Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

MIRANSHAH: In a letter to the media, leader of banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that his group is focused on jeopardising democracy by hindering elections in the country.

“We have succeeded politically after we were asked to negotiate by the government,” said Hakimullah Mehsud.

He added that the group was now solely ‘focused’ on the next elections.

As elections are nearing, TTP’s aim would be to “end the democratic system,” the letter further said. Mehsud also urged TTP militants to target senior politicians and party leaders, while continuing the battle against security forces.

Furthermore, in a rare address from an undisclosed location, the militant chief claimed that the TTP was not just fighting a war on a tactical level, but were also able to ‘subdue’ politicians by making them negotiate.

TTP student union

A student union of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was traced by the police while three of its members splashed posters and banners around Multan.

The publicity material was scripted with inflammatory messages, encouraging people to not vote in elections as democracy was ‘un-Islamic’. It demanded that the people of Pakistan should adhere to the shariah (Islamic law), and said that it was haraam for them to participate in the voting process.

Police claim that the three members were students belonged to Lahore, but were enrolled at the Bahauddin Zakarriya University in Multan. After posting 50 banners in the urban area, they were putting posters on the walls of the Multan press club when they were caught by the journalists.

Continue reading Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

Musharraf banned from politics for life

RAWALPINDI/PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday banned former military ruler Pervez Musharraf from politics for life.

The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by the former army strongman over the rejection of his nomination papers for the National Assembly seat in Chitral.

A four-member larger bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and comprising of Justice Malik Manzoor, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Ikramullah ruled that since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or the Senate.

Announcing the decision, Justice Khan said Musharraf had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary, therefore the court was imposing a life-time ban on the retired general, barring him from contesting polls for the national and provincial assemblies as well as the Senate.

The bench also rejected the former president’s appeal over the rejection of his nomination papers from NA-32 (Chitral).

Also today, an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi ordered a two-week-long judicial remand for the retired general in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and also granted permission to Balochistan police to question him in the Akbar Bugti killing case.

Continue reading Musharraf banned from politics for life

Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups.

Benedict R. Anderson: Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia and its Legacy

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 15, No. 4, April 15, 2013 [http://japanfocus.org/-Benedict-Anderson/3929]

Impunity and Reenactment: Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia and its Legacy

Benedict R. Anderson

Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups. The worst cases in the post-World War 11 era – Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia, China, East Pakistan, East Timor, and Indonesia – show much the same bloody manipulations. It is equally the case that the killer regimes do not announce publicly the huge numbers killed, and rarely boast about the massacres, let alone the tortures that usually accompany them. They like to create a set of public euphemisms endlessly circulated through state-controlled mass media. In the age of the UN, to which almost all nation-states belong,in the time of Amnesty International and its uncountable NGO children and grandchildren, in the epoch of globalization and the internet, there are naturally worries about ‘face,’ interventions, embargos, ostracism, and UN-ish investigations. No less important are domestic considerations. National militaries are supposed heroically to defend the nation against foreign enemies, not slaughter their fellow-citizens. Police are supposed to uphold the law. Above all, there is need for political ‘stability,’ one element ofwhich is that killing should not get out of control, and that amateur civilian killers should be quietly assured that ‘it’s over’ and that no one will be punished.

Continue reading Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups.

Violence in Kotri, Jamshoro after JSMM activists killed

By

HYDERABAD: Two people were killed while four others received bullet injuries as violence broke out in Kotri, Jamshoro district on Sunday evening.

The incident comes in the backdrop of the killing of two activists of the banned Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) in Khairpur Nathan Shah of Dadu district.

Their bullet riddled and mutilated bodies were found in Dadu earlier in the day. Two vehicles were torched and a train was attacked in the unfolding incidents of violence in Kotri.

JSMM has called for a province wide strike on Monday, according to a press release received through an email, to condemn the incident.

The PR blamed ISI and Rangers saying that they had picked up two activists who were busy in preparation of late GM Syed’s death anniversary on April 24. After going missing their bodies were found on Sunday in Khairpur Nathan Shah, it said.

