Tag Archives: Mumbai

Shuja Pasha admitted ISI’s role in Mumbai attack: ex-CIA chief

In his latest book ‘Playing to the Edge’, Michael Hayden, the former CIA Director, expressed his deep frustration of the “duplicity” of the Pakistani leadership when it came to taking action against terrorist groups.

Read more » The Hindu
See more » http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/shuja-pasha-admitted-isis-role-in-mumbai-attack-excia-chief/article8271880.ece

David Headley: Mumbai plotter ‘visited India’ before attacks

A US man convicted for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has told an Indian court that he visited Mumbai seven times in advance to gather information.

David Headley gave details of the planning to a court in Mumbai on Monday through a video link from a prison in the US.

Headley, 52, pleaded guilty and co-operated with the US to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India.

More than 160 people were killed by gunmen in the November 2008 attack.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35519546

India- Govt. ships 450 maiden made in India metro coaches to Australia

This is the first shipment of the planned 450 coaches that will be exported to Australia over two-and-a-half year period

The government on Friday said maiden consignment of six metro coaches made in India were shipped to Australia from Mumbai port.

“The maiden consignment of six metro coaches built in Baroda for export to the Australian government were shipped from Mumbai Port,” a statement from Ministry of Shipping said.

Read more » DNA India
See more » http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-government-ships-450-maiden-made-in-india-metro-coaches-to-australia-2171566

Is the bubble bursting for India’s online start-ups?

BY AFP

MUMBAI: Hundreds of layoffs at several Indian start-ups have sparked fears the bubble is starting to burst for the country’s e-commerce companies, amid claims by analysts that many of them are overvalued.

Restaurant search website Zomato, food delivery app TinyOwl and property portal Housing.com are all letting staff go, and experts are warning of echoes of the dot-com boom which crashed spectacularly in 2000.

“The valuation bubble is bursting. The valuations had reached levels where they were ridiculous and could not be justified at any level,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of management consulting firm Technopak.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221509/

India’s first double decker Shatabdi Express to run from Mumbai to Goa: All you need to know

The Railways ministry announced that India’s first air-conditioned double-decker Shatabdi train will run from Mumbai to Goa soon. Keeping the tourist demand during winters in mind, the Ministry has introduced the double-decker train on that route.

India’s first double-decker train was flagged off in October 2011 and it still operates between Howrah in West Bengal and Dhanbad in Jharkhand. The double-decker coaches have been introduced on other routes as well, however, this is the first time a Shatabdi train is getting the double-decker coaches.

Read more » India Today
See more » http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/double-decker-train/1/508995.html

Pakistan Tests Modi’s Mettle With Gurdaspur Terror Attack

By Assistant Professor, Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program

MUMBAI — When it was obvious that Narendra Modi would become India’s prime minister, Pakistan grew alarmed. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is the party that gave India its nuclear status. Indians voted for Modi and the brave India he promised in hopes that his government would not indulge Pakistani predations, and punish them instead.

Pakistan has developed one core strategy in dealing with India over the decades: deploy Islamist militants to attack India while seeking cover from retaliation under its nuclear weapons. It should be noted that while Pakistan is most notorious for supporting Islamist terrorists, it also supports religious and ethnic insurgencies within India as well. Pakistan not only seeks to use terrorism to illegitimately acquire territory in Indian Kashmir, it also wants to resist India’s rise in the international system. Until the Modi administration, Pakistan has remained fairly confident that India will not respond militarily to punish Pakistan for its state-sponsored terrorism or to deter it from doing so in the future.

Modi’s election prompted Pakistan to wonder how India will respond to a bold Pakistan-backed terrorist attack. Would it follow the path of the previous prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and defuse public demands for revenge in effort to avoiding any skirmish with Pakistan that would impede India’s economic growth? Or would it embrace a more hawkish approach that would punish Pakistan?

Read more » The Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-christine-fair/pakistan-modi-gurdaspur_b_7926308.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Kareena wants to visit Pakistan

MUMBAI: Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, revolves around the bonding between a little girl from Pakistan and a man (Salman Khan) from India. The trailer is already winning the hearts of the audience. Kareena, who plays Khan’s love interest in the film, recently shared her thoughts on visiting Pakistan.

According to a report, Bebo felt like going to Pakistan many times and that she even got an invitation from Lahore since Saif’s entire family is there. Kareena also added that she would love to visit the country, especially for its food as she is fond of Pakistani cuisine and that whenever she felt like going and if Saif made a plan, they would definitely visit.

