Tag Archives: Jihadists

Pakistan: State of Delusion

By Husain Haqqani

The murder by the Taliban of more than 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar on December 16 has stunned Pakistan, and indeed the world. But the incident marks only an escalation in the brutality of jihadis, not its beginning. Over the years, Pakistan’s homegrown terrorists have bombed Shia and Ahmadi mosques, Sunni shrines, Christian churches and Hindu temples. Over a thousand attacks on schools by the Taliban have been reported since 2009, mainly in the northwestern Pakhtunkhwa province. Jihadi targets over the years have included localISI offices in several cities, naval and air force bases in Karachi and Kamra, the Karachi International Airport and even the army’s General Headquarters. If the breadth of attrition has not cured Pakistan’s jihadi addiction, would the death of innocent children and the burning alive of their teachers in a Peshawar school result in a fundamental change of heart?

If the Pakistani establishment decides to turn the corner, it would have to stop treating Pakistan’s anti-jihadists as its enemies and gradually embrace a new national narrative for the country. Confronting the jihadists comprehensively would make Pakistan more secure, paving the way for greater prosperity and a place under the sun. Refusing to confront and marginalise them will only lead to recurrent tragedies like the one in Peshawar, followed by grief and outrage.

Soon after the Peshawar carnage, Maulana Abdul Aziz of the infamous Islamabad Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, refused to condemn the Taliban’s action, indicating the stubbornness of the jihadi worldview. Taliban apologist Imran Khan parsed his words to condemn the act but not its perpetrators by name. Another Pakistani establishment favourite, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of Lashkar-e-Toiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa, went on television to blame India for the Taliban’s school attack and vowed revenge inside India.

The roots of Pakistan’s jihadism lie in its establishment’s obsession with India, which goes back to partition, the twonation theory and the fear that powerful forces want the dismemberment of Pakistan. The break-up of Pakistan in 1971, and the emergence of an independent Bangladesh in erstwhile East Pakistan, has reinforced national paranoia instead of convincing the country’s Punjabi elite of the need to come to terms with Pakistan’s size and power and finding security within the parameters of reality.

Read more » Hudson Institute
Learn more » http://www.hudson.org/research/10885-state-of-delusion

“Neo-Terrorism”: The mutation of Al-Qaeda into the Islamic State

By Roy Murray

One of the suboptimal habits of humans is to compare different things, expect them to behave similarly, and treat them the way we are ‘used to’. So, when the “Islamic State” (IS) debacle began, the world’s intelligences agencies did what they were used to – tracking jihadists back home. Since Al-Qaeda attacked the western home front, IS must have similar ambitions. They attempted to identify the jihadists, tracked their footsteps to the conflict, then they waited back home, ready to pounce on them with decades of counter terrorism experience. The hysteria grew, with ever more resources ploughed into it, augmented by vast media accounts of the threat the “Islamic State” (IS) of Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi poses to our ‘home front’.

It became a dangerous addiction which distracted us from the real “neo-terrorism” threat. By tracking Baghdadi’s returning jihadists, the west is effectively acting as his military police, locking up his deserters – after all, jihad is a lifelong adventure. He couldn’t care less.  In fact, our actions morphed into a powerful propaganda tool for the ‘terrorist extraordinaire’ –   feeding his propaganda narrative that Muslims were being oppressed around the world, and must rise up against their “tyrants” and establish a great Islamic State. Focusing on the home front, The West left him alone in the Middle East, free to stir chaos, establish, and expand his ‘Caliphate’. With just 10,000 of his Jihadists and other allies, he took down vast armies and militias that outnumbered his forces by factors upwards of 10 to 1. He is not some supreme being, neither are his men super human. Rather, he is a manifestation of the “neo-terrorist”. A veteran jihadist, he is also a cunning strategist, who designed his escapades with a powerful knowledge of the present, and a generous imagination of the future. He exploited the enmities between his enemies and preyed on their most damning weaknesses. Further, Baghdadi exploited almost every racial, sectarian, and political fault line in the Middle East and left all his enemies in a predicament. He wrong footed almost everyone, all the while being humble about the limits of his power, rarely embarking on battles where he doesn’t have ‘the edge’.”. Everyone played into his hand, and the current reality is that the different powers of the Middle East no longer have any ‘good’ options. Rather, they have options of varying degrees of ‘badness’, or even catastrophe. All this is at the expense of the local civilians, who are now staring down at an extended sectarian conflict that will condemn the Middle East to decades of poverty, threatening the social and political fabric of the region.

Read more » SYKES PICOT
http://sykespicot.net/2014/07/06/neo-terrorism-the-mutation-of-al-qaeda-into-the-islamic-state/

‘We’ll take back Spain’: Fighters claim ISIS to seize ‘occupied lands’

A group of jihadists claiming to be part of ISIS have vowed to invade Spain along with all other “occupied lands” in a video posted on the web.

The men say Spain is the land of their forefathers and that they are prepared to die for their nascent Islamic State.

The video of two men claiming to be militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has taken the Spanish media by storm. The minute-long footage shows them speaking in Spanish, and saying that ISIS will take over Spain.

“I tell you, Spain is the land of our forefathers, and, Allah willing, we are going to liberate it, with the might of Allah,” says one of the men. He adds that the group won’t stop at Spain and intends to spread its Islamic Caliphate across the world.

“I say to the entire world as a warning: We are living under the Islamic banner, the Islamic Caliphate. We are going to die for it until we liberate all the occupied lands, from Jakarta to Andalusia,” he said.

