Tag Archives: violent

Violent protest in Nawabshah against SPLGO; 1 dead 6 injured

By Ahmed Farooq

Hyderabad: A man was killed and six others injured during violent protest against Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 in Nawazbshah district [Home district of President Zardari] on Monday.

The protesters, belonging to various nationalists parties, …. and set ablaze Airport Police Station in Gharibad locality.

The protesters rallied on Sakrand Road as they observed strike against the controversial local government system, although, supported by two major political stakeholders the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Police also resorted to aerial firing to disperse the charged protesters ….

The dead and injured were taken to nearby hospitals. The Sindh Assembly today (Monday) passed the [notorious, controversial & black ordinance of dictator Gen. Musharraf in the name of] SPLGO 2012 bill which further fueled the already angry nationalist elements.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/10/01/violent-protest-in-nawabshah-against-splgo-1-dead-6-injured/#.UGr-qFFXljs

Husain Haqqani: Manipulated Outrage and Misplaced Fury

Islamists stoke resentment of the West—and anger over the long decline of Muslim influence—to serve their own violent ends.

BY HUSAIN HAQQANI

The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions this week—beginning in Egypt and Libya, and moving to Yemen and other Muslim countries—came under cover of riots against an obscure online video insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). But the mob violence and assaults should be seen for what they really are: an effort by Islamists to garner support and mobilize their base by exacerbating anti-Western sentiments.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to calm Muslims Thursday by denouncing the video, she was unwittingly playing along with the ruse the radicals set up. The United States would have been better off focusing …

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

Anger Over a Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

CAIRO — Protesters angry over an amateurish American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday, killing a State Department officer, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the fortified walls of the United States Embassy here.

Continue reading Anger Over a Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt

Takfiri Militancy A Threat to Pakistan

Takfir: the ideology of hate —Dr Mohammad Taqi

An ordinary Salafi may believe in the non-violent call to convert to their version of Islam but the Salafi jihadists are proponents of violent jihad. The doctrinal differences that set the jihadist group apart include practising takfir, i.e. labelling other Muslims as infidels or apostates

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important” — Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Continue reading Takfiri Militancy A Threat to Pakistan

Everything you always wanted to know about Jinns..

By: Omar Ali

Musharraf Farooqi has a great article up at Lapham’s quarterly about Jinns and their various proclivities. A must read.

“ ….Encounters between the parties were not uncommon. One trait commonly ascribed to jinn is the desire to copulate with humans. Male jinn liked it so much that sometimes they would try and surreptitiously join in during sex between human men and women. One man witnessed his wife’s vagina emitting flames from a jinn making congress with her while she slept. And such interspecies unions bore fruit. When a child was born from a coupling between humans and jinn, it was termed khunnas. One born from a union between humans and demons was called amluq. Humans were less likely to pursue jinn, however, particularly females, as they were reputed to have violent tempers. One man who had married a jinn female received a good thrashing with a camel bone at her hands before she left him…”

Musharraf Ali Farooqi has also translated Dastan Amir Hamza into English (its a very good translation, btw, I have it and its tremendous fun to read in the toilet). He has also started on Tilsim e Hoshruba. (he also wrote a novel recently that I have not yet read).

Aamer Ahmed Khan (who replaced Mohammed Hanif as head of BBC Urdu)  tried to start a series of Tilsim E Hoshruba comics in Lahore, but these ideas seem to whither and die in Pakistan. After the “Islamic welfare state” deal is finally done with, maybe some remaining people  will rediscover the real treasures of medieval Islamicate culture (Jinns, Arabian Nights, Tilsim e Hoshruba) and make comics and video games and movies out of them in the land of the Indus man (for now, it seems they do it best once they get out); all sorts of creative possibilities exist…

My theory is that all these creative possibilities tend to get overwhelmed in Pakistan (the actual Pakistan, not the imaginary one..hint hint, wink wink) because we need Jinns to produce literal rather than metaphorical electricity.

Continue reading Everything you always wanted to know about Jinns..

