Tag Archives: Asia

Asian shares continue global downward trend

Asian stocks saw sharp falls on Friday as mounting concerns over China’s slowing economy continued to affect global markets.

It follows big falls in US and European markets on Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74 points.

Data released on Friday morning showed Chinese factory activity falling to its lowest level in more than six years.

The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 47.1 from 47.8 in July. A figure below 50 shows contraction in the sector and one above means growth.

As domestic and export demand dwindle, Friday’s data is likely to add to global worries that the Chinese economy is set for a continued slowdown.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index followed the mainland’s trend and was 1.53% lower at 22,409.62 points.

Global market woes

Asia’s largest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, dropped sharply, finishing 2.98% down at 19,435.83 points.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34013405

The Future of Government: What We Can Learn from Asia

Western democracy may not be the end of history after all — Asia has another model in mind.

By Akhilesh Pillalamarri

In May, The Atlantic ran two interesting pieces on the future of liberal democracy, especially in the context of Asia and the Middle East. In “The Future of Democracy in the Middle East: Islamist and Illiberal,” Shadi Hamid argues correctly that democracy and liberalism do not necessarily go together, as they do in the West. It is just as likely for a democracy to produce an illiberal system as it is to produce a liberal one, especially throughout much of the Middle East (and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and so on). This is, of course, non-ideal, and reveals several flaws in the idea of implementing democracy in non-Western societies. It also raises the question: what is more important in the end — having basic legal rights (liberalism) or simply voting once every few years for a government whose policies one can hardly influence?

The problem with democracy in the long run is that it will always be hijacked by people with an agenda or special interests — contrary to Alexander Hamilton’s theory that factions could cancel each other out — simply because it is impossible for hundreds of millions of people to directly participate in the government. Groups with money, power, or influence easily sway governmental policies by claiming to be doing the “will of the people.” This trend has become especially pronounced over the past few decades in countries as different as theUnited States and India. In a country with multiple interest groups and multiple cultures like India, it is very hard to get anything done without protests, despite best intentions. What is to be done when a country cannot experience good governance because individuals and groups within it hide behind the plutocratic shield of electoral democracy?

There is an answer to this question from Asia, though it is much maligned in the West. It is a system of governance that avoids both the pitfalls of totalitarianism, North Korea style, and the dysfunctionalism seen in modern American politics. The concept of semi-liberal autocracy is not new nor is it unique to Asia — many 18th and 19th century Enlightenment European states were also organized on such lines. In short, this method of governance and development amounts to rule by an oligarchy that fills its ranks with technocrats or knowledgeable individuals that can dominate the system, whatever its formal constitutional structure: monarchy (Victorian Britain, Meiji Japan), aristocratic alliance (the United Arab Emirates, essentially), republic (the Founding Fathers of the United States), or a single-party state like China. Decisions are made and implemented at the highest level with relatively little outside interference but at the same time, people are free to go about their daily lives without the state constantly breathing down their necks.

At The Atlantic, Daniel A. Bell argued in his piece, “Chinese Democracy Isn’t Inevitable,” that there are in fact better models for governance and that one of them is emerging in China. I believe that it is important to observe and derive political theory from China and other Asian countries because these could be blueprints of the future, in the same way much of modern democracy theory comes from the observations of individuals like Montesquieu and Tocqueville who observed emerging structures in Britain, France, and the United States. Bell points out that there is democracy in the Chinese system at the lowest level — the level where it is the most practical, because “In small communities, people are more knowledgeable about the ability and virtue of the leaders they choose.” Bell continues: “At the local level relative to the national level, policy issues are more straightforward, generating a sense of community is easier, and mistakes are less costly.”

Bell also notes that in China’s autocratic system, experimentation is possible because of the stability of the top level of governance and its “flexible constitutional system.” I would add that on top of this, the social basis of Chinese society (and perhaps most other Asian societies as well) is more conducive to this sort of top-down authoritative experimentation because its traditional worldview and philosophy of human nature and governance has not been fully eaten up by Western progressivism, yet is not so rigid as to be incapable of modernization like the extremism of the Islamic State (IS).

Continue reading The Future of Government: What We Can Learn from Asia

It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race

While NASA and the European Space Agency gets most of the world’s attention, China, Japan and India are racing for the heavens.

The general public in the West largely views the exploration of space as dominated by the United States and perhaps Russia. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rosettamission, they may give thought to Europe’s capabilities. Few people think of India when it comes to missions to Mars, but popular joy erupted across India in September 2014 after its Mangalyaan scientific spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around the red planet. One Indian reader responded to the story on a major online news outlet by posting: “It is [a] moment of pride as India becomes [the] 1stAsian nation to reach Mars.” And understood to all Indian readers was the point that China had—after a series of Asian firsts in space—finally been surpassed.Since China’s first human spaceflight in 2003 and its threatening anti-satellite test in 2007, Asia has seen a surge in space activity, with budgets increasing rapidly across the region. While few officials admit to the term, a “space race” is emerging in Asia.

The surge of Asian countries joining the ranks of major space powers mirrors the rise of Asian economies and their militaries more generally since the end of the Cold War. But following the political drivers of these trends leads most often to regional rivalries, not a desire to compete with the United States or Russia. Being first in Asia to do anything in space brings prestige, lends credibility to governments in power, and helps stimulate Asia’s young population to study science and technology, which has other benefits for their national economies.