The footage has not yet been independently verified, but it would not be the first video released by the group. Last month, ISIS released a propaganda video entitled: “There Is No Life Without Jihad” in which Australian and British members of the group appealed in English for Muslims across the world to join their cause.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/news/170480-spain-isis-invade-threat/

7 jihadists blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque

“7 militants blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque in Ghazni,” Khaama Press, March 30, 2014 (thanks to Jack)
At least seven militants were killed while making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
The interior ministry following a statement said the incident took place inside a mosque in Deh Yak district on Saturday. The statement by interior ministry further added that the explosion left seven militants dead and there were no other casualties.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html/#sthash.2j0DvBRX.dpuf

http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html

Living with Jihadistan – Parthasarathy reviews Avoiding Armageddon

Books by American academics, officials and journalists on India and Pakistan almost invariably portray reluctance of the authors to call a spade a spade. They underplay the serious global implications of Pakistan’s links with radical Islamist terrorist groups and the dangerous role of these groups within Pakistan and beyond its borders, particularly in India and Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel is different. He is an American specialist on the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, with 29 years’ experience in the CIA. He has also served four presidents in the White House.

Riedel’s new book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, is a colourful and interesting account of the imperatives, twists and turns of America’s policies, especially since the days of World War II and the subsequent partition of the sub-continent in August 1947. While the birth pangs of the partition, the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan conflicts of 1965 and 1971 are covered factually and impartially, it is important for all those interested in the geopolitics of India’s neighbourhood to read and absorb Riedel’s analysis of how the US cultivated Pakistan’s military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, to “bleed” the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In the process, America made Pakistan a playground for radical Islamist groups worldwide, which undermined security and stability within Pakistan and across its entire neighbourhood.

General Zia laid the foundations for Pakistan’s ambitions to make Afghanistan a radical Islamic state and the epicentre for global jihad. Over 80,000 Afghans were armed and trained by the isi during the Zia period, with an aim of ending Afghan territorial claims on Pakistan and eliminating Indian and Soviet influence there, while also making Afghanistan “a real, Islamic State, part of a pan-Islamic revival that will one day win over the Muslims of the Soviet Union”. Riedel reveals how General Zia used the Afghan conflict for carrying his enthusiasm for jihad into Jammu and Kashmir, following a secret meeting with Kashmiri Jamat-e-Islami leader Maulana Abdul Bari in 1980. Riedel also reveals Zia’s role in fomenting terrorism in Punjab in the 1980s. He exposes US duplicity in rewarding Pakistan in the 1980s, by deliberately turning a blind eye to its nuclear weapons programme.

Riedel explains how short-sighted American policies promoted Wahhabi-oriented radicalisation in a nuclear-armed Pakistan. These policies also increased the dominance of the army, weakening democratic institutions. They led to the emergence of global links between radical Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and their counterparts across the world. The Kargil conflict is discussed in detail, as is the military standoff that followed the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. Riedel is unsparing on the links of the isi with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He dwells on the nexus between isi-supported terrorist groups like the let and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, with the Taliban and with groups like the al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The book commences with the 26/11 terrorist strike on Mumbai. The actions of the let and its chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and their terrorist links are clinically analysed. Riedel describes how the tentacles of the ISI extend from the let to the Taliban and jihadi groups worldwide.

Riedel spells out two nightmare scenarios. The first is a takeover of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons by terrorists. The second nightmare he alludes to is a 26/11-type terrorist attack leading to nuclear escalation, after an angered India responds militarily.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/parthasarathy-reviews-avoiding-armageddon/1/277746.html

Bangladesh: 10 jihadis to hang for assisting in a suicide bombing that killed 8 people

Ten Bangladesh militants are condemned to death

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 10 Islamist militants to death for assisting a suicide bombing in 2005 which killed eight people near a courthouse in the town of Gazipur. Police at the time described it as the country’s first suicide bombing.

The condemned men, all members of the banned JMB militant group, showed no remorse after a judge sentenced them in a crowded Dhaka courtroom.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22983209

Outrage at Syrian rebel shown ‘eating soldier’s heart’

A video which appears to show a Syrian rebel taking a bite from the heart of a dead soldier has been widely condemned.

US-based Human Rights Watch identified the rebel as Abu Sakkar, a well-known insurgent from the city of Homs, and said his actions were a war crime.

The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.

The video, which cannot be independently authenticated, seems to show him cutting out the heart.

“I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,” the man says referring to President Bashar al-Assad as he stands over the soldier’s corpse.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Abu Sakkar is the leader of a group called the Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade.

“The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime. But the even more serious issue is the very rapid descent into sectarian rhetoric and violence,” HRW’s Peter Bouckaert told Reuters news agency.

HRW said those committing war crimes on either side had to know that there was no impunity and that they would be brought to account.

The human rights group said Abu Sakkar had been filmed before, firing rockets into Shia areas of Lebanon and posing with the bodies of guerrillas from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement killed fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

The video, posted on Sunday, is one of the most gruesome to emerge among the many thrown up by more than two years of carnage in Syria, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut.

Continue reading Outrage at Syrian rebel shown ‘eating soldier’s heart’

Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

By Shakeel Anjum

ISLAMABAD: Fear and panic gripped the area when a group of local Taliban belonging to Lal Masjid raided a video cassettes shop in Bhara Kahu, an Islamabad area, and burnt CDs and video cassettes on Saturday evening.

