Tag Archives: accused

Washington Post: Pakistani Christians flee in fear after Christian girl with Downs Syndrome is jailed of blasphemy

Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy

By: Richard Leiby

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Everyone in the teeming, tense community of Muslims and Christians just outside Islamabad seems to have a different story about the young girl and the Koran.

The 12-year-old Christian deliberately burned the Muslim holy book, some say. No, she innocently put pages from a non-sacred teaching text into the trash, say others, and nothing was burned. Still another version holds that an older Muslim boy planted pages of the Koran for the cleaning girl to find and then leveled the accusation of desecration because she had spurned him.

Amid the conflicting claims, this much is certain: As many as 600 Christians have fled their colony bordering the capital, fearing for their lives, officials said, after a mob last week called for the child to be burned to death as a blasphemer.

The girl, who authorities have described as mentally challenged, sits in jail in Rawalpindi, charged by police with blasphemy, while her family has been put in federal protective custody. The evidence against her is muddled at best, but police said they arrested her in part to assuage the mob and also because they knew she would be safer in jail.

“The one who burned the Koran should be burned,” said Shaukhat Ali, an assistant at the local mosque, expressing a sentiment shared by many Muslims in the community.

Continue reading Washington Post: Pakistani Christians flee in fear after Christian girl with Downs Syndrome is jailed of blasphemy

Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

 

By RAPHAEL MINDER

MADRID — Spain’s image suffered another blow on Thursday when the chief justice of the Supreme Court resigned after being accused by a fellow judge of claiming vacations as business expenses.

The court’s chief justice, Carlos Dívar, also quit as leader of another institution, the General Council of the Judiciary, which acts as the administrator of Spain’s judiciary.

Chief Justice Dívar’s expense scandal came to light while the judiciary was being strained by several corruption cases against politicians from the country’s main parties. The monarchy has also been tainted by the investigations, with the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos I becoming the first member of the royal family to appear in court, in February.

Continue reading Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

Asma Jahangir rejects memo report. “Under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Asma Jahangir rejects memo inquiry report

LAHORE: Asma Jahangir, counsel for former ambassador Husain Haqqani, has expressed reservations over a report presented by the memo commission to the Supreme Court and accused the panel of being biased.

Talking to reporters at the Lahore High Court here on Tuesday, she questioned the commission’s jurisdiction in relation to its several findings and said “under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Continue reading Asma Jahangir rejects memo report. “Under what law the commission can declare anybody a traitor”?

Los Angeles Times – Pakistani court acquits four accused of aiding Times Square bomber

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Four Pakistani men charged with terrorism-related offenses for allegedly helping failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad were acquitted in a Rawalpindi court Saturday, their lawyer said.

The men, Faisal Abbasi, Muhammad Shahid Husain, Muhammad Shoaib Mughal and Humbal Akhtar, had been accused of arranging meetings between Shahzad and top Pakistani Taliban leaders, and sending him money to help prepare the attack. Their lawyer, Malik Imran Safdar, said an antiterrorism court in Rawalpindi found that prosecutors failed to prove their case and released the men.

Two other men initially arrested along with the four others were released previously.

Shahzad, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate a sport utility vehicle filled with propane tanks and fertilizer in Times Square on May 1, 2010. The botched bombing marked the first time the Pakistani Taliban had tried to engineer an attack outside its strongholds in the tribal regions of western Pakistan along the Afghan border.

The son of a retired vice air marshal in the Pakistani air force, Shahzad was a financial analyst living in a Connecticut suburb when he became radicalized and went to Pakistan’s tribal areas for terrorist training. At one of his court hearings in New York, he told a judge that he viewed himself as a “Muslim soldier.”

When the Pakistanis were arrested after the failed bombing, Islamabad police described them as relatively young, middle-class men who had been close friends with Shahzad for several years. At the time, police said they facilitated Shahzad’s training at Taliban boot camps in the tribal areas and arranged for him to meet with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mahsud. They also were accused of sending Shahzad $13,000 when he began to run short of money in the U.S. while readying the bombing attack.

Islamabad police claimed that the men had close links to Mahsud and leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a homegrown militant group with strong ties to the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/06/pakistani-court-frees-four-men-charged-with-helping-times-square-bomber.html

Brig Ali approaches Abbottabad commission to record statement: Sources

By Sumera Khan

ISLAMABAD: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan – who is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and currently facing court martial proceedings – sent a request to the Abbottabad commission to record his testimony and to make revelations pertaining to the Kargil Operation and the 1999 military coup, sources have revealed.

