Sitting inside Pakistan and bristling over country’s eroding sovereignty, it is easy to be isolationist and ignore the ICJ warning. Those among the top lawyers – Asma Jahangir, Munir A Malik, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Aitzaz Ahsan – who have decided to caution judicial restraint after a bout of activism so intense it looked like revenge, are being cursed by the mainly conservative and bucolic (mufassil) lawyers’ community as well as the media clearly bent on getting rid of a largely dysfunctional PPP government.

The ‘national consensus’ is chiding the Supreme Court to review just anything under the sun as the forum of last resort. There is no forum higher than the Supreme Court if you feel aggrieved. Except that the Court takes an objective view of its authority and a realistic view of the fallibilities of a third world state cut to pieces by terrorism. It is more difficult to convict a known terrorist in Pakistan than the sitting prime minister.

Continue reading ‘Restraint’ must follow ‘activism’

Army, not a mafia! – Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of the opposition, fiercely criticized the killing of missing citizens in the custody of a spy agency asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army

Ch. Nisar

Rein in agencies, Nisar asks Gilani, Kayani

ISLAMABAD – Strongly criticising the role of agencies in the missing persons’ case, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani to rein-in the intelligence agencies.

Responding to Nisar’s fierce criticism of the killing of four people who were in the custody of a spy agency and his demand of constitution of a court of inquiry by the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said a committee of the House could be constituted to look into the matter, but he proposed that as the matter was sub-judice, the court’s verdict should be awaited.

Gilani said all state institutions should work under their constitutional ambit and all institutions were answerable to parliament. He said the government would respect the Supreme Court’s order in the missing persons’ case. Speaking on a point of order earlier, Nisar announced that he would go to the Supreme Court on the next hearing of the missing persons’ case to express solidarity with the families whose relatives had been illegally abducted and killed by spy agencies.

He said a secret agency had dumped the tortured corpses of four people who it had abducted upon their acquittal from a court of law. Nisar also asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army and take notice of such incidents.

“This is a national army, not a mafiaGeneral Kayani must stop such things which tarnish the army’s image,” he said.

PML-N MNAs chanted slogans ofshame, shame” over the killing of missing persons. Nisar added that it was a moral and constitutional obligation of all members of the parliament to raise voice in parliament for missing persons and against the atrocities of secret agencies and to appear in the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the families of the missing persons. “Whenever the government feels threats from agencies, the prime minister wastes no time in pointing out a state within the state, but in this case no government functionary has come forward to speak in favour of common citizens,” he said, asking the prime minister to rein in secret agencies and bring their heads before parliament so that lawmakers could hold them accountable.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/rein-in-agencies-nisar-asks-gilani-kayani/

VICTIMIZATION OF SASSO OFFICERS

Would the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister of Sindh redress the financial problems of Sindh Government retired Sasso officers as they are not being paid their monthly pensions in time. When approached the concerned Section officer of Sindh Agriculture department, he responded rudely that State Bank of Pakistan does not release them the funds and if any further inquiry or reason is asked, he usually stop talking and putting the receiver of the phone to avoid any further inquiry. Secondly, the annual increment as allowed by the Government to their other serving and retired employees, has still not allowed Sasso officers such annual increments. We shall be highly grateful if our financial problems are solved being the retired and senior citizens of Sindh Pakistan.

Ghulam Hussain Qureshi, Retired officer of Sasso, Old Halla – Sindh

Received via email – drdhakansindheconomist@hotmail.com

Rashid denies he met Zardari for nephew’s sake

By Usman Manzoor

ISLAMABAD: The recent meeting of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad with President Zardari is said to be intended to save the skin of Sheikh’s nephew, the Nazim of Rawal Town, Rawalpindi who has been found involved in Rs2.34 billion misappropriations in his town funds, says the rival political party.

The strange tone of Sheikh Rashid Ahmad against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief might be an attempt to get assurance from the high-ups that the case against his nephew would not be pursued, a top leader of PML-N opined.

