Tag Archives: Groups

Italy hit by wave of Pitchfork protests as austerity unites disparate groups

Demonstrations point to frustration with traditional politics, with minister warning parliament of a country in ‘spiral of rebellion’

by in Rome, theguardian.com

They blocked roads and stopped trains,occupied piazzas, clashed with police and closed shops. From Turin and Milan in the north to Puglia and Sicily in the south, Italy was hit this week by a wave of protests that brought together disparate groups and traditional foes in an angry show of opposition to austerity policies and the government.

They [politicians] have brought us to hunger; have destroyed the identity of a country; have annihilated the future of entire generations,” read one poster from the “December 9 Committee”, an umbrella organisation urging Italians to rise up against the euro, Brussels, globalisation and, primarily, Enrico Letta’s government. “To rebel is a duty.”

In a loosely formed movement which has gone largely by the name of I Forconi (the Pitchforks), lorry drivers, farmers, small business owners, students and unemployed people staged protests venting their fury at a political class which they blame for Italy’s longest post-war recession and want to “send home”.

But they were not alone. Alongside them were anti-globalisation groups, members of the Veneto Independence movement, elements of the far right and – for good measure – football “ultras”. Among the sights “rarely seen before”, reported the Turin-based daily La Stampa, were supporters of arch-rivals Juventus and Torino standing “side by side”.

Although the protests had been publicised, especially on the internet, their scale and occasionally violent nature – particularly in Turin, a historic city of protest – appeared to take many by surprise.

In a country struggling to exit a two-year long recession, in which unemployment is at a record high of 12.5% and one in 10 children is thought to be living in absolute poverty, the causes of the unrest are hardly unfathomable.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/13/italy-pitchfork-protests-austerity-unites-groups

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Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups.

Benedict R. Anderson: Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia and its Legacy

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 15, No. 4, April 15, 2013 [http://japanfocus.org/-Benedict-Anderson/3929]

Impunity and Reenactment: Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia and its Legacy

Benedict R. Anderson

Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups. The worst cases in the post-World War 11 era – Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia, China, East Pakistan, East Timor, and Indonesia – show much the same bloody manipulations. It is equally the case that the killer regimes do not announce publicly the huge numbers killed, and rarely boast about the massacres, let alone the tortures that usually accompany them. They like to create a set of public euphemisms endlessly circulated through state-controlled mass media. In the age of the UN, to which almost all nation-states belong,in the time of Amnesty International and its uncountable NGO children and grandchildren, in the epoch of globalization and the internet, there are naturally worries about ‘face,’ interventions, embargos, ostracism, and UN-ish investigations. No less important are domestic considerations. National militaries are supposed heroically to defend the nation against foreign enemies, not slaughter their fellow-citizens. Police are supposed to uphold the law. Above all, there is need for political ‘stability,’ one element ofwhich is that killing should not get out of control, and that amateur civilian killers should be quietly assured that ‘it’s over’ and that no one will be punished.

Continue reading Domestic mass murder on a large scale is always the work of the state, at the hands of its own soldiery, police and gangsters, and/or ideological mobilization of allied civilian groups.

Idle No More rallies held across Canada as movement grows

By: CTVNews.ca Staff

The national Idle No More movement showed no signs of slowing Friday as activists and protesters across Canada brought their call for protection of First Nations rights to the streets.

Peaceful gatherings took place in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa, Saskatoon,Toronto and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba First Nations groups rallied Friday morning at the Winnipeg International Airport, circling in cars, honking their horns and hoisting placards, one reading “Shame on you Canada.”

The group planned to join an Idle No More rally at the legislative building. A demonstration along Highway 102 in Truro, N.S. caused delays for about eight kilometres but was otherwise peaceful.

Hundreds also braved a snowstorm to march through the streets of Ottawa to denounce what they say is the systematic destruction of indigenous rights.

First Nations leaders say Ottawa’s policies toward First Nations are oppressive and they are concerned that federal government is preparing to siphon power from band councils.

Particularly concerning, activists say, is the recently passed Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill that according to movement organizers will fasttrack the process for aboriginals to surrender their reserve lands. Organizers also protest the new law because it includes clauses they say will slash the number of federally protected waterways and jeopardize lands they rely on. First Nations groups say they were not sufficiently consulted on the legislation.

