Tag Archives: free

Pakistan Today – Sindhi separatists announce comeback

BY AAMIR MAJEED

Excerpts;

KARACHI – Taking strength from the Baloch freedom movement, the Sindhi separatists have also started their own struggle for the eventual separation of Sindh province from Pakistan, starting off by planting several bombs along the railway tracks in the province.

Railway tracks at around 14 different locations across Sindh were damaged in a series of bomb blasts in the wee hours of Saturday by presumably politically motivated miscreants.

When a team of Pakistan Railways engineering department arrived at the Bin Qasim Railway Station to repair the tracks damaged by two minor blasts, they found a pamphlet from the site.

The paper printed on both sides, carried the name of “Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA)” at the top. The pamphlet was later forwarded to the Pakistan Railways Karachi Division SSP Muzzaffar Sheikh.

Talking with Pakistan Today, Sheikh said the pamphlet was issued by SDLA Chief Commander Darya Khan Marri. …..

….. “Marri claims that the Centre was exploiting the natural resources of Sindh against a very low royalty to facilitate Punjab,” the SSP said, adding that the government’s pro-Punjab policies have also been criticised.

“Terming the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as ‘opportunists’, the SDLA blamed the party for using the Sindh card for attaining power, trying to impress upon the nationalists that Sindh is the country’s most poor province,” Sheikh said. “In the pamphlet, the SDLA has requested the Sindhis to stand up against the government, Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence.”…..

Read more » Pakistan Today

Bloody Fridays and Sundays – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpts;

Demographic changes sustained ‘with a dagger at their throat’ since 1542 brought about the partition of Ireland. The Pakistani state envisages the same solution for Balochistan by holding the Baloch nation hostage with ‘a dagger at their throat’. However, the Baloch have not acquiesced and continue to resist at a great price of Baloch blood

“Should a robber break into my house, and, with a dagger at my throat, make me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, would this give him any title? Just such a title by his sword has an unjust conqueror who forces me into submission. The injury and the crime is equal, whether committed by the wearer of a crown or some petty villain” — John Locke.

The Baloch fears of the lethal impact of demographic changes being overtly and covertly engineered by the state are certainly not unfounded. There has been a consistent effort on part of Pakistan to undo the Baloch majority to undermine the support for those resisting Pakistan’s attempts to exploit Balochistan’s natural resources and its large land mass. The so-called development programmes like the Gwadar port or infrastructures like the Mirani Dam, highways, etc, are just a fig leaf for engineering demographic changes that are now supplemented by slow track genocide; the cantonments and naval bases being the ‘sword to force them into submission’.

Read more » Daily Times

Balochistan and Kashmir

The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Duniya Tv » YouTube

Sindh Stands-by Balochistan

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

Balochistan is not an ‘internal matter of or for Pakistan!’ Balochistan was a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation when Pakistan was carved out from India in 1947. Since that fateful, ruinous and disastrous day, Balochistan has been tormented, tortured and terrorized. The peace-loving Balochs has been traumatized, kidnapped and massacred. Who is responsible for such brutal genocide and barbaric ethnic cleansing? None else, but Pakistan’s security establishment.

Balochistan is screaming in pain and the civilized world has heard and taken notice of the grievous pain of Balochistan in the shape of Sen. Rohrabacher’s Pro-Baloch Congressional Resolution. U.S. and the civilized world respect the wishes, demands and aspirations of the Baloch people, that are, Independence from the deep state.  Sindh is also not in a favour of the deep state.

اَڃا سي آهيِن، جي سَزاوار سڱين جا؍ ويٺــا وڄـــائين جي، سناسي! سُڻئين؍ شاھُ ڀٽائي

“Ancjaa sei aaheen, jei sazaawaara singgiyan jaa, Weitthaa wacjaain jei, Sanaasee! Sunniyein.” (Shah Bhittai)

“Still exist on this land, merrily they gave blood for motherland, Clarion call sound bugle in hand, whence Physician understand?” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Sindh was and is and shall always remain side by side, shoulder to shoulder with her brothers and sisters in Balochistan. Free Balochistan, is the demand of Sindhis and Sindh too! Long Live Balochistan! Long Live Sindh!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 22, 2012.

