Category Archives: Religion

Days after crackdown, JuD reappears with new name

By Rana Tanveer

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Christmas peace train inaugurated in Pakistan

The train will run across the country to showcase unity & harmony with Christians on the eve of Christmas

Pakistan | Dec 22, 2016, 06.44 PM (IST) – Pakistan Minister for Railways Khuwaja Saad Rafique inaugurated the Christmas peace train on Thursday in a move to showcase minority outreach.

The train started its journey from Rawalpindi on Thursday and is scheduled to reach Karachi on December 31, 2016, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

Christians in Pakistan make up for one of the two largest (non-Muslim) religious minorities along with Hindus.

The total number of Christians in Pakistan was estimated to be 1.6% of the population in 2005.

The minister, while addressing the inauguration ceremony, said Christians played a key role in the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

“The white colour of our national flag denotes minority groups, and it is incomplete without them,” he said, adding that this train would serve as a symbol of unity, tranquility and harmony wherever it would go.

Read more » WIONEWS
See more » http://www.wionews.com/south-asia/christmas-peace-train-inaugurated-in-pakistan-10441

Joggi thee maan murliyoon wajjayaan – by Swami Anand Krishna

Joggi thee maan murliyoon wajjayaan,
جوڳي ٿي مان مُرليون وڄايان
Ggoliyaan pahinjay Punhal kky.
ڳوليان پنهنجي پنهل کي
Saami thee maan murliyoon wajjayaan,
سامي ٿي مان مُرليون وڄايان
Ggoliyaan pahinjay Punhal kky.
ڳوليان پنهنجي پنهل کي
Punhal aahay hin des mein,
پنهل آهي هن ديس ۾
Ggoliyaan payi pardes mein.
ڳوليان پئي پرديس ۾
Sukal wann saawa thiyaa,
سڪل وڻ ساوا ٿيا
Aayaa baadal wo Allah.
آيا بادل وو الله
by Swami Anand Krishna
سوامي آنند ڪرشنا

Courtesy: Sawami Anand Krishna

JORDAN REMOVES RELIGION FROM NEW SMART ID CARDS

Jordan’s new smart IDs will no longer indicate the cardholder’s religion.

Smart IDs that don’t indicate the holder’s religion are now replacing traditional IDs in Jordan as part of the government’s digitisation program, reports Al Bawaba. Jordanian smart IDs will include data chips containing background information about holder for security purposes.

The move drew criticism from the country’s conservatives who argue that ditching religion from national IDs violates article one of the Jordanian constitution, which declares Islam the state religion – most notably Former MP Zakaria El Sheikh who called the decision an attempt to “strip the country of its Muslim identity.” In response, lawyer Taghrid Doghmy fired back saying the decision was in compliance with the constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal under the law, and argues that not specifying a person’s religious views on national ID cards could eliminate religious discrimination.

Read more » cairoscene
See more » http://www.cairoscene.com/BusinessAndPolitics/Jordan-Removes-Religion-from-New-Smart-ID-Cards

ISIS jihadis car bombed Prophet Muhammad’s grand daughter Syeda Zeinab’s shrine in Damascus.

Twenty dead in Damascus mosque bombing: ISIS targets holiest Shia shrine in Syria in Ramadan terror outrage

Two bombs went off on Saturday killing at least eight people in Damascus

Shiite Muslims are often targeted by ISIS, which considers them heretics

By CHRIS SUMMERS FOR MAILONLINE

Two bombs killed 20 people outside the Sayyida Zeinab mosque in Damascus, the holiest Shiite shrine in Syria.

The official SANA news agency said a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, sometimes known as Daesh, consider Shiites to be heretics.

But Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi blamed Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for being behind the ‘brutal massacres’.

Read more » DailyMail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636528/Eight-dead-bombs-Shia-shrine-Damascus-Sayyida-Zeinab-mosque-come-repeated-attack-ISIS.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636528/Eight-dead-bombs-Shia-shrine-Damascus-Sayyida-Zeinab-mosque-come-repeated-attack-ISIS.html#ixzz4BIOY16LI
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What is Bad for Delhi and Kabul is Bad for Lahore Too

BY

The Pakistan state policy of using jihadist terror to wage proxy wars is backfiring, as the Lahore bombing on Easter Sunday has tragically demonstrated.

