Tag Archives: Osama

Pakistani Taliban threatens attacks on military

By: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Taliban on Monday warned the country’s military it had set up a “suicide bombers squad” to hit troops if an offensive is launched in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

In an email message sent to media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella militant group, said it had received “an exclusive intelligence report” about the offensive in North Waziristan from its “sources” in army headquarters.

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan outlined details about the regiments and units and the possible commander for the campaign, said to be launched on August 26 for one month.

“TTP has also prepared itself for resistance, we have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome (the) army. We will defeat our enemy, whom is defending secular, unIslamic system of Pakistan by punching them back hard InshaAllah (God willing),” Ehsan said.

Continue reading Pakistani Taliban threatens attacks on military

Zia’s legacy

PRECIOUS little happens in Pakistan that cannot be traced to the man who ruled over this country for 11 dark years of its existence. On the morning of Aug 17, exactly 24 years after his death, Gen Ziaul Haq’s presence was felt all the more poignantly. ‘Terrorists attack Kamra airbase’, ‘19 pulled out of buses, shot dead in sectarian attack’ at Babusar Top, ‘Zardari seeks Muslim countries’ assistance’ on Afghanistan. Rulers either side of Zia have contributed to this mad, unending dance of death that Pakistanis have been subjected to. But while the dictator may have found the soil fertile for cultivating his brand of hatred, he was so thorough in his execution of the self-assigned job and so heartlessly committed to his creed that he ensured that generations after him will find it impossible to escape his influence.

Continue reading Zia’s legacy

“Intolerance is accepted-even rewarded in Pakistan’s mainstream media”

By Lauren Frayer

As Pakistan’s media has expanded in recent years, there’s been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they’ve had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.

That’s the case for Pakistan’s most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who’s just been rehired by the country’s top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.

Liaquat, 41, is once again the face of Pakistan’s biggest and richest private TV station, Geo TV. He also appears in commercials for everything from cooking oil to an Islamic bank. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he’s been broadcasting live 11 hours a day — while fasting — and drawing record ratings.

“I say peace be with you, from the deepest core of my heart, with all sincerity and respect,” he says warmly to viewers.

But the beaming TV personality has not always sounded so benign.

Four years ago, Liaquat did an hourlong special on a religious sect known as the Ahmadis. They consider themselves Muslim. But under a constitutional amendment in Pakistan, they are banned from calling themselves Muslim.

They believe in the Prophet Muhammad. But they also believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th-century figure they believe was the messiah. Many Muslims call that blasphemy. On live TV in 2008, Liaquat condemned the Ahmadis’ messiah. “He was like a dead body in terms of morality and character,” Liaquat said. “He never spoke the truth and never kept his promises. He was a coward. His speech and writings make me vomit.” Then he sat nodding in approval while a guest mullah said people like the Ahmadis’ messiah should be killed. “Anyone who claims to be a prophet is an infidel, and deserves to be murdered,” Maulana Muhammad Ameen said.

A Surge In Targeted Killings

Since that broadcast, violence has left hundreds of Ahmadis dead. Ahmadi Najm’s husband — a pediatrician with his own clinic — was one of them. “It was the 17th of August, 2010,” Najm recalls. “He was closing his clinic, and had just started his car, and they came — some unknown people. They fired. At the spot, he was dead. He got about 30 bullets in his chest.” The 33-year-old widow speaks from a safe house in Karachi, where Ahmadis hide during bouts of violence against them. Behind a padlocked door, Najm and her three children huddle together. Her baby girl was just 2 1/2 months old when her father was killed.

Continue reading “Intolerance is accepted-even rewarded in Pakistan’s mainstream media”

New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

We have received reports of a new and appalling low in the ongoing abuse of blasphemy laws. Allegedly, a Quran was found with some of its pages burned by Muslims in a Christian area of Islamabad – in previous cases the burning has nearly always shown to have been done by Muslims, or by mentally unstable people – and worse, they have had an 11 year old Christian girl with downs syndrome called Rimsha Masih arrested and charged with the crime.

Continue reading New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

This is not our war? Still?

By Kamran Shafi

So then, our ‘assets’ have attacked the extremely high security installation, the Kamra Airbase and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex killing one soldier and damaging an aircraft or two. Whilst earlier reports said that one terrorist had been captured alive, we are now being told that all eight, some say nine, have been killed.

