Tag Archives: circumstances

The Rise of China’s Reformers?

Change You Can Believe In

By Evan A. Feigenbaum and Damien Ma

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

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

Via – Twitter

Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

By Marvi Sirmed

Malalai Yusafzai, the brilliant Pakistani girl who defied Taliban’s dictation and stood firm on getting educated and persuaded her peers to do so, is a face of Pakistan that we all want to see. More and more. With pride and denial. We like to see Malalai in denial of Rinkle. Rinkle Kumari, the 19 years old Sindhi Hindu girl who was kidnapped and allegedly forcibly converted to Islam before coercively marrying her to a Muslim Naveed Shah. The ones who show this uncomfortable face of Pakistan are condemned to be the ‘traitors’ and ‘Pakistan-haters’. If trying to correct these painful imperfections of our society is treason, let me commit it for once. Rinkle’s story needs to be told loudly and to everyone.

Rinkle was kidnapped on February 24 by Naveed Shah and four other people. Police refused to lodge an FIR and to include the names of the influential Mian Aslam, Mian Rafique and their father Mian Mithu. She was produced in the court of Civil Judge Ghotki where she insisted on going to her family but the judge illegally sent her to the police custody in Sukkur Women’s Police Station.

Continue reading Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

Balochistan is an occupied land, Balochs don’t allow IPI on its soil – Hyrbyair Marri

The Baloch nation will not allow IPI gas pipeline to pass through Balochistan: Hyrbyair Marri

Excerpts;

….Mr Marri said “we would like to make it clear to all international companies that we consider Pakistan as an occupying state that is why until regaining their independence the Baloch will not accept any agreement made with Pakistan about the fate of Balochistan. Neither can the Baloch give any guarantee for the protection of anyone’s wealth in the occupied land of Balochistan that helps make Pakistan and Iran’s strategy stronger but weakens the Baloch liberation struggle.” However, after freedom the Baloch state, for the Baloch interest, will be willing to allow and guarantee all International Companies in a competitive environment to spend their wealth in Balochistan, he added.

Hyrbyair Marri said that Pakistan cannot hoist it’s flag in Balochistan and the so called national anthem of Pakistan is not played in schools, in these circumstances how Pakistan can guarantee the protection of the wealth of other countries. He has also categorically rejected Pakistan’s claim that Pakistani top officials had contacted the Baloch pro-freedom leaders to join the so called mainstream Pakistani politics. Mr Marri said “Our stance is crystal clear to the world and to the Baloch Nation that we have no historical, linguistic and cultural ties with this state [Pakistan]. We have not accepted this state since its coming into being, similarly the state by its violent actions have proved that Balochistan is an occupied territory.” ….

Read more » BALOCHWARNA

American Marxism as a guide to action:

Marxist political advice and its discontents

By Omar Ali

Professor Vijay Prashad  is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap. 

Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”

That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity)  from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.

In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:

1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.

2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Top court summons Defense Secretary in missing persons’ case but too scared to summon army chief & DG ISI

Adiala missing prisoners: Produce the seven men on Feb 13, says SC

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: After a day’s unsuccessful wait, the Supreme Court has ordered that the seven prisoners who went missing from Adiala Jail must be presented in person on February 13.

“Our order has not been complied with. The missing prisoners are in custody of the intelligence agencies,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said in Friday’s hearing. “Right now, we want to see the surviving prisoners. Later, we will investigate the circumstances in which the four deceased prisoners died and also fix responsibility.”

The court also summoned the defence secretary and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary in person at the next date of hearing. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor was directed to present a report through the provincial chief secretary on the condition of the prisoners who are hospitalised in Peshawar and Parachinar.

The court also ordered the chiefs of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence agencies and the defence secretary to produce the surviving prisoners safely before the court and file a compliance report with the Registrar Office.

Hearing was then adjourned till February 13.

Earlier on Friday, the court had told the ISI and MI chiefs’ counsel that the bench will wait till 7pm in the court until the missing prisoners are brought before the court.

The court had earlier directed the counsel of ISI and MI chiefs Raja Irshad that the missing prisoners be presented before the court after Irshad told the court that four out of 11 prisoners picked up from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, had died in custody, but of “natural causes”.

Resuming the hearing on Friday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry questioned Irshad, “Which authority considers itself above the law and is intervening in court’s matter.” The chief justice asked Irshad why court’s orders were not followed properly.

Irshad told the court that the prisoners were in poor health condition and that they could not be presented before the court. Justice Arif Khilji responded saying that if the patients should have been brought to the court even if they were to be brought on a “stretcher”.