Freedom for Balochistan – Protest against Pakistan’s barbarism in Balochistan

London: The barbarism of Pakistani security agencies in Balochistan continues to infuriate the Baloch people. A Human Rights Watch report titled “We can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan” exposes the fact that Pakistani agencies are responsible for widespread disappearances of Baloch political activists. The 32-page report slams Pakistan authorities for taking people into custody and then denying all responsibility or knowledge of their fate or whereabouts. The rights group investigated several cases in which uniformed personnel of the Frontier Corps, an Interior Ministry paramilitary force, and the police were involved in abducting Baloch nationalists.

Courtesy: South Asia News » YouTube

Free Baluchistan – Selig S. Harrison

Selig Herrison

As the Islamist nightmare envelops Pakistan, the Obama administration ponders what the United States should do. But the bitter reality is that the United States is already doing too much in Pakistan. It is the American shadow everywhere, the Pakistani feeling of being smothered by the U.S. embrace, that gives the Islamists their principal rallying cry.

Evidence is everywhere of what the Economist calls “a rising tide of anti-American passion.” The leading spokesman of traditional Muslim theology, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), opposes the “war on terror” because “it is an American war” and blames a U.S. plot for the recent assassination of the moderate Punjab governor, Salman Taseer.

The endless procession of U.S. leaders paying goodwill visits to Islamabad, most recently Vice President Joe Biden, evokes sneers and ridicule in the Urdu-language press, accompanied by cartoons showing Pakistanis scratching fleas crawling over their bodies. The late special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, liked free-swinging encounters with Pakistani journalists that left a trail of bitterness expressed in the Urdu media, but this did not deter Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from return visits.

To calm the situation down, the United States should start by phasing out drone attacks in the Pashtun border areas with their massive civilian casualties and should end the $1 billion plus in annual subsidies to the armed forces that make them look like American puppets. At the same time, less visible education and development aid provided by the Kerry-Lugar bill should be continued, together with the International Monetary Fund credits that keep the Pakistani state afloat, and access to U.S. markets for Pakistani textile exports should be increased.

Instead of publicly prodding the Punjabi-dominated armed forces to step up their offensive against Pashtun tribal militants in the Afghan border areas, the United States should recognize that Islamabad is afraid of stirring up Pashtun ethnic sentiment there that could break up the fragile multi ethnic Pakistani federation.

The Pashtuns of the former­­–Northwest Frontier Province (now called Kyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have an ancient history of resisting Punjabi incursions, but the Army did not come into direct conflict with the Pashtuns following the creation of Pakistan until July 2002, when, at the behest of the United States, it sent a division into FATA to attack al-Qaeda and Taliban forces at key transit points on the Afghan border. Heavy casualties resulted, displacing some fifty thousand people. This was a historic break with the autonomy agreements negotiated by the British with FATA tribes and honored until then by Pakistan. As the “war on terror” has proceeded, the FATA Pashtuns have been politicized and radicalized as never before.

The underlying reason that Pakistan’s U.S. links are so unpopular and make such a tempting target for the Islamists is that America is perceived as anti-Muslim.

The Islamists focus not only on Muslim casualties in next door Afghanistan, but above all on U.S. support for Israel and on the American military presence throughout the Arabian Sea , the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf in areas near Pakistan.

Why does the United States keep pouring aid into Pakistan despite its active support for the Taliban in Afghanistan at the expense of U.S.-NATO forces and its inability or unwillingness to help the United States root out al-Qaeda from its mountain sanctuaries?

American officials point to its arsenal of seventy to ninety nuclear weapons, arguing that a tight U.S. embrace of the Pakistani military and intelligence elite is necessary to make sure that another nuclear-proliferation racket does not emerge like the one organized by nuclear czar A. Q. Khan.

This is an understandable concern because many of the same generals who colluded with Khan are still in high places. But the larger danger to the United States is that the nuclear arsenal will fall into the hands of the Islamist sympathizers inside the nuclear establishment, or that the Islamists will completely take over the armed forces, branding current military leaders as U.S. stooges.

Continue reading Free Baluchistan – Selig S. Harrison

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST PAKISTAN’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

We urge you to intervene and stop the killing of Pakistan’s religious communities, including Sunni (Barelvi), Shia (including Hazara) and Ahmedi communities that are facing a virtual genocide simply for following their religious beliefs and practices.

