Tag Archives: umbrella

Beijing warns foreign countries not to meddle in Hong Kong

China’s foreign minister made it clear Beijing would not allow other countries to meddle into its ‘internal affairs’, responding in this way to US Secretary of State’s call for Beijing to grant Hong Kong the “highest possible degree of autonomy.”

The American and the Chinese heads of foreign offices exchanged their views on the massive protests in Hong Kong before their talks at the US State Department on Wednesday.

Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “All countries should respect China’s sovereignty. And this is also a basic principle governing international relations. I believe for any country, for any society, no one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.”

Wang added he believed the current Hong Kong leadership was able to handle the large-scale sit-ins by itself.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/192404-china-us-internal-affairs/

Pakistan Taliban ‘number two sacked

By AFP

PESHAWAR: The number two commander in Pakistan’s nebulous, umbrella Taliban movement has been sacked as deputy chief but will remain within the organisation, a spokesman said Monday.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the Taliban’s commander in Bajaur, one of Pakistan’s seven districts in the tribal belt on the Afghan border and one that has seen a recent lull in fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani soldiers.

He was sacked on Sunday at a meeting presided over by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud at a secret location in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone.

“A shura (council) meeting was held on Sunday and it decided to remove Maulvi Faqir Mohammad from the position of deputy chief of TTP,” he said, adding that Mohammad would continue to serve the group as an ordinary member.

Ehsan gave no reason for the removal. Neither was a successor announced.

The TTP is a loose confederation of militant commanders founded and run by Baitullah Mehsud until his death in a US drone strike in August 2009. His killing sparked a bitter succession battle won by Hakimullah Mehsud.

A source close to the Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity that the Bajaur commander fell out of favour with Mehsud over his alleged support for peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Mohammad also had sympathies with Mehsud’s biggest rival within the TTP, Wali-ur Rehman, the source added.

Northwestern Pakistan, particularly the main city of Peshawar, has seen a recent increase in suicide and gun attacks blamed on Taliban.

Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, reportedly asked his Pakistani counterparts to stop attacks within Pakistan, considered vital in any peace process in Afghanistan.

The only TTP commander who refused to comply was Mehsud, an Afghan Taliban member recently told AFP. Young and impetuous, the TTP leader has reputedly said there will be no end to attacks until Washington stops drone strikes.

Courtesy: DAWN

Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

THE Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has announced its aim of defending us against the dangers we face today.

But given the fact that the biggest threat to Pakistan comes from the extremist ideology of many of those who constitute the DPC, the question arises whether these holy warriors will confront the militants.

Don’t hold your breath: during a recent DPC rally in Karachi, speaker after speaker made it clear that their real enemies are India and America. This assembled galaxy clearly failed to notice the uncomfortable fact that over the last decade, well over 30,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 security personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks launched by jihadi militants. Such mundane truths often escape our religious brigade. While focusing on American drone attacks, which while controversial, have been the most effective weapon against the militants in the tribal areas, they have conveniently overlooked the real cause of militancy. The moment these realities are pointed out to them, they go on about how these casualties are the result of the American war in Afghanistan.

The composition of the DPC is interesting as it brings together a number of reactionary elements under one umbrella. Some of these, like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijaz ul Haq, have a semblance of respectability. However, this is based on the dubious proposition that cabinet positions, past or present, in Pakistan confer some degree of social acceptability.

On the other side of the DPC spectrum, we have characters like Malik Ishaq, released by the Lahore High Court and accused of committing several murders for the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba, an extreme Sunni outfit.

Hafiz Saeed is one of the stars of the DPC and head of Jamaatud Dawa, a supposedly charitable organisation banned for fronting for the Lashkar-i-Taiba. This terrorist group has been accused of being behind the deadly Mumbai attack of 2008, as well as other atrocities in India.

Qari Yaqub, the darling of admirers of his sermons on YouTube, also spoke at the DPC rally in Karachi where he warned journalists that he would turn the ground where he spoke into “a graveyard for the media” if they did not give the DPC ample coverage. So here I am, writing about the DPC to avoid an early grave.

