Pakistani officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills militants hiding in high school

From Shaan Khan, CNN

Islamabad (CNN) — A suspected U.S. drone strike killed three people Sunday at a high school in northern Pakistan where militants were hiding, intelligence officials said.

Continue reading Pakistani officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills militants hiding in high school

How PM conviction hysteria overshadows real security challenges

Has the threat diminished?

By: Huma Yusuf

POLITICAL hysterics resulting from the prime minister’s conviction and an equivocal Supreme Court sentence are currently overshadowing discussions about Pakistan’s security challenges.

Continue reading How PM conviction hysteria overshadows real security challenges

Is this Justice???

Pakistan Peoples Party Washington DC condemns the decision made by Supreme Court against elected prime minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani.

In their statement PPP said that PM was just following the constitution of Pakistan.

It also noted with disappointment that while no dictator had been punished for suspension and abrogation of the Constitution a democratically and terorist like Malik Ishaq had been granted bail but an elected Prime Minister had been sentenced for upholding the Constitution. They also criticize media’s role in being a cheer leader of right-wing, Islamist politicians and populist judges is an unfortunate departure from its often stated role of being a “fair and balanced” presenter of the news and of informing the public.

PPP demands Supreme Court to invest time in issues which are concern to Pakistan and its people such as Younas Habib case instead of becoming a tool to destabilize democracy in country.

The participants of meeting said that Mr. Nawaz Shrif must remember his past actions before suggesting PM to resign as it is not PPP who attacked Supreme Court but was Mr. Shrif and his party members. The participants also noted that it is about time for Sharif brothers to support democracy in Pakistan as federation and stop beating provincial band.

The meeting of the PPPUSA congratulated the Prime Minister over his stance in defending the Constitution.

Meeting was attended by:

Senator Mohammad Akbar Khawja, Ali Nawaz Memon, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Masood Zakria Ch., Additional Sec Gen PPP USA, Dr. Javed Manzoor President PPP USA, Jawad Shirazi, Sr.,Vice President PPP Washington DC, Mansoor Qureshi, Sec. General PPP Washington DC, Munirullah Butt, Syed Imran Zaidi, Sec. Information PPP Washington DC, Junaid M Choudhary, Ali Awan, Junaid Chudhry, Haider Asghar, Jaffer Shah, Nawazish Shah

Lyari is burning

Karachi is burning

With hundreds already killed in ethnic, political and sectarian conflicts this year, the dynamics of violence in Karachi are becoming more complex

By Ali K Chishti

Of the 1,138 people killed in Karachi during the first half of 2011, 150 were political workers, according to the HRCP. This year, Sindh Home Ministry and Karachi Police report that 405 political workers have been targeted already. “More than 10,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic violence in the city since 2007,” says Aftab Rauf Khan, a senior security official. “What is worse is that there have been no prosecutions.”

Political and ethnic violence in Karachi has increased significantly since 2008. There were just over 200 target killings in the city in 2006, 318 in 2007, and 786 in 2008. At least 1,183 people died in political and ethnic violence in the city in 2009, more than 1,300 in 2010, and over 1,700 in 2011. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

Rehman Malik provided proves against PMLn Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering

Mehran Bank Scandal: Rehman malik provided proves to media

Interior Minister Rehman Malik proved that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering.

He gave evidence against Nawaz Sharif would be placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged corruption of $32 million.

Federal Rehman Malik said a commission may be formed to investigate alleged involvement of Nawaz Sharif in money laundering.

He appealed to the Supreme Court to call him and he would present all evidence. He further alleged that Nawaz Sharif made an NRO with former President Farooq Ahmed Leghari and as a result, Benazir Bhutto’s elected government was unconstitutionally dismissed in November 1996.

Federal Rehman Malik said that Nawaz Sharif made a second NRO with dictator Pervez Musharraf and went abroad after signing an agreement and violated the Charter of Democracy (COD) he signed with Benazir Bhutto in 2006. …

Courtesy: Duniya Tv News » Read more » LUBP

Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the operation against the whole community and unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and nonexistent of basic necessities of life due to the unofficial curfew in Lyari.