The Bhara Kahu police, on the complaint of the locals, have arrested three Taliban from the scene and registered an FIR under the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA), while more than 10 Taliban managed to escape.

A witness told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that a group of Taliban, carrying batons, reached Nai Abadi of Bhara Kahu in a Toyota pickup bearing registration number Peshawar 3868. “Jamia Faridia and Jamia Hafsa was written in bold letters on the vehicle,” the witness added.

The Taliban entered Al-Awan video shop and threw CDs and video cassettes out of the shop. Later, they chanted slogans in favour of Islamisation and against the rulers and set the stuff on fire, he said.

Continue reading Local Taliban raid video shop, burn CDs in Islamabad

Islamic Leader Issues Tough Response to Fellow Muslims on Bombings and Extremism: Drop the ‘We Are the Victims’ Mentality

By Billy Hallowell | The Blaze

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a conservative author, activist and the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), has a message for Muslim Americans: Step up to the plate and work diligently to combat Islamism and extremism. Jasser spoke with TheBlaze this week about his reaction to the Boston Marathon terror attack and his views on steps that should be taken within Islamic circles to prevent further extremism.

When asked how he believes Muslims should be reacting to the terror attacks, the faith leader noted that he has been disappointed by the response thus far. He claimed that many Islamic leaders have simply not done enough and that more is required of the community as a whole.

“Swift condemnations of the act of terrorism are just not enough. I don’t believe that the American public is buying their mantra of denial and victimization,” he told TheBlaze through e-mail. “They deny that the perpetrators were Muslim (basically committing ‘takfir’ as is typical for Islamists) — all the while the list of hundreds of American Muslims either attempting to commit or having committed acts of terrorism continues to pile up.”

M. Zuhdi Jasser, President and Founder, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, testifies during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, on “the extent of the radicalization” of American Muslims, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2011 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jasser took particular aim at those Muslim leaders who he believes “focus on their own victimization, patronizingly reminding the rest of America not to be ‘racists’ [or] ‘bigots.'” The conservative Muslim leader said that it is time for faith leaders to confront the issues that so-often lead to radicalization.

Rather than avoiding the discussion and claiming victimization, Jasser believes that it’s paramount for these leaders to figure out what’s separating some Muslim youths from Americanism and leading them “toward supremacist Islamism” — and he wants to address these phenomena.

“There is a deep soulful battle of identity raging within the Muslim consciousness domestically and abroad between Westernism and liberalism,” he said. “In essence the Islamists confront every situation in a selfish ‘we are the victims’ mentality and the rest of us non-Islamist Muslims need to instead respond with a louder and more real leadership and say: ‘We will not be victims.'”

Jasser also noted that those who embrace the Muslim faith should openly acknowledge that the radicalisation problem requires believers to tackle the issue from within — and that Muslims who embrace reform are the most essential to preventing future attacks.

Continue reading Islamic Leader Issues Tough Response to Fellow Muslims on Bombings and Extremism: Drop the ‘We Are the Victims’ Mentality

Moderate Muslims Must Oppose Islamism

By  M. Zuhdi Jasser

The terror attacks in Boston, perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, have finally come to an end with the capture of the younger brother Dzhoakhar in Watertown on Friday evening. One hopes that Dzhoakhar survives just long enough to tell us whether he was working with any foreign or domestic Islamist groups before he hopefully meets the same fate of his victims. Our nation will certainly be resilient, and we cannot let terrorists achieve their goals of unraveling our society.

Perhaps Boston’s terror may finally be the impetus to begin the long overdue process of retooling America’s current counterterrorism strategies. Since 9-11, except for the Fort Hood massacre, we have been fortunate enough to avoid the kind of devastation and loss of life that we saw this week in Boston. That was certainly not for a lack of trying by our enemies, with over 300 arrests on terrorism charges since 9-11. Of these, over 80 percent were Islamists. I’ve said it before — after 9-11, after Fort Hood, and after Times Square, this is a Muslim problem that needs a Muslim solution.

The Tsarnaev brothers prove that the current Homeland Security “whack-a-mole” strategy is severely limited and rather flawed. The United States must address head-on the ideology of political Islam, which is the root cause of Islamist terrorism.

As details emerge about the identity and ideologies of the Tsarnaev brothers, it should quickly become clear that these individuals did not go to sleep one night normal American Muslims and wake up the next day al-Qaeda jihadists putting together pressure-cooker bombs. Their pathway towards radicalization will now be obvious to those who honestly connect the dots in retrospect. Far more important now is that leading reform-minded American Muslims, along with the U.S. government, the media, and academe, begin to confront and dissect the early stages of radicalization (Islamism), not just the last one (violent extremism).

Despite our devotion to our faith, I and other leading anti-Islamist Muslims were vilified by Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in America, along with their choir on the left, for participating in Representative Peter King’s (R., N.Y.) hearing in Congress on American Muslim radicalization and the central role of Islamism. I believe history will show Chairman King’s hearings to be prescient. I was also vilified by those same groups for my role in narrating the documentary The Third Jihad, which happened to open with an illustrative scene from the terror in Beslan, Russia, in September 2004, when militant Chechnyan Islamists killed 334 civilians, 186 of them children, after a two-week standoff. The 2008 documentary was about the threat of militant Islamism to the West and the need for anti-Islamist Muslims to counter that threat. How many attacks like that suffered by the people of Boston this week must we see before we recognize the need to drill down against the separatism of the global movement of political Islam and their dreams of an Islamic state?