Continue reading Violence in Kotri, Jamshoro after JSMM activists killed

Central India aflame with attacks on Christians

The state of Chhattisgarh, in central India, is gaining a reputation for continued attacks by Hindu nationalists on Christians. Chhattisgarh, which borders the states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, is the scene where well-known Hindu extremist groups are persecuting religious minorities and continue to accuse Christians of “forced conversions.” It was in nearby Orissa in 2008 that scores of Christian churches and homes were burned, while Christians were murdered. An investigation of the atrocities remains inconclusive.

Last week, a Christian place of worship was incincerated in Kondagaon district in Chhattisgarh. According to a report by the Fides news agency, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, which brings together several evangelical Christian communities, built a chapel of wood and straw in the village Chhote Salna. The chapel was burned down on the evening of April 2 as local Christians looked on helplessly. The land on which the church stood had been donated by local Christians, who came to worship there from elsewhere in the district.

Continue reading Central India aflame with attacks on Christians

Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced they are launching the annual traditional “Spring Offensive” to defeat “western invaders, completely freeing the nation from the cusps of occupation and establishing an Islamic rule” in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said this year’s offensive would be code-named “Khalid bin Waleed (RA)”.

The ISAF commander in Afghanistan, Gen Joseph F Dunford, said ahead of the fighting season that, “the insurgency will confront a combined ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) and Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) force of over 350,000 personnel who are in the lead for security in areas containing over 87 per cent of Afghanistan’s population”.

The Taliban said that the operations would forge ahead under the direct guidance of the group’s military strategists while keeping in mind new developments of the current year.

“This year’s Khalid bin Waleed operation will be launched by the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate against America, Nato and their backers for the gratification of Allah Almighty, independence of Afghanistan and establishing in it an Islamic government while we humbly raise our hands towards Allah Almighty for its success and hope for a favorable and triumphant end,” the Taliban leadership council said.

“This year’s spring operation, in accordance with its combat nature, will consist of special military tactics quantity and quality wise while successful insider attacks, to eliminate foreign invaders, will be carried out by infiltrating Mujahideen inside enemy bases in a systematic and coordinated manner,” a Taliban statement said. The statement from the Taliban’s powerful leadership council was also sent to The Express Tribune.

Continue reading Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

President Obama

We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” – President Obama 2013

Read more » http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inaugural-address-president-barack-obama

Musharraf formally arrested in Benazir murder case

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in relation to the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The formal proceedings for the arrest were completed by the FIA Deputy Director at Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad which has been declared sub-jail.

During the interrogation, the former president was asked why Benazir Bhutto was not provided security upon her return to Pakistan, to which Musharraf replied that she was provided complete security. Musharraf also refused to accept the allegations against him and said Benazir Bhutto became the target of terrorists.

The FIA will file a petition seeking the physical remand of Musharraf in the Anti Terrorism court on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the ATC had allowed the FIA to include Pervez Musharraf in the investigation of Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Musharraf is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of the three cases he is fighting in the courts since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-98394-Musharraf-formally-arrested-in-Benazir-murder-case

Our troops didn’t provoke border tension: China

BEIJING: Sticking to its stand that Chinese troops have not caused any “provocation” by violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China on Thursday said the incident will not affect bilateral ties or disrupt peace at the borders as both sides are trying to resolve it in a friendly manner.

“I do not agree with your allegation that it is the Chinese side that has caused the provocation between the border troops,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said while replying to questions about the intrusion of Chinese troops at the Depsang Valley in Ladakh.

“China’s troops have never crossed the (LAC) line. China and India are neighbours and the boundary is not demarcated yet.

“It is inevitable for problems to prop up in border areas. When there is a problem it should be resolved through friendly consultations though existing mechanisms and channels,” she said.

“We believe this incident can also be handled and will not affect the peace and stability of the border areas as well as the normal development of China and India relations,” she said.

Urging the media to be patient, she said, “We also believe that the two sides continue to solve the issue in a friendly manner and we will not let the issue affect border peace and security and normal development of China-India relations”.

“We hope relevant media can keep patience and create favourable conditions for the two countries to solve this issue through friendly consultations,” she said.

The spokesperson said the situation on the Sino-Indian border is peaceful and stable.

“Just want to tell you that the current situation in the border area is peaceful and stable. Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations.