Punhal Sario, Mustafa Baloch, Zulfiqar Shah, Amar Sindhu, Kashif Bajeer, Dr. Ashothama, Rizwan Abbassi, Rabail Aziz, Jabbar Bhatti of the Civil Society of Sindh shows deep concerns over the operation against children, women, and common citizens in Lyari-Karachi, Sindh in the context of confined innocent citizen of the area. The Civil Society of Sindh deeply concerned over the unavailability of water, food, medicines, electricity and natural gas supply for thousands of innocent citizens of the area since couple of the days due to ongoing operation in the lyari and fear deaths and health damages of the innocent citizens due to nonexistent of basic necessities of life. Therefore, civil society of Sindh demands to stop the operation against the citizens of Lyari and government should ensure all basic necessities of living specially water, food, emergency medical support and gas supply as well as securities in the area where it plans to take law and order measures, it also demands immediate water, food and medical rescue to the residents of Lyari confined due to curfew in the area.

Courtesy: News adopted from Facebook

Showing the red rug to the bull!

PM contempt: ‘Govt will comply if SC orders Gilani’s disqualification’

By Web Desk / Sumera Khan

Excerpts;

…. Privilege motion against SC assistant registrar

The government has decided to move a privilege motion against the assistant registrar of the Supreme Court for writing a letter to speaker of National Assembly to initiate an action against the prime minister under recently passed judgment by the apex court.

Terming the letter ‘illegal’, Law Minister Naek said that the letter in which Speaker of National Assembly Fehmida Mirza was directed to implement the SC’s judgment was an open violation of law. Naek added that the assistant registrar of the Supreme Court is not authorised to issue directions to the speaker of National Assembly.

“We will move a privilege motion against assistant registrar as the letter is illegal which was written as a clear violation of rules and procedures. He has directed the speaker of National Assembly to implement the court’s verdict at the earliest which is we believe is an offence to the parliament.”

Naek went on to say that, “The parliament’s privilege was disparaged by the assistant registrar’s letter to the speaker of National Assembly directing her in the prime minister contempt case.”

Read more » The Express Tribune

Gilani hits back at the opposition

By Nusrat Javeed

Before hiring the services of Pakistan Army for launching a multi-pronged assault on troops of the ‘Evil Empire’ deputed in Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan needed some deceptive trappings of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan. General Zia facilitated him by inventing a consultative assembly in the early 1980s.

Continue reading Gilani hits back at the opposition

The Khan bowls too wide

Imran Khan’s endorsement of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has been a PR disaster for him even within Pakistan,

By: Kunal Majumder reports

IN APRIL 2012, the United States announced a bounty of $10 million for information leading to the prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and believed to be the mastermind of the 26 November 2008 Mumbai terror strike. Saeed, a hero of the fundamentalist right in Pakistan, claimed he was being victimised due to his anti-American politics. Soon enough, he was adopted by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. The PTI president, Javed Hashmi, called Saeed “a preacher of peace in the world!”.

Hashmi didn’t stop there. Participating in a rally organised in Multan by the Difae-Pakistan Council — an umbrella body of quasi-political religious parties opposing the opening of NATO supply lines to Afghanistan and the Most-Favoured Nation trade status to India — Hashmi vouched for the “piousness” of Saeed. “A social worker,” he said, “can never be a terrorist but all those declaring him a terrorist are the real threat to the peace of the world.”

Continue reading The Khan bowls too wide

Gilani challenges the leader of the opposition – Bring vote of no confidence if you have courage

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that he could only be removed by the Parliament and would accept the decision of the house.

Mr Gilani seemed confident during his speech in the National Assembly on Friday in the absence of Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who on Saturday announced that he would not let the prime minister to enter the house.

Gilani criticized Nawaz-League leadership for what he said their ego and said that Nawaz Sharif could not run the parliament as it was not an easy job.