Continue reading Moderate Muslims Must Oppose Islamism

Sharia law comes to rebel-held areas of Syria. Western powers are facilitating the Jihadi takeover of yet another country.

Islamic law comes to rebel-held Syria

ALEPPO, Syria — The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

The beating administered last month offered a vivid illustration of the extent to which the Syrian revolution has strayed from its roots as a largely spontaneous uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. After mutating last year into a full-scale war, it is moving toward what appears to be an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control.

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Across the northeastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Raqqah, where the rebels have been making rapid advances in recent weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken the lead both in the fighting and in setting out to replace toppled administrations. It has assumed control of bakeries and the distribution of flour and fuel, and in some instances it has sparked tensions with local fighters by trying to stop people from smoking in the streets.

Here in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, more than half of which has been under rebel control since July, Jabhat al-Nusra is also widely identified as the leading force behind the Hayaa al-Sharia, which loosely translates as the Sharia Authority and is known simply as the Hayaa.

Based out of the city’s former Eye Hospital, which was damaged during the fighting and then occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra as its headquarters, the Hayaa is also backed by other rebel units, including the Tawhid Brigade, the city’s biggest fighting force, and the Ahrar al-Sham, a homegrown Islamist force that has played a relatively minor role in Aleppo but is powerful in several other provinces.

Islamic administration

These days, the bomb-scarred former hospital has taken on the semblance of a wartime city hall, with people milling in and out seeking permits to carry a gun or transport fuel through checkpoints, complaining about neighbors, reporting thefts and informing on people suspected to be regime loyalists.

Courtesy: Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/islamic-law-comes-to-rebel-held-syria/2013/03/19/b310532e-90af-11e2-bdea-e32ad90da239_story.html

The ‘other Punjab’ is at the heart of Pakistani extremism

By Manzar Zaidi

Most of the fighting between Pakistani troops and the Pashtun Taliban has been in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. But the less-reported aspect of recent developments in Pakistan is the endemic radicalisation of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The continuing mobilisation of Punjabi militants – the so-called “Punjabi Taliban” – is just one way that this growing extremism is becoming evident.

Punjab is vital: almost half of Pakistan’s 182 million people live in the province. About 44 per cent of Pakistan’s 20,000 madrassas are there. Of the 1,764 people on government “wanted” lists, 729 are from southern Punjab alone.

Continue reading The ‘other Punjab’ is at the heart of Pakistani extremism

The monster they created

By

Drown, O people, drown. Do not try to escape. You cannot. Feel the burden of your sins. It will not let you swim. You never lived peacefully. So at least die peacefully. Let the water rise above your head and pull you down,” said the monster.

“I am no Noah. I have no boat. I cannot save any, man or animal. You followed me. Now pay the price,” the monster roared.

“But before you disappear, let me tell you a story. It is your story. Your indictment. You must hear it so that you know why you are dying.”

Once upon a time, there was a town with four neighbourhoods. Each had its own chief. They also had a chief protector to fight their real and perceived enemies.

All five knew magic. They could walk on water, eat fire and charm beasts. They could take a rabbit out of a hat and a hat out of a rabbit.

They could do many tricks, nothing useful though. I mean nothing that was useful for their people although whatever they did always benefitted them.

Everything they touched became theirs. They also seized what they did not touch. When they owned all there was to own in their town, they ventured out to seek more. They looted and plundered wherever they went.

They were smart, some would say cunning. Yet they had one drawback: they had no common sense. Common sense is for the common people, not for their chiefs.

So one day, while they were crossing a dense forest, they saw a heap of bones lying under a tree. They had never seen such bones. Some of the bones were larger than those of an elephant. Others were smaller than that of a rabbit. Some resembled a dragon’s teeth, others the backbone of a snake.

Some were sharp and pointed. Others were dull and heavy.

“Never saw such bones,” they said to one another. They inspected all the bones. Tested them with whatever tools they had in their magic bags. Argued over them for hours but could not decide what recent or prehistoric beast it was that died under the tree.

So they decided to try their magic.

“Let us bring it to life using our magic,” one of them said.

“Good, I will use my skills to assemble the bones into a skeleton,” said the other.

Then he chanted some incantation and charmed the bones into a skeleton.

All five inspected the skeleton but could not decide what it was.

So the second chief came forward and recited his mantra. When he snapped his fingers, flesh and skin grew on the skeleton.

The four chiefs and their protector inspected the skeleton again but failed to determine what it was.

The third chief tried his magic and caused the unknown beast’s heart to beat and pump blood. It was half alive.

This time they inspected the beast from every angle but could not solve the mystery.

So the fourth chief offered to try his charm. But before he could proceed, the chief protector said: “Let’s take some precautionary measure. How do we know it will not eat us when it comes to life?”

He climbed a large tree and hid behind its dense foliage. Aiming his weapon at the beast, he said: “I am ready.”

So the fourth chief took out a little box from his magic bag and put some powder into the beast’s nostrils.

First it moved its head, wagged its tail and then with a roar, it sprang to life. They had expected it to stand on its four feet, like most beasts do. But it was standing on its hind legs while his front legs stretched out like two huge and ugly hands.

Continue reading The monster they created

Sindh, Balochistan mourn over Quetta killing

QUETTA: The governments of Sindh and Balochistan are observing a day of mourning over the killing of 80 people in Quetta on Saturday. The national flag will remain half-mast in both provinces.

