Tag Archives: Sipah

Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) alliance of Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), & Jamat-e-Islami (JI) are doing long march against the resumption of Nato supplies

Saying ‘no’ to NATO: DPC long march enroute to Gujranwala

By Web Desk / Rana Tanveer / Zahid Gishkori

LAHORE: The long march against the resumption of Nato supplies through Pakistan as announced by Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) started from Lahore on Sunday and is expected to reach Islamabad tomorrow, Express News has reported.

Hundreds of cars were part of the procession.

The participants included activists from Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), and Jamat-e-Islami (JI).

JI’s caravan had already reached Nasir Bagh under the leadership of Amirul Azeem where JuD ‘s caravan, led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, joined it.

JuD’s caravan had proceeded from Masjid-e-Shuada where JI leader Sayed Munawar Hasan, DPC chairman Molana Samiul Haq, former ISI chief General (r) Hamid Gul, his son Abdullah Gul, Pakistan Ulema Council head Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and other leaders joined them. The leaders were mounted on a truck, which also doubled as a moveable stage.

A number of JD and Hizbul Mujahideen activists were providing security to the truck.

The leaders delivered speeches at Istanbul Chowk at The Mall in front of Town Hall.

Addressing the protesters, Maulana Samiul Haq said they were holding a long march to save Pakistan and Afghanistan from the clutches of the US, adding that their movement would continue until complete withdrawal of US forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said suspension of Nato Supply is one of their goals, urging the masses to join them towards Islamabad. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistan – Jihadis all over

By Mujahid Hussain

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

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

Continue reading Pakistan – Jihadis all over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more » Pakistan Blogzine

Drones & Ababeels

Declaring sanity

by Nadeem F. Paracha

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.

Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.

As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.

Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.

Continue reading Drones & Ababeels

A country for bigotry

Land of bigots

By Tazeen Javed

It has been a year since Shahbaz Bhatti passed away. No, strike that, he did not pass away; his life was brutally cut short when he was murdered. Everyone from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan have been suspected with his murder, either by the police officials, or by the home ministry, yet no decent progress has been made.

In a way, it all makes sense, since only certain kinds of angry groups of men, who bay for blood and destruction, seem to carry any weight around here. Bhatti was NOT that kind of a man. He believed in fighting for rights the democratic way and had planned to introduce legislation that would ban hate speech and hate literature against all. He was campaigning for official holidays for minorities’ religious festivals and wanted the blasphemy law to be repealed which turned out to be a crime worthy of death.

Bhatti’s death is not a lone incidence of brutal violence. Planned acts of aggression and cruelty against minorities — whether ethnic, religious, sectarian or communal — is becoming a norm in the ‘Land of the Pure’. Intolerance has reached such levels that people with names that revealed their sectarian or religious beliefs are afraid to use them when they feel unsafe. Slain journalist, Mukarram Khan Atif narrated one such incident, which depicted the extent of narrow-mindedness and fanaticism in the country. He and another reporter were travelling south from Mohmand Agency through Khyber Agency and one of them had to use a name that would make him pass off as a member of the majority sect.

The minority communities — no matter who they are and where they are living — are constantly under threat. We have cases of forced conversions of Hindu girls, mostly minors in Sindh who are forcefully abducted and married to Muslim men and then presented to the court as religious converts. According to a treasury member of the Sindh Assembly, around 20 to 25 forced conversions take place every month in the province.

Acts of mob violence against Ahmadis seem to be rising at an alarming rate. The situation is such that any Ahmadi family is at risk of being threatened with the blasphemy law. Their places of worship are gunned and/or ransacked and the law-enforcement community and the state does nothing and silently looks on.

The perpetrators of the Gojra incident, where a whole Christian colony was burnt down, still roam free and the Hazaras in Balochistan are regularly targeted for their sectarian and ethnic identity. Also, nothing is done to check the dissemination of hate literature, some of which can be found even in mainstream bookstores. Last week’s tragic shooting of passengers travelling on a bus to Gilgit on the Karakoram Highway, where people were asked to show their CNICs and then taken off and killed — all of them were Shia — shows that we have reached an even higher level of prejudice and bigotry.