News courtesy: Online Indus
Read more » http://www.onlineindus.com/kareena-wants-to-visit-pakistan/

Mumbai residents donate Rs450,000 for Pakistani girl’s treatment

Residents of Mumbai have raised Rs450,000 for the treatment of a Pakistani teenage girl suffering from Wilson’s Disease.

Nazia Tarikh Ahmed travelled to Mumbai from Karachi with only R80,000 to treat her 15-year-old daughter Saba.

Following a report by Indian newspaper Mid Day, residents of Mumbai raised money for Saba’s treatment at Jaslok Hospital.

“Soon after the article was published, total strangers approached the hospital with donations,” Dr Abbha Nagral, Liver Specialist and Senior Gastroenterologist at Jaslok Hospital, who is treating Saba, said.

“We managed to raise R450,000 which enabled us to sustain the medical expense of her treatment,” he added.

Nagral further said Saba is responding well to medication.

“Though she has her frequent ups and downs, there is an overall improvement in her health,” her mother said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/895739/mumbai-residents-donate-rs450000-for-pakistani-girls-treatment/

India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

By Nilim Dutta

The December 23 carnage

It was between 17:00 and 17:50 hours when a series of calls came. It was Dec 23, 2014 and I was in Guwahati, Assam that evening where I was born and have grown up.

“Sir, our people have been killed in an attack in at least two villages in Ultapani area. Their homes have been burnt down.”

“Sir, all our people have been killed. All of them.”

I asked, “Calm down. Where has this happened?”

“Sir, in Sonajuli in Pabhoi area. Sir, Phulbari 9 & 10.”

I immediately communicated it to the top echelons of the security establishment whose responsibility it is to respond to such terror attacks. The calls, however, kept pouring in.

“Sir, another attack in Serfanguri. Our people have been killed there too.”

In another hour, it became apparent to me from the steady stream of direct information from the places of occurrence that casualties would exceed 50 and many would be children. India’s national media was still oblivious.

For the next 48 hours, I would have little time to sleep or even eat as not only did I continue to manage a steady stream of ‘critical’ information directly from the ground to help deal with the aftermath, but also responded to numerous calls from terrified villagers across a 300-km stretch of remote border villages, reassuring them or aiding them in any way possible.

One of the worst terror strikes in India in this decade thus took place on Dec 23, 2014 in the North Eastern state of Assam. In a coordinated, near-simultaneous attack on five locations, the farthest of which were at least 300-km apart, terrorists brutally gunned down 81 unarmed civilians belonging to the Adivasi community.

While India’s security establishment was preoccupied with creating an alarm about possible terrorist strikes from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda or even Pakistan’s ‘good terrorists’ the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the past few months, this terror attack embarrassingly didn’t come from any Islamic Jihadi groups. The carnage was perpetrated by India’s own ‘good terrorists’ who had been treated with kid gloves for decades in spite of being responsible for some of the worst terror attacks India has suffered in the last three decades.

The manufactured paranoia of ‘Jihadi’ terror

It was in July 2014 that an important minister of Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet and a very senior bureaucrat in India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were both honoured guests to ‘launch’ a monthly magazine in New Delhi’s Press Club of India. No national newspaper appears to have carried this as news and it would have even escaped our attention had it not been for the ‘cover feature’ of the first issue of the magazine: “Al Qaeda begins hiring in North East”.

The ‘cover feature’ went on to claim that it was in possession of a highly classified intelligence report that recruiters from Al Qaeda were targeting Muslim youth from Manipur and Assam, two of India’s North Eastern states, to join the global Islamic terror network. It claimed that in the first batch, Al Qaeda had recruited 17 Muslim youth from Manipur to join the global jihadi network and fight in India, Syria and Iraq. In the second batch, the magazine claimed, 10 Muslim youth from Manipur were recruited.

What made the report believable to even an informed reader was that it carried the names of the 17 Manipuri Muslim youth from Lilong in Thoubal district in Manipur who had reportedly joined Al Qaeda.

What naturally aroused my curiosity was how did a nondescript magazine come into possession of such a ‘highly classified intelligence report’? Why did an important member of Modi’s cabinet as well as a very senior bureaucrat in charge of ‘internal security’ in India’s North East happen to launch this magazine?

Events took an even more curious turn when people in Lilong, from where Al Qaeda had reportedly recruited the Muslim youth, broke out in protest and burned copies of the magazine. When threat of appropriate legal action was conveyed to the magazine, the publisher and the editor hastily apologised and conveyed that they may have got the names wrong and that they had only published the names based on an intelligence report. They also categorically clarified that they had no intention of casting aspersions on the people of Lilong, particularly its Muslim community.