In his defense, Irshad presented a letter to the court which entailed the details of the prisoners’ medical condition and stated that currently, they could not be moved out of the hospital.

The chief justice remarked that if the prime minister of Pakistan could be summoned to the court for not complying to its orders, then it does not leave room for anyone else to not obey court’s orders.

“Bring them [the patients] in helicopters, if they cannot be brought in cars,” said the chief justice.

The bench also asked the counsel of ISI and MI that why the patients were admitted in hospitals located outside Islamabad when there are “enough hospitals in Islamabad as well.”

The court said that an investigation could also be initiated against ISI and MI under Article 9 of the Constitution for not following the court’s orders. “This is a violation of fundamental rights of an individual. We have to determine the reason of the deaths,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.

Justice Tariq Parvez observed that the whole world felt the gravity of the case and said that institutions in Pakistan “have done nothing about it so far.”

The civilians had been facing a court martial under the Army Act on charges of attacking the General Headquarters (GHQ) and ISI’s Hamza Camp base.

They were picked up from Adiala Jail by intelligence agencies after they had been acquitted of the charges by the court.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

– – – – – – –

More details » DAWN.COM

Eight more missing people die in mysterious circumstances

By Azaz Syed

ISLAMABAD: Forty one Pakistanis disappeared under mysterious circumstances have been traced out while eight of them have died, the government said in a report. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

By DECLAN WALSH

LAHORE, Pakistan — Long unchallenged, Pakistan’s top spy agency faces a flurry of court actions that subject its darkest operations to unusual scrutiny, amid growing calls for new restrictions on its largely untrammeled powers.

The cases against the agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, have uncertain chances of success, analysts say, and few believe that they can immediately hobble it. But they do represent a rare challenge to a feared institution that is a cornerstone of military supremacy in Pakistan.

In the first case, due for a hearing on Wednesday, the Supreme Court has ordered the ISI to produce in court seven suspected militants it has been holding since 2010 — and to explain how four other detainees from the same group died in mysterious circumstances over the past six months.

The second challenge, due for a hearing on Feb. 29, revives a long-dormant vote-rigging scandal, which focuses on illegal donations of $6.5 million as part of a covert, and ultimately successful, operation to influence the 1990 election.

The cases go to the heart of the powers that have given the ISI such an ominous reputation among Pakistanis: its ability to detain civilians at will, and its freedom to meddle in electoral politics. They come at the end of a difficult 12 months for the spy service, which has faced sharp criticism over the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos inside Pakistan and, in recent weeks, its role in a murky political scandal that stoked rumors of a military coup.

Now its authority is being challenged from an unexpected quarter: the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Only weeks ago, Justice Chaudhry, an idiosyncratic judge, faced accusations of being soft on the military when he inserted the courts into a bruising battle between the government and army.

Now Justice Chaudhry seems determined to prove that he can take on the army, too.

“This is a reaction to public opinion,” said Ayaz Amir, an opposition politician from Punjab. “The court wants to be seen to represent the popular mood.”

The court’s daring move has found broad political support. Last Friday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, compared the military to a “mafia” during a National Assembly debate about the plight of the four detainees who died in ISI custody.

Continue reading Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

Pakistan’s rush for more bombs – why?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpts;

….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.

This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.

First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.

But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.

The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.

This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.

To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.

To read complete article »  The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/328922/pakistans-rush-for-more-bombs–why/

The current Political crises in Pakistan – CPP’s analysis

By CPP

The Pakistan’s current political crises, is the most horrific tussle among its top institutions, has morphed grievous consequent deadlocks for the running of the affairs of the state. In order to understand its fundamental reasons, here, we would need to analyze its background circumstances.

1). The Pakistani military is no more a mere security agency , but an industrial and business corporation, in real terms. The economic and business positions of the army Generals, has over taken in many folds, the volume of the civilian business enterprises  on the basis of these economic interests, being a class in stalk ,the political privileges, advantages and access to power or supremacy over the political dispensation is for now realized to be an oxygen for them . Therefore , military, as a class no way can afford any civilian government to deliver things  independently without their prior approval .

2). Among ,the many businesses of the army, apart from industries and import -exports , “JEHAD” is adapted to be the most credible business corporation ,which has been for long greatly flourishing in leaps and bounds , under US imperialist’s patronage for the last 40 or so many years ,as a result almost all 5 stars Generals and Major Generals have turned billionaires and down to the rank of Majors ,have become Millionaires ,in quite short span of life.