It would not be wrong to say that intolerance rules our society and no one is safe here in this country other than the men who perpetuate bias, bigotry and hatred?

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

The deconstruction of Islamic thought in Pakistan

By S. Iftikhar Murshed

Neither penance nor expiation can cleanse those responsible for the radicalisation of Pakistan. The cancer has spread far and wide across the fabric of the society for which the educated intelligentsia is as much to blame as the semi-literate clerics.

A vivid illustration of this was last week’s imposition of a ban by the Lahore High Court Bar Association on the sale of soft drinks manufactured by Shehzan from the cafeterias of all the subordinate courts because the company is Ahmadi-owned.

Continue reading The deconstruction of Islamic thought in Pakistan

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

Making absolute fools of ourselves

By Kamran Shafi

All of the time, in more ways than one. So, first to our blow-hot, blow-cold prime minister who has executed another dizzying U-turn. This time on his statement that the Sipah Salaar-e-Azam (an honorific bestowed upon the Sipah Salaar by Akram Shiekh, who is also Mansoor Ijaz-of-the-Murky-Memo’s counsel) and the DG ISI had acted improperly in submitting a reply to the SC without the government’s approval.

We are now told that he had said what he said under “a unique situation when there was no clarity”, but that now, “since there is clarity and now we have all met … that (remark) does not pertain to these two gentlemen”. I don’t know if your head is spinning reader, mine surely is. It’s so bad actually that I am now going for a walk with my beloved Labrador, Mister, to try and clear my head. I only hope I can get this piece done by my deadline.

Now, that was good! A crisp sun shines down on a Lahore that was freezing till yesterday — no gas, thank you very much. While the walk was bracing, my head is still buzzing at the extent of Makhdoom Sahib’s naiveté. However, here goes another effort at writing.

So then, the three protagonists met and clarity came, eh? Was it in the form of a demand that the PM withdraw his remarks and mayhap the army would let the government off the hook? Or were there any other quid pro quos to off-set the PM’s humiliation? And if there weren’t any, why? Should one of them, indeed, not have been ISPR’s withdrawing its harsh and insolent statement against the PM? Once bitten twice shy they say, but he simply will not learn: I’ll bet the PM will be bitten again.

And now to Mamogate or Meemogate, depending on which TV channel you prefer. I attended the first hearing of the Commission and, even before proceedings started, told my nephew who was with me that this was going to descend into a complete farce. And what do you think made me say that? Only the fact that whilst a twice-elected former prime minister accompanied by seven senior leaders of his party, all former chief ministers and federal ministers (two of them flying in from Karachi for the hearing) attended; whilst senior Grade-22 ‘bloody civilian’ bureaucrats attended, two army officers, one Grade-21 and one Grade-22 did not deign to attend. All had been issued like summons. The portends were clear from the start.

Look at where we are today; just look at what the world is saying about us Pakistanis, our politicians, our army, our intelligence services, even our superior judiciary. Just read reports in the international press from the Christian Science Monitor to the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, see what the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said. In short, that we are an irresponsible, unfair, inequitable, capricious, bitter people.

Continue reading Making absolute fools of ourselves

General Kayani’s extension as army chief: A bad decision – by Abdul Nishapuri

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today (22 July 2010) extended the term of the country’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani for three more years in a move to ensure continuity in the fight against extremist  militancy by the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba.

“I have decided to extend tenure of army chief General Ashfaq Kayani for three years in consultations with President Asif Ali Zardari,” Gilani said in a brief televised address to the nation. He said the decision has been taken after relaxing the rules and keeping in view the active role played by Kayani in the war against terror.

The extension period will start from November 29. Kayani assumed command of the Pakistan army in November 2007 after his predecessor Pervez Musharraf relinquished command amid international pressure to end his eight years of military rule.

Effectively this means that after the apparent 8 years of General Musharraf’s military rule, Pakistan is currently (at the backstage) led by his successor, General Kayani, for at least six years.