Months later, many so called ‘experts’ would cite this dubious report as ‘proof’ of how Al Qaeda has already made inroads into India’s North East, among them the Director of the South Asia Programme of the Washington DC based ‘Middle East Media Research Institute’ or MEMRI in a piece he had written for The New Indian Express.

The fear regarding India’s North East, particularly Manipur or Assam, becoming the hotbed for recruitment by Al Qaeda and sundry jihadi group’s intensified after Al Qaeda released a video early in September 2014 where Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the formation of ‘Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’ and mentioned that it “would be good news for Muslims in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.”

With a Hindutva Right government in power at the Centre, this was all that was needed to now ratchet up the fear of ‘jihadi terrorism’ targeting India even though any such threat had not increased radically by any standards of objective professional assessment.

Imagine offering ‘general amnesty’ to the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai suburban train blasts on July 11, 2006. Imagine giving those terrorists an ‘autonomous council’ to rule as reward.

Exactly a month later, on Oct 2, 2014, in a nondescript town called Burdwan in Assam’s neighbouring state of West Bengal, a bomb went off in a house killing the bomb makers. India’s premier terror investigating agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA) soon took over the case and revealed that the suspects, including the deceased, were active members of Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Some of them were allegedly Bangladeshis living illegally in India.

Continue reading India’s ‘other’ war: Jihadi paranoia and ethnic militancy

Ranbir – Katrina’s love life

Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif made headlines with the rumours of opting for a live-in relationship. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, Ranbir and Katrina had visited an architect for the interiors of their Bandra apartment. The report further stated that Katrina is indeed significant in Ranbir’s life which made him take the decision to move out of the Kapoor house. The home in question will reportedly be ready by next year. And Ranbir Kapoor is soon going to make a major announcement and surprise everyone.

Read more » The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/Ranbir-Katrinas-love-life/photostory/45348738.cms

India: Robots to Deliver Pizza? Mumbai Outlet Successfully Tests Drone Delivery

By  

Last week, a four-rotor unmanned drone took off from a pizza outlet in the populated Lower Parel area of Mumbai, as part of a test mission to deliver pizza to Worli, which it successfully accomplished.

Read more » International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.in/2000-drone-delivers-pizza-mumbai-this-first-india-600748

More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/regional/2014/05/140523_india_drone_pizza_police_ra.shtml

Amartya Sen: New Indian government must be secular, not fundamentalist

by Nirmala Carvalho

Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the Nobel Prize winner for economics talked about the upcoming general elections, calling for “party that is pro-market and pro-business to come to power and doesn’t prioritise one religion over another”. He also urged the media to be more responsive to the “poor and marginalised”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Nobel Prize winner in economics Amartya Sen wants a secular, not a fundamentalist party, to lead India’s government. He also wants quality education for children, and media that are more responsible and attentive to the needs of the poor.

Last Saturday, the famous economist spoke at the Jaipur Literature Festival, now in its seventh edition. In his address, he expressed ‘seven wishes’, highlighting some of India’s major challenges, to which he offered some possible solutions.

The first one concerns the upcoming national election in May. “I want to see a party that is pro-market and pro-business to come to power and doesn’t prioritise one religion over another,” Sen said

Read  more » Asia News
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Amartya-Sen:-New-Indian-government-must-be-secular,-not-fundamentalist-30105.html

Sailing between Karachi and Bombay

By Ajmal Kamal

I have a happy dream. Sometimes, when I am particularly distressed by the politics that carries on in our sorrowful subcontinent adding to its various peoples’ misery, I allow myself to be lost in this delicious dream. I imagine myself sailing to Cox’s Bazar.

The small, beautiful ship starts every Saturday from the newly commissioned port of Gwadar on the western Makran coast. It passes through Karachi and picks up most of its Pakistani and some foreign passengers from here. But I have made it a point to travel on the coastal highway to the starting point and when the ship touches Karachi, look at the city of my residence without getting down, as someone travelling in a passing vessel would. I have a long and fascinating journey before me: we’ll pass through many ports and stop at some of them:

Dwarka, Porbandar, Diu, Surat, Daman, Bombay, Ratnagiri, Panjim (Goa), Mangalore, Kozhikode (Calicut), Kochi (Cochin), Trivandrum, Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari), Pondicherry, Chennai (Madras), Vishakhapatanam, Puri, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Chittagong and our final destination: Cox’s Bazar. Since such a thing is on no one’s agenda, it is safe to predict that it is not likely to be launched for as far as we can look into the future. Which gives me all the freedom to add delectable details without a care for whether they are sensible and practical.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1038269/sailing-between-karachi-and-bombay

India gripped by mood of crisis as rupee falls again

By James Crabtree in Mumbai and Victor Mallet in New Delhi

The Indian rupee fell to a new low against the dollar on Wednesday and stocks declined after a central bank promise to inject liquidity into the country’s financial markets provided only temporary relief from a deepening sense of crisis….

