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Pakistan – Taliban threat: Nuclear site in DG Khan cordoned off

By Abdul Manan

Sources said, according to precedents, threats intercepted via phone calls often materialised in the next 72 hours.

LAHORE: It could be the first-ever security threat to a nuclear facility in Pakistan, and the Army and security forces are taking no risks.

Following ‘serious’ security threats from the homegrown Taliban, the Army and Punjab police have deployed heavy forces at one of Pakistan’s largest nuclear facilities in Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan), credible sources told The Express Tribune.

Besides the deployment inside and around the nuclear installation, three divisions in South Punjab have also been asked to launch a crackdown against banned outfits, sources added.

“DG Khan houses one of the largest nuclear facilities in the country, and has faced the first-ever serious security threat from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),” said a high ranking military officer currently serving at the installation.

According to an official who works at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, a key military and civilian fuel cycle site is located 40 kilometres from DG Khan. The site comprises uranium milling and mining operations, and a uranium hexaflouride conversion plant.

‘Serious’ threat

Sources in the military and Punjab Police, on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the nature of threat at the nuclear installation is ‘serious,’ with an 80% chance of occurrence.

The Inter-Services Intelligence reportedly intercepted a telephone call from the TTP, wherein they were said to have been finalising their strategy for attacks on nuclear installations in DG Khan, sources said.

Three to four vehicles carrying suicide bombers are about to enter DG Khan and can strike the nuclear facilities at any time, the caller concluded according to sources. Sources said that, according to precedents, threats intercepted via phone calls often materialised in the next 72 hours. Direct threats via phone or letters often do not materialise, the source added.

Foiling the attack

DG Khan District Police Officer Chaudhry Saleem confirmed the threat, while talking to The Express Tribune, and said that DG Khan Police has received instructions from the military officer in charge at the nuclear installation to beef up security around the facility as much as possible.

The TTP started to send threats to the installation after the attacks on Kamra air base, Saleem said, adding that the police has established six new pickets around the nuclear installations and deployed heavy forces over the last 24 hours.

Sources said that a heavy contingent of military from the Multan cantonment has also reached the site and beefed up the inner cordon of the security. Military has also been deployed near the border with Balochistan.

Revenge for Qaisrani

Well-placed sources in law enforcement agencies said that when the TTP attacked Kamra air base, they announced that they would take revenge for killing of their South Punjab head Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani by also attacking nuclear installations in DG Khan.

Sources said the DG Khan Police killed Qaisrani in an encounter in the first week of August, along with eight of his companions, almost clearing his network in the area.The police were able to trace Qaisrani after they interrogated Adnan Khosa, who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore along with Qaisrani, sources said, adding that Khosa is currently imprisoned in DG Khan.

Qaisrani’s elimination caused a major loss to the TTP in South Punjab, and the militant outfit vowed to take revenge.

Earlier attacks

According to local politicians, the DG Khan nuclear site and adjacent areas had previously been a target of ground attacks by Baloch insurgents, but not the TTP.

Continue reading Pakistan – Taliban threat: Nuclear site in DG Khan cordoned off

Islamists destroy prized saints mausoleums in Timbuktu- UNESCO world heritage site on danger

UPDATE 2-Mali Islamists destroy holy Timbuktu sites

* Witnesses say Ansar Dine fighters take pick-axes to sites

* Attacks comes days after UNESCO danger warning

* Islamists now have upper hand in Mali’s north (Adds further details, switches dateline to BAMAKO, adds byline)

By Adama Diarra

BAMAKO, June 30 (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Mali Islamists armed with Kalashnikovs and pick-axes began destroying prized mausoleums of saints in the UNESCO-listed northern city of Timbuktu on Saturday in front of shocked locals, witnesses said.

The Islamist Ansar Dine group backs strict sharia, Islamic law, and considers the shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam idolatrous. Sufi shrines have also been attacked by hardline Salafists in Egypt and Libya in the past year.

The attack came just days after UNESCO placed Timbuktu on its list of heritage sites in danger and will recall the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

“They have already completely destroyed the mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud (Ben Amar) and two others. They said they would continue all day and destroy all 16,” local Malian journalist Yeya Tandina said by telephone of the 16 most prized resting grounds of local saints in the town.

“They are armed and have surrounded the sites with pick-up trucks. The population is just looking on helplessly,” he said, adding that the Islamists were currently taking pick-axes to the mausoleum of Sidi El Mokhtar, another cherished local saint.