Meanwhile, Hazara Democratic Party has appealed for shutter down strike in Quetta against the blast. Political and religious parties have supported it.

Karachi Goods Transporters Association and Oil Tankers Association have also announced to halt supply of goods across the country.

President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Governor Balochistan Zulfiqar Magsi and directed him to monitor relief operation himself besides providing security to the Hazara community.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-88407-Sindh,-Balochistan-mourn-over-Quetta-killing

Bangladesh government passed a bill to convict the war criminals and ban Islamist’s in politics.

Bangladesh amends war crimes law, mulls banning Islamists

By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters): Bangladesh’s parliament, meeting the demands of protesters thronging the capital, amended a law on Sunday allowing the state to appeal any verdict in war crimes trials it deems inadequate and out of step with public opinion.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators jamming central Shahbag Square for the 13th day burst into cheers amid driving rain as the assembly approved the changes.

The protesters have been demanding the death penalty for war crimes after a tribunal this month sentenced a prominent Islamist to life in prison in connection with Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The life sentence pronounced on Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for murder, rape and torture had stunned many Bangaldeshis.

The amendment will “empower the tribunals to try and punish any organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during country’s liberation war in 1971”, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said after the change was approved. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/17/us-bangladesh-protest-idUSBRE91G05W20130217

The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

Throughout its existence since August 14, 1947; Pakistan has perennially remained in troubled waters. From the anarchy of the initial years to the interspersing of democratic stints, to military dictatorships, it has been overshadowed by a constant threat of disintegration as a state. This disintegration came off in 1971 when its eastern part then known as East Pakistan was truncated.

While East Pakistan changed her nomenclature to Bangladesh, the West wing came to be known as Pakistan. It was a cataclysmic event that happened in contemporary history when a state dismembered barely 24 years after its birth and independence from the colonial rule.

All these years, Pakistan earned strictures such as a failed state, a country not viable to stay on the world map and a nation moving towards eventual extinction or another disintegration a la East Pakistan. Pakistani society is infested with myriad chronic problems that range from poor social and utility services to unstable or dysfunctional institutions and sway of reactionary cutthroat religious militants. The competent, efficacious, egalitarian and public welfare oriented governance has ever remained elusive.

Continue reading The Ingredients for a Glorious Pakistan

Bulgaria bus bombing suicide bomber was a Canadian

Bulgaria bus bombing suspect had real Canadian passport, lived in B.C. before return to Lebanon at age 12

By: Stewart Bell

The suspected organizer of a Hezbollah bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a local driver in Bulgaria last July has only tenuous links to Canada but still possessed a genuine Canadian passport, the National Post has learned. ….

Read more » National Post
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/05/canadian-citizen-confirmed-as-suspected-organizer-of-deadly-bulgaria-bus-bombing/

Lahore Pakistan Mob sets girls’ school on fire over ‘blasphemy’

Mob sets girls’ school on fire over ‘blasphemy’

LAHORE: A large number of students, their parents and other people on Wednesday protested against a school administration for “distributing a blasphemous essay sheet among students”.

The protesters later set Farooqi Girls High School in Ravi Road area on fire.

Continue reading Lahore Pakistan Mob sets girls’ school on fire over ‘blasphemy’

Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Pakistani activists alarmed by threats to minorities

The US has said that it is deeply disturbed by the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges. It also expressed satisfaction, however, about President Asif Ali Zardari’s action to probe the case.

On Monday, when Pakistani Muslims were busy celebrating the Islamic Eid festival, hundreds of Christian families living in the low-income Mehrabad neighborhood of the Pakistani capital Islamabad were forced to leave the homes where they had been living for more than two decades.

The Christians feared that they would be attacked by the majority Muslim community after Rimsha, a Christian girl aged between 10 and 13, allegedly burnt pages with the verses from the Koran inscribed on them. The incident took place last Thursday and Rimsha was later taken into custody by the Pakistani police.

The angry Muslims of the neighborhood, which is only a 20-minute drive from Western embassies in Islamabad, immediately demanded that she be punished for her “sin.”

According to some media reports, the girl was burning papers that she collected from a rubbish pile for cooking when some Muslims entered her house and accused her of burning the Islamic text. Pakistani officials have claimed the girl suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing major learning disabilities.

On Monday, the US State Department took serious note of the girl’s arrest. “This case is obviously deeply disturbing,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, adding that the US government was encouraged by President Zardari’s move to order the interior ministry to submit a report on the case.

“We think that the president’s statement is very welcome, and we urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” Nuland said.

Religious discrimination is widespread

Religious discrimination in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a new occurrence but it has increased considerably in recent years. Pakistan’s liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country.

Rights activists complain that the Islamists enjoy state patronage, while on the other hand liberal and progressive voices have to face the wrath of the country’s security agencies.

Rights organizations also point out to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.

President Zardari’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country’s rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab province.

Controversial anti-blasphemy laws

The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws, which were introduced by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Many rights activists say they have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes.

Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that they should be immediately repealed. “But I doubt that in the absence of a working-class struggle in Pakistan, any government will be forced to do it.”

Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi, said the laws were “un-Islamic.”

“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam. We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has met with a fierce reaction from religious extremists, who are no more a marginalized group in Pakistan,” Sayeed told DW.

He also criticized the Pakistani judiciary for its alleged sympathetic behavior toward the right-wing. “Asia Bibi is still languishing in jail, while Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s assassin), is still alive,” he said.