If I had anything to do with the investigations, I would certainly look into the matter of the death of the terrorist caught alive, because you see, just like Mehran, I suspect that this was an inside job too.

There is a report also that says all the attackers were foreigners while others say only one was. Be which as it may this only proves the point that there is a collection of terrorists from across the Muslim world congregated in Fata and comfortably embedded with said ‘assets’.

Now then, after all of the attacks this country has suffered at the Taliban’s hands: Kamra; POFs; Sakesar; GHQ; Hamza Camp; ISI buses; Parade Lane; ISI HQs in Lahore and Faisalabad; Moon Market; Marriott; Lahore Cantonment; Mehran airbase; Lt Gen Mushtaq’s brutal murder in Rawalpindi; Peshawar Meena Bazaar and many others,  this is still not our fight; not OUR war? Till when will we live in denial, friends, till when will we call these murdering brutes our  ‘assets’?

Continue reading This is not our war? Still?

Soldiers at Kamra airbase defended themselves well. Now TV anchors, retired generals are out in full force trying to defend & justify Taliban.

Discussion on Kamra Air Base Attack. No body is talking about Taliban. Everybody is talking about America’s involvement in this attack on Kamara Airbase and how the Taliban are being used by U.S., & outside powers!

Courtesy: Geo Tv (Capital Talk with Hamid Mir, guests; Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qayoom & Vice AirMartial (R) Shahid Latif – 16th august 2012 part-2) » Via » ZemTv » YouTube

Courtesy: CNBC » Pakistan Aaj Raat, guests; Gen Rtd Abdul Kayuum, Air Marshall Shahid Lateef! 16th August 2012 Part 2) » Via – ZemTV » YouTube

Via – Twitter » MH’s tweet

Some questions?

By: Aziz Narejo

1. Do you think break up of Pakistan is inevitable?

2. If yes, then who do you think will cause its break up?

3. Do you think it will be nationalists in Balochistan, Sindh & Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa?

4. Don’t you think they are not that powerful or well-organized?

5. Or you think the wrong policies of the Pakistan’s Military Establishment that eats up most of the Pakistani budget & conquers own country almost every ten years & the terrorists it has created to wage proxy wars on Eastern & Western borders & in the cities of Pakistan’s Southern most province will eventually break up the country?

Courtesy: Aziz Narejo, facebook wall

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

Infiltrating the ranks

FIVE army officers, including a brigadier, have been court-martialled and handed down prison sentences for their links to an extremist organisation, Hizbut Tahrir. Whenever the subject of religious extremism within the army’s officer corps and its rank and file comes up, opinion tends to break down into two extremes. One side argues that it points to some sort of creeping coup, a pernicious radicalisation of the armed forces that threatens Pakistani state and society given the army’s influence over national security and foreign policy. The other side argues that whatever instances of radicalised officers have come to the fore, they are isolated incidents and dealt with professionally and quickly and as such pose no threat to discipline and unity of command in the armed forces. Arguably, neither side is right.

Continue reading Infiltrating the ranks

Pakistan: Now or Never? Perspectives on Pakistan

A Mafia in FATA: Haqqanis and Drones

By Myra MacDonald

It took author Gretchen Peters two years working with a team of researchers to compile a detailed report on the Haqqani network.  Published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, it is a comprehensive study of the Haqqani’s business interests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gulf, defining them as much as a criminal mafia as an Afghan militant group. It took me an hour to read it through. Yet when I tweeted a link to the report with the suggestion those with strong views on drones should read it – the Haqqanis’ base in North Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal areas has been the primary target of U.S. drone strikes – the answers came within minutes. “I assume u probably never met a minor or a woman who lost the head of the family in drone attack as ‘colateral dmg,” said the first response.

Continue reading Pakistan: Now or Never? Perspectives on Pakistan

Dinaar-Dirham conference in Lahore, Pakistan – Shariah currency (aka gold dinaars)

Shaykh Umar Vadillo’s Speech In The Islamic Economic System Conference In Lahore.

Destined for victory

By: Syed Hafiz

Despite the sweltering heat and an asthmatic aircon in the hall, at 1600 hours, drenched in sweat, the people were waiting for a person that the american congress deemed to be more dangerous than usama bin laden. Lahore’s Aiwan e Iqbal hall had never been so packed.

From Gilgit in the extreme north to Rahim yar khan in the middle, from Quetta in the west to Karachi in the southern coast ; people had gathered from all over the country to participate in this Dinar / Dirham conference. They all had the same thing to say : if its Allah and Prophet’s (pbuh) war against interest, then we are with Allah and Prophet.