“I challenge you to bring vote of no confidence against me if you have the courage,” Gilani said.

He said that he was punished for protecting the Constitution of Pakistan. He said that nobody other than National Assembly speaker could de-notify him.

The prime minister said that he would honour the decision of the house but would not accept conspiracies and would not let anyone to derail democracy in the country.

Gilanis said that the PML-N should look into results of Multan by-election in which the PPP won.

Courtesy: Geo TV News » TheNewsTribe

More details » BBC urdu

Supreme Court challenges its own authority by failing to address the question of presidential immunity

The continuing contempt controversy

By: Waris Husain

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been convicted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court for contempt of court, with implications that such a conviction will disqualify him from holding the office. Rather than levying the maximum punishment of six months imprisonment, the Court held the prime minister under arrest until the conclusion of the hearing, which amounted to 30 seconds. Such a nominal punishment shows that neither the Court nor the prime minister have delivered a final blow to the other. The Court may have taken the proper pragmatic measures to deal with the current political environment, but it will need to take further steps to legally address the central claim of the case.

Continue reading Supreme Court challenges its own authority by failing to address the question of presidential immunity

The military-backed judges and a section of media and politicians acting against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades

A question of accountability

By Raza Rumi

The inevitable has happened. An assertive judiciary has convicted the prime minister even if the punishment was token — awarded for non-compliance of court orders. The prime minister’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, has objected to the judgment saying that the punishment awarded was beyond the scope of his original indictment. There are multiple legal questions surrounding this decision and only the full judgment will clarify matters. However, it is the political ramifications of judicial assertion, which are of import in today’s Pakistan.

The PPP’s victim card — of being wronged by the establishment and the courts — is not entirely unfounded. Yet, this Supreme Court is not the court of the past. The lawyers’ movement (2007-9) allowed for an unprecedented populist backing to the courts and now many vested interests and groups deem the courts a natural ally in their own quest for independence, leverage and profits.

Public officials must be held accountable for their transgressions. This is vital for effective governance as well as for building legitimacy of democratic institutions. In purely technical terms, the Court’s decision is a welcome one. No longer can the executive be allowed to trample on judicial orders. After all, a letter to the Swiss authorities seeking the reopening of a case against President Asif Ali Zardari may have averted the crisis. Presidential immunity in the international and domestic laws is a given. However, in hindsight, this was a great opportunity for the PPP to underscore the fact that it is always the victim of selective accountability.

The cases against President Zardari and twice-elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto were registered by their political opponents, i.e., military-backed arbitrary presidents; and the main opposition party, which till 1999 was on the right side of the establishment. This context cannot be divorced from the legal aspects of the case. That said, at the end of the day the courts decide on issues of law and fact. The truth is that the Pakistani state has used cases against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades. This is why the perception within the PPP support base especially in Sindh (and now southern Punjab) is that the court’s verdict is not a ‘fair’ one given that other political parties and state institutions have gotten away with far worse.

As for the Supreme Court, it has done its job according to its interpretation of the Constitution and law. That, however, will not prevent the PPP from using the conviction to ramp up its support, especially with the next election around the corner.

Moving on, the role of some TV channels and anchors in acting as lawyers, judges and prosecutors has been most worrying. Legal issues require informed debate and political commentary requires objectivity. Both were missing before and after the Supreme Court verdict. This brings us to the vital issue of accountability of the new players in the power game.

The higher courts are accountable via the Supreme Judicial Council. The latter’s record has not been encouraging, as far as holding members of the superior judiciary accountable is concerned. Similarly, the media — or large segments of it — acts as if it is not accountable to any authority.

Continue reading The military-backed judges and a section of media and politicians acting against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades

India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar

In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.

Both countries mean business

In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:

  • Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
  • India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
  • Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
  • The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
  • A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.

Opportunities and gains

Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.

Continue reading India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

So alarming! People feel more disgusted when a dead woman is raped than a living woman is raped.

