Tag Archives: Taliban

Cease all financial and military aid to Pakistan: Senior Afghan lawmaker to US

Washington: A prominent Afghan lawmaker on Friday asked the US to stop all financial and military aid to Pakistan, including sale of F-16 jets, and impose economic sanctions, saying that the Pakistani government was providing safe havens to terrorists.

Read more » First Post
See more » http://www.firstpost.com/world/afghanistan-us-sanctions-pakistan-2756508.html

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US lawmakers question Pakistan’s policies

WASHINGTON: Several members of the US Congress launched on Wednesday a multi-pronged attack on Pakistan, questioning its policies and priorities.

 

Pakistan had to bear this humiliation for the $742 million that the Obama administration has proposed for the country in the next fiscal year. The lawmakers suggested using this money somewhere else.

Two US officials, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson and US Agency for International Development’s Donald Sampler, made feeble attempts to defend the proposed aid but they could not match the angry legislators.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chaired the hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, set the tone, with a frontal attack on Pakistan.

“The Taliban operate freely because Pakistan refuses to take action against them inside its borders,” she said while calling Pakistan “a direct contributor to the Taliban success”.

“It makes little sense to continue giving Pakistan billions of dollars if it’s going to continue to work against our interests,” she said, urging the US administration to “leverage our aid” to make Pakistan “a better regional partner with Afghanistan”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » https://www.dawn.com/news/1255150

US asks Pakistan to take concrete action against Haqqanis

WASHINGTON: The US State Depart­ment has publicly acknowledged that after last week’s massive car bombing in Kabul it asked Pakistan to take concrete action against the Haqqani network.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack outside a building of the National Directorate for Security in Kabul on Tuesday that killed 64 people and injured more than 300 others.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1254051/us-asks-pakistan-to-take-concrete-action-against-haqqanis

What is Bad for Delhi and Kabul is Bad for Lahore Too

BY

The Pakistan state policy of using jihadist terror to wage proxy wars is backfiring, as the Lahore bombing on Easter Sunday has tragically demonstrated.

Lahore – the nerve-centre of Pakistan’s Punjabi heartland – was soaked in blood this past Easter Sunday. A suicide bomber struck the bustling Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in the provincial capital when it was packed with families – scores of them Christian – enjoying perhaps the last weekend of the city’s evanescent spring before the weather warms up. At least 72 people have perished, most of them children and women, and many of them Christians. The jihadist group Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), which is a virulent off-shoot of the vicious Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility. That Pakistan’s fight against jihadist terrorism will be drawn out was known, but after the Mardan,Charsadda and Peshawar attacks, the Lahore carnage reaffirms that it will also be an extremely deadly one.

Read more » TheWire
See more » http://thewire.in/2016/04/02/what-is-bad-for-delhi-and-kabul-is-bad-for-lahore-too-27214/

TTP’s Jamaatul Ahrar claims responsibility

Suicide blast kills at least 65 in Lahore park

By Rana Tanveer / Agencies / Muhammad Shahzad / Ali Usman / Abdul Manan / Tahir Khan

religion 5
Photo credits: Social media.

 

Excerpt:

…. A Pakistan Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack.

“We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter,” spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat ul Ahrar, Ehansullah Ehsan said. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/1073825/blast-in-lahore-leaves-several-injured/

Musharraf: Pakistan and India’s backing for ‘proxies’ in Afghanistan must stop

In interview with the Guardian, former Pakistan president voices his support for Ashraf Ghani and hints that he cultivated the Taliban

By  in Karachi

Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani military ruler accused of sheltering and supporting the Taliban after 2001, has called for an end to the backing of militant “proxies” in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Guardian, Musharraf admitted that when he was in power, Pakistan sought to undermine the government of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai because Karzai had “helped India stab Pakistan in the back”. But now the time had come to “totally cooperate” with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president since September, who Musharraf believes is “the last hope for peace in the region”.

“In President Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore we were working against his interest. Obviously we had to protect our own interest,” Musharraf said. “But now President Ashraf Ghani has come and he is trying to restore balance in Afghanistan. We must totally cooperate with him.”

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/13/pervez-musharraf-pakistan-india-proxies-afghanistan-ghani-taliban

 

Pakistani agents ‘funding and training Afghan Taliban’ – BBC

Pakistani intelligence gives funding, training and sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought, a report says.

Taliban field commanders interviewed for the report suggested that ISI intelligence agents even attend Taliban supreme council meetings.

Support for the Afghan Taliban was “official ISI policy”, the London School of Economics (LSE) authors suggest.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/10302946?SThisFB

Asia’s Bleeding Heart – That’s what Pakistan’s broken pledges have reduced Afghanistan to.

Written by Mohammad Taqi

The Heart of Asia Conference (HOAC) in Islamabad last week was bookended by two devastating attacks in Kandahar and Kabul. As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was being honoured with a 21-gun salute in Islamabad, the Taliban were in the midst of a 20-hour-long assault on Kandahar airport that killed at least 54. And before the ink dried on the HOAC pledges, the Taliban penetrated the relatively secure diplomatic enclave in Kabul in a brazen attack on the Spanish embassy in which eight people died. The Afghan High Peace Council called it a slap in the face of the peace process. The Taliban is clearly sticking to the fight-talk-fight strategy even in winter. That the Taliban chose a key peace conference to shed blood is the jihadist group’s way of painting the Afghan government as weak and it’s the harbinger of yet another bloody spring and summer.