3). The Obama’s administration ( democrats ), seems interested to work out some settlement for the Afghan issue, in order to cut down its colossal expenditures , there . They earnestly aspire for to have been successful in installing a US amicable government in Kabul, which would mean for the Pakistani Generals to wash off hands from the Jihad dividends . Consequently, the Generals have to resort, applying every means to keep up the past madcap policy on Afghanistan intact, so as to let the Jihad business go on . The present elected government, has opted, greatly, a US harmonious policy on this issue.

4). There is also, exists a profound contradiction between the army and the civilian government over the establishment of relations viz a vis, India concerned . The Pakistani government desires to normalize relations with India, which is a total opposite perspective to the basic policy stand of the Generals. Keeping the Kashmir issue alive at all costs to legitimate the false security apprehension from India, so as to justify the persistent un-auditable increase in military budget and its personnel strength . This is subject to keep intact the security state, status of Pakistan, through enhanced empowerment and role granted to play by the military institution.

Continue reading The current Political crises in Pakistan – CPP’s analysis

Sen. John McCain and Graham warn Pakistan about killing US troops

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND GRAHAM ON PAKISTAN

December 5, 2011 – Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on Pakistan:

“We fully appreciate the importance of U.S. relations with Pakistan, which we believe can serve U.S. national security interests. The cross-border air action that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was unfortunate and unintentional, and we are confident that the investigation being conducted by NATO and the U.S. military will clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. We join the President and our colleagues in once again expressing our deep condolences to those who lost loved ones.

The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship. In recent days, the government has prevented NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan through Pakistan. It has ordered U.S. intelligence officers to leave the country and disrupted their work on important national security matters. And it has boycotted an international conference in Bonn, Germany that supports peace in Afghanistan.

“If these actions were not concerning enough, there were reports just this morning that the Pakistani government has allegedly decided to suspend all bilateral agreements related to counterterrorism, as part of a broader review of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic, and military relations with the United States. Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts. Most importantly, Pakistani army and intelligence officials continue to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan that are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertilizer factories inside Pakistan.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support for Pakistan. In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance. Most of all, U.S. policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests.

“In light of what could be an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, the United States and our allies must develop contingency plans to ensure the continued logistical support necessary for our military operations in Afghanistan.”

Courtesy » http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=10974d5c-9375-faca-6f92-4026304d9334

A U.S.-Pakistan Reset

A charismatic envoy’s sudden downfall is the chance for Washington to move from engagement with Islamabad to containment.

BY SADANAND DHUME

It’s not every day that an ambassador’s departure from office makes international headlines. But then Husain Haqqani, who resigned Tuesday after serving for more than three years as Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, was no garden-variety diplomat. He managed to be unapologetically pro-American, while representing one of the most anti-American places in the world.

The extraordinary circumstances of Mr. Haqqani’s departure reveal much about Pakistan’s precarious politics. He was forced to step down, reportedly under pressure from the country’s notorious intelligence agencies, amid unconfirmed allegations that he secretly sought U.S. assistance to weaken the grip of the military. His exit should …

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

The United States of Prisons

21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor

In the eyes of the corporation, inmate labor is a brilliant strategy in the eternal quest to maximize profit.

By Rania Khalek

There is one group of American workers so disenfranchised that corporations are able to get away with paying them wages that rival those of third-world sweatshops. These laborers have been legally stripped of their political, economic and social rights and ultimately relegated to second-class citizens. They are banned from unionizing, violently silenced from speaking out and forced to work for little to no wages. This marginalization renders them practically invisible, as they are kept hidden from society with no available recourse to improve their circumstances or change their plight.

They are the 2.3 million American prisoners locked behind bars where we cannot see or hear them. And they are modern-day slaves of the 21st century.

Incarceration Nation

It’s no secret that America imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in history. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, the US currently holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. “In 2008, over 2.3 million Americans were in prison or jail, with one of every 48 working-age men behind bars,” according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research(CEPR). That doesn’t include the tens of thousands of detained undocumented immigrants facing deportation, prisoners awaiting sentencing, or juveniles caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Perhaps it’s reassuring to some that the US still holds the number one title in at least one arena, but needless to say the hyper-incarceration plaguing America has had a damaging effect on society at large.

The CEPR study observes that US prison rates are not just excessive in comparison to the rest of the world, they are also “substantially higher than our own longstanding history.” The study finds that incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about “100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people.” After 1980, the inmate population “began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from “about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008.”