Lahore – the nerve-centre of Pakistan’s Punjabi heartland – was soaked in blood this past Easter Sunday. A suicide bomber struck the bustling Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in the provincial capital when it was packed with families – scores of them Christian – enjoying perhaps the last weekend of the city’s evanescent spring before the weather warms up. At least 72 people have perished, most of them children and women, and many of them Christians. The jihadist group Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), which is a virulent off-shoot of the vicious Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility. That Pakistan’s fight against jihadist terrorism will be drawn out was known, but after the Mardan,Charsadda and Peshawar attacks, the Lahore carnage reaffirms that it will also be an extremely deadly one.

Read more » TheWire
See more » http://thewire.in/2016/04/02/what-is-bad-for-delhi-and-kabul-is-bad-for-lahore-too-27214/

Then they came for me…

By Shamila Ghyas

 

Pakistan has never been safe for Hindus, Christians, Shias, Ahmadis, skeptics, and pretty much anyone who can walk by themselves on their own two feet. Scratch that, make it ‘everyone’ – the ones who can’t walk, who can’t see, can’t talk, little girls, babies; Pakistan is not safe for anyone.

A Christian simply walking happily outside a mosque is enough for him to be booked for blasphemy. An Ahmadi referring to himself as a Muslim is asking for a major beating by a dozen men at the very least. This could expand to a zealous mob burning his whole house down and smashing a washing machine screaming ecstatically “Yaaayyy” (this happened!) And as we all know, even a mock wedding on TV with a religious song playing in the background is enough to make everyone involved “wajibul qatal.”

The list is endless. Murder happy nation, we are.

Now, the one group of people, it had still been somewhat safe for had been the ‘debonair’ scholars that routinely came on TV to brainwash everyone. The likes of Amir Liaqat, Maulana Tariq Jameel, Hafiz Saeed, Junaid Jamshed and others.

Amir Liaqat has enticed people to kill, poked fun at his callers, given babies away like cellphones in his shows, fed mango to a poor victim like he was waterboarding him, and has acted like a complete buffoon (I am being polite here). Hafiz Saeed, considered a terrorist everywhere except in Pakistan, gets the best microphone and seat in the house when he is around. His Twitter account where he likes to rant (terrorists are so tech savvy these days) has been suspended but I am fairly certain, Pakistan had nothing to do with that. Terrorists are allowed to have a voice here, you see.

Junaid Jamshed, singer/heartthrob turned fashion designer/religious scholar also routinely came on TV preaching religion, singing naats, as well as stating his personal misogynistic views for all to watch, learn and follow.

No one had any issue. Not when he said women should not drive. Not when he said secular laws of the West are a curse.

No one also had any issues when he, along with the other scholars, did not speak up for people who had been accused (wrongly) of blasphemy. When they were brutally killed by the ‘crazed vigilante savage squads.’  When people were hacked, burnt and murdered. When a poor woman who was thrown into jail even after repeatedly apologizing for something she had not even done. None of them spoke up.

Not even when a Christian couple was thrown into a brick kiln. Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi both had their legs broken by the mob so they could not run; they were dragged by a tractor, then thrown into the brick kiln. When the four-month pregnant woman did not burn properly, she was pulled out and wrapped in a cotton cloth before being thrown back in so she would burn faster – all this in front of their two children.

Continue reading Then they came for me…

Sindh CM celebrates Holi in Hindu Gymkhana

KARACHI – Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that it is Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its government in Sindh which has always struggled for rights of minorities.

While addressing a gathering organised by Hindu Community at the Hindu Gymkhana to celebrate Holi, he said “The respect, equal opportunities and the equal level playing field in the entire socio-political sector the party has provided to the minorities cannot traced in any other party or the government.”

Read more » DailyTimes
See more » http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/23-Mar-2016/sindh-cm-celebrates-holi-in-hindu-gymkhana

‘No-one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim’: Moment Burma democracy heroine Suu Kyi lost her cool with BBC’s Mishal Husain after being quizzed over violence towards Muslim minority

By SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

She is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a beacon of saintly integrity in the West who remained under house arrest for 15 years in her native Burma.