Read more » The Indian Express
See more » http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/heart-of-asia-conference-asias-bleeding-heart/

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been seriously wounded in shooting at a meeting of militants in Pakistan

Afghan Taliban leader Mansour ‘wounded in gunfight’

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been seriously wounded in shooting at a meeting of militants in Pakistan, Taliban sources say.

Four Taliban gunmen were killed in the gunfight after an argument on the outskirts of Quetta, a source said.

Another report said Mullah Mansour died but this is unconfirmed.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34983477

Afghan leader begs Putin to send gunships to fight Taliban insurgents in clear signal of worsening security in the war-torn country

By Larisa Brown Defence Correspondent For The Daily Mail

Putin asked by Afghan government to help country fight the Taliban
President Ghani appealed to the Kremlin for help after recent violence
Afghan President asked for artillery, small arms and helicopters
Russian officials have said they are ‘willing to help’

Read more » Daily Mail
See more » http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3290914/Afghan-leader-begs-Putin-send-gunships-fight-Taliban-insurgents-clear-signal-worsening-security-war-torn-country.html

Taliban claims to recapture large parts of Kunduz city

Armed group says it controls most parts of city after it was briefly taken by government forces backed by US strikes.

The Taliban has reportedly regained control of large parts of the northern city of Kunduz, after days of intense fighting against Afghan troops backed by US air strikes, Al Jazeera has learnt.

Earlier on Sunday, government forces, which have been trying to take control of the city, said they had made gains, but those appear to have been shortlived.

Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from Puli Khumri just south of Kunduz, said that at around 1200 GMT, Taliban fighters launched counter-attacks, driving back government forces from the areas, where they had earlier made gains.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/taliban-claims-recapture-afghan-city-kunduz-151004132211450.html

As it happened: PM Modi’s UAE visit

PM Modi on Monday addressed a packed house at the Dubai Cricket Stadium, sending out a strong message on terror and reaching out to Indians across the globe.

Key Highlights

We have undertaken an extensive infrastructure development programme on the eastern coast of India.10:21 PM
Our government is visible everywhere and all the time.10:09 PM
Good Taliban and bad Taliban, good terrorism and bad terrorism won’t work any more. People have to decide if they are with humanity or with terrorism.10:01 PM
The reason why the world looks at India differently today is the will-power of 1.25 crore Indians.09:52 PM
A clear indication against terrorism has been given in a united voice from UAE.09:48 PM
The UAE Crown Prince has agreed to invest Rs 4.5 lakh crores in India.09:44 PM
People who are associated with Abu Dhabi know how big a decision it is to give land for a temple here. The Crown Prince deserves a standing ovation for it.09:40 PM
People from Kerala are there in large numbers. And I am specially talking about them due to the New Year festival today.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/PM-Modi’s-UAE-visit/liveblog/48507741.cms

Mullah Omar’s son Yaqub Reportedly Killed: Official

By Written by TOLOnews.com

Afghanistan’s first deputy speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) Zahir Qadir on Monday said that Mullah Omar’s son, Mullah Yaqub, was killed last week in Quetta, Pakistan.

According to him, Mullah Yaqub, who had hoped to succeed his father as leader of the Taliban, was killed while at a meeting in the city four days ago (Thursday).

“We were told about Mullah Omar’s death two years back and now his son Mullah Yaqub who was 21 or 22 years old was trying to be appointed as his father’s successor. But Mullah Mansour also tried to become leader of the Taliban, therefore it is said that he was killed some days back,” Qadir told TOLOnews.

“The opposing Taliban and Pakistan had a hand in killing Mullah Yaqub. The reality will be made clear soon,” he said.

In addition to this, Afghan security sources told TOLOnews late Monday that in the past 24 hours three clashes between Taliban factions have been reported in Quetta city in Pakistan.

One attack was on a convoy transporting newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s deputy, the source said.

A source said that Maulvi Haibatullah Noorzai, Mullah Mansour’s deputy, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on his convoy by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.

The source wishing anonymity said that former Nangarhar governor and Taliban head of the central committee, Maulvi Abdul Kabir, was also in the convoy.

Unidentified persons mounted the attack on the convoy on the outskirts of Chaman area in Pakistan, the source said, adding Haibatullah and Maulvi Abdul Kabir escaped unhurt but three other Taliban leaders were wounded in the attack.

The top Taliban leaders were in the locality to garner support for Mullah Mansour from local clerics when they came under attack.

Chaman is the hometown of Mullah Abdul Razzaq who has opposed Mullah Mansour’s nomination as Taliban leader. Mullah Mansour has been appointed as Mullah Omar’s successor.

Two other attacks also occurred between Taliban factions in the past two days. Both were carried out on houses in Quetta city but it is unclear who the residents are or whether any casualties were reported.