Sources have said that Brig Ali has requested the Abbottabad commission to allow him to appear in a hearing as he has sensitive information pertaining to national security, which he think should be shared with them. He has, in his written request, stated that he is the one who was most affected by the May 2 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

The application from Brig Ali had been sent though courier dispatch by his family.

Brig Ali, who is accused of having links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had earlier claimed that the court martial is to malign him because he had asked the military brass to fix responsibility for the May 2 raid. Charges of planning an air raid on the General Headquarters using F-16s had also earlier been dropped.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/354493/brig-ali-approaches-abbottabad-commission-to-record-statement/

Bruce Riedel – Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout

Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, an ex–security chief for Pakistan, accuses former president Pervez Musharraf of knowing where bin Laden was hiding and saying nothing.

By Bruce Riedel

Ever since the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the country’s national military academy, the question haunting American relations with Pakistan has been: who knew he was there? How did the most-wanted man in human history find a hideout in one of Pakistan’s most exclusive military cantonment cities and live there for five years without the Pakistani spy service finding him? Or did it know all along?

Now there is an explosive new charge. The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) says former president Pervez Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, was head of the ISI from 1997 to 1999. A four-star general, he fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. He was the first head of the Army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the country’s nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him director-general of the ISI in 1997 and promoted him to chief of Army staff on Oct. 12, 1999, when he fired Musharraf from the job. Musharraf refused to go and launched a coup that overthrew Sharif. Ziauddin spent the next two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the Army, and had his property confiscated and his retirement benefits curtailed. So he has a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf.

Bearing that in mind, here is what the former spy chief claims. Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.

Ijaz Shah is a colorful character. He has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. Saeed was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban. Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Shah of being behind the attempt to murder her when she returned from exile in late 2007. She was, of course, killed in another attempt later that year. Shah fled to Australia for a time while the situation cooled off.

Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad and Musharraf knew all about it.

Without a doubt, Ziauddin has an ax to grind. But he is also well tied in to the Pakistani intelligence world. When he was DG/ISI, he set up a special commando team to find and capture bin Laden with U.S. help. Elite commandos from the Special Services Group, Pakistan’s SEALs, were put on the hunt. Musharraf disbanded the group after he took power. Ziauddin’s successor at the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, refused American requests to go after bin Laden right up to 9/11. Then Musharraf had to fire him because, even after 9/11, he did not want to do anything to bring bin Laden to justice.

We don’t know who was helping hide bin Laden, but we need to track them down. If Mush, as many call him in Pakistan, knew, he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America. The explosive story about him, which was first reported in the must-read Militant Leadership Monitor, is more than an academic issue. If we can find who hid bin Laden, we will probably know who is hiding his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the al Qaeda gang.

Courtesy: The Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/pakistan-s-musharraf-has-been-accused-of-knowing-osama-bin-laden-s-hideout.html

Pakistani high court delays spy agency hearing

By Reza Sayah, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court postponed a rare public hearing for the country’s secretive and powerful spy agency Thursday, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims of the agency said.

Long thought to be untouchable, the ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, has been ordered to produce seven men it’s accused of holding since 2010 and explaining the deaths of four other detainees.

But attorney Tariq Asad told CNN the court had delayed the hearing until Friday because other proceedings took up much of the day.

Asad said it was clear the lawyer for the ISI, who was present when the postponement was announced, had not brought the seven detainees to court as ordered. …

Read more » CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/09/world/asia/pakistan-spy-agency/index.html

Jamaat Leader Gave Fatwa Authorising raping Hindu women

Sayedee gave fatwa ‘legalising war booty including women’

The chief prosecutor on Monday told the International Crimes Tribunal that accused Delwar Hossain Sayedee during the liberation war had pronounced ‘fatwa’ (Islamic religious edict) legalising war booty, including goods, chattels and women, captured from the ‘enemies’ terming those ‘mal-e-ganimat (war boaty),’ reports UNB.

Closing the opening statement, chief prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu said accused Sayedee as an armed Razakar commander was a party to it.

People saw Sayedee wearing white panjabi tucked with his lungi like loin cloth carrying on his head and hands the war booty of goods and chattels, the chief prosecutor said, adding that the war booty were dumped in his father-in-law’s house.