Continue reading Rashid denies he met Zardari for nephew’s sake

History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

Past present: Black mirror

History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.

After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.

Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.

During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.

Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.

When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.

Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.

The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.

G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.

Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].

Continue reading History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

India – The Parso Gidwani Center for Sindhi Studies.

By Gul Agha

Saaiin Parso Gidwani had a bhuungo constructed in a small village Kutch and stayed there. His love of Sindh was legendary. I went to visit Saaiin Parso Gidwani in 2000 in Kutch but he had gone for treatment to Mumbai they said. Some time after I returned to the US, he wrote to me and very kindly sent a copy of his book on the Sindhi language. “The Parso Gidwani Centre of Sindhi Studies was created in 2011 in memory of the Ethnolinguist Parso J. Gidwani (1937-2004) who was a pioneer in the field of ethnology and linguistics related to the Sindhi world. The PGCSS results from a cooperation between Dr Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) and Dr Charu Gidwani, R. K. Talreja College (Ulhasnagar, India). The Centre is a first step towards realizing Parso Gidwani’s wish for an Institute for Sindhi Studies. Its policy is framed by an Advisory Board whose members are scholars of international fame. The PGCSS is an integrated approach to Sindhi Studies with perspectives on Sindhi History, Culture, Literature and Language.”

Via » above article adopted from Gul Agha’s facebook page.

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

Defence of Pakistan Council – Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

By: Omar

Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

The “defence of Pakistan” council has held several public meetings (each probably costing millions of rupees) in different parts of the country and is now headed for a “mother of all jalsas” at Karachi on Feb 12th. All the usual suspects are there. Jamat ud Dawa (reincarnation of the blessed Lashkar e Tyaba of Mumbai atrocity fame) is leading the way, but  everyone who is anyone is there. Sheeda Tully is there (He was Musharraf’s railway minister and helped to run it into the ground, after having held several other ministries, his farmhouse was famously listed as a gathering spot for Kashmiri Jihadis in the 1990s). Zia ul Haq’s son, Ejaz ul Haq is there. Hamid Gul is there.
But why?

Why has military intelligence, in its infinite wisdom, activated every zombie from the good old days of the Kashmir Jihad?
Is it to get more money out of Uncle Sam? That particular ATM may be out of cash right now, so its probably not that.
Is it because the bloody civilians may actually be able to do shocking things like start normal trade with India? so what? what is the threat here?

Is it something to do with the ongoing bumbling “get Zardari operation”.

Is it because the army has split into factions and the jihadi faction is trying to embarrass the mercenary faction?

Come on hive mind, answers please.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) Condemns the Target-Killing of Brahmdagh Bugti’s Sister, Niece

Toronto, 02/02/2012 – Baloch Human Rights Council [BHRC] (Canada) strongly condemned the cold-blooded killings of a prominent Balochistan independence leader, Brahmdagh Bugti’s sister and niece and claimed it a political murder aimed at the hardcore movement for rights and freedom. President, BHRC (Canada) Zaffar Baloch, Vice President & Coordinator IVBMP Aziz Baloch, Secretary General Sher Abidian, and Secretary Information Imtiaz Baloch in a joint statement maintained that this tragic incident was a state-sponsored assassination, planned and executed by the operatives of the Pakistani military intelligence services.

Furthermore, BHRC (Canada) leadership expressed its deepest sorrow over the loss of family members of Brahmdagh Bugti, Mir Bakhtiar Domki, and Mehran Baluch and stated that the Baloch community in Canada shares the moments of grief with them, the Baloch Diaspora, and people of Balochistan. BHRC statement also extended condolences to the family members and relatives of the Baloch driver who lost his life in the incident.

Courtesy: BHRC

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES WARNING TO AVOID TRAVEL TO PAKISTAN

PAKISTAN – Travel Warning, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Bureau of Consular Affairs

February 02, 2012 – The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Pakistan dated August 8, 2011, to update information on security incidents and remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan. …..