The news of Mullah Yaqub’s death however comes just days after he and his uncle Abdul Manan, Mullah Omar’s younger brother, were reportedly among more than a dozen Taliban figures who walked out of Wednesday’s leadership meeting held in Quetta.

It was at this meeting that the Taliban named Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the group’s new leader.

Reuters reported that the display of dissent within the group’s secretive core is the clearest sign yet of the challenge Mansour faces in uniting a group already split over whether to pursue peace talks with the Afghan government and facing a new, external threat, Islamic State.

Rifts in the Taliban leadership could widen after confirmation of the death of Mullah Omar.

Mansour, Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy who has been effectively in charge for years, favors talks to bring an end to more than 13 years of war. He recently sent a delegation to inaugural meetings with Afghan officials hosted by Pakistan, hailed as a breakthrough.

But Mansour, 50, has powerful rivals within the Taliban who oppose negotiations and have been pushing for Mullah Omar’s son Yaqub to take over the movement.

“Actually, it wasn’t a Taliban Leadership Council meeting. Mansour had invited only members of his group to pave the way for his election,” said one of the sources, a senior member of Taliban in Quetta. “And when Yaqub and Manan noticed this, they left the meeting.”

Among those opposing Mansour’s leadership are Mullah Mohammad Rasool and Mullah Hasan Rahmani, two influential Taliban figures with their own power bases who back Yaqub.

News courtesy: Tolo News
Read more » http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/20731-mullah-omars-son-yaqub-reportedly-killed-official

Afghan forces on alert amid reports Pakistani helicopters helping Taliban

By MIRWAIS ADEEL

The Afghan national security forces were put on alert amid reports Pakistani helicopters are helping the Taliban militants by supplying weapons in eastern Paktika province.

Deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Dawlat Waziri, told reporters on Monday that the Afghan forces have been instructed to use all force to react and stop Pakistani helicopters to assist the Taliban militants.

The remarks by Waziri were followed after reports emerged that the Pakistani helicopters are dropping weapons to Taliban in Barmal district.

This comes as tensions have intensified across the Durand Line following a brief clash between the Afghan security forces with the Pakistani troops in Paktika province last week.

At least eight Pakistani security personnel were reportedly killed after the Afghan forces responded to their provocative action of building military installations within the Afghan soil.

A member of the Afghan national security forces also lost his life during the gun battle with the Pakistani troops.

The Afghan government officials have long been criticizing Pakistan, specifically the country’s military intelligence – Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said last month that the attack on Parliament building in Kabul was orchestrated in Peshawar city, provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

NDS officials said the attack was carried out by Haqqani terrorist network with the support of ISI which left five people killed and 30 others wounded.

Follow Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook. Stay updated viaRSS

News courtesy: KHAAMA PRESS
Read more » http://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-on-alert-amid-reports-pakistani-helicopters-helping-taliban-1251

ISIS terrorists ambush and behead 10 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan as the bloody rivalry between the terror groups intensifies

ISIS jihadis intercepted and killed Taliban fighters as they fled a firefight
Taliban were trying to escape government troops at the time of the ambush
The attack took place in a remote area in eastern Nangarhar province
ISIS fighters killed at least 10 of the Taliban fighters in brutal beheadings

By JOHN HALL FOR MAILONLINE

Extremists fighting for the Islamic State’s fledgling outpost in Afghanistan have brutally beheaded at least 10 Taliban members, as the bloody rivalry between the two Islamic terror groups intensifies.

The attack took place in a remote area in the eastern province of Nangarhar after ISIS jihadis intercepted at least a dozen Taliban fighters who were fleeing a gun battle with government troops.

The rival terror groups declared war on one another in April after the Afghan Taliban branded ISIS’ self-declared caliphate illegitimate and refused to declare allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ISIS responded by launching recruitment drives deep into Taliban territory, allowing them to expand rapidly – even reportedly replacing the Taliban as the dominant controlling force in one district.

Details of the mass beheadings were revealed by India.com, who said it came as Taliban fighters fled a remote outpost following a fierce firefight with Afghan security forces nearby.

The report suggested that as many as 12 Taliban fighters may have been beheaded by ISIS, although the official figure remains at 10.

Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, is a key target for ISIS as it looks to expand the territory under its control on its mission to build a worldwide caliphate.

Over the past year members of the Pakistani Taliban have displayed for more support for ISIS than their Afghan counterparts have done, with a number of prominent Pakistani jihadi groups going as far as declaring allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi while insisting they remain part of the Taliban.

The divide between the Afghan and Pakistani branches of the Taliban stems from the former’s desire to keep all non-Afghan influence out of the country, which the latter’s priority is to create a global caliphate, or Islamic state, under which harsh Sharia law would be enforced.

See more » DailyMail
More » http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3114979/ISIS-terrorists-ambush-behead-10-Taliban-fighters-Afghanistan-bloody-rivalry-terror-groups-intensifies.html
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3114979/ISIS-terrorists-ambush-behead-10-Taliban-fighters-Afghanistan-bloody-rivalry-terror-groups-intensifies.html#ixzz3cyr7X9nz
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Taliban to the rescue: Iran reportedly arms Afghan militants against US, ISIS

Tehran is reportedly betting on the Taliban’s rise and is providing the militant movement with arms and training to secure leverage over it. Iran wants influence to counter the US and have fighters ready for a possible offensive by Islamic State.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Iran has been providing the Taliban not only with money, but also hosted training camps in its territory since at least the fall of 2013. The US newspaper cites Western and Afghan officials and also a Taliban commander, who, the report says, was recruited by Iranian intelligence and is currently on Iran’s payroll.