Read more » Financial Times
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/af335904-0a21-11e3-aeab-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ceOcBPBJ

India – Renowned Sindhi writer Sundri Uttamchandani passes away

SundriIndia: Sundri Uttamchandani (سندري اتم چنداڻي), said to be the most well-known Sindhi-Indian of our times and Sindhi language’s prominent writer has passed away in India. She was born in Hyderabad, Sindh on September 28, 1924. She was a Sindhi secular liberal writer herself and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in Sindhi for her Book Vichhoro, a compilation of nine short stories, in the year 1986, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.

She married Assandas Uttamchandani (A.J.Uttam), a Freedom fighter, with a keen interest in Sindhi Literature with clear leanings toward Marxist Philosophy and, who become in the later years one of the leading writers of Sindhi progressive literary movement, A J Uttam, was one of the founders of Sindhi Sahit Mandal in Bombay/Mumbai. Sundri accompanied him to weekly literary meetings which were presided over by a fatherly figure, Prof M U Malkani, who was a fountain head of encouragement to new and upcoming writers.

This exposure to Sindhi writers and their creative works were to become source of inspiration for her and in the year 1953 she produced her first novel “Kirandar Deewaroon” (Crumbling walls). This proved to be path breaking. She shattered the near monopoly of male domination in literature by her one feat, while on the one hand, she won the accolades and acclaim of all senior writers for use of ‘homely’ language, a folksy- idiomatic language used by women folk in their household and thus brought in a new literary flavour in Sindhi literature. The theme and structure of the novel was mature and it has distinction of being reprinted many times over. This Novel was translated into many Indian languages and brought her acclaim by literary critics of those languages, thus elevating her from a writer of a regional language to writer the of All India fame. Her Second Novel “Preet Purani Reet Niraali” came in the year 1956, which has run into 5 reprints, which amply speaks of its merit and popularity.

More details » Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundri_Uttamchandani

Simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study

Vinegar cancer test saves lives, India study finds

By MUNEEZA NAQVI and MARILYNN MARCHIONE

MUMBAI, India (AP) — A simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study of 150,000 women in the slums of India, where the disease is the top cancer killer of women.

Doctors reported the results Sunday at a cancer conference in Chicago. Experts called the outcome “amazing” and said this quick, cheap test could save tens of thousands of lives each year in developing countries by spotting early signs of cancer, allowing treatment before it’s too late.

Usha Devi, one of the women in the study, says it saved her life.

“Many women refused to get screened. Some of them died of cancer later,” Devi said. “Now I feel everyone should get tested. I got my life back because of these tests.”

Pap smears and tests for HPV, a virus that causes most cervical cancers, have slashed cases and deaths in the United States. But poor countries can’t afford those screening tools.

Continue reading Simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study

How Arabs buy ‘wives’ and dump them in a few weeks

Mumbai: A month-long investigation by MiD DAY journalists has revealed a twisted form of human trafficking that involves rich Arabs, greedy Qazis, sham marriages, agents and girls lured into the flesh trade or those looking for a quick buck.

The modus operandi: set up a temporary or time-bound wedding to a rich Arab. The affluent Arab offers a negotiated amount for the services of a ‘wife’ during his stay in India. The price for the ‘booty’ varies from Rs. 15,000 to nearly a lakh for the 10-day marriage. Girls from poor families are sold like commodities to the Arabs, many of whom arrive on tourist visas from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. While this may seem shocking to many, the women involved in this latest form of flesh trade are often willing participants.

The Arab and The Qazi

These predators have been perpetrating a blatant crime under the veneer of nikaah, abusing the Islamic rules of marriage. Abusing the sanctioned provision which allows a Muslim man to have four wives at a time, many old Arabs are not just marrying minors in Mumbai and Hyderabad, but marrying more than one minor in a single trip to the country.

The Pimp and The Victim

A healthy stream of women keep flowing into the city from all parts of the country to solicit the Arab clientele who have turned Mumbai into a sex haven. For as little asRs 2,000 per job, scores of women line up every evening hoping to catch the eye of the adulterous tourist.

Continue reading How Arabs buy ‘wives’ and dump them in a few weeks

IndoPakPeaceNOW Global Vigil Jan 27, 2013

Initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)

Confirmed venues and times so far:

Bradford: 2-3 pm, Student Central, J.B. Priestly Library, University of Bradford, U.K.

