Tag Archives: Somalia

Al-Shabab stages deadly attack on Somalia luxury hotel

At least 11 people killed in an attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali police say.

By Hamza Mohamed

At least 11 people were killed, including a police officer, in an attack by al Shabab fighters on a luxury hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police sources said. The Central Hotel in the heart of Mogadishu was hit by a two car bomb explosion, which was followed by heavy gunfire after attackers stormed into the building, police officers said. Al Jazeera has learned that the deputy mayor of Mogadishu, as well as two members of parliament were killed.   Analysis: Al-Shabab’s deadly attack in Mogadishu A government spokesman told Al Jazeera that contratry to earlier reports, the deputy prime minister was unhurt.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the raid in a phone call to Al Jazeera. The group claimed it had killed more than 20 senior government officials in attack.

“We have killed more than 20 senior officials working for the apostate government. They gathered thinking they were safe from the Mujahedeen,” al Shabab military operations spokesman, Abdiaziz abu Muscab told Al Jazeera.

“We hear gunshots inside. I am afraid the attackers have also gone inside the hotel,” police captain Farah Abdullahi told the Reuters news agency.

Another police officer also said attackers had entered the building and that government ministers and MPs were inside the hotel when it was attacked.

January hotel attack

Friday’s assault was the second on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On January 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days later.

A Somali intelligence official said that the Turkish delegation of around 70 members was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack but were unharmed.

Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly campaign against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region.

The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighbouring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by the AU forces.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/deaths-attack-luxury-hotel-somalia-capital-mogadishu-150220103959237.html

 

Pakistan: A vanishing state

By Shabbir Ahmad Khan
Both empires and states fail or collapse. Examples include the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Mughal and British empires. From the recent past, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sudan are the best examples. Professor Norman Davies, in his book Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations recounts the history of 15 European states which disappeared. Professor Robert Rotberg, in his book When States fail: Causes and Consequences provides empirical description on a state’s failure. Similarly, the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine publishes a list of failed states each year, on which Pakistan ranks 13. Pakistan’s score is just 13 points below that of the most failed state in the world, Somalia, and just five points below that of Afghanistan, which is at number seven on the list.Why do empires and states fail or fall? There are a number of factors for state decline, including social, economic and political. The most common factor is global; it includes intervention by external political agents or forces. In such situations, the empires or states first fail to cope with the new challenges and later collapse. There is a new challenge before Pakistan, which no state in history has ever faced. Today, the world community is unified against religious extremism of any kind and a nuclear Pakistan is heavily convulsed by internal violence linked to religious extremism. After World War II, colonial powers gave independence to many nations, including Pakistan, with a clear rationale or prime motive. At a very critical juncture in history, if states lose their rationale, they lose their right to survive. Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture of her history. If she loses her rationale, she loses her right to exist.Two questions are important to answer the above-mentioned query. Who creates states and what is their rationale — i.e., the cause of their birth? More than 140 states got independence after the two world wars. The winners of the wars designed the world map by decolonising nations. The process of giving self-rule to new states was intentional and purposeful. British rulers, in congruence with the US, wanted to split India for their long-term interests in the region. In my opinion, Pakistan — the same way as the state of Israel — was created as an independent state to guard Western interests in the region. In both times of war and peace in history, Pakistan proved herself as the guardian of vested interests of Western powers. In return, Pakistan also got the liberty to do a number of things, including attaining nuclear capability. Throughout history, Pakistan changed herself with the changing demands of the West to fulfill her utility and her indispensability.

Thus, a militant, extremist, rigid and nuclear Pakistan was in the larger interests of Western powers, particularly to contain the Soviets and its allies, i.e., India. Now, the Western world has changed its policy towards the region where Pakistan is located and has demonetised its political currency by putting immense pressure on the country to change her course accordingly. But Pakistan seems reluctant.

