LAHORE: The authorities investigating the murder of Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG), by two unidentified gunmen in Rawalpindi do not rule out the possibility of involvement of some pro-Taliban militants in the assassination.
Once considered close to former president Pervez Musharraf, Maj-Gen Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite group as a brigadier. The first Pakistani major-general to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST), Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by Gen Musharraf in August 2005.
The authorities suspect the involvement of a sectarian organisation linked to Taliban and the al-Qaeda in the murder, as Maj-Gen Alvi had been involved in several major military operations conducted by the SSG commandos in the restive Waziristan region.
The authorities believe the murder has symbolic significance as Alvi used to be a high-profile officer of the Special Services Group — an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army, which had carried out the high-profile Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad against the fanatic Ghazi brothers and their followers …..
If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.
Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.
Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.
We condemn threats to Asma Jahangir’s life by Pakistan army generals
Assassination plot against Asma Jahangir exposed
If there was only one person worthy of respect in Pakistan, it had to be Asma Jahangir. She must be protected from those afraid of her.
Not unlike millions of peace loving, progressive Pakistanis, LUBP editors and team members are concerned over threat to senior human rights activist Asma Jahangir’s life. In Kashif Abbas’s TV program today (Off the Record – ARY TV), Asma Jahangir detailed a plot by the military to assassinate her. Apparently, in view of Asma’s detailed revelations, Kashif took a break, but the show ended.
However, later on Geo TV’s Aapas Ki Baat, Asma did manage to speak to Najam Sethi about the plan by Pakistan army (ISI in particular) to assassinate her. In that show, she clearly stated that senior level army generals were planning to kill her.
Apparently, those with guns are afraid of an unarmed woman!
In Habib Jalib’s words: dartay hain bandooqan walay aik nihatti larki say (men with guns are afraid of an unarmed woman)
They want to eliminate her the way they killed Benazir Bhutto, Shahbaz Bhatti, Salmaan Taseer, Murtaza Bhutto, and thousands of other unnamed Balochs, Shias, Pashtuns and other citizens of Pakistan.
I was with Benazir Bhutto on Sept. 25, 2007, when she received a call from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then Pakistan’s president. She was visibly shaken when she hung up the phone: Musharraf had threatened her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan Peoples Party in the upcoming elections, where she was the major threat to defeat him. Bhutto quoted him as saying that she would be responsible for what happened to her.
Three weeks later, she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. She was greeted in Karachi by 3 million people — and two suicide assassin bombers. Within hours of her arrival, a failed assassination attempt took the lives of 170 of her party workers. Afterward, she emailed me to say that if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible. Two months later, she was dead.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s government, after a four-year investigation, requested that Interpol issue an international warrant for the arrest of Musharraf for Bhutto’s murder. He has been summoned before the Supreme Court of Pakistan tomorrow. No one expects him to appear.
The army was constitutionally mandated to be an arm of the Pakistan state with elected civilians in control of the executive. But it has seized the commanding heights and subordinated the other organs of the state to its own unaccountable purposes.
In recent times, however, something even more sinister has been happening. This is the creeping growth of the ISI from a small arms-length intelligence directorate or department of the military (Inter Services Intelligence Directorate) in the initial decades of independent Pakistan to an omnipotent and invisible “deep state within the state” that now controls both military strategy and civilian policy.
General Pervez Musharraf’s unprecedented appointment of General Ashfaq Kayani, a former DG-ISI, as COAS was the first step in this direction. The second was General Kayani’s own decision to routinely rotate senior and serving ISI officers to positions of command and control in the army and vice-versa, coupled with his insistence on handpicking the DGISI and extending his service. Together, these decisions reflect a harsh new reality. The ISI has walked into GHQ and seized command and control of the armed forces.
This is a deeply troubling development because it violates the established norm-policy of all militaries in democratic societies – intelligence services must consciously be kept at arms length from GHQ because “field commanders must not get contaminated” or tainted by cloak and dagger operations in grey zones. That is why COAS Gen Zia ul Haq kicked Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, DGISI, upstairs to CJOSC rather than give him troops to command. That is why COAS Gen Asif Nawaz sidelined DGISI Gen Asad Durrani as IG Training and Evaluation. That is why COAS Gen Waheed Kakar prematurely retired Gen Durrani from service for playing politics in GHQ and then recommended Gen Jehangir Karamat as his successor rather than his close confidante and former DGISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. Indeed, that is why the CIA, RAW, MI6, KGB, MOSSAD etc remain under full civilian operations and control even though soldiers may be seconded to them or head them occasionally.