The responses to China’s rise have included the sudden development of military space programs by two countries that previously shunned such activities—Japan and India—and dynamic new activities in countries ranging from Australia to Singapore to Vietnam. On the Korean Peninsula, both North and South have orbited satellites in the past three years and both have pledged to develop much larger rockets. Many of these countries realize that they can’t “win” Asia’s space race, but they also know that they cannot afford to lose.

China’s rapid expansion in space activity has also raised serious concerns within U.S. military circles and in NASA. But these developments pose an existential threat to China’s neighbors, some of whom see Beijing’s space program as yet another threatening dimension to their deep-seated historical, economic, and geo-political rivalries for status and influence within the Asian pecking order. Even more, space achievements affect the self-perceptions of their national populations, challenging their governments to do more.

How this competition will play out and whether it can be managed, or channeled into more positive directions, will have a major impact on the future of international relations in space. The U.S. government has thus far responded with a two-track strategy, seeking a bilateral space security dialogue with Beijing, while quietly expanding space partnerships with U.S. friends and allies in the region, adding a space dimension to the U.S. “pivot” to Asia.

Read more » The Daily Beast
See more » http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/17/why-china-will-win-the-next-space-race.html

India is the only nation so far to reach Mars on its first attempt.

By JOANNA SUGDEN

India put a satellite into Mars orbit early Wednesday, the only nation to have done so on a maiden voyage and the first in Asia to reach the red planet.

As the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked on, space scientists at mission control in Bangalore, India’s tech capital, announced that the Mangalyaan orbiter had entered Mars orbit after a 10-month voyage from Earth.

Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, cost $74 million to send into space, making it by far the cheapest of recent missions to Mars. The U.S. spent $671 million getting its Maven satellite to Mars orbit, where it arrived late Sunday.

Read more » The Wall Street Journal
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/09/24/indias-mangalyaan-enters-mars-orbit/?mod=e2tw

The Twilight of American Empire?

By John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus

As people near retirement age, they enter the twilight years. Sometimes, they rebel against retirement. They want to keep working. They‘re not interested in shuffling out of their office never to return. And if they’re in fact the owner of the workplace, conflicts often ensue. Those who have power rarely want to give up that power.

The United States is relatively young as a country. It is even younger as the “leader of the free world.” But for at least three decades, reports have circulated that the American empire has entered its twilight years, perhaps even its dotage.

The U.S. government itself cautioned us to scale back our expectations in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter called on Americans to cut back on consumerism and adjust to an age of diminishing expectations. Then, after the Reagan rebound, we were warned by Yale professor Paul Kennedy of imperial overstretch in the late 1980s. The Clinton years saved us from bankruptcy and the George W. Bush administration again reasserted American power in the world.

But now, the United States has again sunk into economic malaise and the wars of the last decade have left the country badly bruised. Historian Alfred McCoy believes the U.S. empire won‘t make it until 2025. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung pulls the horizon a little closer to 2025. It’s also possible that the empire already ended and somebody forgot to make the announcement. In 2011, Standard and Poor‘s removed the United States from its list of risk-free borrowers, putting us below Canada and Australia. That could very well have been the death knell.

Predicting the end of American empire is complicated by the fact that the United States is not a traditional empire. It does not try to maintain territorial control over distant lands (though many residents of Hawai’i and Guam might disagree). It doesn‘t practice a straightforward policy of pillaging overseas possessions for their material wealth. It practices a form of consensual give-and-take with its allies in Europe and Asia.

But the American Goliath does straddle the globe militarily, with hundreds and hundreds of military bases and Special Forces operating in 71 countries. The United States remains number one in the dubious categories of overall military spending and overall military exports.

Economically, the United States attempts to use the size of its economy to negotiate favorable deals with smaller countries (think: NAFTA) and often defines its national security priorities by their proximity to valuable natural resources (think: oil). It wields disproportionate influence in international economic organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Culturally, Hollywood and the music industry and the television studios all set the standard for cool around the world. English is the world language, and the dollar (for now) is the world currency.

This is, in other words, an empire of consent. Other governments ask for our military bases (though often over the objections of their citizens). Other governments want to trade with the United States. No one makes people watch Avatar or Titanic, the top-grossing movies worldwide. No one forces consumers at gunpoint to eat at McDonald’s or drink Coca-Cola. It‘s true that Washington does what it can to tilt the playing field – through export subsidies, diplomatic arm-twisting, and the occasional show of force. And it can be a very lonely world for those countries, like North Korea, that consistently defy the United States. But this still remains a much more complex set of relationships than Pax Romana or Pax Brittanica.

However one defines U.S. power, though, a fundamental shift is clearly taking place in the world. China is slated to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy as early as 2016. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, many people already believe that China has done so. Indeed, if measured by purchasing power, China nosed past the United States a couple years ago.

It‘s not just China. The other celebrated members of the BRICS – Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa – are more quietly building up their economic and geopolitical power. Then there’s MIST – Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey – another group of rising powers. The proliferation of other groupings – the Next 11, CIVETS – all testifies to the transformation of world power.