“In the past three days I have repeatedly stressed China’s point and now I would like to reiterate that Chinese troops have always acted in strict compliance to relevant treaty and protocol between the two countries regarding the protection of security of the areas around the LAC,” she said.

China is committed to peace and security of the border areas as well as the negotiated settlement of the boundary issue left over from history, she said.

Asked about reports that the Chinese troops were insisting on Indian army to remove certain fortifications in that area, she said “since I am not in the frontier, so I do not know the latest development of the situation…Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations”.

Continue reading Our troops didn’t provoke border tension: China

Would you buy a ‘suspended coffee’ for someone in need?

The daily trip to a local coffee shop may give you your caffeine fix – but thanks to a new scheme, it could also give you a chance to do a small good deed.

The idea of “Suspended Coffee” is simple: When you buy yourself a coffee at a participating cafe, you also pay for a second one – which can then be claimed by someone who cannot afford it themselves.

They don’t have to “prove” anything to claim one, but the scheme relies on the good faith of everyone involved.

The movement has been growing in popularity since it began in Italy several years ago, and has already been embraced by hundreds of coffee shops around the world. Now Starbucks has announced it will soon be adopting a version of the scheme.

Continue reading Would you buy a ‘suspended coffee’ for someone in need?

Boston mosque refuses to offer funeral prayers for marathon bomber: Report

BOSTON: A small mosque in Boston, called the “Islamic Society of Boston”, has refused to hold funeral prayers for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, his aunt told NBC News on Wednesday.

According to the report, Patimat Suleimanova said the US authorities had told the family they could have the 26-year-old’s body.

One of the suspects’ uncle approached the mosque requesting a burial and funeral services but the mosque declined the request, she added.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the mosque said that the decision to conduct the burial would be made by a scholar. “This one is complex because the things that this guy did were just absolutely disgraceful,” he was quoted by NBC News as saying.

Authorities are still working to piece together a motive for the twin bombings just over a week ago at the Boston marathon that killed three people and wounded 264, as more details emerged about the ethnic Chechen brothers accused of carrying out the attack.

Still hospitalised, 19-year-old Dzhokhar has reportedly admitted to being driven by radical ideas, telling investigators the attacks were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Continue reading Boston mosque refuses to offer funeral prayers for marathon bomber: Report

Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

By Shakeel Anjum

ISLAMABAD: Fear and panic gripped the area when a group of local Taliban belonging to Lal Masjid raided a video cassettes shop in Bhara Kahu, an Islamabad area, and burnt CDs and video cassettes on Saturday evening.

The Bhara Kahu police, on the complaint of the locals, have arrested three Taliban from the scene and registered an FIR under the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA), while more than 10 Taliban managed to escape.

A witness told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that a group of Taliban, carrying batons, reached Nai Abadi of Bhara Kahu in a Toyota pickup bearing registration number Peshawar 3868. “Jamia Faridia and Jamia Hafsa was written in bold letters on the vehicle,” the witness added.

The Taliban entered Al-Awan video shop and threw CDs and video cassettes out of the shop. Later, they chanted slogans in favour of Islamisation and against the rulers and set the stuff on fire, he said.

Continue reading Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

Islamic Leader Issues Tough Response to Fellow Muslims on Bombings and Extremism: Drop the ‘We Are the Victims’ Mentality

By Billy Hallowell | The Blaze

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a conservative author, activist and the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), has a message for Muslim Americans: Step up to the plate and work diligently to combat Islamism and extremism. Jasser spoke with TheBlaze this week about his reaction to the Boston Marathon terror attack and his views on steps that should be taken within Islamic circles to prevent further extremism.

When asked how he believes Muslims should be reacting to the terror attacks, the faith leader noted that he has been disappointed by the response thus far. He claimed that many Islamic leaders have simply not done enough and that more is required of the community as a whole.

“Swift condemnations of the act of terrorism are just not enough. I don’t believe that the American public is buying their mantra of denial and victimization,” he told TheBlaze through e-mail. “They deny that the perpetrators were Muslim (basically committing ‘takfir’ as is typical for Islamists) — all the while the list of hundreds of American Muslims either attempting to commit or having committed acts of terrorism continues to pile up.”