The ISI’s meteoric rise in the 1980s is well documented. It became the official conduit for tens of billions of dollars of arms and slush funds from the US and Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Three serving generals of the time were billed as “the richest and most powerful generals in the world” by Time magazine in 1986. Two of them, Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Gen Hameed Gul were in turn DGs-ISI while the third, General Fazle Haq, was the Peshawar gatekeeper to Afghanistan.
Three Prime Ministers have fallen victim to the ISI. PM Junejo ran afoul of DGs ISI Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman over the Ojhri Camp disaster. Benazir Bhutto was undermined by DGs ISI Gen Gul and General Asad Durrani. And Nawaz Sharif by DG ISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and COAS Gen Waheed Kakar. Indeed, Mr Sharif might have survived in 1999 if Gen Musharraf had not earlier cunningly moved Gen Mohammad Aziz from the ISI to GHQ as CGS because it was the latter who nudged Corps Commander Pindi Gen Mahmood Ahmed to execute the coup in the absence of Gen Musharraf.
The ISI’s creeping coup – ISI officers returning to command positions in the army – against GHQ is fraught with problems. It has eroded the credibility and capacity of both the current DG ISI and COAS within the military and civil society. The ISI’s spectacular failures (BB’s assassination, Mumbai, Raymond Davis case, missing persons, Memogate, Mehrangate, Abbotabad, Saleem Shehzad, Get-Zardari, etc) can all be laid at GHQ’s door just as the ISI’s anti-terrorist policy failures are responsible for the loss of over 3000 soldiers to the Pakistan Taliban and the terrorist attacks on GHQ and Mehran Navy Base. The fact that both the COAS and DG ISI have taken extensions in service has also undermined their credibility far and wide.
Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani politician murdered a year ago, might one day be declared a saint, according to Britain’s most senior cleric.
In a statement issued on the first anniversary of Mr Bhatti’s death Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, said he hoped that the Church would consider one day canonising Mr Bhatti, the Pakistani federal minister for minorities who was assassinated after numerous threats were made to his life.
Cardinal O’Brien said: “When that time comes I believe the Church should very seriously examine the question of whether Shahbaz Bhatti might be declared a saint.
“It would be wonderful to think that… Shahbaz Bhatti could become a patron for Justice and Peace in Pakistan or indeed Asia.”
He added his hope that El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero might one day become one of the patron saints of Central and South America as well.
Cardinal O’Brien’s comments were made in a statement to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which is one of the organisers behind an event in central London honouring the Pakistani politician.
The peace rally and concert on March 10 will led by the British Pakistani Christian Association, and commemorates the anniversary of Mr Bhatti’s death. The organisers are calling for an end to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the way they are abused. The rally wil begin outside the Pakistani High Commission at 11am.
Cardinal O’Brien said: “From what we know of his life and work Shahbaz Bhatti appears to have been a true man of God, who led a life of heroic virtue. His final interview reveals that he foresaw that he might die for what he believed in and was not afraid to join his Lord on the cross.
“His commitment to Christ suggests that here is an individual whose life and faith is worthy of examination [to see if he might be declared a saint] and it may be that in the fullness of time Shahbaz Bhatti is raised to the dignity of the altars.”
Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, Chairman of the International Affairs Dept of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “I want to join with many others across the world in remembering and paying tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti. He was killed because he rejected hatred and violence and instead embraced the Gospel values of reconciliation and fidelity to truth. In his work as Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti had a vision for a more tolerant society, formed by his own deep faith. His heroic witness serves as an inspiration and a challenge to us all.”
Bilawal Vows to Defend Minorities on Bhatti Anniversary
Karachi: The Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the party will continue to stand by Pakistan’s religious minorities and support them against bigotry in the tradition of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
In a statement marking the first anniversary of the assassination of PPP leader Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the Christian community, the PPP Chairperson paid tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti’s dedication to Pakistani democracy and the ideal of a more tolerant and inclusive Pakistan. …
Citizens for Democracy (CFD) invites you to join in the Candle light vigil to mark the first anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti, former Federal Minister for Minorities. Mr. Bhatti, who was assassinated on March 2, 2011 in Islamabad, was a member of Federal Assembly of Pakistan and an outspoken critic of misuse of Blasphemy Laws introduced by a military dictator, Zia ul Haq.