“Iran is betting on the re-emergence of the Taliban,” a Western diplomat told WSJ. “They are uncertain about where Afghanistan is heading right now, so they are hedging their bets.”

Iran’s support of the Taliban is an alliance of convenience, according to the report. Iran is a Shiite country while the Taliban is Sunni, a difference that is difficult to bridge. In 2001, Tehran didn’t object to the ousting of the Taliban from power by a US-led invasion.

However, things have evolved, and with Taliban influence in Afghanistan growing, having a hand in it is becoming a useful asset. In 2013, the Iranians officially invited a Taliban delegation to an Islam conference.

WSJ interviewed Abdullah, a Taliban commander, who said he was an Afghan illegal immigrant in Iran, who was recruited by Iranian intelligence. He currently receives $580-a-month salary as well as necessary supplies from his sponsors, he said. Among the weapons he can order are 82mm mortars, light machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, he added.

Abdullah and Afghan official said Iran operates four training camps for the Taliban in the Iranian cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Zahedan and in the province of Kerman.

The report points to Tayeb Agha, the head of the Taliban’s office in Qatar, as the main connection between the movement and Iran.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/266812-iran-arms-taliban-isis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Islamic radicalisation in UK frightening: Prince Charles

By PTI

London: Britain’s Prince Charles has described as “frightening” the growing radicalisation of British Muslim youth who have been joining the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, partly due to “crazy stuff” available on the internet.

The heir to Britain’s throne said the radicalisation was “one of the greatest worries” that could not be swept “under the carpet” but expressed his hope to build bridges between different faiths in an interview to the BBC broadcast today.

Asked about the radicalisation of young people in the UK, Prince Charles said: “Well, of course, this is one of the greatest worries, I think, and the extent to which this is happening is the alarming part. And particularly in a country like ours, where you know the values we hold dear.

“You think that the people who have come here, (are) born here, go to school here, would imbibe those values and outlooks.

“The frightening part is that people can be so radicalised either through contact with somebody else or through the internet, and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff which is on the internet,” he said.

Read more » Hindustan Times
See more » http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/islamic-radicalisation-in-uk-frightening-prince-charles/article1-1314896.aspx

`Modi may use military option if terror attack traced to Pakistan’

By PTI

“Every Indian Prime Minister since the attack on the Parliament in Delhi now heading on 15 years ago has looked seriously at a military response when these incidents occur and has stepped back. But I believe that sentiment inside India has changed substantially and I think this Prime Minister is unlikely to step back,” former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill said.

“If there is a major terrorist attack whose breadcrumbs lead to Pakistan and the Pakistan military and ISI, I think that this Prime Minister is likely to use military force against Pakistan territory. It’s not a certainty,” Blackwill told reporters during a conference call organised by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank.

Read more » The Hindu
Learn more » http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/modi-may-use-military-option-if-terror-attack-traced-to-pakistan/article6864786.ece

Shias of Shikarpur: slaughtered by apathy

By Muhammad Taqi

The ASWJ leaders’ non-stop hate speeches and incitement to violence provide the breeding milieu and recruitment grounds for bombers like the one who carried out the Shikarpur massacre

The bombing at the Shikarpur, Sindh imambargah (mosque/worship place) may have been carried out by the terrorist group Jundullah but over 60 Shia who perished there were actually slaughtered by collective national apathy. While the Shias were picking up the bits and pieces of what remained of their loved ones after Jundullah’s bomb ripped through the imambargah, the Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan, Mr Nawaz Sharif, was literally joking about his lunch being subpar at the Karachi Stock Exchange ceremony. The PM did not say one word of sympathy for the Shias of Shikarpur at the time. At the same time the self-exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mr Altaf Hussain, was live on assorted television channels along with his lieutenant Mr Ishratul Ibad, the governor of Sindh, and the business tycoon Mr Malik Riaz. None, including Mr Hussain, who is known for his long-winded speeches, bothered to utter even a single line about the tragedy that shell-shocked Shia were going through right at that moment. The chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Mr Imran Khan, fared better at his press conference, which was also being televised live then and spent about three out of 20 minutes offering commemorative prayers for the fallen Shia and condemning the attack. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that has been ruling Sindh since 2008 took the cake, however, for callous pettiness: it suspended the area’s police Station House Officer (SHO)!

Read more » Daily Times
Learn more » http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/05-Feb-2015/shias-of-shikarpur-slaughtered-by-apathy

Hafiz Saeed urges India to ‘leave Kashmir’

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed urged India to “leave Kashmir” while addressing a rally in Lahore to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day on Tuesday.