Continue reading Pakistan: A vanishing state

Pakistan still global jihad hub

By

PESHAWAR: Pakistan is still a major destination for radicalised Muslims bent on a life of jihad, despite hundreds of US drone strikes, the death of Osama bin Laden and the fracturing of Al-Qaeda.

New battlegrounds have sprung up in Africa and the Middle East, but the number of foreign recruits smuggled into the northwestern tribal belt is increasing and they come from more diverse countries.

Since the 1980s “jihad” to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Muslim fighters from all over the world have lived and trained on the Afghan-Pakistan border, moulded into Al-Qaeda and a host of spin-off militant networks.

After US-led forces in late 2001 evicted the Taliban in Kabul for sheltering Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban fled across the border into Pakistan.

But Washington and Nato will end their combat mission in Afghanistan next year and these days the Taliban say their foreign allies are drawn to other conflicts, despite their support networks in a region outside direct government control.

“Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq or Mali,” one member of the Afghan Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity in northwest Pakistan.

Local officials estimate the number of Arab fighters has fallen by more than a half or two thirds in the last 10 years, to below 1,000.

In the last two years, some Al-Qaeda Arabs, particularly Libyans and Syrians, left to take part in the civil war in Syria and the violent uprising that overthrew Libya’s dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011.

Others migrated to Iraq in 2003, and others to Somalia and Yemen.

But Saifullah Khan Mehsud, executive director of the Fata Research Center, a think-tank focused on the tribal belt, says uprisings in the Middle East have had a minimal effect on the Arab presence in Pakistan.

“Arab fighters are not leaving in big numbers,” he told AFP. “They have been there for 30 years and it continues,” he added.

The number of fighters from other countries is also rising, say witnesses in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan — the district with the largest concentration of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

“The overall number of foreign jihadis has increased in the last two years. Every week we see new faces,” says one regular visitor.

There could be around 2,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in the border areas from around 30 different countries. During the 1980s, the number was also estimated to have been several thousand.

More nationalities, same problems

Most of the current crop are Turkmens and Uzbeks, numbering between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters according to local officials, who have fled authoritarian secular regimes in their home countries to set up their own groups.

The Islamic Jihad Union, which splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is based in Pakistan’s border areas. It is committed to toppling the government in Uzbekistan, and fights alongside insurgents in Afghanistan.

It has also plotted an attack in Germany, which was foiled.

US officials say covert drone strikes have played a huge role in destroying training camps and disrupting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 362 US drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since 2004 — 310 of them since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Although North Waziristan locals say the strikes kill more Taliban than Al-Qaeda operatives, they have condemned foreign fighters to a life underground.

“They are low profile, they dress like locals, they avoid big meetings and above all they move all the time,” a local journalist told AFP.

Mehsud says that foreigners are coming from a more diverse number of countries than in years past.

“A few months ago, we even welcomed some (two or three) people from Fiji for the first time!” says the Taliban member who spoke with AFP.

“There are more nationalities because they face the same problems. They tell us that they feel left aside by capitalism and discriminated by unfair laws, like the Swiss one on minarets or the French one on hijabs,” he adds.

Local and Western officials say the number of Western militants have fallen to dozens compared to the several hundreds of a few years ago.

A Canadian, who uses the name Mohammad Ibrahim, told AFP that he had been in Pakistan for three years but was now preparing to leave to wage jihad at home.

“Foreigners are now afraid to come to Pakistan because of the drone strikes,” he says, putting the number of his compatriots at 14, compared to “60 to 85 three years ago”.

A mechanical engineer by training, he says he works in “technical and logistic affairs” but does not elaborate further.

“I often met British, Spanish, Italians, Algerians and Germans. But now…our movements have been limited because of the drone strikes,” he says.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/01/27/pakistan-still-global-jihad-hub/

Karachi violence: At least 18 killed within 24 hours

 

KARACHI: As the spate of unrest continues in the city, at least 18 people have been killed within 24 hours due to firing and other incidences of violence, Express News reported on Sunday.

A political activist was shot dead by unknown armed men in the New Karachi area, while a body of another activist was found in the Shirin Jinnah Colony. Two others, also belonging to a political party, were injured in Korangi.