The candle light vigil will held on March 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm in front of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim/ Jehangir Kothari Parade, opposite Park Towers, Clifton, Karachi, Sindh. Please join us, invite friends and help spread the word.
Citizens For Democracy (CFD)- citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com
Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.
The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.
The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….
Toronto, 02/02/2012 – Baloch Human Rights Council [BHRC] (Canada) strongly condemned the cold-blooded killings of a prominent Balochistan independence leader, Brahmdagh Bugti’s sister and niece and claimed it a political murder aimed at the hardcore movement for rights and freedom. President, BHRC (Canada) Zaffar Baloch, Vice President & Coordinator IVBMP Aziz Baloch, Secretary General Sher Abidian, and Secretary Information Imtiaz Baloch in a joint statement maintained that this tragic incident was a state-sponsored assassination, planned and executed by the operatives of the Pakistani military intelligence services.
Furthermore, BHRC (Canada) leadership expressed its deepest sorrow over the loss of family members of Brahmdagh Bugti, Mir Bakhtiar Domki, and Mehran Baluch and stated that the Baloch community in Canada shares the moments of grief with them, the Baloch Diaspora, and people of Balochistan. BHRC statement also extended condolences to the family members and relatives of the Baloch driver who lost his life in the incident.
Islamabad – Earlier this week, Pakistan’s prime minister appeared before the country’s Supreme Court to defend himself against allegations of contempt – it is symbolic of a dispute that is on-going at the centre of the country’s powerful elite.
When great institutions of state clash, history is made. It is the stuff of school history lessons – the Magna Carta, the Star Chamber, the Great Reform Act – that kind of thing.
But while in the UK such milestones have generally been once-a-century type events, in Pakistan they have become a way of life. Constitutional crises have become business as usual.
This week Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to appear before the Supreme Court. He was there to face contempt proceedings related to the president’s immunity from prosecution.
I will spare you the details. But as I sat in the court’s press gallery, I felt pretty sure that in 100 years, Pakistani school children would not be learning about the January 2012 contempt case.
Perhaps they will be studying something the Western journalists did not even know was happening: a debate between some clerics on what role Islam should have in the state.
But the court was colourful. There was the prime minister, alongside him his brilliant lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan and a throng of ministers showing solidarity.
And buzzing about all of them, the journalists – representatives of Pakistan’s new, irrepressible 24-hour news television culture.
For millions of Pakistanis, the constant wrangling of the elite has the quality of a TV soap opera.
I do not want to belittle the importance of politics. The failure of successive elected and military governments has left millions of Pakistanis highly frustrated. But still the TV news shows attract massive audiences – people both despair of their leaders and want to know all about them.
Because many of the political parties are little more than family businesses, the same names have been around for decades – with power passed from father to daughter, brother to brother, and so on.
All this is against a backdrop of corruption cases, the frequent imprisonment of politicians, the “war on terror”, suicide attacks, assassinations, US military incursions – there is so much going on.
Pakistani news anchors can pirouette from the big news such as “The Prime Minister’s Day in Court”, to the tittle-tattle – the affairs, the hair transplants, the family rows.
“Will the generals and judges force the president from power?” …
BB was her father’s daughter in every sense and respect, who staunchly believed that the people are able to decide their own destiny. No matter who they are, what social sphere they belong to, they have a voice and a choice
My birthplace, Rawalpindi, has a strange notoriety: it has been extremely unlucky for the prime ministers of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan became a victim of Syed Akbar’s bullet back in 1951, in what was then known as Company Bagh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was murdered in 1979, at Rawalpindi Central Jail. I use the term ‘murdered’, although he was supposedly sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court, and the Supreme Court had upheld that verdict, for obvious reasons. It is commonly termed as a ‘judicial murder’. His daughter, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto became a victim of an assassin’s bullet four years back in December 2007. What a strange coincidence that she died at the same Company Bagh, now known as Liaquat Bagh. Boy what a death trap that Company Bagh is. …
If you watch the video of Imran Khan’s Karachi Jalsa, you will see Imran Khan coming to the venue by an Army helicopter and then escorted and surrounded by armed Army commandos. The Army and ISI provided full security to him, before and during the jalsa. A million dollar question is , where was the Army and ISI when twice prime minister of Pakistan, Chairperson of PPP, Benazir was speaking at Liaquat Park, Rawalpindi, a stone’s throw distance from GHQ? Why was absolutely no security was provided to her, even as is now disclosed by ISI that there was a specific plan to murder her? Was it because the generals perceived BB as a threat to expose them before the public?