You are no doubt familiar with Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on Aug 11, 1947, in which he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The recent attacks on the 12 Rabiul Awal processions in various cities around Pakistan (including Gujranwala, Mansehra, Gojar Khan, Mirpur, Khairpur, Mustang and Karachi) are evidence of the menace of bigotry and intolerance. The government must act with all of its might to put a stop to this. It needs to be done NOW.

The evil lurks in the belly of the so-called Diffa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition comprising several ‘religious parties’ including some banned organsiations whose views dont resonate with the majority but are able to use their armed status and street power to attack others with impunity. The activities of this coalition need to be curtailed before it becomes the Destroy Pakistan Council. ….

Read more » CHANGE

India polio free? Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria still to go

By Omar Ali

Almost certainly, yes!

That leaves three countries with active endemic polio: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
All three are also infected with Islamist fanatics who claim that oral polio drops are an anti-viagra produced by the CIA to decrease Muslim population (I am not making this up). That propaganda, and the difficulty of organizing a vaccination campaign in the middle of a civil war, makes it hard to totally eliminate polio in these countries. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Pakistan – A state determined to kill – itself

A state determined to kill – itself

By Khaled Ahmed

By creating just one point of view, Pakistan may entrench itself in dangerous isolation, and may find it difficult to do course-correction to save its already crippled economy from collapsing

A revisionist state called Pakistan is taking all measures possible to immolate itself. The Army finally ran is rival Husain Haqqani to the ground and was helped in this by internecine party politics with everyone mindlessly baying for each other’s blood as the only politics they know. The national economy is gradually crumbling, its infrastructure run down and people willing to attack and burn because the state is unable to run itself. On top of it all, the most fatal hubris of a weak state – ghairat or honour – rules the collective mind.

The Pakistan Army is the only popular institution in the country with processions now carrying portraits of General Kayani because he carries in him the promise of a war of honour, in other words, an honourable death, because living without honour is not living at all. On 26 November 2011, the NATO forces attacked a checkpost on the Pak-Afghan border and killed 24 Pak troops. No one knows what happened except Pakistan that says it was a pre-planned attack. Pakistan significantly got its TV cable operators to ban the BBC for showing its two-hour documentary Secret Pakistan whose facts cannot be denied or at least no one outside Pakistan will reject them. Pakistan should pause and reflect on these facts and then understand the November 26 attack in their light.

BBC said on its website: ‘Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this documentary explored how a supposed ally stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. It is a charge denied by Pakistan’s military establishment, but the documentary makers meet serving Taliban commanders who describe the support they get from Pakistan in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide’.

Pak Army is not willing to look at the non state actors despoiling the country from the inside. It defies the world asking that they be banned and brought to account and feels itself totally blameless for what happened in Mumbai in 2008 while it focuses on what has happened at Salala in 2011. If you kill others or get them killed by your non state actors, they are prone to make the kind of mistake that was made at Salala. But Pakistan welcomes war even though it has never won one and has been defeated again and again fighting India, the last one being the battle of Kargil. General Kayani has familiarly thrown the gauntlet to the US: do it again and see what happens. The world knows that nothing will happen, except that Pakistan, already in dire economic straits, will be crushed.

Nawaz Sharif has gone to the Supreme Court as the one forum where the PPP government can be pulled down as a corollary to defeating the United States. (Get the traitor for joining enemy America!) He wants to get at the root of the Memogate scandal and is sure that the PPP leader Zardari was trying to double-cross the Pak Army which Nawaz Sharif now wants to stand up for. He wants the PPP government gone in short order before its tenure is up.

It appears that the PMLN, with fresh warpaint on its face, the maximalist Supreme Court, intent on getting Zardari to commit hara-kiri in Switzerland, and a revengeful Army aspiring to defeat the US, are on the same page: Suspend efforts to free-trade with India, defeat the US as an obstacle to Pakistan getting its fair share of leverage in Afghanistan, and stop fighting the war against terrorists because it was never Pakistan’s war, slyly hoping that the Taliban will be on Pakistan’s side in the war against the US.

Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has pledged a crushing retaliation if the US-ISAF forces attacked inside Pakistani territory again, ‘regardless of consequences’ (sic!). He told his troops, ‘Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily; I have clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded to with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences’. He wants the troops on the border with Afghanistan to take their own on-the-spot decision against any future NATO attacks without waiting for orders from the GHQ. Now they will fight the US-ISAF forces instead of the Taliban terrorists.

This is a very rash approach to the situation triggered by the November 26 incident, even if it is directed as a morale-booster at the troops and meant to be interpreted differently as strategy for civil society which is obviously not prepared for war on the western front. The Americans are offering regrets even before their formal inquiry into the Salala incident is completed on 21 December. President Obama too has expressed sorrow at the death of Pakistani troops while a formal apology pends till the inquiry reveals NATO’s guilt. There are however statements issuing from Washington saying the attack was unintended and that some fire had come from around the Salala checkpost.

The nation is of one mind, a kind of pre-war symptom that Pakistan experienced in 1965 and 1971 when the Army painted the country into a corner through the hubris of isolationism. It is not natural that the entire nation be of uniform thinking in favour of conflict, especially if this conflict is against an immeasurably stronger adversary. If after the anger felt in the GHQ subsides and more realistic decisions are required to be taken, the disappointment among the public will take the shape of an emotional boomerang of self-disgust. We have seen that happen in the Raymond Davis case after the CIA agent was let off on diyat instead of being publicly hanged. If the common man has succumbed to an attack of ‘ghairat’ and is spoiling for a fight with the US, the state cannot afford to indulge in the bravado of an unequal war.

If the pro-war mind is presuming that the Taliban will fight the NATO-US forces side by side with the Pak Army, putting an end to the problem of law and order in Pakistan, it is sadly deceived. It will in fact be a two-front war, one front being at the back of the Pakistani troops. The Taliban and their master al Qaeda have an agenda that will be fulfilled only by removing our brave Army Chief from his post and then using the Army to take over the country and its nuclear assets. Wisdom demands that we challenge the US realistically rather than rashly, compelling it to make amends for the Salala incident to the benefit of Pakistan.

A consensus of national self-damage can occur even in democracies and it has recently taken place in the US too but in Pakistan one institution of the state dominates all decision-making functions, and those who should be ruling and not allowing this domination are busy in a lethal war of self-diminution.

The fact is that there are two versions of the truth. Unfortunately the American version is what is credited at the international level while the Pakistani version can only hold if the news channels are prevented from puncturing it. Our asymmetric proxy war against India was rejected by the world while the Pakistanis were force-fed with justifiable jihad by non state actors. Its fallout was experienced by Pakistan’s neighbours whose fear of what Pakistan may do next has isolated Pakistan in the region too. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20111209&page=2

How a Paris Mosque Sheltered Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust

– Heroic Tale of Holocaust, With a Twist

By ELAINE SCIOLINO

PARIS — The stories of the Holocaust have been documented, distorted, clarified and filtered through memory. Yet new stories keep coming, occasionally altering the grand, incomplete mosaic of Holocaust history.

One of them, dramatized in a French film released here last week, focuses on an unlikely savior of Jews during the Nazi occupation of France: the rector of a Paris mosque.

Muslims, it seems, rescued Jews from the Nazis.

“Les Hommes Libres” (“Free Men”) is a tale of courage not found in French textbooks. According to the story, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the founder and rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, provided refuge and certificates of Muslim identity to a small number of Jews to allow them to evade arrest and deportation.

It was simpler than it sounds. In the early 1940s France was home to a large population of North Africans, including thousands of Sephardic Jews. The Jews spoke Arabic and shared many of the same traditions and everyday habits as the Arabs. Neither Muslims nor Jews ate pork. Both Muslim and Jewish men were circumcised. Muslim and Jewish names were often similar.

The mosque, a tiled, walled fortress the size of a city block on the Left Bank, served as a place to pray, certainly, but also as an oasis of calm where visitors were fed and clothed and could bathe, and where they could talk freely and rest in the garden. …

Read more → The New York Times

The rise of people’s media

– By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

A piece of news or information is no more the property of the so-called ministries of information or media barons. New technologies have set free the information from official controls and ‘mainstream media’ newsrooms.