At a panel discussion Friday, Nova Scotia aboriginal activist Shelley Young said the government is ignoring the plight of the First Nations. She said the Idle No More movement has “spread like wildfire.”

“We’re not just speaking up for ourselves, we’re speaking up for the rest of Canada,” she said. “We know that our treaty rights protect the waters and waterways. We want to do something about it.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/idle-no-more-rallies-held-across-canada-as-movement-grows-1.1088765#ixzz2Fn5koC5O

 

Pakistan’s extremists whip up frenzy over Burma’s Muslims

The exaggerated version of truth about violence in Myanmar propagated by religious groups in Pakistan to recruit and fund their own agendas.

By Taha Siddiqui

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistanis are mounting protests online and in the streets of cities like Lahore and Peshawar over the ill-treatment of Muslims in Myanmar, a situation that Islamist groups here are distorting to raise money and potentially win recruits.

The international community has raised concerns about human rights abuses against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar. Clashes in June between Rohingyas and their Buddhist neighbors, the Rakhine, left 78 dead, according to the Myanmar government. A new Human Rights Watch report calls the number “grossly underestimated” and charges that security forces failed to protect Rohingyas, and in some cases opened fire on them.

But on the streets of Pakistan, the rhetoric runs much hotter with protesters claiming “thousands” of Rohingyas are being slaughtered in western Myanmar (also known as Burma). Online, meanwhile, a series of doctored and misidentified photographs are circulating widely in Pakistani social media and beyond that purport to show violence against Rohingyas.

Investigations by social media watchdogs, and the respected Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune, have proven that most of these claims are exaggerated or entirely false.

For example, one photo posted on a Facebook page originating from Pakistan show Buddhists dressed in their traditional red robes standing in the middle of two rows of dead bodies. The caption reads: “Bodies of Muslims killed by Buddhists.” In reality, this picture is from an earthquake incident in China in 2010, where Tibetan monks came to help with the rescue efforts.

Continue reading Pakistan’s extremists whip up frenzy over Burma’s Muslims

Heavily armed jihadi groups clash in Pakistan: 5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival Islamic militants

5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival militants groups

Firefight between Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansarul Islam began when latter’s fighters attacked stronghold of LI militants.

PESHAWAR: At least five militants were killed and five others were injured when clashes erupted between Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and Ansarul Islam (AI) in the Sanda Pal area of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency.

According to locals, the firefight between the two groups began in the early hours of Monday when fighters of AI attacked Sanda Pal, a stronghold of LI militants.

They claimed that four militants of the Mangal Bagh-led LI had been killed and two were injured, while one fighter of AI was killed and three were injured.

Clashes between the two groups occur frequently as AI fights the LI to gain control of the area.

According to sources, heavy weapons were used in the fight and AI fighters took control of a number of small outposts to reach Sanda Pal – the main outpost.

Residents living in the secluded valley have little communication with the world.

The area has been under the influence of militants, including the LI, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Ansarul Islam, who have consistently targeted each other over territorial disputes and sectarian differences.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Via – Twitter » TF’s Tweet

Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

US Congress introduces Pak ‘terrorism accountability’ bill

A far-reaching legislation has been introduced in the US Congress that would deduct $50 million from the aid to Islamabad for every American killed by terrorists operating from the safe havens in Pakistan with the ”support” of ISI.

“Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said introducing the ‘Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act of 2012′.

Continue reading Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.

Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)

In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”

That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.

Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.

Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.

In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.

But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.

The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.

Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.

Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.

This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.

Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.

Continue reading New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

Pakistan – Jihadis all over

By Mujahid Hussain

After a lull, the al-Qaeda and the Taliban terrorists have re-launched attacks in Pakistan. These attacks falsify the myth that al-Qaeda and the Taliban sympathizers had been combed out in the wake of the security forces’ successful operation in the Tribal Areas.

As a matter of fact, the Taliban terrorists have pushed the security forces and the local Peace Lashkars out of the area. Now the Taliban are attacking the urban areas and the adjoining settlements at will. The recent example of the Taliban penetration is the release of hundreds of dangerous criminals from the prison of Bannu, situated on the periphery of the Tribal Belt.