M. Zuhdi Jasser, President and Founder, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, testifies during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, on “the extent of the radicalization” of American Muslims, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2011 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jasser took particular aim at those Muslim leaders who he believes “focus on their own victimization, patronizingly reminding the rest of America not to be ‘racists’ [or] ‘bigots.'” The conservative Muslim leader said that it is time for faith leaders to confront the issues that so-often lead to radicalization.

Rather than avoiding the discussion and claiming victimization, Jasser believes that it’s paramount for these leaders to figure out what’s separating some Muslim youths from Americanism and leading them “toward supremacist Islamism” — and he wants to address these phenomena.

“There is a deep soulful battle of identity raging within the Muslim consciousness domestically and abroad between Westernism and liberalism,” he said. “In essence the Islamists confront every situation in a selfish ‘we are the victims’ mentality and the rest of us non-Islamist Muslims need to instead respond with a louder and more real leadership and say: ‘We will not be victims.'”

Jasser also noted that those who embrace the Muslim faith should openly acknowledge that the radicalisation problem requires believers to tackle the issue from within — and that Muslims who embrace reform are the most essential to preventing future attacks.

Continue reading Islamic Leader Issues Tough Response to Fellow Muslims on Bombings and Extremism: Drop the ‘We Are the Victims’ Mentality

RCMP arrest two in alleged plot to derail VIA Rail train

Canadian security officials say they have thwarted a terrorism plot and arrested two suspects in Ontario and Quebec.

By: National Security Reporter, News reporter

Two terrorism suspects charged with plotting to derail a VIA passenger train travelling between Toronto and New York, in what police are calling a “Al Qaeda-sponsored” attack with alleged ties to Iran, will appear in court Tuesday morning.

Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto, and 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier, from Montreal, both face five charges including a conspiring with a terrorist group, although the RCMP said the public did not face “imminent” danger.

The Tunisian-born Esseghaier is an engineer with a master’s degree in industrial biotechnology from Tunis, according to an online blog that was deleted shortly after his arrest was announced. He studied at Quebec’s Université de Sherbrooke from 2008-2009 and is currently listed as a doctoral student at the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique, near Montreal.

RCMP officers flew Esseghaier to Toronto Monday, escorting him off a small aircraft at Buttonville Municipal Airport in handcuffs and shackles 10 minutes before his arrest was announced publicly.

Jaser, according to sources, is of Palestinian descent and lived in the United Arab Emirates before moving here. Neighbours confirmed he lived in a rented North York apartment but were unaware of his profession.

Continue reading RCMP arrest two in alleged plot to derail VIA Rail train

Pakistan Elections 2013: The view from afar

by Omar Ali

If all goes well, Pakistanis will go to the polls on May 11th to elect a new national assembly and all 4 provincial assemblies.  The Pakistan People’s Party was the largest party in the outgoing parliament and under the guidance of President Asif Ali Zardari, successfully held together a disparate coalition regime in the face of multiple challenges to complete its 5 year term of office. Unfortunately, that huge achievement is almost their only major achievement in office. While things were not as absolutely abysmal as portrayed by Pakistan’s anti-PPP middle class (rural areas, for example, are better off economically than they have ever been), they are pretty awful.  Chronic electricity shortages (inherited from Musharraf’s Potemkin regime, but still not fixed), galloping inflation, widespread corruption and endless terrorism have tried the patience of even the most devoted PPP supporters and make it difficult for the PPP to run on their record. There are a few bright spots (including a relatively well run welfare scheme called the Benazir income support program) and with Zardari deploying his coalition building magic, it is not a good idea to completely rule them out.  Still, they are clearly not the favorites in the coming elections. The middle class excitement (especially in Punjab and KP) is all about Imran Khan, while more serious pundits seem to be betting on Nawaz Sharif and his PMLN. Being out of the country, I have little direct knowledge of what retail politics looks like on the ground; but there is such a thing as a long-distance view and I am going to take that view and try and make some predictions. We will know in 3 weeks how out of touch I really am.