Balochistan is an occupied land, Balochs don’t allow IPI on its soil – Hyrbyair Marri

The Baloch nation will not allow IPI gas pipeline to pass through Balochistan: Hyrbyair Marri

Excerpts;

….Mr Marri said “we would like to make it clear to all international companies that we consider Pakistan as an occupying state that is why until regaining their independence the Baloch will not accept any agreement made with Pakistan about the fate of Balochistan. Neither can the Baloch give any guarantee for the protection of anyone’s wealth in the occupied land of Balochistan that helps make Pakistan and Iran’s strategy stronger but weakens the Baloch liberation struggle.” However, after freedom the Baloch state, for the Baloch interest, will be willing to allow and guarantee all International Companies in a competitive environment to spend their wealth in Balochistan, he added.

Hyrbyair Marri said that Pakistan cannot hoist it’s flag in Balochistan and the so called national anthem of Pakistan is not played in schools, in these circumstances how Pakistan can guarantee the protection of the wealth of other countries. He has also categorically rejected Pakistan’s claim that Pakistani top officials had contacted the Baloch pro-freedom leaders to join the so called mainstream Pakistani politics. Mr Marri said “Our stance is crystal clear to the world and to the Baloch Nation that we have no historical, linguistic and cultural ties with this state [Pakistan]. We have not accepted this state since its coming into being, similarly the state by its violent actions have proved that Balochistan is an occupied territory.” ….

Read more » BALOCHWARNA

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

By: ASHRAF KHAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAKISTAN – Roses for a killer

Can Pakistan step back from the brink?

One year ago, Pakistan was shaken when leading politician Salman Taseer was murdered by his own bodyguard. His violent death and the lack of government response were merely the beginning of a turbulent year for the country. Writer Ahmed Rashid considers whether Pakistan can step back from the brink in 2012.

The death of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, now appears as both the start and the symbol of the political, economic and social unravelling of Pakistan that has taken place since that fateful 4 January day.

The gruesome aftermath of his death, when the governing Pakistan People’s Party, the army, the mullahs and civil society appeared to deny the reality of what had happened, made many Pakistanis ashamed of their rulers.

Roses for a killer

Mumtaz Qadri, an elite police force member, pumped 27 bullets into the politician as he was walking back to his car after lunch at an Islamabad restaurant. ….

Read more » BBC

The psychoanalysis of Pakistan

By Haider Warraich

The door creaked open as the therapist led Pakistan into the room, his clothes drenched, his hair wild, his shirt unbuttoned, his hands covered in mud. “This is the last time I see you without an appointment, Pakistan.” The therapist tried not to reward Pakistan by obliging to his unannounced visits and subsequent tantrums, but this time, she knew that there was something terribly wrong.

Pakistan lay on the couch, with the therapist sitting behind him close to the door. She dimmed the lights, giving the weathered wood paneling a bronze glow. She hadn’t known Pakistan for long, but long enough to detect a disturbing pattern. Having changed several therapists, Pakistan followed a predictable course with all of his previous shrinks — starting off in a blaze of intimacy, slowly withdrawing, reaching a point of violent confrontation and then starting over with someone else. ….

Read more →THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

China blames terror camps in Pak as 20 killed in Xinjiang

Beijing, Aug 1: China today (Aug 1) blamed “extremists” trained in terror camps in Pakistan for orchestrating attacks on civilians in the troubled Xinjiang province, where 20 people, including alleged militants, were killed in violent incidents over two days.

While nine people were killed in a violent attack on Saturday, another 11, including five suspected militants, were killed in another attack last night.

A statement by the Kashgar municipal government said militants trained by the ”East Turkistan Islamic Movement” in Pakistan were responsible for the recent flare up in violence.

“A group of religious extremists led by culprits trained in overseas terrorist camps were behind the weekend attack on civilians in China’s far-western Xinjiang,” state run Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

“Initial probe has shown that the heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organise terrorist activities,” it said.

The Xinjiang region witnessed massive riots in 2009, when almost 200 people were killed in its capital Urumqi, following which China launched a major crackdown against Uyghur Muslim separatists.