Meanwhile, the United States is behaving like a country desperately trying to maintain its edge. It has proclaimed a “Pacific pivot” even though it doesn‘t have the resources to execute any significant shift from the Middle East to Asia. It has attempted to maintain unsustainable levels of military spending at a time of serious budget constraints. It has tried to maintain a surveillance state in the face of considerable challenges from both individuals and organizations. Detroit has gone bankrupt; bridges have collapsed in Washington state and Arizona; thousands in New York and New Jersey are still homeless after last year’s Hurricane Sandy; gun violence annually claims tens of thousands of lives.

And on the issues where the world truly needs leadership – global warming, global poverty, global militarism – the United States is either out to lunch or very much part of the problem.

An aging chief executive who resists calls for retirement will often whip out their trump card: apr?s moi, le deluge! In other words, if the top person goes, whatever their vices might be, the organization will collapse because no one else can provide effective leadership.

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies. His articles and books can be found at http://www.johnfeffer.com. His latest book is Crusade 2.0 (City Lights, 2012).

The views presented in this column are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Hankyoreh.

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

Courtesy: the hankyoreh
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_editorial/597923.html

Why Pakistanis Won’t Speak Out Against Blasphemy Law

By: Tahir Gora

The arrest of 11-year-or-so-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, in Pakistan in connection with the blasphemy charges has shocked the world but not Pakistan and majority Pakistanis.

For instance, a Pakistani Canadian from Mississauga, Ontario Canada wrote on the Internet in the wake of this senseless arrest, “Lets fight against the terrorism of USA and support the cause of AAFIA SIDDIQUE (a Pakistani lady convicted and jailed in the USA for assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan)”, he stated further, “I am 100% sure that nothing will happen to the girl (Rimsha) and she will be released, not to worry.”

While undermining the arrest of poor little Rimsha and provoking dispute in Aafia conviction case, that Pakistani-Canadian fellow completely forgot that a Pakistani Christian lady, Asia Bibi, a mother of five is still behind the bars. She received a sentence of death by a Pakistani court in connection of Blasphemy Law in November 2010.

Continue reading Why Pakistanis Won’t Speak Out Against Blasphemy Law

The Talibanisation of Society in Pakistan

Abandoned by their government, the poor of Pakistan have turned to the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups for support and solace. At the same time, a growing pressure for emancipation presses against fundamentalism. Which force will triumph? A report based on travel in rural Sindh.

By: Jan Breman (J.C.Breman@uva.nl) is professor emeritus at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In her prison cell, Asia Bibi is waiting since 2010 for execution of the verdict brought against her. Blasphemy is the crime she has been accused of and for that gravest of sins the penalty is to be hanged. Why and how was she found guilty?

Asia Bibi is an agricultural labourer in Punjab, illiterate, mother of small children and Christian. When at work in the field as part of a female gang, she went to fetch water to drink and passed around the jug to her fellow workers. A few of them refused, saying that having touched her mouth, the spout had become unclean. Asia belongs to a low caste of Hindu origin that has been converted to Christianity. This attempt to escape from the stigma of untouchability has not ended the discrimination to which she is subjected.

Continue reading The Talibanisation of Society in Pakistan

Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.

Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:

1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.

2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?

3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

Continue reading Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

Civil Society Calls for a Joint Stand Against the Undemocratic Overthrow of the Elected Govt in the Maldives

SINDH – Karachi, Feb 11, 2011: The civil society in Pakistan expressed grave concern over the events in Maldives where an elected government was ousted in a coup following political unrest in the country. The government of the now toppled President Mohamed Nasheed came to power after the 2008 elections ended 30 years of autocratic rule (by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom).

The political turmoil in Maldives and the unlawful overthrow of an elected government in the country remains a matter of grave concern for the South Asian neighbours and the partners of Maldives since the event may have a far ranging impact on the direction and the future of democracy in the region. The coup d’état is a condemnable act and all South Asian states and civil societies must join forces against this undemocratic move by the security forces of Maldives. At least two countries in South Asia – Pakistan and Bangladesh that have faced martial laws and coups in the past know very well how people suffer when democracy is brought down. Not only did the military rule in these two countries compromised political and administrative institutions, it took these countries several decades back in terms of economic and social development.

Continue reading Civil Society Calls for a Joint Stand Against the Undemocratic Overthrow of the Elected Govt in the Maldives

Video in Urdu/ Hindi – Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism in Pakistan – Dr. Mubarak Ali

Intellectual and historian Dr Mubarak Ali is a prolific and versatile writer who has produced around fifty books on issues ranging from the Age of Reason in Europe to the women’s movement and the history of South Asia.

The objective of this seminar series is to understand the roots and dynamics of religious extremism within the context of Pakistani society, which could be referenced to evolve a strategy for de-radicalization of youth. Scholars will be invited to deliver talks in Urdu (Hindi). The talks will involve a small audience with the key purpose to record and disseminate the lecture widely among the youth.

For further details, visit the related link at IPSS website:
http://peaceandsecularstudies.org/?p=790

‘Haqqani coerced to confess that Zardari behind memo’

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said that the judicial commission investigating the memogate was trying to coerce him to confess that President Asif Ali Zardari had urged him to draft the memo to former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Mike Mullen.