Often called liberating technologies, the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have assumed the role of new modes of disseminating information. They have allowed every citizen to become a publisher or a journalist. Today the first source of information is a mobile, instead of newspapers or TV channels, where one receives breaking news. ….

Read more → Manzoor Chandio’s Blog

SDF statement – A leading Sindh based think tank fully supports the SAFMA and stands against a so-called scholar. People of Sindh will not allow conservatives, extremists and religious fundoos to take over progressive and secular society. Let peace, tolerance and plurality may prevail

Pak media professionals slam security analyst Zaid Hamid

From Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Aug 18 (PTI) Leading Pakistani media professionals and civil society leaders today condemned security analyst Zaid Hamid allegation that the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) was acting at the behest of Indian intelligence agencies.

In a statement, the media and civil society personalities said they had “taken serious exception to the unfounded and shameful accusations hurled by an irresponsible person against a media body of most credible journalists of the South Asian region”.

Hamid, who is known for his anti-Indian stance and for backing jehadi and extremist groups, had made the allegations on a sensational talk show hosted by anchor Mehr Bukhari on Dunya news channel.

The media and civil society personalities said Hamid”s remarks violated “all ethics of professional journalism”.

They said SAFMA was a “mainstream media body associated with SAARC”.

“If Mr Hamid has committed an extreme defamation which incites public sentiments against SAFMA and its thousands of members, MB (and the) D– TV management have intentionally tried to malign a media body and its leaders by allowing such a provocative and damaging statement,” the statement said.

The media and civil society leaders expressed serious concern over the “slanderous programme” anchored by B— and took exception to the “dangerous trend in the electronic media of maligning various personalities and credible organizations”.

They pointed out that the talk show had made no effort to invite a SAFMA representative to rebut the “atrocious allegations”.

Senior journalists and civil society leaders have endorsed a move by SAFMA to sue Bukhari, her team and the management of — TV.

SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and other office-bearers of various SAFMA branches in Pakistan have decided to issue notices to the persons for their “highly irresponsible and provocative conduct”.

— had earlier come under a cloud after media watchers said her interview with slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer could have incited violence against the politician for opposing the controversial blasphemy law.

Taseer was gunned down earlier this year by a police guard who was angered by his calls to amend the blasphemy law.

Courtesy: → MSN News

via – Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011

Almost in every 2 hours a woman is raped in Pakistan. Yet, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami insists she not report her rape to police

The Jamat-e-Islami, and rape

by Usmann Rana

A viral video of Ameer Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Munawwar Hassan defending the silence over the rape of women and condoning imprisonment of female rape victims if they fail to produce four male witnesses in accordance with the Hudood Ordinance, has deeply outraged many sane people in Pakistan.

According to Hassan, if a woman cannot produce four male witnesses present at the time of her rape, she be imprisoned based on Hudood Ordinance and Shariah Law. This, he claims is in the best interest of women who are raped so if she fails to produce the witnesses she ought to refrain from filing an FIR altogether.

According to Hassan, somehow, it is in the best interest of the society for a woman to stay silent after being raped, while the perpetrator roams free.

I can’t help wonder if the leader would preach silence if a member of his family was attacked.

In the video, the Ameer inexplicably labels the Women’s Protection Bill as an effort to spread “vulgarity, nudity and shamelessness” in Pakistan, while demanding the seemingly intimidated anchor quote verses from the Holy Quran, who eventually has to descend into a monologue to prove his own Islamic credentials before being able to propose an argument to defend raped women. Interestingly, the Ameer himself fails to present any Quranic verse or Hadith to back his views.

The repugnant manner in which the host of the talk show is dismissed, and labeled an infidel for challenging the Holy Quran and Hadith, is a classic example of moral policing by self righteous Muslims in the country, who are masters at evading rationality.

I sincerely hope these morally, self righteous people read Maheen Usmani’s piece titled ‘Why the deafening silence after rape’ which cites horrific facts about rape in Pakistan including “Situation of Violence against Women in Pakistan 2010” by Aurat Foundation, according to which  a total of 4,069 cases occurred in Pakistan last year.

Every two hours, a woman is raped in Pakistan and every eight hours, gang raped. And after all this, we are confronted with the reality that in this land, where the taste of justice for many is nothing but bland and vapid, 70 per cent of the crimes against women go unreported.