Even in this stifling heat and sweat, the people’s patience was commendable. They were waiting for a person from that city, from where Muslims were expelled by the Chrisitan community.

They city that was the cultural center in Europe, and from where the sunshine of civilization illuminated the whole world – Qartaba  (Cordova, southern Spain) . The hall’s name is Aiwan e Iqbal, the great sufi poet Iqbal, and the speaker was standing in front of the picture of Iqbal on the wall. that Iqbal who imprisoned himself in the mosque of Cordoba, just to pray 2 rak’aat prayers.

Omar Ibrahim Vadilo who belonged to a strict Christian family, and who was trained to be a priest. He became the first European Muslim of the city of Cordoba. When he became a Muslim, there was no mosque in Cordoba, but now there are 4 mosques there.

He is the front man of the army of Allah, who has begun the mission to eradicate paper notes : the foundation of ‘interest’ from the world, and bring back the silver Dinar and Gold Coins system from the days of the Prophet(pbuh).

The weight and size of the coins have been kept the same as that standardized by Hazrat Umar (ra) . This enthusiastic crowd was eagerly listening to Omar Vadilo.

After starting with the name of Allah he said :

This secret is known to all the Western world that Capitalism has failed, it only remains to be officially announced. A majority in the US and Europe considers paper notes, Dollar and Pound to be a fraud.

Continue reading Dinaar-Dirham conference in Lahore, Pakistan – Shariah currency (aka gold dinaars)

The Manipulaters of Pakistan – Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Who determines and manipulate Pakistan’s foreign policy narrative? The answer is quite simple: the religious right led by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), and in some aspects by Jamait-e-Ulama-Islam (JUI). There are numerous religious formations, following politically-oriented Salafi Islam, and the media is overwhelmed by religious crusaders that popularizes foreign policy parameters determined by JI and JUI Ultimately, the right wing is validated by the military and its fearsome intelligence agencies. Most of the times the state is forced to go along with religious right’s Pan-Islamist foreign policy narrative, even though it is forced to oppose it when the nation’s vital interests are threatened.

The process of evolving such a policy narrative unfolded in the case of alleged massacre of Burmese Muslims. While scores of Shia Muslims were being butchered on regular basis in Pakistan, JI head, Syed Munawwar Hussain, started highlighting the case of Burmese Muslims, demanding that state of Pakistan should try to stop the killings. Although there is nothing wrong with raising awareness for the violations of human rights for oppressed communities, but such advocacy from the likes of JI felt strange to say the least. It seemed awkward because the JI leader was demanding something from a state that cannot save scores of Muslims being slaughtered everyday by Taliban, sectarian extremists or Karachi-like gangs. Since JI leaders are not supposed to be so naïve his statements has to be looked from another angle.

Continue reading The Manipulaters of Pakistan – Dr. Manzur Ejaz

US wants tougher Pakistani action against Haqqanis

By:

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration expressed renewed frustration with Pakistan on Tuesday, urging its reluctant counterterrorism ally to break remaining links between its security services and the Haqqani network and stem the flow of bomb-making material into Afghanistan.

A State Department report credited Pakistan’s government with taking action against al-Qaida last year, even though the United States acted unilaterally in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. It called Islamabad’s attempts weaker when it came to snuffing out groups such as the Haqqani network and Laskhar e-Taiba. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

In his latest exclusive dispatch from Deir el-Zour province, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets fighters who have left the Free Syrian Army for the discipline and ideology of global jihad

By: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Deir el-Zour

As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder’s men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.

Continue reading Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

Elected officials can be disqualified in Pakistan, but unelected DG ISI, MI are above the law?

Debate begins on whether DG ISI, MI can be booked

By: Ahmad Noorani

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in country’s history, the Punjab Police have registered an FIR against the chiefs of the Inter Services Intelligence (IsI) and Military intelligence in a missing person’s case in compliance with the Islamabad High Court orders.

The Punjab police action has sparked a new debate as to whether police can book chiefs of major intelligence agencies of the country.According to details, one Naveed Butt, spokesman of banned Hizbul Tehrir was allegedly picked up by the agencies on May 11, 2012, outside his home in Lahore in area of Liaqatabad Police Station. Saadia Rahat, a lawyer and wife of Naveed Butt, moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against abduction of her husband and also moved an application in the Police Station concerned.