“No one could defeat the Muslims… If America had to run away, then India, you will have to leave Kashmir as well,” said Saeed amid chants of ‘al-jihad, al-jihad’.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/502947/hafiz-saeed-urges-india-to-leave-kashmir/

Civil society protesters, led by Jibran Nasir, ‘arrested’ during Karachi sit-in

KARACHI: Jibran Nasir and members of the civil society weer reportedly arrested after resuming the Shikarpur sit-in  outside the CM house in Karachi, pressing the government to take swift action against Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) solidarity rally on Kashmir Day.

At the Kashmir Day rally, ASWJ allegedly threatened members of the civil society as well as the Sindh government for unnecessarily terming them a banned organisation.

https://soundcloud.com/moh…/aswj-threatening-civil-society

The civil society’s 31-hour-long protest outside the CM house, from earlier this week, came to an end Tuesday night, after Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Culture Sharmila Farooqi promised that the provincial government will take stern action against “banned” militant organisations, including ASWJ.

No official notification, however, has been taken out by the home department to outlaw ASWJ.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, “The charter of demands we came with initially has failed. But this time, we won’t stop. We will continue our sit-in till justice is served,” Nasir said.

“We’ll do a hunger strike if we have to. Allowing ASWJ, or any other outfit that insights violence, to carry out political activities openly, is a violation of the law,” he added.

Read more » The Express Tribune
Learn more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/833400/civil-society-protesters-led-by-jibran-nasir-arrested-during-sit-in-outside-cm-house/#.VNOCf7JOr_E.facebook

‘China, Russia back India on UN terror resolution targeting Pakistan’

NEW DELHI: China and Russia decided on Monday to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) — a resolution supported by India and heavily biased against Pakistan.

At a meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Beijing, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said her counterparts from the two countries understood the need for endorsing the resolution that has been pending at the UN for nearly two decades and seeks to widen the existing definition of terrorism.

The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 in lieu of Pakistan allegedly backing Kashmiri separatists.

In Tuesday’s meeting, the RIC communiqué vouched to oppose terrorism of all forms and called all countries to join efforts in combating terrorism together with the United Nations.

Speaking at a press conference after the RIC meeting, Swaraj told reporters: “Our discussions on terrorism brought consensus on two issues. Firstly, there can be no ideological, religious, political, racial or any other justification for the acts of terrorism and secondly the need to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these acts of terror.”

Swaraj added that the ministers emphasized the need to step up information gathering and sharing and prevent the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the purposes of recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts.

News courtesy » The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/832183/china-russia-back-india-on-un-terror-resolution-targeting-pakistan/

Is Pakistan Really Cracking Down on Terrorism?

BY

Many have called it a game-changer. On December 16, gunmen loyal to the Pakistani Taliban attacked a military school in Peshawar, killing 148 people. Most of the victims were children, and many were killed as they hid under the desks. The violence was so gruesome it seemed to rattle the country like never before. Quickly, the Pakistani government rushed to assure people it had the situation under control. In the aftermath of the attack, the government set up special military tribunals in which to try suspected terrorists, and the penalties are expected to be harsh. Meanwhile, the army reportedly broadened its crackdown in the federally administered tribal areas, in hopes of thwarting terrorism. “There will be no differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said. As Matthew Green wrote in Newsweek, Sharif’s words were “a rare public acknowledgement of Pakistan’s murky record on state sponsorship of extremist proxies.” But more than a month after the massacre in Peshawar, has anything really changed? To explore that question, I chatted with Christine Fair, a professor of South Asian political and military affairs at Georgetown and the author of Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Was the school shooting a turning point for Pakistan?

It absolutely was not. The army has said very clearly that they’re hoping these [tribunals] are going to give Pakistanis confidence that the military has the situation under control, but they don’t have anything under control

Who are the “bad militants” in Pakistan?

For the most part, almost all of the so-called bad militants have their origins in groups that the state has long sponsored, aided, abetted, trained and in some cases even developed from the grassroots, either to fight in India or in Afghanistan. So there would be no Pakistan Taliban if there had not been this flotilla of militant groups that the state developed.

The groups targeting the state follow the Deobandi interpretative tradition of Islam. This is important because this means that they share a significant common organizational infrastructure. For example, they rely on mosques and madrassas that adhere to the Deobandi tradition of Islam. When 9/11 happened and Pakistan was forced to work with the Americans, these Deobandi groups were furious. Many of these groups came to know Al-Qaeda through their association with the Taliban in Afghanistan. [The Afghan Taliban emerged from Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan.] And these Deobandi groups were furious that the Pakistani state was aiding the overthrow, not only of the Taliban government, but the only government in the world that was exercising a Deobandi version of Sharia [Islamic law]. After 9/11…[some] of these Deobandi groups began fracturing and disobeying the [Pakistani] state. That’s when the insurgency began. Over time these Deobandi organizations began calling themselves the Pakistani Taliban.

Who are the “good militants”?