If you do want to look up what is happening on the ground in detail there are several excellent sources available, for example:  Saba Imtiaz’s election watch, the Dawn newspaper’s election page (including an interesting motor cycle diary from Tahir Mehdi as he motors across Pakistan), an election page from journalist and public intellectual Raza Rumiand last but not the least, the wonderful young team at fiverupees.com, who don’t have a lot of coverage yet, but do have writers who prefer carefully checked facts and data to mere opinion.

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

By IndiaTimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBC – Burma riots: Video shows police standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims

Burma riots: Video shows police failing to stop attack

To watch video click HERE

The BBC has obtained police video showing officers standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims in the town of Meiktila.

The footage shows a mob destroying a Muslim gold shop and then setting fire to houses. A man thought to be a Muslim is seen on fire.

It was filmed last month, when at least 43 people were killed in Meiktila.

Meanwhile the EU is expected to decide whether to lift sanctions imposed on Burma, in response to recent reforms.

It is thought likely that despite concerns about the treatment of minorities, Brussels will confirm that the sanctions, which were suspended a year ago, are now permanently lifted.

The sanctions include the freezing of assets of more than 1,000 Burmese companies, travel restrictions on officials, and a ban on EU investment in many areas. However, an arms embargo is expected to remain in place.

Continue reading BBC – Burma riots: Video shows police standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tells opposition leader Khalida Zia: “Go to your ‘Pyara Pakistan”

Go to Pakistan

PM tells Khaleda, accuses her of instigating army

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday accused the leader of the opposition of instigating the army to take over power unconstitutionally, sensing her defeat in the next election.

“Begum Zia could understand it very well that people of the country would not give vote to a corrupt party like BNP, and for her movement to protect the war criminals,” she said.

She (Khaleda Zia) must know that the situation of 1975 and 2013 are not the same, Hasina told a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.

The premier said the BNP leader still believes in grabbing power by climbing on the shoulder of the army as she has no faith in democracy and public support.

Mentioning that the real face of the BNP leader has now got exposed before people, Hasina said “Go to your (Khaleda’s) ‘Pyara Pakistan’, you’ll feel good there,” reports UNB.

Continue reading Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina tells opposition leader Khalida Zia: “Go to your ‘Pyara Pakistan”

Moderate Muslims Must Oppose Islamism

By  M. Zuhdi Jasser

The terror attacks in Boston, perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, have finally come to an end with the capture of the younger brother Dzhoakhar in Watertown on Friday evening. One hopes that Dzhoakhar survives just long enough to tell us whether he was working with any foreign or domestic Islamist groups before he hopefully meets the same fate of his victims. Our nation will certainly be resilient, and we cannot let terrorists achieve their goals of unraveling our society.

Perhaps Boston’s terror may finally be the impetus to begin the long overdue process of retooling America’s current counterterrorism strategies. Since 9-11, except for the Fort Hood massacre, we have been fortunate enough to avoid the kind of devastation and loss of life that we saw this week in Boston. That was certainly not for a lack of trying by our enemies, with over 300 arrests on terrorism charges since 9-11. Of these, over 80 percent were Islamists. I’ve said it before — after 9-11, after Fort Hood, and after Times Square, this is a Muslim problem that needs a Muslim solution.

The Tsarnaev brothers prove that the current Homeland Security “whack-a-mole” strategy is severely limited and rather flawed. The United States must address head-on the ideology of political Islam, which is the root cause of Islamist terrorism.

As details emerge about the identity and ideologies of the Tsarnaev brothers, it should quickly become clear that these individuals did not go to sleep one night normal American Muslims and wake up the next day al-Qaeda jihadists putting together pressure-cooker bombs. Their pathway towards radicalization will now be obvious to those who honestly connect the dots in retrospect. Far more important now is that leading reform-minded American Muslims, along with the U.S. government, the media, and academe, begin to confront and dissect the early stages of radicalization (Islamism), not just the last one (violent extremism).

Despite our devotion to our faith, I and other leading anti-Islamist Muslims were vilified by Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in America, along with their choir on the left, for participating in Representative Peter King’s (R., N.Y.) hearing in Congress on American Muslim radicalization and the central role of Islamism. I believe history will show Chairman King’s hearings to be prescient. I was also vilified by those same groups for my role in narrating the documentary The Third Jihad, which happened to open with an illustrative scene from the terror in Beslan, Russia, in September 2004, when militant Chechnyan Islamists killed 334 civilians, 186 of them children, after a two-week standoff. The 2008 documentary was about the threat of militant Islamism to the West and the need for anti-Islamist Muslims to counter that threat. How many attacks like that suffered by the people of Boston this week must we see before we recognize the need to drill down against the separatism of the global movement of political Islam and their dreams of an Islamic state?