On May 14, 2012, the IHC ordered the Punjab Police to recover the missing person and act under the law. However, Naveed was not recovered and on June 26, 2012, the Punjab Police registered an FIR based on the application of Naveed’s wife.

The FIR is captioned: ‘FIR against DG ISI, Deputy Director ISI, Lahore, DG MI, Rawalpindi, Deputy Director MI, Lahore,” and numbered 566/12 PS Liaqtabad, Lahore. Some experts say that an FIR could not be registered against the intelligence chiefs of the country while others disagree with this view.

After registration of the FIR, the Punjab Police immediately took action against the SHO Rana Khursheed of the police station concerned and made the concerned SP, Athar Waheed, an OSD, considered to be a punishment in bureaucratic parlance.

Raja Irshad, senior lawyer, who represented the ISI in many cases, when approached by The News, said that registering of FIR against the DG ISI and DG MI is a ‘wrongful and ‘illegal act’.

Continue reading Elected officials can be disqualified in Pakistan, but unelected DG ISI, MI are above the law?

Our doomed democracy

By: Khaled Ahmed

Pakistan’s gradual alienation from democracy and its irreducible secular conditionality is owed to the growth of the idea of Islamic governance, today showcased by the Taliban

Pakistan follows the rest of the Muslim world in thinking about the state. There was a time when it was normal for a Pakistani to say that he was a Pakistani first; now he says he is a Muslim first, little realising that he was negating the modern state. Most of the states in the Muslim world began as modern states but are now on the brink of choosing a pre-modern order that is stranger to democracy. Egypt that leads the Muslims of the world intellectually now manifests the following symptoms:

Democracy as ‘tyranny of the majority’:

1) On the role of religion in government, 61 percent of Egyptians chose Saudi Arabia as the preferred model.

2) Asked whether Egypt’s laws should strictly adhere to the Quran, 60 percent said yes while 32 percent said it should follow the values and principles of Islam and only six percent said laws should not be influenced by the teachings of the Quran.

3) The survey found that 61 percent of Egyptians want to diplomatically de-recognise Israel, while only 32 percent think it should be recognised. The feeling against Israel has surged among the youth.

Another poll found that 52 percent of Pakistanis too wanted sharia and desired an increased role of religion in their lives. Pakistan’s wealth is in the hands of a conservative elite which controls the media. Once upon a time the state TV was extreme in its Islamic tilt; now PTV is moderate compared to the ‘free’ TV channels numbering nearly 80. A new book Radicalisation in Pakistan by Muhammad Amir Rana & Safdar Sial (Narratives 2012) tells us on the basis polls that 87 percent of the journalists think that radical elements ‘have an effect’ on the media. You don’t have to read John Stuart Mill to conclude that Muslims demand democracy to impose ‘the tyranny of the majority’ on their societies.

Urdu and conservatism:

Conservatism in traditionally tolerant Muslim societies has morphed into fundamentalism threatening enough to cause three categories of Muslims to shut up: secularists, liberals and the moderate. The nation in Pakistan is weaning itself from the bilingual ambience of the past despite an increasing trend in the private sector to employ persons proficient in the use of English language.

Urdu is the vehicle of Islamist view. Pakistan is moving towards the status of a single-language country because of the ouster of English-language TV channels. Most graduates from universities are less able to use English and tend to be conservative if not Islamist in their aggressive rejection of secularists and moderates. This trend is shockingly clear in the social media. Some analysts are frank enough to say that the youth that dominates the social media – facebook, youtube, twitter, etc – will threaten the modern state in the Muslim world.

Radical assault on social media:

Continue reading Our doomed democracy

Why I’m not celebrating US exit – by Pervez Hoodbhoy

Today there is only the cruel choice between continued American presence and Taliban rule

After a trillion dollars and 2000 dead Americans, there is precious little to show as the U.S. heads towards its 2014 exit. America’s primary goal had been to create a stable, non-hostile Afghan government and army which could stop extremist groups from once again using Afghan territory as a base. But Hamid Karzai is already on the way out, rapid desertions could collapse the Afghan National Army, and only die-hards like Marine Gen. John Allen say that the U.S. can win. The Taliban are smelling victory.