Read more » U.S. Department of State

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5661.html

Welcome to the war in Balochistan

By Jahanzaib Haque

Excerpt;

I have vowed to write article after article with a call to action. This one has a very simple one: awareness.

Take some time out to read the news reports and Op-eds on Balochistan. That way, at the very least, you will not be shocked or surprised when the bombs start going off in your city, and you learn that we are in for another war that has (on the face of it) no end.

Wake up and talk about it.

To understand the war in Balochistan, read these articles:

Inside Balochistan –  Declan Walsh

Separatism online – Jahanzaib Haque

‘To be a Baloch is to embrace death’

The problem with Balochistan – Salman Latif

Saving BalochistanThe Express Tribune editorial

Recalling Baloch history – Yaqoob Khan Bangash

The right to self determination – Fahad Desmukh

To read complete article » The Express Tribune Blogs

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/10098/welcome-to-the-war-in-balochistan/

— o — o — o — o —

Stop Genocide of Baloch people » CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHOTOS’ OF SHAHEEDS

The Next Indo Pak Conflict – Major Amin’s prophesies? Is he right?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict

By Agha H. Amin

A brother human being Mr Giani 240 was a catalyst for this reflection on an IndoPak conflict.

At some stage historical forces, greater than main or key decision makers takeover and take states to war. This has already happened! no one can reverse the tide! how it happens and how many major cities may be destroyed is the question?

Mad men on both sides! Extreme suspicion and paranoia! Situation compounded by fear and ambiguity! The Pakistani military an army with a state versus India a state with an army makes the role of Indian army more limited than the Pakistani military who also control foreign policy and internal politics! The Pakistani military is not really qualified foreign policy nor are they statesman! But they think that they are both! This makes it far more dangerous! The Indian state is at a loss to decipher Pakistani intentions! Ambiguity leads to confusion and as the adage goes ” Fear made men believe in the worst “! The use of non state actors initiated by the Pakistani military and now in full use by both countries has already gone out of control!Non state actors now have many masters, both state and non state and this complicates apportioning of blame in any incident! Above all population, limited resources, a human psyche deforming rapidly into collective neurosis as well as psychosis is complicating the situation. With man basically irrational, decisions military and political are not made with rational reasons.This was discovered by Freud long ago and discussed in detail in his classic ” The Future of an Illusion“. As a historian with a unique insight based on personal contact with many key decision makers on the Pakistani side and some interaction with Indians as a contractor in Afghanistan convinces me that a major Indo Pak conflict is not far away. Now the process is in hands of a remote and unknown pilot. Even the major and the key decision makers on both sides cannot reverse it. Although they may decide on the time and space and choice of targets. Why states go to war? A detailed study of history proves that it is for reasons more irrational than rational but nevertheless compelling reason. All is understood if we start from the premise that man is irrational! One thing I know .The Indian and Pakistani nukes will not be wasted and rusted in secret storages! God help us all!

Courtesy: Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28060478/The-Next-Indo-Pak-Conflict-Agha-H-Amin

Via » Twitter

Pakistan should protect Ahmaddiya community against threats of violence

Pakistani authorities must do more to protect the Ahmaddiya community, Amnesty International said today amid threats from religious groups to block Ahmadis from entering their place of worship in Rawalpindi on Friday.

An Ahmadi spokesperson yesterday said local religious groups have warned they will not allow Ahmadis to carry out religious activities this Friday, local media reported. ….

Read more » Amnesty International

A million dollar question of Aitzaz Ahsan – “Why are only the Civilian prime ministers indicted for contempt of court & not military generals?”

Contempt case: Gilani summoned on February 13

By Azam Khan / Web Desk

Excerpts;

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court concluded its hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday and summoned the premier on February 13, reported Express News. The court said that it will frame charges against the prime minister during the hearing. …

…. Ahsan also questioned the court that if it can send notices to Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, then why it can’t initiate any action against the generals who were involved in arresting the judges.

Read more » The Express Tribune

– – – – – – – –

More details » BBC urdu

Retaliation for the assassination of Bugti’s grand daughter and great grand daughter?