There are some obvious concerns about this extension:

1. General Kayani is a proponent of the good Taliban theory. In other words, he is in favour of maintaining, protecting and supporting extremist networks of jihadi and sectarian groups, in particular the Haqqani group, the Quetta Shura, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Sipah-e-Sahaba. One must not ignore the fact that Kayani led the ISI from 2004 to 2007, exactly the period when the Taliban staged their comeback in Afghanistan, allegedly with the agency’s support. Now Kayani is leading the Pakistan military’s efforts to cement a new regime in Kabul that is pro-Pakistan, which means including representatives of the (good) Taliban. (Source)

2. General Kayani personally made sure that a high power joint investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s murder in the light of the UN Commission Report remains ineffectual and inconclusive. He unduly used his powers to impede investigation of high ranking army officers involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder.

3. General Kayani used his influence to restore a corrupt judge (Iftikhar Chaudhry) as Chief Justice of Pakistan’s apex court in order to gain cheap popularity and after taking an assurance that Justice Chaudhry will desist from taking further judicial action against the ISI (in the case of disappeared persons). (This is despite the fact that Kayani was present at the infamous March 2007 meeting that took place between Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, when the former military ruler informed the strong-willed top judge that he was suspended.)

4. General Kayani broke the rules and norms of parliamentary democracy by issuing a press release (after a corps commanders conference) forcing Pakistani generals’ terms and dictates on Pakistan’s civilian government’s negotiation with the USA on the Kerry-Lugar Bill. (It is the same army chief who slapped PM Gilani around when Gilani promised General Pasha would visit Mumbai after 26/11. It is the same army chief who sent President Zardari through the wringer for daring to put the ISI under civilian rule.)

5. General Kayani’s extension is also unfair from Pakistan Army’s organizational hierarchy perspective. Even though he might have done his job relatively well (compared to his predecessor General Musharraf), it is important to take into account that he is not pushed beyond retirement age as other Generals are waiting in line too, and their promotions are affected by such moves. (Source)

6. In Kamran Shafi’s words: Why should Kayani himself accept an extension even if it is handed to him on a silver platter? The Pakistan Army, we are told ad nauseam, is one of the best fighting forces in the world, commanded by some of the finest strategists in the universe. Is there no one who can replace Kayani then, when his tenure is over and he goes home like many generals before him, even some graceful Pakistani generals? More importantly, our generals should see how Indian army chiefs quietly go home every three years, handing over command to their replacements.

7. It may be noted that only a few months ago, in March 2010, General Kayani decided to extend the tenure of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt.Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, a decision which according to an editorial in daily Dawn indicated that the Pakistan Army is acting as a “law unto itself”. The editorial in The Dawn questioned General Kayani’s move to grant a one-year extension in service to Shuja bypassing all necessary guidelines. It also rejected explanations that the country’s security situation demanded ‘continuity’ in the highest office of the ISI, while pointing out that there has been no talk of ‘exemptions’ and ’special considerations’ for top US or British military offices in Afghanistan, where the situation is far more hostile than Pakistan. “Technically, the ISI chief, supposedly selected by the Prime Minister, can be a civilian but the army has traditionally not allowed anyone from outside the service to occupy that office,” the editorial said. (Source)

8. Kamran Shaif identifies a number of reasons why General Kayani must not be given (or himself must not accept) an extension:

Continue reading General Kayani’s extension as army chief: A bad decision – by Abdul Nishapuri

Difa e Pakistan Conference

By: Hakim Hazik

On behalf of the ISI, we welcome you to the biggest jalsa since the Pakistan Resolution was passed. This conference is fully supported by the Armed Forces of Pakistan, including Anjuman e Sipah e Sahaba, Lashkar e Taiba and 313 Brigade.

The people you see here today were totally opposed to the Pakistan Resolution but fully supportive of the Objectives Resolution.We are lucky that the misguided people who were present in that jalsa of 1940, are all finally dead and this great country had a chance to find its true course and destiny. Ummah has taken great strides. ….

Read more » Justice Denied

BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

BAAGHI: Pakistan fights back in Shikarpur —Marvi Sirmed

Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.

One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban  Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.

According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.

The Bhayo members of the  Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.

Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.

Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.

The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.