Cambridge, MA: 4.30-5.30 pm, Harvard Square Pit (fb event link)

Islamabad: 6 pm, Press Club, F-6/4. Contact 0344-5469738 and 0300-9880397

Karachi: 5.30 pm, Karachi Press Club

Lahore: 6 pm, Lahore Press Club, Shimla Pihari (fb event link)

Los Angeles – 5 pm, in front of UCLA

Mumbai: 7 pm, Gateway of India

New Delhi: 5.30 pm, Gandhi Peace Foundation, email aaghazedosti@gmail.com

New York: 5 PM at Union Square near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue

Shahdadkot- 5 pm, Press Club

Toronto: 5 pm, 365 Bloor St. East, Toronto (outside Indian Consulate) (fb event link)

Washington DC: 6 pm, Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, VA

Kansas City: 5:30-7:30 at Kababesh Grill, Overland Park

Courtesy:  via Facebook

Battle for the Soul of Pakistan

By: Bruce Riedel

2013 will be a pivotal year in Pakistani history. National elections, turnover at the top military position and the denouement in the war in Afghanistan; all promise to make it a critical year for a country that is both, under siege by terrorism and the center of the global jihadist movement. The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.

Pakistan is a country in the midst of a long and painful crisis. According to the government, since 2001 45,000 Pakistanis have died in terrorism related violence, including 7,000 security personnel. Suicide bombings were unheard of before 9/11; there have been 300 since then. The country’s biggest city, Karachi, is a battlefield.

One measure of Pakistan’s instability is that the country now has between 300 and 500 private security firms, employing 3,00,000 armed guards, most run by ex-generals. The American intelligence community’s new global estimate rates Pakistan among the most likely states in the world to fail by 2030.

Pakistan also remains a state sponsor of terror. Three of the five most-wanted on America’s counter-terrorism list live in Pakistan. The mastermind of the Mumbai massacre and head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafeez Saeed, makes no effort to hide. He is feted by the army and the political elite, appears on television and calls for the destruction of India frequently and jihad against America and Israel.

The head of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Omar, shuttles between ISI safe houses in Quetta and Karachi. The Amir of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, is probably hiding in a villa not much different than the one his predecessor was living in, with his wives and children, in Abbottabad until May 2011.

Pakistan also has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, bigger than Great Britain’s. The nukes are in the hands of the generals, the civilian government only has nominal control. President Asif Ali Zardari has only nominal influence over the ISI as well; indeed it has conspired for five years to get rid of him.

Against the odds, Zardari has survived.

By next fall, he will have served five years, becoming the first elected civilian leader to complete a full term in office and pass power to another elected government. It will be a major milestone for Pakistani democracy. He has served years in prison and lost his wife to the terrorists who besiege the nation. He has often been called a criminal by many, including his own family, and the national symbol of corruption.

Yet, as president, he presided over a major transfer of power from the Presidency to the Prime Minister’s Office, even the titular national command authority over the nukes, to ensure the country is more democratic and stable.

The parliamentary election in the spring will be a replay of every Pakistani election since 1988, pitting Nawaz Sharif’s PML against the late Benazir Bhutto’s PPP. Needless to say, many Pakistanis are sick of the same stale choices. But the odds favour the old parties. Both Sharif and Zardari are committed to cautiously improving relations with India, keeping open ties with America and trying to reform the Pakistani economy. Both will have troubled relations with the Army.

The Economist has tagged Sharif as likely to do best. If he returns to the Prime Minister’s job for a third time, it will be a remarkable turn in his own odyssey.

Sharif was removed from the office in 1999 in an illegal coup and barely escaped alive, to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. His decision to withdraw Pakistan’s troops behind the LOC, during the Kargil war, prompted his fall from power; it also may have saved the world from nuclear destruction. It was a brave move. I remember talking to him and his family in the White House the day after he made the decision to pull back, you could see in his eyes that he knew Musharraf would defame him; but he knew he was in the right.

But many Pakistanis want a new face to lead their country. Out of desperation some are turning to Imran Khan to save Pakistan. The ISI is probably helping his campaign behind the scenes to stir up trouble for the others. He is a long shot at best. He is much more anti-American, anti-drone and ready to make deals with the Taliban, to stop the terror at home. Yet, he understands well that Pakistan is a country urgently in need of new thinking.

