Tag Archives: Hijacking

Xinjiang Communist Party chief has called for an “iron fist” to deal with “separatists, extremists and terrorists.”

Party chief calls for ‘iron fist’ against terrorism

By: Xuyang Jingjing

In the wake of a recent plane hijacking attempt, the Party chief of the Xinjiang Ugyhur Autonomous Region urged soldiers to keep vigilant against hostile forces while overseeing a counter-terrorism drill ahead of the third anniversary of the July 5 riot.

Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China, asked the soldiers Wednesday to strike the separatists, extremists, and terrorists with “iron fists.”

“We should leave the terrorists no place to hide,” said Zhang.

During the drill, soldiers demonstrated special skills such as climbing walls with their bare hands and shooting cardboard “terrorists” with a single shot without harming hostages, according to the regional government’s website.

Within seconds, soldiers in dark uniforms and heavily armed broke into rooms on the fifth floor of a building to dispose of explosives and rescue hostages.

They also showcased weapons, communications equipment, devices for security inspection and explosive disposal, as well as safety and transportation equipment.

While commending the police forces for contributing to stability and public security in Xinjiang, Zhang said although the region’s overall situation remains stable and controllable, it still faces severe challenges and the basis of its stability is fragile.

In recent years, terrorist attacks and violence in Xinjiang have been on the rise and most prominently connected with overseas forces, experts said.

“From the timing of these terrorist activities, it seems that overseas separatist groups such as the World Uyghur Congress are closely related to the domestic attacks,” explained Li Wei, director of the Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

The authorities have put great emphasis on building counter-terrorism forces in Xinjiang and they have played an important role, said Li.

The Urumqi-based counter-terrorism forces were formed in the 1990s when separatists and religious extremists engaged in various terrorist activities such as explosions, assassinations and arson in the region.

Li said that compared with the 1990s, there are more suicide terrorist attacks now.

“Unlike remotely detonated bombs or poisoning, terrorists now attack in broad daylight and throw their own lives on the line,” said Li. “Therefore, the situation is more dangerous and more difficult, which requires the special forces to enhance their skills and capabilities, such as rapid response and intelligence collecting.”

On July 5, 2009, Xinjiang saw the worst outbreak of violence in decades when riots incited by overseas groups broke out in Urumqi. Nearly 200 people were killed and about 1,700 injured.

In the southern area of Hotan, 18 people attacked a local police station in July last year, killing three people and injuring two. Earlier last month, local police also cracked down on an illegal Koran teaching site that was holding 59 children.

In the most recent case, six alleged terrorists carrying explosives attempted to hijack a plane from Hotan to Urumqi on June 29. The attempt was foiled by the passengers, several of whom were police officers.

Continue reading Xinjiang Communist Party chief has called for an “iron fist” to deal with “separatists, extremists and terrorists.”

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

Guantánamo files paint Aafia Siddiqui as top al-Qaida operative

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

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymond Davis: fact & fiction – Najam Sethi’s Editorial

The case of Raymond Davis has outraged the imagination and sentiment of Pakistanis mainly because of a distortion of key facts by powerful sections of the Pakistani media. It has also become a vicious ping pong game between the PPP and PMLN governments, with both trying to score nationalist points regardless of the consequences for political stability and national security. Ominously, though, it has soured a troubled relationship between Pakistan and the US who claim to be “strategic partners” in the region. Let’s sift fact from fiction.

Fiction: Mr Davis “murdered” two Pakistanis. He shot them in the back, suggesting he was not threatened by them. They were not robbers. Their handguns were licensed. Fact: Two men on a motorbike, armed with unlicensed pistols, held up Mr Davis’ car. He expertly shot them through the windscreen, stepped out and took pictures of the gunmen with weapons as evidence of self-defense. Later, an autopsy report showed that four out of seven bullets had hit the gunmen in the front, confirming the threat to him. The criminals had earlier robbed two passersby of their cell phones and money.

Fiction: Mr Davis is not a diplomat because he doesn’t have a diplomatic visa or status registered with the Foreign Office. Hence he cannot claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions. Fact: Mr Davis has a Diplomatic Passport. His visa application by the US State Department to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC of 11 September 2009 lists him as a Diplomat who is on “Official Business”. The US government has claimed diplomatic immunity for him. This is the norm. For example, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain in 1975, Haroon ur Rashid Abbasi, was granted immunity following discovery of heroin from his suitcase. Col Mohammad Hamid Pakistan’s military attaché in London in 2000, was caught having sex with a prostitute in his car in a public place. He invoked diplomatic immunity and avoided arrest. Mohammad Arshad Cheema, Pakistan’s First Secretary in Nepal, also invoked diplomatic immunity after 16kg of high inte4nsity RDX explosives were recovered from his house and he was suspected of being involved in the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814. And so on. …

Read more : Wichaar

The hijacking of culture

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

After the mid-1970s, rural migration to urban centres increased manifold. A new middle class, which had recently become urbanised, provided the basis for Zia’s Islamisation and, later on, jihadi projects.

I am not sure if Veena Malik was the most articulate person in characterising the mullah and questioning the cliché of Pakistani culture, but I do know that she was brave in speaking the plain truth. If our media is concerned about how Pakistani culture is portrayed abroad, then they should ask the world whether Veena Malik or the jihadis of different stripes and their supporting network of religious parties are giving a bad name to the country. They should ask the world if sentencing Aasia Bibi to death is more troublesome than Veena Malik’s entertainment stint in India.

Ms Malik was not the first one to have said that mullahs sexually exploit in the mosques, it was the greatest Punjabi poet, Waris Shah, who created the mullah’s character in the epic love story of Heer Ranjha to denounce the theocracy, and said the same thing. In one of the dialogues with the mullah, Waris Shah (stanza 37) characterises the mullah and in the last line he says exactly what Veena Malik said:

“(Mullah) Your beard is like a pious scholar and you act like a devil. You condemn (even) the travellers for nothing. …

Read more : Wichaar

Bhatta Mafia of Karachi – video.

Hal Kya Hai focuses on various genres of crime, corruption, bribery, mafia, kidnapping, hijacking, drug trafficking and other social evils that have become a part of social fabric of the society. After the story is introduced by exclusive and unique investigative footage that exposes the discrepancy hands on, a probe into the matter will be conducted by the anchor, Nida Sameer, who will connect with and question all stakeholders involved in the matter.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV ( Hal Kya Hai, 12 January, 2011)

You Tube Link

 

President pardons Nawaz Sharif

President pardons Nawaz; entire Sharif family exiled

– Nasir Malick and Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9: President Rafiq Tarar has pardoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s 25-year jail sentence but exiled the former prime minister and his family, a government announcement said in the wee hours of Sunday.

“On the advice of the chief executive, the president of Pakistan, according to law has pardoned Nawaz Sharif’s remaining jail sentence while the rest of the punishment awarded by the honourable courts, which includes fine, forfeiture of property and disqualification from public office would remain in place,” the announcement said.

“Nawaz Sharif and family have been exiled to Saudi Arabia. This decision has been taken in the best interest of the country and the people of Pakistan,” it said.

The former prime minister was awarded 14 years’ imprisonment on corruption charges, fined Rs20 million and disqualified from contesting election for 21 years. Mr Sharif, who was removed by the army in a bloodless coup, was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of hijacking the plane in which General Pervez Musharraf was travelling. He had appealed in the high court, which had rejected the plea. He was fined Rs500,000 and forfeiture of property worth Rs500 million. ….

Read more : DAWN