About the captured women during the war of Liberation especially of the Hindu community, the chief prosecutor said the women war booty were kept reserved to be sexually enjoyed by the Pakistan occupation forces at Parerhat makeshift camp in Pirojpur.

At one stage, Sayedee had developed illicit relationship with a young girl, Bhanu Saha, daughter of Bipod Saha at Parerhat and regularly went to her house to have sex with her under duress, the chief prosecutor said.

The chief prosecutor further stated that ravished Bhanu left for India from her motherland and never returned to Bangladesh. Later, Bhanu got married there and now leads a family life, he added.

The chief prosecutor also stated that after the emergence of Bangladesh, Sayedee, had gone into hiding for long and reappeared at his locality after one-and-half-decades in 1986. Later, Sayedee started lecturing on religious subjects as ‘fake’ maulana, he said.

Earlier, the chief prosecutor, in a nutshell, gave horrendous descriptions of atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistan Army and its cohorts killing innocent freedom-loving people, including then Pirojpur Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Fayezur Rahman Ahmed, father of writer-brothers Humayun Ahmed and Zafar Iqbal, SDO-in charge Abdur Razzaq and district magistrate Saif Mizanur Rahman. They were captured from their workplaces and later gunned down. Their bodies were thrown into the Baleshwar River.

Sayedee had also helped recruit Razakars, an auxiliary force of the occupation army, and invited the army by establishing makeshift camps in Pirojpur for committing crimes against humanity, the chief prosecutor mentioned.

Nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Sayedee (71), was charged with crimes against humanity, including genocide, rape, arson attacks, looting, and forcibly converting Hindus into Muslims during the liberation war in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces. The charges fall under section 3 (2) and its sub-sections of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.

The recording of evidence of the prosecution witnesses before the tribunal will start on December 7.

Courtesy » The Financial Express

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=156854&date=2011-11-22

Peace is not in line with Pak generals – Karzai

Ruling out negotiations: ‘Taliban talks futile’

With no headway being made, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides have hinted that they may abandon efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that negotiating with the militant leadership was futile.

Instead, Karzai has said, negotiations should actually be held with Pakistan – an apparent dig at Islamabad, which is regularly accused of harbouring the Taliban’s senior leadership.

The comments come on the heels of fresh allegations that the assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul was planned in Pakistan. Rabbani was killed in a bombing by a purported Taliban emissary who had come to visit the former Afghanistan president last month.

The frustration with stalled talks and the escalating violence come months before a key conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany – where it is expected that the Afghan end game will be charted. There had been reports that the Taliban leadership would be involved, in some manner, about the future of the war-torn nation.

“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s a joke,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Karzai and his aides have decided to shift their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has allegedly provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents.

“Their messengers are coming and killing … So with whom should we make peace?” Karzai said in the recorded address to the country’s senior religious leaders.

“I cannot find Mullah Muhammad Omar,” Karzai said, referring to the Taliban supreme leader. “Where is he? I cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it? “I don’t have any other answer except to say that the other side for this negotiation is Pakistan.”

Afghan officials have also unilaterally cancelled plans to host a trilateral meeting on Oct 8 with Pakistan and the United States. Instead, a special Afghan delegation will present Pakistani leaders with evidence about the killing of Rabbani, WSJ reported.

Courtesy: → The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

GRAPES TURNING SOUR: THE APC

Waseem Altaf

They give a damn when it comes to worthless civilians and more so in case of corrupt politicians but when feel the need to signal the world that the whole nation stands behind them, orchestrate such gatherings. However, perhaps the time is over for such theatrics. This time around popular leaders from Baluchistan were not invited because they don’t like their faces but militant mullahs were very much part of the APC.

The Prime Minister gave his address by reading a carefully crafted paper rejecting the US allegations and “do more demand” and also stressed his complete support to the valiant armed forces.

The DG.ISI categorically denied any links with Haqqani network and any export of terrorism. However Mian Nawaz Sharif countered him and asked if that was so why the whole world accused Pakistan? General Kayani and Molvi Munawwar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami, the hand in glove came to Pasha’s rescue. Mahmood Achakzai stated that if ISI wanted, there could be peace in Afghanistan within a month. The gallant sons of the soil however could not muster enough courage to even name the US or even its functionaries in the draft of the resolution and the drone issue was not even discussed.

Let us look at the general and vague clauses of the APC resolution:-

A) The already passed resolutions of the Parliament should be implemented.