Whoever wins will inherit an economy and government that is in deep trouble. Two-thirds of 185 million Pakistanis are under 30, and 40 million of the 70 million 5 to 19 years old are not in school. The youth bulge has yet to spike. Less than one million Pakistanis paid taxes last year. Most politicians don’t pay any taxes. Power blackouts are endemic. Clean water is increasingly scarce even as catastrophic floods are more common. Growth is 3%, too little to keep up with population demand.

So, it is no wonder that the generals prefer to have the civilians responsible for managing the unmanageable, while they guard their prerogatives and decide national security issues. As important as the coming elections will be, the far more important issue is who will be the next Chief of Army Staff.

The incumbent General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was given an unprecedented three-year extension in 2010. He is the epitome of the Pakistani officer corps and the so-called ‘deep state’. Pervez Musharraf made him Director General of the ISI in 2004. It was on his watch that the Afghan Taliban recovered and regrouped in Quetta, Osama bin Laden built his hideout 800 yards outside Kayani’s alma mater the Kakul Military Academy in Abbottabad in 2005, and planning began for the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Mumbai. He was DG/ISI when David Headley, the American serving life for his role in the 2008 attack, began his reconnaissance trips to Mumbai to prepare the way for 26/11. Kayani probably authorized the funds for Headley’s cover and travel. He is the first DG/ISI to become COAS. His term expires in September, 2013.

The history of civilians choosing Chiefs of Army Staff in Pakistan is not encouraging.

Continue reading Battle for the Soul of Pakistan

‘Mumbai case suspects trained at LeT camps’

By: Malik Asad

RAWALPINDI: Intelligence officials informed an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday that suspects in the Mumbai attacks case got training at various centres of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant organisation, including navigational training in Karachi.

In their statements recorded before ATC judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman, five inspectors of the Crime Investigation Department, who are prosecution witnesses in the case, informed the court about the training details and capabilities of suspects Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (the alleged mastermind), Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.

The officials were in charge of CID stations in Okara, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Mandi Bahauddin and Sheikhupura. They said the suspects, who allegedly participated in the attacks, were trained at the LeT training centres at Yousaf Goth in Karachi, Buttle in Mansehra, Mirpur Sakro in Thatta and Muzaffarabad.

The CID inspector from Okara alleged that Lakhvi was LeT’s ‘operational commander’ who trained other militants. Lakhvi went to Kunar and participated in Afghan jihad against the Soviet forces, he said.

Continue reading ‘Mumbai case suspects trained at LeT camps’

The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s.

By Shalva Weil for ISN Insights

In November 2008, Lashkar e Taiba (LET), a radical Islamist group from Pakistan, specifically targeted “Nariman House” in Bombay (Mumbai) for a terrorist attack, along with other tourist locations, such as the Taj Mahal hotel. Nariman House was a ‘Chabad house’ of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Hasidic Judaism – a Jewish outreach center that included an educational center, synagogue and hostel. It was run by Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. When the building was attacked, six occupants, including the Rabbi and his pregnant wife, were killed. A total of 164 people were killed in the Mumbai attacks. David Coleman Headley, who testified in the United States at the end of May 2011 in the trial of his friend, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, confessed that he had planned the Mumbai attacks in conjunction with an officer of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, a man whom he called “Major Iqbal”. The officer was reportedly delighted that the Jews were targeted.

The Jews of Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s. Recently, Yoel Reuben, a Pakistani Jew living in the town of Lod in Israel, whose family originated in Lahore, documented some of the history of the Jewish communities with photographs of original documents. When India and Pakistan were one country, before the partition in 1947, the Jews were treated with tolerance and equality. In the first half of the 20th century, there were nearly 1,000 Jewish residents in Pakistan living in different cities: Karachi, Peshwar, Quetta and Lahore. The largest Jewish community lived in Karachi, where there was a large synagogue and a smaller prayer hall. There were two synagogues in Peshawar, one small prayer hall in Lahore belonging to the Afghan Jewish community, and one prayer hall in Quetta. Even today, according to unofficial sources, there are rumors that some Jews remain in Pakistan, including doctors and members of the free professions, who converted or pass themselves off as members of other religions.

The Jews of Pakistan were of various origins, but most were from the Bene Israel community of India, and came to Pakistan in the employ of the British. Yifah, a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, relates that her great-great-grandfather Samuell Reuben Bhonkar, who was a Bene Israel, came to Karachi in British India to work as a jailer, and died there in 1928. The Bene Israel originated in the Konkan villages, but many moved to Bombay from the end of the 18th century on. In Pakistan, they spoke Marathi, their mother-tongue from Maharashtra; Urdu and most spoke English. Prayers were conducted in Hebrew.