Continue reading Karachi violence: At least 18 killed within 24 hours

US government says terrorists could be in last stages of planning an attack in Kenya

By Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.S. government is warning that a terror attack on prominent government buildings and hotels in Kenya’s capital could be imminent.

The U.S. Embassy in Kenya said Monday the timing of the attack is not known but they believe it to be in its final planning stages. They did not give further details.

The embassy urged Americans to be vigilant.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from neighboring Somalia have vowed to carry out an attack on Kenya for sending troops into Somalia.

Kenya sent hundreds of troops into Somalia in October last year following a wave of kidnappings, including those of four Europeans on Kenyan soil, blamed on al-Shabab.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

 

The Future of Pakistan – By: Stephen P. Cohen

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

Irrespective of what Mr Cohen predicts, Pakistan needs help of its own intelligentsia in correcting the house… any catastrophe that may hit the country from the Afghanistan-like state collapse to the Bangladesh-like break up, the ultimate sufferers would be the people… there could be mass killings… there could be mass migrations… there could be hunger and diseases in the wake of increasing eating mouths and shrinking economy… it is obvious Pakistan has failed to achieve state cohesion… the degree of discontent is much higher… killings in the name of religion, sects, politics, ethnicity are on the rise… most of the population is ill-equipped for the modern world because of illiteracy… more killings are taking place in Pakistan’s urban centers than in tribal areas because of people living in cities have yet not developed urban and metropolitan culture… intolerance is at the highest peak… the writer blames Pakistan has proved itself an irresponsible state in the community of nations because it harbours militants who then create troubles for other countries… as a result, the country has earned more enemies than friends in the world… why Pakistan has reached this state of affairs…?.. the writer traces the set of symptoms to its birth from a non-Muslim country… since then it revolves its survival to a very narrow-minded ideology of getting national cohesion that one religion (Islam), one language (Urdu), one national identity (Pakistani) and one patriot army is the binding force… the state is not ready to move away from this unnatural oneness… while on the ground natural Pakistan is different… it is home to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Pakistan’s 93 per cent people does not speak Urdu, Sindhis have 10,000-years old national identity of being Sindhi… Pakistani identity is only 64-year old… Punjabi elite hugged this policy of cohesion to get maximum economic benefit… their chauvinistic approach considers others as unpatriotic…

Read more » The Future of Pakistan – By: Stephen P. Cohen

Via – adopted from facebook

Pakistan’s rush for more bombs – why?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpts;

….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.

This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.

First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.

But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.

The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.

This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.

To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.

To read complete article »  The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/328922/pakistans-rush-for-more-bombs–why/

Hopelessness to doom: Pakistan’s journey

Pakistan

by Malik A. Rashid

BBC reported, “The US is so concerned about security in Pakistan that it is considering plans to enter the country to prevent extremists getting hold of nuclear material”. According to Senator McCain, Pakistan’s ISI has connections with the Haqqani network. In his confirmation hearing Lt. Gen. John Allen said he is aware that explosive devises used against American forces in Afghanistancome from Pakistan. Adm. McRaven thinks Pakistanis know where Mulla Omar is. So, the US-NATO has enemies in Pakistan in their cross-hair.

But the war is not the root cause of the predicament Pakistan finds itself in. Declared #12 on the list of failed nations, Pakistan is the 3rd most dangerous country for women. Out of 70 million between 5 to 19 year old Pakistanis, only 30 million go to school. On education and health care together, government spends about 1% of the GDP. Pakistan’s rulers prescribed a low quality education for their public school system to keep commoners from joining the ranks of army officers and bureaucrats.

US have cut aid to Pakistan. Installment of IMF’s loan was declined because the government could not raise taxes. Pakistan’s economy grew by 2.4% in 2010-11, slower than Somalia’s economy which grew 2.6%. Population of the cities continues to rise; so does joblessness.