When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.

This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.

Continue reading BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

Save Pakistan or Taliban?

By: Former Senator Iqbal Haider

Excerpt;

…. The term “Taliban” being used here is inclusive of all their factions, groups of al-Qaeda and all the extremists, militant religious or Jihadi forces under whatever name or banner. In my view they are all the same. They all indulge in terrorism. They all have the common object of taking over state of Pakistan through terrorist activities. They all denounce other sects of Muslims as “Kafir, Wajibul Qatal”. Their different names with any prefix or suffix of Lashkar, Sipah, Jihadi or Tableeghi etc., do not matter.

Now that the same suggestion is being actively pleaded, the supporters of this suggestion must answer the most pertinent questions. First are Taliban willing to hold negotiations? I find no credible evidence to this effect. Secondly, why none of the pleader ever demands cessation of terrorist activities in Pakistan by Taliban as a condition precedent to negotiations? Thirdly, what would be the agenda of negotiations? Suppose if Taliban agree to hold dialogue, will they agree to abandon and denounce (a) terrorism; (b) their peculiar believes in the name of Islam and the policies that were followed by Mulla Omer in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban allow education to women, music, films, video shops, barbershops, television, photography, sportsmen wearing shorts, judiciary, democracy and democratic institutions such as are in Pakistan? Will the Taliban respect the historic monuments, places of worship and rights of the minorities without any discrimination and forcing them to wear any kind of mark of distinction? Will the Taliban respect all other sects of Muslims and allow them to freely practice all their religious rites and ceremonies without being branded as “Kafir” or “Wajibul Qatal”.

It is not expected of the Taliban to give answers in affirmative to these questions. Then the question arises that on what basis the negotiations are expected to be concluded? Are the advocates of this suggestion on the other hand willing to adopt the peculiar religious believes, policies, norms and practices of Taliban, which were in vogue under the rule of Mullah Omer? Is it possible to spell out the meeting points of negotiation with Taliban without subjecting the people of Pakistan of the beliefs and policies of a negligible number of Taliban in Pakistan.

There are no two opinions that Pakistan is at war with Taliban from within. The worst and longest war causing unprecedented and incalculable devastation in Pakistan. Never before our law enforcement agencies particularly our arm forces, paramilitary forces, police etc., had to sacrifice thousands of the lives of their officers and soldiers at the hand of Taliban. Never before so many thousands of innocent citizens became victim of the attacks unleashed by Taliban. Never before sense of insecurity of the life and property of the citizen as well as of the integrity of our country loomed so large. Never before Pakistan suffered such immense destruction of our economy, political, social, cultural life and sports.

Pakistan is facing the worst challenges from three fronts. Firstly the US and Nato countries are emphasizing that their war is against al-Qaeda. They are drawing a naive, illogical and untenable distinction between al-Qaeda and Taliban. Meaning thereby that their war against terrorism is confined against al-Qaeda only. As far as Taliban are concerned, is the headache of Pakistan mainly. The US is eager to strike a deal with Taliban through negotiations. ….

It is crystal clear that Pakistan and Taliban cannot coexist. If the Taliban are allowed to survive and increase their hold in Pakistan, it would amount to negation of Pakistan and negation of Quaid-e-Azam’s dreams, vision, philosophy and commitments as well as the objects and purposes for which Pakistan was created. Hence, we have no option but to cleanse Pakistan of all the Taliban groups, extremist obscurantist religious forces and all kinds of terrorists, so that Pakistan can be made a non-violent, peaceful, moderate, tolerant, progressive and modern state.

The writer is Senior Advocate Supreme Court, former Senator, Attorney General & Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights

To read complete article → THE NEWS

The cost of Pakistan’s double game

By Daud Khattak

Excerpt:

…. Yet even after militants were allowed to settle in the tribal areas with little resistance from the Pakistani state, the tribesmen were (and are still) told that it was because of U.S. drone strikes that these “holy warriors” fled to their areas. Hence, each missile against foreign militants or their Pakistani counterparts increased the potential number of militants flowing in and fueled rising anti-Americanism in Pakistan, serving the short-term political interests of pro-Taliban elements in the country’s security establishment, while allowing the army to play on anti-American sentiment domestically while still occasionally offering militants to the United States, either for arrest or targeting by drones, as a sign of good faith and in order to maintain a steady flow of military aid.