In 1893, a Bene Israel from Bombay, Solomon David Umerdekar, inaugurated the Karachi Magen Shalom Synagogue on the corner of Jamila Street and Nishtar Road, which officially opened in 1912. During these years, the Jewish community thrived. In 1903, the community set up the Young Man’s Jewish Association, and the Karachi Bene Israel Relief Fund was established to support poor Jews. In 1918, the Karachi Jewish Syndicate was formed to provide housing at reasonable rents, and the All India Israelite League, which represented 650 Bene Israel living in the province of Sindh (including Hyderabad, Larkano, Mirpur-Khas and Sukkur, as well as Karachi), was first convened – founded by two prominent Bene Israel, Jacob Bapuji Israel and David S Erulkar. Karachi became a fulcrum for the Bene Israel in India, the place where they congregated for High Holiday prayers. There was also a prayer hall, which served the Afghan Jews residing in the city. A 1941 government census recorded 1,199 Pakistani Jews: 513 men and 538 women. So accepted were the Jews of Karachi in these years that Abraham Reuben, a leader in the Jewish community, became the first Jewish councilor on the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

Continue reading The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Asha Bhosle’s daughter Varsha commits suicide

Singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter Varsha, who was reportedly suffering from depression, shot herself in the head with a pistol at her mother’s Peddar Road home on Monday morning. She was 56. Varsha, said the police, was found lying in a pool of blood on a sofa of her living room by Bhosle’s driver at around 10.30am.

Domestic help Deepali Mane had alerted the driver after Varsha, who was alone in the house, did not answer the doorbell. The driver entered the flat through Bhosle’s elder sister and singer Lata Mangeshkar’s adjacent house. ….

Read more » Hindustan Times

What mental cues do most people associate with Sindhis?

The New Sindhis

By: Shefalee Vasudev, New Delhi

What mental cues do most people associate with Sindhis? It’s either a comical sidekick in a film, a smarmy merchant type or girls in mini skirts and designer bags whose filthy rich fathers run business empires in “Bambai” and Dubai. If the Sindhi stereotypes still prevail or if Sindhi curry and papad is all there is to know about the community’s cuisine, there’s good reason. Being rendered stateless after Partition also led to Indian Sindhis becoming somewhat rootless. But the younger generation wants to change that, without wearing lament on their lapel. Meet the new Sindhis.

Hanee Tindwani, 31, gave up her job as a radio jockey to become a teacher at the Vision Sindhu Children Academy in Ahmedabad, where Sindhi culture is being resurrected. Or take celebrated folk singer Dushyant Ahuja. He consciously steers clear of mass entertainment and sings Sindhi ghazals and folk songs for select audiences in India and abroad to draw attention to the poetic heritage of his community. Writer Vimmi Sadarangani, a Jaipur Literature Festival regular and historian Nandita Bhavnani, who does research on the Sindhi cultural connection between Pakistan and India, are both prominent names among the new Sindhis.

Continue reading What mental cues do most people associate with Sindhis?

Indian Supreme Court’s poignant footnote in Kasab Judgment

From Indian Kanoon:

“[45] It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel.

Mr. Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai.

One wonders what Quaid-e-Azam would have thought of the terrorist attack on his favourite city in the subcontinent and especially on Taj Mahal Hotel, with which he had a personal relationship of a very intimate kind.”

Read more » Pak Tea House

http://pakteahouse.net/2012/08/30/indian-supreme-courts-poignant-footnote-in-kasab-judgment/

What’s being said about Muslims in the West is what was once said about Catholics & Jews in 19th & early 20th century

Popular anti-Muslim myths busted in new book

By Haroon Siddiqui

It started “in the far reaches of the Internet and the mutterings of the political right, then in increasingly mainstream and mass-market venues” and has since entered “the central corridors of European and American politics.”

So writes Doug Saunders in The Myth of the Muslim Tide (Alfred Knopf Canada), to be released next week. He is the European bureau chief of the Globe and Mail, and author of the much-acclaimed Arrival City (about the sprawling slums of Mumbai, Rio, London, Paris, Chongqing, Los Angeles, etc. — the first stop in the mass migration of millions from rural to urban areas).

Saunders was living in the U.S. during the Sept. 11 attacks and in London during the July 7, 2005, subway bombing. He has reported extensively on the war on terror and on Islamophobia in Europe.

Continue reading What’s being said about Muslims in the West is what was once said about Catholics & Jews in 19th & early 20th century

Pakistan needs to come clean on terrorism, says Germany

By: Wichaar Desk

New Delhi, July 14 — Germany Saturday made it clear to Pakistan that it needs to “come clean” over terror allegations, whether those are true or not, as this will be in its best interests.