Yes sure, but a little difficult task for you guys. How about hiring some overseas consultants to get those implemented after all we do import professionals to get things done.

B) Pakistan wants good relations with all countries.

Yes you want to have good relations with other countries but also want to continue with mischief mongering. Unfortunately the two things don’t go together.

C) The focal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy is peace in the region.

Yes that is why you facilitated peace in Afghanistan (1979-89) and in Indian administered Kashmir (1989-99) Peace in Baluchistan and Karachi is immaterial for those who think “international

D) Defense of Pakistan is the first and foremost duty of the people and defense forces of Pakistan.

Maybe it’s the first and foremost duty of people of Pakistan but please let the defense forces defend the Defense Housing Societies .And please also defend your citizens in your own country. They are being abducted and bombed and killed within your so called jurisdiction.

E) Pakistan rejects all baseless allegations.

Okay! So allegations leveled by you have a base but the Indian and the Afghan allegations, the American and the British ones and perhaps those by Iran and China are all baseless. And surely the allegation of murder of Saleem Shahzad by ISI should also be baseless.

F) Pakistan wants negotiations with all groups who want peace.

Unfortunately you only want negotiations with those who don’t want peace.

G) To move forward Pakistan should focus on trade and not aid.

Good realization after 64 years of coming into existence.

Perhaps the grapes are turning sour.

Courtesy: → SPN → South Asian Pulse

MQM in the way of plot against Pakistan: Altaf

– By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

Excerpt;

…. The gist of the press conference was that Western powers were plotting the dismemberment of Pakistan, but the Muttahida had resolved to foil the design.

Repeated assurances were made to the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence as well as the nation that the MQM was against conspiracies being hatched against the country.

Mr Hussain chose not to answer the serious allegations levelled by former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza against him and his party over the past fortnight, parrying a number of questions by reporters.

He concentrated on showing documents, maps and reports from the international media to strengthen his contention that international powers were working for the break-up of Pakistan.

Although he refused to pinpoint the international powers he was referring to, an allusion left no doubt: “The country which has the biggest influence in Pakistan is behind such conspiracies”. The MQM cannot fight such powers alone, Mr Hussain added. “There would have been no super power had the army, the ISI and the MQM got united.”

The MQM supremo accused the leadership of the Awami National Party of “misleading the Pukhtoons living in Karachi and Peshawar”. He even went to the extent of claiming that the United States had given millions of dollars to Asfandyar Wali for contesting the 2008 general election. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

‘Killer’ alleges MQM has militant wing

by Ansar AbbasiTHE NEWS

ISLAMABAD: One of the most dangerous alleged target killers, who confessed to have killed many, including police officers in Karachi, has reportedly claimed his association with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s “militant wing”, and has named Dr Imran Farooq as the contact person for many party militants. He further said that Ajmal Pahari was one of the MQM’s men.

Arrested and interrogated in 2010 before the murder of Dr Imran Farooq, the accused target killer, Muhammad Ishtiaq, alias Salman, alias Police Wala, confessed before the Joint Interrogation Team comprising representatives of the ISI, IB, Rangers, CID, Sindh Police and Special Branch, as reported in an official document, that Ajmal Pahari (who was arrested recently in Karachi and is alleged to have been involved in the killing of 100 people) also belongs to the MQM.

Continue reading ‘Killer’ alleges MQM has militant wing

Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington lobby group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over Kashmir

Pakistan funded Washington lobby group, U.S. says

Washington (CNN) — Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.

A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, “acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years,” an FBI arrest affidavit states.

One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.

Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years. ….

Read more → CNN

PML-N Workers attacked police station & Anjum Aqeel, an accused of corruption scandal escaped from police custody

PML-N lawmaker escapes from police custody

ISLAMABAD: Anjum Aqeel Khan, a PML-N lawmaker, escaped from police custody on Friday evening with the help of his supporters.

Earlier in the day he was arrested by Islamabad Police for his alleged involvement in a fraud case.

According to a report, armed workers of the PML-N attacked and resorted to aerial firing at the Shalimar Police Station, where the accused was under detention at that time.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik took notice of the incident and has asked for a report within 24 hours.

He also ordered the IG Islamabad Police to arrest Aqeel and others involved in the incident.

The IG police said that seven suspects have been arrested and search operation was under way for further arrests.

PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said that the party could take action against Aqeel after investigating the incident. He urged Aqeel to hand himself over to the police.