Continue reading Moderate Muslims Must Oppose Islamism

Musharraf’s return: The graveyard is full of indispensables

By

“We rotate these days among people … the only being who cannot and will not perish is your Lord.”

We were inside the parliament building, saying Friday prayers after a stormy Senate session. What we witnessed inside made all of us feel humble and subdued.

“Put Pervez Musharraf in the same cell where he put Nawaz Sharif. Let snakes and scorpions into his room. Let him cry out in pain,” said one of the senators as the lawmakers vented their anger against the former military ruler.

“Handcuff and shackle him and parade him through the streets,” said another senator.

I opened a little window to the recent past and found myself in the army chief’s official residence in Rawalpindi where Musharraf was staying after toppling Nawaz Sharif. He was still the chief executive of Pakistan, a strange title he coined for himself before moving to the president’s office.

We were there with a media team to interview him. Some members of his advisory team were also there, including a Rawalpindi politician. Musharraf sneezed. Three of these advisors ran to him, holding tissue papers. The Pindi politician reached him first. Others looked at him with envy.

None of them came forward to defend the former dictator when PPP, PML-N and ANP lawmakers berated him this Friday, although some of them were present during the debate too.

The senators also targeted the caretaker government for failing to arrest Musharraf after an Islamabad court refused to grant him bail.

They wanted him “hauled to the worst prison” in the country, as a PPP senator said. Later, one senator also suggested that he should be hanged for toppling a lawfully elected government.

Above all, they wanted him “disgraced, dishonored and humiliated” as a “warning to future adventure seekers.”

The retired general, however, had already suffered much humiliation. The man who once hauled the country’s chief justice to his office and tried to persuade him to resign is now forced to appear before junior magistrates, seeking bail.

But that’s not enough for his enemies. They want more. “Do to him what they did to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif,” said one senator, ignoring a plea from the Senate chairman not to get carried away.

The sane among them, however, did warn their colleagues not to go too far. “The ground realities must not be ignored,” said a senior PPP senator. “After all, he is a former army chief and the military obviously will not like this humiliation.”

He urged the angry politicians to seek a way out, proposing “consultation among all stake holders,” i.e. the interim government, the judiciary, PPP, PML-N, ANP and the military.

Other senators also agreed with the suggestion, saying that starting a treason trial against Musharraf will not stop at him. “Don’t forget that the present army chief was also attended Musharraf’s meeting with the chief justice,” said a senator.

Continue reading Musharraf’s return: The graveyard is full of indispensables

High Treason: Senate passes resolution to try Musharraf under Article 6

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday unanimously passed a resolution calling for a trial of former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution for derailing democracy and abrogating the constitution.

The resolution was tabled by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s Senator Ishaq Dar and was approved by all members of the Upper House of Parliament.

The resolution also demanded that all photographs, posters and banners of the former president be removed from all government buildings with immediate effect.

The Senators also called for the implementation on its earlier resolution of January 23, 2012.

Moreover, Federal Interior Minister Malik Muhammad Habib Khan informed the Senate that Musharraf was already in the government’s custody and that his Chak Shahzad residence had been declared a sub-jail.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/04/19/senate-passes-resolution-to-try-musharraf-under-article-6/

The stories of 2 brothers suspected in bombing

By JEFF DONN and JOCELYN NOVECK | Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Tamerlan Tsarnaev practiced martial arts and boxing, even aspiring to fight on the U.S. Olympic team. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been on the wrestling team at a prestigious high school and won a scholarship from the city to pursue higher education. Neighbors recalled the ethnic Chechen brothers, living on a quiet street in Cambridge, Mass., riding bikes and skateboards.

Two brothers, one dead, one alive and at large. After hours of only grainy images of two men in baseball caps to go on, a portrait gradually emerged Friday of the men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing.