Continue reading Pakistan – Jihadis all over

Pakistan heading towards anarchy, cautions author

By: Reuters

Excerpts;

…. Pakistan’s escalating problems are rooted in its reliance on US aid, its complex politics, the government’s lack of control over both its military and intelligence service and its failure to protect minorities and secure regions controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, the book maintains. That spells more trouble for Washington if such groups gain further control in a nuclear-armed country where the military now largely controls foreign and security policies and has taken the lead in relations with the United States, he said. “Pakistan has all the potential of becoming a failing state,” Rashid, 63, said in an interview, explaining the title of the book that follows bestsellers including “Taliban” and “Descent Into Chaos” that were translated into dozens of languages. “I feel very much that the lack of state control, the lack of state authority is going to mean there is going to be increasing anarchy in many different parts of the country,” said Rashid, who has received numerous death threats and was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Al Qaeda and its apologists in Pakistan

Al Qaeda and its apologists

By Raza Rumi

The new al Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri in his new video statement has urged the people of Pakistan to overthrow the “corrupt” government in Islamabad. Interestingly, he has also asked the people to rise against the Pakistan Army, which has been fighting a battle against some extremist groups in the north west of the country. Al Qaeda has been making such desperate calls for a decade now. But the worrying part is that the message — or its operative part — has gained currency in many middle class Pakistanis. Despite the crackdown, Hizbut Tahreer (HuT) continues to operate like several other militant groups. The extent of its advocacy for overthrowing the generals and the politicians is such that a HuT affiliated senior army official is on trial these days.

But these trials and military interventions are pointless when Islamabad, virtually a security zone, displays HuT posters and stickers almost everywhere. Why are the activists not tracked down and why do the government and the all-powerful intelligence agencies allow proliferation of such propaganda? A partial explanation is that elements of the state are also steeped in this a similar mindset. It is an established fact that the composition of the officers’ corps in the army and civilian bureaucracy is overwhelmingly middle class.

In his latest statement, again al-Zawahiri has mentioned the 70-year-old American aid worker Dr Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in August 2011 from Lahore. The message from al Qaeda is that Weinstein will not be released until their demands are met. Among others, a key demand is the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist sentenced by the US courts and currently languishing in an American prison. Ms Aafia’s story is still incomplete and there are competing claims over her role in perpetrating ‘terrorism’ as well as her innocence. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa reject ban on murderers

Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa reject ban on murderers of Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis and Christians

 We welcome ban on terrorist organization Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) aka Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)

Sunni Muslims reject Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (aka ASWJ)

Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims reject Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)

According to news reports, Pakistan government has banned extremist Deobandi Jihadi-sectarian organization Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ: Previous names: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan SSP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi LeJ). According to Interior Ministry’s notification, the ASWJ was suspected to have been involved in terrorism related activities involving massacres and target killings of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians and other groups in various parts of Pakistan.

ASWJ is a main member organization of the (ISI-sponsored) Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), which has been organising Jihadi-sectarian rallies across the country. The Multan DPC rally was hosted by the ASWJ and was also attended by Malik Ishaq, the co-founder of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Information Secretary Anwar Niazi says they will condemn any attempt by the authorities to ban ASWJ. ….

Read more » Pakistan Blogzine

Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

By Praveen Swami

Pakistan’s civilian rulers seem to have averted a possible coup with a little help from inside the army itself.

Eight weeks ago, as rumours of an imminent coup swirled around Islamabad, few seemed to doubt democratic rule in Pakistan would soon be marched before a firing squad.

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States, had been recalled to face charges of conspiring to sack top military officials. There was even talk of a treason trial targeting President Asif Ali Zardari himself — with Mr. Haqqani as the Army’s star witness.

Events since, however, haven’t quite panned out as hardline Pakistani generals might have anticipated: instead of capturing power, the army has found itself in retreat.

Mr. Zardari, Pakistani media have reported, is almost certain to deny the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, an extension to serve until 2013 — a blow directed at Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and a sign of civilian confidence.

In November, Pakistan’s military had shut down the Shamsi airbase, used to stage United States drone attacks against Islamist insurgents: actions intended to distinguish them from political rulers too-willing to please the United States. Last month, though, drone strikes resumed — directed by United States intelligence officers located at the Shahbaz airbase near Abbottabad.

Politicians have become increasingly defiant of ISI authority: even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who has long shied away from controversy, warned against efforts to run “a state within a state”.