The “good militants” are, of course, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, which continue to be loyal to the Pakistani state. And elements of the Pakistani Taliban that refuse to kill Pakistanis. All of those groups kill in Afghanistan on behalf of Pakistan’s interests. The other “good militant group” is Deobandi is Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was raised to kill Indians in Kashmir and beyond. Over the past year or so, Pakistan has been trying to resurrect Jaish with the aim of luring away some members of the Pakistani Taliban into Jaish for operations against India. There’s one other group that we haven’t talked about, because they’re not Deobandi, and that’s Lashkar-e-Taiba. That organization belongs to the Ahl-Hadith tradition of Islam. This organization has never conducted an operation in Pakistan. They have exclusively focused on India for the vast majority of its history. In recent years, they have been operating against Americans and our Afghan and other allies in Afghanistan.

Is Pakistan unable to crack down on the “bad militants”? Or do they simply choose otherwise?

The problem is they want to preserve the networks that produce terrorists because those networks are the same networks that also produce the “good militants.” When the “bad militants” come after the state, the Pakistanis do try and kill them. And they try and kill them rather than arrest them because Pakistan’s [civilian] legal system is so decrepit, judges are afraid to convict. But they can’t shut down the system comprehensively because Pakistan still hopes to use “good militants” as tools of foreign and defense policy in the region.

What purpose do these “good militants” serve?

Pakistan is an ideological state, not a security-seeking state. Pakistan was founded as the homeland for South Asia’s Muslims. The Pakistan movement mobilized around the Two Nation Theory, which held that Muslims and Hindus are equal nations even if Muslims are fewer in number than Hindus. The proponents of the Two Nation Theory argued that Muslims cannot live under Hindu domination. Pakistan needs to wrest Kashmir away from India to fulfill the dream of the Two Nation Theory because Kashmir is the only Muslim majority area in India.

Pakistan also hopes to retard India’s ability to impose its will on Pakistan and other countries in the region.The only assets Pakistan has to accomplish these goals are its jihadis, who operate with impunity thanks to Pakistan’s growing nuclear weapons. Also, these groups undertake operations with plausible deniability.

The so-called good militants also have an important role to play in Afghanistan. Pakistan prefers a manageable chaos in Afghanistan rather than an Afghanistan that is friendly to India. Pakistan is trying to bring some of the “bad militants” back into the fold of the “good militants.” Pakistan’s efforts to reorient part of the Pakistani Taliban in this way also explains why the Pakistan military gave a five-months warning before undertaking operations in North Waziristan. They wanted to make sure they could return as many of their assets as possible to the category of good militants. And they were pretty successful. What remained in North Waziristan are committed foes who can be dealt with through violence and death.

Continue reading Is Pakistan Really Cracking Down on Terrorism?

Sindh’s rude awakening

By Qasim A. Moini

Friday’s massacre in a Shikarpur Imambargah has proved fears long held by many observers that behind the traditional image of Sindh as a placid land of Sufis, a much darker reality is developing.

While Karachi, the provincial capital, has witnessed incredibly bloody violence carried out by militants of various stripes, it is the first time an attack of such devastating proportions has occurred outside the metropolis, in the hinterland of Sindh.

Also read: At least 60 killed in blast at Shikarpur imambargah

Shikarpur and its surrounding districts are far from islands of peace and tranquillity. They have witnessed a high level of lawlessness as well as religiously-inspired violence, but nothing of this level. For example in February 2013 the custodian of a dargah was attacked in neighbouring Jacobabad district. Yet while the area is said to have a soft corner for religious groups, there is no major history of sectarian discord.

Senior journalist Sohail Sangi says there have been a number of sporadic incidents of religiously-inspired violence in Shikarpur and its environs. “Nato supply trucks were attacked in this region. It is quite a lawless area. Religious groups and parties have considerable presence here. Before the Sept 11 attacks some locals even went to fight for the Afghan Taliban. But there are not that many sectarian issues. Sectarian problems mostly exist in Khairpur and Sukkur.

Indeed Khairpur, which borders Shikarpur, has developed a reputation for communal tension and is seen as one of the centres in Sindh of the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan/Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. In fact the late head of the SSP,

Ali Sher Hyderi, who was killed in 2009 in the city, hailed from Khairpur. Elsewhere in the province, extremist outfits are said to be active in the Thar region, while along most of the provincial highways sectarian and religious graffiti is hard to miss.

Security analyst Amir Rana feels Sindh is going through the same motions as Punjab did in the 1990s where the development and proliferation of extremist tendencies are concerned.

“Different [extremist] groups have been making inroads in Sindh. After Ali Sher Hyderi’s assassination there were fears there would be a reaction. However, it didn’t happen then.

Deobandi madressahs are spreading, similar to what happened in the Punjab in the 1980s. With the expansion of madressahs, sectarian tendencies also tend to grow. The sectarian divide is definitely growing in Sindh,” he observes.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yusuf feels the atrocity in Shikarpur puts a question mark over the state’s methods of countering militancy in the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack.

The bombing “goes against the government’s rationale that military courts and the death penalty would be deterrents. There needs to be zero tolerance for sectarian outfits. The government is not clear. The list of banned outfits has not been clearly released.

You need a clear definition of [who] the terrorist and sectarian groups are and what the government is doing against them. The government is in two minds, whether to take action against them or not.”

Asked how the state was dealing with the threat of extremism in Sindh, Mr Rana feels that efforts are piecemeal and that the state is not looking at the bigger militant picture.