“No one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” he added.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM → For More details → BBC urdu

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Woman stoned, shot dead in the name of ‘honour’

MARDAN: A woman was stoned and shot to death in the name of honour allegedly by her husband and over a dozen other men in a village on Tuesday.

Police said they had found the body of Shazia in nearby hills.

“The body was in a bad shape as the woman was first pelted with stones and then fired at,” said Mohammad Tahir, an official at the Rustam police station.

Bairoch village, a remote area sharing the border with Buner district, is extremely backward and its people are known for violence.

He said police teams visited different places to arrest the accused, who were 13 in number. Some of the accused were anti-social elements, he added.

Noor Jehan, mother of the deceased, told police that her daughter was married to Mohammad Saeed. She said her daughter was residing with her in Barikot area of Swat after developing differences with her husband. Two days ago her son-in-law asked her to come to Bairoch to attend a local jirga for settling the dispute. When they visited the village, Saeed and over a dozen other people took hold of Shazia and declared that she would be stoned to death, she said.

Noor Jehan said she saved her life after escaping, but her daughter was killed.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

They dragged her out, tore up her clothes and forced her to walk naked on the street

Woman paraded naked in village north of Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A woman was forcibly paraded naked through a village after her sons were accused of sleeping with a married neighbour who became pregnant, police said Tuesday.

The incident happened after neighbour Mohammad Salman grew suspicious that the woman’s sons slept with his wife in Neelor Bala village, 100 kilometres north of Islamabad, said police official Akhtar Nawaz. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

Former Military dictator Musharraf declared Absconder (Ishtihari) in Pakistan

– Benazir Bhutto murder case: Musharraf declared absconder

by Omer Farooq Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been declared an absconder after a court in Pakistan’s garrison city of Rawalpindi accepted the interim chargesheet submitted by the investigation agency, which named the ex-president as an accused in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Investigators of Pakistan’s leading Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a chargesheet in Rawalpindi’s anti-terrorism court on Monday, listing Musharraf as one of the accused in the assassination of the former two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The court accepted the challan (chargesheet) after the testimony of police officials detained for alleged dereliction of duty over the assassination of the former PM. Former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and superintendent of police Khuramm Shazad were arrested last December after allegations were levelled against them for providing inadequate security to the former premier, hosing down the crime scene and destroying the evidence.

Courtesy: TOI

Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history

Another dark period – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it.

Before Osama Bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad, Islamabad’s political orientation had shifted further to the right on every level. In retrospect, it is becoming clearer that the newfound unity between Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) had been forged with the military’s tacit support. No wonder that Prime Minister Gilani’s responses after the Abbottabad debacle were totally in sync with the military’s public face, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). By now all the primitive forces of Pakistan have forged an opportunistic unity barring any enlightened solution to the country’s internal and external problems.

After the Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had left the government of their own will or on someone’s prompting, the PPP was in a very precarious position. It had no solution other than bowing to the military and seeking its help. PML-Q, not a political party as such, but an ensemble of electable Pakistani aristocrats always finding it abhorrent to sit on the opposition benches, were keen to come back to the ruling group. PML-Q had served in the military-managed government of General Musharraf and got on board once they received signals from the right quarters.

Pakistan’s military had hardly any choice but to support the PPP government after exacting the maximum concessions from it. It has been reported by many insiders that the military hates to see a federal government run by Mian Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N. The military is fearful of his independent approach and his strong belief in civilian supremacy over the armed forces. His firing of two army chiefs during his last stint as prime minster was more than the military could swallow. The military is said to believe that though the PPP government is inept and corrupt, it still listens to them and dares not challenge its will, while Mian Nawaz Sharif is going to do what he likes and may try to exert control over the ‘untouchable’ mighty institution.

A few months back the military was seemingly trying to corner the PPP and replace it with some other combination of political groupings including MQM. Mian Nawaz Sharif was being encouraged to play a role to destabilise the PPP government but, apparently, he did not oblige. Somehow, he seems to be wedded to the concept of not throwing out the democratically elected government when there is direct or indirect danger of military intervention. Since he did not take the military’s bait, the military had no choice but to work with the PPP.

A weakened PPP government due to lack of governance, incompetence and perceived corruption, had changed its patron from the US to the military. After the PPP-PML-Q alliance was put in place, Prime Minister Gilani has been issuing strong pro-military/ISI statements, owning up to all the mess that Pakistan is accused of creating.