However, there is another side to Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi that sits at odds with her iconic image.

After the BBC Today presenter Mishal Husain gave Suu Kyi a rough ride during a BBC interview, Suu Kyi lost her composure and was heard to mutter angrily off-air: ‘No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim.’

More » DailyMail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3508710/Moment-Burma-heroine-lost-cool-Today-s-Mishal-Suu-Kyi-s-anger-no-one-told-going-interviewed-Muslim-heated-questioning-BBC.html#ixzz43v8bW0Uj

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3508710/Moment-Burma-heroine-lost-cool-Today-s-Mishal-Suu-Kyi-s-anger-no-one-told-going-interviewed-Muslim-heated-questioning-BBC.html#ixzz43vJXpoms
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Sindh declares public holiday on Holi

In a first, Sindh declares public holiday on Holi

BY DAWN.COM

KARACHI: In an unprecedented move, the government of Sindh on Saturday notified Mar 24 as a public holiday throughout the province to mark the occasion of Holi – a religious festival of the Hindu community.

A spokesman for the Chief Minister House told Dawn.com that in the past, only the Hindu community was given a holiday on Holi.

“This is the first time Holi has been declared a public holiday anywhere in Pakistan.”

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1246727/

For The First Time, Pakistan Will Declare Public Holidays On Holi, Diwali And Easter

 |  By

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the country will get public holidays on Holi, Diwali and Easter after its parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution to this effect.

The resolution, which was moved by lawmaker Dr.Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, was adopted by the National Assembly to take steps to declare the festivals as holidays for minorities.

According to The Tribune, the Pakistan government has agreed to accept the resolution.

Read more » The Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/03/16/pakistan-holi-diwali_n_9474512.html?ncid=fcbklnkinhpmg00000001

Will Qadri’s hanging lead to blasphemy law reforms in Pakistan?

Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of former Governor Salman Taseer, has been hanged in a prison in Rawalpindi. Is Qadri’s death a victory for anti-blasphemy law campaigners or will it fuel more religious violence in the nation?

Excerpt:

Arshad Mahmood, an activist based in Islamabad, lauded Prime Minister Sharif and his government for not pardoning Qadri. “I am glad that Sharif didn’t succumb to the pressure from religious groups, who are extremely powerful in Pakistan. The hanging will yield positive results for the future of the country,” Mahmood told DW.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/will-qadris-hanging-lead-to-blasphemy-law-reforms-in-pakistan/a-19082554

Opposition leader warns Turkey in process of ‘Pakistanization’

By TODAYSZAMAN.COM

 

ISTANBUL – The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, slammed the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leaders for “turning Turkey into a bloodbath” and said they should be tried for “aiding and abetting terrorist organizations.”

In a speech to members of the CHP İstanbul branch, Kılıçdaroğlu said neighboring Syria has become a new Afghanistan, an operational center for all jihadist groups. “They went there under the protection offered by the government. Turkey has become embroiled in a process of Pakistanization,” he said.

The CHP leader noted 234 people were killed in six bombings across Turkey over the past six months. “No country that is not in a war has been through such a deep trauma. How can it be that 234 people have been killed over the past six months but no is held accountable politically?” he said.

Read more » TodayZaman
See more » http://mobile.todayszaman.com/national_opposition-leader-warns-turkey-in-process-of-pakistanization_412857.html

A faith hijacked

Why don’t we see fatwas in support of the right of every child to food, shelter, healthcare and a decent education?

BY IRFAN HUSAIN

WHEN Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa directing Muslims not to play chess as, according to him, the ancient board game was un-Islamic, a roar of laughter greeted this edict on social media.

A similar reaction was seen when a Malaysian cleric decreed that yoga should not be practised by Muslims as it had Hindu origins. More recently, a so-called fatwa permitting Muslim men to eat their wives in extreme circumstances went viral on social media. Although the Saudi grand mufti denied having issued it, many may have believed it to be genuine as the same worthy had urged in 2012 that all churches in the Arabian peninsula be destroyed.