This was revealed by Haqqani to Professor Christine Fair of Georgetown University, a South Asia expert, who has extensively researched the Pakistan army, the Inter-Serviced Intelligence and the terrorist organisations based in the country.

Haqqani was asked to step down as Pakistan’s envoy to the US over his suspected role in the secret memo, which said that the Pakistan government had sought help from the United States to stave off a military coup in the wake of the Abbottabad raid on May 2, which killed Osama bin Laden.

Fair, who was discussing the memogate affair at a conference at the Hudson Institute and arguing how the judicial process has been subverted and due process disregarded in the investigation of Haqqani, said she had met Haqqani last week. His interpretation of the investigation was “that they are trying to use these proceedings to put the fear of Allah in him to get him to give up the goods on Zardari to bring this government down,” she said. “This is a well-worn playbook that this military had in its disposal,” she added.

Fair said that this case “bears some similarity to what we saw with (former Pakistan prime minister) Benazir’s (Bhutto) father — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — when they took the head of his security and coerced him into becoming what’s called an approver in Pakistani parlanace — I guess in our parlance it would be basically a witness for the state.”

Thus, she said, “While we all care about Husain Haqqani, I want to emphasise that this is not simply about the particular personal safety or lack thereof of Haqqani, but also about Pakistan’s democratic institutions.”

Fair said that what was currently taking place in Pakistan “in my view is a slow-moving coup.”

So, if we care about Pakistan’s democracy as well as Husain Haqqani, the United States government really needs to be much more vocal than it has been,” she said. “We have to work with our partners to send a very clear message that we recognise that this is a coup albeit via judicial hue.”

Lisa Curtis, who heads the South Asia programme at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, warned that “if the Zardari government is forced out, whether it be through the Supreme Court — and it looks like the army is working in tandem with the Supreme Court albeit behind the scenes — this is going to send a negative signal.”

Curtis, a former Central Intelligence Agency official, said the signal would be clear that “the Pakistan army still wields inappropriate control within the systems,” and that ‘civilian democracy has really not taken root in Pakistan“. She argued, “Even though the Zardari government may not be perfect, it’s an elected government and we need to keep that in mind.”

Courtesy: rediff.com

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/haqqani-coerced-to-confess-that-zardari-behind-memo/20120119.htm?sc_cid=twshare

PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – AHRC-UAC-248-2011

19 December 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence Agency, the country’s foremost intelligence agency, has hatched a conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected government and parliament by taking help from some Arab monarchies who have strong influence in the affairs of the country. The Pakistan Army has been trying for two years to overthrow the civilian government and it is alleged that in the month of May 2011, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, the chief of the ISI, visited several Arab monarchies in a personal capacity and sought clearance for the army to take over the country. It is also alleged that he was given the ‘OK’ by these monarchies. He also visited China, without taking permission from the prime minister, but apparently did not get any formal assistance.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

SOUTH ASIA: India is not Pakistan

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC-STM-183-2011,

November 29, 2011 – The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is a subject of severe criticism by human rights activists and jurists in India and across the world. The alarming number of human rights abuses committed by the security agencies deployed in regions where AFSPA is currently put to use is depressing proof to the draconian nature of this law. Many lives lost already – estimated to be more than 4000 since the Act came into force in 1958 – to this the Act underscores the non-compatibility of this law to the notion of democracy. The statutory impunity provided in the Act and the extreme nature of force, that could be used arbitrarily on mere suspicion, empowering a soldier to shoot to kill with no fear of prosecution which is used without restraint till today, proves that this law has not only failed, but would not by any stretch of imagination be of use to curb armed secessionist militancy in the country. Yet, the Indian Army is now entangled in a browbeating debacle with the civilian government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the state’s legislature concerning the withdrawal of this law from certain parts of the state. The army’s attempt is to continue enjoying the despicable impunity this law provides therefore unbecomingly benefiting from it.

Continue reading SOUTH ASIA: India is not Pakistan

Sindh and Its Sindhiyat – By Geet Chainani, M.D.

Sindh, the land of Sufis, the hope and ultimate destination of my quest!

The time I’ve spent in Sindh, Pakistan over the last year and a half has been life changing. It’s taught me much about the history of South Asia, the cultural heritage of Sindh,  our Sindhi brothers and sisters, the dynamics of the Muhajir- Sindhi relationship among a few things. But I believe these to be the more obvious lessons that every second generation removed Sindhi Indian American would also search for when they visit.

There’s been a deeper and much more personal journey involved for me as well: a spiritual one. I came to the land of Sufis to find myself with the hope to find my God as the grand triumph and ultimate destination of my quest.

I’ve learnt that I’m still learning and still looking. On this journey I’ve found beautiful hidden messages that I’ve read in books or inscribed on the walls of temples and Sufi durgahs:

Vasudeva Kutumbakam”

“Ekam sat viprah bahuda vedanti.”

“Satyam amritasya putrah”

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single kind act is better than bowing your head in prayer a thousand times. -Shaykh Sa’di

*

I believe not in the outer religion,

I live ever in love.