America’s failure drives many bearded folks – and Imran Khan’s thoughtless supporters – into fits of ecstasy. It also delights some Pakistani leftists at home and abroad; imperialism has been humbled. Some comrades imagine that a mythicalAfghan “working class” – whatever that might mean – will pop up from nowhere and somehow stop the Taliban from moving in as fast as the Americans move out. Do they also hope for snowflakes in summer?

Continue reading Why I’m not celebrating US exit – by Pervez Hoodbhoy

India must go for covert action in Pakistan, says book – Zee News

Delhi: If Pakistan doesn`t stop backing terrorists acting against India, New Delhi must pay back Islamabad in the same coin, says a scholarly book on Indian counterterrorism strategy.

“Indian policymakers need to critically evaluate whether in fact a `strong and stable Pakistan` is in India`s interest,” says Prem Mahadevan in “The Politics of Counterterrorism in India” (I.B. Tauris).

Suggesting that the entire basis of Indian counterterrorist policy might need to be re-examined, the 297-page book says that New Delhi should take a unilateral two-pronged approach against pan-Islamist jehad.

While implementing domestic security reforms, the book says, the “more productive approach could be to take the counterterrorist offensive inside Pakistan itself“.

“This would be a daring move, requiring considerable political courage to initially be implemented.

“Once started, however, it has the potential to exert a strong deterrent effect upon the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence agency) and Pakistani jehadists.”

According to the author, a senior researcher at the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich, India`s failure to declare Pakistan a long-term adversary, “whose covert operations need to be reciprocated, has left Indian citizens vulnerable to further terrorist attacks”.

Mahadevan quoted former RAW chief K. Sankaran Nair as saying: “If what Pakistan does within our borders exceeds our capacity to control it, then we must take the fight to their doorstep. There is no question.”

The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is India`s external intelligence agency.

The book says: “Strikes against terrorist masterminds, including `rogue` or `freelance` ISI officials, would thus be an integral component of an ideal Indian counterterrorist policy.”

Continue reading India must go for covert action in Pakistan, says book – Zee News

Supreme Court of Pakistan sets aside notification of Samosa prices

LAHORE, July 24: The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by the Punjab Bakers and Sweet Federation and set aside a notification by the Punjab government through which the price of a Samosa was fixed at Rs6.

In 2009, the City District Government of Lahore on the instruction of the Punjab government had fixed price of a samosa at Rs6 and the magistrates had imposed fine on shopkeepers for selling samosa at higher rates.

The Punjab Bakers and Sweets Federation through its president Muhammad Afzal had challenged this order before the Lahore High Court. Their petition was dismissed and then an appeal was filed before apex court against the dismissal of the petition.

The appellant argued that a Samosa was not an item notified under the Punjab Foodstuffs (Control) Act of 1958. He said the government had no power to fix by the price of a Samosa.

On the other hand, Punjab government’s counsel argued that the government had the jurisdiction to fix prices of all items being sold to the public at large. After hearing both sides the Supreme Court set aside the impugned notification.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/07/25/sc-sets-aside-notification-of-samosa-prices/

Pakistan: Millions bear mental scars from attacks

By: Wichaar Desk

The 47-year-old government clerk and part-time lab assistant was walking home through the grounds of a hospital in the northwest city of Peshawar in the fall of 2009 when he stumbled upon the carnage left by the blast. Scores of bodies were packed into vehicles. Bleeding survivors with missing limbs and severe burns were scattered everywhere.

He has suffered from severe depression and anxiety ever since and is dependent on antidepressants to make it through the day so he can provide for his wife and four children.

Continue reading Pakistan: Millions bear mental scars from attacks

America’s way out of dependence on Pakistan: Iran

By Neil Padukone

America’s dependence on Pakistan is a key source of regional instability. The only way out is to find an efficient alternative supply route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan. The Chabahar Road through Iran provides that alternative – if Washington will consider its benefits. ….

Read more » CSMONITOR

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0724/America-s-way-out-of-dependence-on-Pakistan-Iran

CNN sees some positive things happening in Pakistan

What’s working in Pakistan

By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst

(CNN) — Pakistan can’t get no respect.

In 2007, Newsweek published an influential cover story proclaiming it “the most dangerous country in the world.”

The bill of particulars for this indictment typically includes the inarguable facts that the Taliban is headquartered in Pakistan, as is what remains of al-Qaeda, as well as an alphabet soup of other jihadist terrorist groups.

And in 2011, it became embarrassingly clear that Pakistan had harbored Osama bin Laden for almost a decade, even if unwittingly, in a city not far from the capital, Islamabad.