Is their support of Imran Khan because Army generals think that he will get them out of the deep hole they have dug for themselves and get Talibans/ Jihadis and Americans off their backs, sustain their narrow destructive policies and that they can go back to their messes and golf courses and DHAs? [Above text is taken from Pakistani e-lists, e-groups, credit goes to TK for above piece]
27th December: Get Ready For Another Zardari-Rehman Malik Drama
By Aziz Narejo
27th December is almost upon us. Get ready for another Zardari-Rehman Malik drama about “catching” & “punishing” the “killers of Shaheed BB”. It is about 4 years since the PPP chairperson was assassinated in Pak Army town, Rawalpindi. Her party, led by her widower & son, has been in power for 3 years & 9 months since then. First they delayed any meaningful investigation in the name of UN probe. When UN commission submitted its report, they rejected it & refused to act on it. Then they said they would hold their own inquiry. Now their hand-maiden report is ready since more than a year but they won’t publish or disclose it in full. Last year, they delayed the arrival of the ‘son’ in Garhi Khuda Bux for a day & issued an statement afterwards that since he couldn’t attend the party CEC meeting, the report could not be announced on BB’s 3rd death anniversary. ….
Few leaders have emulated Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who in 1985 relinquished all of his powers and voluntarily stepped down as president of the country. At a time when African dictators, Arab Kings and Latin American generalissimos adorned themselves in bizarre military uniforms, medieval costumes and got appointed ‘life presidents’, Nyerere, known to his people simply as Mwalimu or “teacher”, quietly passed on the torch. Other Afro-Asian leaders have done the exact opposite. Notably, Mugabe, Qaddafi and the King of Saudi Arabia it seems will only leave office when the angel of death descends.
From Canada, it seems impossible to imagine that anyone at the top would ever dare to relinquish power. Whether it is the Saudi kings or Mugabe or Qaddafi, it seems in the third world, only divine intervention brings about change.
However, a quarter century later, on Monday, April 19, an echo of Nyerere’s rare statesmanship was heard and witnessed on another continent. With a simple signature, President Asif Zardari of Pakistan signed away most of his executive powers he had inherited from military predecessors to become the country’s ceremonial head of state. For 40 years military dictators who had overthrown elected governments had ruled unconstitutionally with a complicit judiciary that had legitimised their acts of treason. Zardari’s action nullified decades of damage to give Pakistan the chance for a fresh start.
In the words of columnist Raza Rumi, Pakistan “crossed a major milestone” when all of the country’s political parties — the ruling alliance and the opposition — reached a consensus on the 18th Amendment to the country’s constitution. He wrote, “The distortions inserted by the military rule have been done away with. Political elites this time, however, have gone a step further and improved the state of provincial autonomy. Perhaps this is where a civilian negotiation and democratic politics of compromise has been most effective. Who would have thought a few years ago that this was achievable? There were many sceptics who thought that the amendments might not be approved. However, the ‘corrupt’ and ‘incompetent’ politicians have proved everyone wrong.”
Few years ago when Zardari was unanimously elected president by the country’s National Assembly, Senate and all members of the four provincial legislatures, he had promised that he would work to amend the country’s constitution so that no future president was able to dismiss an elected parliament or usurp power. At the time few people believed he would do what he was promising. After all, who in his right mind gives up power, willingly?
Zardari has proven all his critics wrong and in doing so has changed the course of Pakistan’s history. The man lampooned unfairly by the country’s powerful establishment — the media, the generals and the judges — as “Mr Ten Percent” has in fact given “One-Hundred-and-Ten Percent” back to the country. While the nation celebrates, still in disbelief that anyone at the top was willing to curtail their own powers, his critics in the armed forces and the judiciary are foaming with anger, unable to stop him from enshrining democracy as an immutable reality in Pakistan.
The country’s Punjab-dominated judges and generals, though smarting from this setback, still wield the power to undo this historic development. In fact, as he signed the document, President Zardari did not shy away from suggesting there may still be some generals lurking in the shadows who may stage a military coup with the backing of the judiciary.