But how silly of those supporting the Women’s Protection Bill to seek greater freedom and protection of women in a society suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder regarding female sexuality, and the shame/honour dichotomy. The last thing then this country needs is rights for some 51 per cent of population. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

Man robs bank for $1

By Gaby Leslie

A video has surfaced of an American man admitting how he robbed a bank for $1 (60p) so he could go to jail and receive free medical treatment.

James Verone, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was so desperate to get help for a bad back, foot and growths on his chest that he made the calculated decision to stage the unusual robbery.

The unemployed 59-year-old, who cannot afford health insurance, told a reporter how he walked up to the cashier and handed a bizarre note demanding just one dollar from her.

The note also said he was armed, but in fact he wasn’t. The suffering man then said that he purposely sat on the couch in the RBC bank to wait for the police to arrest him.

Read more: Yahoo News

CNN Report on free Educational Videos from Gates Foundation supported Khan Academy

By Khalid Hashmani

A special CNN report was featured on CNN and repeatedly broadcast by CNN today (June 6, 2011) about the Khan Academy that offers more than 2,100 educational videos and 100 self-paced exercises on many academic and non-academic subjects. This wealth of educational materials is available for free downloads from Khan ACademy’s web site http://www.khanacademy.org/. The academy was founded by Salman (Sal) Khan, who has multiple degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. Although the project is supported by Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the academy is actively seeking donations from others including general public.

Continue reading CNN Report on free Educational Videos from Gates Foundation supported Khan Academy

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

– – – – – – – –  – –

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

The Economic Times report: ISI hand in Taliban’s free-run in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

NEW YORK: Taliban has been given a free-run in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and its hardscrabble capital city of Quetta, which has been declared off-limits by Pakistani military to US predator strikes.

The outfit’s military chief Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir , ranked number two after Mullah Omar, and his men are operating with impunity in the high-desert landscape and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI )) seems to be giving them a free hand, ‘Newsweek’ reported.

“They are coming and going in groups without end,” says a senior Quetta politician, an ethnic Pashtun.

“Whatever the Taliban is doing is supervised and monitored by the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies”, he said.

Old hands among the insurgents say it reminds them of 1980s Peshawar, where anti-Soviet mujahedin operated openly with the ISI’s blessing and backing, the magazine reported.

The free rein to the Taliban fighters, the magazine said comes at a time when the terror outfit is planning its biggest surge- Operation Badr, the spring offensive in Afghanistan, where it is hoping to push in every single cadre.

The magazine however said that the Taliban preparations were overshadowed by the America’s commando assault which felled the al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The assault has left Taliban cadres and commanders stunned, despondent and uncharacteristically worried, ‘Newsweek’ quoted Zabihullah, a senior Taliban adviser. “It conveys a message to all Taliban leaders that no one is safe”.

The new Taliban military chief 38-year-old Zakir, a former Guantanamo inmate who was released to Afghan authorities holds eight to ten meetings a day in Quetta’s teeming, impoverished ethnic-Pashtun neighbourhood trailed by half-a-dozen aides on motorcycles.

‘Newsweek’ said, thousands of Taliban slogans cover the walls in and around the dusty frontier town of Kuchlak, some 14 kilometres northwest of Quetta. “The Only Solution Is Jihad Against the Invaders,” says one. “Mullah Omar Is a Dagger Raised to Strike Each Occupier,” says another.

A local government councillor says the area’s mosques and madrassas are packed with insurgents in need of temporary lodging as they head back to Afghanistan. Way stations have been set up all over the region in rented houses, he says, and swarms of Taliban pass through town on motorbikes every day. Most carry Pakistani national identity cards. “They’re enjoying the hospitality of the ‘black legs’ [derogatory slang for the ISI],” he says. He worries that the local culture is being Talibanized.

At least 20 local madrassa students have disappeared, most likely to join the fight in Afghanistan, he says, and Taliban backers are even trying to stop the traditional music and dancing at weddings. “‘How can you sing and dance when we’re dying?’ they tell us.”

A senior intelligence officer says he’s heard that Mullah Omar considers this year an important test for Zakir. “Our emir is giving Zakir a chance to prove himself,” he says. “If he does well, he stays; if not, there are others who can take over.”