German ambassador to India Michael Steiner, who took over this week, told reporters here that it did not matter whether the terror charges are proved in a court of law or not, but it was necessary that Pakistan clarify the “clear distinction” between its state institutions and terror outfits.

He was responding to queries about the recent revelations by terror suspect Abu Jundal, who was deported from Saudi Arabia last month, of Pakistani state players’ involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 dead and over 230 injured in 2008.

Continue reading Pakistan needs to come clean on terrorism, says Germany

Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

KU organises seminar on secular values

By: Waqas Safder

SINDH – Karachi: University of Karachi on Friday organised a seminar on “Secular Values in South Asia: Are there Lessons from the European Experience?” at the Area Study Centre for Europe.

Prof. Ram Puniyani, General Secretary, Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, was the guest speaker at the occasion.

In his presentation, Prof. Puniyani talked in detail about the concept of secularism in South Asia and the failure of regional countries to prevent the forces of intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism from gaining ground.

Continue reading Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

Pakistani Jihadi group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that atacked Mumbai, is more dangerous than Al Qaeda says Bruce Riedel

. Mumbai Terror Attack Group Lashkar e Tayyiba Now More Dangerous Than Al Qaeda

With the 9/11 terrorist group on the ropes, the organization that masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks has become the world’s most dangerous, says Bruce Riedel.

By Bruce Riedel

The arrest of Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jindal, at New Delhi airport late last month is a major breakthrough in the investigation of the deadliest terror attack in the world since 9/11. Abu Jindal was one of the masterminds of the November 2008 attack on the city of Mumbai in which 166 people were killed, including six Americans. He is already confessing to his role and implicating Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate directly in controlling the attack as it went down.

The November 2008 attack by ten Lashkar e Tayyiba (LeT) terrorists on multiple targets in Mumbai, India was the most significant and innovative terrorist attack since 9/11. It marked the maturation of LeT from a Punjabi-based Pakistani terror group targeting India exclusively to a member of the global Islamic jihad targeting the enemies of al Qaeda: the Crusader West, Zionist Israel, and Hindu India. LeT used cell phones and GPS technology to terrorize an entire city and grab global attention for three days. LeT’s masterminds ran the operation in real time from a headquarters in Pakistan, even issuing death sentences to innocents.

Abu Jindal, an Indian citizen traveling with a Pakistani passport, was in the control room in Karachi in 2008 talking on the phone to the ten terrorists. He gave them advice on where to look for more victims in the Taj Hotel, for example, and instructed them when to murder their hostages. His voice was recorded by the Indian authorities listening in on the phone calls and has since been replayed in chilling detail by the Indian police for all to hear.

According to press reports from India, Jindal was arrested on June 21 after being deported from Saudi Arabia to India. The arrest operation was a joint counter-terrorism effort by India, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Abu Jindal was in the Kingdom recruiting and training new LeT volunteers from the enormous Pakistani diaspora in the Gulf countries. He was allegedly in the final stages of a “massive” new terror plot. Abu Jindal has also been linked to other attacks in India including the bombing of the Mumbai metro and train system in 2006 that killed over 180.

Abu Jindal has told the Indians that two members of the ISI were also in the control room, both allegedly majors in the Pakistani army. This confirms the longstanding accusation that the 2008 plot was orchestrated and conducted with the assistance of the ISI. An American, David Headley, who worked for LeT and did the reconnaissance for the attack has said the same thing. So has the only survivor of the attack force, Amir Kasab, who has been convicted of mass murder in India.

But because Abu Jindal was actually in the control room in Karachi his accusation is even more powerful. If the press reports about Abu Jindal’s accusations are confirmed then the ISI was involved directly in the decision to murder Americans. So far the Indian government has publicly confirmed only that his testimony points to state sponsorship of the attack without providing details of his confessions.

Continue reading Pakistani Jihadi group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that atacked Mumbai, is more dangerous than Al Qaeda says Bruce Riedel

Reuters – Alleged Mumbai plotter confirms Pakistan involved: India

By D. Jose, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India

(Reuters) – India said on Wednesday that a man arrested on suspicion of helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks had “confirmed” during interrogation that Pakistan was involved.

India has repeatedly accused its neighbor and arch rival of some degree of involvement in the attacks on its financial capital that killed 166 people and of acting too slowly in arresting those responsible.

Continue reading Reuters – Alleged Mumbai plotter confirms Pakistan involved: India

Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.

Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:

1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.

2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?

3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

Continue reading Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.