But why look towards Saudi Arabia and Malaysia for such examples? Here in Pakistan some years ago, a cleric in Noshki, a small town in Balochistan, reportedly issued a fatwa to the effect that girls using mobile phones would have acid thrown in their faces. He cited ‘Islamic tradition’ to bar girls from receiving a formal education and was critical of women working in NGOs, urging them to go home and look after their husbands.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban banned all forms of sports and entertainment. Women showing an inch of skin could be flogged, as they are in Saudi Arabia. And while the world is outraged at the routine beheading of prisoners by the militant Islamic State group, it chooses to avert its eyes from the same savage punishment regularly meted out to convicts in Saudi Arabia.

And let’s not forget our own Council of Islamic Ideology’s preoccupation with the subjugation of women. Its misogynistic rulings on child marriage and divorce threaten to drag Pakistan back to the seventh century.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239223/a-faith-hijacked

Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad

By

TUNIS — PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI of Afghanistan has warned in several recent interviews that unless peace talks with Pakistan and theTaliban produce results in the next few months, his country may not survive 2016. Afghanistan is barely standing, he says, after the Taliban onslaught last year, which led to the highest casualties among civilians and security forces since 2001.

“How much worse will it get?” Mr. Ghani asked in a recent television interview. “It depends on how much regional cooperation we can secure, and how much international mediation and pressure can be exerted to create rules of the game between states.”

What he means is it depends on how much international pressure can be brought to bear on Pakistan to cease its aggression.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/opinion/sunday/pakistans-hand-in-the-rise-of-international-jihad.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

Misyar marriages gain popularity among Saudis

Matchmakers are becoming busy by the day with the wider appeal of misyar marriages in Saudi Arabia.

By Mariam Al Hakeem

 

Riyadh: Matchmakers are becoming busy by the day with the wider appeal of misyar marriages in Saudi Arabia.

There has been a 50 percent increase in misyar marriages after the issuance of a religious edict (fatwa) giving the alliance sanctity last month by the Islamic Fiqh Academy.

Read more » Gulf News
See more » http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/misyar-marriages-gain-popularity-among-saudis-1.238221

Musharraf: Pakistan and India’s backing for ‘proxies’ in Afghanistan must stop

In interview with the Guardian, former Pakistan president voices his support for Ashraf Ghani and hints that he cultivated the Taliban

By  in Karachi

Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military ruler accused of sheltering and supporting the Taliban after 2001, has called for an end to the backing of militant “proxies” in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Guardian, Musharraf admitted that when he was in power, Pakistan sought to undermine the government of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai because Karzai had “helped India stab Pakistan in the back”. But now the time had come to “totally cooperate” with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president since September, who Musharraf believes is “the last hope for peace in the region”.

“In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore we were working against his interest. Obviously we had to protect our own interest,” Musharraf said. “But now President Ashraf Ghani has come and he is trying to restore balance in Afghanistan. We must totally cooperate with him.”

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/13/pervez-musharraf-pakistan-india-proxies-afghanistan-ghani-taliban

 

A one-country / two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Israel-Palestinian conflict: Is one homeland the solution?

As support for a two-state solution to their conflict declines among Israelis and Palestinians, a different approach to finding a peaceful settlement is being proposed.

Called “Two States – One Homeland”, the group, led by Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian politician Awni Almashni, is advocating the creation of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation.

They say that their plan, now picking up public and official backing, can solve the difficult issues – Israeli settlements, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the fate of Jerusalem – that have scuttled past negotiations.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35428457

Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel

Genetic study sets out to uncover if there is a 2,700-year-old link to Afghanistan and Pakistan

By , Jerusalem

Israel is to fund a rare genetic study to determine whether there is a link between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.

Historical and anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a connection, but definitive scientific proof has never been found. Some leading Israeli anthropologists believe that, of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case. Paradoxically it is from the Pashtuns that the ultra-conservative Islamic Taliban movement in Afghanistan emerged. Pashtuns themselves sometimes talk of their Israelite connection, but show few signs of sympathy with, or any wish to migrate to, the modern Israeli state.