Of course, no one has seen Omar since he fled into the mountains on the back of Baradar’s motorcycle nearly 10 years ago. And Zakir might do well to remember what happened to Osama bin Laden.

Courtesy: The Economic Times

The truth will set you free – Dr Syed Mansoor Hussain

Excerpt:

That Osama was hiding in Pakistan in ‘plain sight’ for all these years was clearly the result of a fractured sense of national purpose. The people are consumed by anti-American sentiment and overwhelmed by a sense of religiosity that allows many to tolerate and even encourage the terrorists within our midst.

First and most importantly, we the people of Pakistan must accept the simple fact that we are a country in serious trouble. Our economy is shaky, terrorism does not seem to be going anywhere, and now even our ‘allies’ are starting to worry openly about what we as a country want from them. Let our leaders, civilian and in the military, start telling us the truth, however hard it might be for us to digest. And let us as the people learn to accept it and try and do what needs to be done. A tall order but doable. Let us also accept upfront that Abbottabad was a collective failure but the army and the intelligence agencies must accept some direct responsibility and some high-up official must resign, not as punishment but rather as a gesture of goodwill. Perhaps then we can start building a sense of mutual trust. The next step is for our politicians and our generals to get together and come up with a comprehensive rethink of our foreign policy as well as our policy towards terrorism. Perhaps in its ‘time of need’, the army high command will be willing to accept civilian input concerning our national defence priorities.

As far as the people are concerned, it is time for us to accept three basic facts. First, Pakistan cannot win a war against India; second, Afghanistan is an independent country and we can at best be good neighbours and third, terrorism is our problem and it will not disappear if the Americans leave Afghanistan.

Finally, for those self-styled ‘patriots’ crying themselves hoarse about our loss of national honour, all I can do is repeat what Samuel Johnson said a long time ago: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

To read complete article : Daily Times

U.S. women jump in to save Sindh, Balochistan from genocide

by Ahmar Mustikhan

Women in the United States have taken up the cudgels to stop the on-going genocide in Balochistan and extrajudicial killings in Sindh.

Jane Wesiner a staunch supporter of an independent Balochistan spoke with Senator John F. Kerry, who is chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and asked him to support the idea of a free country for the stateless Baloch people in southwest Asia.

Balochistan, which is named after the Baloch people, was a free country before the British set foot in the region in 1839, but left it divided by the time colonialism ended in Indian subcontinent in August 1947.

Weisner, who is affiliated with the American Friends of Balochistan, said she spoke personally to Senator Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Forigien Affairs Committee, Thursday about Pakistan’s role in hiding bin Laden.

“More importantly I asked him to personally look into the systematic genocide of the Baloch. I spoke to him about the geopolitical advantages of a free and independent Balochistan

Continue reading on Examiner.com: U.S. women jump in to save Sindh, Balochistan from genocide – Baltimore Foreign Policy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-baltimore/u-s-women-jump-to-save-balochistan-from-genocide-contact-lawmakers?fb_comment=33154981#ixzz1MLsZN8cG

Would GEO and Express TV disclose how much money they get from Americans?

By Farrukh Siddiqui
Editor, State of Pakistan blog
One of the objectives of Kerry-Lugar aid bill for aid to Pakistan is to “support for promotion of a responsible, capable,and independent media.”
According to this RT TV broadcast of March 10, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UQCki_nC9c ,  the US government planned to spend $50 million on this objective. According to another report  dated Feb. 27, 2010 by the examiner , “the Obama administration plans to spend nearly $50 million on Pakistani media this year to reverse anti-American sentiments and raise awareness of projects aimed at improving quality of life, confirms a Washington insider. “
The history of collaboration between the agencies of the US government and some “ independent “ Pakistani media organizations is old. But more recently it was GEO TV that went public with jointly produced programs with Voice of America.
The following press release  dated Nov. 13, 2005 ( http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05111301.html) of the US Embassy in Islmamabad is self-explanatory:
VOA Launches Urdu TV For Pakistan

11/13/2005 Washington, D.C. – The Voice of America (VOA) will launch Beyond the Headlines-its new television program in Urdu-on Monday, Nov. 14. The half-hour program will air on GEO TV in Pakistan at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat (Virtual Channel 409) and IOR (Virtual Channel 420). …..