PM Gilani’s reported suggestion to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karazai to tilt away from the US and embrace China was also in accordance with the military’s cat and mouse play with the Americans. His out-of-place statement that the military’s intelligence agencies are following the civilian government was also an attempt at mollycoddling the GHQ. His statements after the US operation in Abbottabad followed the same pattern. In essence, the military has recreated a Musharraf-like civilian set-up, which will allow it to do whatever it likes in dealings with the US, Afghanistan, India, China and other key external partners. It also gives them a free hand to play duplicitous policy games if they like to.

Presently, the PPP is trying to outdo Imran Khan, religious parties and all other anti-US political formations in standing behind the military. Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it. Some religious leaders are blaming the Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and Hindus) for hatching a conspiracy against the Pakistan military as if Osama bin Laden had been planted by them in Abbottabad. Other random groups are even holding rallies in support of the military. This is happening at a time when the civilians, specifically the governing party, should have been asking some tough questions from the military. Instead, the political groups are competing with each other to win the trophy for being the ‘Best Military Apologist’.

Whether Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad with or without the military’s knowledge is a question haunting Pakistan. The world is asking if it should be considered a case of incompetence or mischief on the part of Pakistan. The PPP and all other apologists can woo the military in pursuit of their own agendas but they can neither satisfy the world (not just the US) nor force the military establishment to initiate a corrective mechanism so that, in future, Osama bin Ladens are kept away from Pakistan. In fact, the political environment has been so ‘militarised’ that the Abbottabad operation has turned out to be a blessing for the military. Now the military has proved that it is beyond scrutiny and will be more encouraged to do whatever it wishes. This simply means that the Pakistani state is going to deteriorate further with no self-correcting mechanism in sight.

The conditions in Pakistan were already bad but with the PPP-PML-Q alliance combined with pro-military noises indicate that Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history.

The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com

Courtesy: Wichaar

Mukhtar Mai Case – Women, rights bodies shocked by Pakistan Supreme Court verdict

Women, rights bodies shocked by SC verdict

NEW YORK/ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Pakistan`s National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), Insani Huqooq Ittehad (IHI) comprising 10 NGOs and other women and human rights organisation have expressed “deep shock” and “disappointment” at the Supreme Court verdict acquitting the accused who had raped Mukhtar Mai about nine years ago.

“This is a setback for Mukhtar Mai, the broader struggle to end violence against women and the cause of an independent rights-respecting judiciary in Pakistan,” the HRW said in a statement and urged the government to ensure her safety. …

Read more : DAWN

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

US soldier gets 24 years for murders of 3 Afghan

By ROBIN HINDERY, Associated Press Robin Hindery,

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty in the killings of three Afghan civilians has agreed to testify against four others whom he says were co-conspirators in a case that has raised some of the most serious criminal allegations to come from the Afghanistan War.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock, who was accused of taking a leading role in the killings last year, was sentenced to 24 years in prison Wednesday, the maximum sentence under a plea deal that also calls for him to testify against his co-defendants. He pleaded guilty hours before his sentencing to three counts of murder, and one count each of conspiracy, obstructing justice and illegal drug use. …

Read more : YahooNews

U.S. officials: Raymond Davis, accused in Pakistan shootings, worked for CIA

By Greg Miller

The American who fatally shot two men in Pakistan last month and who has been described publicly as a diplomat is a security contractor for the CIA who was part of a secret agency team operating out of a safe house in Lahore, U.S. officials said. …

Read more : Washington Post

 

The Pakistani society is hypocritical and it has double standards : Veena Malik didn’t do any corruption, or spread any terrorism, she even didn’t kill anyone and still she is a misfit to represent Pakistan, but the killer Mumtaz Quadri is fit to represent Pakistan!?

Pakistani Actress Slams Cleric for Criticism

Associated Press Writer Munir Ahmed contributed to this report.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani actress castigated for appearing to cuddle with an Indian actor on a reality show lashed out at a Muslim cleric who had criticized her during a widely watched television exchange this week.

The unusual outburst, punctuated by tears, came at a sensitive time in a country where Islamic fundamentalism is spreading and liberals are increasingly afraid to express their views.

“What is your problem with me? You tell me your problem!” an angry Veena Malik asked the Muslim scholar, who accused her of insulting Islam.

Earlier this month, a liberal Pakistani governor was shot dead for opposing the country’s harsh laws against blasphemy. In the aftermath, his killer was cheered as a hero among many in the public, shocking the country’s small liberal establishment.