The Generals’ consensus

LONG held together by a Generals’ consensus on the direction Pakistan ought to head in, the army now seems divided as never before. Last month, at a January 13 meeting of the corps commanders conference, where Gen. Kayani briefed generals on the evolving political crisis , he ran into unexpected in-house resistance, leading to a 10-hour debate.

The toughest questioning, a Pakistani government source privy to the discussions told The Hindu, came from Lieutenant-General Tariq Khan — the commander of the Mangla-based 1 corps, and a veteran of counter-insurgency operations who is considered among the most competent of the army’s commanders

Gen. Khan, the source said, made clear the army was unprepared to take power, and demanded to know how the army chief intended to resolve the still-unfolding showdown with the civilian governments. He noted that the army had no coherent plan to address its increasingly-fragile relationship with the United States, too. Backed by other key officers, like Gujaranwala-based XXX corps commander Raheel Sharif, Gen. Khan pushed for the army to pull back from the brink.

Ever since the killing of military ruler Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1998, the corps commanders conference has been a key instrument of what Mr. Haqqani once described as “military rule by other means”. The resistance faced by Gen. Kayani within the institution is, therefore, of great significance.

Ever since he took office, Pakistan’s army chief had worked to rebuild the army’s relationship with the jihadist groups it had patronised for decades. Terrorism in Pakistan, he argued, had come about because the country had become enmeshed in the United States’ war against jihadists in Afghanistan. Building peace, he argued, necessitated reviving this relationship — even at the cost of ties with the United States.

In 2008, Gen. Pasha delivered an off-the-record briefing to journalists, where he described Tehreek-e-Taliban commanders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Muhammad Fazlullah — responsible for hundreds of killings in Pakistanas “patriots”.

Following the raid that claimed Osama bin Laden last year, Mr. Pasha put the case for an aggressive anti-United States line to Pakistani legislators: “At every difficult moment in our history”, he said “the United States has let us down. This fear that we can’t live without the United States is wrong.

Gen. Kayani’s line, the government’s decision not to allow his spymaster to serve on suggests, no longer represents the army’s institutional consensus.

The path to peace he envisaged involved costs the army isn’t willing to pay.

Political resurgence?

Continue reading Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

by Anwar Iqbal

We don’t know how it happened but it did. Somehow our generation became a faceless generation. But before that we lost our faith. Or perhaps, we lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

Like other people we too had names; names that showed we had parents who cared for us. Our names reflected our bound to a family, a community and above all to humanity. But first we adopted new idols, those that sipped blood and spat fire and brimstone.

Those were fearsome deities that loved suicide-bombings, beheadings, and firing-squads.

And all of this was not done in the name of religion alone. We had many idols, each named after a sect, an ethnic group, or a political cult. They had one common trait, an insatiable lust for power.

Soon after we adopted those new idols, we lost our identity, or we may have lost our identity first and then we took these new symbols of worship, abandoning the loving, merciful and benevolent God.

Yes, we still lived in cities, towns and villages. But living was our only distinction. We had nothing to be proud of. There was no bond, no love among us. We did not trust each other. But did it only happen to those living in our city? No. People in cities around us stopped trusting each other too. It was a strange disease that spread across the region and affected everybody.

Continue reading We lost our identity first and then we lost our faith. Does it matter now what we lost first? We know we have lost both.

Imran Khan’s security state – DAWN

By Huma Yusuf

THERE has already been adequate kerfuffle around the appearance of PTI senior vice-president Ejaz Chaudhry at the Difaa-i-Pakistan Council’s rally in Karachi.

This is the latest demonstration of PTI’s tendency to cavort with the religious right and extremist groups. Imran Khan himself delivered a message via his envoy at the DPC’s Lahore rally in December. Previously, Chaudhry has attended rallies with Jamaatud Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed. And flags of the banned SSP have been raised at many a PTI rally. The further right the Great Khan and his party stray, the more defensive his supporters become. It is high time that defence was analysed. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

DAWN Editorial – A dangerous mindset

GIVEN the scale of radicalisation across Pakistan, it is clear that methods other than military strategy must be brought into play to quell it. The Pakistan Army set up de-radicalisation centres to provide interventions to those deemed ‘radicals’ – mainly persons detained in conflict zones. But, as editorialised by this newspaper last month, there are a number of points of concern, including the fact that the public has no idea about the details of the programmes. What do they entail, what process is followed or expertise offered – and how are ‘radicals’ delineated from ordinary citizens? For example, has it been conclusively proved that those in de-radicalisation centres were involved in militant or extremist activities? Now, it has come to light that the programmes have not been working. On Thursday, an official of the Pakistan Army’s judge advocate general branch told the Peshawar High Court that despite having been through the de-radicalisation process, several militants from Swat had rejoined militant groups.