Sheikh Rasheed, leader of his Awami Muslim League spoke at the rally, as did army dictator Zia’s son, Ijaz ul Haq. Hamid Gul, the retired general who was sacked as head of the ISI by Benazir Bhutto in 1989, also enlivened proceedings with his rant about the bright future ahead without a western presence.

So Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, felt right at home in this august company as the PTI’s senior vice president Ejaz Chaudhry’s presence showed.

Clearly then, the 40-odd (some would say very odd) members of the DPC at least appear to be on the same page where extremist thought is concerned. The question is what and who brought them together. Pakistan’s history is littered with the bleached bones of right-wing alliances formed and then ditched by their creators. The IJI, the PNA, the IDA, and the MMA spring instantly to mind.

Add to them the various incarnations and iterations of the Muslim League, and you have a veritable alphabet soup of political aspirations: Q, N, Z and Awami are only the current manifestations.

The common thread running through all these parties and coalitions is the past or current connection with our intelligence agencies. Retired general Asad Durrani, another erstwhile ISI chief, has admitted before the Supreme Court that he funneled millions to anti-PPP candidates during the 1988 elections. This confession emerged years ago as a result of a writ filed by Asghar Khan, but the case has been on the back burner until the Supreme Court resumes hearing it later this month. Watch this space for further developments.

Given the stellar credentials of these stalwart defenders of our country, we can all sleep easy. They have vowed to save us from those nasty Americans and Indians, but before I cancel my life insurance policy, I’m still waiting to hear that they will protect us from the Pakistani Taliban as well.

Seriously, though, what is this circus all about? Why have so many extremist-minded elements and their fellow-travellers suddenly emerged from the woodwork to muddy the political waters? Who’s paying for all these expensive rallies? Actually, scratch that last question: we’re paying for them via whatever shadowy agency that has cobbled this latest alliance together.

And why is Imran Khan’s PTI part of this reactionary group? I know he’s in lockstep with people like Hamid Gul and Maulana Samiul Haq, but why does he need to identify himself with the most violent and unsavoury characters in this coalition? Does he not see that after his recent reinvention as a popular, mainstream politician, he no longer needs to cosy up to the likes of Qari Yaqub and Hafiz Saeed?

Continue reading Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

Citizens for Democracy : Statement on assassination of Salmaan Taseer

Karachi: Citizens for Democracy (CFD), a nation-wide umbrella group of political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, NGOs and individuals, strongly condemns the cold-blooded and cowardly murder of Salmaan Taseer.

The unarmed Governor of Punjab was shot in the back in the most cowardly manner by one of his own bodyguards on Jan 4, 2011, following a concerted propaganda campaign that falsely accused him of having been disrespectful to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon on Him). This campaign was conducted in the media and through the mosques.

We strongly condemn those who are glorifying the assassin, who opened fire at the back of an unarmed man. We express our concern at the Rawalpindi District Bar Association’s support to the murderer and the offer to contest his case free of any fee, which signifies support for the murderer.

There is no proof of ‘blasphemy’ against Taseer. Even in the case of Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced by a sessions court for alleged blasphemy, the sentence has yet to be confirmed by the High Court and then by the Supreme Court before she can be considered guilty and executed.

The questions arising from this assassination indicate the involvement of retrogressive forces in Pakistan that have over the past couple of decades made inroads into all sections of society and institutions of the state, including those institutions upon which Pakistani citizens rely for their security.

The assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, was assigned to the elite force guarding the Punjab Governor even though he (Qadri) was earlier removed from the Special Branch because he was perceived as a security threat.

How did he end up on the security detail of a Governor who was already receiving death threats?

Why did the other guards not open fire, as per standard operating procedures in VIP guard duty? (In Qadri’s confession after his arrest, he said that he had told his colleagues what he was going to do and asked them not to open fire, as he would surrender.)

While appreciating the arrest of the cleric who had offered a reward for Taseer’s murder, and of the other guards who were on duty and did nothing to protect the Governor, we demand …

Read more : Citizens For Democracy