Say Amen! When love comes to you.

Love is neither with the infidels nor with the faithful.

– Sachal Sarmast

*

If you are seeking Allah,

Then keep clear of religious formalities.

Those who have seen Allah

Are away from all religions!

Those who do not see Allah here,

How will they see Him beyond?

– Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

My time in Sindh surrounded by Sindhi Muslims has shown me the other side of Sindh’s story and another side of Sufi Islam. The stories of the Sindhi who provided their Hindu counterparts their homes to hide out in during the violence that broke out, the Muslims that bid a final farewell to their Hindu friends with tears in their eyes, the Sindhis who still hold those memories close to their hearts and feel the loss of the Sindhi Hindus as something Sindh never recovered from.

On November 7, 2011 three Hindus were killed in Shikarpur district of Sindh, Pakistan. As many of you already know, I worked in Shikarpur at the start of my time in Sindh. I still maintain close contact with my co-workers. A member of my family also sits on the board of a Hindu association of Sindh. Here’s what I must say, as it is the other side of the truth that exists.

Immediately following the killings the religious (Hindu in this case) spokesperson jumped on the bandwagon to claim religious bias as a cause of the killing.  I turned to my personal network in Shikarpur for answers: there had been an election recently in which the Hindu community had supported the ruling party which won due to the large number of Hindu votes they received. The opposing party didn’t take their loss lightly and instead decided to teach a lesson to the opposite party. The end result of which was the death of the three Sindhi Hindu of whom only one was a doctor. Religious bias was not the reason for their death, politics was. Anyone who follows politics closely shouldnt be shocked to learn of the ways in which politicians use religion as a political strategy. As they say, ” The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

What followed next was an absolute uproar within the Sindhi community and an alternate backlash against the government for their inadequate response and towards Sindh warning all Sindhis that this type of violence and is anti Sindhiyat and will not be tolerated by the residents of Sindh. They further emphasized that Sindh is the land of Sufis and believes in living in a tolerant society. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was in Islamabad on official business. A young activist was kind enough to send me pictures.

Following the killings thousands of Pakistanis, both Hindu and Muslim, gathered publically across Pakistan to stand against the death of the three victims and the inaccurate message of intolerance it displayed. There was also a hunger strike that followed.

Sayings in books thousands of years old that we claim as ours aren’t good enough. It is far more necessary to put those words to action and there is no better time than now. Hate only breeds hate. History is meant to learn from not to regurgitate. It’s wrong to paint today’s canvas with yesterday’s paint. When you reach into the paint jar you may end up with dried out, useless paint. This is perhaps why they say one should not live today in the past of yesterday.

No one is saying that the sentiments of the Hindu Sindhis are wrong. Anger for being removed from motherland and from  sacred river Sindhu is justified. But another truth follows suit: there’s a time for anger and then there’s a time to let go, to change and to move on.

Tides must turn. Peace must prevail.

Only then will their be prosperity in South Asia again.

Praying for peace

Reference reading:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=76954&Cat=2

http://www.thehansindia.info/News/Article.asp?category=1&subCategory=4&ContentId=17528

http://www.demotix.com/news/924585/civil-society-protest-against-killing-hindu-doctors

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/11/protest-against-killing-of-hindus/

Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mohandas Gandhi

To find out more or to support our work in Sindh, Pakistan please visit our website at www.thelifebridge.us

BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

BAAGHI: Pakistan fights back in Shikarpur —Marvi Sirmed

Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.

One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban  Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.

According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.

The Bhayo members of the  Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.

Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.

Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.

The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.

When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.

This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.

Continue reading BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

Indian Muslims feel secure under secularism

by Farooq Sulehria

“Secularism is not about lifestyle, it is about ideology and thought. Some of the most liberal souls in South Asia have practiced the worst kind of fundamentalist politics, using their positions to sow the seeds of conservative thought,” says Seema Mustafa. A leading Indian journalist, peace activist and public intellectual, Seema Mustafa also contributes for Viewpoint. In an interview, she discusses different aspects of secularism in the Muslim world. Read on:

Why has secularism not taken root in the Muslim world? If Islam and secularism are incompatible?

Islam and secularism are totally compatible, as is any religion practiced in its true sense. Syria, Libya and Iraq earlier did try to develop as secular states keeping religion out of politics. Last month I was in Syria and in a long conversation, the Grand Mufti in Damascus made it very clear that there was no room for religion in politics, that organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood were unacceptable so long as they insisted on mixing the two, and that the secular character of the Syrian state would not be compromised. …

Read more » ViewPoint

Vanishing Sindhis!

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

I share the following appeal from Mr. Mekan Vandiyar on “Vanishing Sindhis!”. Please share your comments and suggestions to mekan39@yahoo.com

My own comment is that Sindhis in Sindh, Sindhis in India and Sindhis living elsewhere should not be disheartened as there are encouraging signs that Sindhis all over the world can even say today “here is a Sindhi girl / boy from the Globe”. I do not have much insight into the notion that Sindhis in India can win a separate province, however, I feel that the harsh barriers that have kept Sindhis in India and Sindhis in Sindh, Pakistan away from each other will soon vanish and all Sindhis will also be be able to say “”here is a Sindhi girl / boy who loves Sindh as much as their new homeland“.