Courtesy: Reuters

http://af.reuters.com/article/maliNews/idAFL6E8HU0XU20120630

How to say yes to online censorship

By Jahanzaib Haque

Excerpt;

….. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) must issue a list of the blocked websites with explanations for who blocked the site and for what reason, under which law, along with the length of the ban. No ban should be put in place without court approval and due discourse with independent entities set up to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Any ban on a site should be preceded by a prior warning sent to the webmaster, possibly including a two/three strike system. A notice of an implemented ban should be sent to the site owners and announced publicly and there should be a clearly established system for challenging the ban.

As yet, the PTA and the government have made no overtures to suggest they want to be held accountable or want to develop a system after consultation with the citizens they serve. Till they do, the ongoing and upcoming censorship of the internet in Pakistan must be fought tooth and nail.

Read more: The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

WHY BHANBHORE NEGLECTED BY SINDH GOVERNMENT

By Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan, Sindh

On 1st Aug 2010, my friend and his younger brother a USA California citizen visited Bhambhore for sight seeing and knowing the culture and civilization of old Sindh prevalent before the conquer by the army under the Arab conqueror Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 AC.We first purchased three Tickets or entry slips for Rs 10 each and then met the In charge Deputy Director of this project. He was nice man who provided and guided us well and then asked his two staff members to help and provide us full guidance and knowledge on the whole site of the Bhanbhore area.The site is situated on the northern Bank of the Gharo about 60 Kms east of Karachi on the Indus highway to Thatto.In March 1958, the site was excavated and continued yearly for about four months each winter for a number of years till a complete picture of the site of the ancient settlement revealed in 1965.The site conceals the remains of a settlement of considerable size. It is divided into two parts viz a well-fortified citadel area measuring over 2000 feet from east to west and 1200 feet from north to south and another unwalled city extending over a large area on the north and east round an ancient lake including an industrial area and an ancient graveyard on its outskirts. It is on the mouth of old channel of mighty Indus, the site is ideally situated to have been an inland port of some importance. Some archaeological Scholars and historians have suggested its identification with DEBAL, the famous port which fell to the Arab worrior providing it after success of Muslim army as the gate way to Islam for the whole Pakistan and India sub-continent and then spread towards all the eastern and far eastern countries. We were astonished to observe that no attention has been given by the Governments of Pakistan and Sindh to convert this area as sight seeing and make it an abode and frequent visits of foreigners so that by their visits, our country and Sindh Government earn a huge amount of foreign exchange and other services.Their is need of new residential and industrial areas for increasing the employment of local unemployed people. Secondly, a good number of hotels and restaurants may be built up so that visitors can get lodging and boarding facilities etc.

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

Read more » http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news

via – Twitter

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

Just when the sector commanders had been put on the back-foot, and the MQM was vociferating in a manner not seen since 1995 (Gen Babar’s operation), who should come to their rescue but President Zardari’s personal emissary, Montecello University’s most celebrated doctoral figure, Dr Babar Awan.

He has brilliantly appeased the MQM by restoring Gen Musharraf’s  loaded [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local government system – first just to Karachi and Hyderabad and then, when … Sindh rose up with one cry against this hasty move, to the whole of Sindh. The MQM can hardly believe its luck – perhaps it hadn’t counted on so swift a Zardari capitulation – but anger in … Sindh is on the rise.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outbursts had angered the MQM but secured the PPP’s vote bank in rural Sindh. Dr Awan’s gymnastics have pleased the MQM but poured fuel over the burning embers of Sindhi anger. From one extreme the PPP has swung to the other.

The choice of Dr Awan as PPP plenipotentiary was bizarre. How was he qualified to negotiate on behalf of Sindhi interests? The PPP is now on the back-foot. All the certificates of cleverness earned by Zardari for his supposed political sharpness have gone with the wind.

Dr Awan has proved adept at stalling and frustrating the Supreme Court. From the PPP’s point of view, he should have confined himself to that doctrine of necessity instead of floundering in the waters of Sindh.

In an ideal world, the PML-N should have been quick to exploit this opening. Alas, if wishes could be horses. It showed itself eager, a bit too eager, to embrace the MQM when the latter fell out with Zardari. But this proved embarrassing when the MQM’s falling-out proved to be less than definitive. Small wonder, it has yet to get its thoughts in order on the anger on the rise in backwater Sindh.