“The administration takes a firefighting approach. It doesn’t take any actions [which it thinks] may lead to a law and order situation. Things are handled on a case-by-case basis at the district level. There is no broader perspective.”

Sindh clearly has a problem with extremism, and if it is not examined in a forthright manner, the cancer of sectarian and religious hatred will only grow.

Considering the province’s historically pluralist ethos, there may still be time to turn the tide and root out the merchants of death and divisiveness. If this is not done, Shikarpur may well be the harbinger of worse tragedies to come.

Courtesy: Published in Dawn January 31st, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1160614/

Pakistan’s paradigm shift: too good to be true?

TaqiBy Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Pakistan-Haqqani ties date back to the mid-1970s, long before any Soviets, the US, mujahideen, Taliban or al Qaeda popped onto the scene, and are unlikely to be severed so abruptly

“Een keh mi-beenam ba baidaareest ya Rabb, ya ba khwab?/ Khaishtan raa dar chuneen nai’mat pas az chundeen azaab!”//

Pakistan’s national security paradigm has changed, or so they say. Perhaps my Afghan readers, who would be the major beneficiaries of such a tectonic shift, may be able to appreciate the above quoted Persian verse, in which the classic poet Anvari says: “O my Lord, am I seeing this all while I am awake or is it a dream? Such bounties for this poor soul after such prolonged misery!” After the decades of the death and destruction it unleashed, the Jalaluddin Haqqani terrorist network, run currently by his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, has reportedly been banned by Pakistan. Additionally, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which effectively is the political front for the proscribed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), has ostensibly been banned too. Amen to that! There, however, is a slight problem before one goes to town on the news: it is not official and might actually not become official for several weeks or, perhaps, ever.

Continue reading Pakistan’s paradigm shift: too good to be true?

Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

By Syed Rashid Munir

In just a couple of weeks, thousands of Pakistani youth will sit through one of the most rigorous tests of human memory, in the form of the annual Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. In the exam, they will be asked questions ranging from the absurd to the most absurd, and you can almost be sure that the name of the brother-in-law of the sister of one of the cousins of the premier of a small African republic will be on the paper.

But, sometimes, through sheer luck, you can be tested on a relatively easier topic, for instance say, the name of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Under normal circumstances, this would be an absolute freebie of a point; the ‘aspirants’ would only have to recall the results of the last election, promptly mark Mr Nawaz Sharif’s name on the question paper, and then start daydreaming about sticking it to others while sitting in big offices.

This time though, such a query is bound to be a loaded question. Let me explain why.

In a parliamentary system like ours, the prime minister is usually appointed by the political party in majority in the representative assembly. Tradition dictates that the leader of the majority party be bestowed with this honour (though there have been significant diversions from this norm even in recent years).

The prime minister is supposed to lead his cabinet and the country through thick and thin, and ooze a shimmering aura of national unity, so much so that the hearts of the masses are supposed to fill with a warm glow each time they look at their leader.

The premier is supposed to be approachable, so that his/her constituents can share their problems and concerns.

The premier should also have an unblemished reputation of being not only uncorrupt, but also incorruptible. He/she must understand the nuances of the issues and cultures within the territory of the country, and present a clarity of vision in taking initiative towards national reform.

All this is fine and dandy. But now, let us take a small dose of reality.

Continue reading Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

Mosque versus state

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

THE mosque in Pakistan is now no longer just a religious institution. Instead it has morphed into a deeply political one that seeks to radically transform culture and society. Actively assisted by the state in this mission in earlier decades, the mosque is a powerful actor over which the state now exercises little authority. Some have been captured by those who fight the government and military. An eviscerated, embattled state finds it easier to drop bombs on the TTP in tribal Waziristan than to rein in its urban supporters, or to dismiss from state payroll those mosque leaders belonging to militant groups.

Very few Pakistanis have dared to criticise the country’s increasingly powerful mosque establishment although they do not spare the Pakistan Army and the country’s political leaders for their many shortcomings. For example, following the Army Public School massacre, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s promise to regulate the madressahs was immediately criticised as undoable. Had he instead suggested that Pakistan’s mosques be brought under state control as in Saudi Arabia, Iran and several Muslim countries, it would have been dismissed as belonging to even beyond the undoable.

The state’s timidity was vividly exposed in its handling of the 2007 bloody insurrection, launched from inside Islamabad’s central mosque, Lal Masjid, barely a mile from the heart of Pakistan’s government. It was a defining point in Pakistan’s history. The story of the Lal Masjid insurrection, its bloody ending, and subsequent rebound is so critical to understanding the limitations of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism that it deserves to be told once again.

Very few Pakistanis have dared to criticise the country’s increasingly powerful mosque establishment.

In early January 2007, the two head clerics of the Lal Masjid demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally constructed mosques knocked down by the civic authorities. Days later, an immediate enforcement of Sharia in Islamabad was demanded. Armed vigilante groups from Jamia Hafsa and nearby madressahs kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, burned CDs and videos, and repeated the demands of tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.