On July 18 this year, 14 “rioters” were killed when they reportedly attacked a police station and killed four people in the province’s Hotan city. ….

Read more → news.oneindia

More details → BBC urdu

Banned group wanted Pakistan coup to make world Islamic

By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD: Those questioning Brigadier Ali Khan and several majors of the Pakistan Army for their jehadi links believe the radicalised armymen had a violent agenda to overthrow the government and remove the current military leadership, for their pro-American stance, through a coup.

Investigations being conducted by the authorities following the arrest of over a dozen officers of Pakistan Army for their links with Hizbul Tehrir have revealed that the leadership of the banned group had actually marked Pakistan as a base from which it wanted to spread Islamic rule across the world.

The group recruits members from the urban, educated and professional segments of the society and is also known to have spread its influence in the military ranks in recent years. Hizbul Tehrir has managed to maintain its presence in Pakistan despite being banned following the July 7, 2007 London subway suicide bombings, conducted by four British nationals of the Pakistani origin who were indoctrinated by extremists belonging to militant groups like Al-Mohajiroun and Hizbul Tehrir. …

Read more: → DNA

via Wichaar

U.S. Presses Pakistan to Go After Specific Militant Leaders

by NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin)

ISLAMABAD: The United States has drawn up a list of five militant Islamic leaders it expects Pakistan to provide intelligence about immediately and possibly target in joint operations, including Osama bin Laden deputy Ayman al Zawahiri and Taliban commander Mullah Omar, according to a U.S. official and a Pakistani official.

The list also includes Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani network, the most violent group in the Afghan Taliban and believed to be run out of the Pakistani tribal areas; Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior member of al Qaeda once dubbed “the next Osama bin Laden”; and Atiya Abdel Rahman, the Libyan operations chief of al Qaeda who had emerged as a key intermediary between bin Laden and al Qaeda’s affiliate networks across the world.

The list was discussed during three separate meetings between senior Pakistani and U.S. officials in the past two weeks, including today in Islamabad with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a U.S. official, a Pakistani government official and a Pakistani intelligence official.

The United States views the list as a test of whether Pakistan is serious about fighting terrorists who have long enjoyed safe havens within its borders. …

Read more : ABC News

via Wichaar

Yemen leader Saleh agrees to step down

Yemen leader Saleh agrees to step down under Gulf plan

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has agreed to step down under a 30-day transition plan aimed at ending violent unrest over his 32-year rule.

Officials in the capital Sanaa confirmed the government had accepted the plan drawn up by Gulf Arab states.

Mr Saleh will hand power to his vice-president one month after an agreement is signed with the opposition, in return for immunity from prosecution.

At least 120 people have died during two months of protests.

The US has welcomed the announcement; a statement from the White House urged all parties to “swiftly” implement a peaceful transfer of power ….

Read more : BBC

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

An Army Without a Country – by Ahmed Rashid

Excerpt:

….. As leaders worldwide—from the Pope to Hillary Clinton to Nicolas Sarkozy—strongly condemn Bhatti’s murder, the reaction of the Pakistani government has been vapid. No action has been taken or promises made to curb the freedom of violent extremist groups, who have hailed both murders and who have meanwhile been staging daily street demonstrations in Lahore to demand the death sentence for Raymond Davis, the American CIA agent who is now in Pakistani custody after killing two Pakistani men believed to be agents for the army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). (Davis was part of a secret team working in the country; the exposure of his activities puts further strain on the uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan.)

For its part, the army has so far failed to express regret about either Bhatti’s murder or Taseer’s. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani declined to publicly condemn Taseer’s death or even to issue a public condolence to his family. He told Western ambassadors in January in Islamabad that there were too many soldiers in the ranks who sympathize with the killer, and showed them a scrapbook of photographs of Taseer’s killer being hailed as a hero by fellow police officers. Any public statement, he hinted, could endanger the army’s unity.