Radicalisation is an ideological state of mind, and not something empirical of which a person can reliably be said to have been cleansed. No doubt there are people who were absorbed by militant outfits involuntarily and would welcome rehabilitation. But militancy in Pakistan is linked to a peculiar set of ideologies that have a lasting hold on the minds of its subscribers. For militants who have vowed to fight the very nature of the state and federation, a de-radicalisation programme may be the softer option whilst in detention.

For Pakistan to control radicalisation, it must counter the growing extremism evident in society as a whole. This is emerging as a greater threat to the country than terrorism, as was pointed out at the launch of a related report in Islamabad on Thursday. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the gun; the task requires methods of long-term persuasion and extensive societal change. Concurrently, the state must face up to the fact that it has for decades followed a duplicitous policy towards militancy. Cosmetic measures, such as banning certain outfits but allowing them to operate under other names, were bound to prove insufficient. The ideological underpinnings of militancy in Pakistan, which were endorsed by elements within the state during the ’80s and after, have never been honestly or fully rejected. That mindset has not just become more entrenched, it is fast gaining new subscribers. If Pakistan is to be saved, this mindset must change. That requires formulating a definitive state policy on the factors that pro- vide militancy with its moorings.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

PAKISTAN: Love marriage couple greeted with ‘shoot-on-sight’ order from Jihadi groups

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-017-2012 – 6 February 2012 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a couple from Pakistani held Kashmir has threatened with being shot on sight by Jihadi militant groups whenever they are seen at any place in Pakistan. The militants from the Jihadi groups (Islamic holy warriors) have been following the couple from their hide out and given ammunition to the residents of the nearby houses to disclose the whereabouts of the couple. The death threat to the couple was announced in a local illegal court known as a Jirga, which was held in the presence of and with the knowledge and cooperation of the police. Jirgas have been declared illegal by the courts. The couple has also written letters to the highest police officer of the district about the death threats but no action has been taken because of the involvement of Jihadi groups who work under the state intelligence agencies to conduct subversive activities inside the Indian held Kashmir.

The lives of the couple are in danger and at any moment they might be abducted and killed.

CASE NARRATIVE: Miss Tahira Hayat (27), daughter of Hayat Khan Mughal married Mr. Saeed Hussain Shah (29), son of Tufail Hussain Shah, a resident of Tehseel Rawalakot, Pakistani Kashmir, on January 26 in a civil court, which has infuriated Tahira’s family members who are from the Jihadi militant groups working for Jihad (holy war) in Indian Held Kashmir.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: Love marriage couple greeted with ‘shoot-on-sight’ order from Jihadi groups

Pakistan should protect Ahmaddiya community against threats of violence

Pakistani authorities must do more to protect the Ahmaddiya community, Amnesty International said today amid threats from religious groups to block Ahmadis from entering their place of worship in Rawalpindi on Friday.

An Ahmadi spokesperson yesterday said local religious groups have warned they will not allow Ahmadis to carry out religious activities this Friday, local media reported. ….

Read more » Amnesty International

Pakistan appeased militant groups, ignored army abuses in 2011: HRW

NEW YORK: Pakistan’s fledgling democratic government, under increasing pressure from the military, appeased extremist groups, ignored army abuses and failed to hold those responsible for serious abuses accountable in 2011, New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch has said. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

More details » BBC

Bangladesh Army says it foiled a coup via Facebook

Intelligence sources say the Bangladesh coup attempt last month was fueled by retired officers campaigning to introduce sharia law. The news raises concern about political instability in the region.

By Anis Ahmed, Reuters

Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Army said on Thursday it had foiled a coup attempt by retired and serving officers last month that intelligence sources said was driven by a campaign to introduce sharia law throughout the majority Muslim country.

Army intelligence discovered that Major Ziaul Haque had fled the barracks and was contacting fellow officers and ex-officers through Facebook and by cellphone to encourage them to join the plot, Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq said.

“Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance,” he told reporters.