Outrage as Egypt plans ‘farewell intercourse law’ so husbands can have sex with DEAD wives up to six hours after their death

By Lee Moran

Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives – for up to six hours after their death. The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

Continue reading So alarming! People feel more disgusted when a dead woman is raped than a living woman is raped.

JI to PTI – ‘Good looking Jamaat-e-Islami’

By Nayyer Khan

Both Jamat-e-Islami and Pakistan’s deep state were looking for a charismatic character, who had a glitz of the Western culture and a mindset of an Islamist. One senior memeber of Jamat-e-Islami, namely Hafizullah Niazi effectively solved this problem by finding the right person for this job. He happened to be the brother-in-law of Cricket’s super star, male sex symbol and Casanova of International repute, Imran Khan.

The Jamaat Islami (JI) won Pakistan state’s patronage to be given a role in home politics for the first time during the brief, yet eventful tenure of military ruler Yahya Khan, when designing of state’s vital policy matters was assigned to then minister for Information and National Affairs, Major General Sher Ali Khan. Yahya Khan was no different from his predecessors – starting from Jinnah to Ayub Khan – who were hardly observant of Islamic practices in their personal lives; but had used political Islam as a major tool for defining national identity and nation-building. They wished to keep militant Islamism under control to prevent it from destabilizing domestic politics; yet direct it against India and also to use it to counter the leftist and nationalist dominant trends that were at the time working against what they deemed the Islamic ideology underpinning the state. In Sher Ali’s scheme of things the “ideology of Pakistan and glory of Islam” became pet words of our military leadership, which projected the army itself as ultimate defender of the ‘ideology of Pakistan’. Learning the lesson from public agitation against Ayub Khan, Sher Ali convinced Yahya that army should maintain its mythical image before the people as a final savior of the nation whenever national interests so demanded and, therefore, control the national politics from behind the scene; to avoid any situation in which people of Pakistan would ever confront the army directly. For this purpose a weak political government was needed to arise from the first general elections in Pakistan, scheduled to take place by the end of 1970, to be used as a fig leaf to army’s oligarchy.

As per Sher Ali plans the results of the polls were not to be manipulated during; but before the polls by providing the state’s assistance to religio-political parties – especially JI – in shape of financial and propaganda support. The substantial funds of Ayub Khan’s faction of the Muslim League confiscated by the Yahya’s Martial law regime were diverted to JI, in addition to money raised by IB from the industrialists and business class to fund the election campaign of Islamic parties (Hasan Zaheer ‘The Separation of East Pakistan’ Oxford University Press. pp 124-125). Funds were also poured in JI’s pouch by the Saudi government as well as Saudi sponsored Rabita al-Alam al-Islami.

Continue reading JI to PTI – ‘Good looking Jamaat-e-Islami’

And we were told by the Pakistani media that everyone hates PPP! But PPP candidate wins Multan by-election

Kaira applauds PPP candidate on winning Multan by-poll

By: APP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday congratulated PPP candidate Usman Bhatti on winning by election in PP-194 in Multan.

Speaking to Pakistan Television (PTV), he said that reposing full confidence in the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) candidate is a good gesture by people of South Punjab.

Party’s candidate Usman Bhatti won the bye elections in PP-194 defeating his political rival Moeenuddin Riaz Qureshi of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N.) ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Extremist in Pakistan have been given a free hand to bash Americans, under support of ‘certain quarters’ – says Bushra Gohar a parliamentarian

Aid to Pakistan: $2.6 billion spent, little ability to show it

Anti-US sentiments and foreign policy squabbles are thwarting good US public relations from reaching turbulent, poor border regions of Pakistan.

By Taha Siddiqui

Islamabad, Pakistan – Khalil Afridi recently survived a fatal attack by militants when a hand grenade was hurled at him. “They want me to quit development work, because of my association with Western donors,” he says.