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/17/israel-lost-tribes-pashtun?CMP=share_btn_fb

Security beefed up as Lal Masjid cleric launches fresh movement in Islamabad

BY SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: A heavy contingent of police and Rangers was deployed in the areas surrounding Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in the federal capital city to maintain law and order, following an announcement by cleric Abdul Aziz to hold a rally.

The rally announced by Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz, in an earlier press release, was held to mark the initiation of a movement towards enforcement of a system based on the Holy Quran and Sunnah after Friday prayers today.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1219429

Muslim leaders to hold summit on protecting non-Muslims

Meeting thought to be first of its kind in almost 1,400 years and is expected to attract more than 300 people

 

By Shehab Khan@shehabkhan

Muslim scholars will meet in Morocco to discuss how to protect non-Muslims living in their communities.

The summit is the first of its kind in almost 1,400 years and is expected to attract more than 300 Islamic leaders from Muslim majority nations, including Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

The key aim of the conference is to release a new decelaration, rooted in Islamic Law, to reaffirm the rights of religious minorities, the Washington Post reported.

“The prophet was religiously persecuted, so he knew first-hand what it was to experience religious persecution,” Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the US, told the newspaper.

“His religion ensured the rights of religious minorities.

“We want to counter the idea that Muslims and non-Muslims can’t live together. This is not who we are or who we want to be.”

The summit is not exclusive to Muslims and non-Muslims will also be heading to Marrakesh. Representatives from the Vatican, as well as religious leaders from Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism have all been invited.

Courtesy: INDEPENDENT
Read more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/muslim-leaders-summit-protecting-non-muslims-morocco-a6830871.html

Charsadda attack: It is time to ask Pakistan Army some hard questions

Whatever the military demanded, civilian government gave – from military courts to foreign policy, everything has been under control of Army. But what are the results beyond photo-ops and extensive PR gains?

By Umer Ali

A month after Pakistan observed the first anniversary of the deadly APS Peshawar attack, Islamist terrorists belonging to the banned TTP have struck again – this time at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

According to the latest updates, 21 people have been killed in the attacks with over 60 injured. Law enforcement agencies have cleared the premises, killing 4 terrorists.

This attack on another educational institution holds a lot of symbolic value. This is the third major attack in KPK in a month – all after Army’s continuous propagation of ‘phenomenal success’ and ‘broken backbones of terrorists’ in Zarb-e-Azb.

20th January is the death anniversary of Bacha Khan, a true humanist and preacher of non-violence. The attack took place when students had gathered to commemorate his death anniversary.

The attack on university, followed by quick condemnations

Read more » The Nation
See more » http://nation.com.pk/blogs/20-Jan-2016/charsadda-attack-it-is-about-time-we-asked-the-army-some-hard-questions

The demon we created

BY ZAHID HUSSAIN

IT took yet another militant attack across the border and increasing pressure from outside powers for us to finally act against Masood Azhar and his militant network — although one is not sure how serious we are in cleaning out the stables this time. Although proscribed some 14 years ago, his organisation continued to operate freely despite the evidence of its being involved in militant activities at home and outside.

How come a banned militant outfit was allowed to operate its offices across Punjab, that the security agencies now claimed to have closed down? Has the province been in a state of denial, or is there something more sinister? The Punjab government had firmly dismissed the reports of expanding activities of groups earlier associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad. Masood Azhar lived in a well-protected compound in his hometown Bahawalpur.

Many believe that the Pathankot raid and the alleged involvement of JeM in the incident may constitute a tipping point in the battle against militancy in Punjab. But it remains to be seen whether the government sticks to its promise. Such tipping points remained illusory in the past. Surely, it will not be so easy to wrap up the witches’ brew of militants that this country has been turned into. But it is our own survival that is now at stake because of these very same rogues.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1234101/the-demon-we-created

The Pakistani Dystopia

BY

Imagine a country that is embroiled in a long and bloody conflict with its neighbor, and each time its democratically elected Prime Minister tries to reach out and make peace, his own army launches an attack to make sure the peace doesn’t take hold. You might think you were trapped inside a dystopian movie. Unless, of course, you’ve been to Pakistan, where this happens all the time.