Since 75% of supplies to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan will be re-routed through North of Afghanistan by the end of this year, not only the war has turned unrewarding for Pakistan’s rulers, it challenges their power and state’s existence.

Army relied heavily on proxy-warriors to influence other countries in the region and manipulated international aid through terrorism, while the generals indulged in enriching themselves. The business empire of the Military Inc. continued to grow at the expense of dwindling electricity supplies while millions of citizens fell below the poverty line. A conflict with the world-powers has shaken the brazen and brutal power structure of Pakistan. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Focus should be Pakistan not Afghanistan, Sen. Lugar

US senators see Afghan hope, Pakistan fears

by Shaun Tandon

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Leading US senators on Tuesday saw momentum for political reconciliation in Afghanistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and urged a greater shift in focus to fighting extremism in Pakistan. …

…. Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the same committee, questioned why the United States was spending some $120 billion a year in Afghanistan, where some 100,000 US troops are deployed.

The question before us is whether Afghanistan is strategically important enough to justify the lives and massive resources that we are spending there, especially given that few terrorists in Afghanistan have global designs or reach,” the Indiana lawmaker said.

“To the extent that our purpose is to confront the global terrorist threat, we should be refocusing resources on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, parts of North Africa and other locations,” Lugar said.

Senators voiced concern about what they saw as support from Pakistan for the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, ….

Read more : Yahoo News

via Wichaar

Somalia : militants shoot young man dead after learning he had begun to follow Christ

New Christian Convert from Islam Murdered in Somalia

Muslim militants shoot young man dead after learning he had begun to follow Christ.

Excerpt:

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 20 (CDN) — Two Muslim extremists in Somalia on Monday (April 18) murdered a member of a secret Christian community in Lower Shabele region as part of a campaign to rid the country of Christianity, sources said.

An area source told Compass two al Shabaab militants shot 21-year-old Hassan Adawe Adan in Shalambod town after entering his house at 7:30 p.m.

“Two al Shabaab members dragged him out of his house, and after 10 minutes they fired several shots on him,” said an area source who requested anonymity. “He then died immediately.” The militants then shouted “Allahu Akbar [God is greater]” before fleeing, he said. …

…. On Jan. 7, a mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on the outskirts of Mogadishu by al Shabaab militia, according to a relative. The relative, who requested anonymity, said Asha Mberwa, 36, was killed in Warbhigly village when the Islamic extremists cut her throat in front of villagers who came out of their homes as witnesses.

She is survived by her children – ages 12, 8, 6 and 4 – and her husband, who was not home at the time she was apprehended. Her husband and children have fled to an undisclosed location.

Read more : Compass Direct News

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

Somali pirate offers to release Danish family in exchange for hand of daughter, 13

By Daily Mail Reporter

Life can be lonely on the high seas and one pirate has decided enough is enough, it’s about time he got himself a wife.

But the Somali pirate chief has taken a fancy to his 13-year-old Danish hostage – and he is so besotted with her he’s willing to let the rest of her family go free, and even forget the $5 million dollar ransom his pirate colleagues demanded.

According to The Times, the pirate made the bizarre proposal during a conversation with a Danish reporter, who visited the African nation to track down the Johansen family who were taken hostage in the Indian Ocean more than a month ago.

Read more : Mail Online

Unfit for Democracy? – NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Is the Arab world unready for freedom? A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy. Many around the world fret that “people power” will likely result in Somalia-style chaos, Iraq-style civil war or Iran-style oppression.

That narrative has been nourished by Westerners and, more sadly, by some Arab, Chinese and African leaders. So with much of the Middle East in an uproar today, let’s tackle a politically incorrect question head-on: Are Arabs too politically immature to handle democracy?

This concern is the subtext for much anxiety today, from Washington to Riyadh. And there’s no question that there are perils: the overthrow of the shah in Iran, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, of Tito in Yugoslavia, all led to new oppression and bloodshed. Congolese celebrated the eviction of their longtime dictator in 1997, but the civil war since has been the most lethal conflict since World War II. If Libya becomes another Congo, if Bahrain becomes an Iranian satellite, if Egypt becomes controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood — well, in those circumstances ordinary citizens might end up pining for former oppressors.