All of us could do with some clarity on a crucial issue: while the logic of smaller provinces applies to Punjab, because it is too huge and unwieldy, it does not, and cannot, apply to Sindh. Babar Awan and the PPP came perilously close to the idea of Sindh division when they proposed one dispensation for Karachi and Hyderabad – the restoration of Musharraf’s  [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local body system – and another for the rural, revival of the commissionerate system. Sindh rural instantly saw red and the PPP had to back down immediately, in the space of a mere 24 hours. But the alarm had been sounded and Sindhi concerns have yet to be addressed or placated.

Carving a southern or Seraiki province out of Punjab will not endanger Punjab identity. Indeed, it will facilitate the task of governance and give a sense of belonging to the people of southern Punjab who feel left out of the orbit of Punjab affairs. But anything even remotely connected to the notion of Sindh division is almost an invitation to dangerous conflict in this most sensitive of provinces.

We should not forget the history of 1947 migration. If we leave Bengal out of the equation, there were two great waves of migration in northern India at the time of Partition: one from East Punjab to West Punjab, and vice versa; the other from Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal in the north, and Hyderabad Deccan in the south, to Karachi. These migrations were dissimilar in character.

While Punjab suffered the most in terms of looting, plunder, killings and mass rape, when the dust settled and passions had time to cool, the process of assimilation was relatively quick because East and West Punjabis, minor differences of course apart, came from the same cultural stock. With minor variations of dialect, they spoke the same language and shared the same history.

This was not so with the southern migration to Karachi and Hyderabad. Karachi was a cosmopolitan city even then – a mini-Bombay, so to speak – but it was the capital of Sindh, the culture and language of whose native inhabitants was radically different from that of the people who were coming to it from India.

Karachi soon became the centre not of Sindhi culture but of the culture of displaced Dehi, of Delhi as it had been before the tumult of Partition. Delhi today is a Punjabi city. Its old composite, Muslim-dominated culture, the culture from which arose the poetry of Mir and Ghalib, is a thing of the past, lost to the upheavals of time and history. No conqueror, not Taimur and not Nadir Shah, could destroy Delhi, or transform its character, as decisively as Partition did. Those who seek the old Delhi, authors like William Dalrymple, have to come to Karachi to catch a whiff of the past.

Pakistan would be the poorer without this infusion of Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Deccan culture. True, there was a downside to it as well, …. brought with their culture also their own prejudices. Insecurity and fear were part of their migrational baggage and these were infused into the thinking of the new state. But in cultural terms the arid wastes of Pakistan were enriched by that influx of talent and learning.

Punjabis being Punjabis, no new centre of culture arose in Punjab. But in Karachi we saw the birth of a transplanted culture, its soul carrying the imprint of loss and nostalgia, the usual hallmarks of any migration.

The downside comes from this very circumstance. Sixty four years after Partition we continue to live in the past, beset by old insecurities even though the times have changed and the old certitudes which gave birth to those insecurities no longer survive.

Sindhis are entitled to be a bit upset by all these changes. After all, they too are the inheritors of a great civilisation. Moenjodaro is the oldest pre-historic site discovered anywhere in India. There are other mighty life-giving rivers in the sub-continent: the sacred Ganges, the winding Brahmaputra. But only the Indus, sacred river of Sindh, gives its name to India. Hindus migrating to India from Sindh in 1947 take great pride in their Sindh ancestry.

Sindhi anger, nay Sindhi anguish, is centred on a primal concern. Why must the transposing of cultures be at their expense? And there is a fear lurking in their hearts, the fear of the Red Indian and the aborigine, of becoming strangers in their own homeland. This is a concern which must not be scoffed at. The rest of us, and this includes the successors to the civilisation of Delhi, should avoid words or gestures that smack even remotely of designs against the unity and integrity of Sindh.

From the immortal land of the five rivers, now only three left with us, thanks to the vagaries of history, more provinces can be carved out and no harm will come to it [Punjab]. But let no Punjabi leader or politician say that if Punjab is to be divided the same logic should apply to other provinces. This is wrong thinking. The same logic does not apply to Sindh, it does not apply to Balochistan. It is relevant only to Punjab and Punjab will be doing itself and the nation a service if it takes the lead in this respect, illuminating the path that others can follow.

A word may also be in order about another fixation of the Punjabi mind: Kalabagh dam. If Kalabagh dam is right then there is nothing wrong with the dams India is building on the rivers Chenab and Jhelum. If we are objecting to run-of-the-mill dams in Kashmir, dams whose water is not stored but is allowed to run, how can we support a storage dam on the Indus at Kalabagh? The logic just does not hold.

History cannot be undone. We have to live by its consequences. But Sindh of all regions of Pakistan requires a balance and moderation in the conduct of its affairs. Any hint of an unnatural hegemony of one part over the other is an invitation to anger and despair.