A recent announcement by the Indian and Pakistani government that they are normalizing business and economic relations and giving each other the “most favorite trading partner” status is one of those signs. The Sindhis from all over the world should not only encourage but also organize and participate in events that welcome every Sindhi regardless of where they live now. For example, the Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) whose members predominantly consist of those who migrated from Sindh (Pakistan) into the USA has been in the forefront of inviting prominent educationalists, political leaders, and writers who now live in India. It is time that all other Sindhi associations also follow this practice to bridge the gaps that may exist between various Sindhi communities.

Lastly, I assure Mr. Vandiyar that Sindhis in Sindh are more than ever determined to protect and advance Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture of peace, and Sindhi identity. They are and will continue provide all their support to Sindhis in India or elsewhere in the world in their efforts to protect their and advance their Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture, and Sindhi identity.

Continue reading Vanishing Sindhis!

US sows discord in South Asia

– By M K Bhadrakumar

Two templates in regional politics are seriously debilitating the United States’s campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees in the Afghan endgame. One is that Delhi has distanced itself from the US campaign and pursues an independent policy toward Islamabad.

The second factor frustrating US policies to isolate Pakistan is the South Asian nation’s bonhomie with Iran. Pakistan would have been pretty much isolated had there been an acute rivalry with Iran over the Afghan endgame. The current level of cordiality in the relationship enables Islamabad to focus on the rift with the US and even draw encouragement from Tehran.

It’s baloney

A recent statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the US-Pakistan rift underscored that India doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the US approach. (See US puts the squeeze on Pakistan, Asia Times, October 22). It was carefully timed to signal to Washington (and Islamabad) that Delhi strongly disfavored any form of US military action against Pakistan.

There is a string of evidence to suggest that the Pakistani leadership appreciates the Indian stance. The general headquarters in Rawalpindi acted swiftly on Sunday to return to India within hours a helicopter with three senior military officers on board which strayed into Pakistani territory in bad weather in the highly sensitive Siachen sector. The official spokesman in Delhi went on record to convey India’s appreciation of the Pakistani gesture. Such conciliatory gestures are rare (for both sides) in the chronicle of Pakistan-India relationship.

Again, last week, India voted for Pakistan’s candidacy for the Asia-Pacific slot among the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the Pakistani ambassador promptly responded that he would work with his Indian counterpart in New York. Ironically, the UN has been a theater for India and Pakistan’s frequent clashes over the Kashmir problem. ….

Read more » Asia Times

OWS spreads all over

– Occupy protests spread around the world; 70 injured in Rome

By Faith Karimi and Joe Sterling, CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia — and took a particularly violent turn in Rome.

Firefighters battled a blaze at an Interior Ministry building near Porta San Giovanni in Rome, the main gathering site of the Italian protesters taking part in the Occupy movement Saturday, said eyewitnesses who reported seeing a Molotov cocktail thrown near the building.

A spokesman for Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who condemned the violence, confirmed 70 people were injured, 40 of them police officers. No arrest numbers were available late Saturday. ….

Read more » CNN

Sir Ganga Ram

Here is a story from the 1947 religious riots (as related by Saadat Hassan Minto):

A statue of Sir Ganga Ram once stood on Mall Road in Lahore. An inflamed mob with religious hatred in Lahore, after attacking a residential area, turned to attacking the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, the Hindu philanthropist.

They first pelted the statue with stones; then smothered its face with coal tar. Then a man made a garland of old shoes climbed up to put it round the neck of the statue.

The police arrived and opened fire. Among the injured were the fellow with the garland of old shoes. As he fell, the mob shouted: “Let us rush him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.”

 

Bangladesh captures leader of banned Islamic group, Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI)

Bangladesh nabs leader of banned Islamic group

Yahiya returned to Bangladesh in 1992 after the Mujahidin war in Afghanistan. In December of 2005, he was arrested for alleged involvement in a series of bombings. Later he jumped bail and was absconding.

The leader of a banned jihadist group was arrested by Bangladesh’s elite anti-terror unit while he was traveling on a passenger bus Thursday.

The Rapid Action Battalion captured Hafez Maulana Yahiya and two of his bodyguards on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway northeast of the capital Dhaka. Yahiya has been identified as acting chief of the banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), confirmed M Sohail, director of the legal and media wing of the battalion.

The United States lists HuJI as an international terror organization, as have the international police (Interpol). The jihadist network is active in the South Asia nations of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The terror network moved its headquarters from Pakistan to Bangladesh after allied countries invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

In a daring bid to assassinate opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in 2004, HuJI militants attacked her rally in the capital with hand grenades and sniper rifles. The attack was allegedly masterminded by Yahiya. Hasina is presently the prime minister of Bangladesh.

The RAB said Yahiya, 60, had served as the acting chief of HuJI since its former chief, Maulana Sheikh Farid, was detained on July 26. HuJI’s sole mentor Maulana Fazlur Rahman is the most wanted person and his whereabouts are unknown, said retired General Moniruzzaman, chief of a global security think-tank.