“Before the revolution, we were slaves, and now we are the slaves of former slaves,” Lu Xun, the great Chinese writer, declared after the toppling of the Qing dynasty. Is that the future of the Middle East?

I don’t think so. Moreover, this line of thinking seems to me insulting to the unfree world. In Egypt and Bahrain in recent weeks, I’ve been humbled by the lionhearted men and women I’ve seen defying tear gas or bullets for freedom that we take for granted. How can we say that these people are unready for a democracy that they are prepared to die for?

We Americans spout bromides about freedom. Democracy campaigners in the Middle East have been enduring unimaginable tortures as the price of their struggle — at the hands of dictators who are our allies — yet they persist. In Bahrain, former political prisoners have said that their wives were taken into the jail in front of them. And then the men were told that unless they confessed, their wives would promptly be raped. That, or more conventional tortures, usually elicited temporary confessions, yet for years or decades those activists persisted in struggling for democracy. And we ask if they’re mature enough to handle it?

Read more : Wichaar

Somalia, Pakistan top world terror risk list

LONDON: Pakistan is in the second spot in the world terrorism risk index (TRI), said a risk-advisory firm report that places Somalia at number one.

Global risks advisory firm Maplecroft prepared the index after assessing the frequency and intensity of terrorist incidents in 196 countries.

The report places 16 countries in the “extreme risk” category. While Iraq is placed third, Afghanistan is number four. …

Read more : THE ECONOMIC TIMES

Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.

The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment
Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.
Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.
Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.
After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.
Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.
The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.

Continue reading Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

One in three Indians ‘utterly corrupt’

NEW DELHI: Almost one-third of Indians are “utterly corrupt” and half are “borderline”, the outgoing head of the country’s corruption watchdog has said, blaming increased wealth for much of the problem.

Pratyush Sinha, who retired as India’s Central Vigilance Commissioner this week, said the worst part of his “thankless job” was observing how corruption had increased as people became more materialistic.

“When we were growing up I remember if somebody was corrupt, they were generally looked down upon,” he said. “There was at least some social stigma attached to it. That is gone. So there is greater social acceptance.”

Transparency International, the global anti-graft body, puts India 84th on its corruption perception index with a 3.4-point rating, out of a best possible score of 10.

New Zealand ranks first with 9.4 points and Somalia last on 1.1 points. …

Read more >> THE TIMES OF INDIA

Pakistan ranks 10th among ‘failed states’

Pakistan has more than once been described as the world’s most dangerous country

DAWN

WASHINGTON: Pakistan was ranked the 10th most failed state in the world, just three places below Afghanistan, in a US survey released on Monday. Somalia tops the 2010 Failed States Index followed by Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Chad.

Continue reading Pakistan ranks 10th among ‘failed states’

‘Pakistan fifth most unstable country in world’

Pakistan is ranked fifth in the list of the world’s most unstable countries, according to the US State Department’s Global Peace Index (GPI). Only Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan rank lower that Pakistan, whose position deteriorated for the second consecutive year as it slipped three places to find itself placed in the bottom five in the list of 149 countries.

Continue reading ‘Pakistan fifth most unstable country in world’

Somali Talibans kill two for watching World Cup

Somali militants killed two soccer fans whom they caught watching a 2010 FIFA World Cup game, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) said on its website.

The incident took place late on Saturday in a village near the Somali capital Mogadishu. A group of heavily armed militants of the Hezbal Islam radical group attacked a house where a group of soccer fans secretly followed the tense Argentina-Nigeria game.

“Two young men who tried to jump over the wall were shot and killed while ten others including my husband and my teenage son were taken into Islamist custody in the village,” Halima Ahmed, a mother of five children told AIPS in a phone conversation.

A Hezbal Islam leader, Sheik Mohamed Abu Abdalla, said the men violated the Islamic law and those caught by militants will be tried in an Islamic court.