‘Intolerance is becoming mainstream’

There have also been reports of hundreds of members of the Hindu community trading Pakistan for India, citing mistreatment, discrimination and persecution in their homeland as reasons.

Continue reading Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

The war for Syria, Jihadists on the way

Home-grown Islamists and foreign jihadists are becoming more prominent

FROM a bare house in the small Turkish town of Reyhanli, half an hour’s drive from the border with Syria, a bearded 30-year-old with glasses claims to command a fighting force of 1,820 men who have infiltrated north-western Syria. His group, which goes by the name “Strangers for a Greater Syria”, wants the country, once it is shorn of President Bashar Assad, to become an Islamic state under Sunni rule. On a table in front of him sit pots of ammonium, potassium carbonate and phosphate, bomb-making ingredients. “We won’t impose anything,” he says. “But I think most Syrians want Islamic law.”

Continue reading The war for Syria, Jihadists on the way

US contemplating reversal of its Pakistan policy

The United States is contemplating a total reversal of its highly ineffective Pakistan policy. This was stated by Prof Christine Fair, Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service while delivering a talk on “The situation in the Af-Pak region” at Observer Research Foundation on June 4, 2012.

Frankly expressing her views from both Pakistani as well as American perspectives, Prof. Fair said that the US does not have a long-term policy for Pakistan, and the present practice of granting aid with the aim of fighting the roots of terrorism has not yielded any results. Consequently, despite fighting the Taliban, the US has inadvertently supported them while alienating the civilian population.

Prof. Fair said that the Pakistan’s decision to close ground supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan backfired as the NATO forces soon developed alternative air routes. This, in turn, led many Western leaders to recognise the futility of engaging Pakistan in the war on terror. She also pointed out that the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan further convinced policy makers in Washington of its duplicity.

Asked about the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s perceived lack of understanding about the situation in the West Asia and the Af-Pak region, Prof Fair said that presidential candidates learn very quickly once they take office. As an example, she pointed out Barack Obama’s similar naïveté four years ago and how he learnt and adapted his foreign policy within months into his presidency.

Prof. Fair said that President Obama is disappointed with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism performance, and that the US administration is contemplating containment to force it to abide to its obligations.

According to Prof. Fair, the futility of attempts to alter the pro-jihadist worldview of Pakistan’s foreign policy elite make a serious case of containment, which would hold Pakistan responsible for any terrorist attack with its ’signature’ on it.

Prof. Fair challenged the conventional wisdom that civilian governments in Islamabad are more responsible. She argued that past history suggests a linearity of foreign policy making between military and democratic regimes. This is compounded by a drastic transformation of the popular mindset towards fundamentalism and hatred against India.

Continue reading US contemplating reversal of its Pakistan policy

Qaida manual: Think of virgins when you hear drones

By: Times of India

LONDON: An English language manual for Westerners seeking to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been published, which asks potential jihadists to think of virgins in paradise when bomber-drones are overhead.

Described as a “mustread” source, the guide has emerged on the internet shortly after it was leaked that AQAP had been penetrated by a British spy who managed to smuggle out the latest version of their “underpants bomb” .

The manual recommends on how to cope with the hardships and dangers of life as a jihadist, and includes rules such as keeping clean and not using mobile phones, The Telegraph reports.

“In some cases, you will be staying with a few brothers in a tight room or house. In order to avoid unnecessary problems , encourage yourself and your brothers to clean the room(s) on a regular basis. As for yourself, a daily shower is ideal, but not possible in many cases” , the first section tilted ‘cleanliness’ read.

Another section headed “aerial bombardment” describes the “bee-like sound” of the unmanned aerial vehicles . “If you feel terrified, Close your eyes and imagine yourself inside paradise. Think of your hoor [virgins] that are awaiting you as well as meeting prophets,” it says.

The guide was written by Samir Khan, an American who served as the top propagandist for the Yemen-based branch of the terrorist movement . He was killed by a drone attack in September, alongside AQAP’s leader Anwar al-Awlaki .

Continue reading Qaida manual: Think of virgins when you hear drones

Imran Khan: Conscious fraud or deluded tool? or both?

Saroop Ijaz on Imran Khan

By Omar Ali

Saroop Ijaz asks the question and votes for “lies”.

I disagree, I think he is not consciously lying. I think he is genuinely deluded..at some level, he really believes his theories…maybe he knows he is exaggerating when he says “I will finish corruption in 19 days”, but I suspect he really does think corruption is something that can be finished once he becomes ameer ul momineen and applies the philosophy of Allama Iqbal and the glorious system of the Khulafa e Rashideen.. One must not underestimate the effect of Pak Studies and Allama Iqbal on a truly determined person…

If he is lying, then he may be thinking he has to say ridiculous things and repeat mindless notions of Allama Iqbal and his glorious philosophy in order to become prime minister and then gradually fix the system using more practical means….a sort of “noble lie”. I am afraid I remain pessimistic because I have a hard time imagining that he is just faking all the “golden age of Islam and Allama Iqbal” stuff. Somehow, I find that hard to believe… But I will be happy to be proven wrong….

Read more » Brown Pundits

via- Twitter

When rickshaws turn jihadi

By Raza Rumi

Why is the Lahore city administration not taking note of these vile messages? Some of the images are visually disturbing for children who are frequent users. Is there no other way to articulate our concern for water scarcity and ‘war’ with India? Extremism is slowly destroying the culture Lahore was once proud of.