Behind this silence lies something more sinister. For decades the army and the ISI have controlled the extremist groups, arming and training them in exchange for their continuing to serve as proxy forces in Afghanistan and Kashmir. But in recent years, the army has lost control of them and they are striking targets of their own. Yet the army has refused to help crack down on its rogue protégés—despite the fact that extremists have increasingly attacked the army and the ISI itself, and at least 2,000 military personnel have died at their hands in the past five years. This is all the more ominous in view of the resources the military commands: half a million men, another half a million reserves, 110 nuclear weapons (according to US media estimates) and one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, the ISI, which has an estimated 100,000 employees.

If the army has now surrendered any willingness to take on the extremists, the political establishment had already given up long ago. ….

Read more : The New York Review of Book

Libya: Violent protests rock city of BenGhazi

Hundreds of people have clashed with police and government supporters in the Libyan city of Benghazi. At least 14 people are said to have been hurt, with witnesses saying police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. The overnight unrest followed the arrest of an outspoken critic of the government, who was reportedly freed later. Pro-democracy protests have recently swept through several Arab nations. The demonstrators have forced the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt from power. However, correspondents say it is unlikely that Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi – who has ruled the country since a coup in 1969 – will lose power any time soon. …

Read more : BBC

Lets do an Egypt in India!

by Sudhir Gandotra

Time for a Non-violent-comprehensive revolution in India! Lets get rid of all violence in & around us! Join and also invite all your friends! Peace in the heart, light in the understanding .. “Working for a Violence-free World

“With 83% living on >20 rupees a day, 25% sleeping hungry ever night, prices rising daily, farmers committing suicide, increasing poverty-malnutrition-hunger-suicides, India is far away from Real-Democracy. It is time to wake up and take responsibility of the nation, take inspiration from the non-violent wave of transformation happening from Tunisia, through Egypt to other parts of the world, and to bring about a complete non-violent revolution in India in order to establish a Real democracy that can give a Dignified life to all the people without any discrimination whatsoever immediately. We do not lack resources for this. Only the willingness is missing as the scamster-corrupt-mafia-masquerading-politicians are working with the sole interest of taking India’s money to tax-heavens. This must stop NOW !”

“The hero of this age flies towards the stars.” – The Inner Look, XX. Internal Reality.

Silo (Mario Rodriguez Cobos) January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010 – “You go deep into yourself, I go deep into myself and there we meet.”

Sudhir Gandotra’s blog http://blog.sudhirgandotra.org/

Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_160997877284537#!

Pakistan : Future Unrosy

Was Partition always going to be violent?

The Past and Future of Pakistan. By M.J. Akbar. Harper Collins India; 343 pages; 499 rupees

WHEN India and Pakistan began, in 1947, they shared many of the same peoples and a legal and administrative history going back five centuries. What explains their subsequent divergence, with India now broadly stable and prosperous and Pakistan crisis-ridden? According to M.J. Akbar, an erudite Indian journalist who is a Muslim, “The idea of India is stronger than the Indian; the idea of Pakistan is weaker than the Pakistani.”

India was founded as a secular democracy. Given its great diversity, it is hard to think how it could have been otherwise. Pakistan was created to be a homeland for India’s Muslims, an idea that was weak on two counts. First, because it implied a threat to Muslims, or Islam, in Hindu- majority India that in retrospect appears bogus. India’s 160m Muslims are free and no worse off than Pakistan’s 180m. Second, the Islamic rationale for Pakistan contained an ambiguity about the role of Islam in the new state, which has given rise to extremism. As Mr Akbar writes, “the germ of theocracy lay in Pakistan’s genes.”

No one would have been more appalled by this than Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A whisky-drinking anglophile, he envisaged Pakistan as an India-style democracy. Yet he also helped begin its descent by playing upon chauvinist Muslim fears for political gain. A stalwart of the independence movement, he had been a late convert to the cause of Pakistan, swayed to it only after the early collaboration between Hindu and Muslim freedom-fighters had broken down. …

Read more : The Economist

Islamic scholar attacks Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

In the wake of Salmaan Taseer’s murder, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi declares Islamic councils are “telling lies to the people

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

A prominent Islamic scholar has launched a blistering attack on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, warning that failure to repeal them will only strengthen religious extremists and their violent followers.