After the signing ceremony Zardari took everyone by surprise when he said while the doors stood closed to dictators, “mishaps” could not be ruled out. Asked about the possibility of another dictatorship, he said, “I am fully confident that no dictator would dare step in now, but then, who can rule out mishaps?”
Ever the realist, the man who has witnessed the murder of his wife, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the judicial assassination of his father-in-law, Prime Minister ZA Bhutto and two of his wife’s brothers, Zardari has seen death at close quarters and I am told he has warned the military as well the judiciary that any attempt to stage a military coup will have to contend with his dead body. “I will go down like Allende, not Nawaz Sharif,” he told a common friend and those who know him since his days at a military cadet college say the man keeps his word.
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.
– Resisting the Taliban and the Haqqani network is the only viable option left for Pakistan, following which we can still make up for most of the damage done to our relationship with not only the US but Afghanistan and, in fact, India too
While these lines are being written, hundreds of Afghans are rallying on the streets of Kabul to condemn last week’s shelling of Afghan border towns by the Pakistan Army and assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, which Afghan officials believe was a joint plot of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Afghan Taliban. Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement before the Congress Armed Forces Committee, that the Haqqani network was a ‘veritable arm’ of ISI, upped the ante in already tense US-Pak relations.
After Pakistan’s declaration in an All-Parties Conference (APC) to cool down the emotions against the US but not to act against the Taliban in North Waziristan, the week ended with Afghan President Karzai’s abandonment of dialogue with the Taliban and subsequent announcement of the schedule of his visit to India — an ultimate itch-powder for Pakistan’s establishment.
The canvas in Afghanistan so far is loud and clear about shrinking options for Pakistan if the latter does not review its policy and ground it in the region’s emerging realities ….
KABUL: Afghanistan said on Sunday that the suicide bomber who assassinated Afghan peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani national.
Tensions between the neighbours have been rising amid allegations from Afghan officials that Pakistan and its powerful ISI intelligence agency masterminded Rabbani’s assassination and are seeking to destabilise Afghanistan.
An investigative delegation established by President Hamid Karzai said evidence and a confession provided by a man involved in Rabbani’s killing on Sept. 20 had revealed that the bomber was from Chaman and the assassination had been plotted in Quetta, both on the Pakistani side of the border.
“It proves that the assassination of Professor Rabbani was hatched in Quetta and the man who carried out the suicide bombing is a Pakistani national,” the delegation, led by Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, said in a statement issued by the presidential palace.
“The documents and evidence in hand, details of other accomplices and their phone numbers have been handed over to Pakistan to make arrests,” it said.
Rabbani’s killing derailed efforts to forge dialogue with the Taliban to end the 10-year war, and raised fears of a dangerous widening of Afghanistan’s ethnic rifts.
The High Peace Council, which Rabbani headed, reiterated earlier comments by Karzai that negotiations should continue, but with Pakistan, rather than the Taliban.
“For the groups that are tired of conflict and want to end the killings and destruction inside the country, peace efforts must continue,” the council said in a separate statement issued late on Sunday.
“But because of those who hide in Pakistan with no known address, who send killers (to Afghanistan), we must negotiate with Pakistan instead.”
Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday to condemn recent shelling of border towns by Pakistan’s army and accuse the ISI of involvement in Rabbani’s killing.
– Salmaan Taseer case: No remorse as defence wraps up arguments
By Mudassir Raja
RAWALPINDI: In their concluding remarks on Saturday, lawyers representing Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, tried to justify the high-profile assassination by saying the governor’s conduct was “unbecoming of a Muslim”.
Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-II Pervez Ali Shah put off the hearing in the case until October 1 after the lawyers representing Qadri said that if their client had not killed Taseer, someone else would have.
Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Saiful Malook, was absent from court on Saturday, though he is likely to make the prosecuting case on the next date of hearing.
Talking to the media after attending the hearing in Adiala Jail, Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, representing the accused, said they had argued before the court that the action of Qadri was as instantaneous as the statements of a public figure like the Punjab governor had been provocative. He added that Taseer’s conduct was against the sentiments of the common man.
The lawyer said the accused himself had tried to justify his act by presenting different passages of the Quran and Islamic teachings against blasphemy.
The governor’s statements against blasphemy laws, Rehman said, were also against the laws of the country but state machinery did not take any legal action against him.