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90057620?Bangladesh+nabs+leader+of+banned+Islamic+group#ixzz1VxQPC9h8

 

Dr. Manzur Ejaz at SANA on language, culture & politics

Dr. Manzoor Ejaz of Washington DC, a very well known journalist and economist speaking at Sindhi Association of North America 27th Annual SANA CONVENTION in speakers forum. Dr. Manzoor Ejaz flanked by Kamran Shafi on the left and Mohammad Taqi on the right is talking on language, culture and politics.

YouTube

 

Sindhis of Katchh, India

Having lost its independence, amalgamated into Gujarat, like mainland Sindh, Kutchis are also facing a demographic and linguistic challenge. After partition in 1947, Kutchis are cut-off from their fellow Sindhis in Sindh but they are trying to hang on to their dialect of Sindhi, culture and traditions.

They’re blood thirsty now

The Good Old Days of Fatwas and Anita Ayub

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I was reading an article the other day in which a female writer explains that how women too are going to get male virgins in heaven. While I found the article interesting and entertaining, it reminded me of Anita Ayub. Anita Ayub was a model and an actress in Pakistan in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She also worked in an Indian movie called ‘ Pyar Ka Tarana’. Legend has it that she fell in love with a Sikh, married him, and moved to India. I don’t know if there is any truth to this news or not. Anita was a beautiful, smart, and intelligent model with serious lack of talent. She said things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to say. She did things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to do.

She got quite a few Fatwas (religious condemnation to be killed) against her. It has been a hobby of our mullas to give Fatwas for centuries. But things were not this bad in the 1990’s. I call those days “good old days of Fatwas”. When moulvi hazarat gave a Fatwa those days, few fanatics sent you death threats, you apologized, they forgave you. Everyone moved on and nobody got hurt.

Who knew that one day the Zia-ul-Haq era would be considered a relatively peaceful era!

Years ago when I was just a child, I heard that Anita Ayub had asked a very bad question, “If men are going to get hoors (virgins) in heaven, what are women going to get?”

I remember my mom commenting on Anita’s morality and mentality in a not so complementing manner. My teenage mind was confused. The question did not seem that unreasonable to me. Risking judgment on my own morality and mentality, I asked my mom if there was an answer to Anita’s question. My mom said very understandably that in heaven women would become hoors themselves. Asking any further questions meant asking for God’s wrath. This is where we are stopped. When you do not understand it, asking any further questions is a sin.

So, moulvis of Pakistan issued a Fatwa against her. Next week, Anita’s apology was published with the explanation that this is not what she meant. How could she possibly question the divine laws? The matter indeed ended. Mullas put her episode of temporary insanity (or logical thinking) behind. So this is what I call good old days of Fatwas. When you spoke your curious mind, few good moulvis actually tried to explain things politely, few gave Fatwa, you apologized, and you got to live.

Mercy no more my friends! Forgiveness no more. Asia Bibi has apologized a million times. Salmaan Taseer gave explanation after explanation that he did not mean to defend a blasphemer, but a weak and poor woman. They did not listen. They’re blood thirsty now. Now those good old days of Fatwas are over. …

Read more: LUBP

Conference on Partition – Past and Present

Conference on Partition – Past and Present, on Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sub topics: 1947 Indian Subcontinent Partition, past and present; Partitions of Bengal; Partitions of Punjab, Kashmir and Assam; Partition studies in the Indian Subcontinent; Effects of partition on Assam, Tripura and Sindh; Bangladesh War of Independence; Reconciliation and forgiveness; Unity; Identity; History; Divided peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Union; Narratives of refugees, survivors and protectors; Division’s long-term effect; Effects of displaced peoples on host population; Minority issues in divided lands; Indigenous peoples, their language, culture and religion; Longing for home. Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011, Time: 8:30 AM, Place: Politics, Economics & Law Department, State University of New York, Old Westbury, Long Island, New York 11568.

Continue reading Conference on Partition – Past and Present

Then they came for me – by Babar Sattar

The pall of gloom, anger and despondency in Pakistan has deepened with Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder. If the past is any guide, we will neither discover verifiable facts about his murder, nor will his killers be brought to justice. But let us revisit what we do know. Saleem Shahzad was called in by the ISI in October last year to discuss a story that he had filed for Asia Times Online and felt that he had received a muffled threat. He shared the details with his family, employers and some friends, including Human Rights Watch. Shahzad had written the first part of a story this past week suggesting that Al-Qaeda/Taliban had infiltrated the navy and the attack on PNS Mehran was a consequence of efforts to weed them out. Shahzad was abducted from a high-security zone in Islamabad while he was on his way to participation in a TV talk show. He was tortured to death and his body dumped in the canal close to Rasool Barrage a couple of days later.

Who could have abducted a journalist from one of the most fortified areas of Islamabad? If all this was the handiwork of Al-Qaeda/Taliban, why did they not make demands in return for his release, as they often do? If they didn’t abduct him for ransom or barter, why did they not claim credit for his assassination? Why did they not hold him out as an example for others they see as enemies or double agents, rather than silently dumping his tortured body, followed by an anonymous burial in Mandi Bahhauddin? Was the local representative of Human Rights Watch conspiring with Al-Qaeda and their “foreign” patrons when (according to reported conversations with interlocutors) he disclosed that Shahzad was being held by the ISI and would be released soon? Shahzad feared for his life and had pointed fingers. Should we simply disregard his account now that he is dead?