Newer and popular expressions of jihadi ideology are impositions from the above and do not reflect the imaginations of the artists and drivers. Our public spaces are turning into haunting grounds of militaristic might and jihadi discourse. Challenging it is the first step towards changing our country.

To read complete article » The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2012.

Inside Balochistan’s dirty war – Praveen Swami

Baloch secessionist leader Brahmdagh Bugti says he wants political engagement with Pakistan — but that its military wants war.

Late last month, Zamur Domki and her 12-year-old daughter were driving back to their home in an upmarket Karachi neighbourhood when a black car swerved across the road, blocking their route. Thinking she was a target of an armed robbery, Ms Domki offered the masked men who surrounded the car her jewellery and mobile phone — but the attackers weren’t interested.

An eyewitness recalls that Ms Domki watched in horror as the assassins repeatedly shot her daughter in the chest and neck. Then, it was her turn to die.

Baloch politicians allege the murders, for which no one has been held, were carried out by Pakistan’s intelligence services to send a message to Ms Domki’s brother, Brahmdagh Bugti — a soft-spoken 31-year-old father of three who, from exile in Geneva, leads the region’s largest secessionist party.

Concern over assassinations

In recent months, assassinations of Baloch nationalist politicians and their kin have provoked growing concern. Last year alone, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported, there were at least 107 new cases of enforced disappearances. The missing, the commission’s chairperson Zohra Yusuf said, “were increasingly turning up dead.” The United States’ State Department has voiced concern, and political leaders have called for action.

Continue reading Inside Balochistan’s dirty war – Praveen Swami

Pakistan: Nuclear Road Rage – By Mark Thompson

Fascinating peek inside the latest Atlantic (in a cover story shared with sister pub National Journal) on the perilous security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Payoff grafs:

…instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the [Pakistani government] prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic…according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.

What this means, in essence, is this: In a country that is home to the harshest variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and to the headquarters of the organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies…nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. And Pakistani and American sources say that since the raid on Abbottabad, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements. In other words, the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget.

Video shows terrorists in China got training in Pak bases

by Saibal Dasgupta

BEIJING: A jihadist group has released a video on the recent violence in western Xinjiang province while providing China new evidence that terrorists involved in the bloodbath were trained in Pakistan. The violence in two towns in Xinjiang bordering Pakistan left 40 dead.

But the Chinese foreign ministry refrained from naming Pakistan in its closely calibrated response to a question about the 10-minute video showing Turkestan Islamic Party leader Abdul Shakoor Damla claiming responsibility for the violence.

“I haven’t seen the video you mentioned. Our principled position is that at present, a small handful of terrorist forces..,out of motives of splitting China, are conducting rampant violent terrorist activities within China’s border [to] seriously undermine China’s national unity, and regional peace and stability,” Liu Weimin, the spokesperson, said. ….

Read more → TOI

Are we innocent?

by I. A. Rehman

THE carnage in Norway last Friday shocked the world’s conscience. It has also posed some extremely tough questions for European societies, the world’s Muslims in general, and the people of Pakistan in particular.

Europe will do itself and the world at large great injustice and harm if it dismisses the matter as the isolated work of a deranged mind. It must look deep into the factors that led to Anders Behring Breivik’s reliance on perverted intelligence.

The unpardonable doings of Al Qaeda, the other so-called jihadists and Muslim megalomaniacs have certainly contributed to the spread of Islamophobia in Europe and other parts of the western world, but it would be wrong to limit the list of culprits to them. It may be necessary to probe the extent to which the tone and tenor of the war on terror may have contributed to the growth of both militancy in parts of the Muslim world and reckless Muslim-bashing in the West. The idea is not to shift blame from one party to another, it is only a plea for keeping the indigenous sources of terrorism in Europe also in mind.

The world cannot possibly forget the rise of European fascism that built its power by fanning racism and persecuting certain religious and ethnic communities (Jews and Blacks). Nazism is a disease many parts of Europe are still afflicted with. The Norwegian people themselves have had anxieties about neo-Nazi and other extreme-right gangs for more than a decade.

These facts make it necessary for European societies to take note of elements who may be exploiting the public sentiment against terrorists and immigrants to impose on them new and more horrible forms of right-wing tyranny.

The leaders of Islamic thought and Muslim public opinion on their part cannot shun reality by simply telling the Europeans to put their house in order. Nor can they get away by declaring that terrorists constitute a small minority among Islamic scholars and lay Muslims both, however true this statement may be. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Via → WICHAAR.COM

The sham operation in Kurram – Dr Mohammad Taqi

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people, making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks

On July 4, 2011, the Pakistan Army announced that it has launched an operation in the Central Kurram Agency with the primary objective of clearing the ‘miscreants’ and opening of the Peshawar-Thall-Parachinar Road (why Tal has become Thall in the English press beats me). The geographical scope of the operation is rather circumscribed, if the army communiqués are to be believed, and its focus, ostensibly, would be on the Zaimusht, Masozai and Alizai areas. But speaking to the Kurramis from Lower, Central and Upper Kurram, one gets a different sense.

At least one General has reportedly been heard saying during the recent operational meetings leading up to the military action that he intends to teach the Turis (in Upper Kurram) a lesson that they would never forget. The Corps Commander’s communication delivered to the tribal elders of the Upper Kurram literally ordered them to acquiesce in and sign on to the operation. But quite significantly, many other leaders among the Turis, Bangash and Syeds of Upper Kurram have vehemently opposed the military action as well as their own elders who seem to have caved in under duress.