Read more : http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=1219

Pakistani-Canadians: On Egypt

Message of Solidarity by the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians to The Egyptian National Association for Change (Canada).

by Omar Latif, Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians congratulates the Egyptian people on their success in ousting the dictator Hosni Mubarak and salutes their heroic and historic struggle against dictatorship and for freedom, democracy and social justice.

Backed and supported by the US and other western countries the Egyptian regime, like many other Arab regimes – as indeed most of the governments in Pakistan – have served the interests of the rich internally and that of imperialism regionally.

The Egyptian armed services, just like those of Pakistan, receive well over a billion dollars annually from the United States, most of which ends up in the pockets of senior officers. The ties and cooperation between the security agencies of the US with those of Egypt – as with the security forces of Pakistan – are even closer. Along with you, we hope, these relationships will end.

The Saudi monarchy – the most reactionary, despotic and US-dependent of the Arab regimes – has also played a significant role in aiding and abetting undemocratic and unjust regimes in the region – including those of Pakistan.

Continue reading Pakistani-Canadians: On Egypt

Lets do an Egypt in India!

by Sudhir Gandotra

Time for a Non-violent-comprehensive revolution in India! Lets get rid of all violence in & around us! Join and also invite all your friends! Peace in the heart, light in the understanding .. “Working for a Violence-free World

“With 83% living on >20 rupees a day, 25% sleeping hungry ever night, prices rising daily, farmers committing suicide, increasing poverty-malnutrition-hunger-suicides, India is far away from Real-Democracy. It is time to wake up and take responsibility of the nation, take inspiration from the non-violent wave of transformation happening from Tunisia, through Egypt to other parts of the world, and to bring about a complete non-violent revolution in India in order to establish a Real democracy that can give a Dignified life to all the people without any discrimination whatsoever immediately. We do not lack resources for this. Only the willingness is missing as the scamster-corrupt-mafia-masquerading-politicians are working with the sole interest of taking India’s money to tax-heavens. This must stop NOW !”

“The hero of this age flies towards the stars.” – The Inner Look, XX. Internal Reality.

Silo (Mario Rodriguez Cobos) January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010 – “You go deep into yourself, I go deep into myself and there we meet.”

Sudhir Gandotra’s blog http://blog.sudhirgandotra.org/

Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_160997877284537#!

Liberals are losing ground in Pakistan

“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline

“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa

“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster

The Flickering Flame

. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.

Mariana Baabar

When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”

It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.

For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?

This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …

Read more : OUT LOOK

Blind and stupid and savage – Ardeshir Cowasjee

Teach me, my God, to see that I have no right to impose my own way of thinking upon others. Teach me to acknowledge and honour the right of all to pray and worship and sacrifice in their own way. Keep me free from sectarian spirit, and give me strength to root out from my heart bigotry and fanatic zeal. Teach me to discern true religion from religiosity. Fill my mind and heart with the spirit of toleration.”

This is what the early generations were taught. We all listened well then. But later, along the way, we failed to see or check the creeping darkness.

MY generation and the one that followed have much to answer for. But we cannot, because it is now too late. We let things slip and slide. …

Read more:  via – WichaarDAWN

 

 

India- Pakistan : Playing little-boy games!

Playing little-boy games – by Kamran Shafi

…. I write this from Kabul where the Fourth Afghanistan-India-Pakistan Trialogue is being held. The loudest message our Afghan friends are sending out is that they be left alone … for both Pakistan and India to stop using their country as a chessboard. That if Pakistan is such a friend why does it not allow freer trade between the three countries so Afghan fruit can find its way to Indian markets before it spoils? And, gentlemen, listen closely: Pakistan is the most hated country in Afghanistan today. So, go figure.

To read full article : DAWN

An excellent article by the fearless Ayesha Siddiqa

Land allocation & the principle of eminent domain – by Ayesha Siddiqa

It is almost every second day that we come across a news item about distribution of free land or on concessional rates to significant members of the state and society. It was just a year ago that there was an uproar about land allocation to journalists. Just a couple of days ago there was the story about the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, having received a plot of land under the Musharraf government. Not to forget the more popular and controversial story of military officers and civilian bureaucrats being allocated land. …
Read more : The Express Tribune