The brothers, who came from a Russian region near Chechnya, lived together on Norfolk Street in Cambridge. They had been in the country for about a decade, according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md.

Less was immediately known about Tamerlan, believed to be 26 when he was killed overnight in a shootout. He was the stockier one identified in video released to the public, wearing a black baseball cap and khaki pants. He was involved in martial arts, and competed in boxing matches. According to a crime website he was once arrested for domestic assault on a girlfriend.

“I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.” he was quoted as saying in a photo package that appeared in a Boston University student magazine in 2010.

Continue reading The stories of 2 brothers suspected in bombing

Congressman Brad Sherman urged the Secretary of State that U.S. should spend a million and a half dollars broadcasting the service of the Voice of America in Sindhi language

Aid cut to Pakistan won’t be in US interest: Kerry

During the hearing Congressman Brad Sherman urged the Secretary of State for broadcasting the service of the Voice of America in Sindhi language.

“There’s probably no more important country than Pakistan and nothing more important than our public outreach to the Pakistani people, yet we’re broadcasting only in Urdu. This committee voted overwhelmingly that we should spend a million and a half dollars broadcasting in the Sindhi language,” he said.

Continue reading Congressman Brad Sherman urged the Secretary of State that U.S. should spend a million and a half dollars broadcasting the service of the Voice of America in Sindhi language

Congressman Sherman raised VOA-Sindhi with Secretary of state John Kerry

Washington: Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman continues to advocate on behalf of Sindhis across the world. At House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing, Congressman Sherman spoke with Secretary John Kerry about the need for a Sindhi Voice of America program. You can hear his remarks here starting at the 0:26 mark. SAPAC is immensely grateful for Congressman Sherman’s dedication to the Sindhi people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmHjTaWo63o&feature=youtu.be

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 18, 2013.

Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

By

ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.

They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”

Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.

“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.

“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.

He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.

“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.

PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”

Continue reading Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

Musharraf on the run after bail cancellation

.This act of the former military ruler “underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses”, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“It is essential that Pakistan’s military authorities which are protecting the former dictator comply with the Islamabad High Court’s orders and ensure that he presents himself for arrest,” the statement added.

It further said that “continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan’s armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford.”

ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday escaped from the premises of the Islamabad High Court after the cancellation of his bail application by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the judges detention case.

Immediately after the bail cancellation, police tried to reach the former military ruler but he was escorted by his personal security, fleeing in his bullet-proof black four-wheeler.

“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” said Muhammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party.

In a written judgement printed in English, the IHC ordered that: “He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.”

The detailed verdict issued by the Islamabad High Court ordered for terrorism to be added to the list of charges against the former military ruler. The order further said that Musharraf’s exit from the court earlier during the day warranted for separate charges to be filed against him.

According to reports, Musharraf’s lawyers reached the Supreme Court to file a pre-arrest bail application in order avoid his surrender to the police.

However, the SC returned the 14-page bail application as the timings for the Registrar’s office had ended. Musharraf’s lawyers are now expected to resubmit the appeal on Friday.

After departing from the IHC’s premises, Musharraf had reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburban area on the outskirts of Islamabad where security was beefed up and all entry and exit routes to the area were blocked.

Continue reading Musharraf on the run after bail cancellation

Texas fertilizer plant explosion: Up to 15 dead, 160 injured; regulators fined plant in 2012 for safety violations

Authorities have said as many as 15 people are feared dead and more than 160 others were injured in the explosion that leveled homes and businesses in the farming community of West, Texas. ..

Read more » The Star
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/04/18/texas_fertilizer_plant_explosion_up_to_15_dead_160_injured_firefighters_missing_cause_unknown.html

The Rise of China’s Reformers?

Change You Can Believe In

By Evan A. Feigenbaum and Damien Ma

Most observers are gloomy about the prospects for serious economic reform in China. But they ignore a central lesson of recent Chinese history: reform is possible when the right mix of conditions comes together at the right time. And the very circumstances that facilitated the last major burst of economic reform in the 1990s are largely present today.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139295/evan-a-feigenbaum-and-damien-ma/the-rise-of-chinas-reformers?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-the_rise_of_chinas_reformers-041813

Via – Twitter

Musharraf Flees a Court–and Puts Pakistan’s Generals in a Quandary

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It was an escape worthy of a Hollywood thriller. Moments after the Islamabad High Court cancelled former Pakistani military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf’s bail, making him liable for arrest, the barrel-chested ex-commando hastened out of the court room. Musharraf’s heavy security detail whisked him away into a bulletproof back SUV and sped off into the distance. Pakistan’s once absolute ruler became a fugitive.