“The blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam. These ulema [council of clerics] are just telling lies to the people,” said Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a reformist scholar and popular television preacher.

“But they have become stronger, because they have street power behind them, and the liberal forces are weak and divided. If it continues like this it could result in the destruction of Pakistan.”

Ghamidi, 59, is the only religious scholar to publicly oppose the blasphemy laws since the assassination of the Punjab governor, Salmaan Taseer, on 4 January. He speaks out at considerable personal risk.

Ghamidi spoke to the Guardian from Malaysia, where he fled with his wife and daughters last year after police foiled a plot to bomb their Lahore home. “It became impossible to live there,” he said.

Their fears were well founded: within months Taliban gunmen assassinated Dr Farooq Khan, a Ghamidi ally also famous for speaking out, at his clinic in the north-western city of Mardan.

The scholar’s troubles highlight the shrinking space for debate in Pakistan, where Taseer’s death has emboldened the religious right, prompting mass street rallies in favour of his killer, Mumtaz Qadri.

Liberal voices have been marginalised; many fear to speak out. Mainstream political parties have crumbled, led by the ruling Pakistan People’s party, which declared it will never amend the blasphemy law.

Sherry Rehman, a PPP parliamentarian who proposed changes to the legislation, was herself charged with blasphemy this week. Since Taseer’s death she has been confined to her Karachi home after numerous death threats, some issued publicly by clerics. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

Kashmir’s Fruits of Discord – By ARUNDHATI ROY

… For three years in a row now, Kashmiris have been in the streets, protesting what they see as India’s violent occupation. But the militant uprising against the Indian government that began with the support of Pakistan 20 years ago is in retreat. The Indian Army estimates that there are fewer than 500 militants operating in the Kashmir Valley today. The war has left 70,000 dead and tens of thousands debilitated by torture. Many, many thousands have “disappeared.” More than 200,000 Kashmiri Hindus have fled the valley. Though the number of militants has come down, the number of Indian soldiers deployed remains undiminished.

But India’s military domination ought not to be confused with a political victory. Ordinary people armed with nothing but their fury have risen up against the Indian security forces. A whole generation of young people who have grown up in a grid of checkpoints, bunkers, army camps and interrogation centers, whose childhood was spent witnessing “catch and kill” operations, whose imaginations are imbued with spies, informers, “unidentified gunmen,” intelligence operatives and rigged elections, has lost its patience as well as its fear. With an almost mad courage, Kashmir’s young have faced down armed soldiers and taken back their streets. …

Read more : THE NEW YORK TIMES

The real threat aboard the Freedom Flotilla

By Noam Chomsky

IN THESE TIMES

Israel’s violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza shocked the world. Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime.

But the crime is nothing new. For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats between Cyprus and Lebanon and killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes holding them hostage in Israeli prisons.

Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.’s lead.

Continue reading The real threat aboard the Freedom Flotilla

Arab Israel conflict- Who is to blame?

by: Dr Nutan Thakur, Editor, Nutan Satta Pravah, Lucknow

So much has been written about the Arab-Israel conflicts. It is almost universally accepted that this small piece of the Land on the meeting point of the two continents of Asia and Africa is the greatest flash-point in the world- the most violent, volatile and dangerous one. While at the basic level, it is a dispute between Israel and Palestinians, on a broader level it can be extended and linked to the so-called “Clash of the Civilizations” as enunciated by Huntington. With wars in 1948 (the Arab-Israel war), 1967 (the six-day war),1973 ( Yom-Kippur war), 1982 (the Lebanese war), the first and the second Intifada (in 1987 and 2000 respectively) and an innumerable number of continuous attempts and counter-attempts, violent episodes, terrorist and extremist activities, civilian and military skirmishes one can easily gather the potentiality and intensity of these conflicts.

Continue reading Arab Israel conflict- Who is to blame?