Continue reading Extremist in Pakistan have been given a free hand to bash Americans, under support of ‘certain quarters’ – says Bushra Gohar a parliamentarian

BBC – How Gilani turned contempt case from catastrophe to triumph

By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

Excerpts;

Slogans of triumph

….. For today’s hearing, the prime minister wore the Pakistani national dress — shalwar trousers, kameez shirt and shervani, a Nehru-collared black long coat.

Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues and allied party leaders, he drove up to the outer precincts of the Supreme Court building from where he walked to Courtroom No 4 where the trial was held.

He appeared in a relaxed mood as he waved to dozens of sympathisers who had gathered outside the court.

Within the court, after the guilty verdict had been read out to him, he completed his custodial term within the space of a single four-word sentence uttered three times over; “A submission, my lord.”

The rising bench paid him no heed.

Moments later, he walked out a free man, greeted by women activists of his PPP party with loud slogans of triumph.

So in a way, the high drama that surrounded the early stages of this trial ended in a whimper.

But did this come as a surprise?

For those who have kept an eye on the overall political, economic and security situation of the country, it didn’t really.

Scandal subsided

Over the past couple of years, a perception has been growing that the country’s top judiciary has been selective in its judgements, dealing harshly with the PPP leadership but being soft on the military and some opposition politicians.

The PPP, which has traditionally been mistrusted by the country’s powerful security establishment, bided its first three years in office lying low, trying to survive.

It decided to strike back in December when the memo scandal broke out.

This revolved around a controversial memo which a former Pakistani ambassador to the US was accused of having initiated, allegedly at the behest of President Asif Zardari, to invite US intervention to prevent a possible military coup.

When the Supreme Court took up the case, questions were raised over the role the military had played in bringing that scandal to the fore.

Subsequently, Prime Minister Gilani, in unprecedented remarks in late December, told the parliament that while the civilian government had stood side by side with the military in difficult times, “they (the military) can’t be a state within the state“.

Given the PPP’s potential to ignite protests across large parts of the country, the army apparently backed down, allowing the memo scandal to subside.

The contempt of court case against Mr Gilani appears to have met the same fate.

It came at the height of the PPP’s tension with the military and the judiciary.

It was centred on an earlier judgment of the court that asked the government to write a letter to the Swiss government to re-open a corruption case against President Zardari which had been closed.

The prime minister was charged with contempt for failing to write that letter.

Prolonged trial

As the memo case went on the backburner, the contempt case also began to lose steam.

From the early expectations of a quick and harsh judgment, the case eased into a prolonged trial that has stretched over three months.

Many believe that through its order today, the court has tried to put an end to an increasingly difficult situation and has left the matter of Mr Gilani’s disqualification to others, whoever they might be – the parliament, the media, the political opposition.

Continue reading BBC – How Gilani turned contempt case from catastrophe to triumph

Today, Imran Khan asked for PM’s resignation for the implementation under Article 63 but what he was saying about the same article before, watch this!

The language of the video clip is urdu (Hindi).

» YouTube

President Asif Zardari’s cases can’t be reopened: Swiss AG

Asif cases can’t be reopened: Swiss AG

ISLAMABAD (APP)-President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity under International Law and therefore no case can be reopened against him in the courts of Switzerland, Attorney General of Geneva Daniel Zappelli said this in an interview with a private TV channel on Saturday night.

When asked that when the case had been closed, can it be reopened if the State makes the request as in the case of President Asif Ali Zardari,the Swiss Attorney General said it is a big problem because under the International Law which is also applicable to Switzerland, the Head of State, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister enjoy absolute immunity on reopening of cases.

To a question by the interviewer about reopening of cases if submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Attorney General of Geneva said if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistans Embassy it would be returned, since the Head of the State enjoys absolute immunity according to International Law. …..