He said around 16 former and active officers were involved. Some had been detained and would appear before a military court.

Impoverished Bangladesh has a history of coups, with army generals running the South Asian nation for 15 years until the end of 1990.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took power in early 2009 and has since faced threats from Islamist and other radical groups.

A revolt in the country’s paramilitary forces in February 2009 started in Dhaka and spread to a dozen other cities, killing more than 70 people, including 51 army officers. The revolt was quelled after two days but the country has since been shadowed by fears of further uprisings.

Sources in the army said the coup attempt was made late last month. “The attempt has been effectively controlled and now the process is on to punish the culprits,” one military official said.

Intelligence sources said the coup attempt was fuelled by a retired officer and associates in active service who were campaigning to introduce sharia law.

Intelligence officers also said it appeared to have been planned over weeks or months by officers having close links with what they described as religious fanatics within and outside the military. ….

Read more » CSMONITOR.COM

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Pakistan

Christian children have become the victims of recent violence

The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: “In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians. Dozens of people have been reported as a result of the blasphemy law

By Vatican Insider staff

Rome –

Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan’s biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.

Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. Javed, whose statement was also reported by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns, which are characterised by a strong ethnic and Islamic identity. Christian families are going through living hell but “people are not reporting the abuse for fear of retaliation.”

Just last month, Javed told Fides, “We recorded 15 cases of rape.” In EssaNagri there are real “torture cells” where Christian children are imprisoned and tortured. “Captors ask for ransoms of up to 100.000 rupees and if families cannot pay, the little ones are tortured until they are beyond recognition.” The result of the violence that has been going on over the past six months is that numerous families have decided to leave Karachi. “These acts of violence are aimed at eliminating Christian presence in the area; it constitutes a kind of ethnic cleansing: we are seen as slaves who are unworthy of setting foot on Pakistani soil.”

In another case reported, a so-called “house of tolerance” was opened near a Catholic Church in Ayub Goth where “Christian girls from destitute families are forced into prostitution.” Although the authorities have been made aware of this, they have not taken any action yet. Javed is launching an appeal to ask “for an end to the oppression of our community.”

What is more, the controversial blasphemy law continues to provoke disputes and attract criticism in Pakistan and internationally, while the situation for religious minorities is very serious. They are suffering as a result of the rising extremism of Islamic fundamentalist groups. As reported by Fides, the numbers of people against whom charges have been pressed for allegedly committing blasphemy are shocking. In 2011, the blasphemy law (articles 295b and 295c of the Penal Code) led to at least 161 people being incriminated and 9 killed in extrajudicial executions after they were accused of blasphemy. These accusations “are false in 95% of cases,” says one Muslim lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

According to a Report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a human rights watch NGO operative in Asia, “Pakistan failed to guarantee respect for the human rights of its people.” The Commission documented the killings of 18 human rights defenders and 16 journalists in 2011. They had been involved in a process of denouncing evil in society, corruption and Islamic extremism.

Corutesy: Vatican Insider

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

Geo Tv – Kamran Khan on the failure of Pakistan Army & ISI

The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Sath), YouTube

via WICHAAR.COM

Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Civil Society of Pakistan’s stand on So-called Memogate

Civil society terms memogate scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people.

Karachi, Sindh – 17 December 2011: We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called Memogate. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Continue reading Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

PAKISTAN: A senior surgeon belonging to the Ahmadi sect is abducted with his son and remains missing

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

HRC-STM-167-2011 (November 3, 2011) – A senior surgeon belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam has been missing since October 30, 2011. He was traveling in a car with his son of eleven years. The car was found abandoned far away from his home.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: A senior surgeon belonging to the Ahmadi sect is abducted with his son and remains missing

Memogate – WHEN reality is so distorted, how does the record get set straight?

A sceptic’s guide to memogate

By Cyril Almeida

Excerpt;

WHEN reality is so distorted, how does the record get set straight?

Memogate — the alleged plea by Husain Haqqani/Asif Zardari to save the civilian government from an army coup after May 2 in return for sacking military principals and disbanding a shadowy cell of the ISI that manages links to militant groups — was less startling than preposterous.

While this is Pakistan and anything is possible, some things are still more possible than others. …

… Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of memogate is Mike Mullen`s denial and then clarification of his denial and an outright admission.