No terror group has claimed responsibility for Shahzad’s murder. But the ISI has denied involvement in his torture and killing, and resolved “to leave no stone unturned in helping bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.” Let us assume that the ISI is being truthful here. How did we come to this pass where our leading intelligence agency is the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a journalist and, conscious of such a perception, feels obliged to issue a contradiction? Was Umar Cheema of The News really tortured by spooks or did he just imagine security personnel shaving his head? Was Kamran Shafi’s house never attacked? Is there some bright line rule that people will be roughed up but not killed? Or are the countless reported episodes of intelligence personnel intimidating journalists all lies? Has the US-Indian-Israeli nexus successfully manipulated the minds of our media and intelligentsia? Is this the best explanation for the suspicion that segments of our national security apparatus arouse?

Back in January 2010, I wrote about “reforming khakis.” I had endeavoured to identify multiple facets of the khaki mindset, as I understood them. “The first is an undaunted sense of righteousness,” I had argued. “This indoctrinates the military with the belief that its vision and definition of national security and national interest is the perennial manifestation of wisdom and truth. Any involvement of civilians with matters deemed to fall within the domain of national security is seen as unwarranted interference and an affront to its interests. This protective sense encourages the military to guard its proclaimed territory as a fief. The second facet of the khaki mindset is the military’s saviour instinct. Despite being a non-representative institution, the military has assigned to itself the role of deciphering aspirations of Pakistanis and protecting them. And the most insidious facet of this mindset is the unstated sense of being above the law that binds ordinary citizens.”

Consequently, I was “invited” to the ISI headquarter to meet with a brigadier who looked after internal security. I was offered a “tea break” while being informed that people within the GHQ had taken offence at my article. The brigadier read out “objectionable” excerpts from my article back to me and read from hand scribbled notes that spread over half-a-dozen pages to educate me on how I was wrong. He spoke for about 45 minutes before I sought permission to interrupt his speech and engage in a dialogue. At some point in this conversation he told me quite categorically that the army was more patriotic than the rest of us!

I wasn’t directly threatened at any point. However, I was informed, as a matter of historical record, that there was a time when the agency dealt with people only with the stick; but now things were different. During the meeting I felt obliged to reiterate my fidelity and loyalty to my country and was later ashamed and angry with myself for doing so.

I did not walk away from the ISI headquarters with a sense that this was another free exchange of ideas with a state official who disagreed with my opinion on how best to secure our national interest. In what is hard to describe accurately, I felt an eerie sense of anxiety and a need to protect my back. Not from the Taliban or terror groups but from the same security apparatus that is mandated by law to protect and defend my constitutional right to life, liberty and physical security. …..

Read more: The News

Chali hai rasm ke koi na sar utha ke chale!

Pakistan Journalist Vanishes: Is the ISI Involved?

By Omar Waraich / Islamabad

Excerpt:

Pakistan’s main news channels are reporting that Shahzad’s dead body has been found. One news channel broadcast what appeared to be a black and white image of Shahzad’s face. There were visible signs of torture..

While the ISI was said to have bristled at previous reports by Shahzad, his disappearance happened two days after he wrote a story for Asia Times Online that said that al-Qaeda had attacked a naval base in the port city of Karachi on May 22 after talks had broken down between the Pakistan navy and the global terrorist organization. In his report, Shahzad claimed that al-Qaeda had carried out the attack in retaliation for the arrest of naval officials suspected of links with the terrorist group.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2074800,00.html#ixzz1NwRiJriN
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More details: The News, BBC urdu

Journalist Saleem Shahzad goes missing – Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda.

ISLAMABAD: Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, went missing Sunday evening, DawnNews reported.

Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda.

Ali Imran, a Coordinator at the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) in an email stated that Mr Shahbaz had left his house in Islamabad to participate in a television program but that he did not reach the TV station.

He did not contact his family and friends either, Mr Imran said, adding that Mr Shahzad’s mobile phone and car had not been traced yet.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

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Missing journalist in ISI custody, says HRW

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has, through credible sources, learnt that journalist Saleem Shahzad is in custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), HRW’s Pakistan representative Ali Dayan Hasan told Daily Times on Monday.

Dayan remarked that the ISI remained a major human rights abuser in Pakistan and it frequently kept abusing and torturing those journalists it disagreed with. He further said the HRW had previously documented similar cases of abduction and torture on journalists by security agencies.

People close to Shahzad told Daily Times that he was picked up by officers of an intelligence agency who have promised through anonymous calls to release him soon. Shahzad, who was working as bureau chief of the Asia Times Online in Islamabad, was whisked away by unidentified people on Sunday evening when he left his F-8 Sector residence to participate in a television talk show. His mobile phone remained switched off and his car could not be traced.

People close to Shahzad stated that he had received numerous warnings from security agencies for his reporting in the past, adding that his recent reporting on the issue of terrorist attack on PNS Mehran might have become the reason of his abduction.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against the unidentified kidnappers in the F-8 Sector Police Station.

Courtesy: DAILYTIMES.COM

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20115\31\story_31-5-2011_pg1_2