The Turis and Bangash tribesmen are of the opinion that on the Thall-Parachinar Road, the only extortionists bigger than the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are the officers of the army — and they specifically name two colonels — who have made life miserable for the people of Parachinar. These security officials levy protection money even on the supply of daily provisions and medicine to Upper Kurram, resulting in jacked-up prices and in many instances unavailability of life-saving drugs, resulting in deaths that otherwise could be preventable.

The more ominous and geo-strategically important aspects of the current army operation are twofold and are interconnected. We have noted in these pages several times that the Pakistan Army has no problem securing Central and parts of Lower Kurram for its jihadist asset, i.e. the Haqqani terrorist network, who have essentially had a free reign in this region for almost a decade using the Sateen, Shasho and Pir Qayyum camps. The army has also helped the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups set up humungous compounds on the Durand Line such as the Spina Shaga complex.

The problem the security establishment has faced is to secure a thoroughfare between Central Kurram and the assorted jihadist bridgeheads along the Kurram-Afghanistan border, including but not limited to the Parrot’s Beak region. The key hindrance to such movement is the resistance by the Turi and Bangash tribesmen, which neither the security establishment nor its jihadist proxies have been able to neutralise, coerce or buy off. Projecting the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar’s operatives into Afghanistan from Tari Mangal, Mata Sangar, Makhrani, Wacha Darra and Spina Shaga and other bases on the border is a pivotal component of the Pakistani strategy to keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan and for the post-US withdrawal phase. But with the recent wave of drone attacks on the hideouts of these groups, their vulnerability to the US/ISAF — buoyed by the OBL raid — has also become evident and hence the need for secure routes to retract the jihadists back when needed.

Several attacks on the Turi and Bangash, including by Pakistan Army helicopter gunships last year killing several Pakistanis, have not dented the resolve of the locals to fight back against the jihadists. I had noted in these pages then: “The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement [to relocate the Haqqanis to Kurram]. When the local population reversed the Taliban gains in the battle for the village Khaiwas, the army’s gunships swooped down on them to protect its jihadist partners” (‘Kurram: the forsaken FATA’, Daily Times, November 4, 2010).

The option that the army wants to exercise now is to disarm the Upper Kurram’s tribesmen, especially the Turis. The security establishment has told them that they will have to surrender their “qawmi wasla” (an arms cache that belongs to a tribe as a whole). To disarm and thus defang the tribesmen, who have held their own against the disproportionately stronger and state-sponsored enemy for almost half a decade, is essentially pronouncing their death sentence.

Without their weapons, the Turis and Bangash will be at the whim of an army that had literally abandoned Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala and Pir Samiullah in Swat and the Adeyzai lashkar (outside Peshawar). Afzal Khan Lala lost several loyalists and family members and Pir Samiullah was murdered, his body buried but later exhumed and mutilated by the Taliban, while the army stood by and did nothing. My co-columnist and researcher, Ms Farhat Taj has highlighted the plight of the Adeyzai lashkar several times in these pages, including the fact that it was left high and dry by the security establishment against an overwhelming Taliban force. And lest we forget, it was this same army that made Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party (ANP) negotiate with Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban, with suicide bombers standing guard on each men and blocking the door along with muzzles of automatic rifles pointed into their faces.

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people (IDPs), making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks. Also, the establishment’s focus has been to ‘reorient’ the TTP completely towards Afghanistan. The breaking away from the TTP of the crook from Uchat village, Fazl-e-Saeed Zaimusht (who now interestingly writes Haqqani after his name) is the first step in the establishment’s attempt to regain full control over all its jihadist proxies.

The offensive in Central Kurram is not intended for securing the road; it will be broadened to include the Upper Kurram in due course, in an attempt to bring the Turis and Bangash to their knees. After their arms have been confiscated, it could be a turkey shoot for the jihadists and Darfur for the Kurramis. It is doubtful though that the common Turi or Bangash tribesman is about to listen to some elder who is beholden to the establishment, and surrender the only protection that they have had. The Pakistan Army’s track record of protecting jihadists and shoving the anti-Taliban forces off the deep end speaks for itself.

Pakistan’s security establishment can perpetuate on the US and the world a fraud like the hashtag de-radicalisation on Twitter and buzzwords like de-programming suicide bombers by trotting out the so-called intelligentsia whose understanding of the Pashtun issues is woefully flawed. But it is unlikely that Kurramis are about to fall for this sham of an operation that paves the way for their genocide.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Shehrbano Taseer Dazzles USA and Predicts Triumph of Liberalism in Pakistan

By: Khalid Hashmani

Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of murdered Pakistani Governor Salmaan Taseer is currently doing a whirl wind tour of the United States. Her father was killed by an extremist in his security staff for his campaign against misuses of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Ms Taseer has visited many US cities and was interviewed on many popular News and Commentary shows such as National Public Radio and the Rachel Maddow show. These interviews can be seen or read at http://www.npr.org/2011/06/27/137441962/shehrbano-taseer-recalls-her-fathers-assassination and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43488526#43488526 . Last Monday (June 27, 2011), she was in Washington D.C. and had a discussion with the local Think-Tank community and other members of public. Her key message was that although extremists are well-organized, the liberal spirit of Pakistanis that has ruled minds and hearts of many Pakistanis is still thriving and with little courage and encouragement by world communities, the liberal ideas will triumph in Pakistan.

Continue reading Shehrbano Taseer Dazzles USA and Predicts Triumph of Liberalism in Pakistan