At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an illegal FM broadcast from the mosque’s own radio station, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in every nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”

The brothers Abdul Aziz and Abdur Rashid Ghazi, who headed the Lal Masjid, had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Mohammad. Their goal was to change Pakistan’s culture. On April 12, 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of Quaid-i-Azam University, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:

“The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it.

Continue reading Mosque versus state

Pakistan: Govt to act against ‘violent banned outfits’ only

By Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD: Of the nearly 72 organisations and outfits that have been declared ‘proscribed’, only a handful are likely to face action in the coming days as part of the government’s impending crackdown on terrorists and militant groups, sources in the interior ministry told Dawn.

The sources say that the government’s focus, at least in the initial stages, would be on organisations which had taken up arms against the state. Such organisations will not be allowed to operate on Pakistani soil anymore and members of such groups who are known to be involved in violent activities will be arrested, an official in the interior ministry told Dawn.

“Following their arrest and interrogation, such individuals will be produced before military courts for trial under a defined procedure,” he said.

The official confirmed that groups which had claimed responsibility for recent terrorist attacks would be proceeded against, but refused to give any details.

He said the provinces had been asked to develop a “multi-faceted process of scrutiny” whereby cases would be sent to military courts, adding that the methodology would be fine-tuned by his ministry.

Benign groups?

It is believed that most banned organisations do not have militant wings and the ministry has no plans to act against such groups. In addition, the ministry’s official said, it was ‘not advisable’ to simultaneously act against all banned outfits.

The provinces had been asked to identify outlawed outfits and keep an eye on key operatives. They will also be looking into groups that have re-emerged under different names after their original incarnation was banned by the government.

The official told Dawn that individuals who faced criminal charges under the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act would be monitored closely. Under the law, he added, such persons were supposed to report to a police station before travelling to any other city, as well as intimating their date of return. He said such people were also required to report to the police station concerned in the city they are travelling to, but admitted that this provision had scarcely been enforced in the past.

Although he did not offer specifics on which organisations were regarded as being an immediate threat, the official said a comprehensive assessment was being carried out to ascertain how many of the 72 were active and how many were operating under changed names.

The National Counter-Terrorism Authority’s National Coordinator Hamid Ali Khan could not be contacted to get his point of view.

The government’s list features organisations such as Al Qaeda, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, and some of its factions, including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Bajaur, Tehreek-i-Taliban Mohmand and Tehreek-i-Taliban Swat. Then there are organisations whose names reflect their inherently militant nature, such as the Balochistan Liberation Army, Balochistan Republican Army, Balochistan United Army, United Baloch Army, Balochistan Bunyad Parast Army, the 313 Brigade and the Abdullah Azzam brigade, among others.

When asked about banned outfits that had taken part in the last general elections, he said a new procedure was being devised for registration of political parties.

At least 40 candidates from the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, including its chief, Ahmad Ludhianvi, had taken part in the 2013 general elections.

Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah met Ludhianvi more than once prior to the 2013 elections and justified his meetings by saying that members of the Jamaatud Dawa and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan were not terrorists.

However, the official avoided commenting on political parties which were said to have links with banned outfits.

In June 2010, Ludhianvi even claimed that at least 25 PPP MNAs had won the 2008 general elections with his party’s support.

Courtesy: Dawn, January 11th, 2015
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1156321/govt-to-act-against-violent-banned-outfits-only

Pakistan must believe that the darkest hour is just before the dawn

In post-Peshawar Pakistan, we have to believe that the darkest hour is just before the dawn

By REEMA ABBASI

Remembering murders and massacres past to demand justice was a sad challenge this week.

On January 4 – a date that should be declared ‘Salmaan Taseer Day’ – a peaceful vigil in central Lahore was held to honour the fourth anniversary of the province’s assassinated governor.

However, the memorial was attacked by Mumtaz Qadri’s supporters, who reportedly belonged to a banned terror outfit.

The scene was as tragic as it was violent. Placards such as “ST hum sharminda hain, tumhara qaatil zinda hai” were set ablaze as baton-wielding villains pounded participants, including campaigners of renown.

Though crazed with hate, their rampage was not without the blessings of the Punjab government and the police.

However, post-Peshawar Pakistan is another country. Hence, where such an incident would previously have sent mourners home, this time the miscreants defeated their own purpose.

Their assault sent the crowd to procure an FIR against the mob. So far, over 40 suspects have been arrested.

The atrocity, along with the ongoing saga of the Lal Masjid cleric, Abdul Aziz, is yet another testament to Punjab being the hotbed of fanaticism. It shows that the malaise has infiltrated the law enforcement apparatus and thrives in state espousal.

Punjab has witnessed the mushrooming of groups such as the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Khatme-Nabuwat, and the nation is keen to see the outcome of current civil-society-led movements geared to bring militants to book.

At this stage, we can only believe in the adage that the darkest hour is before dawn.

But if Sharif does not seize the moment to channelise public rage towards a new horizon, Pakistan may be doomed to see history repeat itself. 

— The writer is a Karachi-based author and journalist

Courtesy: Daily Maily

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2902723/In-post-Peshawar-Pakistan-believe-darkest-hour-just-dawn.html#ixzz3OSQzF4JU