This week, Pakistani officials said they had detained Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group, for his alleged role in overseeing the attack on an Indian airbase in the city of Pathankot earlier this month. The attack left seven Indians dead. Jaish-e-Mohammed is one of several Pakistani militant groups whose members routinely cross into India and carry out attacks there, for the ostensible purpose of prying loose Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state.
Azhar’s detention is almost certainly a farce, staged to placate foreign leaders. If the past is any guide, Azhar, who has been detained many times before, will soon be free and able to carry out more attacks. This is the way it has worked in Pakistan for years.

The attack on the airbase in Pathankot, on January 2nd, came little more than a week after the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, flew to Lahore to meet the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, for a surprise summit. It was the first visit by an Indian leader to Pakistan in twelve years. By all accounts, the meeting went well. That’s an unqualified good; both countries possess nuclear weapons, and their unresolved disputes, especially over Kashmir, could have terrifying consequences. India and Pakistan have already been to war with each other four times.

So why would Pakistani-based fighters follow up a feel-good summit with a cross-border attack? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, or the second, or even the third.

In 1999, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus across the border to meet Sharif, and the two men pledged that peace would prevail between their two countries. Less than three months later, Pakistani soldiers, dressed up like jihadis, crossed the Indian border in the Himalayas and captured several Indian army posts. The Indian army repelled the invaders but the fighting, centered around the town of Kargil, came dangerously close to spinning out of control. It doesn’t appear that the Pakistani military, which orchestrated the attack, ever bothered to ask Sharif for permission.

In July, 2001, Vajpayee invited the Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf, who had recently declared himself Chief Executive after seizing power from Sharif in a military coup, to the Indian city of Agra to talk peace. Three months later, Pakistani-based guerrillas mounted an assault on the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly building, and two months after that they launched a brazen attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. Indian troops were nearly ordered to cross the border, but the crisis was defused.

In September, 2008, Pakistan’s first elected leader in nine years, President Asif Zardari, made a series of peaceful overtures to India. Two months later, Pakistan-based terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and other targets in Mumbai, killing more than a hundred and fifty people and wounding more than three hundred.

I’m not the first person to notice that Pakistani militants regularly try to sabotage peaceful relations between their country and India. Aparna Pande, at the Hudson Institute, has put together a chronology of these attacks.

Read more » The New Yorker
See more » http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-pakistani-dystopia?mbid=social_facebook

Are we discovering Jaish only now?

By Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

Maulana Masood Azhar, founder and leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad – an outfit dedicated to ‘jihad’, the liberation of Kashmir and similar heady stuff – has been one of our more enduring ‘jihadi’ symbols, a long-standing fixture on the ‘jihadi’ scene.

He was arrested in India in 1994 and spent years in Indian prisons. When an Indian civilian aircraft was hijacked in December 1999, the hijackers demanded the Maulana’s release. The plane was flowing to Kandahar.

Maulana Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheik
h, serving a sentence in Hyderabad jail for his role in the killing of the journalist Daniel Pearl, and Mushtaq Zargar, the third militant, were flown by Indian authorities to Kandahar and handed over to the Taliban, then ruling Afghanistan. The then Indian foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, flew to Kandahar to supervise the handing over of the militants and the freeing of the passengers.

The Taliban brought Maulana Azhar and his two companions to the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman where they were said to have ‘disappeared’. Maulana Azhar was later seen being hailed as a hero and feted at various places. It took some time for the military government of Gen Pervez Musharraf to realise that this glorification of someone freed as a result of a hijacking was not something to celebrate…at least not openly. The Maulana reduced his public profile.

Jaish hit the headlines once more when along with the Lashkar-e-Taiba it was accused of being behind the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. On the one hand Pakistan was fully engaged with the United States in the ‘war on terror’ and here was this huge distraction caused by our ‘jihadi’ friends. Indian and Pakistan troops took up battle positions on the border.

There is thus a long history attached to Maulana Azhar. Since ‘jihad’ at one time was a sub-franchise of our school of national ideology based in Aabpara, Islamabad, it is not too far-fetched to infer that the Maulana and our strategy handlers have known each other for a long time.