Courtesy: → The News

Terrorists in ‘Command and Control’?

– BY IMDAD SOOMRO

» During recent incidents of violence, ISI recorded conversations between Command and Control Centre officials and target killers, On Feb 28, SHC ordered handing over centre to Home Department, but directives not complied with so far

SINDH: KARACHI – The officials of the Command and Control Centre established by former Karachi nazim Mustafa Kamal is aiding target killers and terrorists in their activities, Pakistan Today has learnt. Sources said that with their eyes on various parts of the city through the cameras installed all across the metropolitan, the officials of the centre’s Cam Wing provide anti-social elements with information about movement of the police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies as well as instructions for terror activities.

During the recent incidents of violence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has recorded conversations of the centre’s officials with target killers and terrorists, the sources added. They said that officials of the Cam Wing were discovered directing criminals regarding targets for killing and causing disruption as well as vandalism, looting and arson.

The ISI has recorded conversations of Cam Wing officials on separate occasions of violence and found that they directed criminals to leave a particular location or reach a specific site, they added. Sources said that the ISI has forwarded a letter to the federal government to immediately investigate the Cam Wing officials, and has recommended that the centre be handed over to the law enforcers immediately because due to these corrupt officials, the law enforcers have been unable to take action against target killers and terrorists among other criminals.

In its letter, the ISI has also expressed its reservations over the department of Community Police, more commonly known as the City Wardens, the sources added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Community Police Department was also established by the former city nazim, and some 7,500 activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were appointed in the department without conducting any interviews to determine their eligibility.

It is also relevant to mention here that on February 28 this year, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered handing over the Command and Control Centre to the Sindh Home Department, but despite the passage of over five months, no action has been taken in this regard due to the Pakistan People’s Party’s policy of reconciliation.

An SHC division bench comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Imam Bux Baloch had ordered constituting a committee headed by the Sindh Special Home Secretary and Sindh Additional Inspector General of Police with Pakistan Rangers-Sindh Lieutenant Colonel and a grade-19 officer of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) as its members to supervise the centre.

The bench had issued the orders on a constitutional petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi President Muhammad Hussain Mehanti who sought handing over the centre to the Sindh government.

At the time of the SHC decision, Sindh Additional Advocate General Miran Muhammad Shah had assured the court on behalf of the provincial government that the centre would be run under the control of the Home Department.

Shah had said that the centre would be run under the supervision of the Home Secretary and law enforcers among others.

The court had then disposed of the petition and ordered handing over the centre to the Home Department.

The Command and Control Centre was established by the CDGK in its last tenure following the directives of the former city nazim to control the traffic problems of the city; however, according to sources, the centre has been misused by a specific political party.

They said that the law enforcers have expressed their reservations on many occasions and suggested that instead of a political party or the local government, this centre be supervised by the provincial government because the centre has been misused by a political party for its own interests.

Several terror incidents – including the 12 Rabiul Awwal, 12 May and April 9 incidents as well as the Ashura and Chehlum tragedies – shook the metropolis, but no video evidence was maintained or handed over to the law enforcers, they added.

They also said that former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza had publicly complained that the Command and Control Centre was being misused by a specific political party. The video clip of a recent quarrel between Mirza and a private television channel’s team was also provided by the officials of the centre to the said channel, they added.

Courtesy: →PAKISTAN TODAY

Responsibility to preserve Mohenjodaro transferred to Sindh

By Shahid Husain

Sindh: Karachi – The responsibility to preserve and maintain the 5,000-year old city of Mohenjodaro has been transferred to the provincial government, the Sindh Minister for Culture, Sassui Palijo told The News on Wednesday.

The minister said that this decision is in accordance with the current devolution plan in the country.

“Health, education, culture and tourism are being given to the provinces, in accordance with devolution plan, to ensure maximum provincial autonomy,” Palijo said. “The Antiquities Act will also be amended after a long time.”

Palijo further said that the Sindh Government has signed an agreement with UNESCO for the preservation of Mohenjodaro, which happens to be one of the largest heritage sites in the world. “The majority of the funding for the preservation of the site will be provided by UNESCO, while the Sindh Government and others will also make contributions,” said the minister.

Palijo credited Senator Rabbani for playing a vital role in the devolution plan. She said that work will also begin on ‘frozen projects’ that had been neglected for quite a while due to the lack of funding. Mohenjodaro was one of the greatest civilisations of ancient times and flourished on the banks of the River Indus (Sindhu).