Leading Pakistani liberals are routinely assassinated by militants. Two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed when she returned from exile in 2007.

Around three years later, the governor of Punjab was shot to death by one of his own bodyguards because he had the temerity to suggest, correctly, that Pakistan’s onerous blasphemy laws tend to penalize its tiny Christian minority. The governor’s assassin was feted as a hero by many Pakistanis.

Pakistani scientists have proliferated nuclear technology to the rogue state of North Korea. And Pakistan now has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons program in the world.

Pakistan is also routinely gripped by Sunni-Shia violence, has a serious secessionist movement in the vast gas-rich province of Baluchistan and its financial capital, Karachi, is one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Add to this toxic brew the fact that Pakistan operates like a tea party paradise; only about 2% of the population pays income taxes, as a result of which the government doesn’t do much of anything for anybody.

Lengthy power cuts are hollowing out Pakistan’s already weak economy, which, at its present 3% growth rate, cannot possibly sustain Pakistan’s youth bulge.

But there is another side to Pakistan that suggests some underlying strengths that don’t make quite as good copy as the Taliban marching towards Islamabad, as they did in 2009.

Those strengths are Pakistan’s maturing institutions.

Pakistan has a largely ineffectual state, but it has a vibrant civil society that picks up at least some of the government’s slack. The private Edhi Foundation, for instance, runs a fleet of 1,800 ambulances and a slew of other welfare services for the poor across Pakistan.

As a result of this strong civil society, Pakistan had its version of the Arab Spring long before the wave of demands for accountable governments emerged in the Middle East. It was, after all, a movement of thousands of lawyers taking to the streets protesting the sacking of the Supreme Court chief justice by the military dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2007 that helped to dislodge Musharraf from power.

Pakistan has a vibrant media. A decade ago, there was only Pakistan TV, which featured leaden government propaganda. Now there are dozens of news channels: many of them conspiracist and anti-American, but many of them also anti-Taliban and pro-democracy.

In the past year, the Supreme Court has taken on the IsI, Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency, successfully demanding that the organization produce prisoners who had disappeared for years.

In November, Pakistan agreed to a pact with long-time rival India granting India “most favored nation” trading status; something that would have been unimaginable a few years back. This important development was sanctioned by Pakistan’s powerful army, which is a significant player in the country’s economy and understands that one way out of Pakistan’s economic mess is to hitch itself to India’s much larger economy.

Continue reading CNN sees some positive things happening in Pakistan

A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Deadly rocket attacks straining Afghanistan-Pakistan relations

By Heath Druzin

KABUL — A rain of rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Sunday after shelling killed four civilians and injured several others in Kunar province Friday night.

A provincial official is warning of an “uprising” if the attacks continue. The Foreign Ministry warned that continued shelling “could have significant negative impact” on relations between the two countries.

Continue reading A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Dangerous duffers: ISI’s interface with terror – by Khaled Ahmed

ISI’s interface with terror

By Khaled Ahmed

On July 12, 2012, ex-ISI chief General (retd) Asad Durrani appeared on PTV and expressed his views in his characteristic reductive manner. Durrani cultivates gruffness as his trademark. In this, he is like a predecessor of his, General Mahmood Ahmad: the US is here in the region to stay to get to the oil and gas bonanza of Central Asia; and Pakistan has to deal with this as a threat to its security.

While Durrani delivered his rough wisdom, another retired spy boss, Hamid Gul, was in the Long March of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, riding in an ego-boosting Land Cruiser, seeing cash worth lakhs of rupees being handed around on the way.

Hamid Gul has told the international press that he had sent his sons to be trained with the Haqqanis in the tribal areas. Barnett R Rubin in his book The Search for Peace in Afghanistan: From Buffer State to Failed State (Yale University Press, 1995) wrote that, in 1988-89, the 519-strong Afghan shura in Peshawar received 25,000 dollars per member as bribe from the Saudi intelligence agency, which spent 26 million dollars per week during the Peshawar session. The ‘deal’ was facilitated, according to Rubin, by Hamid Gul.

That year, Afghanistan’s ruler, President Najibullah, defeated the ISI-nurtured mujahideen in Jalalabad. Hamid Gul says he did not plan the Jalalabad operation, but an ISI officer, Brigadier S A Tirmizi, in his book Profiles of Intelligence (1997) stated that he had.