“Football descended from the old Christian cultures and our Islamic administration will never allow watching what they call the FIFA World Cup. We are sending our last warning to the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents in the southern Jubba regions have sent a complaint letter to the Al Shabab militant group, which controls most of the southern and central parts of Somalia and a large swath of the capital seeking permission to watch the world’s largest sporting event.

But when community elders entered the Al Shabab administrative office in the southern key port town of Kismayo on Saturday, they were told that they would be arrested if they came back with a similar request.

To read full story at BBC urdu website, CLICK HERE OR visit following link of BBC urdu;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2010/06/100614_somalia_worldcup_ban.shtml

Collective Volunteerism: An Approach that May Work to Rebuild Pakistan

by K. Ashraf

Social, cultural, economic and political problems are growing in leaps and bounds in Pakistan on daily basis. The situation is so fluid no one can really predict the events of next moment. Is there going to be a suicide bombing, or sniper attack, or some other devastating accident, no one really knows. Fear, desperation, and helpless are the real rulers of Pakistan.

The other day the world press simultaneously broadcasted two news: One out of Mogadishu Somalia and the other from Swat Pakistan. A suicide bomber killed 20 people offering prayers in a mosque in Mogadishu . Another suicide bomber killed 11 people in Swat in Pakistan.

Is Pakistan any better than Somalia ? Perhaps, it is. Somalia does not have a government where as Pakistan does. However, Pakistani government is not any better than non-existent government in Somalia.

Like there is no government in Somalia to control the things there is a government in Pakistan but like Somalia it does not control anything. Pakistani government is nothing, but a herd of incompetent individuals who know how to boast but do not know how to deliver. There incompetence, or lack of desire to deliver, is further complicating the matters.

Pakistan is a country of one hundred and seventy million people. With several large size cities with completely broken life supporting systems, Pakistan is worse than Somalia . One can see horrible scenes across the country every second and feel sorry for the people, but without any effect or impact on its purblind rulers.

President and Prime minister look more sort of jackasses not up to the job they are holding. They are creating more problems in the country through inappropriate actions instead of helping the country move out of shadows of miseries, death and destruction. They spend more time on blaming others than spending half the time on fixing Pakistan’s problems.

There is a parliament in the country. Common Pakistani folks describe it as a rubber stamp or the debating club of thieves and thugs which is not interested in solving peoples’ problems. Within last two years, they have not taken up any issue faced by the people of Pakistan.

Is there a way out for the people of Pakistan? What should they do to resolve their problems? How should they compensate government inadequacies? We suggest they should develop the habit of collective volunteerism. They should form committees at street and city levels to deal with their day to day problems. If they develop the mechanism of collective volunteerism in all communities throughout the country they may start solving their trivial problems. They can help each other fix their broken systems and improve the quality of life in their communities. If they become really organized they can do miracles.

In many countries, the common folks have done these miracles. The people of Pakistan are not any lesser than any other people. They can also rebuild the broken social, cultural, economic and political systems in their communities through collective volunteerism.

Pakistanis are great charity givers. They should erect system to pool in their charities to rebuild the broken systems.

With every thing falling apart, may be collective volunteerism is the approach that may help Pakistanis to rebuild their communities and improve their lives.

Courtesy: CRDP, May 2, 2010

Woman stoned to death for adultery in Somalia

MOGADISHU: A judge for an militant group in Somalia says a woman has been stoned to death and her boyfriend given 100 lashes for having an affair. Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, the judge for the group al-Shabah, says the woman was killed on Tuesday in front of a crowed of some 200 people near the town of Wajid. Abdirahman says the 20-year-old woman had an affair with 20-year-old unmarried man and gave birth to a stillborn child. The militants that control much of southern Somalia have instituted a conservative reading of Sharia law. The stoning death was at least the fourth for adultery in Somalia over the last year. It was the second time a female has been killed. Last month, two men were stoned to death in Merka after being accused of spying.