So either we are first-rate idiots or we take the rest of the world to be peopled by idiots. For does it take a degree in advanced mathematics to see that if there is an adventure across the border – such as the attack on the Indian parliament, or the Mumbai attacks in 2008, or the Pathankot attack now – the finger of suspicion will be pointed not at someone from outer space but at our own ‘jihadi’ apparatus, which we all recognise is very powerful with its tentacles spread far and wide, and their present or erstwhile godfathers?

When Mumbai occurred the handlers of the attacks were seen to be operating from Pakistan. The Pathankot attack takes place and the Indians say the footprints go all the way to Pakistan. Either we say the Indians are talking nonsense and then we stick to our guns or we recognise the gravity of this charge. If Pakistan, not official Pakistan but the soil of Pakistan, was connected in any way with Mumbai, if there is any connection now with Pathankot, what will make us realise that this is embarrassing for Pakistan?

Continue reading Are we discovering Jaish only now?

A Jewish ISIS Rises in the West Bank

They reject modern political states and their institutions. They want to return to an imagined earlier era of religious order. They are extreme, fundamentalist, and violent. What separates so-called Hilltop Youth from young Jihadis?

By Hillel Gershuni

To be a Hilltop Youth is to first disaffiliate with all establishments in Israel.Especially the settlements. These young Hasidic-looking men and women make their homes out of trucks, cars, trailers, caves—anything suitable for a makeshift shelter—atop the hills of Judea and Samaria. They see themselves as connected to the Land of Israel, not to any of the institutions of the Israeli state. The very violent group among them consists of no more than a few dozen core members and a few hundred more who support them in public demonstrations and on social media. Some in Israel refer to them in disgust and horror as “Jewish ISIS,” and while there’s a great distance between Al Baghdadi’s practice of beheading, burning alive, and massacring thousands of people and the violence of extreme members of Hilltop Youth, there is indeed a deep connection between the two phenomena.

ISIS is not just a state—it’s an idea, and a powerful one: throwing away modern norms and acting to revive the golden age of the Islamic Caliphate. And just like the Caliphate, the methods to achieve it are pre-modern: “Din Muhammad Bissayf,” the religion of Muhammad is [enforced, spread] by the sword. The success of such cruel methods within the blurry borders of Iraq and Syria has drawn young enthusiastic Muslims from around the world to Syria. Similarly, ideas of reviving the thousands-of-years-old Kingdom of Judea draw young enthusiastic men and women to the hilltops, where the leaders and idea-men of the Hilltop Youth promise their followers a sense of authenticity in a post-modern world. As with ISIS, this authenticity is predicated on destroying all institutions of the State of Israel, which is undeserving of recognition.

Hilltop Youth abandon the communities in which they were raised to live in trucks in uninhabited regions of the Judean Hills. In their nativist ideology, they are the real Jews upholding the “true” Jewish way, and they encourage each other to strive with violence and terror against non-Jews in order to retaliate against Arab terrorism and to establish a pure Jewish existence on the land of Israel. The State of Israel is evil, and the religious communities and ideologies that support it are misguided, they believe. Their nativism perceives the State of Israel and its supporters as “Erev Rav,” a Kabbalistic term that refers to people who look like Jews but have the souls of enemy gentiles.

Read more » Tablet Mag
See more » http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/196516/jewish-isis-in-the-west-bank

Isis militant Ali Saqr al-Qasem publicly executes own mother in Raqqa after accusing her of ‘apostasy’

Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle

 

By John Hall@johnmatthewhall

In a shocking low even by the standards of the so-called Islamic State, a militant has publicly executed his own mother after accusing her of apostasy.

The activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) said 20-year-old jihadi Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle in front of a large crowd.

Lena al-Qasem is understood to have been accused of apostasy – a crime that usually means leaving one’s religion but in practise is used by Isis as a justification for murdering anybody who doesn’t support or speaks out against the terror group.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-militant-ali-saqr-al-qasem-publicly-executes-his-own-mother-in-raqqa-after-accusing-her-of-a6801811.html