Read more » nation.com.pk

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/11-Apr-2010/Asif-cases-cant-be-reopened-Swiss-AG

Why don’t the Pakistani Judiciary/ Memo Commission believe Mansoor Ijaz on Hafiz Saeed

WASHINGTON, Nov 3: A senior US official responsible for counter- terrorism on Tuesday directly accused Pakistan of supporting training of militant groups in Afghanistan as well as providing “material support” to some of the Kashmiri militants. “There are numerous Kashmiri separatist groups and sectarian groups involved in terrorism which use Pakistan as a base…We have repeatedly asked Islamabad to end support of terrorist training in Afghanistan,” Michael Sheehan, State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, told a Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee. The sub-committee hearing was called and presided over by Senator Sam Brownback and the list of experts who testified included a former CIA officer in Pakistan Milt Bearden, president of Stimson Centre Michael Krepon, John Hopkins University Central Asia Institute chairman Dr Fredrick Starr and a Pakistani- American businessman and columnist Mansoor Ijaz. …..

Read more » ChagataiKhan

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.ca/2012/02/hafiz-saeeds-memory-loss-on-osama.html

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s contempt conviction may worsen ties to U.S.

By: Farhan Bokhari

(CBS News) ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s pro-U.S. ruling coalition was thrown in turmoil Thursday after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted on a contempt-of-court charge by the country’s Supreme Court.

Gilani was given a symbolic jail term lasting for less than a minute, but the verdict made it possible for him to lose his job as prime minister, according to analysts and legal experts.

“For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court,” said Supreme Court Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk in announcing the verdict. The judge ordered Gilani to serve time “till rising of the court” – a term which means for the duration of the brief court hearing.

Western diplomats however warned that depending on the direction of future political events, fresh turmoil in Pakistan could further strain the country’s already troubled relations with the United States.

“As Pakistan’s political temperature rises, there are new dangers for Pakistan’s relations with the U.S.,” a senior western diplomat in Islamabad told CBS News after Thursday’s verdict on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to journalists. “As turmoil grows in Pakistan, it will be increasingly difficult for the government to be seen becoming more friendly towards the U.S.”

Continue reading Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s contempt conviction may worsen ties to U.S.

PM not convicted according to charge: Aitzaz

ISLAMABAD: The counsel for Prime Minister in the contempt of court case Aitzaz Ahsan said Thursday that the Supreme Court charged Gilani for scandalizing the court which was not in the charges framed.

“The prime minister was not convicted according to charges,” Aitzaz told reporters during a news conference alongside Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. ….

Read more » Geo Tv

What happens when PM Gilani chairs meeting with COAS, DG-ISI to finalise US ties?

As Grossman arrives, high-level huddle finalises strategy

By Kamran Yousaf

ISLAMABAD: The country’s top civil and military leadership finalised on Wednesday their strategy for re-engagement with the United States in light of new recommendations approved by parliament, as President Barack Obama’s point-man for the region landed in the capital for crucial talks.

Ahead of interactions between Pakistani and American officials, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired a high-powered meeting, which was attended by key ministers as well as Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam.

“The meeting took stock of the recent developments in the region. They discussed matters related to Afghan peace and reconciliation and new terms of re-engagement with US/Nato/Isaf in accordance with the recommendations of parliament,” said a statement issued by the Prime Minister House.

This was the second gathering of civil and military leadership in less than 10-days and was aimed at evolving a consensus on how to move forward after the US voiced reservations over some of the demands made by parliament.

All issues will figure in the talks when US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman, who is leading a delegation of senior officials, meets the country’s top leadership.

Grossman is the first senior American official to travel to Islamabad after parliament passed a new foreign policy framework that seeks to redefine the country’s relationship with Washington.

Grossman will hold formal talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. He will also meet Prime Minister Gilani and Army Chief Gen Kayani.

Ahead of Grossman’s visit, US Ambassador Cameron Munter dashed to Karachi on Wednesday and held an important meeting with President Zardari.

Continue reading What happens when PM Gilani chairs meeting with COAS, DG-ISI to finalise US ties?