The costs of this incarceration industry are far from evenly distributed, with the impact of excessive incarceration falling predominantly on African-American communities. Although black people make up just 13 percent of the overall population, they account for 40 percent of US prisoners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), black males are incarcerated at a rate “more than 6.5 times that of white males and 2.5 that of Hispanic males and “black females are incarcerated at approximately three times the rate of white females and twice that of Hispanic females.”

Michelle Alexander points out in her book The New Jim Crow that more black men “are in prison or jail, on probation or on parole than were enslaved in 1850.” Higher rates of black drug arrests do not reflect higher rates of black drug offenses. In fact, whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales at roughly comparable rates. ….

Read more » AlterNet

MQM chief may shift to Dubai

Courtesy: Waqat News Tv → YouTube

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MQM chief may shift to Dubai

by Mumtaz Alvi

ISLAMABAD: The hitherto mysterious assassination of Dr Imran Farooq and the chain of unfolding events afterwards in England and back home have compelled MQM supremo Altaf Hussain to consider shifting his party’s international secretariat to Dubai, The News learnt here on Wednesday.

Party insiders said their leader now feels he must move out of England as soon as possible and the best and safer place could be Dubai, though some other Muslim countries are also an option.

However, the party sources almost ruled out his homecoming. Altaf has spent almost two decades in London. They pointed out that MQM was facing grave challenges to its leader and its own existence from many sides locally and internationally and with the passage of time, the situation could become complicated.

“Circumstances are such that the sooner he shifts to any other place, most probably Dubai, the better it would be for him and indeed the party, as signals from Pakistan also are not positive in recent weeks,” they pointed out. ….

Read more: → The News

http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=975&Cat=13

via → Siasat.pk

Pakistan: Nawaz asks ‘army’ to change mindset

– Nawaz asks ‘army’ to change mindset

By Amjad Mahmood

LAHORE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has vowed never to allow any institution to become a sacred cow and be above the law.

“There is no sacred cow in the country and none should try to become a sacred cow as (we) won’t allow such an attempt,” he told a reference meeting held here on Friday for journalist Salim Shehzad who has been murdered in mysterious circumstances.

Without naming the army but leaving no doubt which institution he was talking about, he said (they) would have to change their mindset.

If the army wants not to be criticised it will have to remove the causes of criticism.

“End your domination of foreign policy (making) if you wish the criticism to end. Our relations should be with the Afghan people and not with a single party. There should be no parallel government (of agencies) in the country.” …

Read more: DAWN

Killings of teachers, activists unacceptable: HRCP

By HRCP

Lahore, June 3: The target killing of teachers and political activists in Balochistan is outrageous and utterly unacceptable, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Friday, calling upon the government to make a greater effort to stop the killings than it had so far.

A statement issued by HRCP said: “In circumstances that are both tragic and familiar, unidentified armed motorcyclists have killed another teacher, Saba Dashtiari, in Quetta, and another political activist, Nasim Jangiyan, in Turbat. The police have promptly classified Dashtiari’s assassination as target killing and stated that Jangiyan could also have been a victim of target killing. This is not the first time that teachers and political activists have been killed in this manner in Balochitsan and, unless extraordinary measures are taken, it would not be the last. The people may be excused for thinking that the security agencies’ job is merely categorising murders. Why is it that after so many murders the state is no closer to nabbing the culprits? It is utterly unacceptable that despite heavy deployment of security personnel the killers of the people enjoy impunity and strike at will. If there was a strategy in place to stop these killings then that clearly has not worked and must be reviewed. HRCP demands every possible measure must be taken to prevent this bloodletting. Also every single incident of unlawful killing and violence targeting teachers and political activists in Balochistan must be investigated with the priority and importance that the government is required to attach to human life. The situation also demands serious measures to address the glut of weapons across the country, particularly in Balochistan.”

Zohra Yusuf

Chairperson

Who is Aafia Siddiqui? Guantánamo files reveal her as top al-Qaida operative

Guantánamo files paint Aafia Siddiqui as top al-Qaida operative

Documents claim neuroscientist – jailed in US for attempted murder – aided al-Qaida bombing, poisoning and hijacking plots

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist whose case has become a flashpoint of Pakistani-American tensions, plotted to smuggle explosives into America and offered to manufacture biological weapons, according to the Guantánamo files.

The allegations are a combination of US intelligence analysis and direct testimony by at least three senior al-Qaida figures, including the 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. They cannot be independently corroborated and the testimonies were likely to have been extracted under conditions of torture.