We`re talking here about an administration that doesn`t officially acknowledge drone strikes or the 14-page memo Kayani handed Obama. That a recently retired top-ranking officer will through a spokesperson speak on the record to a reporter about such stuff is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Sure, Mullen denied he acted on the memo or that he took it seriously, but this two-term chairman of the joints chiefs of staff knows the media worldwide, even the Pakistani media, enough to be aware of his statement`s implications for Haqqani and the media pressure it would pile on Zardari in an already lopsided civil-military relationship that the Americans presumably have some interest in rectifying.

So yes, memogate is finally genuinely intriguing. Not because it implies games are afoot inside Pakistan, which they always are, but because Mullen has seen it fit to throw Haqqani, and possibly Zardari, under the bus.

It`s a tantalising question, based admittedly on flimsy evidence, but have the Americans soured on Zardari?

Read more » DAWN.COM

Forced Convergence and Killing of Hindus in Pakistan

– By Zulfiqar Halepoto, on behalf of the entire team of Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF)

We strongly condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in their clinic in Chak town close to district Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan. Shikarpur by armed men of Bhayo tribe, a beradari. The head of Bhayo beradari is district president of PPP. First they tried to kidnap Sindhi Hindu girls and tried to forcibly convert them into Islam and when the Sindhi Hindu community took strong notice then the Bhayo tribe people did an ambush at the clinic and Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh, Dr Ajeet and Dr Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic even on Eid day.

This is an inhuman, immoral and illegal brutality against those who serve the people as doctors and savors. This act is a black dot on the face of secular, progressive and tolerant identity of Sindhi society.

This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of Sindhi Hindu community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts.

Religious minorities, vulnerable groups and women are the victim of an ANTI-HUMAN mindset comprised of local feudals, tribal chief, religious extremists and local agencies. They collaborate with each other to weaken the state writ and to develop their own hegemony.

Their being in power have collapsed the entire law and order and justice systems and paralyzed the administrative institutions to demonstrate their duties. And subsequently there is no state writ in these areas. We appeal to the government, political parties and civil society to take notice of this brutality and religious fascism and specially government to make arrangements to protect the citizens.

First we appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately suspend PPP district Shikarpur president so-called sardar Bhayo, orders must immediately be issued to arrest him and all other culprits, who are exploiting local administration. We appeal Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Suo Motto of the targeting of Hindus in parts of Sindh.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

U.S. Officials Deliver Warning in Pakistan Over Extremists

– By STEVEN LEE MYERS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An unusually powerful American delegation arrived here on Thursday to deliver the starkest warning yet to Pakistan, according to a senior American official: that the United States would act unilaterally if necessary to attack extremist groups that use the country as a haven to kill Americans. …

Read more » The New York Times

Pakistan: Surrender to fanaticism

– Surrender to fanaticism

Today the orthodox clerics are supporting their quaint theory of private justice and denying a person’s accountability under the law on the ground that his action is not an offence under the Islamic code. How has this about-turn taken place?

By I.A. Rehman

Nobody should be surprised at the wave of protest unleashed by religio-political groups against the award of death sentence to the self-confessed assassin of Salmaan Taseer.

Continue reading Pakistan: Surrender to fanaticism

Clinton warns Pakistan on insurgent havens

By Joby Warrick and Karin Brulliard

ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Pakistan on Thursday to eradicate terrorist safe havens within its borders, saying there would be a “very big price” for inaction against militant groups staging attacks in Afghanistan.

Clinton’s tough words for Pakistani leaders came as an unusually large delegation of U.S. officials, led by Clinton, converged on the capital to urge Pakistani officials to take on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Afghan militant group blamed for assassinations of Afghan leaders and an attack last month on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“We will be delivering a very clear message to the government of Pakistan and to the people of Pakistan,” Clinton told reporters during an earlier stopover in Afghanistan for meetings with President Hamid Karzai. “There should be no support, and no safe havens, for terrorists anywhere who kill innocent women and children.” U.S. officials have accused Pakistan ….

Read more » The Washington Post

Thousands of protesters fill New York Times Square

– Thousands of protesters fill NYC’s Times Square

by Associated Press

NEW YORK — Thousands of demonstrators protesting corporate greed filled Times Square on Saturday night, mixing with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.

“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” protesters chanted from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away. ….

Read more » The Wall Street Journal