Like Durrani, Hamid Gul has been frequently clueless but speaks like a prophet on Pakistan’s security. He thought Aimal Kasi, who was executed for killing CIA agents in the US, was called a CIA agent by him. He had to admit that his plan to put together the IJI in 1990 to prevent the PPP from coming to power was wrong.

Our ISI geniuses were not only clueless; what is worse, they were usually ‘reverse-indoctrinated’. Hamid Gul never believed that Osama bin Laden had done 9/11; he was convinced that the Jews had done it.

Another ISI chief, General Mahmood Ahmad, was simply cowed by the charisma of Mullah Umar. Cathy Gannon in her book ‘I’ is for Infidel: from Holy War to Holy Terror, 18 Years inside Afghanistan (Public Affairs, 2005) tells the story. ISI boss Mahmood Ahmad was in Washington when Osama struck on 9/11. General Musharraf sent him to Mullah Umar to tell him to avoid being invaded by the US and surrender Osama.

Continue reading Dangerous duffers: ISI’s interface with terror – by Khaled Ahmed

Pakistanis to be banned from travelling abroad if country fails to control polio by 2013

All Pakistanis would be banned from going abroad if the country fails to eradicate polio by 2013 as per a World Health Organisation resolution, according to a report.

The Senate Standing Committee on Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) termed the move as an alarming situation and said that the government needed to take appropriate measures to meet the international requirement.

According to senior officials of the IPC, WHO was ready to present a resolution against Pakistan but it was delayed due to the efforts of the Pakistani ambassador in Geneva.

The official said the Pakistani ambassador informed the government to take measures in this regard, The Daily Times reports.

According to the paper, Senator Dr Karim Ahmed Khawaja also confirmed the WHO report and urged his fellow members that the matter required efforts on emergency bases. (ANI)

Courtesy: The Japan News

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U.S. House urges adding Haqqani group to terrorist list

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON : (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the State Department to designate the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist group, pressing the Obama administration to get tougher on an issue that already has strained ties with Islamabad.

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U.N. doctor shot in Pakistan

UN doctor shot in Karachi

By Hasan Mansoor (AFP)

KARACHI — Gunmen opened fire on a UN vehicle in Pakistan’s volatile city of Karachi Tuesday, wounding a foreign doctor working on a polio immunisation campaign and a local driver, officials said.

The shooting, which happened in the low-income eastern neighbourhood of Soharb Ghoth, highlighted resistance to a widely publicised three-day vaccination campaign, which began Monday.

The Taliban have banned immunisations in the northwest, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage since a Pakistani doctor was jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme.

“A WHO vehicle was fired upon with gunshots. One international staff and one local driver were injured in the incident,” Maryam Yunus, spokeswoman for the United Nations’ World Health Organization, told AFP. ….

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The Fall of Geneva

by Hakim Hazik

They had come in their serried legions, by air by sea and by land routes. Gathering dust and glory of arduous distances, hazarding innumerable perils including the incomparable risks of flying on the PIA’s Air Buses, recycled from the Lahore Omnibuses.

They gathered on Rue du Marche, led by the soldier statesman Syed Drone ul Ummat. Their hearts were filled with love for the True Faith. The earth shook with their slogans: O the oppressors give us an answer, give an account of the blood that was spilt. The walls of the city were covered with uplifting and pithy statements: Look ye people Qazi is coming.

When the din of the crowd settled somewhat the great leader took the stage and spoke thus:

Dear followers of Islam,

‘I know that your hearts are strengthened by unshakeable faith and you are ready to lay down your lives for the everlasting glory of the Ummah and the Caliphate. This, the greatest army since the valiant General Tariq bin Ziad, that has arrived on this continent.

We will teach the infernal Swiss, a lesson that they will never forget. They will learn not to interfere with the tenets of Islam and try to proscribe what is our fundamental right i.e to build the domes, arches, minarets and cupolas in accordance with our tradition and our culture. To put loudspeakers on the tallest minaret and make announcements at the highest decibel level to raise money for jihad in Palestine at 3 o’clock in the morning. We are not fighting for charity. We are fighting for basic human dignity.

We have a right to kill, on average, 6 labourers from FATA every day in Karachi. We have a right to pull off the buses, on average, 20 pilgrims and behead them by the roadside on a daily basis. We have a right to blow up the graven images in Bamian which the idol worshippers in UNESCO, in their crassness, had entitled a world heritage site.

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