To stave off the prospect of nights behind narrowly spaced bars, Musharraf has taken refuge in his fortified five-acre farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad. If he does get arrested on the high court’s orders, he may be spared the indignity of a lonely dark cell and be allowed to spend his time between court hearings under house arrest. As yet, the police have held back on arresting him and have instead put up a security cordon. Riot police wearing helmets and thick padding, holding shields and twirling long sticks blocked the main road leading Musharraf’s home.

(TIME 100: Malala Yousafzai)

Normally, the police wouldn’t hesitate to arrest a civilian politician, as they often did during Musharraf’s rule. But their reluctance reveals just how sensitive the matter is. If Musharraf is arrested, he will become the first former army chief to have his wrists clasped in cold metal – a precedent few generals will be comfortable with. If he is put on trial, there is a risk that current members of the military leadership could get dragged into the legal quandary. “The army leadership will be involved in it,” says retired Lieut. Gen. Talat Masood, an analyst. “They cannot get away from it. They were involved in the decisions he took.”

Musharraf is facing charges of sacking and arresting scores of judges when he imposed a state of emergency in November 2007. The court’s move on Thursday was no doubt inflected by a strong element of revenge. As Musharraf fled the courtroom, angry lawyers chased after his vehicle. “Look, look who has run! Musharraf has run, Musharraf has run!” they chanted, in slogans reminiscent of the final year of Musharraf’s rule, when a popular lawyer-led movement to restore the judges and end military rule harried him.

Fearing that the army’s image would be tainted by his return, the current crop of top generals warned him not to hazard his journey back to Pakistan from foreign exile. “The army’s leadership warned him of all this,” says Masood. “They tried to dissuade him from coming to Pakistan.” The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency even travelled to London to urge him to reconsider his plans at one stage. But Musharraf was determined to stage a political comeback, telling Pakistanis that he had returned to “save” the country when he arrived in Karachi a month ago. Since his arrival, though, the army has provided him with a large security escort in light of the threats he faces.

Continue reading Musharraf Flees a Court–and Puts Pakistan’s Generals in a Quandary

IMF downgrades global growth forecast again

Conditions have worsened in past 3 months, demanding more ‘aggressive’ action

By CBC News

The International Monetary Fund delivered a pessimistic update to its forecast for the world’s economy on Tuesday.

In January — the last time it gave an update — the group expected the world’s economy to grow at a reasonable pace, slightly ahead of 2012’s pace.

Conditions have worsened further in the past three months, however, and the situation in Europe demands more “aggressive” action from policymakers, the IMF said.

“Europe should do everything it can to strengthen private demand,” IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard said.

“What this means is aggressive monetary policy, and what this means is getting the financial system to be stronger — it’s still not in great shape.”

Canada, U.S. forecasts

The IMF says the world’s economy will expand by 3.3 per cent this year. That’s less than the 3.5 per cent pace of growth that the IMF expected previously, but a bit higher than the 3.2 per cent growth seen in 2012.

The IMF expects the U.S. economy to expand 1.9 per cent this year. That’s below its January estimate of 2.1 per cent and last year’s U.S. growth of 2.2 per cent. Still, the IMF says the U.S. economy should expand 3 per cent in 2014.

As for Canada’s economy, the IMF expects it will likely slow to about 1.5 per cent this year from 1.8 last year, before picking up to 2.4 per cent in 2014.

“The main challenge for Canada’s policy-makers is to support growth in the short term while reducing the vulnerabilities that may arise from external shocks and domestic imbalances,” the body advises.

“Although fiscal consolidation is needed to rebuild fiscal space against future shocks, there is room to allow automatic stabilizers to operate fully if growth were to weaken further.”

Courtesy: CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/04/16/business-imf-forecast.html

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