“Before the arrival of the Aryans, the people of the Indus (Sindh) had already become a highly developed civilisation that spread over half a million miles. But then the civilsation vanished and all its glory was buried under massive mounds of sand. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harrapa proved the maturity and refinement of the people living in both areas. They used cotton for textiles, built large spacious houses and there were a number facilities for the residents, such as public baths ad well as an excellent drainage system. All these factors indicate that in many ways, the Indus Valley civilsation was more advanced than the Persians, Egyptians and Mesopotamians,” wrote former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and distinguished intellectual, Aitezaz Ahsan in his book called “The Indus Saga and the making of Pakistan. …

Read more : The News

MOEN JO DARO – SINDH

by Chandiramani

Ruins of Moen jo daro : 25 kms. Away from Larkana city in Sindh .. It was inhabited in 2000 B.C , abandoned in 1700 B.C and rediscovered in 1920 ‘ Around 5OOOO people stayed there at one time. Maybe more.

It was probably abandoned due to the floods as river Indus (Sindhu) changes its course very often Declared as Unesco world heritage site, Unesco 1n 1997 gave U.S $1O million for restoration and strengthening the base of the city .

5 artistic seals prove the extent of progress achieved in 2OOO B.C itself . The dancing girl denotes self confidence.

Wayang Kulit of Indonesia bears a lot of similarity to it. Scholars must do research on this similarity .

The priest or the king shows power and dignity and quite a few statues of goddesses were also found at the site.

Shiva was worshipped in this area is proved by phallus shaped stone objects in Moen jo Daro.

Moen jo daro had an excellent drainage system, planned wide roads, two storied houses – made of baked mud. There were also huge granaries for storage.

A great public bath has also been found at Moen Jo Daro with steps going down to a pond. Elliptical disc was found recently which may have been used fork eeping holy water . Pieces of charcoal were found at Moen jo Daro. This will help us to pin point the age of the site. According to latest reports on google all the ancient sites are eroding due to goverment neglect and public aphathy.

It is very heartening to know that Tata’s Fundemental Institute of Research which is highly respected all over the world, is undertaking a research on Moen jo Daro to find out if the city was laid as per astronomical placements of stars at that time like is the case with Borobudut, the largest Budhhist Complex in the world ( In Indonesia ). and Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Moen Jo Daro is a few hours drive from Karachi – Sindh.

According to Makarand Khatavkar who also conducted a lot of research on Moen Jo daro, the layout of the ancient Moen Jo Daro is astonishing and so are the seals.

Some streets in Moen Jo Daro were 33 feel broad, and had markets on both sides. At Moen jo Daro , there is a 5OOO year old well and the workers were drinking water from it.

Another very striking point was that no weapons of war were found at Moen Jo Daro.

Now about the script;: The Indus script has been known for the last century but until today it has not been deciphered.

However the studies by TIFR scientists and other world institutes suggest that Indus people wrote in a literary style and the script may have been written close to spoken languages like Tamil and Sanskrit .. The linguistic structure of the Indus (Sindhu) script suggests this .. Now the efforts are on to understand the grammatical structure of the script.

Article about Sindhi Hindus

The forgotten prayers of a people

By Sadef A. Kully

KARACHI: The legend is almost as old as the Indus River, Lord Shiva and his consort Sati, daughter of King Dakhsha, were vexed by Sati’s father for not inviting them for a ceremony. Sati went to the ceremony uninvited and in return was ignored. She was hurt by the behavior that she sacrificed herself in the fires and was burnt alive. Upon hearing the fate of his love, Lord Shiva went mad and began chaos on earth.

In order to help Lord Shiva deal with his grief, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s body in 12 pieces and scattered them across the earth where her head fell upon Hingol. Wherever the pieces of Sati’s body fell became Shakti Peethas, holy places of cosmic power, for all gods and worshippers.

Hingol is not a legend – as a matter of fact – today it is known as Hingol National Park and lies almost 170 km outside of Karachi in Balochistan. Sati’s head fell by Hinglaj Matajee Temple located inside a natural cave of a hill which is a holy pilgrimage site for the 2.5 million Hindus in Pakistan, although many feel the numbers have doubled in the last decade, and more than 90 per cent of them live in the Sindh province.

Hindus are the third religious group, after Muslim and Christians, and Hinduism is considered the indigenous religion of the sub-continent by local and international historians, which is not far from the truth.

There are over 40 Hindu temples across Pakistan, and in Sindh alone there are almost 30 temples in Karachi and interior Sindh. …

Read more : DAWN

Morocco : Jews and Muslims pray together at pilgrimage site

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