Recent history provides ample room for suspicion that the relationship between militants and the Pakistani military or intelligence agencies continues. Some key points should lead informed observers, for instance, to suspect some knowledge of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s presence in the highly-secured cantonment town of Abbottabad among Pakistani intelligence officials. For instance, the structure of the house is very different from the rest of the buildings in the area, and that plus the barbed wires atop its 18 to 20 feet high boundary walls would have likely drawn some suspicion to the compound’s residents.

The compound is located less than a kilometer from Pakistan’s Kakul Military Academy. Security officials, who keep a strict watch on anyone entering and living in a cantonment zone, somehow managed to miss the compound, which sticks out from the others around it. The Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani even visited the Kakul Academy less than 10 days before the May 2 raid, something that was undoubtedly preceded by security officials combing the nearby areas for any suspicious people or activities, as is the standard practice for such visits. Additionally, locals told the writer that three gas connections were provided to the house within a few days after its construction, which otherwise takes weeks if not months. But again, no alarm was raised.

Additionally, groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Sipah-e-Sihaba Pakistan (SSP) continue to operate openly despite being nominally banned. Indeed, locals I have spoken with in Kurram agency blame Pakistani intelligence for bringing the Sunnis against the Shi’a there, simply to show the world that Pakistan is heading towards de-stabilization and only U.S. and international support can save the society from becoming radical (not to mention the benefit accrued by the Haqqani network, who now have space to operate if their North Waziristan sanctuary is compromised). And a brief look at some of the militants operating in Pakistan currently raises questions about how they have been able to implant themselves and continue operating.

For instance, is it believable that Khyber agency-based militant and former bus driver Mangal Bagh, a warlord with no more than 500 volunteers, can operate just 15 kilometers away from Pakistan’s 11 Corps headquarters in the town of Bara, kidnapping people from Peshawar and other parts of the country, attacking powerful tribal elders, ministers, and journalists from Khyber agency, attacking NATO supply convoys, and carrying out public attacks and executions? Maulana Fazlullah, a leading warlord in the Swat Valley, a man who was once a chair-lift operator on the Swat River, became the most powerful commander in the area in a span of two years, with little government opposition. When the military conducted an operation in Swat upon the request of the secular Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) government in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, Fazlullah somehow managed to break a cordon of 20,000 soldiers backed by helicopters and jets to escape. And in Bajaur, Taliban commander Faqir Muhammad’s forces were “cleared” in 2008, but though hundreds of thousands of locals were displaced, their houses destroyed, their crops burnt and their cattle killed, Faqir Muhammad continues to leave peacefully in the agency.

And those who rose up to confront the Taliban received little protection from the government. When the ANP, after coming into power in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, raised its voice against the Taliban, party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan was attacked by a suicide bomber inside his house in his hometown of Charsadda. Since then, the party leadership has lived in Islamabad. The party’s spokesman and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar’s son was killed by armed men close to his house last July. Mian Iftikhar and another outspoken minister of the KP government, Bashir Bilour, escaped several attempts on their lives; Asfandyar Wali Khan’s sister Dr. Gulalay, who is not involved with party politics, was attacked in Peshawar, and ANP lawmaker Alam Zeb Khan was killed in a bomb attack in the same city, before finally the party leadership and members were forced to stop their vocal opposition to the militants.

To read complete article: Foreign Policy

via Wichaar

Pakistan : A great deal of ruin in a nation

Excerpt:

Why Islam took a violent and intolerant turn in Pakistan, and where it might lead

“TYPICAL Blackwater operative,” says a senior military officer, gesturing towards a muscular Westerner with a shaven head and tattoos, striding through the lobby of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel. Pakistanis believe their country is thick with Americans working for private security companies contracted to the Central Intelligence Agency; and indeed, the physique of some of the guests at the Marriott hardly suggests desk-bound jobs.