Malik, 26, participated recently on Bigg Boss, an Indian version of “Big Brother.” Clips of the show on the Internet include ones in which she appears cozy with Indian actor Ashmit Patel. Those scenes, and her involvement with a show in Pakistan’s archrival India, prompted criticism online and on the air.

“You have insulted Pakistan and Islam,” Mufti Abdul Qawi accused her on the Express TV channel talk show via a television link. The exchange first aired Friday and then again Saturday.

A furious Malik shot back, saying Qawi targeted her because she is a woman, reminding him that the Quran admonishes men not to stare at a woman’s beauty beyond a first glance, and telling him there were bigger problems in Pakistan, including the alleged rape of children at mosques.

During the exchange, Qawi admitted he had not seen the clips of the show but had heard about it from others.

“What does your Islam say, mufti sir?” the actress asked. “You issue edicts on the basis of hearsay.”

Malik said she had read the Quran and she knew what lines not to cross as a Muslim as well as an entertainer in South Asia. She pointed out that she never kissed Patel, for instance.

“I am a Muslim woman, and I know my limits,” she said. The cleric seemed unable to respond to her flood of words.

Malik’s fierce outburst sparked a barrage of comments on Twitter. While some writers said they didn’t agree with her and one called her a “porn star,” others said she was brave for standing up to the Pakistani clerical establishment, especially when such an act can mean personal danger.

Wrote one supporter: “The only way to talk to these bloody clerics is to talk down to them. Veena Malik did just that, and how. Good for her!”

Source – http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/01/22/world/asia/AP-AS-Pakistan-Actress-vs-Cleric.html?_r=2&ref=asia

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Courtesy: Express TV (Front Line with Kamran Shahid, guest Veena Malik, Jan. 21, 2011)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link – 1, 2

Pakistan Medical Association concerned that Dr. Noushad Ahmed Willani accused on fabricated charges of blasphemy

Pakistan Medical Association is extremely concerned over the orchestrated incidence occurred at Hyderabad in which Dr. Noushad Ahmed Willani was wrongly accused, beaten and arrested on fabricated charges of blasphemy. It is heartening to note that the role of police was extremely commendable who protected the doctor from mob attack. Yet it is unfortunate that a senior family physician providing healthcare to local community has become a victim of criminals with collaboration with fanatics.

If this situation continues and doctors are not protected then it will become impossible for health workers to continue working in the province. It is not only the duty of police to protect citizens but public at large should also play their due role like as civilized community. This situation is intolerable and action is required immediately.

PMA Demands for;

· Protection of Dr. Noushad Ahmed Willani and his family members. · Judiciary inquiry about the incidence and violence against doctor in the clinics. · Action against those who physically abused the doctor and destroyed his clinic.

· Formulation of a committee for legislation to deal with such matters and impose penalties against the culprits taking matters in their hands unlawfully under fabricated charges, and such culprits should immediately be prosecuted and if found guilty should be fined upto Rs.5 Lacs and imprisonment for 7 years.

Continue reading Pakistan Medical Association concerned that Dr. Noushad Ahmed Willani accused on fabricated charges of blasphemy

Pakistan: Information on Mohajir/Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A)

To See the source, click here, UNHCR

Query: Provide information on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A) in Pakistan.

Response: SUMMARY- The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A) has been widely accused of human rights abuses since its founding two decades ago. It claims to represent Mohajirs- Urdu-speaking Muslims who fled to Pakistan from India after the 1947 partition of the subcontinent, and their descendants.

In the mid-1990s, the MQM-A was heavily involved in the widespread political violence that wracked Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, particularly Karachi, the port city that is the country’s commercial capital. MQM-A militants fought government forces, breakaway MQM factions, and militants from other ethnic-based movements. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and others accused the MQM-A and a rival faction of summary killings, torture, and other abuses (see, e.g., AI 1 Feb 1996; U.S. DOS Feb 1996). The MQM-A routinely denied involvement in violence.

Continue reading Pakistan: Information on Mohajir/Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A)

Mumbai train blasts accused nabbed in London

London, United Kingdom: The Interpol in London has arrested Rahil Shaikh, one of the key accused in the July 11, 2006, suburban train blasts in Mumbai that killed 187 people. Shaikh is accused of organising finances for the Mumbai terror operation that left 187 dead and a shopping 817 injured. Shaikh, a suspected activist of he banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).