Pakistan Entrapped

Islamic Radicalism: Pakistan Entrapped in A Vicious Circle of Militancy and Cowardice of the State

By Mujahid Husain

Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants have once again started attacking Pakistan, this time in a much organised manner. It was being said, after the successful military operations in tribal areas that Taliban and Al-Qaeda sympathizers have been chased away. But the reality is totally opposite to it. Indeed it is the Local and foreign militants who have driven away security forces and other peace-promoting organisations from there.

Militants are now focussing their attention on the suburbs of big towns and hamlets. They are easily making them their prey. Their successful operation of getting hundreds of dreaded inmates flee from Bannu jail, situated in the tribal area, is the latest example of their prowess. Adnan Rashid one of the most wanted and a dreaded attacker on the life of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was one of them. He was greeted with garlands in the jail campus by the attackers of the Bannu Jail. Garlands were specially brought for him by the miscreants. This incident proves militants’ planning, strength and their self confidence.

Taliban attackers kept celebrating their victory for two hours in the jail campus itself. In the meantime the police station and security forces of Bannu town kept themselves silently locked in their offices. They dare not try to interfere in the operation of the militant attackers.

After the jail break incident a private school of Peshawar came under their wrath. The school was attacked with hand grenades in which children were killed.

State government finds itself helpless in front of the terror organisation called ‘Lashkar-e-Islam’ which is active in the suburbs of Peshawar.

Continue reading Pakistan Entrapped

India & Pakistan will sign a “liberalized visa agreement” next month in Islamabad

Soft Pak-India visa policy to be signed in May: Krishna

NEW DELHI: Indian’s Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna Wednesday said India and Pakistan will sign a “liberalized visa agreement” in May this year when secretaries of the two countries meet in Islamabad.

Speaking at the Lok Sabha on the April 8 daylong visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to India during which he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch, he said Pak-Indian secretary level talks are set in May in Islamabad, where liberalized visa policy will be given a go-ahead.

According to India media, the traders from the two sides of the border will be entitled to receive multiple visas for one year.

Also under the fresh policy, the traders from the two countries may receive visa of ten cities in the respective countries.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV

Via – twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No laughing matter: Entertainer who poked fun at militants kidnapped

By Riaz Ahmad

PESHAWAR: “Shave my head, paint my face black; Mount me on a donkey and make fun of me.”

Either militants didn’t take kindly to Nisar Khan’s comedic song referring to an incident where Taliban insurgents seized thieves, shaved their heads and mounted them on donkeys; or they took it a bit too seriously.

Nisar, a comedian, was kidnapped by militants mid-show in Peshawar’s suburban town of Matani on Monday, telling the shocked audience that they ‘needed an entertainer urgently’.

He was entertaining guests at a wedding party when around 20 militants entered the hujra where he was performing and abducted him, residents said. The event was taking place near a police check-point.

“The militants took Nisar away, saying they too needed an entertainer on an urgent basis,” a resident told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. “They told people not to panic and that Nisar is being taken away only for a few days. They said he will not be harmed.”

Continue reading No laughing matter: Entertainer who poked fun at militants kidnapped

Extremist recruitment on the rise in Punjab madrassahs – daily Dawn

2008: Extremist recruitment on the rise in south Punjab madrassahs

Excerpts;

….. jihadi recruitment network had been developed in the Multan, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The network reportedly exploited worsening poverty in these areas of the province to recruit children into the divisions’ growing Deobandi and Ahl-eHadith madrassa network from which they were indoctrinated into jihadi philosophy, deployed to regional training/indoctrination centers, and ultimately sent to terrorist training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Locals believed that charitable activities being carried out by Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Al-Khidmat Foundation, and Jaish-e-Mohammad were further strengthening reliance on extremist groups and minimizing the importance of traditionally moderate Sufi religious leaders in these communities. Government and non-governmental sources claimed that financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from “”missionary”” and “”Islamic charitable”” organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments. Locals repeatedly requested USG support for socio-economic development and the promotion of moderate religious leaders in the region as a direct counter to the growing extremist threat …..

Read more : DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-extremist-recruitment-on-the-rise-in-south-punjab-madrassahs/