Pakistan is not a country for those of a nervous disposition. Even the Marriott lacks the comforting familiarity of the standard international hotel, for the place was blown up in 2008 by a lorry loaded with explosives. The main entrance is no longer accessible from the road; guards check under the bonnets of approaching cars, and guests are dropped off at a screening centre a long walk away.

Some 30,000 people have been killed in the past four years in terrorism, sectarianism and army attacks on the terrorists. The number of attacks in Pakistan’s heartland is on the rise, and Pakistani terrorists have gone global in their ambitions. This year there have been unprecedented displays of fundamentalist religious and anti-Western feeling. All this might be expected in Somalia or Yemen, but not in a country of great sophistication which boasts an elite educated at Oxbridge and the Ivy League, which produces brilliant novelists, artists and scientists, and is armed with nuclear weapons. …

…. The future would look brighter if there were much resistance to the extremists from political leaders. But, because of either fear or opportunism, there isn’t. The failure of virtually the entire political establishment to stand up for Mr Taseer suggests fear; the electioneering tour that the law minister of Punjab took with a leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba last year suggests opportunism. “The Punjab government is hobnobbing with the terrorists,” says the security officer. “This is part of the problem.” A state increasingly under the influence of extremists is not a pleasant idea.

It may come out all right. After all, Pakistan has been in decline for many years, and has not tumbled into the abyss. But countries tend to crumble slowly. As Adam Smith said, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” The process could be reversed; but for that to happen, somebody in power would have to try.

To read full article : Economist

“Shoot us” : Mazhar Arif writes on role of media in Taseer’s killing

“Shoot us”

by Mazhar Arif

Urdu press and leading television channels, played a catalytic role in what happened. They lament that the responsibility of Taseer’s assassination rests with the irresponsible media and its howling and yelling anchors. The Jamaat-e-Islami and Sipah-e-Sahaba affiliated journalists and analysts in the media berated and maligned Taseer for supporting poor Christian rural worker Aasia Bibi …

Read more : View Point

Pakistan – Minorities Under Siege

by Mohammad Taqi

…. Most leaders of the Pakistani jihadist-terrorist outfits, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are the alumni of the Wahabist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and its offshoots like Lashkar-e-Jhangavi. They work hand-in-glove with the al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, especially the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura. While the Pakistan Army continues to boast victories in the war against terrorism, its inaction in face of the jihadist violence against the non-Wahhabi population raises serious concerns about such claims.

Peter Gourevitch notes that “the dead are innocent, the killers monstrous, and the surrounding politics insane or nonexistent” (in We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda). When the Taliban were ravaging Swat, the politics of resisting them appeared nonexistent. The media then, especially the English newspapers, did an admirable job of building the political and military will to fight the jihadists. Banishing the minorities has never stopped the fascists. One hopes that the Pakistani leaders and media call for banishing the barbarians, not their victims.

To read full article >> OUTLOOK

… non-state actor terrorists in Punjab

‘Data Darbar had to be destroyed because of Ibn Taymiyya’ – By Khaled Ahmed

The state of Pakistan has deployed its non-state actor terrorists in Punjab. Because of the unclear charter of power of the state agencies linked to the army, parts of Punjab are succumbing to the power of the terrorists. South Punjab is vulnerable to three terrorist organisations. The Punjab government is now paying crores of rupees supporting ‘charities’ of one of them that it has ‘nationalised’ . A new perspective of the Seraiki Movement is gradually coming to the fore, reflecting the political dominance of Sipah-e-Sahaba and its offshoot, the Jaish. No one from among the backers of the Movement – known traditionally to be secular – is willing to even speak of the presence of the jihadi-terrorist organisations. One reason is that most of them want to lean on them to win the elections; the other may be the simple fact of intimidation and the subliminal acknowledgement of state patronage to the terrorists. A Seraiki Province in the coming days will be exclusively the domain of Sipah-e-Sahaba and its friends. It will be for the first time that terrorists posing as Islamic warriors against India and against the Shias of Pakistan will possess an entire province and its resources under the new constitutional dispensation of real autonomy.

Read more >> newageislam