Pakistan: 11 Soldiers Killed In Battle With Baluch Militants

By RFE/RL

QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say militants in the southwestern Baluchistan Province have killed 11 soldiers in an attack.

A senior official in Pakistan’s military said two Frontier Corps posts near coal mines came under attack in the Margut area about 60 kilometers east of Quetta.

RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal’s correspondent in Quetta reports that an ethnic Baluch separatist group called the Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

That group is comprised of members of the Bugti and Marri clans in the area to the east of Quetta.

They have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan’s oil, gas, and mineral resources.

More than 30 members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps have been killed in Baluchistan Province during the past three weeks in clashes with Baluch rebels.

Courtesy: Rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/soldiers_killed_by_baluch_rebels_in_pakistan/24470002.html

Killing of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece could be sending him a chilling message by Pak military

DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL: Balochistan: a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Balochistan Assembly passed a resolution against the brutal murder of MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife and daughter in Karachi. A complete shutter-down strike was observed all over Balochistan to condemn their murders. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for a retaliatory attack on four Frontier Corps (FC) checkposts near Margat coalmine area in which at least 15 FC personnel were killed and a dozen sustained injuries. This attack, according to the BLA spokesman, was in reaction to the murders of the Domki women. Karachi is no stranger to target killings and it seems that this horrible trend along with bhatta (extortion) activities have started again after a brief lull. But the murder of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) chief Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi was unlike any other target killing. The claim by the Karachi police that this could be the result of a ‘tribal feud’ could not be further from the truth. It is highly unlikely that women and children would be targeted even in a feud between the Baloch tribes. This is completely against the culture of the Baloch. Reasonable suspicion thus arises that this was not the work of any Baloch tribe but our own intelligence agencies that are busy harassing and assaulting the Baloch.

The murder of Mr Domki’s wife, daughter and driver is political, and there are genuine reasons to speculate that it is related to Brahamdagh Bugti, who is one of the leaders of the Baloch resistance movement and has often been hounded by our military and its operatives. So far, they have not been successful in extraditing him from Switzerland, where he has obtained political asylum. Killing his sister and niece could be one way of sending him a chilling message. It also points to the military’s callous attitude towards all norms of humanity. Women, children and old people are not deliberately targeted in wars. What kind of a despicable regime is this that would kill women and children in cold blood just to make a point? The police are still clueless about the murderers but they must investigate properly and get to the bottom of this horrific incident. No words can do justice to the sense of outrage at this atrocious crime.

It seems that there is now a sinister plot to hunt the Baloch outside Balochistan too. In December 2011, Faisal Mengal — a Baloch activist — was killed in Karachi. The death of two Baloch females along with their driver in Karachi also points to this new ‘trend’. The military’s ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan has wreaked havoc in the lives of the Baloch. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently pointed out that “…the [Pakistan] military and its spy agencies have supra-constitutional authority to deal with the Baloch people, who are struggling for their constitutional rights of self-rule in the province”. The policy of eliminating members of the Baloch resistance movement, moderate nationalists, intellectuals and youth has led to more hatred and more alienation in the province. Now this policy is seemingly being extended to women and children. Independence from Pakistan is now being demanded openly all over Balochistan. The death of two Baloch women will certainly stoke the fire even more. Nobody can blame the Baloch for this demand given the atrocities being committed against them every single day by our military. Even the veteran Baloch leadership has nothing to offer the disgruntled Baloch youth fighting in the mountains because of the criminal military operation. The military’s highhanded policies have hardly left any space for a political solution now. The federation is definitely in trouble.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201222\story_2-2-2012_pg3_1

‘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

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

BRUSSELS — In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year. ….

Read more » The New York Times

New vibes in Sindh politics

By Haider Nizamani

PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.

What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.

The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.

Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.

Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.

English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.

The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.

What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.

The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.

Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.

He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.

He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.

In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.

As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.

Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.

If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.

Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.

Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.

The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.

Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.

Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.

If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.

The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, hnizamani@hotmail.com

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/31/new-vibes-in-sindh-politics.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