Muhammad, known as KSM in intelligence circles, was waterboarded 183 times in the month after his capture in Pakistan in March 2003.

But several of the accounts do overlap, linking Siddiqui, a diminutive 39-year-old mother of three, with some of Osama bin Laden’s most senior lieutenants. They help explain why the FBI placed her on a list of the world’s seven most wanted al-Qaida fugitives in 2004.

Siddiqui disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 only to reappear five years later amid murky circumstances in Ghazni, central Afghanistan. There was an altercation in a police station and the US accused Siddiqui of trying to shoot two soldiers and two FBI agents.

She was sent to the US, tried and last year sentenced to 86 years’ jail. At home in Pakistan she became a cause célèbre widely viewed as an innocent victim of American injustice.

During the recent stand-off over Raymond Davis, the CIA spy who shot two people in Lahore, a chorus of Pakistani politicians demanded the US repatriate Siddiqui in exchange for the American.

The Guántanamo files offer a murky perspective, placing Siddiqui at the heart of an al-Qaida cell based in Karachi between 2002 and 2003. Emboldened by the success of the 9/11 attacks and led by KSM, the cell conspired to mount fresh attacks in the US, on Heathrow airport and inside Pakistan.

According to the files, the cell planned to smuggle explosives into America under the cover of textile exports – 20 and 40ft foot containers filled with women’s and children’s clothes. The explosives would be used to attack “economic targets” inside the US, according to KSM.

The operation would take place through an import-export business run by Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani businessman who worked as a New York travel agent for 13 years before developing ties to Osama bin Laden. Paracha, 64, is currently in Guantánamo Bay.

According to Paracha’s file, Siddiqui’s role was to “rent houses and provide administrative support for the operation”. As part of this brief she travelled from Pakistan to the US in January 2003 to help renew the American travel papers of Majid Khan, a co-conspirator who had been ordered to bomb petrol stations and water treatment facilities in America.

According to Khan, he provided Siddiqui with money, photos and a completed application for an “asylum travel form” that “looked and functioned like a passport”.

Then, according to Khan’s file, “Siddiqui returned to the US and opened a post office box in detainee’s name, using her driver’s licence information”.

The plot collapsed after Khan was picked up in Pakistan and sent to Guantánamo. A co-conspirator in America, Uzair Paracha, was arrested in possession of the post box key.

Paracha, son of Saifullah Paracha, was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in 2006; details of Siddiqui’s role in the plot surfaced during his trial.

Continue reading Who is Aafia Siddiqui? Guantánamo files reveal her as top al-Qaida operative

Pakistan: Drop Blasphemy Charges Against 17-Year-Old

Student’s Case Underscores Urgent Need to Repeal Abusive Law

Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling. It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling. – – Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should immediately drop blasphemy charges against a 17-year-old student and ensure his safe release from detention, Human Rights Watch said today.

The authorities arrested Muhammad Samiullah on January 28, 2011, and charged him under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law,” article 295-C of the criminal code, for allegedly including derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad in his answers on a written school exam in April 2010. According to press reports, police at Shahra Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi registered a case against Samiullah after receiving a complaint from the chief controller of the intermediate level education board. On January 29, a judicial magistrate, Ehsan A. Malik, ordered Samiullah sent to a juvenile prison pending trial. …

Read more : Human Rights Watch

 

Justice Javed Iqbal’s Parents Murdered

LAHORE: The parents of Justice Javed Iqbal, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, were found murdered under mysterious circumstances in their house near Cavalry Ground on Tuesday night.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV (News Beat with Meher Bokhari, 12 Jan, 2011)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

In Pakistan, a Christian woman gets death for blasphemy

by Aziz Narejo

This is outrageous. The people must stand up and stop this nonsense. This women should immediately be set free and the judge should be arrested and prosecuted for such unjust, harsh and uncalled for verdict. This should not happen in the name of religion.

According to news reports ….

Read more :  Indus Herald

For more details : BBC urdu

Indo-Pak Youth Festival for Peace: LAHORE FEB 2011

– “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding” – Albert Einstein.

Youth make- up one fifth of the South- Asian demography. Most often we see youth as victims or perpetrators of violence. History is witness to the fact that youth as members of an ever changing, dynamic and energetic group in societies play a crucial role in transforming conflict ridden societies into democratic and peaceful societies. This is a critical mass which needs to be involved when it comes to transformation of violent relationships, structures, attitudes and behaviors towards peace building.

Continue reading Indo-Pak Youth Festival for Peace: LAHORE FEB 2011